Archive for the ‘Way of the world’ Category

Sometimes orators are found

Friday, November 28th, 2008

Usually I flick right by cnn.com for obvious reasons, but I stopped tonight because Wolf was interviewing a Canadian man who was in the Oberoi in Mumbai and managed to escape and then get to the airport and safety.

Jonathan Ehrlich may be “just a businessman” who escaped terrorists who would have enjoyed killing him, but his responses to Wolf’s questions were articulate and honourable and thoughtful.

Wolf asked him about whether or not he felt that terrorism was going to be a problem before he went. He said no, but that it didn’t matter. He said that we cannot not go, because then they win. The minute we are too afraid to go there, they win. Mumbai is New York, and New York is Vancouver, and Vancouver is a small town in Texas. Doesn’t matter where you are, we are all alike. He doesn’t want the beautiful, friendly people of Mumbai to suffer beyond what these people are doing.

Wolf asked him about being Jewish. He said they have been singled out throughout history, but that they’re strong and that they will make it through this again. And he again encouraged people to book a ticket to Mumbai, to show that they cannot win.

He also emphasized that what the terrorists were looking for were Westerners, whether you’re left or right, liberal or conservative or democrat or republican, in the eyes of the men who carried out the massacre, you would have been fair game.

Ehrlich’s ability to get across a sensibility of inclusion and a calm and quietly strong perspective, despite his own personal experience and the decided slant of the station on which he was being interviewed, was a surprisingly beautiful thing.

Fingers crossed

Sunday, November 2nd, 2008

Okay, it’s down to the wire. Obama has a comfortable lead in some states, a small one in others, and is behind in a few too.

The rest of the world knows where they think the vote should go (and not surprisingly, Canadians have voted more than any other country on this site). But maybe that kind of thing will cause a rush of contrarians south of the border who’ll vote McCain out of spite. How the nation can be anywhere close to voting for another Republican administration is outside of my boggling abilities, but since I’m unable to vote, I stand on the side holding my breath like millions of other people.

First, I hope that everyone who can vote, votes. The US has a very low voter turnout, and I hope that’s not the case this time. Even if I disagree with the outcome, it is their democratic right to choose the leader that they want for their country. But, please please please Obama supporters, don’t assume it’s in the bag and therefore you don’t have to cast a vote to achieve the outcome you want. Every single vote matters.

This is awesome

Sunday, October 26th, 2008

Underwater movie in the Galapagos. Gorgeous.

Yep. Something smells

Friday, September 26th, 2008

The future belongs to crowds.

Sunday, August 3rd, 2008

I’ve joined the ranks of normalcy again by viewing Dark Knight this weekend. I’m not a huge comic fan (and I owe my Batman knowledge to the tv show, which had an inordinate influence on my understanding of superheroes as I now have a certain expectation for latent homosexuality and campy fight scenes).

warning: spoilerage and vague wanderings

Awesome effects. Interesting characters. Somehow Christian Bale was sexy when usually he’s just creepy. But I left the theatre feeling a bit disturbed. As compelling as Heath’s Joker was, I kept coming back to the character of the “police” or “government”.

Every time I saw a group of cops in the movie, with their matching uniforms and masked faces, I thought of the ability of the crowd to take away an option. They move as one and the purpose is to destroy whatever is identified (or codified) as the “bad guy”. And as the Batman shows them, sometimes their target is incorrect.

There is also the crowds who take on the Joker’s challenge – take one man’s life to save a hospital. It made me literally scared at the idea that this could happen, because it is far too easy to imagine what would become of everyday people in this kind of game. How easy it is to imagine the media frenzy that would ensue and the number of guns at hand and the sense of “we all want to do it”.

The ferry scene is meant to comment on this, I think, and to redeem us. It’s a take on a very old psychology experiment with much greater stakes. But it felt forced and somewhat unbelievable though hoped.

And of course Batman’s final choice, to be the Dark Knight, is necessary only because the wisdom of crowds doesn’t allow for grey – only black and white. There must be someone to chase, and it must be clear which side they are on. Thus we preserve one knight for the light and one for the dark. We are incapable of finer understanding in our crowds.

This is a picture I did not take

Sunday, June 29th, 2008

of a young man with Down’s running with arms flung open in joy through a crosswalk in the rain, like he was running into the arms of Santa Claus, or his mom, while his father trudged ahead, cursing at the weather.

A visit to the grocery store

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

As I was entering the automatic doors, there was a very elderly couple ahead of me with a woman who looked like a friend or younger cousin. I recognized them right off – parents of a guy that I was with for a couple of years who decided that he wanted to get married after all (to someone else). Anyway, when we broke up, I just never saw his parents again, which was unfortunate since they were lovely, funny and sweet people.

The father sat down on a bench just inside the doors and when I turned my cart around, he was right in front of me. I could tell that he kind of recognized me but wasn’t sure. “Hello,” I said, “I’m scotchneat. P—’s …um, friend. You know, from a few years ago?” Then I’m running through what to say if he still can’t place me. What else could I say?

He chuckled. Then he told me that he had a stroke and can’t drive anymore. He knows my face, but doesn’t recognize me. I told him he looked great and then I wished him a full recovery.

“Nah,” he said. “I’m old enough that it’s okay if I croak. I’ve had a good life.” I mumbled something about how great it is to be resting on a bench instead of that and went off to the vegetables.

===

As I’m leaving the store, a lurch of a teenager comes walking through the doors. 6 foot 4 or so. Pimples and gawky shoulders. B-ball shorts and shoes the size of watermelons. He was holding hands with his Nana – 5 foot flat if she’s an inch, wearing a newly permed do and a house-dress. They shuffled over to grab a basket and he asked her if she wanted to start with the cucumbers.

 

Er…

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

I was interviewing a brand new uni graduate for a job on my team. I asked her how she though social media such as Facebook might be used in a corporate environment.

She responded, “Well, whoever the guy is that thought that up is so smart. I mean, he targeted it right. I don’t think any adults use it.”

Cities at night

Tuesday, April 8th, 2008

Beautiful and yet one thinks on all of that power that we are using. Interesting also that there are different colours of light in different countries.

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Link from Neil Gaiman

Spammer update

Saturday, February 23rd, 2008

Lee heard from the spammer! Well, the spammer’s brother who spun a tale that he was trying to cover some negative publicity he brother received by posting comments that would be picked up by the search engines.

Lee is very gracious, but I think the guy knew exactly what he was doing, and that it’s called “spam”.

See Lee’s post here: http://quityourdayjob.com.au/archives/1086