Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Jericho Scott is too fast

9-year old Jericho Scott is too fast for the Youth Baseball League of New Haven. The kid pitches at 40 mph, and at his last game, when he took the mound, the other team packed up and left, forfeiting the game, because he's too fast. So fast in fact, that the league has banned him from playing. Yup, you got it. He excels in pitching, so he's no longer allowed to play baseball. WTF?!?

Anyway, it doesn't matter. The kid is now famous. He's got his own Wikipedia entry.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Of tough and bough and cough and dough

I take it you already know,
Of tough and bough and cough and dough.
Others may stumble, but not you,
On hiccough, thorough, laugh and through.
Well done! And now you wish, perhaps,
To learn of less familiar traps.
Beware of heard, a dreadful word,
That looks like beard and sounds like bird.
And dead - it’s said like bed, not bead,
For goodness’ sake, don’t call it ‘deed’!
Watch out for meat and great and threat,
(They rhyme with suite and straight and debt).
A moth is not a moth in mother,
Nor both in bother, broth in brother.
And here is not a match for there,
Nor dear and fear for bear and pear.
And then there’s dose and rose and lose –
Just look them up – and goose and choose.
And cork and work and card and ward,
And font and front and word and sword.
And do and go and thwart and cart –
Come, come, I’ve hardly made a start!
A dreadful language? Why man alive!
I’d mastered it when I was five.

Bloody hell -- the English language is hard!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Court to consider divorce for 8-year-old girl

There's something really fucked up in the world, when an 8-year-old can be married off. Married off to a man in his fifties. Married off by her father. Where in the world does this fucked up sort of thing happen? In the Arab world, where a strict Wahabi version of Sunni Islam rules.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Making Enemies of Friends

I keep wondering when this shit is going to happen to me -- not just when I travel to the US -- but even here in my own country. I'm just the wrong skin colour -- and being held up by border security agents, whose only qualification for the job seems to be the ability to have a total disconnect with their fellow humans, is now happening to just about anyone, with no regard for good, ole fashion, stereotypes. What's the world coming to when even the invidious public servants don't meet expectations?

The world -- our democratic and free loving world -- is going the way of the totalitarian regimes. The enemy is winning, when we grow to accept the story scribed by Emily Feder at AlterNet. Feder describes the thuggery experienced while detained by Homeland Security enforcers at JFK, recently.
In the past five years I have worked for human rights and refugee advocacy organizations in Serbia, Russia and Croatia, including the International Rescue Committee and USAID. I have traveled to many different places, some supposedly repressive, and have never seen people treated with the kind of animosity that Homeland Security showed that night. In Syria, border control officers were stern but polite. At other borders there have been bureaucracies to contend with -- excruciating for both Americans and other foreign nationals. I've met Russian officials with dead, suspicious looks in their eyes and arms tired from stamping so many visas, but in America, the Homeland Security officials I encountered were very much alive -- like vultures waiting to eat.
And that's just it, isn't it? The zeal with which they do it -- with which everyday people, who may not have a bad bone in their body, apply themselves when they convince themselves that everyone is a potential enemy. Therein lies the end of our democracy and freedom. We, the people, doing it to our friends, our neighbours, our families. There is no organized campaign to take away our freedoms by terrorists. Terrorists could care less about our freedoms. They care about their power. The organized campaign to take away our freedoms is from within, and we're the only ones with the power to stop it. We're the only ones who can stop bullying for personal gratification and the belief that we're serving the state. We're the ones who can say no and have an intolerance for the bullying when we witness it.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Bob shot the Sheriff

My wife and I were at the local Second Cup this evening, imbibing and completing a crossword puzzle from the Toronto Star -- as is our ritual every Thursday -- our date night. One of the clues we encountered, referenced Eric Clapton's "___ the Sheriff." That one sent me into a spin. Clapton? I was confused. I didn't even know Clapton did the song. I know the song as being written by Bob Marley and performed by him (originally performed on The Wailers' Burnin'). WTF? The crossword puzzle clearly inferred that the song was a Clapton song -- Clapton did a cover of the song in 1974, a year after it was released by the Wailers. What a pissant that wrote that clue -- stealing the credit from Marley and handing it to Clapton in one fell swoop. So here's to correcting the literary crime. Marley wrote the song. Don't mess with him. Bob is god.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Charles de Lint's Someplace to be Flying

I recently completed my second Charles de Lint novel: Someplace To Be Flying -- first published in 1998. I'm now going to have to find and read every de Lint novel. The man is an amazing writer. De Lint is a contemporary fantasy author, with his stories set in modern, urban settings. Someplace To Be Flying is set in his fictional city of Newford, and it's like every major North American city -- expect, around the corner, in shadows, the places hidden in plain site, magic is happening. In Someplace To Be Flying, that magic comes in the form of the First People -- the animal people -- those that were here before the world began; that saw the coming the humans and the changes they brought in the world.

De Lint pays homage to Native American mythology in Someplace To Be Flying. He deftly crafts his prose around mythology that most of us will not be familiar with, but will seem more real than the overused Judeo-Christian mythology. The novel is quite an introspection, concerning itself with people, their relationships, how we see ourselves in the world -- and what it means to be finitely human. It caused me to pause a number of times to reflect.
But the evil people do, that's their responsibility. The burden they have to carry. Sure, when we see 'em starting on causing some hurt, we've got to try and stop 'em, but mostly what the rest of us should be concerning ourselves with is doing right by others. Every time you do a good turn, you shine the light a little farther into the dark. And the thing is, even when we're gone, that light's going to keep shining on, pushing the shadows back.
...

"I think the other part of what he was saying," I tell her, "is that everything has an existence separate from ourselves. People, animals, trees, art ... everything. So when you're interacting with something -- it doesn't matter what it is -- you shouldn't be concentrating on how clearly you see yourself in it. The trick is to recognize the worth of a thing for it's own sake instead of recognizing its worth to you."
For a good review, check out Neil Walsh's post on SF Site.
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