Wednesday, October 26, 2005

"Sixteen percent of all the building cranes in the world are in Dubai right now," Thompson said. "Sixteen percent. That's absolutely amazing for a city to have that kind of economic development."

The Hippest City in the World

At work we’re supposed to wear the company quality policy on our employee badges. I don’t do that—it just seems too Orwellian to me. If it is exaggeration to describe it that way, I could also explain it by saying that everyone has to draw a line between where their job stops and they start. For me, that’s where the line goes.

I’ve been meaning to memorize the quality policy, so that if questioned, I can at least say that I don’t object to the intent of the rule, just the implementation.

I felt confirmed in my decision when a little later the announcement came from the badge directives department that we should also start wearing the environmental policy (which seemed like a waste of paper). I wonder if eventually our employee badges will be like a rolodex of company information worn on our bodies.

Michael Savage is a truly awful person. They play him on the local talk radio station in Grand Rapids. Even when he’s right, he is the wrong person to listen to. When someone disagrees with him, Savage resorts to ridicule, shouting and insult.

Bernard Goldberg, a thorough-going conservative, places him on his list of 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America (And Al Franken Is #37). When you divide even those who agree with you, something’s wrong.

I had been listening to him awhile just for entertainment’s sake—to laugh when he goes off—and because sometimes I agree with him. But then I realized that I was being influenced by the way he deals with people, and I shouldn’t ever listen to someone like that just to cure boredom on the ride home.

He is a good example of dogmatism run amok. Christians can take the negative example and apply it in the realm of biblical truth. There’s other important things besides being right.

The local Walgreens in my hometown now has Santa’s in the window. So now the commercial aspect of Christmas is pre-empting two holidays. No wonder Tim Burton’s Jack Skellington was jealous.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Heard of this about Anne Rice yet?

I've always felt that a lot of the horror writers (e.g., Stephen King) understand spiritual warfare better than others. Their problem is, they play it for entertainment rather than let it change the way they live.

"But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, 'The Lord rebuke you!'"
Jude 9

Monday, October 10, 2005

Neil Postman quotes:

Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared that the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance...Orwell feared we would become a captive culture...Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture...Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us...Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us. This book [Amusing Ourselves to Death] is about the possibility that Huxley, not Orwell, was right.

We have transformed information into a form of garbage, and ourselves into garbage collectors.

The problem is not that television presents us with entertaining subject matter but that all subject matter is presented as entertaining, which is another issue altogether.

Anyone who has studied the history of technology knows that technological change is always a Faustian bargain: Technology giveth and technology taketh away, and not always in equal measure. A new technology sometimes creates more than it destroys. Sometimes, it destroys more than it creates. But it is never one-sided.

The invention of the printing press is an excellent example. Printing fostered the modern idea of individuality but it destroyed the medieval sense of community and social integration. Printing created prose but made poetry into an exotic and elitist form of expression. Printing made modern science possible but transformed religious sensibility into an exercise in superstition. Printing assisted in the growth of the nation-state but, in so doing, made patriotism into a sordid if not a murderous emotion.

--Neil Postman, author:
Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business

Teaching as a Subversive Activity

Technopoly : The Surrender of Culture to Technology

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The Ku tribe have a tradition that a convicted murderer will be bound and thrown into the lake to drown. The victims family have two choices: they can either swim out to save him or they can let him drown. If they let him drown, they will have their vengeance, but their grief will haunt them the rest of their lives. If they swim out to save him, their grief will be easier, for they will have found out that the world is inherently unjust. Vengeance is a lazy form of grief.
--Nicole Kidman in The Interpreter, citing a fictional Ku tribal custom called the Drowning Man Trial

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

I know that I have done many things
to give you reason not to listen to me.
--Sinéad O'Connor

That kind of statement is so rare to come across. It was refreshing to read.

A Proposal for a New Order of Church Business Meetings

Every once in awhile an idea comes along that revolutionizes the accepted way of doing things. Most of these ideas, while fresh and innovative, have also a certain feel of inevitability, as in, Why didn’t we think of this before, or, This makes much more sense.

Just the other day one of these ideas came to me in a flash of inspiration. After giving the matter further thought, I realized I could not keep this wisdom to myself. Therefore, I hereby (I’m getting warmed up with good, proper meeting language) advance the following approach to our church business meetings.

Instead of the current method of voting, I think it might prove expedient to replace the lackluster raising of the right hand with the brandishing of longish staffs or sticks. You may feel somewhat alarmed to hear me say this, but let me develop it a little.

The staffs should be made of a hard plastic that would allow a smarting blow to be delivered to the cranium, but would do no lasting or lethal injury, as this would cut into the size of church membership rolls.

Once a motion has been raised, another kind of motion would rejoin, indicating a negative vote or an objection. Once all of the vote-blows had been delivered, the floor would be returned to the person making the motion, if he’s not already on it. If this person is of firm mind or hardy constitution, he could reassert his motion, resulting in a second round of voting. Some sort of Yea signifier would need to be developed, perhaps a tapping on the floor with the stick.

As you can see, this idea is still in the rough stages, but with a brainstorming session, these minor details could be worked out. Obviously some changes would have to be made to Robert’s Rules of Order, but these could be mostly accomplished with a pair of scissors.

To keep the whole matter from getting out of hand, a moderator might be chosen. This probably should not be the pastor, as he is sure to want to be holding a stick. He has patiently borne many trials and tribulations.

The moderator’s role would be important. He might have to make admonishing statements like, “Bob, Joe hasn’t spoken yet. You need to wait until he says something you disagree with before striking him.”

Once the process is tried, it’s possible that this whole new undertaking could prove such a cathartic process that it could even be used to prevent church splits. In most church split cases, if I’m not mistaken, the group desiring to split are in the minority, and thus could eventually be subdued. And once the struggle was over, it might give to the church new members in the hospital on which to show their charity.

As with any emerging idea, I’m still to some extent thinking aloud. If this business method seemed too harsh to some, maybe the meetings could be taken in the opposite direction, and they could be a feel-good affirming affair. When anything is said, required positive responses would be issued by at least three people, for instance, “That’s wonderful; thank you for sharing,” or, “You have wisdom beyond your years,” or, "I love that shirt you're wearing."

I may not be open to having a vote on the proposal.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Jury of their peers

Ms Martin says jurors in post-verdict interviews said "we needed a fingerprint on one of the documents or we needed him [Mr Scrushy] to say the word 'fraud' on the audiotape" that was secretly recorded by a former HealthSouth finance chief.

"They said, 'they always do fingerprints on TV'," Ms Martin said.
--ABC News, Australia

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