Quotes

As our planet sails its’ orbit upon the solar seas,
At the old years’ waning, the new years’ dawning,
Words to contemplate,
Setting goals to aspire to in 2006

A man should look for what is, and not what he thinks should be.
Albert Einstein

If you have time to whine and complain about something then you have the time to do something about it
Anthony D’Angelo

We have in fact, two kinds of morality, side by side: one that we preach, but do not practice, and another that we practice, but seldom preach.
Bertrand Russell

The welfare of each is bound up in the welfare of all.
Helen Keller

If you think that you are where you are just because you worked hard, it is easy to become self-righteous and make classist moral judgments about others.
Charlotte Bunch

Man becomes great exactly in the degree in which he works for the welfare of his fellow-men.
Mohandas Gandhi

Anyway, no drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we’re looking for the source of our troubles, we shouldn’t test people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed and love of power.
P. J. O’Rourke

It is partly to avoid consciousness of greed that we prefer to associate with those who are at least as greedy as we ourselves. Those who consume much less are a reproach.
Charles Horton Cooley

It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.
Jiddu Krishnamurti

Perhaps in time the so-called Dark Ages will be thought of as including our own.
Georg C. Lichtenberg

Are they waiting for a corpsesicle?

You may have noticed it is more than a little nippy outside these days. And while the bright moon and stars are a very pretty sight, that clearness of the air means the temperature plummets overnight. Factor in the wind chill and you have conditions threatening to life and limb. The one question on the lips of the homeless these days is “are they going to open extra space for shelter at night”? Rumours run rampant through the homeless community, but at the time this is written there are only the (inadequate) beds at the Salvation Army. With bright sunny days perhaps those with shelter do not realize just how dangerous these clear, freezing nights are to those unwillingly consigned to residing on the mean streets of Abbotsford. I have heard of one of the local churches that has regular contact with the homeless community whose attempts to open their (church) doors to these cold people is tied up in red tape thrown up by the city. If the politicians are hoping that the cold will drive the homeless out of town, where they do they expect the homeless to go? That person snoring sitting there in the Library may well have spent the night walking around to keep warm enough to see the dawn and need to get enough sleep in order that they can have the energy to spend this evening moving about so that they can survive to tomorrows dawn.

One can only hope that it does not require someone to freeze to death to get a warm(er) shelter open.

Media

Several months ago I read an ad for Global Television seeking an assignment manager. The ad was full of all the right buzzwords you would expect but hidden away among all those nice buzzwords was a chilling prospect. Part of the job was coordination of editorial content among various elements of the Global/Can West media empire, seeking to maximize the bottom line. Or is that to toe the party line?

I grew up in an era of newspaper competition and contrasting editorial viewpoints. It is disturbing to think about how we have lost all these differing views to media conglomeration, to consider the stifling effect that media conglomeration has on the debate and reporting of issues both large and small. While coordinating editorial content may be advantageous to the bottom line, what is the cost to the public in reporting of stories and presentation of diverse and opposing viewpoints? Where once we were presented with opposing views, ideas and thoughts on important issues we now get one (‘the company’) point of view. Important issues often are no longer examined from many angles and we are no longer exposed to all views, thoughts of considerations needed to make important choices/decisions. Making decisions may appear easier since we are given far less to think about. But, is it a good idea to be seeking or more accurately to be accepting this easy way out? Is it reasonable to be seeking easy, simple answers in an increasingly complex world? Does/has not this approach just lead/resulted in making BAD decisions?

How much does the corporate drive for bottom line results affect what appears in the paper/magazine/television news? I grew up with our ‘local’ paper being owned and published by a resident of the town. I knew the family who were members of the local community. On occasion things got a little lean when the paper took a position on important local issues that some advertisers disagreed with. As a citizen the owner/publisher took these positions and accepted the (temporary) revenue downturns because some important issues need to be addressed and someone will disagree with the papers position. Now the Herald is part of a chain, as are the Abbotsford papers, and focused on the bottom line. To avoid offending advertisers and decreasing revenue, the public ends up with sanitized, do not offend anybody stories.

Another major effect is that of the drive to reduce costs. To address a complex issue such as homelessness is going to require time for research, investigation and thought – perhaps a series of articles. This approach represents a far higher cost than just banging out simple stories. This addressing of complex events carries a significant chance of offending some vested interest, with the potential for a negative effect on the bottom-line.

Doubt this? Think back a few months to the picture of the woman in the hat with the large flower and her dog in her arms. Nice easy story about the closing of the Fraser Inn. The harder part, the most costly part would be a story about: where is she now? What effect did the closing of the Fraser Inn have on her? On other displaced residents? What has the welfare system done for – or to – her? Does she need help now? Do the other ex-residents? What actions did the city take (not take) in accepting (denying) responsibility for the effect of its actions on the innocent bystanders (the residents) of its feud with the owners of the Fraser Inn? Not very likely to be written since it could discomfort readers and advertisers, it would take time and effort and it would/could have a negative effect on bottom line maximization.

The problem with having to rely on media providing the information to make decisions on complex issues, in this current age of media conglomerates, lies in the old computer programmers’ adage:

GARBAGE IN = GARBAGE OUT

Laundry – part deux

Recently I have found another little problem I had never considered before in keeping clean. That is getting your towels and such to dry. When it was warmer I could find somewhere to hang them and they would dry. On a real hot day they would be toast warm and dry. Now, even hanging them up for 24 hours does not get them dry. They range from damp to semi-wet. And in that condition tend to hold onto the cold they absorb. Hot shower, cold towel. Brrrr. Nothing to do but accept. Well, I do not thing the other option, waiting to bath until the towel is dry, is very considerate of others.

I am Thinking Therefore I Exist

René Descartes aside, lately I have taken to looking into mirrors and other reflective surfaces to make sure I have a reflection, as a check that I actually exist. The mayor, city council and city bureaucracy deny my existence ‘Abbotsford does not have a homeless problem it needs to address’ their attitudes, words and actions proclaim. As someone in need of assistance who works hard at the struggle to find employment, the BC Liberals deny my existence ‘They are all bums who do not want to work’. So some days I need to see my reflection to assure myself that yes, I am, no matter how hard the politicians attempt to deny my existence … and the help that would get me back on my feet.