30 June 2010

Gift Giving Ideas: Think about it.

When you buy gifts for people, do you buy them what you'd like or do you think specifically about who they are?

I often speak of dustables: things that sit around collecting dust in the name of friendship. Very few people can buy me things I'd enjoy dusting. The process of picking the thing up, holding it in my hand, valuing our friendship, dusting the item and then replacing it is not open to just anyone.

I've bought dustables for friends, but only if I've heard them say they'd like the thing, or if it was a White Elephant item and I hoped it would make the rounds in regifting!

When buying gifts, consider personalities, interests, seasons of life & budgets.

Is your loved one tidy, fluffy, fun, extravagant? Do they live for the moment?
Some would prefer a magazine subscription while others would love a special dinner out.
One wants an experience, a trip or adventure, where another wants something of comfort or long term quiet enjoyment.

Does the recipient garden?
Take them to visit a lovely garden and give them a small but useful gift that will make their hobby more enjoyable. If you want something to wrap, get them a Garden caddy . . .a pocketed insert for a paint bucket that organises all your bits & bobs while you are wandering around the garden. $20

How about the traveler or the techie on your list?
Solio solar charger. Turn sunshine into power for your phone, iPod, laptop or games. Great for trampers, fishermen & campers too.

Velcro cord ties simplify what could be chaos in keeping cords & cables tidy. They are simple little strips that attach to your cord but then are reusable as you need to unwind wind your cables to move to the next place.

Another must have for many who go on long trips, whether in the car or by plane is an inflatable pillow to enhance lengthy sleep and stop the neck ache. Less than $20!

Consider both summer activities & rainy day options.
Lifestyle books . . . . those How To's for the loved one who says they 'd like to try something but might not even know where to begin. I started painting watercolours because of such a book & it has opened whole new vistas for me! Who woulda thought?

What of games, balls, inflatables, small coolers/chilly bins for the beach or short walks, art kits, beach mats, playing cards, puzzle books, a stack of recycled good reads from various genres?

Consider themes for kits of useful items.
Does someone have their first car or a new car, boat or caravan?
How about a plastic tote or bucket filled with ArmourAll wipes, glass cleaner, an air freshener, microfibre cloth, and rags?
Or something specific to fishermen, hikers, artists, readers, equestrians?

It's easy to wrap up some bath wash or a tie. A gift given with thought is worth more than one given in haste.

29 June 2010

Prayer Is a Place

Prayer is a nonlocative, nongeographic space that one enters at one's own peril, for it houses God during those few moments of one's presence there, and what is there will most surely change everything that comes into it. Prayer, its opal walls polished to transparency by the centuries of hands that have touched them, is the Tabernacle realized and the wayside chapel utilized. Ever traveling as we travel, moving as we move, prayer grips like home, until the heart belongs nowhere else and the body can scarcely function apart from them both. Prayer is dangerous and the entrance way to wholeness.

PHYLLIS TICKLE, Prayer Is a Place

28 June 2010

Not Scriptural, but Not unScriptural

“God makes three requests of his children:

Do the best you can, where you are, with what you have, now”
-African-American Proverb

Twitter via Your Reference Librarian

I'm still exploring the value of Twitter. What do people use it for other than an abbreviated and immediate form of Facebook?

I know many companies keep untouched with or gain new customers through Twitter, but what about ordinary users?

Check out what www.examiner.com has discovered!

How to use #Ask4Stuff
Try out this new service using the following tweet format:
#Ask4Stuff (keywords spaced without commas)
Example tweet: #Ask4Stuff Congaree bridge South Carolina
You will receive a tweet similar to this:

@yourusername Here is what we found for Congaree bridge South Carolina:
in #Ask4Stuff, see http://is.gd/d3WgH
The link will take you to results on WorldCat, an online library catalog.
You can include the name of your library in your tweet to find local access to the resource.

Benefits of #Ask4Stuff

Twitter users can receive convenient mobile text messages when they #Ask4Stuff. You do not need to be at a computer to find a reference. That means whether you are at work, in class, or in the grocery store, you can find a reference usually within a minute.

Most people who actually use the library catalog are over 45 or 55 years old, according to a recent OCLC Cooperative blog post. See also, "Sometimes the Internet is just not big enough for me."

Recent #Ask4Stuff tweets
Tweet: #Ask4Stuff Congaree bridge South Carolina
Reply: @savingstories: Selected items about Congaree bridge South Carolina in #Ask4Stuff, see http://is.gd/d3WgH

More replies: @savingstories: We've got you covered for Columbia South Carolina civil war in #Ask4Stuff, look here: http://is.gd/d3VtH

@savingstories Yep - we got Columbia South Carolina history in #Ask4Stuff, available at http://is.gd/d3Vj3
As libraries and Twitter users help to inform their followers about #Ask4Stuff, access to information and library usage will increase.

27 June 2010

What Do You Watch on YouTube, Hulu & Vevo?

YouTube viewers averaged over 100 videos each in May, TechCrunch reports.

According to the American web metrics company, comScore, 183 million U.S. Internet users watched online video during the month compared to 178 million in April. The report also showed that 144.1 million viewers watched 14.6 billion videos on YouTube.com (which works out to 101.2 videos per viewer).

In May, U.S. Internet users watched nearly 34 billion videos, with Google Sites taking the top spot with 14.6 billion videos, representing 43.1 percent of all videos viewed online. Hulu came in second with 1.2 billion videos, or 3.5 percent of all online videos viewed, a slight increase from April. Microsoft Sites ranked third with 642 million (1.9 percent), followed by Vevo with 430 million (1.3 percent) and Viacom Digital with 347 million (1.0 percent).

  • Do you watch much video online?
  • What do you watch?
  • Do you follow the related links and go from one video to another or just dip in one at a time from your other websurfing?

Who are those 183 million people in America alone??

Check out this one!

26 June 2010

Not About What We DO

"How is it then that we've come to imagine that Christianity consists primarily in what we do for God?"

Brennan Manning

25 June 2010

NZ out, though Unbeaten.

New Zealand All Whites unbeaten, but eliminated from World Cup. Guts. Skill. Solid unit as they go from 78th ranking to a proud finish.

Ryan Nelson, Mark Paston & the team exceeded their expectations finishing above Italy, the former champions.

A rugby mad nation has garnished pride cheering on their soccer team against the big boys.

NZ has become most other fans favourite "second team", bringing something special to the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

Two truths & A Lie

Have you played this game?
You think of three things about yourself to share with a group of friends.

Everyone probably knows each other to varying degrees. Some will know the truth from the lie because of previous stories told. Others will have to guess based on what they know about the person's personality, characteristics or proclivities.

Two of the stories or facts shared must be true. One should be a believable lie.

The group guesses, individually or collectively, which is the lie.

Much laughter often occurs. People go away knowing each other better.

Which is my lie?

1. I won Grand Champion for baking at the Indiana State Fair when I was young.

2. Having owned both PCs & Macs, I prefer Mac computers.

3. I've talked theology & spirituality with singer Paul Simon backstage before a concert.

Which is the lie?

What are your two truths & a lie?

All Whites Shoulda Been Half-Packed by now.

"There is nothing to fear," says coach Ricki Herbert of their match against Paraguay tomorrow.


MAKE MOST OF IT: Ricki Herbert and his All Whites are ready.

The All Whites were supposedly meant to have had their bags half-packed by now but instead, for the third time in 10 days, they are preparing for the game of their lives at this World Cup.

The 1-1 draw against Slovakia was the sporting highlight of the year for many New Zealanders but that match's status was quickly overtaken by the stunning 1-1 draw with Italy.

Now the do-or-die clash against Paraguay at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane tomorrow morning (2am NZ time) looms as not only the sporting event of the year, but the biggest match to date in New Zealand football history.

Potentially, it could also be one of New Zealand sport's finest hours.

24 June 2010

NZ All Whites-vs-Paraguay in World Cup

ARM'N ARM: The All Whites line up before their 1-1 draw with Italy on

Generational Processes

When I was a kid . . . .
Ever hear your parents or grandparents begin a story like that? Were they making a comparison so you'd see things their way? Were they trying to say the old ways were good enough?

You know, I had great relationships with my grandparents and I loved to hear their stories, but one of the most fascinating times of conversation with one of my grandfathers was when he was taking stock of the pace of change over the years of his life. One invention or development made many more things possible which accelerated the rate of change in other areas.

I know that we can become self-centered and ethnocentric. What about when we think our generation has it right and the others need to conform? That goes for older or younger people! What would we label that, other than short-sighted?

Read on as Sean Marston writes about his perspective of young people joining in on something, in this case, Christian faith.
Let me tell you about an idea I am trying to explore: For older Christians the way into the Christian faith was: First you behave, then you believe and then you belong. Young Christians today see it the other way around. First you seek to belong, then you come to believe and then finally you behave. These opposing views of coming into the Christian faith is causing friction between generations. It also means that often we are trying to bring young people into the Christian faith in ways that they cannot relate to. What do you think – let me know at: sean@youthmesh.org

Vuvuzela Assault

What would you do if you were at a game for which you'd paid large sums for a good seat, and someone started buzzing in to a vuvuzela?

I reckon I'd borrow it, break it and then give the person the

amount of money they paid for the thing. How about you?

One more reason to ban the buzz. From The Daily Mail

It’s hardly surprising that the wearisome horns that have marked the 2010 World Cup from its onset have caused injury to fans’ hearing and patience. But now a vuvuzela has actually injured one of the, uh, “musicians” after a 29-year-old South African woman ruptured her throat blowing a vuvuzela.

Yvonne Mayer, an insurance salesperson from Cape Town tried her hand at playing the horn for the first time, blowing as hard as could. She soon noticed a pain in her throat but didn’t think much of it. Yet when her throat continued to hurt the next day she visited a doctor who told her the unexpected news—by blowing too hard she’d actually torn her throat.

Mayer reported that the doctor laughed as he diagnosed her,

saying it was the first vuvuzela injury he’d ever seen. And while Mayer’s throat only took about two days to heal, she claims she’s off of the African horn and won’t likely play one again.

That’s one less horn to worry about. Hey, at least it’s a start. (via the Daily Mail) Read more.

iPhone 4 Review Roundup: (via@fastcompany )

iPhone 4 iPhone 4 Review Roundup: Still the Smartphone Leader http://bit.ly/bRbn3W
(via @fastcompany )

23 June 2010

Sleeping Without Money? Adventure? Pt 2

Having discussed transportation options yesterday . . . .

Once you get wherever you're going, traditionally another major cost arises: accommodation. Not any more. If you love being outdoors whatever the season (I've often woken up on urban football pitches at 6am only to find my water bottle frozen), there is always a bivi bag or the tried and trusted tent.

If that all seems a bit too risky for you, a new department of the gift economy has come to the rescue. CouchSurfing and The Hospitality Club have millions of members all over the world, all waiting to let you stay on their couch for free. Not only do you save yourself the cost of a hotel, you also get the opportunity to make a new friend, learn more about the real local culture, and get to use their kitchen facilities instead of paying for expensive meals in homogenised restaurants.

These projects are based on the same pay-it-forward economics that I founded Freeconomy on: they depend on you letting a traveller stay on your couch when your turn to be provider comes around. The person you help may never help you in return, but whenever you need it, you'll find someone you've never helped before on hand. It's an organic flow of giving and receiving that entire eco-systems are based on.

None of this is complicated. Like with many of the world's problems, the answers are already available; they just need to start being applied. All it requires is a rebirth of trust in people and a willingness to open the doors of fear to humanity again. You may even enjoy it.

Mark Boyle is the founder of the Freeconomy Community and has lived without money for the past 18 months. His book, The Moneyless Man, is out now, published by Oneworld - sales from the book will go to a charitable trust for the Freeconomy Community. Read his article in full in The Guardian.

ios4: iPhone's New Operating System Features & Upgrade Tips

What's the big deal with the new operating system Apple has developed for the iPhone?

How long is it taking to download & upgrade?

ZDNET: To upgrade your iPhone or iPod Touch to Apple's iOS 4 firmware,
make sure you're running the latest version of iTunes on your computer.

Guide to Back-up your iPhone data! iPod Observer

Claudine Beaumont, Technology Editor for The Telegraph
highlights severalios4 features. Read more on The Telegraph's site.

:: Folders – Sick of having your applications spread across multiple pages on your iPhone? Never fear, because iOS4 allows you to create folders for your apps. Each folder can store up to 12 apps, allowing you to collate your travel apps, productivity apps, games and social networking tools into single folders. The iPhone will automatically give each folder a name, based on the kind of apps it contains, but you can also give the folder your own label if you want. You can create folders through the iPhone emulator in iTunes, or on the device itself, by pressing and holding an app icon until it wobbles, and then dragging and dropping it over the icon of another app you'd like to place in the same folder.

:: Multitasking – iOS4 brings multitasking to
iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS and the third-generation iPod touch. It means that you can have multiple apps running simultaneously, such as listening to Spotify while writing an email. At the moment, very few app developers have upgraded their apps to support multitasking, but expect to install a rash of app updates in the coming weeks as software writers rush to support the new capabilities. Apple's official apps, such as Safari and Mail, are already multitasking compatible, so you can get the merest hint of what that new function will eventually offer by playing around with those programs. Double-tap the Home button to bring up a Dock containing recently opened apps – swipe to the right to scroll through the carousel, choose the app you want to switch to, and it will flip in to view.

22 June 2010

Travel Without Money? Adventure? Pt 1

Travel without money poses challenges that make holidays more fun, or so says Mark Boyle. Whatda ya reckon? Could you attempt one of these ways of lessening costs and maximising resources?

A sense of adventure will pay your way to
places while meeting inspiring people

How to live a cashless life without starving
My year of living without money

Limit your ecological footprint, without padding the pockets of the airlines.

Mark writes, "To say that travel is the luxury – and not necessity – of the fossil fuel generation is an over-simplification. Globalisation has rapidly scattered close family and friends across the world, and the increasingly stressful jobs we seem to create for ourselves often mean we "need" to get away from it all, regularly. These holidays are often paid for on credit, resulting in even more stress once the fun is over, perpetuating the need for more temporary freedom and debt in the future.

Although this is all very understandable, our collective contribution to climate change through the way we travel is astronomical. Travel does not have to cost the Earth – or even money. There are two main expenses: getting somewhere, and staying there. To save yourself both of these, the only prerequisite is a sense of adventure.

If you are happy to holiday in the fantastic countryside between big cities, walking and cycling are fantastic options. They'll keep you fit and, ironically, ensure you return home more energised than when you left. And if you keep up the habit, they'll also save on a gym fee into the bargain. I have friends who drive to the gym and get on a bicycle machine for 45 mintues before driving home! I often joke that they should save themselves the gym fee, the cost of the fuel, car tax and insurance, MoTs and just cycle to the gym and back without going in.

To make walking not just cheap, but not completely free, you're going to have to make your own footwear. My favourite are flip-flops made from old car tyres, used bicycle tubes and organically grown hemp. To make cycling free, pick up used parts (that are destined for landfill but are still usuable) from your nearest bike store, and get someone from your local Freeconomy Community to show you how to fix it for free. I use a dynamo to save the cost of batteries to both my pocket and the planet, and puncture-proof tyres to make sure I'll never need disposable repair kits again. Getting yourself some panniers will save you a sweaty back and make it much more enjoyable.

You rarely see people hitch-hiking these days, but it's such a fantastic way to journey: you get to meet the most interesting characters, you reduce your carbon footprint, get lots of fascinating local knowledge the guidebooks will never divulge, and you don't have to spend a single penny on transport. Almost all of my favourite times adventuring have involved hitch-hiking, and I'd often end up having the most incredible experiences in places I'd never even intended on going. If this sounds a bit too risky (in terms of time and personal safety), then go online for some formalised hitching, by using schemes such as LiftShare and CarShare. I cycle lots and my observations while on the road reveal that around seven out of every 10 cars that pass me have only one person inside. This isn't just ecological lunacy, it's idiotic organisation.

Check back tomorrow for accommodation options or go to Mark's article at The Guardian.

21 June 2010

Italy-vs-NZ: 1-1 @World Cup

NZ -vs- Italy. Apples & oranges. $383m -vs- $19.5m

1-1 doesn't reflect the imbalance of programs, budgets, fan base, etc. The NZ coach is not even under contract! No future matches are scheduled for after the World Cup. Good thing the All Whites believe in themselves! BBC

Comparison of Market Values: Italy - vs- New Zealand All Whites (as listed on www.transfermarket.co.uk).

Goalkeeper: Federico Marchetti (Calgliari) $21m
Defenders: Gianluca Zambrotta (AC Milan): $7.6m
Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus) $52m
Fabio Cannavaro (Juventus) $9.4m
Domenico Criscito (Genoa) $21m
Midfielders: Simone Pepe (Udinese) $16.8m
Daniele De Rossi (AS Roma) $65m
Claudio Marchisio (Juventus) $29.5m
Riccardo Montolivo (Fiorentina) $34.1m
Strikers: Vincenzo Iaquinta (Juventus) $28.4m
Antonio Di Natale (Udinese) $28.4m
Total value: $313.2m
(starting XI only, not including injured superstars Gianluigi Buffon and Andrea Pirlo, both valued at around $40m.

Goalkeeper: Mark Paston (Wellington Phoenix) $852,000
Defenders: Winston Reid (FC Midtjylland) $2.3m
Ryan Nelsen (Blackburn Rovers) $6.5m
Tommy Smith (Ipswich Town) $568,000
Midfielders: Leo Bertos (Wellington Phoenix) $852,000
Simon Elliott (unattached) $473,000
Ivan Vicelich (Auckland City) $947,000
Tony Lochhead (Wellington Phoenix $852,000
Strikers: Chris Killen (Middlesbrough) $1.9m
Rory Fallon (Plymouth Argle) $2.8m
Shane Smeltz (Gold Coast United) $1.5m
Total value: $19.5m

Free monthly audio book

Free monthly audio book here https://christianaudio.com/free.
Bookmark this for another book each month!

Asteroids, Jewel Quest, & Bookworm.

What games do you play?

I don't mean emotional, political or social games. I mean online, when you need a break from work or other stuff.

What games do you play? Or are you one who still knows how to shuffle a deck of cards? You know, the ones with four symbols in black or white and come 52 to a pack?

Or maybe you remember Asteroids?
I used to play it as I waited for my sandwich to be prepared when I lived in Indianapolis and worked at a Sherwin Williams Paint store one summer. I went to the same deli so often, the guy would give me quarter (25 cent piece) when I ordered my lunch so I could play Asteroids while I waited. He said he got it back anyway when he cleared the money from the machine. Reckon he liked me?

I see lots of friends playing farm and cafe games. I played an innocent version of Sim City years ago, only to later discover that sin corrupted those societies and world orders too!

I play Jewel Quest and Bookworm online, but only when I can't go out Geocaching. I would like to be included in the U.S. Scrabble game because there are more contenders, but they won't let me in cause I live overseas. Phooey.
Maybe they're just scared?

20 June 2010

Like Ducks To Rain

Ducks like rain. Research 'proves' it. St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Maybe you've said it yourself, looking out a window as rain pours down: "Great day for ducks." Now, scientists in Great Britain have spent 300,000 British pounds (about $471,000) proving that[,] yes, ducks actually enjoy a nice shower.

Britain's Department of Environment, Food[,] and Rural Affairs [DEFRA] funded the three-year study, conducted by two researchers at the prestigious University of Oxford. The intent was to find out the best way to provide farm-raised ducks the water they crave.

The test ducks were placed in an environment where they could choose among a pond, a trough[,] and a shower. Most ducks took to the shower like, well, a duck to water. They spent a lot of time just standing under it and drinking the water as it fell.

Beauty reminds us of the beast that displaces over 43 million people.

UNHCR statistics show that there are now 43.3m people forcibly displaced around the world - including: 27.1m internally displaced people (IDP) and 15.6m refugees.

Nigerian Baked Beans

from Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian
(modified by L.L.Barkat :)

Stir briefly over low heat..

• 1 onion, chopped and already sauteed until light brown
• 4 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 TB curry powder

Add onion and garlic mixture to...

• 1 1/2 cups dried Great Northern Beans, already soaked and cooked until tender (retain cooking water)
• 2 tomatoes, chopped
• 1 1/2 TB peanut butter
• salt and pepper to taste

Bake all together about an hour or until tender and sauce is thickened.

Serve with salad and brown bread with herbed butter (herbed butter is a stick of softened butter you whip up and add chopped fresh garden herbs to, along with minced garlic, onion and a bit of lemon juice; Try fresh lemon thyme, sage, rosemary, chives, and oregano).

For Stew the Following Evening...

• cut 4-5 potatoes into 1/2 to 3/4 inch chunks, add to beans with enough water to cover, and cook 15 minutes or until tender
• garnish with one onion sliced very thin, browned until crisp
• add a generous scoop of herbed butter and stir until melted

Posted by L.L. Barkat.

Preconceived Notions Causes Loss of Perception?

"Because we approach the gospel with preconceived notions of what it should say rather than what it does say, the Word no longer falls like rain on the parched ground of our souls. It no longer sweeps like a wild storm into the corners of our comfortable piety. It no longer vibrates like sharp lightning in the dark recesses of our nonhistoric orthodoxy. The gospel becomes, in the words of Gertrude Stein, ‘…a pattering of pious platitudes spoken by a Jewish carpenter in the distant past.’

19 June 2010

Indignant? Ok, but why?

We're quick to judge behaviour.

What about concern for the heart condition,
being indignant at the distortion of God's image
and how that distorts identity & relationships?

Behaviour's the least of our worries!

Where are they chased from? Where do they wait?

UNHCR refugee statistics 2010

18 June 2010

Culture or cacophony: Vuvuing the Vuvuzela

Wikipedia has added a new entry for the vuvuzela (English pronunciation: /vuːvuːˈzeɪlə/). Sometimes called a "lepatata" (its Tswana name), it is approximately 1 m (3 ft 3 in) in length, though Hyundai's version is a bit larger than that.

It is commonly blown by fans at football matches in South Africa. The instrument is played using a simple brass instrument technique of blowing through compressed lips to create a buzz, and emits (from the standard shorter horn of about 60–65 cm) a loud monotone (B3). A similar instrument (known as corneta in Brazil and other Latin American countries) is used by football fans in South America.

Vuvuzelas have been associated with permanent noise-induced hearing loss, cited as a possible safety risk when spectators cannot hear evacuation announcements, potentially spread colds and flu viruses on a greater scale than coughing or shouting. Vuvuzelas have also been blamed for drowning the sound and atmosphere of football games. Commentators have described the sound as "annoying" and "satanic" and compared it with "a stampede of noisy elephants", "a deafening swarm of locusts", "a goat on the way to slaughter", and "a giant hive full of very angry bees".

The sound level of the instrument has been measured at 127 decibels contributing to football matches with dangerously high sound pressure levels for unprotected ears.

This type of plastic horn or trumpet has been used in Mexican stadiums since the 1970s. Originally made out of tin, the vuvuzela became popular in South Africa in the 1990s.

President of FIFA Sepp Blatter opposed banning the vuvuzela, saying "We should not try to Europeanise an African World Cup."

Cacophony? The international scope of the complaints and comments is worthy to note. Click on links for further reading.

"World Cup horn risks permanent damage to hearing: study". Associated Press. June 8, 2010.

"Are vuvuzelas a safety risk?". IOL. May 27, 2010. http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=6&click_id=4&art_id=nw20100527160821173C206441.

"Vuvuzela drone killing World Cup atmosphere - World Cup News - FOX Sports on MSN". Msn.foxsports.com.

Rogers, Martin. "Buzzkill: Vuvuzelas ruining World Cup experience - International Football - Yahoo! Sports". G.sports.yahoo.com.

"The World Cup noise that annoys". Sydney Morning Herald. June 4, 2010.

Clarke, Liz (June 6, 2010). "World Cup ready to open in South Africa and vuvuzelas will make plenty of noise". The Washington Post. "several coaches and players called for its banning, saying the din made it impossible to communicate on the pitch. Others claimed the vuvuzela posed a health hazard, stood to overwhelm TV broadcasts and was annoying, to boot. Why play the beautiful game, detractors asked, amid such horrible noise?"

Makhanya, Mondli (May 30, 2010). "Nothing kills the joy of soccer like a bunch of wailing vuvuzelas". The Times. http://www.timeslive.co.za

Brunt, Stephen (June 11, 2010). "The happy chaos of Soccer City". The Globe and Mail.

Hall, Swanepoel (April 2010). "Football match spectator sound exposure and effect on hearing: A pretest-post-test study". SAMJ: South African Medical Journal.

Fisher, Jonah (16 January 2010). "Unholy row over World Cup trumpet". BBC Sport.

"The Hindu : Sport / Football : It is impossible to communicate, it’s like being deaf: Messi".

"Ronaldo hits out at vuvuzelas | Radio Netherlands Worldwide".

Valenti, Elio (June 13, 2010). "Buzz off, vuvuzelas!". New York Post.

"FIFA World Cup 2010: Opening Ceremony Kicks Off Tournament in South Africa - ABC News". Abcnews.go.com. 2010-06-11.

Chorus of Refuge; Audio Experience of Refugee Storytelling

With the proliferation of social networking, broadband & wifi internet, innumerable TV channels and cell phones in nearly every pocket, the radio might be slipping on to the sidelines, except in the refugee camps. Follow the link to hear it for yourself. More and more fascinating as it progresses.

"Chorus of Refuge
is a sound installation for six radios in which the stories of six refugee populations (Somali Bantu, Burundi, Afghani, Sudanese, Iraqi and Burmese) from six different cites across the United States (Portland, Phoenix, Amarillo, Omaha, Detroit and Indianapolis) are transmitted simultaneously to six radios in one space. The voices are harmonized and synced up rhythmically to unite their narratives. The chorus is divided into three movements that correspond to each refugee’s unique story: Home, Journey and United States. Chorus of Refuge creates an atmosphere for listening while visualizing the transmission itself. Six boom box radios sit on top music stands. Radio transmitters suspend from the ceiling, directly over each radio, appearing almost to be floating. Each voice is assigned to a different radio frequency. The location of the individual voices on the radio dial changes with each installation of the piece. This flux is indicative of the constant movement many refugees experience during times of conflict. Chorus of Refuge engages radios as a medium because this is the way most refugees receive news while in camps."

Remember World Refugee Day is 20 June 2010.

Do something.

Train and volunteer to accompany a refugee family through the resettlement process.
In New Zealand, Refugee Services. In Australia, Refugee Council.
Donate to or volunteer with a local group Fort Wayne, IN, Louisville, KY, Columbus, OH or your city.
Or if you're near Cleveland, Ohio, go to Voices Worth Hearing; Art Worth Sharing
If in Wellington, visit Te Papa's The Mixing Room and spend a few hours in just that interactive exhibit.
Against All Odds
Play Darfur is Dying

17 June 2010

Extremists, Fundamentalists & Pornography?

Think of words, morality, and whether vuvuzelas should be allowed in sporting venues.
Who defines things? Who decides what's acceptable, where the boundaries are?

Someone used the word extremist the other day.

I went off on my own little mental tangent, thinking of all the extremists I know: Angela, Bev, Betty, Bob, Cheryl, Cindy, Ngahuia, Rene, Phyllis, Sharman, Tiffany, many of those in my Facebook Friends list . . .

The same vague logic holds true for fundamentalists.

Am I a fundamentalist? Most sports coaches I know are. They want their developing players to get the fundamentals down or they can’t move on to the more complex layers of the game. Musicians too must master the fundamentals. So must young students. How many textbook titles begin with “The Fundamentals of . . . .”? Amazon gave me 44,192 Results.

Think of feminists.

A real feminist would not consider me kin on any scale. I do still have my maiden name, but that’s another story. I don’t march, discard undergarments, write letters or read feminist literature. I just soak up the benefits of all they’ve accomplished for women over the past decades. I would only be considered a feminist by some male church leaders who think women should stay in the kitchen and nursery.


Hmmm. That word seems to be used as a bad thing so as to retrain people to think moderation is ideal, that we can’t be passionate about anything. I’m an extremist in that I’m not a Sunday Christian. I live my life as an expression of my love for Jesus, and for those He loved [that would be you]. My identity in Christ is central to who I am. The work He has done in me has given you a Jill worth knowing. And yep, I have earned my crust from serving God for over 25 years. With every new educational accomplishment, my brother asked me, “So now can you get a real job?”

And finally, morality.

Who defines that? The voting public? Who decides what degree of misappropriation is ok and does that depend on how it was spent? In countries like New Zealand, where I can rent an adult video in my local village video shop, where same-sex civil union and prostitution is legal, voted in to law by parliament and generally accepted by the public, how does pornography fall beyond the pale?

Let me explain. In a recent accounting of Parliamentary credit cards, some government ministers were shown to have added things on to their hotel accounts and credit cards that weren’t strictly related to their jobs. Shane Jones misspent government funds, then paid them back. He’s in the stew right now with his family and his community because he disappointed them. He cares and I think he will implement some changes. Chris Carter is arrogant, seemingly above the law and thinks everyone is picking on him. It appears he only paid the money back AFTER the reports came out and his back was against the wall. The reporters respect Shane, while Chris is chased through the halls of government buildings.

Do we empower people to lead our democratic governments based on their morals, and is there such a written code to which they must all sign off so we are on common ground when judging behaviour?

I think not.

Misappropriating company funds is a major crime in many societies! Spending money that is not yours is dishonest. There are laws against that and it is commonly understood amongst humans that we aren’t supposed to do that. What you spend it on, if other than its designated purpose, doesn’t make it more right or more wrong; whether flowers or film, golf clubs or cigars.

Repay it.

Apologise, if you’re sorry.

Be smart about how you use your company credit card.

If we assumed everyone was moral, we wouldn’t need rules, laws, codes or audits. We know we’re not, so we live under a Good/Evil model and try to measure up. Shane and Chris don’t. Neither do we.

Still haven’t defined moral, have I?

Ortberg's 'the me I want to be'

Look for and listen to the me I want to be on Northpoint.org messages.

John Ortberg communicates in a clear, comic, comforting way to challenge and affirm. If you like what he has to say, you might wanna check out his book. Or keep finding him online!

16 June 2010

Against All Odds: Refugee Gaming Experience

Point kids, and adults, to this game. It's not exactly fun, but it is a challenge.

Against All Odds.
The Game which lets you experience what it's like to be a refugee.

Spelling Trivia

Did you know that "lightning" has no "e?"
Imagine it was zapped out by a bolt of lightning.

Just thought those in stormy Florida and Indiana might like the reminder.

Passion, Substance or Decoration

Canterbury A&P's Wood Chopping Competition is full of passion.
"When the whistle blows and the call is made to
‘step to your logs’ they lay the edge of the axe to the wood so tenderly."
At Hamilton's Field Days it's more about fencing and sculpting with a chain saw.
Peter Verstappen writes for the Ashburton Guardian. I stumbled across this post and thought you might be interested. Especially read the end; well worded.
Referring to Gordon McLauchlan's A Passionless People which was written 30 years ago, Verstappen writes:
In his mind the passion we lack as a people is not the passion of individual pursuits but of engaging with others at a level that transforms relationships and, eventually, society. According to McLauchlan we need to become ‘people-orientated’ and ‘express our emotions.’
McLauchlan is not the first or most recent person to chide kiwis for lacking strong emotions. But while we are not usually comfortable with those among us who lay their feelings bare, as Tame Iti would vouch, I find it hard to accept that we do not possess strong emotions nor find ways to express these to the common good.

Here’s a case in point. I visited the Christchurch A&P Show on Thursday and found myself, as usual, absorbed by the wood-chopping. As a spectator sport wood-chopping has remained unchanged since my youth, except that the singlets are now blue where once they were black. It is everything McLauchlan complained about: pragmatic, physical and monosyllabic – an emotion-free zone. The focus is firmly on log and axe, human interaction is minimal, victory is largely unremarked.

But for me wood-chopping oozes passion; you just have to look carefully for the signs. There is passion in the total focus on the task and the close camaraderie of a common purpose. Above all, there is passion in the relationship between man, axe and log. These large, rough men handle their axes with gentleness and reverence. They treat the logs with the respect accorded to a worthy adversary. When the whistle blows and the call is made to ‘step to your logs’ they lay the edge of the axe to the wood so tenderly. Then the count, heft and swing; the arc of the blade through the air and the first bite into the grain.

In a different culture these axemen would be bullfighters. They would wear tight, sequinned bolero jackets and small pointy shoes. They would pirouette and twirl their red capes, every movement perfectly balanced and crackling with emotion.

Gordon McLauchlan yearned for immigrants from rich and self-confident cultures whose influence would presumably arouse some passion in us and make us better than we are. Thirty years later his solution seems naïve. We look out at a world where even the oldest and most self-assured cultures are just as capable as ourselves at messing things up. Often those societies that seem most passionate are also the most destructive.

As a society we may continually struggle to express ourselves. We may seem dull compared to more flamboyant communities. But to say we are passionless is to confuse decoration with substance. ~ Peter Verstappen

15 June 2010

Starbucks:Free Wi-Fi

Starbucks announced that they would be activating free Wi-Fi access across all U.S. locations starting on July 1st. The move is seen as a response to increased competition from other chains which already offer free Wi-Fi to their customers.

iPhone customers have already enjoyed free Wi-Fi at Starbucks stores in conjunction with AT&T. While the move negates this advantage for iPhone customers, it opens up more free Wi-Fi hotspots to iPod Touch and iPad owners who were previously excluded from the service.

Me Worship

How much does this smack of truth? How much does this offend you?
Reckon Jesus makes the connection between this and what we sometimes offer Him?

How much have we invited consumerism into our relationship with God?
Come on. What do you think? Am I out of line?

Time: Manage, Invest, Evaluate

When I lived in Zimbabwe, one of our more cynical doctors with a very dry sense of humour, reckoned that if one of the female hospital nurses had a few babies within a five year period, plus holidays and regular days off, they'd be off duty with full pay more time than they'd be working. He had been trying to juggle the staff and shifts, making sure wards were adequately covered. Though he had a long list of qualified nurses, he had few who were available to fill the rosters! It was partly a reflection of a not-for-profit hospital run under government regulations, and partly a reflection of the fact that we had little to do in our remote location [no internet or tv], that he even bothered to do the math.

But it is interesting to step back and evaluate time and activities.

You do the math for your television watching, your
sleeping, your reading, your walking or whatever is a habit in your daily routine. How many hours per year divided in to how many days per year, do you spend doing various things?

Why do we bother with such calculations? I don't know. I'm writing this on a weekend when I have time to think and muse about such things.

It might be useful for us though if we think about how we spend our lives -vs- how we use or invest our lives.

I'm not saying productivity is necessarily better than sleeping, walking or watching tv. I'm not making value judgments for anyone else. I am saying that intelligent adults should choose to live their lives intentionally, which means knowing the balance of the accounts in their economy, whether that economy is based on food, finances, friends, family or fun.

Speaking of food, I'm off to the supermarket to get some bread, milk
and other necessities. I wonder how much time I spend on such errands each year . . . . .

I borrowed the following from 4HB, a home business online destination with resources and articles.
So you want a day off. Let's take a look at what you are asking for.

There are 365 days per year available for work.

There are 52 weeks per year in which you already have 2 days off per week, leaving 261 days available for work.

Since you spend 16 hours each day away from work, you have used up 170 days, leaving only 91 days available.

You spend 30 minutes each day on coffee break which counts for 23 days each year, leaving only 68 days available.

With a 1 hour lunch each day, you used up another 46 days, leaving only 22 days available for work.

You normally spend 2 days per year on sick leave.

This leaves you only 20 days per year available for work.

We are off 5 holidays per year, so your available working time is down to 15 days.

We generously give 14 days vacation per year which leaves only 1 day available for work.

There's no way I'll let you take that day off!

14 June 2010

World Refugee Day is 20 June 2010: Do Something.

Remember World Refugee Day is 20 June 2010.

Do something.

Mute Button for Annoying Football Fans' Horns

I remember TV before remotes. Granny's new TV had a row of push buttons that was such an improvement over the dial we formerly turned.

Yesterday I celebrated the mute button on the remote control so as to cope with the horns in the hands of the soccer/football fans. Well, here's what I turned up.

The first remote

In the late 1940's, Eugene McDonald jr., founder and president of Zenith Radio corporation, thought that television ( brand new technology in those days) would be much improved if viewers did not have to watch so many commercials. Apparently commercials were the bane of television viewing from the very beginning.

Mr. McDonald charged his team of engineers with developing a way to mute annoying ads. In a show of lateral thinking, they did him proud. In 1950 the Lazy Bones remote control was introduced to the public. Rather than simply muting the commercials, the new device could actually change the channel from the comfort of your sofa.

The Lazy Bones consisted of a handheld control attached to a cable. The cable was, in turn, connected to an electric motor on the tv. The motor could turn the tuner clockwise or counterclockwise, depending on which button you pushed. There was also a power button for turning the set on and off.

The revolutionary device was wildly popular at first. But consumers soon started to complain about the trip hazard posed by the cable. Mr. McDonald wasn't completely satisfied, either. Lazy Bones was indeed innovative, but it still did not mute commercials. Sure you could change the channel, but you would find the commercials on the next channel as well. Back to the drawing board. Read more as to the term clicker and the wireless developments of the remote control.

We take so much for granted. My grandfather was in on the development of all kinds of things for General Motors and has his name on several patents. The man who invented cruise control is from my mum's hometown.

Then there's the stories behind velcro, post-it notes and super glue. What do you have about the house that is taken for granted? Know who invented it or the journey from the idea to what you now hold? Possibly not. The bigger question is usually, "What's next?"