2006 – Our Year of Living Ironically

There used to be a time when irony was the provenance of literature, of tragedy and comedy. Way back in the dark ages of the 1970’s, 1980’s and 1990’s, comedians like George Carlin, Dennis Miller, Bill Maher, and Jon Stewart built careers upon spinning the stories of irony that showed us the world as it was, rather than as it was meant to be presented to us.

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Death by irony …

As I sit on Saturday morning, watching the pictures from Iraq of masked men putting a noose over an old man’s head, looking at men afraid and unable to show their faces as they prepare to execute a man whose face is fully visible, I am reminded of the videos released by the insurgents during the early part of the war showing the execution (by beheading in that case rather than hanging) of their captives. Visually, with no sound for context, there is practically no difference between the visual symbols of each video … they both show masked extremists leading captives to their deaths, and yet we view each in such starkly different terms.

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The Voyage Home … and a musical tribute to peace

Well, my trip to the coast is officially over, and overall, the driving was pretty good considering its late December in Canada.  I have some more pictures to upload, taken today as I drove through the Crowsnest Pass, and I plan to make a post about the route I took, and my review of the trial of my new GPS mapping toy.  But one of the things I most love about long car trips is the chance to rediscover my music collection.

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Micro-credit vs profit

Mad Hatters – Impartial and (mostly) Unbiased opinions on Medicine Hat » Grameening of Christmas – A Challenge to Medicine Hat

Ever since Muhammad Yunus won the Nobel Peace Prize earlier this year for his revolutionary work with the Grameen Bank, I’ve wanted to write a blog entry about it. More specifically, I recently saw an article on the payday loan industry from one of my Yahoo groups (New Continuum … it is invariably the highest level of discourse I’ve found on Yahoo groups), and it occurred to me that the people who are addressed by the payday loan industry in the US and Canada are exactly the same people who would are addressed by the Grameen Bank in other countries.

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The curse of poverty

Hundreds killed in Nigerian pipeline explosion – World – theage.com.au

Having spent 5 years living and working in Lagos, this is an unfortunately common story. The people of Lagos, in general, are wealthy in comparison to the rest of the country, but in Nigeria, that really means that Lagotians simply have a slightly better hand-to-mouth existence than the country folk. In terms that people from western Europe or North America can understand, the vast majority of Nigerians (somewhere over 99% I’d argue) live in varying degrees of abject poverty, barely able to make it from day-to-day, with no long term security in any way.

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Peace on Earth …

On this Christmas Day I hope that the memory of this event serves to show us that people want peace, and left to their own devices peace is what they do. Most humans by nature would rather make love than war. It is our leaders, and their lies, madness, stupidity, and greed, that lead us into war. As the world slips further into insanity and yet another terrible world war looms on the horizon, I can only hope that enough people everywhere , of all faiths, choose peace rather than war. We are all brothers and sisters in God’s eyes, Dear God give us the strength to act like it.

From Doug’s Darkworld

I was planning to write a piece today about the meaning of peace, and how the phrases we all spout around this time of year like “Peace on Earth” and “Goodwill toward men” are more than just empty platitudes. I wanted to spend some time talking about how peace and better understanding amongst people are no more difficult than making the effort, and how it is through acts of uncommon bravery and compassion by common, everyday people that we truly make a difference.

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Naked – a poem

2006-Dec-BCTrip-Day03-Kamloops 031


Naked

by Lyle Bateman

Why must I stand naked
Against the winter wind’s bite?
My brother keeps his fine fir coat
And even the weepers and wailers
Drip protection all around.
Why must I stand naked?