Sunday, November 18, 2007

wow backwards is wow.

What a beautiful morning it is. I woke up as usual, showered and then sat in my chair. I have this tacky, red velvety chair inherited from my dad. He had it before we became a part of his family and we've kept it through the years. Of course my mom changed most of his house around when it became their house..but this item somehow survived through the years. I can't seem to part with it, I mean it's not even comfortable and it's bulky and tall and has an unsightly dark brown frame, but it's a chair that reminds me of our old house, the house I grew up in and when we used to do things as a family. Once upon a time, when my dad was still full of life... when he was passionate about life, and painted, took photographs, when we'd take trips to the lake...

i love that chair.

I often sit in it to do my quiet time in the morning, or just sit and ponder and it's set up right beside my bedroom window. My bedroom looks out from the second floor of the house, I enjoy the elevated view even if it's of a suburban neighborhood in which every house looks identical. Anyway, this morning I was pleasantly suprised to see the skies were dark and grey, filled with clouds... The drive to work was exhilirating, I blared music with my windows rolled down and found comfort in the cold, wintry air... and I felt God. Today was a day that He had specifically crafted... each intricate detail the work of His hands- the temperature, the scents, the colours, the clouds... my soul.

read the full post here.

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Freakonomics 101

Just picked up and put down the book Freakonomics. I've been wanting to read it for a while, as I consider myself a student of the school of non-linear thinking ;) What I found in the pages were quite interesting. The book claims (of course with economic style evidence) that the single greatest contribution to the drastic decline of crime in the 90's was... Roe v. Wade and the legalization of abortion in the 70's. Can you believe that!? It also tackles the question of "black" names versus "white" names. It proposes that kids/people with uniquely black names, like Jamal or Essence, tend to succeed less than do people with generally white names, such as, Catherine or Benjamin. While that may not surprise many people, the reasoning might. At first glance, one might quickly dismiss such a "gap" to racism or discrimination on the part of businesses or managers in the hiring process. But what Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt go on to show it that, people with uniquely black names, generally come from poor, uneducated single mothers, while those with typically wealthy names, come from wealthy, educated parents.

I would give you some more nuggets, but I feel like this is enough to get your mind rolling or your blood boiling or both...

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Friday, November 9, 2007

Democracy Matters

The book I have been into lately I have a of love-hate relationship with. It’s by a guy named Cornel West and is called Democracy Matters. It has this great picture of West on the front; leaning forward with his hands pointing at you, wearing these great Malcolm X style glasses and a look that says, “I know a lot that you don’t.” West is an Ivy League professor who is an accomplished scholar, philosopher, and intellectual, who writes with an eloquence reminiscent of a 17th century rhetorician.

His thesis: “The aim of this book is to put forward a strong democratic vision and critique, rooted in a deep democratic tradition, forged on the nightside of the precious American democratic experiment – a tradition of Socratic examination, prophetic practice, and dark hope.”

Every sentence is packed with information and ideology, and to get the most out of this book I have found that I have to carefully read each page and really take my time. So the love part is that I love his form of writing, I love the points he makes, almost philosophical in nature, and I love that he hasn’t given up on the century old idea of methodical, eloquent and meaningful writing. To read this book really is like reading something written a hundred years ago, except for all his references to current events. The book was published in 2004, at the height of the Iraq invasion, and is the sequel to his highly acclaimed book, Race Matters. And that is where the hate part comes in…well, maybe not quite hate, its more of a disagreement really. He makes no bones about the fact that he is pretty far to the left, and he spends a bit of his time early on beating the Bush administration, which I have some problem with because in some ways it seems like such a cop-out because its such an easy/trendy thing to do. But he is careful to, eventually, critique the democratic side of the political spectrum, which I appreciate. He goes on to talk about race, equality, hypocrisy, nihilism, politics, greed, corruption, and a variety of other things that taint our democracy. It’s really a great read overall, and, though I obviously don’t agree with his every point, I have loved learning from his ideas, and picking up some new vocabulary.

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