Some thoughts on the tsunami

There’s an interesting commentary from the CBC’s Rex Murphy calling on the people of the “First World” to help those stricken by the disaster (who are typically from the “Third World”).

Some interesting thoughts and I think helps illustrate some of the differences between action and deed. I was especially struck by his last words — “And if an earthquake and a tsunami can’t wake us out of the slumbers of complacency and prosperity, well then there’s nothing that can.”

Staggering loss

The news about the aftermath of last week’s earthquake and subsequent tidal waves just continues to get worse. BBC News is reporting that more than 68,000 are confirmed dead and the Red Cross is saying that the toll could be more than 100,000 soon.

Seeing the video of the waves crashing into the resorts is sad — no one on holiday would’ve anticipated such a life-altering disaster. Hopefully, relief organizations can help alleviate the situation soon.

If you’d like to help the recovery effort, this BBC News story links to 10 care organizations.

Busy busy busy

SAN DIEGO — It’s the Monday after Christmas and most of the stores are packed with shoppers and those seeking to make returns. My family went to Fashion Valley Mall and I naturally went to the Apple Store.

I was very surprised about how many people were at the Apple Store. The line for returns seemed pretty long (for mostly iPod accessories, it seems), But there were big crowds looking at all the shiny new Apples. It’s a wonderful sight.

Seasons Greetings

I hope I’m getting in the holiday mood — I’ve been listening to the soundtrack from A Charlie Brown Christmas for pretty much a whole month now. There’s snow on the ground and I’m desperately trying to think of last-minute gifts for the family.

Since it’s probably my last season in the Copper Country, I’m working on something with a local appeal. I think I’ve got an idea, but it’s going to require a bit of a drive. We’ll see if it pans out.

Until later, have a happy holiday!

Serial Diners Rules

There was an interesting story on CBC News: Morning about a Toronto-based group called the Serial Diners. Their goal for the past 15 years has been to eat their way through all the restaurants in the phone book — from A to Z (or Zed, for the Canadians out there).

It’s a very interesting idea — I just wish I thought of it. If variety is the spice of life, they’re certainly zesty. At the same time, they apparently have never utilized back-up fast-food restaurant Harvey’s in case their restaurant doesn’t pan out (they’ve just gone to other restaurants).

I’d write more, but my computer crashed twice already trying to play a RealMedia link through an extremely outdated version of Mozilla.

Yea snow

I know I’m a few days late, but this whole area got socked with a huge winter storm over the weekend. There were over 18 inches of snow.

Of course, tis the season to feel full of the winter spirit. And I definitely felt that walking to the bar Sunday night for a little bit of exercise. I thought about how neat it was that the roads hadn’t been plowed yet and how my car was buried in. The drifting snow being blown about by a gusting wind as Christmas lights blinked on and off as they were draped atop neighbors’ houses.

Then I started walking through the drifts of snow that sunk when I tread on them. The wind started to push past my toque as I passed by the site of the condemned house that was torn down a few months ago. On Main Street, the sidewalks paid the penalty of a clear road as the plows pushed the snow piles on the sidewalk ever higher. Truly, I felt I had “earned” the drink when I arrived at the bar.

Walking back was a much nicer experience, the mini-tractor had cleared the Quincy Street sidewalk.

Now, it’s great because the area is now covered with beautiful white snow. Aside from the stuff alongside the road, things generally stay pretty white and beautiful until spring rolls around.

Too much tube

Awhile back, I got into a little debate with my friend Steve about television. I argued that it’s all right to have some TV as long as it doesn’t overrun your life and that includes spending a little extra to get basic cable in the home. Steve took another position essentially that letting the TV into the home _is_ going to overrun your life — especially because the glowing box is practically begging for attention.

Well, we parted ways and I was inclined to think that a little TV is all right. However, I was at the House of Blues in Chicago last Thursday listening to Big Al and the Heavyweights. It’s a great venue with the friezes of blues legends gazing downing from the ceiling and a great Louisiana blues band, but I was constantly being distracted by the bloody TVs in the venue. I can understand why one might position TVs in a bar area (or even a whole sports bar), but it’s sooo distracting to have my attention diverted by needless glowing screens during a concert (publicizing upcoming events at the venue).

Perhaps I’m like a moth being drawn by flame, but some television has got to go.

Paging Hollywood scheduling

Tis the season … for a vampire thriller. I thought it was weird when the Ben Affleck film Surviving Christmas was released Oct. 22 — more than two months before Christmas. It’s equally puzzling how Wesley Snipes’ Blade: Trinity is being released today — more than a month after Halloween and firmly entrenched in the holiday season.

Did they get their release dates switched in the mail or something? This is almost as puzzling as when Affleck’s Reindeer Games decked the theater hall in late February 2000. While not a holiday movie, Reindeer Games had some holiday things — like a store getting robbed by people in Santa suits.

Who knows? Maybe Hollywood knows something that I don’t. I just know that my entertainment dollars will probably go elsewhere this holiday season.

Getting into the holiday spirit

While I’m clearing things from around the house, I decided to decorate my online persona for the holidays. I think it was due in part from my visit by the ghosts of Christmas past, present or future. Or maybe it was the avatar discussion on my favorite discussion board.

This is me before: before

And this is me imbued with the holiday spirit: after

Merry Christmas, everyone!