Tag Archives: differences

A Tale of a Tail

 

This is a tale of a tail

Attached to a rat

Who wanted some cheese

That belonged to a cat.

 

Now our cat loved to play

All day with a string

But it had been taken

By a dog who could sing.

 

And the cat knew the dog

Just wanted a bone

That belonged to a man

Who lived on his own.

 

But the man was annoyed

That his home had a mouse

Who scurried around

All over of the house.

 

If the mouse could be caught

Then the bone would be tendered

The string would drawn

And the cheese would be rendered.

 

Horrid the deeds

Would need to be done

Death and defying

Was the character of none.

 

So the tale of this tail

Will end on a high

In the house of the man

They all settled for pie!

Religions

Catholic and Anglican

Episcopal and Jew.

Different religions,

For me and for you.

 

But what is the religion,

In the heavens above?

What is the label,

We practice thereof?

 

The words that we speak,

The songs that we sing.

Are all in the honour,

Of the one who is King.

 

We sing songs of faith.

That is the beginning of hope.

Because only together

Will we finally cope.

 

Understanding will come,

We’ll be suitably awed.

Because life is the religion

Of the one we call God.

Par-ty!!

I’m going to have a party,

All by myself alone.

Would you like to join me?

From within your zone?

 

There’ll be party favours,

And drinks to sink a ship.

Dancing umm, I think that’s fine,

Unless of course I trip!

 

Music sure, there has to be,

Loud and with a beat.

And if I get too hungry,

Perhaps a little treat.

 

I know that it’s unusual,

To do this at a distance.

I wanted something different,

A path of least resistance.

 

Something has to change I think,

The world is so bizarre.

So, grab your hat and party shoes

And be a breakout star!

Ethically Sourced

 

I recently watched a commercial that talked about ethically sourced coffee. I am watching way too much TV if I’m actually paying attention to the commercials! Those who know me realize that I have a slightly different perspective on the rest of the world than most people. You might say I’m driving down the road only slightly off the curb. Of course, I looked up what ‘ethically sourced’ meant.  It simply means:  “ . . sourcing ingredients and materials in a responsible and sustainable manner that considers the people and environment throughout the process.” But what about the bean?

My brain took little detour and I had visions of potential Coffee Gatherers approaching a bush/tree and politely asking permission to gather those live beans, submit them to long and laborious treatments and then crushing them to a powder so that millions of people could partake of their lifeblood with the comment “aaahhh! Damn good cup of coffee Ethel!”

I know, I know, I am being silly. But I think we all need a little silly in our lives. And I don’t drink coffee. I drink tea. I hope it too is ethically sourced or at least asked politely. And then I started to think a little more.

I am ethically sourced. My parents met, dated, married and the rest I will leave to your imagination. They were polite in all the years I knew them so I assume they were in the beginning as well. They’re Canadian of course they were polite! Ha ha ha ha!

And then there’s the question of ethics. How do we determine what is ethical? Moral, virtuous, righteous, noble. These are all attributes that we aspire to but that not everyone can claim to be. There are far too many examples of those who are not being ethical.  And some days it only seems to be getting worse. I was raised by good people. I know the difference between right and wrong. I understand that there are others out there with the same background as mine and others a different one but we all want the same thing. We want to feel joy, safety, love. It should be a standard for everyone but unfortunately it is not.

We do love to use big words, important words, meaningful words. But they are words. As powerful as they may be, they pale before actions. We need to see ethical actions for everyone. Well, yes, the bean too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Overlords

“Jerry you cannot do this!  You shouldn’t even think it!”

One man gripped tightly on to another’s arm trying to keep him away from the building ahead.  He was whispering through clenched teeth. At the same time his head swivelled back and forth desperately hoping no one was aware of them.

But they were observed.

The building in question was not imposing.  It was a century old structure with faded bricks and a sagging porch.  But if you looked very closely you would see incongruities. The lights above the front door were shiny and bright.  They also seemed a bit large for the task.  Were they more than just lights? There was no handle on the beautiful wooden door that guarded the entrance to the building.  And if you managed to get close to the windows you would realize they weren’t real.

What was real was the panic on Edward’s face.

“Please stop Jerry, we can’t do this without you!”

Something got through to Jerry.  He stopped.  For a moment he paused.  He appeared confused, unsure.  Then he quickly turned to his friend and dragged him away from the frightening building.  After some distance and out of sight of everyone, he spoke.

“Edward I am so sorry. I don’t know what came over me.  I don’t know what would have happened if I had made it to the door. Thanks to all that is good, you stopped me.”  Jerry was quiet but his face spoke volumes, he was afraid.

He stood beside his friend but Eddie was also afraid.  They had been seen.

With one understanding look between the two friends, they stood and without a glance towards the source of their fear, they moved further away.

In time they rested but still they didn’t speak.  Occasionally they grew wary as official looking vehicles passed by.  But the streets were quiet, too quiet.  People were staying indoors, away from Their notice.

In time the two men approached a small wooden building.  This one had a handle on the front door and its windows were real.  Several people could be seen through the glass, a few were crying.

With the front door safely closed and the blinds drawn, there was a collective sigh.  They were safe. Were they?

Jerry sat down and placed his head in his hands.  His shoulders shook as he silently wept.  The others stood by, uncomfortable.  People shifted their feet, clenched and unclenched their fists.  No one would look at another.  They waited.  Edward too sat down and he too waited.

“We did this.”  The voice that spoke was muffled, strained.  It was Jerry.  With a sigh he sat back in his chair, his hands dropped to his side.  He was defeated. He repeated his statement:

“We did this.”

He didn’t shout or throw his arms in the air.  It was a simple statement, delivered succinctly.

“We did this.  We wanted self-driving cars and smart homes.  We wanted computers to anticipate all our needs and fulfill them. Cash-less grocery stores and automated gas pumps.  We didn’t want to speak to each other.  We wanted to have control of everything through our phones.  But we didn’t want to actually do anything.  We didn’t need to think anymore, there’s an APP for that!

Jerry’s voice started to reflect his concerns.  As his voice grew louder, people moved further back from him.  Except for Eddie. He never moved.

“We put ‘chips’ in all out appliances.  Microchips are in our coffee makers, our watches, our door bells.  All those cameras we have to catch the bad guys are watching all of us and not by human beings!

Spittle formed at the corner of his mouth.  His eyes were manic.

“Planes and trains, banks, the stock-market.  The AI has control of it all and we created it.  The Artificial Intelligence is watching and listening. We are not alone.  We did this!  AI is in everything!”

There was a sudden silence.  No one spoke, no one moved.

Edward moved.  He stood; his shoulders still bowed.  As he raised his head a smile formed on his lips.

“Even me.”

 

 

The end

 

 

 

 

You Want to Do What???

I had a dream once that I was held prisoner in a car racing down the highway at extremely high speeds and there was no one behind the wheel. Ok, it was a nightmare. Good morning world, it may be true.

Put on your thinking cap for a moment and try to imagine how you would feel in this scenario:  you are driving down the highway at 100 kilometers (60 miles) an hour.  You casually glance to the truck on your right (or left) and realize there is no one behind the wheel. To those of you old enough to remember, this would feel like a Twilight Zone episode. It is not.

Some intrepid souls have decided that it would be cool for an 80,000-pound 18-wheel truck to barrel down the highway, or through your town, with nobody but electronics guiding its path. Not cool!

What started this mind meandering? I recently watched a news article about the future of long-haul trucking. There is a group of people that believe it would be beneficial to have those very large, very powerful trucks controlled by a microchip. A chip. Those of you who have followed my blog for a while will know my feelings on the concept of Artificial Intelligence. Not a fan. Let’s face it, we’re still trying to figure out our own intelligence, what gives us the hubris to think that we could mechanically create an artificial one? Does anyone remember Frankenstein?

We as human beings are fallible. Wonderful but fallible.  There is an idiot component to our psychological makeup that some people seem to embrace far too much. But we forgive their stupidity. We don’t try to eradicate this stupid gene, perhaps because we all have a small part of it within us. Let’s be honest, in our lives we’ve all done a few stupid things. Of course, I’m not going to admit to it and in my day there were no camera phones to document it. Thank goodness!

The concept of AI is appealing.  Think Star Trek.  As a tool, a resource, yes. Benevolent and under our control.  But running the whole show? It is a catch 22: People are corruptible and fallible; computers are hackable and emotionless. Neither is a perfect solution. A combination? Think Borg. Again, not a solution.  Here is a wild thought:  Let’s work on improving us, our minds, our skills, our cooperation.  Getting our products to market a little earlier is not worth the risk of becoming extinct. Or worse, redundant.

 

Lesson Learned

But is it?  As a species we have only been aware for a short time.  Archeology and anthropology are disciplines that delve into the scientific study of human activity.  I am sure some would say we have progressed amazingly fast but perhaps too fast.  We barely have time to understand our innovations before they are replaced by something better, faster, stronger . . .

In the seventies I wrote a poem called “In The Year Two Thousand”.  It was probably written for an English Class.  I don’t remember how it was received but it stayed with me.  Just a few lines:

We are playing with explosives

New technologies are so powerful

That they alone could abolish society

We are so excited by the next ‘new’ thing we don’t stop to question what we are doing.  That may be a mistake.  If your boat springs a leak, fix that before you invent a new propulsion system.

We have survived World Wars, pandemics, and terrorists’ attacks and we are still here. Why have we not fixed the issues that led to these problems?  Hatred, poverty, diseases are rampant and yet we are excited by a new phone.   A phone.  Yes, it does allow us to keep in touch with each other and it is a great tool.  I am afraid it has become a tether.

It really is only one section of society that is connected to the cell phone. A great deal of our world has neither the technology or the resources to support that technology. A great deal of our world is only concerned with living. They are concerned with finding enough food and shelter and safety. We have become complacent in far too much of our world. With complacency comes arrogance.

But we live in a world that is rich with resources. We live in a world that is wealthy beyond belief with raw talent. There is such an incredible beauty here right in front of us and yet too many focus solely on a 4 x 6” screen with pretty lights. Have we gotten our priorities skewed?

More than any other era, we are living in a time when almost anything is possible. Almost. There is one thing that seems to be lacking, the one thing that could change our world immeasurably, one thing.  And it is not something brand-new. It is not something exotic and rare. Will. One little word. The problem is it is more than just a word. It is action, it is a force and it is an idea. And we all know there is no greater weapon then an idea. Once it is entrenched it cannot be stopped.

But our will has been subverted by pretty shining things that distract us from the problems we need to fix.

Both young and old will have to brave

The pressures of the future

As we walk blinded into darkness…..

 

The Value of Failure

We’ve all done it. Some more than others of course. But it is part of the learning curve. Some successes were only possible because of the failure that preceded it. So why are we so afraid of it?

Nowadays it seems we don’t want to teach our children the value of failure. There’s a lovely story I refer to quite often about an older man taking his grandchild to a skating rink for the first time.  The man holds the young boy’s hands to get him on the ice and then throws his own arms into the air and says “fall down”. Of course, little boy does. The grandfather repeats this a few more times until the boy asks his grandfather ‘why?”. His reply surprised me when I first heard it: “It is to teach you not to be afraid to fall. You’ve already done it.”  Brilliant!

We fear what we do not know.  Our children need to understand that failure is something we all need to experience. If they don’t learn to deal with it when they are young, it can be devastating as an adult. Our lives are full of adversity. Along with failure and disappointment and confusion and…. It is also full of wonder and beauty and joy. There is a balance between the two that can be difficult to comprehend if you’re not exposed to it as a child.  I learned failure when I was young. My parents allowed me to fail, they didn’t shield me from it. But they were always there in the aftermath. That is good parenting.

I see too many young adults now who exhibit feelings of empowerment and entitlement. When someone disagrees with them, they are crushed and unable to handle it. They have lived charmed lives.  We all want what is best for our progeny. We want them to know only joy and success. But a false sense of security can before more damaging than the truth.

We inoculate our children against diseases that we know could be so incredibly harmful if they contracted them as adults. So why aren’t we doing the same thing with life. And how exactly do you measure success? Is it by how much money you have earned or awards you have received, or perhaps by the number people you have touched positively? I know what I use.

 

Who Shall I Kill Next?

 

Betty sipped her coffee hot

And watched the scene below

It was a busy market day

And the crowd was all aglow.

 

Children were laughing and running

Between the shopping stalls.

Mothers with prams were trying

To manoeuvre makeshift walls.

 

Nearby long-suffering fathers

Trying to look so cool.

Or at the very least

Not appear the fool.

 

Betty could see the thieves

Trying to work the crowd

They tried to be unnoticed

Their work was not allowed.

 

Then the Workers of the Night

Came looking for a score.

It looked like easy pickings

As they peaked around a door.

 

Now Betty had a code

That she followed to a T

She could not bring herself

To hurt a child you see.

 

So she would stay away

From the mothers that were there

The fathers on the other hand

Who said life was fair?

 

Though it might be easy

But it really was a thought

Men could be the target

She wondered if she ought.

 

She was getting bored.

Somebody had to die.

Should they be deserving

Or one who caught her eye?

 

The sun was setting for the night

Soon the light would dim

Work was needed to be done

It’s not a silly whim.

 

She heaved a sigh, and flexed her arms

And prepared to take a life.

Perhaps she’d use some poison

Or perhaps just with a knife . . .

 

 

Chapter One . . .

Continuity

 

“Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.

Things always sound better in French. It is a beautiful, lyrical language. Unfortunately, my ability to speak it is stuck at the high school level. But there are some phrases that most people know.

“The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

We see it again, and again, and again. There were wars when people had only just learned to walk. Then the Middle Ages, the industrial revolution, the modern age, the nuclear age. We can’t seem to stop fighting. Why? If you have something I want, I can just make another. And then we would both have what we want. We live in an age when almost everything is available. I don’t like the way you do things. So, I won’t watch. There’s always a solution to a problem if you’re willing to look for it. But it seems to be easier to hate.

Too many people live in the ‘now’ and are only capable of satisfying the needs they have in this second. They are not capable of seeing a future for us all. And that leads to shortsighted and selfish decisions that hurt other people.

I enjoy living in the ‘now’ and relishing each moment but I am also able to see a future and those working to ensure that the future is tenable. It is the ‘now’ that will dictate the ‘then’. Have I confused you yet?

We want our species to continue. We want all the other species on the planet to continue. We want the planet to continue. But we also want to maintain our lifestyle, to maintain a relationship, to keep getting the coffee we love. (Okay I don’t love coffee but it is the drink of the masses so it works in this context) We like continuity. But to maintain that continuity we must allow change.

I know it seems like I’ve going off my meds or I’m smoking something funny but this does make sense. In order to maintain the lives we have, we cannot sustain the practices we are doing which will ultimately cause a cessation of everything. Does that make sense?

I’m pretty sure I’m going to make it through my life without too much hardship but it is coming. Our children and our children’s children we’ll be paying the price for our arrogance. Will they have an air to breathe, clean water to drink? Will they have jobs, partnerships, ideals, hope?

By fixing up the present we can guarantee the future. Is that too much to ask?