Posts Tagged ‘NY Times’

empathyAfter reading a recent Op-Ed piece in the NY Times from psychologist Daniel Goleman provocatively titled Rich People Just Care Less, which puts forward a theory that some of the problems caused by the growing inequality between the upper and lower classes may be the result of a lack of empathy by those in power, I was going to write once again about the the apparent empathy deficit in this world.  But this as far as I can go with it today.  It seems obvious to me that no amount of logic or evidence or words of shame can sway the actions of those lacking in empathy.  Need we  look any further for evidence than the current stalemate in Washington or the case now before the Supreme Court that will effectively take off all limits on campaign donations, further squelching the voice of the least powerful and most vulnerable?

No, I am not in the mood to go on with this today.  I throw up my hands and say “So what!”

Let’s listen to some music that fits the title.  Here’s one of my favorites, the great Chet Baker from 1964 with his version of the Miles Davis classic, So What.  Good music to chill to.




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The Fairy Circles

African Fairy Circles-  Photo by N. JuergensA friend sent me this photo that was attached to an article from the NY Times from a few days ago, writing that it reminded her of me and my work.  It’s a high overhead view of a tree standing alone on a barren plain in southwestern Africa surrounded by small circles that dot the terrain, looking like tiny craters on the surface of the moon.  It’s a great image, simple and strong, and I am honored that she saw my work in it.

The article called the rings  growing around the tree fairy circles.  This, at first,  brought to mind the fairy circles that  we sometimes see around us that are  formed by mushrooms growing  along the forest floor in rings that are usually three or four feet in diameter.  They are called fairy, pixie or elf rings or circles.  The Gaelic legend behind the name says that these are these rings are the gateways to elfin kingdoms, places where the little creatures sometimes appear to sing and dance.  Pixie dance floors.  I don’t know about that but we have found some old beer cans in the woods.  But I don’t think these came from elves or pixies.  I just  think the previous owners of the forest around us were slobs.  But if some new cans show up I may have to rethink this whole thing.

The fairy circles shown in the photo are not formed from mushrooms  but are made a dense grass.  Their has been some controversy about how they are formed and the article states that the current and best theory, as  stated in the Times article, is that they are made by a particular type of sand termite that has engineered these rings to better capture the rare rainfall, allowing the soil inside the rings to remain relatively moist for a longer period of time compared to the arid conditions outside of them.

The article downplays the elfin kingdom theory altogether.   And they call themselves scientists…

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Reach Out

                  “The 500 richest people in the world, according to a U.N. calculation a few years ago, earned more than the 416 million poorest people. It’s worth bearing in mind that the first group bears a measure of responsibility for the global economic mess but will get by just fine, while the latter group has no responsibility and will suffer the worst consequences.”

 -Nicholas Kristof,  NY Times,  April 2, 2009

You know, you get so tied up with the details and worries of your own life that when you read something like the article from which the clip above was taken, you realize how much our life is spent in pettiness and folly.  My problems seem infinitely smaller by comparison with the plight of much of the world and I look at the comforts I am afforded with a greater appreciation.
 I know we all must do more and perhaps it is the shame brought by reading such things and seeing the effects of this poverty all over the world that will bring about the needed changes.  At least, I hope.  The recent past has shown shame to be not so effective in changing bad behavior so I am bit pessimistic.
But give this article by Nicholas Kristof a read and think a bit about how you can help bring about change.  Then let someone else know.  Let me know.  Like the painting above, just reach out…

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george-baileyIt’s that time of the year  when you hunker down on a cold, snowy night and watch a holiday classic.  One of the most beloved is It’s a Wonderful Life from director Frank Capra.  It has long been one of my favorites and it would be easy to go on and on about its message and how the final scene with the redemption of George Bailey makes me tear up just thinking about it.

But yesterday David Terrenoire  wrote in his great blog, A Dark Planet, about how he secretly preferred Potterville, George Bailey’s bizarro world version of his hometown, to the original Bedford Falls.  Potterville was a rockin’ town.  Strip clubs.  Hot music.  Bedford Falls was, by contrast, a real snore.

George Bailey Close-upHe cited an article by Wendell  Jamieson in the NY Times that made his case for the same thought.  Jamieson even goes so far as to state that George Bailey would be facing prison time for the loss of the 8000 dollars, regardless of restitution.  

Just before I had read these two articles I had come across a video entitled Bad Bailey.  It’s put together as a movie trailer and using eerie music and a drastic realignment of the movie’s actual scenes make for pretty disturbing viewing, especially for lovers of the movie.  It made me realize how much darkness there was in the film which, I think, probably made it so powerful.  Just shows what a little editing can achieve…

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