Friday, May 27, 2011

The Weariness of Exhaustion

Tiger Airways have a problem with their aircrew flying tired. So tired in fact, that they can't be bothered reporting their weariness to the supervisors. According to Captain Tim Berry, who is the Director of Operations for Tiger, crew who were fatigued sometimes lacked the energy even to fill out a report.

How many times have you uttered the words, "whatever", in response to some suggestion that you didn't understand or like, or to some unpleasant or unsatisfactory situation in which you found yourself? Rather than fight, we sometimes simply throw up our hands and surrender. Why? Because we are tired. We've had enough. It can get so bad that we can't even find the strength to protest. Ever heard the saying, no use complaining because no one listens anyway. Why waste breath on a pointless gripe which won't change or achieve anything? What's the point?

Many people adopt this pose as they confront life. They lay down and accept what life dishes out to them because opposition requires too much effort and promises too little compensation. Others are engaged in battle all the time. For them conflict is the reason for existence. Winston Churchill's immortal speech about fighting them on the beaches etcetera is engraved in their mind. To live is to fight.

While the warrior group may be extremists, they are closer to the truth. Life is a war and there are things worth fighting for. The trick is to figure out which battles to wage. There are some causes which should not be championed and some enemies which should not be pursued. Marked by human frailty and brokenness, we cannot fight everyone and everything, but neither should we lie down and allow life to kick us in the ribs and stomp on our heads.

Wisely choose your battles, and carefully select your allies because no one has ever won a war by themselves. And if you get worn out, make sure you tell someone. And get some rest!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Review: Hit List by Lawrence Block

Hit List (Keller, #2)Hit List by Lawrence Block

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Having read Hope to Die previously, I expected a bit from this Block novel. Unfortunately I was disappointed. I didn't find the KC, Keller, believable. Perhaps because he was not backgrounded. A killer without a conscience who collects stamps. I just din't get him. A lot of the dialogue, especially between Dot and Keller was trite and boring and a bit try hard, trying to be funny that is. As for Dot, I didn't like her at all.

The narrative kept me interested but it was too punctuated by other stuff and the ending was anti-climatic which I think was a comment of mine about Hope to Die. One thing I did really like and appreciate was the lack of detail in relation to Keller's hits. It made the violence in the novel seem...I can't think of what I want to say. Anyway, overall, not such a good read.

View all my reviews

Friday, May 20, 2011

Life is not a Roundabout

I remember when that wonderful innovation called "roundabouts" were introduced to our roads and we, as children riding bicycles, considered them a wonderful novelty. There was a time before roundabouts, chicanes, speed humps, pedestrian refuges, and other so called traffic calming devices. In that marvelous era, roads were wide, footpaths were narrow and street furniture was not even a twinkle in the eye of an under-worked town planner.

I seriously doubt whether any of these things are anywhere near as effective as their designers intended, but they do provide an excellent series of analogies for life and the human condition.

Roundabout signs are triangular in shape for a very good reason. Give Way signs are also triangular. As the former came into being along time before the latter the message is clear. Cars approaching roundabouts are supposed to slow down and give way to traffic already in the roundabout. That is the rule. That is the correct way to use a roundabout.

I have observed, and you probably have as well, two other ways drivers use roundabouts. First, they slow on approach, as one should, then they look to the right and when it's clear, they proceed. They don't look to the left or even directly ahead sometimes. In life, it's okay to be cautious, quite sensible in fact, and it's not a bad thing to only look one way...unless it's the wrong way.

The second group approach at speed, ignore the give way sign and drive straight through, oblivious to any other motorists. People get hurt by other people who tear inconsiderately and recklessly through life.

Just because other people have successfully negotiated roundabouts time after time does not mean they are doing it properly. It's likely to be more a case of good luck rather than good management. Look around you. Other people may seem to successfully handle life and its inherent and inevitable problems but looks can be deceiving. And even if they are, it does not automatically follow that they are living life right in God's eyes.

Life is not a roundabout but there is a wrong way and a right way to live.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Sauce of all Problems

Adam Jonathan Meyer was ordered by a judge to pay compensation to Gordon Price for repeatedly squirting him with soy sauce in a Brisbane shopping mall. Meyer pleaded guilty to assault, and had apparently attacked price on other occasions in the same way, although Price said he did not know Meyer.

In London, a dissatisfied customer tried to break into a pub to prove the chef had used HP sauce instead of the home made chili sauce promised on the menu. During the dinner an argument erupted over the authenticity of the sauce. Infuriated, the man and his wife, both professional chefs, stormed out of the restaurant. Several hours later, the man, armed with a hammer, returned to the restaurant wearing a balaclava, black gloves and a combat jacket, intending to break in and discover whether the kitchen had HP sauce in it or not. His attempt failed and he was fined $210 for damaging the door of the pub.

These stories are funny but they demonstrate a major flaw in human nature. Everyday all over the world, people are going to 'war' over such unbelievably trivial things. It's no wonder none of the serious problems society faces can be solved when people struggle to sort out minor disagreements peacefully.

Romans 12:17, 18-21 says, "Repay no one evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends upon you, live peaceably with not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

The source of all problems is our failure to live by these words.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

An Eye for an Eye

"With the death of Osama bin Laden, the world is now a safer and better place."

This may be the most ridiculous statement I've ever heard or will ever hear. I know, as president of the United States, Barrack Obama had to say it but when I heard it, I almost laughed out loud.

The 10 year old shameful war against terror which has already cost thousands of lives will continue unabated despite the assassination of the the world's most wanted man. The world is not safer or better. In fact, it may, at least in the short term, be even more dangerous for the enemies of Islamic fundamentalists. Revenge is sure to be high on the agenda of Allah's warriors.

Did you know that Osama bin Laden was found many years ago and could have easily been killed then? The order was not given.* How did you feel when you heard the news that the Al Qaeda leader was dead? Did you feel differently when you learned that despite being unarmed, he was shot in the head and murdered? Did it make you feel a little uncomfortable to see video footage of the U.S. President watch the assassination of bin Laden live on a television? What about the news that his body had been quickly removed then dumped in the sea? Does it make you scratch your head to learn that he was found in a million dollar, high walled compound in a militarized Pakistani city? Do you wonder if perhaps Osama has simply moved to Graceland?

Osama bin Laden achieved exactly what he wanted: he changed the world, made us fearful, and died a victorious martyr's death. Even with his violent demise, he has defeated us again by evading true justice. An eye for an eye is not justice.

* Michael Scheuer was head of the CIA's Osama bin Laden Tracking Unit. He was interviewed by Richard Fidler on the ABC radio program Conversations, in 2007.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Saints with Parkinson's Disease

Leaving aside the fact that the transformation of mortals into patron saints who can be prayed to, that is, what the Roman Catholic church calls beatification, is not possible, I want to say something about JP II.

By most accounts, Karol Wojtyla, a.k.a. Pope John Paul II was a great man. A popular and influential leader of one of the world's major religions. A man of God, highly respected and loved, and rightly so.

His recent beatification places him one step away from being canonized. This means he will be officially recognized as a saint. The Bible says that all Christ followers are saints. The 'b' word and the 'c' word are made up words which honour certain members of the church as greater than others. Nasty. I don't like that. I wonder what God thinks of it?

Anyway, to be beatified, JP II, had to have a genuine verified miracle accredited to him. His miracle was to cure a woman of Parkinson's disease. There is no medical cure for this cruel disease, and the irony is, that not many years after healing this woman, JP II himself was killed by the same scourge.

Saints and sinners alike are born to die and then to face judgement. So it is written. So it is.