Friday, June 02, 2006

King Kaufman’s Sports Daily |

King Kaufman's Sports Daily |

Its nice to see hockey getting a little bit more credit as the Stanley Cup finals are about to start. I'd like to add some comment on Kaufmann's discussion of Bufaloe's delay of game penalty for shooting the puck over the glass. Contrary to what Kaufman says, thats never an accidental thing, unless a richocete is involved.

These are professional atheletes we are talking about here, men who have spent decades of their lives learning to control that puck with their sticks at the highest level. In nearly every case, unless the puck hits another player, it goes precisely where the player inteneded it to go.

This has been a penalty for goalies for ages now. It used to be an easy way to force a face-off … just shoot the puck over the glass after a clear-in attempt. Goalies also used to complain and say it was 'accidental' but again, when they actually wanted to clear the puck, there seemed no problem hitting the glass instead of missing.

Likewise (or even more so) with forwards. Players should know to compensate when they make a clearing attempt, to ensure they don't shoot it over the glass. Its really quite simple … a player shooting the puck out of the rink IS causing a delay of game, and if the player is such a bad shot that they miss the glass, then I doubt they've made it to the NHL. NHL players who complain about this rule are simply whining … if you are worried about taking the penalty, don't use the glass to attempt a clear-out … then you'll be guarenteed not to put it over the glass. The number of 'true accidents' is miniscule when we are dealing with men who have spent their lives learning to be accurate with the puck … with a rule that allowed discretion, however, the claim would be that they were ALL accidental. The fact is, these are professionals who should be held accountable for their actions … if you aren't an accurate enough shot to clear on the glass without missing, then don't clear on the glass, or accept the penalty. Its pretty simple to me.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

An unusual comment …

I had a comment posted to my other blog today that I think I want to share with everyone as a post. As far as I can tell, its spam as posted. It was posted as a comment to my blog post titled George Stroumboulopoulos on Stephen Harper … from the Hour - the Redux, but it really has nothing to do with the subject of that post.

However, when I read through it, its actually an interesting message. I've done no research on the person who sent it (it was posted as anonymous, and I haven't tracked down any of the links) but the message itself seems sound and logical, common sense almost. Visualization has always been a useful tool … this is a more practical method than I'ver heard described before. Hope you enjoy …

Visualization is a tool that has been used for thousands of years by initiates of all the metaphysical schools. Today, it is incorporated into top athlete's daily routines and is used in business affairs frequently. It's use is wide-spread among highly successful people, either consciously or unconsciously, aware of its create power. So if it has stood the test of time and is still being used by high achievers we must come to the conclusion that it works! But has it ever worked for you?

If you answered 'yes' to the above question then you know how powerful this technique can be. If, on the other hand, you gave the more likely answer 'no' then take heart for I am about to reveal to you a sure fire way of reaching your objectives through this mostly misunderstood art.

The trouble with visualization is simple - its in its name!

When studying and contemplating the art of visualization most people have the impression that they must create visual images and make them real or life-like. Many people, in fact the majority, find this almost impossible to do. Even if they can formulate a solid picture of their objective they find it extremely difficult to sustain the image for any length of time. Either the image fades, changes or other intruding thoughts intervene.

This type of visualization is almost impossible to sustain and luckily it is not at all necessary. Why? Because it is in the subconscious mind that your visualization needs to be placed and there is good news. The subconscious mind does not know the difference between an imaginary event and a real one. Your visual image only needs to be a strong visually as any other imagined event. However, that is only half the story.

If all you had to do was just imagine stuff and your world automatically changed to reflect your imaginings this world would be full of chaos (not to mention all those creepy crawly bug-eyed monsters!). Therefore, there are a few more steps to complete before the visualization is passed to the subconscious for manifestation.

Let's try a little experiment. Remember a scene from your past that has a lot of good feelings around it. Any good memory will do, like the first time you heard the words "I love you" from your partner, an amazingly spectacular sunset, a great holiday event or your last birthday. Pick one and remember it. How clear is the image? Can you remember any sounds? What way did you feel? Is there any sense of touch, taste or smell? Identify how your memory works. Is it mostly visual, auditory, kinaesthetic or of a feeling nature?

Now we are going to create an imagined event in our lives that has the same strength and potency as that image. So relax and let's go.

Imagine something that you do everyday, something that you did yesterday, today and will do tomorrow. Let us take the example of waking up tomorrow morning. Don't try to add or take anything away, just think about it and analyse the scene. Is it dark or light? Are you lying next to someone in bed? Do you still feel tired? Has the alarm clock sounded? Are you irritable that you have to get up or full of joy at the dawn of a new day?

You will find that the imagined event is very similar to the memory with probably one key difference - your point of perspective. Is the memory behind you and the future event in front of you? Is one to the left and one to the right? Maybe they are both in front of you or the future seems to move in a clockwise direction. Whatever the perspective the thing to notice is that they are very similar in appearance.

Now imagine doing your future event a week from now, then a month from now, then six months from now. Where are those images placed? Are they moving further away, going clockwise, from left to right? This is your time-line and using it is important in visualization as you will see later.

Ok, let's imagine something that is very unlikely to happen and see where it differs from the last image.

Imagine you are sitting somewhere familiar which is extremely comfortable and relaxing to you. Now imagine that a person you know well comes up to where you are and says "hello". Imagine them telling you that they want to show you a new trick. All of a sudden they have three juggling balls. They throw them in the air and begin to juggle with ease. Then they begin to whistle one of your favourite tunes. You suddenly realize that there is a strong smell of flowers in the room and notice a vase of them just behind the juggler. Imagine laughing loudly at the scene and feeling joyful at the experience. Then the person juggling leans forward stands on leg and puts the other leg outstretched behind them. All the while still juggling and whistling. Then they begin to hop on their leg as a small bird flies over to perch on their head. Once you have the imagined event and stayed with it a few moments just let it fade.

Ok open your eyes. What was the difference between the two images? Can you spot any? Did you use more, less or roughly the same senses in your fantasy event as you did in the future one? Did you see them from different angles? Was the picture bigger in one than the other? Was the sound clearer, the feelings more acute or the smell stronger? Take some time and go back to each scene in your mind. How does the future event differ from the fantasy one? Are you looking at both from a different vantage point? Do you see yourself in the image of one but not the other? Analyse the scenes and see where they differ.

Have you identified how the future event differs from the fantasy one? If you have then its time to make visualization work for you! Take a goal that you have been working on or would like to achieve. Nothing too far-fetched at this point please! Pick something that is possible but at the moment seems a little impractical. Once you have it form a mental image of what it would be like to have, be or do that thing or be in that experience. Remember to form it the same way you do a memory. Give it the same strength visually, in sound, feeling, taste and touch - use your mind in its natural state. All you have to do is imagine the scene.

Ok how does it differ from the scene of waking in the morning? Can you identify the differences in perspective, sound, taste, touch, feelings and what you hear?

Now there will be one other key thing that differs in the images- it is very simple but often overlooked. You know that the future event is going to happen! This is reflected in the way we experience the image. So what we are going to do is fool your subconscious mind into thinking your goal is definitely going to happen by manipulating your goal image!

Once you know what the differences are in each image begin to change the goal image so that it is seen the same way as the future event in your imagination. Place the visualized scene in exactly the same position with the same perspective as your future event.

Place it in the correct position on your time-line. You may already begin to feel that the goal is more possible. Visualise in this way everyday and you will condition your subconscious mind to manifest the experiences necessary to make your goal attainment certain.

One more thing to remember: During the day think about your goal often. This reinforces the visualization and will begin to dispel doubt from your mind. personal development

Grafitti on Brick …

20May2006-MedHat 029

Originally uploaded by Elron6900.

I took this shot a week or so in downtown Medicine Hat. Can't recall exactly which building it is (one of the brick ones on 6th Ave SW), but I loved the rather obvious grafitti, lol. Pretty boring picture, perhaps … but for some reason it speaks to me. : Iran cool to conditions on U.S. nuclear talks offer : Iran cool to conditions on U.S. nuclear talks offer

Any talks between Iran and the US should be seen as a positive step, but I fear this latest announcement of talks is little more than a smokescreen. If it actually results in Iranian and American officials sitting across a table from each other, then its a positive, but looking at the porposal, I find it hard to understand how anyone expects the Iranians to actually accept this.

Like the recent letter from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to George Bush, it seems like this was written with the express purpose of being rejected by the other side. The response from the Foreign Minister would have been typical and expected from any other country … “Iran welcomes dialogue under just conditions but (we) won't give up our rights,” … and yet it seems to be portrayed in the media as making some sort of unreasonable demand. The US always demands that dialogue with it be undertaken with fair conditions … all Iran asks is that it also be treated with respect.

No country will accept being dictated to, and like it. The US is free to throw its weight around if that's what they want, but it sees a bad way to get global support. Why the US won't talk to Iran without pre-conditions is the big mystery to me … the US refuses to accept pe-conditions on it (such as in talks with North Korea, for example, where North Korea had demanded bi-lateral talks with the US for decades and been ignored), so its highly hypocritical to impose pre-conditions on others. But, then again, hypocrisy is nothing new either …

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

A surprising omission …

Its a bit surprising as I look back over this blog that I've made nearly 130 posts over a couple of months, and I've yet to make a post about Star Trek. I suppose the fact that Enterprise went off the air last year has something to do with it … for the first time in more than 20 years, there's no active Star Trek TV series in production, so there's little new to talk about.

But its still an omission … while Star Trek over the years has had its share of bad acting, hackneyed writing, and questionable special effects, it also represents a rather impressive 'canon' of creative material. Between the TV series, the movies, the comic books/cartoon shows, and the novels, the amount of creative energy expended in the Star Trek universe over the past 40 years.

The franchise has an anniversary of sorts this year … it was Sept 9, 1966 that the first episode of Star Trek was broadcast on NBC, so the franchise as an 'accepted' piece of entertainment is 40 years old this year. Of course, there was a pilot episode before the 1966 series start, in 1964, and by all accounts was in Rodenberry's head before that, but 1966 seems a good year.

I didn't see the original series when it first aired. In fact, I was born the Monday of the week that Star Trek first aired in 1966, so I was a bit young to have caught it the first time around. Regardless, from the first time I saw the show, in re-runs in the 70's, I knew it was something of interest.

It goes beyond the writing or acting, some of which were less than memorable. You can certainly point to classic stories and episodes from all Star Trek forms, but there's an ethic that has always run underneath the Star Trek universe. It was shallow, and weak in the original series, but if it hadn't been there, that original series wouldn't have survived its faults. Instead of succumbing to its flaws, instead of becoming the cliched 'wagon train to the stars' that it was originally billed as, it was able to rise above its limitations.

And rise above in spectacular fashion. After 4 more TV series (plus a cartoon show in the 70's), some 10 movies, and countless books, the official Star Trek universe has grown vast and diverse. What began life as the barely 2 dimensional world of Kirk and Spock, now spans space and time and culture. There are few parts of our culture … from the design of flip cell phones through medical scanning technology … that haven't had some tangential impact from Star Trek.

I think the reason for this ubiquity is that underlying ethic I mentioned before, the one that let that original show, and a few movies, rise above their worst moments. It started weakly, brashly, with a lot of style but little substance, but it was there … the notion that despite all the evidence to the contrary, humans were eventually going to work out how not to kill each other and focus on larger issues. Initially, this was little more than a technology cult, worshipping at the alter of the mechanization of the future. But as the series and movies progressed, the substance fleshed out.

The final triumph of Star Trek, the reason that it is still relevant 40 years after its first episode aired, is that there was always hope for the future. The underlying notion, however preposterous it seems from our perspective today, that we would all someday work together for the betterment of all people, instead of competing with each other for the profit of a few, is why Star Trek continues on today with talk of an 11th movie. Its worth noting that as we are 40 years after the first Star Trek episode, we are also some 57 years early for another important anniversary … in 2063, in Boseman, Montana, Zefram Cochrane will make the first warp flight, and bring Vulcan contact with earth for the first time. Or so the story goes, anyway *G*

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Pregnant Goat ...

Lagos-Street-02 ol
Originally uploaded by Elron6900.
This is the pregnant goat. I was in Lagos, worling on this street for 5 years, and this goat was pregnant essentially the entire time. I never really did work out who owned her, or where all the baby goats went ... not too sure I want to delve too deeply there, lol. When I took this, I had just arrived in Lagos, and was taking shots of my street. She stopped and looked at me, waiting for me to snap the shot before continuing along her way.

Harper and fixed election dates …

Stephen Harper announced some fairly serious democratic reform today. Its unclear yet how much of this will actually be implemented on the ground, and its unclear whether Harper even has the right to do what he has done without some sort of Provincial assent, especially on Senate terms and elections, but he's put out some pretty heady ideas.

Several provinces already have some form of fixed election dates, but so far, I am more curious about whats not being said than what is. The idea that the government is forced to call an election after a certain amount of time is nothing new. Right now, no government can serve longer than 5 years without an election, and that "Must have" date is fixed from the time the government goes into power. From what I have seen, Harper's proposed legislation has done little more than change that from 5 years to 4 years. While the news is talking about the fact that a majority government is limited to a 4 year term, no one is asking the question "What if they choose to call one earlier?"

So far, I've seen nothing in this which prevents a majority government from ignoring the 4-year date and calling an earlier election, for politically expediant reasons. And if thats the case, then this is a solution with no problem, because Canada already has a fixed term for majority governments. The real teeth are if this legislation actually prevent a majority governement from calling an election before the 4 year limit is up … if it does that, then its a solution that address the problem of politically motvated election dates. If it fails to address that basic point, however, then there is no solution to anything, merely a decrease in the maximum term for a majority government. : The Noam Chomsky Website : The Noam Chomsky Website

There are few living people I admire more, intellectually, than Noam Chomsky. If you are looking for a pair of eyes to cut through all the crap, all the window dressing, all the trappings of power and intrigue, Chomsky’s vision is about as sharp as they come. I was first exposed to Chomsky years ago through his documentary “Manufacturing Consent.” Its a fairly brutal look at the use of media by democratic governments to not only control their people, but to do so through a ‘manufactured’ reality.

Even if you aren’t a fan of political documentaries, Manufacturing Consent is one I recommend. Its fast paced and interesting, and Chomsky is the kind of guy that can hold our attention with his logic. That documentary is where his famous quote about sounding like you are from Neptune comes from … he makes the point that the structure of new media today, and the way ‘news information’ is imparted to us, is structured in such a way as to not give time to the person who has to spend time setting up their argument. Unless what you are saying ALREADY falls into the existing reality, you will need time to explain the context of your ideas to people … when modern sound-bite news refuses to allow that, people saying truly revolutionary things come off sounding as if the come “from Neptune.”

In short, I don’t know anyone today who sees the political world with clearer eyes than Chomsky. I love the look of his new website, and it looks to be FULL of info. To me, the simplicity of the home page is wonderful, and an excellent analog to Chomsky himself … he provides an excellent and intuitive ‘user interface’ that allows others to see the world through his eyes. If you want to get some fun mental exercise, learn some new things, and challenge your preconceptions, spend an afternoon with Chomsky.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

The Sunday Sun Comment page … - Eric Margolis - Final act in the death of Yugoslavia

As people who know me personally know, I am a voracious newspaper reader. I read at least 2 newspapers on most days … The Globe and Mail, and the Calgary Sun. One of the reasons I love the Sun is its easy to read format … unlike the big broadsheet format papers, the tabloid Sun is easy to handle. That format spills over into the writing and content and design. In many ways, the Sun is my 'Headline News' to the Globe's in-depth analysis.

But even that doesn't work all the way, because the Sun comment department is second to none. Even with the conservative, right leaning editorial stance of the paper itself, they have one of the more balanced comment sections I have seen. While all newspapers these days talk about the independence of their editorial commenter's, many avoid the real issue by only hiring people who generally share the editorial slant of the paper itself. Its doubtful Eric Margolis would be in the Sun if they operated that way, lol.

But there he is, and again this week he has a fascinating bit, talking about, essentially, the final end of The Great War. Many people think that there were 2 great wars in the 20th century, and a third cold war. But the fact remains, they were all simply a continuation of World War I. We call WWII a different war, because of the large gap in active hostilities, but the rise of German nationalism can be tied directly to the conditions of the 'end' of WWI, conditions that were little more than the continuation of warfare through economic means.

'Peace conditions' after WWII, which essentially led to the Cold War, also continued the domination of the Balkan region, which, after all, were where it all started back in 1914. Even as the Soviet empire collapsed, WWI was still not quite over, as Yugoslavia was always a fiction of peace treaties, as opposed to a real country. And its 'destruction' into its 'original' ethnic elements is really what signals that The Great War is finally over. And it took less than a century, just barely, lol.

But its not just Margolis who shines, IMO … especially on Sunday's, the Comment Section is remarkable. Today there were a couple of other articles I wanted to discuss as well. - Lorrie Goldstein - Tories: It's no time to gloat talks a bit about new polls that show Harper's PC's might win a majority if an election were held today. Goldstein rightly cautions people not to listen, lol. I've always wondered what purpose such polls are in Canada … in NO way is general popularity a relevant number for a Canadian political leader, at least not in terms if their job.

While there are "feel-good" things you can attach to a high approval rating, in a political system of ridings, where the leader of the party that wins the most ridings is Prime Minister, general popularity means squat in any real sense. What matters is how popular you are in a majority of ridings and while on the surface those two things may seem similar, a quick look at election results shows how silly it is.

Every election, we do 'popularity polling' alongside the actual election. And every election, glaring deficits of democracy are shown where the 'popular vote' never lines up with the number of ridings won. At election time, its not a popular vote that counts, its whether or not you can get a majority in a majority of ridings. Popularity may be nice measure of how well the country is accepting your policy, but to use it as a political forecasting tool is lunacy in Canada. Without more detailed geographical information about popularity by riding, polls like this give NO useful electability data, IMO … if anything, its more misleading than accurate. Check out Fair Vote Canada for more details.

The Calgary Sun - New revelations by Bishop Fred Henry was an interesting attempt to debunk the new Gospel of Judas documents recently profiled by National Geographic and others (I blogged on it here). He uses a rather silly analogy, borrowed from the Catholic World News, about a discovery of the Gospel of Skip and Muffy. Its a humourous approach to obscuring the issues, but that's all it is in the end … a veil to cast over issues.

Henry talks about how "The fourfold Gospels are part of the canon of Scripture" and he is right. What he fails to discuss is their radically different treatments of Judas. While none goes as far as the Gospel of Judas does, its only in John that Judas reaches truly evil proportions. In Mark, Judas' role in everything is shown in a FAR more wrok-a-day way. Henry never addresses these differences, or how they may relate to the new documents being translated.

But in the end, Skip and Muffy have nothing to do with the formation of Catholic theology, nor are they in a time-frame or place to do so. The Gospel of Judas is contemporaneous to other gospels, date wise, written in the generation or two to follow Jesus. As later scholars like Aquinas would debate canonical texts, early Christians were creating and discussing the ideas that would go into those texts. The Judas Gospel, like the Gospel of Mary, clearly represents a view that didn't win out, over the course of history, but Henry and others fail to acknowledge, when they use silly analogies like Skip and Muffy, that early Christianity wasn't a place where a single, clear message ruled … it was a time and place when many different messages competed for supremacy. Uncovering documents like Judas, or a full version of Mary, if we ever do (and OOOOOO how I hope we someday stumble across THAT little gem, lol), can only serve to help us understand better. Whether we ultimately decide they are relevant to our faith or not, I think its arrogant to dismiss so readily words like the Judas Gospel.

Finally, - Sheila Copps - The Beltway feud was an interesting article by the former Liberal cabinet minister about the feud between Harper and the media. As someone whose been on both sides of this debate, she is perhaps uniquely qualified to comment. Its not surprising that she would highlight the symbiotic relationship where each side needs the other to survive, but I wish more politicians took their responsibility to the people who elect them more seriously. Ultimately, the politician is my employee, and the reporter is my proxy … when Harper walks out on a reporter, he is walking out on me. You can spin that anyway you like … his job is to answer to the people who elected him, and he does that through a free media, unencumbered by 'approved' lists of reporters and questions.