Yesterday’s News

I wrote this entry yesterday, but did not upload it. Today, while chopping vegetables and peeling tomatoes for spaghetti sauce, I am managing to get it out of the nest.

Sports were always a personal best kind of experience for me, the competition aspect was not my focus. I did enjoy winning, but I would have pushed my limits and built my skill levels for the sheer joy of it, even if I lost every competition.

I recently wrote this as a comment on one of Bex’s entries about the Red Sox.

“I loved to play sports as a kid, track and field as an individual competitor and team sports. I have never enjoyed watching sports being played, not even one tiny bit, nada, nothing! It bores me to distraction. I never thought much about it until a very dear friend of mine, who was an avid hockey fan, was watching a game on television. How he enjoyed it! He genuinely enjoyed it, and it dawned on me that I could not see what he saw in the game. I am sports blind!!!!!!”

I truly don’t know what I am missing; and never will!

The drive to and from work has been magnificent! Some of the trees are beginning to change colour, and between bursts of rain, mist drifting down from the hills, and brilliant sunshine, the visual experience has been worth the trip. These distant shifts are worth taking, just so that I can enjoy the drive there and back!

Portulaca, last blooms before tonight’s killing frost.
Dscf3580 portulaca

This morning I came across this link, and decided to post it here. I re-tweeted it and added my small voice as a supporter, because recyclable electronics would make a very big difference to the whole planet. If we don’t create garbage, we do not have to dispose of it. The idea is that phones have interchangeable parts for upgrading, so that they are customizable and easy to upgrade, very little is discarded in an upgrade. This is being pitched to the big corporations, the makers of cell phones, the only ones who can change manufacturing at this scale. It is called Phonebloks.

I don’t usually sign up to support activist type links, but this one has some potential for making a difference, I hope. It interests me because we are using a cell phone purchased over seven years ago, and it works fine, and we don’t need to upgrade or replace it. But we are truly unusual. Eventually the technology of the seven year old cell phone will be so outdated that it will not function. That has not happened yet, but when it does we will have to consider purchasing a new one. And I hope that something like Phonebloks are being used by that time. It would be great to be able to purchase a basic model cheaply and let the people who want the bells and whistles, and can afford to pay for them, pay for them on their models!

Mist and I are back to the quiet days of solitude that constitute our life at the country house. Attila leaves early in the morning and returns eleven hours later, a few hours before it is time to retire for the night. Occasionally a vehicle drives by, or vacationers walk by on their hikes, there is always human activity around and about. But the wildlife is more numerous than humans, bluejays and rabbits, foxes and squirrels, wild turkeys and owls, and coyotes howling in the distance. This solitude is wonderful in short stretches.

I have noticed over the last few days of work, that a lot of people in this area, where the main industry is tourism and seasonal residences, freqquently want to tell me how successful and important they are. It is always pleasant and friendly, and I always share a bit of my own history with them as we interact. But I am wondering if the kind of superficial pleasantry, that is based on career achievements, is really all that healthy for any of us. Surely we are more than our achievements. Surely we have something in common that is of interest; or perhaps we do not. I have yet to discover an alternative way to relate to the people who identify so intensely with their personal success. I do try talking about the weather.

I read today about a 95 year old man, in a nursing home in Chicago, USA, who was jolted with a taser, then shot at close range with dollar sized bean bags, in the abdomen, by police. The bean bag injuries killed him. The police claimed he had a knife, an investigation is to follow. Near here a young man, alone in a streetcar in Toronto, Canada, was recently gunned down, shot nine times by a police officer standing well away from the streetcar, on the street.

Mr. Falconer, who has represented the families of victims in similar incidents, said the case invites much deeper reflection on police training.

“From day one, it’s drilled into [police officers’] minds that the existence of a knife and the failure to follow an order gives them grounds to end another person’s life,” he said. “This is not new. This is just the latest death and it was caught on video.”
Source: National Post

The young man was wielding a knife, but he could not reach anyone at all. Why not shoot his arm to disarm him, with one shot, if he was that dangerous? Well, it could be because the officer “had grounds” to kill, and that is what he wanted to do, so he did. The video that circulated on the web is very clear, and one wonders about the officer’s judgement, well, the lack of judgement. The police are getting a lot of bad press, and deservedly so.

And on a human level, legal arguments aside, how do you live with yourself after shooting a kid dead using nine bullets, from a safe distance, with a lot of backup right beside you? Really, there was no other way to disarm a lone and distant knife wielding teenager? As a member of the public, how do I trust an organization that thinks this kind of killing is reasonable?

I am no stranger to violence, and have relied on the police on several occasions to secure my safety. The males involved in these incidences were violent, resistant to reason, but carried no visible weapons and followed orders from the police. In every instance, the police officer used verbal communication to diffuse the tension, and proceeded from there with no physical force needed. So, I find it hard to characterize the majority of officers as using their powers and weapons in an unreasonable way. My experience was exactly the opposite. I was grateful to the officers involved, truly grateful for their mature and cool headed actions. They did not behave like thugs or a “group of drunk bouncers with guns and tasers” (Bobby Wiseman).

Let us hope that the police forces in North America expunge officers who demonstrate what is, in my opinion, a dangerous lack of judgement, who fail to “serve and protect” all of us, even those lone individuals with knives, and not enough common sense to follow orders from the police. Police forces owe it to the public, to themselves, and to the officers who do a good job, each and every day, to diligently monitor their own.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

0°C
7:00 AM EDT Monday 23 September 2013
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 102.1 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 0.4°C
Dewpoint: 0.4°C
Humidity: 100%
Wind: NNW 5 km/h

Quote

“O, my offence is rank, it smells to heaven;
It hath the primal eldest curse upon ‘t,
A brother’s murder.”
William Shakespeare
1564 – 1616
“Hamlet”, Act 3 scene 3

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4 Responses to Yesterday’s News

  1. wisewebwoman says:

    I hear you on “sports blind” – LOL.

    Also I had seen those phones, fabulous idea but in a culture based on rampant and unceasing consumerism, h’m.

    Police brutality is out of control everywhere.

    XO
    WWW

  2. Maggie says:

    I agree wisewebwoman, the phones, like all fabulous ideas, have little chance of being adopted. I have been around long enough to see a lot fabulous ideas die on the vine for no apparent reason, other than consumers seem only interested in flash and fervour. I live in hope though, and take heart that at least a few people are thinking outside the box of unceasing consumerism!

  3. Irene says:

    Like you, no matter how hard I’ve tried, I’ve never watched sports and gotten hooked on favorite players or closely watched stats etc. The only sport I’ve enjoyed watching was when I was in a stadium watching tennis matches. I used to be a very fine tennis player myself and lapped up the strategies and strokes etc. I could watch tennis every day… but not on TV.

    I recently made a huge upgrade to a reconditioned 4s smartphone. Prior to this upgrade, my phone had zero features – not even capable of photographs. It had incoming and outgoing. It’s taken me a while to get accustomed to my smartphone but I like the convenience of all the tasks. The Verizon shop I use has a box for used phones. I can’t recall the purpose of collecting the old phones, but don’t you suppose it’s for good reasons?

    I’ve never had much to brag about regarding a career but my resume is interesting because my value is in all the variety. I proudly tell people that my primary career was my children. It was never fashionable to relish my career choice, but I loved it. When my *baby* left for college, I mourned that after 35 years I was being forced into retirement. I was a single parent most the years with my youngest so I took on jobs that allowed him to be with me after school – consequently nothing flashy or impressive to talk about a cocktail parties. I tell people my career was my children, but that I had jobs. I’ve never regretted my choice. In fact, my jobs were so dang interesting, I have fabulous stories to regale. 🙂

    I’ve never seen a Mad Maxx movie, but I instinctively think we’re rapidly headed toward that kind of world. Escalating violence is dismaying to say the least.

  4. Maggie says:

    Irene, I do think that those boxes for used cell phones are for recycling purposes. I am not sure how effective the recycling is though, I’ve done no research on that and have not run across any public assessments of recycling efforts by big business.

    For us the charm of the seven year old cell phone is that there has been nothing to recycle for a period of seven years, and we can keep the basic function going for a mere $100 a year. We could not afford the plans available to us, for the smart phones. We use computers and internet access for almost all communication these days, but do not have a mobile internet service, so the cell phone is for use when no internet is available. I do everything from coding to text messaging on my laptop, which is almost always on, and will work from public wifi sites. Skype, for a $30 annual fee, allows me to use the laptop to telephone anywhere in North America; but requires a high speed internet connection.

    I find people making flashy or impressive conversation, such as the ones telling me about their elevated status while I am at work, to be quite boring. They are usually pleasant enough, but I find them boring. Now, a good story, about real people… that is “dang interesting”, as you put it!