Sunday, October 08, 2006

Only The Strong Survive

"It is not a sign of good health
to be well adjusted to a sick society."

- J. Krishnamurti

I love American sports. They may have alot of their geopolitical and social priorities all twisted up in fear and greed, but man, do they do sports! Although admittedly, nothing can replace the "beautful game" of football, and in particular the European clubs, the Americans get pretty close with their playoff seasons in both basketball and baseball. Ever since coming down to the Antipodes, the flow and athleticism of rugby has surpassed girdiron or "American Football" for me, but the very uniquely American baseball and basketball showcase individual talents superbly. That can also be a problem for them on the world stage, as their is so much talent, that when they compete together representing the U.S., apart from the familiarity of their clubs, they do not do well. However, there is such tangible passion from the fans, great action, drama, and tactics that highlight the tremendous effort and concentraion that goes into being a professional athlete. These guys are focused. I have often wondered what it would feel like to walk off a stadium with 50,000 people applauding and congratulating your efforts in securing the victory for the home team. Adrenaline surging through the veins is the "juice" that keeps them going like nothing else. Some decide to artificially inject, but why take a needleful of it, when it is freely available after a great performance?

I have been to a couple of new sites recently that may be of interest to some, and certainly has me appreciating the hard work and imagination that goes into creating these entertaining and informative interactive media. Imagination Cubed allows one to draw and share artwork with others collaboratively, which would have all kinds of educational uses, especially to younger ones perhaps just getting their confidence in artistic endeavours. Qunu gives instant real-time help online for those tricky tech problems that may be slowing down your productivity at the keyboard, or just plain annoying you(yes, I have been there). Experts donate their time, and from there, it is up to you to get what you can from them. Both of these came from a great show on BBC called Click, keeping us abreast in laymans terms, with the fast paced world of IT and all its spinoffs. Great presenter and format.

Also worth sharing are a couple of very good docos that are available at, if not your local NetfLix or video shop. One is about the soul singers of the 60's and 70's from Stax records like Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding and the like, some of whom are still alive and performing, with all the amazing energy and rythm of 40 years ago. Only The Strong Survive, is an entertaining and informative DVD I would recommend to anyone who loves the old R&B and soul from the USA. They made it, and are still going.

The other is a PBS documentary called The Persuaders, all about the innovative and insidious efforts marketers are making in these times to separate you from your money. In this age of YouTube and MySpace, advertisers increasingly require a dialogue with consumers in order to keep their attention, rather than just broadcast messages at them. This kind of emotional branding helps sort out the clutter for us, so we know just exactly what we want. Products and services that reflect our values and lifestyle, and of course, they have just that. Yeah right. The best line in the whole film is someone defining what the secret of real persuasion is: Inducing a person to persude themselves. OK then.

On a totally different note, and one closer to my passion, would be the elegant and ephemeral work of Andy Goldsworthy, and Scottish artist whose sculptures made in collaboration with the natural world around him is shown brilliantly in the film Rivers and Tides. A truly great documentary, that I enjoy every time I see it.

There are some cultural highlights of a visual nature for your library. Before leaving this post, I must share one article which seemed to sum up well the futility of madness involved in recent shootings of Amish schoolgirls. From The Australian, as well as other sources, the media reports seem to focus on how the Amish have been able to accept and forgive such an horrendous violation of their peaceful lives. Perhaps even though they are not immune to the violence all around them, more people now realise why they choose to live the life they do. And how it helps them to stay together.

Whatever works.

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