Sunday, October 05, 2014

It's more fun in...

Now here's a place whose beauty will soon be discovered by more and more people the world over -- and I'm not even just referring to the picturesque scenes one can enjoy here. Cebu -- located in the central-southern part of my country, the Philippines -- has among the most captivating beaches on the planet (even international travel publications have attested to this) but the province's charm goes way beyond these. It's the people, the food, the fiestas, the history, and a whole lot more. Nevertheless, the captivating sights and sites of Cebu are truly something, as shown in this short video.

And now that major refurbishment on the Mactan-Cebu International Airport will soon be underway, that means more travelers discovering the place and probably wanting to go back again and again.







"Do as I do"






Saturday, October 04, 2014

"A hearty dose of tough love..." from a Russian sibling



Being cultured has somewhat been likened to being knowledgeable in the arts, being polished in one's manners, in one's demeanor when interacting with others, or being of a certain social class. Well, what does it mean really to be cultured? Below is something one doesn't come across everyday in these times. It starts off with this:

What does it mean to be “cultured”? Is it about being a good reader, or knowing how to talk about books you haven’t read, or having a general disposition of intellectual elegance? That’s precisely the question beloved Russian author Anton Chekhov (1860-1904) considers in a letter to his older brother Nikolai, an artist. The missive, written when Anton was 26 and Nikolai 28 and found in Letters of Anton Chekhov to his Family and Friends (public domainpublic library), dispenses a hearty dose of tough love and outlines the eight qualities of cultured people — including honesty,altruism, and good habits:


And here's a part I find quite striking:


They are sincere, and lying like fire. They don’t lie even in small things. A lie is insulting to the listener and puts him in a lower position in the eyes of the speaker. They do not pose, they behave in the street as they do at home, they do not show off before their humbler comrades. They are not given to babbling and forcing their uninvited confidences on others. Out of respect for other people’s ears they more often keep silent than talk.




Monday, September 29, 2014

A holy "shadow" finally comes out into the light

That is how some have regarded the raising to the altars of Alvaro del Portillo, a Spanish priest and the successor of St. Josemaria Escriva as the prelate of Opus Dei, a Personal Prelature of the Catholic Church. He was beatified on Sept. 27, 2014, with more than a hundred thousand from around the world trooping to Madrid, his birthplace, for the ceremony.



Blessed Alvaro del Portillo




Fr. Francis Ongkingko, a priest of the Prelature, pens a reflection of his encounter with the recently-declared-Blessed Alvaro:


“A Teacup without Tea”
By Rev. Father Francis Ongkingko*

“You are, as we say in Spain, like a teacup without tea!” remarked Bishop Álvaro del Portillo. This was his amusing reply when he learned that I didn’t really know a single Chinese word despite my very Chinese-sounding family name.
Back then in 1992, this sounded like a mere passing remark by Bishop Álvaro, or “the Father” –as we familiarly and fondly call him– to lighten the conversation for his Filipino son who was nervously wrestling with the vocabulary and grammar of spoken Spanish.
It would only be years later, after reading a more recent and detailed biography of Father Álvaro, that I would realize how intensely he had set his heart and mind on the expansion of Opus Dei in Asia. Knowledge of either Mandarin or Cantonese was indispensable to begin and incorporate oneself in that vast continent thirsty for God. Thus, his passing commentary was something both serious and urgent.
It wasn’t actually my first time to meet Father Álvaro. I was fortunate enough to greet him personally when he visited the Philippines in 1987.  I had just known Opus Dei then. Listening to him opened many horizons, especially the mission that we, his children in the Philippines, had in the whole of Asia.
He also reminded us about our role in the Church, as we had to be vital supports for the Pope, the Bishops and our other faithful. His personal meetings with then Pope John Paul II helped us to pray more and accompany closely the Holy Father.
I remember one particular anecdote about a late afternoon audience he had with Saint John Paul II. Noticing that the Pope arrived very tired and was dragging his feet, Father Álvaro said with filial concern, “Holy Father, you are very tired.” John Paul II promptly replied, “If I’m not tired at this hour of the day, then I’m not doing my job.” This and many other stories from Father Álvaro filled us with a richer outlook in our faith and also with greater optimism to carry out our apostolic mission.
I now return to my story about the empty teacup. Not only because that was perhaps my last encounter with Father Álvaro, but because it now affords me with a new lesson.
Indeed, it would have been wonderful if my ‘teacup had some tea’ but learning Mandarin may not be one of the chapters in my life. I realized, however, whether one knows Chinese or not, we all have –as Father Álvaro had taught and lived all his life– the serious obligation to fill ourselves to the brim. This is by carrying out the simplest duties at hand, where God expects us to serve him, with constant love and sacrifice.
-----------------------------

*Father Francis Ongkingko is a priest of the Prelature of Opus Dei who resides in Manila.




St. John Paul II and Blessed Alvaro during the latter's episcopal ordination







And here's a short video about the miracle concerning a Chilean baby, attributed to Blessed Alvaro's intercession and which led to his beatification. The boy -- now 11-year-old Jose Ignacio Ureta -- was at the beatification rites with his parents.



Saturday, August 02, 2014

war and PEACE







"You can bomb the world to pieces... but you can't bomb it into peace."



 

Enjoying the fruits... er, candy of their labor



How fascinating it is to watch these cacao farmers in Africa learning about chocolate -- and getting a taste of it for the first time! It sure prompts me to remember that I'm given many things that I fail to appreciate.

To get a more detailed account of the processes involved in turning cacao into chocolate candy, here's a video you can watch. Enjoy!






Sunday, May 18, 2014

Twins, tennis & truly amazing shots!






A lot of women the world over give birth, and while the transmission of life is a marvelous phenomenon to contemplate from time to time, it happens quite often that it has somewhat been taken for granted.

A couple of weeks ago, however, had me -- and countless others -- overjoyed over a piece of news about the birth of twins, primarily because their dad was tennis great Roger Federer, and also since these were the younger siblings of twin sisters. How amazing is that? I was amused by a comment below one of the articles I read -- imagine if all four kids grew up to be legendary tennis players as well, and all you'd see in the Grand Slams are "Federer vs. Federer" or "Federer/Federer vs. so and so" (a doubles team is not unlikely), said the commenter. Then of course on the sidelines would be, who else? Dad and Mom Federer!

Well, I'm just heartened by the Swiss Mister's sense of priorities, as shown in the story.

Meanwhile, below are some videos that reveal more about the World's current number 4. Enjoy!












* Photo of the Madrid Open Final 2012 from RogerFedererFans.com


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Saturday, April 05, 2014

'Painting' on the silence



Music is the universal language of mankind. 

~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow













Take a music bath once or twice a week for a few seasons. 
You will find it is to the soul what a water bath is to the body. 

~Oliver Wendell Holmes



Monday, March 31, 2014

The spirit of a boy or the wisdom of a man






You can watch a better-quality version of the video right on the website of the Foundation for A Better Life, which produced it and other great materials. Plus, the lyrics of the accompanying song are included in that version.

Another video -- titled Dishes -- that points out something easily taken for granted in relationships is here


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Let's get 'graphic'






















And some "women's advocates" in my country are stubbornly pushing for a law that ignores all these.

I sure hope my faith -- and that of many others -- in the Supreme Court of the Philippines to do the right thing and uphold the Constitution will be justified. April 8 -- the crucial date.


Monday, March 24, 2014

It's really not about dos and don'ts


Sometimes it takes a while to see the big picture. But basically this is what this virtue is anchored on:








Seeing this reminded me of a fascinating video called "The economics of sex" which, apart from pointing out some ideas about relationships and sex worth considering, features awesome artwork (to me it looks like doodling because the artist makes it look so easy). Check it out in this previous post.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Beyond the costume






Who's your favorite "superhero" among the crime-fighting crusaders that pop culture has entrenched into the consciousness of pop culture-watchers? You know, among those who fly, don form-fitting costumes (usually caped and usually made of spandex), and have super-strength? Mine isn't Ironman, though I do find the character's wit funny. I suppose it's because my idea of a superhero since being a child involves clearer demonstrations of virtue than what this Marvel hero normally shows in the movies.

But in the short video below, I don't see Ironman in the actor who plays him. Witty he definitely continues to be, but Robert Downey, Jr. does much, much more here than spice up a speech with his humor. The event happened several years ago and, thanks to a friend who posted the video on Facebook, I got to see it and thus acquired a new perspective on the actor, on the other actor (the subject of his words), and on the twists and turns that life puts us through.

Below the video is another piece of material that I found myself reading voraciously till the end. Yet another source of points and discoveries to ponder.







Here's an excerpt from the article A Journalist's Plea on the 10th Anniversary of 'The Passion of the Christ': Hollywood, Take Mel Gibson Off Your Blacklist --

It might sound naïve after 20 years writing about celebrities, but my friendship with Gibson made me reconsider other celebrities whose public images became tarnished by the media’s rush to judge and marginalize the rich and famous. Whether it’s Gibson, Tom Cruise or Alec Baldwin, the descent from media darling to pariah can happen quickly after they do something dumb. I was part of that pack of journalists paid to pounce, so I know. I consider myself intelligent, someone who makes up her own mind, but just like readers do, I have accepted some reports at face value. The press said that based on Gibson’s statements, he was a homophobe, a misogynist, a bully, an ant-Semite, so he must be. What he was, I discovered, was an alcoholic whose first outburst was captured after he fell off the wagon. What the later release of audiotapes showed was a man with a frightening temper, capable of saying whatever will most offend the target of his anger.


* Illustration by Andy Fairhurst

Summer is upon us in the tropics once again...



... and even my dog finds the temperature too much to handle without a hat.






Good thing dogs don't need topical sunscreen. But we could use some of it everyday, particularly if our days have us going out in the sun even for just minutes at a time (unless you're an infant getting your daily dose of vitamin D in the early morning sun).  Concern about sun exposure goes beyond skin-deep, after all.


Friday, March 14, 2014

Hope and healing for the cancer patient's family







The diagnosis of cancer is too often equated with a dead-end sign on a road. It may feel that way both for the patient and his family, especially upon being told the news by the doctor. But the fact is, while there are indeed some dead-end signs on the road of life, cancer is not one of them because life goes on amid the treatment sessions, physical pains, expressions of concern from relatives and friends, and the regular day-to-day tasks, which all cancer patients go through. Life remains a journey headed for the same destination, and a terminal illness – like any other significant condition or incident one experiences – simply means making adjustments and preparations accordingly. Call them “detours” or “bumpy roads” but as with any challenge a family member faces, the rest of the family ought to be there to guide him towards the destination, accompanying and supporting him through rough roads, bleak stretches, and serene moments.

A serious illness affects the entire family, and cancer is normally a remarkable source of stress for everyone involved – after all, no one relishes seeing a loved one suffer. The expenses incurred, too, can put considerable pressure on the family. But as with any challenge, it is outlook and practical measures which determine the way the situation progresses and, inadvertently, how both patient and family will handle all that comes with a terminal illness.

Here are some realities to consider about healing, family life, and terminal illness which may empower a family to be just what is needed at a time like this – an ally, together with the doctors, in truly accompanying and supporting the loved one with cancer.

Caregiver burnout 
Caring for a person with cancer may mean light tasks like preparing meals and driving him to and from the hospital for treatments, or more demanding ones such as giving baths, helping him deal with the medication’s side effects, or delegating some work-related duties at the spouse’s office when he can no longer carry out the tasks himself. One common source of stress is when providing care for the beloved consumes a lot of time and energy on the part of the primary caregiver – often the husband or wife, or the closest relative in the absence of a spouse, says palliative care specialist Liza Manalo, M.D. of the Cancer Center at The Medical City.

“Even the nurses have shifting in taking care of patients, so family members should also have some kind of shifting, taking turns. Schedule the caregiving… not just one person caring for the patient 24/7 because that’s what makes him prone to caregiver fatigue,” Dr. Manalo explains.

“Can you imagine the backache you’ll have due to lifting the patient if he is immobile? That’s so painful, and that aggravates the stress. Because of the pain you can’t sleep, or some family members can’t eat because they’re at the beck and call of the patient. Be realistic -- if you’re not sleeping well or eating well, you’ll get sick,” she adds.

In other words, no single family member should take on the responsibilities of caring for the cancer patient, everyone pitches in according to what he can give, and hiring a part-time caregiver is recommended should the need arise.

Imagined guilt 
Closely related to the matter of caregiver burnout is the tendency of some family members to stop engaging in hobbies and other regular activities to devote all their time to their sick beloved. This can take a toll on the person’s health, according to Dr. Manalo, and even put a strain on relationships. If you may be in such a situation, the physician points out that rest and recreation are fine even when a loved one is serious ill. She encounters quite a few who experience such feelings of guilt and recalls a counseling session she had with a patient’s wife.

“I told her ‘think of things you enjoy. Don’t stop doing them. What about hiring a caregiver for two hours a day or a few days of the week then you do that?’ It could be anything -- reading, knitting, playing mahjong, taking a warm bath, going out with friends. It depends on what you enjoy, what will make you relax,” she says. 

The doctor explains some may feel guilt-ridden and end up having unrealistic expectations of themselves. But devoting all of one’s energy to the care of the sick family member is unhealthy. She recalls gently teasing the lady in one instance: “’You’re going to die sooner than your spouse because you’re so stressed that you’re going to have a heart attack,’ I teased her. ‘O, ingat tayo para di ka mag-develop ng stress-related cancer. You don’t want to be my patient…’ to which the cancer patient’s wife agreed.

Proper closure
As mentioned earlier, receiving a diagnosis of cancer does not mean a dead end. What it has actually been to many is an eye opener – one that has led them to re-evaluate their life, sort out and determine their priorities, and prepare well for whatever will come. The possibility that the time one spends in this life will be shortened has a way of jolting anyone into taking another perspective on life. Fortunately, such a shift in perspective – with the guidance of those around him – can help the cancer patient achieve proper closure by the time he breathes his last. And what family does not want this for their beloved? Knowing that he was able to settle personal, professional and family matters, and is prepared for whatever will come after he dies, expectedly gives the family peace of mind, too.

Dr. Manalo emphasizes that the family has a significant role to play in the patient’s achieving proper closure, and points to the results of local and foreign studies concerning end-of-life issues – specifically, what patients consider a good death.

“According to studies and to the testimonies of my former patients, a good death is always equal to good closure, and good closure is defined as you closing all the spheres of your life,” she says.

“Personal closure refers to your dreams and ambitions – you put a closure to these. Professional closure…in your work, has your work been turned over to the person who will take on your job after you’re gone?”

“Family closure, meaning you put things right that had gone wrong in family relationships,” Dr. Manalo continues. “It’s time to say sorry or it’s time to receive the apologies of the people who may have offended you.”

The doctor added that palliative care includes assisting the patient and the family even in achieving financial closure, from reminding them of bank policies regarding deceased account holders and the bereaved family, to broaching the need for a written will if there is none, to even helping them make decisions concerning interment details.

“It’s an unpleasant topic to talk about but once they have accepted the reality that the patient is dying, we move on to that,” Dr. Manalo says, adding that in many cases, the patient has already talked about such details with the family because communication lines were open.

“Once I have helped the patient and the family achieve closure, most of the patients who have been under our care die very peacefully – I’m very happy to say that.”

Hence, it is no surprise that families that keep the patient in the dark about the seriousness of his condition experience additional stress. How then is the terminally ill patient to go about fixing his affairs and preparing for a good death when in the first place he is unaware that he has little time left?

“Keeping the truth from the ill patient always creates barriers because you’ll always be acting out a farce, because the reality is the patient is terminally ill. So it creates an unnecessary barrier and the lines of communication are not open,” the palliative care specialist laments. “And this is the time when the lines of communication should be really open.”

Faith and optimism
“There will always be that aspect of uncertainty in our life,” she continues, “so the best is to take each day as it comes, to think of each day as a gift. And a gift is freely given by someone else – God.”
                                                            
While most people think only of the physical and medical aspect of care, specialists in palliative care, are trained in psycho-social support and spiritual care, which end up boosting the faith and optimism of patients.

“Even this idea of going back to the sacraments, fostering spiritual life, a life of prayer, having devotions…this is part of the care given to patients,” Dr. Manalo says.

Overcoming fears
After talking with patients’ families, through which concerns are threshed out, the doctor learns that what keeps them from disclosing the truth to their loved one is often the fear that the patient will sink into depression upon being told of the diagnosis. But when Dr. Manalo assures them that she can prevent depression and that she will be there for the patient, “most of the time they get convinced,” she says.
                                 
Apparently, psycho-social counseling – which palliative care is all about – goes a long way in enabling cancer patients to face their journey resolutely and peacefully and in helping families truly accompany their loved one the whole way. When the family is able to see past the dead-end sign, the more they can support their loved one through the bumpy roads and bleak stretches expected in the journey of every cancer patient. 


Health.Care magazine
First Quarter 2014 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

On testosterone, romance, and "supply & demand"

What a novel way to explore the topic of sex, relationships, and how the lopsided picture which is currently in favor of men can be set right. And here are a few lines from the fascinating video below that should make us consider what's going on --

"For a woman to know what she wants in a relationship and to signal it clearly especially if it's different than what most men want, this is her power in the economy. But none of these things seem to be occurring -- not now, at least. Today the economics of contemporary sexual relationships clearly favor men and what they want, even while what they are offering in exchange has diminished."







Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Letting purple set your (heart) beat


Do you need courage? Ask for it. Do you need humility? Ask for it. Do you need to be pure in a world filled with temptation? Ask for it. Are you trying to overcome an explosive temper? Ask for patience. If you don’t ask, you won’t receive— it’s that simple.
Our Lent will be completely wasted if we aren’t praying. Fasting and almsgiving will simply become sources of pride if we aren’t approaching them prayerfully. No matter what else you are planning to do for Lent, prayer should be first on the list.






For those who value spiritual nourishment and let the living God lead the way, these days are an apt time to intensify this cultivation of the spiritual life. Today is Ash Wednesday, the start of the season of repentance and renewal. The excerpt up there is from an article someone posted on Facebook and you can read it in full here.

I just realized that a blog can come in handy for storing status messages one posts, since these messages tend to go way down one's timeline particularly when one is an "enthusiastic poster". And one can only do so much scrolling down to look for a post from days/weeks before! So because I need reminders like the one below (which I posted on my timeline not long ago) time and again, let me put it here as well:

Thanks to a friend's status message, I realized that a sincere desire to live Lent meaningfully would probably include a conscious effort to refrain from gossiping -- whether starting it or participating in it. Maybe some folks will go nuts over this, but if that's the case then it sounds like a great workout for the soul! And the prospect of a "toned soul" is a more worthwhile goal to aim for than a "flabby" one, I suppose.

Thinking of your own ways of putting more meaning into Lent instead of merely watching the season come and go? Figuring out if it's going to be "giving up something" or "doing more of something"? Or maybe a little of both? Suggestions worth considering on what things to give up are in this article. A sample:


14.  Your pillow.  Oh shut up, yes you can.
16.  Checking your email every five minutes.  Read a paragraph of Evangelii Gaudium instead.

20.  Satire.  It’s just sooo not funny.

22.  The car radio.  It’s okay to talk to yourself.

25.  Sarcasm.  Also not funny.

35.  The closest parking spot.  Think of your long walk into Walmart as a miniature Appalachian Trail.




Friday, February 28, 2014

Choosing tangible connections



In this day and age in which a remarkable chunk of society seems almost obsessed with social media, and mainstream culture is influenced way too much by trends on Facebook, Twitter and other networking sites, it's refreshing to hear about someone -- and a high-profile individual at that -- who doesn't go for the whole "I'll broadcast my idea on Twitterdom" thing and to hear her explain it so simply.






Tuesday, February 25, 2014

In good company?





One day several months ago, on Facebook:


"You are the average of the company you keep. Choose wisely."  ~ Leah Darrow


"...and then you should examine if within your group [you are] raising or lowering the average!" ~ commenter


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Seeing gratitude in the age of the quick "tnx"



"If you have nothing to be grateful for, check your pulse."


That's what it said on the sticky note I saw somewhere, driving home a point that's been expressed in countless other ways but which can easily be done away with. Somehow, "count your blessings" just doesn't have the same impact (the inevitable fate of cliches) -- unless you're a 10-year-old benefiting from a teaching moment with your mom or your lolo and probably hearing the proverb for the first time.

One thing I realized a couple of nights ago was that listening to people, one after another, express their gratitude can lead to the equivalent of the happy hormone kicking in. I'm not sure if hormones "kick in" (oxytocin is what I have in mind) but I'm certain that if wires, adhesives and other monitoring gadgets were attached to my body, my brain would indicate lots of activity in the "delight area." In other words, I was happy! Here's what happened: I explored a dozen or so videos of acceptance speeches given at various Academy Awards ceremonies. Was I pleasantly surprised. I won't tell you more but let me share with you a few of those that I loved, whether for the actors' spontaneity, sense of gratitude, wit, or apparent other-centeredness.






















Tuesday, February 18, 2014

How Life is going around the world


Would you like to go around the world in 8... headlines? Here's a glimpse of news and features concerning life and family matters.






Bolivia says no to abortion: Recognizes "right to life" from conception
by Youth Defence | La Paz, Bolivia | LifeNews.com | 2/17/14 7:16 PM

A judge in Bolivia has ruled that abortion is considered a crime and that the law of the land recognizes the ‘right of life from the moment of conception’. 



Pro-Life students fight back after University of Alabama crushes free speech
by Kristan Hawkins | Montgomery, AL | LifeNews.com | 2/17/14 11:26 AM

Today, Students for Life of America is calling for the University of Alabama to reverse their decision to tear down a pro-life bulletin board and issue an apology to Bama Students for Life.



DOH exec: If RH Law is junked, implementation still on
 (philstar.com) |

MANILA, Philippines - A Department of Health (DOH) official admitted that the contents of the controversial Reproductive Health Law can still be implemented by the agency even without the measure.

Doctor Ruben Siapno, DOH National Capital Region assistant regional director, said in a recent media conference that family planning services can still be provided even if the Supreme Court decides that the law is unconstitutional.


KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Monday ordered changes to a draft of new criminal legislation in response to an international outcry warning it would severely limit justice for victims of domestic abuse, his spokesman said. - See more at: http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/afghan-leader-orders-changes-womens-rights-law#sthash.1BDrlxzj.dpuf

Belgium poised to complete legalization of euthanasia for children
February 17, 2014

Euthanasia is a culture of death which knows no boundaries.  Once begun, it spreads like cancer to include additional diseases, conditions and even age groups.  The latest domino to fall is action in Belgium to legalize euthanasia for children.  Yes — for children.  In December, the Belgian Senate voted for legalization by a 50-17 vote and the Chamber of Representatives followed suit last week by an overwhelming vote of 88-44 with 12 abstentions to approve.   

King Philippe, Belgium’s constitutional head of state, is expected to sign the legislation into law.



Urgent: Tell the FDA what you think about "three-parent" embryos
Sunday, February 16, 2014

On February 25th and 26th, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will be having a meeting to discuss allowing the technique that creates embryos with three genetic parents to proceed to clinical trials. The "three-parent" embryo technique is also called mitochondrial replacement, maternal spindle transfer, or oocyte modification. 



Pope urges engaged couples to build marriage on "rock of love"

By Elise Harris

.- During a special encounter with engaged couples, Pope Francis emphasized that to love someone forever is possible if we are humble, and that marriage should be a celebration filled with joy.



"She will live on forever within Iver": Canadian "brain dead" woman gives birth to healthy son
By Peter Baklinski / Tue, Feb. 11, 2014, 13:32 EST

VICTORIA, British Columbia, February 11, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Canadian father and husband is experiencing an impossible mix of emotions at the birth of his first child followed by the passing of his wife, who was declared ‘brain dead’ by doctors in December.



Disabled brother inspires Alex Bilodeau's gold medal run
Reuters, Feb. 10/ 6:15 pm EST

ROSA KHUTOR, Russia - Alex Bilodeau toiled for fours years to retain his Olympic moguls title on Monday but said that was nothing compared to the struggles of his inspirational brother, who has cerebral palsy. - See more at: http://www.nbcolympics.com/news/disabled-brother-inspires-alex-bilodeaus-gold-medal-run#sthash.rIx5w3xE.dpuf
ROSA KHUTOR, Russia - Alex Bilodeau toiled for fours years to retain his Olympic moguls title on Monday but said that was nothing compared to the struggles of his inspirational brother, who has cerebral palsy. - See more at: http://www.nbcolympics.com/news/disabled-brother-inspires-alex-bilodeaus-gold-medal-run#sthash.rIx5w3xE.dpuf
ROSA KHUTOR, Russia - Alex Bilodeau toiled for fours years to retain his Olympic moguls title on Monday but said that was nothing compared to the struggles of his inspirational brother, who has cerebral palsy. - See more at: http://www.nbcolympics.com/news/disabled-brother-inspires-alex-bilodeaus-gold-medal-run#sthash.rIx5w3xE.dpuf





Saturday, February 15, 2014

Online shaming, the 'age of awesome' & other features of our times



What do you do with hundreds of bookmarked links on your computer that have been bookmarked for over a year? Leave them there? That's what I've done... after repeatedly telling myself I will delete some of them because -- let's face it -- most of these just stay there without serving any purpose other than reminding me they're there just in case I'll need them/want to read them again in the future. Well, a while ago I've decided that I'll delete like mad. A lot of the materials make for good reading and do contain substantial points worth remembering or pondering -- even living by.

So, why would I keep such materials to myself? I'm randomly picking several that I'd like to share with you, starting them with an excerpt from each link:


I hadn’t fallen out of love with my husband, not remotely, but the intense self-sacrifice that was being asked of me during our first walk through a valley was enough to make a part of me yearn for my days of singlehood. Having naively expected the honeymoon to last forever, I was caught off-guard by the challenge of caring for someone I wasn’t currently feeling dizzyingly, head-over-heels, madly in love with. What had always come easy—nurturing my man and marriage—was, for the first time, hugely difficult without the consolation of romantic sentiment. In the blink of an eye, a bucket of ice cold water had crashed over my naïve, fanciful visions of what marriage was all about.

Read Refined by Fire

* * * * * * * * * *

When I was a kid, I wanted to be an international playboy. I wasn’t sure what that was, but I liked the sound of it. I imagined yachts would somehow be involved and top models. And planes: lots of planes flying hither and thither over impossibly blue skies. The day would start in New York and end in Martinique, perhaps with a stop-off for lunch in Miami, if I could be bothered. I didn’t really get to live that life (thank God), but I see it up close now and then and it makes me giggle.

Read The Virtues of Fine in the Age of Awesome

* * * * * * * * * * *

Conversations, as they tend to play out in person, are messy—full of pauses and interruptions and topic changes and assorted awkwardness. But the messiness is what allows for true exchange. It gives participants the time—and, just as important, the permission—to think and react and glean insights. “You can’t always tell, in a conversation, when the interesting bit is going to come,” Turkle says. “It’s like dancing: slow, slow, quick-quick, slow. You know? It seems boring, but all of a sudden there’s something, and whoa.”
Occasional dullness, in other words, is to be not only expected, but celebrated. Some of the best parts of conversation are, as Turkle puts it, “the boring bits.” In software terms, they’re features rather than bugs.

Read Saving the Lost Art of Conversation


* * * * * * * * * *

When Mike “Gabe” Krahulik, the artist behind the popular webcomic Penny Arcade, heard that an unprofessional PR rep for a game controller had been insulting and taunting one of his readers, he gleefully posted the damning emails to his website, along with the man’s Twitter name, for the express purpose of unleashing the Internet kraken.
“I have a real problem with bullies,” Krahulik wrote, after the marketer was deluged with hate mail. “I spent my childhood moving from school to school and I got made fun of every place I landed. I feel like he is a bully and maybe that’s why I have no sympathy here. Someday every bully meets an even bigger bully, and maybe that’s me in this case.”

But even if you think your bullying is serving a greater good, the fact remains that you’re still just a bully.

Read Why You Should Think Twice Before Shaming Anyone on Social Media


* Illustration from Creative Educator



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