Elie Fares (on terror and relativity)

This makes me squirm. It makes me angry. I wish I could say that I was NOT like most people in the so-called developed world, but I was. Bombs in a Beirut street, scores dead, families and communities devastated, made far less impact on me than did the subsequent massacre in Paris. Media attention? Sure, I could blame the media, but as somebody who’s allegedly a world citizen — a Canadian guy trying to learn how to see all human beings as I’d regard my own family — I was stung by the truth of what Mr. Fares wrote, as reported in a challenging New York Times article. Are lives in a context that I somehow feel is closer to mine, in a city where I’ve visited, worth more to me than west Asian ones? Searing question, dangerous times. Apparently, the sufferings of a divided and confused humanity will not be confined to “those parts of the world”…

“When my people died, no country bothered to light up its landmarks in the colors of their flag. When my people died, they did not send the world into mourning. Their death was but an irrelevant fleck along the international news cycle, something that happens in those parts of the world.”

Elie Fares is a young Lebanese doctor and writer. This is only a small piece of his thoughtful, angry, truthful observations in a November 14 blog post. He’s not demeaning the pain of Paris, but challenging its exclusivity.

Sheesh. Gotta love a little global consciousness in NFL stadia. "French Lives Matter", I guess, is better than if they *don't*, but if even SportsCorp is doing it, there's obviously something missing...

Sheesh. Gotta love a little global consciousness in NFL stadia, right?. “French Lives Matter”, I guess, is better than if they *don’t*, but if even SportsCorp is doing it, there’s obviously something missing…


Oliver Sacks (on awakening to the end)

Oliver Sacks is the neurologist and professor who was brought to cinematic life by Robin Williams in Awakenings, helping and observing as Bob DeNiro’s coma patient emerges from the darkness. (Side note which I vaguely promise will not turn into an intolerably long digression, but the length of whose prefatory remarks must even now be giving pause to sensitive and perceptive readers such as you: I notice suddenly the number of films in which Williams is the psychiatrist/healer. Not just Awakenings, but his gruff and brilliant therapist to Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting, and his turn as Patch Adams, the unconventional MD who used humour and nonsense to heal and console his patients. All of which did Williams no good at all in calming his own demons, or so it would seem. Terminate digression.)

Sack’s books on psychological oddities and wonders — Awakenings was his second book, I think, followed by such titles as The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat, Musicophilia, An Anthropologist on Mars — made him famous and beloved, though not always embraced by medical rivals. Now that he’s dying, as he announced recently, I want to read more than I have. Typical.

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Guest Post: Why Me? Why NOT Me?

I posted a short quote from a baseball player, of all things, in the “He Said/She Said” section. It was Mel Stottlemyre, a baseball coach and certifiably Famous Dude within the world of MLB, shrugging and refusing to pity himself for being struck with multiple myeloma, a form of cancer. “Why me? Why not me?” he said in a Steve Rushin article in Sports Illustrated a decade ago, and I’ve never forgotten. (It must be an example I need to remember.) Thoughtful reader Michael Freeman made his comment into a short personal essay, which deserved prime real estate, and here it is:

I don’t know who actually coined this phraseology first, but it took me a long time to come to the same conclusion, if not the same exact language. A coin has two sides, different sides unless you are lucky enough or crafty enough to possess one of those phony two-headed coins of con job fame.

An argument, or debate, in its simplest form has a pro and a con. An island has an east and a west coast. A game has a winner and a loser. Why can’t every why have a why not?

I was leaving an AA meeting one time. I had just joined in the group commiseration of throwing our proverbial dirty laundry into the centre of the table, and shared ideas as to how to proceed. Each meeting is a safe haven where all are welcome to share and discuss and come away feeling just a little bit better. And it usually works, for many, at least along spiritual and emotional lines, but I have always had the nagging of physical discomfort knocking at my door. Daily. Persistent. And at times, relentless.

I stood at the bottom of a staircase bemoaning my condition: festering leg and back pain and a mind distracted by its impact. I hesitated for but a few moments,

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Sports Fix (Lite) in Bangkok

The sporting sun, it was (perhaps) humblingly clear from here, does not rise and set on the tubby arse of North American interests! Now, I’ve been living in China for five years, so I knew this already, but on our annual escape southward – this year, Macau, Thailand and Cambodia – I welcomed the greater availability of some of the comforts of my Canadian home. This sometimes means good English bookstores (salute to Chiangmai, Thailand!), and it too often means affordable ice cream and choco-treats whenever I want them (sheepish salute to 7-11 stores, frequent beacons of tawdry hope and sugar lust in all three places). It has also meant limited access to the Winter Olympics; go figure, Thailand and Cambodia don’t much care!

Other evidence of my lingering athletic biases came in a Bangkok waiting room, where, pulse quickening, I noticed an English-language newspaper, that very day’s edition. Yum!

I love Gothic lettering. I love newspapers that have paper, though I’m reluctantly ready for their demise.

It was my second time running across The Bangkok Post, awakening my old jones for newsprint and crinkling pages folded just so.

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