Monday, April 19, 2010

More from Eyjafjallajokull - The Big Picture -


Just in case you haven't remembered to check out The Big Picture for some amazing shots of the volcano activity in Iceland, here's the link.

What are we going to do if it turns out that we're just at the beginning of a lengthy period of volcanoes spewing ash? Yeah, you're right. We're screwed, as far as air travel goes.

Still, there is something really, really cool about an event like this, isn't there?

More from Eyjafjallajokull - The Big Picture - ""

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Fatal Distraction: Forgetting a Child in the Backseat of a Car Is a Horrifying Mistake. Is It a Crime?

Can there be anything more horrifying than being responsible for your child's death?

This story by Gene Weingarten of the Washington Post won a Pullitzer Prize. It's a terribly sad topic but an important one. Consider this:
"Death by hyperthermia" is the official designation. When it happens to young children, the facts are often the same: An otherwise loving and attentive parent one day gets busy, or distracted, or upset, or confused by a change in his or her daily routine, and just... forgets a child is in the car. It happens that way somewhere in the United States 15 to 25 times a year, parceled out through the spring, summer and early fall. The season is almost upon us.
These are wrenching stories. But they're told by a good writer who shows us why we should care.

Fatal Distraction: Forgetting a Child in the Backseat of a Car Is a Horrifying Mistake. Is It a Crime?: ""

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Books aren't going to disappear soon

It seems that each new release of the latest, greatest tech gadget is quickly followed by people talking about the death of the paper-bound book. So with the release of the iPad last week, we're now seeing stories about how the conventional book business has got to be over.

Dire predictions aside, books are still around, despite the various new ways for people to express themselves. Fortunately, not everyone has jumped on the "end of the book" bandwagon.

Shel Holtz is a social media advocate, a podcaster and also an author and book lover. Today, in "iPad apps won’t replace the narrative art form known as a “book”" he presents a wonderful argument to support his thesis that the book, far from being at death's door, will continue to enjoy an esteemed place in our culture.

It's a great piece and I recommend you head over to his blog to read the whole thing.

Here's a short excerpt:
The notion that reading will wither with the onslaught of new technologies isn’t exactly a new one. The same fears were voiced when television gained popularity. But those unaware of history are doomed to repeat it, so we’re hearing the same old predictions today that were articulated 50 years ago. It didn’t happen then and it won’t happen now. The media landscape is expanding. There are more choices, not replacements, for expression.

What the doomsayers fail to recognize is that writing is, in fact, a form of artistic expression. Photography didn’t kill painting. Movies didn’t kill live theater. Artists continue to find an outlet in these art forms and their work continues to find audiences that love it.

Authors and books are no different.
Here's the link to his post.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The grandfather's perspective

Grandfather.pngI never knew either of my grandfathers. My Dad's father died when he was just a year old. Mom's Dad died many years before I was born.

For most of my life, it wasn't an issue. But now, as I move into the years when I am looking forward to becoming a grandparent, I am more aware of stories of grandparents and their relationships with their children's children. I wonder whether my lack of experience with a grandfather will affect how I act as one.

It's funny how perspective changes everything. It wasn't that long ago that we were warning our kids to be careful. We didn't want any "accidents" to upset the order of their lives. Now, with all of them safely moving past their teens, we're suggesting that this would be a good time to start producing progeny, even if they're not settled down. No wonder kids complain about mixed messages.

I've always heard about how the grand role is different from a parent. Grands I know joke that the good thing is that you get to hand the crying baby back to the parents to handle. But there's obviously more to the relationship.

To be honest, I don't know what sort of grandfather I'm going to be. My own father enjoyed the role but he was not the type to gush about his feelings or let things get too emotional. You weren't always sure how much fun he was having. I suspect that he would have become close to his grandchildren as they got older. Unfortunately, that never happened.

I expect that when it happens, I'll be stunned by what happens. The birth of our son was like that. I was intimately involved in Heather's pregnancy and the preparations for the birth, especially because we were going to be at home. But when Cory arrived, the joy and wonder was unlike anything I'd ever felt before. Then it happened twice more, with the birth of Jaime and then Kelly.

Parenting in all its forms is always life-changing. You are constantly shaped and transformed by what you do and the results. I hope being a grandparent brings that same delight to my life.

Today I came across a moving article by a Victoria writer, Christine Shaw Roome, who wrote about the death of her grandfather at the age of 99. She writes about how her relationship with him evolved as she grew into her own life and learned more about his. They had a special relationship. That's what I'm looking forward to.

By the way, the blog that published Christine's story is called Life as a Human. It describes itself as "a lifezine that explores, celebrates and discusses the weird, wonderful, challenging, funny and poignant experience of being human." I recommend it.

I Don’t Buy the Argument: On Losing a Grandparent : Life As A Human