Tuesday, September 26, 2006

If the World was 100 People

This is a copy of a post I made on the SAD Blog.
An email went round the world, based on Donella Meadows idea, helping us understand the huge numbers of people in the world in terms of a Village of 100 People.

Its been going round the world since 1990... Jane used it in her GCSE presentation... Wendy got a copy of it from a friend... I've used it at club... and we talked about it on Tuesday... if you want to know more or want to pass it on, check out the following sites.

100 People: A World Portrait is a video with some American 4th Graders (based on the original 1990 data)

Miniature Earth is a 2001 updated video

The Geography Site has a 2005 updated list...

...and if we can't find an updated video...let's make one!

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Sunday, September 24, 2006

Love Loses Nothing in Translation

Love loses nothing in translation
It is not bound by borders
Or lost at sea
Love does not need a passport or a visa
Or want to be reduced to a number on a list or tattooed arm

Love offers no violence
It is not a physical or emotional weapon of war
Or a mushroom cloud of hate
Love is not an accomplice in the downfall of good
Or a conspirator in its own destruction and the annihilation of peace

Love has no price
It has no barcode at the back
Or tag or bag,
Love has no closing down sales for designer love
Or sweatshop logos mass produced in the name of free love

Love leaves nothing in darkness
It does not bury the truth
Or cover up injustice
Love does not hide under the carpet
Or behind the red velvet curtains of the Wizard of Oz

Love is not limited
It never closes its mind to the vastness of possibility
Or sit in pre-judgement or dream of discrimination
Love does not label
Or place people in boxes to be filed according to category, class or caste

Love has no carbon footprint
It is not unsustainable or un-renewable or un-recyclable
Or cause acid rain
Love does not lead a parasitic existence on the earth
Or take for granted the ground beneath its feet

Love has no ego
It does not bully, abuse, threaten or cause pain
Or neglect
Love cannot put others down to build itself up or manipulate for personal gain
Or show up on and under the skin as scars of cuts and bruises and broken bones

Love cannot dwell in fear
It is not so terrified of what it has being taken away, that it is greedy
Or selfish or unsharing
Love does not leave people out in the cold
Or grow profits instead of food when bellies are empty

Love has no wilderness
It does not seek freedom at other people's expense
Or liberty
Love does not challenge hope
Or imprison and torture what it disagrees with or cannot comprehend

Love loses nothing in translation
It is not bound by borders
Or lost at sea
Love does not need a passport or a visa
Or want to be reduced to a number on a list or tattooed arm

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Recent Influences

Book: Non-Fiction
The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

Full of facinating facts on how change works and how to make change...how to create social epidemics...a handbook for change.

How Little Things can Make a Difference, his title continues - and encourages us to start positive social epidemics of our own.

It asks questions like:

Why do teens smoke in greater and greater numbers, when every single person in the country knows that cigarettes kill?

Why is word-of-mouth so powerful?

What makes TV shows like Sesame Street & Blues Clues so good at teaching kids how to read?

The title The Tipping Point comes from the study of epidemics where at some stage the epidemic in question reaches its critical mass. For Aids it was 1982 where it tipped from a rare disease affecting a few to a worldwide epidemic. Similar applies to New York's unbelievably high crime/murder rate which tipped and fell in the mid 1990s. The same tipping point is described in areas from suicide to cigarette smoking to mass shootings to literacy to general attitude change.

If you want a message spread or a concept 'sold', this is the book for you.

Love it and looking forward to studying it more closely and starting some positive epidemics.

Book: Fiction
Paula Spencer by Roddy Doyle

I read the earlier novel about this character called The Woman Who Walked into Doors about the prison that a violent relationship can create in someones mind and I was keen to read about what happened to this woman if she managed to escape her prison of mind.

As the Guardian puts it:

If the first novel deals with the vicissitudes of mind, fantasy and delusion that allowed her to remain in a violent relationship, the sequel deals with the forensic process of recovery.

The book gave me a sense of hope for the seemingly hopeless, for the vulnerable who seem to be caught up in the circumstances both outside their control and at the same time seemingly of their own making. And wakes me up to the difficulties with which any addict gets up every morning and faces the world and how I should be thankful that my load in life is so light.

Film: Documentary
An Inconvenient Truth by Al Gore

Reviews all over are predominantly great...as is my review. For those of us who are already converted to the cause and understand the importance of Global Warming issues it has lots to teach us and for the unconverted it has lots to teach you too.

The documentary took us on tour with Al Gore to Universities and Conferences where he speaks and shows slide shows in an effort to spread the word about the effects of Climate Change and how we might stop it. He takes us through his personal life to give examples of how problems can be over come, tragedy dealt with and how difficulties in life can teach us how to cope and mistakes how to do better in future.

The film is strangely 'entertaining' - I laughed and cried, it was a bit of an emotional roller-coaster, which I wasn't ready for considering it was a documentary on Global Warming.

It is worth seeing - it makes a lot of sense and will help us all to make better informed decisions. If you haven't seen it - see it... I'd go again if you want company.

BTW Check out the big STOP CLIMATE CHAOS event on November 4th from 1-3 at Trafagar Square.

The Top Hat Forfeit

A Top Hat full of money...great idea...
  • English pounds
  • Northern Irish Pounds
  • Scottish Pounds
  • Jersey Pounds
  • Isle of Man Pounds
  • Maltese Pounds
  • Euros
  • Hong Kong Dollars
  • Metal & Plastic Coins

A man at a local bank offers us the contents of his Top Hat, full of conference forfeits for being late, mobiles going off and other such misdeamenors.

Keeley and I thank him, shake his hand and were mildly disappointed that we hadn't seen the aforementioned Top Hat.

We get over it swiftly - delighted that we have reached, with another donation, a Jack Petchey Award and two Summer Sales, the first £1000 mark for our proposed youth project in Africa.

We are thinking of using a fundraising idea based on the Top Hat Forfeit - we are sure other companies would love it - they get more people behaving appropriately and at the same time are doing something for charity.


Monday, September 18, 2006

Say Yes More

and the stranger on the bus said say YES more... so he did...

So Danny Wallace was told by a stranger on a bus to....

Say YES more

He did...he started for 24 hours and found that he liked it...did it for a week and found himself pledging to do it for the rest of the year...with sometimes unfortunate and in the main hilarious consequences. He adopted at least 3 grannies, applied for countless credit cards which in turn paid for the many trips he had to take in the UK and abroad...all in the name of saying YES to friends, strangers and any kid of media suggestions whether in the form of an advertisement on TV or print.

So what? you say, why should I read it?

What I got from this book was...

  • belly wobbling laughter
  • tears of absolute, out and out, funny bone tickling joy
  • a mother's thinking I was a) suffering from a mental health linked issue - talking and laughing to myself, b) laughing and talking to someone on the phone or c) having a breakdown leading to a)
  • my mother's partner asking, via my mother, if he could have the book after me, because anything that made me laugh that much he had to read
  • laughter from my mother and her partner - laughing at me laughing and hearing the stories from the book
  • an insight into what it would be like to say YES to every question, opportunity, favour and demand in life and the mainly interesting, bizarre, exciting and joyful places it could take you
  • an uplifting of my spirits from all of the above
  • a free return ticket to anywhere in Europe

I know, you are thinking to yourself, ok I can understand it being funny, even hysterically funny and being uplifting and insightful but since when did a book, however funny, uplifiting and insightful it is provide free return tickets to anywhere in Europe?

Well might you ask.

So it went like this. Here I am sitting in the plane minding my own business and an announcement goes like this....

We will be selling refreshments now, so buy any item and you may be the lucky passenger who will win a return ticket with our airline.

So I think to myself, could I be bothered? The guy beside me is asleep and I will have to lean over him, my change is in my bag, I don't really want to talk to the stewardess because I don't really want to talk to anyone and there is no point anyway because it won't be me.

So when I was asked if I would like anything from the refreshment trolley, I thought of what Danny Wallace would do and said YES...got a bottle of water and a ticket...the number of which was called out...and I was the passenger to win a return ticket with the airline.

And the point...none really from this...its really in the book where Danny discovers its not about just saying YES, its about being more positive, being more open to opportunity and people, being more generous and less closed off from the world. Rather than saying no to war, saying yes to peace...instead of being anti the negative being pro the positive.

So I say....

Say YES more...


Small Print Reads: If you need me to be on a bus to tell u this then please arrange an appointment with me - perhaps we could go on a group outing on the No 15... or the D6 or D8 or D7 ...the view is better fromthe No 15 lets stick with that and its a double decker so u can see more...seeing more is better...even better lets go on an open topped bus and have a tour of London....come on say Yes..lets do it before the bad weather comes! Say Yes!

Friday, September 15, 2006

5 Minute Make-over

It was brought to my attention that
Ever Extra-nice Emma
may have looked like she had no hair
in the previous photo
so I said that I would fix that...

so I did...

If only everything in life was so easy to fix.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Story of a Boy and his Drum

This is a story about a boy, a wish, a drum, lots of other people and a good reason..

Once Upon a Time...there was a little boy called Timmy.

Little Timmy wished that he had like many others walked out of school and marched in protest against the Big Bad War Wolves to stop them huffing and puffing and blowing Iraqi houses down.

Little Timmy wanted the opportunity to make a stand and try to make a difference. Instead of protesting when it suited him, like when he had nothing better to be doing, he wanted to be in a position where he had to make more of an effort to be heard maybe to prove his worth or show how seriously he took the issue... or maybe... he just wanted a day off school.

Zor the Christmas Fairy knew Little Timmy's greatest wish and told him about a protest march against the Big Bad War Wolves who were also part-time Mean Money Monsters who liked to keep all the money in the world for themselves and not share it with all the little Munchkins. This meant the poor Munchkins got very sick and died. Maybe the Mean Money Monsters forgot that they were once Munchkins too.

Timmy remembered marching on his ancestor's land in Edinburgh to Make Poverty History and this gave him a warm feeling inside. He heard from Zor that this march however would be on a school day. He jumped for joy. Then he heard that the protest would involve drumming for trade justice along Whitehall. He jumped, once more for joy and mentally checked the whereabouts of his little Spanish drum.

Little Timmy was happy in the knowledge that his wish was about to come true, when a terrible thing happened. He was devastated. He had his opportunity but his hopes were about to be dashed. On the day of the protest he found out that he was not at school but on work experience at the Seriously Splendid Salvation Army THQ.

He had a dilemma...it was not just walking out of school but out of work experience at the Seriously Splendid Salvation Army THQ.

So what did he do? u might ask.

How strong was the lure of the open road...and the sound of drums in unison along the cobblestone of Whitehall...and the hypnotic chants of the crowds with rhyming abilities to convert any message into a crowd-pleasing, hand-clapping, shout-out-at-the-top-of-ur-voice, lung emptying song...(not a good song necessarily but a song none-the-less)...and the speeches with their rabble-rousing or sleep inducing qualities (dependent on the state of the speaker and listener) and the bizarre costumes at Mad Banker's Tea parties or Pants to Poverty wearers...and celebrity's like Ronan Keating...

Ronan convinced him...the next step was to convince his work-experience boss at the Seriously Splendid Salvation Army THQ the Great Graeme. Such was the awe in which Little Timmy held the Great Graeme, that he couldn't bring himself to approach him like the great Wizard of Oz himself in the Emerald City (the SSA THQ was in fact in Ruby City).

It was getting nearer and nearer to the day of reckoning. Zor, the Christmas Fairy kept getting text messages from Little Timmy, varying from 'I haven't said anything yet' to 'I kinda brought it up' to 'I'm scared'. Zor tried to reply without trying to turn him either way, this was Little Timmy's quest and he had find the answers himself, and overcome his fear. Although Zor had considered a back up strategy of remarking that Rosa Parks had probably been scared too and probably had more reason to be.

Zor finally got a text, from Little Timmy saying that not only were the powers that be ok with him going on the march, the Great Graeme and his friend Kind Karl, would come too. Result! Zor, the Christmas Fairy did a little dance, something akin to Ballet that a hippo on ice might attempt - once and never again.

So that is how Little Timmy, the Great Graeme, his friend Kind Karl, Zor the Christmas Fairy and her friend the Ever Extra-nice Emma ended up drumming their way past Downing Street to tell the Big Bad War Wolves and part-time Mean Money Monsters to share with the Munchkins and not be so mean with their money matters.

We don't know how the other people ended up there, whether they had similar dilemmas or whether some just happened to be walking along, just out for a stroll or on their way to pick up a sandwich from the corner shop and got caught up in it, found they were handed a placard and were afraid to hand it back in case it might seem rude.

Whatever the reason lots of people with...
  • all kinds of drums in hands, on straps, in shopping trollies
  • coconut shells
  • biscuit tins, lunch boxes & spoons
  • bodhrans, cymbals and tambourines
  • pots and pans, lids and wooden spoons
  • whistles and even a cow bell

...seemed to have found themselves making a bit of a commotion down in Whitehall, to try to hi-light Trade Justice issues in the campaign to Make Poverty History...

...as u do.

Little Timmy was just one of them.

(You can be one of them too...help make the Munchkins wishes come true like Little Timmy's did...and u can be part of the happy ending)

Find out more of what Little Timmy did here and what it was all about here.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Graffiti from Ireland

A bit like
Greetings from Ireland.
...only written on walls & more Banksy...

What more of an invitation could u want...Please use free canvas? ...well thank u very much I will avail myself of the opportunity...thank u (this was a re-construction of the communication between the person who painted this on the wall and the graffiti artists who then proceeded to take up the offer by painting the following on the length of wall )...

Some were obviously more gifted than others...and the sizes ranged from A4 to three and four times the size.

This one, with the Dino & spray paint, I'm sure I've seen somewhere else before...it may be copied...anyone else spot this one somewhere else...I do like it though..the phrase 'Painting the town red' comes to mind...

As for this one...hardly what u would expect to see as graffiti...

I particularly like the sharp style of these two portraits (one is on the wall the other on metal)...reminds me of the silhouette cuttings people used to do before photography.

And if this isn't Banksy-like...I don't know what is.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

My First Blog From Ireland

Its Wednesday and my mum just caught me sneaking into an internet cafe...so I will have to add to this later...

For now mum and I have something for u....

More on Ireland to follow...