Posted in Books, Political, Uncategorized

Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial?

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The world is full of sure people.
I don’t mean confident people.
I mean sure peoplesure they’re right and those that don’t agree with them are wrong.

They know what is best. They know what is ‘the best’.
They know where you should live, what you should wear, drive, read, watch, worship, love, hate, etc.
I was more like that until someone made me unsure. In retrospect, they probably did me a favour, but it didn’t have to be so horrible. Ironically, they haven’t changed.
I knew what was right and wrong; I really knew what was wrong.
I didn’t know that what I didn’t know was more important than what I knew. I’m pretty sure about that.

Sure people don’t need to listen to other people, they’re already sure they’re right.
They’ve made up their minds. Often, not even facts will alter that.

I’m a voracious reader. I can tell you why I like or dislike a book, but I don’t know if you’ll like it.
Same goes for TV, movies, restaurants, clothes, technology.
I can recommend.
I can advocate.
I can oppose.
But only you can decide.

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Image/Random House

I was thinking of Sure People when reading a surprisingly funny and fascinating book, Would You Baptize An Extraterrestrial? (And Other Strange Questions from the Inbox at the Vatican Observatory) by two witty Jesuit astronomers, primarily involved in research, who try to answer all the wild and wacky questions posed to the Vatican, but in a conversational, refreshing, and unexpectedly, amusing style. Pope Francis said last year he would baptize a Martian…hmm, are they trying to prepare us for a coming invasion? 1bap5This book tries to show that religion and science don’t have to be at odds. People can believe in both. Do you think that’s true, dear readers? I certainly think we have more important things to worry about. We too often go for ‘or’ when we should use ‘and’. Economy and the environment, not or. Security and civil liberties, not or.

Which brought me to trust, can we trust when we’re not sure?
We can observe, listen, use our instincts and critical thinking, look for facts, question, see the world as it is…I prefer reality, if I want fantasy, I’ll watch TV or a movie, read a book or listen to governments.1bap1Which brings me back to, the Sures.  The more I learn, the more I hear, see, and observe, the more I wonder.

I’m only sure of so many things in this world: Love. Compassion. Hope. And cookies, and who knows, maybe those aren’t even what they seem.xf11

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Posted in Books, Uncategorized

Essentialism

1ess4I started reading Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown (Crown Business) wondering, is this going to be another self-help book to allegedly fix my life? Quickly I realized this was different.
Mr. McKeown’s version of Essentialism helped accelerate a process I’ve been working through for too long.

I’d heard less is more many times, but it’s nonsensical, less isn’t more, less is less.
Then I read the words, less but better. Less but better makes sense.
Less stuff, people, projects…but better quality. Essential.

The modern world is difficult to filter.
We’re surrounded by noise, figuratively and literally, 24/7.
TV shows, movies, special events, news, gossip, parties, vacations, causes, sports, books, apps, games, videos, memes, bands, singers, dancers, reality show celebrities, etc. – an endless flow of activity to entertain and distract us.

McKeown uses the example of your closet as a simple, but insightful lesson in essentialism.1ess3
Look through your clothes. Ask yourself, do I love this? Not, will I wear it or does it fit, but do I love it?
Do the same with TV shows. Love them or just filling or killing time? Or watching because of social pressure?
How about projects? Hobbies? Volunteering? Friends? Family? Work? Life?
Are you in a place in your life where everything seems important and has to be done?
Now filter out what is essential.
Now breathe.

1ess1We have so many choices today, yet they often amount to chaos. We’re suffering from choice and decision fatigue.
We’re children whose corporate parents keep us obedient by learned helplessness.
Computers find us a hotel room or flight.
Experts tell us what to buy, what to like, where to go, what to do.
Soon cars will drive themselves.1love6

Too many decisions mean the quality of those decisions deteriorate. We’re being fed a fast-food model of life, supersize it…quantity not quality.

The word priority didn’t become plural until the 1900s…how can you have more than one priority at a time? Focus on one thing, then another, then another.

Do you think when people are dying their biggest regret is:
I wish I could have worked more,
played more Candy Crush,
downloaded another app,
streamed another movie,
played another video game,
checked my email more often?
My guess is, I wish I had spent more time with people I loved
or even liked, and I wish I had been true to me, done what I wanted to do.
Why are we acquiring and keeping so many nonessentials – clothes, shoes, books, tools, toys, games…even people?
Making trade-offs with our time, energy, dreams, integrity, our lives.

1me13We’re hyper-connected, it doesn’t mean we’re always enjoying it.
Isn’t it time to weed out the trivial from the vital?
We believe busy equals important.
Wouldn’t it be better to return to less busy and more meaning?

So I’ve challenged myself to Explore, Eliminate and Execute…To have a disciplined pursuit of less but better.

I love the thought of reducing the noise to hear only what is music.

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P.S. I got this digital book at http://www.bloggingforbooks.org

Posted in Books, Movies, Uncategorized

A Million Ways to Die in the West

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This is a light snack with a long title.

Not going to change the world, but it did brighten mine.

Found myself laughing out loud as I read this at the bookstore. Yes, that’s where I read this. As much as I enjoy MacFarlane’s work paying close to $30 for a book or almost $20 for an ebook (yes, I live in Canada where we have Universal Healthcare, but pay more for everything else) isn’t in my Broke and Obscure budget.

Adapted from the screenplay (written by Seth MacFarlane, Alec Sulkin, and Wellesley Wild), this comical jawin’ ya to death of the Old West is chock-full of anachronisms and absurdity including, but not limited to: the fake fight scene; the prostitute girlfriend who won’t have sex (not with her boyfriend anyway) because she’s saving herself for marriage; a Parkinson‘s joke (just another way God mysteriously shows that he loves us); and the stick-hoop-games-will-ruin-the-youth bit.

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Had a few problems reading this book. My fault really, kept hearing Albert’s voice as Stewie and there was a cute guy all in black nearby reading a Star Trek mag at the bookstore. Both obvious concentration blockers.

Full of cheeky MacFarlane humour, my fav example, when they’re talking about why Indians are always attacking and so mad – What’s their problem, we’re basically splitting the country 50/50 with them. I know, they’re so selfish. I love when humour is used to point out social truths or injustices or stuff.

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The cast looks flabbergastic – Seth MacFarlane as Albert, the sheep farmer, also Liam Neeson, Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried, Sarah Silverman, Neil Patrick Harris (moustache!), Gilbert Gottfried, Giovanni Ribisi, Bill Maher, Ralph Garman, Rex Linn

Like all MacFarlane’s work we see how watching too many TV shows and movies affect the brain. No complaints, I get every reference so obviously I have the same issue. This one has a Mel Brooks’ Blazing Saddles feel.amill3

As a fan of Western books, TV, movies, etc. I thought the line about something else to kill them so they should just wear coffins as clothes was brilliant.

So if you can’t wait for the movie coming out May 30, 2014, this companion novel should help tide you over.

Somehow I expected even more sheep jokes.amill4