Pilgrim Notes

Reflections along the way.

Month: July 2006 (page 1 of 3)

War, Middle East and a World Divided

Like the war in Iraq, it seems this war in Israel divides people all around the world. Reading the Iraqi bloggers on Global Voices Online, I found bloggers who believe this war must continue until Syria and Iran are also broken whereas other who feel Israel needs a stunning defeat to break their aggressive tendencies. Just like the Iraq situation, I read various opinions and see points by both sides. I am painfully aware of the de-personalization of humans on both sides, and yet what is the resolve? Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy believed that war is the natural state of man and that peace is a rhythm that must be created and maintained. Unfortunately, our world does little to even seek out this rhythm. Many of the voices I hear in Iraq and the Middle east often speak with war in the voice even when they advocate peace.

Violent spirits cannot bring peace. The pattern of peace is the cross. The true peacemaker doesn’t throw words like knives but lays down his life. But that’s another topic.

Is Bush a Conservative?

William F. Buckley, the founder of National Review and a fundamental mentor of modern conservatism, suggests in a recent CBS interview that George Bush does not really operate from a consistent conservative ideology. I’ve followed Buckley for years, observing his fascinating style of rhetoric (true rhetoric–not the cheap emotion mudslinging we see on news talk shows), and his interesting approach to societal issues. Most people who hate conservatism might do well to read a little Buckley to find out if it is really conservatism they hate or something else. Anyway, some folks might enjoying reading this interview.

Iranian Bloggers

Lisa Goldman continues to provide interesting comments, links and information on the Middle East conflict. She also provides content for Global Voices Online. This is a great clearing for what bloggers are saying about various issues around the world. I ran across this interesting piece on Iranian bloggers commenting the current Israel-Lebanon war.

Kidney Stuff

I just posted a new, long essay over at Floydville:

Five weeks and two days ago, I received the priceless gift of Izaak’s kidney. Each week my body grows a little stronger, and I feel a little better. Soon I will be back to full strength. Every morning and evening, I record my blood pressure, blood sugar, weight, and temperature. At different times through the day, I take a variety of medications.

Part of the challenge…

Arrrrgh!

Watch out for the pirate lawyers!

Middle East Blogging

While I haven’t commented much on the current war in the Middle East, it has occupied my mind from day one. I’ve been tracking blogs and media, but the bloggers over there provide so much more info. Lisa Goldman, in Israel,writes about the cross-border conversation going on between the Lebanese and Israelites. While this may not solve our issues now, it gives me hope for the future.

Customer Centric Funerals

As the customer-focus trend grows it is reaching some odd places–even the funeral home. New York Times describes a growing tendency among baby boomers to request customized funerals complete with refreshments, unique locations, and life videos. Actually, the life videos is a pretty good idea for posterity.
The family of one ice cream truck driver requested an ice cream truck to deliver treats at the graveside. Kinda makes me think of the old John Denver song, “Forest Lawn.”
funeral.jpg

Give a Drink of Water

Did you see Millions? Great little film that stirs us to think about the lack of clean water in the world. Here’s a cool way to help and give kids something fun at the same time. It’s a merry-go-round that kids push, and as they push and play, it pumps water up from deep wells. The play pumps cost about $10,000 each but you can donate any amount toward one to go in a village that needs one.

playpump.jpg

Online Software Update

After I posted info on the various applications available online, Jeremy posted another downloadable suite called Open Office. So, I had to try it as well. Interesting, when you register the product, they ask if the reason you are using it is because you hate Microsoft. Then Boing Boing ran piece today about OpenOffice advertising on buses that go to Microsoft. That’s funny!

Anyway, I’ve tested the various apps and here’s my opinion. Open Office is pretty robust and a great downloadable option. I opened one of my Access databases in it and everything worked great. So it stays on the hard drive for when I don’t have WiFi access. But I also like the online apps because it makes it easy switching between computers.

I mainly tested the word processing and of all the apps, I liked ThinkFree. It has editing options I use like zoom, header/footer editing, etc. It runs on Java, which is a problem for some folks, and that means it runs a little slower, but the features are worth it to me. It also has a quick edit and power edit option, so for fasting editing, you can avoid the longer loading java window.

ZohoWriter and the Ajaxwriter were similar and I like them for quick edits. They run fast. I may prefer Zoho simply because it opens in another tab whereas Ajax opens a pop-up window for the document.

gOffice has a nice site but it is still a little too limited in editing options. I couldn’t figure how to change fonts.

If you haven’t tried any of these yet, you should. Open source is changing the rules and hopefully making the web what it was supposed to be. Not a place to make a few guys rich, but a place where us blokes could share our thoughts, ideas and solutions without always commodifying everything.

Unusual Art

Mark Jenkins has posted some interesting installation pieces on streets, in nature and more. Check it out.

mark-jenkins-installation.jpg

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