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Archive for January 2013

Three Years On – Why Haiti Continues To Flounder.

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It’s been three years since Haiti’s earthquake.

Do you remember all those Haiti flags on our Twitter avatars? And all that charity? Are things any better? No. All the rending of hair and the celebrity tours meant nothing. Haiti remains as forgotten today as it was before the quake hit.

What conclusions can we draw from all this?

First, we’re all blowhard hypocrites. We say we want to help, but what we really want is for a problem to go away. And once another problem comes along, there’s our excuse.

Let’s get beyond that.

Let’s try to get our collective memories back, and prioritize our interests to what we can actually achieve. Haiti is fixable. If the US took it under its wing, it would show the world our magnanimity.

Second, the key to real aid designed to bring about lasting change is strategic influence. The less you matter, the less reconstruction you get. In other words, if you threaten the motherland you get help. If you don’t, you’re out of luck.

Let’s get beyond that.

If I was a Haitian, I’d invent a Jihadist cell or two in Port-au-Prince, exploiting all that poverty in the name of Islam. That would attract Washington’s attention.

And thirdly, if interests here in the US want to make sure Haiti stays down, they stay quiet about it, but Haiti sure stays down.

Let’s get beyond that.

Haiti has land, skilled labor, and proximity to the US market.  We should be putting factories there and not in the Far East. Haitians know textiles, but there are US interests that don’t want to be flooded by cheap clothes made in Haiti, so the block trade agreements with Haiti that would allow US companies to build factories there.

So Haiti suffers, and all our words of sorrow are empty.

Written by coolrebel

January 12, 2013 at 5:01 pm

A Junior Seau Legacy – The NFL Needs To Man Up

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Junior Seau shot himself in the chest because he knew the truth. A lifetime of hard hits destroyed his life. Even though he had no idea of the facts when he was playing, he must have known that if you drive you helmet into another guy’s face mask for a living bad stuff will eventually happen. That kind of swift and vicious grace always carries a price. And he paid it. Like LT in his hey-day, Seau was a special linebacker, a true great who could turn a game on a dime with one sack or forced fumble.

Should we be deprived of watching greats like Seau play the way they want to play? No. If everyone who plays, coaches, and runs football is honest about its dangers then there is no reason for change. Life is a risk. If someone knowingly wants to risk a degenerative brain disease by playing a game they have a perfect right to. And if we’re happy watching in the same knowledge, that too is fine and dandy.

But life is not that simple. Like Seau, the NFL must have known that hard hits would have a long term price. Concussions sell tickets, and make big money for the league, so the hits were brushed off and the gladiators gutted it out. And now the league has a problem. Because instead of saying, “this is the game and of course there are risks”, it tried to obfuscate and pretend it cared about “safety”.  It looks like it lied, and will get twisted up in contortions trying to avoid having to actually deliver the “safety” it purports to care about, knowing full well that if it did truly deliver on it, the NFL as we know it now would be finished. No hits. No viewers. No dough. Simple as that.

But there’s a far easier and more honest approach. Morally, the only way to proceed is to be open to the public and the players that hits are lethal over time, and to be bold enough not to change the game in any meaningful way. That means making high school and college kids completely aware of the facts too. Many prospective players would opt not to continue, but many others would take the risk, filling out college and professional ranks with as much skill as they do now. And if they do, knowingly, there’s no reason why one shouldn’t watch. After all, Sumo wrestlers fatten up to go gut to gut and start dying off around sixty. The stands in Japan are packed, and Sumo is huge on TV. Everyone knows the risks and everyone’s happy.

Honesty is the key. In other words, throughout organized Football from Middle School up, everyone, starting at the very top with the NFL, needs to man up.

Written by coolrebel

January 10, 2013 at 11:46 pm

Winter in LA. A Poem

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Winter In LA
Sun silver purple gray
the edge of our restless ocean
silently speaks of love and loss
and coiled hopes never sprung.
Be here and be gone.
Our small slice
of the looming sunset sky still
and enveloping, its comforting orange
blessing each precious breath.
Let it stay at last. 
Turn back to the
soft iridescent down of your lover,
next to you forever liquid,
her grace mysterious and singular. 
You are never alone. 

Written by coolrebel

January 8, 2013 at 3:09 pm

Posted in Winter

We Are Not Here – A Poem

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We are not here. In the clouds, still. 
For all the majesty of life, its tastes and tableaux
trials, torpor, temerity, trinket smiles
timid to the rigors of time, it cannot last.
You know it’s true because that gap in the mist
a new marble path, up the sweeping staircase
onto the silent mezzanine that does not exist
the thin, sighed whispers slow and cease 
And in their long lost place a mirror lake 
of memories, distant layers, enveloping us
all in the cold comforting fog.

Written by coolrebel

January 5, 2013 at 5:13 pm

Posted in Aging, Life, Poetry

Apps – A Paradox Of Choice Is Coming.

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The best-selling Swiss Army Knives don’t carry everything, they carry the blades and tools that people use regularly enough to feel they’re worth having in their pocket. A Swiss Army Knife that’s fatter than it is long once, twice, or even three times over is an absurd idea – but in a way that’s the direction we’re headed in the App universe.

Apps are like Swiss Army Knife tools. People can only have so many before the addition of a new item becomes meaningless. They just don’t need it. They already have one that works.

Every days a hundred new apps go live on mobiles or on the web that are trying to usurp the position of another. People tend to stick to the familiar, to the app that works, to the one that’s most practiced and reliable, and widely used. It’s becoming harder and harder for a new app to replace an established app – unless it actually offers something that both makes life easier and has an Oh My God impact. ( MLE + OMG = A winner). In other words, the new tool has to be different enough or a big enough leap on one that’s already on your Swiss Army Knife.

That’s a tough nut to crack, and with each day that passes, it becomes even harder.

Just re-conceptualizing a current online practice doesn’t cut it with anymore. Simply being evolutionary is not enough, because existing and established apps can evolve and do every day, swallowing up minor innovations with ease. Successful new stand-alone apps have to be revolutionary, with all the problems that entails. People doubt true newness, and it’s hard to pull off.

It’s a challenge that we all face, if we want to take our place on the online version of the Swiss Army Knife.

Written by coolrebel

January 5, 2013 at 4:25 pm

Sadness and History whisper in soft, translucent gray

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Sad history whispers in soft, translucent gray
an always low glow above Kentish Town rooftops
in shimmer-shining rain, or dappled bursts of sun.
Hope cries for a future, like its past or present to be
Gently recorded as the march of time and progress, 
and religiously embraced. Positive, we are. Always.
Deranged. And Sensible.

The cab journey from the fantastic to the mundane
circles lost at Seven Dials before cascading down. 
past the supple silver sheen of a curved covent corner,
To the timeless wind beyond the church of our fathers, 
into the swirling ghost of Trafalgar Square, and back again. 
We have learned our lessons. Little or much. 
Deranged. And sensible. 

The Sedan Chair hovers above the sucking gutter slime. 
The barrow kneads it into still  toppling furrows  
winding through the generations, unrelenting, glistening.  
Not an echo here, now and never, of rain once falling,
of sounds, barks and screams under lonely trees 
in silent witness to the restless blood of London, 
Deranged. And Sensible. 

Written by coolrebel

January 2, 2013 at 10:06 am

Posted in History, poem, sadness