Friday, March 20, 2009
Monday, March 16, 2009
by Dalai Lama
We have bigger houses but smaller families;
More conveniences, but less time;
We have more degrees, but less sense;
More knowledge, but less judgment;
More experts, but more problems;
More medicines, but less healthiness;
We've been all the way to the moon and back,
but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor.
We build more computers to hold more information to
produce more copies than ever but have less communication.
We have become long on quantity,but short on quality.
These are times of fast foods but slow digestion;
Tall man but short character;
Steep profits but shallow relationships.
It's a time when there is much in the window,
but nothing in the room.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
I used to be a Michael Jackson fan and I really liked his songs, I think they had a genuine message and when he sang you could feel he really meant it. Some of them still touch me very much, probably the Earth Song stands the closest to me, I really feel like crying when it reminds me what is going on in our world and I wish it could be reversed so easily like in the video clip. Unfortunately in real life it's much more difficult to undo the damages we caused but what really gets me down is that yet we haven't started it at all, in fact, we would already have a lot to do. Let this song give us a little hope that one day things will turn into better before it's too late.
An estimated 200 whales and dolphins have become stranded on an island near Tasmania and scores have already died, Australian wildlife officials have said.
These beaching "accidents" happen more and more often and the scientists still don't know the answer for the question why. I feel really sorry for those poor animals but the more I read articles like this the more it makes me think. Whales and dolphins are known to be the most intelligent water mammals with exceptionally high emotional and social skills. If these were separated, individual cases when occasionally one-one dolphin became stranded I would say it could be because of the "interference from sound produced by human activities at sea" as one of the theories says. But these mass beachings show a deeper message to me. I know what I'm going to say is weird but what if these animals see so dramatic changes in the ocean (in their home) as a result of the massive pollution (oil pollution from tanker ships, marine garbage disposal etc.) and exploitation (overfishing, whale hunting etc.) of the ocean by humans what make them feel so hopeless - after all they can't do anything against it - that in their despair they decide to commit suicide and that's when these mass beachings happen (200 whales and dolphins swim ashore by accident? I really can't believe this). We human beings tend to underestimate the emotions of animals and treat them like inferior, soulless, biological creatures but even if my view is just as theoretical as any others I really think it can be a possible explanation for this unfortunate phenomenon and I'm sure this issue is just one of that thousands of signs, or rather warnings what Gaia sends us and what the human race keeps ignoring. We should seriously reconsider the direction of our civilization's developement and its impact on the flora and fauna of Earth. The humans should be reminded urgently that it was NOT us who created this life therefore we don't have the right to own this planet and abuse it for our personal purposes regardless all other living. They have the same right to live happily on this planet what we share and these rights must be recognized, aknowledged and respected - before there will be much more innocent victims of our presence.
Monday, March 9, 2009
There is a magazine in the UK sold by homeless street vendors which helps homeless people to earn some money legally. You can recognize them from miles by shrilling aloud in different tones of voice repeating "Here is The Big Issue!!!" and holding a big stack of the magazine. Everytime I pass by one of them I find their deafening scream very annoying, I was seriously thinking about to make a study of which irritating voice inflection is the most effective in selling these papers. One day when I was walking on the street I saw an ungroomed, middle-aged woman standing in silence on the corner turning to people who walked past her. I thought she was just a street beggar but as I got closer - to my biggest surprise - I realized she was holding one copy of The Big Issue in her hand showing to the people. Needless to say her silence was a very remarkable phenomenon on the street: I saw the surprised face of walking people and their searching gaze as if they were asking "What's wrong with her? Why is she not shouting?" First I thought she was mute but when I stepped to her she said "Good morning!" with a shy smile.
by Paulo Coelho
1] Anything that makes us forget our true identity and our dreams and makes us only work to produce and reproduce.
2] Making rules for a war (the Geneva Convention).
3] Spending years at university and then not being able to find a job.
4] Working from nine in the morning to five in the afternoon at something that does not give us the least pleasure, so that we can retire after 30 years.
5] Retiring only to discover that we have no more energy to enjoy life, and then dying of boredom after a few years.
6] Using Botox.
7] Trying to be financially successful instead of seeking happiness.
8] Ridiculing those who seek happiness instead of money by calling them “people with no ambition”.
9] Comparing objects like cars, houses and clothes, and defining life according to these comparisons instead of really trying to find out the true reason for being alive.
10] Not talking to strangers. Saying nasty things about our neighbors.
11] Thinking that parents are always right.
12] Getting married, having children and staying together even though the love has gone, claiming that it’s for the sake of the children (who do not seem to be listening to the constant arguments).
13] Criticizing everybody who tries to be different.
14] Waking up with a hysterical alarm-clock at the bedside.
15] Believing absolutely everything that is printed.
16] Wearing a piece of colored cloth wrapped around the neck for no apparent reason and known by the pompous name “necktie”.
17] Never asking direct questions, even though the other person understands what you want to know.
18] Keeping a smile on your face when you really want to cry. And feeling sorry for those who show their own feelings.
19] Thinking that art is worth a fortune, or else that it is worth absolutely nothing.
20] Always despising what was easily gained, because the “necessary sacrifice” – and therefore also the required qualities – are missing.
21] Following fashion, even though it all looks ridiculous and uncomfortable.
22] Being convinced that all the famous people have tons of money saved up.
23] Investing a lot in exterior beauty and paying little attention to interior beauty.
24] Using all possible means to show that even though you are a normal person, you are infinitely superior to other human beings.
25] In any kind of public transport, never looking straight into the eyes of the other passengers, as this may be taken for attempting to seduce them.
26] When you enter an elevator, looking straight at the door and pretending you are the only person inside, however crowded it may be.
27] Never laughing out loud in a restaurant, no matter how funny the story is.
28] In the Northern hemisphere, always wearing the clothes that match the season of the year: short sleeves in springtime (however cold it may be) and a woolen jacket in the fall (no matter how warm it is).
29] In the Southern hemisphere, decorating the Christmas tree with cotton wool, even though winter has nothing to do with the birth of Christ.
30] As you grow older, thinking you are the wisest man in the world, even though not always do you have enough life experience to know what is wrong.
31] Going to a charity event and thinking that in this way you have collaborated enough to put an end to all the social inequalities in the world.
32] Eating three times a day, even if you’re not hungry.
33] Believing that the others are always better at everything: they are better-looking, more resourceful, richer and more intelligent. Since it’s very risky to venture beyond your own limits, it’s better to do nothing.
34] Using the car as a way to feel powerful and in control of the world.
35] Using foul language in traffic.
36] Thinking that everything your child does wrong is the fault of the company he or she is keeping.
37] Marrying the first person who offers you a position in society. Love can wait.
38] Always saying “I tried”, even though you haven’t tried at all.
39] Putting off doing the most interesting things in life until you no longer have the strength to do them.
40] Avoiding depression with massive daily doses of television programs.
41] Believing that it is possible to be sure of everything you have won.
42] Thinking that women don’t like football and that men don’t like interior decoration.
43] Blaming the government for everything bad that happens.
44] Being convinced that being a good, decent and respectful person means that the others will find you weak, vulnerable and easy to manipulate.
45] Being convinced that aggressiveness and discourtesy in treating others are signs of a powerful personality.
46] Being afraid of fibroscopy (men) and childbirth (women).
47] And finally, thinking that your religion is the sole proprietor of the absolute truth, the most important, the best, and that the other human beings in this immense planet who believe in any other manifestation of God are condemned to the fires of hell.
Friday, March 6, 2009
There used to be a really good photo blog site where every week a new theme was announced and both amateur and professional photographers from all around the world published their photo in that topic. It was not a contest, there was no prize, just for fun, and there were really amazing photos among them. Unfortunately the site is not updated anymore but the photos are still available, it is really worth checking out the hundreds of fantastic photos in the archives, you will definitely find some good pictures in your favourite style.
by Paulo Coelho
Before a decisive battle, the Japanese general decided to take the initiative and attack, knowing that the enemy was greater in number. Although he was sure of his strategy, his men were fearful.
On the way to the confrontation, they decided to stop at a temple. After praying, the general turned to his soldiers:
- I will toss this coin. If it is heads, we return to camp. If it is tails, that means that the gods will protect us, and we shall defeat the enemy. Now, our future will be revealed.
He threw the coin high up, and the eyes of his anxious soldiers saw the result: tails. They all rejoiced, and as they attacked were filled with confidence and vigor, and were able to celebrate victory later that afternoon.
His chief officer said proudly:
- The gods are always right. No one can change the destiny they reveal.
- You are right, no one can change destiny when we are resolved to follow it. The gods help us, but at times we must help them too. - he replied, handing the officer the coin.
Both sides were tails.
It was a while ago when Barack Obama was elected for the president of the United States, and I remember the big hype around him that America finally can have a black president and I'm sure that many people voted on him just becuase he was black - though I wouldn't call him black, maybe filipino, he is not that black black after all just a lighter black but I think the shades don't matter right now, the point is that he is not white. And I saw the jubilant crowds crying, screaming, an American dream came true, a dream what many people could only dream about for very long centuries. Let me state I'm happy that he was elected, he looks a nice guy and nice guys usually don't get very close to power especially not to the top of it so that's good. What president he will be that's another question, we'll see. But what makes me very sad about this story is that why it has to be such a big issue that a black man is the president? Or a woman? (that's another American dream waiting to come true...) Or God forbid a black woman? How childish is that? How stupid? Why not if he or she is the right person for that position? Actually this is the very act what really makes the Americans racist, both blacks and whites. And I wouldn't be suprised (let me not be right) if this "black presidency" turned out to be just another political scam to (colour)blind the people. But what seriously worries me is if in the 21st century in the most free and enlightened country of the world it is such an outstanding event, what's more, it is HISTORY that a man with black skin (seriously, I would like to cry everytime I remember how such a big non-sense is that) was elected for president than what can be going on in the remaining 194 countries? I think I don't want to imagine... Now this makes me realize how many centuries (millenia?) behind we are in the developement of our civilization and how much more we have to do until an other American dream (often mentioned on the beauty contests) will come true: the world peace.
If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.
Its the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference.
Its the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled - Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.
Its the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.
Its been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.
But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to - it belongs to you.
I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didn't start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington - it began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston.
It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give five dollars and ten dollars and twenty dollars to this cause. It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generations apathy; who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep; from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on the doors of perfect strangers; from the millions of Americans who volunteered, and organized, and proved that more than two centuries later, a government of the people, by the people and for the people has not perished from this Earth. This is your victory.
I know you didn't do this just to win an election and I know you didn't do it for me. You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime - two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century. Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us. There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after their children fall asleep and wonder how they'll make the mortgage, or pay their doctors bills, or save enough for college. There is new energy to harness and new jobs to be created; new schools to build and threats to meet and alliances to repair.
The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America - I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you - we as a people will get there.
There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won't agree with every decision or policy I make as President, and we know that government can't solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And above all, I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way it's been done in America for two-hundred and twenty-one years - block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.
What began twenty-one months ago in the depths of winter must not end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek - it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you.
So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, it's that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers - in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people.
Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House - a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity. Those are values we all share, and while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, We are not enemies, but friends...though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn - I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too.
And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world - our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand. To those who would tear this world down - we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security - we support you. And to all those who have wondered if Americas beacon still burns as bright - tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.
For that is the true genius of America - that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.
This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that's on my mind tonight is about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She's a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing - Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.
She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn't vote for two reasons - because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.
And tonight, I think about all that she's seen throughout her century in America - the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can't, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.
At a time when women's voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.
When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs and a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.
When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.
She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that We Shall Overcome. Yes we can.
A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination. And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change. Yes we can.
America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves - if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?
This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time - to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth - that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we cant, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes We Can.
Thank you, God bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.
The English philologist, Sir John Bowring (1792-1872), had a very exciting and eventful life. He had been to many countries and spoke many languages: Hungarian was one of them. He translated many Hungarian poems into English, and issued a literary chrestomathy. In its foreword he wrote the following: