Archives for February 2005

Television’s Impact On Children

We try to limit the amount of television our children watch and we are especially careful in just what it is they are allowed to see. I feel kind of silly saying they because my daughter is only 7.5 months, so it is premature to speak about her TV habits.

Here is my somewhat embellished recitation of one instance of the impact of television on my son.

Scooby Doo- My son loves Scooby Doo, just can’t get enough of it. Asks for Scooby snacks and tells me about the ghosts and goblins that the gang encounters. When I tell him that I used to watch Scooby when I was his age his face get’s kind of scrunched up, I think that sometimes it is hard for him to imagine me as a child.

There are two primary things that he has taken from Scooby and they are both phrases. If he is building a tower of blocks and it falls, or something silly happens he likes to say “Zoinks!”

But the thing that really makes me laugh is his use of the word “doomed.” This past weekend we had dinner with my folks on Saturday night. As we were preparing to leave he engaged in his normal stall tactics, which I was too tired to deal with. So I looked at him and said that if he didn’t hurry we would be late and miss dinner.

His response, “Oh no Daddy! We must hurry because if we miss dinner we will be doomed.”

Improved Commenting?

I just reinstalled Haloscan to see if this solves the problems I have been having with commenting on my blog.

Most International Aid Wasted, Say Agencies

This is something that I feel strongly about. Too often people think that you can just throw money at a problem to make it go away.

“LONDON (Reuters) – Red tape, inefficiency and nepotism mean that only one fifth of international aid actually gets to the people who need it, aid agencies said Monday.

Not only that, but 40 percent of international aid is spent buying overpriced goods and services from the donors’ own countries, Action Aid and Oxfam said in a joint report calling for urgent reform of a politically compromised system.

“First and foremost, they need to spend aid where it is needed — on poverty reduction — rather than channel it to their own consultancy and infrastructure industries and geopolitical allies,” the report said.”

Here is another example of an unnecessary problem.

“Donors tend to be more concerned about the success and visibility of their project or program than the success of a country’s development plan,” it said.

The report complained that donor nations often bypassed local delivery networks thereby undermining them and leaving countries less able to stand on their own feet.

All aid should be untied, technical expertise should be trained locally, goods and services should where possible be procured locally and the focus should be on directly helping the poor and building local skills.

“These are major challenges to the aid system since they imply a redistribution of power between recipients and donors and a far greater openness and accountability than currently exists,” the report concluded.”

Fragments of Fiction- A New Installment

There is a new entry on the Fragments of Fiction blog. I am just kind of mumbling my way through this. Almost 8,000 words and all I have is this rough mockup of a story. It is kind of frustrating, I am not real happy with it.

That is not to say that I think that it is terrible. It has potential, but it feels flat to me, a little formulaic and in need of some color. Sometimes I wish that I could combine this with making a movie, that I could tell a story and show pictures and sound with it.

It would be so much easier to try and flesh things out, to make you see things the way I am really trying to describe them. Sometimes I feel like the words are doing the trick, like they are presenting you with the image I hold in my mind and sometimes it feels like I am banging my head against the wall and that is something that just tears me up.

A number of years ago I worked for a company that manufactured tools for construction purposes. We sold a couple of pieces of equipment to a company in Israel. And any time they needed assistance I would be the guy that they placed on the phone. At one point in time my command of Hebrew was excellent, now I can get by, get around but it is not real solid.

I remember one conversation with two of their crew. Between the two of them they spoke about 27 words of English and almost none of them were useful for our conversation. Even at the height of my prowess I would have had difficulty because I had never learned certain words, there was a vocabulary problem.

So the three of us yelled a little, cursed a little and worked hard to overcome the language gap. We got there, but it was incredibly frustrating for all of us. And that is kind of how I feel about this now, it almost reads the way I want it to, but it is still missing something.

Canada’s Posturing

A day after opting out of the U.S. ballistic missile defense shield, Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin reiterated Friday that Washington must get permission from Ottawa before firing on any incoming missiles over Canada.

“This is our airspace, we’re a sovereign nation, and you don’t intrude on a sovereign nation’s airspace without seeking permission,” Martin said.

He was responding to comments by outgoing U.S. Ambassador Paul Cellucci on Thursday in which Cellucci warned Canada that by not signing on to the continental missile shield, it was in effect giving up its sovereignty and would be “outside the room” when the United States made a decision on whether to use the system to shoot down an incoming missile.”

Something tells me that we are not going to telephone you in advance for permission to defend ourselves.