Saturday, October 17, 2009

Darwin Sunset

The sun was the first god, his power, majesty and light intimating the true god of the big bang. He is a light so bright that he provides our life across 93 million miles of emptiness. He rules the day, giving us colors even after he sets. The moon rules the night, though she demurely veils and unveils herself slowly, showing all only when the sun is in his deepest slumber.

While it is remarkable enough that the sun gives us just enough but not too little or too much, how much more beyond understanding is it that the sun and moon appear to us the exact same size, each ruling in its realm, each at times covering the other to show us even more. But all is in motion. The moon recedes from the mother, born from earth but like every daughter eventually going her way. The sun, burning through crushing matter, will one day reach out and swallow us, leaving all that went before in ashes. But here and now, everything is perfect, for us.

Monday, October 5, 2009


Something wonderful happened today. We have daily morning briefings from our Joint Operations Center. At the end, we usually have presentations from the various sections of our UN mission. They ALWAYS include PowerPoint. And it often seems they spend as much time -- more even -- on silly effects than content. I had to ask recently that they at least do them in colors we can read from. Today, someone got up and apologized for not having PowerPoint and then proceeded to talk to us. In response, I actually paid attention to the speaker and his speaking. In so doing, I realized how much is lost when we eye the slides instead. I remembered how often I wished the speaker would just hurry up to keep up with my reading speed. This is not communication. Listening to a human being address me as a human being is communication. We convey so much more meaning face to face than can jump off a slide presentation. PowerPoint should really be banned or limited to those who treat it as one part of communication and not the communication itself. PowerPoint presentations are as ubiquitous as plastic cups and bags, littering and spoiling our human interaction as the plastic litters our environment.