Month: January 2011

Books: The Finkler Question

I finally finished Howard Jacobsen’s 2010 Man Booker Prize winning offering “The Finkler question” – if plodding through the equivalent of 320 pages on a mobile device can count as reading. The ubiquity of kindle apps for almost every connected device under the sun – and Amazon’s penchant for adding tons of cardboard to shipped books  – made me try the iPad + Kindle app combo for reading books this year.

In the main, reviews of the book were great  – The Guardian , The Independent and  The Telegraph all had high praise for the book. Although there were quite a few note worthy constructs sequestered within the text, I did however find reading it a wee bit tiring. What the book did well though, was to endlessly waffle on about the subject of being…

My take? As an inquiry into the subject of being, it was excellent. As fiction, it was mind numbingly boring.. Nonetheless, it is one of those I intend to read again….

WebReads… 28Jan

    1. Genetically engineering plants to spot bombs may be the future of counter terrorism..
    2. LED teeth may be the new cool.. If only in Japan..
    3. Want to make the transition from talk to bed? Social media might be it after all. So much for Gladwell’s ‘diss’ of social media.
    4. Apparently brain scans can identify a predisposition to transexuality..
    5. His Grace – Archbishop Crammer – weighs in on the lack of political voices speaking up on the abortion debate.
    6. Tyler Blanski encourages us to re-think sex
    7. One bloke got busted for importing cockroaches… HT @relevantmag

      Tagged: The stylish and Versatile Meme…

      It has been aeons since I was tagged.  Apparently Esco thinks we are stylish and versatile as does Jaycee… Versatile? Maybe.. Stylish? Definitely not.. Just ask the girlfriend… So here goes…

      1. My wardrobe is composed entirely of blacks, greys and whites – except for two shirts that were imposed on me in January by you know who…
      2. I am an Adult Child of Practising Preachers  – I’m not quite the quintessential preacher’s kid although even I would admit I have my moments..
      3. My mother’s first degree was in English – and she still corrects my text messages till date (which is why I do not send her a lot of them).
      4. The first non-explicitly Christian song I ever sang was A Whole New World from the Aladdin soundtrack. Blame it on a TV-starved, ultra conservative childhood.
      5. I love chilling to music… I once had Brooke Fraser’s Shadow Feet on repeat for close on three straight days… I’ve had Steve Fee’s When Everything Falls Apart on repeat today..
      6. I’m a Football Manager addict player. Interestingly, I have a new pal at work who I connected with over Football Manager. These days we swap in-game stories over lunch..
      7. My one moment of fame was being handed the role of the Magi bearing Myrrh in our Children’s church theatrical adaptation of ‘We Three Kings’ for Christmas back in the day. That has not prevented me from fantasizing about playing lead guitar at a live gig before 2020.. Fat chance I guess, but hey I can dream…

      Tagging? I’m not sure who has done this and who has not.. So.. feel free.. Run with it.. Its therapeutic..:)

      Web Reads – 21Jan…

      Questioning the answers..

      Having passed several chronological milestones, one increasingly has had to field questions that assume that all the basic competencies required to function as an independent contributor to life in various spheres have been achieved. Invariably these often centre on the achievement of academic, financial, material and career milestones. Amidst the focus on these admittedly essential categories is a lack of focus on the attainment of certain critical thinking skills.

      I subscribe to the belief that a child is born with a blank worldview –  the so called tabula rasa.  Over time he/she acquires knowledge about life; typically by experience.  The child thus builds up a worldview- religious, social, cultural, sexual even.  At it’s most basic, this worldview is a set of answers for what constitute good, bad, the why of life, meaning, etc. Of necessity, these answers have to be gleaned from others in the early days – parents and relatives, peers, civic and religious leaders and teachers.

      At some stage in the development of the child – as the kid morphs into a young adult –  these acquired answers require testing to verify that their base assumptions and conclusions remain valid in the light of the continuously evolving social, religious and cultural space. Therein lies the problem – the vast majority of people are not trained, or are unwilling, to question the answers they have been raised by. When juxtaposed with the critical role these young adults, when they morph into parents, have to play in moulding the thinking of the next generation, it  becomes critical for them to get it right.

      Truly mature young adults thus have a responsibility to themselves and the next generation to ask the big questions and investigate the answers they have acquired. There should come a time when “because I said so” should no longer suffice as a reason for the answers we carry. Only then can the bloke truly lay claim to having come of age.

      On Turning Thirty…

      I never celebrated turning thirty. The significance of achieving that chronological milestone was lost in the hustle of every life – a barely discernible  peak in the flat line that had become a monotonous existence. I had just lost a cast iron guarantee to return to my old job in Nigeria followed quickly by the petering out of what I thought was a nice, strong girl connection. One day I fell asleep,  the next I awoke to being thirty plus.

      When I was much younger, I had planned the day in my head. Over time I had rehashed the  planned events over and over. Lots of food, hanging out with the family and a road trip were a few of the things I had pencilled down. In reality, the only thing I allowed myself when it finally came was gorging on a bargain bucket at KFC, and flushing it all down with a 2 litre bottle of Pepsi..

      Finally, a few years down the road, I am taking that much delayed road trip… Belatedly, I will be jumping on a few flights over the next few days.. Hopefully I get to enjoy it as much as I thought I would – if the weather permits….

      Barry Schwartz on ‘Practical Wisdom’…

      One big idea to revolutionise the year in my opinion - ‘Practical Wisdom’. Rules are great but they often lead to performance based metrics which meet the letter of the law, but fail to address the real root causes…. Two excellent TED talks from Barry Schwartz that I’ve been listening to a lot today.. Bring on the new year…

      The real crisis? We stopped being wise..

      Using our practical wisdom