Friday, January 23, 2009

The Girl in the Cafe'

This is a beautiful movie with subtle acting, comedic touches and real life all thrown into the mix. Bill Nighy was just spot on as the Brits say and Kelley MacDonald was phenomenal. I can not overstate the acting. It really is top notch. I'm a huge fan of these two now that I have actually seen them act for the first time. The movie got criticized for trying to talk to the issue of poverty. But I'm claiming sour grapes to those reviewers. The issue has to be put out there and there is absolutely nothing wrong with using the medium of film to get the facts out. They are devastating facts.

There's an intelligence here to the acting, pacing and writing. It has some deft and light comedic touches and a true tenderness. When I reviewed the deleted scenes on the disc I totally understood why they were deleted. Good call and it wasn't for inferior lighting or acting. I don't want to give any of the film away but to say that the two main characters angst is palpable would be a huge understatement. The acting and tension between them came through the screen beautiful and you ached for both of them. This truly caught me by surprise. I have a slew of films in my net flix queue. By the time this film had arrived I couldn't remember what drew me to have it sent. So I was a bit thunderstruck by the movie, it's message, the acting and it's whole feel. We loved it watch it with a significant other.

Now that I am familiar with the actors I am scrambling around looking for other work they have done together and a part. Yes the movie is that good. Five stars and five stars for taking on global poverty. Too bad the critics don't have enough nerve to speak out in support of noble causes. If anything is to change we all need to become aware of what is going on.

Act NOW!
The One Campaign

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Greed is Good - don't be so sure

I find what's lacking out there in the financial markets is a lack of real perspective. Everyone is drilled down in their own little existence and not realizing that he is the next guy.

Here's what I mean: there is an attitude that if I do just this one thing wrong it won't matter because the next guy won't and /or the next time I won't. This attitude leads to everyone doing something wrong from fudging the books, to leaking information, violating tax and SEC laws to polluting the planet and food chain. With the singular mind we think we operate in a vacuum. There is no vacuum for any one of us to hide in regardless of our profession or actions. Each action one takes has a ripple affect. Always assuming that just this one time I'll alter the books, falsify records, push a bad loan the reality is if you are doing it the other guys are doing it too.

We all have a personal accountability to the health and well being of the markets and the planet. Infinite resources are an illusion. Tearing down just this one section for clear cutting won't hurt anything until whoops it's all torn down. I really believe a cultural adjustment realizing that greed isn't any good because man as a collective and as an individual doesn't have the will power to stop himself.

The idea that greed is good rest on the assumption we won't destroy it all because we are greedy and therefore we'll make sure to preserve it all so we can keep being greedy. That's a helluva an assumption and man has demonstrated time and again he doesn't have that kind of self control. Greed is just a speeding car with no brakes.

The maximization of markets, profit and products eventually strips our finite resources and leads to blood baths and war. Each time an individual breaks over with the rationale oh just this one time, and next time I won't cheat, steal, pollute, kill, lie, drink, have dessert, is just flat out delusional and it just accumulates into never ending excuse making and faulty rationalizations.

Frankly man kind hasn't shown the ability to consider the whole of existence, the complexity of the interrelated reality that is our biosphere, our well being, and our economy. He is only in it for himself to the detriment of all and "so what" is the cocky half baked macho answer.

Those people couldn't be more stupid. What's wrong with that? If we are all only in it for ourselves then there won't be any "in it" left for anyone. King of the hill of an uninhabitable planet. Keep stock piling the nuclear weapons, keep fighting over resources, keep struggling and killing for control. It's the self destructive tendency of man to think he is a universe unto himself and that his individual actions won't affect anything or anyone at all - especially when doing wrong. That is our collective downfall and the delusion and denial we sell to ourselves.

If we don't make the right choices in our daily lives we bring much more than just ourselves down. Schemers, scam artists, charlatans, crooks and liars whether in the financial markets, politics or our personal lives ruin it for us all. Turning a blind eye towards them is foolish. Lionizing them is downright suicidal. Punishing them as hard as we punish drug addicts would be a start towards a collective security for our very existence personally, in our financial markets and our planet. Without our planet and all that was put here before us we have nothing to sell, harvest or eat. Ask yourself how is it that we need laws to prevent over fishing. Because when you get down to it we have a very narrow consciousness, are selfish greedy little children in our outlook, and have little to no self control.

We have a lot of growing up to do and I find those that struggle for power, wealth and fame are the least enlightened of us all. In terms they might understand we can not AFFORD to be short-sighted.

Paul Burke
Author-Journey Home

Friday, January 16, 2009

Andrew Wyeth - An Appreciation

Andrew's paintings spoke to me on a very quiet and deep level. For whatever reason I connected with his work immediately. What an honor to have such a talent and friend of the earth so close to home. His stark, quiet work spoke to the art, awareness and peace of loneliness. In a world jam packed with distractions his solitary images were a relief to the chaotic world around us which overstimulates our very core. In that quiet solitude lies the strength, recognition and depth of our very being and existence.

A moment to tune in and pause in front of one of his deeply reflective works slowed me down and reminded me to appreciate the beauty in simplicity, and the art in the ordinary but perhaps maybe not so ordinary world around us. His work spoke to a romanticized simpler time and had a melancholy air but always with light. Therein perhaps lay hope and the revelation of time, it's passing slow like molasses, eternal and forever seeping through every fiber of our being, calm, silent, almost still. The quiet in the frantic.

Andrew's paintings soothed our souls and reminded me of what peace there is in being still and aware of the beauty in even the smallest thing, a glance, a sleeping puppy, a wind swept sea, a flock of birds, a far off look, and light always light dancing off everything. It is a magical world. Sometimes we have to be still and calm to fully appreciate that. Wonderful things are in the ordinary and Andy's work helped me to see, feel, remember and embrace that.

Well done and thank you Andy.

Paul Burke
Author - Journey Home

Thursday, January 08, 2009

"Organic green revolution" can solve global hunger

"Organic green revolution" can solve global hunger

In a new report, the Rodale Institute calls for a dramatic shift from costly, chemical-intensive industrial farming systems to regenerative organic systems, which it says can help the world feed itself. The report cites a study of small-scale farmers in 57 countries whose yields increased by an average 79 percent when they used sustainable agriculture techniques and other research in developing countries that found organic farming was two to three times more productive than conventional farming. Organic farming methods restore nutrients and carbon to the soil, resulting in higher nutrient density in crops and increased yields. Organic soils also contain more beneficial microorganisms, are less vulnerable to erosion, and retain moisture better to help plants survive drought conditions. A 28-year side-by-side comparison of organic and conventional practices on Rodale's research farm in Pennsylvania has found that organically grown corn and soybeans are more resistant to drought, outperforming conventional crops by 30 percent and 50 to 100 percent respectively. Read the report (pdf).

From The Union of Concerned Scientist