bent tree
So much wonderful reading in the past week that I’ve broken it into two installments (the second will be tomorrow).

Mysterious Deaths — Journalist Ken Layne weaves a fascinating tale, enough to make a conspiracy theorist of the most skeptical mind. The connection between UFOs, Canada, anthrax and Iraq.

Culture as Anaesthetic — Jon Husband sent me an essay by Thomas de Zengatita from Harpers on The Numbing of the American Mind. The blurring of the real and the unreal, the flood of choices, the constant buffering of staggering, unimaginable events and then quickly moving on, to the point “our inner lives are now largely constituted by effects”, until we become addicted to information and novelty and the next jolt of recycled reality. “Eventually we can just wire our glands directly to a console of sensation buttons, platform to platform, and be done with this tiresome content altogether. Call it P2P communication. Talk about interactive. Thus will the human soul be compensated for the despair of finitude.” Moving on…next!

Not Thinking About Elephants — The Readers’ Digest version of George Lakoff, complete with critique, by NYT writer Adam Cohen. “Lakoff was impressed with a line from President Bush’s last State of the Union address: that we do not need a ‘permission slip’ to defend America. It reframed multilateralism, once a widely accepted foreign policy principle, as weakness.” The left needs to talk about “poison-free communities”, not conservation.

Carnival of the Capitalists — Trader Mike Seneadza hosts this week’s edition of the best writing in the blogosphere on business issues. Lots of good stuff: 32 articles on every imaginable business topic, each with an excellent one-sentence abstract so you can decide which of them to read. My best take-away: Discovering David Allen’s book Getting Things Done — as a proponent of Personal Productivity Improvement as the key to business success, and as a whiner that we all think too much and do too little, this might be a great addition to our personal toolkit. More on this when I’ve actually read it.

Should Canada Indict Bush — George Bush is visiting Canada November 30. The Toronto Star’s Thomas Walkom makes a compelling argument that under Canadian and International law he could be arrested and jailed for war crimes the moment he steps on Canadian soil. Not going to happen, but the fact it would be completely legal to do so shows how polarized our world has become.

Warren Buffett Pays His Taxes — The Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway’s Annual Report to Shareholders is always one of the year’s best reads. This year Buffett tears into the corporate tax system (scroll to page 6 of the link) that allows so many of the world’s most profitable (and irresponsible) corporations to pay little or no taxes. He is proud of the fact that his company pays 1/500 of the total tax revenues (corporate and individual) of the entire United States, and looks forward to paying a lot more next year. The whole report is brash, provocative and refreshing.

Picture above is from local Caledon photographer-cinematographer Chris Tammaro. It was taken last winter just a few blocks from our house.

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  1. Michael says:

    Dave,I’m glad you liked that bit about ‘Getting Things Done’. I almost didn’t include that little comment b/c it was (sort of) off topic. But since it introduced you to the book I’m glad that I left it in. I can’t wait to find out what you think of it.

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