Showing posts from May, 2014

A Cyclist Was Killed: Some Preliminary Thoughts

A cyclist was killed this morning in Edmonton, and some of the usual things have happened.

There is a ghost bike chained to a pole at the scene of the collision. Chris, good work.
The news has covered the event, setting the scene with sentences like "A sunny morning commute turned tragic on Thursday" and "A 50-year-old woman is dead after being struck by a garbage truck while riding her bike Thursday morning."

And the photos that are the latest in the bicycle-turned-headstone-as-mourners-who-used-to-be-kids-on-bikes-look-on series.

There is the usual kind of statement from the police investigator about not yet being able to determine who was at fault, that the cyclist had a helmet on, and so on.

The waste management company issued a somewhat predictable statement, writing, in part, that "our two drivers are seasoned professionals and have been, and will continue to, cooperate in working with local authorities to further investigate this incident...Our thought…

Reading Johnny Cash

This is one of my favourite pics. Johnny Cash, Folsom Prison, January 13, 1968. I'm sitting in the second row behind the dude with the hat. :)

I searched it out the other day as part of an exercise in the book ThinkerToys that I am reading (and it me) that challenged me to just look at a favourite photo for 10 minutes—straight. That is a very different use of 10 minutes. I don't know what the average time spent viewing any Instagram pic is, but it's not 10 minutes. The goal is to see the photo differently, see more in it, extract from it visual themes that can be transferred to other areas of life.

So, what did I see? I see that:

Johnny Cash is the authority, listened to my lawman and lawbreaker alike;those microphones are like prison cell bars;he's got one foot on the prison wall;he's singing, but he's also placed a mic at the front of the crowd, to capture the voices of the voiceless, perhaps;the painting of the California coastal cypress (thanks, Janet) has …

Calling Occupants

My favourite line from the old Klaatu song Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft arrives about a minute in when, after a second or two of no voice, the singer, presumably making the case to aliens who might be tuned in, sings:

We are your friends

The song came out in 1976. Four years later, Carl Sagan delivered Cosmos, his popular apology for the search for extraterrestrial life. I loved the song, read and copied quotes from the book and actually spent many hours on my back in the yard looking up at the stars, trying to connect the dots.

Looking back, it's little wonder that there was an audience for the song, the book. Those were Cold War days, and the chill fingered its way even into northeast Edmonton where I grew up. Mutual Assured Destruction, SALT, ICBMs, nuclear winter, armageddon, apocalypse—all these terms glimpsed on the pages of The Edmonton Journal.

We are your friends

Out of nowhere yesterday, the song was on the radio. Actually, not out of nowhere, but out of the …