Tuesday, June 22, 2010


"Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can completely turn your world around. You tell them things that you’ve never shared with another soul and they absorb everything you say and actually want to hear more. You share hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you. When something wonderful happens, you can’t wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share in your excitement. They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself. Never do they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are not good enough, but rather they build you up and show you the things about yourself that make you special and even beautiful. There is never any pressure, jealousy or competition but only a quiet calmness when they are around. You can be yourself and not worry about what they will think of you because they love you for who you are. The things that seem insignificant to most people such as a note, song or walk become invaluable treasures kept safe in your heart to cherish forever. Memories of your childhood come back and are so clear and vivid it’s like being young again. Colours seem brighter and more brilliant. Laughter seems part of daily life where before it was infrequent or didn’t exist at all. A phone call or two during the day helps to get you through a long day’s work and always brings a smile to your face. In their presence, there’s no need for continuous conversation, but you find you’re quite content in just having them nearby. Things that never interested you before become fascinating because you know they are important to this person who is so special to you. You think of this person on every occasion and in everything you do. Simple things bring them to mind like a pale blue sky, gentle wind or even a storm cloud on the horizon. You open your heart knowing that there’s a chance it may be broken one day and in opening your heart, you experience a love and joy that you never dreamed possible. You find that being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure that’s so real it scares you. You find strength in knowing you have a true friend and possibly a soul mate who will remain loyal to the end. Life seems completely different, exciting and worthwhile. Your only hope and security is in knowing that they are a part of your life."

-Bob Marley

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

How is BP taking responsibility for the Oil Spill?

Responsibility. If my dog uses the bathroom outside, my neighbors expect me to pick up its mess. No one wants to see canine refuse littering our beautiful lawn. Likewise, if I were to spill a quart of oil into my community swimming pool, I would be expected, if not forced, to make reparations. The law of common courtesy mandates that when I make a mess, I clean it up. British Petroleum has not learned this lesson.

On April 20th 2010 the Deep Water Horizon oil rig exploded killing 11 workers. Upwards of 40,000,000 gallons of crude oil have since gushed into the Gulf of Mexico affecting coastal wetlands, native wildlife, and local economies. What has been done to quell the flow? A barrage of outlandish quick fixes which sound as childish as the attempts. Initially, BP postulated that a 125-ton containment dome would suppress the flow. Methane freezing at the top of the dome rendered it ineffective. What followed were feeble, and somewhat far-fetched, attempts to add smaller domes (the top hat), force mud and golf balls into a relief line (the junk shot), and an underwater robot, equipped with a diamond saw, intended to remove a ruptured riser to make room for a containment cap. True to form, the saw became lodged in the pipe and the plan was aborted. What has been BP’s response to these failures? Chemicals.

When I want to remove impurities from my drinking water, I run it through a filter: I do not add chlorine. BP chooses the later. 650,000 gallons of Corexit EC9500A, a dispersant that could cause 'unprecedented underwater damage to organisms’ and 'may cause injury to red blood cells, kidney or the liver' in humans,’ have been dropped into Gulf zero. Consequently, underwater plumes, extending upwards of 22 miles in length, have formed nearly a mile below the surface, further endangering the Gulf food chain. Over 400 species call the affected area home, and their habitat has not only been ravaged by the spill but also by the cleanup. On June 3rd, four days after the failed robot mission, BP aired $50M in commercials featuring Tony Hayward, CEO of BP, asserting, “We will get this done. We will make this right.” Mr. Hayward you are not getting the job done, you are not making it right.

Between BP’s misleading estimates, laundry list of safety violations and accidents, and apparent ineptitude in dealing with oil spills, you would think every effort would be made to remedy this disaster. Instead, we find Tony Hayward telling the press that he “would like his life back.” When your company skips inspections, bypasses safety protocols, and cuts corners to save money and thereby causes unprecedented environmental damage, you owe us your life until it is fixed. The only acceptable response to this disaster will be for BP to cap the gushing well, cleanly remove the oil, establish a wildlife fund, and make full reparations to all those affected.

Mr. Hayward, you want to make this right? You have our demands.

On Writing and Love

Writing is a very difficult process. Choosing ideas, taking angles, and gathering facts are but milk for the butter. The arduous process of churning those facts into an enjoyable piece is both time consuming and exhausting. A writer cannot sound like he is reciting a data set. He must turn statistics into poetry, numbers into pictures, and opinions into revolutions. He cannot waste a word. Stories must flow off a page like a river stream in times of peace and come down with a raging torrent during unrest.

Occasionally, he must create dissension. Freedom of speech is the right to disagree. The written word can alter the course of human history given the right pen. We writers then have a responsibility to treat every word as if it would change the world. Countries and kings have risen and fallen on this premise: I disagree. The written word is often the flint and the fire. Words can spark imagination, ignite passion, and burn a man alive, if left unchecked. If you are reading this, you believe in the power of the word. You are submitting your time to my opinions on writing. You have two options: agree or disagree – It is your choice. All I can do is offer my view of the world: it is a very cold place with one window and a locked door. You can see the sunshine from the sill but you are scared of the heat on your skin. You are afraid it will burn. You will never know until you take the lock of the door and go outside. This entry is the key. Open your mind to a world of possibility.

Writing is the language of truth. C.S. Lewis once said that the praise of something is not complete until it is expressed to another. By writing down my ideas I have submitted them to everyone for all time. My name becomes attached to my thoughts and I, therefore, become my ideas. I see the world and am displeased. I have a better way and here it is: love. Here, in one word, is my entire message. Love is the rhythm to the music of life but if we become deaf with indifference, we will forget where we are. The only way forward is together.

I have lived. I have written. I have submitted to your opinion. You must decide whether the pen is indeed mightier than the sword.