Wednesday, August 31, 2005


Concerning news coverage of the hurricane. Look
and here

I'd rather not editorialize on this. Draw your own conclusions first

Pam knows Lenny Henry?


How do these kinds of incredibly cool things keep happening to me? First one of my favourite uncles (also a physicist, btw) turns out to be a close college friend of Avery Brooks, and now one of my favourite online people turns out to be friends with one of the best british comedians of all time?

For those of you who do not know who Lenny Henry is, I could talk for hours about the comedic genius behind 'The Lenny Henry Show' and especially Chef! but instead I'll just point you here. Buy that box set. And if you are feeling generous, buy me one as well.

If you are any kind of fan of the kind of sarcastic british humor present in shows like Fawlty Towers you should love this. It is one of my lifelong dreams to be able to insult another human being with that level of eloquence. Not exactly discovering gravity, but it'll be fine with me.

Geek sidenote: Roger Griffiths, who played the character of Everton in Chef! also appeared in Batman begins as the cop talking to Gordon and his partner when they arrive at Arkham Asylum. That was a cool moment for me that not too many people got.

Other sidenote: I missed the audiobook link for chapter one of Ananse Boys. As I am a huge Neil Gaiman fan could someone please send me a copy?

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Strengths I forget I have

I used to be scared of the dark.

As a child there was nothing scarier to me than the absence of light. I always had a very active imagination, especially back then. Couple that with the standard stories every Ghanaian kid hears about witches, ghosts, evil spirits etc. and its not too hard to imagine what type of nighttime horrors I was coming up with to keep myself awake.

Somewhere along the line my father found out about this. I can't remember if I told him or if he just figured out that I was scared of going to sleep. Either way, I remember us talking about it, and him telling me that the fear was just in my head and telling me that I could either stand up to it or be afraid of the dark for the rest of my life.

Then I remember night after night when I'd go into the bathroom (the only place in the house where I could get any privacy) turn off the lights and just sitting there getting to know my demons.

It worked. Today I actually like the dark. I function as well at night as I do in the daytime. And I discovered I have really good night vision.

Somedays I need to remind myself that I'm still that same kid. A little older and with a new set of demons, but just as capable of facing them now as I was then

Sunday, August 14, 2005

The need for certainty

Another post inspired by that colossal procrastination machine I call Okayplayer.

I had the evolution vs creation argument again this week. Actually, more than once. In the process of those arguments though, I came to realize a fundamental truth about mindsets I consider intolerant, whether religious or secular.

Sidenote: Although it is not said often enough, the legions of atheists and 'skeptics' who spend every waking moment not just pointing out inconsistencies in religions but believing that they have truly found the only way are guilty of the same hubris they charge religious extremists with. Namely believing that their way is the only way. The choice to believe in no god at all is just that, a choice. Since science, which a lot of them deify without understanding, IMO, makes no statements either way about the existence of a god, any arguments for either side are philosophical in nature and have little to do with proof. If you take a stand on either side you do it out of faith.

Now, there tends to be the same core mindet behind the wholesale unquestioning embrace of any particular religion, philosophy, political party, economic system etc. Namely, the idea of certainty. A group of ideas that can not be questioned and which are always appropriate regardless of the context in which they are applied.

Now, personally, I tend to apply certain aspects of the scientific method to real life. Particularly the part that requires that we consider all ideas subject to change. Also the part which requires we honestly admit what we do not know. I've always believed that before any kind of learning can happen, I must be prepared to admit my ignorance. This is not to say that I've never been ashamed to admit ignorance, or gotten my ego tangled around an idea to the point that I was unwilling to change it, but I try.

I see the need for absolute unshakeable certainty in anything as a very dangerous thing. You have to wonder how much of the ugliness in human history could have been prevented by someone just considering the possibility that their beliefs could be wrong. Its impossible to empathize with another human being so long as you believe only your perspective has validity.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Thank you Pam!


I would have done this sooner but the house hasn't had internet access for a week and I've been too busy when I'm on campus to post from there.

About a week ago, I came home to find an package with my name on it. This was really surprising to me since I hadn't ordered anything from them recently. Upon opening it, I found a copy of 'King Leopold's Ghost' which was on my wish list. When I checked the invoice I noticed that it was from the always fascinating Pam over at And We Shall March. Honestly, I was speechless That was the nicest thing someone had done for me in a long while. Especially since we only know each other in the context of what we write in our individual blogs and the comments we make to each other. Well, mostly the comments you make to me.

The book itself is remarkably well written and researched. It takes a particularly sordid period of world history and presents it in a straightforward but really engaging manner. I'm not yet done with it but have absolutely no issues recommending it based on what I've read so far.

Just so you know Pam, I am deeply grateful for the gesture and it is one that I shall remember for a long time. I'll also buy a copy of your anthology and review it on here. Actually I was going to do that anyway. I have a weakness for westerns.

While we're talking books, how is 'Amazons of Black Sparta'? I'm considering sliding it in among my textbook list for the semester.