March 27, 2006

The Perfect Picture

Category: Entertainment — Cranky @

Millions of snapshots are taken every year by people around the globe. That number has drastically increased as of late, owing to the advent of the digital camera, which has made the developing process all but unnecessary. And for all of those snapshots, very few are really worthwhile.

By their nature, snapshots are an isolated moment, a tiny sliver of time. And as such they usually cannot contain everything necessary to convey the moment. A young boy holds up a freshly caught fish, with a smile on his face. While some of the emotion is caught, you don’t realize the significance of the event. Perhaps it was his first fishing trip, and indeed the first fish he has ever caught. That knowledge changes things.

People talk about composition, lighting, arrangement… about choice of time of day… about dividing frames in threes and avoiding the centre… all of these things are important for the professional photographer, but they are more concerned with the technical artistry of the photograph itself, and are somewhat divorced from the subject.

But once in a while a picture is taken that completely captures the moment. These pictures are of a pure emotion, or a deep clarity that is simply unmistakable. The technical merits of these pictures are not important. The subject overwhelms them.

I’m not a picture person. Most people who know me can attest to this. I’m seldom moved by photos, and generally I glance, and move on. But I may have discovered the perfect photo. In a glance you understand everything you need to know about what’s funny, and what’s fun.

So, without further ado… The Perfect Photo


March 24, 2006

Am I Not Owner Enough For You, Baby?

Category: Life — Cranky @

When you own a pet for a few years, you become finely attuned to whatever pleases it. Different animals prefer different forms of attention. A big, strong dog might like to have his head shaken roughly back and forth in affection. A bird might like a gentle scratch under the feathers on his neck. A cat might like a good back scratch, or a loving forehead rub. Eventually, you know what works.

I’ve had my cat Louise for a few years now, and Louise likes it rough. She likes to have her head rubbed vigorously, with lots of force on the top and sides. She’s not much of a purrer, but I can hear her plain as day when I really get to it.

So the other day I went up to the stairs to my bedroom-slash-computer room, and what do I find? Louise is in my computer chair, and she’s rubbing the top of her head against the armrest.

That little trollop. What… am I not paying enough attention to her, that she would seek satisfaction from an inanimate object? That’s just so… lonely. Sure, maybe I could spend a bit more time with her, but damn it, I work hard. I can’t be “on” all the time. I hope her sudden seeking of outside stimulation isn’t a sign that our relationship is on the rocks. Man, I hope that when she was purring she was sincere! I’d hate to think she was hamming it up to make me feel good.

No, that simply can’t be true. I’m all the owner she could ever want. And by heavens, if there’s a cat head that’s going to be rubbed here, I’m going to be the one to rub it! In fact, that’s not her head – that’s my head. She just gets to hold on to it.

I am Giver of the Pleasurable Headrub. If I can’t get to it right away, she should just wait.


March 20, 2006

That Egotistical Showboater!

Category: Social — Cranky @

We all know a showboater – somebody that just has to make a big deal out of every success. It’s so exasperating to have to deal with these people. I accept that kind of behaviour from professional athletes – it’s part of the competitive spirit – but for others it is often completely unnecessary. I’m talking about that all-time showboater. You know who it is!

Mother Teresa.

From the very beginning, in her home town of Skopje, Yugoslavia, she was known as a total attention hog. She may have been the first person to yell “Booyah!” when she made her first poopie. Born Gonxha Bojaxhui, at the age of five it was not unknown for her to forcibly rub her finger-paint art into the face of “inferior” artists, with the admonishment, “You can just stop now. You suck.”

As she grew up, the situation only worsened. By the age of 17 her ultimate goal was clear – she had to be widely acknowledged as “better than everybody else”. But how? The answer, of course, was clear.


Really, what other title is there that supercedes “saint”? President, Prime Minister, Dictator, Shah… none of them carry the sheer weight of canonization.

She set about her task with careful deliberation. At 18 she entered the Loreto Sisters of Dublin, and a year later she was set to Darjeeling. She chose the name “Teresa” because there were not one, but two saints of that name: Teresa of Avila, and Therese of Lisieux. Then she began work in Calcutta.

Eventually she decided to leave the convent. Clearly she would be viewed more positively if she gave up the comparative luxury of Lareto in favour of the streets of one of the poorest regions of the world. In the convent she was just another nun, and that would never enable her to rise to the top of fame and recognition.

So she taught children by drawing in the dirt with a stick when that was all that was available. She founded the Missionaries of Charity, and attracted young women to her cause. She worked herself ragged for decades, and a whole generation remembers her as a bent, frail old woman who simply wouldn’t stop.

Indeed, her spiritual work lives on in the form of homes for the dying, elderly care centres, leprosy treatment centres, rehabilitation clinics, homeless shelters… her name has been stamped on everything philanthropic and socially beneficial at one point or another.

And deep in the core of that socially conscious assistance network lies the truth of the matter. It’s one giant ad from Mother Teresa, saying, “Beatify me, baby! And when you’re done that, break out the canon!”

That damned showboater. To her credit she put a lot of effort into her campaign to be named as “Best in Show”. I say we let her have it.