I was going to write about how Toronto is moving forward without a Ford as a mayor. Instead, I’m posting a photo from October 23rd. The goal that afternoon was to see the partial eclipse. It didn’t work out that way, but I did manage to take this photo of the sunset. Perhaps it is a little symbolic of the city’s politics. Now all I have to do is to wake up early and take a sunrise photo. (For those who live in the city, the photo is from the T&T Supermarket parking lot.)
Sunset

The weather has been great for walks in the park. While there is still some green in the trees, there is a lot of colour too. While walking on a bridge I looked over and noticed the interesting shadow patterns created by the bridge’s trusswork. In between the trusses, I noticed my shadow too. Here is the photo:

Shadow Selfie

Shadow Selfie

For a very short time, I thought I may have invented something new. Then, I returned to reality and realized someone must have already done this kind of photo many years ago. Without doing a serious search I came across this fellow being interviewed by Jimmy Fallon.

Click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwe_qzInXvQ

He doesn’t mention “Shadow Selfies”, but he seems kind of creative, so he might have. It might be worth finding out what else he has done.

I know it isn’t news now, but since I have been busy recently, I’m only now coming around to discussing the Scottish independence vote. Of course, since it has been two weeks no one will take me serious. Therefore, I’m not going to be serious.

Many people around the world watched the vote, but those who have their own separatist agenda were undoubtedly more interested. One such group was the Quebec Sovereigntists.

That got me thinking. Perhaps, the mistake the Scots made is that they didn’t team up with Quebec. Maybe if they joined to form their own country, Scotland-Quebec (or Quebec-Scotland, their choice of course) they could have had success. Scots and Quebecers working together isn’t that far fetched. Consider the contributions of Scottish immigrants to Quebec (see this Wikipedia article on Scots-Quebecer). Have you ever wondered why Montreal’s most famous university has a Scottish name? It is named after James McGill, who was originally from Glasgow.

If these countries do join together, I would like to propose a flag. First, consider the flag of Scotland.

1000px-Flag_of_Scotland_svg

Now, look at the flag of Quebec.

Flag_of_Quebec_svg

Finally, my design. I think you will agree that my design is very logical, combining elements of both flags.

The Flag of SQ

I will leave it to someone else to find a way to combine poutine and haggis.

(The first two flags are from Wikipedia, the last one I created using CorelDraw.)

This summer has been a time for introspection. A time for looking at what has gone well and what hasn’t. While I don’t have the time or desire to share everything, I can sum up much of my thoughts using the words of others.

The first is quote. I’m currently reading “Seeing What Others Don’t” by Gary Klein. (Available from Indigo/Chapters: Here ) In this book, there is the story of Barry Marshall, the Australian physician who discovered that ulcers where caused by a bacteria. At the time, doctors believed that stress caused ulcers and either prescribed pills or performed some very serious surgery. It took Marshall 12 years to convince his peers. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2005. According to Klein, ‘In his acceptance speech he quoted the historian Daniel Boorstin: “The greatest obstacle to knowledge is not ignorance; it is the illusion of knowledge.”‘

For the second thought, I am going to link to a video. It is a TED talk by Angela Lee Duckworth. Dr. Duckworth is a psychologist who studies grit. This talk really resonated with me. As I looked to where I had done better in life, I can say that grit was always a major factor. The talk is here: Angela Lee Duckworth on the Key to Success

EMS-01
In Toronto, the city-run ambulance service is formally referred to as the “Emergency Medical Service”. I took a photo of the EMS logo on the side of one of their ambulances. (See above.)

The E and S are very clear, while the M is made up from the triangles. It is clever, but for reasons I’m not sure, I see ELVIS. (See below.)

EMS-2

I don’t which Elvis. Presley?… Costello?… Stojko?…

Today I learned the expression “wronger than wrong”. It is from the legendary science fiction writer Isaac Asimov. He wrote an essay in response to someone who questioned his belief in scientific progress. Essentially, he was challenged to defend his views that there is progress if science is constantly redefining its theories. From Asimov’s essay:

This particular thesis was addressed to me a quarter of a century ago by John Campbell, who specialized in irritating me. He also told me that all theories are proven wrong in time.

My answer to him was, “John, when people thought the Earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the Earth was spherical, they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the Earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the Earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together.”

The basic trouble, you see, is that people think that “right” and “wrong” are absolute; that everything that isn’t perfectly and completely right is totally and equally wrong.

However, I don’t think that’s so. It seems to me that right and wrong are fuzzy concepts, and I will devote this essay to an explanation of why I think so.

The entire essay is interesting. You can find it here: The Relativity of Wrong

Feeling sorry for yourself can be as addictive as any drug. It is natural to feel sad when bad things happen to you and it is proper to have some empathy for the suffering of others, but when self-pity becomes your dominant state of mind, you could find yourself in a downward spiral into despondency. You miss the joy around you. You miss the happiness that is there for you to partake. And, you miss being you to the fullest.

For me, the solution is in two parts. The first is to mourn what you have to mourn. The second is to quickly follow that with inspiration from those who have gone through more. If you are a Christian, you know there plenty of stories of saints that have endured much and rose above their suffering. (There are similar stories in other traditions.)

Recently, I discovered Maurice Tillet. Tillet was a professional wrestler, but that wasn’t his first career choice. He wanted to be a lawyer. Born in 1903 to French parents in Russia, Maurice’s cherub-like face earned him the nickname “The Angel”. He was a normal teenager until, at age 17, he was diagnosed with acromegaly. Acromegaly is a hormonal condition that results in body parts growing disproportionately large. It prevented him from studying law. Instead, he joined the navy. In one of his trips, someone convinced him to become a wrestler.

As a wrestler his unusual looks were an asset. His nickname was “The French Angel” and as ferocious as he may have been in the ring, outside he was a kind and compassionate person. He was a top draw and even become a world champion inspiring imitators. There is even a rumour that he inspired the look of Shrek. (Take a look at the photo below.)

For me, what I find inspiring about Maurice Tillet is that he is the embodiment of taking a bad situation and making something good out of it. I would write more, but I feel like making some lemonade.

Maurice_Tillet

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