Saturday, January 30, 2010

Gore vs. Bush

From the 2000 debate (quoted by this BBC story)

Gore: "Under the [Texas] governor [George W. Bush]'s plan, if you kept the same fee for service that you have now under Medicare, your premiums would go up by between 18% and 47%, and that is the study of the Congressional plan that he's modelled his proposal on by the Medicare actuaries."

Bush: "Look, this is a man who has great numbers. He talks about numbers.

"I'm beginning to think not only did he invent the internet, but he invented the calculator. It's fuzzy math. It's trying to scare people in the voting booth."

This is who our neighbor to the south voted for...

Friday, January 29, 2010


I've seen a few queries about my deployment to Haiti. This is the scoop:

I applied to a few organizations in hopes of helping in Haiti. Only Merlin responded, but by then a Canadian UN recruiting agency had asked me to go and help the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Haiti. I enjoyed cooperating with OCHA in Sri Lanka so this makes me very pleased.

I resigned from the World Food Program and am right now in Frankfurt en route to Ottawa to collect my tent (and see my Dad) and then Santo Domingo where I will have a day of training before heading to Port-au-Prince - perhaps on Tuesday.

I don`t know much more about what will happen except that I understand I'll be living and working this close to the Aeroport Toussant L'Ouverture airport.

Meanwhile Sharky is expecting confirmation of a different opportunity in Port-au-Prince. No details yet.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

We're are fine

There was a suicide blast a few kilometres from our compound just now but we're both fine.

I'm really looking forward to when we've left this country...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Frozen beauty

If only I could afford it I would buy this beautiful 100 year old photograph by Wilson A Bentley. (Story here.)


Sharky and I are going to Haiti - almost certainly. I applied for several Haiti jobs but got no response, and then was approached by CANADEM (a Canadian agency that provides human resources to the United Nations) about a position at the Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Port-au-Prince. I confirmed I would love to go and now they are checking with OCHA. I'll post updates.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Candlelight vigil for Haiti

At United Nations UNOCA compound, January 19, 2010.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Sharky and I are OK

There is currently a complex attack in the center of Kabul but we are far away and safe. BBC story here.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

"Vaccination Diplomacy"

This Wall Street Journal story illustrates the complexity of the World Health Organization's task in the south of Afghanistan.

It discusses the diplomatic and political issue of negotiating with the Taliban for access.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

George Orwell's six rules of writing

I have discovered and I admire these rules of writing by George Orwell:

1) Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.

2) Never use a long word where a short one will do.

3) If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out. [But why didn't he say "...out, do so"?]

4) Never use the passive voice where you can use the active.

5) Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

6) Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

- "Politics and the English Language," George Orwell

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


We had a wonderful escape to Dubai for New Year's.

The Dubai that I normally see is modern and artificial.

Driver-less train.

Artificial rocks. Artificial waterfall.

Artificial wave.

World's tallest building. (300m taller than any rival.)

Ice skating in the world's largest shopping mall - in the desert. (I am in this picture.)

Artificial horizon pool

When we went to the bus station we saw some of the older parts of town. Unfortunately no photos. We would like to explore there next time.