Saturday, October 24, 2015

Rosa Parks .. A Genuine 20th Century Heroine We Must Never Forget ...

Rosa Parks died 10 years ago, today, October 24th 2005.

She looks like everybody's favourite aunt or grandma, doesn't she?

But on 1st December 1955, she was just tired of being a second class citizen. In Montgomery, Alabama, Parks refused to obey a bus driver's order to give up her seat in the colored section to a white passenger, after the white section was filled.

"People always say that I didn't give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn't true. I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day. I was not old, although some people have an image of me as being old then. I was forty-two. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in."

Parks was not the first person to resist bus segregation. Others had taken similar steps, including Bayard Rustin in 1942, Irene Morgan in 1946, Sarah Louise Keys in 1952, and the members of the ultimately successful Browder v. Gayle lawsuit (Claudette Colvin, Aurelia Browder, Susie McDonald, and Mary Louise Smith) who were arrested in Montgomery for not giving up their bus seats months before Parks.

Parks' act of defiance and the Montgomery Bus Boycott became important symbols of the modern Civil Rights Movement. She became an international icon of resistance to racial segregation. She organized and collaborated with civil rights leaders, including Edgar Nixon, president of the local chapter of the NAACP; and Martin Luther King, Jr., a new minister in town who gained national prominence in the civil rights movement.  

"It was just time... there was opportunity for me to take a stand to express the way I felt about being treated in that manner. I had not planned to get arrested. I had plenty to do without having to end up in jail. But when I had to face that decision, I didn't hesitate to do so because I felt that we had endured that too long."

When she passed away, her casket was transported to Washington, D.C. and transported by a bus similar to the one in which she made her protest, to lie in honor in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol. She was the first woman and the second black person to lie in state in the Capitol. An estimated 50,000 people viewed the casket there, and the event was broadcast on television on October 31, 2005.

A quiet, gentle, rather ordinary woman who just made a very brave stand one day and became, against her will, an icon of the fight for Race Equality.

Ordinary people can become extraordinary.

The fight for Equality of all kinds continues in her honour.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Richard Thompson covers "Oops, I Did It Again" ...

What happens when a multi award-winning, universally lauded musician with 25 albums under his belt takes a crap pop song and makes it his ? This.

Richard Thompson, OBE, who started his career in 1967 with Fairport Convention, strips this song down, reconstructs it and makes it pretty damn good.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Monday, July 06, 2015

None Of Us Are Free ... If One Of Us Is Chained ...

Been playing around with a new Linux Video Tool, Imagination, for a few days, as a friend asked me to put together a slide show video for him. Having found out just how easy it is, thought I'd tinker with it and see what it could do.

It's described as 'simple' - but I'd hate to see 'complex', it has every function I think *I* could use, ever.

So here's my first rough cut attempt, about 30 minutes work, that's all. A montage on issues I care about and people who inspire me. Music by Lynryd Skynrd, a cover of "None Of Us Are Free" by Solomon Burke.


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Astonishing Visual Effects Behind 'Game Of Thrones' ...

Anyone who follows me on Twitter knows I'm a GoT fan.

I am one of the Uber Geeks who have read the books (well, those written so far) and I'm also one of the few (it seems) who don't mind some departures from the Book Plot to fit the TV Format.

Two of the highlights for me (apart from the battles, intrigue, backstabbing and sex) are the vast open landscapes used as locations (mainly in Northern Ireland) - and the visual effects. They are effortless, unspottable and seamless.

It's nigh on impossible to tell between what's real and what's an illusion. Much like the plot.

Here's the showreel from the Mackevision Visual Department from Season 4, just to give you a taster of what's possible now.

Monday, March 02, 2015

The Abilene Paradox - A Management Parable ...

Discovered this today on Professor Leighton Vaughan Williams' site - Very interesting for Maths Geeks and Number Nerds, by the way.

Not heard it before, but yes, it's very familiar. Originally by George Washington University Professor Emeritus of Management, Jerry B. Harvey.


On a hot afternoon visiting in Coleman, Texas, the family is comfortably playing dominoes on a porch, until the father-in-law suggests that they take a trip to Abilene [53 miles North] for dinner.

The wife says, “Sounds like a great idea.”

The husband, despite having reservations because the drive is long and hot, thinks that his preferences must be out-of-step with the group and says, “Sounds good to me. I just hope your mother wants to go.”

The mother-in-law then says, “Of course I want to go. I haven’t been to Abilene in a long time.”

The drive is hot, dusty, and long. When they arrive at the cafeteria, the food is as bad as the drive. They arrive back home four hours later, exhausted.

One of them dishonestly says, “It was a great trip, wasn’t it?”

The mother-in-law says that, actually, she would rather have stayed home, but went along since the other three were so enthusiastic.

The husband says, “I wasn’t delighted to be doing what we were doing. I only went to satisfy the rest of you.”

The wife says, “I just went along to keep you happy. I would have had to be crazy to want to go out in the heat like that.”

The father-in-law then says that he only suggested it because he thought the others might be bored.

The group sits back, perplexed that they together decided to take a trip which none of them wanted. They each would have preferred to sit comfortably, but did not admit to it when they still had time to enjoy the afternoon.

Moral : Hard to tell. But my take on it is this: Individuals within a group, seeking to compromise, and perhaps over-wary of being 'bullish', too often allow the agenda to be set by others, who's motivation for a chosen set course may well be as ambivalent as everybody else's.

So, If you have a say in the matter, stick to your guns, state your case (that's Integrity) but go with the majority (that's Democracy).