Jim Taylor's Columns - 'Soft Edges' and 'Sharp Edges'

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16

Jan

2022

You can’t argue with a computer

Author: Jim Taylor

Sunday January 16, 2022

 

I got a phone message the other night. A very nice voice reminded me that I had not paid my last electricity bill. So, of course, I called the company the next morning. And  I got, of course, a voice menu. 

             “To confirm that you are the authorized representative for this account, enter your birthdate…”

            I did.

            “That information does not correspond with our data,” the robot voice informed me. 

            I got through, eventually, to a helpful woman who explained that the computer couldn’t recognize my birthdate, because it had never been entered. Now, wouldn’t you think that a computer smart enough to handle millions of accounts could have told me that?


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16

Jan

2022

Now for something completely different

Author: Jim Taylor

Thursday January 13, 2022

 

The only channel where I can watch Jeopardy is a U.S. channel out of Seattle. So, in addition to the contestants’ wit and wisdom, I get to listen to ads for U.S. pharmaceutical products.

            The first few lines urge you to try the drug. Followed by a full minute – or, in magazines, a full page, or more -- of warnings about possible risks and side effects.

            It got me thinking that maybe other human institutions should be equally up-front about potential consequences.

           The most obvious target would be religion. So I’ll chose the one I know best-- Christianity.


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8

Jan

2022

The people we rendered invisible

Author: Jim Taylor

Sunday January 9, 2002

 

Canada finally seems to have recognized that the original inhabitants of this continent have had a raw deal.

            On Tuesday, the federal government announced a “historic agreement-in-principle” worth $40 billion to “compensate young people harmed by Canada's discriminatory child welfare system while reforming the system that tore First Nations children from their communities for decades.”

            The discovery of 215 unmarked graves at the Kamloops Residential School, plus another 1,000 or so at other sites, shocked Canadians out of centuries of complacency. 

            It shouldn’t have come as a jolt.

            For seven years, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission exposed story after story of persecution and discrimination. 

            The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls provided further evidence.

            Did we listen?


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7

Jan

2022

Tears as a sign of rejoicing

Author: Jim Taylor

Thursday January 6, 2022

 

I’m turning into a sentimental old fool. I find myself unexpectedly moved to tears, or at least to sniffles, by some act of kindness or caring. 

            It could be anything. A video clip about a group of people working together to extricate a moose from a mudhole. An anonymous donation to my church’s Thrift Shop that prepays purchases for a dozen or more shoppers. 

            The very best present I received this past Christmas was a letter from my granddaughter Katherine.  “Is it okay?” Katherine asked, when I looked up from reading her letter. I couldn’t answer; I was too choked up.


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1

Jan

2022

If I only did one good thing this year…

Author: Jim Taylor

Saturday January 1, 2022

 

Long ago, I read an article about doing a year-end review. It said that if you could look back over the last year and find three good things to celebrate, you’ve had a good year. 

            As I recall, that had not been a particularly good year. I felt more inclined to focus on all the things that had gone badly. No need to go into details. 

            Every year since then, I have deliberately and consciously made the effort to list the good things that made the year memorable. 

            This year, one good thing particularly stands out for me. I became a plasma donor. 


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Categories: Sharp Edges

Tags: blood, plasma, donor

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