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Monday, January 24, 2011


Well, you should be eminently thankful, for you can read, are mostly solvent and hopefully are in general good health.  Sure, some of you can continue to feel sorry for yourself, but just imagine being born blind and deaf.  That was Helen Keller.  The miracle worker was Anne Sullivan, seen to the left when Helen was 8 years old.   Keller went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree and became a noted author, even helping found the American Civil Liberties Union in 1920.  Frankly, I think the ACLU has lost it's true purpose today, but maybe that's just me. Anyway, see the movie The Miracle Worker (there is also a Disney TV version), based on Keller's autobiography, and get to appreciate your life a little bit, if not a lot, more.

What inspired me to touch on this topic was Michael Tsai's column this morning on Patrick Gartside.  You can click on the article if you missed it, but here is a 28-year-old from Moiliili who has already donated one of his kidneys to a stranger and awaiting a time when he might contribute part (there is only one in your body) of his liver (yes, this is possible) to another needy person.  He has donated blood 40 times and "his only health issues seem to be a pathological compulsion to continue helping and a severe allergy to praise."  Part of Patrick's extraordinariness is that he is almost normal (you got to wonder  a bit  about something mental--but this is what makes him special).  

Many other handicapped individuals perform off the charts, as for example, Liu Wei, who I featured in my blog of 11October2010.  He brushes his teeth, writes and plays the piano with his toes, as both of his arms were amputated when he was 8.  He won the first China's Got Talent last year with James Blunts' "You're Beautiful."  He believes:

   I have two options--I can die as fast as possible, or I can live a brilliant life.  I chose the latter.

Ben Underwood can "see" without eyes and Daniel Tammet, an autistic savant, has memorized the value of pi to 22,531 places.  There is so much we don't yet know about the brain that could be the hope for Humanity's survival.

There are extraordinary people you'll never know, and, of course the one in a billion truly talented:

1.  Kim Ung-Yong, who has an IQ of 210 (Marilyn Vos Savant's has been reported to be 228--Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking and Bill Gates at 160, Benjamin Netanyahu 180, and chess masters Bobby Fisher and Gary Kasparov around 190) began his studies in physics at the age of three at Hanyang University in Korea.

2.  Cleopatra Stratan had a record album out at the age of 3.

3.  Two-year-old artist Aelita Andre:

But most of us are born only normal.  Attitude has almost everything to do with your success if you  are average.    There is so much more any one of you can do a lot better only by showing some decisiveness and being reasonably perseverant.

The Dow Jones Industrials did not quite reach 12,000, but did jump 109 to 11,981, with world markets also mostly up. Gold fell $6/toz to $1335, while the New York Merchantile Exchange (NYMEX) price of oil is at $87.63/barrel, with the London Brent Spot petroleum at $95.74/barrel.  Two thirds of world oil is quoted through the latter.  Why such a big discrepancy?  Not sure what is happening these days, for there is historically a + or - $3/barrel difference, and the Brent Spot I've seen lower than the NYMEX.  The recent drop on both prices, though, is probably related to a Saudi Arabian announcement that they would be producing more oil to settle the market.

Tropical Cyclone Wilma is, indeed, a strange storm.  If the following tracking diagram from Weather Underground is correct, Wilma appeared to have formed over Australia (yes, land, although some reports indicate that it formed near Samoa), then moved east at 40 MPH through New Caledonia (maybe), strengthened a bit and traipsed through the Samoas, made an almost about face back southwest, than zagged southeast towards New Zealand, but again twisted back southwest with hurricane force winds of 75 MPH, should pass over Tonga within two days and move in the direction of Southern Australia and Tasmania.  I'll get it more accurate tomorrow.  Today, I'm confused.

That second storm, Anthony, is still lurking East of Northern Australia, and is slowly heading west, but weakening.

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