Tag Archive: my life


The movie Extraordinary Measures is an inspirational movie about a father and his quest to find the right medication for his two children that are suffering from Pompe disease.

This is a genetic disease that affects children that disables the heart and muscles. Because of the underdevelopment of the muscles it leaves them confined to a wheelchair. Children with this disease normally die at around age nine, at that stage the organs enlarge. You can imagine the shock and the despair John Crowley (Brendan Fraser) and Aileen Crowley (Keri Russell) parents of the children feel when they are told their young children have less than a year to live.

The family leads a pretty normal life, a working dad, stay at home mom with three children to care for. The father, a leading corporate executive is faced with a dilemma; to stay at his job and enjoy the perks of promotions – increased benefits, meeting deadlines and to watch his kids die from a disease that will rob them of a future before they are teenagers or leave the job and find the cure.

Directed by Tom Vaughan, the movie’s cinematography is not only good but shows his experience. The scenes in the movie are amazing; they will grip you from the beginning to end. The characters all have personalities that make you connect more with them. The daughter Megan is full of personality, a typical 8 year old who desires a future. She likes pink and loves to play.

John Crowley (Brendan Fraser) decides to fight the battle with his kids and leaves the state to the University of Nebraska where he meets Dr. Stonehill (Harrison Ford). Dr. Robert Stonehill (Harrison Ford) is a scientist who has explored the area of Pompe and has developed what he thinks is the cure. Leaving his wife behind with the children, John Crowley meets with Dr. Stonehill after chasing him down in the wee hours of the morning from his university office to a bar. At the bar, a relationship develops between the two. It leads to a business relationship, with both men partnering to find a cure to help the children, Megan Crowley (Meredith Droeger) and Patrick Crowley (Diego Velazquez).

To make John Crowley’s dream a reality of not only benefiting his own children they meet with executives from drug manufacturers. With this new partnership there are other issues that arise which make the movie even more exciting to watch. Extraordinary Measures is a true story and is an adaptation of the novel The Cure by Geeta Anand.

The movie also explores at length the politics, tribalism, materialistic goals of drug companies. I understand this is a moral dilemma for them and the company executives from the drug company kept emphasizing the importance of objectivity. Because, dealing with drugs, medicines and treating people if you are caught up with the Utilitarian Principle (doing good for the greatest number of people) you may not have a successful company at the end of the day. Drug companies are in business to make a profit and not primarily to save patients at the end of the day.

In the movie John Crowley, the father of the children is caught up emotionally with finding a cure that there is a huge disagreement between him and the company executives. When the company had completed the process and it was time to test the medication, it caused a major conflict of interest. There was a conflict of interest because John Crowley had a vested interest in the company and he also had an interest in the success of the product. Of course he wanted his children to have the medication first. To solve the issue, he was fired from the company. It was sad to see him go but the drug company maintained their strict adherence to policy.

His children did receive the needed medication. The testing worked and they responded well. The movie ends on a good note. Extraordinary Measures will not have you crying but its emotional journey will have you supporting these parents that placed everything on the line – their relationship and jobs to fight for a cure to save their ailing children. You will be cheering on these parents.

I only wish that you will get a hold of this movie and see it. It is worth your time. I yearn for the will that I might have the same fervour and strength these parents had in their darkest moment. The strength to fight on till the desired end is attained.

This post is dedicated to a blogger and a friend of this site who revealed that he has cancer. All of us here wish him the very best and a speedy recovery. I trust that he will not only have the audacity of hope but the certainty of faith that he will get better. Read his updates on his blog. http://jammer5spolyrant.wordpress.com/

Friendships are important to our own growth and development. In our personal lives I am sure we can list all the friends we could not live without. It is the same in the blogging sphere I could not be inspired if it were not for some of the viewers who continue to share with this blog and I enjoy returning the favour to see what you are thinking and posting.

Growing up I always wanted to attend boarding school. To do so, I had to pass the Common Entrance Examination (National Test) which I did and I was able to attend the top boys’ school in Jamaica for high school – Munro College. There is a certain level of independence that you develop in such an environment. I am grateful for the many lessons I learnt because of that period in my life. My first semester back in 1998 I remember it vividly, it was horrible. Although I had always wanted to be there nothing could prepare me for it. I went from chasing the car when they were leaving in first form to being comfortable with them leaving me behind. By the end of the first year I was running them off the campus. Leave!

What made the experience unforgettable was that I had friends who I could count on. I was not the popular student but I was indeed a great friend. I can recall people would feel secure in sharing their deepest concerns with me. In the earlier years I became my class representative on the Students’ Council – which I enjoyed. Today, some of those friendships continue.

What I have found interesting about myself is that I find it hard to revisit the places in my life that have impacted me. I struggle to visit my high school and other places. It is not like I don’t want to be there or I am ungrateful in anyway; I love these places so much that I prefer to reminisce on all the memories than to walk up the long drive way and remember all the buildings I called home. I remember distinctly years ago returning for a graduation ceremony and because it is a traditional school everything was the same. The buildings had their antique look and the boards still creek.

I watched a movie a few days ago by the name of Hachiko: A Dog’s Story and it is one of the most tear dropping movie I have ever seen. I have watched movies with animals before but this dog deserves an award. The cinematography and the way the camera captures the dog’s emotions is very captivating and it makes the viewer connect with the movie on a level that makes this movie memorable.

It has become cliché to say a dog is man’s best friend – this movie proved more than that. I do not think we understand the relationship and influence we have on our pets. I pick up the cat I live with at home and hear her purr and wish animals could talk or we could interpret in some way what they are thinking because they have their own personalities that make them unique.

Hachiko: A Dog’s Story is a true story of a Japanese dog named Hachiko and his master, a professor. The movie is an American adaptation of a legendary Japanese tale.

The movie begins with the college professor heading home from school and sees this puppy on its own by the train station. Because it was so late he picked up the cute Japanese Akita and brought it home for the night with the intention of taking to the pound or to find its rightful owner. His wife Cate Wilson (Joan Allen) is not happy that he brought the dog home and later agreed that the dog will be there for the night. One night turns into weeks, months and years. Everyday the dog would follow Parker Wilson (Richard Gere) to the train station, walk home and then return to welcome him off the train. The movie sets you up for a huge disappointment because it chronicles for years where this would be the routine of the dog and the college professor.

So you’re expecting something and it happens!

Parker Wilson (Richard Gere) suffers a heart attack while at school and dies at hospital. Back at the train station Hachiko waits and waits and waits, no Parker Wilson. Hachiko repeats this routine for more than nine years until his own death. This dog’s unwavering loyalty to its master makes you emotional – might make you sob watching this movie.

I love drams, but this movie takes it to another level. I remember right after the movie I couldn’t do anything else but rush to my bed to lie down, my head was just giddy – not to say that will happen to you, but this movie will have an impact on you. Normally I returned to my blogging or to watch something else on television but not that night. The movie was directed by Lasse Hallstrom who has worked with animals before on other projects.

Each one of us expresses their loyalty in different ways. Certainly Hachiko’s expression of his loyalty and devotion to his lifelong friend can teach us all a lesson or two. I do not think I will forget this movie. It has made an indelible mark in my mind.

Love’s Actions!

LoversGazeREX_468x304Love is a feeling you feel when you feel a feeling you feel you had never felt before. If that is love then you shouldn’t be feeling that feeling too often. For many of us, finding love is a dream, that aspiration to meet the one who connects and feels your inner emotions, your ultimate soul mate. Humans need affection, love and companionship which we all seek daily. If love never existed the world would be at war, and many of the unions and offspring would not be here today to continue humanity. Apart from love towards our neighbours, closest friends and families there is a special love we all reserve for the ones closest to our hearts. Finding the person to share private moments with can be a thrill for some, devastating for others and a journey that makes you look crazy.

In the book Message in a Bottle by Nicholas Sparks the main character Theresa Osborne finds a bottle with a love letter in it. As a columnist she publishes the letter in the newspaper and finds out there are other letters out there written by the same gentleman. She admires the writer from reading the love letters and begins a journey to find the man who she thinks will be the perfect match for her.

I am sure you have seen couples together and they have that spark that says they are definitely in love. I am quite sure that many readers of this blog right now might even be in love. Love stories will always be told but there are times you hear of a wild experience of someone in love and make you ponder; is it real love?

So you did what?

For those seeking love it can be a whirlwind, it stirs everything up blinding your next move. Dating partners from your financial class/level will be critical sometimes. A love story is told some time ago where a top level bank executive asked this particular female on a date. They went to a very expensive restaurant in the city and they had a good time. Perfect! If you have to withdraw a huge amount of your savings or investment to get someone’s attention, to prove you care then they are not worth your time. Many times partners find themselves all in a moment. We are on a high to the point where we are no longer in control of our actions because this person may be the hottest on the market, maybe the one with the personality you’ve been looking for or whatever. I do believe in the notion of going all out for the one you love but never to the point where you suffer financially in the future.

So you’ve changed what?

We all know love makes us do some ridiculous things. However, we should always be in a position to distinguish between the feeling of love and infatuation. If loving the person you are chasing means changing your friends – the good ones, changing your outlook on life, being honest and persistent about your own personal goals then you might not be looking in the right place. When you’ve found love in a partner they should never influence you negatively. Many families are at the bitter end of this stick who confess most times that when members of the family get married or begin to date someone they change overnight into different people because of the huge influence their partners hold over them. I vehemently believe in listening to your partner and respecting those decisions but there comes a point when you should be able to think straight and see through things and make the best decision for your life.

So you’re not happy?

It might take you days, weeks, months to figure out that this person who you have been investing your time and effort in is not making you happy. There is no way someone should stay in a relationship when they are unhappy. This state not only affects you personally but it trickles over in your work, and your relationship with others. Life is too short to sit around and have someone in your personal space eat away at your happiness and you enjoying life. For some, this may take years for them to realize that things have not been developing into what they desired it to be. At this moment you need to sit down and figure out what was blinding you, what has changed and what you can do now to make this work.

Love do sometimes makes us do crazy things I tell you. There is someone out there for each person and the quest to find them can be a thrill, can be devastating, and it could last a lifetime. Find someone who shares similar interests, will love you, who is a lover of life and someone who compliments and will compromise. Live life happily ever after and feel the feeling you have never felt before.

Beer Summit 2009

The President made some less than flattering comments on the Gates/Crowley controversy. Today, or a mere minutes ago the Beer Summit – Let’s talk moment ended. Obama wanted this matter to become a teachable moment. Did this summit achieve that? I am not positive the president achieved this but he achieved lots of bad PR and will not have ended how stupid this whole drama is.

Beer Summit Photo

Beer Summit Photo

I personally do not think that the president of the free world should have used a beer summit to solve this issue. If he had wanted this to become a teachable moment, does he really think sitting and drinking beers would achieve this? This man is so obsessed with being cool that he has taken it to the level where he looks rather un-cool.

The president should have invited these men to a discussion on race relations. That’s what he wanted. This action by the president would prompt millions of Americans to have a serious sit-down talk on this issue. Instead we are forced to see the leader of the free world get down drinking beers making him look immature. Sgt Crowley commented that the discussions were about the future. I am sorry sitting around beers on the brink of getting drunk is not having that teachable moment.

So the lesson from this is, when you have disagreements with people on this topic, could drinking beers the solution. I am no thrilled about how the president acted but this was not a happy moment. The Obama we know from the campaign who articulated a new message on race, I want that Obama back. I want to see Obama articulate and lead on this issue of race relations. Obama got one thing correct; his team changed it from a childish picnic table to a white table top surrounded with chair for four.

Sweet Communism

Socialism is the same as Communism, only better English” – George Bernard Shaw

Communism according to Wikipedia is a socioeconomic structure and political ideology that promotes the establishment of an egalitarian, classless, stateless society based on common ownership and control of the means of production and property in general.

We have come to know some countries that still practice communism in today’s world. Most democratic countries look down upon regions in the world that still practice this form of government. People’s Republic of China, Republic of Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Socialist Republic of Vietnam and Lao Peoples Democratic Republic all practice communism. What is interesting about these countries is that they all have good attributes those developing and first world countries all envy. There are so many lessons democratic countries can learn from communist countries.

China

China’s ability to manufacture products globally has made the country profitable with many countries owing them millions in trade. Trading is critical for the success and growth of any country. China is able to do this because of the low wages they remunerate staff with. First world countries refer to their ability to sustain large number of employment with cheap labour. China is also advancing with huge developments in technology. Most technological firms are based there. This drives their innovativeness which the western countries gravitate. China was on show for the Olympics in 2008. They used the opportunity to host the world at this event. Most people will never forget the Opening Ceremony at the summer games, as the country went all out to display the very best. A clip will follow this paragraph of the article showing my favourite piece from the performance. The clip will only show a snap shot of what took place in Beijing, China. I have never seen anything like that done before and a point to note; I do not know if London can outperform China in 2012. It’s a wait and see game right now.

Cuba

While most are wildly debating health care reform in America those in Cuba are relishing in one of the best health care system in the world. History will always remind us of the economic sanctions that Cuba has; but with all these factors against the country they are able to provide the best health care system. Cuba is not only able to provide a quality health care system but they are able to provide an education system that rivals many countries with huge investments. Cuba presently exports more than 20,000 doctors to Venezuela in exchange for oil. The country is set to become the premiere destination to study medicine.

North Korea

I love seeing the army on display in North Korea. The precision, unity, timing and power they show when they march is enviable. Countries aim to defend themselves in times of wars; investing in resources that will defend the country when the moment arises, which they never can tell. World powers like the US always have a problem when countries go the limit to defend themselves. One example of this is North Korea using nuclear weapons. The potential danger and threat that this can cause can be devastating. I am in no way sanctioning what North Korea does but the investments made to secure the country are admirable.

I want a country that has all these qualities. Wouldn’t you? A country with the best health care system, quality standards in education and a security system that will always protect from forces outside. There is a flip side to a country practicing this form of government though. The freedom of speech we have come to respect and enjoy will all go away. The government will own everything, all the businesses and properties. The government even decides on what the people can have, rather than what they want. It can be sad transitioning from a democratic state to a communist one.

However, there is one lesson that I will always take from a communist state. There are certainly some things in life we think we can’t live without but in the end, we definitely can.

After leaving university graduates are normally on edge waiting for that faithful call to invite them to an interview. I was interviewed for a job recently and it went well. I was further invited for a second interview, which I was thrilled about.

But, there are certain tips that any interviewee can use to help them ace their interviews. Below I will mention some tips that individuals may use to be successful.

job-interview

Research

Companies want to know that you know the relevant information about the company. This shows your interest and also proves the fact that you did prior preparations. In the interview I was not asked about specific details as to what areas the company operated in but with my answers to different questions I highlighted the different areas the company focused on and this will prove you clearly know the company’s operations.

Be Relaxed

Being nervous in an interview is most times inevitable. However, practice mock interviews with friends or in mirror to get you acquainted with responding to the interview questions. We are in 2009 and information is at your fingertips. Check videos on tips on answering interview questions at www.youtube.com and www.google.com. It is important to add your own dynamic to the answers to make them your own but it helps for interviewees to have an idea of how to respond to a question. Ensure you communicate well, this will show you are able to bring across your points clearly.

For example: When the interviewer says ‘tell me about yourself’, it is not the time to mention what are your likes and dislikes.

Be inspiring

Job interviews can be dreadful so ensure the panel is interested in you. You can achieve this by being charismatic, cheerful, emotive and inspiring. Therefore, show interest in the position and show them that ‘wow-factor’. If you studied Marketing, Customer Service, Sales, Insurance this should not be difficult.

Punctuality

There is no given rule on how many minutes you should arrive before an interview. I would advise applicants to arrive at the establishment at least 20 minutes before your interview is slated to begin. Punctuality shows your employer great business skill and your respect for time.

Dress Code

Depending on the job you are applying for will determine in some way how formal you will be dressed. For middle to upper management a suit in my view is a must. For entry level employment your attire (shirt, tie, pants – for men) will be accepted. Dressing professionally for any interview is critical, first impressions typically last and you will want to introduce your best image to the panel.

Non Verbal Communication

When at the business location please note that you are judged the moment you step in. Please show respect to the receptionist, and any other employee you encounter. When I arrived at the business place I greeted the receptionist even other interviewees in the lobby area. You never know who is sitting where and who is watching. More than ever companies are equipped with CCTV cameras so be very careful. In the interview remain focused, keep eye-contact and have an interest in what you are doing.

An interview is the closest you will ever get to the actual job. You will have one moment to show the panel interviewing you that employing you will make their company so much better affecting its bottom line – profits. I hope the tips offered above will make you more prepared. I followed those tips and I was granted a second interview.

Now it is on to the second!

Corve DaCosta

Education in Jamaica

Recently Education Minister Andrew Holness has made the news on many occasions whether it be grading primary school principals or expressing what he really thinks about the GSAT examination. Andrew Holness has not been forceful in his capacity and also has not led in the right areas as the Minister of Education.

When in opposition Holness served as Opposition Minister of Education which would have given him adequate knowledge of the inefficiencies within the ministry and would have provided him with a working framework to change policies. What have we seen of this Minister? Holness appears in the news blaming everyone else but himself for not leading to eradicating the inequity and changing policies at his ministry. We owe it to the younger generation to develop an education system that is fair and one that will provide them with the best education to make them productive for this rapidly changing world.

Clearly, there are problems with the curriculum of the GSAT examination which must be fixed. Annually, we complain of how stressful the curriculum is, and the many faults the exam has where students at grade six are judged on topics that will be covered at higher levels. Next year around this time we will still be discussing the faults within the examination. Are we seeing a cycle here?

Blaming teachers’ colleges for accepting teachers that are not up to par cannot be accepted. Holness has the power to influence teachers’ colleges to improve on their standards to benefit the education product.

I am frustrated with Holness pushing the blame around highlighting the facts we already know. Holness should stand firm and effect the changes that ought to be made to make our education system improve giving our children the best opportunities. Next year at this time we should be stating that requirements at the teachers’ colleges were improved upon; changes to the curriculum were implemented making the exam relevant for grade six students; the ratio between teacher and students were reduced among other things.

When are we going to get serious and hold Andrew Holness accountable for the shortfalls in the education ministry? After all, he is responsible.

newspapers

New York Times

Washington Post

Jamaica Gleaner

Jamaica Observer

New York Times

Sunday Herald

They all are newspapers but they now have websites publishing their work online. Traditionally, one would wake up and if you work a nine to five job, you may have access to the office newspaper. For others, you might buy the newspaper on the streets to read. In a world where access to news is becoming more popular, are newspapers becoming outdated or can they still be relevant?

With the growing use of news networks both on radio and television, bloggers, and social networks, the news offered by newspapers are outdated. Most times they have to wait hours to print the next publication. By this time, the news has developed into something more than the initial issue. The burden is left up to journalists who should write news stories to still make the issue topical and news breaking.

We live in societies where the young are not interested in reading. But you might say how important are these sectors to the industry? They are important, ask any marketing manager of any firm and they will attest that the young in any market are driving innovativeness.  Where the younger generations are not interested in sitting and turning from page to page to view late news, newspapers must seek to become innovative to make the news accessible to people in ways that are more innovative. It is interesting that users of the internet will prefer to read online articles than skip pages of a newspaper.

Journalists are given the responsibility to inform the general public of what’s happening in the society. There duties are even more important in societies where there is a free market in the media industry. Journalists try to inspire, persuade and change opinions in their work. Through this, newspapers have added features to their package to make it more appealing. Newspaper features include: editorials, opinion pages, and different aspects which are targeted to entertainment and social activities. This adds some relevance to the product.

Newspapers have their relevance in societies to inform and to provide serious journalism. For those who opt not to use the internet surely the newspaper is a definite alternative to source breaking and topical news. However, if newspapers are to remain open for business in the near future they must become more aware of the changes in technology.

They will become outdated if they do not change how they operate business. Newspapers internationally are becoming more than ever like a television network providing current breaking news stories. Newspaper companies should be seeking to have subscribers to their service where breaking news can be emailed and send to blackberries and cell-phones. This will make their service competitive and add relevance to their work. Newspaper companies should now become innovative to remain relevant or become outdated while technologies increase.

Corve DaCosta

Young vs Old

Corve DaCosta

42-17131830Many successful companies pride themselves on having the best employees. But could having a mixture of young and old make your business more successful? While the jury is out, I do believe that having the right mixture can make your business even more successful. In this article the age range thought of as young will be from 18-30 while the more mature audience will range from 31 upwards.

Many mature employees have a problem with young individuals joining their departments because they see this as a threat. This is because a young employee brings so much to the table while some may bring little. But in essence, in the professional world, many persons who join successful organizations are typically career driven and are most times motivated.

The young employee will bring smart, needed energies; innovative ideas as well as they are more connected with developing trends in society that businesses can use to grow their profit line. In this age, we have seen where companies are using social networks to be more marketable. They have coined the term Social Market Strategies. However, this is just the means where businesses use techniques such as blogging, twittering and connecting with customers on sites like Facebook. Who are they depending on to lead these new initiatives? The young, after all they are more aware of the technology and know how of the internet.

Communicating effectively with employees is imperative for a healthy work environment. Both the young and the old must share the same environment and clearly there are clashes in this regard. Where clashes occur I believe that there should be strong management in place to ensure that rules are maintained and that no employee is disrespected. When things go wrong in organizations it may take many years to solve because the same persons are in the environment. Communication is key and where age is not the only factor that separates the two, language barriers, and social etiquette are all other factors that play a role. It is left up to management now to create the right culture in organizations where both the young and the old can agree on terms in the work environment.

In business schools today, students are taught how to extend the life of a brand. The concept is the same, if management is not prepared to research, become innovative then other brands will emerge and take the market share. I believe it’s just the same with the young and the mature employees in any business. If a company is not prepared to employ young individuals who have innovative and smart ideas then be assured that that company will be losing out. Companies today must be prepared to think young and outside the box to touch markets that have been untouched and be reachable to markets that they thought they could not reach.

Young people today are filled with energies we didn’t have when we were younger. It is up to us to use those energies to make our businesses so much more than we thought it could be.

graduation_partyAcross the world students who enter tertiary level education are granted Student Loans to assist in the completion of their studies and Jamaica is no different. Here the lines are long annually as the application deadlines approach for the grants. The survival of this process and its operations are critical as young students leaving secondary/high schools depend on this service to finance higher education.

What is becoming a new trend or what some would term as a negative behaviour is the deliberate action of some students who received the grants to ignore the repayment of such. Of course the Student Loan Bureau promotes the repayment of the fees to support the longevity of the program. However, with hard economic times, and the deliberate attempt at absconding the process some graduates avoid the repayment.

Students from the University of the West Indies (UWI) in Jamaica top the list for being delinquent in repaying their grants. But, what is to blame for this? Most graduates are not finding the right jobs in the job market. Most times, they have to settle for jobs outside their industry and this causes a major problem. The ramifications for this have major consequences because students rely on finding the ultimate job to financially sustain them and make them able to repay all the debts they have. This is not only unique to the Jamaican context but it exists worldwide. It is time we have a discussion where technocrats and policy makers evaluate if they are the cause for this. Certainly governments play a huge role. Because they ought to be creating the right environment where graduates can survive financially and make them able to repay these loans. It makes no sense we grant students millions of dollars and at the end have an increasing interest rate, low salaries, no job creation and have the Student Loan Bureau in a sham not being able to support itself.

Graduates however, take advantage of the situation and become irresponsible in not repaying their loans which is a travesty. In a perfect world education is a right which is should be. But in a case where loans are provided, it is not to be thought of as a right but as a privilege. It can’t be that graduates find time to take loans on cars, mortgage on houses, etc and ignore their responsibility to pay their student loan. Graduates must take responsibility because future generations are depending on them repaying their loans to achieve higher education.

In light of this, the Student Loan Bureau must now be innovative and creative in ensuring that graduates pay their end of the bargain. If it means that as an agency they will have to publish names, investigate where graduates are working and living and also creating a relationship where graduates find the agency to report their financial positions, this must be done. It is much better for a graduate to pay what they can in their situation than never to pay at all.

Governments should also take responsibility to create environments where businesses can survive and it cannot be said that graduates are all to become entrepreneurs to sustain themselves. Yes, some must become innovative and create their own employment but that is simply not enough. University graduates should graduate in their respective industries and be able to contribute to the productive sectors which they were trained in.

Student loans are granted under a contract with the agency holding the student responsible to repay that loan. Graduates even in harsh economic times must find ways to repay their loans because the repayment of this loan determines the future of another. It cannot be accepted that persons find time to handle mortgages and car loans and leave student loans unattended to. Your decision not to repay a loan of this nature should not hold other students behind. So, to those who are giving others an opportunity by repaying their loans, thank you and to those who hold another persons future at ransom, shame on you.

Corve DaCosta