Friday, May 8, 2009

On Leave

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Far From the 'Banning' Crowd

I hope it's the frenzy of the dying that has made the religious right, and all the people duped and terrified by them, ratchet up the forceful increase in 'shut up and disappear' tactics. You know, the ones they use instead of trying to make a point through reason and calm argument.

You tell them the earth has been around for billions of years and we are just a minuscule dot in an otherwise unfathomably large set of endless universes and their response is 'shut up and disappear'. Suggest that the human experience is colourful, endlessly surprising, diverse, full of more questions than answers and, therefore, beautiful...'shut up and disappear'. Suggest that humans are capable of thinking, choosing and learning from their own mistakes, and need I say it? 'shut up and disappear'.

Fear, paranoia and sexual obsessions are unfortunately the calling cards of these fanatics who want the world in little tiny simplistic boxes that are to0 small and too weak to hold in the crazily gorgeous multiplicity of possibilities offered up by science and art and the ability to love and create and be brave. So they get mad and have to shut us all up and make us disappear.

And yet, here we all are still talking and still dancing and still singing and still loving and still saying we are not afraid. They are so small and they are dying, so we understand that they need to be loud right now, but facts and reason and hearts bigger than their tiny misfiring brains are always going to sway to that everlasting tune they may someday, if they're lucky, recognize as freedom. Before they take their own advice and shut up and disappear.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Monday, March 2, 2009

Sulayman Al-Bassam's Richard iii on PBS

A friend described him as a 'national treasure'... I might have to agree.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Donald Macintyre says we should be '..very Afraid' of the Israeli elections... One candidate plants a tree in occupied territory as an election ploy (and that isn't his worst behaviour)... Another is in the lead thanks to his racism and his ability to publicly say things like the Egyptian president can "go to hell". And Gaza knows too well what another bunch of candidates did to gain votes...

Well at least someone that doesn't sound ignorant, childish or insane can be elected somewhere.. even though it won't affect the nonsense above much.

Speaking of fear, the racist far right in Russia are also turning their crippling fear of 'the other' into a murderous rampage of stupidity and terror..

The strange contradictions of the human spirit are tugging at me... that flutter we get from the prospect of adventure can make a 56 year old swim across the Atlantic or an 18 year old sign up to kill and die thousands of miles from home... That nagging fear of death can make you an artist or a madman, and which is better at erasing the end? The desire to devour everything can make you a scholar or an adulterer or both...who isn't an adulterer after all with our unquenchable sense of entitlement that grows greater the faster time passes and we see our ability to care for anything other than our fading selves get weaker and hazier... as the noose tightens we try to spread our cornered flesh over its borders, forgetting the endless wonders swarming within...
Time, you damn killer, how we yearn for you in our multitude of final gasps.

But I digress...

Now see here, the NYTimes has some swell photos of "Generation Faithful: Away from Home in Dubai", Gaza/Israel photos in "A War's Many Angles".

And I leave you with... nothing.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

This girl's photo is one I can't stop coming back to... A sense of guilt and shame, at the world community which has fiddled as Gaza burned and our impotence in the face of these crimes, makes me unable to make her invisible..
See photos of Gaza from the relief organization Care.
And Photos of Gaza from Save the Children
"The front page of the Beirut daily As-Safir said it all yesterday. Across the top was a terrible photograph of the bloated body of a Palestinian man newly discovered in the ruins of his home while two male members of his family shrieked and roared their grief. Below, at half the size, was a photograph from Israel of Western leaders joking with Ehud Olmert, the Israeli Prime Minister." Robert Fisk


Paul Kaye lost his mother-in-law to a Hamas rocket, and he describes his family's sadness at what Israel is doing:

"My wife says she feels scared and lost and full of guilt. "It's my country and I see myself as Israeli not Jewish," she keeps shouting at me. Does that make you feel better or worse about what's going on, I ask? "That's worse!" she says, "because Israel is nothing to do with God." I digest this, but don't even know where to begin to start unravelling that statement." continue


The Observer reports that eyewitnesses in Gaza say that Israeli Soldiers:
  • attempted to bulldoze houses with civilians inside;
  • killed civilians trying to escape under the protection of white flags;
  • opened fire on an ambulance attempting to reach the wounded;
  • used indiscriminate force in a civilian area and fired white phosphorus shells continue


Caoimhe Butterly, An Irish Human Rights activist riding with ambulances in Gaza reports:

"The morgues of Gaza's hospitals are over-flowing. The bodies in their blood-soaked white shrouds cover the entire floor space of the Shifa hospital morgue. Some are intact, most horribly deformed, limbs twisted into unnatural positions, chest cavities exposed, heads blown off, skulls crushed in. Family members wait outside to identify and claim a brother, husband, father, mother, wife, child." continue


Despite the fluffing of feathers that comes with Israel continuously saying it 'withdrew' from Gaza in 2005, Ralph Nader writes:

"In 2006, the Israelis added to their unrelieved control of air, water and land around the open-air prison by establishing a blockade. The natives became restless. Under international law, a blockade is an act of war. Primitive rockets, called by reporters "wildly inaccurate" were fired into Israel. During this same period, Israeli soldiers and artillery and missiles would go into Gaza at will and take far more lives and cause far more injuries than those incurred by those rockets. Civilians-especially children, the infirm and elderly-died or suffered week after week for lack of medicines, medical equipment, food, electricity, fuel and water which were embargoed by the Israelis."continue


Who Violated the ceasefire? A Chronology of events assembled from the news and human rights oranisation by Howard Friel


Israel's disconnect: Surgical strikes and careful warnings to civilians are what the IDF claims. As I learned in Lebanon, the reality is far different Julie Flint, The Guardian.


Video of a boy wounded by the white phosphorus that Israel is being accused of using


Friday, January 9, 2009

A very dear friend is writing an excellent poem/song, to deal with the frustration and horror at what is happening in Gaza... and to hopefully move people to feel things they should feel at this disgusting display of human cruelty.

I am afraid I can't be as articulate. The frustration cripples the mind, and the outrageous and vicious statements made everyday to justify the slaughter of civilians is beyond comprehension.

Some lives are more precious than others, and it is so savagely clear in these bloody days.
The Casualties

More than 200 Palestinian children killed, so far.
3 United Nations Schools where civilians were finding refuge are hit, even though their coordinates were known.
More than 700 Palestinians killed, so far
Thousands injured
Medics targeted
The Gaza Community Mental Health Programme was bombed
UN Aid workers shot at
11 Israelis dead 8 of them soldiers, so far.
The Talking Points

Anyone who has heard the Israeli spokespeople in the media is bound to have realized that they have a set of talking points that they stick to no matter what question they are asked. Here are some responses and refutations of those arguments:

Palestine's Guernica and the Myths of Israeli Victimhood- Fom the Huffington Post

"Israel has tried to take the initiative in the propaganda war over Gaza but, in one important instance, its version has been seriously challenged". BBC
One of the talking points/sound bites is that Hamas broke the ceasefire two weeks before the war on Gaza:

Gaza truce broken as Israeli raid kills six Hamas gunmen The Guardian, NOV 5th 2008

"Hamas had respected the previously negotiated ceasefire except when Israel used the ceasefire as cover to make assassination raids against Hamas and other Palestinian leaders" Rabbi Michael Lerner

CNN video on Israel breaking the ceasefire

"Israel's military and political leadership took many aggressive steps during the ceasefire that escalated a crisis with Hamas" Foreign Policy in Focus
Another sound bite is that Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005 so the Palestinians have nothing to complain about...The Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem has this to say:

"Israel issued an order declaring the end of the military government in the Gaza Strip, and claimed that it was no longer responsible for ensuring the proper functioning of life there. However, Israel continued to control the air and sea space, movement between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank (also via neighboring countries), the population registry, family unification, and the crossing of goods to and from Gaza . Also, residents of the Gaza Strip rely solely on Israel for its supply of fuel, electricity, and gas. Until 28 June 2006, an independent electric-power station operated in the Gaza Strip, producing about one-half of the electricity needed by the residents in the Strip. The station relied completely on fuel and gas from Israel. On 28 June, Israel bombed the electric-power station. Since then, residents of the Gaza Strip have relied completely on Israel for their electricity."
Another sound bite involves the idea that civilians are being avoided:

"Have we forgotten the 17,500 dead – almost all civilians, most of them children and women – in Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon; the 1,700 Palestinian civilian dead in the Sabra-Chatila massacre; the 1996 Qana massacre of 106 Lebanese civilian refugees, more than half of them children, at a UN base; the massacre of the Marwahin refugees who were ordered from their homes by the Israelis in 2006 then slaughtered by an Israeli helicopter crew; the 1,000 dead of that same 2006 bombardment and Lebanese invasion, almost all of them civilians?

What is amazing is that so many Western leaders, so many presidents and prime ministers and, I fear, so many editors and journalists, bought the old lie; that Israelis take such great care to avoid civilian casualties"
Robert Fisk. The Independent

"Israel's use of white phosphorus airburst shells over the densely populated Gaza Strip came under fresh criticism last night for endangering civilians."
The Guardian

"In a scathing statement, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) accused the Israeli army of failing to meet its obligation under international humanitarian law to care for and evacuate the wounded"

[The Israeli Foreign minister Tzipi] "Livni rejected on Thursday a French proposal for a 48-hour truce to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza, saying there was no humanitarian crisis in Strip.
Livni said Israel had been careful to protect the civilian population and had kept the humanitarian situation in Gaza "completely as it should be".


And yet:

"The European Commission on Sunday called on Israel to respect international law and allow access to people "suffering and dying" in Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip." AFP

"I have never previously felt so despondent about Israel, so shamed by its actions, so despairing of any peace that might end the dominion of the dead in favor of opportunity for the living."
Roger Cohen, The International Herald Tribune

"Many kids have stopped eating. They are inactive, they barely talk, they cling to their parents all the time," said Sajy Elmaghinni, who works for the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) in Gaza.

"Four exhausted children have been discovered cowering in a house next to the bodies of their mothers by staff of the International Committee of the Red Cross" The Guardian

"The major news outlets meekly accepted Israel's banning of journalists from entering Gaza as an excuse for downplaying collateral civilian casualties" The Nation
And then:

"Israel pushed ahead with its offensive in the Gaza Strip today, ignoring a UN Security Council resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire. " The Independent

In Images
Photos of the attacks:
The Huffington Post

The massacre of children in Gaza
News footage from french channels
The 19 month blockade of Gaza, an exchange between the two sides.
Clips from a film about life in Gaza: Occupation 101
UN Official outside Gaza Hospital
A Palestinian woman not allowed out of Gaza to get cancer treatment

"Al-Jazeera, based in Qatar, has four correspondents in Gaza and its bulletins are broadcasting graphic images that would never find their way on to western TV screens."
The Guardian
Here are the Jazeera English news channel clips on youtube.
The blockade/siege of Gaza that preceded the attack:

"All we had heard about conditions in Gaza – deprivation, a sense of despair, the lack of economic activity – had not prepared us for the stark reality which we saw."
Desmond Tutu after visiting Gaza during the blockade.

A UN report on the blockade/siege includes the following:
  • Only 23 out of 3,900 industrial enterprises are currently operational
  • 70% of agricultural land in Gaza are no longer being irrigated, leading to desertification
  • A lack of available cash in the Gaza Strip could lead to a collapse of the financial system
  • Half of Gaza City's population is receiving water only once a week for a few hours
  • Residents of Gaza City are without power for up to 16 hours each day
  • Quality of health services severely affected
Israel blocking food and medicine to Gaza during blockade- BBC

UNICEF photoessay

“It seems the international community is neglecting them, that somehow Palestinian children don’t deserve the protections guaranteed under the Geneva Convention and humanitarian law.
Science Daily, 2006

'Routine day' that made two teenagers a bloody statistic

Political cartoons about the blockade: 1, 2, 3


I leave you with Lama Al-Othman

فلنقم جنازاتنا... ولنقدم تعازينا لموت الإنسان فينا

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Take a Ride..

It is with no small irony, after watching a film like Taxi to the Dark Side, that this should be the first thing on a loop all over the news...

The Oscar winning film unfurls all the ugliness and savagery of the war prisons, set up by the US, piece by piece till you see the whole damnable picture. It really makes you wonder "how little outrage there is" at these crimes.

The film is full of footage, not only of the horrific torture in the prisons and of the US soldiers admitting to it, but of officials, in the smug safety of their untouchable positions, using slippery language to defend their indifference to the suffering they have unleashed upon so many people.

This week Cheney says " he was directly involved in approving severe interrogation methods" LA Times

Then there is: "So What?"

The latest Harper's has an article called The Torture Presidency

The legacy of the presidency is outlined in this video from Keith Olbermann

Of course we have to expect the nauseating string of comments like Arabs/Muslims see shoes as a supreme insult... As if a shoe thrown at you anywhere else in the world is like having roses sprinkled on your cheeks.

How is the shoe story spreading?
A Flickr group has already been set up for people who would like to photograph the shoes they would like to add to the mix... A facebook group is also sending shoes in protest and solidarity...There is a game out where you dodge the shoe...Here are measurements of how quickly the video spread...And the spoof videos that are already out there are collected here.

Wouldn't you wish that the places the shoe thrower might end up in would get as much coverage and outrage as they deserve.

I know that changing the world is not easy
but it remains necessary nonetheless.
Fadhil Al-Azzawi

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Can't get enough of this, so I thought I'd share...

Greenland, the big bear of the north, is rattling in its chains.. I must visit soon.

Yay! Patrick Fitzgerald is back :) .. (remember him)
Here is a current film that is related to the whole 2005 drama.
Here are the comedians on the 2008 scandal.

And talking of things you shouldn't pick...Picking your nose can lead to this...
And talking about all round bad ideas...yup, here you go.

Arundhati Roy writes in The Guardian about the Mumbai attacks..

Did you hear music under the big bright moon this weekend?

I leave you with Rumi..

Quietness is the surest sign
that you’ve died.
Your old life was a frantic running
from silence.

The speechless full moon
comes out now.

Don’t worry about saving these songs!

And if one of our instruments breaks,
it doesn’t matter.

We have fallen into the place
where everything is music.


Saturday, December 6, 2008

I am winning the battle against cat scratch fever, or maybe that is the hopeful delirium that comes at the end...

The cat and I have worryingly similar notions of playfulness, but while I spend my time-between swatting and wrestling- biting my nails, she has a rigorous routine of honing her wolverine paws to the point where it's just dumb of me to go near her. But apparently I do dumb well. And do pain well too. Dumb pain.

How pretty is the weather these days? Very, I'd say.

We are so small, so small... But we dream big, poor creatures..
Here are some more crazy pictures of teeny tiny things from National Geographic.

Musicians out there try your hand at the YouTube Symphony Orchestra and music lovers, enjoy the Smithsonian Global Sound site.

Now onto matters more deathly serious:

Finally the DR Congo is on people's radars, too late for the millions that have been killed in the past decade... But not enough is being done, and activists are trying to draw attention to the 'rape as a weapon' horror going on there.

Want to help? Visit Women for Women International

I leave you with Paz, Williams, Seferis and Lenny... Because I have been reading too much.

Two bodies face to face
are two stars falling
in an empty sky.
–Octavio Paz

this morning for someone I’m not even sure exists
I waste tears. I count down by fractions
through the ash. I howl. I use up everything.
–CK Williams

but your heart's anguish
didn't cry out, became
what gives the world
a star-filled sky
--George Seferis

O friend of my scribbled life
Your heart is like mine—
your loneliness
will bring you home.
–Leonard Cohen

Saturday, November 22, 2008

If you are anything like me (and believe me these days I would recommend anything but) then your heart races a little faster every time you hear that creaky little voice coming from the mighty and deadpan Ms. Sarah Vowell...

So as I debate whether allergies or closed coffin-like rooms are more palatable, and whether it would be annoying for people if I eat a LOT of nachos at the movies tonight, I find my very own Quantum of Solace by trawling the web for the lady that makes me look so much less nerdy than I am accused of being.

Why am I bringing this up? Well, this is my version of shouting off the rooftops, so bear with me, because I need there to be something worth shouting about these days.

It all started when I fell for her book Assassination Vacation, which was just the right amount of history, hilarity and quirky self revelation to hook me for life. Now she has The Wordy Shipmates which I am waiting for to make available already. You see, I have been dying to know about the Puritans, but have been wanting someone to tell me about them in a way that won't make me want to die.

ok enough personal memoir, here are some of her articles:
The Pessimism Deficit
When Bush Falls in Love

Yes, I bet some of you were thinking that if I were going to talk about matters of the heart I was going to bring up Potter Stewart again, my sexiest man ever to have graced the supreme court crush... Well you were right. Potter Stewart. There.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

There must be some love stories left in the world after all... And then there are those loves you wish could be explained... And still other pleasures you wish didn't sound like this.

I guess we'll be seeing everyone Tuesday on that lawn we all know so well..

Have a peek at The Crisis and What to Do About it, by George Soros in the NYRB

If you feel like hunting for expensive art pieces that will be left out for free all around the city then get yourself to London... Or just enjoy them and leave them where they are for others to enjoy too.

And I leave you with Rilke..

Every single angel
is terrible!
And since that's the case
I choke back my own
dark Birdcall
My sobbing...
To wish wishes no longer.
to see things
that seemed to
belong together
floating in every
...Is the old tale pointless
That tells how music began
in the midst of the mourning...
Duino Elegies

Saturday, October 25, 2008

As if I needed another reason to recoil at having to touch elevator buttons: radioactive scrap from India was used to make buttons for Otis elevators in France. It makes me worry where we are getting our scrap from, considering we are in that part of the world where people like Larry Summers think dirty industries should be transferred.
See his old notorious creepy memo.
Yemen is flooded by a tropical storm..Dozens dead and tens of thousands displaced.
Jordan arrests a poet for using quotes from the Quran in his love poems... Though, it seems that we don't get enough arrests when people use quotes from the Quran to add flourish to hatred.
The Guardian has compiled 1000 artworks you should see before you leave the world.
A McCain worker's hoax might spell doom for him... But then again, scary movie characters always get back up when you think they're finished. Here is some more on the hoax including video.
Have a listen to some music that astronomers have recorded from stars... The beat of their pulse helps tell us their age and size and what they are made of... and it's pretty haunting.

I leave you to keep picking up all the pieces I have to put back together...
"Green eyes
Blue bedroom
bright machinegun sun"
love is a dog from hell

Monday, October 13, 2008

Since misery loves company, the planet and the economy in meltdown should offer some sort of comfort to my dwindling sanity... but planet you are gonna have to come up with a lot more crazy to make me feel matched.

Where do we start...oh where do we start?

The IMF said the "global financial system was on the brink of meltdown" which is triggering descriptions like "utter carnage" and "a titanic battle between greed and fear"... Last week was apparently the worst week ever... indeed.

And today the little green market arrows are pointing up... who feels reassured?

HuffPo has a list of economists who told you so (one of whom just won the Nobel Prize) and another list of those who got the economy to its dark depths...

Entire countries are feeling the strain, the beautiful Iceland is "on the brink of collapse" according to an interesting and worrying article in the Guardian.

"Iceland is bankrupt," said Arsaell Valfells, a University of Iceland professor. "The Icelandic krona is history. The IMF has to rescue us." Link

And if you were quaking in your boots about the financial crisis where the hell were you when Earth got pushed against a wall and stripped of every last bit of its dignity?
A study by a Deutsche Bank economist says deforestation alone leads to financial losses that make the financial crisis look like piggy-bank pennies... The UN suggests a Green New Deal to save the economy.

Speaking of New Deals, the great Sarah Vowell has been turning to Roosevelt's Fireside Chats to deal with the panic of the economic crisis... I have been turning to the classic film channel for all sorts of other panic.

I leave you with one of my favourite quotes which has never been more stuck in my brain...

"Thou art a soul in bliss
; but I am bound Upon a wheel of fire, that mine own tears Do scald like molten lead"
King Lear

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Palin' before Palin

That icy rush you feel is just brain freeze from the new republican VP.

We can look forward to hearing more frozen-in-time comments that will still manage to warm the toes of those dinosaurs who disrespect all the science and history and philosophy that has blown such huge holes in their mythologies. It's been great news for those frozen relics who belittle all the rights that our beautiful human minds and human hearts have given birth to since that dusty ancient time they so worship.
And just as insidious is the nonsense on the environment and oil.

Here it goes:

The same party that turns off the lights every night and snuggles with oil, coal and gas giants, and then wakes up in the morning and hops into their poisoned pockets is suddenly going to pretend to be against their excesses.

How many times did Palin say she was tough on oil companies in her speech?
A great marketing gimmick since Americans for the first time in a long time are not thinking like oil addicts.

But really? Palin and oil companies, enemies?

"And she has been a friend of Big Oil, opposing a windfall profits tax on the oil industry that could fund affordable clean energy for more Americans." - Friends of the Earth Action Vice President Brent Blackwelder." Reuters

"Palin opposes greater protections for beluga whales found in the Cook Inlet, where oil and gas drilling and other development is proposed"LA Times

She sued to stop polar bears being placed on the endangered speceis list:
"She and other Alaska elected officials fear a listing will cripple oil and gas development in prime polar bear habitat off the state's northern and northwestern coasts..." Anchorage Daily News

"We believe that the ...... decision to list the polar bear was not based on the best scientific and commercial data available" Reuters, August 5, 2008

Not only that, But in an opinion piece she had in the NYT she had delusional symptoms brought on by oil fumes which makes you say things like:

"In fact, there is insufficient evidence that polar bears are in danger of becoming extinct within the foreseeable future"

Uhm what do experts say?

1-"She's either grossly misinformed or intentionally misleading, and both are unbecoming," said Kassie Siegel of the Center for Biological Diversity. Anchorage Daily News
2- A study by the U.S. Geological Survey "predicted polar bears in Alaska could be wiped out by 2050".
3- "The governor's decision was clearly based on politics, not on science, and was primarily designed to protect the oil and gas industry stampede into the Arctic Ocean," said Steiner, the University of Alaska marine biologist. LA Times
4- This summer for the first time:
Nine polar bears at risk of drowning in global warming meltdown, United Kingdom August 2008
"Nine polar bears are at risk of drowning after the ice floe where they lived melted because of global warming"...

"Professor Richard Steiner of the University of Alaska’s Marine Advisory Program said: “While these bears are swimming around in an ice-free coastal Arctic Ocean, the only thing the State of Alaska is doing is suing the federal government trying to overturn the listing of polar bears" Science Daily

Oh if you think that, and her 1930's german headmistress look, isn't attractive enough to make you want to draw pink hearts to her on your voting card... There is always this:
She also supports the aerial hunting of wolves.

(oh wait, you use those unreliable electronic voting machines there don't ya? Maybe you you carve pretty hearts on the screen with a nice hunting knife)

And she is, of course, thirsting for drilling in ANWR (also known as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge) I repeat the words wildlife and refuge...Smoke that for a few minutes.

Here is her quotable quote on the topic :
"I beg to disagree with any candidate who would say we can’t drill our way out of our problem or that more supply won’t ultimately affect prices. Of course it will affect prices."

That laughing interlude will get no apologies from me
As I continue, you can have a gander at:

1- "the U.S. Energy Information Administration, an independent statistical agency within the Department of Energy, concluded that new oil from ANWR would lower the world price of oil by no more than $1.44 per barrel—and possibly have as little effect as 41 cents per barrel—and would have its largest impact nearly 20 years from now" US NEws and World Report

2- "even if we drilled the entire state of Alaska and pulled new refineries out of thin air, the impact on gas prices would be minimal and delayed at best" Time Magazine

Palin’s first lie as VP candidate
From Salon: " It is hard to think of a more cynical and contemptuous political act this year than John McCain's selection of Sarah Palin as his vice -presidential running mate."
Here is Grist's opinion.
The Worst Vice-Presidential Nominee in U.S. History
Robert J. Elisberg,
An Alaskan blogger's perspective
Sarah Palin, Wrong Woman for the Job The Nation., NY

And now back to local news:
got none for you tonight...
thank you

Thursday, August 28, 2008

In our current days of darkness and superstitions... A little history goes a long way.

Science already known BCE/BC:

1- 500BCE/BC : Pythagoreans taught that Earth is a sphere

2- 470BCE/BC : Anaxagoras suggests that materials are made of "seeds"(atoms) (Near Izmir in Turkey)

3- 445 BC/BCE: Leucippus suggests possibility of indivisible atoms (Turkey)

4- 384-322 BC/BCE: Aristotle said it was common knowledge that earth was round.

5- 350s BC - Heraclides explained the rotation of Earth ( Turkey)

6- 220 BC/BCE: Eratosthenes of Cyrene estimated earth’s diameter correctly (in EGYPT)

In Ancient astronomy the seven known 'planets' that could be seen at the time were known as the 7 heavenly objects.

The others were not seen until the 1800's

The name of the sky/heavens god in Cannanite mythology was Shamayim the husband of earth (Eretz).
Their child was El, the supreme god.

In everyday Hebrew the name for sky and heaven is Shamayim and earth is Eretz.

Shamash was the common Akkadian name of the sun-god
(Akkadian Empire: 1050-100 BC/BCE)

Map of trade routes used by 1st century BC/BCE

The Guardian has some nice images of the day of the Eclipse.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Does what happens in the Facebook stay in the Facebook?

And 'meet your meat'

Forget about the ad for PETA at the end, that's not the point...

It's just that:

"You have just dined, and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed in the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, July 28, 2008

Kuwait plans to flex its muscles on web offenders... playground rules...

This is the week of explosions, what is going on? Bangalore, Gaza, Istanbul, Ahmadabad, China, Qantas, Greece, Queens... And weeks and endless weeks for Iraq.

Want to see serious competition for our local brand of ignorance and hatred? Watch this film.

And blowing through our dusty landscape are some cries for justice, that have been long ignored...

Reminders of the human desire for doing the right thing:

Article 23 of the UDHR
Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favorable conditions of work...
Everyone who works has the right to just and favorable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.

Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

When did it become ok for a magazine to edit (by inserting more errors) and dumb down your articles without letting you know?
I have a growing suspicion that certain editors are actually robots that can't compute more than one layer of meaning in a text.
I will have to get myself a metal detector.

What was the fast moving white blur that just settled over everything and then went away?

I am tired of this place. I go away soon, to refresh the spirit that has no place here.

If I take a multifunction approach, one perk for an obsessive-compulsive like myself is the increase of human brooms in our parliament.
Hey, I could have taken the 100% pessimism in an endless darkness route.

Soon enough.

Us in the news these days:

Kuwait's parliament: It just slows things down

Democratic road to nowhere

Kuwait should liberate itself

Saturday, May 17, 2008

My slightly unsteady hand just put my voting card and every document anyone could possibly ask me for into my overstuffed bag...ready for my first ever vote.

I managed to find three candidates in my really frighteningly regressive district that were pleasantly surprising. So even if me and the two other voters in my house are the only support they will get, it will be a small victory against the darkness in these parts.

May the day be hopeful for those of us who want to love this place a little more like we once did... and want to feel like it loves us back, in all our different colors.

Good luck to those that will reap what we sow...
Hope they'll have reason to thank us for our choices.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Who no longer trusts the weather here?
I find myself having to chaperone open windows...
Dust pneumonia, you haunt me.
The second most abundant element in our universe was first discovered on the sun, and so was named after the sun God Helios...
It is the second element on the periodic table...
It is produced from radioactive decay...
It is used to help rockets take off and microchips come to life.
We suck it up into our lungs and along the way our vocal vibrations travel 3 times faster than through air, rising in pitch.
Last week a priest strapped himself to 1,000 balloons filled with Helium, floated away, and has not been seen since.
Those 1,000 balloons were filled with a noble gas our planet is running out of.
It is used as a coolant in all them dangerous reactors everyone wants to stupidly build.
So, tick tock...
The Herald Tribune says people are playing games
Akh...preemption...Pandora has nothing on you...
Dark comedy, like all comedy, is all in the timing... Interesting that now is the time chosen to point fingers at a country that has a mutual defense treaty with the one place someone wants an excuse to do this to...
Setting it up... Setting it up...setting it up, Setting it up,
So, tick tock...
Chin up people, all is not lost. Pierre got a suit. And Owen's got a new mama.
Here is a short folktale for you folks.
And from the people at Wired:

"I think people don't understand that e-voting is a bad idea not just because of its insecurities but because it's really bad public policy to have these really expensive machines. The cost never goes down. In fact the cost only goes up as the machines age and need more parts and upgrading.

"They take up huge amounts of warehouse space in warehouses that need to be air-conditioned," she continues. "They have to recharge the batteries every six months. And (yet) we only haul them out about once a year (for elections)."

Now there ought to be some yodelin' in this song;
Yeah, there ought to be some yodelin' in this song;
But I can't yodel for the rattlin' in my lung.
Woodie Guthrie

Friday, March 28, 2008

"Kurzweil is 60, but he intends to be no more than 40 when the singularity arrives."
hmm... read on.
Manga does the Bible
"Today, our public discourse is dominated by people who have been wrong about everything" damn skippy...
While we are too busy deciding whether people kissing on the cheek is a sin... The world continues on...
...and on, so beautifully, without us.
Who was Cassini?
  • First to observe 4 of saturn's moons
  • He also discovered a gap between Saturn's two ring layers which is now named the Cassini Division
  • The first to measure the true size of the solar system after figuring out our distance from Mars.
  • A crater on Mars and another on our moon are named after him
  • Born in 1625

Monday, March 24, 2008

I can barely think through these new allergies I have developed in this country but here are some things for you to look at that might give you allergies too..Or worse.

  • Over 4 million Iraqi refugees...and counting
  • 70% of Iraqis have no access to clean water
  • Over 90% of Iraqi children have learning disabilities due to trauma
  • $5,000 a second are spent on the war, how much is being spent on aid and peace?
  • Hospitals in Gaza have 12 hour a day power cuts
  • 80% of families in Gaza survive on food aid
  • 70% of Gaza households earn less than $1.20 a day/person.

For the price of a side of fries...or a new cd...or a cinema can save a life. If you are feeling generous the price of your flat screen, your laptop, your fancy shoes, the money we spend on all the things we can live without can provide safe drinking water, life saving medical care, school supplies, protection from exploitation, a future...
  • Save the Children are helping Iraqi refugee children in Jordan
  • Unicef- You can choose where your donation goes.
  • Oxfam- Gaza crisis appeal
  • UNRWA- Emergency aid to the Gaza and the West Bank

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The petty parliament is finished, here's to the coming scramble. Are we going to be given the chance to hope, or just some more of the same clatter around our aching heads?

Obama is running on a platform of change, and everyone desperate enough to want it is following his pied piper tune even if they don't always know what it's saying...I think maybe we are desperate enough to become addicted to that siren song of 'change' too... And why not? We have tasted that rock called bottom, and in the immortal words of Yazz, y'know, there is only one way we can be headed...
I think.
But thinking is not one of my strong points these days so forgive me if I sound a little silly.

Don't you think it's time we grabbed that beautiful, dusty, crazy old dame called Kuwait and gave her a big shameless and heartbreaking kiss? Then with the blush of rekindled love on our cheeks we got out there and grabbed every single moron who thinks that he can have a piece of her to hang on his trophy wall... every single frustrated lump of hatred who wants to cover up her beautiful, ugly, seductive, funny, living, breathing, different parts because they offend him...every single lazy regressive coward who wants her to be the Miss Havisham she has turned into... and gave every single one of them a big fat kiss goodbye?

This mixed up, repressed lady needs some air and we are taking her out on the town to remind her, and ourselves, what it feels like to be free be proud be in love with everything. And once she can stand up straight again, maybe this beautiful place can take us all back in to her arms and we can finally be home.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

No Comment

Gideon Levy of the Israeli Paper Ha'aretz writes:

" Two days earlier Israel killed more Palestinians than have been killed by all the Qassams over the past seven years. Among the dead were four children and an infant. The next day Israel killed another five boys. And who is the victim? Israel. And who is cruel? The Palestinians."
Ira Chernus Writes:

"Palestinian deaths this week outnumbered Israeli deaths by about 30 to 1, and the count of serious injuries is even more lopsided."
On March 2nd The Observer's Peter Beaumont wrote:

"Israel is again deliberately obstructing the transfer of urgent medical cases for treatment outside Gaza in the latest extension of its policy of collective punishment of Palestinians."
Nimer Sultany writes in The Guardian:

"Perhaps it is easy to dismiss this suffering by blaming the victims and resorting to ready cliches. Indeed, Israeli propagandists go out of their way to repeat the soundbite: we withdrew from Gaza in 2005 and since then the Palestinians have been firing rockets on our southern towns."..."In his most recent report (pdf) of January 2008, the UN rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied territories has recounted Israel's actions in Gaza, calling them "war crimes" and demonstrating how these have been relentlessly producing a humanitarian crisis."
B'Tselem: The Israeli Information center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories

Sunday, March 2, 2008

3:15 pm
AUK has been evacuated after a bomb threat...
Or some kind of threat that is still not clear.
Check on your family and friends.
The authorities are at the university.
All is fine so far.
Earlier in the day, witnesses say, there was an apparent threat at a bank, some say Burgan.

Hell and a hand basket, we know you well.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

I need to recharge the fuel that is sapped by the depression of being dunked daily in the vat of ignorance and regressive philosophies of this manufactured majority...the majority created by decades of ensuring that education is no more than recitation... like those ads, these days, that suggest if children learn pages and pages by heart their parents' yellow brick road to heaven will be paved..

When you are too busy trying to learn something by heart you don't have time to understand it, to filter it through that amazing thing we are blessed with called a have no time to read anything else...and the ignorance works so well for those who have you hanging over a precipice staring into the hellfire that will swallow you up if you think too much.

If you think too much you are liable to tire yourself out, and if you are too tired you won't have the strength to wrap so many things around you to cover that other blessing we have; that body that is so complex, so miraculous and so apparently offensive to some people who claim to love its maker.

We get this one chance at living on this planet... I can't help but pity that so much of it is spent having to stop our society from continuously going into rewind...

Humans have managed to count 70 sextillion stars (that is 70 +21 zeros, chew on that for a while) and yes I am sure they will find something blasphemous about the name of that number. Get ready to waste time and fight that fight next...

We know that our galaxy has 300 billion stars... 10% of which are like our sun...and there are, as of a recent count, 125 billion galaxies in the universe...

We have walked the moon...we have created machines that spin around our planet and watch us and help us watch each other online, on tv, and eventually in little chips swimming around our brains... yes, it is only a matter of time before nano-technology, that frightening new frontier, will allow us to upload our minds onto machines...

We have cured diseases, we created light and flight and breathing underwater....we have painted things we can see and things we only dream of... we have written heartbreaking poetry and thunderous philosophies that have carved new passages in our brains...we beautiful humans have done all this, and more, and yet some of us would still prefer to pick the nose of the past, with faulty interpretations of a text they have the gall to think they can chain us with.

Our religion and all religions are greater than the small minded, blistered, malformed ideas pasted on them by some neurotic men's grandstanding.

I am not ready to suffer for the therapy and medications they didn't get.

Yes, I need to refuel, or rather purge this anger. So when I am not on youtube to satisfy a surprising new addiction to snooker...I like to feed on things that can lift the fog a little.

If you missed any of the events or interviews, to do with the anachronistic battles to regain the last tattered shreds of any self respecting human dignity and freedom, you can watch them at this great youtube collection.

Some news for those who think that all the proof out there supports segregating humans:

Single-sex schools 'no benefit for girls' The Observer,Sunday June 25 2006
"Half a century of research 'has not shown any dramatic or consistent advantages for single-sex education' for boys or girls"
"Studies show ..." is the usual lead-in to any defense of single-sex education. In fact studies do not show that girls fare better in single-sex schools. "There does not seem to be research support for this perspective," The Atlantic
"Lately the so-called boy crisis in public schools has become every lazy media outlet's topic du jour, fueling the perception that girls get better college preparation than boys. That theory has been officially debunked with genuine research -- race and class turned out to be two of the real culprits for educational disparities, not gender -- but the Bush administration has yielded to the overblown boy crisis hysteria anyway." Salon

I'm tired...But can't sleep...but I will try we all do everyday with everything else.

Monday, February 11, 2008

I'm stuffed with rice krispie treats and jalapeno peppers and some organic ketchup... I realise, only faintly, that it might sound sickening, to some of you, but frankly if you can stand being here without flying away forever or flying out a window, then you can handle my eating habits.

Are you tired of being controlled by sex obsessed, self-hating, repressed apes who have no idea that their hair-brained ideas about holiness went out of fashion in the medieval gutters of history?

If some people read anything other than childish mini-books on how to beg God for the things they are too busy in rituals to get for themselves, they would realise that the world has moved light-years ahead of the puerile phobias these emperors of a poisoned panacea peddle to the frightened and the foolishly frustrated.

I am tired of them turning the beauty and peace of spiritual quests into claustrophobia, into the cunning commercialism of stickers and celebrity holiness, into a festival of ignorance and a denial of the miracle of human experience in all its forms.
Our middle ages are upon us, and frankly, I don't intend to pass them onto the next generation.

For a huge collection of free 'written-for-non-readers' versions of viral indoctrination take a trip to some of our ministries. If you can hold your food down long enough to make it through the vulgarisation of the original architecture, through to the debasement of offices that are supposed to house tomes of legal and political thought and professionals that look...well, professional, you will get to the offices filled, no not with books...guess not with paperwork that makes it look like they have work....guess no, silly, not with computers you are getting carried away.

The most you can expect from some of these rooms that represent our country are walls lined with stickers of palpitating hearts, that have confused material expression with experience of the divine. You will find handwritten supplications that look like the ones we used to paint back in kindergarten, hanging crookedly by the tired small sticky tape strips struggling to understand what they are doing suspended like this in official places of work.

There will, of course, be desks... empty except for the stacks of little books that tell you how you can spend all day murmuring " please Lord give me stuff, please don't let me do things someone said are bad, please, please, please let me just continue sitting here on my behind while you ensure that I get rich and healthy and happy."

I fear the nation that is made up of adults who have read nothing but little elf-sized books with one idea and one fear central to them all. Where are history, and philosophy and science and art and music and all those miracles that bubbled up from our depths during our short time in this universe? Why is it that some choose to fear admitting that we are more developed than our single celled ancestors that wriggled about waiting to evolve into things more diverse and colorful and complex?

This planet was alive 4 billion years before our cameo appearance. These painful proselytizers are all just actors with bit parts that still manage to strutt around like they own the place. The world will forget soon enough, the ignorance and fear belched out by these perverters of the religion they dare to suggest, in their hateful arrogance, that they represent. I just can't help but feel a sorrow for our time, for our youth that has passed in their ugly shadow. I grieve, but I will see everyone at 6 tomorrow, and something will be lifted.

I am buying a soccer jersey and its going to be red.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The clouds today wrapped round the blue sky like a belt, a line of white all around the horizon... If you tilt yourself upside down it would look like a real sky with all the pieces where you thought they should be.

Sorta like if you were upside down, this country might look like a real country...

Not the kind of country where universities are expected to be prisons, and straitjackets and where silence is your best friend and independent thought is a handicap...
Not the kind of place where surveillance and a hysteria of scandal mongering have become absurdly holy, and liberty and diversity are considered atrocities...
Not the kind of place where genders are supposed to be so protected from each other, so unknown to each other, so alien that the only thing they know how to do when they meet is no more developed than the feral coming together of wailing cats in our streets...
Not the place where art is dangerous unless it is as still and lifeless as we are supposed to be...
Not the place where families protect you by strapping on the very weapons they want to protect you from and riddling you till there is nothing left of you, or your freedom, to protect...
Not the place where politics is a zoo and we are helping to feed the monkeys.

Maybe if we are upside down long enough, the pressure on what is left of our brains will squeeze out an original thought, or a wild and free idea...

Or maybe just something close to the kind of courage it takes for a woman in this upside down place to stand firm and unswaying... close to the kind of calm that hushes the room when a woman defends against the pranks that should have been left long ago in the backward schoolyards that are the last places that bullies still reign. For the kind of solidarity that comes with people who stand together against the little tyrants that have slithered into the people's house, and smeared our still weeping newborn democracy with a meaninglessness that makes me eye one way tickets like they were the love of my life.

I think maybe some of you have been upside down for a while...because it seems so pretty once again that people are gathered in the building built for the people... And the sky looks right again.

The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion." Camus

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

It's late. I'm tired... but my eyes are too swollen to shut so you are going to be lucky enough to get a post after all this time. And of course lucky means get ready for some news you are not going to like, because that's just the way it is.
  • Take this quiz or this one, then let's drown our sorrows together because the candidate most likely to match us and, in my opinion, save the world, will probably not become president.
  • Over a million are displaced by Tabasco floods. No food, no power. Anyone still want to pooh pooh global warming?
  • Is Zain sending anyone else impossible messages about money owed after they have already thanked you for paying your bill? It's probably only me and my electronic curse.
  • Ok, so i'm too tired to make it a long list of bad stuff .

We can also try something that might get a smile out of you. And if you smile...I smile.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Just askin...

When will the price be too high?
When will "democracies" believe in everyone's rights?
Will this Exodus be remembered forever in rituals?
When are we going to start feeling shocked?

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

I don't know about you...

But this scares the bejeeeezuz out of me...

Monday, September 3, 2007

Been having "stinging eyes and sore throats and headaches" ? You are going to love reading this..
And by love, I of course mean the don't bother to pack just run far, far away kinda love..
In case you need more reason to do you go.
Iraq in Fragments is on dvd
Aid Agenecies that need our help in Iraq are:
Facebook and political activism...hmmm..
A child dies of malaria every 30 seconds... How many children will be gone by the time you turn away from this page?
All it takes is mosquito nets to save lives.. The season for generosity and giving is soon upon us. The cost of a lunch could save several lives...One net can protect up to 5 babies.
  • Buy two nets for a few Dinars at Oxfam Unwrapped (they have tons of other great things)
  • Nothing but Nets is an organisation that provides life saving nets to those who need them.
I detected a sadness in the eyes of my favourite blogger the other night... I thought maybe I was seeing things in the blackout, or maybe it was the fact that I had interrupted her workout... But I guess it was more than that..because she sounds sad too these days..
And I leave her with lines we have all spoken here:

גֵּר הָיִיתִי, בְּאֶרֶץ נָכְרִיָּה
Exodus 2:22

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I was really missing this country...on my month of hotel hopping and racist encounters with certain white folk... but of course the joy at being back in the arms of the fatherland was short lived...Because them arms are brutal.
The pretty cozy mask we all knew was a bit too plastic fantastic is melting fast in our summer of wretchedness... Don't talk, don't be, don't complain and hope the big sticks won't come down on you.. And really I am beginning to despair...because all the protests and songs and slogans are just getting old and worn and frankly comic. And when I say comic, it's that dark thing that eats you inside because it looks so dead and stupid.
And as if it were not enough to see the goose stepping in the corridors of power and know that there is nothing like law and order or rights or compassion in this tiny blot on the planet that thinks it is king of the world, you have to deal with people closer to home that make you understand why this country is flushing itself down the toilet of history.
Is there a prejudice we haven't excelled at? A form of hatred we haven't dressed up in with a moronic pride? What hope is there for a place that fears change and destroys diversity and despises anything other than its bland and rotting self? And to have to do daily battle for the tiny,tiny crumbs of progress and for the ghosts of something humane and generous in people's souls to show itself, only to wake up to everything having automatically rewound to something even further in the putrid past, is outrageous.
I don't have any solutions. Not today.

Monday, July 2, 2007

What do Kuwait, Nigeria and the Ivory Coast have in common? Yup their embassy staff in the UK commit assault, because they can...
German embassy staff drive over the speed limit... tsk...them Germans.
Live Earth--This Saturday.


If you have been hibernating you may not have heard that the US is experiencing the worst drought ever... Yup even a lake caught fire...
Anyway, the situation has made the Governor of Alabama come up with a solution that I bet you will envy for its ease and practicality...
Get out that holy mojo for a week of prayer...
And well if the rains don't come down it will undoubtedly be because there was a faithless hedonist among the worshipers that ruined the whole desperate act... and if the rains do come down, make room in the pews, hallelujah!
Ok, ok what do Kwt and Alabama have in common?
No, silly, not wishful thinking...
They both have a government monopoly on something... And I'm letting you do your homework.
Goodnight...and no way is luck comin' sniffin' by these parts...