arcana imperii :: the book of j


updated feedrolls

please note that the sidebar feedrolls are back and have been updated. the first shows the most recent q&As from askYahoo! the second the latest upcomingevents.org listings for the washington, dc area while the third features the files of the day.

could this year's screen on the green* lineup of classics be any better?! let's go!

*the sixth annual screen on the green brings free films to the national mall, 19 july to 16 august, shown under the stars on a giant 20x40-foot screen between fourth and seventh streets. the films begin at dusk, or roughly between 20:30 and 21:00. viewers often arrive as early as 17:00, so plan accordingly. screenings may be cancelled due to inclement weather. ring 877.262.5866 for further enquiries

finger-lickin' fast!

so... singaporean twenty-three year old student kimberly yeo, looks to have smashed the world record for high speed text messaging by managing to send a 160-character sms message in just 43.24 seconds, knocking more than twenty seconds off the official record of 67 seconds held by briton james trusler.

the amazing aspect of the story is that we're not talking about a message in shorthand regarding dinner plans but actually this: «the razor-toothed piranhas of the genera serrasalmus and pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. in reality they seldom attack a human». oh, and the use of spelling aids or a predictive text programme on the phone is forbidden!

she won £8,000 in cash and other prizes... good show, ms yeo!

via several sources/google news.

a frog is a frog is a frog

so... back to the frog birth... ananova reported a claim by the iranian daily etemaad that a woman gave birth to a frog that grew from larva inside her body.

although the newly born frog has yet to undergo genetic tests, the paper has quoted medical experts as saying that it has human characteristics. the report quoted clinical biology expert, dr aainifard as saying that «the similarities are in appearance, the shape of the fingers and the size and shape of the tongue».

the paper also claims that the mother-of-two, from the south-eastern city of iranshahr, unknowingly picked up the larva while swimming in a dirty pool but it is unclear as to how the strange incident took place.

baloney! extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence and this story doesn't even demand that one bother. note that what's of interest to me is certainly not the birth of the frog, but the fact that people claim it happened, pseudo-doctors comment, newspapers report it, news services quote it and then even i end up blogging about it, albeit critically!

sorry, where did you say you live?

i would assume that most countries round the world can "boast" about some of their most amusing, interesting and even outright rude place names. for instance there's hell, in norway, which does freeze over, by the way and lost, in scotland. not surprisingly, neither town seems able to keep any signage for very long! and after having a go at the uk's new amusing place names search engine from jump-around.com i'm surprised there's a sign still standing and people manage to find their way round at all! enter a postcode (uk) and the tool finds places nearby bearing the most outrageous names you can imagine! it's brilliant!

i used my old wc2 code (dc is home now) and behold the results:

mincing lane (1.9 miles), cock pond (3.6 miles ), pratt's bottom (15.4 miles), tyttenhanger (16.8 miles ), titsey park (17.5 miles ), minges (23.5 miles ), thong (23.9 miles), claggy cott (24.9 miles ), herbert's hole (26.4 miles ) and nasty (27.2 miles)


via MeFi.

that wall of shame, prejudice and intolerance

i say that if israel wishes to build a "security barrier," fine, just make certain all settlers and soldiers vacate all occupied lands and the wall is built in its own bloody territory! the country's high court agrees with me... sort of...

«israel must re-route part of its disputed west bank barrier, its high court said wednesday in a ruling to prevent palestinians being cut off from their farms, schools and cities.»

reuters has more.


but what about ru-21?!?!

let's go drinking!

researchers have discovered the ultimate hangover cure in a prickly pear cactus. according to their study, the extract of a prickly pear cactus can prevent a severe hangover and significantly reduce nausea, dry mouth, and loss of appetite. scientists found that when the prickly pear cactus extract was taken five hours prior to alcohol consumption (now, how to plan so far ahead in advance?), symptoms associated with hangovers were significantly reduced, with risk of a severe hangover reduced by half.

researcers concluded that an extract of the (opuntia ficus indica) OFI plant, available at most health-supplement retailers, exherts its moderate effect by apparently inhibiting the production of "inflammatory mediators". go figure.

the study is published in the journal, archives of internal medicine.

via health talk.

fahrenheit 9/11 sets record

associated press reports this morning that michael moore's cannes film festival-winning fahrenheit 9/11 grossed us$23.9 million in its first weekend at cinemas round the US, a record debut for a documentary and the first time a nonfiction film opened at the top of the box office. and including its receipts from two new york city theatres where the movie opened wednesday, two days ahead of the rest of the country, fahrenheit 9/11 had taken in $24.1 million. that made the film the top-grossing documentary ever, aside from concert films and movies made for imax theatres. it took the previous record-holder, moore's academy award-winning bowling for columbine nine months to amass its $21.6 million take.

is quoted as saying he did not know whether the film would affect the outcome of the november presidential election but that he hoped it would encourage more people to head to the polls. and i say that once they do, they best not commit the shameful and reprehensible act of voting wrongly...

source: grand forks herald.


headline news

while acknowledging that the president has been granted extraordinary authority to carry out a war on terrorism, the supreme court yesterday importantly declared that such authority cannot extend beyond the rule of law.

the US renews diplomatic ties with libya.

the fastest finger(s)! - a singaporean student appears to have thumbed her way into the guinness book of records after smashing the previous fastest time for text-messaging a 160-character text on a mobile phone (and i thought that book only included people who did daring things with stout, hahaha!).

henman hopes...

croat farmers have staged a beauty contest for goats in a bid to publicise the fact that traditional goat farming is dying out.

a woman in iran claims to have given birth to a frog... while shepherds in the Scottish highlands could be given free viagra in a bid to halt a drastic drop in their numbers...

details to follow... have a good morning!


quotation of the week/state of mind

«for a crowd is not company; and faces are but a gallery of pictures; and talk but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love.» ~francis bacon



charles bukowski

«his style, which exhibits a strong sense of immediacy and a refusal to embrace standard formal structure, has earned him a place in the hearts of beat generation readers, and the contributors to the alt.books.beatgeneration newsgroup. he was a prolific (it isn't known how much he had written; much of it was sent off to publishers long-hand and never seen again), free-formed, humorous, and painfully honest writer. his topics included hang-overs, the shit stains on his underwear, classical music, horse-racing and whores. he was at home with the people of the streets, the skid row bums, the hustlers, the transient life style. his language is the poetry of the streets viewed from the honesty of a hang-over.»

read more @ literary kicks.

children's books (you will not find at a bookseller's near you)

if charles bukowski had written children's books
by litsa dremousis

the whore who snored

why is grandpa heaving?

the years will fly like hummingbirds and one gray day you'll die

love turns to crap like a sandwich

the alley cat and the wounded dog share scraps of bird and dung

uncle hank's sack of empties

wishbones come from chicken, harlots come from hell

the park bench where you eat your lunch will be your bed someday

give up now

via mcsweeney's.

we're suckers for a really good story

i find myself constantly reminding friends that «extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence» and asking them to constantly apply the «baloney detection kit» not just regarding what we hear, see, read daily on radio, television, in print, at work or at play but also what we already think we know and have learned. as you might know from my very first entry in this blog such examination and use of critical thinking is a way of life. and so it is that in the company of friends and aquaintances, i have a most brilliant time clearing cobwebs and discovering truths old and new .

but where does one turn to for the... ammunition required? well, in matters regarding the english language one is fortunate to have the work of the splendid michael quinion and as of 01 july a new series on myths about our language in which he examines the outlandish stories that surround english words and phrases - and explains the truth behind them.

«you're with a friend and you start talking about language, probably because one of you has just uttered an expression that you've never thought about before, like one fell swoop or dressed to the nines. your friend tells you an interesting story about where the saying comes from, such as that the word honeymoon derives from an old persian custom of giving the happy couple mead for the first month after the wedding, or that a hooker is so called after the camp followers who flocked around the headquarters of the american civil war general joseph hooker.

well, you believe it, don't you? who wouldn't? the story is convincing, often backed up with extraneous but significant detail. and you have nothing to measure it against. it all sounds very reasonable. at the next opportunity, you mention the story to somebody else. each time you do so, or hear somebody else repeat it, the tale becomes more familiar. after a while, it's as though you have always known it. we're suckers for a really good story...»

if i told you that cop is really an acronym for constable on patrol and a tip is money given to a waiter to insure promptness you would indeed believe me, wouldn't you?

i think you best make certain you also know how the bee got his knees!


digital magazines

i'm amazed i hadn't heard of this until now. while reading an entry at rick klau's weblog titled «dvd magazines» and found a fellow reader's comment mentioning zinio, a website where one may purchase (or subscribe) to digital copies of a seemingly wide range of popular magazines in varied categories (including special interest).

while i read a great number of online editions of newspapers/magazines from round the world almost daily and indeed prefer hard copies of others (just like my books), being able to purchase a single digital copy or subscribe, especially before or during a flight, or even to enjoy at home, or at one's favourite hotspot reducing the ever-growing mounds of mags round the home yet able to keep the content readily accessible for later reference is rather brilliant.

there is a «try a free sample issue» offer so i may just give it a go right now!


ilunga. shlimazl. naa... and googly!

they don't quite roll off the tongue, do they? and not even in translation, mates!

as it turns out, a list of the words most difficult to translate has been drawn up in consultaion with a thousand linguists in a survey conducted by today translations and ilunga came up on top.

the word is from the tshiluba language spoken in south-eastern DR congo and means «a person who is ready to forgive any abuse for the first time, to tolerate it a second time, but never a third time». count me in and bear retribution in mind... :-)

in second place was shlimazl which is yiddish for «a chronically unlucky person». oy veh!

third was naa, used in the kansai area of japan to emphasise statements or agree with someone.

miss jurga zilinskiene, head of today translations divulged her own bête noir: «googly», a cricketing term for «an off-breaking ball disguised by the bowler with an apparent leg-break action». and i thought it described a certain je ne sais quoi or character or quality unique to... google mail! hahaha.

have a read of the full article at the beeb online.

seanw: dankie!


so said mr baldins...

«...religion is just a method by which the weak and the poor try to persuade the strong to be gentle and the rich to be generous, with a sizeable cut going to the persuaders. to make it work, supernatural powers and survival after death must be postulated. otherwise there is no reason for anyone to listen to such appeals: the powerful are beyond punishment here and now. the scam apparently works, as all human tribes have some kind of religion...» ~andrejs baldins, nature, 24 feb 1994.

the sword of man vs the deity... who can save kim sun il?

i am truly amazed by how people can live pretending that their fate and particularly the fate of those facing the most horrifying future is in the hands of anybody other than man. men, human flesh and blood, will most probably behead kim sun il today, if they haven't already done so. men, who by their own admission are devout believers in and worshippers of a deity who doesn't seem at all concerned with the madness and the horror carried out in its name. a man, a devout believer in the same deity, who actually wished to become a missionary and spread the word round the middle east about how that deity supposedly became, yeah, another man (jc) who died so we could be "saved" and so on, will lose his head, literally, as thousands of his countrymen pray to the very same deity to keep him alive... yet it's just men who are responsible and just men who can save him by word and deed.

an unbearably arrogant and ignorant bush declared many months ago that the nations of the world were either "with us" or "against us"... and some nations have been kowtowing to the current US administration ever since despite the fierce and loud opposition of their citizens and subjects. south korea is has sent troops to iraq and has been preparing to deploy a larger contingent because its government considers it vital to shoring up the country's alliance with the US as ties between the two allies have wavered recently as president roh moo hyun has sought a closer relationship with north korea. and the fact that said troops, according to south korean vice foreign minister choi young jin, will focus on reconstruction efforts without conducting hostile activities against iraqi people, won't be enough to save kim sun il's life, though it should, were the kidnappers a bit less devout and a bit more rational.

what to do instead of worship a non-existing deity? well, demand that government tell the kidnappers to release kim sun il safe and sound before sundown or unequivocally face the full force of south korean and american retribution. demand that this promise be carry out unequivocally were the kidnappers foolish enough to disregard it and see just how many more foreigners get kidnapped and beheaded.

it will be the sword of man and not god's intercession that will put an end to the horror.

snakes, ants, sex, bush and cheney

there was a man who went to see a psychiatrist. first, the shrink showed him a picture of crossed sticks and then one of hundreds of little dots. "what's that?" the shrink asked. snakes and ants having sex, the man replied. the shrink told the man he was obsessed with sex. "what do you expect," the patient replied, "when you keep showing me dirty pictures?"

and so it is that regarding iraq and al-qaeda bush and cheney, provided they are not lying through their teeth, simply see what they want to see which in the end amount to the same thing. supporting these two and planning on voting for them in november is nothing less than shameful, reprehensible and borders on the criminal.

«facts are the enemy of truth», said brilliant don quixote...

have a read of grand delusion: two leaders [excuse me, what?] who see what they want to see.


bush and his bloody «big lie»

«bush continues the big lie in the face of mountains of contrary evidence»
by ivan eland
for the independent institute

«incredible as it may seem, despite the 9/11 commission’s conclusion that al-qaeda and the regime of saddam hussein had no “collaborative relationship,” president bush and vice president cheney continue to insist that there was a “relationship.” the president and vice president are calling a few meetings between members of the terrorist group and Iraqi government officials a “relationship.” but by analogy, if a charity was able to arrange an appointment with a large corporation or foundation in an attempt to get a contribution but then ultimately got rejected in its solicitation, the bush administration’s logic would conclude that the charity and the corporation had established a philanthropic relationship. a similar outcome apparently occurred between al-qaeda and the iraqis. according to the commission, osama bin laden requested a haven for his training camps and help in buying weapons, but the iraqis apparently never responded. that doesn’t sound like much of a relationship.

all of the bush administration’s quibbling about the definition of the word “relationship” is as ridiculous as president clinton’s hair-splitting over the definition of the word “is” during the monica lewinsky scandal. when a president’s justification for actions taken hinges on the definition of a single word, that usually spells trouble.

if mere meetings between functionaries are sinister, then US envoy donald rumsfeld’s friendly meeting in the early 1980s with saddam hussein, just after saddam had used poison gas against the iranians, may take the prize...»

america, remember! in less than five months we can "kick... them... out!"

royal birthday: Prince William

Prince Willliam turns twenty-two today, his final birthday before completing his studies after which he will be fair game to the preying camera lenses and sharpened pencils of the british press. a palace spokesman said that the prince shall spend his birthday privately, with some friends.

«Prince William Arthur Philip Louis was born on 21 june 1982 at st mary's hospital, paddington, in london. he was christened by the archbishop of canterbury at buckingham palace.

Prince William began his education at mrs mynor's nursery school in west london in september 1985, aged 3. in January 1987, william was enrolled at wetherby school, also in london, and was a pupil there until July 1990. he spent five years at ludgrove school from september 1990 until July 1995, and then attended eton college, windsor, where he studied geography, biology and history of art at A Level after sitting 12 GCSEs.

after passing his A Levels, Prince William took a gap year, spending time on manœuvres in belize, working on a farm in the united kingdom, helping in community projects with other young people in a remote area of chile, and visiting countries in africa.

Prince William is currently at the university of st andrews, scotland, where he is studying geography, having switched from history of art.

Prince William is a keen sportsman and prefers football, rugby, tennis, swimming and water polo. at ludgrove, he was rugby and hockey team captain and represented the school at cross-country running. william is also a crack clay pigeon shooter, winning the school's prize in 1994. he acted in school plays, and enjoys reading and film-going.

Prince William's first public appearance was on a visit to wales on st david's day (1 march), at a service at llandaff cathedral, aged 8. in may 1995, Prince William accompanied his mother, father and brother to the 50th anniversary of VE (victory in europe) commemorations in hyde park; he also accompanied his family to the VJ (victory in japan) Day 50th anniversary commemorations in front of buckingham palace and in the mall in August 1995.

he attended his mother's funeral at westminster abbey on 6 september 1997. in the same year he made another official appearance at westminster abbey, when he attended the service of thanksgiving to mark the Golden Wedding of The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh in november 1997. in 2002, he attended engagements in london to mark the Golden Jubilee of his grandmother, The Queen.

he undertakes no official engagements on his own, but he has accompanied his father on several official visits around the uk.»

note: also "sharing" his birthday torday: juliette lewis, los angeles, california, actress (1973), nicole kidman, honolulu, hawaii, actress (1967), benazir bhutto, first female leader of a moslem nation (pakistan) (1953), jean paul sartre, existentialist/writer (nobel prize, 1964; declined) (1905), martha washington, the very first, first lady (1789-97) (1732), alexander pope, english poet (rape of the lock) (1688).

google galore!

«gabeanderson.com: google galore: all google, all the time (24 entries & counting).»

wimbledon: 21 june - 04 july

the «lawn tennis championships at wimbledon» were scheduled to start on centre and no. 1 courts at 13:00 gmt today at the all england lawn tennis club and last for the traditional fortnight. wimbldeon today announced that the gentlemen’s champion will receive £602,500 and the ladies’ champion £560,500. the total prize money will be £9,707,280.

play has already been suspended today at wimbledon because of rain...

quotation of the week

«love is a form of mental illness not yet recognised in the standard diagnostic manuals.» ~anonymous



classical brits awards

this year's classical brits awards were presented about a month ago and it's as if i'd decided most of them!

the splendid welsh bass baritone bryn terfel won the prizes for best album and best male artist while italian opera goddess cecilia bartoli was named best female artist at the ceremonies, held at london's royal albert hall.

american soprano and brilliant diva renée fleming was the recipient of this year's outstanding contribution to music award. the contemporary music award went to US composer philip glass for his soundtrack to the film the hours.

read more here.

quotation of the week v07

«love [is] the strongest and deepest element in all life, the harbinger of hope, of joy, of ecstasy; love, the defier of all laws, of all conventions; love, the freest, the most powerful moulder of human destiny...» ~emma goldman/j



a day of introspection

«it is a pleasure to stand upon the shore, and to see the ships tossed upon the sea; a pleasure to stand in the window of a castle, and to see a battle and the adventures thereof below; but no pleasure is comparable to the standing upon the vantage ground of truth ... and to see the errors, and wanderings, and mists, and tempests, in the vale below.» ~francis bacon, essays, of truth, 1625.

quotation of the week v06

atheism ... in its philosophic aspect refuses allegiance not merely to a definite concept of god, but it refuses all servitude to the god idea, and opposes the theistic principle as such. gods in their individual function are not half as pernicious as the principle of theism which represents the belief in a supernatural, or even omnipotent, power to rule the earth and man upon it. it is the absolutism of theism, its pernicious influence upon humanity, its paralysing effect upon thought and action, which atheism is fighting with all its power.» ~emma goldman



quotation of the week v05

«there are ... some potentates i would kill by any and all means at my disposal. they are ignorance, superstition, and bigotry -- the most sinister and tyrannical rulers on earth.» ~emma goldman



quotation of the week v04

«mankind has been punished long and heavily for having created its gods; nothing but pain and persecution have been man's lot since gods began. there is but one way out of this blunder: man must break his fetters which have chained him to the gates of heaven and hell, so that he can begin to fashion out of his reawakened and illumined consciousness a new world upon earth.» ~emma goldman


but there is a link after all...

al-qaeda link


no link between iraq and al-qaeda... get it?

the official inquiry into the 11 september 2001 attacks in the usa has said there was no link between iraq and al-qaeda. the bush administration as recently as hours ago have been using alleged contacts between the two as a reason for attacking, invading and occupying iraq. just this past monday vice president dick cheney said saddam hussein had «long-established ties» with al-qaeda (as usual, he was speaking among friends, in a forum that did not allow critics to question the assertion) even though the claim has been disproven since it was first uttered!

back in january, the prestigious carnegie endowment said: «the most intensive searching over the last two years has produced no solid evidence of a co-operative relationship between saddam hussein's government and al-qaeda.»

david kay, the former chief weapons inspector, came to the same conclusion.

in january the american secretary of state, colin powell, announced that he had seen "no smoking gun [or] concrete evidence" of ties between saddam hussein and al-qaeda.

in fact even bush himself, when he was asked baldly in january whether he believed there was a link between saddam hussein and 9/11, said «i can't make that claim.»

yet somehow the administration bush leads has convinced the vast majority of americans that exactly the opposite is the case. a poll conducted by the university of maryland in april found that 57% of americans believe iraq was substantially supporting al-qaeda before the 11 September 2001 attacks or was involved in the attacks themselves. and that number was hardly changed from a similar poll a year earlier.

further reading: key findings on al-qaeda; read the commission's preliminary statement on al-qaeda.

sources: the beeb and sky news.

quotation of the week v03

«patriotism ... is a superstition artificially created and maintained through a network of lies and falsehoods; a superstition that robs man of his self-respect and dignity, and increases his arrogance and conceit...» ~emma goldman


«palme d’or winner michael moore returns home triumphantly»

«the making of this film put moore in a tenuous moral position due to the explosive nature of some of the information he acquired. he had clips showing american soldiers abusing iraqi prisoners months before it became commonly known. torn between what he knew about this abuse and his fear that if he released the pictures first, his detractors would view it as publicity for his movie, moore chose not to publish what he had until after 60 minutes II broke the story. also, he interviewed an entrepreneur named nick berg who was later kidnapped and beheaded in iraq. moore decided to keep that footage out of the movie and later sent a copy to the young man’s grieving family.»

the fellowship adventure group, a union of miramax, ifc and lion’s gate films will distribute «fahrenheit 9/11» in the united states starting 25 june. the film accuses bush of stealing the 2000 presidential election, ignoring terrorism warnings during the summer of 2001 and then using the public’s fear of more terrorism to get support for the attack, invasion and occupation of iraq. it also tracks the relationship between the bushes and important saudi families including the bin ladens.

[screenings of michael moore's new film draws celebrity support on both coasts].

note: unless you wish to be automatically added to the celebrity café's mailing list DO NOT rate the article in the section: «what did you think of this feature story?»


«military and diplomatic officials seek bush's ouster»

diplomats and military commanders for change, an unprecedented bi-partisan coalition of twenty-seven career chiefs of mission and retired four-star military leaders will launch a nationwide campaign to press for the need for change in US foreign and defence policy because they are deeply concerned by the damage the bush administration has caused to our national and international interests. a statement will be released tomorrow followed by a discussion at the national press club here in washington, dc.

npr's alex chadwick talks with former assistant secretary of state princeton lyman about the letter he and 26 other former diplomats and military commanders have signed, calling for the defeat of george w bush in the november 2004 presidential election. in the letter, the group says bush has so harmed international relations that only a new leader can repair them.

yahoo! vs gmail... c'mon!

the motley fool has taken a gander at yahoo!'s answer to google's gmail today, an enhancement many people have supposedly been waiting for. yahoo! now offers 100 megabytes of free storage to users, with a premium fee for two gigabytes. while the "new" yahoo! now sports a smoother and more modern interface, ultimately it just seems like a "me-too" move that doesn't quite deliver... i imagine hotmail shall soon be offering an additional 5kb of storage...

quotation of the week v02

«the triumph of the philosophy of atheism is to free man from the nightmare of gods; it means the dissolution of the phantoms of the beyond.» ~emma goldman



quotation of the week v01

«atheism represents a concept of life without any metaphysical beyond or divine regulator. it is the concept of an actual, real world with its liberating, expanding and beautifying possibilities, as against an unreal world, which, with its spirits, oracles, and mean contentment has kept humanity in helpless degradation.» ~emma goldman

her portrait.



in memoriam

ray charles_stage

r&b music legend ray charles has died surrounded by family and friends at his home in beverly hills, california, of complications from acute liver disease. he was seventy-three. this american icon had won twelve grammys and played his 10,000th concert just over a year ago, 23 May 2003 in los angeles.

note: npr: 1998 ray charles interview on npr's fresh air with terry gross.
         npr: 2002 ray charles interview on npr's the tavis smiley show.
         npr: npr 100: «what'd i say»
         npr: ray charles 11 september tribute
         bbc news obituary.
         rock & roll hall of fame: ray charles.
         ray charles.com.


pentagon studied how to sidestep US and int'l laws banning torture

there was a scathing editorial in london's financial times today folliwng a draft report from capitol hill lawyers prepared for military commanders overseeing guantanamo.

the ft says the report «shows the pentagon putting its best legal minds to work on how to sidestep the US as well as international laws banning torture. this makes it easier to see how the climate was created back in washington in which torture of iraqi prisoners at abu ghraib could take place».

the paper continues: «it's more shocking than the acts comitted by a few psychopaths among america's military jailers; such people exist in every army. what is rarer is encouragement from on high».

the ft concludes that the pentagon panel also managed to sweep aside domestic law. to get round legislation against torture by us citizens abroad it treats guantanamo as part of the us. but for the purpose of denying detainees access to us courts, the ft says, it counts guantanamo as abroad.

reported by mark reed - bbc world update via npr.

the world's gone mad!

«you know the world is going crazy when the best rapper is a white guy, the best golfer is a black guy, and the tallest guy in the nba is chinese. the swiss hold the america's cup, france is accusing the US of arrogance, germany doesn't want to go to war, and the three most powerful men in america are named bush, dick and colin. need i say more?» ~chris rock

via seanw, who more often than not knows exactly what i need to hear!

the rearest honour

even as thousands of average people lined up to view his casket on tuesday, the late president reagan was soon to receive a most extraordinary honour, even for presidents: to lie in state in the united states capitol. reagan's body is to be flown today to washington, dc, where there will be a caisson procession followed by a ceremony in the capitol rotunda tonight.

the body will then lie in state — only the 10th time that honour has been performed for a president, and the 27th instance overall, from 152 years ago with henry clay and most recently carried out in 1998, when two capitol policemen slain by a gunman were memorialised in the rotunda.

read the full story here.


dispose of me in meter... disperse me into rhyme

convert me into meter, sir,
dispose of me in rhyme -
pray enjamb me in a corner
where i must bide your time.

with assonance i'll not demur,
in iambs i shall dwell,
embrace alliteration's lure -
i'm sure it suits me well;

each topsy-turvy metaphor
and simile obscene -
i will not ponder what they're for
or ask you what you mean.

for meaning's mark you may forswear
though i should keep your time:
dispose of me in meter, sir,
disperse me into rhyme.

~«poetastery (3)   a love-song, a love-song»
by the eudæmonist.

«mr gorbachev, tear down this wall!»

ronald reagan berlin wall 1987

on 12 june 1987, president ronald reagan delivered one of the most famous speeches of his presidency. at the height of the cold war, reagan addressed the people of west berlin next to the barrier that separated them from the communist portion of the city. during the speech, he challenged soviet leader mikhail gorbachev to "open this gate, to tear down this wall."

temporary feature/link: c w camera works - the washington post.

to live or live!

«a british husband and wife were told they each didn't have long to live, so they spent their life's savings on a trip round the world only to get better on their return home.»

only to...?!

the wife, 56, was diagnosed with breast cancer, while the husband was told he had serious heart problems. neither seems to me a de facto death sentence and i bet it wasn't so for megan nor patrick. the couple did realise they weren't immortal and decided they might as well use the £40,000 (us$70K) they had saved to do the fifty things they most wanted. see, they decided to use the money to live rather than to prevent death or at least keep it at bay in hospital for as long as they could, forced to spend their life savings in medical treatment like they would in the united states of america (shame shame shame). so mortality, depression, freedom and means --rather than fear-- allowed them to pack their bags, renew their vows abord the qe2, go on a south african safari, dance in rio and visit the falklands, uruguay and senegal. upon their return to england they discovered megan's cancer is in remission and patrick underwent heart-bypass surgery and is recovering well. she says they "are as fit now as they've ever been". and not a word about prayer nor miracle! hahaha!

next up? orangutan-watching in borneo and washing elephants in sri lanka...

source: fox news.


gaudio and myskina!

how splendid! did you watch the finals, mates?! for once, my favourites by the conclusion of the semis both win a grand slam tournament and i couldn't be more pleased!

so it was the unseeded, fourty-forth-ranked gaston gaudio of argentina beating the world's top-ranked clay-court player and the sixth-seeded anastasia myskina of russia.

i urge you to read a splendid article written by christopher clarey for the international herald tribune: french open: long road to victory for russia and argentina. it's pure poetry...

quotation of the week

«to fly, we have to have resistance.» ~maya lin



the very latest: kazaa lite / kazaa lite tools

even though presently i am using the splendid eMule (v.042g hotfix) software for all my p2p file-sharing needs and desires, mainly because a search is almost certain to prove productive no matter how obscure the subject, regardless of the time it'll require to reach me, i am also happy to report that kaZaA lite k++ 2.43 has been upgraded to kaZaA lite k++ 2.6.0 build 1 also known as kaZaA lite tools k++ and may be downloaded here in english, spanish, french, german and italian. production has been stopped and so this is to be the last version ever of the software and so they're indeed going out with a bang: this release is packed with features and tools indeed splendidly better and more useful than the pop-up advert-full and spyware infected original kaZaA produced by the nasty sherman networks.

note: there is yet another lite version of kaZaA, kaZaA lite resurrection, based on kmd v2.02. it's basically the same as kaZaA lite k++ 2.43 with more features and updated tools.

in memoriam

ronald reagan

««ronald reagan, the cheerful crusader who devoted his presidency to winning the cold war, trying to scale back government and making people believe it was "morning again in america," died today after a long twilight struggle with alzheimer's disease. he was nienty-three.»


update: venezuela recall

venezuelans shall get their referendum. following the official petition signatures count conducted by venezuela's electoral council and international observers about 2.43 million elegible voters have secured more than enough "nays" needed to constitutionally hold a vote before chavez's term expires in 2006. so far, officials seem set to hold the referendum in august. the referendum effort first began back in november and since, the country has seen absolute chaos on its streets. but democracy continues to speak and do so loudly.

the full story: enough signatures seen to trigger venezuela recall.

to the tune of half a million

cnn reported an estimated 500,000 italians filled rome's streets today to protest bush's visit and their own country's active support of the war in iraq. italy has about three thousand troops on the ground there. twenty italian soldiers and four civilians have been killed in the war. prime ninister berlusconi has been an unwavering supporter of the US efforts in iraq, against the wishes of the majority of italians, whose disapproval shall certainly make waves at the polls when the time comes to select a new government.

all-argentine / all-russian finals at the french open

tim henman could have been the the first british man to reach the french open final in sixty-seven years but he did not have the game in him today to defeat the best claycourt player in the world, guillermo coria, who will now meet fellow argentine , unseeded gaston gaudio at the tournament's men's final sunday. twenty-five year old gaudio played today like a deity and defeated eighth-seeded compatriot david nalbandian in straight sets. gaudio took command from the start and from 3-3 ran off three games in a row including two service breaks dominating the bigger and more physical nalbandian with his searing groundstrokes off both flanks from the baseline. nalbandian, 2002 wimbledon runner-up, appeared to be getting back into the match when he moved 5-1 up in the second set, but incredibly gaudio clawed his way back to 5-5 and then in the tie-break he took a 6-2 lead and went two sets up with a smash at the net on his fourth set point. gaudio rapidly moved to match point with three successive service breaks. he hit long on the first but on the second nalbandian flapped at a forehand and it died at the net sparking off a tearful celebration from gaudio. it's as if he could not believe it had happened. he appeared so stoic during that third set, and then, upon realising he'd won, his emotions surfaced and he sobbed and laughed until he left the court. he told reporters that this was his favourite tournament and had always dreamed of getting to the final.

so instead of the falklands war getting settled at centre court in paris, we shall have a most brilliant tango (it takes two, no?) to enjoy sunday morning. it can't be missed.

as for the females... well, they won't be playing for pizza this time round. as children, anastasia myskina and elena dementieva played for a slice. now, it's the french open title and over a million dollars at stake in the first ever all-russian grand slam final. no russian woman had ever been in the final of any grand slam since olga morozova lost to chris evert in the french open final and wimbledon in 1974.

varied sources through google news.

random fact: dc

washington, dc ranked no. 1 on america's most literate cities list, compiled by the university of wisconsin in 2003.
(and it's one of our best kept secrets)...

forty-five or so evolving rules for life - first draft

01. approach love and cookery with reckless abandon.
02. memorise your favourite poem.
03. don't believe all you hear, spend all you have yet do sleep all you want.
04. when you say, «i love you», mean it.
05. when you say, «I'm sorry», look the person in the eye.
06. be engaged at least six months before you get married.
07. believe in love at first sight.
08. never laugh at anyone's dreams.
09. love deeply and passionately. it's the only way to live life completely.
10. in disagreements, fight fairly and no name-calling (but do name names).
11. don't judge people by their relatives (and don't readily admit to being related... there's a reason they're called "relatives").
12. talk slowly but think quickly.
13. when someone asks you a question you don't want to answer, smile and begin with, «well, it depends» or simply ask, «why do you want to know?»
14. remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
15. do ring your mum. i know, you just talked to her last month, but...
16. don't ever say «bless you» when you hear someone sneeze; say «gesundheit». if they covered their mouth with their hand(s) or let it all out in the open; be prepared to strike.
17. when you lose, don't lose the lesson.
18. remember the three r's: respect for self; respect for others; responsibility for all your actions.
19. don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
20. when you realise you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
21. smile when picking up the phone. the caller will hear it in your voice.
22. partner with someone you love to talk to. as you grow older together, conversational skills will be as important as any other.
23. do spend a great deal of time alone.
24. open your arms to change, but don't let go of your values [unless they're wrong].
25. remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
26. read more books and more of my blog and watch less tv and spend less time at the bars.
27. live a good, honourable life so when you get older and think back, you'll get to enjoy it a second time.
28. do not trust in god, for it doesn't exist. do lock your car.
29. do all you can to create a tranquil harmonious home.
30. in disagreements with loved ones, deal with the situation at hand and let the past remain so.
31. read between the lines.
32. share your knowledge. it's a way to achieve immortality. (anyone blogging?)
33. be gentle with the earth.
34. do not, pray; think! use your mind, the fountainhead of human achievement. there's immeasurable power in it.
35. never interrupt when being flattered.
36. mind your own business.
37. don't trust a person who doesn't close his eyes when you kiss. how would you know?
38. go someplace you've never been before at least once a year.
39. be a philanthropist.
40. be mindful of what you wish for since you might indeed get it.
41. remember that the best relationship is one where your love for each other is greater than your need for each other.
42. judge your success by what you had to give up do in order to get it.
43. remember that your character is your destiny.
44. learn and practise the virtues of selfishness.
45. learn the rules, live by them yet learn when to break some. [not these, mind you!]



autochthonous: adjective meaning indigenous. the correct spelling of this word, brought victory to a breathless fourteen-year-old from indiana today. david tidmarsh won the 77th annual scripps howard national spelling bee held here in dc and broadcast on disney's espn network. he beat out 264 other contestants to win us$17,000 (some have reported 12,000) in cash, a $1,000 savings bond and an engraved trophy.

the louisville courier-journal started the spelling bee in 1925 with nine students. e.w. scripps co's scripps howard news service took over sponsorship of the contest in 1941. the champion speller in the 1930s won about $1,000.

last year's winner, also a boy, was sai gunturi, a 13-year-old eighth-grader from dallas, spellıng correctly the word pococurante, or not concerned, indifferent.

contestants had to complete a twenty-five-word written test in round one which included onomatopoeia or the naming of an action or thing by a vocal imitation of the sound associated with it, and triskaidekaphobia or fear of the number thirteen.

a bit of trivia: there were no spelling bees during the wwII years of 1943, 1944 and 1945, and co-champions were declared in 1950, 1957 and 1962. scripps howard said the term «spelling bee» is derived from a community social gathering where people joined together in a single activity to help a person or family. i still don't get it... oh wait, i do... as in how bees work as a community...

oh, in greek mythology, autochthonous are those said to be children of the soil, which means they have belonged to the land eternally. «son of the soil» is not the same as «son of earth» (gaia). the children of the soil have neither father nor mother, and therefore they just arise from the ground like a plant does.

sources bloomberg and the greek mythology link.

smear campaign against judge hamilton?

i can't stand ignorance and much less people who are wilfully ignorant and expect their opinions not only respected, but accepted! oh how they resent being confronted with an unwaveringly righteous: « you're wrong!»! and how much pleasure i derive... so right now my wrath is directed at all mediawhores, parents, teachers, ignorant theists and a-theists alike, who don't get that the gray delicate mass inside their skull will not ooze out their ears if they use it to think instead of hate, discriminate and attempt to impose their ignorance on others.

reports in print, broadcast and all over the internet today have been attacking US district judge phyllis hamilton (yes, the brilliant san francisco federal judge who ealier this week overturned the unconstitutional law signed by religious zealot george dubya bush banning so-called partial-birth abortions) for allegedly allowing a teacher to "force" her students to pray in the classroom. and not just pray, but pray as muslims! LOL the bloody idiots! had that been the case my complaints would have awakened life on mars. the headlines read: «teacher forces students to muslim prayer», «same judge ok'd muslim prayer» and so on and they are all wrong and pandering to ignorant theists, right-wing zealots and covertly also trying to recruit unsuspecting brights to a smear campaign against judge hamilton..

in a december 2003 decision judge hamilton wrote it was lawful for a california middle school teacher to require students to role-play as muslims and so read the text of muslim prayers and get down on their knees. the class was an islamic studies course in which the children were asked to read and recite texts from the koran and to fast or give up something like tv for a day (to experience during that time islam's month of ramadan). and it was lawful because role-playing is not tantamount to the exercise of religion! when the childred read or recited phrases from the koran or prayers they were not praying nor worshipping, but just reading, reciting and play-acting.

were i a parent of a child at the school i would have very serious concerns about the teaching of such a course in a public school and indeed the methods used to teach it since children usually have not yet developed the critical thinking/judgement skills needed to differentiate between religious indoctrination and education in cultural and social studies, especially if the teacher is a theist.

what's new at hogwarts?

american filmgoers shall be able to find out first-hand tomorrow as the anticipated sequel opens in theatres nationwide. i've been looking forward to it since i learned, not only that columbus (yawn) wouldn't be directing, but that cuarón (of y tu mamá también fame) would. i knew he'd understand the requirements of translating harry to the medium of film in terms of not becoming unnecessarily bound and stiffled by the novels and the expectations of the masses that the films become "documentaries" and not what they should be: adaptations, if faithful, of the great stories created by the brilliant j.k. rowling. i'd been looking forward to this installment also because azkaban has been my favourite volume in the series so far.

so yes, what's new? as most of us know by now, there's a "new" dumbledore: the late richard harris has been replaced by michael gambon, who reportedly looks, and sounds, almost exactly as his predecessor. there should also be some new teachers: beginning his first term as the defence against the dark arts instructor is professor lupin, played by david thewlis. also making her first appearance is professor trelawney played by one of my favourite actors, emma thompson, who teaches the art of divination (and quite badly, we hope!). we shall also find hagrid teaching care of magical creatures.

there's a new creature, buckbeak the hippogriff, a half-eagle-half-horse creature, who is very particular about who can and cannot approach him (hint: it helps to bow first) and some new villains: the dementors. these are the floating, wraith-like guards that patrol the wizards' prison of azkaban. rememeber to resist their killer kisses... if you can!

and last, but not least, there the prisoner of azkaban himself: sirius black, played by gary oldman, the first wizard ever to escape the prison.

meet me at «the uptown»!

happy birthday

today is herb e sutcliffe's birthday. may he enjoy a very happy one and may he remember the long-gone and recently lost friends who are not there with him to celebrate. «for he's a jolly good fellow, for he's a jolly good fellow...»


«outside of baghdad it's mud-brick houses and open sewage. it's babylon with eletricity poles. we defeated the flintstones and then we let bedrock be looted.» ~thomas l friedman to charlie rose


un poema

«desde los afectos»

¿cómo hacerte saber que siempre hay tiempo?
que uno sólo tiene que buscarlo y dárselo.
que nadie establece normas salvo la vida.
que la vida sin ciertas normas pierde forma.
que la forma no se pierde con abrirnos.
que abrirnos no es amar indiscriminadamente.
que no está prohibido amar.
que también se puede odiar.
que el odio y el amor son afectos.
que la agresión porque sí, hiere mucho.
que las heridas se cierran.
que las puertas no deben cerrarse.
que la mayor puerta es el afecto.
que los afectos nos definen.
que definirse no es remar contra la corriente.
que no cuanto más fuerte se hace el trazo más se dibuja.
que buscar un equilibrio no implica ser tibio.
que negar palabras implica abrir distancias.
que encontrarse es muy hermoso.
que el sexo forma parte de lo hermoso de la vida.
que la vida parte del sexo.
que el "por qué" de los niños tiene un por qué.
que querer saber de alguien no es sólo curiosidad.
que para saber todo de todos es curiosidad malsana.
que nunca está de más agradecer.
que la autodeterminación no es hacer las cosas solo.
que nadie quiere estar solo.
que para no estar solo hay que dar.
que para dar debimos recibir antes.
que para que nos den también hay que saber cómo pedir.
que saber pedir no es regalarse.
que regalarse es en definitiva no quererse.
que para que nos quieran debemos demostrar qué somos.
que para que alguien sea hay que ayudarlo.
que ayudar es poder alentar y apoyar.
que adular no es ayudar.
que adular es tan pernicioso como dar vuelta la cara.
que las cosas cara a cara son honestas.
que nadie es honesto porque no roba.
que el que roba no es ladrón por placer.
que cuando no hay placer en las cosas no se está viviendo.
que para sentir la vida no hay que olvidarse que existe la muerte.
que se puede estar muerto en vida.
que se siente con el cuerpo y la mente.
que con los oídos se escucha.
que cuesta ser sensible y no herirse.
que herirse no es desangrarse.
que para no ser heridos levantamos muros.
que quien siembra muros no recoge nada.
que casi todos somos albañiles de muros.
que sería mejor construir puentes.
que sobre ellos se va a la otra orilla y también se vuelve.
que volver no implica retroceder.
que retroceder también puede ser avanzar.
que no por mucho avanzar se amanece cerca del sol.
¿cómo hacerte saber que nadie establece normas salvo la vida?

~mario benedetti

gracias, edo. la verdad que era justo lo que necesitaba esta noche.

«web frenzy building for new google mail»

well, i really don't know what i'd been doing wrong, but i was finally able to register my first google mail addy and begin testing the service. i had noticed my invitation a few weeks ago, and had tried to follow the easy steps to really have a go at it, always failing to complete the very last one.

so far, just sweet! the idea is to forget about filing and archiving and use google's proven search technology to quickly and accurately find the needed correspondence and let the service arrange the "conversations" taking form in one's inbox so as to make it natural and brilliantly sensible and simple to keep up with our cyberspace life.

i must admit i haven't been too clever about checking for additional invitations and securing a few of what are being called, bartered, sold, given away, begged for «most desirable email addresses»...

and from the nyt: google mail: virtue lies in the inbox.


in transition

dear readers: the blog's appearance will be in transition this week as we play round a bit with the colour scheme. we kindly request your indulgence during this time. if you see something you can't stand or have any ideas, make sure to comment below! thank you!

«partial-birth abortion» ban declared unconstitutional

in a brilliant blow to religious zealots at the white house and round the country a federal judge declared the wrongly named «partial-birth abortion ban act» unconstitutional as every progfressive would have expected, saying it infringes on a woman's right to choose.

US district judge phyllis hamilton's ruling came in one of three lawsuits challenging the legislation bush signed last year.

she agreed with abortion rights activists that a woman's right to choose is paramount, and that it is therefore «irrelevant» whether a fetus suffers pain, as abortion foes contend.

the judge wrote in her opinion that the act poses an undue burden on a woman's right to choose an abortion.

read more at sfgate.com.

there's hope for you yet: face transplants

reasearchers from the university of kentucky in louisville are asking permission to perform the first face transplant. an ethics committee is being presented with a document detailing their plan. sceptics question whether the family of a donor would recognise their loved one in the face of the recipient.

a virtual face transplant commissioned from a leading uk animation company was shown in a tv documentary, face transplant, co-produced by new scientist and uk television company mentorn, on discovery health channel in the US at 20:00 on 28 may. check your local listings for a repeat broadcast.

read the full story at the new scientist.

cannabis grows in town's high street!

a fifteen-centimetre-high marijuana plant has been found growing in broken hill's high street, a town of almost 25,000 in far-western new south wales, australia.

police were told that the plant was growing among the roses in the median strip of argent street, in the town's central business district and uprooted the plant suggesting it probably grew from a seed which had fallen from someone's pocket. how fortuitous!

source abc.net.au.

gays denied communion

i didn't know the catholic's church policy on homosexualists taking communion was the infamous «don't ask, don't tell» used by the US military.

a group of gay activists wearing rainbow sashes were denied the catholic sacrament of holy communion 30 may in chicago. they protested a policy set by the area's prelate that said they were in violation of church teaching by advertising their sexual preference.

cardinal francis george sent a memo to the chicago archdiocese, the second largest in the country, ordering priests not to give communion to sash-wearers, opening a new front in the controversial practise of withholding communion (abortion was the first).

a spokesman for the american sash movement reported the bishop [probably a homosexualist himself] just said "god bless". the spokesman added: «we're good enough to be blessed but we're not good enough to receive the holy eucharist».

theists just don't see the hypocrisy, do they?!

source yahoo! news.

the pilot that saved buckingham palace

the royal air force fighter plane, whose pilot saved buckingham palace from a direct hit during the battle of britain, has been unearthed in central london by a team of archaeologists. the hurricane's engine was finally hoisted from its muddy grave sunday night after excavations began saturday morning in buckingham palace road, victoria. its pilot, ray holmes watched.

the story of the pilot's heroic action is brilliant! on the last day of the battle of britain, that's 15 september 1940 for those of you that'd rather celebrate the battle of puebla and drink margaritas on 05 may (ha!), the pilot sees three planes lining up to attack the palace. he shoots one down and gives chase to the others, when he discovers that he's run out of ammunition and that there's only one more german dornier left. showing scant regard for his own life the pilot decides to use his plane to slice through the tail of the enemy aircraft as it approached the palace. the german plane plumets nose down into the forecourt of victoria station and sgt holmes bails out of his. his plane crashes in buckingham palace road while he ends up dangling just off the ground, bare feet in a dustbin, after missing the electric rails of vitoria station while heading towards the roof of a three-storey house in his parachute.

three cheers for sgt holmes!

read the full story here.

cheney helped halliburton win contracts

the links between american vice-president dick cheney and the halliburton oil services company were under new scrutiny monday with the revelation of a pentagon memo suggesting the award to halliburton of iraq contracts was «co-ordinated» with the vice-president's office.

read more here.