Tuesday, April 29, 2003

My personal feeling, based on reading Musil, is that earth is a house in a cosmic slum that is being leased by God over and over to any Spirits who can come up with the rent.

More from Andrei Codrescu.

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Abdul said: "Trust my white underpants, boys. Follow me." Then, "Boys, we cannot go on this way. We are too tired, too hungry. Either a car gets us to Iraq, or I take off my white underpants and we surrender."

Then he took off his trousers, took off his underpants. He put on the trousers again, he secured the underpants to a stick, he made a white flag. He waved it, he screamed: "Don't shoot, don't shoot, we surrender!" And, while he was waving it, none of us noticed that it did not look like a white flag. That the never-washed white underpants had become very dirty and were no longer white. They were black. So the flag he was waving was not a white flag. It was a black flag. And they shot. They pierced me this way, and they killed Abdul.

The readers who commented on this story didn't seem to get it, though. But, then, the readership of the Wall Street Journal is rather conservative. In answer to another article, reader Howard Mirkin, who lives in Asia, wrote "Now that's it's just about over and the Muslims clerics are making noise, I hope someone reminds them of the consequences--remember what happened to the Taliban and Saddam Hussein. But then they never seem to learn." Seems like some other people never learn.

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Heard about this book from Oprah...but it does sound interesting. "[Azar Nafisi] is grateful to the Islamic Republic, she says, because it taught her 'to love Austen and James and ice cream and freedom.' " Reminds me of the Romanian director who, during the Cold War, had the chance to defect to the US. When asked why he didn't take the opportunity and become a Hollywood director, he said he prefered political censorship to commercial censorship.

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

I'm not sure when this article was printed, it seems a few days, if not weeks, out of date. However I include it here as it starts off with an analogy between the Iraqi Invasion and Moby Dick. Unfortunately Jason Epstein does not carry it throughout, ending without a single mention of the White Whale or Ahab in relation to current events. But it does bring up some interesting tidbits, that Freud, Thomas Mann and Max Weber first supported the war. Epstein also makes this memorable sentence, "But on the whole the war was welcomed as wars usually are for the adrenaline they release and the apparent clarity of purpose with which they muffle the complexities of everyday life." My italics; I think this is particularly relevant. "The apparent clarity of purpose": the reduction of countries to one-word descriptions, "good" or "evil," that smother out criticisms of the Bush administration's handling of the economy and its racist and homophobic agendas, in an all too-complex everyday.

Here's another imaginative analogy: "For the White House in its imperial mode to have let the [UN] inspectors continue [weapons inspections] would be as if Ahab had wanted not to kill Moby-Dick but merely to tranquilize him and donate him to an aquarium."

Saturday, April 19, 2003


Above is the amount I won tonight at the casino. Then I bought a cup of green tea with my earnings and sat down to read about an article about a crack prostitute - I found this anthology of American literary journalists, with articles about the "common man." Today also read articles about AIDs among truckers in Africa (I hitched a ride with a truck driver in Ethiopia, so it was doubly interesting) and about a a ten-year old boy.

Went fishing. Well, I read in the grand splendour of the Pitt Meadows. Befriended a golden retriever.

In the parking lot of the supermarket where we bought corn-bait for the fish, we met a lovely, smooth Alaskan Malamute-German Shepherd cross and his owner. "He's eleven years old," the owner said, "That's 77 in human years, the same age as me." She and her dog were stopping en route from the hospital, where they volunteered. The owner herself repeated many times, "Isn't she a beautiful dog?" The dog understands, too, that people in wheelchairs are limited in their movements and he automatically leans in to be petted.

The owner cried on her fortieth birthday. Now, however, she laughs at her forty-year-old self.

Friday, April 18, 2003

Beth sent me this link. Lots of updated, um, movie posters and stuff.

Saturday, April 12, 2003

Some words of advice from Karen: "Before you get two rabbits, just think you might end up with lots of little bunnies, and their poop stinks!"

Went to the SPCA and had a look at Whiley. Medium?! He's a big doggie. He looked at me pleadingly, begging me to help him get out.

Saturday, April 12, 2003

Over and over I can't believe how Americans allowed and are allowing themselves to be deceived. There are quite a lot of morons in the U.S., just as there are anywhere else, but there are quite a few smartypants. Does the American smartypants segment of the population amount to a mere 30%? It's so obvious even Mr. Kamikaze (an Archie Bunker-type, who caused a lot of gasping when he ribbed a Japanese friend and asked him if he knew of any suicide pilots) got it. It seems like a lot of people are just high on their victories. Victories which, oh yeah, were so surprising. So now a majority of Americans claim they'll support the war even if Saddam's cache of illegal weapons don't exist.

I like this Star Wars analogy: Once Bush had chosen the site, there was virtually nothing the Iraqi government could do to avoid war, short of total capitulation. As a demonstration of both America�s military might and his own itchy trigger finger, Bush had decided to make Iraq his Alderaan, the hapless planet in the original Star Wars movie that was picked to show off the power of the Death Star.

�Fear will keep the local systems in line, fear of this battle station,� explained Death Star commander Tarkin in the movie. �No star system will dare oppose the emperor now.�

Continue reading here. I guess this will fill one more volume of The People's History of the United States.

Oh and the article brings up Caligula too. "Kiesling also grasped the shift to empire � away from republic � that is underpinning Bush's policies. The career diplomat asked, 'Has oderint dum metuant really become our motto?' citing a favorite saying of the mad Roman emperor Caligula, which means 'Let them hate so long as they fear.' "

Saturday, April 12, 2003

So Bush wasn't lying when he said that he was launching a crusade.

Saturday, April 12, 2003

Inventory of Western (mostly American) merchandise found in Iraqi deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz and Hussein's houses.

Saturday, April 12, 2003

When I was in high school, one of my art teachers failed my essay regarding the location of art. I argued that a country's art belongs in that country and to its citizens, not to snooty art patrons in richer countries. My art teacher said all countries must share. Were that the case, would the US be willing to share their Pollacks and Rothkos with Sierra Leone or the Philippines? Reminds me a little of the Mr. Bean movie when the Los Angeles gallery people were so excited about getting their "Whistler's Mother" back. (I always thought Whistler preferred his European home to his native land.) News on art looting in Iraq. There is plenty else to read, here and here.

The only consolation is to think about Nazi-looted art. Years after Hitler's fall museums and historians are vigilant about returning every piece to its rightful owner. Maybe one day history will again repeat itself?

Friday, April 11, 2003

Found this through Michael Moore's site, about Private Lori Piestewa, another female POW, whose name was never heard on our evening news.

Friday, April 11, 2003

Remember those shots of jubilant Iraqis cheering the fall of Saddam's statue? How many Iraqis were really there? And look here too.

Friday, April 11, 2003

Tax cuts for Bush et al: "The top 1 percent paid just 5.2 percent of their income in total state and local taxes in 2002, while middle Americans paid 9.6 percent and those with income less than $15,000 paid 11.4 percent � more than twice the rate of the rich." Read more here.

Friday, April 11, 2003

A little late (published April 9th), but here's why we don't have to be afraid of the big bullies. I like the ending of this article, "I would like someone to find for me one example in the past 200 years when the U.S., when not acting in its own immediate interest, ever came to the assistance of Canada." Also a link to an article on Rohinton Mistry getting rough treatment on his trips.

Sunday, April 06, 2003

Still looking at cooking terms (what if I don't have the buttermilk required to make the cr�me fra�che?) when I found Aunt Edna's Kitchen with substitutions for common ingredients. So to make the buttermilk that I'll need to make the cr�me fra�che, I'll mix vinegar and sweet milk (whatever that is) or a little plain yoghurt and that sweet milk stuff. I have a suspicion that sweet milk might just be the regular milk I have in my fridge. If sweet milk is whole milk, then I'm in trouble. I think that milk in my fridge is definitely not whole. And I don't have any reconstituted dry milk or evaporated milk lying around. Well, we'll make do.

Also according to the Epicurious page below I should save my shiitake mushroom water for soups. I guess I'll just freeze it until then. Reminds me of when I met up with some Romanian musicians in a Viennese park and they invited me to their house for dinner and spoke of nothing but the wonders of mushroom juice. They took me to their apartment's pantry and showed me shelves of bubbling jars stuffed with mushrooms. It tasted like leftover mushroom-bathing water.

Sunday, April 06, 2003

Looked everywhere for cr�me fra�che, so finally I bought some whipping cream. Looks like I'm headed in the right direction, according to this wonderful food dictionary, just a little buttermilk and voil�.

Sunday, April 06, 2003

Went to a huge flea market today. Horrid! All the books were this bestseller crap. I did find "Into Thin Air" but it was $3. Yeah right. I can read it at the library for free.

A young Mexican guy sat behind a table displaying about five or six those Mexican wrestlers' masks. $10 for one. He was very smiley at first, yet, with each successive visit past his table, his smile began to droop. I felt so sorry for the poor kid I thought about buying a mask just to replace that friendly look on his face. But I didn't. Because nobody bought one of my mushroom purses out of sympathy last week.

Saturday, April 05, 2003

Here is that Japanese air freshener I was talking about.

Saturday, April 05, 2003

Goon diapers. Beth says they're no good.

Saturday, April 05, 2003

Here's what I've been looking for! A Japanese year converter! No more fumbling about wondering, was I born in Showa 49 or Showa 48?

Thursday, April 03, 2003

This Susan Llorens sounds like a wonderful person. I wish I'd met her when I was living in Japan. I especially like the bit that says, "She reads everything she can get her hands on." But what I like even more is her reading list of Japanese novels and short stories.

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

Just what I like to know about other people: what are they reading? In this case it is presidential candidates.

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

I didn't know Kobo Abe invented a type of tire chains.



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