Monday, May 31, 2010

Israel is moral loser in Gaza

Israel doesn't get it - whatever it does in Gaza, it is a loser on moral grounds. The latest: Israel stops boats/ships headed for Gaza, 11 people killed one report said. Israel's response was that they thought they were boarding boats with peace activists, didn't think there would be violence. The helicopters that boarded the boats were full of Israeli commandos, armed to the teeth, so how could they say they were expecting peace? They were prepared for war. They are enforcing a blockade that has made Gaza the worst living hell on earth. So if the boats made it through the blockade, Israel loses, and if the boats don't make it through because Israeli commandos stop the boats and kill 11 people, then Israel still loses. Some would say the Gaza arabs are the ultimate losers, but they are the pawns in the games of others. Gazans (Arabs who fled when Israel was created) have been pawns manipulated by France, England, Egypt, Israel and the United States. I doubt that anyone really cares about them - they are pawns. Talk about an existential dilemma: you are trapped in Gaza, blockaded, can't get out even if you want to get out, no where to go, no country will take you, but there are plenty of countries who will give you aid to stay, among them the US and the EU. But these countries also give aid to Israel and Egypt to continue the blockade and prevent you from leaving. All this, simply because you were born in Gaza - your crime is that you came out of the womb in Gaza, instead of Amman, or Cairo, or Paris, or Buffalo NY.

Back in Tel Aviv, great day to be on the beach ! Life is great in the Bubble. (And the Bubble is Tel Aviv, New York City, Pittsburgh, anywhere people can enjoy their freedom and prosperity without having to confront the lives of the Gazans).

Friday, May 21, 2010

Pete the Moose saved !

Pete the moose was orphaned when some dogs attacked his mom. Raised in a private preserve, Pete has prospered. However, in the preserve are other animals, like non native Elk. The fear for wildlife officials is that Pete or the other elk will escape from their captivity, and spread disease among native species. Either pete and the others would be put down, or, the preserve would have to somehow become part of public protection which would cost taxpayers alot and create a precedent of having state care for orphaned animals from private estates. So, a Facebook page was made for Pete, and thousands of users petitioned to have Pete saved. Now the Vermont legislature passed a bill to allow private preserves to care for wild animals of non native species (not Pete, but his Elk friends) and also required higher fencing and prevention to stop any contact (even nose to nose) between captive and wild species. Some lawmakers think this is bad precedent, because they dont want to encourage anyone from creating private preserves for wild animals (good point). But Pete is still alive and is protected, and word has it that another moose in the preserve is carrying Pete's child - which presents another problem, which is another domestic moose that may have virus foreign to wild moose population.

Anyway, funny story, since lawmakers are usually obsessed with humans who are brain dead but should be kept alive (Terri Shiavo) or humans who want to die but we make them stay alive and suffer (Dr. Kevorkian's imprisonment). I am not sure if the Vermont leg did the right thing, but then again, Pete didnt do anything wrong other than being born so it does seem cruel to put him down simply because he was kept with some non native Elk. His protector, an older man who looks like Santa Claus (and who has cared for Pete since Pets' childhood, or Moosehood), says Pete wouldnt know one way or the other if he were dead or put down.....but I think that is not true - my experience with animals is that they do know they exist, they have their own identity, and yeah, being alive sure as hell beats being dead. I came home last night to the most beautiful sunset - its good to be alive, Pete !

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ghostbusters in NY Public Library - Improv Everywhere strikes again!

Here are the Ghostbusters in the New York Public Library, recreating the film. Improve Everywhere is a guerilla theater group that does improv performances in the subway, in central park, they even recreated a wedding reception and invited people at random to join in - everyone played along. the NY Public Library was calling attention to budget cuts, sooooo, who ya gonna call? they call Improv Everywhere to stage Ghostbusters - their patrons obviously enjoyed it. Doesnt the guy playing Binkman really look like him?

Pic is from their classic, "no pants day" on NY subway......check the other links on you tube

transcript of Katie Couric Sarah Palin interview: newspapaer and magazine questions

I thought Katie Couric's question to Sarah Palin was really shallow, but I was wrong - below is transcript, sounds like a legit question. Sarah just has a habit of blowing off questions with vague responses, I think she has gotten a pass before, but the national media is more demanding. "All of 'em" really isn't an answer. and Sarah was a communications major, and local TV "news" celebrity before she entered politics, so she should have known better.

Katie Couric: And when it comes to establishing your worldview, I was curious: what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this to stay informed and to understand the world?
Sarah Palin: I've read most of them, again with a great appreciation for the press, for the media. KC: But, like, what ones specifically? I'm curious. SP: All of 'em, any of 'em that have been in front of me over all these years. KC: Can you name a few? SP: I have a vast variety of sources where we get our news too. Alaska isn't a foreign country, where, it's kind of suggested and it seems like, 'Wow, how could you keep in touch with what the rest of Washington, D.C. may be thinking and doing when you live up there in Alaska?' Believe me, Alaska is like a microcosm of America.

Great book for gossip (journalism) about 2008 election

Great book for insights, almost gossip (stuff people only say behind someone's back) about 2008. But it just seems like a different book than say Joe McGinnis's "Selling of President 1968" - less analytical, more inside story. The emphasis on interpersonal relations is also revealing but not very analytical. Politicians as celebrities I guess. Politicians used to be products that would be sold, now they are celebrities with their posse's and their jealousies. It somehow makes politics trivial. If you want to hear how trivial politics can be, listen to a Matt Lauer or Catie Kouric interview....

"This shit would be really interesting if we weren't in the middle of it."
-Barack Obama, September 2008

In 2008, the presidential election became blockbuster entertainment. Everyone was watching as the race for the White House unfolded like something from the realm of fiction. The meteoric rise and historic triumph of Barack Obama. The shocking fall of the House of Clinton-and the improbable resurrection of Hillary as Obama's partner and America's face to the world. The mercurial performance of John McCain and the mesmerizing emergence of Sarah Palin. But despite the wall-to-wall media coverage of this spellbinding drama, remarkably little of the real story behind the headlines has yet been told.

In Game Change, John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, two of the country's leading political reporters, use their unrivaled access to pull back the curtain on the Obama, Clinton, McCain, and Palin campaigns. How did Obama convince himself that, despite the thinness of his résumé, he could somehow beat the odds to become the nation's first African American president? How did the tumultuous relationship between the Clintons shape-and warp-Hillary's supposedly unstoppable bid? What was behind her husband's furious outbursts and devastating political miscalculations? Why did McCain make the novice governor of Alaska his running mate? And was Palin merely painfully out of her depth-or troubled in more serious ways?

Game Change answers those questions and more, laying bare the secret history of the 2008 campaign. Heilemann and Halperin take us inside the Obama machine, where staffers referred to the candidate as "Black Jesus." They unearth the quiet conspiracyin the U.S. Senate to prod Obama into the race, driven in part by the fears of senior Democrats that Bill Clinton's personal life might cripple Hillary's presidential prospects. They expose the twisted tale of John Edwards's affair with Rielle Hunter, the truth behind the downfall of Rudy Giuliani, and the doubts of those responsible for vetting Palin about her readiness for the Republican ticket-along with the McCain campaign staff's worries about her fitness for office. And they reveal how, in an emotional late-night phone call, Obama succeeded in wooing Clinton, despite her staunch resistance, to become his secretary of state.

Based on hundreds of interviews with the people who lived the story, Game Change is a reportorial tour de force that reads like a fast-paced novel. Character driven and dialogue rich, replete with extravagantly detailed scenes, this is the occasionally shocking, often hilarious, ultimately definitive account of the campaign of a lifetime.

The Washington Post - Alan Wolfe

…[Heilemann and Halperin] not only tell the story of the 2008 campaign in an engaging and readable way, they come up with some real reporting. Much of that reporting, it must be said, is of the gossipy sort, such as Harry Reid's by-now famous comment about black speech. Still, although I had some sense of the dimensions of the Palin disaster before reading this book, the authors' account of how she failed to prepare for her debate with Joe Biden is chilling…I doubt that any other book about the 2008 election will top this one in narrative drive.

More Reviews and Recommendations


John Heilemann is the national political correspondent and columnist for New York magazine. An award-winning journalist and the author of Pride Before the Fall: TheTrials of Bill Gates and the End of the Microsoft Era, he is a former staff writer for The New Yorker, Wired, and The Economist. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Mark Halperin is editor-at-large and senior political analyst for Time magazine. He is the author of The Undecided Voter's Guide to the Next President and the coauthor of The Way to Win: Taking the White House in 2008. He has covered six presidential elections, including during his decade as the political director for ABC News. He lives in Manhattan.

Monday, May 17, 2010

"Cleanliness is half of faith" - Muslims all over the world pray together five times a day

Adhan is the calling of prayer five times a day. It is intended to be profoundly beautiful. check out other you tube videos of adhan, it seems everyone has their favorite one.

Quick five minutes guide to Islam for non muslims.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Joe Sacco

here is wikipedia about Joe Sacco.

here is a brief youtube video about joe's Gaza book

Here at is a complete presentation by Joe of his book, not the whole book, but a one hour in person presentation, an early history of Gaza, based on his book. good but long.

Guardian Britain's news source, videos about Gaza

here are videos about Gaza from Guardian, a news network from Britain.

Dr. Mona El-Farra's Blog from Gaza

Here is a blog from Gaza, last entry Feb 2010. Dr. El-Farra is a physician who lives in Gaza City, also travels extensively. Look at her profile, explore her links such as her favorite authors.

Haaretz News in Israel: links to stories about Gaza

Haaretz is good news source from Israel.

NY Times: Gaza Background and links for many stories

New York Times background and links here.

Am Nat Gov Summer: Gaza CIA facts and map

CIA Fact Sheet on Gaza

Friday, May 14, 2010

The worst thing ever seen on public access TV

This is really bad. not funny, almost frightening. like the end of the world. It reminds me of an out take from David Lynch's film, EraserHead. You know, the missing scenes. But Eraserhead demands a blog entry of its own, an allegorical film full of metaphors (and i dont know what that means.) But if you like this guy playing the....whatever it would enjoy seeing Eraserhead.

speaking of eraserhead,
my favorite scene, where the guy is a guest at his girlfriends family house, the dinner from hell, funny scene, every time i go to someone's house for dinner, i remember this.....

Tragic death and loss

John Metzler was featured in City Paper just this past week, for his work in recycling downed trees into works of art. What an amazing man, artist, carpenter, engineer. His death is stunning - senseless. I cant believe it....terrible accident. I really enjoyed the City Paper article about him, wanted to see some of his art, and his death is really depressing, sad. A loss for our city.

John Metzler, a woodworker who transformed harvested trees into sculptures and furniture, was deeply engaged in the city's arts scene and was a regular at nearly any tree planting in the area, his friends said Friday.

Metzler, 46, of Beechview was killed Thursday night outside his Lincoln-Lemington business after he was struck by a U-Haul trailer that broke loose from a pickup truck. Metzler was using a chain saw and wearing earmuffs at the time and apparently stood little chance as the trailer bore down on him, police said.

genes identified helps Tibetans live high altitude

This is amazing: natural selection over many generations have resulted in Tibetans with unique DNA that allows them to breathe at high altitudes!

University of Utah researchers found 10 genes which help Tibetans thrive at heights where others get sick.

Two of the genes are linked to haemoglobin - the substance in blood that transports oxygen round the body.

Doctors say the research, published in Science, could lead to treatments for severe forms of altitude sickness and other illnesses.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Chinese discover use for cigarette butts

In a paper published in the American Chemical Society's bi-weekly journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, the scientists in China said they identified nine chemicals after immersing cigarette butts in water.

They applied the extracts to N80, a type of steel used in oil pipes, and found that they protected the steel from rusting.

"The metal surface can be protected and the iron atom's further dissolution can be prevented," they wrote.

The chemicals, including nicotine, appear to be responsible for this anti-corrosion effect, they added.

The research was led by Jun Zhao at Xi'an Jiaotong University's School of Energy and Power Engineering and funded by China's state oil firm China National Petroleum Corporation.

Corrosion of steel pipes used by the oil industry costs oil producers millions of dollars annually to repair or replace.

Monday, May 10, 2010

the Trabant - a utilitarian car that deserves a second look

Here is supposedly a funny video showing a Trabant being built in east germany. I get it. the guy is fitting the hood with his foot. but i have purchased american cars that i wished had gotten that attention, like the taurus i bought that had no primer so the paint peeled off, and the roof was so weak after i hauled some luggage in a roof bag the doors no longer closed properly. The Trabant was designed to last forever, simple engine, 2 stroke, could run on rubbing alcohol, very good mileage. the performance was awful, but the idea was to build an affordable durable utilitarian car. they last forever so they are a good buy even though they smoke, are slow, and uncomfortable.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Jesus dress up game

I googled sarah silverman for a photo, found a hate blog some guy runs attacking jews as anti Semitic and anti christian. anyway, this is his example of her sacrilege. funny i think, in an adolescent way. I think she was trying to market this as refrigerator magnets, i will search the web, would make great xmas presents!

sarah silversman solves world hunger

Her she is, the jew with the mostest, sarah solves world hunger. Funny, but not ha ha funny. Brilliant actually. Her satire is remarkable. Right on sarah !

After half century Picasso seen and sold

The Brody family owned this Picasso "Green leaves and nude" for half a century, painted in 1932, has appeared in public only once in 1961 just sold for $106 million. Why have a painting only you and your guests can see? As an investment? Isn't art intended to be appreciated by everyone? Isn't that the point? Or is it just an investment? I mean, over 50 yrs investing in Goldman Sachs would have been more lucrative, so whats the point of owning a picasso and keeping at home for yourself?

man embalmed on his motorcycle

man embalmed on his motorcycle. I want to be embalmed at a recreation of a college faculty meeting, so the transition from life to death will be almost imperceptible.