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Showing posts from 2009

The 'Rain Man' Dies

We born. We die. That's the nature of this mortal existence. Some deaths stir emotions as did Kim Peek's death. The 'Rain Man' movie was loosely based on this extraordinary man's life.

"When Kim was 9 months old, a doctor said that he was so severely retarded that he would never walk or talk and that he should be institutionalized. When Kim was 6, another doctor recommended a lobotomy. By then, however, Kim had read and memorized the first eight volumes of a set of family encyclopedias, his father said. He received part-time tutoring from the age of 7 and completed a high school curriculum by 14. He spent great swaths of time absorbing volumes in the Salt Lake City Public Library."

When asked "Kim, are you happy?", Kim Peek answered, "I'm happy just to look at you."

The 'Rain Man' dies.
The 'Rain Man' dies.

But the memory and the inspiration live on.
in reference to: Kim Peek, Inspiration for ‘Rain Man,’ Dies at…

Vegan and Plant Life

What to eat then? Killing animal is murder. And the plants have sophisticated system in place, like talking through chemical signals, "Their roots ride the underground “rhizosphere” and engage in cross-cultural and microbial trade."

Here is an interesting extract from Natalie Angier's article in The New York Times, "Just because we humans can’t hear them doesn’t mean plants don’t howl. Some of the compounds that plants generate in response to insect mastication — their feedback, you might say — are volatile chemicals that serve as cries for help. Such airborne alarm calls have been shown to attract both large predatory insects like dragon flies, which delight in caterpillar meat, and tiny parasitic insects, which can infect a caterpillar and destroy it from within."

Plant the trickster, the survivor, "Plants are the ethical autotrophs here, the ones that wrest their meals from the sun. Don’t expect them to boast: they’re too busy fighting to survive."

Naive? - a Poem

Naive? – A Poem
By Mahbubul Karim (Sohel)
November 9, 2009

Hear me out
Oh beauty and truth!
May I stand as cool
Or utterly uncouth
Hear me out
Oh deceived!
Oh dishevelled brute!
Your bullets and bombs
Blast bones, cut veins
And arteries
Open like flowing river
Of blood
Splattered on the wall
Of concrete or straws
Where trail of hands
Smear the last thread
Of yearn
Hear me out
Oh fantastic!
Oh clever prick!
Staged killings
Even shed real blood
Snuff out life of real
Someone’s brother, husband
Son and daughter
Rest in the coffin, in open graves
Or strapped in hospital bed
In the name of piety
Or is it flagging false
Of dying dread?

God, Allah, Adonai, Bhagwan,
Jesus Christ and eternal Buddha
Hear me out!
Oh the all mighty!
Lord of the universe
The creator of animals and serpents
In abundance, in treachery
Bring down your wrath
Bring down
Monster pollute
Stop staging
The very real death

Hear me out
Oh naive idiot!
Begging you
Don’t shoot!
Don’t shoot!




Boden's Mate

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For a relatively novice player like me, the following chess moves looked really wonderful. Look at the board setting above.

1.....d5
The above moves by black piece was done so that black bishop in f8 has clear access to a3 in later move that shows an example of thinking a few moves ahead.




The above seemingly careless move by black entices white to take the un-protected pawn in d5 by its bishop in c4.

2. Bc4xd5



Now look at the next move by black.
2......Qf6xc3


3. bxc3




3.  ......Ba3 and check mate!


In the above, white King does not have any move because it cannot move in c2, b1 or b2 as these were all covered by black bishops, and nor there any other white pieces that can protect the king. I find these few steps shows an excellent example of planning a few move ahead in chess.

The above technique was first applied by Samuel Standidge Boden in 1853 in a game against Schulder, though there was a variation of it played in Horwitzh-Popert game in 1844. Wiki has nice examples of variations in B…

Buffy Sainte Marie - "Now that the Buffalo's Gone"

Another song by Buffy Sainte-Marie.

'Universal Soldier' by Buffy Sainte-Marie

A song written many years ago but rings true to these days. 

The sunflower boy's smile

This a heart breaking story of a boy who believed that he could do anything.

Link: http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/10/04/greene.wyatt.sunflower/index.html

You and Your Friend’s Friend’s Friends

"...we are part of a superorganism, a hivelike network that shapes our decisions. “A smoker may have as much control over quitting as a bird has to stop a flock from flying in a particular direction...."

Here is one more excerpt:
"How does network contagion work?.....Partly, it’s a kind of peer pressure, or norming, effect, in which certain behaviors, or the social acceptance of certain behaviors, get transmitted across a network of acquaintances."

 And there is explanation using evolution, "During the early stages of human evolution, selective advantage was probably conferred on those individuals who lived in social networks and could share information about food or predators. The primatologist Robin Dunbar has argued that the human brain evolved to its present size to keep track of a network of 150 people..........As among primates, those humans who are best able to manipulate social networks to their advantage thrive, and that ability may be genetically enc…

No One - a Poem

No One
By Mahbubul Karim (Sohel)
September 27, 2009


He built the largest building
Pyramid of concrete and granite
Middle of envious kryptonite
No limit and no holding

She traveled the world in eighty days
And nights like Jules Verne’s story
Getting love, endless glory
Her passion weathers rebuke, dismays

The group of four astronauts
Gone and returned from landing moon
Walking the vast empty space swoon
Conspicuously bail outs

Lifted their souls from purgatory
Of economic depression
Right into wilful oppression
Hell fire in Friedmanite gory

No one was spared from judgement
Of threshing laughter and jeer
Economics voodoo’s clear
Acceptance, sheer fraudulent

No one spared!
No one dared
To croak words
Of sanguine flare

Market goes up
Market goes down
The gloomiest clown
Drowned in speculative burp


Science Fiction or Historical Fiction?

This article published in the New Scientist this week is engaging. I have not read any of the writings by Kim Stanley Robinson before. The Guardian writes that "Kim Stanley Robinson, one of the greatest science fiction authors writing today", therefore giving the writer's name a respectable meaning to me. Robinson attached the Booker Prize juries for not selecting any science fiction novels, and especially this year, when five short listed novels are all historical fiction. Here is a snippet of Robinson's argument from this article, "This is important, because you need the literature of your time. You can't get the meaning of our life in 2009 from historical fiction, nor from science alone. Novels serve us, and are treasured, because we want meaning, and fiction is where meaning is created. Scientifically minded people could perhaps conceptualise novels as case studies or thought experiments, both finer grained and wider ranging in their approach to meaning …

Reflection on Harmonium – a Prose Poem

Reflection on Harmonium – a Prose Poem By Mahbubul Karim (Sohel) September 12, 2009
Once it used to be the lifeblood of a musical lore. Once it used to lighten up the room with impeccable tune playing the auditory dance with a classical voice of a singer. Pumping the below in one hand, and the other to play the plastic covered black and white keys, harmonium player raced the musical field like a man in a battle. Striking the keys with force, pulling and pushing the below with vigour, matching the tabla player’s fierce tempo in bayan while leading the singer’s vocal to crescendo perfecto. Now as it lies abandoned, replaced by glittery synthesizers and digital gizmo, harmonium’s last breath extends: not giving up! Not giving up! Unlike its brethren accordion, you don’t have to strap it on your chest. Unlike the cousin violin, you don’t have to place it on your shoulder. No bow is needed. No feet pump is required. Harmonium, the maestro, sits in a forgotten corner of locked up closet. Too m…

Classroom - a Poem

ClassroomBy Mahbubul Karim (Sohel)September 12, 2009
A rainy and cold morningOf waning summer. Boys and girlsWearing the blue sky uniformsReading the poetry of Tagore.
The classroom looks serene. In the blackboardImprint of white chalks Measuring the rhymes and similesDissected stanza’s rustic glamour.
The teacher with neatly parted receding hairAnd large spectacle hanging from nose Is pacing from one corner to anotherReciting the pleasing poem in soothing voice.
The boys and girls are following the teacherEach word, each pause and tribulationBouncing off the rhythmic lyricShouting and murmuring the opening words:
“It’s the morning! Open the Door!”(Bhor Holo! Dor Kholo!)
A rainy and cold morningOf waning summer. Boys and girlsWearing the blue sky uniformsReading the poetry of Tagore.

Dedicated to the Bangla and English literature teachers of University Laboratory School at Dhaka. Inspired by poem Memory from Childhood by poet Antonio Machado, translated in English by Robert Bly.

Slippery, Silvery Fish - a Poem

Slippery, Silvery FishBy Mahbubul Karim (Sohel)September 11, 2009
I had no sense of dyingI had no sense of the God divineOr the screechy scream of a slaughtered Negated swine
Water was filling up my lungsWas I wheezing?Coughing?Can one cough while drowning?Silvery fish were swimming by,But the river, down thereCold and shadyImpish bungs
A boy of year twoEven death seemed an escapadeMy flailing fingers grasping thruWater charadeThe swarming fishSlippery as they wereSinking as I wasIn the depth of that murky swishOf waves looked jovialWhile water filling up my lungsTwirled tongue, not trivial

I looked upSplintered rays from heavenSlicing the shadow of a dingy boatNo stethoscope, no white coatSomeone grabbed my shoulderThe right one, Trembled, deadenAnd pulled me up
There I wasOn the boat In cradle of patriarchBeside sobbing matriarchCoughing and wheezingAll the river water from my sinking lungsImpish bungsAt once, taking deep breathAs if that was an explorationThis drowningAnd saved acclimat…

The Mosquito Coast By Paul Theroux – a Book Review

The Mosquito Coast By Paul Theroux – a Book ReviewBy Mahbubul Karim (Sohel)July 25, 2009How paranoia can grip and strangle the lives of a family, where imposed fear, albeit hyperbolic, but made real sounding with constant uttering, are deftly told by the author Paul Theroux in this story of adventure, inventions, pain and scavengers. Tones are dramatic in the Mosquito Coast, especially, the grim episodes surrounding the demise of ice maker, are unforgettable. When facing the invasion by the “city boys” with guns, the “fadder”, Allie Fox, the chattering and towering central character of this marvellous book, tries to protect his sanctuary built in jungle of Honduras. Here is an excerpt: “See, around here, if there’s no rain, there’s nothing to eat. Ask anyone. We’re down to our last provisions. The ants are all over the place. Our river’s turned into a creek. The next time you come, things will be different.”“Where are your Zambus?”Father wrinkled his nose. “Probably thought you were s…

Toast - a Poem

ToastBy Mahbubul Karim (Sohel)July 5, 2009-07-05Here is a toast, burnt and toastedCrumbled edgesLook like granular hedgesHere is a toast, charred and boastedSilence brings half empty glassMeandering hobo’s pointless returnTo crumbled edgesLook like granular hedgesHere is a toast, charred and boastedBurnt and toastedMorning cacophony, glaring alarm clockBring back half filled glassMineral of fluidRancid exodusFrom flocking crassIn the greenest of the greenest grassHeaps of dying beetlesIn morbid warfareWith robust ants and bugs of fiddlesHere is a toast, burnt and toastedCrumbled edgesLook like secular pledgesHere is a toast, charred and boastedBefore galloping molarsDisintegrate granules of toastInto mashed and muddy coastHere is a toastNo moreNo more

Rest in Peace - Poem

Rest in Peace
By Mahbubul Karim (Sohel)
June 25, 2009

Neda, rest in peace.
Michael Jackson, rest in peace.
Farah Fawcett, rest in peace.
Ali Akbar Khan, rest in peace.
Ed Mcmahon, rest in peace.

Rest in peace
In tranquil unknown of hollow “seventh” sky
Or heaven
Where bullets or bombs do not strike the innocents
Moon like crescents
And sun of oblivion
Dangle in wrangling flare
In other dimensional singularity

Deaths do us apart
From world of nostalgia
And horror
Too specific
Too corroding
To sing or muse
For brick by brick laid out
And choreographed abuse
From hellish junta
And diffused freedom
Neatly branded
As grail holy

Holy moly!

“Beat It” like it is the end
“Beat It” like “Time to Pretend”
Rest in Peace
In wholesome, glorious abyss

Rock - a Poem

Rock
By Mahbubul Karim (Sohel)
June 21, 2009


As if the earth weren’t round
The ocean weren’t blue
As if the sky has changed
Into pale greyish hue

Tumbling once
Tumbling twice
Tumbling so many times
Like scurried mice

Walking into thunder
Splattered drops of rain
Deafening blast of silence
Brings in zodiac chain

As if the Mayan Calendar ends
In prophecy foretold
As if doomsayers’ 2012 doom
Secrecy too bold

Ticking clock
Freedom knock
Sea of protests in Persia
Guns and bullets,
Useless
For raging rock




"All of us share this world for but a brief moment in time"

What makes Obama different is his ability to speak truth, acknowledging history, but the urgency to moving forward:

"All of us share this world for but a brief moment in time. The question is whether we spend that time focused on what pushes us apart, or whether we commit ourselves to an effort – a sustained effort – to find common ground, to focus on the future we seek for our children, and to respect the dignity of all human beings..

It is easier to start wars than to end them. It is easier to blame others than to look inward.

The Holy Koran tells us, "O mankind! We have created you male and a female; and we have made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another."

The Talmud tells us: "The whole of the Torah is for the purpose of promoting peace."

The Holy Bible tells us, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God."

The people of the world can live together in peace. We know that is God's vision. Now, that must…

Finding the right balance between optimism and realism

Here are a few excerpts from an Interview with Steve A. Balmer (CEO of Microsoft) published on New York Times:

"....if you really want to accomplish anything, you have to be committed, motivated, tenacious and smart about what you do.

I’ve come to believe that to be a great leader, you have to combine thought leadership, business leadership and great people management. I think most people tend to focus more on one of those three. I used to think it was all about thought leadership. Some people think it’s all about your ability to manage people. But the truth is, great leaders have to have a mix of those things.

if you really want to get the best out of people, you have to really hear them and they have to feel like they’ve been really heard.

Finding the right balance between optimism and realism. I’m an optimist by nature, and I start from the belief that you can always succeed if you have the right amount of focus combined with the right amount of hard work. So I can get frustrated …

Poetry and Pain

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Can prose depicts the depth of pain better than poetry? There may be debate to be settled, but the fact is poetry touches the heart, brings in humane perspective in cadence and rhymes, even a translated poem can stir a rigid soul. A few lines of poem written by an Afghan poet unravels the continuous blood and death saga in the land where wars and violence seem to have no end in sight.

I'll ask you in the presence of God, That in order to go to heaven Why did you orphan my children? Why did you widow a sick woman? Why did you kill the son of an old lady? Why did you kill the only brother of a weak girl?
Ahmad Fawad Lamay Here is another example from Pasto poet Zarlasht Hafeez describing "burnt hearts", "tears" and "sadness":
"The sorrow and grief, these black evenings, Eyes full of tears and times full of sadness, These burnt hearts, the killing of youths, These unfulfilled expectations and unmet hopes of brides, With a hatred for war, I call time an…

Questions for James Wood

A new administration is in place, replacing the old tactics of fear with reasons for hope and peace. How truthful ans sincere these gestures are from Obama and his government, only future events and responses will reveal. James Wood is a gifted writer whose book reviews and critiques are widely embraced as contemporary gems in the midst of tabloid referenced information overloads. Here are a few of his observations, answering to readers' questions, delineating the remarkable similarities between George Orwell's 1984 and immediate past Bush groups of brazen hawks.
"Do you think there is any similarity between the government’s use of language in “1984” and the use of language by George W. Bush and his Administration?
Dennis Cohen
Rereading “1984” and the essay “Politics and the English Language,” I was struck by the new relevance of Orwell’s analysis. Think about how the kind of political euphemism that repelled Orwell has become rampant in the last few years—“collateral damag…

Does Susan Boyle Know What’s Next?

The world cannot have enough of Susan Boyle, it seems. Network interviews with top most journalists, cover face in magazines and newspapers, these all came like thunderstorm for this seemingly unassuming woman. Tom Bergeron ponders the sad mechanics of these sudden adulation and very possible abandonment in a short while when another epic drama, or trauma grip the world attentions from pure entertainment: "Ms. Boyle’s experience seems to suggest that people are willing to overcome their prejudices and see the world anew. But those same people can turn back into snarky snobs just as easily.....The truth is, more often than not we look only for what we expect to see...........The real problem is that too often we don’t have the courage to sustain wonder".

Article Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/25/opinion/25bergeron.html

Transformation of Looks and Gestures

This video clip should be seen beginning to end to witness the transformation from derogatory judgmental looks and gestures from the audiences and judges to standing ovations and cheers by the same audiences listening to and witnessing Susan Boyle's stunning performance. The song that Susan had chosen was precise for her moment of glory: "I dreamed a dream......"Video Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lp0IWv8QZY

Steaming hot tea linked to cancer

Oliver Childs, a spokesman for Cancer Research UK, said: "Tea drinking is part of many cultures, and these results certainly don't point to tea itself being the problem. "But they do provide more evidence that a regular habit of eating and drinking very hot foods and drinks could increase your risk of developing cancer of the oesophagus."
Disturbing news. New studies, new findings. Hot, hot tea is bad, not too hot is cool. We all die in one way or other, now that's the point to drool.

Link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7965380.stm

Bangladesh: Investigate Torture Allegations

The deaths of Border Guards in apparent tortures should be investigated. After the horrendous massacres of army officers, their relatives and others in the last week of February, Bangladesh has fallen into the trap of closing eyes to any kind of tortures befalling on BDR members who were detained for the alleged involvements in the massacre. The brutal murders of army officers were reprehensible and were condemned wholeheartedly by all the civil quarters, however, Human Rights Watch rightfully observes that "the government should resist demands and threats from the army for summary justice and ensure that all those detained are treated properly."

Amnesty International says, "The exact number of BDR personnel held is not known but government sources have put the figure at more than 400. Little independent information is available about the circumstances under which the detainees are held, or their treatment in custody. In the vast majority of cases, family members have no…

An Example of Radicalism

Taken from Nowshin's page, this video gives a prime example of a radical fundamentalist who is doing great harm to his nation and creed than benefit. There should be more awareness and resistance to hatred spewers like this hideous creature who boast himself to be a human being without having the shred of universal humanity left in his heart.

Genda Phool

Another hypnotizing song from AR Rahman, the maestro, whose brilliance is evident in this mesmerizing melody from Delhi 6.

Blackburne - Blanchard, King's Gambit Declined

1 e4 e5
2 f4 Bc5
3 Nc3 Nc6
4 Nf3 exf4
5 d4! Bb4
6 Bxf4 d5
7 e5 Bxc3+
8 bxc3 Be6
9 Bd3 h6
10 0-0 Nge7
11 Rb1! b6
12 Qd2 0-0
13 Bxh6 gxh6
14 Qxh6 Ng6
15 Ng5 Re8
16 Rxf7 Bxf7
17 Qh7+ Kf8
18 Qxf7# (1-0)

From Irving Chernev's Logical Chess: "The danger in playing plausible but perfunctory chess is finely illustrated in this game. Blackburne, who played this and seven other games simultaneously while blindfolded, relied on order and method to achieve victory."

Scientists warn of catastrophic rises in sea level

"We are setting in motion processes now that will lead to sea level rises for centuries to come. They will burden many generations coming after us.”Maybe, long from now when our generations are all gone, historians of future generations will portray us as uncaring and uncouth bunches who ransacked and pillaged the word and its resources like ravaging thugs, without remorse. Perhaps, the war hating theologians or evolutionary scholars will utter the words of disrespect: "holy good riddance!"

World will be renewed with new vigor. In new ages not foreseen and conceived with our tunneled imaginations, new generations of human beings or other more advanced species will emerge to replace past's destructive ignorance with caring knowledge and renewal of life.

It wouldn't be so gloomy world after all when we are all perished and new life sweeps away our misdeeds. Perhaps, our decaying bones or evaporated "soul", fossilized or otherwise, will be reverberated from…

Furrowed Checkmate - a Poem

Furrowed CheckmateBy Mahbubul Karim (Sohel)March 4, 2009

(Dedicated to the memories of victims from BDR mutiny in Bangladesh)


Into the wild

Where gilded leaves of grass

Fungi, moss and shredded wood

Trespass the land of blitz

Mushrooms, discoloured and defrosted

By beetle predators

Like deflowered umbrella

Open to shed rain and snow falling

Into the fold of disquiet

Have you seen the soaring eagle? Predator?

Pursuing a fleeing parakeet

Swishing by, gliding thru layer

Of deformed cloud and dead cool air

When corpses are buried

Emblazoned guilty and non-guilty are hanged

From ropes of stupor decor

Wild ushers in sweeping swap

Of clammy gambit

Knights, bishops and pawns

Sacrificed for furrowed checkmate

In middle game of force, time and structure

Don’t you mention the endgame!

That remains sanctified for the bamboozled sacred



Traumatized Rohingya flee squalid life in Bangladesh

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"How to measure or comprehend the terror - or perhaps it's the love - that propels a man to leave his family, quite possibly forever, and climb penniless into a boat to find uncertain work a thousand miles away in a place where he knows he'll be both unwelcome and liable to arrest? For that matter, what hellish existence could send a family fleeing to a refugee camp where conditions resemble, charitably, the 12th century?"For Burmese military junta, they are non-existent, for Bangladesh and Thailand, these are unwelcome refugees. Living in squalid refugee camps where basic amenities for a human life is considered a pompous luxury, the miserable lives of Rohingyas do not knock any palpable sigh from world's collective indifference.

Should we just forget the agonies of these men, women and children? Politically marginalized Rohingyas flee their homeland Burma everyday, seeking desperate shelter in neighboring nations, getting on dingy boats crossing high seas to lan…

Job Losses in Recent Recessions

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The Invasion from Outer Space - a Story by Steven Millhauser

"We have been invaded by nothing, by emptiness, by animate dust. The invader appears to have no characteristic other than the ability to reproduce rapidly. It doesn’t hate us. It doesn’t seek our annihilation, our subjection and humiliation. Nor does it desire to protect us from danger, to save us, to teach us the secret of immortal life. What it wishes to do is replicate."Read this story in full from following link: The Invasion from Outer Space

O Saya - Slumdog Millionaire Soundtrack

Another brilliant music composition by AR Rahman from Slumdog Millionaire.

Slumdog Millionaire - Jai Ho

If you haven't seen Slumdog Millionaire yet, you have missed one of the best movies of last few years at least. IMHO.

Thailand - a Sad Slide Backwards

For Rohingyas refugees, this scandalous episode in Thailand where hundreds of them feared dead and dumped into sea and hundreds of them more were let loose in the sea without food or any basic amenities, to starve to death, aren't new. Even the military government in Myanmar doesn't acknowledge the existence of them, "There is no so-called Rohingya ethnic minority group in our history before or after our independence", and the Thai government has entrusted the very military to conduct investigation on one of its own rank, as if mockeries to justice have no bound, no shame.

Here is an observation from The Economist: "while soldiers act with impunity and royalist rioters get soft treatment, the country’s anachronistic lèse-majesté law is enforced rigorously. America and its allies long turned a blind eye to such stains on Thailand’s reputation, because King Bhumibol and his army were staunch anti-communist allies. Recalling that relationship, next month America is …

Recession Spreads to Canada's Storefronts

Saturday mornings bring that sought after relief after any grueling hard work week for many. World economy's bloom and gloom stories are not appealing with a cup of morning coffee, but can sure provide necessary knowledge to protect one's own and loved ones. The following news story published in The Globe and Mail may not be comforting, however, it can illuminate reality from illusion.
"Canada's recession is spreading from the car factories to the coffee shops, reinforcing the case for Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's $40-billion stimulus program and adding to the risk that he may have to do more.The baristas, shopkeepers, financial planners, technicians and consultants that make up Canada's services industries are starting to feel the same malaise that has gripped factories and exporters for the better part of a year, new government figures show. Output by the services sector — which accounts for 70 per cent of Canada's $1.2-trillion gross domestic product —…

War of Words between China and America

While the world economy is falling into whirlwind recession, the abysmal depth of depression not seen since the infamous 1930s, the world doesn't need unnecessary tensions between China and America. "In a written response to questions from senators debating his confirmation, Mr Geithner accused China of “manipulating” its currency and promised that the Obama team would push “aggressively” for Beijing to change its policies. The sharp tone and use of the legally-loaded term “currency manipulation” ricocheted through financial markets as investors shuddered at the prospect of a Sino-American spat in the midst of a global slump."

Is there any truth on following speculation?
"American policymakers have long pushed Beijing to accelerate the appreciation of the yuan, arguing that China’s exchange-rate policy played a big role in creating the global imbalances and that—both for the sake of China’s economy and the rest of the world—the currency needs to strengthen."Maybe…

Praise Song for the Day

Elizabeth Alexander's inauguration day poem was indeed memorable. Her somber recitation of each line describing the mundane, every not so praised events and uplifting the summation of all into universal theme of collective humanity with ease, in her careful selection of words, slowly delivered in a day of January winter while the leaders from past and current look on and the sea of crowds who had come to witness the change and hope over fear may indeed become the symbolic implication of the "Day" when it seemed goodness is still achievable and rottenness and hideous vileness are in sure retreat. Praise Song for the Day.............

“Praise Song for the Day,” by Elizabeth Alexander, January 20, 2009
Each day we go about our business,
walking past each other, catching each other’s
eyes or not, about to speak or speaking.All about us is noise. All about us is
noise and bramble, thorn and din, each
one of our ancestors on our tongues. Someone is stitching up a hem, darning
a hole …

Someone has to stop Israel's rampant madness in Gaza

Gideon Levy has courage. Being in the middle of all the jubilation, proud smirks and chest thumping madness, this Israeli writer with conscience writes in Israel's prominent newspaper Haaretz what needs to be written about Gaza and deaths of more than 1100 of women, men and children and that the number is continually growing with increasing pace.
"In the streets, people are running back and forth in panic, holding children and suitcases in their hands, helpless as the shells fall around them. Nobody in the diplomatic corridors is in any hurry to help those unfortunates who have nowhere to run.

The handful of journalists trying to cover the events, despite the outrageous media closure Israel has imposed, are also in danger. The Israel Defense Forces Thursday shelled the media building they were in and now they are all crowded in one office, as fearful and horrified as the rest of the scorched city's residents.

.................This is how Israel now looks to the outside world…

A sticky ending for the tar sands

Slumping oil demand has already caused thousands of job losses across Alberta. The heydays of oil boom is slowly eroding into coldness matching the chill of snowy windchill. The Economist surmises the brief history of tar sands, its spectacular rise and seemingly similar astonishing fall in coming days unless a real "miracle" turns the world economy back to its agonized feet:
"Extracting oil from the sands took off in the late 1990s, boosted by technological advances that greatly reduced costs. Sitting on the equivalent of 173 billion barrels of crude, the provincial government dreamed of making Alberta a new Saudi Arabia (with moose instead of camels). Although some, such as Peter Lougheed, a former premier, called for “orderly” development, a wild rush ensued, causing provincewide labour shortages. Even servers at fast-food restaurants had to be lured with an iPod or other inducements. Now, though, employment is slumping: Steve Vetter, a manager at a firm that services…

US to help Bangladesh seize bribe money

The sons and daughters of ex-Bangladesh rulers siphoned of hundreds of millions of dollars to foreign banks. After BNP got ousted in recent elections, and Awami League got into power, the massiveness of corruptions committed by "prince" and "princesses" of this proud but still impoverished nation slowly started to emerge.

It took the fall and the change of the government before the thieveries were uncovered. Awami League, the current ruling party in Bangladesh, that came to power very recently after winning a landslide victory in parliamentary election, must take serious note in the happenings and flattenings of once upon a time's big giants, the behemoth thugs and petty thieves who had sucked the nation of Bangladeshis dried and cold like brute vampires.

Awami League's mantra should be avoiding this scandalous bruteness with representative governance devoid of the same fleecing of the nation wholesale. Otherwise, should there be any doubt among all respectiv…

Occupation 101 - a Documentary to Watch

Perhaps we can take a bit of break from watching entertainment news, and can learn a thing or two of suppressed history and contemporary miseries, and about men, women and children of a land where violent deaths, and utter humiliations are in abundance mostly due to the inaction and willful ignorance of global citizenry.

I don't want to write about Gaza

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I don’t want to write about Gaza. Don’t want to see still images of the bloodied streets full of blown off corpses, children, women, men, and the ghoulish videos of horrific screams pouring out of wounded human beings amidst macabre deaths. Sometimes words leave you. Sometimes, the degree of horror and brutality snuff out heated air. And the responses from the civilized world, leaders and politicians, high brow scholars of glorified predilection to softening blows, intensify the silent acquiescence to massacres. In the name of furious self defense from rudimentary resistance of starved dehumanized, genocide is uplifted as camouflaged battle on fright.I heard it enough!I’d read the same stories many times now. Nothing would change. People would die. Children would be crushed under collapsing buildings from bombs and missiles. Agonies of women, widows, amputated school teachers would only be reverberated from the confined walls of their dismal surroundings. Emergency ambulances’ blaring…

Reading The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Just started reading Junot Diaz's 2007 novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. His choice of words, dialogues, and the moving way this remarkable story is unfolding in different voices, first through Oscar's voice, then his sister Lola and now I've started reading their mother Belicia, in reverse chronological order, making it a story to remember I believe. The author gave sporadic historical information on Dominican Republic, especially, the long forgotten dictator Trujillo in relevant footnotes, that made the story more interesting.

I hope to write more on this novel in the coming days.

Two Memorable Music Videos

MGMT's Time to Pretend is a touching music, though ironical in its contradictory messages, but that's what made it a great song with memorable lyric like the following excerpt:

"This is our decision, to live fast and die young.
We've got the vision, now let's have some fun.
Yeah, it's overwhelming, but what else can we do.
Get jobs in offices, and wake up for the morning commute.

..................

We were fated to pretend

I'll miss the playgrounds and the animals and digging up worms
I'll miss the comfort of my mother and the weight of the world
I'll miss my sister, miss my father, miss my dog and my home
Yeah, I'll miss the boredom and the freedom and the time spent alone

But there is really nothing, nothing we can do

...............
We'll choke on our vomit and that will be the end
We were fated to pretend
To pretend
We're fated to pretend
To pretend"

Lyric Link: http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/m/mgmt/time_to_pretend.html

Another cool music is by…