Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Mango And Sticky Rice

If you live in the Montreal area, don't be surprised to see lightning and thunder, or even some flooding this afternoon, for I am about to do the unthinkable: I'm going to post a recipe! Yes, me. Mango season is here and this is the best way to eat mangoes.

Mamuang Khao Neaw
or, for the unwashed non-Thai speaking mass: Mango on Sticky Rice

For 1 serving:
1 cup of sticky rice
1 cup of coconut milk
2 tablespoons of sugar
2 pinches of salt
1 ripe mango (or 2)

First, prepare the sticky rice. There are two ways to do it.

The Traditional Method Using a Steamer:

Soak the sticky rice in water for at least an hour or preferably overnight. Take your steamer, put water in the bottom and cover the steam section with cheese cloth. Pour the softened rice on the cheesecloth, cover and cook on the stove at medium to high heat. After about 20 minutes, the sticky rice will become translucent, which means it's done.

The Microwave Method:

Soak the sticky rice for 10 minutes in warm water in a bowl. It is very important to pre-soak the rice. After 10 minutes, drain out some of the water, leaving just enough so that level is just above the rice, which comes out to be a little over 1 cup of water for 1 cup of rice. Cover the bowl and cook for 3 minutes in the microwave at full power. Stir the rice around. Cook again for another 3 minutes, repeating the process if necessary until all the rice is translucent. How long it takes depends on your microwave.

Putting it together:

Heat the coconut milk in a small pot over medium heat. Stir constantly and let the coconut milk simmer a while to reduce it a bit. Hard boiled coconut milk will curdle. Add sugar and salt. Remove from heat. Pour 3/4 of the hot coconut milk over the hot sticky rice. Let sit for 5 minutes until all the coconut milk is absorbed by the rice, which should be a little mushy.

Meanwhile, peel and slice mango. Place mango with sticky rice on a plate. Spoon the rest of the coconut milk on top of the rice and serve immediately.

Take a bite. Instant orgasm.

Broken Record

Her life is devastated but it's nobody's fault.

The Santa Maria Times [] indicates today that Pentagon investigations into the shooting deaths of Iraqi civilians in Haditha are focused on about a dozen enlisted Marines and do not target their commanding officers, the lawyer for one of the officers said Tuesday.

«The investigations of up to two dozen killings and whether Marines covered them up are focused on the troops who were in a four-vehicle convoy hit by a roadside bomb last Nov. 19 in the western Iraqi city of Haditha, attorney Paul Hackett said.

The highest-ranking Marine targeted by the investigations is a staff sergeant who led the convoy, said Hackett, a Marine reservist and Iraqi war veteran who last year narrowly lost a special election for a U.S. House seat in Ohio. The troops are from Kilo Company, part of Camp Pendleton's 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment. Hackett represents Capt. James Kimber, one of three battalion officers relieved of command last month.

"My purpose is to separate his name from the alleged war crimes that took place," Hackett told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "He's not under investigation for anything related to what has played out in press."...[snip]

The Pentagon has named two others who were relieved of command: Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani, the battalion's commander, and Capt. Lucas McConnell, who commanded Kilo Company. Hackett does not represent either man but said neither was present for the shootings and he believes neither man is a target of the investigations.»

Once again, surprise, surprise, it was just the work of some bad apples... So are you ready for my broken record performance? Here I go:

  • Nobody important or in power will ever be held responsible. Ever.
  • Some, but not all, of the soldiers who did shoot the Iraqi civilians, will receive some official punishment, but the charges will be dropped or the terms will be shortened, or even cancelled, once the whole thing dies down and is no longer in the public mind. U.S. Army Lt. William Calley was convicted in 1971 of premeditated murder in ordering the My Lai shootings and initially sentenced to life in prison; two days later, however, President Nixon ordered him released from prison, pending appeal of his sentence. Calley served 3½ years of house arrest in his quarters at Fort Benning, Georgia and was then ordered freed by Federal Judge J. Robert Elliot (
  • American soldiers will forever be considered brave and noble heroes, every single one of them, for no other reason than being American soldiers. In «real life», some of them could be sadistic murderers, or cowards, thieves, rapists, racist assholes, etc. but as long as they are in the army, you are forced by law to praise them and call them «our magnificent soldiers», «the brave men and women bla bla». Simply by enrolling in the army, a person suddenly acquires a mystical halo. Funny, cause I personnaly knew a few soldiers during the Vietnam war, they were just as mean and stupid as when they were civilians. A bit like in Oriental culture, where all mothers are saints. A woman can be a retarded cow, but as soon as a baby pops out of her loins, she is instantly considered wise and respectable.
  • No matter how horrific the war crimes, the same excuse of «overstressed snapping soldiers» will be proferred and accepted. «Yes, it's true that Johnny sliced up that baby, but he was stressed, his best friend just got shot at and he snapped!» So that's okay, I guess... although I wonder how «stressed» the baby's mother must be...
  • Another excuse is: it's not the soldier's fault, we should blame the generals instead, or Rumsfeld or Bush. Yes, we should, but who pulled the trigger? It's the same bullshit as «guns don't kill people, people kill people». The killers become victims to be pitied and empathized with. The bucket is passed on to some vague entities and somebody's husband, mother, uncle, grandmother, son are dead but nobody's responsible. Do you understand that? There's a war and soldiers are sent in to kill people, but it's not their fault. It must be the collateral damage's fault then.
  • Which brings me to the common basic principle that explains everything: Non-white people in underdeveloped countries can be maimed, killed, emprisoned, tortured, massacred with impunity. Their killers/torturers could be soldiers from foreign countries or soldiers or special police forces from their own country. Let me repeat this undeniable truth: NON-WHITE PEOPLE IN UNDERDEVELOPED COUNTRIES CAN BE PERSECUTED WITH IMPUNITY . Their life has no intrinsic value, neither in the eyes of foreign troops (Iraqi civilians) nor in the eyes of their own government (refugees in Dafur).

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Invasion of the mutant ants

Our house is being overrun by carpenter ants. The past week, it rained non stop, plus there is a rotten post supporting my balcony, so the house has become ants Mecca.

According to Mike Potter, Extension Entomologist at the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, carpenter ants vary in size and color but are usually large (1/4-1/2 inch) and blackish. Occasionally, swarms of winged carpenter ant reproductives will emerge inside a home. Carpenter ant swarms usually occur in the spring and are a sure sign that a colony is nesting somewhere inside the structure. Carpenter ants nest in both moist and dry wood, but prefer wood which is moist. Consequently, the nests are more likely to be found in wood dampened by water leaks, such as around sinks, bathtubs, poorly sealed windows/ door frames, roof leaks and poorly flashed chimneys.

So we have an ants infestation. What to do? The extent and potential damage to a home depends on how many nests are actually present within the structure, and how long the infestation has been active. Although large carpenter ant colonies are capable of causing structural damage, the damage is not normally as serious as that from termites. In some cases, the damage may be relatively insignificant, but this can only be determined by locating and exposing the nest area. The best way to control carpenter ants is to find and destroy the nests. This is often easier said than done.

The most important and often most difficult part of carpenter ant control is locating the nest or nests. Feed the ants small dabs of diluted honey placed onto the back (nonsticky side) of pieces of masking tape. The best time to do this is late at night since this is when carpenter ants are most active. After the ants have fed on the honey, follow them on their journey back to their nest. Once the nest is found, spraying or dusting the baseboards or cracks and crevices around the infested area with residual insecticides, without locating and treating the nest, usually does not give complete control. Foraging workers will contact the insecticide and die while ants staying inside the galleries of the nest, along with the queen and developing larvae, may not be greatly affected. Kill might be slow with only crack and crevice treatment since workers need to carry enough insecticide on their feet back into the nest. Ants in the nest can live more than six months without feeding. However, aerosol spray treatments in the nest can be effective if much insulation is present.

I'm trying to dazzle you with scientific facts by cutting and pasting stuff from wikipedia and other sites, but the thing is: ants and spiders don't really bother me. I don't keep uncovered food outside the fridge and as long as they don't stink, eat my food or bite me, I can co-exist peacefully with most animals.

But one of the ants apparently bit Asparagus last night, so you realize of course that this means WAR!!!!!!.

Update (June 1st, 2006):
Every day, there are more of them!! One thing is for certain: there is no stopping them; the ants will soon overcome us all. So I for one welcome our new insect overlords.

Monday, May 29, 2006


HA NOI (27-05-2006) — Vietnamese enterprises won the bid for a contract of 50,000 tonnes of 5-per-cent broken rice to be shipped to Iraq, according to the Viet Nam Food Association.

Viet Nam will export rice to Iraq at a price of US$270 per tonne free-on-board, beating competitive bidders by $10, said an official from the association. Iraq has an option to purchase an additional 150,000 tonnes, he added.

Thailand currently exports 5-per-cent broken rice at prices $32-33 higher than Viet Nam’s, hitting $302-303 per tonne. Viet Nam’s Southern Food Corporation recently also beat rivals Thailand, China and the US to win contracts for the export of 440,000 tonnes of rice to the Philippines.

In the first four months of this year, Viet Nam exported 1.75 million tonnes of rice, earning $480 million, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

From Vietnam News:

More info on Vietnam rice production and exports:

Asparagus's Birthday

A great time was had by all.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Another unnecessary and pointless war

We are learning now that the whole Vietnam war was really fought for nothing, because in 1972, Henry Kissinger has quietly acknowledged to China that Washington would be willing to accept a communist takeover of South Vietnam, as long as the North Vietnamese wait for a decent interval , long enough after a withdrawal of US troops to save face for the American government []

North Vietnamese Army + National Front for the Liberation of Vietnam:
~1,000,000-5,000,000 KIA/MIA

South Vietnamese Army:
~1,125,000 KIA/MIA

Vietnamese civilians:
~2,000,000 to 3,500,000 Killed
~3,000,000 affected by Agent Orange

United States Armed Forces
58,238 KIA, 128,000 WIA, 230 fragged, 14,000 MIA

South Korea, Philippines, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand armed forces
7,500 KIA

Cambodian civilians
~600,000 (pre-1975)
~1,500,000 Killed

Laotian civilians
~50,000 Killed
~500,000 Killed

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Bad Hair Day

Here's how it all started. I've been invited to dinner at a fancy tralala place this coming Friday, but this is the end of the month and I'm due to have my hair cut and coloured on Friday evening. It takes about four or five hours to colour, streak, cut and blowdry my hair, which is why I only go through the ordeal once a month. My hair stylist is a very good, meticulous, perfectionist artist, and a very popular one, so it was impossible to change the appointment.

I decided to cut my own hair, armed only with some paper scissors and a minuscule mirror.

The results:
Oh well, they will grow back... I hope... Sniff!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Things Not Figured Out

Picture from:

Borrowed from Fred on Everything []

May 17, 2006

People ask how we got into our splendid mess in Iraq and why we can’t get out. The question is a subset of a larger question: Why, since WWII, have so many first-world armies gotten into drawn-out guerrilla wars in bush-world countries, and lost? Examples abound: France in Vietnam, America in Vietnam, France in Algeria, Russia in Afghanistan, Israel in Lebanon, etc. Why don’t they learn?

The answer I think is that militaries are influenced by a kind of man—call him the Warrior—who by nature is unsuited for modern wars. He doesn’t understand them, can’t adapt to them.

The Warrior is emotionally suited to pitched, Pattonesque battles of moral clarity and simple intent. I don’t mean that he is stupid. Among fighter pilots and in the Special Forces for example it is not uncommon to find men with IQs of 145. Yet emotionally the Warrior has the uncomplicated instincts of a pit bull. Intensely loyal to friends and intensely hostile to the enemy, he doesn’t want any confusion as to which is which. His tolerance for ambiguity is very low. He wants to close with the enemy and destroy him.

This works in wars like WWII. (Note that the American military is an advanced version of the military that beat Germany and Japan.) It does not work when winning requires the support of the population. The Warrior, unable to see things through the eyes of the enemy, or of the local population, whom he quickly comes to hate, wants to blow hell out of things. He detests all that therapeutic crap, that touchy-feely leftist stuff about respect the population, especially the women. Having the empathy of an engine block, he regards mention of mutilated children as intensely annoying at best, and communist propaganda at worst.

On the net these men sometimes speak approvingly to each other of the massacre at My Lai. Hey, they were all Cong. If they weren’t, they knew who the Cong were and didn’t tell us. Calley did the right thing, taught them a lesson. There is an admiration of Calley for having avoided bureaucratic rules of engagement probably dreamed up by civilians. War is war. You kill people. Deal with it.

If you point out that collateral damage (dead children, for example) makes the survivors into murderously angry Viet Cong, the Warrior thinks that you are a lefty tree-hugger.

Today, the battlefield as understood by the enemy, but seldom by the Warrior, extends far beyond the physical battlefield, and the chief targets are political. In this kind of war, if America can get the local population to support it, the insurgents are out of business; if the insurgents can get the American public to stop supporting the war, the American military is out of business. This is what counts. It is what works. The Warrior, all oooh-rah and jump wings, doesn’t get it. Vo Nguyen Giap got it. Ho Chi Minh got it.

Thus the furious, embittered insistence of Warriors that “We won Tet of ’68. We slaughtered them! We won, dammit! Militarily, we absolutely won!” Swell, but politically they lost. It was a catastrophe on the order of Kursk or Dien Bien Phu. But they can’t figure it out.

The warrior doesn’t understand what “victory” means because he thinks in terms of firefights, courage, weaponry, and valor. His approach is emotional, not rational. Though not stupid, he is regularly out-thought. Why?

It’s not mysterious. An intelligent enemy knows that America cannot be beaten at industrial war. So he thinks, “What then are America’s weaknesses?” The first and crucial one is that the American government enters into distant wars in which the public has no stake. Do you want your son to die for—get this—democracy in Iraq? You diapered him, got him through school-yard fist fights, his first prom, graduation from boot camp, and he comes home in a box—for democracy in Iraq?

The thing to do, then (continues thinking the intelligent enemy) is to make the Americans grow sick of the war. How? Not by winning battles, which is difficult against the Americans. You win otherwise. First, don’t give them point targets, since these are easily destroyed by big guns and advanced technology. Second, keep the level of combat high enough to maintain the war in the forefront of American consciousness, and to keep the monetary expense high. (Inflation and gasoline prices are weapons as much as rifles, another idea that the Warrior just doesn’t get. Bin Laden does.) Third, keep the body bags flowing. Sooner or later the Americans will weary of losing their sons for something that doesn’t really interest them.

However, the Warrior does not grant the public the right to grow weary. For him, America exists to support the military, not the other way around. Are two hundred dead a week coming back from Asia? The Warrior believes that small-town America (which is where the coffins usually go) should grit its teeth, bear down, and make the sacrifice for the country. Sacrifice for what? It doesn’t matter. We’re at war, dammit. Rally ‘round. What are you, a commy?

To the Warrior, to doubt the war is treason, aiding and supporting, liberalism, cowardice, back-stabbing, and so on. He uses these phrases unrelentingly. We must fight, and fight, and fight, and never yield, and sacrifice and spend. We must never ask why, or whether, or what for, or do we want to.

The public of course doesn’t see it that way. In 1964 I graduated from a rural high school in Virginia with a senior class of, I think, sixty. Doug took a 12.7 through the head, Sonny spent time at Walter Reed with neck wounds, Studley I hear is a paraplegic, another kid got mostly blinded for life, and several, whom I won’t name, tough country kids as I knew them, came back as apparently irredeemable drunks. (These were kids I knew, not all in my class.) It was a lot of dead and crippled for a small place. For what?

Cowardice? I was on campus in 1966 on a small, very Republican, very patriotic, very conservative, very Southern campus. The students, and their girlfriends, were all violently against the war. So, I gather, were their parents. Why? Were they the traitors of the Warrior’s imagination? No. They didn’t want to die for something that they didn’t care about.

This eludes the Warrior. Always, he blames The Press for the waning of martial enthusiasm, for his misunderstanding of the kind of war we are fighting. Did the press make Studley a paraplegic? Or kill the guy with all the tubes who died in the stretcher above me on the Medevac 141 back from Danang? Did Walter Cronkite make my buddy Cagle blind when the rifle grenade exploded on the end of his fourteen? Do the Warriors think that people don’t notice when their kids come back forever in wheelchairs?

They don’t get it.

The original text includes a picture that I could not reproduce, being technologically impaired. Please go see it at Fred's blog site and read his other posts.

Here we go again

In November of last year, Iraqi residents in the town of Haditha claimed the U.S. Marines went on a civilian killing spree, leaving 15 dead, 10 of them women and children. A Marine spokesman initially denied the charge, saying that they had been killed by an IED and that in a following gun battle, eight insurgents were killed. The incident was reported in March by Time Magazine.

At a news conference given Wednesday, former Marine colonel and Vietnam war veteran John Murtha, a vocal opponent of the war in Iraq, said that sources within the military have told him that an internal investigation will show that "there was no firefight, there was no IED (improvised explosive device) that killed these innocent people. Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them, and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood."

Military officials say Marine Corp photos taken immediately after the incident show many of the victims were shot at close range, in the head and chest, execution-style. One photo shows a mother and young child bent over on the floor as if in prayer, shot dead, said the officials, who spoke to NBC News on condition of anonymity because the investigation hasn't been completed. One military official says it appears the civilians were deliberately killed by the Marines, who were outraged at the death of their fellow Marine. []

I don't know when the investigation results will be available, but I want to say right now that there are two things I am so tired of hearing :

  • «The soldiers snapped because they have just been attacked and/or have seen their best friends killed». Apparently, only Americans troops are allowed to snap and seek revenge for their dead friends. Vietnamese, Iraqi, etc. populations should stoically accept being shot at and bombarded without any emotional display and go calmly bury their dead friends and relatives, without bothering the US Army with their petty ideas of revenge.

  • «Surely, American soldiers could not possibly be gulity of any atrocities. We are the good guys.» Yeah, right.

Mind you, there's always the excuse of «a few rotten apples»...

Friday, May 12, 2006

Nothing like a good massage

Buy a cobra snake wine for Mother's day

Mother's Day is a time of commemoration and celebration for Mom. It is a time of breakfast in bed, family gatherings, and crayon scribbled "I Love You"s. [ghaaargh!]

OK, with that out of the way, let's get down to serious business: what to buy for Mom on her special day. The best option is of course some snake wine but what if Mom is a teetotaler? You could give her some flowers, but what if she's allergic to them? Chocolate? She'll get fat and blame you for it. A massage? She's ticklish. A baby elephant? She'll be too busy to walk it or clean its cage and guess who will end up doing those chores?

Come to think of it, the best present is a a video clip!

Oh all right, all right, here's the real video clip:

A Great Blog

Click on image to enlarge

Afternoon Delight

Dedicated to B-Boy W.D. Forty

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Women hold up half the sky - Part Deux

Dr Yvette Bonny

The other day, I went to a medical conference where I discovered among the lecturers a remarkable woman: Dr Yvette Bonny, pediatrician and hematologist, nicknamed Dr Miracle, famous among her peers for being the first doctor in Quebec to perform a bone marrow transplant.

The theme of the conference was the end of life and the ethical issues of assisted suicide and euthanasia. Dr Bonny explained the various ways of helping dying children and their parents cope with the knowledge and acceptance of imminent death. Listening to her heart-rending presentation, I marveled at her competence, her professionalism and her obvious warmth and compassion.

Dr Bonny was born in Haiti and came to Canada to complete her medical studies, and I thought how her country's misfortune became a stroke of luck for Canada, because, instead of returning home as was her plan, she decided to stay here because of the political unrest in her country.

I know of so many women who are bright, talented, funny, wise, good-hearted, even if they are not famous like Dr Bonny. By their very existence, these women bring joy and happiness to people around them, so much so that the world would be much diminished without their contributions. And it really frustrates me to see that some cultures, mostly in Muslim countries, but also in developed countries like the United States, are not giving their women the possibilities of acquiring the education and the knowledge that would let them prosper and realize their full potential. When a society willfully keeps half of its population in ignorance and serfdom, it is wasting half of its chances to progress.

Bernard Lewis recently gave a talk on the role of women in the Middle East. Mr. Lewis is the Cleveland E. Lodge Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University and the author of What Went Wrong? Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response. He is a senior advisor to the US President on Middle Eastern affairs. I am reproducing below the edited transcript of his talk as published in the Toronto Star [].

Muslims have been keenly aware of the weakness and relative backwardness of their society for a long time now. This awareness begins, of course, with defeat in the battlefield — that is where the lessons of history are most perspicuously administered — but it has spread to other things, and for a long time now the debate has been going on in the Islamic world. "What did we do wrong? What is the secret of Western success and of our failure?"

Let me begin my discussion of that with a definition: gender. Gender, as you know, is a grammatical term. In Latin, there are three genders: masculine, feminine and neutral. In modern usage it has come to acquire a somewhat different connotation, meaning relations between the sexes other than the purely physical ones.

I would like to begin with two quotations from the very rich Muslim literature commenting on these changes. My first comes from 1593. This is recorded by an imperial historiographer. A new English ambassador arrived in Istanbul sent by Queen Elizabeth. The first thing the historiographer commented on was the ship on which the ambassador arrived. He writes with obvious bewilderment, "This is a ship that travels thousands of miles and carries 83 guns, besides other weapons." English ships were built for the Atlantic, and they are therefore bigger, stronger and more manoeuvrable than the Mediterranean ships of the Muslim world.

His other point is even more astonishing, and he says with palpable bewilderment, "This ambassador comes from a country which is ruled by a woman who rules her inherited realm with complete power." He doesn't draw any inferences from that, nor did anyone else for some time to come.

Then, in 1867, a Turkish writer called Nama Kamal published an article in which he said, "The reason for backwardness is the way we treat our women, treating them only as suitable for producing children and nothing else."As far as I know, he was the first to make that point. From then onwards it becomes more and more of an issue in the Muslim world, and has continued to be to the present day. There are some who see this as the major factor in the relative backwardness of the Muslim world compared with the West. There are others on the opposite side who see this as the major factor of Western dissipation and corruption and evil.

I firmly believe that women are our best hope in dealing with the Muslim world, because they have so much to gain from modernization.

Now, there has been a fair amount of change. Let me look very rapidly at certain specific issues.

Islamic law permits polygamy and concubinage. The Qur'an is quite explicit on this. It says a man may have up to four wives and as many concubines as he wishes and can afford. Concubines are female slaves whom it is permitted to use sexually.

Polygamy and concubinage remain legal, in many Muslim countries. But some Muslim countries have actually outlawed polygamy. Some have hedged it with all kinds of restrictions, like requiring the written consent of the first wife to the acquisition of any subsequent wives, which is not impossible to get, by the way, by various means.

In many countries, although polygamy is still legal, it's no longer socially acceptable. In others it's no longer economically possible. I would say that, on the whole, polygamy is in decline, and concubinage has almost disappeared except in the Arabian Peninsula, where it still flourishes.

In other respects, women have made enormous progress in some countries, although by no means all, and that is in education. And here, one of the encouraging features of the situation is that one of the countries where women have done best is in Iraq. Now, don't misunderstand me, I'm not speaking of rights — the word "rights" has no meaning at all in that kind of society — I'm speaking of opportunity, of access. Women in Iraq — and this goes back a long way; it started under the monarchy and continued under the various succeeding regimes — had access to higher education to a degree without parallel in the Arab world, with the possible exception of Tunisia. They could go to university. They could enter the professions.

This, I feel, is a very hopeful sign for the future. Women generally do not receive the brain-deadening indoctrination that passes for education in many of these countries, because they're not thought important enough to be given it.

This does have a beneficial result, and I would say in many respects women are the greatest hope for much of the Islamic world, notably — but by no means exclusively — in Iraq.

I wanted to end with some quotations, if I may. This is from an Egyptian sheik who went to Paris in 1826 as chaplain to the first Egyptian student mission and wrote a fascinating book about it. Talking of the French, he said, "Men among them are the slaves of women and are subject to their commands, whether they be beautiful or not. "

One of them said," the sheik also reported, `Women among the people of the East are like household possessions, while among us they are like spoiled children.' The Europeans harbour no evil thoughts about their women, even though the transgressions of these women are very numerous. Fornication among them is a secondary rather than a major sin, especially in the case of the unmarried. The French women excel in beauty and grace and conversation and courtesy. They always display themselves in their adornments and mingle with men at places of entertainment. A ball always includes both men and women, and there are great lights and chairs on which to sit. These are mostly for the women to sit on, and no man may sit until all the women are seated. Women are always treated at these gatherings with more consideration than men."

Can you picture this man's bewilderment at this astonishing spectacle, which he saw in Paris in 1826?

Let me end with a quotation from a Turkish woman writer of the 15th century — she was one of the very few. She was the daughter of a qadi and had access to education because she had an enlightened father, and she wrote a few poems, one of which I will read to you in English translation:

"Woman, they say, is deficient in sense, so they ought to pardon her every word, but one female who knows what to do is better than a thousand males who don't."

The future of humanity

Monday, May 08, 2006

Illegal Immigrants

This morning I took the car to the garage to have the winter/summer tires switched and this is what I found.

This illegal immigrants problem is really getting out of control, wouldn't you say?

Monday's Forwarded Joke at the Office: IF WOMEN RULE THE WORLD

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Lamentations d'une linguiste

La pancarte disait «Alerte à l'alergie». Quelqu'un leur a signalé qu'il y avait une faute, qu'il fallait 2 «l». Correction faite, c'est devenu «Allerte à l'alergie». Mission accomplie, comme dirait Bush.

Je suis linguiste de profession et ma passion des langues, et surtout du français, atteint parfois le niveau du sacerdoce. J'ai une collection de photos d'affiches, d'étiquettes, d'annonces, de publicités, etc. qui contiennent des fautes d'orthographe ou de grammaire, des jeux de mot, des expressions amusantes, etc... Ayant élu domicile à Montréal, ville bilingue par excellence du Canada, je suis particulièrement gâtée dans mes recherches.

Le Monde de ce matin contient justement un article intitulé «Les fautes d'orthographe deviennent un handicap pour faire carrière» []. Citons quelques paragraphes particulièrement intéressants.
Commettre des fautes d'orthographe, de syntaxe ou de grammaire n'est plus une erreur innocente dans les entreprises. D'une remarque acerbe ou d'un sourire narquois intercepté lors d'une réunion, la faute peut être pointée par un chef tyrannique ou des rivaux ambitieux, jusqu'à provoquer un malaise, voire un état de blocage, chez le fautif.

"J'ai l'impression que l'ambiance dans les entreprises s'est détériorée au point de faire des fautes orthographiques une arme redoutable de plus en plus utilisée pour déstabiliser les personnes", affirme Bernard Fripiat, auteur en 1999 d'un manuel pratique intitulé Se réconcilier avec l'orthographe (éd. Demos). M. Fripiat, qui exerce en tant que "coach en orthographe", cite le cas de ce PDG polytechnicien qui, après avoir surpris les rires moqueurs de deux de ses directeurs en comité de direction alors qu'il effectuait une présentation au tableau, s'est enfermé dans le plus grand secret avec lui pendant deux jours pour réviser son orthographe.

Les fautes aperçues lors de présentations PowerPoint... ou dans des documents de travail seraient de plus en plus fréquentes. Le plus souvent, il s'agit de fautes d'inattention qu'explique en partie le nombre croissant de notes, mémos, documents de synthèse, présentations et autres courriers électroniques que les salariés sont amenés à rédiger très rapidement, dans des quantités importantes et quotidiennement.

Pressés par le temps, les plus précautionneux s'en remettent à ce qu'ils pensent être une planche de salut : le correcteur orthographique couplé aux logiciels de traitement de texte. Cependant, cette "béquille" ne suffit pas. "Les gens ont l'habitude que leurs erreurs soient corrigées automatiquement par l'ordinateur, mais lorsque la personne écrit le verbe être au futur en tapant, sans le faire exprès, deux fois un "r", le correcteur orthographique ne voit pas "serra". Pour lui, il s'agit du passé simple du verbe serrer", explique Bernard Fripiat.

Or les fautes se révèlent de plus en plus difficiles à assumer. Les sessions de rattrapage en orthographe sont directement réclamées par le salarié ou par son supérieur hiérarchique direct dans le cadre d'une courte formation présentée sous un vocable psychologiquement indolore. "Remise à niveau des techniques usuelles de communication", par exemple. Il s'agit, dans les faits, de corriger les fautes les plus courantes, à commencer par l'accord du participe passé, très souvent ignoré. Mis en exergue par le linguiste et professeur au Collège de France Claude Hagège, ce "relâchement de l'accord" est monnaie courante. Comme dans "la robe qu'elle a mis" au lieu de "la robe qu'elle a mise".

Il faut également compter avec les fautes de conjugaison (le futur étant fréquemment confondu avec le conditionnel) ou l'usage de "un" à la place de "une" ("un espèce de document" pour "une espèce de document"). Sans oublier les fautes liées à des expressions orales désormais écrites (mauvais usage de "dont" ou de "que").

La situation est tout aussi déplorable au Québec. Je reçois tous les jours des blagues, souvent en Powerpoint, bourrées de fautes d'orthographe et de grammaire, que je ne peux m'empêcher de renvoyer à l'expéditeur avec mes corrections. Je sais, c'est mal élevé, et je continue de lutter contre cette réaction instinctive qui révèle davantage ma pédanterie que l'ignorance des auteurs de ces blagues.

Rien ne m'agace davantage que de lire dans les journaux les résultats des dernières études de l'Office de la langue française dénonçant l'abandon du français comme premier choix linguisitique des immigrants, et de constater quotidiennement le même abandon par la population indigène. Je ne viserais pas particulièrement les Québécois, si ce n'est du fait qu'ils ont fait de la langue française leur cheval de bataille dans leur cheminement vers l'indépendance politique. Le gouvernement québécois interdit aux enfants des nouveaux immigrants la possiblité de fréquenter des écoles anglophones, l'excuse étant de les protéger contre l'influence néfaste de l'anglais. Or les Québécois «de-souche-pure-laine-tricotés-serrés» parlent un français qu'on dirait traduit mot pour mot de l'anglais. Exemples: «c'est là pour rester» (it's here to stay), «ajouter l'insulte à l'injure» (adding insult to injury), «entrée des talents» au lieu de «entrée des artistes», etc. Si seulement ils avaient appris l'anglais à l'école, ces francophones unilingues se rendraient compte qu'ils sont en train de parler de l'anglais traduit. Mais ils ne peuvent pas le savoir, puisqu'ils ne l'ont jamais appris!! Même les journaux dits de haut niveau, comme Le Devoir, sont bardés de fautes. Combien de fois n'ai je pas écrit à la rédaction pour souligner tel ou tel emploi fautif. Par exemple, parlant des problèmes d'une politicienne, un journaliste a écrit: «La pauvresse [a fait ceci, cela]», confondant ce terme (qui signifie: mendiante) avec le mot «pauvrette». Quant aux journaux et revues hexagonaux, on n'y compte plus les anglicismes, ou plutôt les mots anglais utilisés à la française, un peu comme le «shakehand» que les Français utilisent quand ils veulent dire «handshake».

Je comprends et je partage les préoccupations du gouvernement québécois. D'après l'Unesco [], sur les quelque 6000 langues parlées dans le monde, près de la moitié pourraient disparaître. En effet, plus de 3000 langues sont aujourd'hui parlées par moins de 10 000 personnes, seuil critique indiquant le début de la fin d'une langue. Mais la disparition des langues n'est pas nouvelle. Au moins 30 000 d'entre elles se seraient déjà éteintes depuis que l'homme parle. Rares sont celles qui, comme le chinois, le grec, l'hébreu ou le sanskrit, ont passé le cap des 2000 ans.

Apparemment, ce qui est nouveau, c'est la vitesse avec laquelle elles meurent. Il y a plusieurs raisons à cela. Les conquêtes coloniales d'abord, qui auraient éliminé à elles seules 15% des langues parlées à l'époque. À quoi il faut ajouter, à partir du XIXe siècle, le développement des États Nations, dont l'unité territoriale s'est consituée en partie autour d'une homogénéité linguistique. Et plus récemment, l'internationalisation des marchés financiers et le développement des communications électroniques ont encore accentué le processus.

L'anglais a pris la place du français comme lingua franca, comme sabir universel. Alors que les anglophones représentent moins de 20% de la population mondiale, 68% des pages web produites en 2002 le sont en anglais. Aujourd'hui, ce pourcentage a sans doute encore augmenté.

Dans l'organisation internationale où je travaille, le coût des services de traduction et d'interprétation sont l'objet constant des plaintes des représentants des États membres. Il y a quelques années, le représentant des États-Unis a proposé que l'on adopte une langue de travail unique, aux fins d'économie. Sa proposition a reçu l'appui du représentant du Sénégal qui a déclaré:« Je suis tout à fait d'accord avec mon collègue et je m'associe totalement à sa proposition: notre organisation ne devrait avoir qu'une seule langue de travail, le français.»

D'après l'Unesco, la situation est d'autant plus préoccupante que lorsqu'une langue a perdu son dernier locuteur, il est extrêmement difficile de la ressusciter. Seule une politique volontariste, comme celle menée au Japon pour sauver l'aïnou (qui ne comptait plus que 8 locuteurs sur l'Île d'Hokkaido à la fin des années 1980), peut y parvenir.

Si les Québécois veulent entreprendre une telle politique, il leur faudrait commencer par une sérieuse introspection et autocritique avant de pouvoir remonter la pente. Moi lah, personnellement lah, si j'étais vous lah lah, je commencerais à apprendre le chinois.

Kaka Crackers, the favorite snack of Darkside Hackers

Friday, May 05, 2006

It does not always have to be goose liver!

Eat me!

I found this story at an expat's blog called Xe Maybe []

May 04, 2006

THE royal families of Europe have traditionally been dog lovers, pampering their corgis, labradors and wolfhounds. Prince Henrik of Denmark, however, loves dogs in a rather different way: delicately sliced, lightly fried and served on a plate.

"Dog meat tastes like rabbit," he said in an interview published in the lifestyle magazine Ud & Se. "Like dried baby goat. Or perhaps - I know! - like veal. Like the veal of a baby suckling calf, only drier."

But the culinary tastes of the 72-year-old prince, father-in-law of Tasmanian-born Princess Mary, have caused concern on two counts. First, he is the husband of Queen Margrethe and, as prince consort, one of the official voices of Denmark, a country committed to ending animal cruelty. Second, he is honorary president of the Danish Dachshund Club.

The prince is rarely seen without his dachshunds. They are the Scandinavian equivalent of the Balmoral corgis.

In one interview, he said he would like to be reborn as a dachshund in the Danish Court. And he has advised parents "to bring up children like dogs". He has even written a poem dedicated to his favourite dachshund, Evita. It reads: "I love to stroke your fur/ And to see it fall smooth/ You dear dog, so special to me."

Danes recall a tabloid-fuelled drama in the 1990s, when one of the royal dachshunds disappeared. Rewards were offered and citizens searched high and low. Could it be, Danes dare to ask, that the dog got lost in the kitchens?

"In the light of the prince consort's confessions, perhaps we should reopen the case of the disappearing dachshund," said Mats Jorgensen, an architect and cat owner.

Lasse Hansen, a dog lover who works in an EU embassy in Copenhagen, said: "You have to make some allowances for the prince. He is French, and the French are capable of eating extraordinary things, like horses and snails."

The prince apparently developed an appetite for canine delicacies at an early age. He grew up in Vietnam, where roast dog remains a speciality. "I've got no qualms about eating dog meat," he said. "These dogs are bred to be eaten, just like chickens."

The comments by the prince confirmed to most Danes the impression that he was the Copenhagen version of the Duke of Edinburgh. Neither the chain-smoking Queen of Denmark nor her husband has much regard for political correctness.

The prince is regarded as a colourful eccentric. He is an accomplished pianist, composes his own music, has published two volumes of poetry, sails competitively and paints.

But he is most passionate about food and dogs. Among the books he has translated into Danish is a compilation of recipes entitled It does not always have to be goose liver!.

Me, I prefer cat meat.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Boudhisme au féminin

Sakyadhita est une association internationale de femmes bouddhistes, d'origine étatsunisienne, [] qui oeuvre à propager l'enseignement du Bouddha dans la perspective féminine et à aider les femmes à réaliser leur potentiel et leur vocation au sein des trois refuges.

En 1998, je suis allée à Phnom Penh, au Camdbodge, pour participer à la cinquième conférence internationale de Sakyadhita sur les femmes bouddhistes. Cette année, la neuvième conférence se tiendra à Kuala Lumpur en Malaisie, du 17 au 21 juin. Le programme de la conférence peut être consulté ici:

De nombreux sites ont également pour sujet le bouddhisme au féminin. En voici quelques exemples:;

Permettez-moi de reprendre maintenant le texte d'un dossier de l'UBE - Université bouddhique européenne []

Des femmes témoignent de leur Eveil - stances extraites du "Therigatha"

Le Therîgâthâ est un recueil du canon bouddhiste ancien qui regroupe des « chants » plus ou moins développés (de 2 à 75 stances ou gatha), dans lesquels des femmes, disciples directes du Bouddha, témoignent de leur expérience de la voie spirituelle et de l’Eveil. Il n’en existe aujourd’hui qu’une seule traduction complète en français, réalisée par Danièle Masset et publiée en 2005 par la Pali Text Society, dont nous vous proposons quelques extraits.

L’intérêt de ces textes est multiple… du fait de leur qualité littéraire et poétique, du témoignage spirituel ainsi transmis, comme aussi de leur valeur sociologique ! On y découvre notamment que la place de la femme, dans le bouddhisme ancien, était bien supérieure à celle qu’elle a connue par la suite ou qu’elle connaissait dans la société indienne brahmanique de l’époque : devenir une disciple du Bouddha se révèle être une occasion de Libération à plusieurs titres !

Chacun de ces chants se réfère à une « therî », une « Ancienne » ou une « Vénérable », qui témoigne à travers un chant, un récit, une anecdote ou un dialogue. On y évoque souvent sa condition avant son engagement comme disciple du Bouddha et, surtout, les circonstances dans lesquelles elle est parvenue à l’expérience de l’Eveil. Dans un style souvent simple et direct, très imagé, parfois apesanti de quelques formules consacrées, ces chants révèlent autant les difficultés de la condition féminine en Inde ancienne que celles de la pratique de la Voie du Bouddha… Mais tous témoignent aussi, au final, de l’apaisement suprême que représente la Libération !

Sâmâ [stances 39-41]

Voilà vingt-cinq années que j’ai renoncé au monde... Et je suis bien consciente de n’avoir jamais obtenu la paix de l’esprit…Sans avoir obtenu la paix de l’esprit, sans exercer le contrôle de mes pensées, soudain, en me remémorant l’enseignement du Vainqueur, je connus le grand bouleversement : j’ai vu la multiplicité des expériences pénibles et j’ai trouvé ma joie dans la pratique de la vigilance ; je suis parvenue à détruire la soif, ainsi ai-je mis en pratique l’enseignement du Bouddha. Voilà maintenant sept nuits que la soif, pour moi, est épuisée !

Vimalâ [stances 72-76]

J’étais jadis toute imbue de mon teint, mon apparence, ma grâce et ma renommée. Confiante en ma jeunesse, je méprisais les autres femmes. Je parais ce corps que voici, brillant objet de sots discours, et me tenais à la porte des lieux de plaisir, comme un chasseur qui tend ses filets. Faisant valoir mes charmes, exhibant maintes parties secrètes, je créais un jeu d’illusions des plus variés et, par mon rire, en aguichais plus d’un! La même femme, aujourd’hui, vient d’aller mendier sa pitance, tête rasée, portant l’habit. Elle vit au pied d’un arbre et elle est parvenue à la cessation du raisonnement. Voici rompus tous les liens, divins aussi bien qu’humains, et supprimées toutes les influences : tempérée, je suis parvenue à l’extinction.

Sîhâ [stances 77-81]

J’étais jadis incapable de penser correctement, tourmentée par l’obsession du désir. J’étais exaltée, impuissante à contrôler mon esprit. En proie aux passions, je poursuivais l’idée que je me faisais du bonheur, sans connaître en rien la paix de l’esprit, et sous l’emprise des pensées obsessionnelles. Emaciée, blême, exsangue, j’errai sept années durant, et ne trouvai le bonheur ni de jour ni de nuit, malheureuse que j’étais ! Alors je pris une corde et me rendis au cœur de la forêt : « Mieux vaut me pendre en ce lieu que de continuer à mener une vie misérable !» J’ai fait un nœud solide que j’ai suspendu à une branche d’arbre. J’ai passé le nœud à mon cou et, là, mon esprit s’est trouvé libéré !

Mittakâlî [stances 92-96]

J’avais renoncé au monde pleine de confiance, quittant le foyer pour la vie « sans foyer ». Mais j’errais çà et là, avide de profits et de marques de respect ; je négligeais le but suprême et me fixais un but médiocre. Tombée sous le pouvoir des passions, je m’étais éloignée de l’idéal du renoncement. Un jour que j’étais assise en ma retraite, ce fut un bouleversement intérieur : «J’ai pris la mauvaise direction, je suis tombée sous le pouvoir de la soif. La vie m’est comptée. La vieillesse et la mort exercent leurs ravages. D’ici que mon corps ne soit détruit, je n’ai pas de temps à perdre !» Observant, tel qu’il est, le processus de croissance et de déclin des agrégats,Je me suis levée, l’esprit parfaitement libéré. Ainsi ai-je mis en pratique l’enseignement du Bouddha !

Patâcârâ [stances 112-116]

En retournant les champs avec leurs charrues et en mettant des graines en terre, les jeunes brahmanes ayant à charge femmes et enfants se procurent la richesse. Pourquoi ne parviendrais-je pas à l’extinction, moi qui respecte la discipline vertueuse et m’applique à l’enseignement du maître sans ménager ma peine ni me monter la tête ? Quand je me lave les pieds, je suis attentive au mouvement de l’eau : je vois que l’eau qui a servi à mes ablutions coule de haut en bas. Ainsi mets-je en place mon esprit, comme on tient bien en main un cheval de bonne race. Puis, une lampe à la main, je suis entrée dans le monastère. J’ai repéré l’endroit où me coucher et me suis installée sur le lit. Ensuite, j’ai pris une aiguille et j’ai mouché la mèche. Telle l’extinction de cette lampe fut la libération de mon esprit !

Vasitthî [stances 133-138]

Accablée de chagrin à cause de mon fils, l’esprit égaré, ayant perdu le sens, nue, échevelée, j’errais çà et là. Parmi les tas d’ordures des ruelles, parmi les champs de crémation et sur les grands chemins, j’allais ainsi trois ans durant, tenaillée par la soif et la faim. Puis je vis le Bien-Allé qui s’était rendu dans la cité de Mitthilâ, lui qui dompte les indomptés, lui le parfait Bouddha qui n’a aucun sujet de crainte. Retrouvant mes esprits, je lui rendis hommage et m’assis, et Gotama, compatissant, m’enseigna le Dhamma. Après l’avoir entendu prêcher, je renonçai au monde pour devenir « sans foyer ». Je m’attelai à la parole du maître et je fis l’expérience du paisible séjour [le nibbâna]. Tous les chagrins sont éradiqués, répudiés, abolis…J’ai parfaitement compris les processus à l’origine de tout chagrin !

Sujâtâ [stances 145-150]

J’avais mis des parures, de beaux habits, des guirlandes de fleurs et du parfum de santal. Couverte de tous mes bijoux, escortée d’une multitude de servantes, j’étais sortie de ma demeure avec des victuailles et des boissons : une abondance de mets, croquants et fondants, que je fis porter dans les jardins. Là-bas, je me divertis et pris du bon temps. Après quoi je vis, sur le chemin du retour, un monastère dans lequel j’entrai – c’était, à Sâketa, dans le bois d’Añjana. J’y vis la Lumière du monde. Je m’assis après avoir rendu hommage et le Clairvoyant, compatissant, m’enseigna le Dhamma. En écoutant le grand sage, je touchai au cœur de la vérité. A l’instant même, j’atteignis l’état immaculé, le séjour immortel. Alors, ayant parfaitement compris le vrai Dhamma, je renonçai au monde pour devenir « sans foyer ». La triple connaissance est acquise. L’enseignement du Bouddha n’a pas été vain !

Mahâpajâpatî Gotamî [stances 157-162]

Hommage à toi, ô Bouddha, toi le héros, le meilleur de tous les êtres, toi qui m’as délivrée de la souffrance et qui en délivras tant d’autres encore ! J’ai fait le tour de toutes les souffrances et voici épuisée la soif qui en était la cause. J’ai parcouru l’octuple voie des Nobles et j’ai atteint la cessation. J’ai jadis été mère, fils, père, frère et grand-mère... Ignorant la vraie nature des choses, j’errais dans le cycle des existences sans trouver de refuge. Mais j’ai vu de mes yeux le Bienheureux et ceci est mon dernier corps. C’en est fini du cycle des naissances : il n’est plus désormais d’existence nouvelle! Regarde les disciples qui, d’un même élan, pleins d’énergie et de détermination, s’adonnent sans relâche à l’effort : c’est là l’hommage qu’ils rendent aux Bouddha. Ils sont nombreux, certes, ceux dont Mâyâ fit le salut en donnant naissance à Gotama. Elle a délesté de leur fardeau de souffrances les êtres accablés par la maladie et la mort.

Le texte intégral se trouve ici:

My next career move: wedding planner

We are getting nearer to summer and I'm bursting with cool ideas for great weddings.

Actually I only have two ideas. And they're both for practically the end of the wedding, when the bride and groom come out of the church/synagogue and people throw rice or confettis at them.

My first great idea is taken from Australia: instead of rice, guests are presented with boxes of butterflies and when the bride and groom walk by, the guests would open their boxes and out come swarms of colourful butterflies. It's pretty, and much safer and cleaner than doves or other birds. Some of the butterlies are so beautiful, transparent and all. Or you could also use artificial butterflies and dragonflies made from twigs, leaves and petals. Look at these splendours: []

My second idea comes from Japan, land of cool stuff. Well, apparently, they... oh heck, read it yourself, I'm too excited:




What? You don't read Japanese?

Oh sorry... Well, a Japanese paint firm is hoping to add color to wedding receptions in Japan with a new device it has jointly developed -- a gun-shaped party cracker that shoots out a teddy bear.

Sunamiya, a paint firm based in Imabari, Ehime Prefecture, announced the development of the device, which blasts a teddy bear equipped with a parachute into the air. The teddy bear parachutes down afterwards.

Developers hit on the idea after noticing that it had become a trend for people to throw teddy bears into the air instead of bouquets at wedding receptions.

In addition to paint products, Sunamiya produces a paintball marker used to fire paintballs at escaping criminals so they can be identified and captured. (I'm thinking: perfect for the caterer when the groom or the father of the bride try to make a dash to the parking lot without paying for the food).

"We're hoping to capture the hearts of couples," a company representative said, commenting on the new device. The crackers will go on sale in May, and will be marketed to businesses.

Here's a picture of the Teddybear gun:

Now if that cool gun and the butterflies don't make you want to run out of the house and marry the first person you see, then you, my friend, have a stone inside your chest, instead of a heart.

Leave a message in the comments if you want to hire me as your wedding planner.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Life with an Asparagus Buddha

Illustration by Alex Sokolowski

You know my firstborn, Asparagus? I call him Asparagus because of an affliction he has, called Asperger Syndrome. Asperger Syndrome (AS) is a neurobiological disorder named for a Viennese physician, Hans Asperger. Individuals with AS show marked deficiencies in social skills, have difficulties with transitions or changes and prefer sameness. They have a great deal of difficulty reading non verbal cues (body language) and very often has difficulty determining proper body space. Often overly sensitive to sounds, tastes, smells and sights, the person with AS may prefer soft clothing, certain foods, and be bothered by sounds or lights no one else seems to hear or see. []

Asparagus is the genius in our famiy. He started talking at the age of one and knew the alphabet by then. He practically taught himself how to read by the age of two and hasn't stopped reading since. When we don't know anything - and I mean any frigging thing - we would ask him and he would give a clear and concise explanation. His behaviour can seem odd or «abnormal» at times, but we have learned to shrug off his rudeness and his mood changes. When he is in a good mood, he can be extremely charming and so endearing. Apparently he is a chick magnet. It's only later on, when they discover some of his quirks, that the charm wears off.

Asparegus's birthday is coming up. Learning from past experience (I don't think I have ever bought him a gift that he liked), I asked him what he wants. His father also called me to inquire, as did his little brother BBoy. He said: «Nothing». I insisted: «There must be something. Would you like money instead?». No, he doesn't need money. He makes a relatively good salary in his programming job. Then he said: «Give the money to some charity in my name».

I was so proud. When I told his brother about his wish, BBoy was also amazed and pleased. I'm so happy with my life now: I have a good job, a nice house, good health and my children are little buddhas.

This morning, I asked Asparagus to give me some computer programme and he said yes. Then this evening, when I asked him again, he said: no. «But you said yes» I protested. He said: «I forgot».

That's life with an asparagus Buddha.

Two Chinese Boys doing Chinese Opera

I know, I just had them on the blog, but this one is irresistible. I just love Chinese opera!!1!

Thank you Mr. Colbert!

You've all heard about Stephen Colbert's performance last Saturday at the White House Correspondents Dinner, where he looked directly at President Bush and at the members of the press in the audience and insulted them to their face and acute discomfort.

The Bushes were particularly not amused. How would you feel, if you were George Dubya Bush, when Colbert said: «I stand by this man. I stand by this man because he stands for things. Not only for things, he stands on things. Things like aircraft carriers and rubble and recently flooded city squares. And that sends a strong message, that no matter what happens to America, she will always rebound -- with the most powerfully staged photo ops in the world

Crooks and Liars has the video The video is also on youTube .

And Daily Kos has the full transcript:

After viewing the video and/or reading the transcript, please go here to thank the man with brass balls:

Hurry, cause something bad might happen to him soon.

Update: The videos on youTube have been removed. You can watch Mr. Colbert's performance here:

Procrastinator's May Day

Illustration by D.H. Monet

I always leave things to the last minute and sometimes (often) past the deadline. So here's your May Day picture! Enjoy!