Saturday, December 18, 2010
Friday, December 17, 2010
Today, I found out in Le Monde that Tony Hawk has a successor: Kilian Martin, from Spain. Lo and behold:
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
WikiLeaks has teased the genie of transparency out of a very opaque bottle, and powerful forces in America, who thrive on secrecy, are trying desperately to stuff the genie back in. The people listed below this release would be pleased to shed light on these exciting new developments.
How far down the U.S. has slid can be seen, ironically enough, in a recent commentary in Pravda (that's right, Russia's Pravda): "What WikiLeaks has done is make people understand why so many Americans are politically apathetic ... After all, the evils committed by those in power can be suffocating, and the sense of powerlessness that erupts can be paralyzing, especially when ... government evildoers almost always get away with their crimes...."
So shame on Barack Obama, Eric Holder, and all those who spew platitudes about integrity, justice and accountability while allowing war criminals and torturers to walk freely upon the earth.... the American people should be outraged that their government has transformed a nation with a reputation for freedom, justice, tolerance and respect for human rights into a backwater that revels in its criminality, cover-ups, injustices and hypocrisies.
Odd, isn't it, that it takes a Pravda commentator to drive home the point that the Obama administration is on the wrong side of history. Most of our own media are demanding that WikiLeaks leader Julian Assange be hunted down - with some of the more bloodthirsty politicians calling for his murder. The corporate-and-government dominated media are apprehensive over the challenge that WikiLeaks presents. Perhaps deep down they know, as Dickens put it, "There is nothing so strong ... as the simple truth."
As part of their attempt to blacken WikiLeaks and Assange, pundit commentary over the weekend has tried to portray Assange's exposure of classified materials as very different from - and far less laudable than - what Daniel Ellsberg did in releasing the Pentagon Papers in 1971. Ellsberg strongly rejects the mantra "Pentagon Papers good; WikiLeaks material bad." He continues: "That's just a cover for people who don't want to admit that they oppose any and all exposure of even the most misguided, secretive foreign policy. The truth is that EVERY attack now made on WikiLeaks and Julian Assange was made against me and the release of the Pentagon Papers at the time."
Motivation? WikiLeaks' reported source, Army Pvt. Bradley Manning, having watched Iraqi police abuses, and having read of similar and worse incidents in official messages, reportedly concluded, "I was actively involved in something that I was completely against." Rather than simply go with the flow, Manning wrote: "I want people to see the truth ... because without information you cannot make informed decisions as a public," adding that he hoped to provoke worldwide discussion, debates, and reform.
There is nothing to suggest that WikiLeaks/Assange's motives were any different. Granted, mothers are not the most impartial observers. Yet, given what we have seen of Assange’s behavior, there was the ring of truth in Assange’s mother’s recent remarks in an interview with an Australian newspaper. She put it this way: "Living by what you believe in and standing up for something is a good thing.... He sees what he is doing as a good thing in the world, fighting baddies, if you like."
That may sound a bit quixotic, but Assange and his associates appear the opposite of benighted. Still, with the Pentagon PR man Geoff Morrell and even Attorney General Eric Holder making thinly disguised threats of extrajudicial steps, Assange may be in personal danger.
The media: again, the media is key. No one has said it better than Monseñor Romero of El Salvador, who just before he was assassinated 25 years ago warned, "The corruption of the press is part of our sad reality, and it reveals the complicity of the oligarchy." Sadly, that is also true of the media situation in America today.
The big question is not whether Americans can "handle the truth." We believe they can. The challenge is to make the truth available to them in a straightforward way so they can draw their own conclusions - an uphill battle given the dominance of the mainstream media, most of which have mounted a hateful campaign to discredit Assange and WikiLeaks.
So far, the question of whether Americans can "handle the truth" has been an academic rather than an experience-based one, because Americans have had very little access to the truth. Now, however, with the WikiLeaks disclosures, they do. Indeed, the classified messages from the Army and the State Department released by WikiLeaks are, quite literally, "ground truth."
How to inform American citizens? As a step in that direction, on October 23 we "Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence" (see below) presented our annual award for integrity to Julian Assange. He accepted the honor "on behalf of our sources, without which WikiLeaks' contributions are of no significance." In presenting the award, we noted that many around the world are deeply indebted to truth-tellers like WikiLeaks and its sources.
Here is a brief footnote: Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence (SAAII) is a group of former CIA colleagues and other admirers of former intelligence analyst Sam Adams, who hold up his example as a model for those who would aspire to the courage to speak truth to power. (For more, please see here.)
Sam did speak truth to power on Vietnam, and in honoring his memory, SAAII confers an award each year to a truth-teller exemplifying Sam Adams' courage, persistence, and devotion to truth - no matter the consequences. Previous recipients include:
• Coleen Rowley of the FBI
• Katharine Gun of British Intelligence
• Sibel Edmonds of the FBI
• Craig Murray, former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan
• Sam Provance, former Sgt., US Army
• Frank Grevil, Maj., Danish Army Intelligence
• Larry Wilkerson, Col., US Army (ret.)
• Julian Assange, WikiLeaks
"There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, nothing hidden that will not be made known. Everything you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight; what you have whispered in locked rooms will be proclaimed from the rooftops."
- Luke 12:2-3
The following former awardees and other associates have signed the above statement; some are available for interviews:
A former government analyst, Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers, a secret government history of the Vietnam War to the New York Times and other newspapers in 1971. He was an admirer of Sam Adams when they were both working on Vietnam and in March 1968 disclosed to the New York Times some of Adams' accurate analysis, helping head off reinforcement of 206,000 additional troops into South Vietnam and a widening of the war at that time to neighboring countries.
Grevil, a former Danish intelligence analyst, was imprisoned for giving the Danish press documents showing that Denmark's Prime Minister (now NATO Secretary General) disregarded warnings that there was no authentic evidence of WMD in Iraq; in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Gun is a former British government employee who faced two years imprisonment in England for leaking a U.S. intelligence memo before the invasion of Iraq. The memo indicated that the U.S. had mounted a spying "surge" against U.N. Security Council delegations in early 2003 in an effort to win approval for an Iraq war resolution. The leaked memo - published by the British newspaper The Observer on March 2, 2003 -- was big news in parts of the world, but almost ignored in the United States. The U.S. government then failed to obtain a U.N. resolution approving war, but still proceeded with the invasion.
MacMichael is a former CIA analyst. He resigned in the 1980s when he came to the conclusion that the CIA was slanting intelligence on Central America for political reasons. He is a member of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.
McGovern was a CIA analyst for 27 years, whose duties included preparing and briefing the President's Daily Brief and chairing National Intelligence Estimates. He is on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.
Murray, former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, was fired from his job when he objected to Uzbeks being tortured to gain "intelligence" on "terrorists." Upon receiving his Sam Adams award, Murray said, "I would rather die than let someone be tortured in an attempt to give me some increment of security." Observers have noted that Murray was subjected to similar character assassination techniques as Julian Assange is now encountering to discredit him.
Rowley, a former FBI Special Agent and Division Counsel whose May 2002 memo described some of the FBI's pre-9/11 failures, was named one of Time Magazine's "Persons of the Year" in 2002. She recently co-wrote a Los Angeles Times op-ed titled, "WikiLeaks and 9/11: What If? Frustrated investigators might have chosen to leak information that their superiors bottled up, perhaps averting the terrorism attacks."
Wilkerson, Col., U.S. Army (ret.), former chief of staff to Secretary Colin Powell at the State Department, who criticized what he called the "Cheney-Rumsfeld cabal."
Thursday, December 09, 2010
Tiré du Monde d'aujourd'hui: http://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2010/12/09/la-haute-commissaire-aux-droits-de-l-homme-de-l-onu-inquiete-des-pressions-sur-wikileaks_1451443_3210.html#ens_id=1450400
La haute commissaire aux droits de l'homme de l'ONU, Navi Pillay, s'est dite inquiète, jeudi 9 décembre, des pressions exercées sur les compagnies offrant des services au site WikiLeaks, qui, ces dernières semaines, a diffusé des milliers de documents secrets de la diplomatie américaine en collaboration avec cinq grands quotidiens internationaux, dont Le Monde.
"Je suis préoccupée par des informations faisant état de pressions exercées sur des compagnies privées, dont des banques, des sociétés émettrices de cartes bancaires ainsi que des fournisseurs de sites Internet pour qu'ils ferment leurs lignes de crédit pour des dons destinés à WikiLeaks", a expliqué Mme Pillay au cours d'une conférence de presse. Elle a également dénoncé des pressions visant à empêcher l'hébergement du site. Ces dernières "peuvent être interprétées comme une tentative de censure contre la publication d'informations, et pourrait potentiellement constituer une violation du droit à la liberté d'expression de WikiLeaks", a-t-elle ajouté.
"Si WikiLeaks a commis des actes reconnus comme illégaux, cela doit être traité dans le cadre de la législation et non par le biais de pressions ou d'intimidations, notamment sur des tierces parties", a insisté Mme Pillay.
De son côté, Vladimir Poutine a mis en doute le bien-fondé de l'arrestation de Julian Assange au cours d'une conférence de presse. "Si on parle de démocratie, il faut qu'elle soit totale. Pourquoi a-t-on mis Assange en prison ? C'est ça la démocratie ?", a déclaré le premier ministre russe. "Il faut commencer par balayer devant sa porte. Je renvoie la balle à nos collègues américains", a ajouté M. Poutine.
Le président brésilien, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, a également protesté jeudi contre la détention du fondateur de WikiLeaks. Lula a dit exprimer à WikiLeaks sa "solidarité pour la divulgation des documents et protester contre [l'atteinte] à la liberté d'expression". Julian Assange "a mis à nu une diplomatie qui paraissait intouchable", a-t-il souligné.
Tuesday, December 07, 2010
If you have been following the news about Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange, you must have read about his arrest in London and you must have felt happy about it. No more leaked information that could put in danger the brave men and women fighting for freedom in the US and in the free world. Right?
Do you want to know the truth? Can you handle the truth, Chinatown?
Here are a few facts, taken mainly from Glenn Greenwald (http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/index.html), but they are well known, at least to people not blinded by their government propaganda, so you can find confirmation elsewhere :
First myth: WikiLeaks has indiscriminately published all 250,000 of the diplomatic cables it possesses.
The truth: WikiLeaks has posted to its website only 960 of the 251,297 diplomatic cables it has. Almost every one of these cables was first published by one of its newspaper partners which are disclosing them (The Guardian, the NYT, El Pais, Le Monde, Der Speigel, etc.). Moreover, the cables posted by WikiLeaks were not only first published by these newspapers, but contain the redactions applied by those papers to protect innocent people and otherwise minimize harm. Just as they did prior to releasing the Afghanistan war documents, WikiLeaks -- according to AP -- "appealed to the U.S. ambassador in London, asking the U.S. government to confidentially help him determine what needed to be redacted from the cables before they were publicly released." Although the U.S. -- again -- refused to give such guidance, WikiLeaks worked closely with these media outlets to ensure that any material which has no valid public interest value and could harm innocent people was withheld.
Second myth: There was an international manhunt for Assange.
The truth: There was no valid arrest warrant in England for Assange until yesterday; he then immediately turned himself into British law enforcement. In other words, he turned himself in voluntarily, he was not hunted down and arrested. U.K. officials rejected Assange's offer to pay $280,000 in bail. Three well-known media figures offered to give the court about $100,000 to guarantee that Mr. Assange would return for a hearing, but the offers were turned down by the British authorities.
Third myth: Assange is a rapist.
The truth: Assange had sex with a prostitute , when his condom broke. The prostitute asked him to replace the condom, he refused, they continued and finished the transaction, then she went and put in a complaint of rape, because apparently in Sweden, if you refuse to wear a condom while having sex with a partner who requests that you do, it's considered rape. The prostitute eventually withdrew her complaint, but has now been 'persuaded' to reinstate it. There are rumors that said prostitute has links with the CIA, but it's more exciting to imagine that she had a visit by mysterious men wearing dark sunglasses, after which she suddenly remembered that she has been raped by Assange.
Third myth: Assange is a criminal, a terrorist, a traitor
The truth: WikiLeaks has never been charged with a crime, let alone indicted for one or convicted of one. A consensus of legal experts agree that prosecuting the organization or Julian Assange for any of its leaks would be difficult in the extreme. Despite those facts, look at just some of the punishment that has been doled out to them and what has been threatened:
- everyDNS removed its support for Wikileaks, claiming that it had broken its terms of service by being the target of a huge hacker attack. To go to Wikileaks web site, you now have to type: http://wikileaks.ch/
- Paypal closed Wikileaks account, preventing it to receive donations.
- Mastercard closed Wikileaks account, preventing it to receive donations.
- Visa closed Wikileaks account, preventing it to receive donations.
- The Australian governement is considering voiding Assange's passport et declaring him persona non grata if he tries to go back to this country.
- Amazon has kicked out WikiLeaks that had been tapping into Amazon's EC2, or Elastic Cloud Computing service. Responding to the news, freelance data journalist James Ball quipped on Twitter: "For freedom of speech, there's Wikileaks. For everything else, there's Mastercard. And Visa. And, um, Paypal. And Amazon."
- The Swiss bank PostFinance has frozen an account of over €31,000 set aside for the legal defense of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
- Tom Flanagan, a former senior adviser to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, called for the assassination of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on national television. He has now withdrawn the remark, calling it a joke, and apologized.
The point is, this poor guy is being persecuted and prosecuted for making available to the public classified documents that were provided to him by other people. But none of the newspapers that published these documents given to them by Wikileaks were bothered. The main lesson to remember from this story is this: if you create an illegal worldwide torture regime, illegally spy on Americans without warrants, abduct people with no legal authority, or invade and destroy another country based on false claims, then you are fully protected. But if you expose any of the evils secretly perpetrated as part of those lawless actions -- by publishing the truth about what was done -- then you are an Evil Criminal who deserves the harshest possible prosecution.
Update - 8 December 2010 : About the rape charge against Assange, please read this recent report: http://www.nationalpost.com/news/Swedish+women+want+Assange+charged/3943008/story.html. Please note that 1) the women involved are neither prostitutes nor working for the CIA (as far as we know) and 2) the rape charge is bogus.
Monday, November 29, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
What? It's not them? Oh well, shows you how much I care. I don't know who these two are either, then.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Le texte qui suit, publié dans Le Devoir d'aujourd'hui, est de M. Francis Dupuis-Déri - Professeur de science politique à l'UQAM, auteur de L'Éthique du vampire: de la guerre en Afghanistan et quelques horreurs du temps présent (2007) et L'Armée canadienne n'est pas l'Armée du salut (2010). J'ai pris la liberté de le reproduire texto, parce qu'il exprime bien, bien mieux que je ne saurais le faire moi-même ma propre position. Donc, dépêchez-vous de le lire et de l'apprécier, avant que je ne sois forcée de l'effacer. Ou alors allez le lire sur le site web du Devoir (http://www.ledevoir.com/societe/actualites-en-societe/310686/jour-du-souvenir-se-souvenir-de-qui-de-quoi).
Le 11 novembre est la journée anniversaire de l'armistice marquant la fin de la Première Guerre mondiale, même si l'armée canadienne continue en fait de se battre jusqu'en 1919, déployant en Sibérie des unités comptant plusieurs conscrits de Montréal et de Québec pour tenter de contrer l'avancée de bolcheviks. Cette journée marque aussi l'apogée de la campagne du «coquelicot» rouge, symbole de plastique feutré produit et vendu par la Légion royale canadienne, mais d'abord adopté en 1920 aux États-Unis par l'American Legion, en référence au poème du soldat canadien John McCrae intitulé In Flanders Fields.
Rédigé à la suite de la bataille d'Ypres (Belgique), en mai 1915, ce poème se lit comme un appel aux armes lancé à la jeunesse par les 6000 soldats canadiens massacrés en quelques jours: «À vous jeunes désabusés / À vous de porter l'oriflamme / Et de garder au fond de l'âme / Le goût de vivre en liberté / Acceptez le défi». Il s'agit d'un poème explicitement militariste, tout comme le coquelicot, dont les promoteurs considèrent qu'il exprime une reconnaissance à «tous ceux qui sont tombés», à «tous ceux qui servent encore, et [...] tous ceux qui ne sont pas encore revenus à la maison», comme l'affirme l'éditorial du Toronto Star du 8 novembre 2010, qui appelle à honorer «les 152 morts en Afghanistan et les dizaines de milliers [de héros] qui sont tombés dans les autres guerres».
Pour le Musée canadien de la guerre (Ottawa), le coquelicot permet «de se souvenir et d'honorer les milliers de compatriotes» morts à la guerre. La Légion royale évoque «les actions désintéressées de nos troupes dans toutes les guerres». Il s'agit donc de célébrer toutes les guerres menées par le Canada et tous les militaires canadiens, même ceux qui se trouvent encore au combat en Afghanistan. Cet appel au souvenir omet quelques troublantes vérités.
Protéger la liberté, vraiment?
La Légion déclare «que nous existons comme une nation fière et libre» grâce à nos anciens combattants, une affirmation qui compte au moins quatre mensonges quant à la liberté: 1- L'armée est une institution autoritaire et hiérarchisée qui limite grandement la liberté d'action et de parole de ses membres. 2- L'État canadien a procédé en temps de guerre à deux conscriptions, un processus qui nie la liberté. 3- Au Canada, des militaires ont souvent écrasé le désir de liberté: intervention armée contre les Premières Nations, les Métis, les Patriotes, les manifestations syndicales, sans oublier la Crise d'octobre et la crise d'Oka, ni la répression à la mitrailleuse, en 1918, des manifestations à Québec contre... la conscription. 4- Le Canada n'a pas subi d'attaque militaire depuis bientôt 200 ans, à l'exception des incursions des fenians irlandais vers 1865, et des sous-marins allemands dans le Saint-Laurent, qui n'ont jamais représenté des menaces sérieuses à la «nation fière et libre» qui peuple le Canada. Ce mensonge à propos d'une armée protectrice de nos libertés est si communément accepté qu'il a servi à justifier la guerre en Afghanistan, comme si les talibans sans avions ni navires de guerre menaçaient d'envahir le Canada pour nous imposer leur tyrannie, à la barbe des États-Unis!
Nos politiciens aiment avoir une armée non pas pour défendre le Canada, mais pour la déployer à l'étranger: guerre des Boers (1899-1902), Première Guerre mondiale et déploiement en Sibérie contre les bolcheviks, Deuxième Guerre mondiale, guerre de Corée, guerre en Irak (1991), guerre du Kosovo (contre la Serbie), guerre en Afghanistan et opérations de «maintien de la paix».
Si certains militaires canadiens se sont lancés dans ces conflits en croyant servir une noble cause, ils ont néanmoins souvent perdu leur vie «en vain», sacrifiés par des politiciens en quête de prestige politique au pays, ou désireux d'obéir à la métropole (Grande-Bretagne) et de participer à des entreprises impérialistes, d'être appréciés sur la scène diplomatique, de servir l'industrie nationale en général et celle de l'armement en particulier, ou d'éprouver le sentiment de puissance que procurent les guerres qu'on déclare et qu'on mène sans y participer.
De plus, dans une armée de métier comme celle du Canada, les militaires font la guerre contre un salaire et les primes pécuniaires versées lorsqu'ils sont «déployés», en pensant à leur prochaine promotion, par espoir d'aventure, par esprit de corps (conformisme), ou tout simplement pour obéir aux ordres. Qu'ils soient courageux n'a évidemment aucune signification politique; les militants islamistes qui pratiquent l'attentat suicide sont très courageux. Et après? Souvent, le désintéressement des militaires s'exprime plutôt par un désintérêt à l'égard des causes de la guerre qu'ils mènent («je vais là où on me l'ordonne») et des peuples des pays qu'ils envahissent, se contentant de se déclarer irresponsables lorsqu'ils y tuent des civils.
Qui se souvient des victimes civiles?
Le lobby des vétérans manoeuvre consciemment pour que cette tragique vérité soit oubliée. En 2007, l'Association des anciens combattants avait fait pression, avec succès, pour que le Musée canadien de la guerre retire une notice qui rappelait que «les bombardements massifs de l'Allemagne [pendant la Deuxième Guerre mondiale] causèrent de grandes destructions et d'immenses pertes de vies humaines. Le bien-fondé et la moralité de l'offensive de bombardement stratégique contre l'Allemagne demeurent vivement contestés».
Plus respectueux du devoir de mémoire, l'historien des États-Unis Howard Zinn, qui s'était porté volontaire pour combattre le fascisme, admettra qu'il bombardait des villes «sans même me demander si ce que je faisais avait le moindre rapport avec l'éradication du fascisme dans le monde». Il admettait s'être «conduit en robot programmé» lors de ces missions aériennes, qui ont provoqué la mort de plus d'un demi-millions de civils.
Il n'y a rien d'étonnant à ce que les militaires veuillent célébrer la mémoire de leurs morts, ce que proposent d'ailleurs toutes les armées du monde au sujet de leurs militaires morts dans leurs guerres. Mais pourquoi — nous les civils — ne nous recueillerions-nous pas plutôt à la mémoire des civils assassinés en masse lors des guerres menées par «nos» soldats et leurs alliés?
Déjà, le 11 novembre 1933, la Women's Cooperative Guild a lancé en Grande-Bretagne la campagne du coquelicot blanc, qui symbolise la volonté d'oeuvrer pour fonder un monde sans violence. Cette campagne avait été organisée par des femmes proches d'hommes morts lors de la Première Guerre mondiale, mais qui refusaient d'encourager le militarisme et la guerre. Pour sa part, Dan Murphy, du Vancouver Province, a déclaré en novembre 2008 ne pas arborer le coquelicot rouge: «J'en suis venu à voir ces décorations sur le revers des vestons, ces cérémonies chorégraphiées et toute cette grandiloquence au sujet des soldats morts comme une opération de marketing pour recruter la prochaine génération de soldats morts. Cette année [...], je passerai une partie de la journée à me souvenir de toutes les personnes mortes durant une guerre», y compris les victimes civiles.
En ce jour du Souvenir, rappelons-nous que les militaires sont souvent de «la chair à canon», et que leur mort sacrificielle au nom du drapeau doit être déplorée et dénoncée, non pas célébrée. Et en tant que civils, souvenons-nous des milliers de victimes civiles qui ont perdu la vie dans les guerres que notre État mène en prétendant servir notre bien, dont cette guerre illégitime qui n'en finit plus en Afghanistan. Depuis l'attaque occidentale en 2001, 152 militaires canadiens y sont morts, certes, mais aussi plus de 35 000 Afghans et Afghanes, en majorité des civils. «Nos» militaires sont responsables de la mort de combien de ces victimes civiles? Ne le saura-t-on jamais? Peut-on les oublier?
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Friday, October 08, 2010
Finally, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has regained its senses and stepped away from the KoolAid. This year, the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to someone who actually did something worthy and admirable.
Congratulations to Liu Xiaobo!
Thursday, October 07, 2010
I have an email account with Google. I have just received a message from them, telling me that somebody from China has just accessed my account. They advised me to change my password, which I did.
There's really nothing in my email files that's secret or sensitive, but it's annoying to be hacked and invaded this way. And now I have to memorize yet another password! So fuck you, Chinese bastards!!
By the way, please read this detailed post about the Chinese cyberthreats at Dr.Vaman's blog: http://jagannathanvaman.wordpress.com/2010/01/26/beware-of-chinese-hackers-they-are-good/. That's where I found and "borrowed" the above picture (Thank you, Dr. Vaman!)
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
The place I'm working at is having its General Assembly, and it's a big affair, since it only happens once every three years.
Today's the first day, and when I arrive at work in the morning, this is what I saw at the front entrance. It was so cute, because when I asked them if I could take a picture, they said yes, and the Mountie on the right and his horse smiled and posed for the picture.
See? The horses are wearing striped socks. I told you it's a big deal.
The fun part is when you're in the back of a crowded elevator and you need to get off at your floor, you have to excuse yourself in so many languages: "Sorry, Excusez-moi, Con permiso, Dui Bu Ji, Xin Lôi", that by the time you reach the door, the elevator has started again and you missed your floor.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Start by standing and holding your right earlobe with the thumb and index of your left hand, the thumb placed in front of the earlobe.
Then do the same thing with the right hand holding the left earlobe. The left arm is inside, under the right arm.
Slowly squat down while inhaling through the nose then slowly stand up up while exhaling through the mouth. The tongue is placed against the roof of the mouth. Do this 15 to 21 times every day, preferably early in the morning when you get up. Results can be expected in 2 to 4 weeks.
Here's a YouTube clip of a CBS News segment for the visually-oriented people.
(Thanks to Fongue for the contribution!)
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Thursday, September 02, 2010
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Review from a neutral Swiss taster
published in The Economist – European edition, June 12th-18th 2010 issue, page 58
Sent in by a friend (Merci Fongue!)
When the most serious and austere magazine, The Economist, forecasts some futher weakness for the Euro, I agree with all the traders ‘round the globe that we ought to sell the Euro and buy the US dollar or maybe the Yen. But allow me some puzzlement when its correspondent wrote, assertive and confident, that in his/her view (we have no clue on his/her gender or ethnicity, as The Economist's articles are never signed) “there are only three true great sandwiches in the world” (and in this order) :
- the Vietnamese “bánh mì thịt”,
- the Ashkenazi “bagel with lox”,
- and the oyster “po’boy”, a New Orleans creation with the fat, sweet oysters from the Gulf of Mexico.
Out of the 850’000 issues so far published by The Economist, we have to recognize that at least 845’000 had significant Jewish readership. So “Bagel & Lox” definitively must be on the list of the best sandwiches in the world, if only for solid marketing reasons. So be it (actually, it's really not bad at all).
Louisiana was badly hit by Katharina five years ago and is now swamped by British Petroleum. Out of sheer Christian charity and solidarity, we’ll cetainly taste the “oyster po’boy” and generously patronize New Orleans oysters whenever we'll have the chance.
So why was “bánh mì thịt” mentioned here not with, but ahead of the others? Because it's simply good and well-informed gourmet people love it. There is no other reason than that. There is really no match for this Vietnamese inspired mix of French baguette, Swiss Maggi sauce, stuffing of your liking (chả lụa, pâté, xã xiú, gà nướng, etc.) and added with home-made pickles (đồ chua), aromatic herbs lovingly grown on some mid-altitude plateau (ngò, ớt…) What more can we say, unless we drool in our own words?
P.S. Uber-hip Virgin America is reportedly serving banh mi sandwiches inflight.
Recipe to make your own Bánh mì thịt : http://www.squidoo.com/banh_mi
Monday, June 21, 2010
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Saturday, May 22, 2010
And now you're ready to enjoy Alexi Laiho and Roope Latvala from Children of Bodom. From Wikipedia: Children of Bodom is a heavy metal band from Espoo, Finland, formed in 1993. The band consists of guitarist and vocalist Alexi Laiho (vocals, lead guitar), Roope Latvala (rhythm guitar), Janne Wirman (keyboards), Henkka Seppälä (bass), and Jaska Raatikainen (drums).
The band's third studio album, Follow the Reaper, was their first album to receive a Gold certification in Finland, and since then, all six of the band's studio albums have reached the same status. In Finland, Children of Bodom has released three consecutive albums that debuted at number one on Finnish album charts, and has also seen chart positions on the United States Billboard 200.
The band has incorporated many different musical styles, leading critics and fans to label them as melodic death metal, black metal, thrash metal, and progressive metal.
No, I'm kidding. Here's their real regular music: 'Follow The Reaper' and 'Every time I die'
Friday, May 21, 2010
Well, prepare to cry again.
Monday, May 17, 2010
Although the article says that it is a habit typical of Shanghai, anyone who has been to other South-East Asian countries knows that "pajamas" are worn in public elsewhere as well. When I was young(er) and living in Saigon, there was really no distinction between what you wear to bed and what you wear to go outside. Unless you work in an office or go to school, most people on the streets wear clothes that are considered as "pajamas" by Westerners. The peasants working in the fields would be described as "black pajamas clad" by American soldiers and Newsweek or Time Magazine.
The thing is, contrary to Western countries, where different activities call for different clothes, people in Third World counties cannot afford to have too many sets of clothes and tend to wear the same type of clothes all the time, indoors or outdoors. In Vietnam, there usually are three types of clothes: formal wear (ao dai for example), everyday wear (bà ba, "pajamas", etc.) and Western clothes.
Sunday, May 09, 2010
Nous l'avions qualifiée de "décision la plus stupide qu'un producteur puisse prendre", mais sur le plan de la création artistique, la décision du producteur de La Chute de supprimer les célèbres parodies d'Hitler pourrait devenir grandiose. Alors que le genre semblait perdre du souffle, elle pousse les internautes à regagner de l'imagination.
Brandon Hardesty est un acteur américain légèrement déjanté, qui s'est fait une spécialité de rejouer des scènes entières de films en interprétant lui-même tous les personnages. Pour sa cinquante-sixième vidéo, il a choisi de réinterpréter la fameuse scène d'Hitler que les internautes n'ont plus le droit d'exploiter pour leurs parodies. Un véritable tour de force, d'autant qu'il a dû apprendre phonétiquement ce que prononce l'acteur allemand Bruno Ganz dans l'oeuvre originale.
Pour sa propre vidéo, Hardesty a sous-titré ce que disent les personnages en respectant fidèlement le script du film. Mais pour faciliter les parodies qu'il encourage, il propose une version sans sous-titre que les internautes peuvent reprendre à leur guise. De quoi générer un nouveau mème dérivé du premier.
Certes, Constantin Film pourrait toujours user de ses droits d'auteur sur les dialogues allemands pour obtenir le retrait de la vidéo de Brandon Hardesty, et de ses futures parodies. Mais ce serait alors un abus caractérisé et indéfendable du droit d'auteur.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Monday, March 15, 2010
Friday, March 12, 2010
Tuesday, March 02, 2010
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Tuesday, February 09, 2010
Monday, February 08, 2010
Thursday, January 28, 2010
There's still money to be made from Michael Jackson, so here's the latest opus by the now famous "Dancing Inmates" from Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center.
From today's Washington Post:
The Filipino prisoners who became YouTube sensations for their staged version of Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' are at it again. This time 1500 or so inmates from the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (under the direction of MJ's choreographer Travis Payne and dancers Daniel Celebre and Dres Reid) perform a dance number to Jackson's 'They Don't Care About Us.'
Sony Pictures' Fritz Friedman told USA TODAY, "We thought it would be a great idea to pay homage to MJ on the occasion of the release of 'This Is It' by going to Cebu and having Travis work with the dancers to create this piece which is from the film."
According to reports, Payne arranged a surprise visit to meet the performers in the high security prison. Once there, Payne spent two hours on Jan. 17 and Jan. 18 teaching the dancers the routines from Jackson's tune.
Friday, January 01, 2010
Did I mention that before my trip to Vietnam, I also went to Thailand? Yes, two consecutive trips to South East Asia, you've got a problem with that?
Anyway, during that trip, my friend and I were given full access to a private Bangkok condo owned by the friend's generous old auntie. I bought some durian, along with some other tropical fruit, so we kept hearing about how we had to eat it in the open air, on the balcony, in order to avoid stinking up the air-conditioned condo. Anecdotes were told about airplanes in the Philippines, hotels in Singapore with sniffing dogs, and various other precautions taken in Asia to prevent people from sneaking durians into planes or hotel rooms or other enclosed spaces.
Now I don't know about you, but when I was a young girl in Vietnam, I knew of people who didn't like the smell of durian (my dad), so they just didn't eat the stuff, while the rest of us gorged ourselves with the fruit when it was in season. Durians were never banned anywhere and people didn't recoil with horror at the thought of having to breathe a few durian molecules. The classification of the smell of a popular Asian fruit, considered to be the king of fruit, into the equivalent of a stink to be avoided like caca or a skunk is therefore a new phenomenon, originating from outside of South East Asia.
I agree it's a strong smell, which I happen to like. But I also like blue cheese and camembert, and I consider that some cheese's smells are pretty nasty. When I eat a brie for example, I always remove the crust because it smells like piss. But I never heard of any hotels or airlines forbidding Stilton or Camembert.
Which brings me to the conclusion that this is another example of cultural imperialism. Because some Westerners cannot stand the smell of a durian, then the whole of Asia must hide in shame to eat that fruit. That cultural bias is so strong that Asians have been brainwashed into accepting it as an objective fact, without realizing where it comes from.
The relative that owns the condo is a sweet little old lady who kept reminding us to hurry up and finish the durian before it stinks up the condo or the fridge where it was kept. Each time, I wanted to ask: So what if the place smells like durian, would that be such a disaster? The smell will disappear eventually and it's not like I took a dump on the Persian carpet in the living room. Old Auntie has a cute little dog that does its business on newspapers in her bedroom, which smells like dog's piss/poo all the time. I know because that's how my bedroom smells at home. And I keep thinking how outrageous that that sweet old lady has been accepting a relatively recent Western judgment as a universal fact, to the point of thinking that the smell of a durian in a house where she is not staying is worse than the smell of her dog's excrements in her own room.