Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Mamma Mia

Great movie to watch with the girls - especially if you are a "dancing queen".

Hello World

Brian Kerninghan and Dennis Ritchie described the first complete program in their 1978 book "The C Programming Language Program" called "Hello World".

Thus started the trend in other languages like C++ and Java where the first program we usually learn is the "Hello World" program.

This semester i was going to change it to "Hola World!" but it seems rather blasphemous.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Raila Rocks

Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga has called on the African Union to suspend President Robert Mugabe over Zimbabwe's widely condemned election.

"Mugabe should be suspended until he allows the AU to facilitate free and fair elections. AU will be setting a dangerous precedent if Mugabe is allowed to participate in its meetings. Right now Mugabe is a crisis, they have no president with legitimacy to run the country."

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Shame of South Africa!

The world stood by South Africa in the fight against Apartheid - and South Africa blocks the move to delegitimize the illegitimate "ONE-MAN", murder-ridden Zimbabwean elections!
What did the world fight for??

Bloddy Hell!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

a Malaysian interpretation of Islam

... don't wear bright lipstick and noisy heels ... a directive "intended to prevent sexual assaults and "illicit sex."

How about curbing and arresting men who dare to sexually assault women!


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Another Anti-Islamic "Scarf" Incident ...

... and this time, dishearteningly from the "Democratic" front ...

Check out this story about the so called "political climate" in the US ...


Hardly a "change we can believe in"


(addendum)
I understand why Obama's campaign did what they did but the fact remains that it is the anti-Islamic "political climate" that persuaded that situation. It doesn't make it right. I would have had the same reaction if someone with a Magen David or other attire were treated that way. Certainly a "Christian" attire would not have promoted that reaction from their camp. There is a clear discrepency - and that is what is not right.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

EVIL has a new synonym: Mugabe

The men who pulled up in three white pickup trucks were looking for Patson Chipiro, head of the Zimbabwean opposition party in Mhondoro district. His wife, Dadirai, told them he was in Harare but would be back later in the day, and the men departed.

An hour later they were back. They grabbed Mrs Chipiro and chopped off one of her hands and both her feet. Then they threw her into her hut, locked the door and threw a petrol bomb through the window.

Zimbabwe security forces hijacked a truckload of food aid intended for hungry school children. U.S. officials say the stolen food was handed out to political supporters of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe

Other African leaders offer a few reprimanding words, and sit back to watch murders in daylight ... they have forgotten the pain of being forgotten

Western leaders offer profuse condemnation, and sit back to watch murders in daylight ... would things have been different if Zimbabwe was an European country, or one with energy sources

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

the "perfect woman"


cooks, cleans, and understands... and does not argue, does not talk back, does not disagree, does not espouse political views, does not have informed views of the world ... the perfect woman, it turns out, is a robot!

... she is so rare, no wonder she had to be created by man ... gives me renewed awe of "God".

... and she comes with some variations: blonde, brunette, redhead, casual - but all with white skin tone ... what does that say?

Friday, May 30, 2008

Xenophobia or Patriotism?


At the behest of Michelle Malkin, an arch right wing conservative, Dunkin' Donuts has pulled this online ad. Why, you ask?

Is it because Dunkin' Donuts regrets advertising fatty foods that are raising the obesity numbers in the US?

Nope. It is because the fringed black-and-white scarf that the celebrity chef wore in the ad apparently offers symbolic support for Muslim extremism and terrorism!

Now as for Michelle Malkin who is Asian, she may remind ignorant people of North Korea (the so called "axis of evil") - so should she be banned from becoming a "mainstream" of the US culture? Let's see, how about wearing a red scarf - that's symbolic of the communist governments. Or if one wears red, green, and yellow - that's symbolic of the dictator Robert Mugabe. Oh, how about the colors "red, white, and blue" which appear on the Cuban flag?

But, more importantly the scarf (Keffieyh) is simply a design worn by a number of Arab countries - not a symbol of terrorism. This is another sad example of the xenophobia, racism, and cultural ignorance that exists and mars the beauty and the truth of the USA. Naturally most Americans are lovely and warm (indicative of the comments here) - but that does not take away from the fact that racism, xenophobia, hatred against humanity is alive and well in the US - as it is in many other countries in the world.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Cornus florida ...

Cornus flordia: same species - different colours

... Homo sapiens: same species - different colours

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Alchemist

“Continue in the direction of the Pyramids”, said the alchemist. “And continue to pay heed to the omens. Your heart is still capable of showing you where the treasure is.”

“Is that the one thing I still need to know?”

“No”, the alchemist answered. “What you still need to know is this: before a dream is realized, the Soul of the World tests everything that was learned along the way. It does this not because it is evil, but so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we’ve learned as we’ve moved toward that dream. That’s the point at which, as we say in the language of the desert, one ‘dies of thirst just when the palm trees have appeared on the horizon.’

“Every search begins with beginner’s luck. And every search ends with the victor’s being severely tested.”

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Hapana Mugabe

There was once a man from Zimbabwe
Widely known as Comrade Mugabe
It's time for him to accept his loss
Because he no longer is the boss
And let makorokoto reign again in Zimbabwe


Mugabe Out

a Waterloo limerick

There was once a bloke from Waterloo
Who dreamt he was eating his shoe
He woke up in the night
With a terrible fright
And found it was perfectly true

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Babangida Boogie as modified by Mugabe

The Babangida Boogie is "one step forward, two steps back": George Ayittey

Now it is modified for greater impact by Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe in the Fibonacci sequence - one step back, one step back, two steps back, three steps back, five steps back ....

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

V-Day

Saudi Arabia has done it again: stunned the world! Banning all things Valentine and all things red! No red roses, no gifts, lest they encourage "immoral relations between the umarrieds." One may argue that is the rule of the country and all who live under that sky must abide. But this is a country where a girl who has been gang-raped is lashed, where a woman is punished for being any more than a subservient property - what moral code are we talking about? This is like saying, in segregated America, that the rule of separating black and white should have been followed because that is the law of the land. Wrong is wrong - there is no justification. Not to say that Valentine is a necessary day - because any day can be a day for love - so spread the love to our fellow man!
Talking of fellowship, I have warmed toward Australia, which has joined a handful of governments in history who have apologized to the indigenous inhabitants of lands they took over. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd apologized in parliament to all Aborigines for laws and policies that "inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss", singling out the "stolen generation."








Onto Denmark where
newspapers are reprinting the "offensive" Mohammed cartoons. Yes it their right, but what is the point of recreating the ire of millions of people when it has already led to turmoil and deaths? But equally seriously, Muslims should see this for what it is and not consider a threat to their faith - if anything denounce the people who allegedly were plotting a "terror-related assassination" of Kurt Westergaard!Spielberg has withdrawn his services from the Beijing Olympics as a show of support to Darfur. China feels this direct implication of their impotence against the injustice in Darfur is unfair. Actually what is really unfair is the fact that hundreds of thousands of our fellow man in Darfur have been massacred, raped, and left for dead while we celebrate the greatness of the human race at the Olympics.
I sound like a bleeding heart liberal - but what I am is just as mortal and just as human as my brother and sister human anywhere in the world. No label can strip away the frailty of life.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Touché

I used to think that touché was in reference to someone being "touchy" about a comment. Actually it means "well done, old chap, bravo, good for you, that was a witty come back." Well something like that. The word stem is the French verb, "toucher", to touch, and is used in fencing to acknowledge when one has been hit or touched.

Talking of old chaps, I am reminded of one of my most favorite fictional characters, Reginald
Jeeves, by P.G. Wodehouse. Jeeves, a gentleman's gentleman, is a title character of the likes of "Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves" and "Well Done, Jeeves", amongst many other thoroughly charming books. In fact, the name of the search engine "Ask Jeeves", is inspired by the original Jeeves. And in the midst of a heavy semester, across an ocean from Totleigh Towers in Berkshire, I can still dive into a Jeeves book and laugh in guiltless delight. And truly the world does seem lighter.












We watched "Atonement" this weekend. It was fine, but expectedly, the book is richer in words, feelings, and alignment of characters. We also watched "Meet the Spartans" last week and there is nothing to which to compare this movie.


English is not my first language - as I conveniently remind people when I am at a literary loss, literally - but it is the language which allows me to express the thoughts within me. It is in expressing thoughts, especially the ones deep within, that we are able to understand ourselves, to form ideas, and expand the horizon of our perspectives.


"Oh jolly good," Jeeves might say, "if I may express myself, perhaps you should expand your horizons by resuming your work day."

"Touché. Yes indeed, rather, my good man. Hand me my hat would you? Thank you."

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Busby Babes

"The Munich Air Disaster of Feb 6, 1958 rips the heart out of Manchester United with 8 of its brightest young things perishing in the twisted metal of the plane crash". They were known as the Busby Babes, incredibly talented and incredibly young - an incredible loss to be felt by all United Fans across the world, for years to come.

Currently, there are three books on my reading radar:

Ornament of the World - how the Muslims, Jews and Christians created a culture of tolerance in Medieval Spain: by Maria Rosa Menocal
Atonement- about perceptions, misunderstanding, consequences - and endless love: by the Booker Prize winner, Ian McEwan
Brick Lane - a Bangladeshi woman in a foreign land coming to her own: by Booker Prize nominee, Monica Ali

Both "Atonement" and "Brick Lane" are fiction and have been made into movies recently. "Ornament of the World" is non-fiction, if only it was current reality.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Fastnacht, Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras ... Super Tuesday!

Mardi Gras: "the last opportunity to feast and have fun, before 40 days of self-denial". The name sounds exotic, but it means "Fat Tuesday" in French.The most famous celbrations are in Nice (France), Cologne (Germany), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and New Orleans (USA). The official colours for Mardi Gras are purple (to represent justice), green (stands for faith) and gold (which symbolizes power).

In Venice,
the practice of wearing masks for disguise reached its pinnacle in the 18th Century, when Venetians of different social classes used Carnival as an excuse to mingle.
Not to be outdone, there are also fastnacht parades in Germany. Also not to forget Pennsylvania, where the PA Dutch celebrate Fastnacht by using up all the fat in the house by making fastnacht pastries. Try some recipes.
Others call this pre-Lenten Tuesday (before Ash Wednesday), carnival - in Latin root, "kiss your flesh goodbye."


Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day
. gets its name from the ritual of "shriving" that Christians used to undergo in the past. In shriving, a person confesses their sins and receives absolution for them. In fact, over 1000 years ago a monk wrote in the Anglo-Saxon Ecclesiastical Institutes, "in the week immediately before Lent everyone shall go to his confessor and confess his deeds and the confessor shall so shrive him."

"Dear Confessor, I danced in the carnival, hid myself behind a mask, ate lots of pancakes and I feel fat this Tuesday. Please shrive me so I may strive to turn into a new leaf in the next 40 days."

In Olney, UK, Shrove Tuesday is celebrated with a Pancake Day Race - which, as the tales have it - started in 1445 when an unknown woman, cooking pancakes, heard the shriving bell summoning her to confession. In haste, she ran to church wearing her apron and still holding her frying pan and thus, this English Rose started a charming tradition. Try some. Also there is a tradition of having semla on Shrove Tuesday.
OH - and I nearly forgot with all this carnival hoopla! It's Super Tuesday 2008! Barack and Hilary in dead heat. McCain moving forward. Romney feeling the love from "conservatives", the likes of Hannity, Limbaugh, O'Reilly, and the party of one, Ann Coulter.

Monday, February 4, 2008

The Perks of Perkiness ...

Last Friday I heard, through the proverbial grapevine, that a couple of ladies (whom I had considered to be smart and friendly colleagues) had been saying how "lively" and "perky" I always was, even at 8:00 AM - and how it annoyed them! That hurt me. In fact, one of them had recently remarked, in what I had thought was a friendly, genuine conversation, "Nazli, you are always so happy". And I replied delightedly, "yes, I am so happy to be alive".

Now, gentle readers, my life is no better than yours - believe me. I have my own share of hurt that have cut to the core, and sets of obstacles that constantly need to be overcome. However, I am happy, for example, for my eye sight, for the use of my arms and legs, for being able to breathe, for my basic brain functions, and for what I value most - I am so happy for love! So yes I am generally very happy and excited - even at 8:00 AM in the morning. I am not a morning person, mind you - but I am bloody happy to be alive - any morning.These 2 women don't like me much because they think I am always "perky". At first I felt sad - then a few minutes later, I looked up "perky", and here are the synonyms: "lively", "vivacious", "playful", energetic". I'll take a dose of "perky" any time, thank you very much. Incidentally, the antonym is "lethargic". I'll pass thank you.

But I have faced this issue before, people thinking that my friendly nature is to be eyed with suspicion because how could someone always be genuinely "perky". Well, certainly if the depth of my character is undermined due to my friendliness, there is nothing I am willing to sacrifice - except the company of such skeptics.

Ok - I am not hurt anymore - I woke up just as happy and excited. But coincidentally, I saw one of the ladies this morning at a coffee shop. Other than the mild "good morning", I had little to say because I certainly did not want to "annoy" her. But it felt odd, not to be "genuine" and bubbly. Suddenly an elderly gentleman walked in with a Manchester United" cap; I forgot my melancholy act and with the exuberance I felt inside, I greeted my fellow man and talked about the best team in the world! It was as though Life was reminding me to be exactly who I am, and not to cater to the doldrums of negative opinions. What a boost to feel like Life is on your side.Here's to all you happy, perky people out there! Here's to the Giants for winning Superbowl 42 (Roman Numerals need not apply). And here's to the hilarious "what is love" Pepsi Max ad, and the unibrow Planters ad. Talk about perky ;-)

Saturday, February 2, 2008

ambiguous ...

is a word that connotes skepticism and wariness - it's root is from the Latin "ambi-", meaning 'in two directions' and "agere", as in 'to lead'. Basically - to lead about in two directions. so an ambiguous concept is not "clear" in that it is neither one or the other, i.e. neither black or white.

what, then, is the word then for, "to be able to see both sides"? 'considerate', 'reasonable', 'bifoca
l', 'ambi-something or the other'? what is so bad about not committing to one of two ways; instead, either seeing both ways OR actually having the depth to consider another perspective altogether. thus i suggest that the word "ambiguous" be redefinded.

so now 'ambitious' could be viewed with aplomb and warmth as well as with skepticism and wariness - because, after all, the word is by nature "ambiguous" and should invoke an undefined feeling of "awe, surprise, stunning possibilities, foreboding", the "who knows" and "que sera sera" sort of 'ambiguous' kind of feeling!
this picture taken last October is either a "sunset" or a "sunrise" - ambiguous, wouldn't you say? :-)

Punxsutawney Phil of Pennsylvania saw his shadow today and has forecasted 6 more weeks of winter. Ambiguously, Gen. Beauregards Lee of Georgia did not see his shadow and an early spring is on its way. That would be ambiguous, except for the simply fact that GA is 3 states south of PA, and it was probably cloudy in PA and sunny in GA, thus the shadow.
Happy Groundhog Day!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

chimichanga!

the next time, you forget a word - you know the "whatchamacallit" type, just say, "chimichanga". Apparently, in Mexican Spanish, that is the derivation of "chimichanga" - a burrito food item.

in no relation to that, the dolphins of Bangladesh are in danger due to over-population of man. Seriously the concept that "man has dominion over earth" is criminal. Why would such a flawed, emotionally-charged species be given dominion over other species? Because we have "thought" and "conscience" and "intelligence"? Oh chimichanga! A tree is far more capable than me - what, with making it's own food, depleting pollution, regenerating its own limbs, providing shelter and food to many - and looking fashionable any time of year without the help of designers.

a company called Pangea Organics sell their soaps in a biodegradable fiber box that are infused with seeds and will grow amaranth and sweet basil. Environmental capitalism, I say.

Lao Tzu says: "he who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still". Now I am not going to try to contradict Lao, but from my perspective, "one who controls others is severely insecure and does not appreciate the inherent worth of all people" - and "one who masters oneself appears rather self-centric".

having said that, it is lunch time here and I would so love a, uumm, what do call it ... a chimichanga!

ciao chimi