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July 29, 2005

What I Am Worth

Instead of heeding the customs of my people or getting drunk like my other people, I have been surfing the net and I came across a very strange thing. I am, apparently, worth $5,836.86 and 10 shares of me were, unbeknownst to me, recently purchased by a Mr Alexander Maier. How could I have missed it when I went on the market?

What I am Worth / Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

What's more, I had apparently suffered a dramatic tumble in value (how horrible!) until said purchase of various parts of me by Mr Maier, as can be seen in the graph thingy above. I understand nothing of this, but I extend my hearty and heartfelt gratitude to Mr Maier, whoever he may be, for maintaining and enhancing my value.

Kiss that Frog

I like this idea. Blue Security, an Israeli internet security company, compiles lists of spammers e-mails sent to them by members. The spammers are then offered a few chances to delete forever Blue Security members e-mails from their mailing lists permanently. After a few warnings and spam is still sent out to members, the company then bomabrds their sites with complaints until they can no longer function, the internet business version of being blasted to smithereens. This is much like what happens to internet users when we're the target of a nasty spammer sending a constant stream of messages for days on end. Click here.





July 28, 2005

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Yesterday evening, I attended the volunteer appreciation party at the HIV/AIDS organisation where I volunteer (as opposed to the one where I work). There were hundreds of cute boys, drinks (although I don't drink), nibbles, hundreds of cute boys, a singer who was very popular in the 80s and has since dropped of the face of the Earth. There were also door prizes: certificates for massages, for manicures, for pedicures, for expensive restaurants.

And two air tickets to anywhere in North America. Guess which prize I won.

Air Canada / Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

I found myself suddenly surrounded by cute boys, for some reason. But being unboyfriendable these day, I will forced to test the strength of my relationship with my good friend AlefAlef and take him instead of those opportunistic beauties. And already we're fighting, he and I: AlefAlef wants to go to a beach and get skin cancer, whereas I want to hike in the wilderness and get eaten alive by blood-sucking, pestilence-spreading insects. The compromise may be the Yucatan, where he can ruin is complexion and I can wander through Mayan ruins.

My elation lasted right up until this morning when I read about the subject of the following post. Then it slumped dramatically.

Iran Hangs Two Gay Teenagers

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Two gay Iranian teenagers -- one 18, the other believed to be 16 or 17, were executed this week for the "crime" of homosexuality, Irangay_teens the Iranian Student News Agency (ISNA) reported on July 19 [ . . . ] The two youths -- identified only by their initials as M.A. and A.M., were hanged on July 19 in Edalat (Justice) Square in the city of Mashhad in north-eastern Iran, on the orders of Court No. 19.

I live in one of the countries that leads the world in human rights while on the other side of the world, teenagers are hanged for loving whom they love. Pakistan makes headlines for the horrific legalised gang rape of a young woman, yet the hanging of two teenagers makes nary a blip in the world.

I haven't been able to get the image of the young boy weeping minutes before his death out of my mind. I hope I have troubles sleeping tonight.

July 27, 2005

Canada, Vikings, War Over Frozen Arctic Pebble?

Viking / Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
In Greenland, it's being called an unjustified occupation, while Canadian diplomats won't even deign to call it an irritant. [...] "When someone unfairly tries to exercise their influence on the island, which is claimed by both Greenland/Denmark and Canada, I can't interpret the action as anything but occupation," Josef Motzfeldt, deputy leader of Greenland's home rule government, was quoted as saying on a Danish Internet site. And while Mr. Motzfeldt was dialing up the outrage, another newspaper, Berlingske Tidende, was reporting that a Danish inspection ship might be heading to Hans Island next month.

When the Danes try to reclaim Newfoundland, then the world will be in trouble.

July 21, 2005

The Art of Demotivation

Secret

Scotty To Be Beamed Up

The ashes of Star Trek actor James Doohan, who died on Wednesday, are to be sent into space at his request … The Space Services Inc company said Doohan's ashes could be on a Falcon 1 rocket launching from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base, tentatively scheduled for launch in September.

Très beau

July 19, 2005

Very Pretty

Alexandre Despatie / Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
Canadian diver who won a gold medal today at the World Aquatic Games in Montreal, Alexandre Despatie

July 17, 2005

Calgon, Take Me Away

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usSeparately blown off by two friends and cancelled on three times on two days by the same cute boy (now not so cute), I have spent the entire weekend in complete isolation. My inescapable conclusion: people are better in theory than in reality, even people I already know.

I will fade into the much more pleasant fantasy world of the new Harry Potter. I hear someone close to the main character of the work dies.

July 15, 2005

Live 8 B Gone, Part Deux

But the truth is that it was not for us, for Africa, that the musicians at Live 8 were singing; it was to amuse the crowds and to clear their own consciences, and whether they realized it or not, to reinforce dictatorships. They still believe us to be like children that they must save, as if we don't realize ourselves what the source of our problems is.

from the New York Times (registration required, although it's free).
Thanks to
Mr. V for pointing the article out to me.

July 13, 2005

Live 8 B Gone

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usOne of my best friends knows very well that there is much more to African aid than aging smug pop stars (can I please slap Geldof and Bono now?), wearing pieces of white rubber on one's wrist, and tsk-tsking over the state of the world. He has just returned from six months in Chad with Doctors Without Borders (Médecins sans frontières, or MSF) where he was in charge of the medical services for two camps of Sudanese refugees escaping civil war and genocide.

My friend was the sole doctor for 40 000 traumatised, malnourished people with very little food, who had to endure several epidemics of tuberculosis and meningitis, and who had not much to do but sit and remember. There are some of the pictures he took. The people in these pictures gave their permission to have their photos taken and are aware that the photos will be distributed in one form or another. I have left out the photos that may disturb the weak of stomach. The weak of heart may find some if these disturbing. I hope you are one of the latter.

Please click on a thumbnail for the full view:

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The entrance to the walled compound with armed guards where MSF staff are housed. No machine guns allowed.

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The ambulance

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This is typical of the drawings the children in the camps draw. Note the bright colours, despite the violent subject matter. Note also the detail on the machine guns; they are instantly recognizable so these children must therefore have seen many in their short lives.

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Mother and daughter during a tuberculosis epidemic. The mother survived the TB. Her daughter passed away two days after this photo was taken.

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A six-year-old girl and her brother. Their father had killed by rebels about a year ago and their mother died of TB two weeks previously while they were making their way from Sudan to the camps in Chad. The two arrived at the camp alone. Note the little boy's hair loss and his over-round cheeks. This demonstrates severe malnutrition.


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Two much happier pictures of mothers and children. All residents of the camps were asked to go to the medical centre for a round of inoculations to preëmpt an outbreak of meningitis.

My friend wants to leave with MSF again.

July 12, 2005

Not in My Name

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A candlelight vigil was held this evening in front of the British Embassy to Bahrain to show solidarity with the British people, and to express our complete rejection of the terror attacks in London that took place on Thursday. It was attended by over a hundred people and was organized by a wide range of civil societies: Islamists, Leftists and human rights groups.

A similar vigial was held outside Jordan's British Embassy.

Courtesy of Chan'ad Bahraini

July 08, 2005

La Belle Ville

Although it's impossible to escape the Canadian media's gleeful pronouncements that Canada is next on al-Qaeda's hitlist, I am escaping the drudgery of normal life in Toronto. I'm on vacation in Montreal, my adopted city from when I arrived here 1990 until 2002, my other home. City of the best bagels in the world (and i know from bagels, me!) and poutine, my favourite (completely non-kosher) guilty junk food pleasure. Montréal, tu me manques . . .

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July 07, 2005

No Hope for Humanity, Part Deux

Explosions on the London Underground network and a double-decker bus in the city cause "terrible injuries".

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July 05, 2005

The Fat Cats Keep Getting Fatter

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usI just asked a coworker who had moved here from Ethiopia fifteen years ago what she thought of Live 8.

"When they sent all the grain after that other concert in the 80s, the government didn't sell it [word for word transcription, by the way]. It sold it to people who could still afford to pay. These weren't the starving people. So what good is it going to do if you cancel the debts. The government will just have more money to make itself rich with, and all the debts come from payin for wars anyways. How will that help people. Better teach the poor people how to live than make rich, powerful people richer."

She did have some good things to say, though. "It's better than nothing, I guess. Plus it's good to see that Paul McCartney can stil sing."

I disagree on the last point.

July 02, 2005

Raise Your Own Awareness

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usCome to our little show of self-satisfied, aging, white, mega-millionaire, talentless popstars and feel good about yourself: you have done something significant for Africa. Raise your little white rubber wristband high into the sky with clenched fist at your free show (because you certainly wouldn't pay money to see these smug dinosaurs) while African musicians stand in the shadows (the photo is of Ethiopia's Gigi). Oh, the fantastic photo ops for all these magnanimous, benevolent, generous millionaires at Live 8 as they rant conveniently and hypocritically about the evils of capitalism. Look how we care about those poor, poor Africans.

If you truly want to make a difference, turn your TV off and check out these links:

July 01, 2005

The Day My Dreams Will Match Up With My Pay

Feist / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usHelping the kids out of their coats
But wait the babies haven't been born
Unpacking the bags and setting up
And planting lilacs and buttercups

But in the meantime I've got it hard
Second floor living without a yard
It may be years until the day
My dreams will match up with my pay


"Mushaboom" by Feist

I Live in a Great Country

Happy Canada Day / Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

HAPPY CANADA DAY