12/13/2009

Not Abondoned

I thought I should make my presence known before the squatters show up.

See Nila's blog.

11/20/2009

Naked Slanket

I was watching QVC the other day. I saw the following product:


Later, I explained it to Angie and the follwoing conversation ensued.

Me: "Do you know the Slanket?"
Angie: "Yes"
Me: "Well, now they have a luxury version. It's furry and it has a pocket for you hands."
Angie: "Cool"
Me: "It also has a pouch for you feet. Looks pretty comfortable."
Angie: "Why would you wear it naked?"
Me: "...what?"
Angie: "Would you wear it with no clothes on? It's weird."
Me: "Me? Why would you say that?"
Angie: "Well, you said it looks comfortable."
Me: "..."
Angie: "I don't know."

10/24/2009

Reasons Why Exercise are Dangerous

As you know, Angie and I have been exercising with a trainer. She bartered her web design services for the training. I'll post a link to our trainer's website when it's finished.

This morning I got up early to exercise before I came to work. Two things happened.

As I was putting on my shoes I hurt my knee. I mean, that activity isn't what did it. I've had a little bit of pain this week for some unknown reason, but it really started to burn when I squated down to get the shoes.

I put some ice on it the burning was so bad and I headed downstairs to exercise. I gave it a few minutes and started to do the routine - there wasn't any pain once the burning passed.

I was doing pretty good and then something terrible happened!

I had a weight in my hand and slammed said hand against one of the ceiling beams in the basement. My pinky finger was squashed between the weight and the wood. It hurt!

I stopped exercising and sat down. I scraped a bit of skin off, but it wasn't really bleeding. the finger was a little swollen and it was hard to bend it.

I went upstairs and Angie and Nila tried to talk to me. The pain was so bad, I couldn't even think! Angie tried to get me to go to the emergency room, but I could bend the finger and the pain subsided a bit.

Angie then tried to get me to call of work, but I think it was because she wanted me to drive her places not because of my poor finger.

Anyway, I put a Hello Kitty bandaid on it and it's fine now unless I lean on it.

I survive to fight another day!

10/03/2009

$9 Billion Wasted

Each year $9 billion is spent on debt, debt service and maintenance on US church buildings - building real estate worth over $230 billion.

That's according to Pagan Christianity?, a great/frightening/disheartening/encouraging book about the pagan roots of Western Church practices and traditions.

The book is full of things that'll make you think twice about what you know as "church," and I recommend it.

The $9 billion figure stands out because it's ridiculous. The US church spends $9 billion on buildings? Really? Wow, what a waste.

Here's list of things $9 billion could buy:
  • 9,000,000,000 vaccinations against meningitis, measles, polio or other deadly epidemics (Doctors without Borders.)
  • 3,571,428 sponsorships providing full-time residential care for children in an Arms of Love Children's Home, which includes all meals, housing, houseparents and other staff, a private education, clothing, medical care, recreation, and all other costs of full-time care for a year (Arms of Love).
  • 1,285,714 heart surgeries for Iraqi children (Shevet Achim).
  • 900,000 international homes (Habitat for Humanity).
And that's per year. Think of what a decade of targeted giving could do.

9/27/2009

The Jungle of Calais

"At dawn today, riot police moved into The Jungle and rounded up the migrants despite dozens of human rights activists who tried to block their way. They denounce the raid as a media stunt they would drive the migrants underground making them easier pray for traffickers. The Jungle of Calais might be closed, they say, but the steady flow of migrants to Northern France will continue and simply bubble up somewhere else. "
-NPR News


On September 22, French police bulldozed a makeshift village in the port city of Calais that had been set up and inhabited by immigrants. I heard the story on NPR last week and it piqued my interest.

Although I haven't had a chance to confirm it yet, I believe that this is where Aram was living before he was arrested trying to get into the UK.

The AP story is here and you can listen to the full story from NPR here.

9/19/2009

The Late Great Johnny Castle


LOS ANGELES (UPI)—The U.S. cable television network Encore said Tuesday it plans to celebrate the career of the late Patrick Swayze by screening several of his films.

In keeping with the wishes of his family, there will be no corner seating.

I can't take credit for the above, but I wish I could. It's from woot.com (woot,woot!)

ABC Family will show Dirty Dancing tonight @ 8 pm for anyone who needs to get their fix. According to the promo, there will be new scenes.

To a movie from 1987.

Angie and I will be watching unless I can't pull her away from Cops.

9/04/2009

Is 13 Months a Sign?

What if I told you that I recently interviewd for a job that I really want?

What if I also told you that the duration of the contract for said job is 13 months?

Would you tell me that this job is my destiny?

Really, go ahead and write that in the comments section.

More news to follow.

8/31/2009

Stuff You Need to Know

Whenever you need to know something, I am here for you.

Never doubt that friends.

Case in point, do you need to know when your favorite (or soon-to-be-favorite) TV shows start?

I've got you covered. Technically, someone else has provided this information, but I am providing it to you, so it counts.
Welcome to CliqueClack’s guide for the 2009-10 fall season! Or, in the case of NBC, The Great Experiment. Now, if you didn’t realize it already, this fall season is going to be different from past years. First, there’s no ER, which will feel a little weird. Second, Lost will be ending its run in the spring of 2010. Third, American Idol will be without Paula Abdul. And finally, Jay Leno is going to come into your homes at 10PM each night and try to convince you that scripted programming is dead.

From CliqueClack

Read more and see the complete schedule at CliqueClack

8/29/2009

Saturday Morning Tidbits

I say tidbits like I have multiple items on offer.

That's not really true.It's not true yet, anyway.

I am sitting at work bored. It's a slow morning building up to what looks to be a rather busy afternoon and evening. Until the excitement starts, I should be working on renaming and moving faxes out of the general inbox.

That's as much fun as it sounds, so I am looking for distractions.

If you have any, send them my way.

Here are the sites I normally use to cure my boredom. I hope you like.

Plime: Plime is a forum in which people post links of interest. I like it because it's often updated and I find the links to be of interest most of the time.

ColumbusUnderground: This is how I keep up on the happenings in the 614. This is also where some poster named Hassan made promises of a Kurdish bakery in Columbus and then disappeared into the night.

I don't hold that against the site.

Blip: Twitter-like music site. One can follow others and listen to the songs they like.

I also read the news and whatnot, but you're on your own for that.

8/24/2009

Saved

I was planning to start looking for a new job since this one is set to end soon.

BUT

I got this in my in-box today
The sum of $1 000.000.00 USD through Western union Gold Card is waiting in
your favour,as we have been given the mandate to transfer your full compensation
payment of total sum of $1 000,000.00 USD via western union Gold Card by this
governemnt of the IMF and the united nations board of trustee and directors here
in the (ECOWAS) CENTRAL BANK of west africa LOME TOGO .
Tel;+2280984779
Manager Dr.Tete Dankwa
d.funddepartment@mail15.com
Congratulations once more.
Thanks Mrs Anna Lawson.


So, I'm good.

Let the Countdown Begin

Fall is still 4 weeks away, but it's not to early to begin the countdown to the Circleville Pumpkin Show.

58 days from today.

That's not really the most important thing I wanted to write about, though.

I visited the website for the show: http://www.pumpkinshow.com/

They have a recipe section! Now you can make your own pumpkin doughnuts.

It's not really the same unless you stand in that line to duke it out with a flanned grandma for the last half dozen, but I'll bet they do in a pinch.

Here it is:


PUMPKIN DOUGHNUT DROPS



  • Oil for deep frying

  • 1 1/2 cups flour

  • 1/3 cup sugar

  • 2 tbsp. baking powder

  • 1/2 tbsp. salt

  • 1/4 tbsp. cinnamon

  • 1/4 tbsp. ginger

  • 1/4 tbsp. nutmeg

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin

  • 1/4 cup milk

  • 2 tbsp. oil

  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla

  • 1 egg 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon

In deep fryer or heavy pan, heat 1 quart of oil to 375 degrees F. In large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Blend well. Combine pumpkin milk oil, vanilla and egg. Stir into dry ingredients until just moistened. Drop by teaspoonfuls into hot oil 5 or 6 at a time. Fry doughnut drops 1 to 1 1/2 minutes on each side until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Combine 1/2 cups sugar and 1 tbsp. cinnamon, roll warm doughnuts in mixture. Makes 30 -36 doughnut drops.


See more here.

8/23/2009

Bad Start

From Food Fight (with editing by me)

1:30 am - I was awakened by Nila's wailing as Angie came into the bedroom and told me it was my turn to try and get Nila to sleep. I went into Nila's room and spent the next hour trying to work my magic.

I'm not really sure what was wrong, though. She has a cold and has had a cold for the past few days, so maybe that played some part. I told her it was time to sleep and she put herself back down and closed her eyes. I thought she was asleep and I tried to leave the room only to hear her yelling for mommy once I got into the hallway.

We did that twice. The last time, I waited an extra long time before I snuck back out. It stuck that time and she was asleep at least until I left for work.

4:30 am - After getting a couple of additional hours of sleep, my phone rang. At first, I just assumed it was my alarm, but I saw a number on the screen. I answered it.

It was a tech from California.

"Is this the Command Center?" he asked.

"No," I said. This is the sleeping center, buenos tardes.

I gave him the correct number and went back to sleep.

I have had to give my phone number to a few techs for various reasons, but this is the first time one of them has called me when I'm not on duty.

A sign of things to come.

6:30 am - I woke up 30 minutes later than I should have. I should say, I got out of bed. I'm still working on waking up.

6:50 am - After a quick shower and dressing, I tried to throw together a quick lunch and something for breakfast. I put my oatmeal and milk in a plastic bowl - I can cook it at work - and made a nice salad for lunch.

Then I dumped that salad all over the kitchen floor.

7:05 am - Lunchless, I arrived at work only 5 minutes late. Not too shabby.

What is shabby is the milk that leaked from my bag leaving a trail from my car, through the parking garage, across the bridge, up the elevator and down the hall.

I put the oatmeal in the microwave anyway. I haven't gone back for it yet.

7:30 am - I am writing this post. Next, I'm going to go get my oatmeal. Wish me luck.

Here's to a better Sunday than I've had so far!

8/22/2009

La Loba Means Ridiculous in English

Yesterday, Sis asked me if I liked the new Shakira song, She Wolf. I answered that I wasn't sure.

You see, the song has a catchy tune and a nice beat.

But it also features howling and perhaps the craziest lyrics of any Shakira song to date.

The song in Spanish:





I think that Shakira must translate her own songs into English. I picture her with her paper-back copy of a Spanish-English dictionary, twirling her hair ansd chomping on gum with a furrowed brow.

I mean, it's impossible that the record compnay hired someone to do this:


S.O.S she's in disguise.
S.O.S she's in disguise.
There's a She Wolf in disguise,
Coming out, coming out, coming out!

A domesticated girl that's all you ask of me,
Darling it is no joke, this is lycanthropy.

The moon's awake now with eyes wide open.
My body’s craving, so feed the hungry.

I’ve been devoting myself to you Monday to Monday, and Friday to Friday.
Not getting enough retribution or decent incentives to keep me at it.
I’m starting to feel just a little abused like a coffee machine in an office.
So I’m gonna go somewhere cozy to get me a lover, and tell you all about it.

There’s a She Wolf in the closet.
Open up and set it free.
There’s a She Wolf in the closet.
Let it out so it can breathe.

Sitting across a bar, staring right at her prey.
It’s going well so far, she’s gonna get her way.

Nocturnal creatures are not so prudent.
The moon's my teacher, and I’m her student.


To locate the single men I got on me a special radar,
And the fire department hotline in case I get in trouble later.
Not looking for cute little divos or rich city guys I just want to enjoy,
By having a very good time, and behave very bad in the arms of a boy.

Shakira She Wolf lyrics found on http://www.directlyrics.com/shakira-she-wolf-lyrics.html

Seriously.

Then I thought that perhaps she just puts the Spanish into Babel Fish and sings what she gets.

I tried that, though. It wasn't the same. I wouldn't say it's less ridiculous, just different.

Here's a sample of the song via Babel Fish:

A she-wolf in the closet
It has desire to leave
It leaves, eats the district

and this gem

the life has given a voracious hunger to me
as soon as it give me caramels I go away with my legs

8/17/2009

Ramen Recipes


This one's for Kate as she moves back to Oxford to start school again.

50 Amazing Ramen Noodle Recipes from Rasmussen College:


Going to college requires a lot of your time, which doesn't allow you to cook your common four-course meal. Using the age-old college fallback, ramen noodles, you can cook yourself a tasty treat in a short amount of time without breaking the bank.
Recipes include gems such as a Ham Ramen Frittata and Chocolate Ramen as well as links to even more top Ramen recipes.


I even think I've eaten this one:


For a light ramen salad, toss 4 cups shredded lettuce, 1 grated carrot, 4
green onions sliced and cup slivered almonds, with a package of uncooked ramen
noodles. Pour over a dressing made of 2 tablespoons each of canola oil and
honey, the seasoning packet (chicken or beef are recommended) and cup each rice
vinegar and apple juice. Toss and serve.

8/11/2009

The Ends of the Earth

I found this posting on a long-dead blog. I wrote it in June 2007.

It's just as appropriate today.

Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying: “ Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a servant to the nations.”
Then said I: “ Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, I cannot serve, for I am unskilled.”
But the LORD said to me: “ Do not say, ‘I am unskilled,’ For you shall go to all to whom I send you, And whatever I command you, you shall serve. Do not be afraid of their faces, For I am with you to deliver you,” says the LORD.

I rewrote the scripture (Yikes!) to make it personal to me. It's pretty cool when you read it like that. I think God does this for all of us. He calls us and He tells us what to do, but we say “Whoa. Yeah, I don't think so. I am too _________.” I know I did, I still do. But He says, “Nope, I know BETTER than that. I know you can do it, because I am with you and will make it possible.”
Too often, we get stuck in the “Whoa!” and are too scared to believe the “I know better” part. I see it all the time. In myself and other people.

The following verses where God touches Jeremiah's mouth made me think. I started thinking about how cool it must have been to be touched by God and then I remembered that God had touched me, too. I mean, not like I had forgotten all about it, but Jeremiah talks about God touching him and anointing him to say what God wanted to say, so I wasn't thinking about my own experience.

But, nonetheless, God did touch me once. I can confidently say that when I needed Him, He held my hand. I don't mean metaphorically, either. I mean I felt Him. When I think of that in Jeremiah's context I think “If God touched Jeremiah's mouth to give him words so he could speak, then he must have touched my hand to show me compassion so I could be compassionate.”

I think that's something I'm not great at: giving compassion. “Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, I cannot serve, for I am unskilled.” But Jeremiah didn't speak his own words, he spoke the words of the Lord.

8/10/2009

Better Than Ezra

BTE has a new album. Did you know this? If so, why did you not inform me?

The album is called Paper Empire and came out in May.

"Better Than Ezra is one of those bands that people know the name. Ezra will
always be around, and will make albums and tour. It took some distance to really
appreciate how many fans we have. They wanted a new album, so we've done
it."

-from New Orleans Times-Picayune




Also, I have read that the BTE frontman is a songwriter, writing songs for artists I like (Tristan Prettyman), artists I don't dislike (David Cook) and artists Angie likes (Missy Higgins).

Also, he co-wrote Howie Day's "Collide." That's a great song.



White Space

I've spent an hour trying to fix the layout of this blog, so that an ad appears in the white space at the top right.

I can't seem to make it work and I don't know that there's anything I can do to fix it. We may have to live with the white box.

I hope this doesn't cause anyone - besides me - any great distress.

I am at work this morning and nothing is happening. Seriously nothing.

We've had a few pone calls, but mostly silence.

I'm bored.

7/31/2009

I Yearbooked Myself

Yearbook Yourself is back with some pretty awesome new pictures.















I Seen Beyonce at Burger King

This might be the best song.

Ever.

7/26/2009

Way to Go, Suley

Iraqi Kurd opposition hails poll breakthrough
By Shwan Mohammed (AFP) – 12 hours ago

SULAIMANIYAH, Iraq — A new opposition party in Iraqi Kurdistan said on Sunday that it had made a major breakthrough towards ending the region's long dominance by the two main former rebel factions.

The Goran (Change) list said it won most votes in the autonomous region's second city of Sulaimaniyah in weekend elections, raising the prospect of a strong opposition in parliament for the first time.

The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) of regional president Massud Barzani and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani have dominated Iraqi Kurdish politics for half a century, first as rebels and then following the aftermath of the 1991 Gulf war, as the region's effective rulers.

Goran said in a statement on its website that it had won the most votes in the parliamentary election in Sulaimaniyah, long a PUK stronghold, after a preliminary count, a claim confirmed by a senior KDP source who spoke on condition of anonymity.

"We have won the city and the province of Sulaimaniyah," the Goran statement said.
Preliminary results from the simultaneous presidential election suggested that the joint KDP-PUK candidate Barzani was also trailing in the province to London-based university professor Kamal Miraudly, who had been considered a rank outsider.

But the incumbent regional president was ahead in Kurdistan's other two provinces of Arbil and Dohuk, both traditional strongholds of his KDP.

The KDP source said that across the region, the joint KDP-PUK "Kurdistania" list won 59 percent of the vote, equating to around 55 seats in the region's 111-seat parliament.
The joint list held 78 seats in the outgoing parliament elected in 2005.

A senior Goran official told AFP that the party would win 28 seats -- 19 in Sulaimaniyah and nine in Arbil -- making it the first credible opposition to KDP-PUK dominance that the region has seen.

Another leftist-Islamist list could win as many as 17 seats.

Final results are not expected for several days. After the preliminary count in the regional capital Arbil, ballots are to be sent to Baghdad for an official tally.

Goran is led by Nusherwan Mustafa, a wealthy entrepreneur and former deputy leader of the PUK.

"The Kurdistania list has won enough seats to form a strong government, and Goran has a sufficient number of seats to be a strong opposition," said Hoger Shatu, the director of a non-governmental group monitoring the election.

Nearly 80 percent of the region's voters turned out in what election officials trumpeted as a transparent poll.

No opinion polls were carried out in the run-up to Saturday's election, which had made the outcome difficult to predict.

Kurds exhibited increasing concern over corruption through the course of the campaign, while disputes with Baghdad over territory and oil also loomed over the election.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki described the election as "another step in building a democratic Iraq" and and "an opportunity to resolve all problems".

Barzani told reporters on Saturday: "We hope that these elections will be a first step to solving issues with Baghdad."

But he also insisted: "I will work to get back the disputed areas."

He was referring to longstanding Kurdish demands to incorporate the oil province of Kirkuk and historically Kurdish-majority parts of three other provinces into their autonomous region.

Those claims are strongly opposed by Arab and other non-Kurdish populations of the disputed areas and have led to mounting friction with Baghdad.

7/25/2009

Voting Today

Kurdish elections today.

Here's the BBC's take.
Voting is under way for a new president and parliament in the autonomous
Iraqi region of Kurdistan, with the governing coalition facing a vigorous
challenge.

A BBC correspondent says turnout is expected to be high, with queues of
people outside polling stations before they had opened.

Incumbent President Masood Barzani and the ruling parliamentary coalition
are both expected to win re-election.

7/24/2009

Kurdish Elections 2009

Al Jazeera has a nice piece on the upcoming Kurdish elections in Iraq.

Read it here.

"The use of 'closed lists' in this election has also been condemned by
observers and voters alike.

In 'closed lists', voters can only vote for political parties as a
whole and have no say on which party candidate is elected.

By concealing the identities of those who make up the new reform
parties, critics claim it is a plot to guide voters toward supporting the
well-known parties rather than popular individuals.

Members of the establishment have justified this method, claiming that
the people do not have the knowledge and experience to identify individuals who
are well suited to take part in decision-making.

The challenge for the people of Kurdistan in these elections is to find
the right balance of candidates that will empower parties to best serve Iraqi
Kurdistan."


update: Second article here.

But Dr Fereydun Rafiq Hilmi, a member of the first Kurdish cabinet in 1992,
suggested that the election is unlikely to undermine the ruling alliance
between the two parties.

"I don't think there is going to be any challenge to the PUK and KDP,
because these guys are there to stay. They have no intention of letting anyone
else rule," he told Al Jazeera.

Hilmi said the parties have "a long list of malpractice as far as
elections are concerned", citing the first Kurdish elections in 1992 in which he
says the results were "discarded".

"They decided to have a 50-50 system and they established a government,
of which I was a member. It was quite ineffective," he said.

"The people are fed up with the old way of doing things. They have been
fed up for the past 18 to 19 years."

7/19/2009

Farm Town

I don't know how many times I've played Bejeweled on Facebook today.

If you forced me to guess I'd say 297 and I'd wonder why you cared enough to force a number out of me.

Seriously, you should have something else to worry about.

One might ask why I spend so much time playing games whilst at work. The answer is fairly simple: it's better than sitting at my desk twiddling my thumbs between phone calls.

Angie often asks why I don't do something more productive. I explain that I can't focus on any one thing too deeply as I'm drawn away to the phone at least once every 5 minutes or so on average.

Some of the calls are complex, some are simple, but all require my attention to be drawn from something else. It means I spend a lot of time on meaningless tasks - if tasks isn't too strong a word for Bejeweled.

But today I may have sunk to a new low - one I'm less than comfortable with. I started playing FarmTown. Now I'm waiting for my virtual grapes and potatoes to ripen so I can harvest them and buy a virtual fence or hay bale or pile of wood.

Ugh.

7/09/2009

A Parade and the ER (Not Related)

Two things happened on the 4th of July: Nila saw her first parade and Angie had an allergic reaction to her medication.

On Saturday morning, we went to the parade in Upper Arlington. It was about two or three blocks from our house. I don't know that I've ever lived closer to a parade route.

Nila had a great time. She danced with the cheerleaders and clapped with the bands. She did not enjoy the loud trucks or the fire engines. Angie and I had to cover her ears during those moments so that she wouldn't try to shove the small American flags she'd been given into her ears.

We watched for about an hour before we abandoned the affair. Not that the parade wasn't fun; it was just so very long.

In addition to the excitement of the parade, Angie found that she was allergic to her new medication. A rash had developed on the backs of her arms. She called her doctor and he told her to take some benadryl and to stop the meds.

She did that, but on Sunday the rash was worse. And it had spread to her neck, down her arms, her ears, her face. All over really.

She called the doctor again. This time he sent her to the ER.

At the ER, they gave her a steroid shot in the butt and a prescription for Atarax.

The combo helped the rash, but by Tuesday, her throat had swelled and was painful. The ER doc told her to come back if these symptoms presented. She called her doctor, but he did not respond.

So, last night, at about 9:30 pm, we headed back to the ER.

After three long hours, the doctor told her she was fine. he advised her to cut her dosage of the Atarax in half and to go from there.

That seems to be doing the trick.

In other news, Angie's mom is in town for the next couple of weeks.

7/06/2009

Green Briefs 15-19

I took a long weekend from work and with that I took sometime away from the internet in general.

It was nice. As it turns out, there isn't that much to miss out on over a long weekend. I actually read a book (which I will discuss later).

The Green Briefs, however, did not take the same break I did. Take a moment to catch up.

For 07/01/09
For 07/02/09
For 07/03/09
For 07/04-05/09

7/02/2009

The Kurdish Elections

With elections in Kurdistan on the horizon, I think this is an interesting note.

This article is from 2008, but still relevant.
"Iraq has changed, but Iraqi Kurdistan has not. After Saddam's fall, many
Iraqi Kurds expected that their region would liberalize and democratize. Rather
than reform, however, regional politics have ossified. Barzani retains
dictatorial control over the Duhok and Erbil governorates, and Talabani likewise
dominates Sulaymaniyah. While it is inaccurate to describe the Kurdish
leadership—at least the PUK half—as tribal, both parties rely on family members
for control. Barzani appointed his nephew prime minister and assigned his
thirty-five-year-old son to run the local intelligence service. Other relatives
control the regional telephone company, newspapers, and media.

Talabani's wife, Hero Khan, likewise, runs the local satellite station.
One son manages the PUK's intelligence operation, while the other represents the
KRG in Washington. When it came time to divvy up ministerial portfolios in
Baghdad, both Kurdish leaders turned to their families: Barzani gave his uncle
the Foreign Ministry portfolio, while Talabani gave one brother-in-law the
Ministry of Water Resources and his wife's brother-in-law the ambassadorship to
China. To Talabani's credit, both men are professionally qualified."

Green Brief #13 and #14

"Tehran's notorious Evin prison is reportedly packed to capacity now and security
forces are housing the detained in football stadiums. So many people are put in
Tehran’s prisons that prisoners only have standing space. Reports say guards are
preventing prisoners from sleeping by keeping them standing all night. Amnesty
International today warned that the opposition leaders arrested in Iran were at
risk of being tortured. "


For 06/29/09
For 06/30/09

6/29/2009

Green Brief #12

"11. Insurance companies are shunning people. They're being told that the
government has told them not to talk to rioters. This is after people went to
insurance companies after the destruction of property or death of a loved one. "

For 06/28/09

6/28/2009

Green Brief #11

I intend to keep posting these briefs as long as NiteOwl continues to write them.

It seems some sources in the US media are already questioning whether the "revolution" has already been silenced.
"It's easy to sit around and blog about how hard people are fighting, or how hard
reporters are actually reporting, but honestly: we really have no idea what kind
of energy it takes to do so. Moving the ground beneath one's feet, let alone
that of an entire government's, can't be easy. Maybe they just needed a weekend
off, maybe there's more to come tomorrow, or maybe this game's already been
called. Whatever it is, it isn't looking good for anybody who hasn't already
aligned themselves with Iran's re-ignited regime."


Two (of many) interesting notes from the brief:
3. Iran's paramilitary Basij are carrying out brutal nighttime raids, destroying property in private homes and beating civilians in an attempt to stop nightly protest chants, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch also said the Iranian authorities are confiscating satellite dishes from private homes to prevent citizens from seeing foreign news.

9. Amnesty International confirms on CNN: people disappearing from hospitals. Hundreds of people missing.

For 06/27/09

For the full article from Human Rights Watch click here.

6/27/2009

The Neda Question

The following is from Salon.com:

For the last question at his press conference yesterday, Obama was asked by CNN's
Suzanne Malveaux about his reaction to that video and to reports that Iranians
are refraining from protesting due to fear of such violence. As Obama was
answering -- attesting to how "heartbreaking" he found the video; how "anybody
who sees it knows that there's something fundamentally unjust" about the
violence; and paying homage to "certain international norms of freedom of
speech, freedom of expression" -- Helen Thomas, who hadn't been called on,
interrupted to ask Obama to reconcile those statements about the Iranian
images with his efforts at home to suppress America's own torture
photos ("Then why won't you allow the photos --").

The President quickly cut her off with these remarks:

THE PRESIDENT: Hold on a second, Helen. That's a different question.
(Laughter.)

The White House Press corps loves to laugh condescendingly at Helen
Thomas because, tenaciously insisting that our sermons to others be applied to
our own Government, she acts like a real reporter[...]

The premise of Thomas' question was compelling and (contrary to
Obama's dismissal) directly relevant to Obama's answers: how is it
possible for Obama to pay dramatic tribute to the "heartbreaking" impact of that
Neda video in bringing to light the injustices of the Iranian Government's
conduct while simultaneously suppressing images that do the same with regard to
our own Government's conduct?

Green Brief #10 and A Beat It Cover

As the media focusses on Michael Jackson's death, let's not forget about Iran.

"The government is continuously attacking and arresting Iranians who are using twitter to get the message out to the world. Several of our sources have so far been arrested or have stopped using twitter altogether, yet the remainder have
pledged to continue until the last minute. Amidst the somber mood, some
emotional moments can also be seen. One Iranian tweeted: "I would rather
our Iranian youth were tweeting about Michael Jackson than having 2 face this death & horror. Lets set them free to do so."


For 06/26/09

Let's give MJ his due, too.

I have a hard time choosing my favorite Michael Jackson song, so here's Angie's covered by some guy on French tv.



(For Angie)

6/26/2009

Green Brief #8 and #9

"As of yet, the claim by Mainstream Media that there was a massacre at
Baharestan cannot be confirmed. (At the time of the writing of this brief, many
have retracted their previous statements and some have actually began to kill
the story that was used to increase viewership of US TV networks...) "

For 06/24/09
For 06/25/09

6/22/2009

Uncanny


When I saw this picture of Obama, I could think of only one thing.
Our friend from Skookum:


Green Brief #5

"8. The Writers’ Association of Kordistan, the Human Rights Campaign of
Kordistan and some other prominent people have also called for a strike in
Kordistan province on Tuesday. "

For 06/21/09

6/21/2009

Green Brief #4

"I have tried to be extremely careful in choosing my tweet sources and have
tried maximally to avoid listening to media banter. What I have compiled below
is what I can confirm through my tweets to have happened in the past day and in
the past week in Iran. Remember, this is all from tweets. There is NOTHING
included here that is not from a reliable tweet. No news media outlets have been
used in the compilation of this short brief as I would like to call it."


For 06/20/09

6/20/2009

Green Brief #3

"But still, fully half of the sources who were used in compiling the past two
Green Briefs and this Brief have gone quiet, left Tehran or have been arrested
as their identities are being found by the government. "

For 06/19/09

6/19/2009

Second Green Brief

Last night I posted an update from NiteOwl at AnonymousIran.

I'm going to keep posting them here.

For 06/18/09

6/18/2009

Iran vs. a Fly

Guess which one gets more coverage from the US media?

I've been following the post-election situation in Iran on Twitter and some other online sources and it's amazing how little is actually known about the situation on the ground.

According to ADN Kronos (an Italian news agency that focusses on the Middle East to which I've linked many times before), two prominent Iranian artists presented documentation purporting to prove that Ahmadinejad came in third in the elections.

According to the Guardian, the man who provided them with that document was killed in a suspicious car accident a couple of days ago. (scroll down to 11am update)

And then, there's this from someone called NiteOwl.
15. Several eye-witnesses have seen non-Iranian Arabs waving
Hamas/Hezbollah flags around the protests. These reports have been fully
confirmed and are NOT a rumor spread by Israel.
(Read the whole thing here.)

I don't know how true any of this is, but it certainly all seems well within the bounds of reason. I'm just passing it along.

Oh, and Jalal Talabani became only the second head of state to acknowledge Ahmadinejad's "victory" and to congradulate him. Very disappointing Mam Jalal, very disappointing.

6/13/2009

Angie's Contest

Angie has entered a contest. See her post here and wish her luck.

6/11/2009

At the Library

I thought that redesigning my blog would spur me to writing.

It hasn't. I truthfully feel like I am mute. When I sit to put words on the page to share, I come up with nothing.

Today, I 'm sitting at the library with no distractions, but my tongue is figuratively stuck to the roof of my mouth,

I'm not sure why. Life seems to be going along well. I don't love my job, but I am still getting a paycheck every other week, so I can't really complain.

Angie is keeping busy with web design (and crazy schemes for web sites) and she's bringing in additional money.

All of our bills are paid and we don't have to worry for money.

I think I'm probably bored.

I can't leave the country, so I need to look for some excitement closer to home and I think I need a ministry to get involved with,

I've decided that I need something sort of crazy. Wish me luck as I look for it.

6/10/2009

Another New Look?

Yes.

What do you think about the new look? I like it, but I need to keep working on it. I think it's a little impersonal.

I haven't had much to say lately because I feel like I haven't had a lot of time to think.

No thinking = no writing. That's just how I roll.

Tomorrow morning, I am going somewhere to think, so maybe I'll write something after that.

5/26/2009

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

13Months is undergoing a re-design. Don't be alarmed.

I liked many things about the former layout, but I think I can improve it.

This current look is temporary until I am finished.

Surviving the Recession: Bread and Water Party

I have a great idea.

Don't despair in the economic downturn; revel in it.

I submit the following idea: Bread and Water Party

The host or hostess provides the water.

The guests bring bread to share.

It's as simple as that, but, before you roll your eyes, read on.

The party idea is inspired by Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream. At the shop in Grandview (and probably the others, too. I haven't paid too much attention), they offer free water. Not just plain water, mind you, but cucumber-infused free water.

That got me thinking about all the ways one can flavor water with fruit and veg. Boom. Idea.

The host/ess of the party should serve flavored water. Here are some recipes.
Cucumber Water:
Get a pitcher
Put ice in the pitcher
Fill the pitcher with tap water
Slice a cucumber
Add cucumber slices to the pitcher
Serve and enjoy

Lemon Water:
Get a pitcher
Put ice in the pitcher
Fill the pitcher with tap water
Slice a lemon
Add lemon slices to the pitcher
Serve and enjoy

Lime Water:
Get a pitcher
Put ice in the pitcher
Fill the pitcher with tap water
Slice a lime
Add lime slices to the pitcher
Serve and enjoy

Watermelon Water:
Get a pitcher
Put ice in the pitcher
Fill the pitcher with tap water
Slice a watermelon
Add watermelon slices to the pitcher (just use a few. Eat the rest)
Serve and enjoy

General Melon Water:
Get a pitcher
Put ice in the pitcher
Fill the pitcher with tap water
Slice a melon
Add melon slices to the pitcher
Serve and enjoy

Mint Water:
Get a pitcher
Put ice in the pitcher
Fill the pitcher with tap water
Add mint to the pitcher
Serve and enjoy

That's just the beginning. You could add anything you wanted, but, in my opinion, once you start adding sugar, kool aid, tea packets, etc. it ceases to be a water party.

Now for the bread.

I don't recommend guests just bring a bag of Wonder. Why not bring a nice sour dough? Or banana bread, or challah, or even monkey bread.

Now, go have a Brad and Water Party with your friends and family! Let me know how your party goes in the comments!

5/22/2009

Nila's Big Day

Shock of shocks, I've updated Nila's blog.

Here's a sample:

5/19/2009

And Then We Came to an End (of Homemade Yogurt)

The yogurt experiment of 2009 has come to an end.

Below you'll find the results of my endeavors in yogurtery.

Positive findings:
  • It's really easy - 10 minutes of work and 12 hours of waiting (most of it spent sleeping). Read more here.
  • It made me feel like I was pretty cool - How many people can say they make their own yogurt?
  • It only costs about $4.50 for half a gallon of yogurt - I had to buy milk and some starter yogurt. Future batches would only cost as much as the milk I used.
Less-than-positive findings:
  • The second batch was a dud - That means no starter yogurt for the third batch. I have to buy everything again. Another $4.50 and half a gallon of inedible yogurt.
  • The batch only lasts a week - I think that would be fine if Angie and I were also eating it and not just Nila. Before I started working so late - and sleeping so late as a result - I would eat about 1/2 a cup each morning in a smoothie. I don't do that anymore. Nila's the only one eating yogurt everyday. So I spent $4.50 for the week. We normally spend $3.50 on Nila's yogurt for the week.
  • Nila doesn't eat as much of the homemade - I think it's because there isn't any sugar in it. I added fruit puree, but it's not the same. She was eating the lowest sugar store-bought brand I could find already.

With that, I decided that 12 grams of sugar each morning was a small price to pay to get Nila back to enjoying her yogurt in the morning rather than suffering through half as much as she'd normally eat.

Yo Baby wins this round.

**Update**

I tasted the yogurt once more before throwing it all away. It didn't taste too bad, so am straining it as we speak.

I strained the first bit. Now, it looks and tastes like a fine Greek-style yogurt.

I will have the same problems above; no one will ever eat all of this yogurt, but maybe it isn't a bust after all.

5/14/2009

Hummus

I made two new foods this week: yogurt and hummus.

You can see my yogurt recipe at 7 Simple Things.

Last week I made hummus with this recipe:

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups of cooked chickpeas
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Directions:
  • mix it all in a blender

This week I made some more hummus and I changed things up.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of cooked chickpeas
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup of fresh homemade yogurt!
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste (heavy on the pepper)

Directions:

  • mix it all in a blender

The second recipe is far superior to the first.

5/13/2009

Towing Rage

On Saturday night, Brandy came to visit and tell us all about her trip to Brazil. I made pizza and Angie made a strawberry dessert. We laughed, we cried. The usual.

While we were socializing, Shamrock towing came and took Brandy's car away. Her crime was not having a parking pass for the neighborhood.

We should have learned our lesson when Sis' car was towed about a month ago. We did not.

Brandy had to call Shamrock. They quoted her $133, so I motioned for the phone:

Me: The sign says $90 towing fee plus $12 storage fee. That's $102. Why is
it $133?

Jerk Lady: There is a $25 administrative fee plus tax.

Me: Administrative fee? That's not on the sign. I demand that all fees be
written on signs.

Jerk Lady: It's Ohio Revised Code.

Me: Which one?

Jerk Lady: Look on the sign.

Me: No, I will not. You want to charge me $25, you should know the revised
code. What is it?

Jerk Lady: Look, I'm not the one who parked where I shouldn't have. The
code is on the sign.

Me: You don't have to be a jerk, lady. If I have to pay, I'd like to know
the code. I need to speak to your manager.

Jerk Lady: She's not in. You have to call Monday.

Me: What's her name? What's her number?

Jerk Lady: Her name is Manager. You can call this number.

Me: Oh, I will! And I will tell her all the jerky things you said to me. I
have written them all down so that I can quote you verbatim! You have met your
match this time.


Oh, yes I would fight the administrative fee with every breath I have!

That's what is called impotent rage. I was mad at the property management company for its stupid parking rules, I was mad at the towing company for towing Brandy's car, I was mad at Jerk Lady and her stupid $25, but mostly I was mad at myself for knowing the stupid rules and ignoring them.

I was furious. I mean I couldn't think of anything else.

I took Brandy to get her car and, as I drove home alone, I thought of ways to alleviate my feeling of rage. I came to a simple solution.

I called Jerk Lady - we could probably just call her Lady now - back and apologized to her for being a jerk myself. She didn't deserve to be the recipient of my anger. It's not like she gets to keep the $25.

It worked, too. Once I did the right thing, I felt better; no more impotent rage. I went home and went to bed without another thought about towing or administrative fees.

5/11/2009

U.S. Detention of Asylum Seekers: Seeking Protection, Finding Prison



From Human Rights First.

When refugees fleeing persecution seek asylum in the US, they are detained in
jail-like facilities, and without basic due process safeguards, as detailed in a
new HRF report. The report also outlines ways to improve this process that are
more cost-effective, just, and humane.

5/01/2009

AngieMeekerdesigns is Open for Business (Again)

It technically never shut down, but we're looking to expand.

If you don't know, Angie and I have hung out our shingle on the web - our e-shingle if you will.

Over the Summer in 2008, Angie started designing web sites for local businesses and non-profits. She's been very successful designed great-looking websites at a very low cost (which I keep trying to get her to raise...)

When she started working full-time in November, she slowed down a bit, but we've decided to push forward. I mean, we've got a great product and Angie has mad skills. Why not stop wasting her talents in a regular 9 to 5?

So, to that end:
In addition to that, Central Ohio Crime Stopper's site will be undergoing a very exciting redesign in the coming weeks. An already great site will get even better.

4/24/2009

Satire

I stumbled across this article tonight written by an unidentified TARP wife. The commenters seem to suggest this is meant to be some sort of satire, but I must admit I don't find it.

Take a read and let me know what you think.

I was turned off early on by this:

It also means we’re part of the community of more than 400 companies that have
received government bailout funds, whose fall from grace has been
swifter and harsher than any since Mao frog-marched intellectuals into China’s countryside.

I don't have any love for Mao or his crazy policies, but, if he had marched this woman off the the countryside for a little re-education, I can't imagine complaining too much.

It's difficult to sympathize with a woman (or an entire group of charlatans) whose biggest concern is being seen getting into a taxi laden with shopping bags. Mind you, not concerned because she can't afford it, but rather that someone will see her.

This recession hurts everyone equally, I guess.

4/23/2009

Exciting Weekend

I just found out that I have to work on both Saturday and Sunday this week, but I won't let that put a damper on the greatness that will be this weekend.

As I was thinking about this weekend, one of the things I was most looking forward to was not working. I've worked the past two weekends and will have to work the next three or four in a row.

BUT, the true excitment of this weekend is Saturday at 1:30 and work can't stop it!

It's Columbus Taco Truck Tour 2009!

I will be there and I hope to see you there, too. If you are interested in carpooling, let me know.

In addition it will be above 80 degress for the first time in a long time.

4/21/2009

Uh Oh

Obama might win me over with this.

High speed rail to Chicago? Cincinnati? Cleveland? Dayton? Toledo?

Well, yes. Thank you, Mr. President.

Ok, maybe not Dayton and Toledo...

4/16/2009

Trying Not to Complain

Angie and I keep saying that 2009 will be our best year yet. So far, that's true in many respects.

However, I look forward to the promises God has made us and I long to be there now. I struggle with the everyday things that aren't prefect.

That's one of the reasons I haven't felt like writing. All the words that want to tumble out are complaints, and I don't want fill pages with those words.

My future is brighter than my now and my now is brighter than my past. I try to keep that in mind.

4/13/2009

Taco Truck Tour

I had no idea there was a blog devoted to the taco trucks in Columbus. There is.

Taco Trucks in Columbus, Ohio

On April 25 @ 1:30 pm, they're hosting a tour of 4 trucks on the westside. Westside 4 eva.

Who's in?

4/10/2009

Ariving in America

I found a link to this article from the New York Times while I was browsing Michael Totten's site. It's written by an Iraqi who recently settled in the US after working as a translator for the US military.

Yesterday we took a long drive to get somewhere. My aunt is very cautious and
alert while driving through a particular neighborhood. She turns to me and says:
“Look!” I turn around and spot two empty cans of soda and, like, three empty
bags of potato chips all in a polite pile. “This is a bad neighborhood,” she
says.
I will only add that I think it's unfortunate that the US, European and Iraqi governments so severely limit the Iraqi people's freedom of movement and that more Iraqis aren't experiencing the same joys of living in a relatively free and open society.

The Crucifixion

For Good Friday, here's an article from Slate.com about the historical meaning of the cross and the "foolishness" - and perhaps the full meaning - that has been lost over time.
Jesus' crucifixion represented a collision between Jesus and Roman governmental
authority, an obvious liability to early Christian efforts to promote their
faith. Yet, remarkably, they somehow succeeded. Centuries of subsequent
Christian tradition have made the image of the crucified Jesus so familiar that
the offensiveness of the event that it portrays has been almost completely lost.

4/05/2009

Cincinnati Review

Today, Angie, Nila and I went to Cincinnati for the day. We just wanted a change of pace, and Cinci's close.

We visited five Cincinnati landmarks.*

McAlister's

Angie drools over McAlister's. It's a chain of restaurants apparently popular in the south. The only Ohio joints are in the Queen City. I had the club sandwich. It was good. Angie had a barrel of sweet tea.


Findlay Market

This is an indoor/outdoor market in the heart of Cincinnati. I thought it was small and crowded inside, and I enjoyed the outdoor areas much more. It was packed with people and they day was beautiful, so it was a good stop.
The problem with the Findlay Market was that Google gave us some terrible directions. You know how sometimes Google will use every name a street has? Well, our directions told us to exit on US 29/34/782/09898/149/Hopple St., or something like that - and I'm only sort of exaggerating it.

We did this, but then we had to turn right immediately onto US 34/09898/Hopple St and then left onto US 29/782/149/Hopple St and then a left and a short turn towards the sun. But first we had to sing a sea chantey and answer three riddles.

We failed at this and drove in a circle, but then we found our starting point and tried again. This time, we made a left turn into oncoming traffic and almost met our ends. We did not; we made it safely through the intersection only a little thankful for our lives.

We sang about the Edmund Fitzgerald and answered our three riddles, but we must have answered wrong because we ended up on the UC campus and I gave up on the Google.

I drove what I assumed was south and figured I'd hit the river eventually. I remembered that the market was downtown from the map I had seen yesterday - I should note we only brought the written directions, nothing pictorial.

It paid off. My spidey-sense found the market and Angie bought some homemade soap. Who doesn't need soap some lady made in her bathtub?


Ault Park


When we decided to go to Cincinnati, I did a quick online search for things to do. I didn't want to have to tell people I just went to Ikea and a grocery store...

I found information about the Hyde Park area of the city and it looked pretty nice, and I figured we could spend some time kicking around in the park.

Hyde Park was fantastic. The homes in and around the area were stunning. We drove through without checking out any of the small shops and boutiques in the town center, opting instead to find the park.

I had not mapped directions for the park; it was more of an afterthought, but I found it because I am awesome.

The park was really nice. Nila walked around the garden and refused to smell the flowers.

She was tired and cranky after about 30 minutes, so we fought her into her car seat and she took a little cat nap on the way to Ikea.


Ikea

I hate shopping at Ikea. I love Ikea, but the shoppers there are insane. It's like they've never shopped before. There's so much wide-eyed meandering that a person can't browse in peace without knocking into a small Indian family or falling over the feet of some guy from Kentucky who isn't quite sure what he's doing there.

I would prefer that all of these people either stay home or learn how to follow the arrows helpfully painted on the floor and KEEP MOVING OR PULL OFF TO THE SIDE!

Aisles are for walking, carpeted areas are for standing and figuring out whether or no the Oogglesfjord bookshelves go with your Ulxwesty carpet and Huvershorb dog bed.

FYI, it doesn't.

We picked up a few small things. It was more of a reconnaissance mission this time. Angie goes into more detail about our purchases here. (We did buy a tray for our soap, don't worry.)

Jungle Jim's

I am a big fan of Mr. Jim. But, alas, it was the one-too-many on our list of things to do. I was cranky, Angie was cranky and Nila was hungry. We were all hungry.

I got the bare essentials; all-natural hummus, curry powder, garam masala, blood orange juice, Double Decker bars.

The trip to JJ's was short, but we only had the one argument about subs and we left the store on good terms.

We ate dinner at that other famous Cincinnati landmark; Wendy's.


*admittedly, some are not landmarks.

**While we did take some pictures, we didn't take any of these. Click on the picture to see where they came from.


3/31/2009

Earth Hour 2009

Did you remember Earth Hour on Saturday? It was the hour set aside to turn of your lights and save the environment from 8:30 to 9:30 pm.

I did not observe Earth Hour 2009.

I know it's symbolic, but let's be real. 1 hour out of 8760 per year? It's a little lame and I think it insults those people around the world who don't actually have electricity. Ooh, look at me. I gave up power for a whole hour because I have so much. I'm saving the environment.

For example, many Kurds have spent years without sufficient power between Saddam and the insurgency in the south - not to mention rampant government corruption.

In 2006, I spent 6 months in Iraq. We had about 8 hours of electricity per day (and I'm being generous). That means that I spent over 2896 hours without electricity.

And, that doesn't count the hours spent in 2007 and 2008.

See you for Earth Hour 4905.

At the earliest.

3/26/2009

About the Bailout

You must read this article.

I am not a fan of Rolling Stone's political pieces, but this article is the most informative one I've read about the collapse of AIG and what it means for the financial system.

It's eight pages, but I recommend reading it through.
The mistake most people make in looking at the financial crisis is thinking of it in terms of money, a habit that might lead you to look at the unfolding mess as a huge bonus-killing downer for the Wall Street class. But if you look at it in purely Machiavellian terms, what you see is a colossal power grab that threatens to turn the federal government into a kind of giant Enron — a huge, impenetrable black box filled with self-dealing insiders whose scheme is the securing of individual profits at the expense of an ocean of unwitting involuntary shareholders, previously known as taxpayers.

I should not that it's not for sensitive eyes; Rolling Stone is 'edgy' and we all know 'edgy' means fowl language.

3/23/2009

2 Great New Sites

Angie and I have started a new blog.

I know, you're thinking something like "Why in the world would those two start another blog? Don't they have 15 already? I mean don't they have better things to do?"

Well, it was Angie's idea, it's only 12 or so, and no, no we don't.

Angie came up with the idea for Seven Simple Things about a week ago. I thought it was a pretty good idea; seven simple things, one each day. Click the link and have a look around.

Let us know what you think.

Kurdish lessons have their own site.

If you're a long-time reader, you know I've done some Kurdish lessons. They're pretty popular as far as Kurdish lessons go.

I don't have much competition on the internet, really.

The lessons are migrating over time. Check out the new site, I really like it.

The Kurdish Airforce

3/16/2009

Stuffed Bunny

Angie's been making dresses, so I decided to make something too.

I made a stuffed animal; a bunny to be exact.

It was really easy, but as I was finishing the ears, I realized something: I don't want to be the type of person who makes his own stuffed animals.

Not that there's anything wrong with someone who does. It's just not for me.

So, see below for the one and only rdmeeker bunny.

Bunny relaxes in the sun.

Nila gives bunny a good shake.

Remembering Halabja

The following article was originally posted here in August, 2008. Because March 16 is the anniversary of the attack on Halabja, I decided to post it again. It's an important event to remember as we reconsider Iraq.

On March 16, 1988, the Iraqi government attacked the kurdish city of Halabja with chemical weapons killing 5,000 people and injuring 10,000 others. As of today, it's the worst chemical attack on a civilian population in history.

This image of a man shielding a young child has become an icon in Kurdistan.

Background:

The grinding Iran-Iraq war was coming to a close in 1988 and the border city of Halabja was caught in the middle. Claiming that the Irani army was in the city, the Iraqi air force attacked.

The air force began bombing the city with conventional weapons driving the people of Halabja into their cellars. The gas used in the chemical weapons were heavier than the air, so the cellars where perhaps the worst places to hide. This is one reason why the death toll was so high.

This attack on the Kurds can be considered as part of Iraq's Anfal campaign. Anfal was the systematic genocide of the Kurdish population of northern Iraq. From 1986 to 1999 up to 200,000 Kurds were murdered by the Ba'ath regime. 4,000 villages were destroyed and 250 towns and villages were exposed to chemical weapons (see wikipedia article).

Recommended Reading:

Obviously what I've written is only a brief summary. The US Department of State published an article on their website which I highly recommend.

The Lessons of Halabja

In truth, it was probably written as propaganda during the build up to the invasion. However, that doesn't make it any less true.

Today:

Now that Saddam is gone and the Kurdish region of Iraq has autonomy, the Kurds of Halabja are still dealing with the aftermath of the gas attack. The city was made virually unlivable following the attack, but many of the survivors stayed.

In 2003, the Kurdish government erected a memorial for the attack and in 2006 an angry mob burned it down.

This to me is one of the most interesting parts of the story. 18 years after the attack the city of Halabja still had yet to receive any significant government assistance - and since 1991, that means Kurdish government assistance. On the anniversary of the attack each year, Kurdish politicians would make the trip to Halabja and make promises to the people and use the events of 1988 as a rallying cry for unity behind the government in power.

In 2006, fed up with empty promises, the people of Halabja staged a protest on the anniversary and torched the monument reclaiming their tragedy from the hands of their ineffective leaders.

Ok, that's all I have. Be sure to read the article I referenced above.

3/11/2009

Cheap Stuff is Good

I found this a site called NeverPayRetailAgain.net today.

She has a lot of great coupons and deals. You should check it out.

Like this deal. Two packs of Huggies diapers and wipes for $1. Seriously.

Nila wears a size 4 in Huggies. Hurry, sale ends Friday.

UPDATE: Nevermind on the diapers. Angie tells me we can't buy Huggies because they give Nila diaper rash. I didn't know.

The site still looks like a keeper, though. I don't think it causes diaper rash, but I'll let you know.

3/08/2009

Nila!

Hey, have you seen my baby lately? Look how cute she is!



Believe it or not, Angie made the dress in this picture. She's very crafty. Check out her blog for more of her craftiness.



I dont' know why Angie put stickers on her cheeks, but she does look cute.

It's all so cute.

Cute. Cute. Cute.

3/04/2009

Headache Grey

I don't know that I've ever posted a full set of song lyrics on the blog before, but I haven't been able to get this song out of my head since I started my new job.

Which I misspelled as Job. Coincidence?



Daysleeper - REM

Receiving department, 3 a.m.
Staff cuts have socked up the overage
Directives are posted
No callbacks, complaints
Everywhere is calm

Hong Kong is present
Taipei awakes
All talk of circadian rhythm

I see today with a newsprint fray
My night is colored headache grey
Daysleeper, daysleeper, daysleeper

The bull and the bear are marking
Their territories
They're leading the blind with
Their international glories

I'm the screen, the blinding light
I'm the screen, I work at night

I see today with a newsprint fray
My night is colored headache grey
Don't wake me with so much
Daysleeper

They cried the other night
I can't even say why
Fluorescent flat caffeine lights
Its furious balancing

I'm the screen, the blinding light
I'm the screen, I work at night

I see today with a newsprint fray
My night is colored headache grey
Don't wake me with so much
Don't wake me with so much. The
Ocean machine is set to 9
I'll squeeze into heaven and valentine
My bed is pulling me,
Gravity
Daysleeper, daysleeper
Daysleeper, daysleeper, daysleeper


*note: I will find the song and post it

3/03/2009

Cookies

Angie posted a recipe for scones and I don't want to be outdone.

Here's a recipe for peanut butter cookies. I found it today and made some this afternoon because they were so simple.

Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla

Directions:

Mix the sugar and peanut butter together.

Add the egg and vanilla. Mix it together.

Make balls from the dough on an ungreased cookie sheet. Press them with a fork [I forgot this part and it was fine.]

Cook at 350 for 15 minutes.

Enjoy!