Politics, Sex, Religion, and all those impolite Human Conversations...

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Sunday, August 20, 2006

Time for the Nancy Reagan Strategy in Iraq

This big budget slick Hollywood produced PSA asks Iraqis to "Just Say No" to suicide bombing.

This ad is slated to get airplay on Iraq television according to this article:
It's a tall order considering that post-occupation Iraq is now rife with militant groups and plagued by increasing sectarian violence. In March alone there were an estimated 175 suicide bombings. There’s also the question of just who will be able to see the PSA. The cost of owning a TV is often prohibitive for the average Iraqi, and those who are affluent enough to get Iraq’s state-sponsored programs are not always thrilled by what they’re seeing. Though there is the new, post-Saddam Iraqi Media Network (IMN), its $6-million monthly budget is provided by the United States and many local viewers feel that its positive reports on the U.S.-led war are simply propaganda so they turn to satellite TV instead.

I wonder how locals will react to the Matrix-like shots that used 120 cameras to get the panning, frozen-in-time effect.Or if they will identify themselves with the extras?
At least 60 extras dressed in hijabs, kaffiyehs and polyester-wool blend slacks were herded onto the set to simulate an average shopping day. But there was hardly any Arabic spoken on this Baghdad street. Spanish, Punjabi and even Italian could be heard as extras gathered around the Kraft services table to munch on chips and guacamole. When asked if he is Iraqi, Bidkar Ramos, an extra on the set, laughs. "No, I'm Chinese and Mexican,” he says. “Like most of these people, I'm just a look-alike."

Of couse if we ever institute racial-profiling many of these selfsame extras will probably be mistakenly harrassed as potential terrorists even if they are not in costume

Maha has a post worth reading about how confusing it is to distinguish between different races of brown-skinned people. I was struck by this line about the Minority Majority:
If airport and other security were to put people wearing Muslim dress through special security, it wouldn’t take long for the enterprising terrorist to figure out how to dress and act so as not to arouse suspicion that he is Muslim. He might even rent “Born in East L.A.” and get tips on passing as Latino. If Chinese can do it, becoming Latinized should be a snap for a Pakistani.

(via MetaFilter)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Flying on Voight-Kampff Airlines

The latest technological advance in airport security reminds of something:
Leon: Tortoise, what's that?
Holden: Know what a turtle is?
Leon: Of course.
Holden: Same thing.
Leon: I've never seen a turtle -- But I understand what you mean.
Holden: You reach down, you flip the tortoise over on its back Leon.
Leon: Do you make up these questions, Mr. Holden, or do they write them down for you?
Holden: The tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun beating its legs trying to turn itself over but it can't, not without your help, but you're not helping.
Leon: What do you mean I'm not helping?
Holden: I mean, you're not helping. Why is that Leon? -- They're just questions, Leon. In answer to your query, they're written down for me. It's a test, designed to provoke an emotional response. -- Shall we continue? Describe in single words, only the good things that come in to your mind about... your mother.
Leon: My mother?
Holden: Yeah.
Leon: Let me tell you about my mother...

Here's Proof of Global Warming

(via The Presurfer)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

2nd best dog of the world...

The best dog in the world is in this picture lounging on the right. The survivor and runner up is on the left.

My candidate for the best dog in the world is Shamrock on the right, sporting a bit of the Black Irish, was adopted on St. Patrick's day in 1993. He grew to be the mellowest of dogs until his untimely death on September the 13th, 2001. That's two days after my birthday and the day I mark as the day the world went mad.

The dog on the right is Roxi Blu, the barkiest dog in the world - until recently. She stop moving, could barely get up and could not walk far enough to do her business. When she did walk it was with a stagger. It seemed her time was up and there would be that last trip to the vet.

This opened a lot of painful memories for me that I thought I had locked up tight and banished.

Let me explain in a rambling manner, Shamrock was a noble hound, my first adult-owned and chosen dog which subsequently got me through a heartbreaking divorce. Then in the prime of his life, he was struck down with old dog vestibular disease. The "old dog" is a misnomer as the disease and its causes are not really well understood by vets. The result is that the dog loses its sense of balance. This can be caused by brain tumors, inner ear infection or degenerative nervous system disorders. If it were a human you'd say they had a stroke. But dogs don't get strokes according to all the vets I consulted.

So after numerous consultations, x-rays, blood tests and a CAT scan, we went for the spinal tap. Agonize with me for a moment, two days after the most hideous televised event in history - people jumping out the towers to avoid burning death - replayed over and over again - which I watched straight through for 36 hours. Then imagine visiting the best dog in the world at the vet hospital with an oxygen mask on because he's got water on the lungs and has shrunken from his vim and vigor. I then took his breathing mask off and held the forepaw steady while the vet found the vein that would hold the lethal dose.

I keep telling myself that the eye contact we had at that moment was Shamrock telling me, "thank you." That's only a guess as his eyes went soft focus and then closed while his head and neck lost all sense having any weight - just limp.

The staff showed me a back door exit at the rear of the building (can't have these grieving people pass through the waiting room) and got in my car.

I drove a few blocks and then pulled over. I tried to cry but that river had run dry. No tears came. I had cried them out for the 10 thousand victims they were claiming that day.

Enough of that. Back to the 2nd best dog in the world -- Roxi Blu. Last month she wouldn't move and I felt a chill of deja vu. She soon began whining in whimpers expressing pain that breaks a heart. I thought here is another round of me explaining to the vet her symptoms, much like Aaron speaking for an inarticulate Moses. That's what we dog owners do when going to the vet. Dogs can't speak for themselves to explain where the aches and pain are. For me this is the hardest burden to bear as a dog owner: translate the dogs wishes and make the decision of whether it/she/he has quality of life. [Can I get an Act of Congress to help?]

Unlike a farmer who has to deal the a chicken-stealing mutt behind the barn with a shotgun -- this is a lifeforce I have been communicating with until I understand that the tap dances in front of the food bowl mean nourishment is required and farts in the afternoon means take me out before I mess on the carpet. Dogs do talk, we don't always understand what they are saying. Yet they always understand.

So the good news, Roxi had a fever and low thyroid count on her blood test. With anti-biotics and new drugs is recovering nicely. No plug pulled!

Afterthought & Update: I've been writing this post for the last two weeks. At the risk of being superstitious, every time my dog is going down the end of world index goes up.

P.S. When things are troubled I tend to den -- lick wounds, hide, recover and come out after feeling better when I can show a bright side. Apologies to all...