Thursday, April 26, 2007

Black Laspbelly or Glape?

Ho-ry mackalow! How did they get away with making ads like this?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The unforgettable smell of your skin

I've been having a Björkfest today, since I've heard her upcoming single Earth Intruders a few times recently and happened to actually catch her on SNL the other night. She is still incredibly weird, but compelling.

This video is for one of my favorite Sugarcubes songs, Walkabout, from the 1992 album Stick Around for Joy.

Some of the most freakish lyrics ever, but the song always manages to make me happy:

I admire the curves,
The golden landscape.
I wanna be there
Right with you.
That's where I'm staying,
Where no-one can find me
In the depths of the valleys
Magnificent landscape

Delicious boy,
With animal eyes,
Beautiful buttocks,
Haunting movements.
But the thing that makes me love you
Is the unforgettable smell of your skin.

There's a hole and there's a stick.
There's a cove and there's a ship,
That goes in and out of the harbour.

The heavy pear,
Totally ripe.
Adorable fruits
So generous.
This is where I'm staying,
Where no-one can find me,
In the depths of the valleys.
Magnificent landscape.

Mountains of Nutrition.
Two, side by side,
Above a navel
And under a chin,
That's where I'm staying,
Where no-one can find me.
In the depths of the valleys,
Magnificent landscape.

Is everything a landscape?
I'm in the landscape
Crawl into the canyon
Into the rain forest
Crawl up the crevasse
Jog along the tundra
Walk up the slope
Have a breather between the hills
Admire the view
Not yet on the peak
Walk further and rest
Between two tranquil pools
Then climb the peak
And admire
I'm captivated.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Friday Observation: Beau Travail

It's a dangerous, precarious existence being a garden snail trying to get from one side to the other of a rain-soaked sidewalk.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Campus View: Tuesday Morning

I was struck for some reason by the simplicity of this sign next to a bike path on campus this morning. Somehow, I feel this statement particularly says something to me....

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

More on Murderous Autocracies

Consider this a public service announcement: I find recent stories on the ongoing social and political meltdown in Zimbabwe to be heartbreaking. No exception was last week's article in the Los Angeles Times regarding the state of medical care and the additional burden of burying the dead in that beleaguered nation.

The following excerpt sums up much of the article:
"Things are so bad," said one man, Sikhumbuzo Dube, "that it's more expensive to die than to live these days." The body of Dube's nephew, a 39-year-old communal farmer, lay in the morgue for three weeks until the family could come up with the money to rent a truck.

A young Bulawayo doctor named Nqobile Ncube said many of those who end up in hospitals have little chance.

"You do your ward rounds and you see a patient," Ncube said. "He's in the same condition as the day before. Why? He's not been given the drugs. He is trying to find relatives to buy the drugs for him.

"You go to the next patient. He's dead. It's written on his card, 'Fluids not available; relatives to buy.' It's just 'relatives to buy, relatives to buy, relatives to buy.' "

Ncube has watched a teenage boy die in a diabetic coma. He has sent the parents of children with broken limbs to buy plaster. They return days or weeks later.

He has seen patients die of strokes because there was no medicine to treat their hypertension. He's seen surgery days canceled for want of surgical gloves.

"You can't resuscitate patients. There's no oxygen. There are no IV fluids," he said, anger rising in his voice. "The only time when you are guaranteed of having everything there is for death certificates."Doctors write them out on the back of used bits of paper.

Families are left to cope with the grief of a death that could have been avoided, then must find more money for the funeral.
Of course, much of the blame can be put on one man, namely, President Robert Mugabe, who has been in power since the country became independent in 1980. Things have steadily declined since policies of "land reform" were enacted after 2000 or so, when a nation that was once the veritable breadbasket of southern Africa started to fall into total agrarian collapse, because commercial farming was all but dismantled in an effort (perhaps noble in theory) to redistribute land more equitably.

However, Mugabe can surely not be the only one to blame for this mess. In the same way that Western nations all but ignore repressive and inhuman governments like that of Myanmar/Burma, the antics of Mugabe are given lip service at best. What's the solution? "Regime change?" Political assassination? Ground war? The truth is, I really don't know. However, I can't help but feel "we" all have a hand in allowing this type of thing to go on. We weep in 2003 over the "oppression" of Iraqis (much of which was certainly not fabricated), but don't seem to have a deep enough emotional well to become indignant enough to act against equivalent horrors in a place like Zimbabwe.

There are often times like this when I regret never having joined the Peace Corps, or gone into international development work in Washington, or Geneva, or wherever. Not that those avenues are permanently closed to me, even now, but I have to think about what I can do right this minute.

And one of the things I was able to do right this minute was to set up a recurring donation to an AIDS Service Organization that does work in several countries including Zimbabwe. In fact, I earmarked my donation to go specifically to the ASO's partner there. So, three faithful readers, I give you the weblink to [taken down temporarily -- cannot verify NGO still in existence], where you can give an online donation if you like. Included there is a link to the Zimbabwean partner organization, The Centre. I guess after reading that LA Times article, I felt that my measly donation was the least I could do to prevent one fellow human being from suffering the type of fate described as follows:

Eva Ndlovu, 27, died March 18 in a rough mud hut on the outskirts of Bulawayo. A piece of plastic she had picked up at a cement factory became her burial shroud, along with the filthy blankets she had huddled under as she died.

Her husband, Phinias, tore the door off the hut to support her body. Her family wheeled it on a borrowed handcart to the cemetery, three miles away. Three mourners dug the grave. No death certificate was issued.

Eva had been ill for two years with AIDS, but family members said the hospital always sent her home.

Monday, April 09, 2007

We only said goodbye with words

Hmm, what does it mean (other than the obvious: I Am A Freak) that I spent most of Saturday thinking, "I will never be in a relationship again"?

Oh, and I blew off a social engagement with my most recent ex that evening. If you can call six years ago "recent."

Revision: I blew off a social engagement with my least ancient ex that evening....