Sometimes a jump-off area is just that, a place to provision or transfer to your real destination. But sometimes it’s a destination in itself, one that is glossed over by travelers intent on getting the journey over with so the trip can begin. Nairobi is one of the latter places. Inauspiciously founded where two train lines met in a marsh, it has transitioned into a fascinating, and under-appreciated city. Read the rest of this entry »
Archive for 2012|Yearly archive page
Last night I wrote a story for the Daily Dot on a crowdsourcing experiment by the S. Daniel Abraham Center called Is Peace Possible. My editor elected to take out most of the section in which I register, quite forcefully, my opinion on the nature of online discourse surrounding the Israel-Palestine problem. I think that was the right route to go in terms of calming the post down from high dudgeon. But I do feel strongly about what I said, so I’m posting it here, on my personal blog. Read the rest of this entry »
In honor of Hannukah and Christmas, I offer you this holiday-themed poem by the great American poet Bob Folder. Like we have done, you may well wish to make it a permanent part of your family’s winter celebrations.
The Dancy Dance
I in all my lucky days
Have never danced inside my pants
Have never danced a dancie dance
Inside my little pantsie pants.
I in all the spooky fruit
That spun so slowly in my sleep
Have never dared to lift the sheet
And take a little peekie peek. Read the rest of this entry »
This poem, written in couplets, contains every word from the Oxford English Dictionary cloud of words which first appeared in Chaucer’s writing.
Praise this poetical monster, the magician Chaucer,
Over the crude and caterwauling dotards
Who, insolent and annoying, amble fattishly,
Blocking past from future possibility.
They twitter on, their work an endless proem,
Lacking the poignant misery of a poem;
The only thing they agree on is altercation,
The pinhead’s angel-like enumeration,
Or worse, they fashion melancholic proverbs
on womanhood, or praise the jolliness of poppets
In notes of maudlin intellectuality,
Each unconvincing word said superstitiously.
No, every fleshy dalliance should be praised,
Wantonly outshine the Milky Way,
An ablution, each nymph narcotic, never sluttish,
Her femininity earthy, my enchantress;
Each good-night be Valentine’s day.
Federico García Lorca is one of my favorite poets. I even followed his ghost to his city, Granada, Spain. There, I lived with my wife and a guitarist friend, in a cave in the Gypsy part of town Lorca visited so often while he lived, the Sacromonte.
On the occasion of his birthday, here is my translation of his poem, “La Guitarra,” which was used by Yale Prof. María Rosa Menocal in her lecture and monograph, “Poetry As An Act of History.” (She is also the author of the extraordinary book, “The Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Christians, and Jews Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain,” which I recommend without reservation.) Read the rest of this entry »
There has been a great deal of tension apparent between the U.S. and China, the former accusing the latter of repeated instances of electronic espionage and the latter fearing the former as an aggressive power in the mold of the Opium War powers.
Well, apparently the distrust between the two countries isn’t as deep as common wisdom says it is or the actors on each side are a bit less strident and uncooperative than they are thought to be, because last year the two countries staged online wargames with each other, according to reporting by the Guardian.
The games were designed “to help prevent a sudden military escalation between the sides if either felt they were being targeted.” Read the rest of this entry »
This is a story I got half-written before I realized the accounts I was reading referenced a story several years old. Still, it’s interesting so I finished it and here it is. You’re welcome.
The British defense and security company, BAE Systems, has announced “shear thickening liquid.” The name’s no great shakes but apparently, this is a gel that can stop a bullet. The liquid has been designed to provide armor that is much lighter and easier to wear than the traditional Kevlar fabric and ceramic plate outfit that is de rigeur among the world’s armed forces today. Read the rest of this entry »
The Svalbard Seed Vault, a global biodiversity storehouse for three-quarters of the world’s crop diversity, recently received a new shipment of seeds for 24,000 more species. This brings the hoard stored at the northern Norwegian facility dug out of the Arctic permafrost, to 740,000 seed types in a million-and-a-half samples. This is news, and good news.
But one aspect of it that has fascinated me is how closely the activities of the vault and its partner, the Global Crop Diversity Trust, parallel IT. In the Associated Press’ story on the new delivery, the writer said, “With the shipment from the Syria-based International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas, almost its entire collection is now backed up in Svalbard.” Read the rest of this entry »
I’ve left ReadWriteWeb, where I worked, on piece-work and freelance, for two years, in order to pursue my dreams of health insurance and unclenching my jaw.
For now, I’m fielding a gratifying number of inquiries about my next step. I will continue to write for The Christian Science Monitor, where lately I’ve covered technology, business, Africa and human rights in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia; as well as for a variety of other publications.
If you’d like to talk about other opportunities, feel free to contact me.
Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Sant, you monsters, Cymry and non alike.
St. David, Wales’s patron saint, was famous for inventing the scooter, the daffodil, rounding up all the snakes and sending them over to Ireland and tricking the Scottish into playing the bagpipes. So give thanks unto him.
By today, the daffodils are usually blooming and this year is no exception. So for me St. David’s Day always marks the start of that wonderful part of the year between pistol-kissing weather and the blooming of Satanic lung-weed.
In honor and imitation of Dewi Sant, may you ram a wad of leeks in your trousers. As was the custom at the time.
Photo by Bill Frazzetto