Monday, April 24, 2006

1. I stand corrected. Post-invasion Iraq is not all about death and destruction. The U.S. is taking part in construction as well. Indeed, they are building a fortress the size of the Vatican, 21 buildings on 104 acres, originally estimated to cost 1 billion dollars. Ladies and gentlemen: the U.S. Embassy in Iraq.

2. In recent years, it's been my experience that the more vulnerable the hardliners in Iran feel, the more social transgressions they allow. Although they are trying to put a somewhat gentle face on it, the recent clampdown on dress-code violators in Iran indicate to me that the hardliners are feeling more confident than ever.

I think it may be time for me to purchase my own Ahmadinejhad T-Shirt, you know, the one that has his image and the message We're All Gonna Die emblazoned on its front.

3. Now that gas prices are going through the roof, it may be a good time to learn something about the gas stations you are paying so much money to. This ranking chart for 2005 has some useful information. If you don't feel like clicking on the link, i'll at least tell you that according to their criterea, Exxon-Mobil is the worst of the worst, so avoid them if you can.

4. A correction to my previous post, Hadi Mirmiran was buried in Behesht Zahra cemetery's artist's plot in Tehran, and not in Esfehan as I originally thought he would be. Thanks to Siavash for leaving a link to these pictures of the funeral service. I didn't have any luck spotting my dad or any of his friends in the pictures, though I recognized one of the pall bearers as the brother of the deceased. Former President Khatami also issued a statement on Hadi Mirmiran's passing, which you can see here(in persian).

Friday, April 21, 2006

Yesterday, I heard the sad news that one of Iran's most talented architects, Seyed Hadi Mirmiran, lost his near decade long battle with cancer. He was one of the nicest, strongest people I ever met, and his passion for his work was so intense that eventhough he was bedridden for much of the last year, he had a room built inside his firm to accomodate his bed and medical supplies. That way he could still work and be right in the midst of it all. It was in this room that I last saw him. Raed, my mom and I went to visit him, and while we were all shaken at seeing how fragile he was, he himself didn't seem to notice and instead told us enthusiastically about all their latest projects.

I know it sounds like a cliche to say that he will be missed but not forgotten, but it is true.

His funeral will be in Esfahan, the city that he loved.

I send my condolences to all who cared for and were inspired by Seyed Hadi Mirmiran.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

1. UC Santa Cruz students chased military recruiters off of campus yesterday. It's quite a victory. Even the reactionary drudgereport took notice today and linked to the story. I think that is kind of a victory too. Freaking out the reactionaries, i mean.

2. An addendum to yesterday's post. When Sam Beckett lay dying, a friend asked him "What colour would you like your tombstone, Sam?" He replied, "Any colour... so long as it's grey." For more fun facts and choice quotes on Beckett, see this story from The Toronto Star.

3. John McCain--who, believe it or not, I kind of like--is introducing some idiotic legislation urging FIFA to ban Iran from the World Cup this summer. If Iranians don't get riled up over the prospect of war on their homeland, they certainly will come out in full force against any move against their national soccer team. Go to NIAC's page on the issue to take action. I also recommend that people contact FIFA directly.

Beckett and Bathrooms

1) "I can't Go On, I'll Go On"

Beckett's one hundredth birthday is in two days. The Irish are devoting a whole month of festivities to their native son. Seems like a good week to pick up some of his works. I recommend Malone Dies.

2) Bathroom Banter

In a toilett stall today, I saw this exchange written on the door:

A (in girly, decorative handwriting): "Forgive him, and then love him anyway"
B (all caps, written in rough strokes): "OH, SHUT UP"

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Watch this in One Hour

Reuters - Newsmaker debate: Iraq

Reuters is sponsoring a debate called Iraq: Is the Media Telling the Real Story. They are broadcasting the event live online. If you care to watch it, you can go here for the link. Raed is there as one of the participating bloggers.

Global Voices Online will archive the event and upload it to their site, so i will provide that link as soon as I have it.

Monday, April 03, 2006

1. Sue Pleming, writing for Reuters, opens her article about Rice and Straws surprise visit with a heart-warming story about how Rice slept on the floor of her aircraft so that jack straw could have a comfortable rest in her private cabin. Hey sue, instead of providing us with the gossipy details of their sleeping arrangements, how about some substantive reporting about straw and rice's attempts at strong-arming the Iraqis into appointing a leader that pleases US/UK?

2. All three of our Norouz fish died already. It happened after I cleaned their fishbowl and changed the water. Either the water was still too cold, or the filter had not taken out all the chlorine, or some soap remained in the dish. One or all of these factors I think contributed to their consecutive deaths: two of them we witnessed dying, which was actually traumatic, and the fat healthy one died over night. All of our attempts to resuscitate and save them didnt work.

Anyway, at least they died after the official end of the new year because despite all of my attempts to become a rational human being, i'm still a superstitious person.

The fish are outside now in a bowl, waiting to be devoured by the grumpy neighborhood cat. If he hasnt eaten them by tomorrow morning, i'll take them down to the waterfron t and give them a burial at sea.

3. Iranians of various backgrounds are explicitly saying no to U.S. monies that are being dangled in front them as bribes in exchange for their cooperation in the administration's plans for regime change in Iran. More on them later.