Monday, July 31, 2006
Sunday, July 30, 2006
1) Qana, Lebanon. Today more than 50 civilians were killed, including at least 37 children, when the building they were taking shelter in was bombed.
2) Condi Rice says she is filled with "deep sadness over this tragic loss of life." She should be, since she could have stopped the Israel attack on Lebanon with just a word.
3) Israel says this was, sadly, a mistake.
4) Some Canadian-related mistakes by the Israeli Defense Force in the past weeks: 7 Canadian tourists, all from the same family, killed when they were bombed while trying to escape Southern Lebanon. 1 Canadian U.N. Observer killed when the IDF bombed a U.N. Observation post. Still, Canadian leader Stephen Harper continues to support the military action. He seems to do whatever Bush wants him to do.
5) This isn't the first time people taking shelter in Qana have been bombed by the IDF. In 1996, a UN refugee centre in Qana was destroyed by the IDF, killing more than 100 civilians taking shelter there. I warn you, DO NOT do a Google image search about this. You will not like what you find.
6) Qana is considered by many to be the site where Jesus performed his first miracle, turning water to wine.
7) Hold your baby close to you.
Saturday, July 29, 2006
Friday, July 28, 2006
Monday, July 24, 2006
It was not before the glow of morning and the first bustle outside his town house that he fell asleep, that he found a half numbing, an inkling of sleep for a few moments. And in those moment he had a dream:
Kamala kept a small, rare songbird in a gold cage. He dreamed about this bird. He dreamed that this bird, which normally sang in the morning, had grown mute, and noticing this, he went over to the cage and peered inside. The little bird was dead, lying stiff on the bottom. He took it out, weighed it in his hand for a moment and then threw it away, out into the street---and at that same moment, he was terribly frightened, and his heart ached as if, with this dead bird, he had thrown away all value and all goodness.
Jumping up from this dream, he felt a profound sadness. He had, it seemed to him, been leading a worthless life, worthless and senseless; no living thing, no precious thing, nothing worth keeping had remained in his hands. He stood alone and empty like a castaway on a shore....
Now Siddhartha knew that the game was done, that he could play no longer. A shudder ran through his body: inside him, he felt, something had died....
That same hour of night Siddhartha left his garden, left the town, and never came back. For a long time Kamaswami, who thought he had fallen into the hands of highwaymen, sent out men to look for him. But Kamala sent no one to look for him. When she learned Siddhartha had disappeared, she was not surprised. Had she not always expected it? Was he not a samana, a homeless wanderer, a pilgrim?....
When she heard the first news of Siddhartha's disappearance, she stepped over to the window, where she kept a rare songbird in a gold cage. She opened the door of the cage, took out the bird, and let it fly. She watched and watched it, the flying bird.
--from Siddhartha, by Herman Heese
Saturday, July 22, 2006
As all the nations struggle to get their citizens out of Lebanon, what about the Lebanese themselves?
Sojourners editor Jim Rice offers an excellent column on the crisis and what folks can do. Go to the original to read the whole thing in context, which is more nuanced than this excerpt I've selected:
"....But Israel's use of military attacks in response to acts of terror raises many questions. The most important, perhaps, revolves around the issue of legitimate self defense vs. collective punishment. Israel is indeed surrounded by sworn enemies, including many who are demonstrably willing to violently destroy Israel. But does the real need for security justify the massively disproportionate response to an act of terror? Is the collective punishment of an entire population ever morally and ethically justified?...."
Above: Scenes from Lebanon. A woman flees on the road to Syria. A man surveys the damage.
Friday, July 21, 2006
I could list the errors in this taco hunting story, but why bother? (Ok, just one: Pico Union can only be considered "across town" from East LA if you're running from a bunch of vatos who are trying to jump you.) It still does a decent job covering just a tiny sampling of the taquerias on the California coast...now that's my idea of a dream assignment! The reporter missed Tacos Morenos in Santa Cruz, which is the real deal. But Taqueria Vallarta isn't bad either. I keep hoping to find just one great taqueria in Toronto, but no luck so far. The reporter even discovers a taqueria in Pescadero! (What is this, "Pescadero Week" on Alma's Soulfood?)
Here's a clip from The New York Times article:
Having barebacked it sans gringo toppings all the way from Los Angeles, I decide to indulge my American peccadilloes and load them up with guacamole, sour cream and cheese. In the Mission, this is called the “super taco.”
Three carnitas are placed neatly shell to shell. At first blush, San José’s, filled to the breaking point with rice and beans, looks doomed. La Taqueria’s is clearly the looker — fresh ingredients folded gingerly into a wax paper pocket. But scraping aside the mound of rice on the San José taco, I am blown away. The pork is charred perfectly — crispy on the edges, with a center so sweet it brings a tear to the ojo.
The photo above comes from a taco blog, which covers the "Los Angeles Taco Scene":
Yes, we taco lovers are that into it.
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
But over the years I became disillusioned with them, starting when I made a trip to Nicaragua in 1985 and learned that living in a revolutionary state perhaps wasn't all it was cracked up to be.
Still, I remember how in the early 80s how the Sandinista revolution was really a sign of hope that poor people could free themselves from bondage and oppression and work together to build a new society. Who knows how it all might have turned out if it hadn't happened during the hottest years of the Cold War, when Reagan and the Soviets all had their hands in what happened in Central America.
Just today I am surprised to read in Wikipedia that it was the KGB that originally started the FSLN (Sandinista National Liberation Front). Is this true? Of course, that is what the Republicans claimed throughout the 80s, but is it now confirmed? Does it make a difference to all of those who died for the liberation of Nicaragua? Did any of it make a difference?
(By the way, I believe the answer to this last question is "yes," but sometimes I have to wonder.)
Monday, July 17, 2006
This week it's been one year since we moved into our place. Having grown up in California, having four distinct seasons is one of the most exotic things about living in Toronto. Many of the old timers say that even here in Toronto the seasons aren't what they used to be. Could global warming be muting the seasonal differences? Apparently in Canada's far north global warming is having a serious effect. In Toronto I already notice the seasonal changes aren't as dramatic as when I first moved here. I hope it's just a short-term trend and not a sign of permanent environmental damage. It would be a terrible loss.
Above: One year of our views, clockwise, from top left: Spring, Winter, Summer, Fall
Sunday, July 16, 2006
I abhor the idea of being buried in a cemetery, but if I had to be, Pescadero is one place I could possibly tolerate it happening.
By the way, "Pescadero" means "fisherman" in Spanish, which will give you an idea of who likely founded this village.
Here's the satellite link.
Cousin Geoffrey (who is actually Wendy's cousin and "first cousin once removed" to Amado) stopped by on his North American tour and spent the night on Friday. We had a great Indian dinner, a fantastic Canadian breakfast (complete with soy sausage --- "good for the heart, eh"), and a lot of just plain fun. It is so great to see him after several years in Korea teaching English, where, sadly, he's returning to in a couple of weeks. (Our loss...no, Canada's loss.) Suffice to say we would love it if he came back for good, but no pressure man.
Cousin Geoffrey Fun Fact #1:
In the early 90s, Geoffrey was once a member of a band called "The Condiments" which caused the girls to swoon throughout Hamilton's Hess Village. And, no, they didn't play salsa.
(Gulab-jamun is a fantastic Indian dessert of "brown milk balls served with rose water syrup." Of course, we gave Uncle-Cousin Geoffrey-san whatever he desired during his visit for dinner.)
Saturday, July 15, 2006
Friday, July 14, 2006
Thursday, July 13, 2006
If I were in New York, and say my daughter was away at summer camp or something, I would go see this show of the photography of Atta Kim at the International Center of Photography.
An article in the New York Times says, "although Mr. Kim is careful to assert that he is not a practicing Buddhist, core Buddhist concepts shape the new work. One is the notion that change, or transience, is the only concrete reality, and that time as a quantifiable, linear entity is a mirage. All time and no time are the same. A couple making love for an hour is a cloud of luminosity."
(That's the picture at the top. I don't think the lower picture is included in this show, but it's cool anyway.)
(P.S. In case anyone wondered and can't tell from the picture, those are little plastic Buddhas surrounding the little boy on the shore. Just in case you wondered.)
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
I'm impressed by the amount of organization this must have taken, right down to the sailboat and the black dog. But what, couldn't they find a monkey? (See the monkey in the original at the feet of the woman with the umbrella?) People just don't pay attention to detail like they once did.
Once again, I found this via the blog of blogs, Heading East (http://www.mexicanpictures.com/headingeast/). I have to give Mr. Gutierrez his due props (or is that his "props due" ?)
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
...in fact, zero. But that doesn't mean Amado doesn't make his thoughts known. He laughs, cries, coos, and screams. And he is also very expressive non-verbally as well: holding his arms spread wide when he wants to be picked up, and kicking and stomping his left leg to show his dissatisfaction with something, like when daddy leaves him alone in his play chair and blogs on the Internet. (Actually, I am holding the little guy in my arms right now!)
Above: Amado whispers sweet nothings into a stuffed elephant's ear.
Sunday, July 09, 2006
Also, what in the world could Zidane have been thinking??? I've never seen a bigger snap in a bigger player in a bigger game in my life!
Saturday, July 08, 2006
The Torre Latinoamericana is in the heart of Mexico City. I'm not sure when it was built, but it looks to be at least 40 years old, meaning it's withstood several big earthquakes. Still, I don't think I'll ever be taking a trip up to the observation deck. Note that unlike contemporary skyscrapers, it has windows which can be opened all the way up.
Thanks for indulging me as I take some of my snapshots from our trip to Mexico in 2003 and see what I can do to them using PhotoShop. I think I made some of them more interesting...but is it art?
Friday, July 07, 2006
I've forgotten why Wendy had to get the masks. It may have been during the time she worked in the addiction centre at St. Joseph's Hospital (which I guess would have been cause for concern). We took this picture to send out to family and friends just to show that we were doing ok and taking all the necessary precautions: Wendy wore the surgical mask when needed. I--obviously--was too cool to catch the disease.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
1) Hamid Sardar
I'm on the run again today, but I thought the least I could do is share some utterly amazing photographs of Hamid Sardar (Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Tibet), again via one of my favourite blogs, Heading East.
2) Miss American Pie
There's a nice review in The New York Times of Margaret Sartor's diary, Miss American Pie, which records her teenage years in Louisiana through the early 1970s. It may just be a book geared for the blog-era when otherwise sane people believe that the daily noting of life's minutiae is somehow important or meaningful (um, see below), but nevertheless the review includes samples like this which caught my eye:
"At dinner, Daddy said, 'I'm confident life will never be dull for you.' Then he gave me a calculator."
I just caught the overtime periods of the World Cup game of Italy vs. Germany yesterday. The Italian goals to win it in the final minutes were totally exhilarating and a perfect example of why millions of people around the world love the intense tension-and-release of the game of soccer. St. Clair Street in Toronto has been shut down most of the night with celebrations. Viva Italia!
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Monday, July 03, 2006
Sunday, July 02, 2006
Above: Shogo Kubo, one of the most underrated of Dogtown's Z-Boyz. (Click on the photo to enlarge it.) One of my favourite skates back in the day was a red air-beam Shogo model put out by Dogtown Skates. I snapped it in half somewhere, I think at Derby Park in Santa Cruz doing aerials off the hump.
Those were the days.
Saturday, July 01, 2006
Today is Canada Day. I'm not usually the type who pays much attention to the artificial boundaries of nation states (unless it has to do with the World Cup or the World Baseball Classic), but I have to say that I am proud to live in Canada, even though I'm not a citizen yet.
Canada is certainly not a perfect country (those born here tend to see this more clearly than I do), but in many ways it is trying to take steps in the right direction---such as offering health care for all, legalizing gay marriage, being open to immigration, being cautious about participating in the "war on terror," and many other things.
Perhaps these positions can be taken because Canada only has a population of about 30 million people and it is so rich compared to many other parts of the world. I think sometimes people here don't recognize the pressures and real dangers that people in other countries (including the United States) face which causes them to take the positions they do. But there is also something deep within Canada culture and heritage that compels us to err toward compassion in every area except the hockey rink. This tendency is eroding as Canada becomes ever more Americanized and complex, but at least from my perspective it is still pretty strong. This year, I hope to take the step to full citizenship and make a commitment to "stand on guard" for Canada and help build a culture of even greater kindness.
Did you know I will have to take an oath to Queen Elizabeth? Yes, it's true.