So apparently the apocalypse begins tomorrow with the Solar Eclipse. Wonder if Gilding’s Emergency Hurrican Kit is equipped for the apocalypse…?
In truth, Indian astrologers are predicting violence and turmoil across the world will result of tomorrows solar eclipse — which the superstitious and religious view as a sign of potential doom.
In Hindu mythology, two demons, Rahu and Ketu, are said to “swallow” the sun during the eclipse, snuffing out its life-giving light and causing food to become inedible and water undrinkable. Wonder what the mythos has to say about the two demons regurgitating the sun?
Pregnant women are advised to stay indoors, preventing impending birth defects, while praying and fasting and ritual bathing, particularly in holy rivers, are encouraged. You know, Gilding read once that India, per capita, has the most birth defects resulting in severe physical mutations (i.e. Cyclops Baby, the Khan Family, Devendra Harne, and the other half a million babies born in India each year with birth defects).
And while families in India are doing every thing they can to have their June 22nd scheduled caesarian’s rescheduled for any day but that day, astrologers are predicting that with this deeply rooted belief in Indian society, there will be a rise in communal and regional violence in the days that follow the eclipse, particularly in India, China and other Southeast Asian nations — where the eclipse will be seen on Wednesday morning. Why does it have to be violence? Think about it, with such a “cataclismic” event in your belief about to happen, why would you want to react to choas with choas? Isn’t that a bit ironic — or would that be moronic?
One astrologer, Raj Kumar Sharma, has even predicted that some sort of terrorist attack and a natural disaster shall result of the eclipse. To be more specific, he predicts that an Indian political leader could be killed, increasing tensions between the West and Iran, escalating into possible US military action after Saturn moves from Leo into Virgo. For the non-astrology following, that’s “what’s your sign” speak for September.
Sharma says, “The last 200 years, whenever Saturn has gone into Virgo there has been either a world war or a mini world war,” he told AFP.
But, while one astrologer warns of evil portent with Wednesday’s upcoming eclipse, Siva Prasad Tata, who runs the Astro Jyoti website, writes that while eclipses, and their subsequent wacky pull on nature, are a natural phenomenon, there is an upside. During the period of the eclipse, the opposite attracting forces are very powerful, and from a spiritual point of view, that makes for good worshipping juju.
Related Article: Yahoo News– Solar eclipse pits superstition against science
“It was shortly after the “hot body” contest and just before a painted procession of Chinese opera singers took the stage that the police threatened to shut down China’s first gay pride festival. The authorities had already forced the cancellation of a play, a film screening and a social mixer, so when an irritated plainclothes officer arrived at the Saturday afternoon gala and flashed his badge, organizers feared the worst.”
It was an American teacher, Hannah Miller, who helped put together the weeklong festival, and it was this same teacher who commenced the impromptu sidewalk meeting with said irritated police officer to negotiate what became a “crisis averted” and the first ever Shanghai Pride Week.
In the 12 years since homosexuality was decriminalized, the delicately orchestrated series of private events revealed how far China’s gay community has come, and how far it still has to go. And though there has been an unmistakable blossoming of the gay community in China, antigay violence is virtually unheard of.
So Mr. Gilding is particularly up in arms about this newest cinema development, and even Gilding has to agree that his outrage isn’t the ramblings of a crazed artist, but is in fact justified.
M Night Shyamalan has taken up filming the wildly popular animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender, originally a Nickelodeon show. The show, of which Shyamalan’s film is based, featured Asian characters in a fantasy setting inspired by and following some cultural aspects of a variety of Asian cultures. The characters fight with East Asian martial arts style, have Asian features, dress in clothing from Asian cultures, and write with Chinese characters. In short, it was an inspiring cartoon for many Asian American children as it broke from the predominantly white American media. The Gilded Duo’s own niece and nephews found a particular kinship with the animated series being that the characters looked like them and held to many of the Asian traditions that they themselves grow up in, even living in America.
But on December 9th, 2008 the lead roles were cast for Shyamalan’s upcoming film The Last Airbender and all of them were cast as white actors. That started a barrage of protests, from the creation of websites like RACEBENDING.COM to outraged blog posts like the one written by Margaret Cho.
And to add insult to injury, here’s some comparison pics for you:
Above, the characters from the animated series: Katara and Sokka, siblings from the peaceful and oppressed Water Tribe; and Zuko, prince of the tyrannical and genocidal Fire Fire Nation.
Above, the most recent casting form the film: Nicola Peltz as Katara, Jackson Rathbone as Sokka, and Dev Patel as Zuko (though originally the role of Zuko was cast as Jesse McCartney, a blond haired, blue-eyed pop singer).
Gilding has to agree with the ensuing protests. Movie houses have been notoriously spoken of in Asian communities for their inaccuracy in casting Asian specific roles with any ole Asian culture — such as casting Korean of Thai extras to play the parts of Vietnamese actors in Vietnam War era films — you know, because hiring locals of the film’s location is so much easier than actually hiring Vietnamese people, showing no understanding of the cultural relativeness that they are all different peoples and don’t look as much alike as they think they do. While this is most certainly a slight, casting white for Asian is a serious offense.
Efforts to stop or delay the film’s production until casting is changed to accurately reflect the culturally relevant necessity of casting Asians for Asian roles is underway. Petitions are circulating; even one available at RACEBENDING.COM. Paramount, and other movie houses, need to understand that perpetuating stereotypes and denying the cultures of the world are not acceptable. The message being sent is that being Asian isn’t OK, it’s somehow less. That’s not the message Gilding wants sent to her niece and nephews.
There are some amazing responses by Asian Americans on Margaret Cho’s blog that Gilding encourages reading.
Photographer Valeri Kochergin has traversed the harsh whorl of Kola Peninsula to photograph [above and below] its ice and snow covered terrain. Technically speaking, the photographs aren’t that spectacular, but the content within them is pretty eye goggling.
The Kola Peninsula is flanked on the west end with two mountain ranges: the Khibiny Mountains and the Lovozero Tundra. The whole of the peninsula is covered with many fast-moving rivers with rapids, as well as a few major rivers, all of which are important habitats for the Atlantic Salmon. Because the last ice age removed the top sediment layer of the soil, the surface of the peninsula is extremely rich in various ores and minerals.
During the Soviet period, the peninsula’s main port, Murmansk, was a significant submarine production center and remains home to the Russian Northern fleet. But Kola Peninsula as a whole has suffered major ecological damage, mostly as a result from the military — mostly naval — production, as well as from industrial mining of apatite. Today, about 250 nuclear reactors produced by the Soviet military, remain on the peninsula. Though no longer in use, they still generate radiation and leak radioactive waste.
Looking at these pictures, it hard to imagine anyone being able to live in an environment like this. Still, the Sami peoples now heard reindeer across much of the region, and recreational fisheries have developed with remote lodges and camps hosting sport-fisherman throughout the summer months. on Kola Cape, its flanking Hibini mountains have given the region a travel twist offering ski lifts and trails around now abandoned Soviet structures.
And what would a blogging trip into Russia be if we didn’t have at least a small snippet on some bit of Russian architecture. Russia’s churches are unique in that there really aren’t any of the Goth persuasion, unlike their popular brethren in much of Europe. Preferring to stay faithful to their architectural design, many of the Russian Orthodox churches carry elements of Eastern churches from Bysantium — or modern day Turkey — from where the church’s orthodoxy originated.
However, it was on occassion that Russian architects combined elements together with their traditional architecture that were reminiscent of Europes famous gothic cathedrals, resulting in structures, such as the one, above that have so been labeled Pseudo-goth churches. How pretty. (Source)
And this surreal image just had to be posted. According to English Russia, this photo was one of the most famous shots taken by Russian photographers during Worl War II. In the background are the ruins of Stalingrad — the city where most of the heavy city battles took place. It is here that some historians say that the Nazi invasion of Russia broke down.
The monument itself is a bit odd, depicting Russian children dancing around a crocodile. You can see the traces of bullets on the statues, leaving their bodies dappled with holes. And even in black and white, its amazing to be able to see the flames of the burning building in the background.
After the war the momument was rebuilt even before the surrounding buildings. And while Russia has some bizarre statues around and about, Gilding is interested to know what exactly was the meaning behind the composition of this statue. Kids playing Gilding gets. Kids playing around a crocodile, not so much?
What’s a little female subjugation in advertising when it’s promoting protien rich milk. Seriously! Nothing like cum inspired milk ads to have you saying, “Milk. It does the body good.” Larger version of the images can be seen here. Wonder if it would be inappropriate to frame copies of these to hang up as a decorative backsplash in the kitchen. Hmmmm…
Earlier last week, Russian media reported on medical wierdness as a man from the Russian city Izhevsk went to doctors for a medical consultation after experiencing severe pain in his chest. X-rays had doctors believing that the patient had a tumor in his lungs, prompting them to perform surgery. What the tumor revealed when opened was so strange it left the doctor so befuddled he called in his assistant to confirm what his eyes were seeing. “There was a fir tree,” the doctor told russian journalists, “but very little, it was just a few centimeters (about one inch) tall growing through his lungs.”
The tree was removed and sent to labs for tests to determine how the fir could have grown there. (Source)
The children of the multi-Oscar winning and $300 million earning film Slumdog Millionaire have yet to be able to escape their station in the caste system of India as they and their families still live in abject poverty in the dregs of Mumbai.
Director Danny Boyle had made claims that the families would be given apartments and that trusts were set up for the children to be turned over to them when they completed school. Some six weeks after the Oscars, the families remain living in the slums — one child’s family lives under a tarp while another’s still has raw sewage running directly in front of her family’s ramshackle shack. The families say no one has contacted them and the financial support provided by producers has barely extended past the meager acting fees initially paid.
Past controversies around the children’s treatment has focused on the children’s meager incomes, each having been paid less than $3,000.
James Nye at Barcroft Media writes:
Dressed in the most expensive clothes they had ever worn, Slumdog Millionaire’s child stars thought their life of poverty and deprivation was over after the film’s haul of eight Oscars. They had been promised new homes, money and an education. But six weeks after being flown to Hollywood and lavished with praise Rubina Ali and Azharuddin Ismail feel angry, bitter and betrayed.
Mention the name of Danny Boyle, once seen as the hero who would rescue them from the slums, and disappointment is etched across the face of the two children plucked from poverty to star in his hit film. ..
While it is arguable that its not the producers responsibility to purchase the families apartments, or set up trust funds, or pay for the children’s education, the argument becomes moot when those are the exact things the producer himself guarenteed to give. At the least, he made a verbal contract, whether the families knew or understood that. Furthermore, the verbal contract was sealed with millions of witnesses as the Director Danny Boyle made the verbal proclomation in the records of public press at the time of the Oscars.
Just because you can get away with that kind of shitty treatment because you’re in another country that allows this kind of abject poverty for even its children in a social and religious system that justifies it, doesn’t mean you — who are not of that faith or society — should be allowed to. This isn’t an arguement for cultural relativism, for if it was, then for the sake of that sociological ethic those children wouldn’t have been cast in the film to begin with. But the producers own actions set a bad precedent. Don’t believe, then take for example since the film’s huge sucess, nine-year old Rubina Ali recently earned thousands for shooting a soft drink commercial with Nicole Kidman — a fair slightly better than her filming comrade has gotten, but certainly its not the fair value of stock, advertising rights, and overall gross payment that an American child would have received.
Perhaps enough bad press will pressure the producers to keeping their end of the contractual promise they made to these families and to the media they so proclaimed their bleeding hearts to.
What If by xkcd
A British teenager is saved from his attempted drug overdose after an American girl he was talking to on Facebook raised the alarm.
The 16-year old from Oxfordshire had sent her a message on the social networking site suggesting he intended to commit suicide. Although she had no idea where he lived, the girl told her mother, who called local police. The police then called a “special agent” at the White House, the British Embassy in Washington, and finally the police control room in Abingdon. Staff narrowed down his location and eight possible addresses — the boy was found in the fourth house tried.
The boy, who has not been named, made a full recovery after hopsital treatment.
Now that’s a tale of social responsibility that makes Gilding’s heart warm.
Link: BBC News UK
This professor illuminates an interesting argument over a trend that he noticed among his students. As a fellow student as well as a professional tutor and assistant to disabled students, Gilding has to say, she sits at an interesting perch in the matter.
Kurt Wiesenfeld is a physicist, teaching at Georgia Tech in Atlanta. He begins his argument with the recount of his folly at returning to his office the day after final grades were posted. The bombardment begins, students call, leave messages, email, and beg and implore in person with stories of woe to explain their reason for flunking his class. Their explanations soon take a change in direction as they attempt to guilt the professor with threats that they will lose their scholarship, flunk out, and for some, cease to have a reason to exist if he doesn’t change their grade.
It is at the point that Wiesenfeld, flabbergasted at this response, begins to wonder, with great alarm, when it was that this indifference to grades as an indication of personal effort and performance became a thing to which it is subject to the rules of commodoties; he the broker and they the disgruntled consumer.
Sure, we’ve all met the tough grader, but Wiesnefeld is correct in his assessment that grades are supposed to be an indication of your performance and effort, not that which you could potentially be. But, as Wiesenfeld also makes argument with, in the age of “gold stars for effort and smiley faces for self-esteem” our educational pool is becoming saturated with this “erosion of quality control.” Students are able to obtain degrees not on approriate grades given for actual accomplishments, but by pulling enough partial and extra credit — in other words, getting breaks in grades. And this is what we are flooding our professional market with, these misfits of misfortune eroding our academic standards and multiplying the half-assed work product in the outside world.
And this sad and scary truth isn’t restricted to certain majors. Its across the board. Think about that the next time you see your doctor or the next time you drive over a bridge or sit in a stadium. Did the person that built that steel and concrete monstrosity or prods you with needles and tongue sticks earn that grade, or were they passed through with smiley faces and partial credit.
Gilding wonders if those brain children of the 80′s who decided that self-esteem was the purpose of curriculum saw this coming — this erosion in academic standards. Furthermore, are they the same stupid people that we allowed to institute standardized testing in schools across the nation. Didn’t they learn when, also in the 80′s, researchers and psychologists discovered that the IQ test was biased and inappropriate as a measure of standards. And why standards? Why do we push our children to being standard and not excellent. And why do we not provide them with excellence to learn from. Wasn’t that the constitutional reason we made education free to all, why we started a public school system.
Anyway, here’s the article written by Wiesenfeld some years back for News Week. But sadly, his purposed rant is still relevant.
Director Kazuya Sasahara will be directing a 12 episode adaptation of Motofumi Kobayashi’s anthropomorphic animal told military history manga Cat Shit One, released in North America as Apocalypse Meow. The anime series will update the setting of the original manga from the Vietnam War to modern military conflicts including the Iran Hostage Crisis.
In the original series, all the various nations involved in the Vietnam War are represented by an animal counterpart: the Vietnamese were portrayed as Cats (hence the name, Cat Shit One), Americans as rabbits, Arabs and other Middle Eastern as Camels, Russians as bears, etc. This aspect remains true for the anime adaptation, except that the protagonist rabbits have been updated from U.S. soldiers to employees of a private military company.
The series is designed as a serious and realistic modern war drama that just happens to star incredibly cute and cuddly animals.
Its obvious from the trailer the movies spectacular cinematic value. The animation is spot on, crisp in detail, soft and hazy when the fur is flying so to speak, and though the colors fall, obviously, in the neutral color palette, they’re still vibrant and beautiful, standing out against the sandy covered background.
But, now watch the trailer with the sound off and just pay attention to what you see. There is a disturbing quality to having cute, fluffy animals blowing eachother up, blood flying, and falling furry comrades laying dead in the destruction of bombs and bullets. Certainly that’s the point, for why else make them our furry forest friends armed with weapons of mass destruction, for trust that that’s what they are. They may only be carrying guns and bombs, and it may not be nuclear weapons that they’re shooting off, but that’s the point exactly. Look at just how much mass damage was done by creatures so small and weapons that fit in their own hands. How does Man seem to able to overlook such dire points when in the pursuit of its own greed or righteousness.
A Bangkok fireman was able to rescue an eight-year old autistic boy who had climbed on to a third-floor window ledge, by dressing in an unusual disguise. Donning the comic book super hero Spider-Man’s costume, the fireman coaxed the young boy from his dangerous perch after a remark by his mother for his passion for comic superheroes. The hero fireman rushed back to the station where he kept a Spider-Man costume in his locker. The site of Spider-Man offering him a glass of juice brought a smile to the boys face, to which he promptly threw himself into the arms of his superhero, police said.
The fireman normally uses the costume to liven up fire drills in schools.
Fighting for higher wages for women in Gujarat more than three decades ago, Ela Bhatt, 76, has since created India’s firts women’s bank, the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA). A Gandhian pragmatist for the New India, Mrs. Bhatt has built an empire of cooperatives run by women, all modeled after the Gandhian idea of self-sufficiency but also advancing modern ambitions.
With 500,000 member in western Gujarat State alone, the organization offers retirement accounts and health insurance, has lent working capital to entrepreneurs, has trained its member for jobs women wouldn’t normally hold, and offers classes focused on vocational learning. AS for SEWA’s bank, it has 350,000 depositors, and like most microfinance organization, its repayment rate is as high as 97 percent.
The raw emotion caught in the depths of their eyes is breathtaking, the colors bold and briliant, dramatic, in their natural lighting, and the composition poignant and thought provoking–heartwrenching even.
Following a six-month campaign, the Pakistani military has calimed victory over the Taliban in Bajuar, a nothern sliver of Pakistan’s tribal areas. According to Pakistan, the militants have suffered heavy losses and have been pushed over the border into Afghanistan. However, the heavy bombardment and troop concentration that the military has cited as its winning formula against militants in the tribal areas has brought with it the steep price of increased civilian casualties and alienated much of the population.
Astonishing how something so happy is at the same time so sad…
“The Jewish National Fund has opened a fortified playground in Sderot, Israel, where children can play safely away from rockets and mortar rounds…The 21,000-square-foot bunker of a recreation center has a small indoor soccer field, video games, fun-house mirrors, a climbing wall, rooms for birthday celebrations and $1.5 million worth of reinforced steel.
“The new recreation center has two rooms set aside for counseling and a staff of mental health workers. Emotional trauma among the young is an area of great focus in Israel and Gaza.”
My vagina is coming!
Have you seen my vagina of late?
It is dark, black and hairy
Iti is warm, lukewarm and sexy
It is the crucible of paradoxes:
It is both weak and strong
Soft and hard
It builds and destroys
It makes and breaks
It is sometimes the conqueror, sometimes
Men crave for it, but turn around and
My vagina is coming
In fact, it is already here
Here to sing a canticle to the world
Here to remind the world of its
It is the door through which all
~Afuba, Mfor Divine
The Vagina Poem
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and asha so that
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growling with enter living
sophisti with in pink
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