March 4th, 2001


majorly webcammy...

Was changing channels and came across MSNBC... they are doing a full 30 minute show on webcams called "Look at Me: The Webcam Explosion". They just had Ana on... love her braids!

There are 4 million webcams out there currently... and they expect 32 million out there by the end of 2002. Eek.

A Death in Gaza... or what's wrong with Israel.

A still video image from a French news crew, taken last September... in this case, of a frightened Palestinian boy, Mohammed Aldura, hiding behind his father Jamal. In the middle of running errands, the two of them were forced to seek cover from Israeli military, who were tracking down Palestinian protesters... a few seconds after this picture, Mohammed was gunned down, his father Jamal seriously wounded.

Almost immediately, the Israeli government tried putting a spin on the story. They claimed in the media that Mohammed was most likely killed by a Palestinian policeman and not by IDF fire, a statement refuted by the camera crew that witnessed the scene. The bullets in question came from an Israeli military weapon, apparently...

Well, looks like MSNBC is having a poll of last year's best pictures... and this picture is nominated. The picture was in first place on their poll, but an e-mail campaign from an Israeli diplomat, Meirav Eilon Shahar, has changed that. "To us, this photograph epitomizes everything tragic about the present violence: Children led into the cross fire by their own parents for publicity purposes," reads his e-mail.

This caring, benevolent humanitarian has urged Jewish Americans to change the vote and keep the picture from winning. It's worked. The winning picture so far?

I am very strongly against nazis, neo-nazis, and how incredibly wrong the Holocaust was, but why is it that we allow Israel to shape the media coverage we give to the Palestinian issue? Do you even know how Palestine became Israel in the first place?

Palestine was, prior to World War I, part of Turkey. Turkey chose the wrong side, however, in that war. During the course of the war, England (and most notably Lawrence of Arabia) made an alliance with the most powerful and/or willing Arab leaders, basically telling them that if they helped the British against the Turks, Britain would see to it that they got to run everything afterwards. Well, Lawrence of Arabia succeeded in gathering from several top leaders, and with their help, conquered much of the Arabian part of Turkey, present day Israel, Syria, etc.

So, how were these territories divided to these leaders? Well, the British got out a map and drew the borders, doling out land to a whole cavalcade of sheiks and emirs, and essentially creating governments run by "royal families" ...a.k.a. dictators for life. For years, the Jewish people had wanted a homeland, so the British Government decided on a long term plan to let the Jewish people settle in Palestine. Jewish settlers started flocking to Palestine from Europe during the time before World War II, and after World War II and the Holocaust, the situation was finally right where the passage of a U.N. declaration to found Israel could be completed.

Due largely to pressure from Jewish American groups, the United States emerged as the most aggressive proponent of partitioning Palestine. The United States got the U.N. General Assembly to delay a vote, allowing for the government to bring several Latin American republics in line with its own views. Some U.N. delegates charged U.S. officials with 'diplomatic intimidation.' Clearly, without pressure from the United States on numerous small governments, the resolution wouldn't have passed. Even though the Jewish people owned less than 10 percent of the land in Israel, they were established as the sole ruling body. At the time, Israel wasn't as large as it is today, but after a series of wars, they expanded their territory, essentially taking over all of Palestine.

If the place where you lived was taken from you, if your country was disarmed, if the places where you lived were turned into a ghetto, and if you were turned into a second-class citizen in your own nation, would you want to fight back? If so, how? Would you seriously try attacking a trained, disciplined, better armed military force with poorly armed civilians, or would you work secretly so that you couldn't be reported by the secret police and imprisoned for years?

Why are Americans, who don't mind portraying the French Resistance as a bunch of heroes who were willing to sacrifice their lives, so willing to consider Arabs as evil terrorists? How is it that the Afghanis, who were once considered "Freedom Fighters" when they were killing Russians, have now become a bunch of evil, nasty Taliban, taking back their country, setting up Islamic law, blowing up statues of Budda, and armed to the teeth with our weapons? We sure know how to back the right horse... and sometimes, such as during the Iran/Iraq war, we back both sides of the fight. After all, it might be too close to call, and it served our interests at the time to kill as many Iranians and Iraqis as possible. We sold a lot of weapons and got a lot of cheap oil, too!

Did you ever see the cartoon where Daffy Duck sold gadgets to both Foghorn Leghorn and the dog in order for them to play tricks on each other? Well, the U.S. government does the same thing... the only difference is that our weapons kill people. People we want them to kill, otherwise we wouldn't be so willing to let others have them. Whenever there is a foaming-at-the-mouth right wing leader to support, an indigineous population to suppress, or a chance for an American multinational to exploit overseas workers, we're there, ready to offer M-16s... for a price.

Ssssh. Be quiet about it. It's all part of the master plan...

As much respect as I have for the Jewish people, it should be obvious that Israel is, was, and always will be a sham. It shouldn't exist. If the U.S. wanted it so bad, they should have given the Jewish people Wyoming instead of giving away something that wasn't theirs to offer. That's not saying that Jewish people shouldn't have been allowed to settle in Palestine peacefully, but a Jewish state at the expense of the Palestinians? Israel is as artificial as the Crusades were... an antiquated, middle-ages idea to conquer the same plot of land. It took 400 years for The Crusades to fail, but their failure was inevitable. When it came down to it, the Europeans had no business being there.

Eventually, there will be nothing particularly Jewish about Israel... either Israel will be bred out out existence, with the Jewish Israelis combining their culture with the numerically superior Arabs, until all that is left in a thousand years are Arabs... or Israel will disappear in 15 minutes, and all that will be left is dead cities and melted glass.

As for me, all I can say is that the picture I'm voting for isn't going to be a damned puppy dog.

posts like this piss me off...

Well, I dared to say it...

In my last post, I said:
"...a place that makes dark, sultry (dare I say gothic?!) clothing exclusively for the more curvacious female, sizes 14 and up..."

Only to get this response from a woman, barely 20 years old :
"The word is GOTH not gothic. I am not some fancy-schmancy building in Europe with flying butresses, OKAY!!! Sheesh! Get it right people!!!"

I mentioned that the term originally used was, in fact, gothic, and it applied to the music/fashion movement, not the archetectural movement... It was the phrase that was used to describe the movement originally, and that I knew this to be the case, as I was actually alive at the time. I also said "Yes, it doesn't make sense. The world doesn't make sense... Get used to it."

Only to get this response:
"Yeah, I (was alive), here in so cal where it started! The term is GOTH."

Cough! **history lesson!** Cough!
Yes, without those great Los Angeles bands like Bauhaus, Joy Division, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Cure, The Sisters of Mercy, The Damned, etc... we might have never had the GOTH movement.

Let's face it... the movement grew out of the effects of the European (and especially, the British) punk movement. It was sort of a obvious side effect, I'd think, of the emphasis that the punk movement put on fetish clothing, etc. It wasn't much of a coincidence that Malcolm McClaren's fetish clothing store "Sex", in London, started selling punk clothes... and that some of the punks would naturally take on the trappings of the fetish movement, essentially creating a different style of wardrobe.

As for the music, it came about on the tail end of the punk movement. Punk had moved towards the mainstream masses; the gothic movement was in many ways the "art school" intellectualist response to the Punk movement. Early gothic music was influenced by depression, by the grey, stark environment of "life on the dole" England, out of stark, disillusionned places like Manchester, out of fetish clothing, out of the German surrealist movement... a whole grab bag of influnces. It was absolutely not born out of Los Angeles, however.

Frankly, the whole issue of the term "gothic" would be pretty amusing if it weren't so irritating. It is little wonder that just about every band that was considered a founding band in the gothic movement has disavowed their past. They don't want to be pigeonholed. Just like I don't want to be pigeonholed...

Yes, the term, as it was originally used, is gothic, but I'm willing to settle on color impaired. ;)

That reminds me... I no longer want to be referred to as a white male. There are more females than males in this world, and far more people with more pigmentation than I. I demand to be called "a member of the pigment-impaired minority sex".

Vend your wares elsewhere while I discuss matters of interest, thank you very kindly...

A beautifully wet evening...

I finished my last cigarette (yes, I smoke, albeit sparingly. It took me about 2 months to finish a pack of cloves) so I threw on what was available... which, since the laundry is in the process of being washed, was a blue dress shirt, leather pants, and a big black trenchcoat... and trudged off to the nearby liquor store. It rained unsparingly, cleansing my mood, heightening my senses, and soaking my hair, which has grown long and tousled.

I reached the local store, stepping in to find the place deserted, with the exception of the store owner, a northern Indian Sikh, eyes closed, face in a state of bliss, listening to a piece of music that was obviously a spiritual tract... long and intricate... beautiful and emotive.

I felt awkward, breaking his trance, walking up to the counter with Guinness, asking for cloves and a lighter. His face was still in bliss.

"Hello, my friend." he said, radiantly beaming. I returned his courtesy, slapped down a twenty, asking for cloves.

"Here... no here.. these ones are better!" he grinned, ringing me up...

I took my change, bid him goodbye, and headed back through the rain to my porch, where I smoked a clove and thought...

The world is so beautiful... but mostly at the borders and edges where cultures meet and intertwine... remove the artificial borders of states and principalities, and you are left with people and lands, flowing into each other... the way Europe influences the Balkans, influenced by the Turks... blending into the Arabs... the Arabs blending into Africa and into India... and the way that their culture blends into Southeast Asia...the way that Laos blends into Thai blends into Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Hawaiian, and the way that all of the cultures of the world blend into where I live... a city made up of industrious people from around the world... Hispanics, who had settled in San Jose and San Francisco before the arrival of the United States, Chinese who came to build the railroads across America and who fled from mainland China after the communists took power, Japanese who settled in the early 1900s, Blacks who were lured to the docks of the Bay Area in World War II who built the ships that won the war, Southeast Asians that fled all that they knew in search of a place where they could live in peace, Indians and Pakistanis and Koreans and people from all around the world, coming to take part in the new economy...

I may leave this area one day, but if I do, I will miss that... the way that so many people from so many places can get along so well, yet have their own distinct, special communities. If you come to visit the Bay Area, be sure to visit more than a bridge or a tower... be sure to visit the people as well. We're mixed and stirred together, but you can sense the ebbs and flows... all the more flavor, I think.
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