Gone on walkabout

So long and thanks for all the comments.  If I discover the meaning of life, the universe, etc., I will come back and let you know.

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Time to leave the blogosphere?

Getting busy. Things are happening too fast.  Maybe I’ll blog for 2 or 3 days more.

My first blog post was on Sunday, October 29, 2006 here:

Tsunami Mantras

Here are some mantras to help with the tsunami.  They come from a Mongolian living in the U.S.  We both have family in Japan; our family members are safe, but some of their friends are still unaccounted for.

The Mongolian has been posting these YouTube links on  Facebook, along with links to news updates. (If you think its interesting, and you’re on Facebook, you might try a “friend” request.)

An explanation of the mantras:

Japanese believe the first historical “tsunami” – Mongol invasion was reverted by the meditation and chanting
Dalai Lama recommended this sutra

From the Dalai Lama‘s Facebook page:

…His Holiness felt it would be very good if Japanese Buddhists were to recite the Heart Sutra on this occasion. Such recitation may not only be helpful for those who have lost their precious lives, but may also help prevent further disasters in the future. Prayers to recite the Heart Sutra one hundred thousand times were being organized in Dharamsala for this purpose.

The Heart Sutra

般若心経 The Heart Sutra (5:01)(The language in the scroll looks to me like Chinese.)

Buddhist Chant – Heart Sutra (Japanese) Hannya Shingyo (5:47)(I don’t know if it’s the language or the particular rendition, but this one sounds particularly harsh to me.)

More Tsumani mantras

The Mongolian explains:

these mantras are supposed to save from disasters, they are in Tibetan, the first one is translated into Mongolian, are supposed to work more voiced better

The image in the first one is White Tara, I think.
“Цагаан шүхэрт бурханы магтаал” (4:28):

“Burxany nom – Ariun san” (1:15)(A nice series of religious images accompanies the mantra.)

“Burxany nom – Megzem” (1:28) (with same introduction as previous video):

“om mani padme hum” (33:41–but the chant is actually less than 24 minutes, there is dead time at the end of the video):

White Tara sutra

The image above is White Tara.  In Nepal there is also Green Tara and Vajra Jogini, who flies naked over the city.  In Tibetan her name is Tsagaan Dari Ekh, which gets very few google results.  She’s not even on Wikipedia. Says the Mongolian,

it’s White Tara sutra, a sacred text in Tibetan, for the people not knowing Tibetan would work as mantra, or maani in Mongolian, people just attribute some healing/ protecting powers to the sounds of the mantra

There is an audio of a White Tara sutra  here, but the Mongolian visitor has supplied a link for the sutra on YouTube:

World Book Day Game

Accablé de paresse et de mélancolie,
Je rêve dans un lit où je suis fagoté,
Comme un lièvre sans os qui dort dans un pâté,
Ou comme un Don Quichotte en sa morne folie.

World book day. Game rules – Find the book nearest to you, turn to page 56 then find sentence 5 and write it as your status. [This is a Facebook game.—N ] Put the game rules as a comment. Needs to be the book nearest to you, not your favorite. From Slavomír Čéplö.

Introduction to French Poetry: A Dual-Language Book. Ed. Stanley Appelbaum.

Overcome with laziness and melancholy,
I dream in a bed where I’m bundled up,
like a hare boneless sleeping in a pie,
Or like a Don Quixote in his dull madness.

Poem by Marc-Antoine Girard de SAINT-AMANT (1594-1661) who “delighted especially in painting himself as one of a group of poetic *bons vivants*, addicted to tobacco, cheered by wine or cider, literally enraptured by a fine melon, a huge ham, or a creamy and evil-smelling cheese. The sonnet “Le Paresseaux” – a hymn to sloth, concomitant of debauch – was first published in…(1631).

Incidentally,  Slavomír Čéplö will be presenting a paper at the GĦILM 3rd Conference on Maltese Linguistics in April so if you’re going to be in Malta that week with nothing to do,  check it out. Here’s the abstract.

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“I like fresh air.”

The news yesterday was depressing, women who were marching for International Women’s Day and the dignity of women were sexually assaulted in in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

Here is the antidote, a thirteen-year-old Yemini girl interviewed by Amanpour:

and here she is again in a longer video about the veil by Khadija Al-Salami:

(sorry, but if there is a part 2 and 3, I havn’et been able to find them.)

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Happy March 8 Paczki Day

“Paczki Day?” Now what.

Pronounced “pole-ski”, this is a Polish delicacy famous at Lent, as in “I’m giving up Polski for Lent”. I’m not Polish and my denomination is not known for giving up anything at Lent that cannot be given up the rest of the year as well, but Chicago is an ethnic town and I was eager to have the experience of giving these Polski things up for Lent. What is the best Polski? Anything covered with sugar, I was assured. I obtained one to run through the microwave for breakfast in the morning.

It was coated with sugar. The inside was a sweet, sticky mass of red fruit filling. I can honestly say that if there is one thing in the universe that should be given up for Lent, this is it. Since it was Fat Tuesday I decided to get a small bottle of Polish liqueur as well. The neighborhood favorite is Old Krupnik Polish Honey Liqueur, 80 proof and “prepared from bees (sic) honey and various spices and aromatic herbs according to Polish recipes many hundred years old”. I would sample it with my Australian port.

The product on the left is Hardy’s Whiskers Blake Classic Tawny 18.0% alcohol by volume, an eight year old product of South Eastern Australia. On the right is a partially empty bottle of the very red De Bartoli Willowglen NV Old Tawny Port, 17.5% alcohol, age unknown, product of Bilbul NSW, Australia. The Polish liqueur (in the middle) would have been all right if it hadn’t been upstaged by the port. Initially it had a very strong alcohol odor, but after some of that flashed off, there was a very flavorful and complex honey taste. But, what can I say, I have developed a taste for Australian port.

The amber glasses I discovered in a second hand store. I often meet extraordinary and unique people in these stores while looking for books. On this occasion, when I was checking out, a lady admired the glasses, and I said I didn’t know what I would ever use them for. Champaign, she answered. You will meet the right man, she predicted, and you will drink champaign from them together.

Who knows, maybe that will happen. She did seem very confident. In the meantime, I’ll take the Australian port.

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Afternoons and Fauns

Why is it when you see something for the first time, you are suddenly inundated with more of them? This week quite by accident I ran into this video of Debussy’s Afternoon of a Faun, which I had never heard before, and posted it on Facebook. (This is nice to play in the background while doing other things.)

Then, last night I was reading an introduction to French poetry, and discovered that the poet Stéphane Mallarmé also wrote a poem called L’Apres-midi d’un Faune, the original “Afternoon of a Faun” that inspired all the rest of them.  Mallarmé’s original poem is published with drawings by Manet.  French here, English translation here, description of poem at wiki. Briefly, the faun falls asleep and dreams of nymphs. Then Mallarmé writes his poem, French poet Paul Valéry calls it the greatest poem in French literature, and it becomes a landmark in the history of French symbolism. Then Debussy writes his orchestration, followed by several ballets by Vaslav Nijinsky and others, which become of great significance in the development of modernism.

I don’t think I’m in the mood for it after all.

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Qaddafi Art

Who knew?  Moammar Qaddafi’s son, Seif al-Islam Gaddafi is an artist.

The website for his exhibition “The desert is not silent” is long defunct, but Facebook still has some links, and there are still photos of the March 2010 Moscow showing on the website of the Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation.

The exhibit is said to be a mix of archaeological artifacts and paintings from contemporary artists, including 50 paintings by Saif al-Islam himself.  It’s not clear which ones they are, but he is said to use bright colors.

I’m not much for representational art, but I rather like the orange one with the sun.

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The 2012 Olympic Logo Conspiracy

I can’t stop giggling.  This is much too good to keep to myself.  From the Gruniad:

Iran has threatened to boycott the London Olympics unless the organisers replace the official logo, which Tehran claims spells out the word “Zion”.

The logo, a jagged representation of the year 2012, has been said by its critics to resemble many things, from a swastika to a sexual act, but the Iranian government argues it represents a veiled pro-Israeli conspiracy.

A little googling on Youtube quickly turns up tin-foil worthy animations showing how to rearrange the shapes to get the first two results: above is the swastika, zion is to the left, and here is the video that explains it, complete with illuminati.

Others say it represents Bart and Lisa Simpson.

But this one has all the others beat hands down.

This video is a tour de force combining the reason the Gregorian calendar changed the dates, 3D glasses, and either aliens or Nephilim returning to earth.


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Borders Trek

My broken ankle has improved so much that a walk to the train station now takes me 20 minutes instead of 45 minutes.  I decided I was ready to take a train ride.

My destination was Borders, a book store in Hyde Park. The Borders chain is in bankruptcy, and the store on 53rd street is in the process of closing.

Mostly people were standing next to the shelves reading the manga, which was about the only thing left, and the occasional street person could be seen napping on the floor.

The few books left were mostly on shelves with correct labels, but I did spot this one: right-wing crazies Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck filed under Mythology/Folklore and Gay/Lesbian/Transgender.  Accident or joke? They would be so not amused.

Nothing for me here.  As a consolation prize, I took myself to Powell’s on 57th Street. Sort of like my living room, only bigger.

I came away with Sandra Mackey’s The Saudis: Inside the Desert Kingdom, which I am devouring.
Chapter One. The Coming of a Foreigner:

I am Michael Collins. I am Justin Coe. I am Sandra Mackey. Behind my male pseudonyms of Collins and Coe, I spent four years as an underground journalist in Saudi Arabia.

Hahaha. As it turns out, she first arrived in 1978, so the book is a bit more dated than the 2002 copyright date would let on, but that just makes it more interesting for me.

Chapter Two. The Magic Kingdom:

In Saudi Arabia, there is no early hour of daylight when the soft shades of pink creep over the landscape, gradually waking a sleeping world. Morning comes early and comes forcefully. Within minutes of rising, the sun falls on the landscape with full intensity, savagely pounding the flat roofs and baked earth.

Ah, the desert.

I may have to stop blogging for a few days in order to finish this.

The photograph on the front cover is by Jeremy Horner.  See more of his Arabia images here.

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