Amoeblog

Austronesia - Don't Tease Ya

Posted by Eric Brightwell, August 28, 2010 11:25pm | Post a Comment
Austronesia

Until recently, Austronesian wasn't a self-designation. The name comes from Latin auster (south wind) plus Greek nêsos (island). Of course, historically, Inuits and Aztecs never referred to themselves, in collective solidarity, as "Indians" or "Native Americans," but that doesn't mean we can't see similarities now. Having just  just returned from Taiwan, I've observed a growing pride by some Taiwanese Austronesians in their culture. In June, the International Austronesian Conference was held in Taiwan.

It's probably happening amongst other Austronesians, too, and if anyone wants to buy me a plane ticket to see first hand, I will be there as soon as possible.

Outrigger canoe

Covering a vast area of the Earth, the Austronesians never established a large, centralized authority. Unlike the Mongols, Turks, English or Russians, the Austronesians didn't conquer and assert their sovereignty. Rather, they explored and spread, intermingling when they encountered natives, trading with neighbors and populating previously uninhabited islands. What they left is a vast cultural and linguistic umbrella, on par with the Bantu, Indo-Europeans, Afroasiatics and Uralics.

Andry Rajoelina
Madagascar's Austronesian President Andry Rajoelina

Lizards of Ahs -- Happy Lizard Day!

Posted by Eric Brightwell, August 14, 2010 11:00am | Post a Comment
Lizard on a branch

Lizards are a large, diverse group of reptiles. Around 3800 species live on land and in sea, on every continent except Antarctica. They range in size from geckos and chameleons (as small as a few centimeters) to komodo dragons (nearly three meters). Their used to be mosasaurs, which reached 17 meters! They proved to be too large and dangerous for Noah and his crew and so, went extinct.

Mosasaur
The "once" mighty mosasaur

Although lizards give a lot of people the willies, most pose no threat. Gila Monsters and Beaded Lizards are poisonous but not likely to kill you, just give you a lot of pain. Komodo Dragons, on the other hand, are nothing to mess with. They sometimes stalk and attack humans and as recently as 2007, one killed an Indonesian kid. Nonetheless, in 2001, Sharon Stone's idiot husband bribed a zookeeper to let him see one up close and ended up in the hospital as a result. She divorced him three years later.

Komodo Dragon
Please don't feed the dragon -- your toe

Numerous less dangerous species of lizard are kept as pets. Their owners often walk around with them on their shoulders and are the types to have weird goatees and other features designed to hammer home their eccentricity. Don't be one of those people.

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Southpaw Grammar - Happy International Lefthanders Day

Posted by Eric Brightwell, August 13, 2010 08:58am | Post a Comment
Happy International Lefthanders Day!

International Left-Handers Day

As a child growing up in Bluegrass Country, Kentucky, left-handedness was viewed with suspicion at best, and associated with Natural Evil at worst. Course, they call fiddles "devil's boxes" too. To paraphrase Bobby Boucher, they think everything is the devil!




Ned Flanders Left-Handed

However, hillbillies aren't alone in their distrust of the left hand. The word "sinister" comes from the Latin word sinestra, or "left." And yet, Chris McManus of University College London argues in his book, Right-Hand, Left-Hand, that the proportion of left-handers is increasing and left-handed people as a group have historically produced an above-average quota of high achievers. In other words, they're taking over...

Left Handed kid doing the splits

Consider our leftie (not necessarily in the normal political sense) presidents. OK, maybe Gerald Ford did little to dispel the connotations of clumsy that give us the expression "two left feet." The '90s were totally cack-handed; both Bush and Clinton were goofy. In times of economic turmoil, we turn to lefties like Hoover and Obama, and then blame them for the conditions they inherited.

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California Fool's Gold -- Exploring Santa Ana, Downtown Orange County

Posted by Eric Brightwell, August 11, 2010 04:00pm | Post a Comment

Santa Ana Novelty Card

The Dutch

Santa Ana is the county seat and most populous city in Orange County. To vote for other Orange County communities to be covered here on the blog, click here. To vote for Los Angeles County communities, click here. To vote for LA neighborhoods, click here.

 Map of Santa Ana California

Pendersleigh & Sons' Official Maps of Santa Ana

Santa Ana is surrounded by Garden Grove to the northwest, Anaheim to the north, Orange to the northeast, Tustin to the east, Irvine to the southeast, Costa Mesa to the south, Fountain Valley to the southwest and Westminster to the west. For this blogventure, I was accompanied by Orange County's Emily Ryan.

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California Fool's Gold -- Exploring Little Ethiopia

Posted by Eric Brightwell, August 3, 2010 01:30pm | Post a Comment

LIVING WOULD BE EASY IF YOUR COLOURS WERE LIKE MY DREAMS -- LITTLE ETHIOPIA - ሊትል ኢትዮጵያ

Little Ethiopia neighborhood sign

This blog entry is about the Midtown neighborhood of Little Ethiopia. To vote for more LA neighborhoods, click here. To vote for LA County communities, click here. To vote for OC communities, click here. I was accompanied on my adventure to the hood by Aussie filmmaker, Diana Ward.

Little Ethiopia - looking south down Fairfax

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