Amoeblog

Today's Holidays (23 August, 2008)

Posted by Eric Brightwell, August 23, 2008 08:28am | Post a Comment
saint rose of lima     

Catholicism - Santa Rosa de Lima & Saint Philip Benitius' Feast Days.


Santa Rosa is the patron saint of the Peruvian Police Force and of people ridiculed for their piety. Phil B. was a Florentine who raised a couple of kids from the dead, exorcised a demon and smote some blasphemers. Don't ridicule!

            Hannibal Rising

Lithuania - Black Ribbon Day

A Day of Mourning in Lithuania, marking the Nazis' and Soviet's "political rearrangements" wherein they decided how to divide up Eastern Europe.

     world's tallest cast iron statue 

Rome - Vulcanalia


Vulcanalia is celebrated by sacrificing a red bull-calf and a red-boar to encourage Vulcan to keep the destructive power of fire in check. Maybe drink a red bull and pray that Griffith Park doesn't go up in flames this year.

 
Tertium non datur. Dir: Lician Pintilie
Romania - Liberation Day

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Unrecognized Caucasia and neighboring regions

Posted by Eric Brightwell, August 20, 2008 05:16pm | Post a Comment
The current situation in the Caucasus prompted one of the loyal blog readers to request that I post about the confusing region and shed a little light. If you blog readers have any requests for blog topics, I always welcome them.

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(If interested, there are similar entries about Eastern Europe, North Asia and South Asia.)

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Caucasia
is a mountainous region located between the two continents of Europe and Asia. While it's not the Nazi-imagined homeland (a concept invented by 18th century craniologists) to the blond & blue-eyed, it is home to some of the oldest human populations in the world as well as the birthplace of wine. It's also one of the most culturally varied regions in the world, where tiny populations of little-known peoples have somehow existed between some of the biggest, baddest imperialists of world history. Perhaps it's not surprising then that they seem or persevere by clinging tightly to cultural expressions like music and dance, as well as deeply-embedded xenophobia, mistrust, mutual hostility and self-preservatory instincts.

Just to name a few, in this tiny global neighborhood you've got Abazins, Abkazians, Adjarians, Adydhe, Aguls, Archins, Armenians, Avars, Azerbaijanis, Balkars, Bats, Chechens, Cherkes, Cossacks, Dargins, Georgians, Greeks, Ingush, Kabardins, Kalmyks, Karachays, Khinalug, Kists, Kumyks, Kurds, Laks, Laz, Lezgins, Mingrelians, Mountain Jews, Nakh, Nogais, Ossetians, Rutls, Svans, Tabasarans, Talysh, Tats, Trukhmens, Tsakhurs, Ubykh and Udins... my apologies if I've forgotten anyone... also my producer, my wife and so forth. I just know I'm forgetting someone!

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Papua - King Kong, Keep the river on your right, world music, south pacific section

Posted by Eric Brightwell, August 12, 2008 07:39pm | Post a Comment
In Papua, a Kapiraya chief announced Monday that he's launching a campaign to get compensation for environmental damage wrought by US mining company Freeport. The gold and copper-mining giant has polluted the coastline and streams around the Karpiraya's lands in the world's largest copper and gold mine, established in 1971. Due to the considerable pollution, the Kapiraya are faced with a water shortage.


Freeport is a joint venture co-owned by Indonesia and the U.S.A.'s Freeport McMoRan. They pay an estimated 1.8 billion dollars in taxes to the Indonesian government, which doesn't help the Papuans, whose land is occupied by Indonesian soldiers who suppress the indigenous population.

How did West Papua end up in the hands of the notoriously heavy-handed Indonesian government?

Since then, like many of the 100s of non-Javanese peoples of Indonesia, things have been crappy all over. During the seemingly unending rule of the murderous, military dictator Suharto, the best that can be said about the Indonesians' treatment of occupied Papua is that they didn't do much. In 2001, the Indonesian government passed a law granting a degree of autonomy to Papua, although they've failed to enact any of the law's requirements.


Papuans have lived in the land for at least 40,000 years. It's the second largest island in the world and was created when, at the end of the last ice age, the glaciers melted and flooded the Torres Strait. With nearly 1,000 languages spoken, it's the most linguistically diverse area on Earth.

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Ganymede

Posted by Eric Brightwell, August 10, 2008 01:23pm | Post a Comment
Ganymede

Ganymede is the largest satellite in our solar system and probably more interesting than the planet Mercury. It orbits the largest planet in the system, Jupiter. Imagine taking a gander into the sky and seeing that red storm swirling above you like the eye of Sauron! Luckily for citizens of Ganymede, you can't get shrooms there, because that would pretty much guarantee a scary time.



Jupiter (left) and Ganymede (right) (case'n you didn't know)

200km below Ganymede's icy surface, a salty subsurface ocean exists*. It is the only moon in the solar system to possess a magnetosphere. Its atmosphere is primarily composed of oxygen in various states.

 
           
The handsomest man alive since the handsomest man expired               The handsomest moon

It was named after the Gods' cupbearer in the Greek religion. The position of divine cupbearer had previously been filled by the goddess of youth, Hebe, who was replaced following the abduction and installation of Ganymede at Zeus' insistence. 

map turkey troad phrygia

Where it all went down- in what's now Turkey

Ganymede was a Trojan prince and the most handsome guy alive in his day. One day he was tending sheep whilst vacationing in Phyrgia. There he caught Zeus' pederastic eye and the god sent a giant eagle to abduct the guy and bring him to Olympus. In Olympia, he was well-liked except, perhaps not surprisingly, by Zeus' wife Hera. His greatest contribution to we mortals was inventing mead, the delicious alcoholic honey brew which made Grendel go cuckoo for cocoa puffs in distant
Götaland.

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Bernie Mac Has Passed Away

Posted by Eric Brightwell, August 9, 2008 04:31pm | Post a Comment


I try to refrain from blogging too much about the passing of entertainers, lest I come off like a buzzard, but Bernie Mac was an inspiration to me and many others and I can't let his loss just pass without mention. He was my favorite living comedian and I'll miss his humor.



I always loved his attitude toward children- a mixture of disdain and violent justice. He reminded me a lot of two other late greats, W.C. Fields and Robin Harris (whose character in House Party was shown to be Bernie Mac's brother in the third installment.)



Just like me, he was raised by a single mother who died when he was sixteen. He then moved to Tampa, just as I did. Unlike me, he started getting small roles in films, beginning with Who's the Man? in 1993. In 2000 he appeared in The Original Kings of Comedy, which I mainly watched for Ced the Entertainer. I ended up being blown away by Bernie Mac, though, literally rolling on the floor with laughter at his routine. Next to D.L. Hughley's familiar, cliched "black people are like this, white people are like that" schtick and Steve Harvey's G-rated advice, Bernie Mac shone (despite being really dark).

In 2001, he got his own show. The Bernie Mac Show, like few other comedies, was fairly unique (for network TV) in that it didn't have a damned laugh track, leaving the viewer to figure out what was funny. Whilst toned down from his stage act, he showed he could still usually be funny even without profanity or punching kids in the throat.

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