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Presidential CandidatesWell, its a day later, and i’ve got to admit, i’m still in shock, although i’m sure that i’m not the only person in that.  I’m talking of course about the results of yesterdays’ elections in Iran.  I’ve got to tell you it feels much more like a SELECTION than an ELECTION.

I’ve spoken with my parents and others regarding this, watched the spectrum of news sources, from fox to al jazeera english, and listened to radio from iran to try and understand what has happened.  While the situation is unclear in Iran, and in Tehran, with clashes continuing in teh streets, the likes of which we’ve not had since the time of the revolution, it is blind hope to think that anythign will change i think.

But here are just a few a things to think of, which seem not only aberrant, but perhaps hint at something unusual in the works.

  • The reason that Ahmadinejad was able to win the election last time, was due to vast nationwide elections boycott by the youth.  Yet, now, four years later, a disasterous economy later, with the youth rejuvenated Ahmadinejad manages a LANDSLIDE of this magnitude?  It would mean that all the youth that did NOT vote last time, joined in this time, AND VOTED FOR AHMADINEJAD? Seems to go against all that we saw in terms of 100,000 strong pro-Moussavi rallys.
  • According to Hooman Majd (during this talk given about his recent visit to Tehran during the campaign), while the city of Tehran was covered wall to wall by posters for Moussavi, Karroubi, Rafsanjani, etc, … he was able to find two (yes TWO) pro-Ahmadinejad posters.  According to him, this was because even within the Ahmadinejad camp, they had rather given up on Tehran.
    Now, consdiering this, Tehran is a city of 15 million, which makes it around 20% of the COUNTRY’S POPULATION.  And by proportionality, a fair share of the overall number of votes.  Nevertheless, it is reported that more than 50% of Tehran’s votes went to Ahmadinejad, which would mean that nearly all those iranian youth we saw at the pro-moussavi rally’s actually voted for ahmadinejad.
  • With 57% of the vote, The city of Tabriz (captial of the Azerbaijan province) went to Ahmadinejad, where he .  Which is odd considering that Moussavi was born not far from there, and is himself an ethnic Azeri!
  • Andrew Sullivan in the Atlantic. has published a short article, showing A graph first published in Entekhab news (which interestingly enough is currently offline, and has been suspended at the time of this writing).  A graph which “shows how the proportion of Ahmadinejad’s victory remained totally stable through every vote update though the night”.  that is to say it remained perfectly linear.  This is considered by many to be a statistical impossibility.
  • Karroubi, got less than 1% of the vote.  In 2005 he got 17% of the vote.  Moroever his birht province, went to Ahmadinejad.  How is such a thing possible?
  • I dont see how Ahmadinejad could get such a landslide victory, unless he’s got the majority of the Woman’s vote.  Somethign which is incredibly hard to imagine, considering his stance on women’s freedoms, not to mention the wide support for Moussavi’s wife, Zahra Rahnavard, who accompanied him during the entire campaign, who is a former political scientist and advisor, as well a former university chancellor, and painter.
  • The day before the election, the head of the Revolutionary Guard, issued an ominious warning against what he called a “velvet revolution”, promising that it would be “nipped in the bud”. Now put this together with the incredibly odd coincidence that accordign to Tehran Times,

The Operation Sovereignty began in different squares a few hours ago to ensure the security in Tehran,”" Colonel Mohsen Khancharli, a deputy head of Tehran’s Police Forces announced.

The maneuver which began on 5 pm (12:30 GMT) will continue until all votes in the city are counted,”" IRNA quoted the Iranian police official as saying.

You can’t help wondering, why would you need riot police in teh streets, BEFORE the end of voting, and having such a stern warning days ahead of time, unless the conservatives’ FORESAW a sitaution which would anger the people to the point to have them pour into the streets.

  • Widespread problems with not just SMS services, but mobile phone services as well, not to mention certain reformist papers and websites going down following the end of the elections.

Anyways, here we are, and in the meanwhile, inside Iran, in Terhan and other cities, clashes continue between the disenchanted voters and the governmental police forces.

There is no shortage of footage of what has been going on within Iran, all you need to do is go on youtube, and there are tens of videos being uploaded by the minute.  While i dont think of much i (or anyone else outside the country) can do, other than keeping our thoughts with those within the country, i’d welcome any news about activities, protests, demosntrations going on outside the country (i.e. here in paris)

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Emoticons: say what now?

Am i the only one who finds emoticons (i.e. smiley’s) not only useless, but also annoying and aggravating?

What is the big deal about those? Everyone is so happy when new ones are released, or when they’re added to some beloved or much needed service.

I just dont get it.

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  • Filed under: analysis, rant
  • The Fabulous George Carlin Archive

    I’d written this post a few weeks ago, but it seems much more fitting today.

    George Carlin, that fabulous, genius of a stand up comic, (and Mr. Conductor on Shining times station!) died today, at 71.  It’s funny, every so often, you think to yourselves, there are certain people that you hope wouldn’t ever die.  Just becasue of how creative, and original they are, because of how much they contribue.  The two people in the entertainment business i always had this pre-emptive Lament for, have been George Carlin and Woody Allen. 

    But what is wonderful is that while he may be physically gone, the body of work that is his legacy is preserved, and he stays with us in our thoughts.  So let us enjoy it, thinking about him.

    So here is an archive of George Carlin videos available for free on the web:

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    Unexpecting the expected

    I did something today, that i’d never done before. 

    As usual, after eating, i put my plate aside.  Then i turned and looked at it, and thought for a moment, and decided against all instinct, to follow Mim’s advice, and i picked up the plate, walked slowly – against my body’s natural tendencies – over to the dishwashing area.  I at first nearly succumbed to my instincts, and placed the dirty dish in the sink and turned.  But, for reasons as yet unknown to me, my left foot refused to turn.  Once more i reflected on Mim’s advice.  I looked at the dirty dish, sitting lonely in sink.

    I then tried a more psychological approach.  I said nearly outloud, that anyways, I’d done a whole lot of dishwashing today.  Yes, it was that time of the week. And i had to wash for the need of a clean dish to cook in, something which i’d avoided all day, so as to not have to wash the dishes, until finally my stomach sent me a very stern warning, and i had to acquiesce. 

    The dish and I stayed engaged in this oddest of staredowns.  And i continued to reason against myself:  There is no hot water left.   The inside of my plastic dishwashing gloves is wet.  It’s a waste of water.  It’s a holiday today.  Did the americans ever REALLY land on the moon?  I really need to get back to work on the Beethoven.  Did i just hear on the radio taht Karl Malone made a 12 year old girl pregnant when he was 18? I really need to get dressed otherwise i’ll miss the 16hr showing of …. of……….of…….IRON MAN!

    And yet the disk continued to look pleadingly at me with its one huge red plastic eye. 

    I suddenly felt an odd twitch in my right arm.  It was moving.  Ever so slowly, but ever so surely.  I watched my hand in disbelief as i slowly extended itself, reached down into sink, for the red plate.  Completely in shock by this odd movement of my arm, i was ambused by the movement, almost in concert, of my left hand towards the water tap. 

    I was in full panick mode by this time.  What is going on? I knew i should have filed my taxes earlier….

    My left hand, with uncanny post-meal dexterity turned on the hot water and immediately reached for the already-soapy-from-earlier-washing sponge. 

    And then … Then to my own shock, AND awe, i watched myself as i washed a dish, a single solitary dish, right after having eaten off of it.

    20 seconds later it was done.  I’d even put the disk in the rack to dry, something which i realized only after several seconds after seeing myself in the mirror standing immobile in front of an empty sink, sponge still in my hand and small trail of soapy warm water slowly making its way down my left arm. 

    –//

    I guess Mim was right.  It is easier to do one dish after the meal, than 20 after a week.

    Who knows, i might even do it again sometime….no hurry.

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    Well, it has come … and gone.

    Standing in line a mere 3 hours last friday nite, i was able to get my hands on the final installment of the Harry potter saga: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, at 2.40 AM, at Paris’ famous W.H.Smith.

    So i decided to make it a Potter-ful night and so i went before hand to watch the newly released Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix film.

    MOVIE REVIEW: Harry potter and the Order of the Phoneix

    What an absolute and utter disappointment. Easily, the worst of the five movies, and on almost every level.

    Before starting my critique, i will acknowledge that it was a very difficult task to try and condense a 700-page book into a less than 3 hours long movie. However, having said that, let us not forget that the 4th move, Goblet of Fire, was also a massive book, which was satisfactorily translated onto the silver screen. So let me go through the problems:

    • The story is incredibly incoherent. And this is coming from a hardcore Potterphile, who knows the stories inside out. While it is acceptable to leave out many smaller details which add to the ambiance of the book but do not figure in the main storyline, one cannot do the same with important points. I can only imagine how confusing the movie must have been to one who has NOT read the books. There are jumps in plot, there is no character developement. There is no logic in the reason people do things.
    • Utterly anticlimactic. As i sat there, grinding my teeth through teh first half, i kept justifying the missing chunks of story, by saying that all is for a good reason: take away from the first half of the story, in order to allow a long and superclimactic final confrontation scene. In the book, the final confrontation is easily, the most climactic of the first six books (yes, even more so that i would say in the Half-blood Prince). The entire part with teh kids running around in the department of mysteries should be the perfect medium for any diretor looking for some inventive eye-candy. And yet … david yates, chose to skip over almost all of it, and go straight to the hall of prophcies. Such a shame. Can you imagine this part of the story, in the hands of, for example Alfonso Cuaron (the guy who did the 3rd movie), or better yet, someone like a Terry Gilliam, or Jean-Pierre Jeunet? Then as if that wasn’t bad enough, the utter climax, the duel between Dumbledore and Voldemort, is done away far too quickly, without any interesting visuals, and dishonesty towards the characters to some degree.
    • And while i’m on the department of mysteries sequence, WHAT THE HELL WAS UP WITH THE DEATH EATERS WOOSHING AROUND LIKE THAT? For goodness sake…..
    • Furthermore, Why did they have to change Sirius’s death? I can think of100 ways of doign it which would have been better than that. AND WHY THE HELL DID THE ARCHWAY NOT HAVE A VEIL!!!!!! OH FOR GOODNESS SAKE……
    • I really dislike some character depictions. First of all, i have Never liked Michael Gambon’s Dumbledore. The essence of Dumbledore is a childish spirit with the body and wisdom of an old man. He’s the greatest wizard of the age, one who knows it, who is confident of his abilities, and is afraid of no one, and is utterly compassionate. Most of this does not come through Gambon’s interpretation. Which is a shame, because they are the most attractive parts of the character’s personality. I miss Richard Harris’s Dumbledore.
    • We didn’t get to see nearly enough of Snape! Come on, here we have one of the best and most intriguing characters in the series (not the mention the most perfectly played, thanks to alan rickman), and i think he has only a few minutes of screentime.
    • I’m sorry, but i dont care what reviewers say, but i think If Daniel Radcliffe (the guy who plays harry potter) had an act-off with the inimitably bad Hayden Christensen (guy who played Anakin skywalker), i’m sure they would both lose.
    • I believe, the girl who played Luna Lovegood, is the first non-brit employed in the series. And it shows! And her lack of acting experiences shows too! She may have the proper appearance, but the acting was just not there. And what the heck was up with the not-so-subtle “romantic tension’ between her and harry. Come on david yates, you can be more subtle than that.

    If only to be fair, i will point out some of the positive points as well.

    • The two main young ladies, who play Hermione and Ginny, are certainly growing up most beautifully. It’ll be a shame when by the final movie they’ll have to be 22 years olds playing 16 year old high schoolers, not that i will mind.
    • There were a lot of good visual, not necessarily in the context of the story, but in themselves. Some good visual jokes, such as the kitten plates in Umbridge’s office.
    • Dolores Umbridge. Imelda Staunton was … PERFECT. She was the lone shining light in the entire movie. She had the character down to a’t’. From those annoying littel coughs, to look and behaviour. She was perfect in everyway.
    • … hmm…i guess that’s it.

    Did anyone who has not read the books actually understand what is going on now? i doubt it. Do they know the importance of the prophecy? no. Or of nevill longbottom? no.

    Well, that’s it. I have not yet begun reading the book. i hope to begin soon, once i’ve finished the re-reading of the last two, just to get into the flow of things.

     

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    Saddam Dead?

    So no doubt by now you’ve heard or seen of Saddam’s hanging this morning. If not you can read about it here, here and here.

    But i just heard somethign no Al Jazeera Internationa, somethign quite surprising, and frankly a bit mindblowing. On Al Jazeera they showed the actual footage which was on the Iraqi State Television.  It was the moments where he is brought up to the gallows, his last rights are read, and the noose is put around his neck. And then the footage is cut, and the reporter said that

    Moments before the actual hanging the videotape ran out

    So apparently there is no actual footage of saddam hanging!  Are you kidding me?

    Then the only thigns they show after are a couple of the witnesses ‘explaining’ how he was calm as he died, and that they heard his neck snap, and that he was dead. That is followed by a lo resolution picture of Saddam wrapped in a white sheet, in the ambulance!

    On top of everything else we know that the location of the execution, was held secret by teh americans for ‘security reasons’. 

    I’m sorry but that is just ridiculous!  From the first moment this whole thing has seemed like a sham and been conducted like a sham, and that is just the cherry on top of the cake.  Am i the only one to think is the EXTREMELY suspect and weird, the way this thing has gone down?

    I’m not even going to debate whether he should have been executed or not, since as wrong as executions may be, there are thousand if not millions of iraqis, iranians and others who are rejoicing at the ‘idea’ of his dying.  But i would not be surprised at the idea of aliving saddam flying out to Bush’s texas ranch for a little afternooon tea with the bush seniors.

    This is jsut RIDICULOUS.!
    [tags]saddam, hanging, execution, conspiracy, iraq, death sentence, [/tags]

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    Here is the text of the open lettre from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the American People.

    In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

    O, Almighty God, bestow upon humanity the perfect human being promised to all by You, and make us among his followers.

    Noble Americans,

    Were we not faced with the activities of the US administration in this part of the world and the negative ramifications of those activities on the daily lives of our peoples, coupled with the many wars and calamities caused by the US administration as well as the tragic consequences of US interference in other countries;

    Were the American people not God-fearing, truth-loving, and justice-seeking, while the US administration actively conceals the truth and impedes any objective portrayal of current realities;

    And if we did not share a common responsibility to promote and protect freedom and human dignity and integrity;

    Then, there would have been little urgency to have a dialogue with you.

    While Divine providence has placed Iran and the United States geographically far apart, we should be cognizant that human values and our common human spirit, which proclaim the dignity and exalted worth of all human beings, have brought our two great nations of Iran and the United States closer together.

    Both our nations are God-fearing, truth-loving and justice-seeking, and both seek dignity, respect and perfection.

    (more…)

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    Michael Richards loses his mind

    La Vache!  Michaeil Richards, famous for playing "kramer " on seinfeld really loses it a comedy club, and becomes disgustingly racist. I had not heard anything about this, until i read today that he apologized for it on Letterman, but the guys are demanding a face to face apology.  Then it was onto Youtube and Lo and behold, there’s a video of it there!

    This youtube phenomen has been a monumental jump towards the completely observed/supervised future people have been writing about.  It’s good at one point, but on the other hand the idea of privacy really dissolves away! Just look at the Segolene Royal thing, or other such incidents.  Here is the video of the incident:

    And here is the apology on Letterman’s show:

    [tags]michael richards, tirade, racism, apology, letterman, club, [/tags]

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  • Filed under: Media, YouTube, rant
  • Bush’s Lesson in Vietnam

    Another great commentary by Keith Olbermann (thanks to The Democratic Daily)

    04:19 – November 20, 2006

    [tags]bush, vietnam, olbermann, special comment, [/tags]

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    Death of Habeus Corpus

    Thanks to Duncan for this very inspiring piece.  Good to see that true journalism still exists somehwere, even if it is rare.

    08:41 – October 18, 2006

     

     And the american elections are off and running, and what a surprise! There are already glitches in the electronic voting!!!

    [tags]habeus corpus, military act, bush, msnbc, US elections, midterm, electronic voting[/tags] 

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