24 June 2009

"One Ring to Rule Them All" - Farsi edition

In the worst of times, when the horror mounts, some brave souls find humor, or at least a grim irony approaching humor. In Iran this week the government, in an effort to get people to stay at home and be quiet, is showing the "Lord of the Rings" on TV, all dubbed expertly into Farsi.

Problem is, there is a lot gained in translation, an Iranian observer at Salon.com tells us.
Back to "Lord of the Rings." Gandalf the Gray returns to the Fellowship as Gandalf the White. He casts a blinding white light, and his face is hidden behind a halo. "Imam zaman e?!" someone in the room asks. Is it the Mahdi, the last imam and, according to Shia Islam, the savior of mankind?

Guess who the Orcs are? And the Hobbits and Dwarfs are called "Kootoole", little person in Farsi. And Kootoole is also the nickname the demonstrators call Amadinejad. The cross cultural connotations continue:

Back to the movie. Gandalf's white steed strides into the frame. It is instantly transformed by local viewers into Rostam's mythical horse, Rakhsh. Rostam, the great dragon-slaying champion of Ferdowsi's poetic epic "Shahnameh," which recounts the whole history of Iran.

Hilarious, if you are in the mood for it. Life is a tragedy for those who feel and a comedy for those who think. (I can never remember who first said that).

sorry for being so silent of late, but I am glued to the computer following the news in Iran and this little piece is about all I can bring myself to write.

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Star Trek and Camelot

Carmen and I recently saw the new "Star Trek" movie and loved it. It was un rembering the cues the script writers used from the original series, which I watched the first time they ever ran on TV, a time when every quirk of every character (Kirk's Quirks?) was yet to be discovered.

I also love the Middle Ages and once entertained about half dozen of my friends who had taken me to see "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." They said the movie was funny, but not half as funny as watching my reaction to it. Apparently I was literally falling out of my chair and ROFL.

So... here it is... the long awaited "Star Trek meets Monty Pyhon" song. If you look sharp you will see why it was so funny in the new "Star Trek" when the young Kirk asks the young Sulu what kind of personal combat he was trained in and Sulu replies, "fencing."

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21 June 2009

Iraqi version of the Economic meltdown.

Zeyad is still blogging from Iraq on Healing Iraq, though very sporadically. He seems to have decided to go on with his career in dentistry.

Here is a joke that was going around Iraq late last year explaining the collapse of the stock market. It makes as much sense as anything else I've read.

A financial expert was asked to explain in simple layman's terms the reasons behind the recent stock market crash. He thought for a while and said: “A man traveled to a far away village and offered its inhabitants to buy every single donkey they owned for $10. Many villagers rushed to sell him their donkeys. The next day he raised the price to $15, and even more villagers sold their donkeys. Later he raised the price to $30, and the villagers sold until they all ran out of donkeys. Then he said, ‘I will pay $50 for every single donkey,’ and he went to spend the weekend in the city. The man’s assistant visited the village the next day and offered to sell back the villagers’ donkeys for $40 each, provided they sell them back to his master for $50 each on Monday. The villagers went into all their savings in order to buy back their donkeys. Those who did not own anything rushed to borrow from their neighbours, hoping to make a quick profit. They never saw the man or his assistant again. When the next week arrived, there were only two things left in the village: debts and donkeys.”

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08 June 2009

Reenacting the Civil War

It just ain't what it used to be.

My brother the Confederate Nut claims to know these guys from some reenactment or another.

but he's a stickler for details.

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06 June 2009

A Bacaradi walk through time

Maybe because I am an historian, I love ads like this.

I like the last place he stops for the original mojito: 1862. I think my younger brother Jesse would too.

or maybe it's just because I like rum.

Update: Carmen and I went to the big and confusing city of Charlotte for our anniversary. We ate at a Latin American restaurant downtown where I had a Mojito. It was great!



(From Michael at this blog)


Thomas Starr King - gone and probably forgotten

Every state in the union gets to put up two statues of memorable people from that state that it wants to commemorate in the Statuary Hall of the United States Capital building. As Carmen and I once discovered to our great delight, Florida has a statue to the man who invented air conditioning (as well it might).

California has just dethroned one of its favored sons, Thomas Starr King, in favor of Ronald Reagan. I don't mind honoring Reagan, but for a moment lets look at the guy who gets bumped, via the New York Times:

He was a Unitarian preacher, and an amazing one at that; spellbinding, said people who heard him. He spoke up for slaves, for the poor, for union members and the Chinese. Most memorably, he spoke up for the Union, roaming the state on exhausting lecture tours, campaigning for Abraham Lincoln and a Republican State Legislature, imploring California not to join the Confederacy. He succeeded, but he did not live to see the Union victory. He died of diphtheria in 1864, age 39.

“He saved California to the Union,” this paper wrote, quoting Gen. Winfield Scott.

Today the conservative movement would probably drum him out of the Republican Party, which would be a shame, not least because he is an example of social and political activism based on deep religious faith. At a time when the Civil War armies lost many more men to disease than to combat his death at such a young age was not unusual. Every life has something to tell us if we listen.

Well, at least he still has two mountain peaks named after him.

I just had to add that last line from the general.

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02 June 2009

Dog Stars

Two stories from The Week magazine this week.

Scott Seymour was debating whether to euthanize his 9 year old bulldog, Brittany, who was dying of stomach cancer. Instead .. he decided to give Brittany steroids to ease the pain in her last few weeks of life. Seymour's decision paid off last week when his house caught fire and a barking Brittany woke him up. Both master and pet escaped safely. "She never, ever barks when I'm sleeping," said Seymour. "She was demanding that I get up. And it saved my life.""

"British police believed they had a hostage standoff on their hands when they received an emergency call in which the caller could be heard whimpering and a man shouting, "Come out or else! I'm warning you!" The line then went dead. When police called back, they reached a woman who reported that Bailey, her 14 month old golden retriever, had stolen her cordless phone and, pursued by her angry husband, taken it to his hiding place behind the garden shed, where he gnawed on its keypad."

Bailey claims he won't be rescuing his owner from a fire.

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