Southern California fires are pretty democratic, they hit the mansions and trailer parks and everything in between with the same cruelty… The current definition of a Californian is still “did or did not escape the fires?”
“Devil winds, hill-hopping infernos, smoked mansions, torched trailers, barren freeways, and brilliant sunsets lingering in low-hanging canopies of burnt dreams.” That’s how Steve Lopez describes all hell breaking loose in California.
Last year in october I wrote:”wildfires, burning out of control, are continuing to threaten thousands of homes in California. You can’t help but to have this incredible sense of the fragility of everything. As human beings we are wired to think that everything will stay the way it is, safe from sudden and intense changes…” My childhood home burnt down in 1970—my barbie collection got charred along with the rest of the house…
Palm trees help spread fire—I’ve never liked them much—to see an amazing photo essay click here.
It’s amazing how fire spares a house or two in the middle of a whole burnt neighborhood—my friend’s house in Anaheim hills stayed intact when his neighbor’s got completely destroyed; his daughter, Kimiya, has sent me these pictures of their street:
and this one:
The chimneys are the only things standing in most burnt houses.
Yes he did it! What a collective sigh of relief, what a huge smile on the face of the earth and how very scary to be President Obama in today’s world…
I had fun with Sky Gilbar’s beautiful photos of Obama (above and below).
These are some of the pictures of Obama that I like best.
I teared up reading Nancy Gibbs’ article: “Some Princes are born in palaces. Some are born in mangers. But a few are born in the imagination, out of scraps of history and hope. Barack Obama never talks about how people see him: I’m not the one making history, he said every chance he got. You are. Yet as he looked out Tuesday night through the bulletproof glass, in a park named for a Civil War general, he had to see the truth on people’s faces. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for, he liked to say, but people were waiting for him, waiting for someone to finish what a King began.”
Writers say it so much better than us mere mortals; take a look at Judith Warner’s piece here and Frank Rich’s here. Come on people, don’t be lazy! These are exciting times—good and bad—and history doesn’t forgive apathy…
I took this picture of my TV while watching the biography of my favorite American President, John Adams who said: “Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There was never a democracy that did not commit suicide.”
Obama’s election made me forget my agreement with Plato‘s view on Democracy…
Usain and Hussein have been on my mind in the past week; the lightning Bolt—aka the fastest man alive—and Hussein Obama. I made this image for my son who wanted a poster of Obama using a photo by Callie Shell of Time magazine:
“A Paradigm Shift is a change from one way of thinking to another. It’s a revolution, a transformation, a sort of metamorphosis. It just does not happen, but rather it is driven by agents of change” according to Thomas Kuhn; he believes that Change is difficult and that human beings resist change— awareness is prerequisite to all acceptable changes. A Paradigm Shift is when a significant change happens—usually from one fundamental view to a different view. In most cases, some type of major discontinuity occurs as well. Khun thinks that “a series of peaceful interludes punctuated by intellectually violent revolutions cause one conceptual world view to be replaced by another view”.
My question for you boys and girls is that what makes one cling to the atrophied McCain—aka the off-line American—over the uber-eager Obama? I didn’t vote for Obama in the primaries but neither can I imagine voting for mister “I want to relive vietnam ad nauseum”…
What are these posters from the good senator’s camp? Martin Luther King, the second coming? I frankly like my version better.
Another paradigm shift came this last week of the Olympics with the other Hussein or Usain:
What can I say? the man can run! Look at him here on cruise control going the 100 meters on 9.68 seconds; this guy with all his antics was a breath of fresh air.
Farah Pahlavi, the queen of Iran, is still alive and well, but people are not talking about her much. Things changed when it was reported last month that “the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art has put on display an exhibition that art experts call the most important collection of modern Western art outside Europe and the United States.” In the 1970’s she collected great works of art – about 150 paintings – by Picasso, Monet, Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock, etc…
I bought some old Paris Match magazines some years ago in Paris spanning from 1958 through 1969. It was interesting to see her on the cover from practically the minute she met the Shah in Paris. I put some of the photos from Paris Match together to share them with you.
She lived a Cinderella story that turned sour at the age of 41 after the Iranian revolution of 1979.
In spite of my belief that monarchy is absurd in the 21st century, it seems like I can’t shake my affinity for this lady; the fact that we both went to the same school (Jeanne d’Arc of Tehran) and had to endure the same French nuns may not have much to do with it.
The deposed queen has somehow survived the animosity that follows the Pahlavis wherever they go. At the minimum she should be applauded for amassing a collection of priceless art, as opposed to worthless shoes or stolen jewelry (see Queen Elizabeth and Imelda Marcos).
Her good reputation lasted way longer than her jewelry.
Two of her kids committed suicide: Leila and AliReza Pahlavi; that would be way more painful than losing a country. Aside from her oldest son, the other three never really had a chance…
Ok people I was just joking when I said I was going to have plastic surgery! I talked about the United States’ dire economic situation (true), having a kid in law school (true) and needing cosmetic surgery (maybe true but won’t do it) to make you guys buy my stuff.
I hope that you had a good thanksgiving – I always cook two turkeys no matter how many people are coming to my house (one in the oven and one in a pot) and this year wasn’t an exception – great persian stuffing camouflaged as the usual stove top…
“Thanksgiving is when gluttony becomes a patriotic duty.” To me, this is one holiday that is not tinted with religion or acute nationality.
The real turkey this week will be president Bush going to Annapolis when thousands are protesting in Jerusalem and Gaza against the talks.
Mike Luckovich sums it up in the above cartoon; I like Bob Gorrell’s too:
This is a shameless plug to sell my posters, my t-shirts, my images in general; my métro café poster has finally gone on sale on the major print stores.
A framed version’s been on my kitchen wall for a few months since the artist (meaning me) gets a preview/bonus set before all of you mere mortals! Remember, I am trying to be shameless, cocky, insolent, cheeky, impudent, etc…
I love my iPod! It’s ancient but I don’t want to get a new one yet; I have to admit that having a portable music library has not been my primary concern but the podcasts…oh the podcasts…
Many of my friends have asked about subscribing to podcasts with an iPod (or any other MP3) – this is how I listen to my news from around the world – it’s like TiVo-ing your favorite radio shows; you have to install itunes and take it from there:
And the rest is pretty easy. Here are some of the things I listen to: NPR morning news, scientific american , slate magazine, 2000 ans d’histoire, in our time with melvyn bragg, Radio Lab, NYT’s Frank Rich/Maureen Dowd , etc… I do download a “medley” of different stuff and I hardly listen to music on my ipod but that’s just me – the beauty of it all is that I can listen to what I want when I want and with a little gadget (iTrip), it even plays on my car radio.
Five minutes in the morning to download the podcasts from my computer and this can carry me through Life‘s rush-hour…Happiness is a lot of small/little things.
Living in the 21st century and exposed to Darfur and Iraq via our television sets, nothing can scare us anymore. Hannibal Lecter opens his victim’s head and eats his brain alive and I remember that instead of being revolted, I smiled at the stupidity/absurdity of the scene – unlike the Exorcist, the horror film masterpiece, that kept me awake for a few nights, 25 years ago…
Walking in my neighborhood, I can tell which houses have kids – they are usually meticulously decorated.
Halloween originated in Ireland and October 31st was perceived as the night during which the division between the world of the living and the dead is blurred hence having jack-o-lanterns (made of pumpkins, turnips or beets) to scare the evil spirits away. Tomorrow night, children (and adults) will dress up as scary creatures: ghosts, ghouls, zombies, witches, and goblins – Harry Potter galore…