Thursday, August 30, 2007

Things heard

  • Rep. Jon Porter (R-NV) just got back from Iraq and he says that Petraeus, Crocker and the chieftains of the Iraqi government told him not only that there would be genocide if the US left, but that gas prices would go to $8 or $9 a gallon. [Which I assume is worse.]

  • Interview of a midget who's a contestant in the So You Think You Can Dance Show: Q:How long have been dancing? A: Ever since I was small.

  • Explaining their arrests for solliciting gay sex in public men's rooms: Idaho Senator Larry Craig (Rep.): "I only pleaded guilty of lewd behavior [with an undercover cop] because I didn't want people to think I'm gay. Which I'm not and never have been". Florida State Representative Bob Allen (Rep.): "There was this stocky black guy [an undercover cop] in the men's room, and there were a lot of other black guys around in the park, so I feared for my safety and I went back to the men's room and offered him 20$ to let me suck his dick, that's how scared I was".

The Curse of Airport Security

Passengers of the Vatican's first flight to Lourdes may have been pilgrims in search of spiritual healing, but they still had to obey anti-terrorism rules. Several of them had their holy water confiscated.

No bottles containing more than 100 ml of liquid were allowed on board unless checked in, meaning passengers were forced to give up the holy water they had just collected at Lourdes. Many hoped to ferry the water back to sick relatives. Instead, dozens of plastic containers in the shape of the Madonna were left at security, while one man decided to drink all of his.

The spring at the sanctuary at Lourdes, where the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared in 1858, is famed for its miraculous healing powers and, every day, long lines of faithful wait to fill up containers.

As with those passengers, and all other passengers around the world who had to endure endless airport security theatrics, I have long suspected that these vexing measures, such as the confiscation of drinks and toiletries or the removal of shoes, are just go-through-the-motion policies that the airport security people impose on us to show that they are doing something, anything, in the War Against Terror™.

Bruce Schneier, a renowned security expert, had a conversation recently about that with Kip Hawley, US Head of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in Washington.

Bruce Schneier: By today's rules, I can carry on liquids in quantities of three ounces or less, unless they're in larger bottles. But I can carry on multiple three-ounce bottles. Or a single larger bottle with a non-prescription medicine label, like contact lens fluid. It all has to fit inside a one-quart plastic bag, except for that large bottle of contact lens fluid. And if you confiscate my liquids, you're going to toss them into a large pile right next to the screening station—which you would never do if anyone thought they were actually dangerous.

Can you please convince me there's not an Office for Annoying Air Travelers making this sort of stuff up?

Kip Hawley: Screening ideas are indeed thought up by the Office for Annoying Air Travelers and vetted through the Directorate for Confusion and Complexity, and then we review them to insure that there are sufficient unintended irritating consequences so that the blogosphere is constantly fueled. Imagine for a moment that TSA people are somewhat bright, and motivated to protect the public with the least intrusion into their lives, not to mention travel themselves. How might you engineer backwards from that premise to get to three ounces and a baggie?

We faced a different kind of liquid explosive, one that was engineered to evade then-existing technology and process. Not the old Bojinka formula or other well-understood ones—TSA already trains and tests on those. After August 10, we began testing different variants with the national labs, among others, and engaged with other countries that have sophisticated explosives capabilities to find out what is necessary to reliably bring down a plane.

We started with the premise that we should prohibit only what's needed from a security perspective. Otherwise, we would have stuck with a total liquid ban. But we learned through testing that that no matter what someone brought on, if it was in a small enough container, it wasn't a serious threat. So what would the justification be for prohibiting lip gloss, nasal spray, etc? There was none, other than for our own convenience and the sake of a simple explanation.

Based on the scientific findings and a don't-intrude-unless-needed-for-security philosophy, we came up with a container size that eliminates an assembled bomb (without having to determine what exactly is inside the bottle labeled "shampoo"), limits the total liquid any one person can bring (without requiring Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) to count individual bottles), and allows for additional security measures relating to multiple people mixing a bomb post-checkpoint. Three ounces and a baggie in the bin gives us a way for people to safely bring on limited quantities of liquids, aerosols and gels.

Read the rest of this fascinating exchange here:[]

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The problem with beauty contests

Much fun has been made on the Internets about the stupid answer of Miss South Carolina at the 2007 Miss Teen America Beauty Contest. She was asked to explain why one fifth of young Americans cannot find the US on a world map and she said: ...uh.. uh...umm.. I'd better let her answer herself. [The subtitles are necessary, believe me.]

Before you start pointing at her and laugh, consider this Miss Vietnam beauty contest where the questions to the contestants and their answers are just as inane. No, there is no translation, but trust me, those girls are no Einsteins (duh! they're cuter).

So you see, stupidity is not caused only by blondiness. I guess the whole purpose of beauty contests is to make us uglies feel better about ourselves.

But then again, it's not just beauty pageants contestants who are dumb and inarticulate...

Eclipse lunaire

J'ai eu du mal ce matin à me réveiller à temps pour le bureau.

Hier soir, B-Boy et moi avions décidé (= j'ai décidé et tordu le bras de B-boy pour qu'il me tienne compagnie) d'observer l'éclipse lunaire de notre balcon, avec mon téléscope. Ce que je ne savais pas, c'était que l'éclipse aurait lieu vers les 4-5 heures du matin. Nous avions donc passé la nuit à regarder le très beau clair de lune tout en préparant un steak-spaghetti. Une fois le souper englouti, il était 2h30 du matin. Toujours pas d'éclipse. Nous sommes allés nous coucher.

D'après Radio-Canada:

L'ombre de la Terre a voilé la surface de la Lune, à 4 h 51, mardi matin. Cette deuxième éclipse lunaire de l'année a donné des tons de rouge et d'orange à la Lune. Elle a été visible en Amérique du Nord et du Sud, particulièrement dans l'Ouest, ainsi que dans les îles du Pacifique, en Océanie et dans l'est de l'Asie.

La période d'éclipse totale a duré environ une 1 h 30 dans l'Ouest du pays, mais les astronomes amateurs du Québec n'ont eu qu'une demi-heure pour l'observer avant le lever du Soleil.

Qu'est-ce qu'une éclipse lunaire?

Une éclipse a lieu au moment où la Lune passe dans le cône d'ombre de la Terre formé par la lumière du Soleil. Il s'agit d'un phénomène rare puisque la Lune se retrouve généralement au-dessus ou en dessous du plan de l'orbite terrestre. Une éclipse lunaire se produit toujours à la pleine lune. Le satellite naturel de la Terre devient alors plus sombre. Contrairement aux éclipses de Soleil, les éclipses de Lune sont visibles en tous points de la planète dès lors que l'astre est au-dessus de l'horizon. Il n'est pas dangereux d'observer une éclipse lunaire à l'oeil nu.

La lune que nous avions vue par téléscope était superbe, avec ses taches sombres à la surface et ses nombreux cratères. Elle était entourée d'un halo orange, de toute beauté.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Same Same But Different

Lies, Lies, and More Lies, in History - Illiterate America
Larry Beinhart, August 25 2007

George Bush - and other Iraq War supporters - have argued that if we withdraw from Iraq the result will be like the slaughters - the killing fields -in Cambodia.

Here are the facts:

· The killing fields were real. The genocide against their own people was committed by the Khmer Rouge.
· The Vietnamese - the Communist Vietnamese - were the people who went in and put a stop to it.
· The United States then supported the Khmer Rouge.

Here's how that came to happen.

The United States got involved in the war in Vietnam in an attempt to keep South Vietnam from going communist. Which it would have if nationwide elections had been held as promised.

Cambodia is next to Vietnam. It was ruled by Prince Sihanouk. He attempted to be neutral. Both sides abused that neutrality.

The North Vietnamese send arms, support and men through Cambodia on the "Ho Chi Minh Trail" to go around South Vietnamese and American forces. They also used Cambodian ports.

The United States, which was not at war with Cambodia, officially or unofficially, secretly sent armed forces into Cambodia to interrupt North Vietnamese use of that route. In 1969, Nixon began a campaign of carpet bombing sections of Cambodia. Ultimately about 750,000 Cambodians were killed by the bombings (though the numbers are hard to verify.)

In 1970, while Sihanouk was out of the country, visiting Europe, the USSR and China, Lon Nol took over the country in a right wing coup.

There are two stories about American involvement. The first is that we supported the coup, the second (in Tom Weiner's Legacy of Ashes, The History of the CIA) is that it took the CIA and the United States by surprise. Recently declassified documents support Weiner's view.

In either case, once Lon Nol took power, the US supported him. In return, Lon Nol ended the neutrality, closed the ports to the communists and demanded that the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese leave the country, and let US forces openly, though secretly, operate in Cambodia.

There was resistance to Lon Nol. Some of it was certainly a spontaneous matter of national sentiment. Some of it was certainly fomented by various communist interests.

Sihanouk, in China, then allied himself with the Khmer Rouge, Cambodia communists, which conferred new legitimacy on them.

Civil War broke out. Lon Nol was both corrupt and inept. In spite of American financial and military support, he lost.

America left Vietnam in 1973.

The Khmer Rouge took the capital of Cambodia in 1975. They were one of the most horrendous regimes in history. They practiced a kind of class genocide, "re-educating" and murdering anyone who [was] educated or Westernized, as well as minority groups.

In 1978, Vietnam, by then fully Communist, invaded Cambodia to put a stop to the Khmer Rouge and drive them out. They installed a more moderate and sane regime.

The United States, the UK, and China then supported the remnants of the Khmer Rouge. With their help the conflict continued for another ten years.

When George Bush, or anyone else, uses the Cambodian holocaust as a warning of what might happen if America withdraws from Iraq, remember the facts.

1. Part of the holocaust in Cambodia is directly attributable to American bombing. The 750,000 dead. (Comparable to the number of Iraqis killed by American forces in this war.)

2. The civil war that led to the victory of the Khmer Rouge came about, at least in part, because of America's support of Lon Nol.

3. The "enemy," the Vietnamese Communists, were the ones who put a stop to the Khmer Rouge.

4. The United States supported the Khmer Rouge - after their murders, after the genocide. That support helped a civil war continue for another decade. More death, more destruction.

Same Same

More of the Same Same

Photos not in original text

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Pigs of Montebello

Last week, George Bush and Felipe Calderon, the presidents of the United States and Mexico, met with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the Fairmont Hotel in Montebello, Quebec, in order to discuss inter alia the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), an informal agreement signed by the leaders of the three countries in 2005.

According to its critics, the SPP is a direct threat to the existence of Canada as a sovereign country. Internal SPP documents released under FOI requests have shown that U.S. administrative law is being written in stealth to “integrate” and “harmonize” 100’s of regulations in Canada and Mexico, in support of the North American Union, modelled after the European Union. Government leaders, the corporate elite and senior bureaucrats have been meeting secretly for the past 2 years to “fast track” the eventual rollout of the NAU by 2010.

During the demonstrations, protesters were infiltrated by police agents provocateurs, three of which were "outed" by the crowd, as captured by this video clip:

The clip shows three young men, their faces masked by bandanas, mingling Monday with protesters in front of a line of police in riot gear. At least one of the masked men is holding a rock in his hand.

The three were confronted by protest organizer Dave Coles, president of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada. Rather than leave, the men actually started edging closer to the police line, where they appeared to engage in discussions. They eventually pushed their way past an officer, whereupon other police shoved them to the ground and handcuffed them.

Late Tuesday, photographs taken by another protester surfaced, showing the trio lying prone on the ground. The photos show the soles of their boots adorned by yellow triangles. A police officer kneeling beside the men has an identical yellow triangle on the sole of his boot.

It turns out today that there are no records of their arrest. Only 4 unrelated arrests were made, of 2 men and 2 women.

Friday Videos

Via WTF Is It Now?:

Jon Stewart - America To The Rescue

Nostalgia Video: Hello Marylou, by Ricky Nelson.

I had such a crush on this guy. I was devastated when he got married. I thought he would wait for me, cause I wrote to him, asking him to wait, and he never replied and everyone knows that silence means consent.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I Can Hardly Wait to Watch: War

Trailers for the film «War» with two of my favourite actors: Jet Li and Jason Statham.

Official website:

Monday, August 20, 2007

La jungle urbaine

Une des raisons pour lesquelles j'aime Montréal, outre la grande diversité de ses cuisines ethniques, est sa grande diversité faunique. Dans le quartier où j'habite, il n'est pas rare, en promenant son chien, de se retrouver nez à museau avec toutes sortes d'animaux sauvages: pumas, girafes, ... non, je plaisante... ratons laveurs, souvent en sortie familiale avec leurs petits, hérissons, putois (ou plutôt mouffettes, comme on dit ici), albatros, etc..

Samedi soir, la chienne qui passe son temps à faire la sieste se réveille soudain en sursaut et se précipite sur le balcon en aboyant furieusement. Normalement, je laisse faire, parce qu'elle fait beaucoup de bruit pour intimider les voisins qui promènent leurs chiens dans la ruelle derrière la maison, mais elle se calme rapidement dès qu'ils sont passés. Or cette fois-ci les aboiements continuent dans un crescendo assourdissant. Je décide de sortir sur le balcon, armée d'une lampe de poche, et élucider le mystère.

J'habite au deuxième étage. Ma cuisine, dont la porte est toujours ouverte en été, donne sur le balcon, qui est énorme, à la largeur de la maison. J'y ai installé une grande table (pour six), un parasol, et des tas de plantes qui constituent une véritable jungle: bambou, ficus, orchidées, géraniums, cosmos, etc... Je vois la chienne en train d'aboyer et de grogner furieusement contre quelque chose dans un coin du balcon. Avec ma lampe, j'éclaire le coin et je vois un gros raton laveur adulte acculé contre la balustrade, prêt à tomber du balcon.

Je m'empresse de traîner la chienne à l'intérieur et de fermer la porte, pour laisser au raton laveur le temps de s'enfuir. Ce matin, un article du journal Le Devoir me confirme que j'ai bien fait: trois cas isolés de la rage du raton laveur ont été découverts récemment près d'une zone urbaine.

Et hier matin, en prenant mon petit déjeuner sur le balcon, je trouve une cigale, que j'ai ramassée et mise sur mon bambou. Si elle fait des petits, cela me fera une bonne friture! Miam!!!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Wearing Animal Fur Is Buddhistly Incorrect

This is not a good time for China. On top of all the headaches incurred from exporting toxic, poisonous and dangerous products, China has recently been ridiculed in the media for forbidding reincarnation, or rather for issuing a new ban designed to prevent Tibetans from recognizing reincarnated lamas without the approval of China's State Administration for Religious Affairs.

An article in today's NY Times [] relates how Tibetans are resisting China's efforts to control their traditional culture. At a recent summer festival, beside a resentful silent treatment against Chinese MCs's cheering efforts, the Tibetans are also subtly resisting by refusing to wear fur.

The ceremonial wearing of animal fur has been raised to the status of a political issue in western China, since the Dalai Lama released a statement two years ago urging Tibetans to reject the longtime practice as inconsistent with Buddhism. Reportedly, the Dalai Lama was responding to complaints from Indian conservationists that Tibetans’ fondness for skins from tigers and other endangered species was hastening their disappearance.

As word of the Dalai Lama’s suggestion spread across western China, some Tibetan communities responded by publicly burning their furs, while others simply stopped using furs in ceremonies. This perceived act of obedience to a man whom the Chinese government has long vilified as a “splittist,” meaning secessionist, appears to have angered the authorities.
Zhou Hongyuan, deputy governor of Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, denied that participants had been ordered to wear animal skins and furs, but he supported the practice. “We are an ethnic region, and we want to create a festive atmosphere and promote our uniqueness,” he said. “It has been our tradition for thousands of years to wear fur.”
Members of Tibetan performance troupes who came here from towns in Qinghai said local officials had urged them to continue wearing their traditional outfits. Judging from the appearance of one group after another, however, the call went almost completely unheeded. During several days of festivities, a visitor was hard pressed to find any conspicuous displays of fur.

Asked if he was wearing any animal fur, the man exclaimed, “Absolutely not!” What ensued was a very careful conversation in which the man insisted that wearing fur was against his religion, and then acknowledged receiving “teaching” on the practice two years ago.

Where had the teaching come from? “That’s not convenient to say,” the man’s wife and fellow dancer put in. Asked if their instruction had come from the Dalai Lama, the couple’s faces lit up, and the man reached out to eagerly shake hands. “The government told us we have to wear fur, but we’re not going to do it,” he said. There are 32 people in our troupe. We’ve agreed that just one of us will wear a small piece.”

The dancers were not alone in their circumspection. With Beijing constantly on guard for anything that smacks of separatism, people here seem to measure their words carefully.

At a monastery perched on a hill high above this town where he receives visitors, Yushu’s holiest Tibetan Buddhist monk, Aenpo Kyabgon, gingerly parried questions about the fur controversy, saying he had avoided the festival altogether.

The monk, who grew up in India and now lives in Australia, was allowed to enter the country recently with a warning against engaging in politics. “I don’t believe in saying you must or mustn’t do something,” he said elliptically. “These things depend upon the individual. But from the Buddhist spiritual point of view, we definitely have to refrain from certain things, such as violence in killing animals.”

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

And They All Look Alike

PESHAWAR: One of the two Korean female hostages who were to be freed by Taliban Monday volunteered to remain in captivity and instead asked for the release of another woman hostage.

This was disclosed Tuesday by Taliban military commander Abdullah who is holding the remaining 19 Korean hostages. “We had selected two ladies for release depending on their health condition. But one of them said she was feeling better and will like to stay back,” he recalled.

“After consulting the other hostages, she told Taliban that she wanted another lady to be released. We agreed to her request,” he said. However, commander Abdullah didn’t remember the name of the brave Korean hostage who opted to remain in Taliban captivity. “These Korean names are so difficult. I will try to find her correct name. Or Korean media should ask the freed hostages about this episode as they know what happened,” he remarked.

The Korean media was frantically trying to find the name of the Korean woman who sacrificed her freedom for the sake of a fellow hostage. She would surely become a respected household name in South Korea once she is identified.

Life release, an (empty?) gesture of karmic proportion

Associated Press
Tuesday, August 14, 2007

PATERSON, N.J. -- Members of a Buddhist sect bought hundreds of eels, frogs and turtles and set them free in the Passaic River, hoping they would survive in the once-polluted stream and realize their karmic potential. The act did nothing for the karma of the state Department of Environmental Protection, which said the Amitabha Buddhists did not have a permit and may be subject to fines up to $1,000.

Permits are required for releasing critters into the wild, and New Jersey is reluctant to issue them for anything beyond stocking fish ponds because of concern that nonnative species could harm the local ecosystem.

"We're dead-set against it," DEP biologist Mark Boriek told the Herald News of West Paterson. "It's even illegal to stock any kind of carp or goldfish in New Jersey in a place with an inlet or outlet." The Passaic has been cleaned up in recent years and Boriek said the animals released Sunday might have a chance of survival.

Authorities said they had not found members of the New York-based Buddhist group yet, but the newspaper said it talked to one member, Ann Chin. She said their intent was save the animals, bought in New York's Chinatown, that had been destined for dinner tables. "When I pass by the fish market, I cry," Chin said. "I tell people: 'Stop killing them.' Then: 'Don't eat them.' Then your heart goes to mercy."

From: []

Life release is a Buddhist tradition of saving lives of animals that are destined to be killed. Although every life is precious, the fact of being alive inevitably causes taking lives of other beings. We cannot completely prevent this situation because as long as we walk, breath, eat, and so forth, we cause deaths of many creatures. However we can cultivate mindfulness, and try to reduce taking lives to the best of our ability. We can also offer a gift of life and protection through the practice of Life Release.

No matter what our life style, we can do this practice. It benefits those who offer the gift of life as well as those who receive it. And regardless of what religion we practice, its result will be strengthened if the practice is concluded with an aspiration that all beings without exception enjoy happiness and a life free from any harm.

When releasing animals such as bait fish, insects, earthworms, please make sure that the species you are releasing are native to your location. For information about native species, please go to your local Environmental Protection Agency.

If finding species native to your area presents a problem, please seek alternative ways to do the practice. The meaning of life release is protecting and saving lives, and its scope can be broad as long as this principal goal is maintained. Here are a few suggestions for alternative ways to carry out the life release practice:

Donate money to agencies saving human lives, such as Save the Children initiative.

Donate money to your local wildlife center that rescues, rehabilitates, and releases injured wild animals.

Donate money to a No-Kill center that protects lives of animals that would otherwise be euthanized.

Donate money to centers protecting lives of specific animal species, such as horses.

Donate money to the Animal Liberation Sanctuary.

Donate money to a farm animal sanctuary.

Adopt a cat/dog or a guinea pig. Some animals, if not adopted, are put to sleep.

In urban areas, consider composting your garbage with worms that you could save from being used as bait.

A buddhist tiger

Monday, August 13, 2007

Another Weekend, Another Battle

Sunday afternoon and a parking lot on Ste Catherine was humping. The International Graffiti Convention was celebrating its 12th anniversary and for the occasion Under Pressure Magazine has organized, among the full day activities, a B-boy/B-girl crew battle with a $1000 first prize.

One of the best crews in Canada is the Supernatural Crew from Toronto and guess what, they crashed at our place, all ten of them. My awe-stricken son W.D. Forty announced that we will never wash our sheets again.

Here are a few pics of the breakers I took with my rinky dinky camera/cellphone. You can see in the background the graffitis being prepared and which I could not properly capture with my rinky dinky camera/cellphone. I also videotaped some parts of the battles but I still have to figure out how to convert the takes into an uploadable format.

Oh and by the way (she announced nonchalantly) the Supernaturals won first prize.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Rencontre avec des personnes remarquables

Avez-vous, comme moi, marre, marre, marre d'entendre parler des dernières frasques de Britney, Paris ou Lindsay? Si encore elles menaient une vie ou une carrière riche et intéressante. Mais non, chaque fois qu'on parle d'elles, c'est toujours la même histoire: anorexie, parties, beuveries, drogues, arrestations, etc.. La sympathie que j'avais pour leur déchéance publique a vite été remplacée par l'agacement et le souhait pervers qu'elles crèvent donc d'overdose ou dans un accident de voiture et qu'on n'en parle plus, comme si elles étaient des moustiques qu'on a hâte d'écraser tellement ils nous font chier avec leur bourdonnement incessant.

Pour me purifier de ces pensées peu généreuses, et pour contrer la publicité accordée à des gens qui ne le méritent pas, je me promets d'être plus positive et de parler sur mon blogue des personnes remarquables, mais totalement inconnues, que j'ai eu la chance de rencontrer dans ma vie et dont les talents et les qualités de coeur méritent d'être connus et appréciés au delà de leurs cercles immédiats.

Le premier sur la liste est le jeune musicien HUU BAC QUACH (Bac pour les amis). Né en 1978 au Vietnam, de père chinois et de mère vietnamienne, Bac a fait des études musicales au Québec et à Shanghai.

J'ai rencontré Bac pour la première fois au Pavillon chinois du Jardin botanique de Montréal. Pour célébrer la présence de la Troupe de danseurs et d'acrobates de Wuhan, venue en tournée à Drummondville et à Montréal, les responsables de diverses associations culturelles chinoises ont organisé une soirée vin/dim sum, au cours de laquelle les danseurs faisaient une démonstration de leurs talents et où Bac jouaient de la guitare et du dan bau [].

Bac est un musicien particulièrement versatile.

Il joue de la musique chinoise avec sa partenaire Shen Qi:

Il a joué également dans un groupe multi-ethnique de musique péruvienne:

Outre le dan bau, il pratique aussi la guitare, notamment dans ce video avec son Maître Pham Duc Thanh:

Enfin, il fait partie d'un groupe de musique punk-ska, dont il compose la musique:

Voilà. Bac n'est pas (encore) une vedette et est donc resté complètement sincère, naturel et sympa. Je suis contente de l'avoir rencontré et j'espère que nos premiers contacts se transformeront en grande amitié.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

World Cosplay Summit - 2007

As a follow-up to my Monday 6 August posting, I'm happy to announce that the French team won first prize at the 2007 World Cosplay Summit in Japan [].

The video is at

Here's a YouTube clip of the parade:

Mange du Kebab

Me likee.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Layla - Ruined forever

Picture of Paul, Ringo and John taken by Pattie Boyd in 1986

On today’s Huffington’s Post, my attention was caught by the title of an article : The True Story Of The Clapton, Harrison And "Layla" Love Triangle. "Layla" is one of the few songs that can make me tear up each and every time I hear it, so of course, I read the article.

In it, Pattie Boyd, George Harrison’s first wife, tells about her life with George and her affair with George’s friend, Eric Clapton, who wrote the song "Layla" for her. Pattie was a famous model, and I don’t want to fall into the easy cliché of beautiful blondes being airheaded bimbos, but, really, what am I supposed to think when I read this:

“…in 1968, George had become obsessive about meditation. He was also sometimes withdrawn and depressed. My moods started to mirror his and at times I felt almost suicidal. I don't think I was ever in any real danger of killing myself but I got as far as working out how I would do it: put on a diaphanous Ossie Clark dress and throw myself off Beachy Head.”

“In 1974 George told Ringo that he was in love with his wife. Ringo worked himself up into a terrible state and went about saying: 'Nothing is real, nothing is real.' I was furious. I went straight out and dyed my hair red.”

Now I can never listen to "Layla" or to "Something" (which George Harrison was supposed to have written for Pattie) without thinking : "I wonder if underwears are on sale at Zellers" or "May be I should shave my head except for a mohawk on top".

Curse you, Pattie Boyd, curse you and your vapid biography!!!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Otakuthon 2007

Last week-end, our whole family, including the ex, attended the Otakuthon 2007 organized at the Guy Concordia University Campus []. It was a blast. Tons of fun. I’ll have to make sure to attend next year convention.

What is an Otaku? Otaku is derived from an honorific Japanese term for another's house or family (otaku) that is also used as an honorific second-person pronoun (roughly equivalent to usted in Spanish). The term was popularized in the English speaking world in William Gibson's 1996 novel Idoru, which has several references to otaku. In particular, the term was defined as 'pathological-techno-fetishist-with-social-deficit'. In modern Japanese slang, the term otaku refers to an overtly obsessive fan of any one particular theme, topic, or hobby. Common uses are anime otaku (one who sometimes enjoys many days of excessive anime watching with no rest) and manga otaku (a fan of Japanese graphic novels), pasokon otaku (personal computer geeks), gēmu otaku (playing video games), and wota (before referred as "idol otaku") that are extreme fans of idols, heavily promoted singing girls.

I didn’t participate in all or even most of the Okatuthon events. One that I regret missing was the Masquerade. What is a masquerade? According to their official site [],
the Otakuthon Masquerade is an amateur costume competition for anime/manga costumes, gaming costumes and costumes related to these medias. It is an opportunity to see cosplayers show off their spectacular costumes, craftsmanship and creativity.

Two types of entries are presented: skits and walk-on. Skits are short theatrical performances of up to one minute in length in which participants wear costumes and perform a skit based on their favorite anime or manga. These presentations may be funny or serious, parody or action and may use characters from only one show or many, but they are always creative and entertaining.

What are cosplayers? Cosplayers (kosupure), a portmanteau of the English words "costume" and "roleplay", is a Japanese subculture centered on dressing as characters from manga, anime, tokusatsu and video games and, less commonly, Japanese live action television shows, fantasy movies, or Japanese pop music bands. However, in some circles, "cosplay" has been expanded to mean simply wearing a costume.

In Japan, "cosplay" as a hobby is usually an end unto itself. Like-minded people gather to see others' costumes, show off their elaborate handmade creations, take lots of pictures, and possibly participate in best costume contests [].

Thanks to a blatant display of nepotism, I was able to attend the Saturday Night Dance, where the J-rock band Sukoshi Yoshi (where my son Asparagus was the drummer and dj) gave an electrifying performance, with a breakdancing demonstration by B-girl Lynx and B-boy W.D. Forty (my other son Derrell) that brought the house down. Many cosplayers were at the dance and graciously posed for the above pictures.

Final comments :

1.- I was blown away by the careful details and the fine craftmanship of the costumes, down to the wigs and the accessories. I was told most costumes were hand sewn/hand made. You have to admire the dedication.

2.- All the otakus, orientals, caucasians and blacks alike, seem to know by heart the lyrics of the songs played by the band, mostly anime soundtracks. They sang along, flashed hand signals and danced geekily but with great passion.

3.- I was really surprised by the high number of black otakus. I'd never imagine that they would be interested in geeky stuff like anime and manga. Aren't blacks supposed to be the coolest race? Hip hop, yes. Otaku, who knew?

Friday, August 03, 2007

Video nostalgique du vendredi

Richard Anthony: Et j'entends siffler le train

It's Official: Women Are As Stoopid As Men

Photo/Alexander Demianchuk. Via:

Women compete in a high-heel sprint in St.Petersburg, Russia on July 21, 2007. Some 100 women took part in the race wearing high-heeled shoes with a required minimum height of 9 centimetres (3.5 inches) to compete for a shopping voucher worth 50,000 rubles (about $2,000).

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Enseignements du Bouddha


Tiré de Micro-hebdo, le e-zine de l'Université bouddhique européenne [][]:

Les éditions "Librio" ont publié, en 2005, un petit ouvrage au prix très attractif (2 euros...), intitulé "Enseignements du Bouddha", qui regroupe un ensemble de textes extraits du canon chinois ancien, choisis, présentés et traduits par Jean Eracle.

On y trouve notamment un texte célèbre dans le monde bouddhiste de l'Empire du Milieu : le "Sûtra en quarante-deux articles", sorte de manuel à l'usage des religieux chinois qui joua un rôle équivalent, en Chine, au tout aussi célèbre "Dhammapada", en Asie du sud-est...

Inspiré des sûtra du canon indien ancien, ce texte est caractéristique du goût littéraire chinois : aux répétitions incessantes, à valeur mnémotechnique, qu'imposait le style indien de tradition orale, les "traducteurs" chinois ont préféré un style concis et imagé qui rend la lecture plus aisée et le propos plus percutant!

Voici le résumé de l'ouvrage par l'éditeur: «Le Bouddha dit: "Pour celui qui suit la Voie, recevoir mes enseignements, c'est comme manger du miel, qui est entièrement doux au-dehors et au-dedans. Mes enseignements sont vrais et tout remplis de joie. Les mettre en pratique, c'est obtenir la Voie."» Au travers d'anecdotes et de courts dialogues, les textes ici rassemblés mettent en lumière quelques principes essentiels de l'enseignement du Bouddha. Ni prière, ni rituel, ni invocation de divinités: nous sommes simplement guidés vers un travail intérieur. Le Canon bouddhique, né en Inde dans les premiers siècles de notre ère, est à la source de ce florilège magnifiquement choisi, présenté et traduit de l'ancien chinois par Jean Éracle. Ce petit volume, propice à la méditation, renferme de précieux moments de sagesse

Les extraits ci-après m'ont particulièrement frappée.

Le Bouddha dit :
« Quand les gens stupides cherchent à me faire du mal, j'adopte à leur égard les quatre pensées illimitées, je les aide et les délivre. S'ils redoublent de méchanceté à mon égard, je redouble de bienveillance. Ainsi, l'un demeure constamment dans un état heureux et bienfaisant, tandis que les autres se contentent de demeurer dans un état de méchanceté et de grandes souffrances. »
Un homme avait entendu dire que le Bouddha gardait tou­jours un grand amour et une grande bienveillance et que si quelqu'un lui faisait du mal, il répondait par la bonté. Pour cette raison, il se mit à injurier le Bouddha, mais celui-ci garda son calme et ne montra aucun désagrément. «Cet homme est stupide et sans discernement», pensa-t-il.
Quand les injures s'arrêtèrent, il dit : «Mon fils, si tu fais un cadeau à un homme et que cet homme ne le reçoit pas, que vas-tu faire de ce cadeau ?»
L'homme répondit : «Le remporter !»
«Maintenant, mon fils, tu m'adresses des injures. De la même manière, je ne les reçois pas. Mon fils, tu peux toi-même les remporter. Mon fils, le désagrément sera pour toi! Comme l'écho suit la voix, comme l'ombre court après le corps, ainsi l'on ne peut échapper au fruit de ses propres actes. Prenez garde de faire le mal !»

Le Bouddha dit :
« Il y a sous le ciel dix-neuf choses difficiles.
C'est difficile de distribuer des vêtements quand on est pauvre.
C'est difficile d'atteindre l'Éveil suprême quand on est riche.
C'est difficile de contrôler sa vie et de ne pas mourir.
C'est difficile de lire les livres du Bouddha.
C'est difficile de rencontrer un Bouddha durant sa vie.
C'est difficile de résister à la beauté et d'abandonner le désir.
C'est difficile de voir quelque chose de bon sans le demander.
C'est difficile de posséder des richesses sans s'y attacher.
C'est difficile de recevoir des outrages sans se mettre en colère.
C'est difficile de s'occuper des affaires sans avoir des soucis.
C'est difficile d'aller au fond des choses quand on veut tout savoir.
C'est difficile de ne pas mépriser les ignorants.
C'est difficile d'anéantir le "Moi Je" vaniteux.
C'est difficile de rencontrer un homme de bien et un sage.
C'est difficile de voir la nature et le chemin de la connaissance.
C'est difficile d'atteindre une position et de s'y maintenir.
C'est difficile d'amener les êtres à conformer leur vie à la Voie.
C'est difficile d'établir son creur dans la sérénité.
C'est difficile de ne pas affirmer et de ne pas nier. »

Le Bouddha dit aux religieux :
« Faites attention ! Ne vous fiez pas à votre pensée. N'allez pas croire que votre pensée est parfaite. Faites attention! Ne faites pas naître l'attachement à une forme quelconque. Quand naît l'attachement à une forme, c'est alors que naît la souffrance. Quand vous serez devenus des Saints [arhat], alors vous pourrez vous fier à votre pensée. »

"Enseignements du Bouddha"
Choix, présentation et traduction de l'ancien chinois par Jean Eracle

Editions : Librio ( - Collection : Documents - Textes sacrés (n° 667)
Prix : 2 € - ISBN : 2-290-33834-6