Sunday, December 2, 2007

Visual Vibrations


Here is a treat for both eye and ear:

This a multi-media fusion of computer-generated 3D animations and audio, based on MIDI music which is processed to simultaneously drive the audio and the on-screen visualization. As we hear the sounds, generated with software synthesizers, we see each virtual instrument in the act of producing them from beginning to end.



Thursday, October 25, 2007

Nationwide Outcry


Tens of thousands march in SF - Jeff Patterson

Marching to end the War

About the October 27, 2007
National Mobilization
to Fall Out Against The War

- People everywhere want the war to end. They know that with each passing month, the Iraq war and occupation claims the lives of nearly 100 U.S. service personnel and countless Iraqis, most of them civilians. They are aware that the Iraq disaster drains 12 billion tax-dollars away from much needed social programs, from communities and individuals.

- They want their voice to be counted and make Washington take decisive action to end this outrageous war.

- Many of them take their first step in transforming their antiwar feelings into antiwar action by marching in massive nationwide demonstrations for peace.

- Thousands from all surrounding regions and all walks of life travel to 11 cities around the country in a national expression of the breadth and depth of antiwar sentiment in this nation.
The participating cities are: Boston, Chicago, Jonesborough, Tenn., Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, and Seattle.


"I am marching in memory of Rabha al-Hamzawi, Iraqi, female, civilian, Muslim Women's Rights activist, member of Manar Women's Association, killed on 24 June 2007 near the Jamaliya orchards in Balad. IBC database file #k6772."

:: Click here to see pictures and video ::


Saturday, October 13, 2007

Check List


Al Gore
and the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
for winning the

2007 Nobel Peace Prize

Congratulations to Al Gore
How about taking some time to pay attention to even just one or two of the global issues on the list that are due to the effects of human activity on the natural environment.

How about finding and defining your own personal strategy to help preserve our planet?

: Climate change - Global warming; Greenhouse gas emissions; Sea level rise

: Conservation - Invasive species; Species extinction; Habitat destruction

: Energy - Energy conservation; Petroleum dependence

: Genetic engineering - Genetic Pollution; Genetic Erosion

: Agriculture - Intensive farming; Overgrazing; Irrigation; Monoculture

: Soil - Soil conservation; Soil erosion; Soil contamination; Herbicides; Pesticides; Soil salination

: Land degradation - Desertification; Crop decimation; Famine

: Overpopulation - Urban sprawl; Increased longevity

: Air Pollution - Acid rain; Air Quality Index; Atmospheric dispersion modeling; Chlorofluorocarbon; Global dimming; Haze; Ozone depletion; Particulates; Smog

: Water Pollution - Marine pollution; Ocean acidification; Oil spill; Surface runoff; Thermal pollution; Wastewater; Waterborne diseases; Drinking water quality

: Depletion of natural resources and non-renewables - Overfishing; Deforestation; Depletion of fossil fuels; Over-consumption

: Waste - Waste types; Waste management; Waste collection; Toxicity; Contamination; Waste treatment technologies

It is easy for us to forget about how much garbage we produce because once a week the truck comes along, sweeps up that trash and whisks it away to a landfill out of sight and smell.


UPDATE: A Message from human rights activist and poet Ana Elsner on March 12, 2012:

It is now 5 years later. The year 2012. German Filmmaker Valentin Thurn has made his documentary TASTE THE WASTE calling attention to the issue of worldwide food waste and the problem with its disposal. Precisely one of the issues that Al Gore raised these many years ago...
HAVE WE LEARNED ANYTHING in these five years? Have we taken any steps to protect the environment and the billions of people that share this planet? The sad answer is: Clearly NOT! The same old problems still persist, have even escalated and gotten worse on a global level.
How stinging an indictment this is for our so called 'civilized society' that acts as irresponsibly as ever. When will we wake up and rally to the rescue of our abused planet earth? Perhaps not until it is too late...




At the Supermarket Checkout:

Commenting on winning the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize Gore said,

"We face a true planetary emergency. The climate crisis is not a political issue, it is a moral and spiritual challenge to all of humanity."
Gore plans to donate his share of the $1.5 million that accompanies the prize to the non-profit Alliance for Climate Protection.

[See also An Indictment]

[Pass on the plastic]

[Try out a different product]


Friday, September 28, 2007

Color Art


Art work and images © Konstantin Grabowski

Konstantin Grabowski was born 1965 in Siberia, and lives in Germany. He graduated in painting and graphic design from the University of Omsk, where he studied from 1985-1991.

His oils and acrylics on canvas span colorful abstract, semi-abstract and figurative painting that is modern, yet has a somewhat dreamy quality.


The works are typically rich in relief and textured with multi-layered paint.

Grabowski began exhibiting in 2000. He is represented by galleries in Europe and in the U.S.

Von einem Katalogtext für Konstantin:

" Ein gutes Bild ist wie gefrorene Musik, eine Landkarte vergangener Bewegungen. Paul Klee sagte: 'Das Auge folgt den Wegen, die im Werk für es angelegt worden sind.' Aber es ist noch mehr: Schwere wird unschwer, Leichtigkeit unleicht, der Raum selbst wird aufgehoben und wie von falschen Beweisen entlastet. Es ist so wie der österreichische Schriftsteller Robert Musil sagt: 'Man hat noch eine zweite Heimat, in der alles, was man tut unschuldig ist.' "

"The function of art is to make that understood which in the form of argument would be incomprehensible."

Constantin Brancusi (1876-1957), renowned Romanian early-modernist sculptor

[See also: Art for our sake]


Monday, September 24, 2007

Hikikomori by Shahar Golan

Hikikomori - A Poem in Hebrew

© Shahar Golan
From 'Almost Finished'
(via Frgdr)

Hikikomori, a Japanese term for "acute social withdrawal" is a noun that describes both the problem and the person suffering from it and is also an adjective, like "solitary"). It defines a societal group of reclusive individuals, primarily young Japanese males, who feel uncomfortable in public, are suffering from social anxiety, and have chosen to withdraw from normal life, often seeking extreme degrees of isolation and confinement in small spaces. This seclusion and lack of interpersonal stimulus results in the gradual loss of the social skills and reference points that are necessary to integrate and interact with the outside world.

[Read the NY Times Article about Hikikomori and their families, by Maggie Jones]

-About the Poet-

Shahar Golan was born and lives in Israel. He is an emerging photographer and digital artist and recent graduate of the Musrara School of Art in Jerusalem who decided to leave a comfortable IT position in order to fulfill his lifelong passion for poetry and the arts.
In July of 2007, Shahar Golan published his first book titled 'Almost Finished'. It includes mainly Hebrew poems and short stories.

-:- -:- -:- -:- -:- -:- -:-

[Check out Other Voices]


Sunday, September 23, 2007

Roundup Remembered

The photographer in action

In 1942,

Dorothea Lange (1895-1965), prominent American photographer and photojournalist, was hired by the War Relocation Authority of the U.S. government to document the evacuation and relocation of Pacific coast Japanese Americans.

Executive Order 9066, authorized by President Franklin Roosevelt, sent 120,000 civilians of Japanese ancestry to various detention and concentration camps with armed guards and barbed wire.

Just one of the camps

This was an immediate and drastic response to the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

Strong sentiments of prejudice and dehumanization of "Japs" in the general population were fueled by anti-Japanese propaganda during World War II.
These hateful sentiments were extended indiscriminately toward the enemy forces along the South Pacific battle lines as well as, unjustifiably, toward the peaceful and loyal citizenry of Japanese Americans at home in the U.S.

Proclamation from up high

Mother and child are tagged

When justice fails

Up and down the West Coast, Japanese Americans, from doctors to shopkeepers, to farmers right down to school children and babies were summoned. The majority did not even speak Japanese, only English. All pledged their loyalty to the United States, their homeland, but to no avail:

Entire communities of Japanese American families were rounded up and herded into horse stalls at the Tanforan Assembly Center in Northern California. There they were inventoried and tagged and held for up to six months at what had been a racetrack before being transported to more permanent camps in the deserts of Arizona, Utah and New Mexico and other remote locations, such as North Dakota and Arkansas. One of the first things the prisoners did was form baseball leagues to pass the time while in captivity.

Dorothea Lange's photographs vividly denounce this cruel, hysterical and racist policy. Her lens captured the quiet dignity of the forgotten men, women and children even as their lives were tossed into turmoil and deprivation.

Queuing up to be processed

Over 90% of Dorothea Lange's documentary photos were suppressed and never published until much later.

Proud Grandfather in captivity

Although she did not live to know it, 23 years after her death her photographs would help remind a nation of its tragic wrongdoings and might have contributed, in some small measure, to the passing of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, a United States federal law that granted reparations to Japanese-Americans who had been interned by the United States government during World War II.

Beginning in 1990, the government paid reparations to surviving internees.

[Read an interview with Dorothea Lange]

[See also: Discrimination]

[Related Abu Ghraib]


Friday, September 21, 2007

Mustapha Tirkaa Cek a bu cekrudh

Mustapha Tirkaa is a young and dynamic star of Arabic Chaabi (popular) music also known as Chaâbi, Sha-bii, or Sha'bii. Chaabi comes in numerous varieties which are descended from the multifarious forms of Moroccan and Algerian folk music. These songs are characterized by a swift rhythmic beat accompanied by syncopated clapping. Lately, a new generation of vocal artists and bands is experimenting with incorporating western elements such as rap and hip-hop.


Cek a bu cekrudh
(via NODAR - Berlin, Germany)

[Note: The link opens the Adobe Flash Player and runs the x-shockwave-flash application. It will open in a new window. To activate hit > play button. To stop anytime hit the pause button or close the window. If you don't have this player installed or if you have the Adobe player blocked you will not be able to receive this audio file.]

is dedicated to showcasing
newly emerging and groundbreaking
that is not as yet well known internationally.


Mark Twain elucidates again

Mark Twain on the subject of War
(edited and abbreviated)

There has never been a just one, never an honorable one on the part of the instigators of war. I can see a million years ahead, and this rule will never change. The handful in power, as usual, will shout for the war. The pulpit will warily and cautiously object at first; the great, big, dull bulk of the nation will rub its sleepy eyes and try to make out why there should be a war, and will say, earnestly and indignantly, "It is unjust and dishonorable, and there is no necessity for it." Then the handful will shout louder.

War kills innocent children
A few fair men will argue and reason against the war with speech and pen, and at first will have a hearing and be applauded; but it will not last long; those others will outshout them, and presently the anti-war audiences will thin out and lose popularity.

And now the whole nation, pulpit and all, will take up the war-cry, and shout itself hoarse, and mob any honest man who ventures to open his mouth; and presently such mouths will cease to open.

Beware of cheap lies to justify war
Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is being attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception.

Mark Twain (1835-1910), was a popular American writer, humorist and satirist, with a keen wit. Twain is perhaps most noted for his novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (published in 1884), which deals with overcoming the entrenched racism of the time.

[See also: A poem by Walt Whitman, and Siegfried Sassoon's Aftermath]

[Related: a Theodore Roosevelt quote]


Monday, September 17, 2007

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Look and Listen

CAN you look him in the eye

can YOU look him in the eye

can you LOOK him in the eye

can you look HIM in the eye

can you look him IN the eye

can you look him in THE eye

can you look him in the EYE

CAN you re member his mess age

can YOU re member his mess age

can you RE member his mess age

can you re MEMBER his mess age

can you re member HIS mess age

can you re member his MESS age

can you re member his mess AGE


The anger and condemnation in the kid's voice is entirely justified. We were not the first to pollute and damage our planet. That process started along with the industrial revolution. We are, however, the first to have scientifically researched and assessed the devastating scope and consequence of global warming. Despite this knowledge we have failed take crucial countermeasures.

Our guilt is that of denial, inertia, lack of responsibility and near-criminal neglect. We have sold out to the instant gratification of consumerism, no matter the cost, and to the mind-numbing falsehoods of a morally bankrupt leadership.

Time has come to face up to the undeniable reality of climate change and to join in taking effective steps to halt and maybe even reverse it. The ways and means to accomplish this objective are already at our disposal waiting to be enacted and applied.

Not only do we owe this to our kids, we owe it to ourselves.

[See also: Preserve our eco-system]


Monday, September 10, 2007

Navy vs Whales: Navy one - Whales zero

Sonar as a graph
The U.S. Navy has long been pushing to conduct training exercises off the coast of Southern California using high-powered sonar. This particular stretch of coastline is an important habitat for orca and humpback whales and other marine mammals. Applying this invasive military technology in the waters of this coastal region poses a significant threat to the resident marine life.

In May 2007 two disoriented whales swim up the Sacramento Delta

[Caption: A disoriented and injured humpback whale mother and her calf at the Port of Sacramento, where they hit a dead-end after traveling 90 miles through the San Francisco Bay and up the Sacramento River in May 2007.]

The Natural Resources Defense Council, the plaintiff, alleges that the Navy's sonar causes whales to beach themselves. It may interfere with their sense of orientation.
"There is evidence that very loud noise from anti-submarine warfare sonar may hurt whales and lead to their beaching. On numerous occasions whales have been stranded shortly after military sonar was active in the area, suggesting a link."

(Found on Wikipedia)

On Friday, August 31, 2007, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled for the Navy and against the welfare of the whales.

The justification for the panel's decision was written by Judge Andrew Kleinfeld and reads:
"The public does indeed have a very considerable interest in preserving our natural environment and especially relatively scarce whales. But it also has an interest in national defense. We are currently engaged in war, in two countries."

Some facts and figures about humpback whalesThis ruling allows the Navy to use high-powered sonar in 11 planned training exercises.

This ruling is also a demonstration of the harmful tentacles of a dubious war reaching as far as our Pacific backyard, all under the guise of 'national security interests'.

Why is this not surprising?

Because, sadly, environmental and humanitarian concerns have always been subjugated by militaristic ones. This, however, is fast becoming an unsustainable rationale.

Some folks take a dim view of "tree-huggers", "whale-lovers" and "the Birkenstock crowd". But the fact is that we can no longer afford to tolerate this kind of self-righteous cynicism as the issues of preservation and rehabilitation of our eco-system become more pressing with each passing day.

Wake up and smell the scorched land
and the plundered oceans!



Sunday, September 9, 2007

Pavarotti unparalleled

This is how we remember him

The World of Music Mourns

A Reflection about a Man
and his Voice

By Ana Elsner

Luciano Pavarotti (October 12, 1935 – September 6, 2007), the world-famous Italian tenor, was one of the most charismatic, talented and celebrated vocal artists of opera stage and concert stage alike. Born in Modena, Italy, Pavarotti studied voice and gave unpaid recitals for several years before embarking on a professional singing career that proved to be of stellar proportions. In 1961 he made his opera debut as Rodolfo in 'La Boheme' in the footlights of a small regional Italian opera house.

Soon he debuted at the most distinguished opera houses of Europe and eventually became a beloved regular in the international world of opera and concert, garnering the affections of thousands of devoted fans.
His perfect pitch and the unique brilliance and deeply resonant beauty of his voice, reaching far into the upper register, earned him the title of "King of the High Cs" and made him one of the most successful recording stars.

CROSS CULTURAL OUTLINE presents Luciano Pavarotti

Pavarotti, like no other, brought his signature arias and brilliant performances, previously limited to the trained ears of the opera crowd, to a far wider audience.

Hearing him sing, one cannot help but open one's heart to the man and his voice.

Beyond his fame as a tenor, he is noted and remembered as a humanitarian hero for his tireless charity work, raising millions for hunger, HIV/AIDS and refugee issues and for countless other charitable causes.

This is a man who was large in life.
His legacy is and will always be larger than life.

Pavarotti passed away in the early morning hours of September 6, 2007, from pancreatic cancer. He is survived by his first and his second wife and by four daughters.

Many tears will be shed in his memory.

Pavarotti in his own words:

"I think an important quality that I have is that if you turn on the radio and hear somebody sing, you know it’s me. You don’t confuse my voice with another voice."

"I think a life in music is a life beautifully spent."

[See also: 'Luciano Pavarotti Is Dead at 71' by Bernard Holland of the NY Times]


Friday, September 7, 2007

Are you a Lark or an Owl


Sleep Habits: What are yours?

"We would all live better if our existence is not constantly dictated by an alarm clock," says Camilla Kring, who has a PhD in Work and Life Balance. According to Kring, an individual's preference for early rising (an A-person, or 'lark') and late rising (a B-person, or 'owl') is as genetically determined as hair or eye color. Far from the stereotyping of people who can't get out of bed in the morning as 'lazy', 'unproductive'and 'lacking in ambition' it all comes down to different circadian rhythms.

Getting your eight hours

The symbol for B-types"B-people find it easy to stay awake at night, preferring to go to bed at around 1am or 2am, but have difficulty waking in the morning, not feeling fully awake until after 10am," explains Kring.

"A-people are the opposite, they love the mornings and immediately crank into full gear but then collapse at about 10pm."

Researchers believe that 10-20% of people are extreme owls, 10-15% are extreme larks and the remaining 80% fall in between and the rest of the population are something in between.

Comparative findings on Lark versus Owl:

Larking it at 6amAccording to professor Angela Clow from the University of Westminster in London, research showed that over 10 weeks early risers were more likely to suffer from aches, colds and headaches. Meanwhile, a Southampton University study found that those who burned the midnight oil and slept-in the following day were no less healthy than the early risers.
(via Guardian New)

Ready to join B-Society?

The international web site of the 'B-Society', founded by Camilla Kring in Denmark, contains detailed information on B-Human and B-Work. It started a movement calling for 'an uprising against the tyranny of early rising' and creating a new, adjusted daily rhythm in schools, other institutions and on the job as a viable alternative and for a more enlightened world where a diversity of daily rhythms is acknowledged and respected.

: Still in its infancy, B-Society has attracted about 4800 members in only four months. :

[Follow this weblink to learn more about B-Society]

[Read an article in Deutsche Welle World]

:: CROSS CULTURAL OUTLINE never sleeps. What about YOU? Please comment ::

Thursday, September 6, 2007

The Lives of Others




Das Leben der Anderen

Dieser gründlich recherchierte Film von Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck erzählt von der Verlorenheit des Individuums im erbarmungslosen System der Kontrolle und Überwachung. Ost-Berlin, November 1984, fünf Jahre vor der Öffnung der Berliner Mauer. Hier spielt das Drama über Verhörspezialist Stasi-Hauptmann Gerd Wiesler (Ulrich Mühe), der im Verlauf seiner Spitzelei an sich selbst zu zweifeln beginnt. Dieser Zweifel an seinem Auftrag und an der Staatsmacht der DDR schlechthin wächst, bis er ihn letztendlich in hoch riskante Tat umsetzt.

Ein eindringliches, spannendes Drama um Liebe, Leidenschaft und Mut, und um die ewige Faszination der Freiheit, das in 2006 mit einem Oscar ausgezeichnet wurde.


The outstanding German character actor Ulrich Mühe
Der Schauspieler Ulrich Mühe starb am 22. Juli 2007 in Walbeck, Sachsen-Anhalt, an Magenkrebs.

Sein letzter großer Erfolg war die Hauptrolle in dem Oscar-prämierten Film "Das Leben der Anderen".

The outstanding actor who portrayed the main character, Stasi agent Gerd Wiesler, in the oscar winning German thriller/drama "The Lives of Others" died in July from cancer of the stomach.


The Lives of Others

Now defunctGerman director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck debuts with his feature The Lives of Others, which earned an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 2006.

The film is set in 1984 East Berlin five years before the fall of the Berlin Wall. It provides an exquisitely nuanced exposé of life in a totalitarian regime. The main character, Gerd Wiesler, played by Ulrich Mühe, is a secret police (Stasi) surveillance expert trained to perpetuate the oppressiveness and the lack of freedom in communist East Germany, the former GDR. His professional stoicism gradually melts as he becomes swept up in the lives of the artistic community he is spying on. Eventually, he secretly and heroically intervenes in the outcome of his investigation.

This role had particular resonance for Mühe, who was himself under surveillance by the Stasi at the time he was a star of East German theater.

[Read about Ulrich Mühe in Der Spiegel (in German)]

::Have you seen this film? Post your review under "Comments"::

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

A Russian Tale

Russian Lacquer Art by Palekh miniaturist Dmitry Bonokin depicting the tale of Dobryniya Nikitich (Russian Bogatyr)

Добры́ня Ники́тич

Dobrynya Nikitich,

Medieval Russian Knight
and Dragonslayer

The theme that Palekh artist Dmitry Bonokin has chosen for this miniature painting is the ancient Russian bylina (Russian oral tradition, folk legend) "Dobrynya and The Dragon". This bylina tells how the mighty bogatyr (Russian knight) Dobrynya Nikitich killed the evil Dragon for devastating Russian land and for kidnapping the niece of Prince Vladimir.

In the middle of the composition is the heroic figure of Dobrynya, of the noble warrior class, sitting on his faithful steed and trumpeting his horn to announce his victory. Just under Dobrynya's figure, the artist depicts the body of the dead Dragon.
To the right we see Prince Vladimir and different citizens of Kiev triumphing and saluting their hero, while on the left girls are laundering clothes in the Puchai River (according to ancient legend, the citizens of Kiev were baptized in the waters of this river).

In the upper left corner of the composition the artist writes in gold paint this excerpt from the folk tale:

"Wherever you were brought from, each of you go in your own direction, and the Dragon will not touch you, the evil Dragon has been killed!"
In the upper right corner of the composition there is another quote in gold letters from this bylina:
"The blood of the Dragon flew from the east down to the west, never more will the Russian and Christian people be imprisoned, for the Dragon was killed!"

Historians believe that the personage made imortal by this tale evolved from the real Slavic warlord Dobrynya, who led the armies of Svyatoslav the Great and tutored his son Vladimir the Fair Sun.

CROSS CULTURAL OUTLINE presents: An as yet little known art form
Dmitry Bonokin is a young artist and graduate of the Palekh Art School of Miniature Painting. This particular piece is Bonokin's diploma work, signed, titled and dated 2002, and was shown in the Moscow exhibition "Origin and Contemporaneity" in 2003. It is pictured in the exhibition catalogue. The painting now resides in the Ana Elsner Collection, U.S.A.

[More about The Legend of Dobrynya Nikitich as portrayed in Russian Miniature Art]

[Read the entire story on Wikipedia]

Monday, September 3, 2007

Hollow Man

Ryan Larkin - animator and addict


Ryan Larkin (1943-2007)

Ryan Larkin was a Canadian animator, famous for his 1969 Oscar-nominated short 'Walking' which influenced a generation of fledgling animators. He worked at the National Film Board of Canada from the early 1960s until 1978. He created countless storyboards, tracings, drawings and paintings for his unique and often surreal animations. Ryan was homosexual but had a long-term close relationship with a young woman named Felicity, the "love of his life".

Larkin's chronic abuse of drugs, cigarettes and alcohol eventually lead to homelessness and a dismal subsistence from panhandling on the streets of Montreal. He died on Valentine's Day, February 14, of this year at age 64 from lung and brain cancer.

"To possess your soul in patience, with all the skin and some of the flesh burnt off your face and hands, is a job for a boy compared with the pains of a man who has lived pretty long in the exhilarating world that drugs or strong waters seem to create and is trying to live now in the first bald desolation created by knocking them off."

Charles Edward Montague (1867-1928), British Author, Journalist and critic

This is a video of Chris Landreth's 2004 CGI (Computer-generated imagery) film 'Ryan', a docu-mation, as CROSS-CULTURAL OUTLINE has dubbed it, which reveals and visualizes his character's personality and emotional scars.

In the Oscar winning animated short film 'Ryan', we hear actual recordings of the voice of Ryan Larkin in conversation with Landreth and with other people who knew him. These voices speak through hollow, twisted, broken and disembodied 3D-generated character images. Landreth, born in 1961, calls his style of bizarre, sometimes humorous and often disturbing animation "Psychorealism".

[See also: Ryan Larkin Dies (Video)]

[Related: A Greg Anderson quote]

[See Part Two of the video on AMALGAMATED PERSPECTIVES]


Sunday, September 2, 2007



Examining the Power that is Google

Google Cheat Sheet Part One

Friend or Foe

Google's page ranking monopoly, also known as "Google-opoly", has been a source of endless frustration to owners and webmasters of modest, strictly non-commercial websites who are exercising their right of free speech and want to be heard amidst the din of blatant consumerism.

It is like pitting an Internet David against an Internet Goliath of dubious integrity, namely, who has been shown to exert unfair dominance over the search-and-ranking business giving giant commercial and ad-laden sites the highest rankings and thereby the greatest prominence. Contrary to the legend, prospects of David winning this (mis-) match are slim to none.

Part Two

On the other hand, it is an undisputed fact that Google is the world's largest and most widely utilized search engine, fielding about 150 million search requests a day. Beyond that, Google offers an overwhelming menu of tools and services, most of which a mere mortal average web user is blissfully unaware of. The Google development team is comprised of a slew of whizz-kids coming up with ever more far-reaching widgets and applications to enthrall the google-devotees and keep them firmly in the fold.

Part Three

The Google Cheat Sheet shown above and below lists a total of 44 Google Services URLs, 9 subsidiaries owned by Google, 13 Google blogs, 11 additional tooli-gigs and countless Google domains world-wide.

Impressive? You betcha.

You will probably need to use magnifying glasses in order to make out the topmost illustrations in this post. The reason: 'Blogger',that is to say 'Google', imposes a limitation of a 408 pixel width on each image.

Squint and sigh.

Part Four

The two opposing camps of Google fans and Google critics are clearly defined and equally vociferous. There seems to be a lot of emotionalism at play here. Few web users have a neutral attitude about the Google phenomenon. Surely, you have made up your own mind in this matter.

And, oh, by the way, have fun trying out some or all of the goo-features listed (you must type each individual URL into your browser window).

Google away...

[See also: 'Google vs. Evil']

[Related: Frick and Frack]

:: Are you google-eyed? Please comment ::


Friday, August 31, 2007

Where is the Wisdom


T. S. Eliot on Wisdom lost

Where is the wisdom

we have lost in knowledge?

Where is the knowledge

we have lost in information?

- Thomas Stearns Eliot (1888-1965), poet, dramatist and literary critic

"La injusticia me hace hervir
la sangre"

- Fernando Botero, Colombian painter and sculptor

Dam ist der Name der ersten und bekanntesten Rap-Band Palästinas. Auf Arabisch steht das Wort für "ewig", im Hebräischen für "Blut". Seit 1998 rappen Tamer Nafar, sein Bruder Suhell und ihr gemeinsamer Freund Mahmoud Jrere aus der palästinensischen Siedlung Lod in Israel gegen den Frust über die Situation des palästinensischen Volkes und für ein größeres Bewusstsein für dessen Schicksal.

Palestinian rap group DAM (Da Arab MC's) created this Hebrew music video about the struggle of Palestinians in Israel. Living in Lod, a town between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, they are Palestinians with Israeli citizenship, so-called "Israeli Arabs".
DAM's music is a unique fusion of East and West, combining Arabic percussion rhythms, Middle Eastern melodies and urban Hip Hop.


[See also: Uncensored Testimony]


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Hermann Hesse on Learning

CROSS CULTURAL OUTLINE recommends the novels by Hermann Hesse

Lesen ohne Liebe, Wissen ohne Ehrfurcht, Bildung ohne Herz, das sind die schlimmsten Sünden gegen den Geist.

- Hermann Hesse, deutsch-schweizerischer Lyriker, Essayist, Erzähler und Kritiker (1877-1962)

Reading without love, knowledge without tribute, education without heart, those are the worst sins against the mind.

- Hermann Hesse, German-Swiss poet, essayist, novelist and critic

(Translation by Ana Elsner)

Published in many languages, Hesse is best known for his works:

Siddhartha, an allegorical novel about the search for enlightenment, first published in 1922,

Steppenwolf, a demonstration of the duality of human nature, pub. 1928,

and The Glass Bead Game (Das Glasperlenspiel), a futuristic novel, describing how people construct, deconstruct, signify, encode and program their perception of reality, pub. 1943.

"The above quote of Hesse reminds me of his novel Unter dem Rad, where the protaganist's spirit is crushed by the rigid educational system of the day.

Hesse's short stories called Märchen deal with the artist's struggle to create great art. They are told in painstakingly beautiful detail and sometimes with humor and irony.

Hesse is one of the greatest psychological novelists since Dostoyevsky. He was a manic-depressive who was not afraid to delve into the depths of his soul. One can clearly see the influence that Jungian psychology had on his work.

In his novel Narcissus and Goldmund, the two protagonists embody the two necessary components of the creative spirit: logic/abstract thought balanced with intuition/emotion. Narcissus, the ascetic monk, is of the Father world coming to terms with the processes of individuation through his intellect. Goldmund, the woodcarving icon artist, is of the Mother world feeling his way through life in the quest for discovering his true Self. This novel is literally steeped in Jungian archetypes and dream symbols on just about every page.

Applying the Riso-Hudson enneagram personality theory, Narcissus represents the five (the Thinker) and Goldmund the four (the Artist) on the scale of personality types. It is no surprise that Hesse, himself, was a four with a five wing."

Vincent Russo, Composer, Orchestrator and Conductor

[Take your own Personality Test]


Monday, August 27, 2007

DAWN by Ana Elsner

Dawn A Poem by Ana Elsner

Suddenly and uninvited Dawn appears

and reaches deep inside of you

piercing your outer shell

of eyelid skin and flesh cushion.


Mercilessly it jolts your mind

out of its cocoon of amniotic Suspension

which transcends all laws, natural and man-made,

out of blissful Disembodiment from self,

out of Fantasy beyond description,

where that palpable state of Omnipotence resides.


Now dreamscapes evaporate under morning sun's invasive glare,

Sleep-drunk torpor gives way to the inevitability of purpose

Synapses twitch into brain-controlled efficiency.


When the bathroom mirror reveals a light crusty stain on your cheek,

the tracks of your tears cast a slip-shadow of remembrance,

as fleeting as the hummingbird darting away,

of that un-chartable nameless territory,

where your subconscious mind is a nightly Explorer,

pouring out and being replenished,

shedding the tears of Pain,

shedding the tears of Ecstasy.


© Ana Elsner

From 'Ciphers Of Uncommon Origin - Poems By Ana Elsner'
(InstaPLANET Press 2007)
Reprinted by permission

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Adjusted Pie Chart

What is a pie chart

According to the latest U.S. Census Bureau report, nearly one in ten of the nation’s 3,141 counties has a resident population that is made up of more than 50 percent of so-called 'minorities' when sorted by (age,) sex, race and country-of-origin. This demographic brings the total number of minority-turned-majority counties to 303. The most recent counties added to this statistic are Denver County, Colo., and East Baton Rouge Parish, La.

So, now what? Hadn’t the U.S. Homeland Security Department better put up fences around each of these 303 counties in order to control the spread of this 'alarming' trend? (Heaven help us...!)

"Luckily," America's wealth, resources, corporations and polticians are still owned and controlled by 2% of the white male population (hello...!). Imagine what these new upstart majorities would do if they ever took over, a prospect unfathomable to the rich ruling class which considers itself omnipotent and uncontestable.

Flex your political muscle for positive changes in our leadership: VOTEIn some areas, minorities and others who were equally marginalized have gained a foothold in the new political power structure.

While it took hundreds of years before Blacks in America made the slightest political impact, they now have an opportunity to vote into office a candidate from their own ethnic background.
American women finally gained the right to vote in the 1920's. It is only now that they are in a position to support one of their own for president.

The question is, whether or not these formerly unempowered segments of the population will assert themselves at the ballot box in large enough numbers to cut the as yet unbroken chain of white male dominance in the White House.

Some of us dearly hope so, while others don't...


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Sit and ponder this

-:- -:- -:- -:- -:- -:- -:- -:- -:- -:- -:- -:- -:- -:- -:-

Silent Despair

I Sit and Look Out

I sit and look out upon all the sorrows of the world,
and upon all oppression and shame;
I hear secret convulsive sobs from young men, at anguish with themselves, remorseful after deeds done;
I see, in low life, the mother misused by her children,
dying, neglected, gaunt, desperate;
I see the wife misused by her husband -
I see the treacherous seducer of young women;
I mark the ranklings of jealousy and unrequited love,
attempted to be hid -
I see these sights on the earth;
I see the workings of battle, pestilence, tyranny -
I see martyrs and prisoners;
I observe a famine at sea - I observe the sailors
casting lots who shall be kill’d,
to preserve the lives of the rest;
I observe the slights and degradations
cast by arrogant persons upon laborers,
the poor, and upon negroes, and the like;
All these -
All the meanness and agony without end,
I, sitting,
look out upon,
see, hear, and am silent.

-Walt Whitman, (1819-1892),
American humanist, poet, journalist, editor, teacher, and clerk at the U.S. Department of the Interior

Visit the world of Ana Elsner, a contemporary poet who was inspired by Walt Whitman


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Have you forgotten yet

Aftermath by Siegfried Sassoon

Siegfried Loraine Sassoon (1886-1967) was a British poet, diarist and author, known for his anti-war verse which resulted from his own experiences while in military service during World War I.

Horrified by the brutal realities of war, Sassoon's writing took a drastic turn away from the romantic sweetness of his early verse. This new stark and unembellished war poetry was intended to disclose the ugly truths of the trenches to an audience that had been seduced by patriotic propaganda.

Graphic descriptions of mangled limbs, rotting corpses, horror, depravity and despair are the trademarks of Sassoon's poems about WWI. These word-paintings are rendered in a rich and compelling language and with the utmost candor.

Siegfried Sassoon Poem
In 'Aftermath' the poet admonishes us, not to be lulled into complacency, to always remember "the slain of the War" and to "stop and ask, 'Is it all going to happen again?'"

World War I: Out of the trenchesSadly, since Sassoon's time in WWI many more wars have been unleashed on mankind right up to the current U.S. war with Iraq.

Yes, Siegfried, it did all happen again, is all happening again and will continue to happen again...

[Related: Looking back on World War II ]


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Personality Cult

Stalin personality cult adapted to post-election parody in the US in 2005

This 'Official Inaugural Cover' envelope is an acerbic spoof about the narrow election of Washington State Governor Christine "Chris" Gregoire who won by a mere 133 votes and only after two recounts and several court challenges at that. The Stalin image and quote "It's not who votes that counts. It's who counts the votes" is employed here in a sadonic way as a post-election jab, most likely attributable to her right-wing Republican opponents.Stalin coverThe cancellation stamp spells 'Olympia, USSR' in cyrillic letters with the date mark of 12.01.05, the Russian/European version for January 12, 2005, the day of Gregoire's inauguration. On the postage stamp itself is a montage of Stalin flanked by Lenin and Gregoire with the caption "Democratic People's Republic Of King County" and "All Hail The Selection Of Commissar Gregoire" and with a 'Provisional Postage' value of 37 Kopeks.

Joseph Stalin (Иосиф Сталин), 1878-1953, General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee, turned dictator, initiated an unprecedented campaign of lethal propaganda, political repression, persecution and executions which cost the lives of millions of Russians.
Stalin, much like Hitler, created a personality cult around both himself and Vladimir Lenin, who was the first head of Bolshevik Russia.

[Related: 'The Solution' by Bertolt Brecht]


Looking back on 1945 - Memoirs of a US Soldier

...The City Square (in Leipzig) looks a little like the square I was in with the 69th. We were at the near end and a Kraut ran across the far end. We all shot at him, but I don't know whether he got out. It was almost dark.

Some time after that, Dan Carey and I captured one. I just recall Carey talking with the guy in his high school German. The Kraut seemed to be a decent guy so we treated him well.

In Leipzig April 1945

I have a picture of a few guys from our squad sitting on a curb waiting for orders to move out. Carey was the one who liberated a camera and took the photos I have. He had a German print copies for some of us.
He's also the guy who shot his rifle right next to my ear and left me with the ringing I still have after all these years.

Carey really was some piece of cake as was a guy he used to pal around. (I think the guys name was Rowe.) Once they went kind of crazy and went into a German home and ripped it apart for no reason whatsoever. The only German Rowe knew was, "Guten tag. Fraulein. Haben sie Kinda?" (For John: Ich weiss. "Kinda" hat Recht nicht. When he saw a Fraulein, he would ask her that stupid question, looking straight at the woman and rubbing his hands together. (That wasn't in Leipzig.) ...

One other thing I remember in Leipzig was being in a large cellar
with booze all over the place. Don't remember how or why I was in there.

[Military humor: How to prepare for Deployment]


Now as Then - A Message

Bible Quote

In Ephesians 6:12 the Apostle Paul (A.D. 10 - A.D. 67) wrote:

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

[See also: Learn From History]


Sunday, August 12, 2007

Engineering Consumerism

The following is a documentary about mastermind Edward Bernays (1891-1995), the grand-daddy of mass manipulation and propaganda. It shows a glaring exposé of his systematic manufacture of a brand new avenue for the benefit of corporate gain by shamelessly exploiting the principles of psychology and behavioral science. (Via Google Video)

Synopsis of Episode

In the 1920s Bernays was hired by the American Tobacco Company to break the existing taboo against women smoking in public. In a bold move he made an announcement to the press that the female women's-rights marchers in the New York City parade would light so-called 'Torches of Freedom'. Then, on his signal, a group of young models, hired for maximum effect, lit Lucky Strike cigarettes in front of the eager photographers. Predictably, from this moment on, it was considered 'chic' for women to smoke in public which increased cigarette sales exponentially.

Engineering Consent - Bernays postulated: "If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, is it not possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing about it?" He went on to prove his point in the most skillful and amoral of ways.
Not surprisingly, one of his biggest fans was Hitler's propaganda chief, Joseph Goebbels.

[Click to see more film footage at AMALGAMATED PERSPECTIVES]

[Related: The Corporation]


Saturday, August 11, 2007

How to pick and choose


It's that time again in American politics: The candidates are atwitter, the campaigns are abuzz and the debates abound. Even if you are a diligent voter and make an effort to follow all the hype, you will soon find yourself buried under an avalanche of (mis)information.

Who is your candidate for President?

It is a common strategy, employed by campaign managers everywhere, to comingle political issues with popular culture in order to attract even the most a-political of citizens.

Many like to think that our personal lives, our family concerns, our health issues, our financial matters, our social contacts, our recreational activities, our private pursuits, our religious affiliations, our choice of entertainment exist in a separate sphere from our town halls, our state houses, our courts, our Congress and our president.

This widespread misconception is being exploited by skilled campaign strategists who wrap their message inside more popular and innocuous slogans and images so it will penetrate down to "where we live".

The question: - How do we separate fact from fabrication?
The answer: - Focus on the issues that matter to you, and examine each candidate's stand on them.
Here are some examples of what might, or should, be of importance to you, your future and the future of your children and grandchildren:

* Assault Weapons Ban
* Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Drilling
* Iraq War
* US Patriot Act
* Universal Healthcare
* Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change


[Picture THIS]

(Sidebar: 'Democracy' by Leonard Cohen)

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