Archive for October 17th, 2003

Bolivian Rhapsody

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It’s Bolivia’s
turn for a day or two in the stark, twisted spotlight of world media
attention. Maybe once a decade that merciless eye will sweep this benighted
morass of human suffering and then move on, nothing solved or even exposed
to anything more than momentary indifference.

Bolivia is the poorest and most backward nation in this hemisphere,
probably in the world outside of sub-Sahara Africa. When I was there
a few years ago, things in the capital, La Paz (the highest world capital
not counting Tibet, and lets not have that discussion now), were like
the US in the 50’s; ancient cars, no franchises or neon signs, sorry,
worn cobblestone streets rising at impossible angles, and dirt-poor Indians
everywhere. The only ostensible signs of wealth were the shadowy black
Mercedes ferrying aging Aryan aristocrats in greatcoats and boots to
bars and bistros with names like "Der Racket" and "Mein Rache" to rue
the
fall of the Reich.

Outside of the capital things were much worse. It was like traveling
backwards in a time machine at least 100 years, before electricity and
running water, to a land mired in malnutrition and human suffering. A
landlocked nation with little to export anyway, no institutions to speak
of, and consisting of inhospitable populated zones controlled by heavily
armed local generals and warlords, similar to the situation in lawless
lands
elsewhere.
A stagnant, forgotten land ripe for revolution.

For the major media take on things, here is the New
York Times article
.
For the Radical Left side of the story, see Narco
News
.

Are there any bloggers in Bolivia?

Too Late to Jump the Shark

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Have the
Who jumped the shark? Considering half the band is currently gigging
with Jimi Hendrix, you’d have to say the shark won. All things considered,
the fact that "The Who" is re-releasing "Tommy" as a digitally remastered
2-CD
set featuring rare rough cuts, outtakes and excised material (Who knew
Townsend originally intended to play Tommy himself?) is understandable,
I guess.

Rarities include previously unavailable outtakes such as "I Was," and "Ms.
Simpson," as well as alternate versions of tracks like "We’re
Not Gonna Take It."

from Rolling Stone

What do you feed your kitty? Anything he wants

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Ming, a 20-month-old
tiger who until last week lived in a New York City apartment is seen
in this New York Police Department video Saturday, Oct. 4, 2003. The
400-pound pet tiger is one of thousands of wild animals living in private
homes across the country, part of a multibillion-dollar industry with
little regulation.

AP Photo
Newsday Story

Pronunciation 101 With Forked Tongue

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SEOUL
(Reuters) – Chop about half an inch or so off your tongue and become
a fluent English speaker.
 

That is the hope that recently drove one mother to take her six-year-old
son for surgery aimed at ridding him of his Korean accent when speaking
the language of choice in global business.

It takes about five minutes to complete the operation, called
a frenotomy, which slices about half an inch off the frenulum to make the
tongue more flexible.

Who knew? Here I’ve been knocking myself out all these long years
trying to teach Korean, and Japanese, and Thai, and Brazilian kids
to speak
the Queen’s English correctly, when all I really needed was an Exacto
knife and some tongue tourniquets to staunch the bleeding.
Well,
its not too late to add this technique to my repetoire. Step into my
office, Young Ju, and stick out your tongue…
.

from Reuters

Are We Secure Yet?

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Travelers
wait in line at a security checkpoint at Logan Airport in Boston, Massachusetts

from
Reuters

So much has changed since 9/11, and yet so much has stayed
the same. Undercover agents last week smugged a range of "prohibited items"
through security checkpoints at Logan Airport.

What kind of "prohibited items"? According to Reuters, "the agents carried
knives, a bomb and a gun past several checkpoints at different terminals
without
being
stopped by Transportation Security Administration officers."

Sure inspires confidence in our new-found State Security Apparatus,
doesn’t it? -"Excuse me, ma’am, but you’ll have to store that bomb in
the overhead compartment."- Dowbrigade is thinking of flying out of Providence
– one way.

I Don’t Feel Secure

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Travelers
wait in line at a security checkpoint at Logan Airport in Boston, Massachusetts

from
Reuters

So much has changed since 9/11, and yet so much has stayed
the same. Undercover agents last week smugged a range of "prohibited items"
through security checkpoints at Logan Airport.

What kind of "prohibited items"? According to Reuters, "the agents carried
knives, a bomb and a gun past several checkpoints at different terminals
without
being
stopped by Transportation Security Administration officers."

Sure inspires confidence in our new-found State Security Apparatus,
doesn’t it. Dowbrigade is thinking of flying out of Providence – one
way.