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Driftwood [10 Sep 2007|10:58am]
On two occasions in 2002 and 2003 (July and September) Takao47 visited Pacific Rim National Park [1] on the westcoast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia with the intention of surfing and visiting ruins of first nation totem poles [2], and took photographs of the beaches.

Although Takao47 has been visiting this area in 2001, at that time, Takao47 had only seen the hand-built driftwood structures on Wickaninnish Beach [3] and Long Beach as forest and places to play. Now Takao47 see that many of structures have similarities to indigenous architecture, not only of the westcoast but also further afield.

Driftwoods are Western red cedar [4], yellow cedar [5], yew [6], fir [7] and spruce [8] trees that have either been eroded from the shoreline [9] or are the result of logging, swept to sea and deposited back on the beach. The accumulated driftwood makes a seawall that halts erosion at the shoreline and provides a massive amount of raw materials for beachcombers, tourists and park visitors and locals to build things with.

From observation, in a typical structure, a roof beam with logs propped against it forms a lean-to with a wall on the seaward side. Some sheds are left open to the side facing east towards the woods, while in others the roof extends around both sides with an opening either on the north or south end. Some have the appearance of log houses, they are rectilinear, have a post and beam frame, and a roof that is only slightly pitched with a center peak, or at other times essentially flat.



When dry, seaweed such as bull kelp [10] becomes a resilient rope-like fabric, ideal for lashing posts and beam together. Other seaweeds, such as fir needle, seem to be used more decoratively. The diversity of these driftwood structure comes not only from their builders, but from each driftwood log, uniquely fashioned by nature through the force of wind, frost, sunlight, waves, rain, and the individuality of the original tree.

When Takao47 returned to Long Beach after a heavy rainstorm on October 2006, all of the driftwood and the structures south of Incinerator Rock and north towards the First Nation village of Esowista [11] had disappeared, swept to sea or silted over with small dunes. However, driftwood and seaweed characterize these westcoast beaches, providing an endless supply of material for a next generation of imaginative builders.



Yet these raw and unprocessed materials, Takao47 recalled that he overheard something about the energy state of construction materials and archaeological life cycle on CBC radio. One geologist was talking about these low energy state materials likes of wood, stones and certain stable metals earth last longer than energized materials likes of high-strength concrete [12] or high tensile steels [13]. If so, the impact of climate change wiped the civilization from this planet and again wildlife will dominate Manhattan Island, probably the Statue of Liberty [14] will stand at least few hundred years even deformed because she’s made from cupper [15]. Assumingly the concrete buildings cannot withstand direct impact of airplanes loaded with jet fuel, but cupper statue will stand hundred of years to come.

[1] http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/bc/pacificrim/index_e.asp
http://www.britishcolumbia.com/parks/?id=404
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Totem_pole
http://www.sfu.ca/archaeology/museum/totempoles/totem_home.htm
[3] http://tofinoeh.com/parks/wick/index.htm
[4] http://www.bcadventure.com/adventure/wilderness/forest/westred.htm
[5] http://www.bcadventure.com/adventure/wilderness/forest/yelcedar.htm
[6] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Yew
[7] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fir
[8] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spruce
[9] http://chl.erdc.usace.army.mil/section227
[10] http://www.localharvest.org/store/item.jsp?id=4300
[11] http://www.tofinotime.com/main.htm?maps/MP-Pfrm.htm~BDfrm
[12] http://www.concretecentre.com/main.asp?page=131
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concrete
[13] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HSLA_steel
[14] https://engineering.purdue.edu/MSE/AboutUs/GotMaterials/Parks/thomas.html
[15] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bronze_Age
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Almost End of Summer, takao47 alway recalls free-fall daydreaming [25 Aug 2007|10:22pm]
[ mood | busy ]

It was many moons ago, when takao47 was eight years old, back in the early 80's, takao47's sister and takao47 spent most of our free time playing a game called "half-ball." You start with a rubber ball (preferably a white pimple ball with a mark on the top) and cut it in half. Since our field was tiny back alley of Japanese middle-class mini-Mansion [1] exburbia [2] of 8 houses subdivision [3] in Kanagawa, we pitched underhand, and fast pitching was not allowed.
 
But even throwing slowly, we could make that ball dance. If you cupped it properly, the ball would catch the air and fall down and far away. Takao47 felt wonderful to see the ball move rapidly away from the batter, to watch boys and girls fan the air with the cheap plastic baseball bat. 

Scoring was determined by how high up on the two-story house you managed to hit the ball, although we always lied to out parents, and told them that we weren't trying to hit the house. The first floor was single, the second floor was a double, imaginary (pseudo) third floor be triple and so on. 

One summer day, takao47 was up on the second story porch watching takao47's team play a game with his friends. These were the big dudes - boys in teens, and we younger kids were generally relegated to fetching the ball when they played. 

takao47's job was to retrieve balls that were hit onto the second story porch, including those that rolled off the porch and got caught in the rain gutter that went around it. We were constantly jumping over the railing grabbing hold of one of spindles, and leaning over to knock the ball out of the gutter. 



takao47 did this many times that morning, but then something happened. One of the spindles in the gutter was loose, and it came off in my hand. takao47's weight carried him over the side, and there takao47 was, falling to the ground, heading toward the wooden stairs and the concrete walk about twelve feet below.
But the strange thing was that takao47 had no idea that it was happening. takao47 had gone into another world. Even as takao47 fell, takao47 remembers thinking that takao47 must have been daydreaming as usual like doodling atlas in the classroom. 

takao47 started reviewing everything he had done that morning, going over each activity slowly and carefully, trying to decide whether takao47 had dreamed it or not. In the end takao47 calmly came to the conclusion that he was not, in fact, dreaming. before takao47 could do anything about it, takao47 hit the ground. 

All this couldn't have taken more than a second but it felt like ten minutes to him.
takao47's right shoulder landed on the concrete walk. His buttocks hit the wooden stairs, which caused an odd-looking straight-line bruise' Luckily, his head just missed the concrete. 

takao47's mother insisted that takao47 go to the hospital, but nothing was broken. The doctor said that takao47 escaped serious injury because takao47 was dreaming. takao47's body had been relaxed during the free-fall, he told takao47, and takao47 had bounced when he hit the ground. 

At the time, takao47 didn't think much about it. takao47 was glad that iakao47 hadn't been hurt badly, and that was all. But now takao47 look on it in wonder. Why did takao47 think he was dreaming? Did takao47's subconsciousness mind know that takao47 would be protected if my conscious mind was occupied with the idea that fall might not actually be happening? If takao47's mind could do that, could it move his body in such a way as to change where I landed? Was it luck, or was it something else that kept his head from hitting the concrete.


[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McMansion
[2] http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=xburb
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subdivision_(land) 




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amero [13 Aug 2007|04:06pm]
[ mood | calm ]




September 2006, some of North America's powerful political, business and military leaders secretly congregated at Banff hotel in Alberta for three days to hammer out the details on how to create a North American superstate [1]. The only media representative allowed to attend this North American forum was a reporter from the Wall Street Journal. No other media were told such meeting was taking place. The guest list included then-US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld [2], Newfy soldier Gen. Rick Hillier [3], United States Northern Command (NORTHCOM [4]) Commander Tim Keating [5], Canada's public safety minister Stockwell Day [6] and Lockheed Martin executive Ron Covais [7]. This secretive forum was hosted by Canadian Council of Chief Executives [8] (a group of Canada's richest 150 CEOs), the North American Forum involved some of most prominent figures in Canada, the US and Mexico. In addition to not letting anyone know about this freemasonic meeting, once it was publicized, these involved parties had refused to reveal what was even discussed.

However thanks to freedom-of-information requests obtained by Judicial Watch [9], a Washington-based legal watchdog, the forum's agenda shows the group was investigating at how they could integrate the three countries into a North American Union: a monolithic superstate that would function similar to the European Union without referendums, impeachments, elections or balance of power. Topics on the forum's program included: "A Vision for North America," "North America Energy Strategy," "Demographic and Social Dimensions of North American Integration," "Border Infrastructure," and "Opportunities for Security Cooperation."

Recognizing that the obvious controversy comes with secretly circumventing a country's sovereignty, the members of the North American Forum want to keep North American integration behind the back room of bureaucracy and far away from the public domain. The meeting's official agenda states that integration should be done as clandestinely as possible.

The Banff forum working group's admission to "stealth" maneuvering confirmed the worst fear of political activists from all sides of the border. They mention that over the past five years, North America has quietly taken steps toward becoming a full-fledged superstate. According to a blueprint laid out by the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE), the integration of food and drug standards, foreign policy, energy resources and military interoperabilities are erasing the borders between the US, Canada and Mexico - all without public debate. As the three nations merge, Canadian should be particularity worried that the US will dominate this union and that the American elephant will finally roll over and crush the Canadian mickey mouse.

There's an old joke that says Canada enjoyed its only five minutes of independence at the end of the Second World War, as the country quickly shifted alliances from the weakened British Empire [10] to the emerging American one. It's not the funniest line, but it illustrates the fact that Canada has always lived in the overshadow of a global superpower, ever since settlers stole the land from the aboriginal people. But while Canada was slowly asserting its independence under British colonial rule, it didn't take long for it to get swallowed by the American economic, political, military and cultural juggernaut.

Canadians began to find that their neighbor had become an intrusive guest in the late 1960s, when the amount of foreign ownership (primarily American) of Canadian businesses reached 38 percent [11]. At the same time, the US popular culture machine - music, films and media - continued to dominate in Canada, despite the creation of cultural safeguards such as the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) [12] and Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) [13]. The trouble with Canada's coziness with the US was finally acknowledged by Liberal Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau [14], during a 1971 speech in the Soviet Union, when he boldly stated that America had become "a danger to our national identity from a cultural, economic and perhaps even military point of view. [15]"

With Trudeau at the helm, Canada went through a ground-swelling of nationalism in the 1970s, winning accolades around the world for a foreign policy that established diplomatic ties with communist countries and inclusive domestic policies that gave more rights and freedoms to minorities. Responding to Canadians' concerns, Trudeau established the Foreign Investment Review Agency [16] that helped reduce the amount of foreign ownership to 27 percent. Trudeau's nationalist policies were instantly erased in the mid-1980s, however, when Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney [17] took power and drastically altered his country's economic and foreign policies to appease its powerful southern neighbor.

The FTA tied Canada's economic prosperity to the United States and was the precursor to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) [18], which brought Mexico into the fold. Today, 80 percent of Canada's exports go to the US, which accounts for over $400 billion worth of trade every year. But in order to gain access to American markets, Canada had to throw its doors wide open to American businesses, cede control over its energy resources such as tar-sand and uranium and give American corporations the right to sue the Canadian government if it refused its business. The result has been the near complete Americanization of Canada. 

In the 30 years since Trudeau wrestled with the US over Canada's sovereignty, foreign ownership of Canadian companies has shot back up to roughly 40 percent, with foreign companies controlling more than 50 percent of Canada's energy and value-adding manufacturing industries. Foreign direct investment in Canada more than doubled from around $160 billion in 1995 to $360 billion in 2004 (nearly two-thirds of which is American). Quintessentially Iconic Canadian companies such as Hudson's Bay, Eaton's, Molson Breweries [19] and Canadian National Railway [20] were all bought by or merged with American corporations, and over 90 percent of films and television shows watched in Canada come from foreign sources. Despite the unparalleled control American corporations have over the country, Canada is looking to go even deeper down the integration rabbit-hole with a post-September-11 USA that threatens to leave Canada a country in name-tag alone.

When the Canada-US border shut down on September 11 [21], it instantly forced Canada to reshape its relationship with a neighbor that was about to launch a destructive, expansive and vague "war on terror." With long delays at the beefed-up border costing Canadian companies millions of dollars, and politicians such as Hillary Clinton making false allegations that terrorists had penetrated the US via Canada, Canadian corporations exploited the Steptember-11 crisis as a way to push for interwavon economic integration.

As frenzied American right-wing pundits such as Lou Dobbs [22] and Bill O'Reilly [23] claimed that Canada's border was porous, the Canadian government responded with a 30-point action plan [24], led by Canada's then-Foreign Affairs Minister John Manley [25], called the Canada-US Smart Border Declaration [26] - an incredibly misleading name for a plan that has only worked to blur the border between the two countries. The agreement paved the way for Canada's own draconian anti-terrorism legislation (modeled after the PATRIOT Act [27]); the Safe Third Country Agreement [28] (which automatically sends refugees who come through the US back); the introduction of biometric identifiers at border crossings (including retina scanners [29]); and increased military cooperation [30] (handing over huge chunks of Canada's internal security to the US). As Canada drastically increases its military spending and fights under the US-led campaign in Afghanistan, the two countries have never been closer. 

But the concessions made in the Smart Border Declaration weren't good enough for Canada's corporate pimpsters, who still felt that post-September-11 border delays [31] were hurting profits. Realizing that the only way to quell America's security concerns was to hand over Canada's decision-making to the US, the CCCE began to push the Canadian government for a North American union. In 2003 and 2004, CCCE chief executive Thomas d'Aquino [32] - a fishing buddy of US President George W. Bush - penned two documents under the North American Security and Prosperity Initiative (NASPI) [33], which declared, "Economic integration is now irreversible, but in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, it also has become clear that North American economic and physical security are indivisible." It asserted that September 11 had locked the two countries in an arranged marriage from which neither could escape.

What should have just been a pair of innocuous discussion papers by a special interest group became the blueprints for the coming superstate. The CCCE documents would be cribbed almost word-for-word by North America's three governments in March 2005 when Canada's then-Prime Minister Paul Martin [34], Mexico's then-President Vincente Fox [35] and Bush met in Waco, Texas and announced the similarly-titled Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) [36].

"The SPP takes the integration of North America far, far deeper than NAFTA does," says Maude Barlow [37], national chairperson of The Council of Canadians, the country's largest public advocacy organization. Barlow calls Canada's deepening integration with the Bush administration "shocking," since its ethics and values are diametrically opposed to much of what Canada stands for. But the SPP will link US standards and regulations to Canada in virtually every sector that doesn't involve legislative changes, from trade to foreign policy and national security. While many of its proposals remain vague, some of the SPP's plans include the increase of intelligence-sharing on citizens, the creation of a North American security perimeter [38], and a continental resource pact (which is pushing to liberalize Mexico's energy supplies and Canada's water resources [39]).

Almost immediately after the SPP was agreed, Canada launched the Smart Regulation initiative [40], an extensive government-wide review that harmonizes many of its regulatory rules with the US. In the two years since Smart Regulation, Canada has made several proposals that would erode many of its standards for health, drug, food, agricultural and environmental regulations in order to fall in line with the generally lower standards demanded by American corporate-friendly regulations.

While North America's politicians work to erase barriers between the three countries, critics of the intense integration are especially troubled that none of the policy changes are being debated in a public forum. Despite its far-reaching implications, the SPP has not been brought before Canada's Parliament nor America's and Mexico's respective congresses. Instead, the three
governments are simply allowing the continent's biggest corporations to set the agenda. As if to emphasize this point, during the second SPP summit in March 2006 in Cancun, Mexico, the three countries announced the creation of the North American Competitiveness Council (NACC), a tri-national working group made up of 30 of the top corporations in the continent, which would have a special seat in the SPP. The NACC includes the CEOs from such multinational corporations as
Lockheed Martin, General Motors, Chevron [41], Wal-Mart [42], EnCana [43] and Canfor [44]. No labor, social or parliamentarian group from any country has ever been invited to join their discussions.

Curiously, while the opposition to the SPP is led by left-wing groups in Canada, the primary opposition in the US is led by protectionist conservatives. Right-wing pundits such as Phyllis Schlafly and CNN's Lou Dobbs the one-man border fence standing beside Rio Grande have become ferocious opponents of the secretive agreement, while Republican legislators at both the national and state levels have tabled resolutions opposing the SPP. Although much of the criticism from conservative groups crosses into classic rhetoric about Mexican migrants stealing American jobs, there is also worry that North American common currency - the "amero [45]," after Europe's euro) - would eventually replace America's greenback. No North American politician has gone on record to promote the amero, but it has been endorsed by powerful right-wing Canadian think-tanks like the Fraser Institute [46] and C.D. Howe Institute [47].

Having yet to see the benefits of NAFTA, Mexican activists see the SPP as another tool to exploit cheap Mexican labor and resources. Aside from requiring Mexico to hand over its security sovereignty, the SPP is calling for the privatization of Mexico's energy and agricultural industries. While Canada signed away a great deal of its energy rights in NAFTA, Mexico tactically held onto its oil and gas reserves. But with the US continuing to suck down petroleum, and the Bush administration looking for resources outside the volatile Middle East, Mexico has little hope of keeping national control of its prized offshore oil fields.

 
 
Politicians and business leaders advocating the deal continue to insist that the SPP is a harmless harmonization of standards and regulations that are needed in order to compete in an increasingly competitive global market. Although it's starting to bear an eerie resemblance to the three continental superstates in Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four [48], SPP proponents say that North America (Oceania) must unify if it is to compete with powerful new rivals like the European Union (Eurasia), China and India (Eastasia).   

For now, there are still a number of barriers that will keep Canada from getting pulled in the powerful American undertow. While Canadian business and political leaders are pushing further for socioeconomical integration, they would still have to get legislative approval to make drastic changes to their governance structures. It is obvious from last September's Banff meeting that the proponents of a North American superstate will attempt to pursue this unification through "low-key" until they are ready to push it to the final legislative level. What event will act as the catalyst for further integration remains to be seen - just as September-11 was exploited by Canadian businesses and the American government for deeper integration, another major crisis (natural or man-made, another September-11-type terrorist attack, real or perceived) could hammer the final nail in Canada's coffin. Unless government leaders from all three countries open up the SPP discussions to the public and allow them to have a voice in how the rules, regulations and values are structured, Canadians could suddenly find themselves being governed by American corporations and their country all but disappeared.


[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superstate 
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Rumsfeld
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rick_Hillier
[4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NORTHCOM
[5] http://www.defenselink.mil/bios/biographydetail.aspx?biographyid=68
[6] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stockwell_Day
[7] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_American_Competitiveness_Council
[8] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_Council_on_National_Issues
http://www.ceocouncil.ca/en
[9] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judicial_Watch
http://www.judicialwatch.org
[10] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_of_the_British_Empire
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decline_of_the_Roman_Empire
[11] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_ownership_of_companies_of_Canada
[12] http://www.nfb.ca
[13] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Broadcasting_Corporation
http://www.cbc.ca/thehour
[14] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Trudeau
http://www.collectionscanada.ca/primeministers/h4-3375-e.html
[15] http://www.international.gc.ca/department/history/canada9-en.asp
[16] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_Investment_Review_Agency
http://thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=A1ARTA0002896
[17] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Mulroney
[18] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NAFTA
[19] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molson_Breweries
[20] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_National_Railway
[21] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canada-United_States_border
[22] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lou_Dobbs
http://www.newsmeat.com/media_political_donations/Lou_Dobbs.php
http://cnn.org/CNN/Programs/lou.dobbs.tonight
[23] http://www.billoreilly.com
http://www.foxnews.com/oreilly
[24] http://geo.international.gc.ca/can-am/main/border/gov_response-en.asp
[25] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Manley_(politician)
[26] http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/12/20021206-1.html
[27] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PATRIOT_Act
[28] http://www.cic.gc.ca/EnGLIsh/about/laws-policy/menu-safethird.asp
[29] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retinal_scan
[30] http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/agency/dod/northcom.htm
[31] http://dsp-psd.pwgsc.gc.ca/Collection-R/LoPBdP/EB/prb018-e.htm
http://www.canadianeconomy.gc.ca/english/economy/2001September11.html
[32] http://www.psagency-agencefp.gc.ca/leadership/adm-sma/admforum/toc_2006_10_17_18/bio_daquino_e.asp
[33] http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/03/20050323-1.html
http://www.pm.gc.ca/eng/media.asp?id=1084
http://stopspp.com/stopspp/?page_id=11
[34] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Martin
[35] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vicente_Fox
[36] http://www.spp.gov/myths_vs_facts.asp
[37] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maude_Barlow
[38] http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20040101faessay83112/robert-a-pastor/north-america-s-second-decade.html
[39] http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=5469
[40] http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/media/ps-dp/2005/0324_e.asp
[41] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chevron_Corporation
[42] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wal-Mart
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walmarting
[43] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EnCana_Corporation
[44] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canfor
[45] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amero
http://www.amerocurrency.com
[46] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fraser_Institute
http://www.fraserinstitute.ca
[47] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C.D._Howe_Institute
http://www.cdhowe.org
[48] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nineteen_Eighty-Four

 


 


 

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Baked Sweet Potato Exchange – Some Cultural-anthropological Perspective [10 Jan 2005|02:40am]
[ mood | amused ]

What you have learn most in high school is irrelevant for majority’s people’s ordinaily life; reverse-osmosis, mathematical induction….

Actually these are not main focal points of crazy high school life. Takao47 presumes that a meat of high school life is a moratorium… what will you do after graduation; very much like university years. After all most people don’t figures out what they want to do anyway whole life. The period will not mould one’s foundation for rest of life. It should be just fun and develop some (un)people skills.

Anyhow now Takao47 is in a very retrospective and melancholic mode and Takao47 is also becoming mellower for recalling bittersweet memories.

OK here is an episode one. On grade nine, Japanese kinds usually require to challenge an entrance examination(s) for respective school they wish to enter whether these institutions are public or parochial schools.

Anywho on one cloudy day on March, Takao47 and other troops of junior high school buddies and some kids Takao47 didn’t very well organized a group to go to this prefectural high school to write an entrance examination. We had to write five subjects examinations: Japanese language, English (Of course), Mathematics, Science and Social study. Takao47 learned later from university friends come from another prefectures mentioned that in some places besides these five liberal arts subjects, some prefectures demands more.

Takao47 is uncertain about present situation s though. So some kids are required write 9 subjects exams. The additional exams are covered in area of musicology, visual fine arts, gymnastics and domestic engineering. Our prefecture’s board of education Kanagawa-ken asks us to spend 50~60 minutes for each examination as for as Takao47 remembers.

Anyhow that exam day, we completed 3 examinations before lunchtime. In afternoon we completed remaining two examinations. Takao47 is still vividly remember what went through because an examination administrator is going to have a huge presence in high school life later…Actually it was very critical role. Well very assumingly at the frist sight, this fella was high school gym teacher type dude, and later I found out it was the case, which Takao47 and other most kids dislike. Usually these gym-type are arch-nemesis since they are the enforcer of high school rules if there is such thing.

Anyway after long examination day probably after PM3:00, all exams were completed and we were dismissed from classrooms. Takao47 and other schoolmates silently gathered to discuss exams and else. We felt very hungry because we ate just one lunch that day. Usually Takao47 & other kids eat three lunches school days, well a lot, yes sh*tload of lunch. 3 bento boxes with full compacted white rice and side dishes like fishes and stuff...
- 1st lunch will be around AM10:00 between 10 second recess between the classes.
- 2nd lunch is taken place as an official luncheon around noontime.
- Another last 3rd lunch is probably before AN EXTRA-CURRICULA sports activity.

BTW we ate lot but none of them become supersised… I am now just wondering why… were we just very hyperactive and had very good digestion capacity? Takao47 doesn’t know the truth behind this.

Takao47 is now very curious about high school kids in other country’s and their eating habits… Did you guys live like pings in feedlot of intensive hog farm? Hahaha

Anyhow our junior high school (grade 7 to 9, 12 ~ 15 years old usually) had some
sort of school sub-cultural tradition of another eating habit! As you know some taught in Japanese public school system, most Japanese public schools don’t have centralized-HAVC (heat, ventilation and air condition) system. In winter time, out junior high school’s classrooms geared up kerosene stoves. It looks like an useless crap for someone coming from cold climates. Well while its inefficient hot air circulation is true…which provide minimum heat supply of heat. Nice part of this kerosene crap is that you can use it for minor cooking. We liked making baked sweet potato (Yaki-Imo 焼き芋), it is pretty easy to fix just cover sweet potato by aluminum foil for half an hour and you will see the result.
Takao47 did realized that when people watching a fire and becaming a silent.. people tend to speak their bottom lines. Don't know why...

Takao47's junior high school homeroom teacher (science) was quite nice guy and we always had plenty of supply of potato in either classroom or his office. He talked about important issues in life while giving science lecture and eating potato which made is less serious and less convincible anyway. After class, we sometimes made a jaunt to an incinerator near school gym equipment storage to get a heat and eat another round of stuff. Usually we had endless supply of scrap lumber, unrecyclable cardboard boxes and discarded papers from garbage bins were piling up there. So in our junior high, baking was a norm…sort of integrated part of our school sub-cultural tradition.

With this perception in mind, we went to this high school’s incinerator to find a warmth and talk about stuff. As usual, I had a stuff and aluminum foil in bag. Takao47 was very handy-dandy guy.

One of buddies of Takao47 who smoke on regular-basis has a match so that we started a fire in this burn barrel to make some baked ones. Somewhat all of our junior high school students gathered near this barrel because we don’t know other students very much and we felt uncomfortable to mingle with kids from other schools. We were bit scared. It was kind of awkward to gather for the only reason we attend same junior high school, but anywho we were talking about exams we completed and discussed about what were correct answers and what kind of extra-curricula activity you will going to do in this school and what-not else.

When we gathered Takao47 discovered that a girl secretly admired (yeah admired…not lusted!) from different class in our junior high school was actually with us. Takao47 was really excited about this unexpected finding. He thought “This high school life is going to be an awesome one! With this girl for three years.”

Takao47 gave her a half of smoked potato and engaged conversation… Well it was sort of smooth move but it was Takao47’s first dialogue with her. When Takao47 was grade 7, he saw that potato exchange triggers some relationship among senior students so that Takao47 followed our school heritage. It seems that our junior high school students like sweet stuff. Some regional or tribal rule?

Takao47 was speculated that whether this girl understands his intention or else. Nevertheless she accepted it and Takao47 presumed that this was the bigging of our courtship… Were we Japanese macaques (nihonzaru, Japanese ape) washing potatoes by saline water beside beach? Takao47 was a happy camper. Oh we will be befriend with and eventually develop to GF-BF thing… And we ate silently while watching a fire in barn barrel with other kids.

Then all the sudden, one teacher came up… it was the exam administorator Gym buff Takao47 sat with more than 5 hours and started screaming:

(whole conversation was like that... in Japanese, I cannot translate these properly in English)
Gym Buff: おまえら、ここでたき火なんかしていいと思ってるのか?
何だ、焼き芋まで作ってんのか?
Takao47 & Match Kid: わかんないですね。いつも、自分たちの中学ではやっている事です。
Takao47 & Match Kid: いけませんか?(with attitudes and gunning-off looks )
Gym: まったくXX中学の生徒たちはしょうがない...

After this incident, we twentysome students got really nervous because we afraid that we may get pigeonholed as potentially troublesome kids may cause disturbances/riots among students, which we did eventually later. But that time, we were just concerned about outcomes of exam! How about Takao47’s fun life with this pretty girl! Few days later, we went to this high school to see exam results and we, kids from our junior high school were all admitted.

3 comments|post comment

Signature [23 Dec 2004|12:09pm]
I am an avid fan of Neil Young, not Toby Keith.
5 comments|post comment

Moral [23 Dec 2004|10:51am]
kids don't soccer punch your buddies from behind
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US Air Force 846th Testing Squadron [23 Dec 2004|10:45am]
http://www.46tg.af.mil/default.htm
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Retrospect 2004 [22 Dec 2004|12:37pm]
[ mood | excited ]

The Time Magazine has picked person of the year. They (American edition) choose always the person of the year from pool of politicians, millionaires and sometime army generals. This is so predictable and unjust. Anyhow here is my take of Year 2004.

Movie: Hotel Rwanda (2004)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0395169/
Accompanied with Roméo Dallaire “Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda”, it is very frustrating to see Peacekeeping (Peacemaking is more precise) is often jeopardized by bureaucracy of United Nation aristocrat hierarchy.
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0786714875/qid=1103738499/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl14/002-4792552-2525652?v=glance&s=books&n=507846

Accomplishment: Getting better to make Vietnamese Iced Coffee

Music: Fred Eaglesmith
http://www.fredeaglesmith.com
For an amazing outdoor jamboree-like concert and new CD.

Things Improved Exponentially: Bobcat operation
http://www.bobcat.com
I could be able to become an organic farm operator in future?

Book:
A Complicated Kindness (Miriam Toews)
For this Manitoba writer’s struggle with Mennonite society, small town power–politics and human dynamics. It makes me to think about an ex-Hutterite friend back home.
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1582433216/103-1596365-8004601?v=glance

Unforgettable Place: Lasqueti Island, British Columbia
For beautiful sunset and seaweed.

Photographer: Yuri Kozyrev
http://www.yurikozyrev.com
For striking photographs of war-torn areas.

Confession: I did first skinny-dipping in British Columbia.

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HUMAN ZOO - Leg nipple vs dragon cock [17 Dec 2004|11:19am]
[ mood | amused ]

HUMAN ZOO - Leg nipple vs dragon cock
>> Leg nipple <<
http://snipurl.com/bfrb

>> Tattooed dragon penis <<
http://www.trutje.nl/images/shitsies/dragon.jpg

>> David Blunkett game <<
http://www.thomasscott.net/flash/blunkett/

>> Ambitious Stickman vid <<
http://www.durber.com/kev/animation/thejob.html

>> Tinfoil Hat anim <<
http://eclectech.co.uk/mindcontrol.php

: GAMEBOY DS
http://www.gbax.com/new/ds.html

>> Teddy bear guys <<
http://thebearguys.com/aboutus.htm

>> Piercing for speccy twats <<
http://www.bmezine.com/news/pubring/20041214.html

>> USB eye massager <<
http://snipurl.com/bfjy

>> Sex tourist holiday snaps <<
http://snipurl.com/bfeq

>> "Piss monkeys! We've uploaded babble" <<
http://www.port.ac.uk/research/humanitiesgroup/

>> Text-to-speech lady <<
http://snipurl.com/bfly

>> Russian tape archive <<
http://c-90.nm.ru/index.htm

* NAME THAT TUNE
http://www.chthonicionic.net/whatsthatsong/

: FRIDAY GAME
Mouse co-ordination challenge
http://www.andkon.com/arcade/obstacles/dr3i/

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Inside the Kingdom: My Life in Saudi Arabia [17 Dec 2004|11:09am]
[ mood | accomplished ]

The author with unusual western European name of Cameron bin Ladin (spelling is intentionally different) has chronicled a closed-up portrait of Osama bin Laden as of the Saudi society that germinate him.

Osama makes a few appearances, but these appearances are striking enough to account for the book’s entire excerpt.

The author is a daughter of Swiss businessman and Iranian socialite (Takao47 never imagined that there were Paris Hilton likewise in Iran must be existed only in The Pahlavi Dynasty era) falling in love with, and in 1973, marries Yeslam bin Laden, half-bother of Osama (there are 54 siblings from 22 wives: what a busy patriarch). The East-meet-West courtship flourished while studying in California, where visiting members of Laden clan adopt corrupted Western life-style: Afros and designer jeans.

After the fairly-tale honeymoon phase what happened between two? Before seven-year itch, a naive Cameron struggles to adopt to a society which women are pretty much confined in the housing complexes. No music, no books other than Koran (very challenging for someone with intellectual curiosity more than watching American trailer trash magazine), no company other than idle women, almost no going out in public.

At first, Cameron’s ordeal is comforted by three daughters, the odd trip abroad, and relatively liberal, relatively supportive husband. However there were signs that marriage would not replicate the courtship: Yeslam seemed disappointed when their first-born was a girl. He was becoming more religious in the Saudi Wahabi style, and was coming to consider his wife as a possession: his wife.

Cameron hoped that oil revenues would help the country modernize, but reverse occurred by the aftermath of Ayatollah Khomeini’s revolution in Iran. By 1988, she could not stand country and husband any more. He divorced her and Cameron was never allowed to enter any Muslim countries from Morocco to Indonesia… Isn’t it any different from fatwa?

As for Osama, she describes as he “came to exemplify everything that repelled me in that opaque and harsh country: the unbending dogma that ruled all our lives, the arrogance and pridefulness of the Saudis, and their lack of compassion for people who didn’t share their beliefs.”

To Takao47, the most powerful element of this book is that chilling sense what life is like for woman in Saudi Arabia, especially for woman with a western background, western ideologies and western yen for experience. The veil shielding her from the eyes of men effectively a barrier to the entire world outside.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0446577081/104-9191766-3007928?v=glance

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American/Canadian Psycho & Television Personalities [16 Dec 2004|04:29pm]
We have too much downtime at work lately... which is nice.

In office, there are many left over newspapers someone forget to discard dump-stand. So Takao47's picked up this paper to put it on the desk to dismantle machine onto and to avoid dirty oil-spillage seepage/capillary action onto desk surface. It is like an old newspaper article you will peek odd time when you open old cardboard boxes. Newspaper is slimier to remainder of correspondence from mellow past.

Oopps... Well it was not that old...but last week's the Globe and Mail article's triggered an discussion among colleagues presently fighting war on boredom. The article was written by Globe and Mail TV critic, John Doyle (The Globe and Mail, November 10, 2004, Section R2 - Review, 'Welcome to out American election refugees'), well isn't amazing to write critical reviews about TV programs and get paid same time? Anywho my colleagues, as a norm of typical Canadians and immigrants, are very much keen to analysing American phycology and its reflection on news media.

Well during lunch break and after wee one hour and more, Takao47 and colleges had good insightful and productive discussion about American phycology reflection on television personalities.

Look at CNN's Washington senior correspondent John King... sounds very anonymous Anglo-Saxon name.... Do you know where is this guy come from? Takao47 and other guys agreed that this stud is so much like "GI Joe"... If some genius engineer(s) from The American Society of Testing Materials, finally invent a thing called "GI Joe-o-meter", John King should be a reference sample to consider as hardness grade 10 - GI Joe guy. Takao47 is thinking like The Mohs Hardness Scale right now.
http://edition.cnn.com/CNN/anchors_reporters/king.john.html

In Canadian television, not all reporters are looks like Barbie, Malibu Stacy, Ken or GI Joe. But they are OK, you will eventually smitten with Jennifer Ditchburn... she looks alright. Well she is dizmo for American taste.

Lately every nights, there are depressing updates from middle-east, Takao47 sees reports by CNN and CBC. Do you like to watch reports by Christian Amanpour? She seems to me so worn-out war correspondent spending too extensive period of time in combat-zone.

Look at CBC, there is a Jerusalem correspondent Adrienne Arsenault... In Takao47's opinion, she looks pretty hot. More importantly she looks like normal folk. Apparently at least she not delivering a political report like a fiddler of Warmonger.
http://www2.acc.af.mil/accnews/feb02/02073.html

The biggest low-budget Canadian TV drama is "Corner Gas". This show's protagonist is somewhat lame...for American taste, a guy called Brent Butt and he looks like some dude operating Mack's convenience store because he dropped out university and could not find a decent job. These quite characters at a gas station tiny town in Saskatchewan is running show.

This fictitious town is actually located 50 kilometres outside of Regina. In American programs, it is pretty difficult to find average Joe/Jane like folks. Everyone drive hot cars and wear nice outfits. Canadians are cheap sleek.

Well from Nova Scotia, there is another note-worthy program called "Trailer Park Boys". This show actually is promoting medical hemp consumption ... and you know this show is pretty good to learn English for foreign guy like Takao47 to learn swearing in English. Oh I am ready instigate bar fight... Canada is great... after all this is nation of stoners...
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FedEx television commercials [16 Dec 2004|04:26pm]
I always enjoy FedEx television commercials… these spots are always somewhat hilarious.

http://www.fedex.com/us/about/advertising/tvads/mbawm.html?link=4

It shows a new employee, counter-argued when a supervisor asks him to ship some packages using Fedex.com

“You don’t understand. I have an MBA.” He sniffs.
“Oh, You have an MBA,” his supervisor disappointedly replies.
“In that case, I’ll have to show you how to do it.”


This dialogue reminds me that one university office clerk at the registrar’s office I had troubles with this Character every semester I register classes… he is working at university because he cannot find a high-power corporate career utilizing MBA in real world.

I am just starting to think recently what’s the real purpose of post secondary education. Well it provides me critical thinking and research skills, which is very nice but… apparently my case; university education (especially from Canada becuase I am working in way different industory sector) is almost worthless so to speak of. I feel like wasted sh*tload of dough and time.

One of my friends who used to study with me is taking time off from university and working as a cabinetmaker apprentice. He studied quite few CNC programming classes with me and now making very beautiful furniture and home appliances. Since he has just finished second year cabinetmaker journeyman certificate so that pay is not so awesome yet. But he is doing moonlighting as a subcontract cabinetmaker on side. These incomes are under the fed rader so to speak… lucky fella… In country like Canada with high taxation rate, tax-free gig is awesome.
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Eminem [16 Dec 2004|03:16pm]
I find it funny that Eminem can be more articulate and profound in a 5 minute music video then Michael Moore can be in all 2 meandering hours of Fahrenheit 9/11.

http://www.gnn.tv/videos/video.php?id=27
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Eine Klein Nachtmusik [14 Dec 2004|05:55pm]
[ mood | annoyed ]

Too tired to fight, too bored to care,
Too sober to go on a tear
And give Albertans easy laughs
With much-loved, one-too-many gaffes,
Ralph Klein has nothing left to do
But tick the days he's made it through

It would be nice to meet the Queen
And whisper something quite obscene,
Or outrage oil-patch plutocrats
By stamping on their Stetson hats,
And loudly shout Kyoto's name
To feel that bracing sense of blame.

But when you've lost the urge to shock
The whole thing starts to seem a crock.
So if complacency's a crime,
Then choose some fired-up kid next time,
And meanwhile, don't Ralph's decline:
You've got your oil - you'll all do fine

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Bone Structure [10 Dec 2004|07:56am]
Recently I went to Montreal and catched a cabby late at night. After hopping onto the cab, I realized that driver was looking like a gangster rapper Coolio hair-wise.


Honestly I was bit scared…He was cruising around street while listening to loud French (Creole) rap music from some radio station…

I told him that "I am originally from western Canada so that this kind of music is new to me." Then asked, “Is this guy French or Quebecois?”

“This guy is Haitian and we are from same town.”

“(Abruptly) Are you from Japan?”

“How do you know that?”

“Bone structure.”

“Do you live in Canada?”

“Yes.”

“Are you married? Do you cook Japanese food? When I came to Canada, I just missed food. I guess you feel same.”

“Single. Why do you ask such question? I can cook Japanese dishes but I cannot prepare whole cuisine…”

“I am married to Quebecois. My wife’s sister is also married to another Haitian and she had taught me to cook Haitian food. When I was in Haiti, I never cooked myself… What’s kind of food do you miss from Japan…?”

“Well I guess I have a things for wacky stuff. Probably you are not familiar with this thing but it is Asian stuff. I miss dumb good soybean paste soup… It is a centerpiece of meal… like jerk chicken for you guys. I am ashamed to say it, but if I can find a good soybean paste soup, I would never think about Japan. Especially when I’ve finished working overnight around five in the morning after contingency machine fixing. Anyhow it is pretty weird that it was white Quebec woman who taught you how to cook Haitian food.”

“Exactly. They love Haitian cooking. And since they’ve been eating Haitian dished, they are starting to get BLACK bottoms. Man, that’s all they were missing. When I arrived here, the girls were outstanding – face, hair, legs, all perfect. But no bottoms man. From behind they looked like oriental cab drivers. Then they started to eat yams, plantains, pork, sweet potatoes and lots of rice. So as time goes by, they started to get bottoms. Real white-BLACK women.”

“Bum…”

“How do you hook up with Quebecois lady? (While Takao47 was watching cabby’s wifey photo on a dashboard…. little bit impressed for his hot old lady…)”

“Well they don’t think we are black. Here we’re Haitian instead. Actually some Quebecois call themselves the White-BLACK of North America.”

“It sound like Irish calling themselves in Europe… Did you saw a movie ‘Commitment’? Fat white guy is shouting like James Brown?”

“Yeah, I saw that…”

“Why you left Haiti?”

“One of the reasons I left Haiti is racism. I don’t understand such violent racism between same people of the same race. Each spits on the one who’s black than him. It is the colonial heritage Haitians learned from French.”

“Well I am hungry.”

“We’ll eat at greasy-spoon in a minute.”
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Turkey in European Union ? [10 Dec 2004|07:54am]
I have been reading and researching about one Japanese fisherman’s travelogue to capital of the Russian Empire, St. Petersburg during the period of Tokugawa Shogunate and to finally meet the Empress Catherine II for repatriating to Japan with shipmates. It is very intriguing to read how this undereducated hillbilly Japanese fisherman, Daikokuya Kodayu (although he was a semi-literate) turning into cosmopolitan mind-setting global citizen by an accident: shipwreck . The long travelogue chronicles continental Russia’s gradual change from Asia to Europe…

Where is the end of Europe? That’s Takao47’s question…

In 2002, former French president Valery Giscard d’Estaing mentioned that admitting Turkey could eventually “the end of the European Union.” Former German chancellor Helmut Schmidt argued it implies “the political union degenerating into nothing more than a free-trade community.”

However this year on October 6th, the European Commission formally recommended that accession negotiations be started, subject to the approval of the European Council when it meets on December 17th.

The so-called Copenhagen criteria stipulate a candidate country to be a human-right-respecting democracy with functioning market economy and with the ability to adopt the EU’s rules and standards (the acquis communataire). The existence of neutral criteria that could in theory be met by any country might be able to join the EU. That’s means there are no limits to the EU’s expansion. Mr. d’Estaing pointed out in 2002, “The day after you open negotiations with Turkey, you will have a Moroccan demand.”

Article 49 of the Treaty on EU restricts candidacy to “any European state,” which defines such ambiguous speculations as the EU could stretching to the Cape of Good Hope or to the Bearing Strait.

Very strangely enough, the EU has never defined what it means by European. While Moroccan application was categorically rejected in 1987, how about include Turkey? Russia? History provides no cutthroat answer. So EU is geographical, ethnological, religious, economical or political entity?

Well, the question will come down to whether Turkey has met, or is likely to meet in future, the Copenhagen criteria. Turkey recently has made significant changes, including the establishment of Kurdish language education and broadcasting, the abolishment of the death penalty and the elimination of State Security Courts. A dispute erupted in September over Turkey’s attempt to criminalize adultery, but it became clear that the law jeopardized Turkey’s EU membership application, it was scrapped.

The Ottoman Empire in 1856 was invited to join the European Concert that would guide the course of the continent after the Crimean War. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk abolished the caliphate, discarded Islamic law and replaced Arabic script with the Latin Alphabet…transformed into secular government.

Turkey was admitted to the Council of Europe in 1949, and the Organization of Security and Corporation in Europe in 1973. Takao47 was really surprised to learn that Japan is a non-participating State of OSCE. http://www.osce.org/ec/partners/cooperation/partners

So what’s the problem to consider Turkey as a European state? If Turkey could join EU maybe Japan has a fair shot to join EU? Isn’t Japan overly dependent on the US-Japan military alliance?

Many history books say to the southeast, the traditional frontier has always been the Bosporus. But Europe’s eastern border has shifted, from the Don River in the 15th century – few people at the time knew what lay beyond it – to the Volga, and by the 19th century, to the Ural Mountains.” Charles de Gaulle called in 1966 for Europe that stretched “from the Atlantic to the Urals,” including the Soviet Unions, he was deliberately provoking thing as an argument for argument sake.

If the Bosporus lies the southeastern frontier, what about Turkey, whose territory lies on the both sides of the straits? d’Estaing defined “Turkey’s capital is not in Europe. Ninety-five percent of its population lives outside Europe. It is not a European country.” Russian is an overlap case like Turkey: most of its territory lies east of the Ural Mountains, in Asia. But since the Peter the Great until 1917, Russia was perceived totally as a part of Europe.

So there will be no an official definition of Europe… the EU could be expandable to anywhere on the globe…then neither geographers nor theorists, but dynamics of states and the ambitions of political leaders decide EU’s sphere of influence. Perhaps the Russia’s integration could help Japan’s semi-EU membership…

Turkey has a long history of near-European mode. Japan was like that under the Shogun Oda Nobunaga… One Turkish colleague of Takao47 mentioned me that even the 16th century sultans saw themselves in a semi-European tune… Mohamet the Conqueror has himself painted by Italian painters. There is a kind of cross-border cultural hybridity going on since then…
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Quote of the day - On Bush Visit [02 Dec 2004|10:15am]
"They want to get pepper sprayed - it's like losing their virginity for these kids."

Ottawa Citizen columnist Charley Gordon
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In her own words . . . From Baghdad, May 17, 2003 [19 Nov 2004|04:27pm]
Yesterday Takao47 read a reprint article of contribution by Margaret Hassan so it would be nice to post here.


In her own words . . . From Baghdad, May 17, 2003
By Margaret Hassan


The Globe and Mail, Wednesday, November 17, 2004, Page A27 (of reprint from May 17, 2003 contribution)

I am constantly astonished by the public's knowledge gap on Iraq, about how it is now compared to how it used to function.

Iraq was a fairly efficiently run country, albeit the services were mainly provided by government. A case in point is the garbage collection. At the moment, Baghdad's garbage is piling up in the streets. Previously, it was collected every day, but looters stole the garbage trucks.

When I asked that coalition forces what will be done, they replied that they replied that they are hiring someone who has 12 garbage trucks. Yet the government owned them all, so if some guy tells you he's got 12 garbage trucks, then he has stolen them and he should be arrested.

It's not like we have thousands of people in soup kitchens, because we don't, but we are responding to situations that have worsened because there was a war.

We have to look at Iraq and remember that Iraq was not failed country. It had systems, you could get an education, it had a health service, and mothers with newborn babies could take them to a primary health centre and they would get all their vaccinations free of charge.

But we have gone from a situation of control to no control, and security is the first and most important thing that has got to be put in place. If not, you'll have other problems, like people not going to work, or children not going to school.

Before the 1991 Persian Gulf war, Iraq enjoyed a high standard of living with the majority of population in a relatively wealthy middle class. With high levels of education, low infant mortality, high levels of access to portable water and sanitation, Iraq was listed as 67th on the United Nations' human Development Index in 1990. The standard of living depended on oil revenues. When these ceased and comprehensive UN sanctions were imposed, Iraq rapidly experienced food shortages, and collapsing infrastructure and economy.

Since the advent of sanctions, most families in Iraq have expended any assets they may once have had. Home appliances, furnishings, heirlooms, rugs and other household items have long since been sold to provide cash for unexpected health needs or other urgent matters. Today, few families in Iraq retain any cash or physical assets other than their home.

CARE began working in Iraq in 1991. Our program focuses on water and sanitation, health and children,. We provided supplementary food items and lactose-free milk to 97 pediatric hospitals throughout the center and south of Iraq. Though this work, we have gained a very good overview of the health status in the different governorates, the conditions in the hospitals and health centers. We know where every single hospital in Iraq is located.

Anyone who tells you that some international organization got the hospitals up and running is not telling the truth. The doctors remained at their places throughout the recent crisis, and we supported them. For example, in one children’s hospital, we provided buses so their stuff could be transported to and from work. In anticipation of the ware, the farmer government of Iraq had distributed sufficentnt medicine for about three months. But they did have shortages such as oxygen regulators, and even basic cleaning supplies and we also helped with that.

What we should do now?

First, we should not open separate clinics that undermine the local health service. Iraq has a health service that is better than those found in the lots of countries. We need to help that service, and all other services, get back on their feet, and improve their performance.

Second, we have to support the civil administration. Our job is not politics – we survived 12 years in Iraq because we never meddled in that side of things. That is how we must continue to operate.

---------------------------------------------------------------
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/Page/document/v4/sub/MarketingPage?user_URL=http://www.theglobeandmail.com%2Fservlet%2FArticleNews%2FTPStory%2FLAC%2F20041117%2FCOHASSAN17%2FTPComment%2FTopStories&ord=1100801499595&brand=theglobeandmail&force_login=true
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there are worse things in life than my report card [19 Nov 2004|04:26pm]
I think this is worth sharing

A mother passing by her daughter's bedroom was astonished to see the bed was nicely made and everything was picked up. Then she saw an envelope propped up prominently on the center of the bed. It was addressed,"Mom." With the worst premonition, she opened the envelope and read the letter with trembling hands:


Dear Mom:
It is with great regret and sorrow that I'm writing you. I had to elope with my new boyfriend because I wanted to avoid a scene with Dad and you. I've been finding real passion with John and he is so nice even with all his piercings, tattoos, beard, and his Motorcycle clothes.

But it's not only the passion mom, I'm pregnant and John said we will be very happy. He already owns a trailer in the woods and has a stack of firewood for the whole winter! He wants to have many more children with me and that's now one of my dreams too. John taught me marijuana doesn't really hurt an yone, and we'll be growing it for us and trading it with his friends for all the cocaine and ecstasy we want.

In the meantime, we'll pray that science will find a cure for AIDS so John can get better; he sure deserves it!! Don't worry Mom, I am 15 years old now, and I know how to take care of myself. Some day I'm sure we'll be back to visit so you can get to know him and your grandchildren.

Your daughter,
Judith

PS: Mom, none of the above is true. I'm over at the neighbor's house. I just wanted to remind you there are worse things in life than my report card which is in my desk drawer. I love you! Call when it is safe for me to come home. This is even better when read out loud!!!
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Salty Imitation Kraft Cheese [17 Nov 2004|06:12pm]
Saskatchewan Roughriders has lost; Takao47 can feel pain of friends in Taylor Field. Actually last night Takao47 had a dream of Saskatchewan glory days.

Probably Takao47 chitchatted with farmer friend back home in Yorkton, Saskatchewan who produces durum wheat that is why my memory was resurfaced. He told me that this fall was another disaster year for pasta wheat. My dream was usually pretty simple Reader’s Digest ® version but last night’s dream was somewhat extended version, complicated and interweaving one with beautiful landscape, dialogues and tidbits learned from many people.

In dream, Takao47 is making a tomatoes sauce at friend’s grandfather’s home. Fresh Roma tomatoes, shitload of garlic, a few grinds of black pepper and load of olive oil, were cooked into the taste of Saskatchewan homegrown summer tomatoes sauce.

At his place, the grandpa, who is a widower still live alone bit away from rural community working as a grain elevator keeper kicking in 90s. He produces lots of veggies in backyard but as a typical of single male living alone, hates cooking. He used to give cash-strapped university student Takao47 and his grandchildren living in town real organic veggies. My cooking was a reciprocal for his generosity.

Well the kind of guy purchasing Mr. Noodle/Sapporo Ichiban Ramen by the cases – didn’t have any Parmigiano Reggiano in refrigerator. But he had a two-year-old (or more older?) shaker can of Kraft Parmesan. Takao47 shook the can to break up the cheese lumps, then poured the crumbs over pasta. The very much-motivated Takao47 was asking squid/seashell to make another round of sauce and pasta. It was a stupid demand considering town located in a landlocked province.

The old man, recalling his youth as a solider stationed in West Germany’s Canadian Armed Force barrack 50~60s, told us that Kraft first introduced it in 1945, as an American and Canadian servicemen and servicewomen repatriated home from European military installations with spouses from the Old World. The Illinois food conglomerate in Northfield added Romano to its product line in 1959, and then in 1983 launched a Parmesan/Romano blend.

Takao47 presumes that many of us grown up on these stuff. Italian-Canadian fella told Takao47 that it was pretty difficult to find the real deal until the 1990s in mainstream stores, when North Americans started stockpiling balsamic vinegar and sun-dried tomatoes by the bulk. Suddenly canned cheese becomes an illegitimate child like an equivalent of Peter Cetera’s solo career.

Kraft Parmesan is salty by an Italian expert. Anywho Takao47's grandparents were merely drinking milk and Takao47's parents are not daily products experts, considering my background, globalization is progressing in very significant speed.

Back in my dream, sprinkled on my sauce, it tasted good, great even – just like to learn growing up day by day.
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