Friday, April 29, 2011

“The modern Arab Republic of Egypt identifies itself as an Arab nation, though its people are ‘Arabized’ rather than true Arabs. The distinction between Arab and Egyptian is well recognized among Egyptians and Arabs alike. Egypt perceives its role in the development of the Middle East as one of leadership [sic], peacemaker, and negotiator.”

— Susan L. Wilson, Culture Shock! Egypt: A Guide to Customs and Etiquette (Portland, 1998: Graphic Arts Center Publishing Co.), p. 10

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

[e.e. cummings, 100 Selected Poems, p. 61, Grove Press, n.d.]

No. 49:

(of Ever-Ever Land i speak
sweet morons gather roun’
who does not dare to stand or sit
may take it lying down)

down with the human soul
and anything else uncanned
for everyone carries canopeners
in Ever-Ever Land

(for Ever-Ever Land is a place
that’s as simple as simple can be
and was built that way on purpose
by simple people like we)

down with hell and heaven
and all the religious fuss
infinity pleased our parents
one inch looks good to us

(and Ever-Ever Land is a place
that’s measured and safe and known
where it’s lucky to be unlucky
and the hitler lies down with the cohn)

down above all with love
and everything perverse
or which makes some feel more better
when all ought to feel less worse

(but only sameness is normal
in Ever-Ever Land
for a bad cigar is a woman
but a gland is only a gland)

Monday, April 18, 2011

The point of no return for a probable Israeli attack on Iran may have passed in 2005, when senior leaders decided that the idea was not worth it. Yet as Amir Oren reports in Haaretz, the successive missile defense system known as the Iron Dome appears to be resurrecting the go-bomb-Iran idea, as evidenced by the fact that any barrage of missiles in reprisal may be shot down by the new, and expensive, system. Oren points out that when former Israeli PM Ehud Olmert and current Defense Minister Ehud Barak pressed GWB to green-light a strike on Iranian nuclear sites in January 2008, Dubya just refused, perhaps reinforcing the image of the United States as the bossman-called-partner. Bush commented that Barak in particular really freaked him out. Now there is a scary man, one who even frightened the former president. Chag sameach!

Monday, April 11, 2011

On March 28, the Old Gray Lady began charging online users for its content. This supposedly radical idea (the WSJ was there years ago) has now yielded some, well, mixed results. From reporter Heather Dougherty at HitWise:

The effect of the pay wall has been somewhat stronger upon the total page views for the, with the same comparison of a 12 day period before the launch of the pay wall to the 12 days following the launch. For all 12 days, there was a decline in total page views which ranged between 11% and 30%.”

For a look at what I have been up to these past two months, check out my Wordpress page, The Euphemist. Truth be told, time has been scarce for Independentista lately. But now I have been into that Twitter stuff. My handle is @lexiconstable.