Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Why some parents turn to drink

>>>>A boss wondered why one of his most valued employees had not come
>>>>to work or phoned in sick.
>>>>Having an urgent problem with one of the maincomputers, he dialled the
>>>>employee's home phone number and
>>>>was greeted with a child's whisper. "Hello."
>>>>"Is your daddy home?" he asked.
>>>>"Yes," whispered the small voice.
>>>>"May I talk with him?"The child whispered,
>>>>Surprised and wanting to talk with an adult, the boss asked,
>>>>"Is your Mommy there?"
>>>>"May I talk with her?"
>>>>Again the small voice whispered, "No."
>>>>Hoping there was somebody with whom he could leave a message, the boss
>>>>"Is anybody else there?"
>>>>"Yes," whispered the child, "a policeman"
>>>>Wondering what a cop would be doing at his employee's
>>>>home, the boss asked,"May I speak with the policeman?"
>>>>"No, he's busy", whispered the child.
>>>>"Busy doing what?"
>>>>"Talking to Daddy and Mommy and the Fireman," came the whispered answer.
>>>>Growing more worried as he heard what sounded like a helicopter through
>>>>the earpiece on the phone, the boss asked,
>>>>"What is that noise?"
>>>>"A helicopter" answered the whispering voice.
>>>>"What is going on there?" demanded the boss, now truly apprehensive.
>>>>Again, whispering, the child answered, "The search team just landed
>>>>the helicopter."
>>>>Alarmed, concerned and a little frustrated the boss asked,
>>>> "What are they searching for?"
>>>>Still whispering, the young voice replied with a muffled giggle:

Thanks again, Chip

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Rebellion Through Song

This Advertiser piece by Maria Moscaritolo shows how important the aural transmission of songs can be in shaping a local culture.

IN a small village in Malaysia's Islamic-run state of Kelantan, youthful rebellion is taking an unusual form.

There, teenagers are quietly staging a mutiny against a state law that prohibits the practice of their traditional Malay culture.

In defiance of the law, they gather once a week to learn the songs and dances banned when the Islamic PAS party won power 15 years ago.

The man behind this mini-revolution is Eddin Khoo, a former journalist, who started his small "underground" program in response to the PAS edict.

So far, he has helped train 70 youths around the state.

Usually getting by on a shoestring budget, he was lucky to receive $10,000 in corporate sponsorship for his program in Dewan Kecil, a small village about a 40-minute drive from the capital, Kota Bharu.

The teenagers there are learning "dikir barat" - ensemble chanting.

He says they are not allowed to perform publicly, "but we do, because there is strong community support". "There is no lack of interest," he says. "Whenever we do one of these underground performances we get a huge audience of about 300-400 people, which, in a village like this, is a large number . . . but there is an element of ambivalence. They wouldn't mind watching but whether they would want to participate is another matter."

Kelantan is the only one of Malaysia's 13 states ruled by PAS.

It banned traditional performances to purge the conservative state of practices it saw as "un-Islamic".

It now only has a one-seat majority so, while it will not sanction open cultural displays, the need to keep voters onside means the party is prepared to turn a blind eye to the program. (It remains to be seen if this cosy relationship will be upset should the kids perform for the visiting Prime Minister, as they hope to, in the next couple of months.)

"The first year . . . it was terrible because there was this great zeal of radical religion and, in those early years when performances were held like this, there was every chance that you'd get people who would come and break it up, and a couple of incidents of assault," says Mr Khoo, who visited Adelaide last year to give a lecture on Islamic art at the Art Gallery of South Australia.

"To the credit of the state government, they stopped all of that and (instead) they tried to convince the people not to participate, but culture is hard to expunge because people love this sort of thing."

The straitjacket conservatism has had far-reaching effects beyond silencing traditional songs, he says.

"You have 15 years of young people being severed from any kind of cultural sense, cultural identity, and by extension, sense of self and we've seen in Kelantan very serious social problems - terrible problems of alienation, of drug addiction, of sexual violence, and really a society that has been turned on its head for the past 15 years," he says.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Death Of The Antichrist? Not Bloody Likely

[From the UK Daily Telagraph]

Terror boss died hour after blast

June 14, 2006

BAGHDAD: Al-Qaeda leader in Iraq Abu Musab al-Zarqawi died of serious damage to the lungs caused by shockwaves from a US air strike last week, the US military said yesterday.

The military, which said DNA analysis confirmed the identity of the corpse, revealed he died almost an hour after coalition forces dropped two 227kg bombs on his safe house north of Baghdad last Wednesday.
Post-mortem findings ... the US military's injury chart for al-Zarqawi's body

Meanwhile, al-Qaeda in Iraq on Monday appointed little-known militant Sheikh Abu Hamza al-Muhajer to succeed the Jordanian-born Zarqawi

in an internet message -- the authenticity of which could not be verified.

"Sheikh Abu Hamza is a pious brother with a jihadi track record and a solid scholarly background. We ask God to bless him and to help him finish what Sheikh Abu Musab has started," the statement added.

His nationality was not given but the word "muhajer" means immigrant in Arabic, suggesting he is also a non-Iraqi.

Zarqawi died from injuries sustained in the blasts.

"The cause of death was a close space primary blast injury of the lung. Blast waves from the two bombs caused tearing, bruising of the lungs and bleeding," US military doctor Colonel Steve Jones said in Baghdad.

"This wound was not immediately fatal.

"Death occurred as lung function deteriorated and the lungs became progressively unable to absorb oxygen into the blood."

Jones brushed aside reports Zarqawi was beaten to death after coalition forces found him alive after the air strike.

"He died of blast injuries and there was no evidence of beating. The injuries to his lungs were not survivable. That is what killed him as there were no firearm injuries visible."

Major General William Caldwell confirmed: "We have the DNA results of Zarqawi and it matches positive."

He said a coalition medic tended to Zarqawi after the air strike, securing his airway and ensuring the militant was breathing as "he lapsed in and out of consciousness".

"At 7:04pm on 7 June (the coalition medic on duty) realised Zarqawi was dead. This is approximately 24 minutes after coalition forces arrived or approximately 52 minutes after the first strike," he said.

His spiritual adviser Sheikh Abdel Rahman was killed in the strike along with four others.

Maj-Gen Caldwell said he believed Zarqawi was dressed in a "black outfit at the time of the air strike and there was nothing to suggest that we was wearing a suicide belt at that time".

He said the military was "still in discussion with the Iraqi Government as to final disposition of the remains".

Quoting documents seized from the house, the report suggested Zarqawi planned to create a war between Iraqi Shi'ites of and Sunni Arabs in the Gulf.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

666 - Numbers Of The Beast

From a web page of the same name (but wait, there's more)

666 Biblical Number of the Beast
660 Approximate Number of the Beast
DCLXVI Roman Numeral of the Beast
665 Number of the Beast's Older Brother
667 Number of the Beast's Younger Sister
668 Number of the Beast's Neighbor
999 Number of the Australian Beast
333 Number of the Semi-Beast
66 Number of the Downsized Beast
6, uh..., I forget Number of the Blond Beast

Friday, June 02, 2006

No Plans For Australian Nuclear Power Plant- Downer

In a coastal town at the shores of Mr Downer's Mayo electorate, the nuclear debate is rippling through the community.

Downer's fellow S.A. Senator Anne McEwen has cheekily suggested that the tourism city, known to many as "God's Waiting Room" would be an ideal site because of the abundance of water.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs has responded rather cattily to the suggestion, describing McEwen as a senator that nobody has heard of.

"There is no plan to build a nuclear power station anywhere in the whole of Australia, least of all in Victor Harbor." Mr Downer told the Victor Harbor Times.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

6/6/06 And Mothers-To-Be

[from the Fort Worth Star Telegram]
No doubt, the 6/6/06 babies -- and their parents -- are in for some ribbing.

Hey, Junior's horns are showing in the bluebonnet photo ...

Beelzeb-- what? That a family name?

"I refuse to give birth on that date," said Bethany Morian of Weatherford. "I'll cross my legs and watch the clock."

It's nothing scary. "I just think it would be a bad thing to carry around your whole life," Morian said. She says her husband thinks it would be hilarious to have a 6/6/06 baby -- so they could name it Damien after the bad seed from the Omen movies.

A remake of The Omen, of course, comes out 6/6/06.

Angela Dubose-Davidson of Fort Worth, an English teacher, is also expecting her first child, Gabriela.

"I'm a Christian, and that number has significant occult meaning behind it of a negative nature," Dubose-Davidson said. "I really do not want that date. I would induce on June 3 if my cervix allows it, but I'm most likely going to wait. My doctor is predicting it's going to be on the Sixth."

Christian Burton of Fort Worth is awaiting his first child, a boy.

"I'm a God-fearing man, and I would prefer him not to have a 666 date," Burton said. But he will not opt for his wife to induce labor to prevent little Jacob from being born on that date.

"I'll only be concerned if he has a 666 birthmark on his head," he said.

6/6/06 Rumsfeld Visit To Indonesia

[from The Hindu]

Jakarta, May 31 (Xinhua): The U.S. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld will pay a one-day visit to Jakarta next week to enhance military cooperation between the two countries, a defence official said.

Rumsfeld will visit Jakarta on June 6 on his way home from attending a defense meeting in Singapore, the Jakarta Post daily Wednesday quoted the official as saying.

Indonesian Defence Ministry spokesman Brig. Gen. Edy Butar Butar said Rumsfeld's visit to discuss military cooperation with Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono had been confirmed.

A credible source at the Defence Ministry said that the meeting would focus on three topics, namely, details of U.S. military assistance to Indonesia, the war on terrorism and the Iranian nuclear dispute.