A veritable potpourri of images . . . an indubitable hodgepodge, if you will . . .

Small Things:

Family party this afternoon, so of course I forgot to schedule this . . . what’s new?

Lolita

Needs no words.

LM Montgomery

Yep, that’s me.

Want this so much. Words cannot do justice to my craving for such a superb taste treat . . .

San Fermin, Running of the Bulls in New Orleans, July 12

Enough fluff . . .

Big Things

NEWS ALERT:

Residents Of Toledo Are Urged NOT To Drink Or Boil Water, Water Contains Algal Toxins. Boiling the water in Toledo will NOT destroy the toxins, it will increase the concentration of toxins in the water. Do not give any water to your pets or livestock. If you live in Toledo, Ohio and need water, call 734-997-7500 to see if they still have some available for delivery.

Bigger Things

and finally, in the “I had to read it to believe it” category:

I know that I am late to the game in discussing the following, but hey, in this case, better late than never truly cannot be understated:

People actually complained that the character of Rue in The Hunger Games trilogy was black. I have to admit that I am completely stymied by such a reaction. I just don’t get it. I mean, what gives, people? The color of a character’s skin determines your level of compassion? A character who you assumed was Caucasian actually wasn’t, and that means you have a reason to complain? Who are you? But more importantly, how do you manage to survive with such a small, small brain?

For more information, I am offering this link to a March 2012 article in The New Yorker: “White Until Proven Black: Imagining Race in Hunger Games,” as well as this link to a related blog article: “‘Why is Rue a Little Black Girl?’ – The Problem of Innocence in the Dark Fantastic.” Both articles reference these:

 

and these:

and then these:

All of this is about a character that author Suzanne Collins described on page 45 as follows:

“And most hauntingly, a twelve-year-old girl from District 11. She has dark brown skin and eyes, but other than that’s she’s very like Prim in size and demeanor”

Folks, get real.

More later. Peace.

Music by Mourning Ritual, “Bad Moon Rising”

“When we don’t speak up, we tacitly affirm the ‘whistle’ as a display of manhood. Thus we affirm misogyny and toxic masculinity” ~ Imran Siddiquee

Content warning.

                   

practice violence against women but live with the threat of male violence. Every. Single. Day. All over the world.” ~ Soraya Chemaly, Twitter post

Thursday afternoon. Cloudy and much cooler, 65 degrees.

I know that I’m on a bit of a tear lately, but I make no apologies.

I read a post yesterday about a young woman who was being harassed in school because of the size of her breasts. When she confronted the group of boys, she was groped. When she lashed out verbally, the boys escalated in their behavior. Ultimately, the school officials told here that “boys will be boys” and that she should just not pay attention . . . School officials took no action against the boys, told the girl she was lucky she wasn’t being suspended, and made no report. Only once the student confided in a teacher who then went to security and didn’t back down was something done.

And this really made me pause. Why should females bear the brunt of not paying attention, of ignoring unwanted advances and/or catcalls? Why is the excuse “boys will be boys” such an ingrained part of our culture? I don’t know exactly when it entered my brain that I would not rise to any catcalls, that I would simply keep walking, but at some point it did, and that is how I have always reacted. It’s a socialized female response. But you know what? It pisses me off that this has to be our response. But the truly frightening part is how ignoring such unwanted verbal attention can now morph into acts of violence. I find this horrendous.

Want to know something else I find horrendous, the incredible male backlash regarding women speaking out. Here’s an example: “: I’d like to see more women walking around with cigarette burns on their faces.”

I didn’t just make that up.

 

This, right here, is exactly why we need to continue to have this discussion.

“Women are people and you can’t own ANY people. Also, she owes you nothing. And you are not bigger for demeaning her.” ~ Imram Siddiquee, Twitter post

The clipped image above from a Twitter feed is a prime example of everything that is wrong in this discussion. I made the mistake of tracking down this guy’s feed, mostly to try to determine if his assholiness is isolated to the #yesallwomen feed, but it’s not. His feed is just filled with deliberate baiting, like his pondering of whether or not rapeable has an e, or his discussions of all of the things he wants to do to someone’s *hole. He even jokes (using the term way too loosely) that you can send him rape stories so that he can jerk off, and declares that he’ll “rip through this like some vagina.”

Look, this guy would probably rely on that age-old fallback justification—that he’s just joking, just being irreverent, that women should loosen up and not take everything so seriously. But I would bet my house that if a woman he knew were ever raped, he would go ballistic. But that incense wouldn’t come from her pain; it would come from his sense of power being taken. What men like this don’t understand is that some subjects aren’t joke-worthy. All of his male posturing is just so much bullshit.

Consider this: When was the last time you heard of a man being told to text his friends to make sure he made it home without being raped and/or abducted? How many men do you know who carry pepper spray with them just in case some strange woman tries to drag them behind a dumpster? Do any of the men in your family walk with their keys between their fingers because they were told that keys could be used as weapons?

Will we ever reach a point at which men no longer feel that they can call out sexual advances to total strangers? Will we ever reach a point at which these men realize that unwanted catcalls are not flattering, and that ignoring them is not an excuse to escalate behavior? I doubt we’ll ever reach a point at which subhumans such as the poorexcuse guy will not find it hilarious to make fun of subjects that aren’t even remotely funny.

“Each time a woman stands up for herself, she stands up for all women.” ~Maya Angelou

I don’t know that I will see the end of this behavior any time soon, not in my lifetime, and perhaps not in my children’s lifetimes, mostly because so much of this behavior is ingrained in our society—it’s in our faces 24/7, in movies, television, magazines, advertising, billboards, songs, even on our clothing. The female body is an object, and even though that object happens to belong to a person, that person is secondary to her sex.

Her breasts are there for people to ogle. Her derriere is there for people to rub against. God forbid she might be clad in something form-fitting, something short, something tight. Doesn’t she know that by doing so, she’s putting herself out there to be objectified. You know, like a pork chop? Doesn’t she know it’s her responsibility not to cause sexual arousal in total strangers?

Think about this: Maybe she lost 50 pounds and wants to show off her new form. Maybe spaghetti straps are cooler in the summer. Maybe yoga pants are easy to throw on for errands. Just because a woman is wearing a thong, and you can see that thong line, it doesn’t mean that she wants you to comment on her underwear. It doesn’t mean that she wants you to come up and rub her butt. ‘Tis no matter. It’s her responsibility to make sure the males out there don’t get any hard ons. It certainly not the responsibility of those red-blooded males. I mean, no one ever told them that their penises weren’t the end all and be all of their identity.

Please.

We have to do better. All of us. We need to educate our children and our grandchildren, and our nieces and our nephews: it’s not okay to place another person—male or female—in a context that reduces that person to their sex.

We all have to do better.

tweet

“Dear , you deserve zero praise for not being a rapist. Aim higher. The best thing you can do is listen and support ” ~ Jay Wood, Twitter post

Consider this story by Soroya Chemaly, which appeared in the Huffington Post last September:

A man in a car pulled up next to a 14-year old girl on a street in Florida and offered to pay her $200 to have sex with him. Some people would say that’s a compliment. It’s part of being out in society, learning to deal with people, navigating relationships between men and women. Or, at least that what many commenters on articles I write about street harassment think. That or maybe they’re thinking, ‘She must have looked like a prostitute,’ and well, you know.

The girl said no. So what does this guy do? He reaches out, drags her, by her hair, into his car, chokes her until she blacks out, tosses her out of the car and then, not done yet, he runs her over several times . . . What was the Deadly Weapon referred to in the charge I wonder? Given our normatively male understanding interpretation of what is threatening, does a man pulling up to a girl like this and talking to her in this way constitute imminent harm?

This was an incident of street harassment taken to extremes.

You’re thinking,  “He’s crazy! You can’t possibly put what he did in the same category as street harassment!”  Yes, I can.

He stopped and talked to a girl he did not know and he told her what he thought and what he wanted her to do.  Clearly, he felt this was okay, or he wouldn’t have done it. This isn’t insanity, it’s entitlement. This is, in principle, the same as men who say, “Smile,” “Want a ride?” “Suck on this” and on and on and on.  And, that’s all before the public groping that might ensue.

OK. No big deal I’ve been told.  But, he went further, as is often the case.  When she said no, he just took her.  He crossed a red line that seriously needs to be moved.  “Taking someone” should not be the “red line” for public incivility and safe access to public space.

twitter pic
When you ask why I’m angry . . .

We hear about cases like this with dulling regularity and, undoubtedly, we don’t hear about even more. Just a smattering of examples:

  • In San Francisco last year, a man stabbed a woman in the face and arm after she didn’t respond positively to his sexually harassing her on the street.
  • In Bradenton, Fla., a man shot a high school senior to death after she and her friends refused to perform oral sex at his request. I
  • In Chicago, a scared 15-year-old was hit by a car and died after she tried escaping from harassers on a bus.
  • Again, in Chicago, a man grabbed a 19-year-old walking on a public thoroughfare, pulled her onto a gangway and assaulted her.
  • Last week, a runner in California — a woman — was stopped and asked, by a strange man in a car, if she wanted a ride. When she declined he ran her over twice.

are violent against women, but if we are just passive bystanders then we’re still part of the problem. ” ~ Kenny Miracle, Twitter post

I just started following a new tumblr called When Women Refuse, in which contributors share stories of women who have been murdered, raped, beaten, run over, and brutalized in countless other ways simply because they said no, because they said they didn’t want to get in the car, because they didn’t outwardly respond to some lewd comment, because they didn’t want to have sex, because they didn’t want to continue the relationship.

Each of these stories is mind-numbing individually, but collectively, they make a statement that is hard to turn away from: Women/girls who have the audacity to say no, are continually punished for doing so, and in many cases, their reactions/actions are dismissed by authorities.

Here are some of the stories that have been posted on When Women Refuse just in the past few days:

imgur

I think I have to stop now. I have a pit in the bottom of my stomach. Look, I have no answers, only suggestions. I only know that in a world in which so very many things are wrong, in which so very many things are heinous, that indifference to the very real problem of how women are treated is preventable in so many ways. No, we cannot cure rapists, but we can work on the essence of rape culture. No, we cannot eradicate misogyny, but we can do better in educating our sons and daughters.

We have to try, don’t we?

I mean, we just have to.

More later. Peace.

Music by Arctic Monkeys, “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards”

                   

Rape Poem

There is no difference between being raped
and being pushed down a flight of cement steps
except that the wounds also bleed inside.

There is no difference between being raped
and being run over by a truck
except that afterward men ask if you enjoyed it.

There is no difference between being raped
and being bit on the ankle by a rattlesnake
except that people ask if your skirt was short
and why you were out alone anyhow.

There is no difference between being raped
and going head first through a windshield
except that afterward you are afraid
not of cars
but half the human race.

The rapist is your boyfriend’s brother.
He sits beside you in the movies eating popcorn.
Rape fattens on the fantasies of the normal male
like a maggot in garbage.

Fear of rape is a cold wind blowing
all of the time on a woman’s hunched back.
Never to stroll alone on a sand road through pine woods,
never to climb a trail across a bald
without that aluminum in the mouth
when I see a man climbing toward me.

Never to open the door to a knock
without that razor just grazing the throat.
The fear of the dark side of hedges
the back seat of the car, the empty house
rattling keys like a snake’s warning.
The fear of the smiling man
in whose pocket is a knife.
The fear of the serious man
in whose fist is locked hatred.

All it takes to cast a rapist to be able to see your body
as jackhammer, as blowtorch, as adding-machine-gun.
All it takes is hating that body
your own, your self, your muscle that softens to flab.

All it takes is to push what you hate,
what you fear onto the soft alien flesh.
To bucket out invincible as a tank
armored with treads without senses
to possess and punish in one act,
to rip up pleasure, to murder those who dare
live in the leafy flesh open to love.

~ Marge Piercy

                   

Two other related poems, both worthy of reading but long: “Rape Poem To End All Rape Poems” by the Rutgers University slam team, and “Rape Joke,” by Patricia Lockwood

 

“August rain: the best of the summer gone, and the new fall not yet born. The odd uneven time.” ~ Sylvia Plath

Union Square

I love this . . . but believe it or not, some morons out there in the ether took it literally. What can I say . . .

Reblogged from The Village Voice

Original Story posted August 8 at 7 a.m.:

Craigslist is menagerie of oddities both gorgeous and grotesque. You can find anything on there: fan fiction about your favorite band, a record store, organs, a baby, certain death, even love.

This posting appeared Tuesday in the New York City Missed Connections section, sandwiched between R Train, bet 5:30-6:00 pm – m4w (“You’re beautiful, and deserve better.”) and to L.S. – m4w – 23 (go to f*ing hell) (“you f*ing whore, u lost out on the best thing that has ever happened to you.”).

It’s the most beautiful Missed Connection ever written.

On Twitter, where the posting has been making rounds, it’s invoked comparisons to Kafka and Garcia Marquez—but so far, the author has remained anonymous.

We must know who wrote it—was it you? Email us.

MYSTERY SOLVED: Who Is the Author Behind the Most Beautiful Craigslist Missed Connection of All Time?

Well, that didn’t take long. An anonymous tipster pointed us to a few tweets that suggest the author is one Raphael Bob-Waksberg.

                   

Missed Connection – m4w

I saw you on the Manhattan-bound Brooklyn Q train.I was wearing a blue-striped t-shirt and a pair of maroon pants. You were wearing a vintage red skirt and a smart white blouse. We both wore glasses. I guess we still do.You got on at DeKalb and sat across from me and we made eye contact, briefly. I fell in love with you a little bit, in that stupid way where you completely make up a fictional version of the person you’re looking at and fall in love with that person. But still I think there was something there.Several times we looked at each other and then looked away. I tried to think of something to say to you — maybe pretend I didn’t know where I was going and ask you for directions or say something nice about your boot-shaped earrings, or just say, “Hot day.” It all seemed so stupid.At one point, I caught you staring at me and you immediately averted your eyes. You pulled a book out of your bag and started reading it — a biography of Lyndon Johnson — but I noticed you never once turned a page.

English: R62A 20px|link=en:7 (New York City Su...

My stop was Union Square, but at Union Square I decided to stay on, rationalizing that I could just as easily transfer to the 7 at 42nd Street, but then I didn’t get off at 42nd Street either. You must have missed your stop as well, because when we got all the way to the end of the line at Ditmars, we both just sat there in the car, waiting.

I cocked my head at you inquisitively. You shrugged and held up your book as if that was the reason.

Still I said nothing.

We took the train all the way back down — down through Astoria, across the East River, weaving through midtown, from Times Square to Herald Square to Union Square, under SoHo and Chinatown, up across the bridge back into Brooklyn, past Barclays and Prospect Park, past Flatbush and Midwood and Sheepshead Bay, all the way to Coney Island. And when we got to Coney Island, I knew I had to say something.

Still I said nothing.

And so we went back up.

Up and down the Q line, over and over. We caught the rush hour crowds and then saw them thin out again. We watched the sun set over Manhattan as we crossed the East River. I gave myself deadlines: I’ll talk to her before Newkirk; I’ll talk to her before Canal. Still I remained silent.

For months we sat on the train saying nothing to each other. We survived on bags of skittles sold to us by kids raising money for their basketball teams. We must have heard a million mariachi bands, had our faces nearly kicked in by a hundred thousand break dancers. I gave money to the beggars until I ran out of singles. When the train went above ground I’d get text messages and voicemails (“Where are you? What happened? Are you okay?”) until my phone ran out of battery.

I’ll talk to her before daybreak; I’ll talk to her before Tuesday. The longer I waited, the harder it got. What could I possibly say to you now, now that we’ve passed this same station for the hundredth time? Maybe if I could go back to the first time the Q switched over to the local R line for the weekend, I could have said, “Well, this is inconvenient,” but I couldn’t very well say it now, could I? I would kick myself for days after every time you sneezed — why hadn’t I said “Bless You”? That tiny gesture could have been enough to pivot us into a conversation, but here in stupid silence still we sat.

There were nights when we were the only two souls in the car, perhaps even on the whole train, and even then I felt self-conscious about bothering you. She’s reading her book, I thought, she doesn’t want to talk to me. Still, there were moments when I felt a connection. Someone would shout something crazy about Jesus and we’d immediately look at each other to register our reactions. A couple of teenagers would exit, holding hands, and we’d both think: Young Love.

For sixty years, we sat in that car, just barely pretending not to notice each other. I got to know you so well, if only peripherally. I memorized the folds of your body, the contours of your face, the patterns of your breath. I saw you cry once after you’d glanced at a neighbor’s newspaper. I wondered if you were crying about something specific, or just the general passage of time, so unnoticeable until suddenly noticeable. I wanted to comfort you, wrap my arms around you, assure you I knew everything would be fine, but it felt too familiar; I stayed glued to my seat.

One day, in the middle of the afternoon, you stood up as the train pulled into Queensboro Plaza. It was difficult for you, this simple task of standing up, you hadn’t done it in sixty years. Holding onto the rails, you managed to get yourself to the door. You hesitated briefly there, perhaps waiting for me to say something, giving me one last chance to stop you, but rather than spit out a lifetime of suppressed almost-conversations I said nothing, and I watched you slip out between the closing sliding doors.

It took me a few more stops before I realized you were really gone. I kept waiting for you to reenter the subway car, sit down next to me, rest your head on my shoulder. Nothing would be said. Nothing would need to be said.

When the train returned to Queensboro Plaza, I craned my neck as we entered the station. Perhaps you were there, on the platform, still waiting. Perhaps I would see you, smiling and bright, your long gray hair waving in the wind from the oncoming train.

But no, you were gone. And I realized most likely I would never see you again. And I thought about how amazing it is that you can know somebody for sixty years and yet still not really know that person at all.

I stayed on the train until it got to Union Square, at which point I got off and transferred to the L.

I read the news today, oh boy . . .

Sometimes, more likely, most times, I am my own worst enemy. I was reading more news about the fallout from Steubenville and CNN when I decided to click through on some links. The road I went down was not yellow-brick or rainbow-hued or lined with daisies. It was dark and dirty and left me feeling literally sick to my stomach.

This is what I have deduced from just a quick perusal:

  • Girls/women who are raped are fair game for name-callers, haters, and anyone else interested in further harming them emotionally thanks to easy access to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
  • Children are not safe anywhere, not in school, not in church, not in their counselors’ offices, not even in the dental chair.
  • Our society has become emotionally numb to this news because it is so damned pervasive.
  • I also read a blurb about this phenomenon that occurs mostly with Japanese male youth in which they decided never to leave their bedrooms. I can truly appreciate this and wonder why it is not more widespread.
  • It’s kind of hard to decide which social travesty is breaking my heart more these days: the ways in which rape is treated so cavalierly, especially among our youth, or the prevalence of pervs in every single facet of our society.
  • In case you think that I’m overreacting, feast your eyes on the following:
    • In Ohio: Two teenage girls were arrested and accused of using social media to threaten the young victim in the Steubenville Rape Case.
    • In Indiana: A woman is charged with trying to sell her one-year-old daughter for child porn.
    • In Florida: A man has been charged with using his neighbor’s wi-fi to download child pornography.
    • In Pennsylvania: A man admits to paying a 10-year-old neighbor for sex.
    • In Iowa: A 48-year-old male daycare provider has been accused of sexually abusing a number of children from as young as four-years-old.
    • In California: A 14-year-old boy has been charged with molesting two children who attended the day school run by the boy’s mother.
    • In California: A dental hygienist has been accused of sexually molesting a teenaged girl; there may be more victims who have yet to be identified.
    • In New York: A rabbi has been found guilty on 59 counts of child sex abuse.
    • In California: A former teacher is facing allegations of molesting 12 children; principal had been warned about questionable behavior three years prior.
    • In Arkansas: A church volunteer who was a member of the youth ministry has been charged with possession of child pornography.

     

No more. I had to stop myself. This is precisely why I stopped watching the news on television and also why I limit how much and what I read on the interwebs. I’m not made of strong enough stuff for this.

More later.

“Simplicity, carried to the extreme, becomes elegance.” ~ Jon Franklin

cyberspace

Cyberspace

 

“It would appear that we have reached the limits of what it is possible to achieve with computer technology, although one should be careful with such statements as they tend to sound pretty silly in 5 years.” ~ Johann von Neumann (1949)

Had an appointment with my headache doctor this morning. New strategy: Lots of magnesium and no more of that specific class of preventive meds that have been giving me so many negative side effects. Also a new medicine for migraine onset. The doctor gave me a couple of samples (did you know that pharmaceutical companies are doing away with reps and delivering samples to offices? I didn’t either. I love samples). When I showed the samples to Corey, he said, “Haven’t you already tried that one?” I’ve tried so many different ones that I really cannot say whether or not this is a repeat. We’ll see.

Anyway, here’s hoping that this latest combo will work . . . who knows. Got 14 trigger shots from neck down, and then I came home and crashed, really crashed. Probably had the soundest four hours of sleep that I’ve had in the past three weeks. Go figure.

While waiting for the doctor, I skimmed a copy of  Newsweek, and I came across an article that says that Google is losing money on YouTube. Apparently, when ruler of the information highway first acquired YouTube for $1.65 bilion in 2006, Google thought that it was buying a cash cow.

Wrong.
YouTube logo
YouTube, which most everyone knows, is a site that supports user-generated content. This content, which is uploaded to YouTube at something akin to the speed of light, eats up bandwidth (for storage, retrieval, shuttling, etc.). According to a report cited by Slate Magazine, those who know these things (you know, forecasters, them), say that YouTube’s broadband connection will probably runs around $350 to $400 million a year.

Then, Google has to pay for the rights to show licensed material that is submitted by professionals. That’s another $250 million or so. The result is that by the end of 2009, YouTube will have cost Google an estimated $500 million or more, depending. These are all industry estimates as Google isn’t too keen on revealing exactly how much of their $6 billion in profit is being dropped on YouTube.

“I see little commercial potential for the Internet for at least ten years.” ~ Bill Gates (1994)  

Cyberspace greenApparently, Google thought that they would be able to support YouTube with sidebar tile advertising on the site. What they didn’t count on was that advertisers really don’t want to spend thousands and thousands of dollars to have their product placement next to a video of a skateboarding dog (although I don’t really understand why because that dog is awesome (kidding, just kidding)). So the stream of advertising revenue has been, shall we say, running dry, which makes YouTube a big old albatross around Google’s neck.

Granted, Google’s profit neck is pretty hefty, but almost half a billion dollars is a big money pit.

According to the article, YouTube is “the third-biggest site on the Internet, with 426 million monthly visitors who upload 20 hours of video every minute.” That, my friends, is a lot of streaming and a megaton of bandwidth. I’ll bet those former PayPal employees who created YouTube are patting their pockets knowingly. Their sale of YouTube to Google, making the site a subsidiary of Google, garnered the former owners a nice profit, and they got out while the getting was good: before the explosive expansion of YouTube.

“Tell me and I forget.  Teach me and I remember.  Involve me and I learn.” ~ Benjamin Franklin  

You Tube Capture
YouTube Capture of Talking Squirrel

Personally, as you probably know from reading my blog, I love YouTube. I think that it’s one of the best inventions since Twizzlers in a four-pound plastic tub. I mean think about it, YouTube brought politics into the homes of millions of people last year. Because of posts by ordinary people, we were able to see pictures of President Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention that showed angles different from mainstream media.

The political process—something too many Americans ignore—became the subject matter of countless videos uploaded by ordinary people. Thanks to YouTube, videos of the Presidential inauguration became almost instantly available, a bonus for those of us who were unable to attend the historic event.

Not to mention the fact that YouTube is a great source of music videos created by people with computers and an eye for images that pair well with a song. YouTube allows the world access to bands and musicians of which they may have never heard.

YouTube also brings stark images of our fallen warriors coming home, of our dedicated service men and women in the field—things we used to be able to see only on the evening news, and then for only a moment or two.

Granted, YouTube is also a source of complete idiocy: Videos of celebrities making complete fools of themselves, images of people falling off ladders, minutes of nothing but callers to radio shows revealing their ignorance. It’s free entertainment for the masses, and the masses cannot get enough of it.

“The next best thing to knowing something is knowing where to find it.” ~ Samuel Johnson

Internet Cafe aboard cruise ship liberty
Internet Cafe Aboard Cruise Ship Liberty

All of that being said, I have no doubts that the brains at Google will eventually come up with some way to crunch the bandwidth problem so that the profit to loss margin for running YouTube can be reversed.

And YouTube has taken its place in Internet culture: For every silly baby face video, there exists another video of an, as yet, unknown guitar player in his bedroom. Remember the unknown Korean student who played Pachelbel’s Canon on the electric guitar? His video is ranked as the 6th most viewed video in the history of the site. Oh, and he isn’t unknown any more. Initially known as “funtwo,” the extremely talented guitarist was identified as Jeong-Hyun Lim, and his hands are amazing.

Undoubtedly, YouTube has become an integral part of computing for millions of people. Internet Cafes: the new social scene. Cruise one, and chances are good that someone is going to be streaming YouTube. Isn’t cyberspace a wonderful thing?

“This is just the beginning, the beginning of understanding that cyberspace has no limits, no boundaries.” ~ Nicholas Negroponte 

I thought it only fitting to close this post with my latest discovery, which I got from Tweetzy Deetzy on Twitter. Here is Finland’s Apocalyptica doing “Nothing Else Matters.” Awesome and then some.

More later. Peace.

“Where is my vote?” ~ Protest Sign in Iran

From Andrew Sullivan's blog
Image from Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish

 

“Stop this last lie” ~ Mir Hossain Mosavi

Rumi,  from “A Green-Winged Longing”

So let’s begin the journey home,
with love and compassion for guides,
and grace protecting. Let your soul turn

into an empty mirror that passionately wants
to reflect Joseph. Hand him your present.

Now let silence speak, and as that
gift begins, we’ll start out.

(Version by Coleman Barks from a translation by John Moyne)

“I use this chance to honor the emotions of the nation of Iran and remind them that Iran, this sacred being, belongs to them and not to the fraudulent.” ~ Mir Hossein Mousavi

5 miles of protestors
Five Miles of Protestors (From Boston.com)

Today marks the fifth straight day of opposition protests in Iran. Pictures of the protests show people from all walks of life, not just students and intellectuals now, walking side by side, virtually in silence, forming a column of people stretching over five miles long, beginning at Revolution Square in Tehran and ending at Freedom Square.  

In case you haven’t been following the news, the protests began after the country’s so-called democratic elections for President were held on Friday. Voters went to the polls from early morning until about midnight, extending the time allotted to cast votes by six hours to accommodate the high turnout. With about 46 million total votes cast, Iran’s Interior Ministry announced the first results indicating  that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had won about 63 percent of the vote about an hour after the polls closed. The Ministry announced the official results less than a day later. The Friday announcement from the Ministry came just minutes after Mousavi declared himself the winner. 

This was after robust campaigning between reformist candidate former Prime Minister Mir Hossain Mosavi and Ahmadinejad in the four weeks leading up to the election. Earlier on Friday, Mousavi claimed victory. Friday evening, Mousavi held a press conference in which he claimed that he had won, and he charged that there were a number of election irregularities. According to an article in The New York Times, since the announcement proclaiming Ahmadinejad’s victory, opposition leaders have made a list of what they call election violations and irregularities.

ahmadinejad looks on
Ahmadinejad Looks On

Perhaps I should point out that these were paper ballots. From 45,000 polling stations. It is highly improbably that approximately 39 million votes were counted by hand in an hour.

Normally, election results are not announced for three days. Another odd thing about this election (among many) was that Supreme Leader Ali Khameini certified the results at 1:38 a.m. on Saturday and called the results a “divine assessment.” It is widely known that Khameini has had an ongoing feud with Mosavi for the past 30 years.

The protests began soon after. And the government crackdown on Internet access, cellular phone usage and text messaging came immediately after the announcement about Ahmadinejad’s victory.

“Take the websites and our cell phones, we don’t give our country to you!” ~ Latest Iranian Protest Slogan

I must admit that when one of my favorite bloggers said to follow him on Twitter several months ago, I gave him a hard time. I believe that my exact words were “Twitter is for sissies.”

When my very dear friend Jammi asked me to join her on Twitter, I told her that I couldn’t possibly handle yet another posting media. But she prevailed, and I joined Twitter almost a month ago. For me, Twitter has been a nice diversion, an easy way to follow Janson’s vacation in Florida, an up-to-date method for staying abreast of what Jammi is doing in Texas.

6-15-09 protest in support of Mousavi
Image taken from Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish

But recent days have proven me completely wrong in my first assessment of Twitter, and I am here to admit just how wrong I was. Twitter is not just a lightweight social medium for celebrities to post what they are having for lunch. I mean, that may have been the way in which it started, but because of what  is happening now in Iran, Twitter has become one of the only media through which the protestors in Iran have been able to get out their messages about what is currently happening in Iran: real-time messages from real people.

Because of Twitter, people all over the world are getting up-to-the-second updates of exactly what is going on during this crisis. I have read several different statistics, but apparently, the number of Iranians under the age of 30 is anywhere from 60 to 70 percent of the country’s total population, which would account for their tech-savvy in knowing how to bypass IP addresses and how to use proxy servers.

Even though the government has tried to use traditional methods of repressing information—ejecting journalists from the country, jamming satellites (e.g. BBC satelite), imposing a blackout on Facebook, text messaging, and any other social sites—the Green Party protestors have found their way around the blackouts. By Monday, 3,500 videos had been posted to YouTube. Tweets have been unending.

MSNBC has reported that the Iranian government “raised the stakes in the Internet battle on Wednesday by spreading the word that online users could face prosecution and even execution for ‘incitement.'”  An estimated 18 million Iranians use the Internet.

However, Tweets in the last 24 hours have increased in the number of posts claiming that the government has infiltrated the Twitter network, and consequently, Twitter users are advising readers to follow information regarding meeting sites and protests only from reliable (known to be opposition) addresses.

The caliber of Tweets ranges from announcements about which street corners have been designated as meeting sites, to appeals to find out where missing persons have been taken. 

As I posted last night, Andrew Sullivan’s Blog, The Daily Dish, has been posting Tweets continuously in an effort to help to keep getting the word out. And the State Department asked Twitter to delay their scheduled maintenance until middle of the night Tehran time so as to allow continued updates from the protesters.

Here is a small selection of Tweets:

this may become a massacre, dear god keep them safe

the gov apparently doesn’t trust the normal police, they are all unarmed with empty holsters!

As Dusk Arrives from Andrew Sullivans
"As Dusk Arrives," from Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish

1 of my friends reports from Azadi that special forces r beating ppl most brutally. lots of ppl r badly injured.

call from Niavaran saying plainclothes going door2door now looking for satellite dsh

please RT urgent does anyone know whats happening near saiee park? my daughter is near

we only want freedom – we are peaceful – we have no life no future in IRI without freedom.

it’s worth taking the risk, we’re going. I won’t be able to update until I’m back. again thanks for your kind support and wish us luck

Now . . . I hear people are chanting Allohakbar on their roof-tops, on all roof tops, it is stronger than any day [so far].

“I am very angry at myself for being fooled so easily, they got us to vote, which gave them legitimacy, and then they manipulated the results, many are vowing never to vote again.” ~ Comment found on the Daily Dish

Injured protestor

I am reposting Janson Jones’s  list of sites on which you can find information and articles on the ongoing situation in Iran

  • The Daily Dish. For one useful stream of information (pooling from many, many sources), please read Andrew Sullivan’s blog.
  • The Lede. This blog over at the New York Times has also been working hard on relaying information.
  • Boston.com Gallery. For a series of striking and moving images, such as the ones posted here, check out this gallery on Boston.com.
  • “This Just In: Twitter Destroys CNN”. An excellent post on the competing values of mainstream news sources and alternative data streams such as Twitter and Facebook. 
  • “The ‘Bomb Iran’ Contingent’s Newfound Concern for the Iranian People. Harsh but important words from Glenn Greenwald over at Salon.com. 
  • Green Peace Sign
    Green Party Peace Sign

     

    I say not who I really am

    in honor of the dead.
    Did they suspect this morning that it would be so?
    The reason why we are here is like millions of pebbles on a beach
    Being tumbled into fine smooth form by ocean waves
    The reason why we were asked is not merely fate
    It is the megalithic rock from whence we came.
    It can’t stay, it won’t stay, it doesn’t want to stay unchanged
    Pushing on, reaching the greater perfection of unity.
    Little pieces, maybe so— but it strives to be apart to fully understand the concept of wholeness.
    A test.
    By warring we fail the test—to be repeated till we get it right.
    painfully so.

    ~ by Red Cloud (found on Poets Against War)
                                                                                                                                

    Images are taken from http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2009/06/irans_disputed_election.html  or from Andrew Sullivan’s Daily Dish as indicated.  

    That is the question . . .

     

    twitter-banner

    Twitter Banner 

    Now That’s A Horse of A Different Color

    One of my very dear friends invited me to join Twitter so that I could keep up with her life. I sent her an e-mail saying that I just didn’t think that I could take up yet another computer habit.

    It’s not that I don’t want to stay in contact with my friends who Twitter. The truth is, I don’t believe that I would be a good Twittererererer. Please, if you don’t believe me, just look at one of my entries. I average 1200 words per post. The people who read me regularly must really like me or enjoy my cynicism. I don’t know how to do 150 characters or less or whatever the optimum Twitter limit is.

    I can picture it now:

    Twitter from James:

    “Hey. What’s up?”

    Response from me:

    “Well, my head is exploding. The tiles are falling off the wall in the bathroom, and I’m pretty sure that there is extensive water damage. Jeez that’s going to cost a lot of money, and well, who has money right now? Eamonn is driving me up the wall, and I just found out the Ranch flavord Doritos have MSG, which is probably why they give me headaches. Why didn’t I ever notice it before? Do you /

    Cut off in midstream.

    I would spend a good 10 minutes yelling about how inane it is to expect anyone to be able to respond in so few words, and then I would try to pick up midstream where I left off in another Twitter, by which time, Jammi has tweeted me back about five times.

    Let’s try again.

    Twitter from James:

    “Hey. Things are good here. How are u?”

    Response from me:

    “Would it have taken that much longer to type you? You type an ungodly fast speed, as fast as I do, probably faster. How are things good? What happened? Did Korb actually make it through the night two nights in a row? That’s fantastic. Boys are so much easier to potty train than girls, but you have to watch out because they get sneaky and hide behind end tables sometimes when they don’t want to take the time to go to the bathroom. I remember one time when Eam/

    ARGHH!

    Jammi, I love you. I miss you, and I wish that we still talked daily. I wish that you were on your way through Chick Fil ‘a, picking us a sweet tea for both of us, yours without lemon, mine with, and that we were working the floor together, just the two of us. Then we could try on clothes and pretend that we didn’t hear the pages. I miss seeing Kennedy grow. I hate that I don’t know Korb. I think that Kyle and Corey would really like each other. But sweetheart. I can’t Twitter. It’s impossible. You know that it is. I even text in complete sentences with punctuation.

    I have a better idea. Why don’t you guys move back east? Then we could talk to each other face to face . . .

    So, dear readers, what do you think? Am I cut out for Twittering? I mean Rachel Maddow does it. Obama did it. Demi and Ashton Twitter each other all day long (but I think that I’m just jealous because Demi still has such a rockin bod, and I don’t).

    To Twitter or not to Twitter . . .

    I’ll try one more time.

    James:

    “Hey. What snoo?”

    Me:

    “Nothing.”

    Lying is easier than trying to be succinct. I hate that . . .

    More later. Peace.

                                                                                                                          

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