news you can lose…

Coming up for air.... US Won't Get Into Civil War, But Will Sort of Hang Out in the General Vicinity White House Issues New Port Security Guidelines "Every friendship requires vulnerability,” Mr. McClellan said. “We demonstrate our love for our friends in the United Arab Emirates by trusting them, without regard to previous wrongs.” ...and Jon Stewart on Larry King Live--cuz he's da bomb Jon joined Larry King last night and talked about the administration and Democrats in depth. Larry asks him if he'd like things to be bad, kinda like O'Reilly saying that left wing websites want the US to fail because Bush is in charge. Video-WMP low res Video-QT (transcript) KING: You don't want Medicare to fail? STEWART: Are … [Read more...]

Merriest sentiments this side of the Rock

Adapt? Haa bumbug!Avian flu paranoia thwarted my joneses for that turkey dinner spread. We were told by the maître d' at a premier establishment, Le Royale, how pleasantly surprised they were that all three whole turkeys (quote unquote don't forget the emphasis) they imported for the Thanksgiving Dinner buffet were consumed.... Hmm, to feign appropriate shock astride a diametric quip of american gluttony on tip of tongue.... Likewise in the sweetest misguided gesture, some colleagues this week inflated a large squash in the office and decorated this jack with blinking lights. What is--?? It's a christmas pumpkin, I'm told cheerily.:-| Oh.Riposte-riddled mirth in season's greetings: PricelessCheers to y'all living abroad and/or apart of … [Read more...]

Myanmar: Stupas, Temples Everywhere

The farthest politically-incorrect limb does insufficient justice to painful Khmer cultural events {{{shoot me now}}. The weeklong annual rowing olympics in Phnom Penh-- replete with the requisite influx of a squillion country folk-- triggered a panic resolve for escape. So to Myanmar I followed fellow expat Andreas, where brilliant bursts of flora across the mountainous terrain do the departed monsoon rains proud. Within driving span of a quick nap (by us, not the driver’s) one passes from rainforests and evergreen highlands to dry tropical plains. This picturesque diversity perks a spirit stunted by the unyielding uniformity of an arid Cambodian landscape.It was very cool on Inle Lake with its idyllic floating villages and farms, … [Read more...]

4 Tips on appliance use in Cambodia

Psar Thmei. Hair dryer. It came home with me cuz my hair is in the growing pains stage and needs assistance.Forty seconds into my first use of this death contraption I smell rubber. Mind you, these events occurred in a split nanosecond just a tad ahead of reflexes, lest y'all fancy some darwinian goal of mine to improve the human genome.Air came out of all the holes of the main unit. The cord overheated, burned my arm, and melted plastic dropped on my bare foot. A small plastic clip at the intake in the back of the unit popped loose and pieces of broken filter screen were sucked into the motor. After a small explosion at the outlet where the appliance was plugged into, sparks flew and the heating element burst into flames.Oh and my hair … [Read more...]

The concept of Peace post-conflict

Mental health trauma after years of war is naturally extensively studied in public health. But even living in Cambodia for many months now hasn’t dawned understanding on me of the ravages of the Khmer Rouge period until I took meditation courses with some Khmers. The most popular meditation techniques, usually associated with spiritual activity, are of Eastern origin ie. martial arts and yoga. The premise of meditation is to gain insight or focus, by relaxing the body and calming and focusing the mind. It’s a skill that allows positive energy to be summoned at will. And one of the methods used for clearing the mind is to recall a feeling of peace. I can easily recall such moments: standing on top of a mountain and looking out over the … [Read more...]

Past Plagues Are Prologue

Disease is a fascinating study, a microbiological commentary and defensive mechanism to the stresses placed on our socio-economic environment. Given the Avian Flu situation here in SE Asia, I thought I’d dig up an article by Andrew Nikiforuk. It’s a well-written piece geared at the Toronto policymakers in response to the SARS scare several years ago. But in light of recent announcements by WHO on the possible pandemic Avian Flu presents, the editorial still bears relevance. Past Plagues are Prologue by Andrew Nikiforuk edited 10 Feb 2010: since the above link no longer works, here it is re-posted: Epidemics always teach us something, says author ANDREW NIKIFORUK. One SARS lesson is that we're too dependent on hospitals - which … [Read more...]

Just another long weekend

Yet another speedy exodus of the expats from the country for the long holiday weekend of Pchum Ben, a Bhuddist event honoring spirits of ancestors by bringing offerings of food to the temples. I spent some time catching up on news from the US, more especially the debates--er, confusion--surrounding the Harriet Miers nomination. “Trust me,” George W. says, in all seriousness. Blunt object please… … [Read more...]

Gross National Happiness of Bhutan

So the beautiful Kingdom of Bhutan, where I believe there is a daily quota cutoff and charge for touring their country (someone care to correct if I'm wrong?), has an alternative to the GDP for measuring well-being and progress. Since so many people are unhappy in the higher-GDP countries, perhaps they might be on to something...? A Measure of Well-Being from a Happy Little Kingdom courtesy NYTimes … [Read more...]