Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Washington state flood

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Mongol-themed Wargames

A list from the Dutch economist, sociologist, and Mongolphile Lajos Brons:

Monday, November 27, 2006

A Genghis Khan Opera in Austin, Texas

A production at the Salvage Vanguard Theater that opened last spring:

"So today I got the coolest email and I’m just going to paste it below. Graham and I talked about this quite a bit last year when we were writing the opera Genghis Khan. Check this out…

"Mr. Neulander

"My name is Dawadash and I am the Second Secretary of the Embassy of Mongolia in Washington DC. I came across to SVT website and the Genghis Khan Opera blog while surfing the net. We congratulate you on the production of Genghis Khan, who is national symbol and hero for my country. The Embassy of Mongolia regrets that we did miss the chance to watch the show, which was a success in Austin. This year Mongolia celebrates the 800th anniversary of the Great Mongolian State created by Genghis Khan in 1206. That year Temuchin was proclaimed Genghis Khan, the ruler of the first unified Mongolian state. We are eager to learn if the Genghis Khan production is still on stage and where and when we can watch it. Have you thought of putting it in other countries, for example in Mongolia. This would great.
Anyways, congratulations on the production and hope to hear from you.
Any questions are welcome at the address below.

"Dawadash Sambuu
Second Secretary
Embassy of Mongolia"

Salvage Vanguard Theater blog

Salvage Vanguard Theater - Genghis Khan: The Opera

*Modern Mongolia* by Morris Rossabi

A review by Andy Morriss of Morris Rossabi's book Modern Mongolia:

"It's a well-written and well-researched book, with lots of fascinating details about a fascinating country. It is also an incredibly frustrating book, as Rossabi has only a loose grasp of economics...

"Rossabi makes two crucial errors. First, he thinks economics is just a point of view, using quote marks around economic terms to emphasize that they aren't really definitional. Second, he buys an excessively romantic notion of primitive communism among nomads, without asking (at least through this chapter) whether the pre-Communist nomadic civilization included institutions that were destroyed by the Communists and which take time to recreate."

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


pataphor - An extended metaphor that creates its own context.

"Jenny is eleven years old. She lives on a farm in Luxembourg, West Virginia. Today Jenny is collecting eggs from the henhouse. It is 10 a.m. She walks slowly down the rows of cages, feeling around carefully for eggs tucked beneath clucking hens. She finds the first egg in number 6. When she holds it to the light she sees it is the deep tan of boot leather, an old oil-rubbed cowboy boot, creased with microscopic branching lines, catching the light at the swelling above the scarred dusty heel, curled at the cuff, bending and creaking as the foot of the cowboy squirms to rediscover its fit, a leathery thumb and index prying at the scruff, the heel stomping the floor. Victor the hotel manager swings open the door and gives Cowboy a faint smile."

Thursday, November 09, 2006

5+ Art

Photo by 5+, a young Mongolian artists' group.

'Nambla Monkeybar'?

A year later, still roiling over at The Dilbert Blog:

"You, so called western intellectuals, if placed in Mongolian steppes, you could not survive our harsh climate..."

"Geez, I'm Mongolian but I'm not angry nor humored, it was kind of a lame joke really."

Mongolian Day in Chicago – Malign God Theory

by Neil Steinberg for the Chicago Sun-Times, 2006 July 14:

"The entire length of Washington there is taken up with a dozen anti-abortion protesters, in a straight line, each holding the same 5-foot-tall poster showing a pair of tongs holding the bloody, decapitated, jawless head of a fetus.

"Did I ever mention my Malign God Theory? I don't think so. Briefly stated: There is a deity, and He does hear our prayers, but often acts perversely, for his own amusement.

"I turn my face, away from the grisly horror, and see a group of short Asian men in bright tribal uniforms -- long coats, round hats. A banner reads 'Mongolian Day in Chicago.' A stage, tents, chairs, already occupied by aging relatives, booths of some kind.

"These poor people. Bet they planned for six months. Rehearsing ancient dances. Eager to reflect Mongolian pride, to see a neglected people shining in the public square. Our city's first Mongolian festival.

"The great day arrives. They show up -- take chartered buses down from Waukegan, no doubt, enticing their families and friends along. Only to be confronted by platoons of grim, lipless yokels and gimlet- eyed, corn-fed fanatics, waving huge color photos of chopped-up babies."

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Important religious questions (vis-a-vis Christian evangelism)

"The Charge of the Teutonic Knights at Lake Peipus in 1242"
Giuseppe Rava
1963- Italian

In Heaven, will my grandmother, who died at 80 years of age, look like she did when she was 80? Should people hope to die at a young age, so that they can be young in Heaven?

What is Heaven like? Where is Heaven located? What’s the weather like there? Can you see stars or planets from Heaven? What language is spoken in Heaven? Where do people live? Are there houses? What kind of entertainment is there?

What happens to disabled people in Heaven?

Say a married man dies and goes to Heaven. His wife remarries. Later, the wife and the new husband die and go to Heaven. Isn’t it awkward when these two guys meet up with their singular wife? What happens then?

Does God have a wife? If not, doesn’t He get lonely?

Why did God rest on the seventh day? Why would a perfect supreme being need to rest?

Why would God punish humanity so severely simply because a woman wanted knowledge?

Why did God expect Cain to give Him his best sheep? And why did He turn him away when he did not, inciting him to kill his brother Abel?

How did Noah collect the virus that causes AIDS for the Ark? And polio? And influenza? More importantly, why?

Why did Jesus have to pay for the sins of humanity? Why not the Devil?

Why did God even create the Devil? Just to torment and punish His creation? If so, then is this god worthy of praise or devotion?

If God intended the Bible to be His message to all humanity for all time, why does it lack so much fundamental data? Why didn’t He mention that the planets travel in elliptical orbits around the sun, or include references to the periodic table of elements, or allude to the double-helix structure of DNA?

How do you know there is only one god? How do you know there aren’t two? Or ten? Or millions?

Why doesn’t God answer—in easy-to-read, ASCII-formatted text—my prayers?

Why do angels have wings? Why didn’t humans get wings?

Why did God make the Universe expand at a slower rate in the past and accelerate its expansion in the present? Is it because dark matter really does have expansive powers, or are there other universes with gravity pulling ours towards theirs?

Who or what created God?

What evidence is there against the existence of God? What evidence is there against the existence of the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

Why won't God heal amputees? Why does God seem to cure cancer and other diseases daily, yet he unfailingly ignores the prayers of amputees? Does God hate amputees? Why?

Is God a man or a woman or both or neither?

Through the hundreds of years of religious killing in Europe and the Middle East, whose side has God been on? Catholics or Protestants? Orthodox or Catholics? Christians or Jews? Jews or Muslims? Muslims or Christians? Sunni or Shi'ite? Whose side is He on now?

Do you love your god more than you love your country?

Does God prefer to keep critical thinkers out of Heaven by letting them become atheists, rather than eternally suffer their incessant, impudent questioning of his judgment and authority?

Does God believe in a higher power? If not, then that would mean that God is an atheist.

--adapted from

Microbial resistance to antibiotics

Antibiotics are overused in Mongolia. Powerful antibiotics, generally Russian-made, are available over-the-counter in UB, and people take them often. When I have been ill, my friends have consistently advised me to take antibiotics. As I understand it, however, taking antibiotics indiscriminately, and especially for short durations, leads to microbes evolving resistance to the drugs.

This letter from 2001 concerns gonorrhoea:

"We read with interest 'The antibiotic susceptibility of Neisseria gonorrhoeae isolated in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia' by Lkhamsuren. We also found high levels of resistance to penicillin, tetracycline, and ciprofloxacin. Of the 13 isolates which were successfully transported to our reference laboratory in Birmingham, Alabama. . . 3/13 (23%) were chromosomally resistant to penicillin, 2/13 (15.4%) were chromosomally resistant to tetracycline. . . We agree with the authors that antibiotic resistance is a significant problem in Ulaanbaatar and that a surveillance system for antimicrobial resistance is needed."