Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Cafe Amsterdam: Speed Dating -- Завгүй залуу та хайраа хайж байна уу?

"Cafe Amsterdam has decided to launch speed dating for Mongolians. The first event will be held on Friday 8th May 2009 at 7pm. We realize that many of our mailing list subscribers are non Mongolians but we would be very grateful if you would take the time to print the attached PDF file and put it up in your office or spread the word to your Mongolian co workers.

"Please feel free to forward the email to anyone you feel maybe interested.

"Завгүй залуу та хайраа хайж байна уу?

"Амстердам Кафе Монголд анх удаа ‘Speed Dating’ зохион байгуулж байна.

"5 сарын 8ны Ням гарагийн 19 цагт

"Гоёмсог хувцасаа өмсөж ирээрэй. Хүн бүртэй уулзаж танилцахад 3 мин л бий.
25-35 насны 25 залуу, 25 бүсгүйчүүдийг урьж байна.

"Үйл ажиллагаанд оролцохоо бүртгүүлэхийн тулд cafe(at)amsterdam(dot)mn нд нэр, нас, холбоо барих утасныхаа дугаараа имейлээр явуулна уу. Хамгийн түрүүнд бүртгүүлсэн 25 бүсгүй, 25 залууг эхний ээлжинд сонгон оруулах болно. Эхний ээлжинд оролцож чадаагүй бол санаа зовох хэрэггүй. Энэ үйл ажиллагааг 2 долоо хоног болгон зохион байгуулж байх болно.

"Бүсгүйчүүд сууцгаан, залуу бүртэй 3 минутын хугацаанд ярилцан танилцах болно. Уулзалт болгоны дараа залуу бүсгүй хоёр тухайн хүнтэйгээ дахин уулзах хүсэлтэй эсэхийг нууц хуудас дээр тэмдэглэх бөгөөд хэрвээ таны сонгосон хүн таныг мөн сонгосон байвал, бид та хоёрыг холбож уулзуулах болно.

"Таксны 10 000 төгрөгийн үнэнд нэг коктайл дагалдаж ирнэ."


Sunday, April 26, 2009

U.S.S.R., Ukraine, Chernobyl, 1986 April 26

"'The reactor fire was very hot; we measured at least 7,000 degrees,' says Vladimir Verbitskiy, 47, an officer at the control center of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone who worked there at the time, and who still works there today. 'But the bigger problem was the radiation itself. Initially, Reactor 4's core was emitting 40,000 roentgens an hour, and deadly levels for humans are 600 an hour. And the containment vessel was shattered facing west, with its top blown off and lying on its side. There was no way to contain the radiation; it was directed straight up and also horizontally away in beams through the cracked vessel. Those beams were very powerful. If you got stuck in the way of one for a long period of time, your flesh would simply disintegrate.'

"The fire inside the containment vessel raged on, with no public statement from the Soviet government. But if the Kremlin was taciturn after the explosion, Chernobyl was in a frenzy. 'The roads were washed 24 hours a day, just to keep them clear of radioactive ash,' says Verbitskiy. 'Everyone was ordered inside with the windows shut. Helicopters were brought in to drop sand, clay, boron, and lead onto the fire from above, trying to smother it and trap the radioactivity. Dropping lead was a big mistake, since it melted before it hit the fire and turned into a molten and now radioactive liquid that spread. Of course, they were trying anything... everything. After all, nothing like this had ever happened before.'"

--Donovan Webster, "Nature's Revenge" in Best Life, 2008 November

Saturday, April 25, 2009

and with the Nordic Cross on the flag

"The Global Peace Index ranks Norway as the most peaceful country in the world. Every year for half a decade, Norway has ranked number one in standard of living, life expectancy, literacy, and education. The unemployment rate is half that of America, its crime rate is low, and it has the second highest gross domestic product.

"Norway is a model country. Yet more than 70 percent of its population claim to be either atheist or agnostic. Only 26 percent of Norway’s population believe in God.

"Norway had Christian roots, even more so than the United States whose Founding Fathers purposely left religion out of the Constitution. But Norway has shed its religious upbringing and has become one of the safest, most progressive, and most peaceful countries in the world."


Thursday, April 16, 2009

kea (Nestor notabilis)


"Found only in New Zealand, the kea passes the summer high in the mountains of South Island, feeding mainly on fruit but also taking insects and worms. But when winter comes it descends to the plains where sheep-farming is one of the main activities. It is there that this otherwise harmless vegetarian changes character. Originally its ancestors pecked the sheepskins hanging outside sheep stations for insects, or tasted offal from the slaughter-houses. Later generations of keas, having acquired this taste for flesh, began to prey on the bodies of living sheep, chiefly for the sake of the kidney-fat they had learned to look for. So expert is the kea that it will alight on the back of a sheep exactly where the kidneys are most easily exposed. The cruel beak finds its meal in an instant, leaving the poor beast mortally wounded."

--Animal World in Color, Volume 8 - Hunters: Birds, Fish, and Amphibians, edited by Maurice Burton, Childrens Press: Chicago, 1969

cassowary (Casuarius casuarius)


"The native was returning home late in the evening humming to himself, when in front of him he heard a curious howling, grunting noise. An instant later a shape hurled itself upon him. Two slashing claws raked down his body, he fell backwards, and his attacker trampled over him and rushed on. He was very lucky, for he had met a cassowary, a notoriously bad-tempered bird, almost five and a half feet tall, out hunting for food. Although in the dense forests of New Guinea and Australia cassowaries feed mainly on berries and plants, they will sometimes kill small animals for meat. They fight by hurling themselves at an opponent, slashing downwards with their powerful claws, which will kill a man. On its forehead the cassowary has a bony helmet which protects it as it runs through the thick undergrowth at a speed sometimes reaching almost thirty miles an hour."

--Animal World in Color, Volume 8 - Hunters: Birds, Fish, and Amphibians, edited by Maurice Burton, Childrens Press: Chicago, 1969

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

When Things Get Dark: A Mongolian Winter's Tale

"I wanted to share the exciting news that I recently sold my first book to St. Martin's Press. It's a book of literary nonfiction called When Things Get Dark: A Mongolian Winter's Tale, and it is due out this upcoming winter, in 2010."

--Matthew Davis

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Dharma Bums III

"Then suddenly one night after supper as I was pacing in the cold windy darkness of the yard I felt tremendously depressed and threw myself right on the ground and cried 'I'm gonna die!' because there was nothing else to do in the cold loneliness of this harsh inhospitable earth, and instantly the tender bliss of enlightenment was like milk in my eyelids and I was warm. And I realized that this was the truth Rosie knew now, and all the dead, my dead father and dead brother and dead uncles and cousins and aunts, the truth that is realizable in a dead man's bones and is beyond the Tree of Buddha as well as the Cross of Jesus."

--Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums, 1958


"Bertrand Russell was a well known British philosopher of the 20th century. He was arrested during World War I for anti-war activities, and filled out a form at the jail. The officer, noting that Russell had defined his religious affiliation as 'Agnostic' commented: 'Ah yes; we all worship Him in our own way, don't we.' This comment allegedly 'kept him smiling through his first few days of incarceration.'"



Saturday, April 04, 2009

Monstrously Disregards

In the United States, received a piece of religious propaganda in the mail, a 16-page, tabloid-sized newspaper entitled Faith for Life, compliments of the local Baptist church. The lead piece, “Why Does a Loving God Allow Bad Things to Happen?,” is a 1,000-word attempt to resolve the Epicurean paradox in favor of Christian faith, though the paradox is not identified by name within the piece.

The first paragraph:

“In July of 1945, during WWII, the warship USS Indianapolis had just delivered the atomic bomb. On its way back home it was torpedoed by the Japanese and sunk, stranding many sailors in the Pacific Ocean. In the days that followed, hundreds of men perished by sharks or other means until the tattered survivors were finally rescued. How could something so tragic ever happen?”

In the first paragraph of the first article on the first page of this lengthy proselytization paper, the writer alludes to an attack on an urban center with an experimental weapon of mass destruction resulting in the instantaneous incineration of 70,000 civilian non-combatants and the consequent fatal radiation poisoning and burning of 70,000 more, and monstrously disregards this in order to, in the same paragraph, designate the death of 900 fighting men in the legitimate sinking of their warship as “something so tragic.” Presumably because the 900 were “us” and the 140,000 were “the enemy,” the writer presents the death of 900 warriors as a tragedy and flouts the massacre of 140,000 innocents as not worthy of comment, in a contemptuous affront to the hippie admonition to “Love thine enemy.” The writer goes on from here to argue for the existence of a benevolent god-being.

The piece is signed: “FfL Editor.” No editor's name, writer's name, or staff member's name appears anywhere within the paper.