Monday, November 30, 2009

Young Mongolian American Professionals

“To unite Mongolian-American active professionals across the United States and Mongolia by providing development and information sharing opportunities to create positive change to the community.”

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Happy Hajj

Muhammad at the Kaaba
illustration in Siyer-i Nebi (The Life of the Prophet)
ca. 1595 Ottoman

Monday, November 23, 2009

like the despairing sounds of futile existence

"Short films are lithe and trim athletes; TV series and feature films, meanwhile, are colossal lardarses: their bodies great acres of blubber, their pendulous jowls resembling saggy, blue-veined buttocks, their limbs ever-shifting oceans of lumpy porridge, their sugar-encrusted maws forever agape as they release low, continuous bellows directed at the heavens like the despairing sounds of futile existence."

--Toon Zone, "Toons of the 2000s: Top 5 Animated Shorts," 2009 November 23

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Haditha Massacre

On 2005 November 19, in the city of Haditha in Iraq, United States Marines murdered 24 people, many of them children.

Abdul Hamid Hassan Ali, 76 - grandfather, father, husband
Khamisa Tuma Ali, 66 - wife
Walid Abdul Hamid Hassan, 35
Jahid Abdul Hamid Hassan, middle-aged
Asma Salman Rasif, 32
Rashid Abdul Hamid, 30
Abdullah Walid, 4
Younis Salim Khafif, 43 - husband, father
Aida Yasin Ahmed, 41 - wife, mother
Noor Younis Salim, 14 - daughter
Sabaa Younis Salim, 10 - daughter
Muhammad Younis Salim, 8 - son
Zainab Younis Salim, 5 - daughter
Aisha Younis Salim, 3 - daughter
girl, 1
Jamal Ahmed, 41 - brother
Marwan Ahmed, 28 - brother
Chasib Ahmed, 27 - brother
Qahtan Ahmed, 24 - brother
Ahmed Khidher - taxi driver
Akram Hamid Flayeh - university student
Khalid Ayada al-Zawi - university student
Wajdi Ayada al-Zawi - university student
Mohammed Battal Mahmoud - university student

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Edurelief: Laptops for Teachers

"We are proud to announce that Edurelief has just launched an exciting new program in our ongoing endeavor to promote education in Mongolia. Laptops for Teachers is a program that provides teachers with laptops at 0% interest loans to aid them in their efforts of educating Mongolia's youth. We've been dreaming about this program for a long time and are beside ourselves with excitement that it is finally happening. We delivered our very first laptop this month and are working hard to put together a pilot program for 10 other teachers. We've never seen 10 applicant spots fill so fast, demand is huge.

"Meet Natsagdorj, the first teacher to benefit from our Laptops for Teachers program. Natsagdorj is a 62-year-old Mongolian language teacher and one of only two teachers in the entire country that has a doctorate in teaching Traditional Mongolian Script. Natsagdorj has had a great need for a laptop to continue his research and textbook writing so he can pass his knowledge onto other teachers and students but until becoming a part Edurelief's Laptops for Teachers program, was unable to afford one. Thanks to our 0% interest loan and the ability to pay over an extended period of time, he chose to split up his payments over the next six months and has already started working on a new textbook. It is our hope that with seed money from investors we will be able to provide many more teachers in Mongolia with laptops and thus vastly improving their ability to prepare lessons, share curriculum, and promote education.

"Help us invest in Mongolian education by helping teachers to purchase laptops. These teachers are working face-to-face with children daily and being able to do research, plan lessons, and write and share curriculum makes a huge impact on the development of education. A $500 donation covers the cost of a new laptop, as well as shipping and customs fees related to getting the laptop into the hands of a teacher. This cost is still well below market price in Mongolia and since teachers can split up their loan into as many as 12 monthly payments it's an opportunity that many will benefit from. After the loan is fully repaid we simply use those funds to purchase another laptop. What does this mean for you? It means that over the course of several years, your $500 donation is reused over and over again, aiding teachers and promoting education in Mongolia. Help make a difference today, invest in a teacher."

--Edurelief Staff

Lord Dunsany's Chess

Chess variant by the British weird-fiction writer Lord Dunsany:

Sunday, November 15, 2009

all collapsed

"All collapsed, and the great shroud of the sea rolled on as it rolled five thousand years ago."

--Herman Melville, Moby-Dick; or, The Whale

Friday, November 13, 2009

"Joy" by Tomi Joy

"Bridesmaid" by Sara H

"CDR photo re-touch" by christiane robinson

"Never Hesitate" by jenni tapanila

"ocean 118" by Hengki Koentjoro

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Whiskey River

Whiskey River, don't run dry
You're all I got to take care of me

--Johnny Bush, "Whiskey River"

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

red piranha (Serrasalmus rhombeus)


"One morning, deep in the Amazon jungle, a native woman cut her hand while washing clothes on the flat stones set in the bank of the small stream bordering her village. Forgetful, she waded into the dark water to wash away the blood. Suddenly, the stream came alive, churning with piranhas in a hungry frenzy. Hearing her screams, the villagers rushed to her rescue, but in the brief moment it took to reach her, these ferocious fish had reduced her body to shreds. Hundreds such stories are told of the fanatical fury of these fish, but oddly, the piranha in captivity undergoes a strange transformation, and becomes almost a different fish. Alone or with only one or two others, it becomes nervous and jittery, easily frightened by a sudden movement outside the aquarium tank. Still capable of slicing a piece off another fish in the tank, the lonely piranha seldom demonstrates the boldness it possesses when surrounded by others of its kind."

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

piranha or caribe (Serrasalmus piraya)


"The most ferocious of all living creatures exists not on land, but in the fresh waters of South American rivers. It is the much-dreaded piranha or caribe, that is irresistibly attracted to blood. No animal, however big, or even a man attempting to ford a piranha-infested stream, can hope to survive if their skin is even slightly scratched. The piranha will instantly attack, and scores, even hundreds of its kind, will rush to the kill, literally slicing their victim to shreds in a matter of minutes. An authentic instance occurred in eastern Brazil, where a horse including its saddle was destroyed in five minutes. This butchery is easy for the killer because its teeth are serrated and sharp enough to cut through flesh and sinew at one snap. Even if a victim drags himself ashore, the piranha still clings, viciously biting to the last moment of its life. Anglers fishing for piranha, for the sake of its delicate flesh, have to use a specially strong hook and line. Ordinary tackle would be snapped like cotton."

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

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Urangoo Baatarkhuyag needs helps to fight leukemia

"Urangoo Baatarkhuyag was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia on Sept 5, 2009. She came to Provo, Utah from Mongolia when she was just 18 years old to attend Utah Valley University. A little less than a year ago, she was awarded a Bachelor's degree in Engineering/Drafting and graduated with honors....

"The blood test results showed leukemia cancer cells spread in the blood stream and deteriorated her immunity. After chemotherapy treatments during these last few days at the LDS hospital in Salt Lake City, the cancerous cells are still found active and further damaged the chromosomes. She is predicted to live few months unless she undergoes an immediate bone marrow transplant which is an extremely expensive procedure....

"She has about 60% survival rate if the procedure is carried out. Our goal is to raise $350,000 to cover the initial cost. She needs our help and generosity to live and smile again. Please, give her the gift of life and donate what you can; every dollar will count and make a difference. Thank you so much for your kindness and generosity."

Saturday, November 07, 2009

clear as water, stiff as earth, high as a rock when the hour nears

Oh, I am drunk
When the hour nears, you will die within a day and a night
The body as soft as cotton and then as hard as wood
Your eyes clear as water and stiff as earth
Your belongings heaped up high as a rock
Will be covered with dust
The very dearest and closest friends turn into demons
Your serenity, burning like fire will collapse like ash...
Your fame like the wind will fade, like the rainbow
And one will throw away like an old fur
What you have treasured like gold

--Danzan Ravjaa, in History of Mongolian Literature by Walther Heissig

Friday, November 06, 2009

nothing is momentous; soon

"Practically all writers and artists are aware of their destiny and see themselves as actors in a fateful drama. With me, nothing is momentous: obscure youth, glorious old age, fateful coincidences--nothing really matters. I have written a number of good sentences. I have kept free of delusions. I know I am going to die soon."

--Eric Hoffer, 1977