Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Questions


"Even the genius asks questions"
-Tupac Shakur

Scratch

I watched a man today, who invented "the scratch," scratch. Turntablism at its utter Next Level finest.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Ground Zero of Gay Pride

We arrived by train to the Big Apple and hopped in taxis. We headed towards Washington Square, but the taxi driver didn't want to go there.
"Big parade, too crazy." He was referring to the giant Gay Pride Parade and we needed to get to Ground Zero of the festivities.
"It is very dangerous," the taxi driver intoned in what I took to be a Nepali accent.
"Umm...it is not dangerous, it is gay," I laughed in reply.
The area was shut down for traffic and the driver let us off to walk the rest of the way, down past half-naked men dancing on fire escapes.
This sounds like the start of a good joke: So a Colombiana, Algerian, Tunisian and Indonesian walk into a Gay Pride Parade....
But indeed parade met blockade, as we tried to get across the few blocked blocks of Greenwich Village. Our street was literally just a block a way from us, but on the other side of the Gay Pride Parade. Every twist and turn in our path, we were met with blockades of fabulousness.
And in our tortuous path, we passed the Stonewall Inn.
Everyone was having a gay ol' time, but we were miserable in the hot sun with all our luggage as we traversed block to crowded block with the sun beating down. I ended up a luggage-wallah with a broken suitcase balanced on my head.
After the hourglass was long empty, we crossed over enough to get up and arrived to the block we needed. A long trek for a short distance, c'est la vie. Have a fabulous Gay Pride Parade, New York.

Trump is what happens when a political party abandons ideas

Great article by Bruce Bartlett on how "Trump is what happens when a political party abandons ideas"

Monday, June 19, 2017

Progressive Islam

“Allahu akbar,” chanted a female voice, uttering the Arabic expression “God is great,” as a woman with two-toned hair issued the Muslim call to prayer. In another major break with tradition, men and women — typically segregated during worship — heeded the call by sitting side by side on the carpeted floor.

Ates, a self-proclaimed Muslim feminist and founder of the new mosque, then stepped onto the cream-colored carpet and delivered a stirring sermon. Two imams — a woman and a man — later took turns leading the Friday prayers in Arabic.

The service ended with the congregation joining two visiting rabbis in singing a Hebrew song of friendship. And just like that, the inaugural Friday prayers at Berlin’s Ibn Rushd-Goethe Mosque came to a close — offering a different vision of Islam on a continent that is locked in a bitter culture war over how and whether to welcome the faith."

A fascinating story on a feminist progressive mosque in Germany, and apparently there have been similar such places in California, Denmark and Switzerland.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Father's Day Thoughts

“We must mend what has been torn apart, make justice imaginable again in a world so obviously unjust, give happiness a meaning once more.”
 -Albert Camus

This quote from Brain Pickings was one of the first things my father, Dr. Stephen Rockower said to me this Father's Day morning. Happy Father's Day to a man working to such ends.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Xenocide

From Orson Scott Card's "Xenocide":

"Just because your former understanding of the purpose of your life is contradicted doesn’t mean that you have to decide there is no purpose... Just because one cause you believed in turned out to be false doesn’t mean that there aren’t other causes that can still be trusted.”

 “No matter how smart or strong you are, there’s always somebody smarter or stronger, and when you run into somebody who’s stronger and smarter than anybody, you think, This is a god. This is perfection. But I can promise you that there’s somebody else somewhere else who’ll make your god look like a maggot by comparison. And somebody smarter or stronger or better in some way. So let me tell you what I think about gods. I think a real god is not going to be so scared or angry that he tries to keep other people down.... A real god doesn’t care about control. A real god already has control of everything that needs controlling. Real gods would want to teach you how to be just like them.”


why the Israeli-Palestinian peace process fails

“Our American friends offer us money, arms and advice. We take the money, we take the arms, and we decline the advice.”
-Moshe Dayan

 A good piece on why the Israeli-Palestinian peace process fails.

On life

"Life is not about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself"

Sunday, May 14, 2017

All the President's women

I think it is worth pointing out that regarding the few women in Trump's cabinet: one is the wife of senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: another is the sister of Erik Prince, founder of Blackwater, Mercenary Par Excellence and one of the key links between the Trump Campaign and the Russians. And lest we forget, Linda McMahon--the head of the WWF.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

The War on....

“The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”
-John Erlichman, Nixon Administration Domestic Policy Advisor and Watergate co-conspirator

Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions is trying to revive the War on Drugs as a tool for oppression.  This is a vehicle of repression; it is a mechanism for suppression.  This has been done before, by Nixon and his corrupt gang.

Meanwhile, the war on truth and sanity continues to unfold with President Trump.  If I were pitching this to Hollywood as a script, it would be rejected as being too far fetched.  This is bad authoritarian comedy.  We have a gold-plated con man in the Oval Office, and just for even more chuckles, he is a Russian Manchurian candidate.  Here is a crazy listicle of why Comey's firing is an absolute shit-show.

Do the Republicans have any integrity left?  Did they ever?

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Alea iacta est

Can you begin to imagine what those sniveling Congressional Republicans would be doing if President Clinton fired FBI Director Comey?  They would be calling for a special prosecutor faster than you can say "Ken Starr."

This can end either two ways.  In impeachment.  Or in something far scarier.

Alea iacta est. We have crossed the rubicon; we are past the point of no return.  

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Moroccan Wednesday

I am sitting on the roof, under the pearl full moon-listening to gnawi music. Their claps and rhythmic chants fill the air as the sinir taps out the bass.

The music is a weekly thing. Every Wednesday night they play.  All night and into the morning when I wake up Thursday. They play all night long. Morocco is magical.

Monday, May 08, 2017

Easy Rider, Moroccan-style

On the back of a chopper, I spent the evening cruising the California of Casablanca into the city centre.

The sun's fading golden light filled the expansive horizon as we cruised through a North African Southern California.

Not even if my words did glow could I describe the beauty, the swirling rush of the winds around my head and the coursing adrenaline as we roared through traffic.

Zen and the art of motorcycle memories, as my dreams drifted back to Hanoi, Kampala and Delhi.

"Life loves those who love life"
-Walt Disney

Saturday, May 06, 2017

#HarryCare

So proud of my brother Harry Rockower for his work on Medicaid expansion in South Carolina for the South Carolina Medical Society.

 Unlike those dumbfucks in Congress, he actually knows what he is talking about in terms of healthcare coverage, and getting people access to care.

#HarryCare 2018.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

No Health. No Care.

Oh look, a healthcare bill from the spineless, heartless Republicans.

I'll Fly Away

I'll fly away, Oh Glory
I'll fly away; in the morning
When I die, Hallelujah, by and by,
I'll fly away.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Our daily bread


Prof. Rockower has found the best student ever: a young fellow who works at the bakery on the corner. I teach him English in exchange for fresh-baked bread.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Monday, May 01, 2017

Only the finest..


Abu Hurayrah feeds brie to his stray cats. Being typical cats, they turned up their noses at chèvre.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Ave Imperatrix

Set in this stormy Northern sea,
Queen of these restless fields of tide,
England! what shall men say of thee,
Before whose feet the worlds divide?

The earth, a brittle globe of glass,
Lies in the hollow of thy hand,
And through its heart of crystal pass,
Like shadows through a twilight land,

The spears of crimson-suited war,
The long white-crested waves of fight,
And all the deadly fires which are
The torches of the lords of Night.

The yellow leopards, strained and lean,
The treacherous Russian knows so well,
With gaping blackened jaws are seen
Leap through the hail of screaming shell.

The strong sea-lion of England’s wars
Hath left his sapphire cave of sea,
To battle with the storm that mars
The stars of England’s chivalry.

The brazen-throated clarion blows
Across the Pathan’s reedy fen,
And the high steeps of Indian snows
Shake to the tread of armèd men.

And many an Afghan chief, who lies
Beneath his cool pomegranate-trees,
Clutches his sword in fierce surmise
When on the mountain-side he sees

The fleet-foot Marri scout, who comes
To tell how he hath heard afar
The measured roll of English drums
Beat at the gates of Kandahar.

For southern wind and east wind meet
Where, girt and crowned by sword and fire,
England with bare and bloody feet
Climbs the steep road of wide empire.

O lonely Himalayan height,
Grey pillar of the Indian sky,
Where saw’st thou last in clanging flight
Our wingèd dogs of Victory?

The almond-groves of Samarcand,
Bokhara, where red lilies blow,
And Oxus, by whose yellow sand
The grave white-turbaned merchants go:

And on from thence to Ispahan,
The gilded garden of the sun,
Whence the long dusty caravan
Brings cedar wood and vermilion;

And that dread city of Cabool
Set at the mountain’s scarpèd feet,
Whose marble tanks are ever full
With water for the noonday heat:

Where through the narrow straight Bazaar
A little maid Circassian
Is led, a present from the Czar
Unto some old and bearded khan,—

Here have our wild war-eagles flown,
And flapped wide wings in fiery fight;
But the sad dove, that sits alone
In England—she hath no delight.

In vain the laughing girl will lean
To greet her love with love-lit eyes:
Down in some treacherous black ravine,
Clutching his flag, the dead boy lies.

And many a moon and sun will see
The lingering wistful children wait
To climb upon their father’s knee;
And in each house made desolate

Pale women who have lost their lord
Will kiss the relics of the slain—
Some tarnished epaulette—some sword—
Poor toys to soothe such anguished pain.

For not in quiet English fields
Are these, our brothers, lain to rest,
Where we might deck their broken shields
With all the flowers the dead love best.

For some are by the Delhi walls,
And many in the Afghan land,
And many where the Ganges falls
Through seven mouths of shifting sand.

And some in Russian waters lie,
And others in the seas which are
The portals to the East, or by
The wind-swept heights of Trafalgar.

O wandering graves!  O restless sleep!
O silence of the sunless day!
O still ravine!  O stormy deep!
Give up your prey!  Give up your prey!

And thou whose wounds are never healed,
Whose weary race is never won,
O Cromwell’s England! must thou yield
For every inch of ground a son?

Go! crown with thorns thy gold-crowned head,
Change thy glad song to song of pain;
Wind and wild wave have got thy dead,
And will not yield them back again.

Wave and wild wind and foreign shore
Possess the flower of English land—
Lips that thy lips shall kiss no more,
Hands that shall never clasp thy hand.

What profit now that we have bound
The whole round world with nets of gold,
If hidden in our heart is found
The care that groweth never old?

What profit that our galleys ride,
Pine-forest-like, on every main?
Ruin and wreck are at our side,
Grim warders of the House of Pain.

Where are the brave, the strong, the fleet?
Where is our English chivalry?
Wild grasses are their burial-sheet,
And sobbing waves their threnody.

O loved ones lying far away,
What word of love can dead lips send!
O wasted dust!  O senseless clay!
Is this the end! is this the end!

Peace, peace! we wrong the noble dead
To vex their solemn slumber so;
Though childless, and with thorn-crowned head,
Up the steep road must England go,

Yet when this fiery web is spun,
Her watchmen shall descry from far
The young Republic like a sun
Rise from these crimson seas of war.
-Oscar Wilde, "Ave Imperatrix"

Saturday, April 29, 2017

The Journey

The time that my journey takes is long and the way of it long.

I came out on the chariot of the first gleam of light, and pursued my
voyage through the wildernesses of worlds leaving my track on many a star and planet.

It is the most distant course that comes nearest to thyself,
and that training is the most intricate which leads to the utter simplicity of a tune.

The traveler has to knock at every alien door to come to his own,
and one has to wander through all the outer worlds to reach the innermost shrine at the end.

My eyes strayed far and wide before I shut them and said `Here art thou!'

The question and the cry `Oh, where?' melt into tears of a thousand
streams and deluge the world with the flood of the assurance `I am!'

by Rabindranath Tagore

ht/ La Princesse.

Sunset

Image may contain: ocean, sky, twilight, outdoor, water and nature
Olive eyes in an orange sky
Of almond clouds that are pierced by
The pomegranate rays of
A sinking crimson sun

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His light plucks the horizon
like guitarists' fingers strum
Hills like beds where so it's said
The moon descends to dance the dead

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Streams flow so red around my head
you can't tell the blood from roses
In this house, songs are shared like bread
they open as the day closes
The sky's a pool with fires
Burning all around her sides

Image may contain: 1 person, ocean, sky, outdoor, water and nature


My heart's a flame inspired
By the breath's of a wind's cry
Where it blows inside, I live
Where it pours outside, I die
-Ibn Zamrak, "Sunset"
h/t La Princesse