Saturday, March 8

Bookish: MIDDAY BROWSE (2#) -

Joel Rickett's column this weekend . . .

includes a description of a major publisher establishing a new division which will operate more like a small indie, Books to Talk About, and downloading books. [guard]

Then, a search query produces
the page for Books to Talk About.

Who knew?


Friday, March 7


# DWARF-TOSSING ALLEGED: *In an order filed yesterday, the SEC provided details of a party in Miami for Fidelity traders that was reported in a 2005 WSJ front-pager. Allegedly, Wall Street firms provided private jets, an illegal drug, and paid for female escorts for attendees, which included Fidelity traders. The party also featured the hiring of a male dwarf for a "dwarf tossing" contest, a practice that has been banned in many places.*

# Palm Bay: An incident in which a bank patron left behind an envelope stuffed with $4,800 in cash which was snatched by an unidentified woman has taken a tragic turn because the victim has died of an apparent heart attack.

# Tallahassee: They're arguing to establish a "False Light Doctrine" in the Florida State Supreme Court. I'm opposed to it. This concept is already adequately covered under the Law for Defamation of Character, as far as I'm concerned.

Incidentally, Tallahassee Dot Com has launched a new template, and it's a nice one! Alas, my original link there went 404, so I had to renovate my linkage, but it was only a momentary glitch.

PAKISTAN update - (3#) -

# AL QAEDA THREATENS UN: A hitherto unknown group calling itself Al Qaeda Punjab has threatened to destroy UN offices in Islamabad, Lahore, Quetta and Peshawar unless they fire two female drivers for UNICEF by the end of this month, according to an e-mail and letter which was sent to the UN operations chief.

# NO JUICE: *Karachi suffered a major power breakdown on Thursday... The disruption set off traffic chaos, water shortage, and brought manufacturing and business activities to a shuddering halt in the metropolis of 16 million people... Although the power supply started returning to normal in the evening, large parts of Karachi were without electricity till late into the night.*

# Peshawar: Tensions erupted in the Kurram province on Thursday when at least 25 tribesmen were kidnapped by a rival tribe from a different neighborhood, while power and oil supplies to the area were suspended.

Bookish: CAUSING A STIR (2#) -

# A Book Review of Yousef Al-Mohaimeed's
Wolves of the Crescent Moon (Penguin);
widely read first in Arabic, then in French, it is now making its debut in an English translation by Anthony Calderbank.

"Turad, the one-eared tribesman... arrives at a Riyadh bus station without a plan... While trying to decide which bus ticket to buy, Turad discovers a discarded government file... The spellbinding narrative rarely feels anchored to its chief time and place..."

One ear to the ground
:: By Todd LaVoie - SFBG ::

* * * * *
# Meanwhile, much fizz over an Arabic translation of an Israeli novel, which had been published in serial form in the Egyptian magazine October, and was then published in book form late last year by the State-owned Al Ahram Press House.

"Yasmin written by the leftist Israeli novelist Eli Amir, is an intense love story between an Iraqi Jewish immigrant and a Palestinian Christian woman in the aftermath of the 1967 Middle East Six-Day War. Amir, who recently came to Cairo to attend the launch of the Arabic translation, was born in 1937 in Baghdad and immigrated to Israel in 1950."

:: By Ramadan Al Sherbini ::
-- Gulf News --


Thursday, March 6

PERUGIA BLOOD update (2#) -
The Meredith Kercher Murder Case -

Italy's highest court is expected to issue a decision April 1 on whether to keep Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito, and Rudy Guede in jail while the investigation into Kercher's murder continues, according to the AP's Marta Falconi.

The article seems to contain some possible legal inaccuracy, viz: we are given to understand from other sources in Italy that Knox has been charged, but not yet indicted. There may be some subtle differences between the American and the Italian legal systems in this regard.

There is some discussion in this article about the possible sexual assault on Kercher, but only within the narrow context of physical genital intercourse. NB: A sexual assault may not necessarily involve such contact, but could be deviant in nature.

* * * * *
Joe Tacopina was recently interviewed by Barbie Nadeau from Newsweek at the Villa Brasini in Rome about the case. An excerpt follows:

Where does the case stand now?
Do you think they will be remanded in custody?

[On] April 1 they go back to court to determine whether the appellate court will release or hold the suspects. Yes, the bar is pretty low, so sure, they'll keep them. I think that the prosecution and the defense are trying to work something out as far as Amanda is concerned. There has been some talk about a house-arrest scenario.

someone doesn't want you to read this . . .

30 Jan '08 - Havana Cuba:
A year later -
"Desiderio, Desiderio, hear my criteria" -

What impelled me to venture writing a Blog was the disappointment left by the end of the intellectual controversy of January 2007... about our encounters with censorship and dogmatism...

I intuit that the debate was hijacked by the Ministry of Culture's institutions, imprisoned in academic sophistry and semantics, and then doomed to the curse of the imminent congress of the UNEAC.

It was the spatula that gave me the spring to start
this exoricism called the Generation Y Blog.

* * * * *
An international accord protecting Free Expression was signed on 28 February, 2008, by Cuba's current Foreign Minister Felipe PĂ©rez Roque, the Committee to Protect Journalists said.

Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights guarantees that "everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice." [

* * * * *

"The power of the flash drive"


# TAPED OFF: NYC Police, Bomb Squad and Fire officials have cordoned off an area of Times Square outside a military recruitment station with a large hole in the window after witnesses claim to have heard an explosion there.

# BOMBS ALLEGED: Hundreds of students from the University of California at Davis were evacuated from their dormitory rooms Wednesday night due to a report at around 9pm of potential explosives devices at the college. A bomb expert is on the scene investigating.

# PLOT FOILED: *A developing plot to stage a "military style assault'' at a Warren County NJ high school near the end of the school year has been foiled, authorities said.* Report mentions an alleged "hit list of students and teachers."

# ON A LIGHTER NOTE: New York City's famous Moondance Diner is being been restored and will reopen in Wisconsin this summer.


Wednesday, March 5

Bookish: CELEBRATIONS (4#) -

# Quaintly: It's World Book Day
tomorrow in the UK and Ireland.

# Which kinds of books
are popular in which countries?

# Arab countries boycott Paris book fair.

# "Cultural authorities may well have reacted against the censors who want to deprive Israeli writers the right
to speak..."


# An Alt Weekly sued New Times' parent syndicate VVM successfully "under a California state law that makes it illegal to price product below-cost in an effort to put a competitor out of business. The Guardian contended that VVM used profits from its papers that don’t have a direct alternative rival to allow the Weekly to sell advertising below its cost." [E&P]

# New Media Hazards: An estimated 600 people viewed a YouTube video which showed the gang rape of a young mother with her two toddlers crying throughout her ordeal before it was removed by the host company. [sky]

# Belatedly Noted: Yesterday, WSJ
published a nice feature piece on Pete Hamill.

SoFlo: WHERE WE LIVE (4#) -

netable, notable & a sign of the times . . .

# By far, the story that has dominated the local news for me since dinner hour last evening, actually took place off shore and conveniently tucked away from the main highways here, so it was just off everyone's main radar screen...

Evening Commuter Traffic was snarled for about three hours last night on the Resort Strip, which is a long sandbar just off Florida's Atlantic Coast. SWAT and Hostage Negotiating Teams were called to the Ocean Drive scene where a man entered a law office late in the afternoon and demanded to see a lawyer, then put a gun to his own head, pulled the trigger, and committed suicide. The man has never been identified.

Most of the local MSM virtually ignored the story or treated it as a traffic nuisance, but I suspect we are going to see a lot more stories like this one because of foreclosures.

# Closet Cache Killer Convicted: For nearly three weeks, Moninger lived in the apartment with his dead roommate, Beth Berger, entombed in the hall closet. Her body was eventually found wrapped in plastic trash bags and stuffed into a cardboard box which was hidden away. [herald] and [sent] So, how well do you think you know your roommate, hmmm?

# Another ATM Toppled: "Thieves looking for loot knocked over an ATM in Lauderdale Lakes using a front-end loader." Not a very unusual type of story around these parts, where there's a lot of construction equipment laying around.


Monday, March 3

Bookish: DOUBLE-GLOVED & divers (5#) -

# Although I've watched Special Agent Dana Scully MD snapping on the latex, I've never been particularly interested in watching random autopsies. How about you? If you don't mind, Deborah Sharp from Fort Lauderdale posts a brief blog entry about her recent attendance at SleuthFest '08.

# Ghost Neighborhoods: Robert Frank writes... "I’m always amazed at how the richest neighborhoods are also among the most empty. If you walk down any side street along South Ocean Drive in Palm Beach, Fla., even at high season, the only people you see are landscapers and contractors." [Notable]

# SPOOKSPEAK: Ben Macintyre writes about spook jargon which has crossed over and is entering the general public discourse. A "small peek into the arcane world of... the strange, fertile and semi-secret language of spying... The real language of espionage and the invented language of literary spying are now so entwined that they cannot be untangled." Graham Greene, John le Carre, et al.

# The Observer's Peter Guttridge writes a feature piece about Tom Rob Smith who has written a novel about a serial killer in Russia, Child 44, which has garnered much acclaim. Ridley Scott of Blade Runner fame is "passionate" to make it into a movie.

# A world map graphic
that shows which social networks
online are popular in which countries.


A poor translation triggers hysteria -

At 2am during the Sat/Sun overnight, I came upon this mess, but decided to get some sleep before posting about it. According to breaking news reports, the Israeli Government bombed and demolished the headquarters of the Hamas-led Gaza strip after an Israeli official had issued a dire warning which became mangled by most of the International Press.

But don't be too quick to blame the Wire Services, because I then came across a commentary at The Guardian by a philosophy professor from Oxford University which seemed to suggest that the ambiguous or maladroit translation originated at Ha'aretz, an English-language Israeli newspaper.

Excerpting from that commentary by Brian Klug:

*Referring to the rocket attack on Israel launched from Gaza, Vilnai warned that "they will bring upon themselves a bigger shoah because we will use all our might to defend ourselves." [ ... ]

What was he thinking when he uttered his remark? First, who did he mean by "they" and what did he mean by "bigger"?*

Who did he mean by THEY? He meant Hamas.

What did he mean by BIGGER?

The gist of it is: he meant that Hamas was, in effect, spitting into the wind, and that when they expectoration came back upon them, they would be feeling worse from it than they did before they spit.

He was positing the presumed premise that this cult which is dedicated to destroying Israel was firing rockets at Israel for that purpose.

I didn't read the article at Ha'aretz, but if it is true that they are responsible for this gaffe which sparked an international controversy, I think it behooves Ha'aretz to issue a public apology for causing this misunderstanding.

Various media then reported that the Israeli Government was sending a signal that they were planning a genocide. Whoa! There is a vast difference between demolishing a cult's headquarters and wiping out an entire people.

Lastly, those who have been following this topic need to keep in mind that some cults are suicidal. Heaven's Gate, the Sun Temple group in Switzerland, the People's Temple and others have committed mass suicide. It is possible that Hamas may belong to this category.