Twitter / atb20

Monday, September 24, 2007


i'm sure you were depressed by the lack of political "dialogue" here lately. i know many come for my insightful and provocative political discourse... well, today i shall appease. today, politics comes to my doorstep. my stomping grounds for the last 12 years have been taken over by armed secret-servicemen, nypd, and, of course, a field of protesters. where am i in this? safely ensconced in my medieval dungeon/fallout shelter, untouched by the hullabaloo above. this safety (and soundproofing) doesn't protect me, however, from thoughts of what goes on outside. as i rode the subway up here, anxious about whether the security guard would accept my 2-year old student id (thank you for your concern -- he didn't even blink at the "2005" sticker), i puzzled at my unusual ambivalence about my university's invitation to a certain iranian president. many are up in arms that such an offensive, callous, anti-american, likely insane, and definitely dangerous political leader would be invited to an academic discussion on an american campus. i agree that the man is atrocious in his words and actions which have led to bloodshed the world over. i cringe that this invitation from a ivy-league institution will be added to his list of accomplishments and honors. i am saddened that some will see this invitation as a reflection of his worth and international esteem. at the same time i worry that the united states has become a victim of its own ignorance. in our fear, we have put up a wall between ourselves and the rest of the world... especially the middle east. bush was able to dupe most of the country into believing that saddam hussein was the leader of al qaeda because the american news and american educators seem to think we don't need to know what is happening in the rest of the world or hear perspectives of those who don't agree with our leaders. that said, i don't believe that ahmadinejad will say anything new or genuine on his visit to columbia today. as usual, he will dodge the truth and claim innocence where there is none to be had. he will puff himself up and avoid difficult questions. but he will have been given a freedom here that few in tehran can enjoy today. the freedom to speak even when your opinions are offensive to the people of that country and contradict those of our leaders without fear of retribution or censorship. perhaps i am naive, but it seems almost impossible for there not to be a little understanding gained from this experience. a little knowledge to be gained both by us and by him....

ok, i just stepped out to hear the man himself. it was interesting. apparently, they have no gays in iran like we do here in the states. i would write more, but after an hour and a half of writing about and listening to the ahmadinejad talk, I should get back to work.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

german mosquitos

after one week in germany, i can tell you, with great certainty, that germany has a lot of mosquitos. i thought houston had a lot of mosquitos, but those puny houston mosqitos have nothing on the larger, darker, german variety. five days later, i can still point out every bite i received as i attempted to sleep inside of my cozy featherbed. my dad even went so far as to buy bug spray for us to wear at night because they also don't seem to have air conditioning in germany. it is therefore necessary to sleep with the window open to avoid melting underneath your featherbed.

despite the nighttime air attacks, we had a wonderful time in germany -- marred only by mil's absence. the moosk clan (sans mil) boarded a evening plane to germany last week in order to witness the nuptials of our german cowboy cousin. the wedding was a 10-hour affair replete with log-cutting, plate-smashing, butterfly-releasing, horseback-riding, disco dancing, and of course plenty of drinking -- these are germans. the highlight was the midnight balloon release (trying not to think of all the red balloon carcasses that would be littering the hilly countryside the next morning), accompanied by sparklers and a hot air balloon release (a mere kilometer from the local nuclear powerplant). unfortunately, i had already put my camera to bed by that point, so i didn't get any photos... it's unfortunate.

the rest of the week was spent visiting relatives and eating... lots of eating. i figure i can recreate the entire trip for mil by taking him to hallo berlin and feeding him meat and spatzle until he explodes. for your non-gustatory enjoyment, i have made a little flickr slideshow of the trip here.