Friday, July 30, 2010

What to do on a sultry day...

Line image of a Western beauty...(black hair, tanned skin, tiny eyes) entitled 'Black hair, small nose, tiny eyes... ...Who could this raven-haired beauty be?'Dear Gentle Reader,


I am trying to get back into the e-swing of things.

Baby steps.

Even shaky babies can walk.


So, how does that connect with the title image today?

It's advertising.

I'm advertising my shakiness, at least as regards to posting reliability.

And that girl is advertising her beauty.

Which you can get, too.

From a tiny little hairstylist's place of business, in a rural town--Kaifeng, China.


Shot of the whole frontage of the hairstylist's shop that the title image comes from. The characters in red read 'Ming Fa Lang' which translates, roughly, to 'Famous Hair Corridor' (Corridor as in the Long Corridor in the Summer Palace, outside of Beijing... if that makes things easier).

...Hair stylists for her...

As you can read, they offer a full wash, cut, blow dry, and the obligatory head and neck massage, all with the latest fashion styling trends.

The head and neck massage, at least twenty minutes long, is so obligatory that it's not even listed.

But, it's there or this business wouldn't be since all of their competitors offer it.

And all this for the princely sum of 13 renminbi, sometimes known as 13 yuan.

Which is approximately 1.47 euros.

Or 1.91 USD.

Or 1.98 CDN.

Or 2.03 CHF.

...You are going to the top hairstylist in town, after all...

(That's real red brick; not some cheap linoleum facade.)

...Hence the high price...

Now, I could discuss the other commercial aspects of hairdressers throughout Asia.

How barber poles with rotating spirals mark out places to lose your tension... ...after letting it build a bit first...

But, maybe I'll leave brothels for another day.

After, all would need to figure out what the going rate is these days...

That post would, however, put a whole new spin onto the idea of a barbershop quartet.

...Wicked, torrid thoughts... (obedient sin--for Murat)...


Ah... and the music for today, being a warm summer day, is...

Click to hear 'Cicadas' by the Cowboy Junkies


Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Entitled 'Dream fish (Tokyo Koi relaxing under reflected cherry blossoms)' this is a blurry image of an orange Koi swimming under a psychedelicesque swirl of reflected cherry blossoms in a wind-kissed lake.Dear Gentle Reader,

It is 3WW and, after a four month absence, I am back.

Hopefully, for a while.

This week the 3WW community received these three words as prompts:
abuse, cramp, and hatred.

As usual, I proffer three haiku, each with an American Sentence title.

So, without further ado... abuse, cramp, and hatred....

Runner's cramps felled her, felled her dreams; she blamed her trainer, not her drinks

cramps hit her mid stride
crampled she crumpled, bellowed
abuse, wild hatred

Heshiveredinthedarkcrevasse, searched for his wits, way out and ice axe.

Abused crampons cracked,
slid off... ... Red.Redhat.Hatred...

**A stunned climber who fell down a crevasse might work his way from red, red hat, hat red to realising he has a bloody head. Or, at least, a bloody hat...

'Papa' gave kids balloons, then injected death straight into their small hearts.

Hot hatred cramps thoughts;
cold hatred cramps grace, begets
horrific abuse.

**Oswald "Papa" Kaduk was a butcher before the Second World War began.

He became a totally different butcher before that war had ended.

Oswald joined the SS, fought on the Eastern Front, and, injured, ended up at Auschwitz-Birkenau as a guard and moved 'up' the ranks.

The Final Solution was the Nazi plan to rid the world of the "lebensunwertes Leben", those considered by the Nazis to be unworthy of existence. Nazi ideology included gypsies, homosexuals, mentally handicapped people, and, of course, Jews in the list of peoples undeserving of life.

As part of the "Final Solution", 85% of the Jewish population of Europe in Nazi controlled lands were to be murdered as quickly as possible. The other 15% were to be worked to a point just before death and then murdered.

Infamous Auschwitz and lesser-known Birkenau were significant cogs in the Nazi "Final Solution".

Auschwitz warehoused around 30,000 victims being worked to death at any given point in time; adjoining Birkenau warehoused around 100,000 more victims.

Men who survived, after arrival, the selection of the 'lucky' 15%, statistically, survived for six months to a year. Women who survived selection generally survived for four months.

Children almost invariably were not selected and would generally die within an hour of arriving at the camp.

Almost a quarter million children were slaughtered at Birkenau.

Oswald Kaduk (1906-1997) was nicknamed "Papa" because of his 'love' for kids.

Papa gave children who arrived at Birkenau a balloon.

Then Papa would inject a needle, and phenol, through their chest and into their heart.

Papa did this ten times a minute; one child murdered every six seconds.

All for cold, calculating, racial hatred.


Postscript about Haiku and American Sentences

First, technical definitions of the poetic forms I play with.

The English language version of the haiku is grammatically stricter (though semantically looser) than the original, Japanese form of this poetical form.

English Haiku are usually required to have three lines with 5 syllables on the first line, 7 syllables on the second line and 5 syllables on the final line.

The American Sentence is a poetical form structurally closer to the Japanese haiku format in some ways. It requires 17 syllables in one sentence and was created by the American poet Allen Ginsberg.

Yes, I know that there are content issues regarding what topics are permissible in Japanese haiku and that Japanese poets don't count syllables as they are generally understood in English.

I am not overly concerned.

If you are, I am sure I have discussed it sometime before. Check the haiku topic listing and have fun.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Blue skies and bike seats

Image of pigeons wheeling, silhouetted, after afternoon prayers, above the Jama Masjid in the old town of New Delhi against an impossibly blue and bright sky.
Dear Gentle Reader,

Blue skies are apparently ahead.

Which would be good, as storm clouds have raged, or, worse, droned for a while.

For anyone who actually ever checks over here, yet another mea culpa.

The past couple of years have been a bit trying, medically, as interesting diagnoses come and go.

Parkinson's disease one day.

Multiple sclerosis, another.

Fortunately, both of those were rejected after extensive testing.

Unfortunately, the underlying conditions were ultimately described as a syndrome; diagnostic shorthand for "we know what symptoms you present, and they are real, but we have no idea what the underlying cause is, or how, ultimately, to treat you".


I really didn't want Parkinson's, or MS, true.

And I really didn't want the underlying conditions, either.

Another set of conditions were ultimately resolved in a similar way--by calling them a syndrome, again.

Which was all sort of fine.

Until, rather recently, there was another concern.

Doctors thought that I might have pancreatic cancer.

And pancreatic cancer is really not good.

Whilst life is terminal (we ride a sinking boat from birth, to paraphrase some Buddhists), pancreatic cancer tends to accelerate the submersion like a torpedo hitting amidship.

Pancreatic cancer led to an extensive pharmacological diet aimed at whacking me in the belly--amidship my ship.

Now, for your humble scribe, pharmacological diets can be rather interesting, and not just amidship. My upper decks and command centres take hits of their own.

Fermented sugar, alone, has interesting effects while stronger pharmawonders tend to bend the hues of the spectrum and provide organic whammy bars to your humble scribe's sensory interpretation systems...

(Your humble scribe hallucinates, visually and aurally (hypnogogic hallucinations), upon taking Tylenol 3s, which my Southern Cousins would call Tylenol with Codeine... ...most people take Tylenol 3s with much less ado simply for pain relief.)

...But, my big pharma anti-pancreatic cancer diet held new combinatorial side-effects for my pleasure and enjoyment...

...such as autodigestion of my cartilage and tendons...

...and total-body tendonitis...

And then, just before I took off to India, I was told that pancreatic cancer was not, in fact, a concern.

Presumably a new syndrome diagnosis will be offered to me to replace the diagnosis taken away from me but, again, I am rather fine with this.

I still have a pharma diet, which is a much reduced pharma diet from my 'peak', which is good (ish) though I've only managed two non-pharma meals in the last seven days...

(And yet those love handles still persist!)

(...Do you actually have to want to be an ascetic (rather than being forced into asceticism) to get those sveltish lines of Siddhartha Gautama, post his "Great Departure" (when he left his Father's kingdom, and luxury, to live life as an ascetic)?)


All this is by way of an explanation for my absence, as I had promised a few people that I would write, ages ago.

And then broke those promises.

Now you know why.

Anyway, enough whining.

I've been gone a rather long time; I am trying to get back onto the saddle.

Image of a great, red with huge yellow polka-dotted bicycle saddle found in Bhubaneshwar, Orissa (India).

I hope to write more soon, and maybe even read.

Till then...


Click to hear The Be Good Tanya's 'The Littlest Bird' from their album 'Blue Horse'