So, I guess it was the least we could do…

15 Jan

Jan 12

A Syrian woman hands out blankets and food to refugees from Greece, 1942, in a photograph from the “Hona al-Quds” newspaper. Source unknown. During World War II, hundreds of thousands of Europeans fled carnage on the continent for the Middle East, where they were offered refuge.

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“Apna Time Aayega” — Anybody else waiting for the opening of this film with as bated a breath as mine?

15 Jan

Cool soundtrack, Ranveer Singh looking hot, praise the multiple talents he’s possesed of, and their not whitening him up.

Question: is there something other than Alia Bhatt’s headscarf that shows that these “gulley-dwellers” are largely Muslim?

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Wanna go ice-skating…

27 Dec

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THE WORLD ICE ARENA OF FLUSHING MEADOWS PARK

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Sorry…but is this something to be proud of?

6 Dec

Croatian legal documents

“History has made lawyers of the Croats,” wrote Dame Rebecca West, “soldiers and poets of the Serbs; it is an unhappy divergence.”

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St. Nicholas repost from a while ago: “They’re human beings” — December 6th

6 Dec

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Niko was never a name I was nuts about, though it was that of a grandfather I’m proud of.  And I never had a massive crush on St. Nicholas the way I do on St. Demetrius or St. Stephen or Nestor…or my Kanha…

‘Krishna and the Gopis on the Bank of the Yamuna River’; miniature painting from the ‘Tehri Garwhal’ <i>Gita Govinda</i>, circa 1775–1780

But I do remember a sermon on December 6th ages ago, an unusually enlightened and intelligent one for a Greek-American priest, and an older one at that, at my parish in Whitestone.  I can only paraphrase it now:

“St. Nicholas was not one of our great warrior saints like St. Demetrius or St. George.  He wasn’t one of our intellectual, theologian saints like the Cappadocians.  He was simply a saint who made sure that, to the best of his abilities, everyone under his care had a place to sleep and food to eat.”

Then he went on to the part that I’ll really never forget:

“When someone comes to you in need, the first and only thing you’re to think of is the vulnerable and potentially humiliating position this human being has put himself in by needing and asking for your help.  You’re not to think of how much you can give or how much he needs.  Or if “he’s gonna spend it on drugs.”  You’re to keep him from feeling humiliated with whatever you can.  That’s all.”

My favorite St. Nicholas story — and probably the one that Santa Claus has its roots in — is how he went secretly to the home of the three daughters of a poor man at night and left them three bags of gold through the window so that they would have dowries and be able to marry.  He didn’t rail against the dowry system; he didn’t get off on his ideological correctness, like those anti-tipping assholes in New York who leave their waiter a little card explaining that tipping in the restaurant industry is exploitative, drafting the hapless kid into their cause by depriving him of income and not leaving him anything except the little card; he goes off flush with Anglo self-rightouness; the waiter goes home broke.  St. Nick simply gave three poor sisters what they needed so that they could survive in the world.  And we can talk ideology and exploitation later.

St. Nicholas Fra AngelicoFra Angelico

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What a great guy….

6 Dec

Nole classroon

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“Two Catalonias”

21 Oct

An excellent documentary about Catalonia and its ongoing “issues”.  Unbiased, both sides of the coin, covers and gives voice to everyone and every institution involved.  If you’re not up on the crisis or don’t know much about Spanish politics it might be a little overwhelming; I’ve watched it twice already.  The Youtube post says “trailer” but it’s the whole doc (below).

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