Frank and Louie and Heidi and Heidi Klum

Ladies and gentlemen, Boys and girls!

Step right up, step right up. Today’s post is guaranteed to be awwwwww-inducing or your money back. You will drool, you will feel your heart lurch in your rib-cage in fluttery anticipation. Do not try this at home!

Keeping in the tradition of previous cutsie animal postings, we have critters that will roll your eyes, steal your smile.

Drum roll, puh-lease. Appearing tonight and tonight only, lay-dees and gentlemen, may I present: Frank and Louie and Heidi!

First, allow me to in-tro-duce, without any further ado, appearing at the Mellow Jihadi for the first time, direct from Worcester, the drooling pride o’Massachusetts, Frrrrrrrr-rank and Louie:

Frank and Louie, a two-faced Janus cat

From the Yahoo article:

WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — Frank and Louie the cat was born with two faces, two mouths, two noses, three eyes — and lots of doubts about his future.

Now, 12 years after Marty Stevens rescued him from being euthanized because of his condition, the exotic blue-eyed rag doll cat is not only thriving, but has also made it into the 2012 edition of Guinness World Records as the longest-surviving member of a group known as Janus cats, named for a Roman god with two faces.

Big top staff, please dim the lights, dip the flags. I am sad to announce a passing. Our dearest Heidi is gone. But get this, we have exclusive snaps of her last modeling shoot on the French Riviera, looking as fresh and photo-genic as the day she first burst out of Vogue:

Not Heidi Klum, but Heidi, the cross-eyed 0possum

Her tale is indeed one filled with triumph and sadness. A story so cross-eyed, that only this blog would dare touch it. Hold onto your hats, tip your waiters, hug your little ones, heeeeeeeeeere’s Heidi Klum:

The world-famous cross-eyed opossum who predicted the Oscar winners this year has died at the Berlin zoo where she lived.

The opossum became an international celebrity adored for her crossed eyes and confused-looking face, with Facebook fans totaling some 330,000.

The Leipzig Zoo released a statement on Heidi’s fan page this morning noting that their “cross-eyed opossum Heidi’s eyes are closed forever.”

And there you have it folks! Two more critters, three more names.

One last ah-ha for you, you beautiful audience. Do not joke around about Heidi Klum! We are, after all, professionals. And for some reason, Mz. Heidi is the world’s riskiest celebrity search (as defined by McAfee.) Nine percent of the sites with her picture have viruses or malware:

In a new report released from McAfee, Heidi Klum ranked as the #1 riskiest celebrity to look up online.  Almost one in 10 search results for Heidi Klum’s name lead to websites that can compromise your personal information.

Specifically searching for “Heidi Klum videos”, “Heidi Klum photos” or just “Heidi Klum” showed a 9% chance of visiting a website that could download malware or viruses. (Malware can infiltrate a computer, allowing the scammer to access confidential information.)

Heidi Klum, guaranteed to infect no innocent Mellow Jihadi readers with viruses or malware 

That is all folks! Come back and visit soon. Grab some cotton candy on your way out! Challenge our strongman, grimace the bearded lady.

Take refuge in the thought that a free circus is rolling into your wonderful town sooner than you think. Some know it as a national election. We here at the big top simply call it our competition. Farewell and good night!

Watcher’s Council Nominations – Apples n’ Honey Edition

No week would be complete without some weasels popping. And pop they did with this list.

A big thank you goes out to the Watcher for my honorable mention. No surprise that I have the most ridiculously “honorable” post of the bunch. (As in, the others are far more respectable):

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

Thanks Watcher and Watcher’s Council. Y’all are some good Americans weasel watchers. . .

Vietnam, from the USS Oxford

I am a listener. It may not appear so with some of the stories from this blog, but I listen carefully when someone wants to talk. Every week (or oftener) I run into people, veterans usually, folks who want to chat military.

A Sea Story from the USS Oxford, steaming north to Da Nang

They do most of the talking. I usually nod and nod and then run and find a piece of paper to jot down their sea-story. So you, cherished blog reader, can catch a glimpse too, provided it is not either: too salty or too operationally sensitive. Or too personal. I also ask if I can share their tale with others.

I travel for my job, more so than I would like. Still, when I run into old Navy salts, they invariably pepper me with a story or two of their service. These come from a retired Master Chief out of South Carolina.

As a Second-class Petty Officer, he was assigned to the USS Oxford (AGTR-1, an Oxford-class technical research ship acquired by the U.S. Navy for the task of conducting research in the reception of electromagnetic propagations.)

He recounted the tale of steaming north towards Da Nang onboard the Oxford. Suddenly, he felt a little shake in the water. With bright eyes, he described it as such:

Dong Hoc to Da Nang

It was a tiny quiver. First, I thought we had thrown a screw (ie: the propeller of the ship had come unbalanced.)

We were less than a hundred miles outside of Da Nang, passing a town along the coast known as Dong Hoc (Vietnam Vets: I searched the map for Dong Hoc. And found a small town in that general area, south of Da Nang. But it appears to be inland and not directly on the coast.)

No one else seemed to be concerned. When I questioned it, I received knowing looks and was told to wait and see.

Dang! Da Nang gets shelled

As we sailed toward Da Nang, the disturbances in the choppy water got more intense. We were not even that far up the coast when I saw and heard it.

How could I have thought we had thrown a screw?

A Battleship had been shelling Da Nang, one of the Petty Officers told me.

As we got closer, rounds seemingly as large as Volkswagon Beetles streamed across the smoky sky into the mountains and hills behind the harbor of Da Nang.

Battleship, not only a movie

I must have seen thirty of them fly by during the day. Yes, that was what was disturbing the water, those massive shells being launched.

(Note: he told me the name of the Battleship, but I am drawing a blank. Was it possibly the USS New Jersey?)

The Master Chief’s second story is a chuckler. He was also shipboard, on another vessel. The Skipper (the CO, the Captain of the ship) wanted to send out a message, but the transmission device was broken. Neither he, nor his Operations Officer, could get it to work.

So they called the Chief over. He could not fix it, nor could the LPO. Finally they summoned the Master Chief. (Remember, he was still relatively junior at this point in his career.)

Hey, Petty Officer can you repair this?

Yes, Chief.

Navy Sailors, Gorillas?

Well, make it happen!

Our retired Master Chief stood up on his tip-toes and slammed the bottom of his fist down on the device. The whole mechanism shook. The senior folks exchanged surprised looks as the Captain pressed a button.

Presto, it functioned! And the relieved Chief, Operations Officer, LPO, and Petty Officer left the space while the Skipper conducted his business.

Postscript: Apologies for any incorrect Vietnamese geography or faulty shipboard designations. I think I was faithful to what he said. But it was 98 degrees outside. (And only slighter hotter inside, at 98.6 degrees.) With bugs. Not the Russian embassy kind, comrade, but the Carolina summer kind. And they grow ‘dem dogs big down ‘der. . .

Steven Spielberg’s Terra Nova, Painful

Terra Able

Let’s take a break from the cultural warrior stuff and chat television. Are you familiar with Steven Spielberg’s new show on FOX, Terra Nova? I watched the first 13 minutes and 42 seconds (so you don’t have to.)

From the wacky-pedia article:

The show begins in the year 2149, a time when all life on planet Earth is threatened with extinction due to dwindling worldwide air quality and overpopulation. At Hope Plaza, a massive

Terra Nova: Steven Spielberg’s Terra Ble new television show

ring shaped structure in Chicago, scientists discover a rift in space-time that allows people to travel 85 million years back in time to the Late Cretaceous period on the prehistoric Earth of an alternate reality, offering a chance to save humanity. The Shannon family (father Jim, his wife Elisabeth, and their three children Josh, Maddy and Zoe) join the tenth pilgrimage of settlers to Terra Nova, the first human colony on the other side of the temporal doorway.

Terra Nova is lousy, but before reciting the pain, let’s review Mr. Spielberg’s recent projects. They reveal some successes: Cowboys and Aliens. And some duds: The Pacific. (Where the Marines come across as a bunch of poetry-reading, sweater-wearing pansies. Except for that one Gunny, who lost it in the rain.)

The Pacific: Marines as Pansies

You can add Falling Skies (a television show that fell and fell) to the dudly pile. It was just too depressing.

On that note, I am tired of the dark, futuristic shows. Where the world is some dreadful place. I watched the first couple minutes of Falling Skies and it had the same theme as Terra Nova, humans fighting for survival against some faceless shadow.

I doubt Terra Nova will be successful. There are too many “hidden” preachy messages. In his opening speech, the leader of the camp (the great Stephen Lang) prattles on about his utopia beyond war. Here is buddyTV’s take on it:

What I find interesting is Commander Taylor’s speech about mankind screwing it up all these years, forcing them to go back in time and start again. Sure, he has a point, but does he really believe in that? His speech sounds like he’s gunning for some sort of classless utopia, but I’ll go on a limb and guess he wants to hold on to his power, being the first settler in Terra Nova and all.

Want an environmental message? Try this: the poor humans have been forced to find alternate places to live because they have polluted the Earth to such an extent that no one can breathe without an air mask.

Shelly Conn, Terra Nova

Shelly Conn, playing the wife of Jason O’Mara, appears to have no chemistry (or biology or geometry or any other subject) with him. Who cast this thing?

It used to be that Steven Spielberg’s big bomb was Batteries Not Included. I remember seeing that movie in a darkened theater as a young post-tweener and feeling ripped off. Now we can add Terra Nova, the Pacific, and Falling Skies to his dud list.

Also Terra Nova, although not the terrible television show

Here is a hilarious, trivial fact on search engine inquiries. Google terranova and a lot of the top entries return a pure-breed dog of some sort. Guess his name? You got it! Terranova.

He is a cute tyke. And if watching Terra Nova (the television show) for 13 minute and 42 seconds meant that I get to “meet” Terra Nova the pooch, it was worth it.

How’s about a bet with you all: the female readers of this blog will oooh and ahh over lil’ Terra Nova, like they have in the past over orphaned SEALs; the male readers will wonder whether Terra Nova is good for anything like jogging or getting the paper.

Now if only Terra Nova (the television show) could play dead! Or roll over and disappear. . .

Flag-burning and Upside-down Flags

How do you feel about flag burning? Does it irk you to see the flag upside down? Several days ago, I posted this on Damian Marley of the supergroup SuperHeavy.

Joss Stone, Mick Jagger, Dave Stewart, AR Rahman, and Damian Marley of SuperHeavy

Mr. Marley was wearing a jacket with what appeared to be an upside-down flag. As stated in the original post, I could easily be wrong. Perhaps there are some more publicity shots of the event with a closer angle.

In our continuing tradition here at the Mellow Jihadi, I received some interesting comments in response to it. The commenter sent two of them, four minutes apart (which reminds me of another pair of comments I received about our girl boy Chaz Bono.) (Please ignore the link to Nancy Grace’s wardrobe malfunction in the comments of the Chaz Bono post.) As usual, I am not allowing him/her to post his/her comments, because once I approve one, he/she can graffiti my site. The comments:

1. Isn’t the free world Great? You can wear what you want and say what you want…

2. Isn’t America Great? You can wear what you want and say what you want…

So here is the thing: to me, they are not sneer-free comments. There is a subtext, a little haughty get-over-it. Sort of a screw the flag, I do what I want.

Or maybe they are completely straight? And they are celebrating America’s rich tradition of freedom.

In my eyes, they smack of the first. Of a light touch of contempt. But I could easily be wrong. With words and the unwritten, I could be reading into them that which is not there.

Far more interesting than the comments of the gentleman/lady is this: He/she is the CEO of a collective group of artists (writers, filmmakers, and musicians.) And they film Westerns! Yes indeed. Westerns, that great American genre. One more eye-opening fact, they are based out of Texas. Not Austin weird, but other parts, them don’t mess with Texas parts. (Get a rope!)

For the moment, I will keep his/her comments anonymous. The CEO linked to his/her web-page in his/her original comment and I could be totally off-base with this one. (It happened once back in the ’80s.) So I won’t call him/her out publicly. Well, I will call him/her out, just anonymously.

I will email and invite him/her back to clarify. Is he/she okay with folks wearing the American flag upside down? Am I just an old-fashioned hick, who has lived in New York City and went to UC Berkeley (that cesspool of patriotism), who has no regard for freedom of speech? (New York City?)

Perhaps he/she is okay with Damian’s freedom to wear the flag as such, but he/she still would never do so himself/herself? I am not for banning Damian Marley’s use of the upside-down flag . I just never intend to buy his lousy records, 8-tracks, tapes, CDs, songs.

One more of SuperHeavy, one more of Damian Marley. Too hip, too friggin’ cool, too stoned to respect the flag

I will close out this post with a story from the Show Me state of Missouri. A friend of mine grew up there and he recounted to me this tale of his childhood:

There was a parade in town for one of the holidays, maybe 4th of July or Memorial Day. A loud band passed and he sat listening on the curb. Then the color guard marched by him, parading the colors. An old-timer turned around, stared at him, and pointed:

              Get on your feet boy, that there is the flag!

Of course, he stood up. That is my kind of America. Yes, it is a piece of cloth. But men and women have died for it and I, for one, will not see it disrespected. As for an amendment banning flag-burning, ach. I am not sure we are ready for a measure such as that, considering the other entrees our political class and the States have on their over-crowded plates.

So I will publish this post and then email the CEO. I surely hope I am wrong. How cool would that be to have a Western film-maker actually want to defend the symbol of our country? Heck, it has never happened before, not with them cowboy commies. . .

Attention on Deck

Mellow Jihadi, newbie blogger, reporting as ordered, ma’am!

American Naval Officer Discovers Australia

Report Mellow Jihadi. What say you for the last month?

Ma’am, I am pleased to report that a best-selling author tweeted out one of my posts.

Really, who was that?

Resurrectionist” by James Bradley

James Bradley, an Australian literary giant. He had this to say about musk sticks and the Dreaded Australian Curse:

Nice piece, though I'm sort of horrified you can still buy them. I've tweeted a link to the post, so
hopefully you'll get some hits.

Did you thank him?

Yes ma’am. I even told him: I will have to give out your books as gifts. . . But that is not all. I received some hate mail over that post.

Proceed.

A reader named Jason, who had a pornographic email address, had this to say about the same story: What a load of unreadable drivel! His IP address traced back to Australia.

Well, you win some and you lose some. What else?

Islamic Forum linking the Mellow Jihadi

An Islamic forum, closed to non-members, linked twice to this story on footbaths.

What did they say?

I am not sure, ma’am. They have the word Islam in their name and when I tried to click on it, I got denied. They are a private site of some sort. I could go to their front-page through Google, but no luck entering. You can see it here from the search engine results. It appears they are an Afghani Muslim forum, with Arabic writing as part of the blog-post title. (Despite the Arabic, the language of Afghanistan is either Pashtu or Dari or some dialectal offshoot.) I truly doubt they had anything good to say. Or perhaps they enjoy the gentle, mellow murmurings of a literary jihadi?

Perhaps. Let’s keep moving. 

Snoop Dogg with a Kangaroo, MTV Australia

Snoop Doggy Dogg’s PR people or fan club tweeted out this story of mine. Maybe it was automatically generated. I doubt they actually read it.

Not particularly news-worthy.

Ma’am, I got some chuckle-worthy spam.

From whom?

Viagra Village. They asked me: “what are you doing for new year?”

And?

I don’t know my plans for the New Year. It is still more than three months away. But the odd thing about the Viagra spam is that the CIA is offering Viagra to Afghani Warlords as a way for them to reinforce the troop(s).

So?

Viagra, propping up Afghani Warlords (for their ten-year old brides) since 2007

Well ma’am, I get linked by an Afghani Islamic forum and Viagra Village spams me. And then the CIA is revealed as trading Viagra with Afghani warlords.

The link is dubious at best.

How’s this: I get postive emails and tweets from a bestselling author and then a negative email from a po’d Australian reader. And when I google Snoop (whose fan-club tweeted me on another story) the first picture to come up is him in Australia with a Kangaroo for MTV. Coincidence?

Who knows? If that is all, you are going to have to do a lot better next time, mister. 

Yes, ma’am!

Mellow Jihadi, what did I tell you about my ma’am sandwich?

Ma’am, yes, ma’am!

Dismissed.

Roger, ma’am, roger!

Mellow Jihadi, there is no such thing as a roger sandwich.

Yes, ma’am!

What did I just say about my ma’am sandwich?

Ma’am, yes, ma’am!

Get out of here.

Ma’am, yes, ma’am!

Now.

Three Hikers and a Naked Guy

Berkeley hikers: not smarter than your average Bear

Good news from the stupidity front: all three of those hikers, detained by the peaceful Islamic Republic of Iran, are back.

Have you forgotten them, the three who went out sojourning around beautiful, eastern Iraq? And then “strayed” into Iran and found themselves in jail for over two years.

NEW YORK (AP) — Two Americans held for more than two years in an Iranian prison on accusations of spying returned to the U.S. on Sunday, ending a diplomatic ordeal that began with what they called a wrong turn into the wrong country.

Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer arrived at Kennedy Airport in New York City at about 11 a.m. (1500 GMT).

The two were released from prison last week. They arrived Wednesday in Oman under a $1 million bail deal and were embraced by relatives.

They were detained along with fellow hiker Sarah Shourd in July 2009 along the Iran-Iraq border. They say they were only hiking in Iraq’s relatively peaceful Kurdish region and may have wrongly ended up in Iran.

My funny connection to them is that I was above Iraq within 24 hours of the “incident” as a Navy aircrewman. And, of course, I am a Bear, a Berkeley alum too. Not only do I have to endure general ribbing from the navy peanut gallery regarding Cal; after this occurrence, I had to hear comments about the tree folk getting lost in Iran. Berkeley hikers, not smarter than your average Bear.

Cal Naked Guy: nakedier than your average Bear

My second piece of UC Berkeley news is sad. In correspondence with a fellow blogger, I mentioned the Naked Guy, a well-known Berkeley fixture back when I was at school there. Essentially:

 he began appearing naked in public and led a campus “nude-in” to protest social repression. Campus police first arrested him that fall for indecent exposure when he jogged naked near southside dormitories late on a Saturday night.

I knew Andrew from around campus, we had a friend in common. Whenever I saw him, he was clothed. I even spotted him (assisted him in lifting) once on the bench press at the campus gym. He had clothes on then too. The above picture was taken right across from Sproul Hall, the site of many Free Speech speeches. Have I mentioned that I have never seen him au naturel?

I can’t imagine jogging in the buff. I would feel vulnerable in that “did-I-leave-my-fly-open” sort of way. That: I-feel-a-cool-breeze-down-there kind of thing. (Although, once nude, we have no “fly” (that I know of.) So maybe my analogy is a poor one.)

Sadly, if you go to the above link, his life ended in sadness. I just learned myself when I searched for news on him. Three lost hikers and a naked guy. Not a bad week for Berkeley. . .

Breakthroughs in Science

Ron Arad Bike

Are you blinded by science?

Here at the Mellow Jihadi, we like to stay abreast of legitimately useful inventions, such as the plastic comb, the sunglass strap, and the blog. Here is a succinct round-up of some other interesting breakthroughs currently shaking up the technologic/scientific field. In no particular order, the nominees are:

1. A bike without tires:

You’ll never get a flat tire with the Soft-Ride Bike. This wonder uses what appears to be a normal bike frame, but instead of the standard metal rims/spokes with rubber tires, the wheels on the bike are made up entirely of sprung steel.

Designed by Ron Arad, an Israeli industrial designer, artist, and architect, known his Well-Tempered chair series that he began in 1986.

While aesthetically pleasing and possibly comfortable, the wheels don’t look like they would offer much grips, especially when cornering.

2. What would any discussion of this week’s scientific breakthroughs be without mention of the speed of light:

The science world has been left in shock after it was announced that CERN scientists had recorded subatomic particles travelling faster than the speed of light in a finding that could overturn fundamental law of physics. Here are a selection of other major scientific discoveries.

3. Cars powered by thorium:

Thorium Sample

Unless you have a lot of money to spend on an electric vehicle, everyone who drives a car today relies on oil for the gasoline that keeps it running. Although replacing the petrol engine with a battery and electric motor seems to be where we are heading, it only really shifts the problem to the power stations rather than the fuel pumps.

There may be another way to power our cars, however, and it would mean never having to refuel you car–be it with gasoline or an electric charge.

Charles Stevens is an inventor and CEO of Laser Power Systems. His idea is to replace the gasoline engine with an electricity generator that doesn’t require a battery. He is proposing the use of the rare earth mineral thorium in conjunction with a laser and mini turbines that easily produce enough electricity to power a vehicle.

Albert Einstein proving Rik=O?

4. The top ten scientific discoveries and breakthroughs of this past year.

5. Electronic skin tattoos. (Possibly not a scientific breakthrough, but also possibly maybe. . .)

6. A dog-sized dinosaur egg that fed 34 hungry scientists.

7. The science possibilities for 2011 are awe-inspiring.

8. The usual chilly reception to cold fusion:

Rossi and Focardi’s Cold Fusion Gizmo

Good science is always rooted in good data, but the most entertaining science is the stuff that transcends the need for data by rooting itself fantastical claims and a rejection of the idea that data is even necessary.

So naturally it’s a thrill to learn that two Italian scientists claim to have successfully developed a cold fusion reactor that produces 12,400 watts of heat power per 400 watts of input. Not only that, but they’ll be commercially available in just three months. Maybe.

Fleeing

Rain drops
Bounce bounce
Into droplets
On my speeding
Car hood

Little runners
Roll slip
Over the grey
Smooth paint

Smiling
They jog
Jogging
To join others
Smiling too

And as one
They slide glide
Together
And turn to drops

To fall fall
Hitting quick
Moving asphalt
Fleeing me

Like readers
You
Seeing fleeing
Blog poetry

Vladimir Putin, Lover

Vladimir Putin, Lover, Drudge Report Centerfold Boy

Vlad the Impala, that Chevy of Russia, is back in the news. And to oblige, Matt Drudge gave him some Drudge Report love this morning.

First though, I had better explain why (strictly metaphorically speaking) Mr Putin is the Impala of the Russian Federation, or Россия as I like to call her.

The Impala has lingered upon the American carscape since 1958. It is a long, grand, and distinctive fellow. Few other vehicles have had a run quite that long in our history. Sure Corvettes, you may say, are seared into our national consciousness. But Vlad Putin is no Corvette. He is a slow to warm, 327 cu in (5.4 L) Turbo Fire V8’d Impala.

Vladimir Putin, 72 Impala

So Putin, like the Impala, has clung on. Sure, he has undergone a little cosmetic update here and there. Of course, Putin’s updates have been strictly in title only.

He is not a student of the Lindsay Lohan, Cher, make-my-face-look-like a duck, or a goldfish, school of cosmetic surgery. (Despite what his schoolhouse picture looks like, below.) His cosmetic updates have been titular: President to Prime Minister and then back to President.

What, say you, has got Matt Drudge, and (by extension) the rest of the rational world, in such a tizzy? This, my comrades:

Russia’s spy agency is waging a massive undercover campaign of harassment against British and American diplomats, as well as other targets, using deniable “psychological” techniques developed by the KGB, a new book reveals.

Vladimir Putin, naturally lipped, non-collagen injected

The federal security service (FSB) operation involves breaking into the private homes of western diplomats – a method the US state department describes as “home intrusions”. Typically the agents move around personal items, open windows and set alarms in an attempt to demoralise and intimidate their targets.

The FSB operation includes the bugging of private apartments, widespread phone tapping, physical surveillance, and email interception. Its victims include local Russian staff working for western embassies, opposition activists, human rights workers and journalists.

Vladimir Putin campaigning

Ach, what is a little spying among amigos? Harassment shows you love, right? Da, Comrade? You decadent Americans need to be monitored. Vodka for all of my friends! (Yikes, I just broke Blogging Convention #462: do not mix languages within a paragraph. Each new language must be introduced in a new sectional paragraph.) (Does anyone know the translation of amigo into Russian? Not comrade, but something a little warmer.)

Vlad the Impala, has also turned his cannons internally. Señor Drudge added this shocking (absolutely shocking) link for our Chevy:

Vladimir Putin wrestling girls

Masked police on Thursday entered the Moscow headquarters of a bank part-owned by a billionaire oligarch and leader of a liberal political party that is contesting elections in December.

Uh oh. This is not good. What may have brought about such a little visit:

Vladimir Putin in his b’day suit (NSFW if clicked)

But the incident provoked fears among the party that it was intended as a warning to Mr Prokhorov, who earlier this summer became the first Russian oligarch to enter politics since 2003, bringing an end to an unwritten pact between Vladimir Putin, the prime minister, and big business that tycoons should stay out of politics.

Well Mellow Jihadis, that is all for our pictorial and word-orial post on Vlad “the Impala” Putin. As usual, send us your tips, insights, little morsels of brilliance. For we shall publish (or at least digest) the tastiest. . .

Pop Goes the Middle East: Snoop Dogg Saves the Day

It is the weekend! Are you unsure of what to read, watch, listen to? Do not fear; allow the gentle art of the Middle East to soothe your soul.

Burj al Arab Hotel, Dubai

1. Let’s start in Dubai. My old Chief (before she retired) told me: you can eat off the marble floors of a Dubai mall. Our first entry comes from a plucky, young lad singing and rapping (yo) about just that, the malls of Dubai.

Dubai flag

2. Alright habibis and habooboos, let’s stay in Dubai. But how’s about scoping out some paintings and sculpture? The Al-Qouz area used to be an industrial zone, it has since blossomed into Dubai’s art center.

3. For those acquanted with the quiet, peaceful tranquility of the Mid-East, we have a story of international dissension and unrest. (Unrest? Never heard of it.) From the Arab News (via Yahoo):

CAIRO: Egyptian singer Shereen Abd Al-Wahab has denied recent allegations that she refused to sing with Saudi actress Maysoon Abd Al Aziz in the entertainment program “Duo Al Mashaheer” (Duet with the stars).

Haifa Wehba and Snoop Dogg: A Duet

4. Staying with the music theme: Lebanese Singer Haifa Wehbe and noted (drug-free) rapper Snoop Dogg are working on a duet. The song title: Yaga Toufin, an Iraqi phrase about picking grapes. I can’t wait! After Kris-Kross (Jump Jump) (on the grapes), singers of the vineyard genre are mostly forgettable. (Other than, of course, UB40’s Red Red Wine. Note: I have always considered UB40, to be a band twenty times that of U2.)

5. Time magazine has cast its writers upon the sandy clime looking for (un-camel-like) nuggets. And they came up with this:

the inaugural exhibition at Mathaf — the Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha, Qatar. Titled “Sajjil: A Century of Modern Art,” the show runs through October.

Gaddafi held over the: "Garbage of History"

6. Ah, graffiti depicting Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi. A nicer man, looking suspiciously like Micky Rourke, could not be found.

7. In the mood for a peaceful Middle-Eastern art flick? Try this:

TORONTO: A film about the struggles of a village in war-torn Lebanon took the People’s Choice award at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sunday, an audience trophy that has often been a harbinger of Oscar glory.

“Where Do We Go Now,” by Lebanon-born Nadine Labaki, tells the story of village inhabited by both Muslims and Christians. When a wider inter-religious conflict threatens to seep into the village, its women go to inventive and sometimes extreme ends to prevent violence.

REM Live

8. After making music for more than 30 years, the American pop band R.E.M. has broken up. Guess what the Arab Press titled their article? Rock band R.E.M. ‘call it a day.’ (It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine. . .)

9. Need some hardcore nerdy websites to bone up on the oldies? (Not doo-woop, but pre-pre-pre-pre-pre-modern art.)

10. Or perhaps a Hindu-Muslim romantic movie to tug at your heart-strings? Sort of a Romeo and Juliet (Vijay and Aesha) tale between:

a Kashmiri refugee girl and a Punjabi boy through the arching sweep of history.

Fashion: Not your mother's hefty bag

11. How about fashion, Middle Eastern style? Forget about those shapeless trash bags your mother wore, we got the look! (Work it, girl. . .)

12. Let’s end with literature. Cairo has always enjoyed a rich lit tradition. A new book captures all the beauty from that towering capital:

The Literary Life of Cairo

Samia Mehrez’s new book, “The Literary Life of Cairo,” characterizes Cairenes’ lives and human relations across the city over the last century.

It is divided into seven sections, including “Icons of the City,” “Cairo Cosmopolitan,” “Going to School in Cairo,” “The Street is Ours” and “Women in the City.” The author has also provided summary biographies of the 48 authors of  72 books.

Dancing With the Stars: Hope Solo Edition

Hope Solo, Maks C., Dancing with the Stars (sneaking on to ESPN)

Hope Solo, Maks C. Dancing With the Stars (now on ESPN?)

I am watching ESPN in my hotel room, packing for my return trip home to Sandy Eggo. NCAA Football season is upon us and Cincinnati just put a mean crushing on North Carolina State.

Then the channel flips to soccer, with the US Women’s Soccer Team playing Canada in an international friendly match set in Portland, Oregon.

Soccer, I can do soccer. After all, I played 7 years of it in California. It is a popular sport, although it can be dull when faced with two defensive teams.

Hope Solo, playing soccer on ESPN

The score is tied at the half and the talking heads come on with the usual meaningless half-time chat. Suddenly, the ESPN programming flicks from soccer warbling to dancing. I scratch my head, is that Dancing With the Stars? I stare at the screen in amazement, before remembering that Hope Solo, the US goalie, is a contestant on the show (that is haunting me.)

Hope and her partner Maks (super-long Russian last name that begins with a C) (Upon further review: Maksim Chmerkovskiy) are Viennese Waltzing around the stage. Was it good? Perhaps. I just hope Chaz Bono or Nancy Grace don’t make an appearance.

The waltzing ends and fortunately soccer returns. In the 62nd minute, Abby Wambach launches a monstrous left from the right side. It rattles the back of the net. And the United States is up 1-0. And then at the 69th minute, Abby does it again with a header. Lastly, in the final seconds, Alex Morgan taps one in to put the US up 3-0.

Chewy and Han Solo, not related to Hope

The game is over and I click off the television. I can’t risk further exposure to Dancing With the Stars. Hope is great, of course. But I have met my decade-ly quota of ballroom dancing.

Still, I am curious how she did on her waltz, so I google Solo and guess who turns up? Mr. Han Solo. Of Star Wars fame.

And then I think: are they related? Is Hope Solo a distant relative of Han? No, impossible.

Hmmm, try this for another possible scenario: Hope has some Wookie blood in her genes. Which would explain her ability to man the goal so fiercely. Of course, Wookies are not known for their ability to boogie, so this could be entirely off-track. More investigation to follow. . .

Lead Reads


Jim Caviezel, Person of Interest (CBS)

Practicing one kick 10,000 times

Cohabitation is worse than divorce

Television, it returns

Guns as art

You can pay higher taxes if you want

Wild Bill on those hikers from Berkeley

Ahmad A-dinner-jacket in New York

Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell, X Factor

Whoops, X Factor fail

About those death sentences

Classy high school runner runs for two

NASA inventions make your life better

Don’t take drugs or they will take you

Separation of mosque and state

This day, in 1862

Taliban fashion

Facts Concerning the Vatcher of Veasels!

Ah facts, we have them.

Little known oddity on the seminal blogging collective known as the Watcher of Weasels: small hamlets throughout Germany and Austria eagerly await their weekly release of blogging fondue.

At the precise moment the Watcher presses publish on his blogging software, a mighty call bellows forth throughout each burg: Ya everyone! The Vatcher of Veasels is Ooooouuuut! (Release der hooooouuuunds!)

And with that Visigothic gutterence, each burgher, not to be confused with the cheese variety, plods home to cyberly pull down and read every article, blog story posted. Men kick off their Birkenstocks, unclip their lederhosen; women do something mysterious with their dirndls (of which, this blogger does not know.) Even normally yappy weiner-dogs have been known to sit statue-like still for the occasion.

Cologne, Germany (accurately billed as one of the finest smelling towns west of the Rhein) doubled their internet demand during the first 2.75 hours of the Vatcher release this week! When reached for comment, Algore® was not amused. Yet such are the pratfalls and tolls genius exacts upon society.

Without further ado, fraus and frauleins, herrens and herons, may I present (cue: bugle call, Viking war horn) this week’s Vatcher of Veasels!

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

A hearty, Tyrollean danke schön goes out the Vatchers for my honorable mention. My faithful pup, Rudi “the Dachshund” Schwarzenegger, especially enjoyed the selections this week! That little bratwurst has certainly earned some extra Jäger-Schnitzel for good behavior. . .Ya ya, anybody got a guten recipe?

Damian Marley (of Mick Jagger’s SuperHeavy), Punk

Of My Heroes

Some have military rank in front of their name

Sergeant Meyer, General Petraeus, Lieutenant Murphy

And others have President

President Lincoln, President Reagan, President Washington

Some are Berkeley grads

Jimmy Doolittle

Or are Harvard alumni, back when Harvard was Harvard and those Ivy League boys flocked to serve their country

Harvard Warriors

Some chomped cigars furiously and are referred to as Sir

Winston Churchill

While others chomped nothing, other than commie butt, and are referred to as Baroness

Margaret Thatcher

Some ran towards danger

Rick Rescorla, NYFD

Or rode, filmed it

Ty Murray, John Wayne

Some are mystical

St. Francis, Meher Baba, Jesus, Anandamayi Ma, Moses

And some gave

All. . .

So what’s got me all wrapped up on heroes? This:

SuperHeavy, with that punk Damian Marley

A couple of blokes and one blokette started a band. They call themselves SuperHeavy. You may recognize a couple of them.

SuperHeavy is a rock supergroup consisting of Mick JaggerJoss StoneDave StewartDamian Marley, and A. R. Rahman.

Do you notice anything strange with the picture? Yes, Mr. Marley, Mr. Jr. Gong (slouching at the far right), wears the American flag (a subdued, tactical version) upside down on his jacket. Is this a political gesture? Thumbing his nose at better men, women than he. . .Or is it another symbol, very similarly confused for the ensign?

Mick Jagger, who dresses this guy?

Please listen to their clatter on iTunes. I’ve heard better rhythms beat-boxed on a Sunday at Boot Camp. Where Sailors laid down mean beats while shining their boots. Also better: them down home boys crooning Garth Brooks behind the racksAnd the white line’s getting longer and the saddle’s getting cold. I’m much too young to feel this damn old. . .

I’ll forgive my girl Joss. She is 24 and can sing. And I used to listen to her before we went out flying in the Middle East. As for poor Mr. Jagger, the fossily lizard has enough clothing issues of his own to deal with. I only hold Mr. Marley to task for his political haberdashery. (Although if I were in that band, I would refuse to appear if young Marley insisted on wearing an upside down flag.)

Here is the thing (true story): one of my friends was Bob Marley’s doctor in New York City, right before his death. Mr. Marley Sr. had an incurable disease and she, my friend, cared for him with legitimate, alternative medicine (read: non-herbal.) Notice that the original Mr. Tuff Gong (Marley Sr.) did not roll down to Kingston for his treatments. Mr. Jr. Gong better take note.

SuperHeavy: little super, no heavy (other than Damian Marley's dreads, which are visible around his ankles.)

Perhaps this is but a tempest in a teapot. After all, the English like a spot of tea now and then. The flag on Mr. Marley’s jacket could very well be something else, very similar in appearance. I tried my mightiest to find a larger picture.

Perchance he and I could get together for a chat? To settle our differences. We can film it and call it Marley and me.

Still, should it not be a subdued flag, and I was all wrong, Mr. Marley you really should go easy on the oregano. Every other picture on Google has you looking stoned. And fat, baked, and stupid is no way to go through life, son . . .

Dancing with the Stars: Hate Mail Edition

Chaz Bono -beached whale- "Dancing"

Do you remember this post, the Dancing with the Stars: Beached Whale Edition?

A large, semi-bearded man comes on and dances. Well, dances is perhaps the wrong term. He shuffles around, totally without rhythm. He looks like a New Jersey plumber, apologies to Joisey folk and plumbers everywhere.

Then, I realize it is him, her. Chaz Bono. She has had something done to her and, presto, she is a he.

With regards to it, I received the following comment:

shame on all of you..I like chas..Ilike nancy..no one says you have to like them but it is RUDE to critize them…soget a life and let them alone..

I can accept dissension, especially if I am wrong about a topic. I can take correction, criticism.

I did not approve the remark because I would hate to see someone, who does not like this blog, graffiti the Mellow Jihadi with their (incorrect) views on life. And my blog settings are set to auto-approve anyone’s comment who has been approved before.

Chaz Bono reaching for it (Alternatively titled: Chas Bono reaching for it.)

Still, let’s explore the commenter’s observations, shall we:

-I like chas..Ilike nancy- Okay, garbled commenting aside, this is not a popularity contest, it is a dancing show. I like neither of them personally, but once you cast your lot to be judged in such a public competition, you are opening yourself up to society for the same. All contestants are placed under a microscope. Most of it is aimed at their dancing. But Chaz has agenda to push, no?

The one thing I do like about both individuals is that they provide material to blog snarkily about. Perhaps, I would not have blogged again about the topic. I don’t watch the show after all. But I could not let such a comment go uncommented upon. And it does drive traffic. . .

A Whale and two Walruses- Chaz Bono getting a trim

-Should Chaz have carried out her/his surgeries solely in the bright glare of a hospital operating room light, I would have never written about it. She/he would deserve privacy. Which is forfeited once she/he enters a dancing show. And shows up looking like that. Moreover, she lists her occupation as an activist. Not an anonymous mouse.

-Nancy Grace is not a likable person. What very little of her show I have seen, involved her hectoring her guest. And reading the comments from my first post, she regularly is nasty.

-no one says you have to like them but it is RUDE to critize them- No one did say you have to like them. But once again, they are on a dance show. And they both showed up way out of shape. It is not rude to critize them. Again, as for criticism, once you enter a show like Dancing with the Stars, you are opening yourself up to it.

Chaz Bono shaving

-soget a life and let them alone..-No, I will not “let them alone.” I am concerned about society, especially when Chas Bono parades around shirtless.

She/he is an exhibitionist. And an activist. She/he seeks to be active in her/his cause.

There are certainly more things to say, but I will leave it at that. I posted neither the commenter’s name, nor his/her location. And despite our commenter’s second comment, posted minutes later:

you are mean spirited..let nancy and chas alone..

I do not believe myself to be mean-spirited, merely honest. Mean-spirited would be to count the mistakes commenters make in their grammar, spelling, and punctuation. No?