Sunday, November 26, 2006


If all the seas were ink...

God said “If all the trees in the world were pens, and the sea supplied [ink], with seven further seas after it, the words of God would not be exhausted”

Quran, 31.27

Did this Quranic verse inspire the following anonymous doggerel?

"If all the world were paper and all the seas were ink, if all the trees were bread and cheese, what would we have to drink?"

Wednesday, November 01, 2006



Jacob is asleep on my knee, pinning me down before the computer, so I will take the opportunity to give y'all a li'l update of our lives in these here parts. (OK enough of that.)

Sometimes it hits you hard that you are in America. I had almost forgotten that Halloween was coming up. I can't remember when I last went to a H party - but oh yes.. now I think it we did do a bit of pumpkin carving with rest of the dissolute expatriates in Kabul.

But I've never seen it like this. Last night the streets were teeming with teenies in superman costumes and monster outfits, with men in drag and girls dressed as imps. On Friday we went along to a concert given by the UC symphony orchestra where everyone but us and a few other audience members was in costume. The horns were dressed as daisies and the double basses were gangsters and a torreodor. The conductor was some kind of crazy witch and the leader was a plump chap in a tight red dress and suspenders. It was nice to see more than the usual half-hearted efforts. Plus the choir came down the aisles and sung at us from either side, and school children specially drafted in came and danced their ballet along to the pieces - Bizen, Saint-Saens, Barber etc.

(ooh! pins and needles! shift legs)

Then there is the Mexican thing. Now I am told that this is not connected to Halloween. A couple of weeks ago we went along to Pilsen - the former Czech, now Mexican 'hood (neighbourhood) - and went to the Mexican Fine Arts Center (centre) where they have an exhibition for the Festival of the Dead which is some kind of mixture of Christian and Aztec customs. It's full of crazy stuff that place. They have a whole room dedicated to shrines of people from the Chicago Mexican community with their portraits and candles and significant artifacts from their lives - among them a respected Spanish-language broadcaster, a young man killed in a road accident, and an old lady who had been full of life and wisdom (she used to say you spend half of your life squeezing into uncomfortable shoes and the other trying to find the perfectly comfortable pair to make up for it).

Then they have a whole bunch of paintings, collages, etchings, sculptures (made from, wood, straw, metal, feathers, wicker, plastic and a host of other materials) depicting death-life, regenerations, jolly skeletons, such as...

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