Thursday, July 26, 2007

Ana Elsner pays tribute to the Oboe

Chromosomes of Woman


The unhurried echo

of an oboe,

attuned femaleness

of sound,

contains me.

Chromosomes of Woman,

bestowed on me

in my wombed beginning,

make me

a sounding reed,

like the oboe.

Chromosomes of Woman,

my manifest prerogative,

make me

subject to no restrictions

of scale.

Like the oboe

I am the unhurried echo

of female sovereignty


the wind.

© Ana Elsner

From 'CIPHERS OF UNCOMMON ORIGIN -Poems by Ana Elsner'.
Reprinted by permission

Read other poems by Ana Elsner

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

A Path to Serenity

The road to Peace


A Buddha is a being who has become fully awakened and has freed himself from mind-contaminants such as lust, anger, craving and the psychological conditioning (sankhara) of the fickleness of human existence. He recognizes that all such things are impermanent, forever arising and passing away, and that acknowledging this truth is wisdom and enlightenment. All passions and emotions are transcended and pacified so that one is completely at peace and no longer subject to human suffering (dukkha). The buddha has reached pure consciousness and bliss through asceticism and purification. He exists in an eternal state of Nirvāṇa, literally "deathlessness", the highest form of spiritual attainment.

His Face Often misunderstood to be the Buddhist equivalent of 'God', the Buddha is, instead, a teacher to his followers and points the way to nirvana.

There are many different types of Buddha, characterized by and adapted to the regional history and geography of Southeast Asia, East Asia, India, Sri Lanka, Tibet, as well as Western Countries.

It is a statistical fact that Buddhism continues to attract followers around the world. It is the fifth-largest religion behind Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and traditional Chinese religion.


[See also The Baptists]


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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

HIV & My Partner - An anonymous Letter

AIDS in the family
"...My partner and best friend of 10 years died May 19, 2006 at the age of 47. He was about 27 years old when he was diagnosed with HIV.

I want people to know how courageous he was, how he lived for almost half his life with the stigma of HIV/AIDS, with copious medications and all their complications and side-effects, sometimes with the unkind judgment of small minds, with the ever present prospect of death.

He was courageous because he refused to be defined or defeated by a diagnosis. He was courageous because he insisted on life. He was vital, honest, passionate, loving, funny, angry, opinionated, impulsive, articulate, compassionate, charming and damned good looking. It's how he lived his life. He was a wonderfully strong person, whom I was glad and proud to have in my life. ..."

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Killer Virus invades all Continents

Widespread Death from HIV AIDS

(The stats in the graphic above are outdated but serve to illustrate the geography. The current statistics are as follows:)

In the quarter century since the beginning of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, more than 65 million people worldwide have become infected, including more than 25 million who have already died.

In the U.S., there are now more than one million people currently estimated to be living with HIV/AIDS. The HIV/AIDS epidemic is on track to be one of the worst epidemics in history, with millions more estimated to become infected by the end of this decade alone, if more is not done.

Multiple needs remain to be addressed globally in the areas of prevention, care and treatment, research, and funding. As such, the HIV/AIDS epidemic presents numerous political, economic, social, and scientific challenges to the United States and nations throughout the world.

The vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo from KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, tours worldwide, teaching about their homeland and its culture. Their music genre of a-cappella style singing originated from the South African Zulus. In this video they perform the popular song "(We are) Homeless", by Bhekizizwe Joseph Shabalala, a fusion of native dialect and English lyrics.

Here they deliver a fundamentally sad message in the softest and gentlest musical hues.

Emaweni webaba
Silale maweni
Webaba silale maweni ...

Strong wind destroy our home
Many dead, tonight it could be you ...

And we are homeless, homeless
Moonlight sleeping on a midnight lake ...

: World - Citizens :

We must show compassion NOW!

Kulumani, kulumani sizwe
Singenze njani
Baya jabula abasi thanda yo

[See also Losing a partner and best friend and "Goodbye Jim!"]

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Russian Lacquer Miniature Painting from famous Mstera artist

Russian Lacquer Box from the Ana Elsner Collection

Mstyora 'People's Artist of Russia', Lev Alexandrovich Fomichov...

...was born in 1932 in the village of Mstera (Mstiora, Mstyora, Мстёра) situated in the Vladimir region. Fomichyov is one of the leading third-generation master artists of Mstera. His grandfather was an icon painter and his father A.Ya. Fomichov was a manager of the artel 'Proletarian Art' in Mstyora (A.Ya. Fomichov studied under the famous Russian icon painter Feodor Modorov).

This example of Fine Russian Lacquer Art is part of the Ana Elsner Collection.

One of Fomichyov's favorite themes to paint are historical subjects and bylinas, or Russian folk epics. This piece shows several scenes from the ancient Russian legend 'Dobrynya the Matchmaker'. Dobrynya Nikitich comes from a long line of heroes who fought for the pride and defense of Russia's lands. One of the deeds Dobrynya is known for is his assistance in the marriage of Prince Vladimir and Rogneda, the Princess of Polotsk. This legend is based on actual historical events.

The paints he uses for his palette are all homemade by Fomichev himself and reflect strong earth tones. In addition, gold paints are used to detail the scene, especially to create the lustrous chain armor of warriors.

The Ana Elsner Collection of Russian Lacquer Art from Mstera
The box measures 12x3.75x2.5 inches and is made out of papier-mâché. Black lacquer covers the exterior and red lacquer covers the interior of the box. Gold ornamentation frames the composition, while another pattern accented with red and blue flowers runs along the sides of the box. The artist signed his name, the title of the work and 'Mstera 2005' at the bottom of the scene.

[See also About Russian Lacquer Miniature Painting on Papier-mâché
Discover Russian Lacquer Art]


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Be All That You Can Be - A Guide

SoldierHow to Prepare for Deployment to Iraq

: Sleep on a cot in the garage.

: Replace the garage door with a curtain.

: Renovate your bathroom. Hang a green plastic sheet down from the middle of your bathtub and move the showerhead down to chest level. Keep four inches of soapy cold water on the floor. Stop cleaning the toilet and pee everywhere but in the toilet itself.

: Leave a lawnmower running in your living room 24 hours a day for proper noise level.

: Shoot a few bullet holes in the walls of your home for proper ambiance.

: Invite at least 185 people you don't really like because of their strange hygiene habits to come and visit for a couple of months. Exchange clothes with them.

: Raise the thresholds and lower the top sills of your front and back doors so that you either trip over the threshold or hit your head on the sill every time you pass through one of them.

: Go to the worst crime-infested place you can find, go heavily armed, wearing a flak jacket and a Kevlar helmet. Set up shop in a tent in a vacant lot. Announce to the residents that you are there to help them.

: Fire off 50 cherry bombs simultaneously in your driveway at 3:00 a.m. When startled neighbors appear, tell them all is well, you are just registering mortars. Tell them plastic will make an acceptable substitute for their shattered windows.

: And just when you think you're ready to resume a normal life, order yourself to repeat this process for another six months to simulate the next deployment you've been ordered to support.

: ... !

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Second Quarter Of 2007

Amalgamated Perspectives joins Greenpeace in their call to save our Planet Earth
by our Editor

We'll always have Paris... or so it seems. Between the relentless news coverage of Paris Hilton's incarceration and subsequent release from jail and the hype about Apple's much anticipated iPhone launch, one might reach the conclusion that nothing else of great concern was going on in the world.

We need to remind ourselves that long after Paris' peccadilloes have been forgotten, the Sudan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria and other parts of the world will still be there and will still matter. Not to mention the tragic and needless war in Iraq, now in its fourth year, which weighs heavy on our budget and our conscience (or at least on the conscience of those who still have one.) Incredibly, the Cost-of-Iraq-War-Calculator has reached a stunning $378 billion, halfway through fiscal year 2007.

However, global economic growth in general is strong and will continue to expand, fuelled by emerging and developing markets in China and elsewhere. But this is a force that cuts both ways, creating new demand for goods and services, but also creating strong competition for precious raw materials and human resources. This growth explosion is sure to present an additional strain on our already compromised eco-system.

Now more than ever, we must put in place stringent measures to halt global warming worldwide.

The challenges are many as we look down the road.


[See also article about global warming on Wikipedia]




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