Archive for June, 2007

Tomorrow is the last of the June holidays in Seychelles … June being THE month for them with a total of three days dedicated to the celebration of political events and one religious day off … the 29th of June, Independence Day.

On the day in 1976 the British lowered their flag, folded it up, and went home, as Seychelles became a nation in its own right with no colonial overlords to placate.

Two hundred years after the USA became states united in America under the Stars and Stripes, and without nearly the fanfare, the event was nonetheless momentous and will be celebrated in island fashion with beach picnics, barbecues and no small amount of driving aimlessly around the island with frequent beer stops and the equally frequent pit stops for peeing alongside the road.

Here at our place we’ll be livin’ it up in our usual devil-may-care way … by working. I’ll be blogging from the veranda and getting stuck in to a couple of speeches, while Mark clears land and makes hooch … a licensed, legal venture that brings in needed extra cash … a yummy concoction called baka consisting of fermented sugar cane juice that is aged in the finest of blue plastic barrels and provided to discerning clientele in expertly crafted 50 liter jerry cans and is deemed most desirable to the local palate.

We have a special building on our property … the baka barn … for this sideline, a jaunty little pied a terre down the road from our house that’s locked up tighter than the back string on an Italian tourist’s thong bikini any time Mark isn’t in there doing his impression of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice … without the brooms, of course.

The weather isn’t the best in June, so some of the festivities organized for any of the holidays are always rained out. Thankfully, rain here doesn’t mean anything but wet, as cold doesn’t really happen, so most folks just get on with whatever they had planned and pay little attention to drizzle.

June is also the slowest month for tourists, so some small hotels and many restaurants are closed for the month. In my neighborhood, this means the beach at Grandma’s is like it was when I first came to Seychelles … no one but family day after day. Lovely.

If it’s a nice day tomorrow, we’ll certainly make time for a swim and to enjoy a run-around without having to dodge those aforementioned Italians in thongs.

Because it’s a holiday, however, that will have to wait until after Mark delivers the celebratory baka to all the local establishments that will see a roaring trade.

Santé! Bon zour Lindependenz!

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A weekend just came and went, and although I spent far too much time in front of the computer, the rest of my family was out and about in big ways.

Mark is clearing the lower bit of our land, so was up and down the hill like so many monkeys jumping on a bed, toting chainsaw and grand kuto … Sam on his heals, then running back up to be well out of the way if and when the call comes, “Timber!”, making the most of our acre-plus and the surrounding jungle. Cj, too small for a Tarzan impression, kept herself busy jogging up and down our road, scolding the dogs as she went along and stopping occasionally to examine whatever pretty rock or fancy bug that happend to cross her meandering path.

A few more hours outside saw buckets being filled and dumped, resulting mud puddles targeted for hops, skips and jumps, sticks tossed for dogs that have no inclination to fetch, flowers picked for mom, and assorted other vigorous activities of the fun kind.

A couple of hours on the beach had both kids running and jumping, chasing crabs and practicing cartwheels while loading their hair and ears up with sand as the days wound down, and some living room dancing had the whole bunch of us movin’ and a groovin’ before settling in for pre-bed quiet time.

A story in this morning’s news had me wondering, though, how parents in the rest of world manage to get kids to pass weekends in any sort of healthy fashion.

This in the Huff Post, reporting that nearly a million American kids have personal trainers, about had me gagging on my guava.

What kind of life is it when children no longer walk to school, play outside or ride their bikes, but instead need parents to fork out $60 an hour for someone to put them through paces in a gym?

it seems the whole concept of being a kid has changed drastically, and I can’t help but worry about this generation. Things do run in cycles, however, and this may just be a phase that will have its own backlash someday.

Maybe by the time today’s pampered kids hit their stride, a rousing game of Ring-around-the-Rosie will serve as an icebreaker at cocktail parties and tag will be an Olympic sport.

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Beauty … in the eye of the beholder, right?

As Oscar Wilde said, “No object is so beautiful that, under certain conditions, it will not look ugly.” But to be fair, he did also say, “It is better to be beautiful than to be good, but it is better to be good than to be ugly.”

I think today’s lesson, however, has to come from Grey Livingston:

Beauty – in projection and perceiving – is 99.9% attitude.

Click here for some attitude. Good dog!

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Cambodian news links

The week’s Cambodian news is up. Here are the links:



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Amazing as it may seem, Mirah Riben … rabid anti-adoption nut and casual acquaintance of the written word … continues to shoot herself in the foot in forums as public as she can manage to corner for flaunting her ignorance and narrow agenda that consists of sour grapes and disregard for the fate of children in the world.

Why? You might well ask, but heck if I can figure it out, although I do speculate a bit on that in an article on BNN and in a comment here on Adoption.com.

I’m guessing the heavy investment in misery I mention in the comment to Lisa’s post linked above … specific instructions, you see, in case any of the oh-so-easily-confused cohorts of The Riben happen to drop by and again can’t figure out the whole click-to-link thing … has a lot to do with it. There would appear to be no little support, and in fact a great deal of it, for assuming a victim posture and sticking with it no matter how silly it looks.

I have a mental image of the meetings these folks must participate in … huge wallows, complete with enthusiastic bouts of flagellation meant to bring out impressive welts easily and eagerly shown off and compared, possible even with “my pain is bigger than your pain” contests taking up a portion of the schedule. Any healing would have to be frowned upon as a negation, and claims of adjustment to circumstances a repudiation, a denial.

The Riben’s writings might be garnering her pain points in whatever game she plays, and we do know she’s flogging a book or two … which I’m hoping she sends for review, as I’d be happy to do that, but do doubt she’d want a real critique of her ‘work’ from someone not married to her agenda … and it appears she may be trying to start a movement.

Her latest spewage calls for a boycott of Adoption.com, and though it looks like she finally found someone to proof her since some punctuation is appropriately used … thank goodness, as her writing is usually so poor that a headache is the only result of a reading — attempted reading, I should say … the information continues to be consistently, and most likely intentionally, incorrect and the references continue to lead back only to her own words on her own web sites.

Parents and Professionals for Family Preservation and Protection is opposed to the purpose of this site, its advertisers, and its practices and urges all who are truly interested in preserving families to boycott Adoption.com and its affiliates.

Sound impressive? Not really, and even less so when you know that “Parents and Professionals for Family Preservation and Protection” is Mirah Riben … probably on her lonesome, too. (Family Preservation is code for abolish adoption. Pretty tricky in a sad, pathetic sort of way, heh?)

People are asking why I continue to provide links to her, but how could I not? If I summarized, you’d think I was making her up. She’s her own worst enemy, poor thing, in all her embarrassing, convoluted and desperate glory, and far be it from me to deny anyone the experience of the full Mirah.

I’d link to her blog where she accuses me of being just like Paris Hilton, but I don’t want to divert attention from serious issues with comedy relief. Email me if you’d like the link, though — the whole post is hilarious.

Good for a laugh as she is, however, a pattern of tedium is forming. No matter how monotonous, she does keep drawing hits to my sites, though, so there’s milage in the sad old girl yet.

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A victim of my own success, I’ve now got the new blog gig over on the pro blog site I work for, Adoption.com, and am a bit busier than I like to be.

Don’t get me wrong; I like the work and enjoy having such a huge platform from which I can point out the idiocy of idiots and add up the moron quotient in spewed drivel. It does this old heart good to know that I’m doing my bit toward keeping the world somewhat livable … or at least managing to cause some irritating rashes to break out on those who attempt the opposite. It’s not a pleasant thing to pull off scabs and get pus oozing, but that’s often what it takes to eradicate dangerous rot.

But the point of this post has bifurcated prematurely; it’s politics I set out to write about today.

Monday was National Day here in Seychelles, a big deal of an event that marks not much of anything but is celebrated with hoopla nonetheless. It’s one of three public holidays in June and falls between Liberation Day … the day of the coups d’etat that toppled the government of the first president … and Independence Day.

The President’s National Day speech is always eagerly anticipated, as it often gives clues to what’s ahead for the Seychellois. This year we learned there are changes in the wind for tourist-related business, which sounds good, and if they figure out how to get the site right, you can read the whole thing in English here in the Seychelles Nation newspaper. (Don’t count on it, though.)

My editor on the Adoption News blog wants me to gather info on presidential candidates in the US race for 2008 … an assignment that has me realizing how far removed I am and how long I’ve been away from the States.

I mean, really! Who are these people?

Of course, I know about Hillary and Rudy, and Edwards, Biden and McCain have familiar faces even to me, but although I know him now Obama did seem to pop up like a genie from a lamp. And Kucinich? Brownback? Mitt Romney?

Have we ever had a candidate called Mitt before?

That reminds me of the repeated process of learning to live with a new name in the White House. Anyone remember how odd the combination of the words ‘President’ and ‘Clinton’ sounded before Bill moved in?

I clearly recall people saying that ‘Reagan’ could never seriously be attached to the title, and ‘Bush’ just sounding silly.

So a G.W. was no leap, as a Hillary wouldn’t be … we’re all accustomed to the rhythm and cadence of their last names tacked on to leader of the free world … but we’ll get used to making easy reference to whoever ends up in the job.

Well, there are a few names that should never be conjoined with the title … I’m thinking Limbaugh, Liddy and Hilton, off the top of my head.

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This blog might begin to show signs of neglect for a while, as I’ve just taken on a new pro blog at Adoption.com covering news from the adoption world.

This came about as a direct result of the slur campaign Mirah Riben and cohorts conducted in reaction to my post shredding a piece of trash she tried to pass off as ‘information’ that started out here, then was moved … by popular demand … to my International Adoption Blog.

By coordinating efforts within the ranks of the anti-adoption league, conducting a full-scale attack on my job and integrity and pulling out all the stops … including the one that would have masquerading as your own biggest fan seem like a really sleazy and desperate move, and understanding that such action is the very definition of ‘fraud’ … they managed to propel me ahead in my work and gain for me a level of respect it would have taken longer to reach without their help.

Finally seen as the scrapper I am, a new category of blog was created as a platform for not only the copious amounts of adoption-related news I glean daily as a matter of course, but also for my views and opinions.

Now, if they start paying me what I’m worth I’ll have found my dream job!

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I’m thinking about words today, these flitting little finches of communication that roost wherever they can safely alight, hanging on for as much time as needed to accomplish a purpose, then scattering in the breeze only to re-form later in a different version of the flock.

Yes, in an effort to find an extra something gentle as a tonic against the bone-headed obstinacy of some humans, I’ve been contemplating the Madagascar Fodies as they gather in my coconut tree in high hopes that it’s approaching five o’clock … the magic time the feeder fills.

They carry on constant conversations in rapid-fire Fodish, arguing often over just whose turn it is to hog the little perch at the food dispenser, and there doesn’t seem to be a lot of listening going on.

Hmmmm. Strikingly familiar today, I must say.

Although it’s arrogant to assume that birds couldn’t have issues as grand as the ones humans burden themselves with, any other perspective would be anthropomorphic in the extreme. Very unscientific, that, and not supportive of today’s ramblings.

For now, I’ll accept that the little birds in the coconut tree are not holding grudges or harboring resentments that render other birds’ chirps inaudible and that every cheep and twitter is heard and taken at beak value.

Harboring resentments. There are a couple of words that go together like ‘soup and sandwich’, but give them an extra couple of taps of the space bar between and a whole realm of thoughts jump up and demand attention.

The verb, to harbor, meaning to shelter, to give refuge to, to protect and keep safe. Such a cozy word, so warm and snug.

Resentments, a noun meaning bitterness, antipathy, bile, hatred, anger. Nothing cozy here, just all hard edges and foul-tasting juices laced with the metallic tang of regret.

Why on earth would these two fine words, both excellent examples of clarity on their own, ever be put side-by-side, and often enough for the combo to go unchallenged in most conversations? And why would anyone seek the state they describe?

Harboring resentments … sheltering bitterness … giving refuge to bile … making a safe place for hatred.

Nietzsche comes to mind. From “Thus Spake Zarathustra” …

“And others are proud of their handful of justice and commit outrages against all things for its sake, till the world is drowned in their injustice. Oh, how ill the word virtue comes out of their mouths!

And when they say, “I am just,” it always sounds like “I am just – revenged.” With their virtue they want to scratch out the eyes of their enemies, and they exalt themselves only to humble others.”

My prescription for peace today: read Nietzche and watch birds.

I feel better already. Great, in fact.

Back to work …

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Two recent Paradise Preoccupied posts, “When crap is just crap”, and “Trash adoption, sell a book”, have been so popular that they’ve moved to one of my pro blog sites, the International Adopt Blog at Adoptionblogs.com.

Although the comments posted here stay put, you can read the posts, which have had just a tiny bit of tweeking, here and here.

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Really, folks … can some please tell me WHAT IN THE HELL is going on in America these days?

When today’s perusal of the newsal pops up with this … the Huff Post’s report on Paris Hiltons’ failure to pitch a hissy grand enough to keep her out of jail … what can possibly follow but a jaw-drop, a head-scratch and a WTF?

I am suddenly so pleased that the loop in which this spoiled brat of a nothing special is focal only rolled into my world a few weeks ago … not being at all familiar with a Paris Hilton that isn’t a hotel … and can’t begin to comprehend, “… paparazzi sprinting in pursuit and helicopters broadcasting live from above …”.

Let me get this straight …

This pampered young woman, a life-long recipient of special favors and undue positive attention who may very well be accustomed to having staff whose job it is to take whatever punishment has been deserved since she was old enough to shout orders at underlings, gets busted.

She’s given parole. While on parole, she gets busted not once, but twice for the same dangerous and totally illegal behavior. A judge decides she’s just not grasping the whole consequences thing, so ups the ante by putting her in what is likely the first time out of her life.

Being that all this takes place in L.A. where every nobody would give their left leg to be a somebody, even if everybody agrees that nobody is ever all that impressed with anybody because they’re all so busy trying to impress everybody else so nobody is looking at anybody but the somebody everybody already knows, this modern-day ZhaZha (No offense … I could have easily used Charo, but she’s a bit too talented for the comparison.) had the opportunity to talk or blow or grease her way back to Mommy … or at least to Mommy’s big house with all those people there who do what they’re told.

Now, a judge … that’s a guy who’s in charge of laws and stuff, so therefore able to make decisions … sends her back to the pokey, apparently unimpressed by tears and tantrums (Wow! He must be really tough!), and the scene carries more media weight than global warming or the discovery of a new planet?


As if it wasn’t disturbing enough to learn that my home country now worships at the feet of the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Simon Cowell … a dawning awareness that had me asking a few weeks ago, “What the hell are you thinking over there making mediocrity so lucrative?” … do I now have to start accepting the fact that my compatriots have completely substituted absolute rubbish for sustenance?

Any idea where that leads?

I’ll tell you where it leads, and it’s not pretty … it leads to mental starvation and brain death. Keep this up for much longer and you’ll soon be putting morons in the White House and getting yourselves involved in un-winnable wars.

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