Archive for August, 2008

Oops, he did it again!

When the girlfriend of the Video Shop owner infront of my building excitedly told me Borat has got another movie out, I wasn’t overly optimistic in it’s ability to impress me. When Borat invaded “the great US&A” not more than 4 years ago, no one knew of either him nor Sacha Baron Cohen’s other alter ego, Ali G. So people were tricked into behaving the same way they did in their living room, with in the safe company of their family & friends on tv. Which was too bad for them, but fun to watch for the rest of us 8) . Now, not only do people know who Borat is, but are well informed regarding all the lawsuits the actor went through because of him.

So I was sure the show would either be a collection of stuff not included on the original video or people screaming ‘wait a minute, you are that guy from Kazahkstan’. An hour through “Borat’s Guide to Britain”, my fear felt almost justified. “This is what happens when people get addicted to fame, and Hollywood does a Sequel to superb movies” I grumbled “Ideas get mutilated and if a writer grabs a pain, it would be to sign cheques”.

Then … Bruno walked in.

Brüno is “a gay Austrian fashion show presenter”, who often “lures his subjects into unwittingly making provocative statements and engaging in embarrassing behaviour, as well as leading them to contradict themselves, often in the same interview. .. Baron Cohen often uses the Bruno character to highlight the pretentiousness and superficiality of his interviewees in the fashion world.”

And so it was!! In the space of about 20 minutes, Bruno did about 6 interviews with six individuals involved in fashion, who gave themselves out in one way or another. There was a man who used to be a representaitve of Calvin Cline who thought Barbra Streisand should be kept away. A “Trailer/white trash kindda” show organizer who agreed the beauty of fashion was that you can make profit off poor people and not give them a penny. A man who was convinced Bin Laden was the best dressed guy in the world, Hitler the neatest, that Jesus would perhaps shop at a posh yet down-to-earth part of hollywood and if Ghandi (“him being a minimalist”) got himself a sack and put a rope on it, he’d look quite at home. And ofcourse Jonathan Antin 🙂 (owner of two Los Angeles hair salons whom I’ve noticed is given to more tears than a pregnant woman, in this case his fiancee).

Here is Wikipedia’s version of what happened on that interview:

Antin opens the segment by describing himself as “a troubled, crazy, fuckin’ maniac that has a lot of a feelings and a lot of emotion and a lot of craziness.” After Bruno observes that “all of the evil people in the world” such as Saddam Hussein, Adolf Hitler, and Josef Stalin had mustaches, Antin concedes that not all Middle Easterners are crazy, but agrees with his interviewer that most of them are “a little fucking nuts, a little weird.” Bruno follows up by noting that on the other hand, all the good people in the world, like Jesus, Rod Stewart, and hippies, had long hair. Antin responds that he is “very impressed” that Bruno “brought these issues up,” because Antin had thought he was the only one who had ever noticed such a coincidence. Antin goes on to point out that Moses and God also had long hair and “didn’t care so much about their look.” When prodded on by Bruno to say something controversial, Antin delivers the following warning: “You motherfuckers in the Middle East, God help you if I ever come over there, ’cause I’ll take all you cocksuckers out.”

The following interview, however, is by far the funniest, not to mention embarassing. Ich think so, anyway!

For more on Bruno, check out his website.

August 29, 2008 at 12:28 pm 3 comments

What’s Salad gotta do with it?

I’m fond of all my friends. I can even say I love some of them. I may not have any problem wishing them to “go your way and prosper” the minute they walked out of my life. May even quote Premier Meles Zenawi and wish them “MenGedun CherQ Yargilachu” if splitting on bad-terms. But I’m there for them when they need me. Giving the sympathatic ear, holding the hands & pointing ways out of the rock & a hard place they might have found themselves stuck in. Not the ‘YeLib” or lasting-friend material. But good while I lasted.

Being fond of my friends, and understanding them, their jams, and the reason for them, however, doesn’t mean I don’t find them weird from time to time (almost as weird as myself, at occassions). My friends scare the crap out of me as well as the next person. Which can give a nasty turn to the sister, for scaring the crap out of everybody was supposed to be her territory.

Take my friend Genet for example. She is one of those with whom I get together whenever an occasion which calls for ganging up against the multitude arises (no “Awet Ne Hafash” for us, Nossar! We order French fries and give the stuff all we got, calling them names and shaking a disappointed head over their stupidity). Genet shares most of my passions, understands the source of my anger & frustrations and respects my opinions (when I’m not being typically “me”, that is). Sociable, graceful, always obliging and infinitely patient, she’s more or less what I wish I could become at her age. This doesn’t mean her individuality alludes me. But a kindred-individual, I’ve always seen her, much smarter than many, and a lot cooler than the undersigned.

Which is why I found it weird when I heard her being chocked up regarding things that don’t seem to matter on more than one occasion.

This friend of mine is a hard-core EPRDF fan. (more…)

August 28, 2008 at 10:22 am

Little Miss “I could use parental guidance”

I was at a beauty saloon yesterday evening, waiting for the Latabody frizzer in my hair to kick in. My “Shuruba seri” had left for a far better saloon, in a far away place. So I was trying on a new look. And a new saloon. Which I was liking so far.

The young woman who did my afro “curls” made the locks on her finger, instead of putting the chemical and simply brushing them until my head no longer felt mine. She’s put an olive oil spray on it, too, free of charge. And complimented my hair on feeling softer than it appears. For someone who has been convinced her skull was where hair strands came to die, that comment felt like a favor deserving a reward. So I was mentally calculating how much I’d tip her, when a poster on the wall caught my eye.

It was one of those posters you notice on minibus doors and a humble shoe-maker’s workshop. Showing adorable little girls and boys in adult clothes, doing what adults are supposed to do. Exchanging flowers, kissing or writing love letters with lover’s longing in their eyes! Most of these pictures are cute and innocent. If you put them next to that Indian boy in blue wishing you a “good morning” or the weeping painting of that Briton child with “don’t worry, be happy” written underneath his tattered clothes, they would by no means stand out. They seem to exist for the sole purpose of reminding you how beautiful childhood innocence is. And how well-advised you’ve been, when avoiding Bollywood movies altogether.

Not this one! This was no chip off the old block. It had a different agenda in mind which it was pushing on the on-looker shamlessly. The little girl in the photo was sitting on what looked like a beach with her un-shod feet tucked in a sand. The shoulder strap of her skimpy white nightdress has come loose, baring half her shoulder. The face framed by the loose blonde locks was certainly that of a child’s, including the eyes with the supposedly “haunting” look in them, unbecoming of her age. Her mouth, on the other hand, was a different story. There was nothing childish about the mouth. The lips were red, full, and parted. Giving the girl the unnatural, and embarrassing, look an abesha guy would assume if he suddenly decided to shave his mustache.

Now, I know why the hair-saloon lady put the poster on one of her walls. She didn’t know better. But the men and women who took the photo, and the parents who drove their little girl back home, what were they trying to achive? Are they trying to convince us that, since a child is doing it, what we see here should be taken with the preverbal grain of salt?! Or are we meant to read more in to it?! As I was doing before my meditation was interrupted by a comment from the young woman incharge of my hair.

“Lovely, isn’t she?” she asked while ushering me into one of the “casks”, to let my locks dry. “Yes she is” I admitted grudgingly, if only she didn’t remind one of a hooker about to turn tricks.

August 26, 2008 at 11:21 am 2 comments

What’s a horse to do!

First the Russians, now the horses! Apparently, Micheal Phelps isn’t the only sensation of Beijing Olympic’s. According to the National Post’s Sports section, four horses were expelled from showjumping final for doing drugs. Yep, these brutes were getting jiggy with it until somebody requested for a pee sample. The pail full of urine was taken and tests were done. The results “indicated the presence of capsaicin.. which is a lotion or paste derived from the chilli pepper plant.. prohibited for its pain-relieving properties.”.

I wonder what sort of pressure they were in.

On the same token, Congratulations on Tirunesh & Kenenisa’s latest victory. I can’t wait to hear what the Ethiopian Athletics Federation has gotta say regarding Ethio-born Turkey Athlete Elvan Abeylegesse. And the heated arguments that would follow 😉 . For all of you interested, here is 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics Final Medal Count.

August 22, 2008 at 8:28 am 1 comment

Surviving Consumerism for Dummies

If you asked someone a week ago who Micheal Phelps was, that someone is likely to reply they don’t know who he was, but his last name reminds them of Bertie Wooster, whom Spode once threaten to beat to a jelly (assuming that someone has read “The Code of the Woosters” and is a quick thinker). Now, we not only know who Micheal Phelps is but are expected to care how many calories a day Micheal Phelps takes, what sort of love-triangle Micheal Phelps is in and who Micheal Phelps’ father was.

Advertisements set values, we all know that. They tell us what’s right, and what’s wrong. What’s good and what’s not. And we consume accordingly! Sometimes they don’t even have to come to us. We go to them. “The way you talk, the way you walk, the way you dress” is what makes you who you’d like to appear in today’s world. What you say don’t seem to matter as much as “how” you say it. So we buy the magazines, we switch on to the channels, we google. And we consume accordingly!

Some of us may want to think we are more independent than that. We have our own minds, we may protest, and our ‘beauty’ truly ‘is in the eyes of the beholder’. In the end, though, the powers that be, the Vishnu’s of this world, lord it over us like they do those [fainted-hearted] creatures we do not see ourselves alongside with. In one way or the other, they get us. Their hands are too long, their appetite unquenchable. That is something we can’t stop. It’s a given! But, we can help not sucking at their teats like babes incapable of choosing, surely! We can draw the line and say ‘no more!’ ‘enough is enough’. Or we’ll be like those people the bible talks about: who are pushed and pulled by every new teaching that comes along, like a ship without sail.

A look at msn’s health section bears ample witness for this. The food that was shunned last week, becomes “full of fiber” or “disease-fighting antioxidants called polyphenols” this week. The dietary plan that Oprah has been gushing about a month ago, suddenly becomes banned in half the modern world. Unless you are meant to lose weight by worrying about the continuous change in your dietary plans, you can never know where you stand with them. (Which is why I tell my friends to gobble up whatever they can get their hands on and leave the rest to providence. “Hasn’t the bible, after all, said ‘Sew be enjera bicha aynorim?!'”, I add).

This is the age of information, as well as consumption. We need information to consume, and they need us to consume theirs. So they try to tell us what to consume. A double-edged sword, it cuts both ways. Which is why we need to beware of what we hear. Lest the information we are consuming ends up consuming us instead.

August 21, 2008 at 8:42 am 1 comment

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"I will speak for you, Father. I speak for all mediocrities in the world. I am their champion. I am their patron saint." - Antonio Salieri, from the movie "Amadeus"

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