regional and same day

True Florida Gothic

-There are red spots on your arms. There are many red spots. You look down and your legs have even more. You itch. You itch terribly. You hope it’s only the mosques.

-You know what it is yet you don’t move. You hear a faint buzzing. You’ve been trying to ignore the sound. The small wings make circles around your head, the sound is now like a helicopter… it is so loud. But it only disturbs you when you no longer hear a buzz.

-The sky is blue and and cloudless. Or was it? Now all you can see are dark looming storm clouds. They move so fast, it seems to choke off the white hot sun. The air constricts tighter as the storm rolls closer. Sometime before the showers fall in sheets the sky has changed even the light vibrant colors to gray. Thick lighting bolts cage the sky and pin you down. It’s hard to imagine that the sun is still shining out there. The sky is turbulence and inky but soon clouds part and sun’s rays can be seen. You’ve seen the spectacle, and you hear an old wrinkled man say “the Devil’s beating his wife again”, you agree not knowing what that is really supposed to mean. But it’s the same old man everytime the sun rains so you have to believe it.

-A man crosses the road without looking. You see him. You see his brightly colored Crocs. Also you see a black anklet monitor. You can sense that he is looking at you but you don’t make eye contact with him. Whatever he’s done. Whatever could he have done? A shiver, and you stop. When you continue driving you forget what you’ve see. He walks by you later that same day, you remember.

-At the beach you lose track of time. As you hold a staring contest with the ocean and whatever lurking thing is just under the surface gazing back. The tall lifeguard stands don’t have anyone in them. You can’t remember if they were lifeguards earlier. Where did they all go? The red wooden monument of safety is empty, the one down the beach is empty, all are empty, yet the structure is there and you feel safe in it’s shadow. Kids scream in the water.

-You can’t be sure if you see dark shapes gliding through the water with the swimmers and the longer you stare the more you begin to invoke. But whatever’s under could be nothing and you know the real attack will be from above. Sea Gulls. They are everywhere. They are always hungry. They are always looking for food. And all it takes is one careless child to drop a Dorito near you and next thing you know you have been consumed by the flying swarm of beasts.

-People make jokes about Florida and the wildlife living here but we know what’s outside… we know not to laugh. We know that even the plants can kill us. And we know in the swamps and marshy lowlands, hidden in the Cypress Trees, and low hanging Spanish Moss a true untouched, savage, darkness made home. Many a man wonder inside only to be a permanent guest.

-We don’t swim in lakes. It’s just not worth it, and the Alligators keep it that way. They also keep tabs on your pool. You might not see them but you know there’re close. Very close.

-For some reason people who go to our state as visitors all plan on getting that “Florida tan”??? Not sure how they get one myself but they always end up with a bright, red, burn instead. That’s always after the assured “oh I never burn!” thing. Please note: if you want to visit The Sunshine State, you are going to need protection. Sun protection. I’m 100% serious. You need sun-screen. You won’t win a fight with the sun I don’t care who you are. Please. I’m tired of watching innocent people and loved ones burn. Heed my warnings.

mr shoe walks into the glee club room. he says that the kids are too wrapped up in their greed and avarice. He turns around the blackboard and “brecht” is written on it. the kids groan. mr sue explains that brecht is cool and performs the army song with mike chang. the kids are taken by the harsh commentary and spiky tune and set to work on their assignments. 

meanwhile, sue is unhappy. she has long disliked brecht. she begins acting emotionally and irrationally in protest and founds a rival glee club that performs musical adaptations of ibsen. it is all very menacing. 

mr shu decides that the glee club will stage a production of mother courage. rachel wants to be mother courage, but so does mercedes. rachel sings the barbara song (omg imagine) and mercedes sings the bilbao song. mercedes is better so she is mother courage.

kristen chenoweth returns! she shows up dramatically at the glee club door and sings the alabama song. everyone joins in. she seduces mr shū and sings lust from the seven deadly sins

tina sings pirate jenny

nobody shows up to the high school glee club production of mother courage because everyone is preoccupied with the emotional resonance of sue’s hedda gabler. to console themselves, the glee club sing a touching rendition of as you make your bed. indeed, they have made their own bed. 

in the ruckus everyone forgot about regionals, which takes place that same day. the glee club opens with a choreographed disco rendition of the song of mother courage, sung by mercedes. sue returns to character and is spiteful. 


School holidays in Germany
  • German kids have 75 week days (that includes 12 Saturdays) of holidays.
  • There are the following holidays:
    • Autumn holidays (in former times to give the farmer’s kids the opportunity to help during the harvest, kept for historical reasons)
    • Christmas holidays (from December 24 to January 1 or January 6)
    • Winter holidays (early weeks of February)
    • Easter holidays (during the easter week)
    • Pentecost holidays (around pentecost)
    • Summer holidays (six weeks in summer)
    • Up to three movable days of holiday that each school can set on its own (however, schools in a region usually agree upon the same days)
  • Not all of the federal states have all of these holidays. The state of Hesse, for instance, goes without winter holidays in favor of extended Christmas holidays.
  • The dates of the holidays vary from year to year and from state to state. This year, for instance, holidays in Lower Saxony and Bremen started already on June 22 and ended on August 2, while holidays in Bavaria started on July 29 and will end on September 11. This is to avoid the huge traffic chaos that would inevitably occur if all of Germany would start holidays on the same day (for the same reason, trucks are not allowed on Saturdays during the holiday season). It also helps the coastal regions that depend heavily on tourism to extend the season. These regions of summer tourism also have special holiday dates deviating from the rest of their states.
  • The dates of the summer holidays are set by the Conference of the Ministers of Education of the Federal States. Apart from Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, which insist on having always the latest dates, the dates are set in a rolling manner, varying each year. In addition, the dates of Easter and Pentecost, which depend on the moon calendar, are taken into consideration. The states decide then autonomously on the dates of the remaining holidays.
Convenience Store Gothic
  • The pumps are working fine today. They still dispense gas, but they sometimes dispense coffee, gravel, or crude oil. It’s a bit of a game of chance these days.
  • Cars come and go outside. And come and go. They are always coming and going. The same cars. Over and over again.
  • A man has been standing in front of the counter for 2 hours, looking in a magazine. “Do you want to buy that?” But he doesn’t answer. He sobs weakly, holding the magazine centimeters from his face.
  • You realize you haven’t seen a gas delivery for days. It dawns on you that you don’t remember going home, either. You’re not even sure your nametag says the correct name anymore. Do you even work here?
  • The cooler door is stuck again. Someone keeps restocking the soda from inside, though. So many bottles. They pour from the shelves like an avalanche.
  • Patrons peruse the shelves for their products as noon rolls around. An old man heads for the back of the shop, but you don’t have the heart to tell him he won’t come back.
  • A black SUV pulls up next to a trashcan outside and a hand reaches out with a fast food bag, dropping it in. And another. And another. You watch the can fill up, even as the bags begin to fall to the ground. The hand is passing through the driver’s side window.
  • You remove the lid of the coffee machine to refill it, ignoring the screams as you dump the old grounds out.
  • You’re not sure you sell this brand of bubblegum, but the barcode scans okay. You set it down and wipe the blood from your hands as you accept a crisp $20 from the young women.
  • The security cameras keep showing a crowd of people outside the store, banging on the windows, ramming the doors, and ineffectively hurling bricks and stones at the building, but the lot outside is empty through the windows.
  • “It’s not a bad job,” you comment to the man by the ice cream freezer. He nods stoicly as he continues to remove neopolitan ice cream sandwiches from the freezer, slowly pushing each one into his mouth, wrapper and all. He’s been at it for hours.
  • As 9PM hits, you hear the screech of the low-tank alarm, same as every night. The worshippers walk towards the back wall of the store, same as every night. Only their voices of love to the machine pierce the screeching, clear as day, same as every night.

The Legacy Heroes of Ninja Sentai KakuRanger

Current fans of Super Sentai are used to heroes trying to live up to and claim the legacy of an ancestor thanks to Shuriken Sentai NinNinger. In their case they are trying to succeed The Last Ninja, Yoshitaka Igasaki (伊賀崎 好天). However, before the NinNinger ever thought about becoming Ninja, the team from Ninja Sentai KakuRanger were dealing with Legacies of their own.

Each of the KakuRangers is named for one of the past masters of Hidden Style Ninjutsu (Kakureryū Ninjutsu) who were all famous (and sometimes fictional) Ninja.  Three of them are named for members of the legendary Sanada Ten Braves, Ninja who aided the warlord Sanada Yukimura during the Warring States (Sengoku) period (1467-1603).

Ninja Red/Sasuke

Sasuke is named for Sarutobi Sasuke (猿飛 佐助) one of the Ten Braves. Before being recruited into the service of Lord Sanada, he was a member of the Kōga ninja from the region of the same name (modern day Kōka City in Shiga Prefecture). He was arch-rivals with Iga ninja Kirigakure Saizō but the two became fast friends once under Sanada’s banner. He is often portrayed as a wild, almost feral, character who fights dirty and rough.

The legendary Sasuka’s family name, Sarutobi, means “monkey jump” which is why the animal associated with the KakuRanger of the same name is a Monkey. At the beginning of the series, he is hanging around and wandering Japan with his best friend, Saizo, descendant of his namesake’s rival/friend. The two are tricked into unsealing the door their ancestors closed to trap the Youkai and their masters. His signature attack is creating duplicates of himself to confuse and attack enemies from multiple directions.

Saizo/Ninja Blue

Saizou, as stated above, is the descendant of the fictional character  Kirigakure Saizō (霧隠才蔵) . Best friend/rival of Sarutobi Sasuke and fellow member of the Sanada Ten Braves, Saizo was a fierce Sanada loyalist with a sharp sense of humor. In many ways, he was Sasuke’s opposite, cultured, clean-cut and sophisticated.

His family name means “Hidden Mist” and is associated with Fog and illusion magic. In KakuRanger, his descendant is associated with water and can run across the surface of ponds, lakes and streams. His animal is the wolf.  He is also extremely chatty and likes to make jokes, much like his namesake.

Seikai/Ninja Yellow

Ninja Yellow is named for yet another member of the Sanada Ten Braves, Miyoshi Seikai (三好 清海). The legendary Seikai was a fierce and powerful warrior who fought alongside the Lord of Kameda against the forces of the Tokugawa. Strangely, he switched sides and in the battle of Osaka Castle helped the Tokugawa take the town.

Seikai of KakuRanger is lazy and motivated by food, sleep and women.  He was an avid video gamer who didn’t want to fight until his hand was forced and his sense of justice rekindled. His powers revolve around strength and making himself larger.  His associated animal is the bear.

Jiraiya/Ninja Black

This KakuRanger is named for the toad-riding hero of Jiraiya Gōketsu Monogatari (児雷也豪傑物語), a popular 19th Century serial novel and kabuki play detailing his exploits. He was not a member of the Sanada Ten Braves. Jiraiya (自来也) was a powerful, mystic ninja who used shapeshifting magic to turn himself into a giant toad. 

His name means “Young Thunder” and this, in the series, his Descendant can harness lightning as a weapon though he is more associated with Earth magic.  The KakuRanger Jiraiya is a Japanese-American who speaks poor Japanese but excellent English.  Much like his namesake, his is associated with the toad and his mecha is a giant, black toad.

Tsuruhime/Ninja White

The exact origin of Tsuruhime’s name is unclear in the series but I venture she is named after Ōhōri Tsuruhime (大祝鶴姫) who was an actual historic figure who was the daughter of an island priest named Yasumochi, head of the  Oyamazumi Shrine in Iyo Province. The island was threatened by invaders from the mainland, who had killed her two older brothers. Her Father perished of disease when she was only 16. A trained martial artist, the historic Tsuruhime took command of the resistance to the mainland invaders and drove the invading Samurai back to the mainland.

They returned four months later in force, determined to take her home. One of the generals, lounging aboard his warship, was attacked by Tsuruhime.  He mocked her but she cut him down before he could draw his sword. Her allies then struck and bombed the remaining ships, driving them away and keeping their land free. She died at the age of 18, committing ritual suicide after her lover fell in battle against the returned invaders.

The fictional Tsuruhime, much like her presumed namesake, actually serves as the leader of the KakuRangers (though Red remains the Point Of View character for the audience). She is descended from nobility (hence my connection between her and the Ōhōri) and carries herself as such. Her Ninja arts revolve around Transformation and illusion. Her animal is the crane. 

I’ll try to be quick, I promise. What has happened this last Sunday in Las Vegas is horrible. It’s fucking terrorism. BUT I’M NOT HERE TO TALK ABOUT THAT. I’m here to talk about another disgrace that happened in the world the same day. In Catalonia (a region of Spain) this Sunday, we were supposed to vote on a referendum to see if the majority of the population wants to become an independent state. Lots of people had to stay the night in the places chosen to vote. Lots of people went to those places at 5AM to protect them from the catalan police, Mossos d'Esquadra, who, by order of the Spanish government, had to close them. The catalan police would just come and if they saw there was a lot of people they would just leave or stay around to make sure no one got hurt. But then, in Barcelona first and in other cities after, the spanish police, who had come here some day ago, started “intervening”. They started to beat up the people who were protecting PACIFICLY the vote ballots, they started to beat up the people in the queue waiting to vote. They hit and hurt old people, adults and young people. There were 3 dead people (one was a 70 years old man who had a heart attack, another one was an adult man who was shot with a hard rubber ball in the eye and had a brainstroke afterwards and the third the cause is still unknown) and there were more than 900 wounded. I’ll addd videos which will prove everything I’m telling you but don’t worry. The thing is, in Catalonia, all the demonstrations made have been pacific, EVERY SINGLE ONE. And even when the spanish police was attacking us, we didn’t attack back. We didn’t fight back, and we could’ve, and we would’ve won, but we are maintaining our pacific position, demonstrating that we are better than them. The Spanish police is shooting hard rubber balls to the people, they are hitting us with the batons and they don’t care if they are hurting kids, adults or old people. The Catalan police and the Catalan firefighters were protecting the people pacificly. The result of the referendum was YES (90%), the people want to become independent but now one Spanish minister has said publicly that the spanish police will be violent if we don’t stop. Please, please, boost this, share this, so the world will know what the Spanish government is doing to us.

DAY 2538

Jalsa, Mumbai               Mar 27/28,  2015               Fri/Sat  2:41 am

The time is ominous. The hour is beyond apprehension. The dates move from a 24 region to another. The destination is the same. The day changes a digit ..

But the one that has not changed is the intent … the intent to connect to a waiting Ef, eager, anxious, to gather what today’s description of the contents of this post would smell like ..

‘Smell the coffee’ they often say for a reality check. What and where did this phrase come from. Smelling coffee ? Why ? Does it mean more than the smell itself, or is there a hidden meaning behind the mere philosophy of the cocoa bean ? I wonder and have no recollect on this. Perhaps some of my most educated, versatile and aware well wishers, would have an answer …

I travel to Egypt after long years. This visual is from my visit in 1991, in Cairo at the Pyramids and the historic Sphinx. A most memorable trip, if ever there was one .. the love and the affection of the Egyptians, their hospitality, their compassion and their extreme love for cinema, cannot be described in words. I can never ever forget those moments, those days spent in the midst of fraternity so loved and so caring towards their visitors …my sincere thanks to them in every walk of life … 24 years is a long time to be away from Cairo, though I did come for a visit in between to the Alexandria film Festival in the Northern part of the country, for a day, in the middle of my shooting in Los Angeles for Sanjay Gupta’s film with Sunjay Dutt and others …

I was there in Cairo before the 1991 visit as well. It was for the shooting of ‘Great Gambler’ around 1975 .. but little was known of the Industry and least of all me .. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was the most popular name then and for his great association and friendship with the President of Egypt, Nasser. The Oberoi Hotel was a place where we shot extensively and of course the Pyramids. The deserts were equally attractive, especially the tents out in the open and a song picturisation with Zeenat Aman. Most of those days is a blur in memory , but what remained then and now is and was the people … warm friendly and so compassionate ..

I go now with an earnestness to be in the midst of my friends and Ef in Cairo, to be a part of the celebrations that are conducted each year in the context of India -Egypt relations, an India Day by the Nile .. with an assurance to all the Ef from the region that I shall meet them and shall give my details as soon as I have them .. perhaps by tomorrow … so that those that are planning to travel miles to reach Cairo, are not inconvenienced in any manner ..  

There is so much history in the civilisation of this great country, the culture, the standards of life, learning and its magnificent contribution to the Wonders of the World … it would require several years of learning to discover and gather all there is to know in this most strategically placed country .. almost a great point of unity among the East and the West, because of its geographic positioning ..

There have been great writings that have come out form here, great literature and academics, and I feel so honoured and humbled, that during my visit the very prestigious and renowned Academy of Arts, has decided to honour me with a Doctorate in the field of arts and culture. This is a rare distinction I am told, and I am most overwhelmed by its decision. I am but a very small and almost insignificant part of the fraternity of films from my country and find it most honourable on the part of the Academy to decorate me. They do not decorate me, indeed they recognise the film industry of India, and for that I am most grateful …

I must brag about one incident though. During my stay in Cairo for the Alexandria visit, I spent a night in a Hotel in Cairo, or perhaps a couple of nights, which was during the WW 2, being used as a residence of the Allied Forces, and the room I was in was where the legendary Field Marshal Montgomery of Great Britain had stayed. It was his room during the time of the war !! 

Some of the more extraordinary visits in Egypt were to the son et lumierè at the Pyramids, the commentary on the site given by the iconic Richard Burton. Then there was Luxor and its monuments and the sound and light there, the Valley of the Kings, with its underground excavations, the Museum and the great artefacts of the time of the Pharaohs .. just an endless excursion of history and astonishing art work both in the objects as also the building and the preservation of the Mummies and the possessions of the Kings through time ..

That backdrop may be of New York, but how coincidental for me to be in possession of this picture as I write, for on my way back from Cairo, as I changed flight at London Heathrow and took off for USA, my daughter called from Delhi, urgently asking me to put the Tv on. Being airborne just then it was not possible to do that, but soon peculiar things started to happen. The plane diverted and abandoned take off, went back to Bay, stating unusual circumstances. On reaching the lobby area of the airport, there was immense tension that one could experience .. and then … I realised .. there were crowds of travellers gathered in front of the Tv sets .. and .. I actually saw LIVE, the 2 planes crashing into the Twin Towers in New York .. the 9/11 attack !!!

It has been late today, and for this I must apologise, but there are times in a day when it does become difficult to pull away from certain activities… activities that relate to years and days gone by .. of times well spent .. of times of great adversity and rancour ..

Blood shall always remain thicker than water .. and it is sometimes important in life to accept this renowned adage, to experience and share it and to know that they that confess relation of blood, shall ever be that … your own !!

Good night dear ones … may you be in ‘blood relation’ in family and in extended realm …!!

Amitabh Bachchan

According to Portuguese newspaper “JORNAL DA MADEIRA” Cristiano Ronaldo will get his very own 3-metre high statue on the Portuguese island of Madeira by December 21st!

The sculpture, designed and made by Ricardo Veloza, will be placed at Praça do Mar in Funchal, where CR7 has his own museum as well. Cristiano is also expected to receive the island’s highest decoration by the regional government on the same day.

This ceremony is supposed to show Madeira’s gratitude for Cristiano and his achievements, as well as their pride to be his homeland. According to the newspaper, Cristiano Ronaldo himself has already agreed to be present at the unveiling of his statue, despite the fact that Real Madrid might be playing their last game of the FIFA Club World Cup on December 20th