worlds 2003

  1. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
  2. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006)
  3. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007)
  4. ​Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)
  5. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017)

If you were younger than 10 in 2003, or you weren’t born yet, you may not realize how scandalous and iconic it was when Britney Spears kissed Madonna onstage at the 2003 MTV VMAs.

It was sexy, scandalous, and took the pop culture world by storm.

By 2003, Madonna’s peak era of fame had certainly passed, but she still reigned as the Queen of Pop Divas.

Britney and Christina were the younger newcomers, though by 2003, both had already established their careers.

Women kissing each other on stage was a big deal back then. While people weren’t necessarily super-homophobic, LBGTQ acceptance hadn’t made nearly as much progress as it has today.

Furthermore, Britney and Christina weren’t afraid to be sexy and provocative. This drew a good deal of criticism at the time from pearl-clutching conservative soccer moms and such.

IRAQ. Najaf governorate. Near Najaf. March 31, 2003. An Iraqi man comforts his four-year-old son at a holding centre for prisoners of war, in the base camp of the US Army 101st Airborne Division. The boy had become terrified when his father was hooded and handcuffed. Hoods were placed over detainees’ heads because they were quicker to apply than blindfolds, according to the military. Bags were also used to disorientate prisoners and to protect their identities. It is not known what happened to the man or his son. After pictures from Abu Ghraib emerged, the military quickly changed their methods and decided to use blindfolds again.

“Ten years ago. I doubt the desert remembers the barbed wire and hooded, shackled prisoners. Does it at least remember the screams of a boy clinging to a father who mumbled words of comfort from beneath a black sandbag? I hope the desert, too, felt relieved when an American soldier cut off the plastic handcuffs, and the man could finally embrace his child. But this desert has seen so much since the beginning of civilization that I do not think this was a remarkable day. This is not even a particularly noticeable war in the context of Iraq’s 5,000 years of history. But for me, this moment endures. The whole scene was surreal. This image was one of the last of my career. Three months later, I was disabled in a car accident. My daughter was the same age as the child in this photo. I look at her today and wonder what happened to that boy. I wonder why we were at war. What was accomplished? Ten years [in 2013]. An army of dead, wounded and mentally destroyed people. Maybe they, too, are wondering: why? I remember, and I wonder.”

World Press Photo of the Year 2003.

Photograph: Jean-Marc Bouju/AP   


A compilation of all the skater cameos in Yuri!!! on Ice:

These little shoutouts to the real figure skating world amused me greatly while watching the anime, so I’ve decided to mash them all into one post:

Yuzuru Hanyu - Sochi 2014 Olympic Gold Medalist, 2014 World Champion, four time Grand Prix Final Champion (2013-16), two-time Four Continents silver medalist (2011, 2013), four time Japanese National Champion (2013-2016), current world record holder for highest short program, free skate, and combined score. 

Stephane Lambiel - two-time World Champion (2005–2006), the 2006 Olympic Silver Medalist, a two-time Grand Prix Champion (2005, 2007), and a nine-time Swiss national champion (2001–08, 2010).

Nobunari Oda -  2006 Four Continents Champion, a four-time Grand Prix Final medalist (silver in 2009 and 2010; bronze in 2006 and 2013), 2008 Japanese National Champion. Now works as a professional skater and TV commentator, and also specifically requested to appear on Yuri!!! on Ice (I’m still laughing, what a dork) 

Evgeni Plushenko - four-time Olympic Medalist (2006 gold, 2014 team gold, 2002 & 2010 silver), three time World Champion (2001, 2003, 2004), a seven-time European Champion (2000, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2010, 2012), a four-time Grand Prix Final Champion (1999–2000, 2000–01, 2002–03, 2004–05), and a ten-time Russian National Champion (1999–2002, 2004–2006, 2010, 2012–2013)

Florent Amodio - 2011 European Champion, a four-time French National champion (2010, 2013-2015), and the 2008 Junior Grand Prix Final champion

continued under the cut: 

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Status of the Albanian Language

Albanian as an official language:

  • Albania - 3.002.859 in 2012
  • Kosova - 1.8 millions in 2012
  • Macedonia (co-official) - 600.000 (25% of total population) in 2006
  • Montenegro (co-official) - 80.000 in 2002

Albanian as an recognised ethnic minority language:

  • Italy (Arberesh comunity) - 260.000 in 1976
  • Croatia (Arbanasi comunity) - 15.002 in 2001
  • Romania 
  • Serbia 
  • Bulgaria - 1.000 in 1963

Albanian ad a non-recognised ethnic minority language:

  • Greece (Arvanitas comunity) - 10.000 çam + 150.000 Arvanitas

Greece has not signed the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages of 1992, and as such does not recognise ethnic and language minorities as part of its cultural heritage.

  • Turkey (Arnaut comunity) - 15.000 in 1980

Albanian is also spoken by an high number of immigrants all over the world:

  • Italy:  482.627 (to 700.000 due to naturalization)
  • Greece:  443 550 (to 600.000 due to naturalization)
  • Germany:  505.000
  • Switzerland:  400.000
  • UK: 350.000
  • USA & Canada:500.000
  • Netherlands: 200.000

Other countries have Albanian comunities, but their number is lower than 100.000. The total number of Albanian native speakers around the world is 12.600.000 in accordance with thei CIA’s 2003 World Factbook.


The third post in this African Music series is about the great diva from Cape Verde, Cesária Évora.


She was born in Mindelo in Cape Verde on 27 August 1941. Her parents were poor, and after her father’s death (probably due to alcoholism), her mother placed her in an orphanage. Here she was introduced to music when she joined the orphanage choir.

When she was older, she started singing in the local bars of Mindelo, a glass in one hand, a cigarette in the other. She became well-known locally for her interpretation of coladeras and mornas, the traditional songs of Cape Verde (heavily influenced by Portuguese music, since the islands used to be a Portuguese colony).

Her first international success was in 1988 with the release of her first commercial album La Diva Aux Pieds Nus, recorded in France. She eventually won a Grammy for World Music in 2003 for her album Voz d'Amor. She died in 2011.

The song I’ve selected is Sodade, the Cape Verde version of the Portuguese word saudade, which refers to a deep nostalgia or a profound melancholic longing (for something or someone unattainable).

PS: If you want to listen to more African divas, I recommend the late great Miriam Makeba from South Africa and Angélique Kidjo from Benin.

Enjoy! - Today in Tokyo (who lives in Tokyo but grew up in South Africa)

  • FMA 2003: the world is imperfect; you can work for years and suffer all sorts of hardship for nothing in return. but you can also get beautiful things and not have to worry about the pain you'll need to endure to "earn" them. no matter what you should strive toward your goals because there is nobility in the certain choice to strive forward in the face of uncertainty