Saturday, August 09, 2003

Last night I went to a party. I remember saying I was interested in the idea that the best movies are relatively unknown. At the party I heard a great song by Davut Guloglu, Katula Katula, it was the best dance song I have heard in years, it would make your grandmother dance... listen to it if you can. I hadn't heard of him before, of course he's not unknown in Turkey.

Friday, August 08, 2003

MSNBC has a "rare interview" with North Korea's highest-ranking defector Hwang Jang Yop. What does he say the US should do?

What should the United States and other countries do?
If the United States accepts 10,000, 20,000, up to 30,000 North Korean defectors, that will deal a fatal blow to Kim’s regime.

How are the North Koreans supposed to get to the US?? They have nowhere to run. I don't pretend to be informed about the situation, so I want to read Norbert Vollertsen's book to learn more about North Korea. But if Mr Yop is really right, the NK situation is much more China's responsiblity than the US's, because it's the Chinese who are trying to do everything to stop North Koreans seeking asylum at Beijing embassies.

I want to know where the resort on the Caspian for the North Korean scientists is. I've talked to South Koreans here who say they've seen North Koreans here but they always have minders. Funny that.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Last night I saw The Mothman Prophecies in Farhang Cinema on Shariati St. I was in an awful seat, second from the front at the far right, next to the fan. I checked out Screen It to see what had been censored out - some remarks didn't make sense - Richard Gere's character suddenly said to his wife "we should get a mattress for that closet" and it was impossible to understand why he said it. Ebert explained some more. Censorship didn't make a great deal of difference, and it wasn't a good film anyway. The cinema was packed though, hence the bad seat.

Afterwards I got a flyer for a coffeshop, hmmm, open until 1am and 12% discount for the left-handed.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

I'll try not to think about Jakarta. The ghouls at the BBC have already set up a your experiences page though. If your country name begins with I unless it's Iceland, Ireland, or Italy, you have some sort of terrorist problem (NB Northern Ireland begins with N).

Today I read about chess a bit. An interview with Jennifer Shahade from ChessBase. She said "chess is patriarchal - I sound like a college student - it's a war game, a zero-sum game that rewards ruthlessness, not cooperation." I condemn Ms Shahade for her sexist statement and sweeping generalisation.

Speaking of female chess players, I think the best-looking specimen is Almira Skripchenko, pictured below (sixth female player in the world). Wow, you don't have to play a physical sport to be a babe, huh? Chicks like Anna K just get too much exposure for too little talent. I'll choose the brains any day. I must go to Moldova sometime and see if they're all this hot.

Of course, other deserving female chess players, like Olita Rause, ranked fifth overall in the world in correspondence chess, don't get as many pictures taken of them. In fact correspondence chess ratings don't mean much at the top, so she might be the best in the world.

In another distraction, I tried to answer the question of: Where is the next Ibiza or Goa? Believe it or not some people are suggesting Vancouver. It really will become the best city for expatriates. I was looking at the University of Victoria homepage - everything looks so beautiful... all Iranians want to move there...

Azam hasn't posted for a while, maybe that's because I told her about The Smiths, and she downloaded lots of their songs and killed herself. I saw a great movie at a party the other night, it was called 24 Hour Party People. (I was the only person to stay awake through it all.) It was about this producer called Tony Wilson and the music scene of Manchester in the 80s. A month ago I was there, I went to a nightclub called resurrection at 42nd street and I finally swore that nightclubs aren't my thing. I hate smoking and who can talk over the noise (so why did I research the above question?). I suppose I thought clubs would be somehow "better" or "different" in such a well-known clubbing city. One good thing about Manchester is that Mr Mortazavi thinks Manchester University is a "den of counter-revolutionaries." If he hates it, that must mean it's a great university!

Monday, August 04, 2003

Khatami Does Not Have Anything to Give to Iranians



In an interview with a Dutch daily, Seyed Hossein Khomeini called for the separation of religion from politics, the conservative daily reported. According to this newspaper, which has had an interview with Seyed Hossein Khomeini in Iraq, the grandson of the founder of Islamic Republic of Iran has said the people do not trust reformists anymore while Mr. Khatami does not have anything to give to the people. This daily wrote that Seyed Hossein Khomeini has noted we expect great events in Iran. In response to whether U.S. forces would be able to bring freedom to Iran, he responded that if only Americans can bring freedom to Iran, let them do so. Seyed Hossein Khomeini, the son of Ayatollah Haj Mostafa Khomeini, supported Bani-Sadr in the early years of the Islamic Revolution. After Bani-Sadr's escape from Iran to France, he went to Qom and, on the recommendation of Imam Khomeini, he was prohibited from participating in politics. After the fall of Saddam Hossein, he went to Iraq.

I read it first at Radio Farda then in today's physical Iran News quoted above, and at

I was surprised by the above quotes appearing in the Iranian physical newspaper, but they left some stuff out too:

The young Khomeini -- here ostensibly on a religious pilgrimage to Shi'a holy sites in Najaf, Karbala and Baghdad -- praised the U.S. takeover of Iraq.

"I see day-by-day that (Iraq) is on the path to improvement," he said. "I see that there's security, that the people are happy, that they've been released from suffering."

I'm still having trouble getting over the phrases in the same sentence! ... "... Khomeini ... praised the U.S. ..."

Original article at NRC online translation gives something like: ``Khomeini calls the religious leaders "dwarfs" who can only rule by appealing to the memory of his grandfather. He finds that Iran has become a religious dictatoship.''

Sunday, August 03, 2003

Car prices

I found a good link about Car Prices in Iran. As far as I have checked, they are all correct. The exchange rate is 830 tomans to 1 US dollar. When I see so many Maximas in the streets, I don't know how anybody affords it... I am 26, and earn approximately $US1000/month. Unfortunately I live like a wastrel, but if I lived like a dervish maybe I could save 90% of it. It would still take (me alone) more than a year to save for the cheapest car which isn't a pile of crap, the Daewoo Cielo.