ThysdrusRoman Coliseum of El-Jem

Panem et Circensis

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Location: Tunis, Tunisia, Tunisia

Monday, February 28, 2005

An Interview with Henry James

This is the first time I know about this interview with Henry James.I read it with real joy!

Sunday, February 27, 2005

The iWorld

Here is an article from TimesOnline about this new electronic invention : iPod , which according to the author is changing our life and society.
What was once an occasional musical diversion became a compulsive obsession. Now I have my iTunes in my iMac for my iPod in my iWorld. It’s Narcissus heaven: we’ve finally put the “i” into Me.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

30ème Nuit des Césars

Director Abdellatif Kechiche's "L'Esquive," a story about disenfranchised inner-city youths, was named best picture at the annual French movie awards Saturday. Abdellatif Kechiche is a french director who was born in Tunisia in 1960. In 2000, he directed his first feature La Faute à Voltaire. He also played in many other films such as Bezness (Gigolo) by Tunisian Director Nouri Bouzid, Le Thé à la Menthe (Tea with Mint), Les Innocents (The Innocents) and Un Vampire au Paradis ( A Vampire in Paradise).

A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep.

From Book I of Endymion by John Keats

Friday, February 25, 2005

The Isle of Forgetfulness

According to Greek mythology, the island of Djerba, situated off the southern coast of Tunisia, not far from the Libyan border, was the home of the seductive lotus eaters. In Homer's Odyssey, Ulysses almost lost his men when the beautiful maidens of the island fed them the lotus flower. The men were so pleasantly intoxicated by the lotus that Ulysses found it almost impossible to make them return to their ships.

This mosaic from Dougga (Tunisia) illustrates a theme borrowed from the fable. The Greek hero Ulysses, sailing by the rock of the sirens, figures represented as half-woman, half-bird. He is standing on the deck with his hands tied to the mast to prevent himself from succumbing to temptation.
Ca. AD 260 (Bardo Museum).

Some still wonder why this island, which travelers have labeled, 'Isle of Forgetfulness', holds visitors under its spell, is virtually unexplainable. A great many attribute it to its magic halo - a combination of a clear-blue sky, shining white houses, clean and well-kept towns, tree-covered countryside and warm, yet not too hot climate.

Island of Djerba

Djerba is also home for the most ancient Jewish community in Tunisia. According to legend, Jews have resided in Tunisia since the destruction of the First Temple in Jerusalem, in 586 BCE. While this cannot be substantiated by historical evidence, it is known that Tunisia was home to the most important center of Jewish life in North Africa during the period of the Roman Empire.

Various accounts are given of the origins of Jewish settlement in Djerba. The popular version is that following the destruction of the First Temple in Jerusalem, a group of priests (Cohanim) found their way to Djerba. They carried with them one of the gates of the destroyed Temple, and set it in the foundation of the synagogue they built in Djerba called the Ghriba Synagogue (el Ghriba). Thus, they preserved the memory of the Temple within the very fabric of their own synagogue.

Ghriba Synagogue

Djerba is comprised of two major groups: the Cohanim, who were the original Jewish residents in the Hara Sghira (small quarter) of Djerba, and the B'nai Yisrael (Tribes of Israel) community comprised of Jews who originated in Tunisia, Libya and Morocco, and live in the Hara Kebira (large quarter). Some Cohanim later moved to the Hara Kebira and constructed a synagogue known as the Cohanim De'getiyah (those who belong to the door) Synagogue.

The Ghriba Synagogue is considered a pilgrimage site throughout North Africa.
Every May several thousand Sepharadic Jews from around the world make a pilgrimage to Ghriba to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Lag B'Omer. The dormitories and dining halls on the grounds of the synagogue become filled with pilgrims, revelers and students drinking bokha, a local fig liquor, and eating barbecued meat. Led by Raoul Journou, a famous Tunisian Jewish musician whose songs are played at every wedding and circumcision celebration, regardless of the participant's religion, an exuberant crowd walks to the nearby village of Hara Sghira. The procession then returns to Ghriba for more music, food and festivities.
There are five rabbis in Tunisia; there are even several kosher restaurants in Tunis and on Djerba, which has been an active, practicing Jewish community for over two millennia, where most of the community members observe Jewish dietary laws (kashrut).

Moon's Symbolism in Christianity

In one of my recent blogs I explained the symbolism of the Crescent Moon in Islam. This is a blog by Zadoc who tells us about the symbolism of the Moon in Christianity.

The Amazing World of Bees

An article from the electronic english version of the german newspaper Der Spiegel explores the amazing world of bees and how these frail creatures become increasingly intelligent as they age.

International Campaign against Child Labor

According to an article in El Mundo, almost 250 million children in the world are obliged to work, among them 180 millions suffer the worst forms of exploitation. The International Labour Organization (ILO) along with the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation (AECI) have launched a sensibilization campaign to fight against this phenomenon. Moreover, the International Labour Organization (ILO) announced today that the plight of children who work in mines and quarries that are often dangerous, dirty and can post a grave risk to their health and safety will be the focus of the fourth World Day Against Child Labour, scheduled for 12 June 2005.

Nutrition Advocacy Group Warns Against the Dangerous Effects of Salt in Food Supply

According to an article in today's Chicago Tribune , A Washington based Nutrition Advocacy Group announced that salt was the organization's latest target. Saying that salt "might be the single deadliest ingredient in the food supply,". The Organization announced as well that it is suing the Food and Drug Administration in an effort to get the government to crack down on sodium in food.

Birth of Liquid Desires (La Naissance des désirs liquides), 1931-–32, by Salvador Dalí

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Salvador Dalí - Avida Dollars

Avida Dollars is an anagrammatic nickname given to Salvador Dalí by André Breton after being disgusted with Dalí's financial success as an artist and describing what he perceived as Dalí's greed for money and fame. Despite Breton's critique,I am one of the admirers of the works of Salvador Dalí and surrealism in general. For the admirers of Salvador Dalí, starting February 12th and running until May 15th 2005, the Philadelphia Museum of Art will present Dalí,a broad retrospective of the artist's works -the first in the United States in over 60 years. Dappled Things mentions this event and describes the Philadelphia Museum that he visited recently.

Fight against Terrorism: How Far Could We Go?

This is an article from today's The Washington Post which uncovers a plan by the Pentagon to promote global counterterrorism and would allow Special Operations forces to enter a foreign country to conduct military operations without explicit concurrence from the U.S. ambassador there. This article reminds me of another one by Seymour M. Hersh and published back in January in The New Yorker, and where Mr. Hersh mentions the existence of certain executive orders authorizing secret commando groups and other Special Forces units to conduct covert operations against suspected terrorist targets in as many as ten nations in the Middle East and South Asia. Seymour Hersh's article stirred a big controversy at the time of its publication and his findings where considered as inaccurate and unfounded.

Dido Building Carthage,
The Rise of the Carthaginian Empire
J.M.W.Turner 1815

Is the US Constitution Godless?

This is an interesting article from The Nation magazine which claims that the United States was built not on Christian principles but rather on Enlightenment ones. God was a minor player to the Founding Fathers, Jesus was conspicuously absent.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Ijtihad vs. Shariaa

An interesting piece from The Chronicle of Higher Education which discusses the concept of Ijtihad in Islam as a possible option to spread democracy in the Moslem world.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

The Yacoubian Building

NPR today has broadcasted an interview with and Egyptian movie Director Marwan Hamed about his new movie "The Yacoubian Building" (Imarat Yacoubian in arabic). The movie will be relased early next year but according to Mr. Hamed, his feature will be "very controversial" because it uncovers many of the gloomy aspects of the egyptian society and politics.

Based on a novel by Alaa Al-Aswani, an egyptian dentist, the story is set in downtown Cairo during the 1990s and it brims with Mahfouzian characters and themes of corruption, thuggery and inequity. From one character to another, Al-Aswani exposes the reader to the two worlds embodied in the Yacoubian building: the haves who inhabit its spacious duplex apartments and the have-nots who create another society on its roof in the little storage rooms originally designed to house each apartment’s excess foodstuffs and belongings. Yet, Al-Aswani is particularly concerned with sexual exploitation in its myriad manifestations, brilliantly driving home the point that the poor have not only been robbed of their dreams but of their very bodily integrity. Yet, sex and intimacy are also a balm and refuge from the daily indignities and cramped life conditions that the poor endure, and one of the most moving passages in the novel sensitively speaks to this dimension.

The novel as its author said will draw thousands of readers, but the movie will draw even more attention.

Presidential Trivia Quiz

Try this quiz on Presidential Trivia.
My result was : Pretty good. My knowledge of presidential trivia is neither liberal nor conservative. I got 6/10 correct.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Song to the Siren

Long afloat on shipless oceans,
I did all my best to smile,
'Til your singing eyes and fingers,
drew me loving to your isle.
And you sang "Sail to me, sail to me;
Let me enfold you."
Here I am, here I am waiting to hold you.

By Tim Buckley & Larry Beckett.

Love à la Française

Here is an article that appeared on the Washington Post's edition of Februray 13th, 2005 which I guess many of you have read but I found it failry interesting.

Virginia 11th Annual Festival of the Book

Here is a link to the 11th edition of the Virginia Festival of the Book which will take place in Charlottsville : March 16-20, 2005. I wonder if there's a similar event in Washington, DC.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Writing and Blogging

This piece from USA Today tells how blogging has been creating an alternate literary community.

When Blogging Turns into Business

an interesting piece about a young couple who started with writing blogs and ended by running a quite important startup that has helped popularize the idea of blogging.


Today Shiaa Muslims celebrate Ashura Day which coincides with the 10th day of the month of Muharram. For Shiites, celebrating Ashura is to commemorate a sad event that took place in Kerbala in Irak in the year 61 Hijri (680 AD) where Husain, son of Ali bin Abi Talib and grandson of the Holy Prophet, Mohammed (PBUH), was killed. For Shiaa Muslims, Ashura is a day of great mourning, and strong emotions which are expressed in the many rituals and activities connected to this day.

Prayer For Peace

Lead us from Death to Life,
From falsehood to Truth.
Lead us from Despair to Hope,
From Fear to Trust.
Lead us from Hate to Love,
From War to Peace.
Let Peace fill our Hearts,
Our World, Our Universe...

Friday, February 18, 2005

The Virgin Mary of Fatima

Star Wars III to Open Cannes Festival in May

George Lucas's third episode of Star Wars will open the Cannes Festival in South France next May. For your information some shots of the two previous episodes as well as the current one were set in Tunisia, specifically in a small town in the deep southern part of Tunisia called Tatouine ( Tatooine in the movie).

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Venice-The Bridge of Sighs by Canaletto

The Last Gondola

I just finished reading this mystery book which is set in Venice and written by Edward Sklepowich, an expatriate american professor and mystery writer and who happens to be my american literature professor 13 years ago!.

Henry James, 1843-1916, a painting by John Singer Sargent, 1913.

No Protection for Bloggers???!

Here is another piece about the issue of legal protection for bloggers which I mentioned in a previous post on February 02, 2005.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

The Huntsmen's Chorus

Was gleicht wohl auf Erden dem Jägervergnügen?
Wem sprudelt der Becher des Lebens so reich?
Beim Klange der Hörner im Grünen zu liegen,
Den Hirsch zu verfolgen durch Dickicht und Teich,
Ist fürstliche Freude, ist männlich Verlangen,
Erstarket die Glieder und würzet das Mahl.
Wenn Wälder und Felsen uns hallend umfangen,
Tönt freier und freud'ger der volle Pokal!
Jo, ho! Tralalalala!

Diana ist kundig, die Nacht zu erhellen,
Wie labend am Tage ihr Dunkel uns kühlt.
Den blutigen Wolf und den Eber zu fällen,
Der gierig die grünenden Saaten durchwühlt,
Ist fürstliche Freude, ist männlich Verlangen,
Erstarket die Glieder und würzet das Mahl.
Wenn Wälder und Felsen uns hallend umfangen,
Tönt freier und freud'ger der volle Pokal!
Jo, ho! Tralalalala!

From the opera Der Freischütz By Carl Maria Von Weber

Blowing in the Wind

How many roads must a man walk down
Before they call him a man
How many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand
How many times must the cannonballs fly
Before they are forever banned
The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind
The answer is blowing in the wind

By Bob Dylan

Goddess Africa

Caring About Life on Mars and Neglecting Life on Earth

I wonder why people are crazy about finding any evidence of life on Mars while giving a blind eye to the dangers that threaten life on our Mother Earth.

The House of Africa

The House of Africa is really an outstanding and huge architectural project that was accomplished in the city of El Jem (ancient Thysdrus). It represents a faithful reconstitution of a roman villa that was discovered in the city. The House of Africa bears its name to a beautiful mosaic unique of its kind in the entire Roman world. It represents the Goddess Africa, dispenser of wealth and fertility. I have personally participated in this project among other participants from France, Belgium and Morocco and now it is a touristic destination as well as a case study for many architects, historians and scholars from all over the world. I guess Skinny will find it interesting!

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Coincidence or Random?

A look at the lives of former US Presidents Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy shows two presidents with seven letters in their last names, and elected to office 100 years apart, 1860 and 1960. Both were assassinated on Friday in the presence of their wives, Lincoln in Ford's theater and Kennedy in an automobile made by the Ford motor company. Both assassins went by three names: John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald, with fifteen letters in each complete name. Oswald shot Kennedy from a warehouse and fled to a theater, and Booth shot Lincoln in a theater and fled to a barn (a kind of warehouse). Both succeeding vice-presidents were southern Democrats and former senators named Johnson (Andrew and Lyndon), with thirteen letters in their names and born 100 years apart, 1808 and 1908.

The Skeptic's Dictionary

This is a neat website called : The Skeptic’s Dictionary, which provides definitions, arguments, and essays on subjects supernatural, occult, paranormal, and pseudoscientific.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Ancient Mosaic from Tunisia

The Victory of Neptune

A mosaic from Hadrumete showing the victory of Neptune, who stands on a chariot drawn by water horses.

Middle of the 3rd c. AD(Sousse Museum, Tunisia).

Crescent Moon

Moon Sighting and the Islamic Calendar

Following a suggestion from a friend of mine to further explain the Islamic Calendar which is based on moon sighting that determines the beginning and the end of each month, I have gathered here some information from different sources which I hope will be of some help.

Islamic months begin at sunset on the day of visual sighting of the lunar crescent. Even though visual sighting is necessary to determine the start of a month, it is useful to accurately predict when a crescent (Hilal in Arabic) is likely to be visible in order to produce lunar calendars in advance. Although it is possible to calculate the position of the moon in the sky with high precision, it is often difficult to predict if a crescent will be visible from a particular location.

Visibility depends on a large number of factors including weather condition, the altitude of the moon at sunset, the closeness of the moon to the sun at sunset, the interval between sunset and moonset, atmospheric pollution, the quality of the eyesight of the observer, use of optical aids etc. Since ancient times, many civilizations and astronomers have tried to predict the likelihood of visualizing the new moon using different 'minimum visibility criteria'. However, all these criteria are subject to varying degrees of uncertainty.

The New Moon phase is defined to be the moment when the moon is almost directly between the Earth and the Sun. At this moment the moon's dark surface faces the Earth. The New Moon is therefore completely invisible. The date and time of this invisible New Moon is commonly found in almanacs, newspapers and calendars.

The Islamic month begins with the visible First Crescent and not with the invisible New Moon. The first Crescent is usually sighted in the western sky just after sunset on the first or second evening after the New Moon phase. The sighting depends on the age of the crescent, the time difference between sunset and moonset and the angular distance between the sun and the moon.

We should not confuse the New Moon with the visible thin crescent. We should realise that a crescent following a lunar month of 30 days will look larger and stay longer than the crescent following a month of 29 days.

If the moon is high up in the sky or sets late, it is not proof of the fact that it appeared the previous night. However, if the moon is seen before noon, that day will be treated as the 1st of the month (i.e. it will be assumed that the new moon appeared the previous night). Similarly if there is a halo (crown of light) around it, it goes to show that the new moon appeared the previous night.

Moon sighting is highly observed especially to determine the beginning of the Holy month of Ramadhan. In fact the sighting of the crescent moon at the end of the month of Shaaban signifies the beginning of the holy month of Ramadhan. Eid ul-Fitr is celebrated at the end of Ramadhan following the sighting of the Shawaal crescent on the previous evening.

The thin crescent moon may be seen after sunset once the sky is sufficiently dark. However, false sightings (i.e. honest mistakes) are common since many objects in the sky can be mistaken for the lunar crescent especially if there is a heightened sense of expectation.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

" Hannibal TV", Tunisia's First Private Television Station, Started Broadcasting Today

"Hannibal TV" Tunisia's first private television station,officially started broadcasting today February 13, 2005. Named after the famous Carthaginian Army General Hannibal Barca, this new satellite-station will include entertainment programs, films, TV series and variety of shows involving viewers.

The Wisdom Behind Fasting

When we talk about fasting, Moslems, Christians and Jews share similar beliefs.It's Ramadhan for Moslems, the season of Lent for Christians and Yom Kippur for Jews.Despite specific differences in how the three monotheistic religions observe the customs of fasting I think the objective is one: to purify the human soul of sins and to seek the Grace and Clemence of God. A friend of mine gives more details about the meaning and the wisdom behind fasting for Christians which is worth reading.


But I believe there'll come a day when the lion and the lamb
Will lie down in peace together in Jerusalem

And there'll be no barricades then
There'll be no wire or walls
And we can wash all this blood from our hands
And all this hatred from our souls

And I believe that on that day all the children of Abraham
Will lay down their swords forever in Jerusalem

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Without Title

So are you to my thoughts as food to life,
Or as sweet-season'd showers are to the ground;
And for the peace of you I hold such strife
As 'twixt a miser and his wealth is found.

From Shakespeare's Sonnet LXXV

The Dickensian London

This is a neat game that will guide you through the world of Charles Dickens.

Why Not Just Put Hannibal Barca on the Label?

I came by this news article which let me think that there's always a limit to human freedom. Having the photo of Stalin seated with former U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill as a label of a bottle of wine, is not the end of the world. It was intended to commemorate the Yalta Conference and we have to admit that this photo is part of the history of Mankind and there's no doubt that Stalin was a brutal dictator but I think people will be much more interested in the content of the bottle not its shape or label. So why not Just Put Hannibal Barca instead of Hannibal Lecter and close this story?

Washington, D.C. Boat Show

Today a friend of mine suggested that we go to the Washington, DC, Boat Show which is held at the Convention Center. At first I was not so enthousiastic about the idea but I can say that it was worth it. It is another kind of exhibition which I guess drains a specific kind public. There were fishing boats, dinghies but I was really astonished by those luxurious and fancy yachts where you will find everything from the bedroom to the kitchen, the shower the living room and even a place for barbecue and where you can do your laundry! it's like a floating apartment where those who could afford them can satisfy their private pleasure cruising.

Just Feeling Bored

I am not in the mood for blogging tonight and I just don't know why.

Friday, February 11, 2005

The Author of "Death of A Salesman" has died. He was 89.

Arthur Miller, the famous american playwright and author of "Death of A Salesman" has died today. He was 89.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Islamic New Year

Today Muslims all over the world celebrate the New Year Day of Hijrah (migration) which reminds Muslims of the Hijrah of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) from Mecca to Medina in the year 622 C.E. The Hijri calendar was instituted some time in the reign of Caliph Omar (634-644 C.E.). Islam has a calendar based on the revolutions of the Moon. Thus, it is only 354 days long. Islamic New Year is celebrated on the first day of Muharram, the first Islamic month. Compared to Western calendars, the Islamic year goes 11 days backwards every year. (So, in 2005 on the Western Calendar, the New Year is February 10.).

There are 12 months in the Islamic Calendar:
1-Muharram ["Forbidden" - it is one of the four months during which time it is forbidden to wage war or fight]
2-Safar ["Empty" or "Yellow"]
3-Rabia Awal ["First spring"]
4-Rabia Thani ["Second spring"]
5-Jumaada Awal ["First freezing"]
6-Jumaada Thani ["Second freezing"]
7-Rajab ["To respect" - this is another holy month when fighting is prohibited]
8-Sha'ban ["To spread and distribute"]
9-Ramadan ["Parched thirst" - this is the month of Islamic daytime fasting]
10-Shawwal ["To be light and vigorous"]
11-Dhul-Qi'dah ["The month of rest" - another month when no warfare or fighting is allowed]
12-Dhul-Hijjah ["The month of Hajj" - this is the month of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, again when no warfare or fighting is allowed]

The marking of the beginning of the New Year is usually quiet, unlike New Year's celebrations associated with other calendars. Muslims gather in mosques for special prayers and readings. A major part of the holiday is the telling of the Hijrah, Muhammad's flight from Medina to Mecca, a turning-point in Islamic history that allowed the community to prosper, grow, and develop. Muslims also reflect on the passing of time and their own mortality.

Nowadays, some Muslims also began using this day to send greeting cards and celebrate New Year. In Tunisia, a North African country, people will mark this event by cooking special dishes. Two days before the New Year the main dish will be CousCous with dried beans and smoke-drired lamb meat.On New Year's Day families will cook another dish called Meloukhia, a dark greenish sauce with meat so that the New Year will bring fertility, hope and prosperity.

The Real ID Act

What will be the consequences of this new bill that was approved today by the U.S. House of Representatives on immigrants who are living in the US and who are in the process of regularizing their immigration status?. Well I bet many will find this bill so scary especially for those who are living here for many years but unfortunately on an illegal basis just waiting to regularize their immigration status and I am sure a big number of them have a driving license!

The "Flying Lumberyard"

"I am by nature a perfectionist, and I seem to have trouble allowing anything to go through in a half-perfect condition. So if I made any mistake it was in working too hard and in doing too much of it with my own hands."

-- Howard Hughes describing his way of working and the mistakes made in building the "Spruce Goose."

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Whirling Derviches/Turkey

Quiz on People and Events in the American Civil Rights Movement

Major events and names of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States are familiar to most of us. But nearly every event has a fascinating and often inspiring story behind it. Do you know the answers to the who, what, where, and why behind the headlines of American civil rights history? Take our quiz and find out.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink ;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.

From The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Monday, February 07, 2005

New Novel Shows Hemingway's Lighter Side

For those who are fascinated by the writings of Ernest Hemingway, a new novel by the author of "The Sun Also Rises" is expected to be in bookstores by next September.

Hannibal Barca

Sunday, February 06, 2005

At the End of A Rainbow

At the end of a rainbow,
you´ll find a pot of gold
At the end of a story,
you´ll find it´s all been told.
But our love has a treasure
our hearts always spend
And it has a story without any end

At the end of a river,
the water stops its flow
At the end of a highway,
there´s no place you can go
But just tell me you love
and you are only mine
And our love will go on till the end of time

At the end of a river,
the water stops its flow
At the end of a highway,
there´s no place you can go
But just tell me you love
and you are only mine
And our love will go on till the end of time

Till the end of time...

By Earl Grant

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Roman amphitheater of El Jem

Friday, February 04, 2005

Pride of Carthage

The ancient city of Carthage (what is now known as modern Tunisia) has been a source of inspiration for many historians and novelits. One could recall that after the Second Punic War, when Rome finally defeated Hannibal and established her superiority in the Mediterranean, she still lived in fear of a revival of Carthage. The war party at Rome was headed by Cato, who, when delivering a speech in the senate, no matter what the subject, always ended with the same phrase: "Delenda est Carthago" - Carthage must be destroyed.

This chilling advice was carried out to the letter. After a three-year siege in which many of its citizens starved to death (an early example of effective sanctions) the city was razed to the ground and the surviving inhabitants sold into slavery. To complete the job, the land on which Carthage stood was sown with salt. In this way the whole world got the message of the fate that awaited anyone who refused to acknowledge the superior values of Roman civilization. I've read few books about the history of Carthage and the military feats of Hannibal who led a massive army and crossed the Alps with elephants until he reached Rome, but David A. Durham's new book Pride of Carthage seems to draw an interesting picture of Hannibal the man and the army General. I haven't yet read the book but I've come by an article written by Ron Charles in the Christian Science Monitor which gives a neat critique of the book. Ron Charles indicates that "Durham shows a commander who knows how to motivate his "African furies," how to enlist potential allies by sympathizing with their grievances, and how to demoralize enemies with tactical creativity that's as dazzling as it is deadly. Marching through Northern Africa, Iberia, and myriad Roman colonies, he collects strange, disparate armies by highlighting the contrast between his honor and Rome's perfidy. Again and again, he countermands orders of more expedient generals who would win over opposing cities by skewering all their children. Oh, he's not above murdering recalcitrant populations, but he understands that the battle against Rome must also be a battle for the hearts of her oppressed subjects. (Something for Americans to keep in mind.)".

Thursday, February 03, 2005

American Idol Tops Network Coverage for State of the Union

Last night ratings have shown that the american broadcast TV audience would rather watch freaks sing out of tune than State of the Union Address. In fact one hour of Idol on one network pulled a higher ratings average than 2 hours of State of the Union, on three networks combined!! isn't that amazing well I am myself a fan of American Idol which aires on FOX 5 and despite its commercial aspect I found the program amusing and full of fun I even sometimes find myself sympathizing with those who did in fact have a nice voice but just fail to pass the test only because of their physical appearance.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Are Bloggers Journalists? Do they deserve press protection?

I came by this interesting article in the Christian Science Monitor, international daily newspaper, which raises the issue of legal protection of bloggers.

La Mala Educación/ Bad Education

Bad Education

For the fans of Pedro Almodóvar, this movie is a must. Last friday I just run to the movie theatre to see the film and I was not disappointed at all. There were few people but I think that was due mainly to cold weather that would have probably prevented some from going out. All in all I enjoyed this movie which I guess does at least capture a piece of the human soul. I just wonder why " LaMala Educación" was not awarded a prize at the Mostra Internazionale d'Arte Cinematografica (Venice Intl. Film Festival). It is worthy to say that Gael García Bernal who played the role of a trannie was at his best. (

Tuesday, February 01, 2005


Finally I decided to create this blog which I hope you will find it interesting and rewarding. Indeed I can say this blog came to light thanks to the encouragements of a friend of mine who is a blogger himself. Well this is my first test posting and I am sure much more will be on the way!