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Sunday, 05 October 2008
Oxted graffiti: by any means necessary

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The acronym BAMM stands for By Any Means Necessary. In the United States this could refer to an organisation committed to protecting affirmative action legislation. It could also be a food product, or the name of a marketing team.

Searching via a popular web search engine for the words Oxted BAMN took me to a Surrey police anti-crime website (that offers £500 rewards for information about graffiti offenders). Unfortunately the page itself has been updated and no longer refers to the “recent spate of BAMN graffiti tags in Oxted”.

If anyone what floats the boat of these taggers, do let me know.

Meanwhile, under the heading You Betcha, Get out Those Snorkels, *Wink, Juan Cole makes an amusing/frightening observation:

The bad news is that 250 million years ago, global warming almost killed the planet.

Through the darkest days, the planet was a barren wasteland. Ocean circulation, so vital to our modern climate, had shut off. Huge algal blooms sucked the seas dry of oxygen. Poisonous hydrogen sulfide built up to lethal concentrations in the water and may have even been belched into the atmosphere, suffocating organisms on shore.

The good news is that the 160 feet along the shoreline where the waves come in aerated the water and created a narrow band where crustaceans and other forms of life could survive until the planet cooled down again.

So if humans do unalterably again poison the planet by digging oil and coal up out of the ground and pumping carbon dioxide into our atmosphere, apparently it will be we who get boiled and the lobsters that laze about all day snapping their pincers.

Posted by bigblue on 05/10/2008 at 05:48 PM
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Fuerst Leopold von Dessau

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This is apparently a statue of Leopold I, Prince of Anhalt-Dessau, a minor field commander and a great-grandson of William of Orange on his mother’s side of the family. The statue can be found in Wilhelmsplatz in Berlin. His Wikipedia entry is overly sentimental dross, which reads like it was copied straight out of a 19th Century history book:

From his earliest youth he was devoted to the profession of arms, for which he educated himself physically and mentally. He became colonel of a Prussian regiment in 1693, and in the same year his father’s death placed him at the head of his own principality; thereafter, during the whole of his long life, he performed the duties of a sovereign prince and a Prussian officer.

His first campaign was that of 1695 in the Netherlands, in which he was present at the Siege of Namur. He remained in the field to the end of the war of 1697, the affairs of the principality being managed chiefly by his mother, the Dowager Princess Henriette Katharina (in fact, she acted as regent since the death of his father until he reached adulthood in that year, but continue in charge of the government of Anhalt-Dessau during some time after his majority).

If he was more important someone might have taken a bit more care over the entry. The entry, which is rated “start class” (presumably this equates to “not very high quality”) has the following commentary on his final military campaign:

Early in that year his wife died. He was now over seventy, but his last campaign was destined to be the best of his long career. A combined effort of the Austrians and Saxons to retrieve the disasters of the summer by a winter campaign towards Berlin itself led to a hurried concentration of the Prussians. Frederick from Silesia checked the Austrian main army and hastened towards Dresden. But before he had arrived, Leopold, no longer in observation, had decided the war by his overwhelming victory over Saxons at Kesselsdorf on December 14, 1745. It was his habit to pray before battle, for he was a devout Lutheran. On this last field his words were, “O Lord God, let me not be disgraced in my old days. Or if Thou wilt not help me, do not help these scoundrels, but leave us to try it ourselves.” With this great victory Leopold’s career ended. He retired from active service, and the short remainder of his life was spent at Dessau.

Pass the sick bag.

Posted by bigblue on 05/10/2008 at 08:58 AM
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Saturday, 04 October 2008
Cat in shape of mouse

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We know that cats and humans have a long relationship. Less well known were our relationships with mice.

Posted by bigblue on 04/10/2008 at 08:44 AM
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Friday, 03 October 2008
Palintology

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Palintology is the study of that period of earth history when dinosaurs and humans coexisted, approximately 4,000 years ago (or 2,000 years after the earth was created). I personally think this idea is wack, and that when my invisible buddy created the world 6,000 years ago he hid the bones all over the world so that we could discover them. Some people think he had a heavenly dog, a kind of cosmic golden retriever, to help him bury them. I’m not sure. I think it’s more likely that he just buried them through divine will.

The above photograph is of a stairwell, this time in Berlin.

Posted by bigblue on 03/10/2008 at 09:45 PM
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Thursday, 02 October 2008
At the Checkpoint

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Found plastered on the wall at Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin, an exhibition of photographs by the Palestinian photographer Khaled Jarrar.

Khaled Jarrar was born in 1976, and completed his studies in interior design at Palestine Polytechnic University in 1996. He entered the world of photography in 2003, and currently studies at the International Academy of Art - Palestine. His art exhibits include At the Checkpoint (2007).

In her review of the original exhibition at the Academy, Maria Khoury wrote:

As I walked down to leave the exquisite steps of the Academy of Art at the Aref Al Aref House, I could not help but notice little three year old Mohammad holding a huge professional camera, actually, almost bigger than he could handle and snapping away pictures of anything in site while the flash blinded me as I admired him in the darkness. All of a sudden I felt shy he was taking photos of my old, out of style, boots! His dad helped him hold the camera up because it was about to weigh him down. So, is Mohammad part of the artists of tomorrow whom the International Academy of Art is seeking to educate starting this September 2007? We are having an open application period right now but you must have passed Tawjihi!

This adorable child joined his mother Maysaa while his dad, Khaled Jarrar exhibited the telling photos of the Hawara checkpoint in Nablus.

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Khaled found people very excited about the idea of photos revealing the checkpoint phenomenon. The most important aspect for him is to convey the message of suffering of Palestinian people, old and young. Khaled’s aim is to display this daily suffering caused by soldiers and from the conditions of the checkpoints and to convey there is no security reason for this pain and torment. This is pure occupation reflected in every day life.

Khaled Jarrar began to think of exhibiting the photos at a gallery when so many people emailed him and communicated with him that they wish to see the photos but could not come to the Hawara checkpoint where he initially exhibited the photos in early February. He began to think how to make the photos more reachable for people. Thus Khaled Jarrar began his big dream to exhibit his photos in as many locations as possible having invitations from Spain, France, not to mention March 6th the exhibition will go to Birzeit and March 17th at the Qalandia checkpoint.

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Although as a graphic artist the idea of taking photos was a hobby, Khaled Jarrar began to think of taking professional photos of the Hawara checkpoint after continually having to spend over three hours each time he visited his sister in Nablus. “I love taking pictures,” says Khaled. “Sometimes the pictures are of horses, nature, birds but crossing Hawara checkpoint and seeing how soldiers make life miserable for old people, I started to take pictures one by one.” A professional photojournalist, Abbas Moumany, helped Khaled decide which photos to select for the Checkpoint Photo Exhibition.

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According to Khaled Jarrar, who grew up in Jenin, the only difference between exhibiting the photos at the International Academy of Art Palestine and the Hawara checkpoint is that at the Academy, “people see the tragedy inside the pictures only but in Hawara you see the tragedy in front of you.” The participant feedback during the opening was very positive, very exciting and some participants wrote that the photos were: “dramatic, sensitive, beautiful” Accused of being political by possible sponsors, Khaled said he thought his photos were not political at all but a mere reflection of how we live.

I have posted previously about the relationship between the Berlin wall and other walls of separation. I was surprised that Khaled says that his photographs are not political, when they demonstrate the politicisation of everyday life for ordinary people in Palestine.

Posted by bigblue on 02/10/2008 at 10:52 PM
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Wednesday, 01 October 2008
White elephants show signs of life

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Yesterday and today these white elephant “information signs” sprung into life around the Surrey District of Tandridge. Since being installed a few years ago (presumably at considerable expense to local taxpayers) they have been used twice. The first was to advise that the A217 in Burg Heath was closed for days due to a burst water main. This time it advises motorists that the A22 at Blindly Heath is closed due to a burst water main. Do you spot the pattern? This is turning into the Southern Water information and disruption board!

Posted by bigblue on 01/10/2008 at 09:16 AM
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