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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Thinking about Iran

A long time ago I spent 4 months in Iran. I remember walking so much and so far every day on the cobbled sidewalks that my arches fell. I remember when they took an X-ray of my foot my brother in law said in the corner of the photo, in Farsi, was written "foreigner". I remember the gold bazaars, where stalls and booths were set up in long aisles. My American boyfriend was happily buying chunks of gold and I bought a golden Turkish wedding ring. I loved taking it apart and putting it back together again. I remember going to restaurants and ordering beer; "obi joe", and seeing the disapproval on the faces of the other customers. Hitch hiking to the Caspian Sea. Singing with my guitar on the top of a car in the desert to hundreds of people who emerged from the sands. Spending two days with a small movie company watching them film. Smoking tarioc. Losing my American boyfriend. Learning phrases in Farsi in the park with the help of Iranian students. Watching Nixon ride down the avenue with the Shaw in a fleet of cars. Seeing posters of men hanged for some political reason. Buying flat loaves of hot bread called "noon" on the street in the morning. Drinking tiny cups of tea with a sugar cube between my teeth on the sidewalk. Jumping over the jube. Watching children hammering metal plates with their fathers. Crying over women and children begging. Listening to people recite poetry for me in the park. Trying to wear a chedorah correctly. Sweating and panting at night in the terrible heat. Staring at the red and blue lights inside the giant fountains of water. Taking taxi's down Abu Rayhan and shouting "dasta chap dasta chap!!!" to the driver. Learning how to walk across the crazy traffic on Abu Rayhan. "Pretend you do not see any cars coming. Step out and look the other way as you cross. They will stop." Visiting middle class families who had layers and layers of carpets in their homes. Visiting rich Americans who worked in the oil industry who had indoor swimming pools and teams of servants. Watching my brother in law tending his tiny patch of grass in the enclosed space behind his house. Going to Gom, the extremely religious city of gold, and not seeing a single human being because they all remained hidden while we were there. Going out with Ali, an artist at the Iran Journal newspaper, who had a vague understanding of the English language and often wrote,"make love not war" on his drawings. Not understanding the enormous differences between American and Iranian cultures. Falling in love with everyone. Wanting to stay forever. Not being allowed to renew my visa. Getting on the wrong plane and ending up in Syria. Never knowing what happened to Ali. Wishing for decades that I could return. And still cooking rice, chelo, the way I learned to in Iran.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

House of Stone Version 10 point 8

I am always cheered by the fact that no matter if I write about Abraham Joshua Heschel, or the Holy Rabbi of Brooklyn, or Einstein, or my mother Ruth Stone, or Korean Drama's and British actors, someone across the world in Israel checks in to see my blog. Maybe, I think, maybe it is my uncle, my fathers brother who lives there. But he only reads the Talmud and the Torah so I don't think it could be.  Anyway, one person in Israel, one person in China, one person in the US, and my little crowd in Poland. That is a cozy group, I think. An odd but cozy group. And in these High Holy Days, what more could one hope for? I am cheered by a mass mailing from a Rabbi in Chabad who wrote that he hoped we would all be sealed in the Book of Life.
    Tonight I am watching "Emperor", with Matthew Fox, who was in LOST. It starts out with a little bow to Lost by showing Matthew Fox in a forest of Bamboo, just like the beginning of Lost, only he is smiling and standing up rather than lying flat on his back having fallen out of a plane. I am only a half hour in, but I had to pause it because my son called me from Oregon and we ended up talking all night. He showed me how to Google Video Chat and how to add family to my google family circle. He showed me how to find his original music on SoundCloud. It was all very illuminating. Although I would rather have my family in a real circle around me, it is the best one can hope for in these digital times. I was thinking how these days people don't have piano's or books or even photo albums in their livingrooms. They have Itunes, or kindle or SoundCloud. The have SnapFish or Iphoto. Matter is disappearing and our world becomes more and more internal and ethereal. We have our online family circle. We have our online music and pictures and relationships. Our stores are online. Almost everything is neatly organized in an invisible area, called digital storage space. If it keep going as it is going, I think the next step is for us to move in to the computer completely. We will end up living in Cloud. And aren't we almost there anyway? Our relationships are more and more invisible. Perhaps we will drift to a dimension where slipping inside the computer will be possible. Perhaps we are already in it. Perhaps we are being led to this awareness, carefully but briskly being led down the rosy path to acceptance that it is, and has always been, all virtual.
Even so, May you have a sweet and uplifting year. May you be sealed in the Book of Life. May you return if you wish, or retire from the wheel if you choose, or float across all 10 dimensions on the very latest version of your Cloud.
     Now I am going back to watch the sad movie Emperor, about Japan after World War 2. I feel if Sugihara was so Holy as to save so many in Lithuania when no one else was helping, the Japanese must have have had a great deal of goodness in them during that wicked heartless era. Surely Sugihara and his children and whole family are sealed forever in the Book of LIFE. May we all be so honorable and brave.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

HOUSE OF STONE Best Actor in the World Awards

Protect the Boss was cute, ended cute, overall cute rating 8. The father was a fantastic actor. He really was good. In fact, the father and the grandmother stole the show. And the poor little rich girl too. She was great. But now it is finished. I tried watching Flower Shop Boy or whatever for the 3rd time and I still HATE it, too bad, cause I loved the main guy in it when he was Death in 49 Days. 49 Days is what started this whole obsession. So I was trying for the 3rd time to wade through the Flower Shop series, but I just couldn't do it. One has the feeling that probably buried in there are some great moments, but the idea of a teacher and a student is kind of weird to begin with. And its about high school which is another turn off for an ancient alien relic such as I am.
God, can I SAY that? Why not? Most of my readership is Polish, believe it or not, and I am sure over in Poland they don't mind what I say. If it is not too personal a question though, WHY is my blog read in Poland? I don't mean to say I am a big hit there, just that more people in Poland read my blog than anywhere else in the world. Which, despite the modest numbers, means a lot. Is it because I wrote about Einstein so much? Or Rebbe's? I just am not sure. My daughter's boyfriend is half Polish. But what else? Surely there are no Koreans living in Poland. I am always hoping a Korean or Polish person will read my blog and comment. Actually I am always hoping anyone will comment. But now I sound like I am begging..... je song hamida. ("I'm sorry" in Korean)
     We were chatting about Korean Dramas. I finished Protect the Boss and was surfing for a new series to watch. I have lots of Korean movies lined up but I am too hooked on the series format to watch something that only goes on for an hour or two... Although I did like Castaway on the Moon just because the nutty girl was so wonderful.  Oh did I tell you I watched Romantic Island? I love that Lee Sun Kyun. Why, if I can drift a bit here, does he change his name so often? He is hard to locate on Netflix and on the web because he changed his name several times through out his career. Or maybe people just misspell it. I probably misspelled it here. Anyway, I gave him the "House of Stone Best Most Adorable Actor Award" for this year. It had previously gone to Bill Nighy for anything and everything he has ever done and will do in the future. Before Bill Nighy the House of Stone Award went to the actor who played Jodah Akbar (which I am also probably misspelling). That movie changed my life. Not actually, but internally. I began to buy silk chiffon fabric and hang it in doorways, I listened to Sufi music all day, especially that one song at his wedding where the Sufi's swirl and Johdah Akbar begins to swirl too and he sees God, or Allah or Hashem or whatever name you prefer, and the silk chiffon around the females tent swirls and blows in the wind. It was a most moving cinematic masterpiece. Like the Life of Pi. That was also one of the GREATS. But who knows what lies ahead? My life has paused and the television screen flickers on, and on, and on. Not only am I now a simple watcher, but my brain has acclimated to it's new function and offers little in the way of thought or comfort. It forgets words. It fails to recall books we read. It doesn't like to be awakened except when I say, "Want some Lime Tostitoes?" to which it replys, "Sure! Go get some!" or when I ask, "Are you tired? Shall we turn off episode 4 and go to bed?" and it will say, "Ok. Let us retire."
     We were talking about Korean Dramas. I tried one about a time traveling guy called,  Operation Proposal and after 1 and a half episodes I was not getting in to it just because it was about teenagers, and the main guy in it looked 14 at the most. Which is not to say it was bad or boring. It was just for a younger audience I think.
     I am now in episode 3 of Heartstrings and I really like it. I really like the leading actress, Park Shin Lee.  I also really like Strawberry Ritter Chocolate bars. Do you know Ritter Candy makes lots of different chocolate bars, most of them are available almost anywhere, except the one I like. The strawberry chocolate bar is available at a few grocery stores in Brooklyn and was for sale last December in Target of all places, but is otherwise unavailable on the planet. It's the best chocolate bar I've ever had. It's better than Godiva, better than Lake Champlain chocolates, better than the weird modern chocolate made with things like pepper and chili and shoe leather. God the things chocolateers come up with! Now that is a word I think is perhaps not correct. Chocolateers? People who make chocolate are called.....not volunteers. Not rotisseries. Not confectioners. Well, anyway, my brain took the bag of lime Tostitoes and disappeared upstairs. I think it may have gone to bed without me. It likes to fall asleep watching Richard Dreyfus movies on the old VCR. Sometimes it talks in it's sleep. It says, "that was a second encounter!" It says, "I can't be a World Citizen! I'm not FROM this solar system." It mumbles. Last night though, when I had set the alarm and was turning off the light, I said, "Are you still awake?" and my brain whispered, "dayyy" which means "yes" in Korean. Which means it may actually be learning something from all this passivity.