Sunday, March 29, 2009

From the Archives...

Lauren, Veronica, Aimee
Excerpted from the 'parentals lunch' at Safa's - Safa's parents were in town, and so was my mom. Rad day - truly.

When In Rome...

So when I was in Paris, this song was huge! ...well, the original was. And since it was one of the few things I could understand - it being in English - I kind of got in to it. Plus, it's a pretty catchy song.
These guys, Los Colorados, cover Katy Perry's "Hot'n'Cold" - to pretty amazing effect, actually.
I feel that I should tell you that there are a grip of Russians in Haifa. To the point that my Hebrew accent (affected, or otherwise) sounds more Russian than anything. So yeah, I feel like this is a personalized shout out.
*Big shout out to Samimi-Extremie for the head's up*

Saturday, March 28, 2009


Creative License...

Each year, the fine folks at MENSA rub their overactive brain cells together and come up with a fun set of vocabulary words - the idea is that they change one letter in an established word and then define this new word.
One of the best is Sarchasm: The giant gulf (chasm) between what is said and the person who doesn't get it.
In case you haven't been paying attention, I love words - so these little exercises in definition really resonate with me, and sometimes make me feel creative.... The following is excerpted from an email thread with my friend Abi.

So Thursday’s W.O.D. (word of the day) was propinquity:

Word of the Day for Thursday, March 26, 2009
propinquity \pruh-PING-kwih-tee\, noun:
1. Nearness in place; proximity.
2. Nearness in time.
3. Nearness of relation; kinship.

Propinquity derives from Latin propinquitas, from propinquus, near, neighboring, from prope, near.

Which leads me create my own Mensa word:
Gropinquity: \groh-PING-kwih-tee\, verb
1. Feel coping that which is near to hand.
2. Taking advantage of close quarters/a crowded room to exercise an otherwise inappropriate display of public affection.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Holy Dance Party, Batman!

Do you remember going dancing with your friends - and it wasn't about the scene or who you would 'meet' - but strictly about the dancing? Well... I do. I co-hosted such a one last weekend. And let me tell you, friends - it was gl-gl-glorious!

Here are some pictures, and etc. Enjoy - and remember, we were completely committed to the joy of dancing.
Will: aka Mr. Roboto
Julia & Abi
And The Beat Goes On...
DJ Shamim: so hot we had to put him in the kitchen
Speaking of hot...
Joe & Mona: Salsa Caliente
Aimee & Nava: 2/3 of the 'co-hosts'
But you can call us the 'Mostesses'
You know the dance party is in full effect when you need a little balcony break - elevated conversation style.
Lauren, Nava, Aimee
Dancing Machines...
Jean-Pierre (& Aimee): the missing piece to the co-host puzzle
I hope, for your sakes, that you find something you like to do as well I like to dance - and do it with complete and undivided joy.

Monday, March 23, 2009

I Love Love...

Notte Sento (English subtitles) from napdan on Vimeo.

I found this short film (composed entirely of still photos - over 4500!) over on Le Love. Enjoy.
Seriously. You'll thank me later.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Happy Naw Ruz!

Each year on 21 March, Bahá'ís all over the world celebrate Naw Ruz - which literally means 'new day' in Persian. This is a time to reflect on the previous year and to evaluate ways we can continue to mature and progress spiritually.
This is also an important time of year for Persians who are not Bahá'í; they also celebrate the vernal equinox as a time of rebirth and renewal.

Remember how I just suggested that today be the day that we decide that peace is our only option? know you want to - everyone's doing it.
To quote my girl Safa - Eid-i-Shomah Mo-Barack Obama.

...Spoiler Alert!

Some people believe that the only answer for violence is more violence.

'Abdu’l-Bahá, son of Bahá'u'lláh, the Prophet Founder of the Bahá'í Faith, has said "There is nothing so heart-breaking and terrible as an outburst of human savagery!" He continues, "I charge you all that each one of you concentrate all the thoughts of your heart on love and unity. When a thought of war comes, oppose it by a stronger thought of peace. A thought of hatred must be destroyed by a more powerful thought of love. Thoughts of war bring destruction to all harmony, well-being, restfulness and content.
Thoughts of love are constructive of brotherhood, peace, friendship, and happiness.
Nothing is impossible to the Divine Benevolence of God.
If you desire with all your heart, friendship with every race on earth, your thought, spiritual and positive, will spread; it will become the desire of others, growing stronger and stronger, until it reaches the minds of all men."

Finally, He tells us that peace and unity "will, in very truth, take place in this world, when every child of God realizes that they are leaves of one tree, flowers in one garden, drops in one ocean, and sons and daughters of one Father, whose name is love!"

As you no doubt are aware, I have been living in Haifa, Israel for almost 2 years. I'm also pretty sure that (unless you've been living in a cave - but then anything is possible) you know that, while it may at times seem to be the exception in Israel, Haifa is a city where Jews and Arabs live in relative peace and calm. In fact, when seeming differences between the 2 communities arise here - it is usually because Jews and Arabs from other parts of Israel come in to the Haifa area and try to incite violence and ill-will here.

This happened last night.

A car, reported to have been stolen in Jerusalem, was parked at a local mall - where I was watching a movie with some friends. Thank God (truly) that the bomb failed.

Some civilians noticed something off in a car parked near the mall, and heard a small explosion - part of the bomb had detonated prematurely, and the rest failed altogether. So, instead of exiting the movie to find that 100kg of explosives and metal ball bearings had killed untold people, I exited to find the mall a little less crowded than usual - and a calm and efficient evacuation in process. So calm and efficient, in fact, that no one really knew what was going on. Certainly not yours truly.

Stranger and more miraculous things have happened than everyone waking up one day and deciding to seek true fellowship and unity with their neighbor - bombs have failed, 3 friends out to enjoy a movie on the evening of Naw Ruz (Bahá'í New Year) have gotten home safely, and woken up the next day to continue in their service to humanity and give thanks to God.

Let's let tomorrow be that 'one day' where we wake up and decide that peace is our option. Our only option.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

France: Part 1,000,005

So I said that I'd tell you what I got up to in le France - and here we are... a month later, and still digesting the left over goodness of my vacation.

In addition to attending a really beautiful wedding in Orleans (Old, not New) - I spent a couple of days in Paris - 1 full day at the Louvre (not really enough time to see everything), a half day at the Musee de Orsay (definitely not enough time - but planes will be planes, and I really need to catch this one....)

But the coolest thing I did in Paris was to join some local Bahá'ís - who have, themselves, joined Bahá'ís all over the world - in talking about the Bahá'í Faith and the spiritual destiny of humankind.

It's interesting to consider the impact that this spiritual destiny has on the material well being of humanity. Bahá'u'lláh has said that "The well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established." Consider, then, that the purpose of the religion is God is no less than the unification of all the peoples of the world....

Don't we then owe it to ourselves to determine (for ourselves) if this peace and unity is possible? And if it is possible - shouldn't we work and try to make it happen by any means available?
Yeah, that's what I think, too.

Which brings me back to my time in Paris with the local Bahá'ís. Working to establish peace with the tools available.

Let's Go See This, K?

...because it looks amazing.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

But when I wasn't cold - I was having the best of time! As is evidenced by this photo from the wedding that proved the impetus for my grand adventure!
Aimee, Martha, Justine
A big shout out - and hearty congratulations - to Parham and Yasmine Lotfi!
*More on what I did to distract myself from the cold coming soon!

By Any Other Name...

Weather Vane, Weather Vein, Weather Vain. Thus began my Parisian adventure. Why, you may rightfully ask, would Randy be getting face time on the patiently awaited (thanks, btw) deets on the Paris leg of my vacation? Especially when my vanity factor (in the alternate universe where I'm a super hero and have a trading card) hovers somewhere closer to 10 than it probably should...? Well, my grand European vacation has, as per of course, a back story.

About 2-3 weeks before I left (if you're doing your math, this means January), I was enjoying lunch out with the girls and waxing excited on my pending vacation. On the bus ride home, I began to shiver (as I'm wont to do). The girls, God bless them, asked - in their rightful concern - what exactly I planned to do/wear in London and France. When I told them that I was wearing about the warmest clothes I owned, they banded together and got me the necessary items I would need to ensure that I returned to Haifa with all of my fingers and toes intact....
Further background - if such a thing is needed? I'm from Southern California (well, mostly), and cold for me is somewhere around 60 F (a cool 15.55 C, thank you very much).
So I spent the next week or so accumulating warm clothes (most thankfully so) - but as it was a medley of clothes from various sources, I sort of spent my vacation - particularly my time in France - looking like an Olsen twin, circa 2007 - with an added layer (seriously) of Randy from A Christmas Story. And freezing, regardless. Because while I brought considerable good luck London's way, it was snowing when I got to Paris.
Le sigh.
What I would have wanted to look like:

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I'm Wilde About... Company of Thieves

Okay, so your girl over at Black*Eiffel (seriously, go check it out) is 2 for 2 right now! Typically I would try harder to not post so many videos all in a row - but I can't help it. They're too rad.

This one is from Company of Thieves "Oscar Wilde".

...And I'm Feeling Good.

I can't claim to be her greatest fan, but I have a special place in my heart for Nina Simone - she is so amazingly talented. And speaking of talented (!) this video - found via Black*Eiffel - is like a typographical (is that even a word?) exploration of the song!

Feeling Good, Nina Simone
by mrfnk

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

As If I Weren't Enamo(u)red Enough...

So you're probably aware that I'm a Bahá’í, service at the Bahá’í World Centre is the reason I'm in Israel, afterall. What you may not know is that since the Revelation of the Bahá’í Faith in modern day Iran, Bahá’ís have been continually persecuted by religious and political leaders in that country.
As of today, seven Iranian Bahá’ís, who work to oversee the well-being of the Bahá’í community in Iran (which, at 300,000, represents the largest religious minority in Iran), have been in Tehran's infamous Evin Prison for nearly 9 months.
What, then, do the following people have in common? Three people from diverse backgrounds, dwelling on three separate continents....
Shirin Ebadi:
Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003 for
"her significant and pioneering efforts for democracy and human rights, especially women's, children's, and refugee rights." (wikipedia)
Rainn Wilson:
Emmy Nominate & SAG Award winning actor

Omid Djalili:
Comedian, Film & Stage Actor
They are each doing what they do to support and defend the heavily persecuted Baha’i community of Iran. To start, even though she has had no access to her clients, Shirin Ebadi - Iran's first Nobel Prize winner - has taken on the case of these seven Baha’is who have been imprisoned for so long.

Last week while I was still reeling from my fantastic vacation and all around love of all things London (notes on Paris coming soon - pinky swear!), several well known Brittish comedians were waxing productive with their fame and joined "with the governments, human rights organisations and people of goodwill throughout the world who have so far raised their voices calling for a fair trial, if not the complete release of the Baha’i leaders in Iran". I strongly encourage you to read the original in the Times Online. may also like what Rainn Wilson, of The Office fame (amongst other things), contributed to CNN on this topic.

It's time to learn, friends - we owe it to too many people to not turn a blind eye when we see rampant persecutions....
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