‘They sang these words most musically…’


We must set aside our Western preconceptions. A better parallel is non-Western folk traditions, such as those of India and the Middle East. Instrumental practices that derive from ancient Greek traditions still survive in areas of Sardinia and Turkey…

via BBC News – How did ancient Greek music sound?.



There are wingnuts everywhere.


“This is the real face of America,” he said, stopping at a drawing of Lady Liberty with a hooked nose and diabolical smile that was labeled “Satan.”

via Former American Embassy in Iran Attracts Pride and Dust – NYTimes.com.


Understatement of the day


The U.N. inspectors mandate dictates they will only seek to determine whether chemical weapons were used, not who used them. Western diplomats said that limitation undermined the usefulness of the inspectors findings.

via U.N. investigators to exit Syria, chemical probe may take weeks | Reuters.


Tragedy of the Shopping Mall

One of the outer arcades, in 2009. Notice the Barcelona Zlatan Ibrahimović jersey.

One of the outer arcades, in 2009. Notice the Barcelona Zlatan Ibrahimović jersey.

“This is actually about deciding who is supposed to pay for the refurbishing.”

via Report: Grand Bazaar in Istanbul in Danger of Collapse – SPIEGEL ONLINE.

The Grand Bazaar is mostly tedious, but there are numerous gems tucked away in its venerable arches and winding passageways. Worth a visit, especially if you hit the Cemberlitas Hammami afterward, to get all the commerce off you. (Straight out the main southern entrance, and to the left.)

The bazaar made a lasting impression on me — during a visit in 2009 — for two reasons. One was that even the simplest, most inexpensive transactions were prolonged by an absurd tradition of haggling. (“How much is that keychain?” “Three lira (about $1.50).” “O.K.” “For you, though, I will take two. Two lira.” “O.K.” “I cannot take less.” “O.K.”)

And two was the rat that bounded joyfully across my path somewhere in the northwestern quarter. I was unconcerned; the whole place is open air, and I imagined the rat knew right where it was going. But the nearby shopkeepers rallied like townspeople oppressed by a mythical beast. Before I knew it, a mob had cornered the rat with broomsticks and mops. After a few seconds of human and animal protest, an abrupt, agonized squeak marked the end of the drama. The victim was placed in a mop bucket and wheeled away. The crowd melted back into the arcades. I passed through a centuries-old arch.

Links to make you thirsty.


…18 countries, together containing half the worlds people, are now overpumping their underground water tables to the point – known as “peak water” – where they are not replenishing and where harvests are getting smaller each year.

via Global threat to food supply as water wells dry up, warns top environment expert | Global development | The Observer.




There’s an especially bitter irony in Sade’s image as a cheap pornographer: he was not in any recognizable sense creating pornography at all

via The United Sades of America | Hussein Ibish | The Baffler.


This is not the first report of bagpipe fungal pneumonia.


John Shone, 77, a Glaswegian, spent a month in the hospital with pneumonia and lost 21 pounds. After antibacterial treatment failed, a doctor told him he was dying, and then asked about his hobbies. When his son brought in his bagpipes, two types of fungi — rhodotorula and fusarium — were cultured. Mr. Shone acknowledged in a telephone interview that he had not cleaned his bag since being invited 18 months ago to play for a master piper, Donald MacPherson.

via A Warning to Clean Bagpipes – NYTimes.com.


“…this is what comes of empire building.”


Instead, after a decade, a trillion pounds,and more lives than anyone would want to count, we have helped tocreate a place, which sometimes looks like a corrupt and fragiledemocracy, and sometimes like a Shia rogue state – somewhere on ascale between Iran and Pakistan.

via Looking back on Iraq | Rory Stewart MP.


Delicious Central Asian Food for Thought

Ludwig Wittgenstein #3

Ludwig Wittgenstein #3 (Photo credit: Christiaan Tonnis)


Stop me if you’ve heard this one:


An Iranian in New York asks his readers why no one is taking Middle Eastern philosophers seriously.


I mean, that is not what he is asking. But, really, it is.


The question is rather something else: What about other thinkers who operate outside this European philosophical pedigree…


via Can non-Europeans think? – Opinion – Al Jazeera English.


A few clicks away was his answer.


I mean, it is not really the answer he wants or is even looking for. But, really, it is.


Philosopher Bertrand Russel described Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein as “the most perfect example I have ever known of genius as traditionally conceived, passionate, profound, intense, and dominating.”


via Reality is shaped by the words we use.




Get Out Your Kings of Israel Scoresheets

If Puech is correct, the Qeiyafa Ostracon is the only known artifact to reference the first king of the Kingdom of Israel.

via Interpreting the Qeiyafa Ostracon as a Narrative of the Birth of the Kingdom of Israel – Bible History Daily.