Somalia, Scholarship, and Stone

YouTube: K'naan, "Somalia"

First of all: If you haven’t heard K’Naan, then stop whatever you’re doing and go listen. Superb hip-hop from Somalia, with references to John Lennon and Gandhi and a special appearance from Chubb Rock. (His album Troubadour is just $6.00 on Amazon.) I found out recently that his song “Wavin’ Flag” has been chosen as the theme song of the 2010 World Cup. (I prefer the album version, but whatever.)

I’ve been meaning to post this piece from Johann Hari about Somali pirates. For a while we heard a lot about Navy SEALS popping heads, but it’s important for us to know the background about that sort of conflict.

Yes: nuclear waste. As soon as the government was gone, mysterious European ships started appearing off the coast of Somalia, dumping vast barrels into the ocean. The coastal population began to sicken. At first they suffered strange rashes, nausea and malformed babies. Then, after the 2005 tsunami, hundreds of the dumped and leaking barrels washed up on shore. People began to suffer from radiation sickness, and more than 300 died. Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the UN envoy to Somalia, tells me: “Somebody is dumping nuclear material here. There is also lead, and heavy metals such as cadmium and mercury – you name it.”

Comics

I recently bought a poster of this glorious comic from TheOatmeal. And yet the students seem unimpressed — mostly because they haven’t read it. Vomiting pandas!

Also be sure to check out these three superb xkcd comics.

TimeWaster™

Thanks to Hannah T for linking us to Ivoryboy, who made some nifty “find the differences” games, as well as a shoot-em-up that’s worth a look.

Today I’m listening to: K’Naan!

Lebowski, Leaders, Love, Laughter, and Lack of Sleep

YouTube Link: John Turturro on Being Jesus

For the past six months, I’ve had some wicked bouts of insomnia. Let me tell you, people — it’s not as much fun as Fight Club makes it look. I was up at 4:00 AM and can’t get back to sleep. I lie there, staring at the darkness, begging for sleep but getting nowhere. I try listening to stuff on the iPod — nothing. I try meditating — nothing. So here I am, home sick from school with a wicked headache. Bleah.

Your Name’s Lebowski, Lebowski

Or should I say “Thy name is Lebowski”? Thanks to DVG for linking us to Two Gentlemen of Lebowski, a Shakespeare-ian retelling of The Big Lebowski, the second-best film the Coen Brothers ever made. And in case you missed the fact that my images here usually link to cool stuff, check out the video of John Turturro discussing his character in that movie.

Love is for Losers

Don’t ask me why I was reading the New York Times business section, but I literally LOLed in class when I came upon this gem of an interview with corporate dorkface George Cloutier:

Q. You say, “Love your business more than your family.” What does your wife think of that?

A. Well, she loves me, but I’m not sure she would always agree with that. I’m not saying don’t love your family. But if you don’t love your business as much as your family, your probability of success is very much lower. Sometimes you just have to put the business ahead of family considerations.

Q. How many times have you been married?

A. This is my third marriage. But you have to look at it this way — it’s over 63 years. I’ve had a lot of spacing between them.

TPCQ: “I’ll keep it short and sweet. Family, religion, friendship: these are the three demons you must slay if you wish to succeed in business.” (Look, I even found the audio!)

There’s more! Keep reading! →