Thursday, December 27, 2007

Benazir Bhutto 1953-2007

Benazier Bhutto is dead. Killed by a suicide bomb. The Ex-Premier of Pakistan, who had been in exile for eight years, was getting ready to enter the political run again coming January Benazir Bhutto was killed today. I'm stunned.

What's going to happen to Pakistan, what's going to happen to that part of the world, what does it mean for our world?

On Christmas day we saw the movie Charlie Wilson's War, with the always amazing Tom Hanks in the title role.
As the story (film script) goes, socialite Joanne Herring asked her some time lover East-Texas CongressmanCharlie Wilson to help the Pakistani get the communists out of Afghanistan, and stop the Soviet attacks on the villagers.
At some point in the movie eye-lash-curling and batting, but oh so influential Joanne Herring, portrayed by Julia Roberts, introduces the Pakistani president General Zia ul-Haq (who asked for America's help with the refugees from Afghanistan who flooded the borders of his country —the Soviets had to be stopped bombing the villages) to a room filled with Houstonian upper crust saying: "President Zia did not kill Bhutto."
This introduction too blunt to even Charlie's taste, for a moment made me think: What Bhutto, what happened? Realizing the moment on the screen showed historical fiction, Herring meant Benezir Bhutto's father, the executed premier Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

We left the movie theater in silence, overcome by the effect of war scenes plucked from actual footage, from the news, and even the so-so scenes recreated for the movie. We were moved by the images we saw of Afghan villages torpedoed by Soviet pilots, but most of all by Charley Wilson's powerlessness when he asked the Government for money to rebuild in Afghanistan what the Soviets had ruined.

"Half the population is under fourteen," he said. They need schools, they need…"

What those fourteen-year-olds were left with however, were the arms, brought into Afghanistan on the backs of mules, by way of Pakistan… What happened with the arms in the hands of youth lead by an influential leader, is known by now.

In real life Ex-Premier Benazir Bhutto was killed today.
I can't help but think that with Charlie Wilson's war, Hollywood for once brought real life a little closer to home, even before the fact. Scary.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Funeria Gallery

Years ago I suggested writing about Funeria to an art editor. He thought his paper's readership would think such an article morbid…
But, the times have changed, and The New York Times is not the only publication that covered Funeria.
Meanwhile the Funeria gallery no longer exists as virtual gallery only, but has an In Real Life location.
Funeria's listing of artists working on funeral pieces is impressive.

Art Honors Life® | The Gallery at FUNERIA
2860 Bowen Street | No. 1
Graton, California 95444
Toll Free (US) 888 829 1966 or 707 829 1966

Tot Zover - New Funeral Museum in Amsterdam

The announcement on the poster reads: Open due to circumstances…

Starting on Thursday the 19th of December, you can add another place to visit on the long list of museums in Amsterdam.
Tot Zover - To Here and No Further, is the long awaited home of Dutch funeral history, where artifacts, customs and rituals will be on display and explained.

And no, this won't be a morbid destination.

Visitors of the museum may expect all facets of funeral history as well as present day approaches to be presented in an exiting, modern manner. Four themes: Rituals, the body, mourning and remembrance are presented in such a way, that even school children can enjoy a trip to this exceptional funeral home.

At the moment the text on the web site is only in Dutch, that will undoubtedly change in the future.
That a † is used instead of a -t- to spell the name of the museum †o† Dusver on its web site, does seem to suggest Christian exclusivity, although this may not be the case.

Tuesdays - Sundays 11:00 a.m – 5:00 p.m. (starting December 20, 2007).
The museum is closed Januari 1, April 30, and December 25.
On December 26 the museum is open from 1:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Café Roosenburgh is open every day from 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Adults € 5.50
Children - 12 free
Children 13-18 €2.00
65+/CJP/Stadspas (City Pass) €4.50
Groups (12 and up) €4.50 p/p
Schools/ student groups (incl. leader) €2.00 p/p
With Museumkaart (Museum Card) free

The Dutch Funeral Museum Tot Zover is located at the Cemetery, Crematorium and Memorial Park De Nieuwe Ooster.

Nederlands Uitvaart Museum Tot Zover
Kruislaan 124
1097 GA Amsterdam
phone: 020-6940482

How to get there (check the route, you may not need to go to the station, same is true for the bus lines below):
From Centraal Station:
Tram #9; get off at Kruislaan stop.

From Amstelstation:
Bus #40 (directions Muiderpoort Station), Bus #136 (Direction Diemen), Bus #152 (directions Almere ), or Bus #157 (direction Almere); get off at Kruislaan stop.

From Muiderpoort Station:
Bus #41 (direction Gaasperplas); get off at Kruislaan stop.

By car - Take Ring (Beltway) Amsterdam A10, exit S113, direction Watergraafsmeer, after ± 1 km., turn left at stoplights (Kruislaan), after 100 meters the entrance to De Nieuwe Ooster will be on your left.

Parking -Pay lot across the street from De Nieuwe Ooster.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Give Free Rice

Hey, all you word smiths, some time at your hands? Work on your vocabulary and earn FREE RICE for hungry people all over the world.