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Shoosh Square, Tehran

by @ 6:39 pm
Filed under: social — Tags: ,

When I was a kid growing up in Tehran, one of the favorite metaphors for an untidy place was to compare it to the Shoosh square in southern Tehran. Actually at one time Shoosh square and street were merely downtown areas but the city had sprawled north leaving the Shoosh area in the south, relatively speaking.

So I always imagined the Shoosh area as a chaotic and super-crowded section of the city. I had never visited that part of the city to confirm my suspicions, not until my recent trip. Tehran has now limited subway service that operates surprisingly smoothly and Shoosh is one of the train stops.

Taking the subway train from the northern Tehran I jumped off at the Molavi street at a location that apparently used to be called the Execution square years ago. Walking around the street it appeared that most of the architecture and structures hadn't changed much in years. Small stores lined the Molavi street and the narrow alleys were home to most of the locals. I hung a right on some road and pushed forward and suddenly there it was, Shoosh square.

Like many rumors and myths debunked by personal observation, Shoosh square wasn't nearly as chaotic and jammed with people as I had imagined. Yes, it was crowded, it was a bit grimy, and somewhat archaic in parts, but nowhere near what my imagination had constructed.

I walked the Shoosh street, visited the fabric stores, the crystal stores, herbs and dried fruits stores, and the street market and capped the adventure by having a couple of cups of tea at a tea-house. Returning to northern Tehran on the subway train, I knew I would be back again to this area for more exploration.

Who's the real prostitute?

by @ 4:36 pm
Filed under: social

Every time a woman is labeled a prostitute (like the story below) it irks me to no end. The word has such a negative and insulting connotation, its liberal usage should be avoided.

So these women sell sexual services. What exactly is wrong with that, if they're of age and not forced into it? Before you judge these women on moral grounds, consider how many wives would deny their husbands sex, if their men stopped lavishing them on holidays or birthdays.

A bunch of cheap and perverted men on a presidential trip tricked these women and stole services from them, and the women are the prostitutes? The real prostitutes are those pathetic men and the media for demeaning these women.

Open Channel - Prostitute at center of Secret Service scandal: 'I would have been able to get any information'.

Facebook Privacy?

by @ 10:53 am
Filed under: internet,law,social — Tags: ,

Who needs spies and detectives when people willingly put all their personal data for the whole world to see? Funny how parts of the world pine for a little relief from the prying eyes of their governments, yet in the US people are addicted to sharing everything with everyone, including the government.

The young can be excused for being too inexperienced to realize the consequences of over-sharing. But then there are simpletons who claim they don't fear sharing because they do nothing wrong. Bet they are the first ones screaming bloody violation of their rights the moment that data is used against them.

Cops can request a copy of your complete Facebook activity - Technolog on msnbc.com.

College Prank or Bias Intimidation?

by @ 10:50 am
Filed under: law,social — Tags: , , ,

I have been fascinated with the Dharun Ravi bias case since I read about it a few weeks ago on The New Yorker. The fact is that this case hits close to home for many who are or have been to college because no doubt many of us were involved in similar cases or at least been close witnesses and didn't think much of them, let alone being accused criminally.

This is not strictly a gay bias issue. College (in this case, Rutgers) is where young people from varied backgrounds are thrown together and trusted to navigate the social challenges that comes with that environment. College is a sample of what is to come in the real world.

Being a student form Iran arriving in the US a few short years after the hostage crisis, I myself experienced many of these challenges in high school and then college. Young people will be young people. They judge, they ridicule, and they play stupid pranks. At times I was the target and other times I was the instigator but through it all, even when I was raging mad, I found little evidence of bias or malice in myself or others.

I consider myself a social liberal. Gay, straight, white, black, male, female, whatever, makes little difference to me. Of course we all carry some prejudice. Mine is mostly in the area of education. I tend to favor educated people. The point is that I have no respect for bigotry and prejudice but the Ravi-Celemete case doesn't appear to be one, at least going by what I know about the case.

Bad judgment, yes. Distasteful prank, yes. Immature teasing, yes. I see all those in Ravi's actions and in countless other young people around the world. Sorry but I don’t see bullying and bias intimidation and gay-bashing in this case to hang a man's future on. In the end this is a tragedy of a young man taking his own life in a moment of misplaced personal agony or shame. He should have never been ashamed of who he was.  I wish he had the strength to stand up for his way of life and to handle the offensive (but not criminal, in my opinion) actions of his roommate in a more direct way.

Update: As we know now, Ravi was convicted of the charges and now he will be facing prison time and possible deportation. I'm sure there will be appeals and I hope he's not deported. Some may feel that the jury was too harsh, but the jury most likely followed the letter of the law and it's the New Jersey law that may be too harsh.

Internet Explorer IQ

by @ 10:19 am
Filed under: google,microsoft,social,web — Tags:

Tying browser usage to intelligence makes as much sense as linking hair color to sleeping habits. No doubt someone will come up with that study at some point too.

So going by this study, a few years back 90% of the world was stupid and suddenly most people smartened up by switching away from IE.

And no, I'm not switching to Opera just because its users were shown to have higher IQ. I'll continue using Chrome and remain stupid.

Are Internet Explorer users dumb?

Mexican Coca-Cola

by @ 10:01 pm
Filed under: marketing,social — Tags: , ,

When I was a kid growing up in Iran, one of my favorite places to go was to my grandparents' on weekends. Sometimes they'd would order out Chelo-Kabab (lamb kebab with rice), and while many Iranians like their yoghurt drinks, for us no soft drink could complement Chelo-Kabab quite like an ice-cold Coke, or Koka, as we used to call it there.

Years have passed, both of my grandparents have passed away and I haven't had the taste of that Coke ever since. The Coke we have here in America is nothing like that. It comes in plastic bottles or metal cans, as opposed to glass bottles, and it's made with high fructose corn syrup, instead of real sugar.

A while back someone mentioned to me that Costco sells Mexican Coke that uses real sugar, and last week I finally bought a case from a nearby Costco. The bottles looked like the ones I remember from my past. But how about the taste? I stuck a bottle in the freezer, allowing it to chill for a while before getting a taste. It didn't disappoint. At first swig, I was transported to my grandparents' home.

If you ever have the chance, try the Mexican Coke. It's not a myth, it really does taste better than the American Coke.


Beavis and Butthead Return

by @ 3:58 pm
Filed under: music,social — Tags: ,

Beavis and Butthead, the cartoon series about two mischievous, conniving, simpletons in high school is coming back on MTV in October. We're not talking the reruns of the old episodes that ended nearly 15 years ago. These are brand new episodes with the original creator, Mike Judge, at the helm and still doing the voices of the juvenile delinquents.

When the first round of Beavis and Butthead shows began in 1993, I was in my mid-20's, well outside the age sweet spot of the show. Still I became a big fan as many others in my age range.

I wondered how good the new episodes could possibly be. I don't know, maybe I haven't grown much since those days, or maybe my sense of humor is still juvenile, or maybe the show is just that good. Whatever the case, I laughed during the entire clip below, giving the fans a taste of the new episodes. All I can say is, heh …heh …heh, cool, heh heh this rules, heh heh … heh.

No Soliciting Sign

by @ 7:36 pm
Filed under: social — Tags:

Magazine peddlers, religious preachers, and other door surfers seem to always ring the doorbell at the worst times. Is there a good time for this anyways?

To put an end to this incessant parade of annoyance, I went looking for a simple "No Soliciting" sign on the Internet to tape to my door. I couldn't find anything simple and suitable, so I made a plain one myself, printed it, and stuck it on my door. Will see if it helps.

Feel free to click and download the image and use it as you please. Shrink it, cut it, edit it, whatever you want.  Color print works best, but I think it'll come out fine with b&w too. Just don't go selling it door-to-door 🙂

Happy evading!

Snow in Tehran

by @ 10:41 am
Filed under: environment,social — Tags: ,

It has been an interesting winter season. Here in the Northeast US we've been getting a good dose of the white stuff in what seem to be endless days of snow. No complaints from me. I actually like shoveling the stuff. But as fate had it in for me, I also got to shovel snow half way around the world this year.

Last week I was in Tehran (Iran's capital city, for the geo-challenged) on family matters and enjoyed a decent snow while there. Hadn't seen a white Tehran in almost 30 years since my childhood growing up there. I actually did some roof shoveling and found it quite challenging. The snow there gets soggy and slushy rather quickly and it's quite a bit heavier than the powdery snow i'm used to.

Despite what some people think, Tehran, being at the base of the Alborz mountain, gets quite a bit of snow every winter season. It used to get a lot more of it many years ago, but over-population and pollution have cut down drastically on the quantity and the frequency of snow falls in the recent years.

Here are a couple of shots I took from my parents' backyard in Tehran.

Sun Chips Noisy Bags

by @ 11:11 pm
Filed under: business,social — Tags:

Wouldn't call myself a fan, but I like the regular Sun chips and I sometimes get a small bag to go with my sandwich. I've been hearing about the new noisy bags for some time but until last week I had no idea what the complaints were all about.

So last week I was at the grocery store where I spotted large bags of Sun chips on the shelf with the words "100% Compostable" on them. As I reached to grab one, I suddenly understood what the fuss was all about. The bags are really loud, but unlike some other people my reaction was one of amusement and interest.

I actually like the noisy bags, and one my kids does too. In fact she mentioned that it's crazy that the company is reverting to the old bags because of a few complaints. I don't know, seems to me that Sun chips actually has a winning formula with these bags. They're not only better for the environment, but their noisiness sets them apart from the other bags. I actually bought another bag yesterday. Am I becoming a fan now?

Check out the noise from the bag here: Sun Chips Noise

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