Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Egypt bans, confiscates "Da Vinci Code" book and movie, ensuring higher prices for pirated copies


Egypt! The very name conjures up images of great gods and goddesses, great civilizations capable of building massive and beautiful Pyramids and temples, great antiquity, and ancient wisdom. The Gnostic libary was buried at Nag Hamadi. Moses was raised there. Ra! Isis! Alexander the Great!

That was then. This is now. Apparently no great ideals remain in Egypt, just petty people bowing to entrenched religion.

Spurred by the Christian Coptic Church, the Egyptian government has banned The Da Vinci Code movie and book, according to a June 14 issue of Voice of America News. And yesterday, the website African News Dimension announced that Egypt had begun confiscating the book from booksellers. The book has been available in Eqypt, in Arabic, since 2003.

The government claims the book and movie "insult religion."

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MySpace mugging: Man robbed at gunpoint by teenage girls


He thought he was meeting an 18-year old hottie named Natalia, but what he found when he went to her apartment were 14- and 15-year-old girls with handguns, according to WOAI-TV in San Antonio.

The Jacksonville, Texas victim had forgotten his wallet, so the girls didn't get away with much. He called the police, who found them soon after, hanging out with a teenage boy.

The teenagers have been charged with armed robbery and carrying a concealed weapon.

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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

"Playboy" for a new generation


The "gODDESS: Beauty is Divine" website has chosen the same theme has: That women are divine. The site calls itself "a tribute to feminine beauty, body and soul."

For a subscription fee of $90 a year, members gain access to exclusive interviews and photography tips from the world's top fashion, fine art and erotic photographers. And photos of stunningly beautiful women from all over the world.

Others writers have said of gODDESS: Beauty is Divine:This writer has nothing nearly so eloquent to say. I can only stammer out: "Boy, did I get in the wrong line when they were giving out good looks!"

— Mary

Image: Sylvie Blum, model and photographer

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Breast "ironing" used in Africa to make girls less sexually attractive


A few weeks ago, took a look at the disturbing practice common in Africa of the mutilation of the female genitalia. Using various procedures, the purpose is supposedly to remove the pleasure from sex, thus keeping the girl non-sexually active for as long as possible.

The BBC reported recently on another strange and dangerous custom, this one designed to make girls less sexually attractive to boys and young men — breast "ironing."

The breasts are pounded and massaged with hot objects to try to make them shrink, or disappear altogether. Twenty-six percent of girls in the African nation Cameroon undergo this "procedure." Though punishable by three years in prison, many mothers think they are acting in their daughters best interest, and many girls willingly allow themselves to be mutiliated in this way. Some girls even ask for it.

"I wanted to go to school like other girls who had no breasts," Emilia, a young girl from the village of Mamfe said.

Many mothers have no regrets about ironing their daughter's breasts.

"Breast ironing is not a new thing. I am happy I protected my daughter. I could not stand the thought of boys spoiling her with sex before she completed school," one woman explained.

"Unfortunately, television is encouraging all sorts of sexual immorality in our children."

Image: Tools are heated and then used to pound the breasts

We first saw this on Feministing.

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Monday, June 26, 2006

Rampaging Christians destroy theater showing "The Da Vinci Code"


Rampaging Christians in Hyderabad, India destroyed a movie theater that was showing The Da Vinci Code on Friday, June 23.

Calling themselves the Christian United Front, dozens of activists and protesters carrying signs calling the movie "The Devil's Code" stormed the theater, shattering glass and overturning furntiture and ticket counters.

The state government had banned the film before its release last month, but a court had overturned the ban, and the film was set to open on Friday. Hundreds were in line to buy tickets to the first showing with the rampage began.

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Read the story...

Back from Israel: Slimmer, tanner and more Jewish than ever


Goddess blogger Irina of Irina is Always Right has just returned from an extended "back to her roots" trip to Israel.

Sponsored by a group called Birthright, she went on a 10-day all-expenses paid vacation in Israel. The trip is free for anyone who is 18-26, has at least one Jewish parent, and has never been on a group trip to the country.

Read about Irina's adventures and what she learned about Israel and about herself. Fascinating stuff.

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Friday, June 23, 2006

15-year-old Ava Lowery's video animations about Iraq War wow the world, draw death threats


White House Press Secretary Tony Snow was asked if President Bush had any reaction to the death toll for U.S. troops in Iraq reaching 2,500. Snow responded: "It's a number."

Ava Lowery, the 15-year-old blogger/videographer of the website Peace Takes Courage who has been receiving death threats for her online stance against the Iraq War, Peace Takes Courage decided to take a look at that number in a new animation.

Watch "Not Just a Number."

Watch CNN interview with Ava Lowery.

Watch "WWJD?"

The complete list of animations

NY Times
Article about Peace Takes Courage
Could a 15-Year-Old With a Laptop Be the New Campaign Media Guru?

Published: June 14, 2006

Daily Kos's convention — the in-person gathering of the nation's most-read online political blog — was practically carpeted with presidential candidates. But perhaps the most notable presentation came from Ava Lowery, a 15-year-old from rural Alabama, whose homemade video was shown at the convention on jumbo television screens.

Ms. Lowery's video, set to the Queen song "We Will Rock You," contrasted the "liars" and "leakers" in the Bush administration with "those of us who choose to stand up for truth and justice." Her handiwork, which can be seen at (Ava Lowery's video), is a bit over the top. But it shows that a 15-year-old with video software and Internet access can now create and disseminate a professional-quality political ad.

Last week's gathering was widely described as a bloggers' convention, but it was a lot more. It was the mainstream debut of "Internet-powered politics," and it made a convincing case that the Internet will quickly surpass television as the primary medium for communicating political ideas. This could be good news for progressives, as the Daily Kos community hopes, and for the Democratic Party, which sorely needs some. But like all technological revolutions, Internet-powered politics could have some unintended consequences.

The cutting-edge discussions at YearlyKos were about the intersection of technology and politics. Bloggers sketched out their plans for shaping news in upcoming elections. The liberal political-action group Democracy for America gave a primer on turning online activism into offline activism, by developing networks of supporters and sending out "action alerts" to get them to contribute money and volunteer for campaigns and causes. The Participatory Culture Foundation, a nonprofit group, led a workshop on how ordinary people can make political videos and distribute them over the Internet.

The 2004 presidential election was the first to give an inkling of the Internet's potential, but in 2008 its impact will be much greater. Web sites like Daily Kos will play a growing role in fund-raising, particularly the so-called "money primary," in which candidates prove their worth by raising money early. Bloggers will do more to shape the issues and the debate, and more of their ideas will jump into traditional news outlets. The breakout commercial in the next presidential cycle could be one produced on a teenager's computer and e-mailed from friend to friend.

For the conventioneers, there was no question that Internet-powered politics would do as much — or more — for the left as talk radio did for the right. There are some cultural reasons why Democrats may be more attracted to the Internet. Democrats, as a group, may have warmer feelings about science and technology, or perhaps they are attracted to the decentralized, anti-authoritarian nature of blogs and e-mail (the exact opposite of a show like Rush Limbaugh's, where the host speaks and the "dittoheads" take it all in).

Online fund-raising also makes it easier and cheaper for Democrats to harvest contributions from individuals, a boon for a party that lags in raising money from traditional sources. And with Democrats often significantly outspent on television advertising, low-cost, innovative Internet advertising holds considerable promise. "The best campaigns are going to be the ones that let their supporters do a lot of their advertising for them," predicts Nicholas Reville, co-director of the Participatory Culture Foundation. Video blogs, or vlogs, could help counterbalance talk radio. One day, there could be a Daily Kos television station staffed by volunteer bloggers and sent out over the Internet as streaming video, going up against Fox News.

On Election Day 2008, voters could get video clips on their laptops and cellphones from Beyoncé, Bruce Springsteen or the Dixie Chicks — targeted by geography or demographics — urging them to vote, and telling them where to do it.

It would be a mistake, though, to think that Internet-powered politics will help only one side. The Internet's leveling effect may be a two-edged sword. Bloggers like to fault the decisions made by Democratic Party strategists in Washington, and often they are right. But the Republican Party has succeeded in part because of the tight discipline and well-executed campaign strategies of people like Karl Rove. More input from the "net roots" — the Internet version of grass roots — may help the Democratic leadership avoid some bad decisions. But it may also make Democratic politics even more scattershot compared with the well-oiled Republican machine.

On the whole, the new more participatory politics that the Internet is ushering in is clearly a good thing for democracy. Whether it turns out to be good for the Democratic Party in particular is yet to be seen. But the transformation seems inevitable. As successful as YearlyKos was this year, in 2007 it should be even bigger and more influential. Tom Vilsack, the former governor of Iowa and a likely presidential candidate, is already lobbying for it to be held in Iowa — the site of the first presidential caucuses in 2008.

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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Super-Jesus!


Reprinted from Born Jesus.

Is Superman a Christ figure? Well, duh!

An Associated Press story today asks that question.

Director Bryan Singer, who is Jewish, said the notion of Superman as a Christ figure is simply another case of contemporary storytelling borrowing from ancient motifs.

In other words, it's just as Joseph Campbell said: It's all One Story, that of The Hero with a Thousand Faces.

In the newest version of the Superman saga, Superman Returns, which opens next week, Kal-El (the born-name of Superman, and hey, "El" is a name of God in the Old Testament) hears his father tell him he has been sent to Earth because humans "lack the light to show the way. For this reason I have sent them you, my only son."

Before being kidnapped by villain Lex Luthor, Lois Lane assures Superman, "The world doesn't need a savior, and neither do I."

Luthor — a Loki/Lucifer-like character if ever I saw one — said, "Gods are selfish beings who fly around in little red capes and don't share their power with mankind."

Kal-El is truly a "Born Jesus"!

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Girl, 14, sues over alleged sexual assault


A 14-year-old girl from Austin, Texas, filed suit against the social networking site, claiming it does not take sufficient steps to protect underage members, Fox News reported.

The girl claims she was sexually assaulted by a 19-year-old man she met on the site. The suit alleges that he lied in his profile about being a senior on a football team to gain her trust and phone number.

Pete Solis was arrested in May on a charge of sexual assault of a child.

The suit alleges that has "absolutely no meaningful protections or security measures to protect underage users."

"[MySpace] has got to take this seriously," said attorney Carl Barry, who is representing the girl and her mother. The suit seeks $30 million.

Fine. If there was a crime, prosecute it. Fourteen-year-old girls don't need to be having sex with anyone, certainly not with 19-year-year old guys.

But to blame is ludicrous. She knew what she was doing when she met — first online and then in person — Pete Solis.

If the question is, are 14-year-olds not mature enough to make certain decisions, then keep them offline. Or off

But to hold responsible for her alleged sexual assault is insane. Why not equally hold the telecommunications company who brought into her home responsible? Or the computer manufacturer? Or Bill Gates for the operating system? Oh, hell, just sue Al Gore for inventing the damn Internet.

Sue her parents. Yeah. should countersue her parents for providing MySpace with irresponsible users.

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Remember when Britney Spears was attractive?


McNamerica has a blogful of suggestions for Britney Spears, who has been whining about those mean paparazzi photography picture-taking people.

Her suggestion number three, she writes, "has little to do with avoiding the paparazzi, and more to do with my concern for your pollution of the human gene pool with Federline-Spears babies."

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Blogger Bunny is anti anti-gay former gay man


Freshly back from Bonaroo, Goddess blogger Bunny rips a new one for former gay man turned happily hetero Richard Cohen, who is now trying to convert other gays to the straight life, calling homeosexuality a "same-sex attachment disorder."

Comparing Cohen to Fred Phelps, the hate-monger anti-gay, anti-American, anti-everything leader of the wacky Westboro Baptist Church, she says, "At least Phelps claims his hate." Cohen, she says, tries to disguise his hatred of gays and gayness behind psychobabble psuedo-science.

I love it when Bunny bloggity-blogs.

Image: Mr. Gay Missouri Pridefest 2005

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Stress can make you infertile


While it should really come as no surprise, a recent study found that stress can stop women from becoming pregnant.

American researchers have found that a build-up of stress plays a major role in preventing ovulation.

Even more interesting: psychotherapy restored fertility in up to 80% of cases.

Professor Sarah Berga, from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, said: "Contrary to what had previously been believed, we found that multiple small stressors that seemingly would have minimal impact on reproductive competence can play a major role in causing anovulation (failure to ovulate).

"Up until now it was thought that failure to ovulate was usually caused by the energy deficits induced by excessive exercise and/or undernutrition, but we asked why women undertake such behaviours.

"Often dieting and exercise are a way of coping with psychosocial stress, and our previous work had shown that such stress is often increased in women who do not ovulate."

The Daily Mail continues:
The scientists set out to study the causes of an infertility condition called functional hypothalamic amenorrhea (FHA) in women of normal weight who had not had a period for more than six months.

FHA is triggered by a lack of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) which signals the release into the bloodstream of hormones that stimulate ovulation.

Analysis of cerebrospinal fluid in women with FHA revealed increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
According to herbalists, the bark of the magnolia tree can help reduce cortisol levels.

Meditiation is a great way to reduce and relieve stress. There are many paths and styles of meditation.

The meditative path I often follow has been discussed on before. It involves a simple daily affirmation along with visualization.

Fortunately, for me, it hasn't led to pregnancy! LOL!

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Monday, June 19, 2006

How Dull the Con of Ron


I stumbled today across a blog full of strange bedfellows. Run by a former Christian fundamentalist turned born-again Catholic, he's teamed up with an atheist to rejoice over the half-billion dollar failure that was the movie The Da Vinci Code.

Carl Olson and his fellow travelers at The Da Vinci Code Hoax blog are tickled pink that domestic ticket sales for the movie tanked after just a few weeks. They call the movie "dead" in the U.S. while chastising the predominantly Catholic European countries who coughed up millions to watch Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou wander around France and Scotland onscreen.

The contributors at this blog write well, and seem to make sense even when you don't agree with them on all their points. I do have to agree when Olson says that the unforgiveable sin about the film The Da Vinci Code is that it is "ponderous, boring, [and] silly."

Enjoy the made-up controversy. It's all we have left of a what was a fun build-up to a major let-down. Sort of like sex sometime, isn't it? So much promise... so little fulfillment.

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Connie Chung says farewell with off-key serenade


The show ran for six months. It was a turkey. So it's fitting that it ended with a gobble. The ratings-starved Maury Povich and Connie Chung weekend show on MSNBC ended its run with a strange and bizarre send-off.

Like some vamp from a bygone era, Connie Chung, the former CBS and CNN anchorwoman warbled and garbled — it can't be called singing — a farewell that put down Dan Rather (with whom she co-anchored the CBS news in the early 1990s), her husband and cable TV — all at the same time.

"Thanks for the memories," she sang to the tune of the old standard:

We came to do a show for very little dough

By little, I mean I could make more working on skid row

That's cable TV.

Thanks for the memories

This half a year flew by

That Maury, what a guy

Instead of asking: Who's the daddy? He could talk Dubai

How stunned were we all

Thanks for the memories

The thing I love the most

About hubby as co-host

Is all those other anchors were as dull as melba toast

The sparks really flew

Thanks for the memories

Now that the show is through

I've got bigger things to do

But Maury is back weighing in:

Fat babies, how taboo!

He can't get enough.

At the end of the song, she collapsed on the floor of the studio as the camera faded out.

Watch the video.

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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

120 Los Angeles deputies in riot gear evict gardeners, pull Daryl Hannah from a tree


More than 120 Los Angeles deputies, some wearing riot helmets and swinging batons, converged on a community garden Tuesday to evict people who use the land to grow flowers and vegetables.

Fire truck lifts and chainsaws were used to pull people, including actress Daryl Hannah, from a walnut tree. Others chained themselves to concrete-filled barrels.

"I'm very confident this is the morally right thing to do, to take a principled stand in solidarity with the farmers," Hannah said by cell phone before a fire truck raised officers into the tree.

About 350 people grow produce and flowers on the 14 acres of privately owned land, in an inner-city area surrounded by warehouses and railroad tracks. The garden has been there for more than a decade, but the landowner, Ralph Horowitz, now wants to replace it with a warehouse.

Dozens of protesters chanted, "We're here and we're not going to leave!" in Spanish, blew whistles and blocked traffic in the surrounding streets. Protesters linked arms and sat on the tracks. Officers dragged some protesters away.

Read more about this urban renewal project....

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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Jesus is coming soon (to a theater near you)


So far it's just a rumor — nothing yet on the Internet Movie Database — but all the cool blogs like Celebrity Religion, WhizBangPop, and Born Jesus are reporting it, so we're jumping on the bandwagon, too.
Sony Pictures is planning an Easter 2007 release for a feature tentatively titled The Resurrection, which will tell the story of Jesus Christ beginning with the day he died. As such, some liken it to a "follow-up" to Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ. "The Passion ends with [SPOILER ALERT!] Jesus being taken from the cross, and The Resurrection opens with an empty cross," a source familiar with the script tells Reuters, adding, "This is a serious attempt to understand the Roman world in which Christ moved and the Christian era was born."
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Pulp fiction


Sometimes the covers are better than what's inside. Garishly glorious, full of color and sexual innuendo, the covers of pulp fiction have titilated and beguiled generations. What if the classics had had steamy pulp-fiction covers? Would we have read them?

Slate recently asked artists to design lurid, pulpy covers for some of the classics, from the Iliad to Animal Farm.

Click here to see the results.

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Monday, June 12, 2006

What went wrong with "The Da Vinci Code"


I absolutely loved this "review" of the film version of The Da Vinci Code. Written as a "memo to Ron," Toronto Star writer Peter Howell gives director Ron Howard a lesson on how to make a movie.

His suggestions for making The Da Vinci Code an edge-of-the-seat thriller rather than what he says will become a DVD needing a label warning viewers not to operate heavy machinery while watching:
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The Holy World Cup: "Da Vinci Code" vs. "Passion of the Christ"


According to LA Weekly, The Da Vinci Code has surpassed that other Jesus move, Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, in worldwide ticket sales, $642 million compared to $623 million, making Sony's religious thriller the 26th biggest all-time hit.

Da Vinci
earned $22 million overseas last week, despite summer being typically slow for movies in Europe, and with stiff competition for attention by the World Cup soccer games. Da Vinci is the number one movie for the fourth week in a row, with worldwide take now over $453 million.

The American box office has cooled slightly; Da Vinci was in sixth place with just over $10 million, and overall, U.S. ticket sales of $189 are far below Passion's $370 million.

So, the overall score for the World Cup, er, I mean, World Chalice? It appears Americans far prefer viewing the violence perpetrated against their Lord and Savior than in believing that He might have gotten married and sired a child.

More info: Top-grossing all-time movies world-wide

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Saturday, June 10, 2006

"Amazing Goddess" sexual therapist arrested for prostitution


A Penacock, New Hampshire woman who advertises herself online as an "Amazing Goddess" has been arrested for prostitution.

Suzan Belanger admits to having received money after having sex with clients, but says the money was a donation and that the sex was therapeutic, not for physical gratification.

She says she has been assured by God that what she is doing is not only legal, but sacred and of a healing nature.

Belanger said she was called to sexual healing, which she said involves oral sex and intercourse, by God and fairies. "He said, 'Suzan, you can be a rainbow in the dark. You can elevate this dark and dirty hole and make it sacred and healing.'"

"I did this as a healer, not a prostitute," Belanger said.

She plans to fight the charge. "I plan to take this sky high," she said, "and show them how godly God can be." She has a call in to Oprah.

Belanger's shop opened in March, 2006. She offers services as a certified Reiki healer, cosmologist, herbalist and sexual therapist. She said she has one ministry degree and is studying for her doctorate in divinity. The money she collected from clients was for her education, she said.

Belanger's webpage is part of a network of "goddesses" and "gods" across the country who work as yoga instructors, hypnotherapists, ejaculation-control experts, and "sexual surrogates."

In the righthand navbar is a poll asking you, simply, should prostitution be legal? We'd like to know what you think. We'd like to know your reasoning, too. Please elaborate in the comments section. Thanks!

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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Mother panicky over giving birth on 6-6-6 Devil's Day


A soon-to-be-mum in England induced the birth of her child early so she wouldn't download him on the Devil's Day (today), June 6, 2006.

When told her due date was today, Melissa Parker's "blood ran cold," and she immediately began having nightmares. "When I got my due date I thought 'Oh God, I’m giving birth to Damien from the Omen.'"

God help the child, growing up with such a superstitious mother.

Cross-posted on The Burning Taper.

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Monday, June 05, 2006

Making it better: An interview with Suzka


Suzka. A unique name for a unique woman. Athlete, actress, singer, writer and violin virtuoso.

Her name is Czechoslovakian, from the Egyptian Shakura, meaning "Grateful." At an early age, she began her violin training at the Vancouver Music Academy, studying and performing classical music for over ten years. During her teen years, she took up ski racing, competing first in Canada, and later spent a year on the Czechoslovakian National Ski Team. After studying at the University of Nevada, Reno, she returned to her love of the arts.

She traveled the world, learning several languages and studying many cultures. Drawn by the urge to unite people through her music, Suzka began studying blues and jazz intently, and was soon doing session work for various artists in Canada and Europe.

Suzka studied voice and theatre in London, keeping food on her own table by waitressing. On a trip to Egypt she fell in love with a Muslim African and settled in Cairo for a time. She has sung and played in Japan and Thailand, as well.

It should come as no surprise she plays "world music." You can hear the sonic influences of many lands and many cultures in her songs: haunting ambient sounds, peppy hip-hoppish beats, meditative vocals, thoughtful lyrics, all overlayed with her distinctive, mesmerizing strings. I hear influences from Spain, Egypt, India, Great Britain... American early blues and modern hip-hop... ethereal, faint shades of Jean-Luc Ponty and Kitaro... an amazing, inspired, intricately co-mingled blend that is uniquely Suzka.

Suzka has composed scores and played violin for several films, notably two Candian movies for the Sci-Fi Channel. She continues to do session work, perform live as a solo act and along with her band Tambura Rasa, and finds time to teach students to play the violin and express themselves. She opened for world guitar virtuosos Strunz and Farah a few months ago in Vancouver, and has worked with dozens of world music artists including Lily Frost, Ivan Tucakov, Annakin Slayd, and others. She and her band Tambura Rasa currently have a video for the song Anadol in rotation on Canada's Worldbeat Channel M, and in Dec., 2005, she released her solo debut album Wake-Up.

SacredFems caught up with Suzka recently, and we shared a few words. Thanks for talking with me, Suzka. You've had an amazing life. What's next? Where do you want to be in five years, both professionally and personally?

Suzka: I really don't know but hope to be doing more of the same which is continually writing, recording, and sharing my music "live" with the world. So far I pray a lot and hope that I do things with the right intentions and for the right reasons. I have been very fortunate to have had the universe respond with wonderful opportunities and people along the journey. I would like to reach a larger audience and hopefully do a worldwide tour and get to places where maybe no one would have ever heard of us.

Personally, I would love to start a family and share my life with someone who has the same vision and desire to make the world a better place. Family is very important to me and having a strong support system from friends and family is very important to me. Fame and success mean nothing if you don't have true love. You've lived or traveled all over the world. What was one of the best moments? What part of the world excites you the most?

Suzka: I have to say, standing in the middle of the pyramids and Sphinx in Cairo, Egypt. I read so much about them and learned the history of the land, but to be there in the sweltering heat of the desert and seeing the size of the structures and imagining how it was built, really blew me away. I never thought I would see that day; it wasn't planned.

I have to say Africa excites me most because there is so much we don't know about the land and so much natural activity and rituals that have been devoted to the preservation of the land. There is a lot of magic there and it saddens me to see her being treated so poorly. Both the people and the land. Especially the women and children. I've listened to a good bit of your music. It's unique, complex, and yet in some ways, straightforwardly simple. Soulful, thoughtful, at times happy, sometimes somber. I especially like Wake-Up. I know an artist is never sure how she creates her art, but could you give me any insight into how your songs come to be?

Suzka: I write poetry and random thoughts constantly to express and understand myself. As soon as I had an opportunity to be in the recording studio, pages of uninteruppted thoughts came pouring out over the beat created. Most of the songs were one takes. I would then add violin over top or sometimes start with that and then add voice. It was a very natural and organic process and the actually recording process seemed effortless and blissful. I wanted to make a truthful album without thinking of being commercial or what others would want to hear. I got inspired by music I was listening to at the time and wanted to really find my own voice and be authentic with my own material. Tell me about your acting.

Suzka: I love the intimacy and truthfulness of the moment one can have in this medium. Especially in well written pieces and good actors to work with. It is a tough business to stay true in as there are so many demands on women to be a certain way. I have had to turn down a lot of parts and opportunities earlier in life that just didn't jive with how I wanted to represent myself. It's easy to fall into the trap of more money and fame. I decided to work only with people I respected and know respect me. I hope to do a really moving feature film one day when the time is right.

Currently I am writing, acting, and directing in short films with MonSu Films which I started with another friend to try and create more interesting and less stereotypical roles for women. Your music, your lyrics, things you've said... You can't hide there's a compassionate, caring mind, heart and soul alive deep within you. You've got a vision for the world, for humanity, for making things better.... Tell me about your vision.

Suzka: I would just like to see more people being truthful and real instead of shady and manipulating. I find so many people say things they don't mean, and I don't get it. It is tough to know what someone wants from you and where they're coming from. I think we need to get back to our roots and respect the earth and ourselves more. I would like to see women taking the power back because there is so much love we can share and give to change the world, but we need to find it in ourselves first. I only recently discovered how important this is, but immeasureable. I believe disputes can be solved without war, because who really owns anything? We cannot claim what is not ours to begin with. Land and people are not something that can be owned by anyone, and we as a whole need to come to terms with that.

Greed is certainly the villain and what's yours will be, what you try and take will create war somewhere wether it is out there or and internal battle with self. I wish I had answers for any of these things I think about, however I believe only truthful expression from self can really start good things happening.

I believe good things are happening though and that humanity is becoming more aware and conscious. I'm still figuring out things myself so I just hope for the best, and give it up to the powers that be. I'm sure I speak for all your fans and those just getting to know you, when I say that we all wish you the best and know that the Universe will surely take care of you. Thank you for taking the time to talk with me.

Suzka: Thank you so much for your interest in my life and music. I am honoured to share my thoughts with you.

Make it Better
by Suzka

Wisdom come we've come undone
earthly desires fuel this run
we've got the material ready to spun
what's the message in the bottle I've come to get one
peace in my heart and loves my word
sincere to the journey from hunger and thirst
bursting to get some questioning first
immaculate concept, reset to digest
they're firing bullets and I'm making requests
whose quest what's best or everyone let's test
cause this mess we think less and increase to destress
we can make it right, we can make it better, we can make it right, we can make it better
rewire, less tire, mind, soul, body fire
get to the mission let new world transpire
from forklore to history I learn from the misery
practice the chemistry between states of wizardry
link up to freedom and losing hypocrisy
come to the place where we are democracy
stay true to visions of bliss and community
stay true to visions of bliss and community.

You can learn more about Suzka and listen to many of her songs at her site and at her MySpace site.

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Sunday, June 04, 2006

Political correctness gone wild: "The Da Vinci Code" movie banned in Pakistan


Though it hasn't even been seen by anyone in a decision-making position, The Da Vinci Code move week was banned in Pakistan "out of respect for the feelings of the country's minority Christians."

Christians make up less than three percent of the population of Pakistan, a mostly Muslim country.

"Islam teaches us to respect all prophets of Allah mighty, and degradation of any prophet is tantamount to defamation of the rest," Minister for Culture Ghulam Jamal was quoted as saying by the Associated Press of Pakistan.

Shahbaz Bhatti, a prominent Christian leader, thanked the country's leadership and said the ban will go a long way to ensuring sectarian harmony. She also called Code author Dan Brown "evil."

Image: A Pakistan man participating in a protest in 2005 against the descration of the Koran at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. From the BBC.

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Friday, June 02, 2006

More than 3 million girls suffer circumcision each year


Reprinted from BBC News:
Female genital mutilation increases the risk of complications during childbirth and infant mortality, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned.

Women who have had the procedure are more likely to need Caesareans and the death rate among their babies is up to 50% higher, it said in a report.

The study, reported in the Lancet, involved 30,000 African women.

The practice is common in parts of Africa, where some believe it will maintain a girl's honour.


The report is the first of its kind to look into the long-term health consequences of female genital mutilation (FGM).

The WHO described FGM as a form of "torture" that must be stamped out, even if performed by trained medical personnel.

Type one: where the clitoris is removed
Type two: where the clitoris and surrounding labia are removed
Type three: where the clitoris and labia are removed

"By medicalising it, we will be endorsing this practice, this violation of a child's body and a basic human right of an individual and I think that's the worst thing we can possibly do," Joy Phumaphi, WHO assistant director-general for family and community health, told the BBC.

Women were studied in six countries in Africa — Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal and Sudan.

However, Egyptian doctor Professor Munir Falsi denies that type 1 or type 2 FGM, which he calls "female circumcision" is cruel, or dangerous.

"With type 1 and type 2, there is no problem whatsoever with pregnancy or childbirth," he told the BBC's World Today programme, pointing out that 90% of Egyptian women are circumcised.

"Most of the complications are with type 3, which is understandable," he said.

Millions circumcised

The report accepted that the more extensive the mutilation, the more serious the risks but said all forms were dangerous.

According to the report, mutilated women were 31% more likely to have a caesarean delivery, had a 66% higher chance of having a baby that required resuscitation and 55% more likely to have a child who died before or after birth.

"As a result of this study we have, for the first time, evidence that deliveries among women who have been subject to FGM are significantly more likely to be complicated and dangerous," Ms Phumaphi said.

The organisation says the new research is vital to protect communities in the future.

While many African countries have passed laws against FGM, the WHO says they are not being properly enforced.

FGM is practised in 28 countries, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa.

One hundred million women worldwide have undergone the procedure, which happens to three million girls under 10 every year. It is carried out by both Christian and Muslim communities.

The operation involves the partial or total removal of the external genital organs.
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