Garden State

I would rate the movie Garden State a 6/10.

We watched Garden State some time ago. Hello, New Jersey!

The reviews I had read of the movie were pretty good. However, either it was Michelle not feeling well that weekend or the movie wasn’t impressive. We never got into it. I would rate it a 6/10.

Cloudland Canyon

A couple of months ago, Captain Arrrgh, another friend and I went to Cloudland Canyon State Park. Here are some photos from that trip.

A couple of months ago, Captain Arrrgh, another friend and I went to Cloudland Canyon State Park. We hiked down to the waterfalls there but our hike around the canyon rim had to be abandoned. Here are some photos from that trip.

Canyon View
Canyon View
Canyon View
Waterfall 1
Waterfall 1
Waterfall 2
Captain Arrrgh caught redhanded
Mountains view
Blossoming on a tree
 

Cloudland Canyon Panorama

The last photograph is a panorama of the canyon assembled from five images.

مزید اقبال

آجکل میں اقبال کی شاعری پھر سے پڑھ رہا ہوں۔ اسی لئے آپ کو بھی اقبال کی نظمیں برداشت کرنی پڑ رہی ہیں۔

آجکل میں اقبال کی شاعری پھر سے پڑھ رہا ہوں۔ اسی لئے آپ کو بھی اقبال کی نظمیں برداشت کرنی پڑ رہی ہیں۔

زمانہ آیا ہے بے حجابی کا، عام دیدار یار ہو گا
سکوت تھا پردہ دار جس کا، وہ راز اب آشکار ہو گا
گزر گیا اب وہ دور ساقی کہ چھپ کے پیتے تھے پینے والے
بنے گا سارا جہاں مے خانہ، ہر کوئی بادہ خوار ہو گا
کبھی جو آوارہ جنوں تھے، وہ بستیوں میں پھر آ بسیں گے
برہنہ پائی وہی رہے گی مگر نیا خارزار ہو گا

آپ کا کیا خیال ہے یہ اشعار کس بارے میں ہیں؟

House of Sand and Fog

House of Sand and Fog was a sorta good movie. I would rate it 7/10.

House of Sand and Fog was a sorta good movie. I would rate it 7/10. Ben Kingsley was good as an Iranian expat.

However, it was depressing and Amber doesn’t like depressing movies, which means I have to console her after watching such movies. It’s not a task I relish especially since I can usually be found laughing at the tragic scenes in a movie.

Consistency and Moral Taboos

An interesting quiz about taboos, personal morality and harm. My results show me as more morally permissive and more of a believer in universal morality.

Here are my results on an interesting quiz about taboos and personal morality.

Your Moralising Quotient is: 0.20.
Your Interference Factor is: 0.20.
Your Universalising Factor is: 1.00.

This page compares my results to those of the average test-taker.

Your Moralising Quotient of 0.20 compares to an average Moralising Quotient of 0.43. This means that as far as the events depicted in the scenarios featured in this activity are concerned you are more permissive than average.

Your Interference Factor of 0.20 compares to an average Interference Factor of 0.30. This means that as far as the events depicted in the scenarios featured in this activity are concerned you are less likely to recommend societal interference in matters of moral wrongdoing, in the form of prevention or punishment, than average.

Your Universalising Factor of 1.00 compares to an average Universalising Factor of 0.61. This means you are more likely than average to see moral wrongdoing in universal terms – that is, without regard to prevailing cultural norms and social conventions (at least as far as the events depicted in the scenarios featured in this activity are concerned).

As I expected, I am more permissive than average, but I also strongly believe in the universality of morality.

Via Foreign Dispatches.

Infiniti G35 Coupe

We test drove the 6-speed Infiniti G35 Coupe in our search for a car. It is an amazing car with luxury and performance.

Continuing with our car search, we checked out the Infiniti G35 Coupe.

Infiniti G35 Coupe

Here are some pertinent facts:

Power 298 hp 222 kW
Torque 260 lb-ft 353 N-m
Curb Weight to Power Ratio 11.79 lb/hp 7.17 kg/kW

First of all, the G35 Coupe has great looks. It looks similar to the Nissan 350Z and that is why I prefer the coupe over the sedan. It is also roomier than the RX-8 and has more of a luxury feeling. The back seats have more room in all dimensions except for the head due to the curving roof of the car. However, if instead of sitting erect, I slid down a little, I was quite comfortable in the back seat of a G35.

We test drove the 6-speed manual transmission and my impressions are from that car.

As you can see above, there is no lack of power in a G35 and there is lots of it at all engine speeds. It also sounds great when you accelerate. The ride is a little stiffer than RX-8 but still not uncomfortable. It does feel a bit less nimble in its handling than some smaller sports cars but that is ok considering its size and weight.

The stick-shift G35 comes with Y-rated 19 inch summer tires. This might not be a problem in Atlanta, but if we move somewhere where it snows, we will need to get snow tires for the winter which would cost a bunch of money.

Overall, the G35 feels really good. It is a good compromise between comfort, luxury and performance.

See also Edmunds’ road tests of the G35 Coupe.

An Atlanta Suburb I Wasn’t Aware Of

Georgraphy isn’t the strong suit of some people. It seems there is a city in Georgia I wasn’t aware of.

Like Eric says, read carefully, and look at the map. I have already given you a hint in the title.

گفتار کے غازی

ایک زمانہ تھا جب مجھے اقبال کی بانگ درا کا آخری شعر بہت پسند تھا۔ اس کی وجہ شائد یہ تھی کہ میں ان دنوں گفتار کے غازیوں میں گھرا ہوا تھا۔

ایک زمانہ تھا جب مجھے اقبال کی بانگ درا کا آخری شعر بہت پسند تھا۔ اس کی وجہ شائد یہ تھی کہ میں ان دنوں گفتار کے غازیوں میں گھرا ہوا تھا۔ یہ لوگ باتیں بہت بناتے ہیں مگر ان کو عملی جامہ نہیں پہناتے۔ میرے والد ان کو شائد منافق کہیں۔

مسجد تو بنا دی شب بھر میں ایماں کی حرارت والوں نے
من اپنا پرانا پاپی ہے، برسوں میں نمازی بن نہ سکا
کیا خوب امیر فیصل کو سنوسی نے پیغام دیا
تو نام و نسب کا حجازی ہے پر دل کا حجازی بن نہ سکا
تر آنکھیں تو ہو جاتیں ہیں، پر کیا لذت اس رونے میں
جب خون جگر کی آمیزش سے اشک پیازی بن نہ سکا
اقبال بڑا اپدیشک ہے من باتوں میں موہ لیتا ہے
گفتار کا یہ غازی تو بنا، کردار کا غازی بن نہ سکا

Islamists Everywhere

It seems like Islamists are everywhere nowadays. But the latest trend is intriguing because now it looks like you don’t even have to be a Muslim to be an Islamist.

It seems like Islamists (also here) are everywhere nowadays. Turn a rock and you find an Islamist underneath. But the latest trend is intriguing because now it looks like you don’t even have to be a Muslim to be an Islamist.

Kenny Baer was supposed to be knowledgeable about British politics and elections and was substituting for Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo while Josh was enjoying his honeymoon. But Kenny doesn’t sound much like an expert to me.

Word just came in that the far-far-far left, Islamist candidate George Galloway has defeated Oona King.

Gorgeous George Galloway an Islamist? How? Why? Does the word “Islamist” mean anything? Or is it reduced to a slur now?

The other culprit is a regular one, Daniel Pipes.

Is Grover Norquist an Islamist? Paul Sperry, author of the new book, Infiltration, in an interview calls Grover Norquist “an agent of influence for Islamists in Washington.” When asked by FrontPageMag.com why a Republican anti-tax lobbyist should so passionately promote Islamist causes, Sperry implied that Norquist has converted to Islam: “He’s marrying a Muslim, and when I asked Norquist if he himself has converted to Islam, he brushed the question off as too ‘personal.’” As Lawrence Auster comments on this exchange, “Clearly, if Norquist hadn’t converted to Islam, or weren’t in the process of doing so, he would simply have answered no.”

There is more circular and specious reasoning in the same blog post. According to Pipes, Norquist is an Islamist because he married a Muslim and might even secretly have converted. Also, his wife is an Islamist because she worked at an Islamist organization which was co-founded by Norquist. Thus, through his wife, Norquist is an Islamist. And on and on it goes.

I have profound and vehement political disagreements with both George Galloway and Grover Norquist. In fact, I don’t even like their political style. But come on, they are not Islamists in any useful sense of the term.

While the term “Islamist” might have some meaning among scholars, it has no information value, other than that the person using it doesn’t like the person he is accusing, in normal usage. I guess Bill Allison should be convinced now that the term [Islamist …] is […] meaningless.

Litmus Test for Telecom Meetings

The Bush administration has litmus tests for everything. If you don’t support them, then you don’t count. The latest is the news that Kerry supporters were nixed from a telecom standards meeting.

Via Political Animal, I found out that not only does the Bush administration allow only its loyalists to attend Bush’s Social Security privatization townhalls, it does not let Telecommunication industry representatives who supported Kerry in the last election go to Telecom meetings.

The Inter-American Telecommunication Commission meets three times a year in various cities across the Americas to discuss such dry but important issues as telecommunications standards and spectrum regulations. But for this week’s meeting in Guatemala City, politics has barged onto the agenda. At least four of the two dozen or so U.S. delegates selected for the meeting, sources tell TIME, have been bumped by the White House because they supported John Kerry’s 2004 campaign.

The State Department has traditionally put together a list of industry representatives for these meetings, and anyone in the U.S. telecom industry who had the requisite expertise and wanted to go was generally given a slot, say past participants. Only after the start of Bush’s second term did a political litmus test emerge, industry sources say.

The White House admits as much: “We wanted people who would represent the Administration positively, and—call us nutty—it seemed like those who wanted to kick this Administration out of town last November would have some difficulty doing that,” says White House spokesman Trent Duffy. Those barred from the trip include employees of Qualcomm and Nokia, two of the largest telecom firms operating in the U.S., as well as Ibiquity, a digital-radio-technology company in Columbia, Md. One nixed participant, who has been to many of these telecom meetings and who wants to remain anonymous, gave just $250 to the Democratic Party. Says Nokia vice president Bill Plummer: “We do not view sending experts to international meetings on telecom issues to be a partisan matter. We would welcome clarification from the White House.”

So if you gave $250 to Kerry last year, you are not allowed to participate in the Inter-American Telecommunication Commission meetings, which as you can guess are about telecom standards. Why does the Bush administration remind me so much of banana republics and third world dictatorships?