Not your father's home poker game

This is basically what people with way too much money and a lot of extra time do for fun

This past weekend, 2 slambills, one from the U.S. and one from Hong Kong were in Vegas to play in a full cash game against 4 pros and 2 other amature, but very rich players. The game was held in a private suite in one of the nicer hotels in Vegas and I had the "pleasure" of being present for around 5 hours of this game. I had to also give my word not to devulge the name of any player or the name of the hotel where this game took place. Although completely legal, these players are very descrete and do not want publicity>>>


To pay or not to pay

The real cost of your eyeglasses

29-Jul-2007 (one comment)
Eyeglasses. There is no other accessory I love more than a nice pair of glasses. Purses are carried under my arm, shoes are on my feet but eyeglasses are on my face, adding a frame, personality, a different style. When I lived in Berkeley, I used to walk around Shattuck after class and go into the glasses store just for the heck of it. I fell in love with thousands of models.... from the trendy black plastic ones that make me look smarter than I am, to the nice metal frames that would be perfect for class, to the light white frame sunglasses that create the perfect contrast with my dark skin.>>>


The resurgence of tolerance

Photo essay: Liberty Sciences Center showcases contributions of the Islamic world

What is refreshing is that less than a mile away from the WTC site there is an exhibition at the Liberty Sciences Center (part of the Liberty State Park that contains the Statue of Liberty) entitled "Islamic Science Re-Discovered". It is beautifully assembled and shows the contributions of the Islamic world to sciences and technology. >>>


Murder & order

Ending life knowingly

History proves to us that capital punishment always has been an answer to the gravest crimes. Regardless of cultural differences, religion or race, the notion of "eye for an eye" is known to all mankind. Somehow there is almost no state or tribe that doesn't have a smudge in its history regarding capital punishment. I have always wondered what it is that makes us civilized people think that only by giving a name to an act we are exempt from the main character of the action. We call it capital punishment because it is executed under a certain law by known executors and in accordance with a verdict. But the act itself remains the same as first degree murder. It is still ending a man's life knowingly.>>>


How religion was reformed in the West

The Reformation

I'm Just Saying: The reformation of Christendom began in the 16th century, agreed by most, to have been started by Martin Luther, a German Augustinian monk. Luther felt that over the course of the many years in power, the Catholic Church had fallen into corruption and had deviated from the truth of the Bible and Christ. I'm Just Saying: In 1517 Luther literally nailed his "95 Theses on the Power of Indulgences" to the bulletin board on the door of the Wittenburg Castle church, which officially started the reformation process. In his Theses, he objected to the many false doctrines and malpractices, that troubled not just him, but many Christians of the time, as they saw that the Church had become distant from what many felt were the true teachings of Christ.>>>


Global man

The multi talented genius, Naanaam

It was 2003 I had put my few months old daughter to bed and was browsing through Iranian Times when I came across a collection of poetry. The poems frustrated, angered, and amazed me at times. The collection titled "One Should Not Sleep with Juliet and Not Be Romeo," and the poems were simply incredible. I followed his works and a few years later included some of them in the Other Voices International Project. It was then that I received e-mails from some American poets who believed they were the works of a literary genius. This voice belongs to no one but one of the most controversial contemporary poets of our time, Naanaam>>>


Third western

Turkey, outside Istanbul, is a mix between the Third World and the Western World

I arrived at the airport of Izmir at night time. Usually when you exit customs in any major airport, there is an information desk or better yet an official government tourist information office. In the worst case, signs in English directing you to the buses or trains going to the city center. Well, none of that in Izmir airport! Do you know how I got downtown? A Turkish girl sitting with me on the plane saw that I was peeing in my pants and told me I can come with her. Her brother picked us up in his car. On the way to the city center the car goes through the residential neighborhoods which look depressing, sort of like the low-income, crack-smoking dormitory towns in California. Nothing touristy I can assure you. I am dropped off in a downtown street that is uglier than hell>>>


Soap opera, Iranian style

Nader, being a romantic and sensitive man, was stunned by Roya's beauty, feminism, and good sex

29-Jul-2007 (one comment)
She was amazed how easy and fast Nader fell for her. It was much more than she expected. He was totally ready to spend all his time with her and she knew how to keep him interested. Nader's wife, who felt something is wrong, initiated a couple of things: nice dinner tables and new clothes, as they were doing much better money wise. But all her efforts went unnoticed as Nader never came home on time to have dinner with her. Arguments started! She was upset and inexperienced and was taken by shock. How fast my man is leaving me! She couldn't imagine it. All the attempts to keep him were useless as he was already gone! After a few times when dinner went cold and Nader came home after midnight, she accepted the separation. They grew apart and nothing could bring him back to her. Roya's attaraction was very strong! All set! Roya hit the jackpot!>>>


Khuzestan 1958-60

Photo essay: Close links of kinship made a deep impression, certainly expanding my sense of human possibilities

These photos, like the group that was posted here in April [see: Memories of an American boy], were taken by my father Charles Schroeder during the time we lived in Abadan, 1958-60. Many of the background details about our stay there were given with the first set. Since that posting we've received many generous and heartfelt responses that encouraged us to bring this new group forward>>>


Gmelin's Persia & Persians

Young German scientist and explorer's 1770 journey to northern Persia

Further, music is never played if the singers do not sing along. Often a dance is added, but this dance neither represents German nor French taste. Those who perform them only have in mind how they may express the power of the music by the wonderful turns and rotations of their bodies. It is due to this that they then bend backwards and then again fall down headlong with their arms outstretched on the ground, and often also clap their hands together over the head, until they finally get up to again make the most violent movements by another theme of the music, turn around in twirls and yes even tumble with their head over their bodies, all the while hand-clapping>>>


Ah, Los Angeles

I accept you as my city

This is the revised version of my Poem, "Ah, Los Angeles" first published in Persian in "Daftar-haye Shanbeh" No. 2, 1994 and then in English in Muddy Shoes (Beyond Baroque Books) 1999. The City of Venice, California engraved one of the stanzas of this poem on a wall in Venice beach at Boardwalk-Brooks in 2000.>>>


Cinema Evin

A film review. Really.

The prison interrogator who directed Haleh Esfanidari's "confession" video -- we will call him Evinpour -- does not have Makhmalbaf's skills. His attempts at realism fail at the levels of set design and editing. Evinpour has succeeded, however, in manipulating Esfandiari into believing she is speaking to a friendly listener. In the video aired on Iranian TV, Esfanidari sits in a couch, comfortable and relaxed, surrounded by the earth tones of the furniture. As our minds cooperate with the director to suspend disbelief, the small refrigerator intruding clumsily into the frame suggests that Evinpour himself has been unable to shake off the prison aura. If this prop is meant as an association with food and therefore good treatment, a basket of fruit on the coffee table would have harmonized much better with the intended scheme>>>


When will you see them all again?

A family reunion in diaspora

The youngest is 12. If you look carefully at his small, expressive face, you will see a darkening hairline just above his upper lip. You want to stare at it, marvel at the promise of life it brings its owner and those who love him, but you can’t stare at a 12-year old boy. So you move on... Another is a pretty 14-year old, whose body has grown into curves which weren’t there last year, you could swear. You want to stare at the wild beauty of that gorgeous auburn hair, just like her mother’s, and watch the contour of that figure, memorizing it until the next time you meet, but you can’t stare at a 14-year old girl. So you move on...>>>


Repressive measures help pro-war forces

Statement on the detainment of Iranian-American

Detention and harassment of individuals, academics and NGO or political activists for expressing their ideas or promoting different cultural positions, are deplorable acts, regardless of the diverse contexts and vastly different dimensions in which they might take place, be it in the United States, Guantanamo Bay, Israel, the UK or any other place, including Iran. In addition to being abhorrent in their own right, such acts in a country like Iran which is threatened by warmongers in the west, also play directly into the hands of those determined to bomb Iran>>>


Seeing the “real” Iran

As a naïve kid, I assumed that Persia was a tiny island paradise that rarely made it to maps like my birthplace

19-Jul-2007 (one comment)
A country’s history is much like wine. Considering Shiraz is the birthplace of the seductive grape to which it gave its name, I believe my thought is reasonable. With age, a culture grows more attractive, increases its depth and notes, and heightens in value. Hence, I have concluded that Persia, with its three thousand years of flavor is one of the finest in the world. Having spent majority of my twenty-one years in Australia, I could not avoid becoming a jolly wine follower. We proud Aussies swear by our top quality Shiraz, but will always be haunted by the fact that it originally ain’t really our grape. Bugger.>>>


You get the picture

What sort of sub human entity would write letters like this?

19-Jul-2007 (2 comments)
TEHRANGELES -- I was browsing when I saw a link to a picture showing a women without hejab riding on the back of a guy on a street racer bike. I was thinking to myself how badbakht have we Iranians become when a picture of woman without a head scarf, in the year 2007, finds its way to the home page of a site with a lot of readers. A few moments later, I started reading the letters page. As usual, many well written letters with great content. While basking in the thoughts of how well some of my countrymen and women write in English, I came across a letter by the "individual" with the internet pen name of Issa Hajizadeh>>>


A chance to meet

Citizenship Workshop with Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi in San Francisco

With the recent defeat of the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill in the Senate, a major opportunity was missed to strengthen and improve our broken immigration laws. Although the proposed Bill was not perfect, there were areas that affected the Iranian American Community such as the H1B visas and sponsoring family members for green card. The Bill is dead for now, but the debate is not and there is a good chance that another Bill will surface in the next Congress. We, as Iranian Americans, must pay close attention to the new Bill and lend our voice to the debate as our community is for most part an Immigrant Community, meaning majority of us was born outside the United States>>>


Hitler's legacy

Iran's and Iranians' identity is indeed largely based on what they see as Iranians being Aryans

There are indeed many who identify themselves as proud Iranians who would get angry for calling Iran a backward country, or even to associate Iran with the neighbourhood. They would argue that Iran is unique, great, and notably different from not just its peers but also from the rest of the world. And to prove this, the so-called Persian/Iranian nationalists (not calling them racists is just being nice) would proudly identify and associate themselves with Aryans, with no reserves at all, openly and arrogantly. Clear sign of backwardness! No further proof is needed. No further comment is needed. And in case, one, like me, would dare to question the legitimacy and diplomacy (is it okay in today's world to bring words about such a dodgy identity that has been buried by Westerners more than half a century ago?!) of such a popular stance, these proud Aryans would not hesitate to attack>>>


Paris divided by art

Paris divided by art

Photo essay: Museums, historical buildings, churches ...

by Shaghayegh Ghanbari



 The Tehrangelesazation of Brooklyn

I have a problem with the mindset of a lot of Brooklyn transplants

12-Jul-2007 (2 comments)
East Tehrangeles. Not literally, of course. There aren't scores of 'Purshian' mafia running around with sharply gelled tips, fake boobs, and nose jobs. NOT YET. But I tell you, if the L.A. Persian hipsters ever find a way out of SoCal and get into tattoos, thrift shop chic, and adopting Asian babies, I think they would feel right at home in say, Park Slope or in the other colonized neighborhoods in BK. Why, you might ask. Because the kinds of people that have taken over Brooklyn's choice neighborhoods increasingly exhibit the same social ambitions and hang ups as my West Coast brethren. Smug sense of satisfaction with their zip codes? Check. Pride at being able to say they live in a particular neighborhood? Check>>>