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Old 27.12.2008, 18:01   #1
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Wednesday, December 24, 2008
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L'CHAIM
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In arithmetic, one plus one makes two. In life, the answer may be eleven or any other given number.
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The Mekhitarist order was divided into two – the Venetian and Viennese branches. But I am told they have now decided to unite. The friend who communicates this news bulletin to me, remarks: “Now that they are both dead, they want to be buried together.” Which reminds me of the fact that while being “educated” by the Venetian branch, “Armenian solidarity” might as well have been a taboo subject.
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Once upon a time there was a Chinese emperor whose ambition was to change the world. When he realized the world wasn't exactly in a cooperative frame of mind, he lowered his sight to trying to change his realm, then his circle of relatives and friends, and so on until he realized that he couldn't even change himself.
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Confucius, Buddha, Jesus, and Mohammad, came close to changing the world, whether for the better or worse remains to be seen.
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In life, the unpleasant surprises outnumber the pleasant ones perhaps because man is more easily addicted to wishful thinking than objective judgment.
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Thursday, December 25, 2008
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HO HO HO!
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Speaking of Galileo, Pope Benedict XVI is quoted as having said, he had helped “the faithful to better understand and contemplate with gratitude the Lord's works.” It seems to me, the far more important lesson to be learned from the most famous victim of the Inquisition is that faith can sometimes lead those in power into punishing the innocent and intimidating the rest into blind obedience. In other words, what happened to Galileo is not an injustice that belongs to the irrevocable past, but an aberration inherent in all organized religions.
According to a cardinal, “Galileo Galilei was a man of faith who saw nature as a book authored by God.” The unmistakable implication being that those who speak in the name of God sometimes behave like functional illiterates.
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Friends tell me I should not waste my time writing about nonentities. But what if these nonentities are in charge of our destiny?
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Troubles come from unexpected directions, and like bullets, they hit you before you hear them coming because they travel faster than the speed of sound.
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Anyone can get a lawyer. The trick is getting a good lawyer; and with a good lawyer you lose even when you win – when, that is, you get his bill.
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I am fascinated by people who know or understand something that I don't; and I am repelled by people who believe things that I believed when I was a dupe.
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Friday, December 26, 2008
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TWO BOOKS
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The two funniest books I read this year are Christopher Buckley's satirical novel, SUPREME COURTSHIP, and Shalom Auslander's FORESKIN'S LAMENT: A MEMOIR.
Buckley's central character is a combination of Sarah Palin and Bugs Bunny (my favorite American of all time). I noted the presence of two Armenians: Setrakian, a prosecutor, and Harmookian, a senator.
Auslander's name is Shalom but his memoir is more like a declaration of war against Jewish beliefs, scriptures, customs, traditions, and dietary laws.
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We all view reality from a different angle. If we want to enhance our understanding of the world, we must first come to terms with the fact that what we see is not what we get because what we see is only a fraction of reality, and a fraction so minuscule that it might as well be invisible to the naked eye.
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There is a type of Armenian whose penetrating gaze sees and understands everything except the dimensions and depths of his own ignorance.
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According to some eminent historians, the present conflict between the West and the Muslim world is “a clash of civilizations.” I disagree. Neither Bush and his gang of neo-cons, nor Saddam, Osama, and their brainwashed thugs represent anything remotely allied to civilization. Barbarism, yes. Civilization, no!
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Saturday, December 27, 2008
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RECAP (II)
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From our millionaires, we want money.
From our bishops, constant reminders of our moral superiority.
From our fund-raisers, declarations of our generosity.
From our people, credulity.
From our writers, flattery.
From our critics, silence.
Armenians are complex and unpredictable?
Nonsense!
We are more predictable than Pavlov's salivating canines.
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Where there is a free press, fascism doesn't stand a chance.
One of the worst things that happened to America in the last century was Senator McCarthy. But McCarthy, unlike Franco, Mao, Mussolini, Hitler, and Stalin, didn't kill anyone. Neither did he last as long for the simple reason that he was exposed as a bully by a free press.
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Where there is no free press, or where there are barriers raised against the free flow of ideas (as that of “insulting Turkishness”), the people will be exposed to only one set of views. The result will be a society that is unhealthy and easily manipulated by those in power. This may explain why our bosses, bishops, and benefactors are unanimous in supporting our Turcocentric ghazetajis and in opposing dissent.
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The trouble with any kind of barrier against free speech is that it tends to suppress legitimate criticism too and eventually creates a class of individuals who consider themselves beyond criticism.
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If you say, Armenians don't like me on the grounds that I am consistently negative,
my answer is, you mean I insult Armenishness?
Is it being negative pointing out the obvious fact that, as members of the human race, we are as bad as the rest of mankind, including of course Turks, and that all suggestions of moral superiority are not just lies but asinine absurdities?
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Where courage of one's convictions is equated with hostility or even treason, the result will be a generation of conformists, yes-men, and cowards afraid of their own shadows.
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