Showing posts with label pollution. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pollution. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Gino Macropodio & the Dead Lagoon

That Italian-Greek name is the needle that sews together a great read in this week's New Yorker.
While not stellar writing, there are some hysterical anecdotes that only an American son of privilege could acquire in the ratty waters of Venice.

• "Inmates were dangerously crazy women, not just moody ones."
• Rats, gun-runners ..."fighting certain taxi drivers for the city's cocaine trade .. "
• "Baby Fragola came in fast, blasting techno, holding the collar ..."
• "From the stomach, not the balls!"
• Macropodio "once rowed three miles across the lagoon with six friends to drink 40 bottles of wine. And then rowed back." (Fact checkers missed the math on this!)

Read "Open Water," the tale of "Kekquakea," by Sean Wilsey. Page 40 of the April 22 New Yorker.
More on the Venice pollution and water problems in this BBC article on a temporary Grand Canal boat ban.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Weekend Reading: Burning Trees in Athens, Bombing in Ankara

Some weekend reading about Turkey, Greece and Cyprus, but don't expect good cheer:

This news is deeply disturbing: the Economist reports of multiple attacks on old Christian women in Istanbul in recent weeks. The first reader comment on the Economist piece? A diatribe denying genocide. Relatives of one 85-year-old Armenian murder victim said that the lines of a crucifix had been knifed onto her unclothed body. All of the incidents occurred in Istanbul's Samatya neighborhood, home to 8,000 Armenians and the Armenian Patriarchate. Istanbul's governor insisted in a Tweet that one particular incident was motivated by theft, not hate, which is a prevailing view according to this Catholic News report.  I wrote about Istanbul cemetery vandalism in 2009.

Two weeks ago, a young New York mother and aspiring photographer disappeared in Istanbul while on a solo trip, and it doesn't sound like she met with a good end. She found cheap accommodations on and the New York Post reported Friday that Istanbul police are detaining a man she agreed to meet on a bridge.

Here is Daily Telegraph coverage of Friday's deadly bombing at the U.S. embassy in Ankara, Turkey.

Over in Greece, poor people desperate for heat are cutting down trees for firewood, and apparently even chopped one tied to Plato. The Atlantic wrote Thursday that the pollution one sees hovering over Athens, "is the smog of austerity. Greece is literally breathing in the fumes of its recession." Make that depression.

Cyprus needs a bailout, in case you have crisis fatigue and ignore financial news. Even if Russians who like to bank in Cyprus chip in some cash, European authorities must step in, says this English-language article in Kathimerini. Complicating matters: hydrocarbons could be exploited off the southern coast, which is the Greek coast, of Cyprus. Seems the northern, Turkish side wants in, but someone forgot to toss a seismic detector into the Mediterranean Sea circa 1974. Until now, valuable discoveries were more along the lines of the icon of Christ that Boy George handed over to Cypriot authorities.

Finally, check out my friend Jim Montalbano's movie review blog. "Once Upon A Time in Anatolia," a  Turkish fictional drama about -- what else? -- death, is one of his favorite films of 2012. The official trailer is here. Looks pretty dark. I watched "The Lark Farm" last weekend - a dramatization of 1915 atrocities in Turkey focused on a wealthy Armenian family that protected poor neighbors. All were sent into a starvation exile and most died. Watch it for actress Arsinee Khanjian's natural looks and to contemplate what would have happened if her daughter had run off with the handsome Turkish soldier - and what happened to those women who pursued such survival tactics. Film available on Netflix.

Just rented Madagascar, whose animated critters promise to lighten things up.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


When we were flying into Delhi, the pilot said, "The weather is .... smoke."
Here is the view from the bus on our early-morning drive today. It's not the window. It's haze from people burning off the morning chill with a little curbside fire, or burning a lamp at a market stall, or the diesel vehicles. An Indian-American family who gave me a ride to my hotel -- they wouldn't take money for the 45-minute journey -- told me the air quality was much worse until public vehicles in Delhi were required to use compressed gas as fuel.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Dharavi Slum

More than garbage, it's the pollution in Mumbai that is most upsetting. I am having trouble breathing. We toured the Dharavi slum today after a thoughtful introduction from some activists who have gotten the residents involved in the government/private investor effort to put up high rises on the now-valuable land. Three train stations provide service to the area. Even hedge funds hvae been talking with activists about the investment risks! What surprised us most was the sophistication of the place; in fact, it is full of important and complex cottage industries, from leather tanneries and pottery manufacturing to plastic recycling. About 70% of the people are self-employed. There are restaurants, people have cell phones, there are schools and the kids have uniforms -- but don't get me wrong. It's the largest slum in Asia and the government is not providing sewage, toilets or other basic needs, and some of these dwellers only have a plastic roof over their head every night that they roll up before going off barefoot to a kiln that spews black soot. Sadness, anger, guilt, hope. Experienced lots of emotions for a day.