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Friday, November 28, 2008

Hey Guys! ;)

I'm going to spend the day with my family. I don't want to leave you guys without any cool stuff today, so I posted a few things. Have a great weekend!

Cee List

Makapuu Lighthouse

Makapu'u Lighthouse is one of Hawaii's most familiar landmarks commanding a spectacular view of the Windward side of O'ahu. The lighthouse was built in 1909 and automated in 1974. A 2-mile paved trail leads to the lighthouse and a fantastic view of the entire coastline and the island of Molokai in the distance.

Two smaller islands can be clearly seen from this lookout - Manana Island, the largest, and Kaohikaipu Island. The Molokai Channel runs past Makapu'u Lighthouse.


View from Hilton hotel room in Osaka
View from Hilton hotel room in Nagoya


Hawaii's Little Musical Giant

Hawaii is one of the most beautiful places on planet earth and her culture has spawned some of the most enduring music and musical styles known in the world today. The Hawaiian people are credited with three significant contributions to string music history; slack-key guitar, steel guitar and the Ukulele. Of the three, the ukulele, because of its unique musical voice and diminutive size, was thought to be more of an oddity than a serious musical instrument with mainland musicians. But with Hawaiian musicians, the ukulele has been anything but an oddity.

A Portuguese immigrant was credited with bringing the predecessor of the ukulele to Hawaii in 1879. The 'braguinha' was quickly accepted into Hawaiian music and was dubbed the taro-patch fiddle. The first Hawaiian name for the ukulele was pila li'ili'i which translates as "Little Fiddle." There are numerous accounts as to how this little stringed instrument became known as the ukulele. Ukulele in Hawaiian means "Jumping Flea" but the most plausible explanation is the name evolved from the only indigenous Hawaiian stringed instrument, the ukeke. The ukeke is an ancient mouth-bow instrument with a playing technique similar to the jaw harp. However the ukulele came by its name, the instrument was here to stay and would have an influence on the world music scene.

In 1915, the Hawaiian exhibit at the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco formally introduced the ukulele to the world. The Royal Hawaiian Quartet, a band that featured guitar, steel guitar, mandolin and the ukulele, played to an estimated 17 million people in a seven-month period. The Hawaiian exhibit was touted as one of the most popular at the exposition and the music was a tremendous success, launching the interest in Hawaiian music in the United States that lasted through World War 11. Hawaiian records were so popular in 1916, that they outsold all other forms of music on the mainland.

The Roaring Twenties brought such a demand for the ukulele that manufacturers couldn't keep up. Because it was inexpensive, small and easier to play than its other stringed counter-parts, it became very popular with people who wanted to play the music and songs of the day, but didn't want to spend the time it takes to learn to play other stringed instruments. Teenagers and college students adopted the uke as their own and it became part of their image as much as straw hats, raccoon coats and striped blazers.

The great depression came and the ukuleles popularity began to fade as the pop songs of the 20's had little meaning to people that were out of work and facing hard times. The ukulele languished through the 1930's and 40's on the mainland, but was forever to be part of the Hawaiian musical culture. The 50's brought a revival to the ukulele and a large part of that revival is credited to Arthur Godfrey. The radio star was now a star of the new medium, television. As an emcee that introduced various acts, Mr. Godfrey would play tunes on his ukulele between acts. As he grew into a bigger star, so did the ukulele, achieving its highest profile ever. Then came rock and roll and the ukulele was put back into the closet until 1968 when Tiny Tim brought it back into the limelight. Some of the more famous Hawaiian musicians and entertainers, along with the not so famous, have kept the little stringed instrument as an integral part of the Hawaiian music culture.

Eddie Karnae, along with his friend, famed slack-key guitarist, Gabby Pahinui, formed the group "Sons of Hawaii" in the 60's and the sounds they created were modern but they had a strong traditional flavor and their music became more and more an identity of Hawaiian music.

Today the ukulele is used in many modern styles and blends of Reggae, Rock and Traditional Hawaiian music, used both as a rhythm and as a lead instrument. With this new popularity, the ukulele has had many new innovations to the instrument itself. Along with the standard four-string soprano concert, tenor and baritone ukes, there are now six-, seven-, eight- and nine-string instruments being made. But one thing is for sure, the tiny little stringed instrument, that has endured the musical roller coaster, is finally getting the respect that it deserves and is here to stay, but of course, a 100 years after its introduction to Hawaii, any Hawaiian musician could have told you that.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Tyson Bedford

Tyson Beckford has come a long way from New York's Bronx to become a cover boy and the face of Ralph Lauren. In doing so he has paved the way for up-and-coming models of colour.

So how does he handle success? "I thank God every day," he says. "That's all I can do. That, and try to help all those other guys who are trying to do what I did."

Born Tyson Craig Beckford on December 19, 1971, in New York, the catwalk star had no plans to be a model as he grew up in Jamaica and the Big Apple. In fact, his exotic eyes and high cheekbones – a fascinating combination resulting from his Jamaican-Panamanian-Chinese heritage – drew ridicule from his schoolmates.

The man who would become one of People magazine's Most Beautiful People was barely out of his teens when his striking looks caught the eye of the editor of hip hop magazine The Source in 1991. Within two years the 6ft 2in hunk had a starring role in Ralph Lauren's Polo Sport fragrance campaign.

Before long, Tyson – who sports at least eight tattoos on his chiselled bod – was featured on the covers of dozens of magazines, had posed for top photgraphers

Herb Ritts and Bruce Weber, and was as named VH1's 1995 Model Of The Year. He was also praised by style icons such as Ralph Lauren who cited his "all-American look with a dramatic edge", saying: "He conveys power, style and intelligence in a very exciting way."

However, as a forerunner in his field, Tyson's path hasn't always been smooth. He once turned down a spot on the coveted Milan Fashion Week catwalk because he was the only black man invited to the event. "There are so many African-American and African men who are trying to get jobs, and they weren't giving the jobs to them," he said at the time. "I'm not the only brother out here trying to make it. So I didn't go."

But the father-of-one – his son, Jordan, was born in 1998 – soon set his sights beyond fashion stardom. Having shown off his screen presence in music videos, including Toni Braxton's Unbreak My Heart and Britney Spears' Toxic, Tyson also has his gorgeous brown eyes on the big screen.

After an appearance in the little-seen Boricua's Bond and a comic turn as himself in the Ben Stiller male model spoof Zoolander, he took on higher-profile roles, including a part in Biker Boyz alongside The Matrix star Laurence Fishburne.

Breaking into hollywood hasn't been easy, however, for the handsome star who says his good looks are sometimes more of a hindrance than a help. "A bad day for me now is going on an audition and not getting the gig," he says. "I've got to prove myself because (casting directors) think I am a pretty boy who can't speak.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Iman Abdulmajid was born in Mogadishu, Somalia on July 25, 1955. Being the daughter of a diplomat, Iman was raised in a comparatively privileged home, where she was quickly taught the basics of global politics.

That interest not only stayed with her for the rest of her life, but it led her to Nairobi, Kenya to study Political Science at the local University. It was there that she crossed paths with fashion
photographer, Peter Beard. Instantly entranced by her strong features, beautiful eyes, and model figure, Beard begged her to come to New York. After some initial skepticism, Iman crossed the Atlantic and made an instant impact on the global fashion scene.

In 1979, Iman made history as the first African (or African-American) woman to appear on the cover of Vogue. Soon afterwards she made more history when she became the first woman of color to sign a cosmetics contract. She became as big a star as a model could become in that era, and quickly turned her attention to film.

After some small roles in some truly terrible films, Iman got her breakthrough in the Oscar-winning Out of Africa with Robert Redford and Meryl Streep. From there she moved on to roles in films like House Party 2, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, and a cameo in the Michael Jackson "Remember the Time" video.

Having grown weary of promoting cosmetics, Iman decided that the major brands were not doing enough to address the needs of women of color. In 1994, she launched her own line of cosmetics aimed exclusively at this often overlooked and underrepresented consumer group. So far, the company has been extremely successful and in 2000 the company launched the I-IMAN Makeup line of cosmetics for use by all women.

A successful modeling stint, a respectable acting resume and a successful business gave Iman almost every accomplishment she could have wanted in her professional career. But she still felt alone after her divorce to Spencer Haywood, the father of her daughter Zulekha, in the mid-1980s. By the time the 1990s had rolled around, she had found herself a soul mate in the form of music royalty.

Legendary artist David Bowie fell head over heels for the model after she finally accepted his backstage pass to a 1990 show in Los Angeles. Two years later the two were married, and have remained together ever since. In 2000, the power couple gave birth to their first child together, Alexandria Zahra.

Far from keeping her success and her talents exclusively to herself, Iman has worked hard to make sure that she can use her celebrity to help the underprivileged. As an active member of Mother's Voices, Action Against Hunger, The Children's Defense Fund, and the All Children Foundation, Iman has entrenched herself as one of the most socially conscious women in the celebrity world.

Iman is certainly one of the most beautiful women on Earth, but by conquering such diverse challenges as modeling, acting, raising a family, and fighting for a better world, she has made herself one of the most respected too.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Alek Wek

Alek Wek – it is pronounced Uh Lek – was born into the southern Sudanese Dinka tribe in 1977. Named "the-black-and-white-cow" after a tribal good luck symbol, she was raised in a large but close-knit family in the small village of Wau.

Along with millions of other Sudanese, her life was turned upside down by the outbreak of civil war in 1982. After their house came under fire from an unknown group, the Wek family fled. When they returned a month later, they found the village ravaged and its inhabitants living in the local school, without amenities or food.

Eventually, Alek was sent to the capital, Khartoum, where she was joined three months later by the rest of the family. Here, her father, an education administrator, underwent a hip replacement procedure, but as a result of complications following the operation, he died. Shortly afterwards the Weks decided to leave their homeland.

Alek's older sister had moved to Britain before the civil war, and applied on behalf of her family for refugee status. In 1991 Alek and her younger sister were accepted, but it was two years before they were joined by their mother and two more of their nine siblings. The remaining family members were finally given refuge by Australia and Canada.

While living with her sister in England, Alek supported herself with odd jobs outside school hours and sent money back to her mother. She learnt English quickly, and went on to study fashion technology and business at the prestigious London College of Fashion.

The African beauty's big break came in 1995 when she was discovered by a model agency scout while shopping in a London market. She signed to Models One, and it wasn't long before she appeared in a Tina Turner video and on the pages of cutting edge publications Vibe and i-D.

One of the hottest new faces on the scene, she was soon courted by top design houses for their runway shows. Her distinctive looks, so different from the usual catwalk fare, caused a stir in the world of fashion, and garnered a raft of awards, including "Best New Model" at the Venus de la Mode Fashion Awards, 1997 MTV model of the year, and "Model of the Decade" from i-D.

Alek's success has redefined the traditional understanding of beauty, as US chat show host and actress Oprah Winfrey underlined in an interview with the model. "If you had been there when I was growing up, I would have thought of myself as beautiful," the presenter confessed.

Outside her modelling commitments, Alek draws upon her own experiences as a refugee to help highlight the plight of the world's dispossessed and, as a member of the US Committee For Refugees' Advisory Council, campaigns to raise the profile of the humanitarian disaster in the Sudan.



Monday, November 24, 2008

Guantanamo Bay

Guantanamo prosecutor who quit had 'grave misgivings' about fairness

WASHINGTON -- Darrel J. Vandeveld was in despair. The hard-nosed lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve, a self-described conformist praised by his superiors for his bravery in Iraq, had lost faith in the Guantanamo Bay war crimes tribunals in which he was a prosecutor.

His work was top secret, making it impossible to talk to family or friends. So the devout Catholic -- working away from home -- contacted a priest online.

ven if he had no doubt about the guilt of the accused, he wrote in an August e-mail, "I am beginning to have grave misgivings about what I am doing, and what we are doing as a country. . . .

"I no longer want to participate in the system, but I lack the courage to quit. I am married, with children, and not only will they suffer, I'll lose a lot of friends."

Two days later, he took the unusual step of reaching out for advice from his opposing counsel, a military defense lawyer.

"How do I get myself out of this office?" Vandeveld asked Major David J.R. Frakt of the Air Force Reserve, who represented the young Afghan Vandeveld was prosecuting for an attack on U.S. soldiers -- despite Vandeveld's doubts about whether Mohammed Jawad would get a fair trial. Vandeveld said he was seeking a "practical way of extricating myself from this mess."

Last month, Vandeveld did just that, resigning from the Jawad case, the military commissions overall and, ultimately, active military duty. In doing so, he has become even more of a central figure in the "mess" he considers Guantanamo to be.

Vandeveld is at least the fourth prosecutor to resign under protest. Questions about the fairness of the tribunals have been raised by the very people charged with conducting them, according to legal experts, human rights observers and current and former military officials.

Vandeveld's claims are particularly explosive.

In a declaration and subsequent testimony, he said the U.S. government was not providing defense lawyers with the evidence it had against their clients, including exculpatory information -- material considered helpful to the defense.

Saying that the accused enemy combatants were more likely to be wrongly convicted without that evidence, Vandeveld testified that he went from being a "true believer to someone who felt truly deceived" by the tribunals. The system in place at the U.S. military facility in Cuba, he wrote in his declaration, was so dysfunctional that it deprived "the accused of basic due process and subject[ed] the well-intentioned prosecutor to claims of ethical misconduct."

Army Col. Lawrence J. Morris, the chief prosecutor and Vandeveld's boss, said the Office of Military Commissions provides "every scrap of paper and information" to the defense. Morris said that Vandeveld was disgruntled because his commanding officers disagreed with some of his legal tactics and that he "never once" raised substantive concerns.

Morris said last week that he had no idea why Vandeveld had become so antagonistic toward the tribunal process, adding that the lieutenant colonel's outspokenness angered him because it was unfair and was a "broad blast at some very ethical and hardworking people whose performances are being smudged groundlessly."

Vandeveld, who was prosecuting seven tribunal cases -- nearly a third of pending cases -- has declined to be interviewed about the particulars of the Jawad case. But he did engage in a series of e-mails with The Times about his general concerns, before being "reminded" last week that he could not talk to the press until his release from active duty was final. In the future, he said, he plans to speak out.

"I don't know how else the creeping rot of the commissions and the politics that fostered and continued to surround them could be exposed to the curative powers of the sunlight," he said. "I care not for myself; our enemies deserve nothing less than what we would expect from them were the situations reversed. More than anything, I hope we can rediscover some of our American values."

Some tribunal defense lawyers are preparing to call Vandeveld as a witness, saying that his claims of systemic problems at Guantanamo, if true, could alter the outcome of every pending case there -- and force the turnover of long-sought information on coercive interrogation tactics and other controversial measures used against their clients in the war on terrorism.

For years, defense lawyers and human rights organizations have raised similar concerns in individual cases. "But we never had anyone on the inside who could validate those claims," said Michael J. Berrigan, the deputy chief defense counsel for the commissions.

Before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Vandeveld led a relatively placid life outside Erie, Pa., with his wife and four children. He worked as a senior deputy state attorney general in charge of consumer protection in the region, and he served on his local school board in Millcreek Township.

Anyone who knows him, Vandeveld, 48, told The Times, "will probably tell you that I've been a conformist my entire life, and [that] to speak out against the injustice wrought upon our worst enemies entailed a weather shift in my worldview."

Mark Tanenbaum, an English teacher whose children are friends with Vandeveld's, remembers talking to him while sitting around campfires at high school gatherings. "We talked a lot about religion. I'm Jewish. We'd talk about faith, value-based philosophy. We were kindred spirits in this.

With him, it is all about doing the right thing."

Vandeveld, called to active duty after 9/11, received glowing evaluations as a Pentagon legal advisor and judge advocate in Bosnia, the Horn of Africa and Iraq. "An absolutely outstanding, first-class performance by an extraordinarily gifted, intelligent, knowledgeable and experienced judge advocate, whose potential is utterly unlimited," his commanding officer, Gen. Charles J. Barr, wrote in his June 2006 evaluation. "One of the corps' best and brightest. Save the very toughest jobs in the corps for him.

From his Iraq assignment, Vandeveld went to Guantanamo, where he began locking horns over the Jawad case with Frakt -- a law professor at Western State University in Fullerton and a former active-duty Air Force lawyer who volunteered for the tribunals.

Frakt believed that his Afghan client was, at worst, a confused teen who had been brainwashed and drugged by militant extremists who coerced him into participating in a grenade-throwing incident with other older -- and more guilty -- men. He insisted that the prosecution was withholding key information or not obtaining it from those at the Pentagon, CIA and other U.S. agencies that had investigated and interrogated Jawad.

Vandeveld believed that Jawad was a war criminal who had been taught by an Al Qaeda-linked group to kill American troops and, if caught, to make up claims he had been tortured and was underage. Vandeveld insisted that he had been providing all evidence to the defense.

But by July, Vandeveld told The Times, he had grown increasingly troubled. He kept finding sources of information and documents that appeared to bolster Frakt's claims that evidence was being withheld -- including some favorable to the defense, such as information suggesting that Jawad was underage, that he had been drugged before the incident and that he had been abused by U.S. forces afterward.

Vandeveld also was having difficulty obtaining authorization to release documents in his possession to the defense.

On Aug. 5, he e-mailed Father John Dear, a well-known Jesuit peace activist. Dear, who boasts of being arrested 75 times in protests, encouraged him to act, saying he might "save lives and change the direction of the entire policy."

With Frakt pressing for the charges against Jawad to be dismissed due to "outrageous government misconduct," Vandeveld proposed a plea agreement under which Jawad, now thought to be 22, could return to Afghanistan for rehabilitation. But his superiors rejected it, Vandeveld said.

By late August, he had told Frakt that there were other "disquieting" things about Guantanamo and that his superiors were refusing to address them or to let him quietly transfer out, Frakt said in an interview.

"Now might be a good time to take a courageous stand and expose some of the 'disquieting' things that you have alluded to, whatever they may be," Frakt replied in a Sept. 2 e-mail, noting that there would soon be a change of administrations in Washington.

"It wouldn't be a bad idea to distance yourself from a process that has become largely discredited, or at least distinguish yourself as one of the good guys, an ethical prosecutor trying to do the right thing," Frakt wrote.

On Sept. 9, Vandeveld e-mailed Dear to say he had resigned from the Guantanamo military tribunals: "The reaction was the expected outrage and condemnation. I have and will maintain my equanimity and, while scared for me and for my family, know that Christ will watch over me."

That, however, was only the beginning. In late September -- after the military, according to Frakt, initially tried to block it -- Vandeveld testified by video link for the defense, saying he believed that insurmountable problems with the tribunals might make them incapable of meting out justice fairly.

Morris said that Vandeveld is not qualified to speak about systemwide problems at Guantanamo. But Frakt said that he is and that Vandeveld's testimony and declaration only scratched the surface of his concerns, judging by their extensive conversations and hundreds of e-mail exchanges.

"There is a lot more that he knows," Frakt said.


Friday, November 21, 2008

Chic & Swag Friday

Guys, K.West's cd drops on Nov 24th so grab it day of! :);) It's also avalible for download on itunes!!!!!

12-Year-Old’s a Food Critic, and the Chef Loves It

Guys , check this out ..interesting ....:)David Fishman, on a subsequent visit to the Salumeria Rosi, trying the offerings at the restaurant on the Upper West Side. “Good variety,” he wrote.

Everyone’s a critic, and apparently it’s never too soon to start.

That’s why David Fishman, an Upper West Sider who turned 12 last month, decided to take himself out for dinner one night last week. His parents had called him at home to say they were running late, suggesting that he grab some takeout at the usual hummus place.

Hummus, again? David thought he could do better than that.

He had recently passed by the newly opened Salumeria Rosi, a few blocks from his home, and had been intrigued by the reflective black back wall, the cuts of dried pork hanging from the ceiling, the little jars of cured olives and artichokes adorning the walls. If it was O.K. with his mom (and it turned out it was), he wanted to try that instead. David aspires to be a food critic — he has some vague notion that he could make a living writing for the Zagat guides — and the new Italian spot on Amsterdam Avenue near 73rd Street seemed worthy of investigation.

Be sure to read the rest..:) LOL just type child food critic...:)

California Academy of Sciences

SAN FRANCISCO — Not all architects embrace the idea of evolution. Some, fixated on the 20th-century notion of the avant-garde, view their work as a divine revelation, as if history began with them. Others pine for the Middle Ages.


Onduler and Sakulight by Chihiro Tanaka

Japanese lighting designer Chihiro Tanaka has produced two new products, one inspired by cherry blossom and one by “shimmering aurora and sublime mountain folds”. More »

Matteo Thun for VitrA

Italian designer Matteo Thun has designed a new collection for Turkish bathroom brand VitrA. More »

I've always wanted one of these sinks hum? :)

Relics of a Long-Gone Era in Eritrea

The Fiat Tagliero gas station, designed in 1938, is the star of the architectural show in Asmara.


Guys, I really like Rihanna's new tattoo. It looks just like the designs which are done in henna.When I get henna i get designs just like this on my hands .:)

Dumbek or Darabuka

The goblet drum of the Middle East and North Africa is known by a number of names including dumbek, darabukka , derbocka, and dumbelek. It is found made from clay, wood or metal and comes in a number of sizes. All have a single head usually of goatskin, and are traditionally played under the arm. They have become very popular drums in World Music in the West second only to the djembe. There are a wide variety of techniques used to play this drum, that are dependant on the material the drum is made from and the region it comes from. Musical lore says that the instrument is called a dumbek because of the two main sounds of the instrument: the dum, or the deep tone from the centre of the drum and the bek, the tone produced from striking the rim.


Beautiful Horse

Guys, doesn't this horse look fake, believe it or not it's real. :);)

Plan Abu Dhabi 2030 film Squint/Opera

Squint/Opera that illustrates proposals for urban improvements in Abu Dhabi until 2030.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Lauryn Hill

Call Lauryn Hill the mother of hip-hop invention; with her 1998 solo debut The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, the Fugees' most vocal member not only established herself as creative force on her own, but also broke new ground by successfully integrating rap, soul, reggae, and R&B into her own sound.

Raised in South Orange, NJ, Hill spent her youth listening her parents' multi-genre, multi-generational record collection. She began singing at an early age, and was soon snagging minor roles on television (As the World Turns) and in film (Sister Act II: Back in the Habit). Her on-again, off-again stint in the Fugees began at the age of 13, but was often interrupted by both the acting gigs and her enrollment at Columbia University. After developing a following in the tri-state area, the group's first release -- the much-hyped but uneven Blunted on Reality -- bombed, almost causing a breakup. But with the multi-platinum The Score, the Fugees (and especially the camera-friendly Hill) achieved international success, though some pundits took shots at their penchant for cover songs.

That criticism made Miseducation even more of a surprise. Hill wrote, arranged, or produced just about every track on the album, which is steeped in her old-school background, both musically (the Motown-esque singalong of "Doo Wop (That Thing)") and lyrically (the nostalgic "Every Ghetto, Every City"). As Miseducation began a long reign on the charts through most of the fall and winter of 1998 -- initially thanks to heavy buzz and overwhelming radio support for "Doo Wop (That Thing)" -- Hill became a national media icon, as magazines ranging from Time to Esquire to Teen People vied to put her on the cover. By the end of the year, as the album topped virtually every major music critic's best-of list, she was being credited for helping fully assimilate hip-hop into mainstream music. (Such an analysis, however, is lightweight at best: Hip-hop had been a huge force on the sales and radio fronts for most of the decade, and rappers Jay-Z, DMX, and Outkast had dropped similarly lauded LPs prior to or just after Miseducation's release, adding to the genre's dominant sales for the year). The momentum finally culminated at the February 1999 Grammy awards, during which Hill took home five trophies from her 11 nominations, including Album of the Year, Best New Artist, Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, Best R&B Song, and Best R&B Album; the most ever for a woman. Shortly after, she launched a highly praised national tour with Atlanta rappers Outkast.

Hill also faced a lawsuit from two musicians who claim they were denied full credit for their work on the album. In an interesting twist, Hill's album proved to be such a commercial and critical success that it shed doubt on the Fugees' future. Their in-fighting became common knowledge, and matters were complicated when many fans interpreted Miseducation's various anti-stardom rants as a public dissing of co-Fugee Wyclef Jean.

She did continue shaping her solo career. The double-disc MTV Unplugged No. 2.0 appeared in spring 2002, showcasing a deeply personal performance from Hill. Brian Raftery, All Music Guide


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Mansa Moussa: Pilgrimage of Gold

More history for you guys! Dope!In 1312 Mansa Moussa, the most legendary of the Malian kings, came to the throne. Mansa Moussa was a devout Muslim who built magnificent mosques throughout his empire in order to spread the influences of Islam. During his reign, Timbuktu became one of the major cultural centers of not only Africa but of the entire Islamic world.

When Mansa Moussa came to power, the Mali Empire already had firm control of the trade routes to the southern lands of gold and the northern lands of salt. Under Moussa's reign, the gold-salt trade across the Sahara came to focus ever more closely on Timbuktu. The city's wealth, like that of many towns involved in the trans-Saharan trade route, was based largely on the trade of gold, salt, ivory, kola nuts, and slaves.

Mansa Moussa expanded Mali's influence across Africa by bringing more lands under the empire's control, including the city of Timbuktu, and by enclosing a large portion of the western Sudan within a single system of trade and law. This was a huge political feat that made Moussa one of the greatest statesmen in the history of Africa. Under Moussa's patronage, the city of Timbuktu grew in wealth and prestige, and became a meeting place of the finest poets, scholars, and artists of Africa and the Middle East.

Mansa Moussa brought the Mali Empire to the attention of the rest of the Muslim world with his famous pilgrimage to Mecca in 1324. He arrived in Cairo at the head of a huge caravan, which included 60,000 people and 80 camels carrying more than two tons of gold to be distributed among the poor. Of the 12,000 servants who accompanied the caravan, 500 carried staffs of pure gold. Moussa spent lavishly in Egypt, giving away so many gold gifts—and making gold so plentiful—that its value fell in Cairo and did not recover for a number of years!

n Cairo, the Sultan of Egypt received Moussa with great respect, as a fellow Muslim. The splendor of his caravan caused a sensation and brought Mansa Moussa and the Mali Empire fame throughout the Arab world. Mali had become so famous by the fourteenth century that it began to draw the attention of European mapmakers. In one map, produced in 1375, Moussa is shown seated on a throne in the center of West Africa, holding a nugget of gold in his right hand.

After visiting the holy cities of Mecca and Medina on his pilgrimage, Moussa set out to build great mosques, vast libraries, and madrasas (Islamic universities) throughout his kingdom. Many Arab scholars, including the poet and architect, Abu-Ishaq Ibrahim-es-Saheli, who helped turn Timbuktu into a famous city of Islamic scholarship, returned with him.

Moussa had always encouraged the development of learning and the expansion of Islam. In the early years of his reign, Moussa had sent Sudanese scholars to study at Moroccan universities. By the end of his reign, Sudanese scholars were setting up their own centers of learning in Timbuktu.

He commissioned Abu-Ishaq Ibrahim-es-Saheli to construct his royal palace and a great mosque, the Djingareyber Mosque, at Timbuktu. Still standing today, the Djingareyber Mosque consists of nine rows of square pillars and provides prayer space for 2,000 people. Es-Saheli introduced the use of burnt brick and mud as a building material to this region. The Djingareyber's mud construction established a 660-year-old tradition that still persists: each year before the torrential rains fall in the summer, Timbuktu's residents replaster the mosque's high walls and flat roof with mud. The Djingareyber Mosque immediately became the central mosque of the city, and it dominates Timbuktu to this day.

During Moussa's reign Timbuktu thrived as a commercial center and flourished into a hub of Islamic learning. Even after the Mali Empire lost control over the region in the fifteenth century, Timbuktu remained the major Islamic center of sub-Saharan Africa.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Along the Slave Trade Coast

I just want to share this . There's nothing chic about this.

When the Portuguese first sailed down the Atlantic coast of Africa in the 1430's, they were interested in one thing. Surprisingly, given modern perspectives, it was not slaves but gold. Ever since Mansa Musa, the king of Mali, made his pilgrimage to Mecca in 1325, with 500 slaves and 100 camels (each carrying gold) the region had become synonymous with such wealth. There was one major problem: trade from sub-Saharan Africa was controlled by the Islamic Empire which stretched along Africa's northern coast. Muslim trade routes across the Sahara, which had existed for centuries, involved salt, kola, textiles, fish, grain, and slaves.

As the Portuguese extended their influence around the coast, Mauritania, Senagambia (by 1445) and Guinea, they created trading posts. Rather than becoming direct competitors to the Muslim merchants, the expanding market opportunities in Europe and the Mediterranean resulted in increased trade across the Sahara. In addition, the Portuguese merchants gained access to the interior via the Senegal and Gambia rivers which bisected long-standing trans-Saharan routes.

The Portuguese brought in copper ware, cloth, tools, wine and horses. (Trade goods soon included arms and ammunition.) In exchange, the Portuguese received gold (transported from mines of the Akan deposits), pepper (a trade which lasted until Vasco da Gama reached India in 1498) and ivory.

There was a very small market for African slaves as domestic workers in Europe, and as workers on the sugar plantations of the Mediterranean. However, the Portuguese found they could make considerable amounts of gold transporting slaves from one trading post to another, along the Atlantic coast of Africa. Muslim merchants had an insatiable appetite for slaves, which were used as porters on the trans-Saharan routes (with a high mortality rate), and for sale in the Islamic Empire.

The Portuguese found Muslim merchants entrenched along the African coast as far as the Blight of Benin. The slave coast, as the Blight of Benin was known, was reached by the Portuguese at the start of the 1470's. It was not until they reached the Kongo coast in the 1480's that they outdistanced Muslim trading territory.

The first of the major European trading 'forts', Elmina, was founded on the Gold Coast in 1482. Elmina (originally known as Sao Jorge de Mina) was modelled on the Castello de Sao Jorge, the first of the Portuguese Royal residence in Lisbon. Elmina, which of course, means the mine, became a major trading centre for slaves purchased along the slave rivers of Benin.

By the beginning of the colonial era there were forty such forts operating along the coast. Rather than being icons of colonial domination, the forts acted as trading posts - they rarely saw military action - the fortifications were important, however, when arms and ammunition were being stored prior to trade.


Monday, November 17, 2008

Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain, executive chef of Brasserie Les Halles in New York City, is the anti-celebrity chef. He’s crass, offensive, and doesn’t wear starched, white jackets or fancy hats. He is, however, a great cook, a great writer, and has an infectious passion for food of every kind. His passion and adventurous spirit are what have created millions of gourmet fans around the world. Chef Bourdain may have turned more people onto good food than any five-star, fancy-hat chef out there. Anthony Bourdain was born in New York in 1956. After high school, he spent two unproductive years at Vassar College before attending the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. Following graduation from the C.I.A., Bourdain was the chef at New York City’s Supper Club, One Fifth Avenue, and Sullivan’s before coming to Les Halles.

Bourdain has written several books including the crime thrillers Bone in the Throat (1995), Gone Bamboo (1997), the Bobby Gold Stories (2002), and the nonfiction work Typhoid Mary: An Urban Historical (2001). Chef Bourdain came to many people’s attention with his exposé of New York restaurants, “Don’t Eat Before Reading This”, published in the New Yorker (1999). He expanded this behind-the-scenes look at the not so glamorous world of restaurants and his own personal history with the hugely successful bestseller, Kitchen Confidential (2000).

The success of Kitchen Confidential led to a Food Network television series, A Cook’s Tour. Chef Bourdain travels around more than a dozen countries in a search for the perfect meal. Some of his most memorable episodes include dining with gangsters in Russia, swallowing the still-beating heart of a cobra, and revisiting the tiny fishing village of La Teste, France where he experienced his first raw oyster as a boy.

Anthony Bourdain remains the executive chef of Les Halles, which has expanded to five restaurants, including locations in Washington, D.C. and Miami. Chef Bourdain is also capitalizing on the success of A Cook’s Tour with a new traveling culinary program, Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, on the Travel Channel (2005).


Friday, November 14, 2008

Chic & Swag Friday

"Your worse days can be your best days, because those are the days you get can to know yourself best."
Cee List

The Long Library

The long library, with a dining table designed by Richard Williams, is located on the view side of the house; behind the bookcases are two bedrooms and two bathrooms. The library comes to a point, where a papa bear chair by Hans Wegner offers a scenic perch.

New York Time

Everybody LUVS the sunshine! :)

Patagonia Jacket

OH Blue! $149.00

Freedom Tunnel

A selection of images of the Freedom Tunnel in NYC - posted over at City Noise by Peter.

The Freedom Tunnel is the name given by urban explorers, graffiti artists, and a handful of homeless people to the Amtrak tunnel under Riverside Park in Manhattan, New York City. It is also the name of the legendary and constantly evolving graffiti pieces that cover the tunnel walls.

The Freedom Tunnel got its name because the graffiti artist Chris “Freedom” Pape used the tunnel walls to create some of his most notable artwork.

The name may also be a reference to the freedom one may find in this tunnel, the freedom to live unobserved, the freedom to create artwork, and freedom from rent [link].


Christian Audigier


I like these leggings sooo much, I think you guys should see them in gold. ;)

Belly Dancing

Turkish Skirt
JewlrySo So CUTE!

Serpentine Gallery

The Serpentine Gallery in London has published a few photos of the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2008, designed by Frank Gehry.

New Pyramid

4,300-Year-Old Queen's Tomb Found in Egypt after centuries under sand, the remains of the pyramid of Queen Sesheshet (center left) has been excavated at the ancient Egyptian royal burial complex Saqqara, archaeologists announced November 11, 2008.

At its prime, the pyramid stood nearly five stories tall.

Photograph by Ben Curtis/AP

Ed Hardy

4 the guys..;)

Mondrian revamp, Los Angeles

The open-air, bougainvillea-covered Sky Bar still looms over the pool and twinkling LA skyline but with a new, softer cream and olive lounge decor conceived by Tim Andreas of Banjo


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Dj Khaled

Since the early 1990’s, the Miami scene has steadily grown into a personal playground for the entire entertainment industry. Events like How Can I Be Down, The Mix Power Summit, and the MTV Music Awards have attracted thousands of stars to the illusion of the Magic City nightlife. But once all the smoke clears, we get to finally focus on the true essence of Miami, which means attending the annual Fall Classic that is DJ Khaled’s Birthday Bash. The "mark your calendar event" started off as a simple get together for South Florida’s hottest DJ has since grown into a Dade County ritual, and that’s all due to one man, two turntables, and a squad of terror. Born Khaled Khaled (he’s so nice his mom named him twice Khaled ), 30, in New Orleans to Arabic parents, Khaled was the second of three children. At age fourteen his love for music and influence from his parents led him down a path that would birth one of the greatest Deejays Miami has ever seen. Fans quickly took notice of DJ Khaled’s powerful style and energetic personality as he began throwing parties while a deejay on college radio. "God gave me a gift, so it’s only right that I lead the way with this new style." Great energy and an undeniable voice have helped Khaled land radio gigs with Mixx 96 and 99 Jamz, but for Khaled that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Success happens when preparation meets opportunity, which is why Mixx 96 quickly became Miami’s premiere underground radio station with Khaled as the deejay. For two years, DJ Khaled bigged up, dropped bombs, and rewound enough tracks to be crowned the official voice of South Florida. Never one to just sit comfortably on the throne, Khaled decided to "takeover" mainstream radio as the deejay for one of Miami’s most notable radio stations, 99 Jamz. Paired up with K-Foxx, DJ Khaled currently has the ..1 rated radio show in South Florida, adding another notch to his belt.

Over a decade on the radio has inspired Khaled to develop his own sound of music as he prepares to release his debut album. "Hip-Hop is everything and everywhere, so I have to be everything and everywhere." Khaled’s album filled with new energy and different ideas is exactly what the game needs right now. The LP, yet to be titled, will feature artist such as Fat Joe, Terror Squad, Lil Wayne, Game, and Juelz Santana just to name a few. The album will also include "crazy" production from the infamous DJ Khaled.

Although many Khaled fans may think that this is his first crack at production, it is not. The versatile deejay has produced tracks for artist like Trick Daddy, Pitbull, Young Jeezy, and his Terror Squad brother Fat Joe. As part of the Terror Squad family, Khaled has built a foundation strong enough to hold weight with his debut album. An album packed with loyalty, respect, and Miami love that can be described in one word, Incredible ! "I can see the headlines now, DJ Khaled’s new album reigns terror on the Hip-Hop world."


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Johnny Depp

Actor, director, musician. Born John Christopher Depp II in Owensboro, Kentucky, on June 9, 1963. Raised in Florida, Depp dropped out of school at age 17 in hopes of becoming a rock musician. He fronted a series of garage bands, including The Kids, which was once opened for Iggy Pop.

Depp got into acting after a visit to LA with his former wife, who introduced him to actor Nicolas Cage. He made his film debut in 1984's A Nightmare on Elm Street. In 1987, he leapt into stardom when he replaced Jeff Yagher in the role of undercover cop Tommy Hanson in the popular Canadian-filmed TV series 21 Jump Street. In 1990, after numerous roles in teen films, Depp received an opportunity to exhibit his exhausting versatility in the title role of Tim Burton's fantasy Edward Scissorhands.

Following the film's success, Depp carved a niche for himself as a serious, somewhat dark, idiosyncratic performer, consistently selecting roles that surprise critics and audiences alike. He continued to gain critical acclaim and increasing popularity for his work, most notably in 1993's Benny & Joon and in the title role of What's Eating Gilbert Grape in 1993, which cast him as a young man dissatisfied with the confines of his small-town life. In 1994, he re-teamed with Burton in the lead role of Ed Wood.

In 1997, he played the undercover FBI agent in Mike Newell's Donnie Brasco. After a starring turn as Hunter S. Thompson's alter ego in Terry Gilliam's adaptation of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas in 1998, Depp tried his hand at sci-fi horror with The Astronaut's Wife in 1999. The same year, he teamed up with Burton once again on Sleepy Hollow, starring as a prim, driven Ichabod Crane. He appeared the following year in the small but popular romantic drama Chocolat, followed by a big-budget role as real-life cocaine kingpin George Jung in Blow in 2001. He starred in the terror drama From Hell in 2001 and Robert Rodriguez's Once Upon a Time in Mexico in 2002. In 2004, the actor earned an Academy Award nomination for his starring role in the family adventure Pirates of the Caribbean. At the end of that year, he turned in a critically acclaimed performance in Finding Neverland, in which he starred as Peter Pan creator J.M. Barrie. In 2006, he returned as Captain Jack Sparrow for the sequel Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, which broke a box office record in reaching the highest weekend tally ever.

The third installment fared well too. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007) was released on Memorial Day weekend, bringing in $138.8 million. Saying goodbye to Captain Jack, Depp took on one of theater's most notorious characters in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street that same year. Directed by Tim Burton and co-starring Helena Bonham Carter, the dark and gory musical tells the tale of a barber kills some of his customers who then turned into pies made by his downstairs neighbor. Depp netted a Golden Globe Award for his work on the film.

Off-screen, Depp has gained notoriety for his romantic involvements with several female celebrities, including broken engagements to Jennifer Gray, Winona Ryder and Kate Moss. He was married to Lori Anderson from 1983-1985. Depp has fathered two children with French singer/actress Vanessa Paradis; Lily-Rose Melody born in 1999 and Jack born in 2002.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Zaha Hadid

A Leading Woman Architect In 21st century

In the past decade, there has been a turbulent for architecture and design in Britain. With supported by the crown Prince of United Kingdom, Prince Charles, architecture has been in the front line of public debate. There are a lot af school of architecture that being developed and also a lot of creative and talented young architects that being born in United Kingdom. Among a lot of young architects that bring avant-garde way of thinking through their work, Zaha Hadid appear as one of those avant-garde thinker in doing design,especially architecture and some other design fields. Among male domination, there are not so many female architect has become so intens in doing their works and projects like what has being done by Zaha Hadid.
In 1977, Rem Koolhaas has reported that Zaha Hadid fifth year at the Architecture Association included that she was a rocket that took off slowly to describe a constantly accelerating trajectory ( Koolhas in Fawcett, 1991 ). Zaha Hadid was born in Baghdad in 1950 from a rich family.

In 1968 – 1971, she was taking maths at the American University of Beirut and continued her study at Architectural Association School ( AA School ) in London, United Kingdom in year 1972 – 1977. After completing her architectural studies, Zaha Hadid join the OMA - Koolhas ( the Office of Metropolitan Architecture ) and collaborating with her senior, Rem Koolhaas, Zaha began her own career. Became a London - based architectural designer whose work encompasses all fields of design, ranging from urban scale through the micro-space design, such as products, furniture, and interiors. Her concern was a simultaneous work of teaching, researching, and practicing, without any compromising to the modernising. From the beginning of her career, Hadid has reworked the concept of how to organize the public space. Hadid has a deep concern through art. It is probably because she likes to paint. Hadid’s work has attracted Philip Johnson who made it as the focal point of “Deconstructionist” exhibition that took place in Museum of Modern Art in New York. Now, her suprematist theme has been realised in myriad excisting projects, such as her first built schemes in Japan, called Folly 3 ( 1990 ) in Osaka for the Garden Festival and MoonSoon, a spectacular restaurant interior in Sapporo, North Island. Since winning the prestigeous Pritzker Prize for Architecture in 2004, work has been pouring for this Iraq born-London based architect.

Through her recent architectural and installation art project in Singapore, Hadid has shown her deep concern about how art and space should make collaboration in order to speak up about good metaphor.We can see that along the decades, she the leading woman architect who has innovation and creativity in her work.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Colin Powell

Colin Powell was born in New York City on April 5, 1937. The son of Jamaican immigrants, Luther and Maud Powell, he was raised in the South Bronx. Powell was educated in the New York City public schools, and at City College of New York (CCNY). He participated in ROTC at CCNY and received a commission as an Army second lieutenant upon graduation. He subsequently received a Master of Business Administration degree from George Washington University.

Powell served two tours of duty in Vietnam, and as a battalion commander in Korea. He later commanded the 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and V Corps, United States Army in Europe, and was Commander in Chief of Forces Command, headquartered at Fort McPherson, Georgia. General Powell was the 12th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from October 1, 1989 until September 30, 1993, serving under both President George H.W. Bush and President Bill Clinton.

General Powell has been the recipient of numerous U.S. military decorations, including the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Bronze Star Medal, and the Purple Heart. His civilian awards include the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Gold Medal, and an honorary knighthood (Knight Commander of the Bath) from the Queen of England. He retired from the U.S. Army in 1993.

Between 1997 and 2001, retired General Powell served as founding chairman of America's Promise, an organization challenging Americans to make children and youth a national priority.

In January, 2001, General Powell was selected by President George W. Bush to serve as his Secretary of State. He was the first African-American to hold this high office in the United States Government. Powell stepped down from the position after President Bush's reelection to a second term. His four year tenure as Secretary of State was marked by disagreements with other Administration officials over policy. Regardless of these disagreements, Secretary Powell remained a loyal servant of the Bush Administration and an eloquent spokesman for the Administration in international affairs.

Powell left his position as Secretary of State with the admiration and respect of people around the world. The following quotation from a February 20, 2004 address at Princeton University provides an excellent example of Colin Powell's statesmanship:

“We must build a better future even as we deal with the security challenges before us. That is how we'll overcome those challenges, because it's not enough to fight against a negative, like terrorism. We must focus on what inspires us, on what brings the good people of the world together. We've got to fight for the positive — for liberty, for freedom, for democracy.”

Since leaving governmenrt service, Secretary Powell has assumed a number of private-sector positions. In July, 2005, he became a strategic limited partner with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a silicon valley venture capital firm. He has become a more active participant at The Colin Powell Center for Policy Studies, established in his honor by his alma mater, the City College of New York in 1997. In May, 2006, Powell will succeed Henry Kissinger to become the 8th Chairman of the Eisenhower Fellowship Program.

Secretary Powell is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Howard University, and of the Board of Directors of the United Negro College Fund. He serves on the Board of Governors of The Boys & Girls Clubs of America and is a member of the Advisory Board of the Children's Health Fund.

Powell is married to the former Alma Vivian Johnson of Birmingham, Alabama. The Powell family includes son Michael and daughters Linda and Annemarie; daughter-in-law Jane, and grandsons Jeffrey and Bryan.