Monthly Archives: January 2012

Scholar stones

Chinese scholar rocks. The first set is from the China Mart Exit 5, they are said to be from a cave. The prices run around SAR 300, or $90. The second set is in a store window at a shopping mall. The stones are used to display jewelry.

If anyone here knows how to describe their spiritual uses, I sure haven’t been able to find them.


Safe key

A safe with a key, sold at Carrefour.

But don’t keep your key too safe.

Vogon poetry generator

When death is too quick: torture by Vogon poetry, the third worst poetry in the universe.

Save this link right next to the ones for your Goth-O-Matic™ Gothic poetry generator, your Talk Like Yoda speech generator, and your Geoffrey K. Pullum passive speech tutorial.

This brings up some copyright issues. The Gothic poetry site claims

The pieces the Generator creates are considered copyrighted, sort of, because the words contained within it were written by someone else.

On the Hitch-hikers Guide to the Galaxy poem generator, you provide your own words, i.e. “an unsuitable colour for a t-shirt:”, “a word that sounds rude, but isn’t”, so who owns the copyright to that? In addition, someone at BBC seems to be collecting samples:

Your Poem will be sent to you using the ‘Vogon Poetry Generator’ facility on the BBC Online site, If you wish to complain about this email, please forward it in its entirety to

If you accidentally email this poem to someone else with the intention of torturing them, and they forward it to the trolls at BBC, will you then be in a position of having to defend your copyright?

Epiphany: Wise Rocks from the East

Religious symbols are banned here, unless they are Islamic. Can there be an Epiphany in the Land of One Religion Fits All? Why not.

The arrival of the Three Wise Rocks from the East:

“…and lo, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came to rest over the place where the child was.”

Desert sun

The silver sun of the late afternoon…

The gold sun of the sunset…

Not Jupiter, but the reddened sun nearly obscured by dust on the horizon.

Sunrise sunset

I’m always trying to capture the way the sun looks in the desert. Sunrise is hard. To the naked eye, when the sun first comes up, it is huge and startling, and almost moonlike in its starkness, the only thing worth noticing during the morning rush.  The effect does not last long, and I have never been able to capture in a photo what the eye sees selectively.

Sunset is easier to capture, both in terms of what the eye gravitates to…

…and the appearance of the whole orb of the sky.