Sunday, June 18, 2006

Hafte Tir Square

Iran lost her second game to Portugal, which sadly means that Iran is not going up to the next round. But the sad news does not stop in the soccer field; I have heard that some of the people who got arrested in women’s protest in Tehran are not freed yet after almost a week, which is not a good sign. One of them is a former parliament’s member. It was the second year in the row that people got together in the Hafte Tir Square to protest against the sexual discrimination (against women) in Iran’s legal system. These peaceful protests always become violent by the interference of police forces and a militia related to a specific group of Islamic fundamentalists.

Although the constant violation of the speech right and political freedom in Iran by the government is not news, what makes it nostalgic, for me, is that Hafte Tir Square is two blocks North of my former school. I passed this square for four years, while I was an undergrad student. I passed it through traffic jams in the polluted capital city of my country, with a hope that undergrads usually have, the hope to change the world to a better place.

Hafte Tir is a grand square in the Middle East of Tehran. I measured its pavements by my Kickers’ sneakers. I broke the law for the first time there while passing a stop sign and I got my first ticket for illegal parking there. I passed Hafte Tir Square for four years hand in hand with my lovers, my friends, and my hopes. I passed Hafte Tir Square every time with a hope: the hope to change the world to a better place.

The Devil's Hand, August Rodin, 1902

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Magic of the Week

In the first week of the World Cup today Croatia lost to Brazil. I have a headache and I don’t know whether it is because of Iran’s failure against Mexico last Sunday or because of me not getting enough sleep these days.

But always there is some good news that works like the magical Advil for my headaches and today the good news came in the form of a newborn girl. Our friends’ first child was born yesterday. Congratulations!

Friday, June 09, 2006

FIFA World Cup - Germany 2006

These days everyone around me in Princeton impatiently talks about the World Cup 2006. I hear how students enthusiastically predict the game results and argue about their favorite teams. Since they are mostly international students their favorite team is usually their country team. The most common problem for soccer fans is that here these games do not get broadcasted on air but one way or another the soccer fans find a solution. Iran has its third appearance in the world cup.

The last two weeks I heard-read the Black Notice by Patricia Cornwell performed by CJ Critt, the BBC performance of the Hichhikers' Guide to the Galexy by Douglas Adams which is a cool and funy performance and The Cat Who Went Up the Creek by Lilian Jackson Braun which is a teens mystery book but I enjoyed it nontheless. From this week (and I think for the next month) I will be into Karamazov Brothers.

On Tuesday I saw Thank You for Smoking (2005) directed by Jason Reitman based on a book by Christopher Buckley. Over all it was a good film. I just didn’t like the semi-happy ending. But now I like to read the book to see how much Hollywood style of thinking has affected the movie.

Friday, June 02, 2006


June has started once again and like always it is hot and humid. Last year for the June session of our book club we chose to read Three Junes by Julia Glass. After we moved to Princeton I found three book clubs but none of them was suitable to my schedule. One of them meets at lunch time every week which is too often but they are professional book readers. The other one meets once a month on Wednesdays which is a problem since I have to go to New York on Wednesdays. The last one is nice: they meet once every couple of months and they invite a writer; so it is a kind of literature party.

For about six months now I have become my own book club: a group of One. I still receive e-mails form my pervious book club in New Haven. Sometimes I choose from their list, but most of the time I decide alone. Being alone is not that bad since I never read books that bore me. Still I think in long term it is not that good because unintentionally or maybe intentionally I block certain books, ideas and styles which ends up making me narrow minded at least in literature.

Recently I finished Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner. I will read White Teeth by Zadie Smith in June. Here I won’t say anything about audio books since it is another story.

Finally, yesterday I saw the most argumentative movie of this month: The Da Vinci Code (2006) directed by Ron Howard based on a novel by Dan Brown. There are a few examples in the history of cinema that the adaptation from a book for a film is independently a piece of art. One of the rare examples is One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest a book by Ken Kesey (1963) and its film Directed by Milos Forman (1975). The Da Vinci Code does not add to those few great examples. That’s why I think one who has not read the book will enjoy it more. I didn’t find the book, itself, that great to read for the second time either. The story is a one shot mystery: it is only interesting when you don't know the answer, to hear it for the seconed time is not exciting any more. So why we should expect it to be different for the film.

Madonna of the Rocks is one of my favorite paintings by Da Vinci. They mention it in the movie and the book very quickly. So here it is: just look behind the rocks; it has Aerial Perspective which was used greatly by da Vinci. It is really calming.

Madonna of the Rocks or Virgin of the Rocks, Leonardo da Vinci, 1508