Simmering Hope

Hope is the expectation that something outside of ourselves, something or someone external, is going to come to our rescue and we will live happily ever after. – Dr. Robert Anthony

Archive for February, 2008

Feb 18, 2008

Mohamed Al-Fayed gets his day in court

It’s been ten years since the accident that killed Princess Diana in Paris.
And ever since then, Mohamed Al-Fayed, The Harrods tycoon and the father of Dodi Al-Fayed, has been trying to prove somehow that the death was not an accident but a murder, the result of a vast conspiracy involving lots of personalities, among them the ex-Prime Minister of U.K, Tony Blair, the secret services of Britain and France, the CIA, Prince Charles and Prince Philip and even Diana’s sister.

He is due to spend at least two days giving evidence to the inquest into the deaths of Diana and Dodi.
He listed as involved in the cover-up: butler Paul Burrell, every member of the Royal Family (although he recanted eventually the participation of the Queen), two Scotland Yard Commissioners, leading medical experts in London and Paris including two eminent professors Dominique Lecomte and Gilbert Pepin, newspaper editors, judges and the list goes on.

The coroner, Lord Justice Scott Baker, said: “There seems to be an awful lot of people involved in this conspiracy.”
Mr. Fayed said the leader of the death plot was Prince Philip, who he called a “racist, Nazi, and Frankenstein” who should be sent back to Germany where he came from.
Mr. Fayed repeated his claims that Diana was pregnant and was about to tell her two sons and announce her engagement to Dodi.

According to Mr. Fayed, Diana was scared for her life, claiming that she knew that Prince Philip and Prince Charles were trying to get rid of her.
Also, she allegedly mentioned a mystery box, said to contain important information and left in butler’s hands in case something would happen to the Princess.

Reading from a statement, Mr. Fayed said: “My belief that my son and Princess Diana were murdered was confirmed when I learned that the two leading Commissioners, Lord Condon and Lord Stevens, did not show the coroner the note made by a leading lawyer, Lord Mishcon, detailing the Princess’s fears for her life.” He added: “I cannot believe that they sat upon such an important note and did not pass it on to the (examining French magistrate) Judge Stephan in Paris and (the then coroner) Michael Burgess.

His allegations have been rebutted by hard evidence already heard by the inquest jury.

On the claim that Diana and Dodi were murdered because she wanted to marry him, a Muslim, the evidence showed that Diana had already had a serious two-year relationship with Muslim surgeon Hasnat Khanwith and that did not kill her or him.

On the claim that she was pregnant, just days after the crash even Fayed’s loyal PR Michael Cole officially dismissed pregnancy claims as untrue and the chambermaid on the Fayed yacht Jonikal bore witness to Diana’s contraceptive pills.

On the claim that bodyguard Trevor Rees Jones worked for MI6, even Fayed’s lawyer Michael Mansfield QC admits there is no evidence that Mr. Rees, who was injured in the crash, has ever been connected to the intelligence services.

Now, the ex-butler Paul Burrell is in hiding, following allegations that he had lied in court.
Apparently there is a tape with the former royal butler allegedly confessing that he lied under oath.
Burrell is recording saying that he held back the facts and threw in “a couple of red herrings” as he did not want to “give away secrets”.

Mr. Fayed now has to fight all the people saying that: the Princess was not pregnant, that she was not engaged to Dodi, that she was not in love with Dodi, that she still loved surgeon Hasnat Khan.
He is desperate to prove that there was a motive to murder Princess Diana. Because without a motive, there is no murder.

Mr. Fayed will spend another few days in the witness stand trying to bring proof to his allegations. After that the jury will be send out for deliberations, which may take another five weeks.

Feb 14, 2008

The WGA strike is over: when will my favorite shows return?

The WGA strike came at a very bad time for new shows. Not that a strike would have a right time. Actually it’s just a matter of perspective and the right and wrong it’s so relative in this case.
I have watched a few episode of the spin-off Private Practice and by the time I started figuring out if I’d like it or not, WGA went on strike.
Now I have read that the show may return sometimes in the fall. Too late maybe.
Remember what happened when Soprano’s crew could not sort out their issues? The show kept being postponed until it reached the point of not being interesting anymore. I am still surprised how many awards the shows kept receiving.
I loved this show back in time when it was interestingly done and professionally played.

Going back to the present and the near future, let’s see which of my favorite or it-remained-to-be-seen-if favorite shows will return and when:
Burn Notice
Production on Season 2 expected to get under way in late April. New episodes could start airing as early as July.
The Closer
Expected to kick off its fourth season this summer
Criminal Minds
Expected to shoot 7 new episodes to begin airing on April 2.
Grey’s Anatomy
Expected to shoot 5 new episodes to air in April/May
Heroes
No new episodes expected until fall.
House
Expected to shoot 4 to 6 new episodes to air in April/May.
Law & Order: CI
Expected to shoot an indeterminate number of episodes to air in spring.
Law & Order: SVU
Expected to shoot 5 new episodes to begin airing on April 15.
Medium
Six pre-strike episodes remain. Expected to shoot 7 additional episodes for this season.
Moonlight
Expected to shoot 4 new episodes to begin airing on April 11.
NCIS
Expected to shoot 7 new episodes to begin airing on April 8.
Numbers
Expected to shoot 6 new episodes to begin airing on April 4.
Prison Break
Two pre-strike episodes remain. Future beyond that TBD.
Private Practice
No new episodes expected until fall.
Pushing Daisies
No new episodes until fall.


Feb 6, 2008

Swayambhunath (Monkey Temple) in Nepal

One day I will go there, I know it. It’s just a matter of time.
I crave for a spiritual journey that will include Tibet and Nepal, as a must, with other destinations as optional.

Swayambhunath is among the oldest religious sites in Nepal and one of the holiest Buddhist places. According to the legend, Swayambhunath was founded by the King Vrsadeva, at the beginning of the 5th century CE.
Although the site is considered Buddhist, the place is revered by both Buddhists and Hindus. Numerous Hindu kings are known to have paid their homage to the temple including the most powerful king of Kantipur- Pratap Malla.

Monkey Temple
744a-picture-05-jan-08-monkey-temple-kathmandu.jpg
Photo courtesy of April

On each of the four sides of the main stupa there are a pair of big eyes which represent Wisdom and Compassion. Above each pair of eyes is another eye, the third eye. Saying goes that when Buddha preaches, cosmic rays emanate from the third eye which acts as message to heavenly beings, so that those interested can come down to earth to listen to the Buddha. The hellish beings and beings below the human realm cannot come to earth to listen to the Buddha’s teaching, however, the cosmic ray relieves their suffering when Buddha preaches.
Source: wiki

How can you not be impressed with these eyes?
771a-picture-06-jan-08-walking-tour-kathmandu.jpg
Photo courtesy of April

Prayer Wheel
According to Buddhism, spinning the wheel is as efficient as reciting the mantra embossed on the metal cylinder.
The most popular mantra is Om Mani Padme Hum considered a very powerful one because it contains the essence of Buddhism teachings.
736a-picture-05-jan-08-monkey-temple-kathmandu.jpg
Photo courtesy of April

Apparently there are lots of monkeys around, hence the name of the temple, pretty aggressive with tourists and probably very nasty considering their sacred status.
The tradition asks that in the morning, before dawn, to start climbing the 365 steps that led up the hill. Once there, pilgrims will start circling clockwise the stupa.


Feb 6, 2008

Rejected by AdSense

It’s not that I have expected to be approved because I guessed I was persona non grata for Google.
I decided to give it another try just to have a closure to the whole unpleasant AdSense experience.

Months ago when I thought that there was an easy way to monetize your rumblings without putting too much effort other than writing and adding links and pictures, I came across information on how easy it is to make money with AdSense.

One of the tips offered by pros, was to have a blog on Blogspot. Allegedly that would be sufficient to put you on the fast track.
And indeed it worked.
I created a blog on Blogspot and left WordPress just because of the pragmatic point of view.
After blogging for about two weeks, I filled out the request to get my blog evaluated for AdSense.
I got the answer pretty fast: in 2 days I got approved and I was given the precious code.
But from there it went down the hill and finally I got my account suspended.

From my short experience (almost three months) using AdSense I can tell you that you CAN’T make money with it.
Maybe you could in the past, not anymore.
Never mind the money making issue, having the account suspended made me try again because defeat was not in my books.
At that moment I became aware that it’s not an easy way to make money with AdSense, that more people fail than succeed, that you can get sucked into buying AdWords to make things work and end up losing money rather than making.
On the other hand, I wanted to prove myself that Google is not an insensitive machine run by algorithms and that there is not such a thing like blacklist.

The reality is that Google is run by algorithms and if somebody makes money it’s mostly Google and maybe a small group of gurus specialized in Internet Marketing.
And if you make a mistake and you have your account suspended, you are going to be blacklisted. No second chances. No warnings prior to suspension.

Why did I say that your home address is blacklisted?
Because I created a blog on my husband’s name, with topics that could have use advertising- please note that I mentioned topics, not categories, because Blogspot’s platform does not offer categories to organize your posts- using his name and our home address.
The common denominator was the home address.
If your guess is that it was rejected, you guessed right.

Second step: I used by self-hosted blog and applied for AdSense.
This time it took over a month to get rejected. That verifies the tip regarding having a blog with Blogspot.

Now I am at peace with myself. I have tried everything and you know what? I don’t have regrets.
It was an experience that cost me basically only the time spent writing interesting posts.
I can make more money right now working with different affiliates than I have ever made with Google.
From my perspective AdSense can be dead, vanished without a trace, burning in Hell, I could not care less anymore.

Feb 1, 2008

The mantra of compassion

Yesterday I mentioned my thoughts regarding how to deal with high blood pressure and my desire to get back to something dear to me: meditation.
Today I decided to move a step ahead and the pieces of the puzzle fell down in the right way.
I came across some YouTube videos that impressed me very much.

This is one of them:

The mantra of Compassion is sung by Dechen Shak-Dagsay

I visited her site and I read about her family leaving Tibet in 1959 due to Chinese ocupation. One of the many similar stories.
Still, it’s impressive the way Tibetans managed to spread their religion without fighting anybody, without killing in the name of their belief.
More and more Westerners seem to be interested in Buddhism and maybe someday, the compassion would rule the world.
Maybe people would have enough brain and spiritual understanding to embrace Buddhism rather than contributing with millions of dollars to freak shows/cults like Scientology.

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