Thursday, February 28, 2002


Well it looks like The CocaCola Company has tapped into an untapped market in Armenia and Artsakh. Yup, you guessed it, �Fresca�!!! I�m not sure too much about the name, which in Armenia reads �Fresga�. When I went to Stepanagert, I was determined not to purchased Coke, Fanta or Sprite, so when I saw Fresga, I figured that it was some new Armenian drink company that was in competition with The CokaCola Company and initially purchased it for that reason.

Don�t get me wrong, I don�t just dislike Coke because they represent to me everything we don�t need in Armenia today, but I wonder what that stuff does to ones stomach? Has anyone tried it as a cleaning detergent? You should see what it does to stubborn toilet stains, not to mention false teeth that are soaked in it over night (I know you would not leave false teeth in Coke, but if it causes them to vanish over time, what can it do to the organs that it makes contact with?).

Well to be honest, the Fresga tasted really good, and why shouldn�t it. I mean The CocaCola Company has really got it down when it comes to producing addicting beverages.

One thing I don�t get about Fresga other than everything on the label is in Armenian, other than the name �Fresca� is that all four flavors end with �Limonat� (Lemonade). They have Green Apple Lemonade, �Dyoishes� Pair Lemonade (I don�t know what this means other than maybe they are trying to say �Delicious� and spelling it with Armenian letters), �Tarkhoini� Lemonade (It�s like some green grass, which even the Armenian version I don�t care for too much, but the locals really like it), and my personal favorite, Strawberry Lemonade. What will happen if they add Lemmon? Will that be called Lemmon Lemonade?

Well The CocaCola Company got $2 out of me for 8 liters of refreshment, but I wont make that same mistake twice. I�m sticking to my favorite Armenian owned and made �Sardarapat� all natural juices and very tasty �Uncle Hany� assorted Ketchup�s.
Hey, if Raffi N. can log twice in a day, then I guess it would be okay for me to log three times. Well here is log #2 of 3. Now all that will be left if to come up with something for log #3.

Tonight I went to a neighbor�s house for dinner. A friend of theirs had joined us and was talking about how things are going to get harder as many small stores are going to be closed down. I asked why and he said that all retail stores are now going to be required to install a cash register which will cost the store owner 100,000 dram (about $175).

This expense is much too much for those stores that are just getting by selling bread, macaroni and cigarettes at a less than 10% mark-up. Prior to this, the smaller stores had a flat rate tax, based on the size of the stores floor space. For those that make it passed this hurdle of putting in a cash register, rumors are already circulating that the law requires that what merchandise that goes out their door, has to be entered into the cash register, regardless of if someone is taking it on credit (most people make their purchases this way and pay when they get their salary, pension or money send from abroad). If this is true, then many stores are not going to be able to extend credit, thus loosing sales and profit. I personally can�t see that this rumor can be true, as in any normal country, you only pay income tax on money taken in and not on open receivables. I would hope Artsakh is no exception.

I�m not sure if this new decision is right or wrong, but will say that in today�s economically challenging times, the store owner who has invested quite a bit of money and sweat to open a little store that just does enough business to support their family with food and basic needs is going to see some even more challenging days ahead
I feel like I�ve been neglecting everyone that is connected to me via e-mail and the internet. I guess I�ve just been too busy to really sit down at my computer.

We have had some funny weather these last few days (hot one day, cold the next). With it getting warm in the daytime, construction on my house has started again. Effectively, the basic living space upstairs is done (4 bedrooms, sitting room and 2 baths). Now I�m concentrating my efforts at the basic downstairs area (kitchen, dining room, walk-in pantry, bathroom, laundry room and garage), as even if it does get cold or rains, the work can move forward uninterrupted. All I know is that when the entire house gets done, I�ll be very happy.

This afternoon, after giving the construction people some direction as to where to erect walls and put openings for doors, I drove to Stepanagert to pay for my internet service. It�s always hard to keep up with the payment, as I don�t go to Stepanagert that often, so some times I�m too early, or very late to pay. Thank goodness the provider is understanding and has never cut me off (though they should have this time since I was almost a month late, though I had tried to pay for it in advance the last time and they refused to take my money). The technician that keeps our internet connection was telling me today that I am the only one outside of Stepanagert that has been successful in establishing a connection. He said that the lines in the other regions are very bad and they just don�t work for internet. Luck me.

While in Stepanagert, I went to pick-up my dry cleaning. The woman whose husband owns the place told me that she fixed a pair of pants and a shirt for me that were worn out. She said that they don�t usually do this, but she figured that I was from a far away place and being that I�m not married yet, who would do this. She said that she has a son and just figured she was doing it for him. Well I can add her list to the long list of mothers I have here.

I went to the bazaar and did a little bit of shopping. I found a place that had the Martuni Farm chickens, which we long ago ran out of in Martuni. I got 10 of them, as when they are gone, that�s it, no more for that kind of chicken here. These chickens were hatched from eggs that came from Russia. Now the new owners I am told are bringing the eggs from Turkey, so we will see what kind of chickens we will end up with.

Well the trees have not yet blossomed, but I can see that one of them really wants to crack those buds open, first chance it gets. I guess this year I�ll have no apricot�s again :o(

Hey Lena, welcome home!!! We missed you.

Sunday, February 24, 2002

Every now and then I get an interesting letter from readers of and I post those that I think can be beneficial to better understanding us or at very least, food for thought.

The following letters were in response to my February 17th log where I talk about my trees getting ready to bud and the effects of global-warming:

From: (Name omitted)
To: Ara Manoogian
Sent: Monday, February 18, 2002 12:11 AM EST
Subject: All this because of budding trees?

Hello Ara,

Sounds to me you're reaching for an excuse why you are where your are. Have you requested Armenian citizenship yet? If I were you I wouldn't waste another minute.

From: Ara Manoogian
To: Name omitted
Sent: Monday, February 18, 2002 10:41 AM AST
Subject: Re: All this because of budding trees?

Hi Name omitted,

If my log was not clear to you, I can say it has something to do with budding trees, the ecological imbalance and global poverty that the world powers create and profit from.

I don't think any ethnic Armenian needs to have a reason to be here other than this is our homeland and we have a right to be here.

There is a good chance you find yourself in the U.S. today because the of games the world powers played that may have had a devastating effect on your families country of origin. Many people that find refuge in the U.S. are thankful that the American government was big hearted to take their family in and give them a chance at a better life. What very few realize is that in many cases it is that same American government who has a hand in causing the lack of economic opportunities and instability for an even better life in their homeland.

If your comment about citizenship implies that I'm not a good American because I'm questioning my governments policies, then your wrong. In fact, America's democratic system promotes that I ask these questions. The Constitution promotes "freedom of speech", right? The same democratic system gives you the right to not agree with what I say.

It's true that I'm not part of the 86% of the American people that support president Bush's policy of revenge on the Afghani people for September 11th, in the name of fighting terrorism. It's strange that Bush's popularity was in the thirty percent range before 911 and then once he cut loose the American war machine, it shot up to 86%. In the last 50 years, the record high of a president was held by his father at 81%, this following his attacking Iraq. I bet that if I was living in America and had not got a eye full of American foreign policy here in Armenia, I would be part of the 86%, because I was part of the 81% during the Gulf War, glued to the T.V. watching the bombs drop and cheering on the home team, with an American flag pin on my jacket and I have relatives that live in Baghdad. But I understand why I was part of the 81%. I didn't have all the facts and my needs were well taken care of thanks to the fact that I was living under the American flag.

Do you think that the war on Afghanistan is going to reduce terrorism? Terrorists are everywhere and they don't always live in their country of origin. How many terrorists do you think were really killed in Afghanistan or Iraq or Bosnia or any of the other countries America has bombed? I would guess very few. But innocent people that are just living to feed their families under difficult conditions in those countries are the ones who those bombs most effect. Not just the lucky ones that are killed by those bombs, but the unlucky ones whose already difficult lives are made even more difficult as a result. Tomorrow, there could be terrorists living in (writer�s city omitted), (writer�s state omitted). Would it be right for (writer�s city omitted) to be leveled to the ground to rid the world of them? What about the families on (writer�s street omitted)? Your family, your home?

I am in total favor in preventing terrorism, as it is wrong. But what happened in Afghanistan was not a fight against terrorism, it was America finding an opportunity not only to try to clean up a mess that it started years ago, when it created Bin Ladden (which it seems up until now to has conveniently failed in killing him), but it, along with the world powers now have a chance to make Afghanistan dependent on them, so they will have more influence on policy in that part of the world. I can say this as America and other powers have already started doing this same thing in Armenia. I invite you to visit read about American institutions that deal in this area. What you read on that site is what I've seen for myself taking place in Armenia today. Not to say that the Armenian government does not have blame in what we are facing today, but I can say that America is like a source of ignition in a region where very flammable materials are not safely being stored and the Americans know it.

The good monetary life I live today is because I worked long hours and took business risks in America. I always felt that this wealth was due to my efforts, but now feel that much of the monetary resources I have today were handed to me, thanks to America and their desire to economically expand at a price paid by the world�s poor and weak people that were given no choice but to concede to America's desires.

The spoiled big belly Americans that I referred to in my log was me, my family and friends. I guess you can't see it when your in the thick of things.

God bless America my friend,

Ara Manoogian
Citizen of the United States of America

From: Name omitted
To: Ara Manoogian
Sent: Monday, February 18, 2002 10:18 PM EST
Subject: Hello Ara again.

Just trying to get a rise out of you. You see your cynicsm towards America is probably manifested by your deplorable living conditions you have decided to partake in. By the way Ara, the United States will be sending 94 million dollars of aid to Hayasdan next year. Don't get me wrong Ara, I am the son of survivors and 62 years old. I wish Armenia nothing but the best as I wish you. Your mission is noble. But after 3 trips there and seeing how corruption dominates the fabric of our fatherland, the fault is not in the U.S. My love is for my church in Etchmiadzin. It's probably the only thing in Armenia I will lay my life down for. You see Ara I'm tired of hearing Armenian communists saying they are Christian. Those are the people running the country. A zebra can't change its spots. No wonder all our young and educated, the ones that can fix Armenia, want to leave. I love my people and don't want to wait for all the old bastards to die out. By then it will be too late. The young people are like shakar. I look forward to your postings.

By the way, although I was born in Santa Monica, most of my life was in (state omitted). I enjoy your postings. You are like a lifeline to Hayasdan. I look forward to the day when Armenia overcomes its takavoors and adopts the "corrupt" ways of America.


Needless to say I didn't bother answering this message as I don�t have anything more that I could say that I have not already said.

Saturday, February 23, 2002


THE BIGGEST EATERS ON EARTH CHOW DOWN ON THE ALL-NEW SPECIAL 'GLUTTON BOWL #1: THE WORLD'S GREATEST EATING COMPETITION' THURSDAY, FEB. 21, ON FOXThis gut-busting, eat-'til-you-drop, two-hour special pits 40 larger-than-life contestants against each other in unique competitive eating challenges. In the early rounds, competitors square off in a challenge to see how much or how fast they can consume. The winner in each round earns a spot in the finals, which will be an unbelievable, all-out gorge-fest with a big cash prize. The qualifying round categories will range from huge bowls of mayonnaise to beef tongue to sticks of butter. The final round -- not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach -- will include a surprise"delicacy", and won't end until only one competitor is left standing on the special GLUTTON BOWL #1: THE WORLD'S GREATEST EATING COMPETITON Thursday, Feb 21 (8:00- 10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (SP-0208) (TV-PG)(READER'S NOTE: FAMILY GUY is pre-empted this night.)

When I�m trying to beat a dead horse to illustrate a point, I can always count on the internet and it�s vast pool of useless information to keep things going.

So did anyone catch this new FOX show, "The Gluttony Bowl"? I can't help but think that America is the only country that has the sheer conceit to devote millions of dollars to television entertainment programming, so they could showcase a group of sloppy yokels stuffing their faces, yet, at the same time, will do very little about helping the majority of people in this world that are barely able to scrounge a meal.

Here's an interesting statistic I read: "Each year, Americans eat 38 billion hamburgers. It takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of red meat. Cattle consume one half of all the fresh water consumed on Earth. The sixty million people who will starve this year could be adequately fed if Americans reduced their meat intake by just 10 percent."

America�s food surplus alone, already feeds the rest of the "civilized" world, and whatever they don't export, they stuff in their over-fed, over-sized, over-weight, faces. I've got a nice idea for a game show: starve the gluttons, and feed the starving. Let these fat slobs get a little malnourished.

Thursday, February 21, 2002

Tonight I was watching BBC news and they were reporting on airlifts that the Red Cross had for Northern Afghanistan for food aid, as for the last 3 years they have been suffering from drought. A resident of Afghanistan was telling how before the drought, they had cattle and crops to sustain them.

I�m on a committee that is overseeing a water project in the city of Martuni that a Catholic relief origination is coordinating (USAID funding), as we have for quite a few years had a water shortage. I met an American who is the head of the project and he was telling me that as time goes on, things are drying up here.

We use to have self-flowing spring water and now we are considering running pipes that get us closer to the springs so the water is not absorbed before it gets to the city. Now that is being rethought, as it looks like those springs in the next couple years could dry to the point that they will not provide enough water. We have wells that can provide water, but this is not self-flowing (something that the USAID is stipulating as a condition for their project). None the less, at this point, this seems to be the most logical route to take. I�m just wondering how long the wells will provide water before they dry?

Today I notice that my trees have buds and with the warm weather, they are going to bloom for sure. This is the third year that I can remember we are having the trees prematurely bloom and then a freeze or a hail-storm and no fruit.

All of what I�ve said in this log are indication of global-warming. Like I said in previous logs, the biggest offender is America. Most of the people that read this log are people living in America. Believe it or not, you do have a voice. You need to make your voice heard and tell your president that he must enter in the Kiyoto agreement. For those of you that don�t know what this is. In short, this is an international agreement for the reduction of pollution that is causing global-warming.

I know most of you are very sympathetic to what I�m saying, but don�t have the time to get involved. I fear that when you will finally take steps to say something to your government, it will be when a gallon of tap water costs more than a gallon of gasoline and when we get to that point, it will be too late for all of us.

Here is a contest for those that like games. Today, I took three pictures of the buds of three different fruit trees in my yard that I�m sure will bloom in the next 2 weeks. Write to me and identify what each one is and in which order you think they will bloom. The first person who answers correctly wins a prize (to be announced).

Wednesday, February 20, 2002

I was just reading Groong and came across this story which is so ridiculous that I had to share it with you:

Azeri spokesman says Bin-Ladin may be in breakaway Karabakh

16 Feb 02

[snip snip]

The head of the [Azerbaijani] Foreign Ministry press service, Matin Mirza, has said that reports about Bin-Ladin's whereabouts in the Caucasus region are dangerous for Azerbaijan, too, because following 11 September events our country is one of those states that immediately supported official Washington in anti-terrorist operations. Mirza noted that combating terrorism is one of the priority issues for Azerbaijan too. As far as the theory that Bin-Ladin's is hiding on the uncontrolled Nagornyy Karabakh territory was concerned, Mirza did not rule this out. Anything can take place on this territory which is under Armenian occupation: from the cultivation of narcotic substances to the burial of atomic waste. Everyone knows that Nagornyy Karabakh has turned into a nest of Armenian terrorists and mercenaries. Azerbaijan is unable to control this territory because the conflict remains unsettled. That is why Azerbaijan is not responsible for crimes committed on the occupied territories, end quote. Esmira Namiqqizi, ANS.

First of all, I would like to say that I am saddened that Bin-Ladin has not come here, because I think turning his body over to the authorities for the $25 million reward would be very helpful to our economy and bring us that much closer to international recognition as an independent nation.

I don�t know who �everyone� is that that Mirza feels that Artsakh is a "nest for terrorists and mercenaries"? I'm sure Mirza is referring to the people that work at Azerbaijan�s MFA.

Mirza is right when saying that they can�t control Artsakh, because it�s not theirs to control. In addition to that, Mirza can rest easy tonight knowing we would never hold Azerbaijan responsible for crimes committed here if they didn�t commit them (that�s for Artsakh�s recognized legal system to determine who is guilty of crimes committed here). And what conflict is Mirza talking about? We settled our conflict with Azerbaijan in 1994. If Mirza meant to say "dispute" over who land belongs to, I can't argue with that. BTW: When are you going to vacate our Shahoumyan region that you occupy?

Oh Mirza, of you happen to read this, here is a little unsolicited advice from me. It�s not a good idea for people who live in glass houses to throw stones. If you didn't understand that, then maybe you will understand the saying that the Western oil companies say about it not being a good idea to play with fire when standing in an oilfield full of oil when you lack a viable way to transport it to the West.

I took a few minutes to write down my top ten reasons why Bin-Ladin is not in Artsakh and this story can�t be true.

10. America would cut off the millions of dollars of aid it gives to Artsakh without evidence.

9. The story is so far fetched that even President Bush and Aliev don�t believe it.

8. Armenians can�t keep secrets and we all would have already heard about it.

7. Artsakh is too small to have room for more than one celebrity and Elvis has already been spotted here.

6. He is a fanatical Muslim and fears what the fanatical Christian Armenians would do to him. He knows what we did to all the mercenaries Afghanistan sent over to fight on the side of Azerbaijan.

5. There are no terrorist camps in Artsakh only internationally recognized army bases and everyone knows it (only to Azerbaijan are they terrorist camps).

4. You have to be an Azerbijani propagandist, have a government job, uneducated (oh, I guess I already said that twice, but saying it three times helps get my point across) or someone with an investment in Azerbaijan, to find any logic in this news story.

3. He�s house sitting for Aliev while he�s off in America having his prostatic hypertrophy taken care of in some Cleveland hospital.

2. The Israeli government would never allow it as they want to be able to claim to be the first to host him (Israeli ambassador to Georgia and Armenia Rivka Kohen can better explain how this law works).

1. Even if he was invited in, within 10 minute of his crossing the Iranian boarder, word would reach as far as Talish (the furthest Northern Region of Artsakh) and everyone would be racing to cut his head off so they could collect the $25 million reward.

Sunday, February 17, 2002

A couple of my trees are getting ready to blossom due to all the warm weather we have been having and yesterday things changed and we got down below freezing. This is not good at all. Global-warming and its effects are being felt here. I�m not sure if this is a natural phenomenon or a byproduct of the world technological boom and the pollutants the �civilized world� is spewing into the atmosphere as a proximate result, causing a big hole in the o-zone and radical climate changes?

If the latter is true, then President Bush�s position of America, the country that has a fraction of the population of the world, yet produces the lion�s share of the harmful pollutants, not being able to make adjustments now to reduce said pollutants is quite disturbing. I understand that he is doing this so the spoiled people of America that are use to having their cake and the life sustaining cake of some other poor people living in Afghanistan or Armenia or one of the 194 nations not part of the G7 and eat what they can stuff in their big bellies and then tossing out what is left in their trash is what motivates him. What Mr. President I�m sure realizes but can�t admit to the world is that such actions do not make friends, but more enemies who are drastically effected by the policies he elects. And you wonder why America is having to fight a war on terrorism? The people of the 194+ nations will tell you that the real terrorist of the world is the G7. Even former President Clinton in his Richard Dimbleby Lecture hints at this.

I was watching a program on BBC some time back and it was about some students from the UK and America who went to help implement some benevolent project in some third-world country. The one comment that stuck in my head was this girl who I guess had been in that country for a month and saw many disturbing things. She concluded that much of the cause of the things she saw was due to what her country had done and was doing. She said if she had not come to see thing for herself, she would never know that her country had such bad policies. She said that she could see if the people of her country really knew how their government was representing them, they would not be happy. She also said something to the effect that if she stayed long enough, she would not want anything to do with her government. All I can say is I echo what she said.

One of my childhood memories was every morning in grammar school, standing before the American flag with my right hand over my heart (that�s how I learn right from left, but somehow thought my heart was on the left side of my body) saying the American pledge of allegiance. I didn�t really understand fully what the words meant other than understanding what �with liberty and justice for all� meant, but now I�m even questioning if I really did or do understand that.

Are American children brainwashed to believe the pledge so they will try to be fair with everyone? That�s what it did for me. How sad that so many people are blind to the fact that the American pledge of allegiance is now just a bunch of words. When you read beyond what American history books that public schools provide, you wonder if the pledge was ever anything more than just a bunch of words that sound really nice? My childhood dream of being part of the nation that makes sure that liberty and justice is something that everyone enjoys, is shattered by what I�ve read and seen with my own eyes here. One of the hard parts of my transition of living here is the reality of what the pledge really means and the real effects it has on people.

I guess when they say �God bless America� they say this in hopes that the bad karma and pollutants it spews will not come revisit it like it did on September 11. If the saying about doing something bad to someone will come back at you 10 fold is ture, then I'm sorry to say that September 11th is just a taste of what's to come. May God give America a double blessing, cause I think it needs it.

Friday, February 15, 2002

Yesterday was my friend Geno's first year anniversary of his death, but his widow and mother decided that it would be better for everyone to not observe it until today, being that the 14th is Valentines day. I know I told you that I would tell the full story of Geno�s death on the anniversary, but last week I learned that the case against the person who was allegedly responsible for the conditions leading up to his death may be facing charges where that individual could be found guilty and forced to pay restitution to the family. So with that said, I will refrain from tell the story, but will let you know if and when the case is resolved and maybe then tell the whole story.

This afternoon, the Mayor of Martuni and the Martuni Parliament Representative had a public gathering to report what they had done in the last year. What they reported was not all that different from last year and the questions and answers were the same. From the whole gathering, what was best received was the comment by the Deputy Regional Minister, who I have a great deal of respect for. He said that there is the issue of discipline in our children. In short, he said that it is very important with the breakdown in our system that the school educators, parents and friends take a more active role in instilling manners in our youth so when they get older, they will become contributing and civil members of our society.

Monday, February 11, 2002

I registered via the internet for the Second Armenia Diaspora Conference. After doing so, Vahe Aghabegians of the Armenia - Diaspora Conference Organizing Committee wrote me, asking that I take the opportunity to encourage other professionals to attend. I guess he must read our logs and knows that there are many potential professionals that frequent So this is a calling to all professionals to visit and go to the 2002 Diaspora Conference section and click on the registration form link. It only takes about 5 minutes to complete the form.

Vahe added: �Your readiness to participate in the Conference is a very hopeful indication of the huge potential of this Conference.� Wow, I knew I was key to many things here, but didn�t know that they were depending on my attendance to bring out the huge potential of the conference? Talk about someone turning up the fire under ones feet. Well a big THANK YOU to Vahe for the ego boost and for putting me up on the Diaspora pedestal. I�ll do my best as to not disappoint you and fulfill your request. But honestly Vahe, I�m not that powerful that I can move mountains yet. I mean I�ve got good at pushing cars with dead batteries to get them going again, but for one person to be expected to bring out the huge potential in the conference alone may be a little beyond anyone�s abilities and a somewhat unreasonable request. All I can say is that I�ll try.

I would guess that Vahe�s comment must have been triggered by the people at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia, who know me from the 1999 conference and must have told Vahe about how a conference without me could be like a sandwich without Miracle Whip Salad Dressing.

Again, I�m certainly not going to let Vahe down and will say that I was ready last year for the conference that was delayed due to the 1700th anniversary of Christianity and other big events in Armenia. My enthusiasm for this conference and what we are going to accomplish is ripe and bursting with flavor (not like a pair of dirty socks that take on a life of their own, but more like a blackened banana for banana bread).

Today, I�m working on a list of professional people who live here, that I will encourage to attend the conference. I�m going to be part of the Artsakh delegation, which will probably be just one big group. I figure if enough people attend, then maybe there will be a separate delegation for each region. Would that not be just grand if Artsakh had more attendees than the delegation from America?

Tuesday, February 05, 2002

Almost 24 hours ago it was 27c (81f) and now it�s 9.5c (49f). What very strange and not so cohesive weather to the survival of plant and human life. I was told that some of the neighboring villages are getting snow.

I�m sorry if some people think that I�m carrying on too much about his weather, but I�m doing this so 100 year from now, when most of us are dead, if someone happens to do some research on what Earth use to be like, before all the poor people that could not afford to pay for a state-of-the-art U.V. resistant living environment died off from skin cancer, this can be a marker for when things started to go down hill.

Maybe my great-great-grandchildren will be reading this and if they are, I just want to say to them that I�m sorry that we, the people who lived in the 20th and 21st century did more damage than good to planet Earth. Hey, what can I say, were only human and were born into the �me comes first� and �the hell with everyone else� generation. I�m not sure what your generation of humans are like (22nd century), but our generation likes to have fun at any price. We like fancy things that we can enjoy when we are alive and don�t really think too much about what price will be paid by future generations like you for our pleasures.

Well, by dear decedents, I hope your doing well and have adapted to your new, artificially modified environment. I�m sure getting hit by a car when crossing the street is a thing of the past, since cars or what ever new machines used for transportation, automatically stop before hitting anything. I guess the only danger you face like that is if you go out into the sun and didn�t protect yourself and get some kind of cancer. What, they found a cure for cancer? Well it�s about time.

Monday, February 04, 2002

As I write this log, it's 27c (81f) outside. Yes, nature is as confused as I am. And the worst news is that I have blossoms on my apricot trees. Since we had no contestants in my game of predicting which tree would blossom first, we also have no winner. I guess I'm the winner for predicting how long it would take for the tree to blossom. On the other hand, in this situation, I don't feel like I�ve won anything and instead am facing the loss my crop of apricots. I was thinking that I should erect a tent over the apricot tree in my front yard, but that tree does not concern me so much as does the 2 huge apricot trees I have in my back yard that give apple sized apricots. I�m even more concerned for the people that live here and what they will do this year when there is no crop. What an unfortunate situation.
These last few days have been quite uneventful. I really have not gone far from home and being the weather is so nice, transportation has been my two feet. It�s really nice not to sit in a car. Though when on foot, I get many offers of a ride.

At times I feel like I�m retired, as I really don�t have a job that I have to report to, leaving lots of time for myself to do what I want. My phone rings all the time, not with a creditor calling to remind me of a debt that is pass-due, but a friend calling to see how I�m doing, or an invitation to come for a visit.

When I�m not spending time with friends, I�m reading or writing. I can�t believe how enriched my knowledge has become in the last 6 months, now that I have internet. Though I had internet in the U.S., I never had the time to really sit down and surf. And what is really great about this ability to expand my knowledge with the internet is that I have access to read up on subjects that interest my friends, which really add flavor to our conversations.

I remember my eldest brother once told me, the most that college gives to some is knowledge that will allow one to carry on an entertaining and informed conversation at a party. Well now that there is the internet, I guess you no longer need to go to college just to have an interesting conversation. I mean, it used to be: "Hi, I'm Ara. I have a bachelors in political science and am working my way up the corporate latter at Pep Boys Auto Parts. I found my nitch in life." To: "Hi, I'm Ara. After high school, I got a job at Pep Boys Auto Parts. I've worked my way up to store manager and if I play my cards right, one day I could be looking at a job in the corporate office. I have internet and a veracious appetite for knowledge. I love to read about politics and not that stuff that they teach you in college, but the real working kind that effect peoples lives.� BTW: This is just a fictitious example to illustrate what I�m trying to say. Don�t get me wrong, I�m not "knocking" higher education in any way, just saying it�s a shame that so many waste it and could have saved themselves the 4 years if they only knew what cards life was going to deal them.

Though I have a satellite dish, it only gets a few channels in English (BBC and TBN, amen). I learned from a friend of mine that I can get a digital receiver for my satellite dish (mine is analog) and I will receive hundreds of cannels. Now that would be the ultimate for someone that is retired. I know so many people that live in the U.S. that all they do all day is sit in front of their T.V. watching sports or movies. What difference would it make if they did that in the U.S. or here? Big difference. Here, even if they got a minimal social security check (I think it�s $600 a month), you could live like kings and afford to get all those juicy channels and money left over. And if you act now, we will give you as a bonus super clean air, no crime and nice people. Oh, did I forget to mention that you would also stimulate the economy by becoming a consumer for goods and services with the fresh money that would be injected every month like clockwork, thanks to Uncle Sam? On the other hand, in the states, I think $600 would get you a room to stay in and maybe a view to watch a bunch of cars and your life pass right before your eyes.

If there is anyone out there that is really interested in spending their golden years in the lap of luxury, or know someone that does, you can get in touch with me and I�ll do all I can to get you that crown and cape you have always wanted.