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Subi Memorial

Rescued from a kill shelter in Manteca, Petey Pumpkinhead III entered our lives 7 years ago. Abused by a previous owner he was skittish and nippish. That changed with love, affection and attention.

He was a majestic furry orange tabby. His coat emitted a perpetually lovely fragrance. He had the sexiest strut with an ever present erect tail and endearing behind.

Petey had simple needs. Belly rubs topped the list. He loved resting in his backyard igloo. He would prance out when I entered the yard and open wide for belly rubs and rolly polly.

He bonded with Klimey who also was rescued from a shelter. Klimey loved licking Petey and taught Petey how to love back. They were inseparable.

Petey-Weedy (as we called him) evolved into the sweetest and most gentle of companions. When hungry, he would jump into bed and delicately place his paw on my face. No histrionics, just a love tap and breakfast was on.

He loved sleeping inside the space between my legs or alongside the curve of Clara's thigh. His body language suggested the most delicious of dreams. He also had the squeakiest yawn when awakened.

Petey had a ravenous appetite and wore his weight well. That changed last October when he dropped 2 pounds in short order and was diagnosed with congestive heart failure.

He continued to lose weight but his sweet demeanor never changed. Although not a lap cat during his youth, lately I would place him in my lap in the back yard and we would stay together for long periods. These were cherished moments. Klimey would join us and stay by Petey's side.

Strong medication was required every 8 hours to dissipate the fluid in his lungs. No matter how much lasix was dosed, it could not stay on top of the progression of his heart disease.

Last week Petey hit a low point and could hardly breath. He hadn't eaten for 2+ days. We upped the lasix and he recovered miraculously. His breathing appeared normal and he started eating - but only food fresh out of the can. He ate more than he had in months. He had playful sparring sessions with Klimey, tons of rolly polly and belly rubs, his tail was erect and he slept next to my face the other day.

Today he had a good appetite in the early afternoon. I didn't see him the rest of the day. When the thunder rumbled and the rain came pouring down I went outside.

He was in the igloo. I tipped it and he ran inside. But something was wrong.

His breathing was labored. Petey could not catch his breath. He had breathing attacks before and I had feared the worst, yet Petey always persevered.

An hour or so later when Clara came home, Petey's condition had worsened. When he walked from under a table to lie down in the litter box that was an alarming signal. I picked him up and he let out a cry. Petey went under the bed where Klimey was and continued to make anguished yelps.

We left him alone. Petey soon emerged and we put him in a blanket by the heater.

He wanted to be left alone.

Petey-Weedy barely could walk and stumbled out the bedroom and down a few steps to the cat door. Somehow he pushed himself through. The igloo was two feet from the door.

We let him be.

An hour later Clara checked on Petey.

His fur was gorgeous. His body still warm.

But Petey had passed.

He never made it to the igloo.

Moti has been missing since Sept 2014.  On Jan 23, 2015 while walking in McClaren Park a cat resembling Moti emerged on a tree branch above a thicket of bushes. This brightened our hearts as Clara and I imagine Moti as a feline Tarzan.  Clara wrote the below poem before we confirmed the cat was not Moti.

Moti Sighting
by Clara Hsu

Who sits on a branch
above a field of thorns?
My cat. My cat.

Who listens to his names
and twitches his ears?
My cat. My cat.

His looks have changed since autumn
from living wild and eating mice.
We’re trespassing his kingdom
that can’t be bought
 any price.

Running streams.
Catnip on the hills.

Sunday, July 19
  San Francisco Tangents Party feat

(oud and percussion duo)


*$30 ($25 thru May 31)

Click for party details
(will sell out in advance)

Sat. nights, 8-mid, KALW 91.7 FM, S.F.
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also webcast on Berlin's multicult.fm

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Advertisement on wall of Nardis jazz club in Istanbul where 2014 Tangents Turkey Music Tour saw Turkey's most famous jazz musician, drummer Okay Temiz,  among 11 world class concerts in 16 nights.. 

Songlines Music Travel
(click for details)

Shares the Tangents philosophy that nothing beats experiencing music at its source.

2015 Trips:

Borneo - Rainforest Festival
August 2-11, 2015

Romania - At Home with the Gypsies
August 15-23, 2015

Colombia – NEW TRIP
August 2015*

India – Rajasthan Musical Adventure
October 17-28, 2015

Senegal – Never Mind the Mbalax
November 20-29, 2015

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Click above to get the real facts about Gaza, a collaborative project by Jewish Voice for Peace Bay Area (JVP-BA) and the Council on American-Islamic Relations San Francisco Bay Area (CAIR-SFBA).

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This weekly feature includes news and opinion from the Middle East (and beyond) often ignored by the mainstream media followed by music from the relevant cuountry or culture.

Gaza Corner was originally conceived to focus attention on relieving the humanitarian crisis in Gaza which has been under a severe blockade imposed by Israel since 2006.  Gaza Corner has evolved to include the Middle East, Magreb, Kurdistan and Turkey.

 Click headlines below for full stories.

The Bedouin of Palmyra
for Musa

It is from touching your thick calloused hand
I become aware
the sun that I merely look upon as day
sculpt your drought-inflicted skin.
You examine my palm
gently squeeze each finger
to comprehend my delicacy,
a consequence from the sheltering sky.

In the olive and palm tree grove
where the guttural gurgle of camels
linger in the night breeze,
an obscured brook languishes
with occasional shuffle among the leaves.
You observe the pregnancy of the predictable moon
while I fill my mouth with sugary dates.

“Maybe rain will make you restless”.

“Come now”, you said,
“I will never go beyond the desert.
Ancient stones are my chronicle
sand washes me clean
I feed on earth’s nectar
dreamless under the Bedouin sky.”

~Clara Hsu

Dore and Musa in Palmyra in 2004

ISIS Seizes Historic
Syrian City Palmyra

Some of the most beautiful and well-preserved ruins of antiquity face destruction as forces loyal to Assad withdraw

(Kareem Shaheen, The Guardian UK, 5/21/15)

(photo by Clara Hsu)

related articles:

ISIS seizes Syrian military base near Palmyra as it consolidates grip on city
(Kareem Shaheen, The Guardian UK, 5/22/15)

Resident: ISIS is 'everywhere,' in full control of ancient Syrian city of Palmyra
(Greg Botelho and Khushbu Shah,
CNN , 5/21/15)

combined excerpt:

Isis took Palmyra, a Silk Road hub of the ancient world and a Unesco world heritage site with magnificent ruins, on Wednesday.

Palmyra is home to some of the most magnificent ancient ruins from antiquity, and its fall has led to fears that Isis fighters will destroy much of its cultural heritage as they have done in historic sites such as Nineveh.

The city already was a caravan oasis when Romans overtook it in the mid-first century. Its importance grew as a city on the trade route linking the Roman Empire to Persia, India and China, according to the U.N. agency.

British historian and novelist Tom Holland has described Palmyra as "an extraordinary fusion of classical and Iranian influences intermixed with various Arab influence as well."

"Mesopotamia, Iraq, Syria, this is the wellspring of global civilization," he said. "It really couldn't be higher stakes in terms of conservation."

The Islamist extremists have shown no hesitation destroying such history, propagandizing that destroying idols or false gods follows in the footsteps of the Prophet Mohammed, who smashed statues in Mecca. In fact, they've often made a show of it.

Besides destruction, ISIS could also try to profit from its rampage, said Fawaz Gerges, professor of Middle East studies at The London School of Economics.

"They have networks that allow them to traffic in cultural treasures," adds Gerges, the author of the forthcoming book "ISIS: A Short History." "They have made tens of millions of dollars selling artworks."

 Isis has not released images of any assault on Palmyra ruins. The militant group is also now in control of two major gas fields near the city which supply the power stations of western Syria.

The UN high commissioner for refugees said 11,000 civilians had fled Palmyra since the Isis offensive began, settling in nearby villages. The city was home to internally-displaced people from other areas of Syria, many of them now fleeing again.

“People are arriving exhausted, scared and in increasing numbers,” said Bhajat Al Arandas, an official with Al-Birr Society, which is working with UNHCR to distribute aid to the refugees. “They fled their homes in Palmyra and neighbouring villages with hardly anything and report there is no water, electricity or working mobile phone network [in the city].”

But two-thirds of residents are believed to still be in Palmyra, raising fears of retribution from Isis, which has already executed members of a rebellious tribe called the Shaitat that it accused of fighting alongside government forces.

The Assad regime had claimed that it evacuated most of the civilians in Palmyra before withdrawing from the city. But citing what she said were credible sources, UN spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said there were reports of government forces preventing civilians from leaving until they themselves fled and Isis took control of the city.

“Isil has reportedly been carrying out door-to-door searches in the city, looking for people affiliated with the government. At least 14 civilians are reported to have been executed by Isil in Palmyra this week,” she said, using another acronym for Islamic State.