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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.

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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.

2016 Trips:

Morocco - Essaouira Gnawa Festival
May 11-16, 2016

Borneo - Rainforest Festival
July 31-August 8, 2016

Romania - At Home with the Gypsies
September 3-11, 2016

Colombia - Bogotá, Medellín and Cartagena
September 5-19, 2016

India - Rajasthan Musical Adventure
October 6-19, 2016

Senegal - Never Mind the Mbalax
November 19-30, 2016 

Cuba - New Year Celebrations
December 29 2016-January 12, 2017

Gaza Facts
Click link above to get 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).

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontičres (MSF) Report:
Gaza: One Year After 2014 War, Abject Misery Across Gaza and West Bank

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontičres (MSF)  excerpt:
With the continued blockade and siege of Gaza, it is as if the war had just ended. MSF sees how the suffering wrought by the Israeli occupation has become normalized and how the status quo will only lead to more of the same. Security fears cannot justify the devastating medical and psychological consequences of barriers, checkpoints, bombing campaigns, blockades,
and incursions.

Gaza Corner

Click above for Archive

Saturdays 11p on Tangents, 91.7 fm SF, webcast at kalw.org

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 country 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.

Gaza Corner 4/30/16

Gaza Corner previews Middle Eastern flims scheduled May 1-5 at the San Francisco International Film Festival.


I recently screened this outstanding film but unfortunately it played earlier in the festival.
However word is it will be independently distributed in the States. Therefore, I will plug this compelling documentary with a most unusual story.

Sonita Alizadeh is an undocumented Afghan refugee who escapes to Tehran
after having fled from a close encounter with the Taliban.

lives at the Tehran Society for the Protection of Working and Street Children. Sonita discovers a passion for rap music. and she is charismatic and talented.  At the same time she is from a poor family and at constant risk of being sold into marriage under the Afghan "bride price" system. The film exposes the nightmarish patriarchal control that is part of Afghani culture. 

Ultimately what makes a good movie or documentary is the story.  This story would seem unbelievable but it really occurred.

Winner of both a World Cinema Grand Jury Prize and an Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival,

Presenting Princess Shaw

This is a Cinderella like true story is about a New Orleans rest-home caregiver with a sort of secret life writing and singing her own songs, primarily by posting Youtube videos that have virtually no followers.

An Israeli producer/composer who lives in a kibbutz in the Negev Desert creates  mash-up versions of songs from scouring Youtube videos. He finds one of her songs, transforms it and the resulting  video goes viral. This happens without the artists even knowing they’re part of his projects until they're posted on-line.

Very Big Shot

Ziad is determined to leave the family pizza business which is a front for criminal activity. Ziad aims to move up Beirut's underworld ladder. He comes up with the idea of smuggling stolen drugs past customs in film-reel canisters. In order to make the scam work, he and has brothers have to put together the semblance of a real movie production and their cover story starts to evolve into a genuine passion project. All of the skills Ziad honed as a criminal turn out to make him a top-notch movie producer.

Neither Heaven nor Earth

Suspenseful war film that uses fear of the dark to great effect.  There is a no-man’s land between the army and The Taliban where two army soldiers disappear. The Taliban send out a patrol in search of two of their own who have similarly vanished. The only clue to the odd occurrences is a supernatural tale spun by a village teenager. "The no-man’s land is the abyss that imperious Westerners plunge themselves into when they are on soil that doesn’t belong to them."

Under the Shadow

Described as a shiveringly good ghost story set in a Tehran apartment building in the waning days of the Iran-Iraq War. "It’s a rare and refreshing example of a horror film and political allegory that doesn’t need to spill blood to be truly scary."

As I Open My Eyes

The film is set in Tunisia the summer before Tunisia's 2011 Jasmine Revolution. The drama follows an 18-year-old who is a headstrong singer in an underground band who pushes back against her mother’s attempts to control her. The teenager also confronts the government-sanctioned cultural policing and dangers that she faces from the repressive Tunisian regime. The film shows interesting scenes of  nightlife in Tunis.  As I Open My Eyes provides perspective on the simmering unrest that propelled Tunisians to overthrow President Ben Ali and his corrupt government and spark the Arab Spring.


Billed as a psychological thriller, which recasts modern-day Istanbul as an eerie, dystopian surveillance state where no man, woman or even canine is safe.


Filmed in Jerusalem and shot against the tombstones of Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives.

6 Shorts totalling 71 minutes
Abu Ammar Is Coming
A black-and-white photo of five men in 1980s Lebanon opens a speculative inquiry into the history of Bangladeshi freedom fighters in the PLO.

My Aleppo
Story of a young displaced Syrian family living in a cramped Pretoria, South Africa apartment. It examines their heartbreak and guilt when thinking about their beloved Aleppo - one of the oldest cities on earth.The film also shows them Skyping family and friends still living under war conditions in Aleppo.

Sept-Oct 2015, Cizre
Turkey unleashed war on the Kurds living in SE Turkey last summer. This 15 minute film focuses on the Kurdish populated town Cizre which is near the Syrian border and has been under siege by the Turkish military. Cell phones provide visual evidence of the aftermath of Turkey's devastating attacks in Cizre - which is still going on - and for the most part blacked out by the mainstream media.

National Bird

Executive produced by Wim Wenders and Errol Morris (Director of The Fog of War), this documentary is about what the US government doesn’t want you to know about drone warfare by focusing on three veterans whose service experience causes them to question the usage of drones in overseas combat.

The Music of Strangers:
Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble

The story of Yo-Yo Ma and his Silk Road Ensemble, which was originally conceived as a collective of musicians drawn from the Central Asian “Silk Road” countries including regions of China, India, Iran and the Arabian Peninsula. The group eventually broadened to include talents from all over the globe.

As the Oscar®-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville frames it, the Silk Road Ensemble arose out of Yo-Yo Ma’s quest to uncover Leonard Bernstein’s theoretical “universal language of music,” and to identify and cultivate the intersections between cultures where harmony connects disparity.

The film features archival footage from Ma’s career, including his performance as a seven-year-old prodigy in front of President Kennedy and first lady Jacqueline. This documentary includes many of the backstories of the ensemble members: Damascus-born clarinetist Kinan Azmeh (who was interested in working with Dore Stein on a Tangents Syria music tour before the war changed everything); Iranian exile and acclaimed kamancheh player, Kayhan Kalhor; and Wu Man, master of the Chinese stringed instrument. the pipa