Monday, June 28, 2010

Pink Flood. Psychedelic Musical Rocky Ruby Gems Of Nature

SOOC. Content straight out of camera. Stunning Nikon D300 RAW image simply framed in Photoshop with *NO* editing or processing of any kind. Saved as 4MB JPG from 14MB original.

I planted this bush (name unknown to me!) in my backyard many years ago. Every year it blooms in an explosion of Ruby Pink around the first week of June. But I often would be in Pakistan visiting my Father on my birthday, May 23.

After his passing, this was the first year I was not with family in Pakistan and here on Long Island. I got to actually see these Ruby Gems of nature's agile development. Next to the RAILS of my backstairs downstairs deck, they shimmer like real fine jewels, of nature.

I wondered when I should photograph this color of Ruby. Tuesday's a good day to wait for, I thought, but I didn't know if they'd fade. So, I figured, TGIF, (Thank God It's Friday, June 5, 2010) and took this stunning picture. It fed my soul more than any meal at those restaurant chains could.

Like the pshychedelic music and live shows of rock legends Pink Floyd, or the soft, sensual, sensitive beauty that is the singer-poet Jewel, I simply saw a Pink Flood of stunning beauty.

© 2010 IMRAN

PS Yes, I know, this is the only place you can mix bad puns from software development, restaurant chains and music celebrities!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Rock/Port. Stunning Blue Boating Paradise, Baths Virgin Gorda

Rockport is the name of towns in Maine and Massachusetts. It is also a brand of shoes, popular among sailors and boaters. This place is probably 2000 miles from all of them. :-)

Rock/Port is the perfect title for this photo I took at the Baths, Virgin Gorda, in the British Virgin Islands. The tranquil blue sky and calm stunning turquoise waters of the Bahamas, surrounded by stunning rock formations cradling the "port" for sailors, are something to write home about, and shout to the world the praises of.

Though I stood in the bubbling mild surf, I did not much care what brand of shoes I was wearing (Sperry's Topsiders, I think, actually LOL). I dug in my heels in the powdery soft wet sand. The pocket Nikon came in handy to take this shot - to immortalize in the mind and heal the soul, the sight in my eyes and feeling in my soles.

Just one of the millions of places on our planet that are heaven on earth. May we all get to see them in our lifetimes.

© 2008-2010 IMRAN

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Made In Japan. Self-Destruction In Pakistan. What A Shame! Will YOU Not Think?

by Imran Anwar

A friend of mine in Pakistan emailed me some photographs of the Japanese cities destroyed by American Atomic Bombs, and how they have risen from the ashes in 60 years.

It was so ironic to see that and compare Pakistan and Japan, and see how two nations of intelligent hard-working people took such divergent paths, over the same course of time and turmoil....

From 1947 to about 1967 Pakistan started rising from the heartbreak of partition to a somewhat economically developing nation. We had greater prosperity than the masses of India and better GDP than even South Korea.

We then spent most of the 1967-1977 period dismantling our economy - with civil war, defeat and then nationalization.

From 1977 to about 1987, thanks to the (CIA-driven dictator) General Zia-driven funding of fundamentalist ideologies, we saw Pakistan start a mental and social regression, which would make even Iranian clerics scratch their turbaned heads.

In the 20-years period of 1987-2007 (until today, so to speak) we have seen Pakistan brought to the brink of self-destruction. With money for missiles and nuclear weapons, Pakistan has no money or common sense to have invested in power generation to meet its own needs since several decades.

Forget industrial development, or even competing with other evolving economies in areas like software, and technology.

Despite constant load-shedding only the Conspiracy Factory of Pakistan continues to operate at peak capacity.

Even America ran out of ideas on conspiracies after the Moon Landing Hoax, Kennedy Assassination and Jimmy Hoffa conspiracies. Pakistan is the world's leading producer now. The best new conspiracies have Made in Pakistan engraved on them, while Made In Japan is now written on only the highest quality advanced technology products.

With our silent acquiescence, sitting in our air-conditioned (except for load-shedding hours) homes, we make the usual tccch-tcch sounds of afsos and regret, then do our bit to contribute to the manufacture of new conspiracy theories — while the stinking, unwashed, jihadi terrorists, murderous Jahilan-AlQatlian kill fellow Muslims and Pakistanis every day.

But, instead of recognizing the deadly cancer that grows in the midst of every major national organ (and organization), and dealing with that deadly disease, even supposedly intelligent, educated and professional Pakistanis see an American or Jewish conspiracy in everything. Instead of aggressively targeting the supporters of the Taliban and AlQaeda, who are now entrenched in mosques and madrassahs even in major cities, not just the stone-age rocky villages of the Northern territories, Pakistanis simply live by "Blame America, Wait For Allah".

We expect Allah to either press the Undo button or automagically fix everything. Pakistanis have mastered the fine art of tea-trolley discussions on whom to blame. They have elevated to a science the creation of Unified Theories of Conspiracy that would baffle even Einstein and confound Prof. Abdus Salam.

People now increasingly talk about the centuries old glory days of Muslims, instead of acting for a brighter future of Pakistan. They pontificate about how wonderful the Khalifas were, as if a Political-Religious Messiah can be divined from tea leaves in Fine China cups, to bring us bright eyed sunshine-filled futures.

And, all they think they need to do is hold tea parties - and attend Friday prayers once in a while - for this magic to happen.

Instead, all these people need to wake up and smell the coffee. Instead of a revival of a theoretical Ottoman Caliphate, we are becoming the Ostrich Caliphate of Pakistan. We run, as gracelessly as that creature, towards our own destruction - but only when we do not have our heads stuck in the sands of time and a romanticized history.

Forget history, damn the future, we can't even be certain of our todays, much less our tomorrows. We have jihadis, most funded by fellow Muslims and Pakistanis, killing our own soldiers, blowing up our women and children.

It is no secret that AlQaeda and the Taliban want to steal Pakistan's nuclear weapons. I suspect many Pakistanis probably secretly harbor a silent approval for the theft of one nuclear device. They secretly hope for such a device to somehow be used to "punish" all those they hold responsible for their own failures - as they successfully craft conspiracy theories. They mentally paint targets on Washington, New York, Tel Aviv, New Delhi.

"Ah," such people think, "if only 'they' can be blown up, all of Pakistan's problems would be fixed and the Muslim Ummah would shine again."

But, people, THINK about it.

Even if the jihadis were to succeed in grabbing one nuclear device, the likelihood of their "Islamic Bomb" getting to the USA, or even Israel, is 0.000000001%.

Wake up and do the Math. That means there is 99.999999999% likelihood they would detonate a device within Pakistan, in a major city...... One can only imagine what a nuclear explosion in a Pakistani city would do to a nation already on the brink of tearing itself apart at the seams. Maybe that is what Pakistanis secretly want? A full hard reboot of the system.

Maybe they look at Japan. It was destroyed and in far worse shape in 1945 than Pakistan was in 1947. Yet, see the path it took — from two nuclear bombs annihilating entire cities, military occupation, subjugation, war tribunals killing off the entire former leadership, and worse...

See below how incredibly Japan, ironically a nation big on suicides, chose to live on, to shine and rise from the ashes.... while Pakistanis silently witness a collective national suicide, at the hands of Muslim suicide-murderers, killing in the name of Islam.

We watch fellow Muslims trigger bomb timers, lighting fuses of death. We see Pakistanis' psyche smoldering, a rage fueled by the ugly, bearded hoards of semi-literate mullahs whom we can't even get to shut off their loudspeakers at 3AM for fear of a fatwa against us. We watch, every day, our cities exploding and Pakistan's future going down in flames...

And, still, collectively we all immediately blame anyone, anyone, but our own internal demons, our own created beasts, and worse, far worse, our own reality-avoiding selves.

What a shame, what a shame, what a shame....

I think it is time to think.... Afa'laa tataa'fakka'roon..... "Will You Not Think?"


PS I could not find the actual site or blog these photos came from, so they are produced here for appreciation. If you own these pictures, kindly let me know so I can attribute you for these stunning photos and link to your blog or album. Thank you.

Begin forwarded message:

From: Irfan R

!!!!!! When there is a will, there is a way !!!!!!!!

Hiroshima , Nagasaki 1945



We all know that Hiroshima and Nagasaki
were destroyed in August 1945 after explosion of atomic bombs.

However we know less about the progress
made by the people of that land during the
past 62 years.

Here are some photos...






Hard to believe isn't it???

Friday, June 18, 2010

Sun Signs Out, Sets Off Home, Over Dark Daymark Outdoors


The sun signs out from a full day's work. It sets off for home and sets off a home on the water in brilliantly dark silhouette.

In time, the sun sets over a dark daymark, set in the channel, splitting the sun's reflections on the water, separating shallow water from deep, providing one more geometric and symmetric element in this imagery, this memory — electronically etched in the silicon of a memory card, eternally aligned in the magnets of a hard drive, permanently painted on the neurons of a mind dazzled by the sights it saw in a wondrous lifetime.

Stiltsville, in the channel outside Biscayne Bay in Miami, Florida, is a place I have seen more spectacular marine sunsets from my yacht than any place else.

Just idling the engines, soaking in the sights of the ends of a passion filled afternoon, the juices of the day melting over the shades of dusk, I captured this with my Nikon D300. No cropping.

I saw the sign, the sun, out of the blue and into the red, and my sun sign (Gemini) made me see the duality of the moment melding time and tide flowing past and rising ahead. It made me vow, like the sun set to rise again, I too would be back, to make new memories, of another day, on another day. Amen.


© 2010 IMRAN 

PS1 No color processing, only frame & title added in Photoshop. I could have reduced highlights on the sun and lightened shadows on the house and sign but just wanted to savor it as it was.

PS2 I did notice a stunning amount of greater detail in this image the Nikon stored as a TIFF compared to the JPGs I normally save. The camera has a memory card large enough to store TIFFs in any outing. But at that time I was concerned about the iPhoto library growing too large for my MacBook Pro's hard drive. Even with 99% images as JPGs it is already over 50GB. With another 60GB for my iTunes library, pretty soon, I'd have no space left for anything else.

PS3 The horizon IS level. The water gets shallower to the left and the sky was darker to the right, making the satiny reflection appear dipping towards the left, but you will see the actual horizon is level.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Eyes Rise To High Rise, Monterey Touching Skies

The Monterey, on 96th Street and Third Avenue, in the tony Carnegie Hills part of Manhattan, NY, was my home for nearly 3 wonderful years, 1992-1995.

During a recent trip to NYC I took the #6 Lexington Avenue train to the area. I was happy to see the doorman and concierge still remembered me after 15 years.

I met some of the most beautiful people and some of the most special people entered my life in this amazing building. From the beautiful, brilliant and then-beloved Beth to the amazing angel-faced and angel-hearted Allegra, from the lovable lovely Lipika to one of Revlon's "10 Most Beautiful Women" the exquisitely beautiful, funny, sweet and one-in-a-million Julie. From the awesome dude Askari, to the lucky F16 & airlines pilot and gentleman Kendall. All these and more are parts of memories from the amazing life I had at The Monterey.

Looking like a towering silo reaching into the sky, the lighting made it look even more beautiful. Taken from street level, with the busy intersection and the Islamic Center & Mosque behind me, this photo shows how the eye rises to this high-rise's peak... looking at my apartment just near the top floor. This view with the stunning bright sky that day and reddish tones of 5 PM winter NY sun show the vivid colors and the Normandie Court apartments and clouds reflecting in the glass and brick styled tower.

Being circular on the outer edge gave my large 1-bedroom luxury home the most stunning panoramic views. I could see Yankees Stadium, Mets Stadium and planes landing at LaGuardia Airport, cars on and boats under the Tri-Borough Bridge, East River, FDR Drive, Citicorp Center and if I leaned out I could at that time see the World Trade Center (but would probably fall out the window doing that).

I was the first tenant in my apartment in the new building and only left it when I built my dream home on Long Island.

I would love to go back and get an apartment there again, preferably my own again (21-H or higher) but it may not happen for a while. I was foolish enough to sublet the apartment to an African-American named Ali Yasin (Ali Yassin) who stayed there nearly 2 years but disappeared without paying 6 months rent. I am still searching for him (and the woman pastor named Ekutowsi Robinson who was his guarantor) because he caused severe financial and legal obligations with his sleazy behavior. (Caution if you ever do business with these people).

Until then, I can always look back to the memories I made in this building and know, there are others holding dear incredible memories as I do.

© 2010 IMRAN

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Not Much Room Ahead Of Mushroom Head!

Talk about opposites. From the heights of the Eiffel Tower, looking down on Paris, at the end of Fall, in the previous photo, to lying in the East Patchogue Long Island dirt, at the end of Spring, in my roadway's flowerbeds, looking up at a mushroom.

From enjoying tiny mushrooms with a filet mignon dinner at the Eiffel on 12/6, to the eye falling on this beefy looking giant burger sized mushroom in Patchogue on 5/7. From being smartly dressed for sophisticated dining, savoring escargot in one of the most romantic spots, to being thankful I was wearing cargo pants for this shot, crawling ahead at snail's pace on the ground.

I was going for a walk, when I noticed this spectacularly large mushroom growing among the beds - where I have photographed a stunning iris previously posted. I immediately went back inside, grabbed the camera and came back.

Prostrating myself at the altar of alternate photography, but being careful not to sprawl too far into the sprawling community's entrance roadway (it's a private street but anyone taking the turn could publicly turn me into mushroom barley soup), I zoomed in, to parlay the mesmerizing lighting.

It was exactly 6 PM, so the late afternoon sun, coming from over my left shoulder, was casting yellow-red tones, making the mushroom almost glow with nuclear sharp edges. At the same time, the bush to the right and the grassy knoll to the left behind it were showing shadows of the trees above me, making that area look much darker than the mushroom.

Without letting the Mushroom Cloud my judgement, I quickly clicked 3 more shots, rising up, but not getting high, to say Hi to a passing neighbor.

The Nikon clicked at 1/500th second, the lens at 105 mm near full aperture, with ISO at 800 helped create some interesting bokeh with only a narrow band of mulch in very sharp focus at the feet of the head mushroom.

I have another photo I will post another time for which I have a clever title that did not apply here. So, I was scratching my head trying to be clever.

Mushroom Proud could apply but was not close enough to the usual Mushroom Cloud people know in common usage. (I'm waiting for a day I can find a mushroom on a hillside with clouds above it to photograph. LOL).

Since I'd gotten as close to the mushroom head to take this picture as I could, there was not much room ahead, and I remembered the name of the alternate music group Mushroomhead.

I am not sure just what kind of mushroom they're into, but Not Much Room Ahead Of Mushroomhead seemed appropriate.

Another lesson learnt. Never postpone a photo opp. Grab that camera when you see a chance to catch something unusual. Next evening, not only was it not as interesting lighting, I noticed that rabbits or something else chewed half the top off this mushroom!

We'll always have Paris, but we didn't have that mushroom forever. :)

© 2010 IMRAN

Sunday, June 13, 2010

I Atop Paris' Eiffel, Eye Fell On Paris Below

I Atop Paris' Eiffel, Eye Fell On Paris Below, Under Towering Storm's Rise In Stunning Sky

To be atop the Eiffel Tower in Paris for a romantic dinner at Christmas time is all you can imagine and more. I would have much preferred the amazing experience to be in stunningly clear rather than stormy weather.

Still, a line to get into the Eiffel Tower, and it's restaurants, snaked below it. Having made reservations through a reputable (though expensive) service meant we did not have to stand in line in the rain and were whisked to the elevators.

French cuisine, and the food in Paris in particular, are just magnificent experiences, subtle splendors of culinary delights. But the Eiffel Tower's two restaurants, which can be called fairly expensive and terribly expensive respectively, are nothing to write home about (or in modern times, to email or blog about). They are tourist traps and definitely not the finest that Paris offers. It's really about location-location-location! And, making the cash register, ring-ring-ring!

Though the restaurant had been filled to capacity, and there were people lounging about the top after dinner, the rain and stormy weather made it possible to take some unusual photos of the city of lights.

Having only the pocket Nikon S6, I could not do much except snap whatever I could in the terrible weather. Handheld shots were coming out boring or shaken/blurry most of that night. Even iPhoto enhancements recently did not do much to make up for the difficult photography day that was.

But the golden stormy sky through the metal mesh was captured by putting the camera down on metal supports and railings with the longest exposure I could get using the timer. The limited focus and non-existent metering options ensured the perfect overexposed sky of Gold through no talent of mine. Photoshop brightened and framed it today. Sadly I was also running out of battery - after a 12 hours day of sightseeing. So there are not too many photos of this dramatic trip...

A time of museum visits and stylish dinners, hectic days and sensual nights, dangerous liaisons and consummated fantasies, forced by forces of nature to take willing submissions, careless whispers and sweet surrenders, openly opening portals and secretly secreting dreams in spiral staircases making them stairways to heaven, living large with little deaths, explosive invasions and gentle withdrawals, passionate mergers and eventual tempestuous partings... marking the spots and leaving a mark, on the city, on the spot, on the soul.

Oui. Just another Evening In Paris. All and more than what this city of lovers has witnessed in its history-filled history, of loves and lovers, power lusts and lust's power, from the heights of it's story-filled storied multi-story tower to the singular depths of its passionate lover's soul.

© 2010 IMRAN

loc: 48.8584752, 2.294697

Friday, June 11, 2010

(South) Country Road, Take(s) Me Home

Just after Christmas 1993, snow still on the ground, I took a train from Manhattan for a real estate person to show me some areas to buy or build my first very own home and my first home in America. (I am blessed to have a family home we built in Lahore, Pakistan 25 years ago).

In East Patchogue, I was taken in by the beauty of the area. This road, created literally 80 years ago, the aptly named South Country Road, looked really beautiful and representative of the South Shore's "God's country" living charm and lifestyle, just over one hour away from Manhattan and a short drive away from the Hamptons. As a matter of fact, the area is affectionately called the Hamptons without the hassle!

Indeed, like the words of that great song, this (South) Country Road, Take(s) Me Home, to Heron Pointe, the place I now live and so belong.

I just fell in love with the beachfront property, and the spot I would build my dream home, within 30 seconds of stepping out of the car, right then, right there, on that very first visit at Christmas 1993.

It took half of 1994 for me to build up the commitment courage (and paperwork as a Green Card holder but non-citizen entrepreneur with no regular job) to commit to the contract. And that too I did when someone else made the builder an offer on "my" home lot.

Not being able to stall any further, I made the commitment, and the home was completed in time for my birthday in 1995. I have been blessed to live here for 15 years now.

Now, even as I face some truly challenging times, that can uproot me in every way imaginable, every time I am walking and get to this spot (from where my home is just over a mile away ahead and to the right on the water) it takes my breath away.

Exactly a month ago, May 9, 2010, a particularly difficult and dark day for me, was possibly the single most vivid, clear and bright Long Island day I have seen in a few years.

I simply pulled out the pocket Nikon S6, and, after waiting several minutes to find the road clear, took this shot.

I did not mind the bright Red Jeep receding into the distance, into the wild future just around the vanishing point, that dark bend in the road, giving contrasts of Red, Yellow and Green on the road, and Red, Blue and White with the sky.

South Country Road. It's taken me home for 15 blessed years. Where the road takes me, and what road I will be on, all I can do is continue on the drive of an amazing life, on this walk through time, spreading my wings, destination unknown.

I thank God for having blessed me more than I could have imagined and - as I have faith and pray - He will do even more in the days and years to come.

© 2010 IMRAN

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

It's Terrorists Killing Pakistanis; Muslims, Christians & Ahmadis

I came upon an article by a Bruce Walker, at The New American web site. It was titled "Lahore, Pakistan: Muslims Killing Muslims."

I regret that article is quite misleading and using flawed "logic" to give the writer a chance to bash Islam. The writer's lack of understanding Islam is also obvious and his intellectual pretense quite exposed.

As a Pakistani Muslim, as a student leader at UET Lahore nearly 30 years ago, and now as an American citizen, I consider Ahmadis as Pakistani as me, if not more. (e.g. if they do not have dual citizenship like me).

However, even as a liberal Muslim, I am sorry to say this, but Ahmadis are not practicing Islam. That, however, does not make their citizenship of Pakistan, and right to a safe life there, any less than mine or yours.

A basic tenet of Islam is that Muhammad PBUH was the last Prophet. Ahmadis follow a man as a PROPHET who came and went without being a blip on humankind's radar.

That in itself shows that they are merely a cult that, despite their religious beliefs, has done quite well in Pakistan, and in spite of being officially designated non-Muslims. They generally fare better than Christians and Hindus in Pakistan, socially and economically.

Yes, there are shameful acts of violence against them, but sadly, not more but less than attacks against all of Pakistan in general.

Far more Sunni Muslims (and Shias) have been massacred by the evil AlQaeda and murderous stone-age Taliban than Ahmadis or Hindus or Christians combined. Writers like this article's author conveniently ignore that fact in jumping on every opportunity to malign Islam.

The Ahmadis call themselves Muslims and 4 million of them thrive in Pakistan. Though I am sure they would not be openly attacked or killed, as happened in the recent Lahore incident, I wonder how well Jews or Christians, especially in places with high concentrations of fundamentalist Christians or Jews, would accept a similar group.

Would Jews and Christians welcome a new cult announcing it was practicing Judaism or Christianity but following, say, Adolf Hitler or Stalin as their Prophet and the Messiah? Would Jews and Christians not call the cult as abhorrent to their basic religions if its basic premise was completely contrary to the most fundamental tenet of their religion?

Would they call its leader a heretic or a lunatic - or would they also fall on their knees to revere him as "the providential figure believed by Christians, Jews, and Muslims to return and foretell the end of the world, as well as being a preordained figure in Hinduism, the Bahaism, Zoroastrianism, and Buddhism" as the article stupidly, and disingenuously, refers to the Ahmadi cult's leader as?

Probably not!

So, remember, a terror attack that killed Ahmadis in this case, followed by an attack on a hospital that killed ordinary Pakistani Muslims indiscriminately, is a continuation of random bombing murders of Muslims in Pakistan, Iraq, and other countries.

It is an act of evil by a political-power seeking gang of zealots the CIA and the USA helped the dictator General Zia create 30 years ago, not some common form of Islam.

But, it is easy for people like Bruce Walker to sit in their cozy dens, seemingly smartly but intellectually falsely, bashing Islam - by making it sound like he's speaking for the betterment of Muslims. If only he was not ignoring the simple tragic violent fact...

It's Terrorists Killing Pakistanis; Muslims, Shias, Hindus, Christians and Ahmadis — either in random or specific attacks. AlQaeda and Taliban represent Islam as much as the Nazis exterminating Jews like rodents were representing Christianity (even though the historic fact of the Christian Church's role in that is well known).

So, those looking to bash all of Islam and all of Muslims for the actions of a few evil murderers (who kill Muslims daily!), remember, it works both ways.

AlQaeda is as representative of Islam as the Nazis were of Christianity or Hitler represented Prophet Jesus, or as the murderous blood-thristy Zionist Israelis massacring Palestinians represent Prophet Moses.

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