Through the Lens: Robert Nickelsberg’s Afghanistan.

Yet another fascinating glimpse into Afghanistan’s history, as witnessed by photographer Robert Nickelsberg.

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Elusive Justice.

Reading about what is happening in Argentina about the murder of Prosecutor Nisman, I discovered the 2011 documentary, “Elusive Justice:  The Search for Nazi War Criminals”, a PBS special.

Below are an excerpt of the Wall Street Journal’s review of the program, which has given me food for thought, as well as a clip of the documentary:

The film Ms. Bergen narrates covers remarkably extensive territory—including a riveting commentary provided by Willam Gowan, a former U.S. Army counter-intelligence agent, on the so-called Rat Line through which Nazi war criminals of high and low rank escaped punishment by fleeing to Argentina, with help from sympathetic Vatican priests. Characteristically, the film enlarges on a familiar fact, taking it to a deeper level. The arrival of this considerable population of war criminals, an Argentinian journalist attests, had its poisonous effect on the nation as a whole. Most of them, he points out, were experts in exactly the kind of merciless repression and terrorization that the dictatorship in Argentina found useful.

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11 years on Mars!

Truly an amazing human feat:
NASA’s Opportunity rover celebrates 11 years on Mars Saturday (Jan. 24), and the robot’s handlers are marking the occasion with a gorgeous panoramic photo that Opportunity took of its Red Planet home.

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The Rule of Law.

No one has ever truly been able to define what the Rule of Law really is. In my humble opinion, the Magna Carta exemplifies the origins of the Rule of Law. At the sake of offending the French, with the Napoleonic Code, the Magna Carta, and what it stood for, precedes the Emperor by many centuries. photo bPhoto by Adriana Hillas

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Let’s end the stereotype of the lawyer!

I visited the Magna Carta exhibit at the Library of Congress last week-end.  The signing of the Magna Carta in England in 2015 was an amazingly unique event in the history of the world.  800 years have gone by.  This exhibit awoke a renewed pride in me as a lawyer, and an incredible appreciation of what lawyers do, despite our negative reputation.  More to come…556828-2

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If you are Irish…

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What is America to me…

The indomitable Paul Johnson:

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Afghanistan: Saving Mes Aynak.

Mes Aynak, meaning “little copper well,” was the center of a Buddhist Kingdom before Islam came to Afghanistan. It is thought that monks settled here for its ample supply of copper, which brought them great wealth and allowed them to build a grand monastery.

But if copper led to the creation of the settlement, it appears now that it will also lead to its destruction.

Film maker Brent Huffman has been a relentless and stalwart protector of Afghanistan’s heritage:

I created Saving Mes Aynak to be a catalyst for change. My hope is the documentary can actually save Mes Aynak by rallying international support to stop the destruction of this cultural treasure. Mes Aynak, which is 5,000 years old and covers more than 500,000 square meters, is truly one of the unseen wonders of the world. Comparable to Pompeii and Machu Picchu, these sprawling ruins feature hundreds of life-size or larger Buddha statues, dozens of temples, hidden caverns and thousands of priceless artifacts like birch-bark manuscripts, gold and copper coins, jewelry and intricate hand painted murals. Mes Aynak is grand, awe-inspiring and has a magical ability to draw people in — to get people from all over the world to fall in love with its mysterious beauty.

There is more information about Afghanistan’s Buddhist cultural heritage and Brent Huffman’s documentary at PBS Newshour.

And here is more information that I highlighted last year.

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Ever heard of Geronimo, the parachuting beaver?

Life is stranger than fiction, always.  The Smithsonian Magazine has a fascinating story about a beaver.  Below is an excerpt:

Elmo Heter, an employee of the Fish and Game Department in McCall, Idaho, came up with a plan so crazy it could work. He proposed using surplus parachutes from WWII to drop the beavers into the backcountry by plane. After some trial and error, he devised just the right enclosure on which to attach a parachute, Idaho Fish and Game’s Steve Liebenthal told Boise State Public Radio:

So Heter came up with a specially-designed wooden box that would open upon impact. He tested it first with some dummy weights. Then he found an older male beaver who became his test pilot. Heter named him Geronimo. “And Geronimo went through a series of tests to see how this plan would work,” says Liebenthal.

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Early Homesteaders in Nebraska: the wonderful photos of Solomon Butcher.

I just discovered a blog dedicated to photographs, and I was mesmerized by the collection of 19th century photographs of Homesteaders and their “little old sod shanty” . Solomon Butcher was the name of the camera man who offered the rest of us a glimpse of early settlers in Nebraska.


The Shores family, near Westerville, Custer County, Nebraska, 1887. Jerry Shores was one of a number of former slaves to settle in Custer County. He took a claim adjacent his brothers’, Moses Speese and Henry Webb (each had taken the name of his former owner).

(Thanks to American Digest).

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“PAE has proved itself to be the best friend of refugees.”

I share this video because I find what PAE does in conflict zones absolutely amazing.

“See the head of the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, in South Sudan discuss PAE’s support in Upper Nile, South Sudan. Building roads, providing water, maintaining the air strip, establishing new refugee camp sites – PAE is honored to support UNHCR in its life saving mission.”

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Nostalgia: when songs were melodic.

I love YouTube!!! It has taken me more than 40 years to finally find this beautiful, ancient song “I Understand”… I loved it when I was a 9 year-old. I still do, many decades later.

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Mama.

Well… Although the song may seem a bit too dramatic, I understand the poignancy behind the love and obligation towards a Mother. After all, I still feel this way after so many years, towards my Mother and my Mother-in-Law… I am sure my siblings agree. I lost my Mother 5 years ago, and this song resonates. As a Mother myself, I know my children understand the meaning of the bitter-sweet lyrics.
So, here are the lyrics… What sticks out for me is “…Forgive me for the words unsaid…for the times I forgot… Forgive me for … all the storms I may have caused… I hope you’re happy with my life…at peace with every choice I made…”  

Mama thank you for who I am
Thank you for all the things I’m not
Forgive me for the words unsaid
For the times
I forgot
Mama remember all my life
You showed me love, you sacrificed
Think of those young and early days
How I’ve changed
Along the way (along the way)
And I know you believed
And I know you had dreams
And I’m sorry it took all this time to see
That I am where I am because of your truth
And I miss you , I miss you
Mama forgive the times you cried
Forgive me for not making right
All of the storms I may have caused
And I’ve been wrong
Dry your eyes (dry your eyes)
Mama I hope this makes you smile
I hope you’re happy with my life
At peace with every choice I made
How I’ve changed
Along the way
And I know you believed in all of my dreams
And I…

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Hallellujah!

Young men praying Hallelluyah…

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Of Letters and Letter Openers/

From my talented sister, Cynthia:

“With the advent of the Internet and email…does anyone write letters anymore?
Prbly 0. 2 bsy txt-mssng in cde lng- abbreviations of words that only the young and precocious understand!

A long time ago, I bought a letter opener in an antique shop in Tokyo, carved in Alabaster, that impressed me for its simplicity and delicate shape. I do not remember where and how I lost the piece, perhaps somewhere between oceans and mountains!… I still remember its tactile warmth! Yes, objects are sometimes the nexus with our past, our memories, our lives… While I agree that one must not be too attached to material possessions, it is sometimes the most insignificant object that may evince in us a recollection, a smile, a tear…

In the 1990’s (last century…) I was “commissioned” to design and produce in Sterling Silver a couple of letter openers to be given as gifts at the international yearly exhibition “CASA DÉCOR.” I also advertised in the catalog/magazine, which is issued to complement the exhibition, and showcases and promotes the latest wares and designs of architects, interior designers and decorators… I recall working for hours and hours on the wax models until I achieved, what I thought then, was “perfection,” or as Archimedes said, “Eureka!”

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On the Left, the cover of the magazine CASA DECOR, 1997. And a collection of letter openers…From L to R, or clockwise, “Torch,” designed for CD in 1997; “Cala Lily,” “Church Window,” “Bird,” designed for CD in 1997, and last but not least, “gun-handle…”

In a publicity note for their Christmas issue in 2001, VOGUE  España showed another set of letter openers… and described it as… “Trabaja la plata como los antiguos orfebres a la que añade su estilo y diseño. A su larga trayectoria como joyera, la norteamericana Cynthia Dillon, afincada ahora en España, añade con esta coleccion de abrecartas, el broche final de sus piezas minimalistas…””

Vogue2001

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