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Shab Yalda

Ghazal, my Dear, Did you recognized that daylight lasted for 2 minutes longer today than it did yesterday ? I hope you experienced some sun shine altogether in Stockholm. But even if it was just another dim day today, you should be happy to know that from today on we will have more and more daylight, since today is Yalda, and this marks the rebirth of the sun.
The following Ghazal No. 113 by Hafiz has some relation to light (enjoy !)

Light will someday split you open
Even if your life is now a cage,
For a divine seed, the seed of destiny, 
Is hidden and sown on an ancient, fertile plain
You hold the title to.

Love will surely bust you wide open 
Into an unfettered, blooming new galaxy
Even if your mind is now a spoiled mule.

A life-giving radiance will come,
The Friend’s gratuity will come—
O look again within yourself, 
For I know you were once the elegant host
To all the marvels in creation.

From a sacred crevice in your body
A bow rises each night
And shoots your soul into God.
Behold the Beautiful Drunk Singing one 
From the lunar vantage point of love.

He is conducting the affairs
Of the whole universe
While throwing wild parties
In a tree house—on a limb
In your heart.

Take Care, Michael


Hello Michael,
Thank you that you remember Yalda. Nobody in the Lab knows about it:  everybody is preparing for the swedish Jule, and this is big business. I liked the poem by Hafiz. Why is it called Ghazal No. 113 ? Do you know why he numbered them, instead of giving titles ?  I assume because he was not only a big poet, but also in love with numbers.
We had to switch on all lamps at home, to really believe that light will come back now. It is really dim the whole day long, and it makes people depressive. In Persia, where Yalda the tradition of celebrating Yalda comes from, the sun does not completely disappears in winter time, as it is here in Skandinavia.
I hope you are fine and can go Skiing at the Zugspitze already. It was nice there, I would like to go again.
Take Care


Ghazal dear, Hafiz wrote 495 Ghazals, he was really productive. If he would have ever met you, I’m sure he would have found inspiration for at least 5 more. Consequently, he might have succeeded to write up to Ghazal No. 500, and this last one would be the Ghazal about Ghazal. This, for sure, would have been the essence of all other 499 Ghazals and the most enchanting one.
Greetings,   Michael


Skiing in Iran with Farah Diba Pahlevi

Hi Michael, when I woke up this morning the view from the window brought a big surprise: suddenly the green around our house had turned white and the roofs and the trees all were covered with a thick layer of fluffy snow. This is the definite sign that a very long autumn is over now, and Yalda and Christmas days are waiting. Winter time in Stockholm is actually not the most pleasant time. It can be wet and chilly and a hopeless battle against the dirty mud that soon spreads all around the streets and buildings. Occasionally large blocks of snow fall down from roofs, and hence there are signs warning from these life-threatening roof-avalanches. My mom and Shava, who both grow up in Tehran associate snow with something different: for them going skiing to the nearby Elburs mountains in the 1970s was something extraordinary, a very rare and very special kind of entertainment. They told me that spending a day out at the skiing ressort of Dizin was like jumping for some hours into the world of the glossy swiss tóurist brochures. It was not simply the gorgeous nature with the snow-covered peak Sichal and wooden chalets and deep forests in the valley that made these trips so unique, but it was also a feeling of freedom and joy beyond the boundaries of an otherwise very traditional society. Shava said it was not impossible to meet on the ski-slopes members of the Shahs family. Have a look at the youtube video below: Farah Diba Pahlevi, the Shahbanoo, is there and making random aquaintance with two americans. This was in 1978

take care
 Ghazal my Dear, This video reminds me of the few days we spend up at the Zugspitze peak in 2010. Isn"t it funny, that winter time in the snow-covered mountains looks so similar after more than 30 years and at places more than 3ooo km apart ? The alps, however, have not seen much snow this year yet. It is still very green up there. I guess they will need a lot of snow machines to prepare the slopes for this years season. Take Care, Michael


Christopher Hitchens dies at age of 62

Dear Ghazal, Christopher Hitchens, one of the bravest opponents of religious hypocrisy and fighter for a secular and educated society died today. In his 2007 book "God is not Great" Hitchens dismantled the concept of a God or a supreme being as being a totalitarian belief that destroys individual freedom. His opinion that free expression and scientific discovery should replace religion as a means of teaching ethics and defining human civilization clashed very early with the islamist view of bringing the entire human society in line with the Quoran. In 1989 he publicly condemned the death-trial (Fatwa) imposed on Salman Rushdie by the head of iranian state Ajatollah Khomeini.


The Higgs Particle Thiefs

BBC News (13-12-2011): Higgs boson: LHC scientists to release best evidence

Anticipation is building in the run-up to presentations of the best-yet evidence for - or against - the existence of the Higgs boson.  Rumours have been swirling about the findings for weeks, ahead of the announcement on Tuesday afternoon.

The famed particle is a missing link in current theories of physics, used to explain how everything gains its mass.  It is likely to yield only tantalising hints, as the teams do not have enough data to claim a formal discovery.

Rumours have it that two teams nick-named the "Higgs-Hunters" at CERN were able to catch only a handful of the long sought-after particle, amid original calculations that each week should give them thousands. And the disappointing low number of particles catched in the CERN detectors mounted to a barely significant evidence for their existance at all.  Now it seems that a yet unknown group of self-declared slimness-fighters started a sabotage crusade against the official Higgs-hunters already month before the CERN researchers switch on their Higgs-Trap device.  And it could even be that although being far behind the CERN organisation in terms of their technology, they managed to reduce dramatically the number of freely-available Higgs-Bosons by a very simple measure:   Swallowing them.



In a letter that was received this morning by BBC and is signed by the executive board of the sabotage group (calling themself "The Higgs Particle Thiefs") some of of the group members pose in front of the camera while celebrating their success: Each of them claim to have swallowed at least a couple of thousands of Higgs Particles during the last month, and all still feel fine. They also believe they can show themself now that the Higgs-Particle is really the source of mass. They estimate that one swallowed Higgs-Particle increases the body mass by about 0.31814  lb.



Christian faith, Shia Islam and Nazi Fascism: Common patterns

Christian faith, Shia Islam and Nazi Fascism share one common in their roots:  All three ideologies or religions are based on the myth that their founder (or at least one of their earliest believers) were killed by the enemy. Hence, all three seek for supporters who are willing to take revenge by assasinating as many as possible of the branded enemies. Orthodox christians still claim today that Jesus was killed by the Jews, and this was used as justification for pogroms against the jewish minority over centuries. For the german nazis, the death of Horst Wessel, a pimp who recruited SA thugs in gang fight and who was shot by a communists in a privat dispute was their big founding mythology.  They used this story, after adding a completely made-up political component to it, to arrest, torture and kill hundred thousands of communists in the death camps auf Dachau, Buchenwald, Sachsenhausen and Bergen-Belsen. The third ideology in this group, Shia Islam is based on the mythology that Hussein ibn Ali, grandson of Muhammad and funder of their faith lost his life in a military battle against the Umayyad Caliphs in Kufa.  According to Shia faith, Hussein died as a martyr. During the annual Ashura the shiits mourning Hussein by torturing themself, whipping iron chains over their back and riping the skin of their breast and head until blood spreads all around.  The violence, however, is not restricted to themself:  Foreigners or any non-Shia believers are recommended to stay away from the Ashura procession, since attacks against such "Kufr" (or non-believers) are considered a normal emotional outburst  of Shia islamic faith. It is also not surprising, that during the late-November 2011 attacks against the British embassy in Tehran the thugs shouted slogangs condeming all enemies of Shia islam and praising the memory of Hussein.

In all three cases, Christian faith, Nazi Fascism and Shia Islam, the believers are convinced that the death of one of their legendary funders, either killed in a military battle, sentenced to death by a court or shot dead in a gang fight, was a loss so sever that a virtually unlimitted number of the "enemies" has to be killed in revenge. Hence, an ever-lasting physical aggression against the Kafrs, the pagans, heretics or the political opponents is the conditio-sine-qua-non of religions and political ideologies who are based on a martyr founding myth.

This does not exclude other faiths or ideologies to behave aggressive from time to time. But as a natural self-protection there is always a tendency to settle an aggression. For sure, Israel is not a pacifist nation, nobody will honoustly claim that in the long-lasting tension between the jewish nation and its arab neighbours the israel army acts like a peace keeper. The difference between the jewish religion and Shia Islam or medieval  Christianity is that the thora clearly says "Eye by eye,  tooth by tooth"  (עין תּחת עין  :  ajin tachat ajin).   It warns everybody to continue an aggression, after a criminal act has been settled by an appropriate punishment.  Even the Mafia, notorious for aggresive acts of revenge against its enemies, has a certain ethic by finishing a dispute ones the "law of crime and punishment" has been settled. As compared to ideologies that are based on the mythology of an eternal burden of sin (Jews are still considered by the catholic church as murders of Jesus and should be stung with remorse), the concept of Nemesis in greek philosophy was revolutionary by stating that when an offender was righteously punished, its crime should be considered as settled and no further aggression against himself, his family, his nation or religion is justified.

Neither Shia Islam nor Nazi ideology or Christian religion have this concept of nemesis.  Aggression against all Kafr is immanent at Ashura feast. And how indifferent right-wing and nazi-supporters are in killing innocent people whom they consider un-worthy became obvious not only after the Norwegian Breivik mass-murder, but nowadays in Germany when the systematic assasination of foreigners by a self-declared "national-socialistic underground" organisation is revealed.

And christian religion ?  Sure, they more or less successfully try now to hide the historical importance of their own martyre mythology.  Now they like to make people believe that christianity was always synonymous with tolerance and pacifism. But in fact, for at least 17hundred of their highly praises 2000 years history, christianity reproduced the idea of Jesus being the victim of the evil Jews as a strong argument to gather their supporters and promote the worst crimes during the crusades.




Mohammad Rasoulof presents his movie "Be Omid E Didar" at Berlin Film-Festival

When the Berlin Independent Film-Festival AROUND THE WORLD IN 14 FILMS is going to present again 14 extraordinary movies by young film-makers, the Iranian art of cinematografie will be represented by film-director Mohammad Rasoulof. Rasoulof, whos movie "Bé omid é didar"already received an award at this years Cannes Film-Festival, will be present at the Babylon movie-theater on November 30th himself. Feo Aladag, director of "The Stranger" featuring Sibel Kekili, will act as the director god-father of Mr Rasoulofs. Festival director Bernhard Karl said at a press conference: "We invited Rasoulof already some month ago to Berlin, but were not sure if the Iranian authorities would let him go. The more we are happy now to wellcome him here".

His movie, clearly a highlight of this years festival is shot in the tradition of french film-noir. It tells the story of a young lawyer in Tehran, who is struggling to get a visa to leave the country, where her husband has already decided to publish his political writings in the underground press. Realizing that she is pregnant, an almost existential conflict arises. Leyla Zareh, who is playing the main character, gave an interview earlier this year.

Together with his peer Jafar Panahi, Mohammad Rasoulof, born in 1973, has been sentenced in Iran to 6 years in prison and for  another 20 years faces a ban to work as a film-director. According to Iranian sources, the prison sentence has recently been reduced to one year.



Jane Eyre and Fattaneh Haj Seyed Javadi

Hello Michael! Sorry for the late mail!! There is just a lot to do every day. Go to university every day and them come home eat and spend time with family. Or meet a friend after work and come home late. But Now i found some good time to sit and write. Hope that everything is fine with you. The weather here is around 10 degrees, but it has been sunny and not so windy this week. so its nice. So nice that you invited omid and his family. they are very kind, I met them. I am not going to shajarian, its not the type of music that I usually listen to. Nice that you went, so you liked it. YES!! Believe it or not, I am reading Jane Eyre... and its so pitty but I have not so much time to read either! But I have started. take care /ghazal ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Ghazal my Dear, It was so nice to read your e-mail. And it gave me a big relieve to hear that life is exciting, the PhD project goes as well as do the experiments, that you can use pipettes which don"t harm your joints, that you discivered a nice book and that in addition to all of this you still have time to write a nice and - this time - funny e-mail. I always knew that your comment from last year about books, and that you hate reading and so on was perhaps a temporal feeling, maybe due to a single bad book that you tried once. So this time you very likely got a better choice. I never red Jane Eyre myself, but my sister (who works in a library) told me a lot about it. It is by one of the Bronte sisters, as I remember. I think it is a long novel. And it has some tragic moments. But it is concidered a key literature for female liberation, at least liberation from the old victorian and religious stereotypes. I hope you like it a lot. When we lived in England (in a suburban village south of London), our Landlady was a Ms. Reed (she was 72 years old, but still wanted to be called Miss, not Misses. She was a real dragon. We were not allowed to open the window to the garden side of the house, and she always switch off the heating, so we had to survive in winter time in 12 degrees cold rooms. My sister, when she visited us, and we introduced her to the Landlady, she said to her "O nice to meet you. I know another Miss Reed, from Charlotte Brontes "Jane Eyre"" When I asked my sister later on who on earth is this Miss Reed from "Jane Eyre" she told me that in the book this is perhaps the most disgusting character. I had the feeling that our Landlady did not understand the meaning of my sisters comment. Maybe I should also read the book, eventually. Maybe I first wait till you have finished it, and hear your opinion. Do you have a swedish translation, or you read the english original ? I red recently (within one afternood sitting in a large Munich book shop a novel by Fattaneh Haj Seyed Javadi called "The morning of drunkeness". In the intro it was described as a iranian bestseller and key book for womans liberation. But I found it pretty boring and conventional. I guess compared with Jane Eyre, it will appear even more mediocre. I hope every day is a sunny day for you, Ghazal. Take Care, Michael Dear Michael,

Fattaneh Haj Seyed Javadi wrote her Iranian bestseller novel "Bamdade Chomar" in 1995. It has since been translated only into german. Keith Hitchins wrote about it in World Literature Reviews "...The charm of the novel lies in the finely drawn portrait of Mahbube, in effect a self-portrait as she gradually reveals herself. Equally complex is the character of Rahim. (...) Masterly also is the novelist's delineation of character through dialogue and his depiction of extended dramatic scenes" . The comments following its german translation in 2002 where less enthusiastic, accusing the author for showing that Mahbubehs initial battle to live a selfdetermined life and choose a partner of love rather than of family compatibility has to fail and that she finds eventual happiness only in the frame of a very traditional but slave-like role as a secondary wife of a cousin.

In particular Fahim eh Farsaie, iranian himself blamed Haj Seyed Javadi in a review in the german weekly paper "Die Zeit" of following in her book a political agenda, namely that of the official policy of Teheran by opposing any modern and liberal life in particular when it comes to the relationship between men and woman.

I am wondering if people who pushed "Bamdade Chomar" or its german translation "Morning of Drunkeness" into the best-seller ranks of the book market ever  red "Jane Eyre" in their live.  In an exclusively deep-thought essay Danusha Goska compares Janes couragement to that of Leonidas, whos army was defeated by the massive predominance of the persian army.

best greetings from Stockholm take care /ghazal


Shajarian and Shahnaz Ensemble play in Munich Residence

On Friday we went with Omid to the concert by Mohammad-Reza Shajarian, who was accompanied on his tour through 9 european countries by the Shahnaz ensemble. The prospect to hear and watch in Munich the perhaps biggest and most famous representative of classical persian vocal music attracted a big audience that filled the Hercules-Hall of the royal residence up to the last seat. Five concerts of the european tour that the maestro together with the young musicians of Shahnaz ensemble performed in Turkey, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, England, Austria and Sweden were given in Germany, and rumour has it that the concert halls were always as packed as in Munich. Grand Maestro Mohammad-Reza Shajarian is Iran"s most prolific and popular classical vocalist who is generally regarded as a living legend of Persian music. In his remarkable performance of classical Persian music he was accompanied by the unique 17 member Shahnaz Ensemble directed by Majid Derakshani, one of Iran's most dynamic and innovative composer and instrumentalist. In addition to traditional instruments such as Setar, Daf, Tanbak, Tondar and Oudh, the young musicians of Shahnaz also played the Saghar, the Saboo or the Kereshmeh, instruments that have some similarities to a lute but were completely new designed and constructed by Shajarian himself. The background of the highly professional and inspiring young members of the Shahnaz ensemble was described by Shajarian: "the lack of a large Persian musical instrument ensemble with new colours and textures performing new polyphonic arrangements on the one hand and the ever increasing number of extremely talented young music graduates who needed to be absorbed in classical Persian music ensembles on the other, were the main incentives for the formation of the Shahnaz Ensemble in 2007. The ensemble was named Shahnaz (persian for prince) as a tribute to Jalil Shahnaz, the grand maestro of Persian music and his everlasting arts. After three hours performing Songs composed for classical persian poetry by Hafiz, Saadi, Sayeh and Mowlana, the audience greeted with standing ovations the new hymn of a free Iran "Morghe Sahar". I hope, Ghazal, you will have the chance to listen to his music when Shajarian and Shahnaz play next week in Stockholm. The last concerts of this remarkable european tour will be given in Sweden (27th and 29th of October in Goteborg and Stockholm) and in Cologne/Germany (30th of October), respectively.


Lars von Trier hides anti-semitic message in his movie

Dear Michael, Have you seen "Melancholia" meanwhile ? I liked your montage of the planet above the Munich sky-line. But always if I think back to my year in your city, I remember very happy moments and a nice summer with the mountains on the horizon and green parks with fresh air and the Isar-wave surfer, the concerts we went together and the river-side we had the bone-fire. Melancholia and Munich don"t really belong to each other.

Do you know what is really weird ?   When I looked closer to the image of the planet Melancholia, I got the feeling that Lars von Trier put a hidden message into the whole story. Am I lunatic ? Or do you also see what I see - that the fuzzy shape of the clouds on Melancholia resemble a Magen David ?

Now if we recall that Melancholia at the end just swallows the earth, in a very calm, almost aesthetic, yet destructive process, what might be the secret message than ? I would not be surprised if von Trier tries to express the old stereotype of the jewish omnipower taking over the whole world. Don"t know what is his problem ? The best movies were all by jewish directors. They made cinematografie the most relevant type of creative and expressive arts of modern times. What is his issue with this hypothetical jewish conspiracy ? Funny, isn"t it. Enjoy the evening, Be happy /ghazal --------------------------------------------------------------------- Ghazal Dear, Are you serious ? You have a very vivid phantasy, girl. I have not seen von Triers movie yet, but now that you claim there is even a hidden message behind the nice special effects, I definitely will go. Yes I red that he recently made some stupid remarks, about his sympathy for nazis (who were responsible not only for the biggest crime in history, but for the most dumb and primitive movies ever). But later, didn"t von Trier suddenly claimed that he might be Jew himself ? O boy, he is flamboyant guy. Doing good movies, but absolut crazy ideas about the society. Take Care, (You obviously enjoy disecting the obvious) Michael ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Hi Michael, I asked my brother A. if he could manage to convert the original L.v.Trier Melancholia planet in a video sequence that demonstrates how the hidden Magen David emanates from it. Look he did a good job. I think he liked it. Enjoy it, but be careful of all the conspiration theories. /ghazal


If our earth is going to disappear, I hope it happens as slowly as in the movie MELANCHOLIA

Hi Michael, not sure if I shall recommend you to see that new movie by Lars v. Trier "MELANCHOLIA". It started in Sweden already in May, but I did not had time before to go. It has some very beautiful scenes, in particular at the very beginning. It shows some moments in the life of the main character (Justine, played by Kirsten Dunst) in extreme slow-motion. It is so extrem slow-motion, that a blink of her eyes takes 2 minutes, and when she is doing a step forward on the field, this takes 5 minutes. It reminded me a bit what you wrote me last week, that my fear that time is passing too fast is a pure illusion. Because it is so subjective how we anticipate time, it is perhaps also possible to manipulate the speed of time.  You might even manage to slow down the speed of time, like in the movie.



Melancholia from Zentropa on Vimeo

But except for these first scenes, the movie becomes sad and tragic. It appears that the earth is going to collide with another planet, and all life will be destroyed. But Justine, who suffers from episodes of depression during her wedding ceremony, suddenly becomes very calm and self-confident when this huge planet approaches the earth slowly. All other person, who were initially the strong and successful ones, start to panic.

In particular her sister Clair changes completely, from a 100% self confident and rational person to an emotional ruin. Take Care /ghazal ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Ghazal my Dear, Melancholia will start next week in Munich. I only saw a trailer, it was amazing to see how the earth is slowly absorbed by this new planet Melancholia. It is a beautiful scene, very aesthetic. It is an extraordinary idea of the film director to show the end of the earth not as a big disaster with noise and explosions and distraction, but with a very calm and almost harmonic "operation".  By the way, the planet Melancholia was also visible over Munich: Do you know that Clair, the sister of Justine is played by Charlotte Gainsbourg, daughter of Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin. Do you remember we were listening last year to their song "Je t'aim - moi non plus" . I hope you are calm and self-confident and strong, and you don"t have to worry about nothing at all. All you need is love (just a citation from a Beatles Song). Take Care, my Dear   Michael ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Hello Michael, It is difficult to imagine that the actress who played this emotional fragile Clair could have been the product of this amazing song, and of two very strong parents. If you want to watch the movie when it starts in Munich, I recommend you to go not alone.  Some scenes might be not just melancholic, but depressing. It is better to go there in companie. Take Care /ghazal


Berlin Pirates win local election using Facebook campaign

Dear Ghazal,
the lastet blockbuster export from Sweden that hit the headlines in Germany without doubt is the Pirates Party. At the recent elections to the Berlin municipal gouvernment they surprised everybody as soon as the ballots were  open and the first estimates saw them appoaching 10% of the votes. Although the final confirmed number was fixed at 8.9%, this guaranteed them 15 seats in the Senat of Berlin, that until recently was dominated by the social democrates, conservative christian democrates, liberals and the left party. 
This is how the New York Times describes the members of the Pirates Party: "With laptops open like shields against the encroaching cameramen, the young men resembled Peter Pan’s Lost Boys more than Captain Hook’s buccaneers when they were introduced Monday as Berlin’s newest legislators: They are the members of the Pirate Party."
This landslide change in the political spectrum of the german capital demonstrates, that the power of social networks such as Facebook, Twitter or Google+ is not limitted to political movements in the arab world. 


Chocolate and the last Woody Allan movie

Hello Michael,

Im glad you have your vacation and that the weather and everything is nice. enjoy these days.
Nice that my gels worked out!!
Thank you but you dont have to send me chocolate. i already eat too much here :)

I had my vacation (2 weeks), my family came for a visit from US. So it was nice.

Enjoy your vacation!



Hello Ghazal,

So nice to read your messages after an 7 hours train journey from the Black Sea back to Sofia. I am glad you had nice vacations with your relatives from the US. It must be interesting to talk to them. I guess your parents and relatives are very educated and cultural people, if they decided to live outside their iranian home-country for so long time already, only to live in freedom and to have their kids grown up in freedom. Ghazal, I think you have to be very grateful to them (what you are, of course, I know too good).

Yesterday evening we had a very nice evening show at this little family hotel: A charity group of artists-dancers gave a performance with orphan gypsy kids. First they did some classical ballet, than they switched to their traditional belly dancing, and finally they invited the whole audience to dance with them. The funny thing was, that our 13 year old son (who always wants to appear cool, like when he refused last year to have the pink Phillips iPOD station) was invited to dance by a polish girl his age. They had obvioulsy already exchanged some eye contacts during the days before. Although he has a "big mouth" always, if it comes to girl-friends he is absolutely shy (must be genetic, I guess somewhere on the Y-chromosome).
Therefore he first appeared frozen like a snow-man, when the girl just grabbed his hand. Of course he followed here on the dance-floor, but knowing that we were also there, he was a bit reluctant to dance. Only when he saw that we were dancing as well, he overcame his passiveness and suddenly danced very enthusiastic and with very funny habbits. I think it was good for him to see that it is nice and relaxing.
Because he would be sad to leave right the next morning after this encounter, he and the rest of the family decided to stay 3 more days there at the beach ressort.
But since I have a meeting at the Bulgarian radiation research center tomorrow, I had to leave anyhow. Late this week I go to Belgrad (which is in Serbia, just cross the boarder) to talk to some doctors about Tinea Capitis patients. In case you have forgotten about this story from your MSc-lectures: They were irradiated as kids for a fungal infection on their heads (done in the 1950s, also in Israel, Marocco and Iran - click here to see a photo.

Sorry to wright you always so long messages, would be easier to talk. I miss this a lot.
Have you been to the movies recently ? I heard that "Super 8" must be a good one.

About the chocolate: Sorry, Ghazal, but I cannot stop it any more, it is already on its way to Warsaw. If you don"t want to eat it all, you might do either of the following:

- eat only the thin chocolate layer between the waffers. Some assume chocolate helps to increase serotonine level, therefore it makes you happier. You can never be too happy, as was shown by the picture of you jumping high in Brussels. In case this was in part due to Belgium chocolate, you might try a little bit of this Knoppers stuff and test how high you can jump from this.

- you might help some of colleages/friends at the meeting surviving the polish cousine. I remember in the past it was not so tasty. Maybe you can please somebody a piece of chocolate buscuit.

- you can leave it till Christmas (or Jul or Yalda) and eat it with your family

- in the worst case, you can feet the birds and doves in Warsaw with it. There are thousands of doves on the public squares in Warsaw. Don"t know of they like
chocolate, but for sure they like the biscuit around (so you eat the chocolate for happiness, and give the biscuit to the birds for a good feeling). And I think in zoroastrian faith the birds are considered holy creatures.

Ghazal, my dear, wish you a nice time in Warsaw,
and as usual: happy days and success and optimism.

Take Care


hello michael,

just wanted to thank you for the chocolate and I hope that everything is fine with you.



Hi Ghazal,

I hope that the chocolate helped you to survive the polish cuisine.
For my feeling, polish cuisine is pretty much the exact opposite to the fine meals we had exactly a year ago at the persian restaurant here in Munich, where you and Shafa invited me. Please give her my best greetings and I hope there will be the possibility once to invite you and your family to such a nice place as well.

1: If you want to read about a nice movie, continue here (otherwise jump to 2:)
I went to the movies last weekend, saw Woddy Allan's newest film "Midnight in Paris". I liked it a lot, it is a complex story of a young writer engaged with a rich american girl. At night he used to escape into a dreamworld that lays 80 years back in time. There he meets all his historic heroes like Picasso, Hemingway, Bunuel, Dali, Josephine Baker, the Fitzgeralds and many others, which I am afraid don"t mean anything to you since you are another generation (they are considered the lost generation and were in fact the wild rebels in the 20s of last century). In particular, he meets a girl Adriana in his dream journeys, who is played by Marion Cottilard. You might remember, we saw her last year in the movie "Inception" on the side of Leonardo de Caprio, but she won the Oskar for playing Edith Piaf in "La vie en rose" (which we did not managed to watch here in Munich). I liked the movie a lot, there are no special effects, but this nice idea that one falls in love to somebody who is living in another time. If you like good actors playing in Paris, try to see the film.

2: I think that the link I send you recently showing some pieces of historical arts in Bulgaria, which in my view resemble persian style, was not working. You can either try it again here or have a look at the attached photo.

Take Care, my dear,


PS: It always makes me happy reading some words from you.
At least they show that the time you had here in Munich was not a horror for you.
Reading the e-mails that I send every day and night to you to the guesthouse, I am a bit shocked.
It must have been difficult for you to accept these messages, that not always could hide a certain degree of desire, Ghazal.
Seeing that you have not completely terminated our communication lets me believe, that you are strong and confident enough to laugh about all this and consider it a funny episode in life.

Bulgaria and Persia - some common styles in ancient arts

The ancient Bulgarians came to the Balkan peninsula from the south russian and and Kazakh grass lands, were they lived next to skyths. The Partians, i.e. the native persian people, came from the same area and from their brought to Iran the expertise of horse breeding and riding.
But the Black Sea basin, located between the Balkan peninsula, caucasus mountains, norther Anatolia and the Crimean peninsula, was perhaps the earliest site of neolithic settlements. Luigi Cavalli-Sforza, eminent geneticist, anthropologist and linguist located the site of the original proto-indoeuropean language there. An intriguing theory by Pitman and Ryan, based on geologic and archaeologic research even claims that the great deluge (Noahs flood in the old testament, but described much earlier in the epic of Gilgamesh) happened there at around 5600 B.C., leading to a migrational wave of the early agricultural settlements into various directions.
It is thus not difficult to understand that in Bulgaria some historical artefacts, that sometimes are still reproduced in common craftswork, resemble to a large degree the persian-sassanid style.


Persides Stjaernfall night at Black Sea

Dear Asal,

We are in Bulgaria for three weeks, including 10 days at the Black Sea.
It is really nice here, I'm sure you would like it as well. It is really relaxing,and one does not has to worry about money. This afternoon I sit here at the hotel terrace and for 3 Euro got a perfect Cappucino, a Mojito and an Icecream. A little cat is playing like mad with a piece of tissue paper. The weather is warm, but not too hot. I think you would call it "Calm", and it is exactly what I needed so much after a very exhausting time at the institute.  Here I can lay back, read books, write something, talk to the people and compensate at least a little bit my usual deficites in spending time with my family. The Hotel we live in is very nice, it is not luxury, but full of paitings and sculptures and creative people from eastern european countries. The years before, there were always many english, german and skandinavian tourists, which were very noise and a bit annoying. This year they did not come any more, thanks god.

I dont know if you have noticed it: tonight was the rare occasion again towatch for the falling stars (aka  meteors or stjaernfallen), called the perseids. And as the mythology goes, if you can spot one, you can express a wish. 
The Persides meteor shower this year had to compete with the bright light from the full moon. Last year at the same time, we were observing it in the park behind the guesthouse, it was unforgetable.