Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Bird Buddies of The Gambia

The Gambia is a very small country in Africa. But rich in bird habitats all around, especially in rural areas where there is an abundance of forests. Just trying to utilize my stay here with my bird photography. I am a novice in the field, but learning. I shall update this post from time to time with bird events that I encounter.

I am uploading the birds in this NGM page: http://yourshot.nationalgeographic.com/profile/425821/

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Favorite Books 16

Book Review Mark Twain Pudd'nhead Wilson Henry Rider Haggard She
Book: The Tragedy of Pudd'nHead Wilson (aka, 'Pudd'nHead Wilson')
Author: Mark Twain (alias, Samuel Langhorne Clemens) (American, 1835-1910)




 











Original Language: English
Year: 1894
Category: Drama


















 
Summary: Dawson's Landing is a town near the Mississippi river (a real town) where David Wilson came to try his luck to make some fortune in the city. Now after landing he makes an apparently clever remark about a yelling dog (that, he would kill half of the dog if he would own the half of the dog). But he made the remark in front of some people who didn't understand him, and he was coined as "Pudd'nHead" and the name spreaded like wind. So he couldn't make fortune, but eventually settled with palmistry and with his hobby of collecting fingerprints and palmprints.

Judge Discroll has a faithful maid slave 'Roxy' who is taking care of Discroll's son Tom Discroll, and also her own son Chambers. Roxy was 1/16th black, and Chambers was 1/32nd black, and also Tom and Chambers looked alike. Now Roxy made a shrewd trick to exchange them for each other. So changing their dresses in one night, now Tom becomes Chambers and Chamber becomes Tom. So Chambers now started growing up in heavenly cares and Tom was growing up as a slave child.

Chambers had totally gone ashtray and becomes a super culprit in every aspects of shrewdness and cunning behaviour. He became frugal, illiterate, addicted to gambling and became a devil in every possible way. He even kills his uncle for money, but could transfer the false charge of killing to Luigi Capello and Angelo Capello who are two Counts from Italy. Now Pudd'nHead Wilson is pleading for the Capello brothers. Let's see how he resolves the case.


Comments: The story is very much interesting and the sense of humour of Mark Twain makes it even a better reading. The portrayal of an ultimate culprit is undoubtedly witty. The plot was arranged nicely and the final stage is predictable anyway. But Mark Twain actually wanted to write a story on seeing two conjoined twins. Interestingly the Capello brothers are twins, but Chambers and Tom are not twins - though they look similar. I don't know if the author wanted to mean something profound through this (the story doesn't make you think that there might be any profound meaning to this). But the story is much too attractive and will stick you to the pages until you finish. Though Mr. Wilson plays a vital role in solving a murder case, but the main character of the story is the ultimate culprit Mr. Chambers. So I am a little confused if the name of the story is perfect. Even it doesn't show very much of his tragedy in that sense. But anyway, overall it is a very enjoyable novel.


Links:
English ebook is avaialble from Project Gutenberg: Mark Twain - The Tragedy of Pudd'nHead Wilson (epub and other formats)

English PDF available from Pennsylvania State University. Available at (667 KB): Mark Twain - The Tragedy of Pudd'nHead Wilson

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Book: She - A History of Adventure

Author: Henry Rider Haggard (British, 1856-1925)












 


Original Language: English
Year: 1887
Category: Adventure, Fantasy















Summary: Horace Holly is a polymath who has been given the responsibility to bear up Leo Vincey by one of his dying friend Vincey. Before dying the friend gave him some specific instructions about a box which is to be opened on the 25th birthday of Leo. So he did - opened it on his 25th birthday and found some amazing and interesting history in some papers and artifacts in the box.


The short history was like this - long time ago there was a priest Kallikrates who married Amenartas of the tribe. But since Amenartas was the princess of the tribe and they married in secret so they had to flee and eventually reached the land of Amahagger tribe. This tribe had an amazingly beautiful and immortal queen Ayesha who fell in love with Kallikrates but on refusal killed him on the heat of the rage. But then she became so repentant that she started waiting for decades and centuries for Kallikrates to be reborn and come back to her forgiving her sin. However the artifact in the box was written by Amenartas who cursed Ayesha and instructed her ancestors to take revenge of her. Now the ancestor is supposed to be Leo.

On this, the two decided to set on a journey to this mysterious place and see what's really out there. They reached there and Ayesha found that Leo is actually
reborn as Kallikrates for whom she is awaiting for milleniums. But Leo is already married to Ustane on reaching the land, so Ayesha needs to kill Ustane. Leo cannot get rid of Ayesha's beauty and forgives her sin of killing himself a long time ago, and also killing of Ustane. But before they can copulate, Leo needs to go through the flame of immortality to attain to the same power of Ayesha. Let's see what happens.

Comment: The book was suggested by Kafi Mahfuz. This is one other classic adventure and fantasy from Mr. Haggard. The amazing description of Ayesha's beauty is once again very much sensational. The adventure was doubtlessly powerful enough to stick the reader to the pages until s/he finishes.

One glitch was observed - if Ayesha could see them coming through her magic water, she must have seen Leo through it, rather than discovering him later. But again, there might be several explanations, but the thing is none was provided. It would not cost much but would make the glitch removed. Anyway, the glitch can be overseen.

It is interesting to note that in most of the books there appears an apparently ugly, but at the same time a witty and honest man. For example, in this book Horace Holly is like that, and in the Alan Quatermain series he himself (Alan) is such a man. It is often said that writers tend to inhibit themselves in some of the leading characters. I don't know if Sir Haggard tried to reflect himself through the characters or not. Or may be he tried to reflect the fact that appearance is not all - judge people by their inner looks.

There is a 1965 movie titled SHE where Bond Girl Ursula Andress played the role of Ayesha. But like most movie adoptions from books, the movie is also completely different from the story, anyway.

Links:

English ebook is available at Project Gutenberg. Available at: Henry Rider Haggard - She (epub and other formats)

English PDF available at PinkMonkey. Available at (519 KB): Henry Rider Haggard - She (English PDF)
 
Bangla translation is available by Seba Prokashoni. Translated by Niaz Morshed.

Let us buy paper books. Let's enrich our mind and home library.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Parapsychology 1 - The Mad Man at the Bridge!

parapsychology clairvoyance
Image courtesy: EgoDevelopment.com
This is a narrative from one of my junior friends. His name is Syed Imran Jewel, now resides in Australia. The narrative could have been better told by him in his native language. But since he doesn't blog so I thought I could share the interesting the story. The story is very short and the conclusions are predictable anyway.

It was a bright sunny day, with soothing breeze and tender morning dews on the grasses. Two friends from Bangladesh set on a travel to their relatives in a city in India. They had been invited by those relatives to reach there on that very special day, and they did not know the exact purpose or occasion. On their way they stopped at a bridge near a river. Suddenly their eyes stuck upon a man whose apparent looks told them that he had been out of his mind and probably going through psychological disorder. He was sitting on the bank of the river and was eagerly searching something in the water with a stick.

The two became a little curious, went to him and asked him what he was doing. The man didn't pay heed and kept on searching more inquisitively. They kept on trying to talk to the man. Suddenly out of nothing the man turned to one of them and shouted loudly, "এই তুই এখানে কি করতেছিস? তোর না আজকে বিয়ে?" (translate as "Hey what are you doing here? Isn't that your marriage ceremony is going to be held today? You should be there.").

The two started laughing at this, taking it as a funny remark from a psychologically disordered person. Now suddenly the mad man turned to the other man and said, "এই তুই এতো হাসতেছিস কেন রে? তুই তো বিএ ফেল!" (may be translated as "Why are you laughing so much, dude? You have already failed BA.").

The two laughed at this again, but anyway started their journey again. On reaching the destination, they found that some kind of festival was going on. They entered the house and suddenly all the people cheered them as, "the bridegroom has arrived". The two were amazed and one of them was adorned as the bridegroom and the marriage was completed. This was the one to whom the mad man indicated as the would-be-bridegroom.

I need to shed some light about this old oriental cultural practice. Sometimes such kind of surprise-marriage used to take place in those regions (Bangladesh and India). This was occasional and not any ritual practice in any way. However there is no instance of such surprise-marriages at present.

Now the other one's face became dark like nimbus clouds as he realized what the mad man said had come to reality; there was every possibility that his other remark would be true, too. They went back to home, BA results were published two months later and interestingly this other friend really failed in the BA exam.

As said, this was a narrative from some close contacts. There are reasons to believe in the story as clairvoyance is an established para-psychology. This is a psychological incidence, but has no explanations. Stubborns might still argue that science has an explanation to this. But remember, this is a "para-psychological" phenomenon which, by definition means it doesn't abide by physical scientific laws (or scientific laws don't have a clear explanation to this). Actually it doesn't need to be explained really as it is a magnificient power in itself and doesn't really care for any explanations. Paranormal incidents do occur in the world. Let some of the mysteries of nature remain in itself and amaze us with their magnificence.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Favorite Books 15

Book Review Anton Chekhov In the Ravine Orson Scott Card Freeway Games
Book: In the Ravine
Author: Anton Chekhov (Russian, 1869-1904)















Original Language: Russian
Year: 1888
Category: Short Story


















Summary: In the village Ukleevo lives Tsybukin who is a miserly as well as dishonest businessman. His elder son Anisim returns one day to the village and gets married with Lipa. Soon after his return to city he is jailed for counterfeiting. Lipa gives birth to a child. Now Tsybukin  and his wife Varvara think of the future of the child and bestow some of their properties to Lipa and the child. To this, the other daughter-in-law Aksinya becomes furious and eventually kills the child brutally. After this Lipa has nothing to stay in the house - no husband, no child - and eventually gets thrown away.

Days go by and someday Tsybukin becomes older and falls into a victim of kind of dementia (this was not mentioned, but I guess from his activities). Aksinya now gets hold of everything, Varvara remains the same generous as before. But nobody really takes care of the old man. One day while he was sitting on the bench unfed for three days, he met the forgotten Lipa who gave him some respect and a bread to eat. Painfully, the old man took it, could say nothing, but his eyes filled with tears of gratitude or something else that nobody knows. The sun went down, they drifted apart - only left some moments of crossing each other.

Comments: This is not a book, but a story from his short story collection book 'The Witch and Other Stories'. This one is picturesque with human emotions where the inability to maintain fair relation and justice is caused by human atrocity and jealousy. The killing of the baby, the pain of the mother, and the end scenario are mind-blowing.

Link:
Free online reading (English translation): Anton Chekhov - In the Ravine


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Book: Freeway Games
Author: Orson Scott Card (American, 1954-)














Original Language: English
Year: 1992
Category: Suspense


















Summary: Stanley is an employee in Nevada. One day when he finishes his work, on return home he started playing car games - namely freeway games. First he played moving side-by-side with other cars, then he started the game of follow, that is, following a car from distance. With his follow-game, the driver of the car that was being followed became suspicious, afraid, and desperate to escape. While trying to escape, she eventually faced a fatal accident while taking a sharp turn at the end of a road. This resulted in palpitating heart-beats for Stanley and he had an unexpected and unbelievably pleasurable orgasm at this unexpected ending. He felt the orgasm was outstanding in any way.

This made him a serial killer of a different sort. Every now and then playing a follow-game and ending in heavenly sensation of a different kind. One day while making this follow-game with an Audi, the suspense became even more intense and ... what next?

Comment: Interesting reading. Motif of a different kind of serial killing is portrayed in a different sensation. One reason for serial killing is also pictured very well. Extremely a story of suspense. This is a short story from his book 'Changed Man'.

Link:
Free online reading (English): Orson Scott Card - Freeway Games
Bangla translation by blogger Obonil. Translation available in Sachalayatan blog here: Khela

Let us buy paper books. Let's enrich our mind and home library.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

After-Death Body Donation

I have just come up with a question - what do you think of donating body after death for the betterment of mankind? What are the religious views in donating body after death?

Most of the time I find people misuse and misinterpret religions. It is us who use religions for self-interests and spoil it often. At the same time it is us who can glorify religions with our rationale thoughts. But it hurts me that whenever we meet someone the first question that arises in mind is which religion s/he belongs to rather than hitting the simple idea that, s/he is a human being.
From my understanding from people I met, donating body after death is forbidden in Islam. But I found many religious links in the web that glorifies the donation of eyes. Now again others will start saying that those sites are steered by Jews/non-Islamists blah blah and will turn the discussion down totally rather than going through a rationale revelation.
I don't know the views from other religions.Apart from all religious views, one single question is not answered, not felt:

What will you do if you have an accident, lost your eyes and you need replacement of cornea from someone's donated eyes. What will you do if you need a kidney and you need to rely on someone who donated already. 


The answer is 'Yes, you will definitely try to pursue for a replacement'. Then why would you disgrace the donor with religious ideology (if it is really like that)?


I wanted to start a friendly discussion with deeply reflected thoughts. I am ignorant in many of my own religious views and a little lazy in performing my own religious obligatories. But to my own understanding I think donating body is a sacred thing to do rather than burning it or burying it.

Just to remind - this is not a religious debate (though it started with the word 'religion'). The mail is about encouraging body-donation and the debate is for betterment of mankind which should be the ultimate focus of all religions and not to fight with each other like fools.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Favorite Books 14

Book Review Henry Rider Haggard Allan Quatermain Alexander Belyaev Hoity Toity
Book: Allan Quatermain
Author: Henry Rider Haggard (British, 1856-1925)












 


Original Language: English
Year: 1887
Category: Adventure













 


Summary: The three friends - Allan Quatermain, Sir Henry Curtis, and Captain John Good decided to set on another journey to Kenya in quest for an unseen land. It was being whispered that, there is a place in a remote area beside Kenya where some white people stay. On their quest, they find Quatermain's fellow warrior Mr. Umslopogaas, who is a Julu veteran. Together they made a thoroughly strange and interesting adventure. They had to fight hundreds of Masai warriors on their way. Eventually they reached Ju-Vendis - the unknown reign behind Kenya. Ruled by two amazingly beautiful queens - both falling in love with Sir Henry. A rejected woman can be as ferocious as an injured snake. That's what happened. Let's see how the three comrades and the Julu super-warrior can handle the situation.

Comments: This book is the sequel of Mr. Haggard's other novel "King Solomon's Mines". Actually the protagonist Allan Quatermain appeared in a number of Henry Rider Books, and this is the last of the sequel. In this book,the same people coming from the previous series set on another amazing adventure. To be honest, this is thriller than "King Solomon's Mines". The writer's power of imagination, and story-telling is amazing. It seems he himself was in part of it, and also he makes you feel like that. The author is mesmerized by the thrill and chill of Africa, and at the same time he mesmerizes you same way.


It is interesting that Mr. Haggard being a white chastised his own culture in the book. He clearly stated his viewpoint about today's civilization and what is known as the savage world. Some snippet from the novel - "I say that as the savage is, so is the white man, only the latter is more inventive, and possesses the faculty of combination; save and except also that the savage, as I have known him, is to a large extent free from the greed of money, which eats like a cancer into the heart of the white man. It is a depressing conclusion, but in all essentials the savage and the child of civilization are identical. I dare say that the highly civilized lady reading this will smile at an old fool of a hunter's simplicity when she thinks of her black bead-bedecked sister; and so will the superfine cultured idler scientifically eating a dinner at his club, the cost of which would keep a starving family for a week." Another snippet - "Better is it to slay a man in fair fight than to suck out his heart's blood in buying and selling and usury after your white fashion." Steady contemplation might yield the same conclusion in your mind, too.

Link:

Bangla translation is available by Seba Prokashoni.

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Book: Hoity Toity (Original Russian Transliteration Хойти Тойти)
Author: Alexander Belyaev (Russian, 1884-1942)












 

Original Language: Russian
Year:1930
Category: Science Fiction














Summary: A strange elephant has brought charming attention to the circus. He can do maths, he can read like a human being. People think of it as some kind of trickery, but returns home contently. One night the elephant gets out of the circus, and becomes unrest. Eventually the police chase it and it flees towards the jungle. While the police decides to kill it, but suddenly with the advent of Prof. Wagner, the elephant becomes calm. Prof. Wagner calmed it down and brought back to circus.

On way back he tells the amazing story of how he transplanted the dead German scientist Ring's head into the elephant. But one night the elephant was lost. Now the elephant tells him the rest of the story. That night when it saw a leopard in front of it, then out of human instinct, the elephant, i.e., Mr. Ring ran like hell and eventually lost the way and could not return back to Prof. Wagner. He tells many more stories of his survival through pigmies, ivory poachers and many more adventures that he had to face in his life.

Comment: May be this was the first of its kind that talks about the possibility of organ replacement and transplantation. A thoughtful adventurous science fiction by brilliant Mr. Belyaev. This is called the dimension of thinking. While Hoity Toity is the name of the elephant, there is no apparent meaning of the name, or the meaning found so far in the web is not congruent with the story. However, if you know a reasonable meaning, please put a note in the comments.

Link: No ebook available. English paperback is available in Amazon. Bangla translated hard-bind is available in Aziz Supermarket Bookstores in Shahbagh, Dhaka.

Let us buy paper books. Let's enrich our mind and home library.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Favorite Books 13

Book Review Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities Merry Shelly Frankenstein
Book: A Tale of Two Cities
Author: Charles Dickens (British, 1812-1870)






 








Original Language: English
Year: 1859
Category: Drama














Summary: Mr. Marquis Evremonde and his twin brother - who are the French aristocrats - raped a beautiful lady, killed her husband, father, and brother. They hired Dr. Alexandre Manette to try to cure the raped woman, but she died. Dr. Manette wanted to disclose the crime to higher officials, but the twins caught him and 'buried' in the darkest cell of Bastille prison for 18 years, nobody knew his whereabouts so long this period.

His daughter Lucie Manette was growing in supervision of Mr. Lorry who has come to know that Dr. Manette is now out of the prison and is in care of Mr. Defarge who was once an obedient servant of the Dr. 18 years in dark prison - Dr. Manette's mind is severely mutilated. Gradually his daughter's care brought him back to life.

Mr. Charles Darnay is the nephew of Mr. Marquis Evremonde (we do know him at the beginning of the summary). He is convicted for treason in England, but Mr. Sydney Carton - an English barrister - saved him with some tricks aided by their look-alikes. 

French revolution started and common people won over the French aristocrats. Now they caught Mr. Darnay as he is the heir of the French aristocrat Mr. Marquis. With the request of Dr. Manette he was released. But he was again arrested because of a letter written by Dr. Manette when he was in prison. The letter was written about the crime of Mr. Marquis and also conveyed Dr. Manette's curse on the whole Marquis dynasty. Now the letter became a boomerang for his own son-in-law Mr. Darnay. This time no escape and Darnay was to be beheaded in guillotine. Now Mr. Carton comes to the scene. He looks alike with Mr. Darnay. Can he save him?

Comments: This is one of the two books in history to sell 200 million copies worldwide. It is based on the French Revolution. Charles Dickens himself was bullied by the French aristocrats and in his childhood he was forced to work in a factory 10 hours a day. So his sympathy lies with the revolutionists, but only up to the point of revolution. The aftermath of revolution - beheading, killing, and burning thousands of people was not liked by him and this is portrayed in the novel. This is a wonderful novel with the ending of a supreme sacrifice for the love of a beloved one.

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Book: Frankenstein
Author: Merry Shelly (British, 1797-1851)






 








Original Language: English
Year: 1818
Category: Horror














Summary: Mr. Frankenstein, an unorthodox and brilliant scientist discovered the method of creating life. Now with all his enthusiasm he infused life into the mass of his collected bones, veins, nerves, blood. But soon after his infusion of life, he found that instead of creating a beautiful life, his creation looks like an abominable monster in a giant shape and muscles and a very despicable, an abominable face. Then Mr. Frankenstein was himself very upset about his creature, abandoned it an moved back to his studies. The creature slowly learnt all the humanly activities himself but discovered that he is a despicable creature to mankind himself. With all his kind-heartedness he begged mankind love, food, shelter, affection, but he received only hatred, attacks, and curses. Now he became outraged at his own creator and decided to make his life hell by slowly killing all his affectionate family members one by one. Mr. Frankenstein chased him up to the north pole. Now what?

Comments: Well, Frankenstein became the de facto term for anything horrific, and horrible. More precisely, it can be the name of anything that apparently seems to be benevolent, but turns out to be a monster. The book brings the modern scientific developments to a question whether they are (or can be) benevolent or monstrous to mankind. This also clearly portrays how a kind-hearted creature can become a monster. This is a common story of many criminals, and scoundrels of the world, really! Craving for love, but being devoid of it all the time makes one a criminal (there are other factors, anyway).

Link:
English PDF ebook is available at PlanetEbook (922 KB).
 

Let us buy paper books. Let's enrich our mind and home library.