Thursday, October 18, 2007

My First Blog Mate Rendezvous

Love Beyond Gender

I never thought that blogging can create new friendships and meet new wonderful people.

Yesterday, I was able to meet the authors of one of my most favorite blog BISEAN. It's a blog about the wonderful things in South East Asia, the region where I live, and the authors blog about their visits to SE Asian countries. Their insights are a fresh view of my country and they are seeing everything through a home and foreign eyes for they are all half-Asians.

I did not ask permission to write about them but I would just like to record my wonderful experience meeting these BEAUTIFUL people. At first, I felt awkward because I look like a little child walking along with them for they are tall and slim and almost celebrity-like. There is an air of (what do you call it?)..."royalty" about them but truly down-to-earth.

Pisanu is exceptionally friendly and (if I may say) sexy. Those dark green eyes melt me whenever he looks at me (I'm blushing now). He likes to make conversations with just about everybody around. I laugh when he gets frustrated when people don't understand what he is saying. I learned that he speaks more than 9 languages and to top it all, he is an expert in sign language. Yes! He even makes conversation with our deaf brothers. Truly an admirable guy.

Sofia looks like a mannequin off a fashion runway. Although she looks this way, she gladly smiles to everyone staring at her and even say hello all the time. She may sound very whiny on their blog but never have I heard her complain when we were walking around my city Phnom Penh.

Morgan is like a little boy who likes to eat every food he sees. I learned one of his passion is cooking and he was collecting recipes from restaurants! That was really funny!

Sucre is the silent type. She likes to observe everything. I love it when she tried to finish 5 banana cups of Amok Trei, a Cambodian signature dish. Tommy is like the big brother of the gang. He is the one who controls everybody when things get out of hand. Very authoritative but charming.

There was this one hilarious instance when they asked me to take them to our national Tourism Office. When we got there, they insists on meeting the Minster of Tourism! But of course he was not available. The whole building was in awe when the Biseaners (as they are called by one of their readers) asked to change the tourism slogan on the official website! I was also in awe! They must have a ton of confidence to ask a national bureau just like that!

I was wondering why these smart, attractive people are not working for a living. I am quite sure they will be an asset for a compny who would hire them. But, it's their personal choice. So, I respect it.

Tomorrow, they invited me to go with them to Sihanoukville, Cambodia's beach province. I am very thankful that they wanted to meet me again. They are truly amazing people promoting brotherhood (sisterhood, in my case) in our region they optly call "PARADISE".

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

If it's any consolation, fish get insomnia too

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Fish might not have eyelids, but they do sleep, and some suffer from insomnia, scientists reported on Monday.

California scientists studying sleep disorders in humans found that some zebrafish, a common aquarium pet, have a mutant gene that disrupts their sleep patterns in a way similar to insomnia in humans.

Zebrafish with the mutant gene slept 30 percent less than fish without the mutation. When they finally drifted off they remained asleep half as long as the normal fish, the researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine said.

The mutant fish lacked a working receptor for hypocretin, a neuropeptide that is secreted in normal fish by neurons in the region of the brain that controls hunger, sex and other basic behaviours.

Zebrafish, also known as zebra danio, have become popular research subjects because they are cheaper to breed than mice and they have a backbone that better represents the human nervous system than fruit flies.

The researchers, led by Emmanuel Mignot, said they would look for fish that have a mutation that causes them to oversleep or never sleep in the hope of discovering if sleep-regulating molecules and brain networks developed through evolution.

"Many people ask the questions, 'Why are we sleeping?' and, 'What is the function of sleep?'" Mignot said. "I think it is more important to figure out first how the brain produces and regulates sleep. This will likely give us important clues on how and maybe why sleep has been selected by natural evolution and is so universal."

The study was published in Tuesday's edition of the Public Library of Science-Biology.

-- By Jill Serjeant

Israeli father of 67 kids seeks 9th wife

EMEK HEFER, Israel - With eight wives and 67 children, Shahadeh Abu Arrar has given new meaning to the term "family man." Abu Arrar, 58, is a member of Israel's impoverished Bedouin Arab community. But even in a traditional society where men commonly have several wives and many children, Abu Arrar is exceptional.

"I'm thinking about a new wife, No. 9," he told the Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot in a recent interview. "There are many women who wish to marry me and there is no lack of women. I never had a problem with such things."

Abu Arrar, whose oldest child is 37, was photographed by the newspaper in a long Bedouin robe and head cover, surrounded by a dozen of so of his kids.

During a visit to his multistory home in central Israel, The Associated Press spotted 17 of the children milling about, dressed in bright red, blue and green-embroidered Palestinian dresses and headscarves. Four veiled women, including two who said they were his wives, sat on the porch peeling vegetables.

While Islam allows Muslim men to have four co-wives, it is a custom in Bedouin society to flout the already-generous ruling — and an Israeli ban on polygamy — by marrying women one at a time, divorcing them and marrying others, experts on Bedouin culture said.

Culturally, it's understood that the renounced wives are still married to Abu Arrar, the experts said.

It's unclear how Abu Arrar supports his massive family. Camels, goats and a cow were grazing on his property. Yediot said he also receives about $1,700 (euro1,200) in government handouts each month.

According to the Israeli Interior Ministry, Abu Arrar has 53 children registered as Israeli citizens. He has 14 other children born to Palestinian wives in the West Bank and who are not eligible for Israeli citizenship, his other wives said.

Either way, his family size pales in comparison to the size of the average Israeli family: 2.3, according to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics.

Abu Arrar claims to remember all his children's names, and says they are split almost evenly between boys and girls. And he's still going strong.

"My first wife is my age, and today I hardly spend any time with her. Her children are big, and I leave her alone. I have younger wives to spend time with. Every night I decide which wife to be with," Abu Arrar told the newspaper. He refused to talk to an AP reporter.

Activists said Abu Arrar's story showed the urgency of raising literacy and education among women in the impoverished Bedouin community. Many are pressured into marriage or feel they have no other options beside raising children, said Khadra al-Sani, director of Sidra, a Bedouin women's rights group.

Still, Abu Arrar pales in comparison to others in the region. In August, the Emirates Today newspaper in Dubai ran a story about a one-legged 60-year-old man with 78 children from 12 wives.

Daad Abdul Rahman said he hoped to have a hundred children by 2015.

DUI defendant caught drinking near court

MINDEN, Nev. - A man who was out on bail following a drunken driving arrest is back behind bars after he was caught drinking a 12-pack of beer on the Douglas County Courthouse lawn. Martin Ruiz asked the judge to release him on his own recognizance, promising not to drink another beer or drive.

But Judge Michael Gibbons set his bail at $100,000 on Monday, saying he was surprised Ruiz was released on recognizance the first time.

Ruiz was arrested in January shortly after his 21st birthday following an accident in which he, his passenger and the other driver were injured. He allegedly was driving 70 miles an hour down the twisting mountain road with a blood alcohol content of .104. The legal limit in Nevada is 0.8.

Gibbons said it would be "completely inappropriate" to release him on recognizance again.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Man texting while driving hits train

EUGENE, Ore. - When Robert Gillespie looked up from his text message, he saw a freight train. EOM. ("End of message," that is, for non-texters.) Eugene police say Gillespie's car crashed into the side of the Union Pacific freight train about 2 a.m. Tuesday.

When officers arrived, they found him alert and talking, but trapped in the car. They learned about the cell phone and text message as they worked to rescue him.

Gillespie, who had turned 38 the day before, was charged with drunken driving and careless driving, police spokeswoman Kerry Delf said. His injuries were described as not life threatening, and no members of the train crew were hurt.

Delf said officers believe he was driving faster than the 35 mph speed limit as well as using his cell phone to send a text message. She said he tried to brake for the train, but it was too close.

"There are all kinds of ways to get distracted these days," said police spokeswoman Kerry Delf. "We don't recommend any of them while you're driving."

Monday, October 15, 2007

Fisherman lands record 844-pound shark

DESTIN, Fla. - Six friends went to a fishing tournament looking to catch some grouper. They caught an 844-pound shark instead.

The fight by Adlee Bruner and friends to pull the 11-foot mako shark onto the boat from the Gulf of Mexico took more than an hour on Saturday. But when they made it back to land, it was a record for the decades-old Destin Fishing Rodeo.

"It was tense," Bruner, 47, said about the fight to land the shark, which has a mouthful of huge, fearsome teeth. "I've fished for 40 years. I've never see one that big."

Bruner and his fishing buddies were on a 52-foot charter boat with Capt. Robert Hill, about 70 miles southwest of this beach city in the Florida Panhandle.

The fishermen first noticed the big mako because it kept eating grouper and scamp they had hooked.

"It was like 'Jaws,'" Hill said.

Hill hooked a two-foot amberine on as bait and tossed it out. The shark eventually hit it.

After the long fight, the shark was gaffed and eventually gave up after its tail was roped. But even then, the men could not get the big shark in the boat. They tied it to the stern with three ropes and made the four-hour trip back to land.

The shark was hoisted at the rodeo before a big crowd. It tipped the scale at 844.4 pounds.

After it was gutted, the mako still weighed 638 pounds, breaking the tournament's previous shark division record by 338 pounds.

*Photo by AP