Book of the Month

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Indonesian Travel Journal: Poverty or the Highs and Lows of Instant Gratification

I didn’t have internet service at my house this week. There was nothing wrong with the service. I paid the bill and magical signals were coming through the cables hanging high up above the street. I say magical because I don’t understand the ins and outs of how I can sit down on my couch in Jakarta and communicate with people all over the world through invisible electrical impulses. What’s more, I don’t really care how it works, just that it does. And when it fails, I get the tiniest bit cranky.  [Read more]

Orlando's picture

Breaking: Chilean Miners On Their Way to the Surface, One by One

Updated: I awoke this morning to the fantastic news that all of the miners are on the surface, as of approximate 1 am, GMT. Two rescue workers are also up. Three men still underground.


As of 6:30 a.m. GMT, the first three miners are out. The BBC has a fantastic live feed and live blog, which you can see here:


Orlando's picture

Stuff I Want to Learn: Sociology Edition

Yesterday, I went to the mall. This is not a new occurrence. I go to the mall almost every day. It is where the grocery store and the office supply store are, as well as the Starbucks and many, many restaurants. To get to the mall, I ride for about 10 minutes on a mini-bus, filled with people heading in my direction. Yesterday, the driver stopped on the way to fill up his tires. The compressor was owned by a guy who had set up a little business for himself on the side of the road. That’s also no big deal. Business regulation is a bit relaxed here in Jakarta—there are people selling all sorts of things in all sorts of places. [Read more]

Orlando's picture

Watching the Elections from Afar

Is it really just over a month until election day? I guess I'd better apply for my absentee ballot. Don't worry. I will. But at the risk of being scolded, I have to admit, I don't care all that much. It's okay to judge me for my apathy. Two years ago, I was Judgey McJudgerson. I couldn't believe why anyone in their right mind would vote for John McCain or choose not to vote at all. Actually, I still can't really believe why someone would make one of those choices, which is why the absentee ballot will be duly completed--albeit without a single ounce of enthusiasm.  [Read more]

Orlando's picture

Indonesian Travel Journal: Oh, the Places I'll Go

Hi folks! I'm glad to see so many new Dagbloggers. I'm in the middle of an epic holiday but I'm planning on spending a good deal of time in October, catching up on my Dag reading.  [Read more]

Orlando's picture

Indonesian Travel Journal: Happy Holidays!

Lebaran is this weekend which means I have successfully completed my first Ramadan in a Muslim country. I wasn't affected much. My area of the city has almost as many Christians as Muslims, so the restaurants were still crowded at lunch time. I was more careful about eating, and drinking alcohol, outside during daylight hours and I didn't eat in front of my Muslim co-workers prior to sundown, but other than that, life went on normally. [Read more]

Orlando's picture

Stuff I Want to Learn: Boogey Boogey Boogey

It’s an election year. That must mean it’s time for Congressional representatives to announce support for ridiculous Constitutional amendments and for state leaders to instill fear in the population by creating all sorts of boogeymen, like (imaginary) undocumented Mexicans running roughshod in the Arizona desert, beheading (imaginary) poor, unsuspecting, hardworking, freedom-loving, salt of the earth Americans.

Which has me wondering: why is discussing problems and solutions like grown ups so unpalatable in America? [Read more]

Orlando's picture

Societies Fail: We Might Have to Get Over It


We know that environmental disasters have led to the downfall of civilizations. We know that, in other cases, it is greed and largess that has tipped the scales. Some societies have fallen victim to outside invaders or disease; others simply disappear, leaving no easily-followed clues as to their demise. I suspect those that crumble under their own stupidity are difficult to document, historically speaking. [Read more]

Orlando's picture

Six Months In: Thoughts and Reflections on Living as an Ex-Pat in Indonesia


When I came to Indonesia in the middle of January 2010, I came with a few preconceived notions:

1. It was going to be hot;

2. The food was going to be great; and

3. The country had the largest Muslim population in the world. [Read more]

Orlando's picture

America: Home of the Free, the Brave, and the Cheaters

Thierry Henry is headed for New York. Who is Thierry Henry? Well, that's a complicated question.

Wait. No, it's not. He's a cheater.

I understand that cheating, or at least pushing the limits of fair play, is a part of soccer. But it doesn't mean I have to like it. Inadvertent handballs are one thing, but catching the ball and putting it on your foot is certainly another. He didn't even try to hide it. [Read more]

Orlando's picture

Bukit Lawang and a Lesson in Resiliency

Bukit Lawang is a village in North Sumatra, on the edge of the jungle. The Bohorok River plays a central role in village life, providing a place to wash bodies and clothes, to cool down during sweltering days, and to have a little fun, running smallish rapids on tubes and in rafts. The village exists almost entirely due to tourism. In 1973, two foreigners set up an orangutan rehabilitation center there, which spawned hotels and restaurants and guides to take adventurous tourists into the jungle in hopes of spotting the orangutans up close. [Read more]

Orlando's picture

Did You Know Today is "Everybody Draw Muhammad" Day?

In response to Comedy Central's decision to self-censor a South Park episode in which the prophet Muhammad was depicted wearing a bear suit, a Seattle comedian declared May 20th as "Everybody Draw Muhammad" Day.

My immediate reaction upon hearing the news was, "For fuck's sake, everybody grow up."

There is so much wrong on every side of this issue. First of all, to Muslim leaders who would issue a fatwa against the South Park creators, how about you pray for a little bit of perspective, hmm? Do you really think a cartoon is such a threat to one of the world's largest religions that you have to murder anybody that draws a picture of your prophet? Seriously? It's a fucking drawing. [Read more]

Orlando's picture

Leader of the Non-Racist, Strict-Constitutionalist Tea Party Makes Ridiculously Offensive Comments Regarding Muslim Faith

I know, I know—and in other news, it’s hot on the Equator, right?

But the comments made by Mark Williams, conservative radio host and chairman of the Tea Party Express, are beyond the pale. He calls Allah a “monkey god” and refers to follows of Islam as “animal of Allah.”

How is this okay? How can this be accepted, and even embraced, by his fellow Tea Partiers? The cognitive dissonance resonating from that group of people could be the cause of all the recent earthquakes. It’s certainly mind blowing. [Read more]

Orlando's picture

Colbert Weighs in on Sue Lowden's Barter-With-Your-Doctor Plan

Possibly the funniest thing I've ever seen--no further commentary necessary.

Orlando's picture

Boobquake: Let's Do Our Part for Science

I know that I'm the only one at Dagblog in possession of actual boobs (not counting Wolfrum's third nipple) but I hope the Dagboys and all of our esteemed readers will join (by participating or in solidarity) in a potentially earth-shattering scientific experiment on Monday, April 26th that has been termed "Boobquake." [Read more]

Orlando's picture

Thank You, Chris Reichert

Watching the opposition to health care reform is somewhat like watching a three-year-old child melt down after being told he can’t have a cookie. It’s one gigantic temper tantrum with multiple participants. Except that three-year-old kids don’t generally cut gas lines, throw bricks through windows, or use violent, racist language. [Read more]

Orlando's picture

Tea Party Big Tent: Racists and Homophobes Welcome

I'm not sure why I'm surprised. I suppose I thought that, even though I recognize that racism exists, it had at the very least become so impolite to use racial slurs in public that even the most strident bigots would keep their disgusting language to themselves and their cronies. [Read more]

Orlando's picture

Indonesia Travel Journal: Improving Infrastructure One Trillion at a Time.

There is a report in the Jakarta Post this morning announcing that the city will begin construction on a sewage system next year. The first phase of the project will take almost 10 years and only serve about 10 percent of the city, but it's a start. In 20 years, a projected expansion plan will reach a quarter of the population. [Read more]

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