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Just as I was about to blog, I looked up from my laptop and there was a Chiléan friend with a very familiar object in front of him – a Maté cup.

I smiled a familiar smile and before I could even ask, he was already offering to share his maté with me. I’ve been a amateur maté drinker for a few years, but this was an education and a half. I had no idea how social of a drink Maté is. I did know that it has some health benefits and the manner in which it is farmed has been described as very eco-friendly. Wikipedia has tons of excellent facts on maté, though it comes accross as rather skeptical. All in all it was a lovely hour or so of chatting about maté, Chilé, Argentina, and anecdotal stories about government officials always drinking maté. I’m left wondering if at this very moment I’m experiencing the hallucinogenic effects that are rumored to follow.

I was listening to Pacifica’s WBAI alot this week and I heard a reference to the following article written by a piano tuner, about his experiences traveling Iraq just to see things for himself. I think it’s an incredible article and it’s inspiring. Great editor’s note in the beginning:

Editor’s note: New Haven’s Daniel Smith, a piano tuner by trade, likes to vacation in world hot spots to see for himself, without mass-media blinders, how people are faring and what they’re thinking. He traveled to Iraq just as the U.S. nominally handed power over to the country’s own rulers. First stop: northern Iraq.

I hope to someday be able to do similar things – visiting places and experiencing for myself what is really going on there. In general, according to this article.. the situation in Iraq is in fact chaotic. Yet the chaos isn’t all bad, despite the enormous amounts of problems and potential for further trouble in the coming years, there seems to be an underlying good there. I wonder what Chris Missick would say about it. (you out there Chris?)

Update in the stuggle against all things Microsoft (when possible), I am officially announcing my abandoning of crappy Internet Explorer. At long last a new browser has come along that I love, beyond anything that Opera or Netscape ever did. Mozilla’s Firefox is excellent.. in every way.. I love it.. I’m using it now.. I’m giving it the Bicyclemark seal (*art *art… balance a beach ball on my nose) of approval. Strange thing about seals.. they never learn the beachball thing.. they’re just naturally good at it, aren’t they?

Mental note: Next post, bitch about Bill Clinton and what a good wrap he gets because Bush sucks so bad. Him and his bigass, boring, shallow book – I listened to him being interviewed by the Dutch public television channel, he said the same exact things Bush did. I refuse to praise the Clinton years just because the Bush years have been so crappy. Bottom line: I dislike both men,their politics, and their smirking, wrinkly faces.

Today’s Music: Deceberists – Castaways and Cutouts (thanks Bronwyn!)