Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Mogadishu, Somalia: The City the World Forgot

You may recall the controversial movie Black Hawk Down by Ridley Scott, which featured the task force of Delta Force soldiers, Army Rangers, and Special Operations Aviation Regiment in an attempt to capture two of Mohammed Farah Aidid’s senior subordinates in the Bakaara Market neighborhood of Mogadishu in the early 1990’s. More recently, you may recall the Somalian piriate drama. In reality, Mogadishu has fallen off the world’s radar, even though it is considered to be a state that is near total collapse.


It’s a odd world when we get most of our information of this ravaged country and city through the likes of a grandiose big blockbuster Hollywood movie like Black Hawk Down and South Park, who recently aired an episode poking fun at the recent wave of Somalian pirate news.

In an incredible glimpse into the current conflicts ravaging Mogadishu, Somalia, journalist Ghaith Abdul-Ahad recounts his one week experience within the war-torn city.

He tells the story of Dr. Taher Mahmoud, a surgeon who has been working within the city for the past twenty years. Mogadishu has been brutally ravaged by running battled between the current notional president, Sheikh Sharif Ahmed and his forces and the radical Islamist Al-Shabaab Militia. In the past few days, over 200 have been killed and over 60,000 have fled.

With medicines and supplies running low, there is also no room in his hospital. Many patients are forced to sleep under trees on makeshift beds. Ghaith tells us of a mother looking after her child with terrible burns. She says “We pray for peace – we have nothing but prayers. This is the best hospital in Mogadishu and we don’t have electricity or running water.”

These people live on a tightrope. Al Hassan, a police officer within the city, says “When the whole state is collapsing all that we have is our religion.” He has not been paid in the last 18 months and he says a good month for him is when he receives some wheat, water and canned food.

In a land that has only known conflict and war, a Ugandan officer in the presidential compound gave his view of the whole picture. “Look. The best thing the Somalis know how to do is to kill other Somalis.”

Mogadishu is a place that offers little hope, but there are still people who believe that things can change. The resilience of the Somalian people is incredible. They can survive in a city with a near absence of a viable economy. A young government employee explained that “Somalis have a very strong social support network. If you work with the government or in the market you support at least 10 people of your family, and your neighbors. The people who live outside [the country] send money, and if there is a rich Somali and he doesn’t support the poor, he will be despised, and no one would marry his daughters.”

These are the stories we should be reading about. These are the real people of this world and they barely register a blip on the world’s radar. I think this article is incredible and I hope you take the time to read it here.

Check out Boston Globe’s photo montage of the conflicts here.

The Sky’s the Limit

Hello everyone!

I have good news and bad news. I will not be posting on Rhyme Culture any longer. That was the heartbreaking sad news and now onto the happy news. I will be a contributor to one of Canada’s best blogs, so switch your gears and start following! Also, follow me on my twitter at Jlovebomb and the CityofSkies twitter which is just CityofSkies.

Thanks everyone for some good times, but there will be plenty more to come over at!

Much Love,

Check out our new WaterDrop Video for!

WaterDrop: Introduction to the Global Water Crisis from Doug van Spronsen on Vimeo.

Home is Where the Wild Things Are

Voltaire (1694 – 1778), a prolific french Enlightenment writer, once alluded that great minds think a like. Well, let me tell you, great minds are coming together and hopefully they all think alike.

First of all, let me tell you about Maurice Sendak, the writer of one of my favorite books from childhood (and to be honest, probably right now too). He wrote “Where the Wild Things Are.” If you don’t know what the book is about or didn’t have it as a kid, than I pity you, for you did not live a full, well-rounded childhood.


Maurice Sedak

Maurice was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1928 and his most famous work is Where the Wild Things Are, which was first published in 1963. The illustrations have caused some controversy here and there throughout the times due to the seemingly grotesque appearance of the monsters. I first read the book when I was 7 years old. I got the book along with Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day and Cloudy, With a Chance of Meatballs. These three books are the Lord of the Rings of children’s books. Get them and read them now.

Any ways, the moment I heard that they were making a movie of Where the Wild Things Are I was immediately cautious and a little angry. How dare they take a classic children’s book that basically shaped who I am today and make it into a 90-minute movie? I got over it as soon as Spike Jonze (one of my favorite directors) is directing it with assistance from a script by Dave Eggers (one of my favorite writers). It doesn’t stop there, Karen O, the lead singer of the art rock band Yeah Yeah Yeah’s is penning a song and some of the soundtrack for the movie.

Dave Eggers

Dave Eggers wrote one of my favorite books, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. The book won a Pulitzer Prize. The book is very much what I call a psuedo autobiography. You can’t tell what’s true or real, but it’s a look into the life of an early 20-something forced to raise his younger brother due to the deaths of his parents when society seemed to value the yuppy, young “successful” lifestyle. Egger’s writing is both humorous and introspective with a touch of candid authenticity.   


Spike Jonze got his start making commercials and music videos. He has also lended his acting chops in a few movies, including a prominent role in the highly underrated movie Three Kings. He directed Being John Malkovich and Adaptation. One of his best music videos is Praise You by Fatboy Slim. He makes a cameo appearance as “random” dancer in the music video.

Just look at these titans of their perspective industries come together to work on a national treasure. The hype is immeasurable, as it should be. The perfect storm of talent. My expectations are high as you can see, but even if it’s a serious letdown, I still have the book to go back to and I’m never too old for that.

Just look at the following photos. You cannot tell me that this isn’t going to be the best thing since the rubberband. You can believe that I will be there on opening night, maybe in my Where the Wild Things Are PJ’s.



I’ve dropped the ball and for that I apologize

Life’s been crazy as of late, but I will pick up the ball and run with it once again.

For now, I have two recommendations:

Go see Slumdog Millionaire.

Listen to Mates of States’ newest album: Re-Animator

Darth Palin?

I watched the acceptance speech by Obama last night (yes, I can!) and the concession speech by McCain. Both speeches were great in my opinion and I wish both candidates were this candid prior to the election. Any ways, that is beside the point. Now onto the real news.

I did catch one phrase that John McCain said in his speech that caught my attention.

We can all look forward with great interest to her future service in Alaska, the Republican Party and our country – McCain to Gov. Sarah Palin

I could not help but notice that this is very similar to another quote by an elderly senator to a rapidly rising and unknown young buck.

We will watch your career with great interest

Some of you will get this right away, for others who are not as well-versed in the Star Wars galaxy as I am (my one and only nerdy vice), I’ll tell you. Palpatine said it to eight-year-old Anakin Skywalker at a celebration just as he destroyed a Trade Federation Droid Ship.

McCain and Palpatine. Both are senators. Both are really old. Both have awkward smiles. Both are a part of a government that the majority are unhappy with (Galactic Senate and Republican Party). Both can shoot electricity out of their fingers.

Anakin and Palin. Both have “in” their names. Both were complete unknowns until something thrust them into the spotlight. Both have future careers within a political landscape. Both are from desolate, backwards places that lack a population of females (Tatooine and Alaska). Both are considered young and dynamic.

Uncanny? I believe so. I’ll tell you one thing. I’m going to re-watch all six Star Wars movies right now. After 13 hours of Star Wars, I’ll know more about the future of politics than anyone in America.

“Cut through the pork, young Palin.”


Trinity Western University Magazine’s article on WaterDrop

WaterDrop has recently been featured in an article in Trinity Western University Magazine. You can check out the article here. Thanks to everyone at TWU Magazine for helping us get the word out!

Sub-Culture Bingo

We have a ridiculous amount of genres and versions for the game of Monopoly, ranging from Stars Wars to Harley Davidson. There’s even a highly controversial variant that used to be sold in Urban Outfitters called Ghettopoly. I think the title explains itself, needing very little description as to what the game entails. Let’s just say that hotels were replaced with crack houses. Read the USA Today article as to why the game was pulled here.

Lo and behold, the timeless game of Bingo now has a sub-culture variant for those who love (or hate) the hipster world. Simply called Hipster Bingo. I can’t wait for the Valley Girl, Guido, Jock, Athlete/Sporty, Nerd/Geek, Hip-Hop, Emo, Yuppie, Goth, Chach, Artsy Kid and Frat/Sorority-Bingo versions to come out. I may be onto something huge. Then again, probably not.

Playing Bingo is Hip!

Playing Bingo is Hip!

Taking the ‘mum’ out of of Minimum

You may have seen a few of his magazine covers for the New Yorker or you may have not. As high profile as the New Yorkeris, Richard McGuire’s reputation rests on the small shoulders of his thin body of work. However, I ran across some of his work and I really admire them. He is relatively unknown, just try searching for him off Google.

His illustrations are extremely simple and minimalist , but they are endearing. He dabbles in all types of media, from web design and animation to children’s books and illustrations. He primarily focuses his work on illustrations for the press, but he has created his own line of toys as well. Mr. McGuire is renowned for his graphic design innovations because he combines drawing, paper cutouts and vectoral drawings.

One of my favorite movies, Catch Me If You Can, also has one of my favorite opening credit scenes and Richard McGuire’s work is very similar in my opinion. Here is some of his work.

A little slice of calculated life: Photos of North Korea


One, Among Many.

The Boston Globe has made some of the best photo essays that I have seen as of late. I have included a few photos from their essays and articles as my photo of the week. However, their entire photo essays are usually fantastic. They are very real, showing real people in real circumstances and events. We read, hear, watch and see the news everywhere, but sometimes one picture can tell an entire story.

This photo collection is of North Korea, where the only pictures shown are usually state-controlled and or produced. Check it out here.

You can get a sense of control and restrictions through the pictures themselves. Everything looks produced, slick and almost fake. The people and environments depicted in the photos are uniform, calculated and preconceived. No wonder we know very little of what actually goes on in North Korea.


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