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Iran. Economics. History. Social Work. Public Health. Alzheimer's. Logical Fallacies. Playing. Fashion. Simulacra & Simulation.
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I take no credit for the photos posted unless I specify them as personal.

… soaking up the adulation and truly believing that the crowd of tens of thousands had gathered just to tell him he was a good dog.
                      “For my first decree as emperor: All vacuum cleaners must be purged.”
During a parade in Mexico Washington Post cameras captured this random dog trotting down the parade route …
This man is your friend. He fights for freedom.
You can cut all the flowers, but you cannot keep spring from coming - Pablo Neruda
If it would destroy a 12 year old boy to be called a girl, what are we then teaching him about girls?

The incident marks the third time there has been a shooting at a U.S. military base in seven months and comes less than five years after another shooting rampage at Fort Hood ended with 13 dead and more than 30 injured. 

Read the rest HERE

This does not even begin to address the suicide epidemic that is occurring in the military.  Did you know that last year, more active-duty soldiers killed themselves than died in combat. And after a decade of deployments to war zones, the Pentagon is bracing for things to get much worse? Yet funding for mental health programs throughout the nation continues to get cut.

Use the pain and outrage that you’re feeling to demand that our government officials provide more efficient mental health care programs. Our current system is broken, and we’re not going to fix it by throwing a little money here or there and avoiding the problem.

Sizdeh Bedar tradition & food!

Sizdahbedar (stylized as “13 Bedar”) is the name of a festival in Persian Culture. Sizdah is the Persian term for thirteen. Leaving the house on the Thirteenth Day of Farvardin (the first month of Iranian calendar), and joyfully spending the day outdoors have been a national tradition since ancient times in Iran.

Sizdah Bedar is the day Tir (The Blessed day) of the month Farvardin from ancient Persian (Iranian) calendar, which is the first day of agricultural activity of Ancient Persians. Be-dar in Persian means, going out. In this day Iranians go to have fun with their families all the day long,

On the thirteenth day of the new year, which also marks the end of the Nowrooz break for the school children, families leave their houses and head for the outdoors where they eat, play games, and celebrate a happy and healthy holiday season.

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This tradition is called Seezdah Bedar (seezdah means thirteen) which in English translates to “getting rid of thirteen”. This fun and exciting outing involves all family members and is intended to end the holiday season on a relaxing and positive note. The concept of avoiding the number thirteen is mainly to symbolize the will and power to deal with all evil in the new year.

The two weeks long NoRooz celebration ends with SeezDeh Bedar. SeezDeh means Thirteen and SeezDeh Bedar is the process of getting over with or passing over the thirteenth day of the New Year. (Some believe 13 being an unlucky number)

Sizdah-Bedar is also believed to be a special day to ask for rain. In ancient Iran, every day had its own name, and belonged to a different angel. The 13th of Farvardin belonged to the angel of rain. This angel is depicted as a horse. Sizdah-Bedar is also a day for competitive games. Games involving horses were often chosen as a victory of a horse represented , the angle of rain.

On this day, girls & boys tie a knot with grass and make wishes perhaps for a husband or wife. When the knot is opened (it is beleived that) their luck will open and their wishes will come true. Newly weds also tie a grass knot making wishes for a baby, a house, or whatever is on their Have-To-Have list.

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Tehran’s artificial lake earlier today!t

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Women throwing her sabzeh into a river in Bath.

An interesting ritual performed at the end of the picnic day is to throw away the Sabzee from the Nowrooz Haft Seen table. The sabzee is supposed to have collected all the sickness, pain and ill fate hiding on the path of the family throughout the coming year! Touching someone else’s sabzee on this thirteenth day or bringing it home is therefore not a good idea and may result in absorbing their pain and hardship.

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Iranian men surrounding Kabobs at a park in Tehran

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Sizdeh Bedar FOOD

Some favorite snacks are Mint and Vinegar Syrup (Sekanjebeen) with Lettuce - recipe can be found HERE image

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Traditional Sizdah Bedar Food Menu

Chicken (Morgh) and Rice (Polow) have been important traditional preparations for the day. These two ingredients were common and widely used to make dishes for the day. Rice and Chicken together made an important Sizdah Bedar dish, Shevid Baghali Polow with Morgh or Dill Lima Beans Rice with Chicken. Ash Reshteh is another popular traditional preparation. The dishes are widely popular in today’s times as well.

Significance of Sizdah Bedar Dishes

As the day is meant to be celebrated outdoors, Sizdah Bedar dishes are prepared keeping this in mind. Sizdah Bedar recipes generally make use of food items and ingredients which do not go bad too soon and can be consumed comfortably in outdoor settings. An important and interesting fact to note is that wheat sprouts are not used in Sizdah Bedar preparations as it is traditionally believed that on this day, sprouts need to be thrown in water. This is symbolic of getting rid of disease, sadness, troubles and misfortune for the coming year.

Modern Sizdah Bedar Preparations and Their Varieties

Although little has changed over the years when it comes to Sizdah Bedar dishes in terms of ingredients, preparation methods have slightly varied from the traditional ways of cooking. Also, meat is not always a part of the menu nowadays. Religious groups and environmentalists promoting green celebration of festivals have been calling for use of organic vegetables for preparation of food and vegetarianism for quite some time now. People who have decided to make the festival greener follow Sizdah Bedar recipes which call for the use of vegetables grown organically and the preparations are purely vegetarian.

Some great traditional meal ideas for Sizdeh Bedar can be found here

Happy Sizdeh Bedar!

If you have not seen this movie, you must do so now. 1 Year, 25 countries and one of those countries is Iran. It’s such a BEAUTIFUL documentary. Check out the trailer, totally gave me the feels.

Iranians participating in Earth Hour throughout Iran. You can participate in Earth Hour tonight by turning off all electronics at 8:30 PM. More photos of cities participating in Earth Hour can be found HERE

Azadi tower goes dark for #EarthHour in Tehran, Iran. More photos of cities going dark for Earth Hour can be found HERE
eat-to-thrive:

Fresh veggie & papaya spring rolls w/ raisin chutney! I filled rice paper wraps with baby kale, cilantro, pea sprouts, red cabbage, papaya, cucumber, zucchini, red pepper, & scallions. To make the raisin chutney I soaked 1/2 cup (about 80g) raisins in 1/4 cup lemon juice & 1/8 cup water for 1 hour, then I blended that with 1 small garlic clove & a large price of fresh ginger (about 8g).

eat-to-thrive:

Fresh veggie & papaya spring rolls w/ raisin chutney! I filled rice paper wraps with baby kale, cilantro, pea sprouts, red cabbage, papaya, cucumber, zucchini, red pepper, & scallions. To make the raisin chutney I soaked 1/2 cup (about 80g) raisins in 1/4 cup lemon juice & 1/8 cup water for 1 hour, then I blended that with 1 small garlic clove & a large price of fresh ginger (about 8g).

International Women’s day demonstrators Tehran, March 8, 1979
Ted Kennedy with various Kennedy women wearing a chador, visit a mosque in Iran - 1975

Azadi Tower under construction

Vanishing Vultures A Grave Matter For India’s Parsis

Zoroastrian priests pray to honor the dead inside a temple in Pune, India, on Aug. 18, 2010. Each of the dead is represented by a vase filled with flowers. Parsis forbid images of their funeral ceremonies, where the deceased are taken to the Tower of Silence and consumed by vultures and other birds of prey.

Zoroastrian priests pray to honor the dead inside a temple in Pune, India, on Aug. 18, 2010. Each of the dead is represented by a vase filled with flowers. Parsis forbid images of their funeral ceremonies, where the deceased are taken to the Tower of Silence and consumed by vultures and other birds of prey.

Kainaz Amaria/NPR

For any religion, keeping up traditions in the modern world can be a challenge. The Parsi community in India, however, faces a unique obstacle.

Parsis, who came to India from Persia (Iran) a thousand years ago with their Zoroastrian faith, have gone to great lengths to maintain their unique funeral rituals. But they’ve had to make a few adjustments to keep up with the times and to not upset the neighbors.

Parsi funerals begin in a way familiar to many faiths: prayers are chanted and mourners pay last respects.

But that’s where the similarities end, says Khojeste Mistree, head of the Zoroastrian Studies Institute in Mumbai.

This image shows a Parsi Tower of Silence, circa 1955, near Mumbai, India. The bodies of the dead are left here to be disposed of by vultures.

This image shows a Parsi Tower of Silence, circa 1955, near Mumbai, India. The bodies of the dead are left here to be disposed of by vultures.

Alice Schalek/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

"We have an unusual method of disposal of the dead. The Parsi corpse is exposed to the rays of the sun, and the corpse is consumed or devoured by birds of prey — vultures, kites and crows," Mistree says.

For Zoroastrians, burying or cremating the dead is seen as polluting nature. So for centuries, the Parsis in Mumbai have relied on vultures to do the work — that is, until the entire population of vultures in the city vanished.

Man-Made Alternative Poses Problems

Without the vultures, the Parsis have had to rely on man-made ingenuity.

"To dehydrate the body faster, the trustees introduced solar concentrators to focus heat," Mistree says. "But during the monsoon season, the solar concentrators don’t work because of the clouds."

The solution isn’t perfect — the solar concentrators can only work on several bodies at a time — but it has helped keep the tradition alive.

At the top of a wooded hill in Mumbai’s Doongerwadi forest, Parsi bodies are laid outside on a platform in what’s called the Tower of Silence.

Mistree says the tower is similar to a tiered amphitheater that can hold more than 250 bodies at a time.

Zoroastrian priest Ramiyar Karanjia fields questions during a meeting with young members of the faith in Pune, India, on May 13, 2010.

Zoroastrian priest Ramiyar Karanjia fields questions during a meeting with young members of the faith in Pune, India, on May 13, 2010.

Kainaz Amaria/NPR

There are still smaller birds like crows, which also will consume the bodies. But the solar concentrators often keep them away during the day because it’s too hot. They’re also less efficient than vultures.

And that, too, has created problems for the Parsis, says Zoroastrian priest Ramiyar Karanjia.

"Vultures are very quick in eating away the flesh. Now it’s working a bit slowly. From an emotional point of view, it is disturbing to some people," Karanjia says.

So a job that would take hours for a flock of vultures now can take weeks. And as Mumbai has grown into a megacity, slowly decomposing bodies have made some neighbors squeamish.

One of the towers was closed because it was visible from new high-rises that peer into the forest. And air purifiers had to be installed to minimize the smell.

Push To Revive Vulture Population

These man-made fixes have helped but haven’t solved the problem that started in the 1980s, when the vulture population across India began to mysteriously disappear.

By 2007, the number of vultures had fallen by 99 percent. The disappearing vultures confounded scientists, until studies found that a drug administered to cattle in India killed the vultures when they fed on the carcasses.

The Indian government banned the drug and set up reserves for the birds. The success of the program has led to a new proposal to start a vulture sanctuary in Doongerwadi. And that could make life easier for the Parsis and their neighbors, says Homi Khusrokhan, president of the Bombay Natural History Society.

"For years, Parsis have been trying to manage without vultures," Khusrokhan says. "But obviously, if the vultures could be brought back, [the Parsis] would be delighted. And it’s always been an impossible task, so this is the first time it’s really become feasible to do."

Even if a sanctuary is approved, it would take time before the vultures could be released into the wild. And when that happens, Parsis are hoping nature will once again take its course.

WHEN I TRY TO BUILD RAPPORT WITH MY ADOLESCENT CLIENTS

WHEN I TRY TO BUILD RAPPORT WITH MY ADOLESCENT CLIENTS