Monday, November 1, 2021

1001 Recaps Blog


Here's a 1001 Nights blog I just discovered but can't figure out who the author is. Unfortunately they also seem to have stopped posting but what's up there is really nicely done -

Friday, March 5, 2021

Chateaubriand’s Travels in Greece, Palestine


“From a new work, ‘Chateaubriand’s Travels in Greece, Palestine, &c. in 1806 & 1807,’ we extract the following interesting passages, descriptive of various scenes”

It was midnight when we arrived at the kan of Menemen. I perceived at a distance a great number of scattered lights : it was a caravan making a halt. On a nearer approach I distinguished camels, some lying, others standing, some with their load others relieved from the burden. Horses and asses without bridles were eating barley out of leather buckets;  some of the men were still on horseback, and the women, veiled, had not alighted from their dromedaries. Turkish merchants were seated cross-legged on carpets in groups round the fires, at which the slaves were busily employed in dressing pilau. Other travellers were smoking their pipes at the door of the kan, chewing opium, and listening to stories. Here were people burning coffee in iron pots ; the hucksters went about from fire to fire offering cakes, fruit and poultry for sale. Singers were amusing the crowd; imans were performing their ablutions, prostrating themselves, rising again and invoking the prophet; and the camel-drivers lay snoring on the ground. The place was strewed with packages, bags of cotton, and couffs of rice. All these objects, now distinct and reflecting a vivid light, now confused and enveloped in a half shade, exhibited a genuine scene of the Arabian Nights. It wanted nothing but the caliph Haroun al Raschid, the vizir Giaffar, and Mesrour, the chief of the black eunuchs."

"Travels in Greece, &c." National Intelligencer, 15 Apr. 1813. Accessed 4 Mar. 2021.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

New Yorker Review of Disney's Live Action Aladdin

 Here's a great and hilarious review of Disney's live action car wreck Aladdin (2019).

And some clips: 

"The director of the latest “Aladdin” is a middle-aged white Brit, Guy Ritchie, but the diversity of his cast is quite in keeping with the tangled roots of the tale. We have an African-American, Will Smith, as the Genie, and a Cairo-born Coptic Canadian, Mena Massoud, as Aladdin. Princess Jasmine, whom he woos, is played by Naomi Scott, whose Ugandan mother is of Gujarati Indian descent. Marwan Kenzari, a Dutch-Tunisian actor, takes the part of the dastardly vizier, Jafar. The show is deftly stolen, like a bracelet slipped from a wrist, by the Iranian-American Nasim Pedrad, famed for her impersonations on “Saturday Night Live,” which run all the way—and it’s a hell of a way—from Kim Kardashian to Christiane Amanpour. Here, Pedrad plays Jasmine’s handmaiden, Dalia, who, in an unprecedented twist, has a crush on the Genie. Good luck with that."

"Yet Ritchie has made significant alterations. First, he has modified the law of sultanic succession by giving women the right to rule. Second, by some cunning spell, he has taken all the fun from the earlier Disney film and—abracadabra!—made it disappear. The big musical numbers strain for pizzazz. The action sequences are a confounding rush, which is a grave drawback amid the alleys of the bazaar. And Jafar is about as frightening as the rug, though the fault, I’d suggest, lies less with the actor than with Disney, which is busy rebooting its cartoons with human performers and hoping that we won’t notice the difference. But the Jafar of 1992 derived his power from the ease with which he swelled and stretched, like a sort of evil taffy. Animation, in other words, became him. Ritchie tries to repeat the trick with C.G.I., to graceless and cumbersome effect."

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Aladdin's Lamp is Real


From -

Meerut conmen dupe several with promise of riches from Aladdin’s lamp

by Anuj Kumar

Oct. 30. 2020

"In an incident that reminds how human greed is beyond reason, two persons have been arrested in Meerut for allegedly duping people with what they claimed is ‘Aladdin’s Chiragh’.

Meerut Police have arrested Ikramuddin and Anis on the complaint of one Laiq Khan for allegedly duping him of ₹2.5 crores after promising him that all his wishes would be fulfilled through the magical lamp.

“Laiq, who apparently specialises in Ayurveda and claims to be a doctor used to treat the mother of the accused Ikramuddin, himself a tantrik (occult practitioner). Ikramuddin promised the doctor that he had a lamp that would make him a billionaire,” said SHO, Brahmpuri Subhash Atri. 

Anis and Ikramuddin have been booked under sections 386 (extortion after putting a person under fear of death or grievous hurt and 420 of IPC. 

Mr Khan, who claims to have spent some time in London, told the police that Ikramuddin and his brother-in-law Anis would make a djinn appear in a dark room. “When Laiq would ask them to sell the lamp, they would scare him by saying that it would bring bad things to him. Ultimately, they agreed to sell [the lamp] him for ₹70 lakh but told him not to use it for six months otherwise the djinn would destroy his family,” said Mr Atri.

According to the SHO, however, Ikramuddin confessed to having duped Mr. Khan of only ₹40 lakhs. “He said the rest of the amount was paid back to the doctor to win his trust. We are investigating his account and would attach a house that he says he built from the amount received.”

Mr Atri said the modus operandi of the accused included winning the trust of the people by first showing them the results of the magical lamp. “For instance, they would ask people to give them ₹5 lakhs and give them ₹7 lakhs in return. In some cases, they would bury the money in some secluded place and ask the client to go there and dig it out. Such practices convinced people of their power.”

Mr Atri said Ikramuddin tried to convince the police too about the powers of the lamp. 

He said Meerut police were tracking the duo for some time. “As they have no fixed place of residence, it was hard to fish them out. Such practices mostly work on word of mouth. Finally, after a tip-off from a mole, they were nabbed on October 25. When Mr. Khan realised that the police were after Ikramuddin, he became circumspect and approached us.”

Now, the artificial, gleaming ‘Aladdin ka Chiragh’ is a case property along with the stone that was used to rub it. “As long as man is driven by greed, such cases would keep on happening,” Mr Atri said.