Friday, December 23, 2005

Not all Bin Ladens are hairy, child-raping lunatics

Happy New Year to all Osama bin Laden fans!

Osama bin Laden's niece bares much in GQ spread for Jan. 2006 issue
'My values are like yours,’ she says, distancing herself from al-Qaida leader

NEW YORK - Osama bin Laden’s niece, in an interview with GQ magazine in which she appears scantily clad, says she has nothing in common with the al-Qaida leader and simply wants acceptance by Americans.

“Everyone relates me to that man, and I have nothing to do with him,” Wafah Dufour, the daughter of bin Laden’s half brother, Yeslam Binladin, says in the January edition of the magazine, referring to the al-Qaida leader.

“I want to be accepted here, but I feel that everybody’s judging me and rejecting me,” said the California-born Dufour, a musician and law school graduate who lives in New York. “Come on, where’s the American spirit? Accept me. I want to be embraced, because my values are like yours. And I’m here. I’m not hiding.”

Dufour, who adopted her mother’s maiden name after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that have been blamed on bin Laden, appears in several provocative photos in the magazine.

The pictures are likely to be considered obscene by conservative Muslims in and outside of Saudi Arabia where women are required to be veiled.
Asked if she would like to perform her music in the Middle East, Dufour says her mother, Carmen Dufour, would be too afraid that “someone would want to kill me.”

“Listen, I would love to raise consciousness. Maybe women could hear the songs and realize that I’m doing my dream and hopefully they can, too,” she said.

Yeslam and Osama are among 54 children of the late Saudi construction magnate Mohammed bin Laden and his 22 wives. The extended family includes several hundred people.

Binladin, who received Swiss citizenship in 2001, has condemned his half brother “for his acts and his convictions.” He intentionally spells his name differently from his half brother.

In the interview, Dufour says she would not date a fundamentalist Muslim and that she cried hysterically when she witnessed the attacks on New York while staying with her mother in Geneva.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Fabulous anime fantasy series

Mask of Zeguy (1997)
Rating: Seven of Ten Stars

"Mask of Zeguy" was originally made as a two-part animated series, although here it is contained on one disc. It features a solid storyline about Miki, a teenaged dscendent of a powerful priestess who is is drawn into the World of the Clouds, a magical realm where she becomes embroiled in a battle to save both it and Earth.

This is a low-priced DVD, with good animations quality, interesting ideas, and plenty of action and twists and turns within a story that should appeal to both girls and boys.

One of the things that I found most appealing was the design of the World in the Clouds... it was a fascinating "what if Leonardo DaVinchi's more offbeat creations actually worked"/magic steam-punk kind of place.

The only caveat to "Mask of Zeguy" is that its storyline assumes alot of knowledge of Japanese history and classic poetry. Some of the figures that Miki meets are well-known Japanese historical/mythical figures, and some of the villians' plans are likewise probably only fully understood with some grounding in Japanese culture. That said, I don't think I have much more knowledge of Japanese history and culture than most Americans, and I enjoyed "Mask of Zeguy," so I'm sure others will, too.

On a note that isn't related so much to the cartoon as it is to its marketing, "Mask of Zeguy" was originally released in the U.S. as simply "Zeguy" (back in 1997). That title makes alot more sense than that given to the current edition--"Zeguy" is a Japanese word that translates, roughly, into "Wow!" or "Amazing!" There is no character in the show named Zeguy, nor is there any "Mask of Wow" anywhere in the program. It looks to me like someone in the marketing department decided the title needed to be punched up, and that he was making his decisions based solely on promo art for the product.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

'Explorer Woman Ray' is two-parter that starts strong, but fades fast

In this two-part direct-to-video animated series, a pair of twin sisters join up with adventuring archelologist Ray. In the process, they avenge dead parents and keep a powerful, ancient South American treasure from falling into the hands of those who would use it for evil.

The first half of this hour-long (the first episode) tape is pretty entertaining. It's got good animation, nice Indiana Jones-like adventuring, and a nice conflict between Ray and her overbearing, blondhaired arch-nemesis. The second half (the second episode), unfortunately, shows a sharp drop in animation quality. There's more action and drama than in the first half, but the bad animation weighs it down, and it manages to pull the whole package down from what could have been a Six Rating to a Four.

(From the Inappropriate Thought Department: I keep wanting to pronounce the name of the busty lead character in a fashion with the old racist jokes involving "flied lice." :) )