Adonis Diaries

Moments of wakefulness, consciousness and conscious awakening

You might think that “wakefulness” and “consciousness” can be confounded as meaning the same.  However, after the brain is injured, the two can be dissociated.

Not being comatose is not the same as feeling aware of your environment.

garyharstein posted this April 4, 2014 (selected as one of the top posts)

A superb day.

Sabine has told us two incredibly important things (about the status of Michael in the hospital), things that not only inform us as to where we are, but open up rather more optimistic possibilities than some of the darker options we’ve considered until now, based on not knowing.

I want to repeat, because it’s important to fully understand what will follow, that while “wakefulness” and “consciousness” usually are pretty much one and the same, after the brain is injured, the two can be dissociated. What do I mean?

Assuming that the terms are being used and translated correctly (and Sabine is a consummate professional and wouldn’t get this wrong), awakening refers to (at least) the appearance of . . . being awake. Basically that means eyes open. And as I mentioned before, this eye opening can even be cyclic, following what looks just like a sleep-wake cycle (even if not synchronised to real day-night hours).

Wakefulness WITHOUT consciousness is the definition of a vegetative state.

The eyes are open, but there’s no interaction with the environment. If Sabine had “only” said that Michael was showing wakefulness, it would mean that he is not comatose. That in itself is a damned sight “better” than persistent coma, not just in terms of life expectancy, but in terms of the chances of neurologic improvement.

But Sabine has also told us that Michael is showing signs of consciousness.

My lord, the brain is an amazing organ. And Michael a remarkable man. What does this consciousness probably look like? It consists of episodes of clear, purposeful interaction with the environment, and/or clear signs of awareness of self, even if these signs are not constantly present.

For example, if Michael smiles when a member of his entourage talks to him – reproducibly and consistently on at least a few occasions. Or following people with his eyes. Or trying to communicate, or obeying simple commands. Any of this constitutes objective signs of contact between the “outside” and the “inside”.

This would be a minimally conscious state. And that is about the best news we could possibly get right now. Why?

Because of what it means for everyone – Michael himself, his loved ones, and his fans. It means that Michael may well see, hear, and feel the love that’s around him. That he is, in some very real way, HERE.

It means his life expectancy has now improved VERY significantly. And last, but perhaps most important, it opens up a very real chance for further improvement.

This would mean spending more time “in touch” with his surroundings, and also improvement in the quality of the interaction. How incredibly positive!

This means rehab, lots of rehab.

Michael is used to working hard. Getting that brain to learn new ways of doing things, stimulating it, forcing it to handle data, and all the while working hard to build him up again physically. All very exciting. And very good.

Don’t get me wrong – this is a very important step, but we don’t want Michael to stay like this. But this is a very big step.

We all need to thank the team taking care of Michael as well as the people around him, for their devotion and patience. Everyone is going to need to be patient – for weeks, months, maybe years.

But if you’re even the slightest bit spiritual, it’s time cast a look upwards and mouth the words “thank you”

Resilient stubborn fatalism in rebel held enclaves? Or inability to leave?

Syrians in rebel-held areas have borne near-daily attacks, enduring President Bashar Assad’s military might with a resilience bordering on stubborn fatalism.

The family members stood shivering on a balcony in Aleppo’s Anadan suburb as midnight approached, their sleep interrupted by the nightly duty of a government helicopter pilot somewhere above them.

They followed the sound of the helicopter’s whirring blades as well as scratchy updates coming over a walkie-talkie from rebels spread throughout the area.

News came in that the helicopter had dropped two barrel bombs — oil drums filled with TNT that can level buildings — on nearby towns.

In Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, a kebab vendor works in the midst of a destroyed building. As Syria’s war rages on, Aleppo is a city under gradual demolition, with a shrinking civilian population struggling to survive . More photos

They knew that the helicopters can carry up to four of the bombs. They waited for the last two.

Below them, lights came on in basement bunkers as others sought a small measure of protection.

Khansa Laila walked out onto the balcony cloaked in several layers but still shaking in the nighttime chill.

“I woke up from the sound of the alarm, so I’m still cold,” she said referring to the warning system the town’s residents installed. “Also, fear makes you cold.”

Against a starry sky, a series of red streaks from a 14.5-millimeter machine gun shot upward. But the streaks rose and fell without striking their target, their reach far less than the height of the aircraft.

Eventually the sound of the helicopter grew faint and was replaced by that of a warplane.

“We don’t take the warplanes seriously anymore,” Laila said. “They launch rockets that are precise, but helicopters drop barrel bombs that can destroy dozens of homes with one barrel.”

The family went to sleep that night to the sound of machine-gun fire and the occasional rocket.

For more than 3 months, Aleppo’s opposition-held neighborhoods and surrounding suburbs have been terrorized nearly daily by barrel bombs unleashed from helicopters. The bombs, TNT-filled oil drums that can level buildings, have killed more than 2,000 people, activists estimate.  More photos

Three years into Syria’s conflict, the cacophony of war has become a familiar companion to daily life here in the country’s largest city, the sad soundtrack to its gradual demolition and a shrinking civilian population struggling to survive.

Those still in the city have adjusted to enduring the brunt of President Bashar Assad‘s military might with a resilience that borders on stubborn fatalism.

In a shoe store, a woman tries on a pair of wedge heels and deems them not comfortable enough “to flee” in. A 1-year-old with curly hair and big brown eyes speaks mostly in mumbles, but one word she knows clearly: tabit — it fell.

“A barrel falls and 10 minutes later people return to what they were doing,” said Muhammad, a young man working at a makeshift gas station: 12 oil drums resting on their sides serving six varieties of gasoline.

Hours earlier, a barrel bomb had struck the Sakhour roundabout, hitting three vehicles and killing eight people. With the blood fresh on the pavement, motorists stopped and peered at the carnage.

The next day people walked by without a glance; the destroyed vehicles had become one more addition to the city’s apocalyptic backdrop.

“Every day we see the names of the dead scrolling across the TV screen; they’ve just become numbers,” one man said. “When I was a kid and someone died we mourned for 40 days, the TV could not be turned on. Now someone dies on one side and you turn around and watch a soap opera.”

Since the government’s barrel bomb offensive began in late December, the city and suburbs have traded off bearing the burden of the attacks.

On a recent day in an Aleppo vegetable market, a warplane’s low rumble halted all transactions and conversation.

Unripe almonds and lettuce were momentarily forgotten as everyone turned their faces upward to track the plane by its sound. Drivers slowed down and stuck their heads out the window to look up.

Not until the rumble had faded, leaving only a billowy white trail across the sky, did the people return their attention to the mundane particulars of life. The plane was now the concern of another Aleppo neighborhood.

As he drove away from the market, Saleh Laila said, “If it had been a helicopter, they would watch it till it dropped the barrel, then pandemonium would break out and cars would start driving into each other and people would run, trying to get away.”

A couple of charred and stripped vehicles mark the entrance of rebel-held Aleppo, a fitting welcome to a city that in some parts is a barren urban landscape.

The helicopter attacks day and night, coupled with poundings by warplanes and artillery as well as regular clashes between government and rebel forces, have transformed the once-vibrant commercial hub into one with entire neighborhoods deserted.

More than two-thirds of the city’s population is estimated to have fled north either to Turkey or, for those not allowed passage into the country, along its border in ramshackle refugee tents. Certain suburbs have also seen a large exodus.

A makeshift gas station provides different varieties of fuel.  More photos

As one Aleppo resident said of the city, “There are fighters, activists and shop owners. No one else is left.

Some neighborhoods of Aleppo have only one or two families left.

At the roundabout in one such neighborhood, Muhammad Khair and his father sat in the grassy center and watched as their two dozen goats grazed. They heard rumors that a sniper was shooting people at the field where the goats customarily graze, so when the animals began bleating from hunger they came here.

Two months earlier in this district of dense, unregulated housing, the goats wouldn’t have been able to safely cross the road to get to the grass. Now, Khair said, in the span of 15 minutes, two cars had passed by.

At the scene of twin barrel bombings at a busy market, bodies, or what was left of them, were laid out along a sidewalk, covered with whatever was on hand: a green curtain, a plastic tarp and a banner for Dar al Shifa hospital, which had closed after repeated attacks.

A man, his shirt bloodied and neck bandaged, smoked a cigarette as those around him congratulated him on sustaining only a minor injury: “Thank God for your safety.”

“Don’t gather, don’t gather!” yelled one rebel with a Kalashnikov rifle, warning people that a crowd could invite another attack.

“A plane is coming, a plane is coming!” another rebel shouted while standing atop a traffic barrier, trying a more direct tactic to get the crowd to scatter. People ran away and then a few minutes later drifted back.

When local citizen journalists arrived and began filming, residents breathlessly screamed through a familiar script, praising God and cursing Assad.

Hours later, the broken glass and concrete had been swept and the blood washed away.

Children gathered around an ice cream stand, standing on tip-toes to peer at the available flavors, and men bought produce from a fruit vendor, the color of the oranges bright against the gray of fallen concrete.

Note: The Syrian army and its supporting militias of patriots have reconquered areas containing 16 million of citizens. All the main strategic roads for supplies and linking the main cities have been liberated.

The US trained “rebels” in Jordan are trying to re-enter Jordan, but they are stopped by the Jordanian forces because they don’t want to do with any of these extremist terrorists.,0,3916136.htmlstory#ixzz2ygh6CeeQ



Saudi Arabia is world’s fourth biggest military buyer

WORLD - APRIL 15, 2014

Saudi Arabia generally doesn’t announce military purchases, but multi-billion-dollar orders often facilitated by foreign governments are hard to conceal.

Saudi Arabia’s military spending in 2013 was $67 billion, up 14% from 2012. It jumped to number four on the list of the world’s biggest military spenders, passing France, Japan and the UK, according to an April 14 report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

Saudi Arabia spends the most on the list as a percentage of GDP by far.

British defense firm BAE Systems announced on Feb. 19 that it had renegotiated a deal to sell 72 Eurofighter Typhoon jets to Saudi Arabia. The original 2007 price was 4.4 billion British pounds, but the Saudis requested advanced weaponry and equipment.

The announcement coincided with a visit by Prince Charles, but his spokesman said BAE was not discussed. The deal became controversial when it was revealed that former premier Tony Blair pressured a UK attorney general to drop a fraud inquiry into a past BAE sale to the kingdom for Tornado combat jets.COPYRIGHT 2014 REUTERS

The announcement coincided with a visit by Prince Charles, but his spokesman said BAE was not discussed. The deal became controversial when it was revealed that former premier Tony Blair pressured a UK attorney general to drop a fraud inquiry into a past BAE sale to the kingdom for Tornado combat jets.

Saudi Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud visited Pakistan Feb. 15-17 (2014) to meet with military officials. He was expected to sign a security pact. Pakistan has expressed interest in selling its JF-17 Thunder combat jets (pictured), based on the F-16. Both countries deny nuclear arm discussions.

“The whole-of-government approach to export sales gives us a strategic advantage as we pursue international markets.”DANNY DEEP, GENERAL DYNAMICS LAND SYSTEMS – CANADA

U.S. weapons maker General Dynamics Corp. said on Feb. 14 that its Canadian subsidiary signed a 14-year contract for up to $13 billion to build light-armored vehicles for Saudi Arabia, the largest advanced manufacturing export deal in Canadian history. Canadian Trade Minister Ed Fast helped lead negotiations.

The Pentagon notified Congress on Dec. 5, 2013, of a sale of 15,000 Raytheon anti-tank missiles to Saudi Arabia worth $900 million. Although the notification said the sale was for Saudi defense, the kingdom has no known land threats. This raised speculation that the weapons were going to Syrian rebels.

In March 2013, Lockheed Martin signed a $253 million maintenance and training program for the kingdom’s F-15 fleet. In Dec. 2011, Saudi Arabia purchased 84 F-15SA fighter jets for $29.4 billion, in a deal that also upgraded its 70 F-15S jets.

“Lockheed Martin also recognizes that Saudi Arabia requires much more than defense and security capabilities. Our diverse portfolio of programs also includes offerings in other areas such as health, cyber-security, air traffic control and energy solutions.”LOCKHEED MARTIN WEBSITE

Lockheed Martin’s Saudi Arabian subsidiary also sells missiles, naval equipment, sniper guns, surveillance equipment, and satellite communications to Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia has made several purchases from the U.S. for Apache (pictured) and Blackhawk helicopters. The orders have been followed up with upgrades and training. Saudi Arabia signed $75.7 billion worth of U.S. arms transfer agreements from 2004-11, according to the Congressional Research Service.

Saudi weapons purchases have raised red flags because of the kingdom’s poor record on human rights and its support of hardline Islamists.

The militaries of countries that have poor human rights records such as Egypt, Yemen, Libya, and Bahrain have also received help from Saudi Arabia amid crackdowns.

Liquidity is meant for the Internal market. Competitiveness is for External market?

Should the level of “Life-Style” be the same among the competitive and the challenged productive states within a Union?

This is not a fair condition to impose on States that managed to sacrifice and work hard for better life conditions.

States in financial crisis must have ready lists of 4 categories of enterprises:

1. The public institutions that are critical in the smooth transmission of liquidity to the various economic sectors

2. The mixed State/Private entities that have locations in many regions of the State and employ many citizens

3. The nationwide private companies

4. The medium and small productive companies that serve their local provinces

It is well know that medium and small productive companies constitute 70% of State production that cater for the internal market needs.

Any shortage in liquidity in these small private companies  and employment hit the roof and the citizens experience shortages in most commodities.

Giving priority to the local economies in the distribution (infusion) of liquidity is the first step in preventing mass unemployment.

There are public economic sectors that cater to the general public needs, such as energy, water and transportation… and the stabilization of these functional sectors in matter of maintenance is another urgent priority.

Before the internal market is reinvigorated and underway, it is of no use planning for the export sections to external markets in order to get the influx of “hard currencies”

Stability and security are the basis for a shift toward State development.

Having the autonomy to print money in period of liquidity shortage is the key for stabilizing the internal market.

The disadvantage resides in the society structure that favor the oligarchy and wealth disparity that eliminate the benefit of printing more money.

The crisis in Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Italy have demonstrated that it is a priority that a State has to reform its public service institutions to discard redundant and politically influenced service appointments.

Without a drastic realization that the political structure should be reformed, and for actually feel the pain associated with uneven equal rights to jobs and opportunities in the institutions, all the remaining reforms will be within the “patching” process.

The crisis in Greece was deep rooted because it lacked the two preconditions: Lousy political structure and not having the right to print money.

Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Italy had political structures that could remedy to the “unfairly” political conditions and to reform the system within the single Euro currency.

The EU has learned the lesson:

1. First, the State that asks to join the union zone must demonstrate that it is serious to undertake political reforms and the structure be designed to react in timely manners to situations of political reforms.

Many States have been included based on historical and ideological “myths” that didn’t match their current unstable realities.

The EU dominant responsibility is to gradually transform the States who applied to join the union into politically viable structure.

The States in waiting must acknowledge that it takes time to achieve stable and valid political structure.

How a poor and unstable State can become competitive in the external market? This is an impossible condition to withhold liquidity infusion that is meant to support local companies.

The “productively challenged States” in the Euro zone should not expect the same level of life-style as the most competitive among them.

And equal rights in life-style is not an equitable and sustainable demand on State basis.


How you look on different drugs: Artist Self-Portraits

In what could be considered the craziest/most creative drug experiment ever, artist Bryan Lewis Saunders pushed himself to the limit when he decided to take a different drug every day for a few weeks.

Not only was he not sober, but he also drew a self-portrait of himself while under the influence of these drugs each day.

  posted this 

Artist Creates Self-Portraits On Different Drugs, And The Results Are Insane (Photos)

After all, there’s no doubt that this takes a toll on your body. From nicotine gum, to cocaine, to Zoloft, to PCP, Saunders did it all.

Nicotine gum














Abilify/ Xanax/Ativan














Butane Honey Oil






Computer duster


Cough syrup


Crystal Meth




Morphine IV


G13 Marijuana






Huffing gas




Huffing lighter fluid




Nitrous Oxide/Valium


Psilocybin mushrooms


Nitrous Oxide








Marijuana resin




Salvia Divinorum






Valium I.V.


Valium I.V./Albuterol








H/T: The Chive, Photos courtesy of Bryan Lewis Saunders



Valium I.V./Albuterol








H/T: The Chive, Photos courtesy of Bryan Lewis Saunders


Anthony is a New York-based writer and a graduate of Johnson & Wales University with a passion for exploring the cooler things in life.

Always eager to inform, Anthony is the lifestyle editor at Elite Daily and is knowledgeable about pretty much anything within the walls of awesomeness: from the latest Lamborghini, to the most absurd burgers around.

He also enjoys spontaneous skateboarding sessions on New York City’s Upper East Side. Much like writing, it’s what keeps the guy alive.

Lives of Palestinians in pictures

If you are considering a visit to Palestine and had never traveled there before, you need not imagine that going there is quite dangerous.

In the mainstream media, images of conflict permeate, along with the tragedy that is expressed afterwards.

While it may be interpreted as a melancholy environment, where an endless dissension between two people groups continues, there is still the spirit of life.

One that each human participates in, whether in an conflicted area or not.

East-Jerusalem based photographer Tanya Habjouqa has focused her work on photographing the Palestinian communities of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.

She captures a way of life that is not always seen by the public eye. Her series is titled “Occupied Pleasures,” and displays the Palestinian community enjoying the pleasures of life as any person would.

 posted this April 8, 2014

The Rarely-Seen Lives of Palestinians

Photographed by Tanya Habjouqa

palestine pleasure5

Teenage girls try on dresses for an upcoming dance at their private school in Ramallah.

Bodybuilders in Gaza show off the results of their work.

The images are striking yet simple and garnered her a World Press Photo award. Regarding the Occupied Pleasures work, Habjouqa says:

More than 4 million Palestinians live in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem, where the political situation regularly intrudes upon the most mundane of moments. Movement is circumscribed and threat of violence often hangs overhead.

This creates the strongest of desires for the smallest of pleasures, and a sharp sense of humor about the absurdities that a 47-year occupation has produced.

This is an exploration of the moments where ordinary men and women demonstrate a desire to live, not just simply survive.

A family and friends play cards on the roof in the Dheisheh Refugee Camp of Bethlehem

A yoga class in the outskirts of Bethlehem in the village of  Zataara.

Students from the  Al-Quds University javelin team finish up one last practice before the summer holiday begins.

A few boys enjoy a cool break from the heat in a small kiddie pool in the West Bank village of Kufr Ni’ma.

Two young women enjoy the view on the way up to the “Mount of Temptation” in a cable car in Jericho.

Young men enjoy some shisha in the natural setting of Ein Qiniya. A few Israeli settlements are nearby.

On the way to the Eid Celebration, a man enjoys a cigarette on the last day of Ramadan in the West Bank.

Some women model at the Intercontinental Bethlehem for upcoming designer Nadya Hazbunova.

The Gaza Parkour team practices in a cemetery on the outskirts of their refugee camp in Khan Younis, Gaza.
palestine parkhour

After final high school examinations, youth in Gaza flock to the sea and to the fun fair to let off steam
palestine pleasure2

Two furniture makers take a break in a pair of plush armchairs (of their creation) in the open-air in Hizma, against Israel’s 26-foot high Separation Wall.
palestine pleaure

14 year old Sabah Abu Ghanim, Gaza’s famous girl surfer, waits to catch a wave
palestine surfing

A young fiancee goes wedding dress shopping in Gaza. Her future husband is working in Libya, where she hopes to join him.
palestine wedding

A mobile toy store van cruises along the Gaza beach highway.

A young boy takes his donkey for a swim, and attempts to get him out near Gaza’s Deir al-Balah refugee camp.
Tanya-Habjouqa2_palestine 3

A family enjoys a picnic in Ein Qiniya, the nearest nature spot for families in Ramallah
palestinian pleausre 12

via featureshoot

Shawn Saleme is a full time writer for Visual News.

Having traveled to over 45 countries, his international escapades continue to influence his writing and perspective. When not in a foreign territory, he makes his home in his native San Francisco Bay Area. Become friends with him on Facebook and invite him to share drinks and stories with you.



No face, No name female victims of car accidents in Saudi Arabia. 

Are Solo Shows any fun?  And Artist Manal Al DOWAYAN

Saudi artist Manal Al Dowayan’s latest exhibition, “Crash”, which opened the first day of Art Week this year, goes against the grain of what we expect to see at a DIFC opening during Art Dubai. But this is precisely Manal Al Dowayan. 

 posted this April 14, 2014


Manal Al Dowayan And Her Recent Solo Show “Crash”
Manal Al Dowayan is a strong character and has a distinct voice. She is a fierce fighter for the ongoing struggle by women for equality and uses her art as a form of protest against Saudi Arabia’s strict religiously-inspired traditions.
In addition to challenging the status quo, “Crash” goes a step further and challenges the basic definition of what art is by presenting the research process as the work itself.

“And my voice must be hushed so as not to offend. So what will remain of me?”

corinnemartin_manaldowayan 3

Al-Dowayan grew up in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia on an Aramco compound.

The compound was a removed and Westernized environment and once she left its confines she was faced with the truth about women within Saudi society.

The women she saw were controlled, passive, and expected to behave within the confines of their marital chores and duties. Through her art, she delves deep behind the veil which wraps itself around these women and suggests an alternative.

“My name is being erased because of the shame of pronouncing it publicly”

In her most popular series I Am, Al-Dowayan is influenced by the feminist photography of Cindy Sherman and Shirin Neshat where she explores the roles of women in Saudi society, from journalists and doctors to United Nations officers and petroleum engineers.

Al-Dowayan also uses participatory projects such as Esmi (My Name), where she presents a collection of giant rosaries with women’s names written on each bead, inscribed by Saudi women who chose to take part in the artwork, as a platform to involve women in her community to take part in her art and its vision.

“I care about transmitting the message contained in my work as much as I care about the aesthetic,” she says.

corinnemartin_manaldowayan 2

Al-Dowayan’s latest research-based artwork exhibition, Crash, brings to light the disturbing number of car accidents in Saudi Arabia in which female teachers are injured or killed.

For these women, the combination of low pay, a ban on driving, and unsafe roads and drivers, has created a highly dangerous and unstable situation.The accidents are regularly reported in Saudi newspapers, but because of Saudi tradition the names of the women are never revealed. Their faces are never seen and their names are not mentioned.

“These women are poorly paid, banned from driving and assigned to teach in remote areas far away from their homes. This forces them to pool funds and travel in groups. But the long distances, unsafe roads and the bad drivers they have to rely on become the cause of many accidents. In the newspaper reports of these accidents, there is no trace of the identity of the victims.

corinnemartin_manaldowayan 9

People cannot mourn for victims who have no face or name, so this repeated reportage of anonymous crash victims just makes them numb towards the situation. I want to change the way society reacts to this grave situation by presenting the human stories behind the crashes,” Al Dowayan says.

The artworks on display present information on the crashes through newspaper clippings, along with Al-Dowayan’s own notes which give details of the crash. She also displays tweets from the women prior to the accident.

In one area of the exhibition, a series of framed road maps are presented with three data points marked by three simple pins. The locations marked on the maps were the teacher’s homes, the schools to which they were assigned, and the crash sites. These maps bring to light the long distances the women had to travel and the risks they were forced to take.

The irony here is how the Saudi government commissioned expert engineers to create these maps which were then used by Manal to plot this archaic cultural atrocity.

The artist asks, “How do you mourn if the suffering have no face or name?”

corinnemartin_manaldowayan 4

In Crash, Al-Dowayan challenges us to be conscious of the images shown to us in the media by purposely presenting the information stripped of aesthetics and displayed matter-of-factly. Al-Dowayan then makes the emotional impact of these tragedies percievable by displaying tweets sent by the women before the accidents, along with a very touching video with narrations in first person of the stories of the victims.

The videos show the victims as young women with hopes and aspirations, casually sharing their problems and joys, and describing the simple mundane events of their day up to the moment of the crashes which abruptly took their lives.

corinnemartin_manaldowayan 5







April 2014
« Mar    

Blog Stats

  • 377,112 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by

Join 272 other followers


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 272 other followers

%d bloggers like this: