Letters From Baghdad

A IST film review

I am, as my regular visitors know, a Middle East student for I am always reading, researching and writing about the situations and events and history of the region.

I do not usually do a review for most people would find the subjects I watch a bit tedious and boring……but from time to time I watch something that I think might interest my readers….

“Letters From Baghdad” is one of those films…..it is a documentary about a wonderful person in the history of the Middle East, Gertrude Bell…..narrated by Tilda Swinton…..her life, her thoughts and her place in Middle East history.

In British diplomatic group photographs of the early 20th-century Middle East, amid the plumes and uniforms and the calm paraphernalia of an empire going to hell in a bucket, there is often a solitary female. The woman is slim, with a head of luxuriant hair, and neatly dressed in billowing muslins or in the pencil silhouette and cloche hats of jazz-age Baghdad.

The woman is Gertrude Bell, who is as responsible as anybody for the rickety national state first known as Mesopotamia, and now as Iraq. As a powerful official of the British administration in Baghdad after the first world war, Bell ensured that an Arab state was founded from the three Ottoman provinces of Mosul, Baghdad and Basra, but one which was too weak to be independent of Britain. “I had a well-spent morning at the office making out the southern desert frontier of the Iraq,” she wrote to her father on December 4 1921.


Anyone that likes history and strong women in history should watch this movie…..

And you do not have to order the movie and wait for it to appear…..

The Old Professor has found a way to watch it immediately…….


Please enjoy and I would like to hear what you think of the person as well as the documentary.

Yep, this is a sneaky way of injecting some history into your weekend…..

Plus a wide screen adaptation of the book about Gertrude Bell, “Queen of the Desert” has been released….I have not watched it yet but I would like to include a trailer for the film starring Nicole Kidman….

Her book of letters are the basis of the movie “Letters From Baghdad”….it is fascinating reading about her life and her love of Iraq and the desert…..

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Sunday’s Random Thoughts

As usual I have more notes than posts so I share some of them with my readers as “Random Thoughts”….

For the last few years there has been the rumblings from the Far East about the engineering of babies….and the possible side effects….

Looks like a highly controversial attempt to create HIV-immune babies didn’t work out and may have even gone wrong, the Guardian reports. This according to an MIT Technology Review report on the work of Chinese scientist He Jiankui, who sparked outcry with his plan to edit the embryonic genes of twins in 2018. Releasing parts of his manuscript for the first time, the report dismisses Jiankui’s claim of “success” and says he may have created unintended genetic mutations. Jiankui “makes little attempt to prove that the twins really are resistant to the virus,” writes Antonio Regalado, the Review‘s senior editor for biomedicine. “And the text largely ignores data elsewhere in the paper suggesting that the editing went wrong.”

Using the gene editing tool Crispr, Jiankui singled out the gene CCR5—a mutation of which can create HIV immunity—but it’s unclear whether he replicated the “Delta 32” variation needed for immunity or perhaps created unintended changes. The report also criticizes Jiankui for leaving out the names of doctors involved, possibly tricking them into doing the work, not saying who funded it, and falsely claiming that embryo editing will help millions of people. Another concern: The twins’ HIV-positive father might have joined the research simply to get a fertility treatment in a country where the virus still carries a major social stigma, per the Telegraph. All told, not a ringing endorsement.

I think this should be outlawed…..think Khan.

How about that organism that can eat meteorites?

A microbial descendant of some of Earth’s earliest life can not only survive by eating meteorites, but also seemingly thrive on the space rocks — a finding that could help us detect signs of past life throughout the universe.

Humans and all other animals need to eat organic matter to survive. The single-celled organism Metallosphaera sedula (M. sedula), however, can produce its energy by eating non-living things, such as metals — which allows it to thrive in some of the most hostile conditions on Earth, including inside volcanoes.


Those vegan diets are all the rage these days…..for me I will eat my meat and let those sup on bean burgers…..but a report from a vegan after eating meat has surfaced….

A formerly vegan influencer revealed to her fans that she spent 30 days eating nothing but meat and animal products. She also revealed that the new diet had some surprisingly positive effects on her health.

Alyse Parker, who has over 200K Instagram followers and over 700K Youtube subscribers, explained her decision on Instagram. In a post, she revealed that she decided to try the Carnivore Diet after hearing about all of the health benefits from friends who switched from being vegan to eating only meat and animal products.

Parker explained, “I had my own fair share of health struggles and eventually reached a breaking point where I was willing to try anything to function properly again.”


A new study shows the more cursing you do the more authentic you are as a person…..

The next time someone tells you to watch your language, feel free to tell them to fuck off.

Sure, swearing is considered poor form in certain settings—like courts, classrooms, and most offices. But people who do it may be more trustworthy, according to a new three-part study analyzing swearing and straightforwardness in individuals and society.

“The consistent findings across the studies suggest that the positive relation between profanity and honesty is robust, and that the relationship found at the individual level indeed translates to the society level,” concludes the final paper, set to be published in the journal of Psychological and Personality Science this year.


DAMN!  I must be one of those authentic people…you bet your ass I am.

How is that for random on this Sunday?

MoMo is tired of waiting….time to venture out into that cruel cruel world……

“Lego Ergo Scribo”