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From the ashes

A phoenix is a mythical bird with a tail of beautiful gold and red plumage. It has a 600-800 year life-cycle, and near the end the phoenix builds itself a nest of cinnamon twigs that it then ignites; both nest and bird burn fiercely and are reduced to ashes, from which a new, young phoenix or phoenix egg arises to live again. The new phoenix is destined to live as long as its old self. The bird was also said to regenerate when hurt or wounded by a foe, thus being almost immortal and invincible it is also said that it can heal a person with a tear from its eyes and make them temporarily immune to death; The Phoenix is a symbol of fire and divinity.

Although descriptions and life-span vary, the phoenix became popular in early Catholic art, literature and Catholic symbolism, as a symbol of Christ representing His resurrection, immortality, and life-after-death. In ancient Greek and Egyptian mythology, it is associated with the sun god. According to the Greeks, the bird lives in Arabia, near a cool well. Every morning at dawn, the sun god would stop his chariot to listen to the bird sing a beautiful song while it bathed in the well. Only one phoenix exists at a time. In Egypt, it was usually depicted as a heron, but in the classic literature as a peacock or an eagle. In the 'Harry Potter' book series the phoenix is a symbol of purity. It is also associated with the 'Garuda' of the Hindus, and the Chinese 'Feng-huang'. In Russian folklore, the phoenix appears as the 'Zhar-Ptitsa' or Firebird. Judaic lore mentions that the phoenix achieved its unique status as an immortal bird because it refrained from bothering the overburdened Noah during the Flood voyage. It is also said that the phoenix was the only animal not to join Adam in his banishment from the Garden of Eden.

By Nishita Aurnab
Sources: Encyclopedia Mythica and Wikipedia

Passing of the Jurassic legend
Tribute to Michael Crichton

Best known for five-minutes-into-the-future science thrillers like Jurassic Park and Andromeda Strain, biogeek author Michael Crichton has died. The 66-year-old, who was also behind major media hits like medico-drama ER, authored several works of science fiction such as Congo, Sphere, Next, and underrated cyborg revolt movie Westworld. He had been struggling privately with cancer for several years, his family revealed.

Though he preferred to keep this struggle out of the spotlight, Crichton's recent novel Next did include a subplot about a cancer survivor whose genes are harvested by an evil biotech company.

Many of Crichton's novels were made into movies, though none were as successful as Jurassic Park. One of the trademarks of Crichton's style is clean prose, fast pacing, and impeccably-researched biotech speculation. A former doctor, Crichton's first novel Andromeda Strain actually has several pages of bibliographic notes.

He also delved into politics with some novels, dealing with a sexual harassment case in Disclosure that was so strange that it might as well have been science fiction. And in Airframe, he explored how an airline accident is misinterpreted by scandal-loving media.

Crichton brought a realism to biotech science fiction that hadn't existed before he began writing in the early 1970s, and his influence lives on in scifi-inflected genome thrillers like Species and medical detective franchises like House.

By Annalee Newitz

Parent bloopers and school absence excuses

* My son is under a doctor's care today and should not take P.E. today. Please execute him.
* Please excuse Lisa for being absent. She was sick and I had her shot.
* Dear School: Please ekscuse John for being absent on Jan. 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, and also 33.
* Please excuse Gloria from Jim today. She is administrating.
* Please excuse Roland frrom P.E. for a few days. Yesterday, he fell out of a tree and misplaced his hip.
* John has been absent because he had two teeth taken out of his face.
*Carlos was absent yesterday because he was playing football. He was hurt in the growing part.
*Megan could not come to school today because she has been bothered by very close veins.
* Please excuse Ray Friday from school. He has very loose vowels.
* Please excuse Pedro from being absent yesterday. He had diahre, dyrea, direathe, the shits.
*Please excuse Tommy for being absent yesterday. He had diarrhea and his boots leak.
*Irving was absent yesterday because he missed his bust.
*Please excuse Jim for being. It was his father's fault.
*I kept Billie home because she had to go Christmas shopping because I don't know what size she wears.
*Please excuse Jennifer for missing school yesterday. We forgot to get the Sunday paper off the porch and when we found it Monday, we thought it was Sunday.
* Sally won't be in school a week from Friday. We have to attend her funeral.
* My daughter was absent yesterday because she was tired. She spent a weekend with the Marines.
* Please excuse Jason for being absent yesterday. She was in bed with gramps.
* Gloria was absent yesterday as she was having a gangover.
* Please excuse Brenda, she has been sick and under the doctor.


“I am a warrior”, he thought, looking down at his heavily wounded skin. He could see himself soaked in blood beneath the torn remains of his ragged clothing, ripped asunder by the impact of the heavy blows. With his bloody eyes, he stared in to the eyes of his captors and could find nothing but an outwardly expression of wrath and savageness there. Then came another blow and finding himself completely unprepared absorbed the strike on his half bare back and in the next instance, lay face down upon the dampened earth, tasting the salt of blood in his mouth, before pelting into deep unconsciousness and enduring all that his little body could take, he managed one final look upon the prize he had hoped to achieve in his quest. There in the grass lay quite unnoticed, the prize he would have tasted on the verge of victory, to which he had been ever so close. The cause of it all; his prize……the three stolen apples…

By Rawnak Zaheen Wasi

A Foul Feast of Love

Would you kindly indulge yourself,
Feast on the fallacy of love
Of scrumptious desires gone rotten
Of plucked eyes made drunk on meager wine.
Feast my dear beloved,
On appetizers filled with caring warmth
Neglected yet satiated with your words of yearn;
With your tender lips trace the edge and
Drink up the bliss you diligently ignored
On nights of unattended calls of adore.
Be sure to meticulously hone your table knife
Before digging into my freshly served wounds
Spiced up with talks of naïve passion
That you may also kindly ignore.

Ignore too, my childlike heart
My dreams of an unlikely tomorrow;
the beacons are dead that lit the dark
Your whims on the wings of a sparrow.
I walk the corridor of souls
Reveling in the foul stench it exudes;
I am here, I am all you see
Lain bare as a vice that frolics among many virtues.
The souls that belittle the lust of love
Glare like the snares of envied compassion,
Strung on beads of glass soaked on rotting minds
Plucked from the very necklace of pearl
I had bestowed around your luscious neck,
I will serve to you as supper;
Taste it, slurp it in your tongue's delight
And by the scatters of paint that fill the night sky, joyous
I plead thee to haunt your mind evermore
While you read and satisfy this feast of mine.

All that was fair to me is wooed
All that was wooed now fair,
The paint on your face so fraught with lies
Is the only truth left to hear.
Your feast is ready
I lie stuffed and primed,
Roasted, marinated,
Subjected to all that would endorse your approval;
I lay eyes wide open, mind shut
gagged by the apple of my desire.
My desire that will not let me rest
unless it be at your table,
the piece de resistance.
My mind is closed for all but you
That the poison of your tongue may sweeten my ears,
yet you are bored - stifled, you yawn
The cavern of your mouth arrayed with knifelike teeth;
Could anything be more gentle
more praiseworthy in all the realms of humanity?

…and thus I wait
for a tender and sweet
foul feast of love.

By Adnan M. S. Fakir & Wajed-Al-Rahman

Writers wanted

Get paid to write and make millions in cash overnight
If that's a dream for you, then this may not quite be the job. But if writing is a passion, then get your typing fingers flexed.
We are looking for young people bursting with ideas and opinions. And yes, we will pay.
Job type: Part-time

Great writing skills, obviously.
Absolutely no fear regarding talking to people, animals or politicians.
Commitment of at least one year.

How to apply:
Mail a hard copy by post or drop it off at our office in Kawranbazar. Absolutely no emails will be accepted. Send us a sample article within 600 words on any subject that truly interests you. Also include your personal details and a contact number.
Applicants will be short listed and contacted. Further details and notifications will be posted right here.

Application deadline:
December 4, 2008


November 6, 2008 issue of Rising Stars contained fantastic pictures of fantastic street toys in page 2 for the article 'Meet the Junkies." The pictures were taken by Zabir Hasan whose name we fantastically missed.





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