Monday, March 30, 2009

Israel Extreme Make Over: Here Is a Start

My new post on the Huffington post is up, I am glad to see that it did offend all the right people.

Recent elections in Israel that resulted the victory of the Israeli right wing; the high death toll of civilians during the Israeli assault on Gaza, and the admission by Israeli soldiers that they viewed Gaza as a "shooting gallery" and randomly shot innocent civilians unconcerned about the consequences; the surge of racist and discriminatory practices against Palestinians and Palestinian citizens of Israel promoted by Avigdor Lieberman, leader of the Yisrael Beiteinu party and a member of the incoming government; a wave of bestselling books critical of Israel; Israeli soldiers sporting t-shirts depicting the killing of Palestinians; and the democratization public opinion via non-traditional media, have all given Israel a headache. Of course it did not help that a number of Jewish foundations lost millions of dollars to Madoff and his ilk. Now Israel has a lot of work to do and I am sure they are shopping for advice from their friends who reside anywhere between Manhattan and Hollywood. I'm sure they will be generous with their advice on how to give Israel the makeover it needs in these hard times. But since Israel won't be soliciting any input from me or anyone of my kind, I've decided to offer a few ideas anyway.
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13 Arab Men You Should Never Date

This list is the complete guide to the 13 types of Arab men. Obviously, there are more than 13 types of Arab men, and those are the ones that you ought to find. This post is not meant to cock block anyone, but to help their prey navigate the field. Its like a manual for every woman or gay man in a major metropolitan area. You will get hit on by Arab men. In general all men are created equally. Arabs, Asians, Blacks, Whites, and Hispanic are all the same straight or gay. They just want to get some with as little commitment as possible and won't let their dignity interfere. Please let us know who is on your list, here is ours'.

Updated Bonus: Amir, the Secret Arab Queer [below]

1. Gold Chain George

This person is most likely to be Mr. Macho on steroids; hairy as hell and sweet as Georgia tea. He works out a lot, but never does cardio; the beer belly is a trademark, but the upper body strength enables unlimited shisha-hogging. He does own his own place, but it is only three blocks from his parents’. He does have few female friends, but a lot more male friends and dudes who like to play tarneeb or poker with while sipping the latest energy drink fad. George does not know what he really wants in a woman and thus he will never be at peace with himself or whoever he dates. Most likely, he will end up getting married to a girl from his village whose mom met him at the local Arabic church at an event where mensef, lamb and rice, was served. There are pluses, George knows a lot more about Baseball and Football than he knows about political parties in Lebanon. Occasionally he shoots hoops with his buddies when they realize that they no longer can use his place since his mom is doing his laundry there. He is not to be confused with Detroit Sam since George owns a sporty car and enjoys lesser education. Trademark phrase: begins every sentence with “my cousin…”. His dream job: is to buy another gas station.

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Prayer You Did...Answer Not Yet

Has anyone of you out there gotten a prayer answered lately? I doubt there are many of you that can say yes. It's so hard now to get the attention of the man upstairs. See, with the high unemployment rates, foreclosed homes, the wars around the worlds, the droughts in many places in the globe...and many more financial troubles, thus this leaves so little time left to sort all those prayers. "Look you have to wait..." "Take a number..." and "stand in line." getting a prayer answers is like trying to get an MRI image in Canada, it takes few months.

Here is how your prayer would do, "Lord, I would like a Wii!" and the voice answers you, "We tell you to shut the Hell Up" "cannot you saw we have a bigger fish to fry?"
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Friday, March 27, 2009

Welcome Summer

Forget the outdoors, forget the nice weather, the pool parties, the snow cones...I love the summer and here is why I am excited for it

1-I no longer need to wear a heavy coast and take the mass transportation. When I dark person like me walks into a bus with a heavy coat and scruffy face...the good people cannot help but wonder if I have anything under the coat..anything that will make a bang! Off course I do not, but I cannot help be see it on their eyes!
2-I will no longer get confused trying to figure out if the good looking lady walking in front of me is Muslims or not. Most women cover their hair in the Winter to protect themselves form the cold. Good idea for them, but kind of make it harder on me to see who is in and who is not. So in the summer, only Muslims cover their hair! Party On!
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Thursday, March 26, 2009

8 People I Ran Into On the Mornings I Run:

I thought about putting together a list of people I see in the streets of DC anytime between 4 Am and 7 Am (the time I am usually out running) without further ado, here is my list:

1. Homeless people sleeping near a bench. Not sure why, but they like woke up in the middle of the night and said, this bench is too hard, I am gonna try the concrete.

2. Mexicans at any local Seven Eleven where they are picking their coffee and sugar dose for that day as they go on to their jobs.

3. White people at the Starbucks reading a newspaper of working on a laptop pretending like they have something important to write about. There are few non-whites there, but mostly white folks—who can spare 4 bucks on a gourmet latte.

4. African-Americans at the local McDonald’s, they beat me to it, this place has a really awesome breakfast menu for low prices—if you do not mind the calories a wonderful place to get your pancakes on the go and a good cup of Joe.

5. Assortments of minorities and men and women standing by waiting for the next bus to take them to their jobs or maybe to school.

6. White girls in shorts running in really short shorts, usually accompanies by a dog—that scares the heck out of me.

7. Truck drivers delivering fresh food to various stores, cafés, and restaurants, early in the morning. I must say that I like these guys up to the point where they block the streets where I can no longer cross the street safely.

8. Security guards getting on with their jobs or coming home from a late shift on a government building or an upscale condos in the Metro area.

P.S. I aimed to do the Jefferson Memorial route today, but a security guard stopped my as I approached the start of the route by the river and told me the route is closes till the Cherry Blossom season is over! I had to switch my route and hit the Abraham Lincoln Memorial where I chatted with the guard.
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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Babies in Gaza

Remember the baby girl in the family? The one I wanted her to be named Palestine? Well, she wasn't name Palestine, but rather Siwar, a bracelet (or a derivative of that) she was born during the Israeli offense on Gaza. Well, now my niece is back in the hospital for more than a week; she is unhealthy. According to my brother (the father) she doctors do not know what is wrong with her. They took about a unite of blood to figure out what is going on with the little one, and the worst part is that the doctors really cannot find a vain in her little body so they unsuccessfully puked her from many places. Worst, a doctors actually cut her cheek on accident, and my brother wanted to kick his rare. I mean obviously her mom's health was not ideal under the Israeli assault, where they inhaled all sorts of Israeli treats, and had low food security and that was on the final days of her pregnancy. My brother is really upset with the level of medical services and the doctors lack of equipments and professionalism. But I do not blame the doctors, they are overworked and seen so many things that other doctors only get to read about in books. God help them, this is really insane.

But Siwar is not in isolated incident, another new born in the family, a second cousin of mine had a new baby last week, named Ammar. He was also rushed to the hospital for complications, in lament terms, they did not pull all the water out of his lung at delivery and they have to treat other health problems. I am sure there are other babies that have seen this since statistics confirm more than 4000 babies were born during and right after the Israeli was on Gaza. All I can offer them now is prayer...
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Gaza Bound Goats Busted In Rafah

Egyptian security forces reported Monday they busted 560 goats, half a ton of explosives, and five tons of cement. According to the Egyptian security forces those confiscated items were about to be smuggled into Gaza through the countless tunnels that links Egypt and Gaza. The Egyptian Security forces further commented that those items were going to be smuggled through six different tunnels, four of which is more than three meters wide. Needless to say Gaza remains under international community siege since June 2007.

OK, they can keep the explosive material, and the cement, but please let the goats go. I am seriously hoping they would allow the goat into Gaza since my sister in Gaza is shopping for one right now. I am sure the only group celebrating holding the goats hostages is PETA and their mascot Pam Anderson since the Palestinians now have to substitute the goat meat in their Maqlooba with tofu.

Neither the Palestinians nor the goats can be reached for comments.
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Monday, March 23, 2009

Running To Jefferson

This morning by 4 AM I had 7 missed calls from my sister....I knew there was nothing to worry about so, I called her back to check on her, she just wanted to say hi. I was mean to her when she asked "oh, it is 4:00 AM, what you doing" I was made as hell! I told her I do not know what they do over there in Gaza, but I was a sleep in peace. Could not go to sleep after the call so I went running. It was my earliest run at 4:25 Am, I was out in the cold, with my running outfit and my best friend--my MP3 player.

Since I had a lot more time than my previous runs, I decided to make my run longer, and include the Jefferson Memorial on my trial. I did my usual run and as I got to the hill where the Washington Monument stands, it got windy and chilly all of a sudden, jogging slowly, I greeted the guard and asked him what would be the fastest route to get to the Jefferson Memorial, he was nice and showed me the way. I have jogged to the Jefferson Memorial before, but it was during the day. Honestly jogging to the Jefferson Memorial is the most scenic jog; trees, water, colors...etc. It was unsually dark, and for a second I got intimated, because the side walk is dark, it is cold and the tree branches are so low that they actually might hit my head. Needless to say, nothing bad happened and I enjoyed the morning peace. I made it back to my regular route after I jogged in the WWII Memorial. If you have not had the chance to visit those memorials at night, you owe it yourself to see them and the reflections of the lights on the water bodies.

My hands were really cold and it was getting harder to blow my noses with the tissues--I stock on these. But nothing feels better than the feeling when your morning run is over! I looked at the time and I was running for straight one hours and thirty five minutes. My calculation says It was a ten mile run,it could be more it could be less.
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Friday, March 20, 2009

Comedy Night @ ADC

Raw video of the ADC Stand Up gig..if you can hear it and if you can understand it then you are doing well!

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

IDF in Gaza: Killing civilians, vandalism, and lax rules of engagement

During Operation Cast Lead, Israeli forces killed Palestinian civilians under permissive rules of engagement and intentionally destroyed their property, say soldiers who fought in the offensive.
By Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondent

The Link to the Story is here

The soldiers are graduates of the Yitzhak Rabin pre-military preparatory course at Oranim Academic College in Tivon. Some of their statements made on Feb. 13 will appear Thursday and Friday in Haaretz. Dozens of graduates of the course who took part in the discussion fought in the Gaza operation.

The speakers included combat pilots and infantry soldiers. Their testimony runs counter to the Israel Defense Forces' claims that Israeli troops observed a high level of moral behavior during the operation. The session's transcript was published this week in the newsletter for the course's graduates.

The testimonies include a description by an infantry squad leader of an incident where an IDF sharpshooter mistakenly shot a Palestinian mother and her two children. "There was a house with a family inside .... We put them in a room. Later we left the house and another platoon entered it, and a few days after that there was an order to release the family. They had set up positions upstairs. There was a sniper position on the roof," the soldier said.

"The platoon commander let the family go and told them to go to the right. One mother and her two children didn't understand and went to the left, but they forgot to tell the sharpshooter on the roof they had let them go and it was okay, and he should hold his fire and he ... he did what he was supposed to, like he was following his orders."

According to the squad leader: "The sharpshooter saw a woman and children approaching him, closer than the lines he was told no one should pass. He shot them straight away. In any case, what happened is that in the end he killed them.

"I don't think he felt too bad about it, because after all, as far as he was concerned, he did his job according to the orders he was given. And the atmosphere in general, from what I understood from most of my men who I talked to ... I don't know how to describe it .... The lives of Palestinians, let's say, is something very, very less important than the lives of our soldiers. So as far as they are concerned they can justify it that way," he said.

Another squad leader from the same brigade told of an incident where the company commander ordered that an elderly Palestinian woman be shot and killed; she was walking on a road about 100 meters from a house the company had commandeered.

The squad leader said he argued with his commander over the permissive rules of engagement that allowed the clearing out of houses by shooting without warning the residents beforehand. After the orders were changed, the squad leader's soldiers complained that "we should kill everyone there [in the center of Gaza]. Everyone there is a terrorist."

The squad leader said: "You do not get the impression from the officers that there is any logic to it, but they won't say anything. To write 'death to the Arabs' on the walls, to take family pictures and spit on them, just because you can. I think this is the main thing: To understand how much the IDF has fallen in the realm of ethics, really. It's what I'll remember the most."
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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Brownies Revisited

Last night I was in the mode for making some brownies! So I did!

I have always been in love with those brownies since my early days at BYU where they are served at the student cafeteria and many people bake them at home for social and church events. Since I am trying to cut back on carbs, I have been avoiding those delicious sweet bites.

So when I made them, I used less oil (I did use a combination of olive oil and corn) But in order to keep them moist and tasty, I opted to use two things. I added cultured yogurt(Kefier) sweet strawberry flavor. And I also used some dates! I smashed the dates and added them to the mix! And off course you got your eggs. Stirred adequately and then pourned in a pan, baked for 50 minutes! Once I got them out of the oven, I poured some liquid chocolate as a topping and then put them back in the oven to coll overnight.

And Actually they tuned out well. Not too dry not to soggy and I enjoyed them quite a bit. I like how they were not too cake like and they were dense and chewy! I brought some to work with me and sent some to a close friend of mine. I have yet to hear the feedback from those who have tried them, but I can testify that they look and taste really good! Brownies are officially Brownified Sa'hteen.

P.S. A co-worker of mine told me that you can use apple sauce as well to substitute the greasy oil.
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18 Types of People in Your Arabic Class

The students who make up Arabic classes these days are a strange bunch of people. They came to study a vilified, difficult, yet beautifully poetic, language for any number of motivations or purposes. No list is complete, but the one below should be a useful guide for fitting your classmates into a useful spreadsheet:

1.The Arabic Music Excuse
Favorite hobby: Likes to hizz the wizz
This type likes to get his karaoke on and Arabic music provides such an opportunity. They also happen to hate country music. Most often they either like Om Kaltoum, Fairuz or Amr Diab; something about not understanding what is being sung compels this group to want to learn the language. People in this group have a soft and secret spot in their hearts for Sting and his hit song "Desert Rose." They've also probably seen an Arabic movie or two, but even they cannot pretend they're any good. Most likely won’t get past first year Arabic and will eventually switch to folk music. Favorite Arabic words: “Habibi” and “Ya”

2.The Gospel Noisemaker
Mostly Likely Name: Paul or Kimberly
The Middle East needs a bit more “turning the other cheek” and less “an eye for eye.” Good-hearted people belong to this group, usually hailing from large families. For fun, they drink the punch at church balls, and would love to bring you along. Not so much into Arabic music (nor any other music for that matter), they are usually quiet (for good reasons) and if they talk, they face the chances of becoming social pariahs. They will most likely make it into second year Arabic, but then stop. Their undergraduate major is either Communications or Humanities. They may join the ROTC to get some cash while spreading the “good word.” Favorite Arabic word: “Al Maseeh”

3.The Unyielding National Security Warrior
Mostly Likely Name: Jason or Dick (females too).
9/11, nine eleven, 9-11, September eleventh, the eleventh day of the ninth month of the first year after the millennium, 9/11. These never learned the difference between Arab, Arabic, Islam, Muslamics and still can't tell the different. They hail from Texas and neighboring states. They are usually good looking and have nice abs. They date a lot, but their dates usually despise them. They believe that America does no wrong and that the French are as evil as Sad-damn. Usually majoring in business or political science, they go on and study Arabic because they get a bonus check from the CIA, NSA or Pentagon to learn this “critical language.” Mostly likely they will either go and live in Syria or Morocco and spend their time there at the local KFC, updating their Facebook status. Favorite Arabic words: “Irhab,” “Jihad,” “Salafi,” and “Mujahideen.”

4.The Crazy Ethnic Lady

Mostly Likely Apartment Decoration: African masks
We can all get along and do good things while enjoying those magic brownies in the shape of colorful human. They usually hail from the west coast and certain pockets in the northeast. They can be identified by flowing clothes and accessories from "differet cultures." Most likely, they will not stick with Arabic, unless of course they seduce an Arab lover, but will jump on the next trend in ethnophilia.

Warning: these individuals can react to negative experiences, such as humiliating treatment by the professor, by turning hard right, into Fox News fandom. Favorite Arabic phrase: “Ahlan wa Sahlan”

5.My parents are racists

Mostly Likely Place of Origins: the Burbs
“My parents are racist who would not pay for my liberal education, so I really want to piss them off.” Members of this group are few. They appear similar to the Ethnophile Lady but they are driven by a much different motive, to rebel against their folks. They come from the suburbs of major cities and are probably majoring in dance or art, since their parents are engineers, lawyers or accountants. They most likely will not get past first year Arabic. Like the Ethnophile lady, all the wor is not really worth it, plus it's just a phase. After "dancing with the wolves," they go back to live with their parents' home, where their old Arabic textbooks gather dust in the garage. Favorite Arabic word: “Sharmoot”

6.The kid whose best friend is Arab
Mostly Likely Name: Tom
Usually from a major Metropolitan area (Michigan is the ideal place), they can never understand what those Arabs were yelling, but they sure enjoyed the Kenafeh.

They may make it to second year if they really like their Arabic friend. But if their Arabic friend is of the opposite sex, then their Arabic teacher will see more of them. They practice their Arabic for the friends' moms, but do not use the language beyond that -- other than in the occasional Arablish. Favorite Arabic words: “Khalas” with “Yalla” as a close second

7.The Kabob Monster
Mostly Body Shape: Pear
You run into them at the local hookah lounge. They usually wear photochromatic glasses and talk about food all the time. They are like the Indiana Jones of cuisine. Those who fall in this category have parents who can cook as well as Mike Tyson can box.

Their hero is Andrew Zimmern. You know them when they can tell you how to make kafta right and what it is called in each part of the Arab world. Their greatest talent is they recognize falafel and hummous are not Israeli foods. Favorite Arabic word: “Tahini”

8.I want to look cool white dude
Favorite Movie: Top Gun
Come from middle America where everyone is white. Learned hipness from BET and now Youtube. Being cool also means always being right, though. Which is why they rarely come to Arabic class: they achive seeming cool and not embarrassing themselves with stumbling over "strange Ayrab noises."

Known for their lack of any talents or otherwise, they search for anything that will make them standout, even if it is missing class. Since talking black is now outdated, Arabs are sufficiently dangerous and adequately cool. These people will most likely go to anti-U.S. rallies just for the photo op, and to look cool to their frat brothers. Not to forget that they will own at least a hookah and brag about how they can blow smoke circles. They think it goes best with shots. Favorite Arabic word: "sheesha"

9.The Conspiracy Theorist
Favorite Movement: 9/11 Truth
Often libertarians from the Southwest, they are the real anti-liberals. They do not believe that man ever landed on the moon, and think Ahmedinejad is an American spy.

Their favorite YouTube clip is about how the 9/11 was an inside job and a missile hit the Pentagon. They also want to study Arabic to find out what those Al-Qaida videos are saying because relying on media translators is not good enough. Oh yeah, plus looking for CGI effects since bin Laden is dead.

A lot of Arabs relate to their way of thinking. They have seen Oliver Stone movie "JFK" too many times and own a mask like the one featured in "V for Vendetta." Most likely won’t make it past first year of Arabic. Favorite Arabic words: “Al-Qaeda,” “Al-Abraaj,” "Al-Sohaynah," “Cheyney,” and “Mo’amarah”

10.But I have an Arabic Name
Mostly Likely Name: Aisha and Hasan
“My name is Ali!” or “My last name is starts with an Al,” they are usually from Latin America or Muslim. If they are girls, they overdo the makeup (Arab -style); if guys, they highlight their excessive chest hair. Not really interested in the language per se, but there are far too many Latinos in the school, and they obviously want to stand out. This group includes more than the Latinos; heritage speakers are also a part of this group: “My name is George Hanna, but don't speak Arabic, cause my dad wouldn’t speak it to us.” These have a chance to make it into Arabic and actually learn the language. Favorite Arabic word: “Manyak.”

11.I need a language
Most Common Feeling Invoked in Others: Annoyance
Arabic is the only class that starts after 10 a.m. plus they already speak Spanish, don’t like Cantonese, hate French, and find Japanese dull. After dimissing harder languages, Arabic is their last option plus offers great short-term job prospects.

They are usually hot, but play the innocent card to the extreme. If they are Republicans, then they will learn Arabic since the Air Force will encourage them to learn it; if they are Democrats, they will switch back to Portuguese and to be sex tourists in Brazil. They will most likely learn the language and actually excel at it because they are required to do a study abroad (or aninternship in Dearborn). Favorite Arabic word: “Jameeleh”

12.I need a Significant Other
Hint of Group Membership: Dress up for study groups
A lot more dudes study Arabic than women, for obvious reasons, like the national security motives. Thus, single ladies know the ratio is good for them, like a guy taking psychology courses.

There are some guys who are looking for love in Arabic classes, unless they are gay, in which case, the odds don’t look too good given the ability of right-wing nuts and pro-Israel infiltrators to blend in. Due to the lack of actual interest in learning the language, the partner-seekers tend to last one term, then take whatever language their new partner takes. Favorite Arabic word: “Jins”

13. The Curious George Types
Possible Other Role: Pro-Israel Monitor
These individuals has two sub groups:
A. Their parents are news junkies and the Middle East is always part of the news, at least the action and the drama segment. By default, this sparks an interest in such a region and its people and so Arabic emerges as the best tool to understand the natives their looney politics.

B. The second is there to monitor the class and make sure no one criticizes Israel. They do not confront the bias in class, but report the professor to various watchdog and civil rights groups. They do not hide their affiliations and can be seen serving cake on Israel day. They are also not to be confused with the Spunky Jewish Kid (see below).

Despite beeing very different, these sub-groups are nearly indistinguishable early on. Favorite Arabic word: for group A, "intifada," and group B, "dhimmi."

14. The Spunky Jewish Kid
Most Annoying Trait: Too much glottal on the "kh"
Jewish people can fit into any category here of course, but this group's catch phrase is the giveway: “this is just like Hebrew!” to which I often respond, “no Hebrew is like Arabic.” They may or not be Zionists, but like the sub-group above, they are good learners. The Spunky Jewish Kid is not monitoring the class for political correctness, however.

I enjoyed having political discussion with such students as much as I enjoy chewing on my own balls. But to be fair, Jewish students who study Arabic often have the biggest motivation not only to study it but also to excel in it. Favorite Arabic word: Anything that is found in Hebrew.

15. Converts and Readers of the Quran
Most Likely Names: Muhammad, Daoud, Mariam or Fatima
The majority (not all) of those who fall into this category are observant Muslims from places like Turkey, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia, India and Pakistan. The group is large enough to include the converts, the white or other person who just found Islam (they may resemble the Ethnic Lady).

Since the Quran is only meant to be read in Arabic, there is the incentive to learning Arabic. Members of this group are also in the Muslim Student Association (MSA), and they announce their events to the class each session. These tend to be vocal in their classroom often correcting their instructor's pronounciation. Most likely not going to get pass second year Arabic unless planning on marrying an Arab or going to Imam school. Favorite Arabic words: “Haram” and “Zabiha” and anything that offends the Jewish kid in the classroom.

16. The Pre-9/11 Sweet Spirit
Hint: "Nontraditional" -- meaning older -- students.
The most annoying of those groups are those few individuals who studied Arabic prior to 9/11. The One thing and the ONLY thing you need to know about this group: they studied Arabic, because they are selfless souls who just want to learn the culture of those good heartened people of the Arab World. Somehow they expect you to hand them a trophy for their genuine interest in learning a beautiful language, unlike those 9/11 folks who are just seeking to fill a need in the job market. Most likely they still study Arabic and work in the State Department or are coming back after being held hostage in Yemen for years. Pre-9/11 Arabic students want to feel special and love to hate on those who started to learn Arabic after the terrorist attack on the U.S. soil. By all accounts, this is a vanishing species. Favorite Arabic word: "Salaam."

17. Stupid Arabs who want to improve their G.P.A.
Most Likely names: From Abeer or Abed to Ziad or Zeina.
Shame on them. Students from Arab countries or students with Arab parents who take Arabic just to improve their G.P.A. are some of the most despicable on this list.

Professors are reluctant to admit those students in the classes because they know the shtick. These types of Arabic students use one argument and one argument only: my Arabic writing and my reading are not good. These students often meet their significant others in the Arabic class and will most likely be kicked out of the class for arguing with the professor for a better grade. Favorite Arabic words: “Hmar/a” and “Kelb/a.”

18. The 20 Camel Girl
Hint: Look for an Arabic tattoo.
This is a female that at a young age, went on a vacation to, or grew up in, an Arab country (most likely Egypt, Jordan, or the Gulf, and possibly Lebanon). The ones who speak fluent Arabic may be secret members of te GPA-boost group. Most lived on compounds and grew up as Americans in foreign lands.

She can tell you stories about the strange and exotic places she had been. The best one is about the time her father was offered 20 camels as a dowry for her hand in marriage on one business trip.

Unless she is engaged to some Arabic speaking fella, she won't study Arabic beyond first year. And she will avoid dating Egyptians because her mom's purse was stolen in Cairo. Favorite Arabic word: “Lufthansa"

[Tarboush Tip Carlos]
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Monday, March 16, 2009

Long Gone the Goonies


One of my favorite parts of this timeless classic...really funny...even funnier if you have seen the movie! This is is the fat kid (Chunk is his name) gets busted by this dangerous gang and he breaks out in a hilarious confession.

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Foggy Bottom Fights Soggy Bottoms in Gaza

American officials at the State Department are inquiring about the Israeli government's inexplicable ban on toilet paper in Gaza. Reports confirm that Israel has not allowed trucks of toilet paper and soap into the Gaza Strip.

American officials are playing dumb. They are pretending that Israeli might have a reasonable explanation for their ban on toilet paper. Or they are buying time. There is simply no reason for this other than furthering collective punishment.

Giving Israel the benefit of the doubt is the name of the game in American politics.

According to the UN Food program, Israel has also denied entry to trucks of chick peas into besieged Gaza. Chick peas, or Hummus in Arabic, is an essential ingredient of Palestinian diet. It is used in hummus dip, falafel, maftool (otherwise known as couscous.) Notice any pattern -- they are all foods Israelis have claimed are Israeli foods. By denying the basic ingredient to Gaza, they are trying to actualize their pretend monopoly. Or, they know how chick peas make one gassy. Since they have made Gaza so densely populated with so many refugees, they are afraid a simultaneous fart by all Gazans will blow down Sderot and their precious new playground.

The list of banned martials continues to grow even as the world grows fed up with the Israeli siege. Israel already banned all construction materials and electronics, which Israel claims that Palestinians use to build rockets! Okay, but why toilet paper, soap and chick peas?

The United States is the only party standing between fair trade for Gaza and dependence on humanitarian trade. The State Department's slowness to pressure Israel only increases its guilt by association.
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Friday, March 13, 2009

Fun With A,D, and C

I was at fun comedy show last night at ADC, the event was planned by Abed, the dude who is big on grassroots and he takes of his pride on working with the community on the grassroots. Here is what I wanted to say,

ADC has always been about the roots, the Arab roots of those Arab Americans; so they hired the one guy all the way from Michigan, the guy who knows a lot more about the grass. Hashish is the Arabic word for grass.

You my need a reservation to eat the the McDonald's, but not to worry, you cannot still have it your way at the Burger King! A video from the event will be coming shortly.
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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Joaquin Phoenix: The Al-Qaeda of Hollywood

I hope he does not kick my ass for writing this.

There are several signs that Hollywood stud Joaquin Phoenix is either an actual member of Al Qaeda or is the group's analogue in Hollywood. Trust me. I know. I'm Arab.

  • Joaquin Phoenix has been as angry as hell lately. And so has Al Qaeda.
  • The beard.
  • Joaquin Phoenix's character in "Signs" fights invaders from outer space. In the film, he wears tin foil on his head -- one of the precautions suggested by the Department of Homeland Security in the case of a terrorist "dirty bomb" attack (other suggestions included buying loads of duct tape).
  • In "Ladder 49," Joaquin Phoenix was a firefighter. Firefighters became heroes after 9/11. Al Qaeda thought the hijackers were heroes. Firefighters = hijackers. Duh!
I rest my case.
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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Arranged Marriages Are For The Big Times

People love to hate arranged marriages and how they like to do their won work when it comes to marriage. I look at it in different light

Arranged marriages are awesome, and fairy easy, it is like using the express check out counter as appose to doing it on your own. Think about it this way, it is like when you make it big in do not do your own stunts. No big time actor does his won stunts, they have people do it for them to avoid the messy rpcess and the dangers (in this case the heart broken). Only when you hit the big moeny that people hire people to do your work for you. In the same light, arranged marriage is like that, the scouts and the negotiation take care of the fine only have to show up and allow your pretty face and talent to be used.

If ti works for Jason Bourne and Indiana Jones, it works for me
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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Clash of the Titans

I was walking on Pennsylvania Ave today Tuesday in the afternoon, two volunteers wearing red vests that read "Save The Children" were talking to pedestrians about the work of "Save the Children", a wonderful organization that does so much in places around the world including Gaza. For some twisted reason the image of planned parenthood clinic came to my mind at that instant (I pass by the clinic twice a day) came to my mind and I thought maybe we should have these volunteers stand up there as a cruel joke and ask people to join Save the Children to see if any will take a brochure. I would like to see that for the humor of it...."Do you know what Save the children does?" "No, but I just wasted one a minute ago!" Bad I know. I mean if one was effective that other would not need to exist since one is undoing the work of the other. But also you can argue that if those who were born in broken homes (otherwise would be aborted) then we do not need to save the children since in a perfect world, every chiled will be saved.
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Move Over Mr. Burger, You have Been Deposed by a New King

Although the name of this blog is KABOBfest, we rarely discuss food in other than political terms. In that tradition, I will have to come out as a monarchist in my review of Washington D.C.'s newest addition to the growing list of Middle Eastern fast food spots.

Shawarma King in Columbia Heights offers the best shawarma in DC, hands down. These guys brought in a chef from the land of Shawarma and this guy knows what he's doin'!

I'm convinced that this is what it took to make the perfect blend of taste and flavor in every bite.

The King knows how to stick to the basic three items for its entire menu: Chicken Shawarma, Beef Shawarma and Falafel. When it comes to restaurants, remember the safe rule: the smaller the variety of food, the fresher the ingredients.

That is the secret of In-N-Out Burger's success on the West Coast and the reason why you should be wary of the Chinese food stands that offer 250 choices on their menu.

Sixteen different toppings made daily at the kitchen; fresh wraps, toasted before they are served and then toasted once more when your toppings are added, halved and then given to you with tender Palestinian love and care, all courtesy of its owner, Abu Firas, a native of Bethlehem, Palestine. He actually cares what his customers think, because he always asks for your feedback. "We changed our style of fries when a customer complained!" he told me yesterday.

He also said, "either make a good sandwich or don't!" -- the culinary equivalent of George Bush's "with us or against us" statement, I must admit. But what else do expect from this benevolent despot?

Abu Firas insists that he wants to bring respect back to the Falafel—a traditional food in Palestine. "Many places serve falafel, but they don’t taste good. My falafel is fresh and fluffy. I simply don’t cut any corners."

This place is for anyone who's eaten real shawarma, the kind that is REAL meat on a rotating grill spit, not mere slices of chicken breast as some places would have it.

The owner actually has a degree in food science, so he keeps it notoriously hearty and flavorful, unlike some of the Greek gyro and Turkish doner kabab joints where the meat taste old and lukewarm.

The place got some positive publicity from a review in the Washington Post Express edition’s article, "Shawarma War."

The Post mentions how there are a number of shawarma joints on Columbia Road and how the Shawarma King reigns supreme over all -- the first war won by Palestinians perhaps.

Not surprisingly, the other nearby Middle Eastern fast food rivals in D.C. are the Amsterdam Falafel, Shawarma Spot and the Palestinian-owned Jerusalem Old City Café expressed frustration.

One of the rival restaurant owners has on four different occasions purchased shawarma and falafel wraps to try them out. And he actually brought his family members to savor the treats, according to Abu Firas.

While the name gives you the impression that shawarma is its strong suit (which is true), its falafel is royally good.

Since they stated serving Middle Eastern treats, they have added a few items for the fast-paced connoisseur: you can now order and enjoy Hummous, Baba Ghanouj, Tabouleh, and home-made Baklava on the go.

Abu Firas actually shared his secret receipt for the perfect shawarma seasoning with KABOBfest, but unlike the open tradition of KABOBfest, we will keep this one for ourselves.

If you’re looking for fast, affordable and authentic, check this place out. Oh, and don't forget to load up on the smorgasbord of fresh toppings. You won't be disappointed.

[Tarboush Tip: Carlos]
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Monday, March 09, 2009

Grehound Bound

More than two years ago, I was on a greyhound bus heading back from Washington State to Utah, through Oregon and Idaho. In a rest stop I believe somewhere near Baker Idaho, there was this truck stop that was rather awesome. It had a large shop and a big section that sells swords. I have always liked swords, but I know my friend Nawar specially likes swords. Browsing the different items they have, a sword stood out and I decided to purchase it for my friend. I grab the sword, head to the counter and ask to buy it. The lady asks for my ID, and then she asks me "Did you come with the Greyhound buss?" hoping for a discount, I said yes. She took the sword from me and told me that she cannot sell me the sword because it's a greyhound rule, no weapons on the bus. Judging from the types of people you meet on the greyhound bus, I did not hold a grudge. But now as more times passed and I read this article, I cannot help but both laugh and cry at the same time. Cry for the victim, and laugh at this bizarre situation. I am now glad that they did not sell me that freaking sword.
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Saturday, March 07, 2009

Snazzy The Homeless

Here are two pictures taken in a homeless shelter, where the always charming Michelle Obama, America’s first lady served food for the homeless kitchen. I really salute Michelle for her voluntary community service!

There are few things wrong with these pictures: a homeless man with a camera phone is snapping a photo of the First Lady. And the other guy in line is wearing a sharp, price-looking suit. Is this even at a homeless shelter? Or is she surrounded by actors in a studio?

I admit, it is not impossible for a homeless man to have a camera phone, especially in this economy. Or it could be a prepaid phone.

In picture two, you find a sharply dressed man getting food at the homeless kitchen. I would say at least 200 dollars is what he paid for the suit. If this is an old suite, I want to get his dry cleaners address!

Whatever happened to the homeless man we got used to? Were they booted out by the press handlers?

More likely, the camera phone holder and suited gentleman are part of the newly foreclosed, laid off class of folks being hit in every city.

As I write this, I know I sound naive asking such questions about the homeless (Urban Outdoorsmen as a friend calls them). You cannot blame me. As my mother used to quote Arabic proverb for me she would say, "When the poor man takes a rather big dump, people cannot help but ask, 'How is that possible?'"
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Friday, March 06, 2009

I want to be Shawarma Master When I grow up

Again, I was chilling at my favorite Shawarma joint in Columbia heights and saw how cool the Shawarma master looked. The guy was popular with the customers especially the ladies who were like "It take a man" he had a giant knife in his hand and cutting certain pieces of meat of the skewer made him look sexy. I mean traditionally women have favored hunters, or better hunters who can feed the kids. It's true that the Shawarma master I am speaking of might not have hunted the meat, but he is still gifted working with the meat, serving fresh and juicy slices of tender meet cooked to perfection that is guaranteed to water your mouth. The man is king, he knows what he is doing and I am sure women take notice.

Since he spend his time making sure that the meat he is serving is tender, I am sure he will figure out how to properly treat a piece of tender. And I am pretty positive that his meat is Halal. Granted the Shawarma master is not Bill Gates, but he is not Bozo the Clown either.

P.S. Avoid eating at a shawarma place if it is not too busy because the food won't be as fresh.
P.S.2 Do your best not to be the first person served the Shawarma place, because the food most likley will be from last night.
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Thursday, March 05, 2009

Short About Gaza

The makers of the Oscar-nominated "Waltz with Bashir" released a short on the life of a Gazan boy living under Israeli siege. It artistically represents the Gaza blockade by contrasting a free bird with an imprisoned Palestinian boy, who has no place to hide from Israeli bombardment.

Yoni Goodman, the Israeli director of Waltz and Closed Zone, said he hoped the 90-second animated short would draw attention to the plight of Gaza's civilians.

"People talk about Hamas, but there are many civilians there who are not Hamas supporters but who are suffering from this blockade," the animator said.

The film notably shows the Palestinian rockets flying first, which provokes a clearly disproportionate attack -- many explosions hit around the child as he seeks shelter. This is not a fully fair representations since Israel's embargo began before any rockets were flying.

Interestingly, Zone shows an Egyptian hand at the Rafah border being held down by an Israeli hand (as identified by the colors on their cuffs).

Regardless, this is a thought-provoking and artistic video. I hope it does not lose too much meaning in the abstraction, even if it is pretty clear from my Gazan perspective.
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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

New Huffington Post

My new post on the I was speaking to a friend who is from Miami and I was shocked by the support Israel gets from the Cuban American leadership. I mean, I know some of their politicians were vocal Israel cheerleaders, but I decided to look closer at the hypocrisy of their stand.
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Monday, March 02, 2009

Running DC during a Snow Storm

Today (Monday) was one of the most insane days for running, snow took DC by storm, piles and piles of snow were all over the sidewalks and the streets in DC. Since Monday is one of my three running day, I could not let a little snow scare me and I was right, it was not too cold. It was cool, but not usually cold, the wind was not too crazy, and the traffic in the streets was usually light. the time was 5:40 AM, and I later found out the Fed government had a two hour delay.

Everything went fine, until I hate the National Mall, and the snow storm got our of control, no where to hide from the snow nor a way to slow it down, but I mean I am already out and better finish my run. I did finish it and got home with snow all over my face and my hoodie! My hands froze at some point to a degree I could not change my music or blow my nose, but hey the songs change by them self I cannot be too picky though.

It might have been too extreme from me to go running in a snow story, in a city that is not used to snow, but I think my days in Utah have served me well. I mean the Rockies are awesome! But most importantly, my week would not have been the same without my running ritual. Yes, there is a treadmill at the building gym, but to be honest it's just boring to run in the same place.

As a precaution, I took my health insurance card with me in case i slip or get hit by a moving object.
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