Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Arab Dictator Stay-Hot List

To be an Arab tyrant these days is not easy. Watching protests calling for their removal can be hurtful to one’s feelings and sense of stability. Just last year, the people worshiped them. Throw in some foreign influences, drugs, terrorists and everything turns to hell! This can be quite traumatic for the poor despots who have worked to hard to advance their countries into the 1930s.

To stay in power, experts say, a leader has to stay hot. Once they’re no longer in, they’re out.

To stop from going crazy, you frightened dictators out there should stay busy staying HOT. Staying active, out there doing stuff, is key to avoiding insanity or a quick toppling. Do not be perceived as being aloof or just waiting. That is not cool. Plus, as they say, idle hands are the devil’s playground.

So here is what today’s Arab autocrat can do before and during protests to prevent the unpleasant revolution from being successful.

  1. Breath in/breath out. Remember, you are alive. They haven’t murdered you yet. The dead man walking look — a la Hosni Mubarak — is, pardon the pun, a nail in the coffin. So breath hard, breath deep, even if you’re on the phone with state media.
  2. Appear defiant and the man against all odds, even if you risk appearing out of touch. Everyone loves an underdog, even if that underdog jails dissidents, has a huge net worth and controls the country’s military. One way to do that is by pointing out in list fashion all the even more powerful foreign threats that want you out because of how awesome you are for the country. Work hard to push this line even if you and I both know it’s a load of shit.
  3. Issue a press release condemning Iran/ the Weather channel/ Saudi Arabia/ Al Qaeda/ Facebook/ the Crusaders/ the United States/ Canadian mounties/ Online gambling/ Al Jazeera/ the Jews/ Niqab-wearers. Mix and match, have fun with it. Keep bringing up new enemies of the state, it makes your regime look busy.
  4. Take a tour of some abandoned part of town filled with people on your payroll cheering you on because it’s freaking awesome and everyone always falls for it.
  5. Hire that Haifa Wahbe music video director to make you look good and youthful. Techno-Arabic-pop music is a must. Make a pick on who’s your favorite singer on Star Academy nominate , and ask people to vote for him/her
  6. Put your cash into gold faster than a Glenn Beck groupie. Make sure gold is somewhere else so that the people don’t get it. Cash you do not convert should be very well-hidden in your mansion. By the way, if your cash has your photo on it, save some because that is freaking awesome in other contexts.
  7. Get your presidential tailor to get you as many highly customized suits as possible. They could take everything but why take suits that only fit you! Plus you can demand keeping them in exchange for surrender.
  8. Re-shuffle the cabinet several times. Just take the Minister of the Interior have him switch with the Foreign Minister. Then abolish the Ministry of Silly Walks, only to rename it with the same Minister the following week. This is great busy work, can be re-done endlessly and vaguely resembles actual reform.
  9. Phone calls. Phone calls. Phone calls. Cell phones – NO. Ornate, official-looking land-line phones – YES. And get your picture taken making them, or else there was no damn point.
  10. Visit some other country or send a high-ranking official to show you are still in control. The risk is you get overthrown or your dignitary defects. But screw it, send the dignitary You can always kill the defectors family if he or she leaves. Hot means getting the last laugh.
  11. Demolish national monuments that protests take place at. It really looks like you’re doing something when you are not…. at all.
  12. Change your mind often. Offer reforms, take them away. Promise to resign one day, break it the next. Flip-flopping can be made to look like actual strategy. The fact it is not does not matter at all. It’s essentially saying, I’m way too hot to touch.
  13. Speeches. The more speeches the better. Do not make any that sound like your last though, such as a crazy meandering tirade, or at least one that is more crazy than your norm. That is very much NOT HOT.
  14. Do normal stuff at first. Walk around, sit in gaudy French furniture, giggle with other dudes in suits. Let the people see you absolutely have no sense of anything happening, so they think nothing is. Then when the coercion starts and everyone gets a sense something it happening, go bat shit nuts, over-state the threat, and sharpen repression.
  15. Practice your remorse face. When your forces kills protesters it is vital you look apologetic, actually sad, even as you deny any responsible whatsoever. Don’t think this tip matters? It could mean the difference between being Ben Ali or being Bashar.
  16. Play around with social media filtering and false flag operations. You have no plan, really, but you know social media revolutions are totally in this season. Do not look lost in the Arab Spring by missing the chance to molest Facebook somehow.
  17. Offer your useless endorsement of other equally embattled and doomed dictators. It will be super moving.

Remember despots, stay active or eat it hard.

[Tarboush Tip: Will]

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Monday, April 25, 2011

Learn Basic Arabic video

It's obvious that most of my blog visitors are non Arabic speaking bunch. So here's a simplified video for learning Arabic on the go. Enjoy this under 4 minutes lesson with this good looking Arabic speaking Lebanese.

Learn basic greeting, introduced yourself, count, the days, and ask for help if needed. This is a very basic lesson that should get you started. It usually takes 6 months to can count yourself as someone who speaks Arabic, but it really takes years of practice and work to get to a level where you can make sense to any Arab.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Arabic Songs Sound Like "Here Without You "

Ever wonder what do Arabic songs sound like to those who do not speak the langauge, to translate the words is easy, but the capture the feeling of a song is almost impossible. So if you are ever asked about Arab songs tell them there are many great American songs that talk about the same things Arabic ones talk about.

Here is one song that I think is very similar to a great deal of love songs in Arabic. The honor goes to 3 Doors down and their hit song "Here Without You", the energy and the atmosphere of the song as well as the mode is very close to the Arabic song experience. Yes, it's all in the drama and the sad stories of the broken heart who cannot move one.

3 Doors Down - Here Without You
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Odd Things Arabs Tourists Photograph

Some people like to watch birds. I like to watch Arab tourists in the US. Most amusingly, they take the strangest photos. As a rule of thump, Arabs prefer not pictures of food, as so many Americans do abroad; nor do they point and click at everything like their Japanese brethren.

Here is what I see Arab visitors snapping away at where I live, in Washington, DC.

  1. Cars, nice cars any cars really, but especially any late 1980s Corvette or Camaro.
  2. The McDonald’s golden arches. Pizza Hut’s red roof caricature and the KFC bucket logo—because they remind them of home. Taco Bell is ignored.
  3. Anyone in uniform—a policeman, a firefighter, a security guard, a postal worker.
  4. Blondes—real or fake, it does not matter.
  5. Servers @ Hooters, and the pics are only to be shared with the dudes back at home. It’s like a strip club for the dudes from conservative countries.
  6. Hookahs. Nothing screams I am keeping it real as blowing smoke, plus they can ask people back home to guess where the picture was taken, since nothing is crazier than a shisha place in NYC.
  7. Anything that comes on time. It’s worth taking its picture since this concept is non-existent back home (and in many places in the US). OK, this does not really happen, but it should!
  8. Homeless folks with their coin jars who tell jokes about poor Americans and give unsolicited advice to tourists. When you expect to visit such a rich country, nothing is more novel than a homeless dude. In the Arab world, homeless isn’t rare, but public begging is outside of the massive cities. Getting mobbed by kids selling crap is a bigger phenomenon for tourists.
  9. Mosques and Arabic churches are like the Arab McDonalds, super exotic and therefore photo-worthy.
  10. Government offices. In DC so many look ancient Roman or Soviet in architecture, so it’s like time travel. But yeah, take a picture of the symbols of American power while it lasts.
  11. Airplanes, we really cannot help by take pictures of those flying beasts. I have no idea why.
  12. Bridges, dams and those damn FBI undercover agents, well if no one warned them what NOT to do in the US.
  13. Segways, those silly mobility devices, because the roads back home make such vehicles impossible and people just look ridiculous riding them.
  14. Extremely obese people walking, talking, moving on scooters. Although for Gulfies, the sight of fat people may no longer be so interesting.
  15. Anybody that looks like a rapper, which for the lighter Arabs is just about any black person. And yes, many think the average black guy “looks like” some celebrity. That can lead to embarrassing moments.
  16. People in exercise outfits. Sorry we do not exercise. The closest thing we have to exercise is reproduction activity, and we’re not wearing anything.
  17. Any protest, whether by paid union protesters, or the nuts camped out by the White House, is a great subject for Arab cameras.

Arab tourists like taking photos of the surprisingly familiar, as well as the exotic. Most important is they show everyone back home what they were up to on the trip. Aren’t Arabs so strange!

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Thursday, April 07, 2011

8 Arabs Who Have a hard Time Finding a Mate

There are many awesome and fine Arab people to marry, but unfortunately, like other people some Arabs are tough sells when it comes to dating and marriage. sometimes it’s their fault, sometimes they are disadvantaged.
  1. Journalists - It might sound cool, you get to hand out with cool people, but it’s painful to get a paycheck. There are way too many of you in each town and there are only so many Al Jazeera can hire.
  2. College Students – Go back to school kid, read few more books by Noam Chomsky or Zizek. Whatever hell you read to sound pretentious.
  3. The Artist (exception if they are publicly recognized or do their art as a side project)- I know you have been working on this documentary for three years now. Your grandma cannot be bailing you out for much longer.
  4. Divorcee’s with kids- Yes this happens. Unless he knows what he wants in life and can show some funds, then this guy can be written off. Buy some Celine Dion records. Some say it helps, others say the wounds only deepen.
  5. 5. Divorcee with no kids – That says you cannot have any and since Arabs love a good bargain, you my friend are not one. Do not worry though, stem cell research is making ways so that your ovaries can do their godly duty.
  6. 6. Anyone with a strong Syrian (EGYPTIAN) mother - You only want to marry one person. And not their mother too.
  7. Anyone you met on an online dating website - Things are changing, but go ahead and explain to your relatives how you met. They will think you are some kind of whore who brought shame upon the family. Or worse
  8. Anyone with a Arabic last name that translates to an insect, reptile or rodents, like Sarsour, Jarada, and Al Far – While you hope you can trap those creatures in real life, you run away from them.
  9. Arab men (every Arab woman I know married to an Arab advises never to marry an Arab) – either they are lying or they want to keep you out of the exclusive club.
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Wednesday, April 06, 2011

On Becoming a Gheezer

So, the clock decided to make me 30 years old, i had no choice but to abide by the rules of nature. Gone are my 20s and gone with it the opportunity to tell people, when I grow up I want to be....Now I am supposed to have arrive the point where I am treated as an adult and thus my choices have to reflect just that.

I can still be active and do the running and workout I like to do, but I need to keep in mind, it takes longer now to recover from being hurt---so I need to be careful. I first realized I am getting there when I read some scan I did few month ago, where it read "Healthy for his age!" that stung!

But what do you do? Not only is my father is still alive and doing well, but also my grandpa can still kick my butt as he still farms his plot of land and last I heard the 85 years old man is contemplating a wedding. So, I know the genes are right, I am not too worried, I just need to figure out what I really want to be doing in the next decade becasue that might define the rest of my life. I get 10 more years and then that would be it, becasue I believe at 40 you do not make major decisions live with the ones you have been making for the past 4 decades.

Sure you can always do what you want and be who you want to be, but this idea is for American Idol not real life. In real life thing are different. I must say I am excited about the next years and look forward to living it to the fullest--as much as Roa lets me!

People know actually listen to what am saying, for some reason being older means I know what I am talking about. So to me that means I have to chose my words carefully.

In the meantime how were your 30th birthday?
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