Friday, December 30, 2011

My Interview With NPR On Arabic Protest Music

Read this story on NPR, "Leaders Wanted: Protest Songs From The Arab Spring" Did this interview with Bob Siegel From All Things Considered. I helped give them an idea about the kind of key songs of the Arab Spring worthy of being featured.

We had so little time, it was a pleasure to be on the air with this iconic American voice. Listen to my interview below.

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Why Should A Jew Wish A Muslim A Merry Christmas?

For starter, I like to wish my Christian friends Merry Christmas, I have no problem saying it loud. In fact I enjoy saying "Merry Christmas" to the ones I know it means a lot to them more than the commercialization of it.   My rule is always on such occasions, always have yourself a good time.

Now, but I do not go around asking people what their religion is. It's tricky to assume that they are Christians who observe this season. There are those agnostic and atheists too, so it's tough to guess when to probably say it with people you do not know. I was once told by an Arab friend of mine who is Christian, that sometimes it bugs her when people assume she is Muslim and wish her a Happy Eid. I understand her plight and I can see how that would feel like erasing your identity.

When people wish me Merry Christmas, I say Merry Christmas back with a smile. I do not lecture or correct people. However, I do not know how other Muslims and Jewish people feel in this situation. I know for some of them--not all it's an identity thing to reject Christmas. Therefore, when I visited St. Louis, I was wishing people Merry Christmas, but always had doubts about it.

At the end of the day, this could be a Muslims wishing a Jewish person a Merry Christmas--a holiday of no value to neither of them.  
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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

5 Things To Eat In Saint Louis

  1. Try A Pizza from Imo's, You can finish a whole one by yourself. It's very thin crust and packed with flavor. Imo's deliver awesome pizza Fast. I know I do not like the taste of dough that often gets in the way of otherwise a great tasting pizza. Imo's knows how to keep a Saint Louis original alive. 
  2. Taste gooey butter cakes, those city famous cakes will be your latest addiction. Rich in sweetness, butter and various flavors. I first came to try them at the Park Avenue Coffee in downtown St. Louis. I later picked a freshly baked whole cake from Culinaria store also in downtown.
  3. Knock yourself out on frozen custard from Ted Drewes. These guys know how to make custard as it's mean to be made. Their shakes are as thick as hell. Make sure to taste different flavors, and careful you can always order a small size.
  4. Sure, it's Tennessee style BBQ, but nobody has anything on the city of Saint Louis style when Pappy's Smokehouse. Do not take my word for it, try it for yourself. It's all in the sauces with these guys. They prepare delicious, juicy Memphis Style BBQ daily using only the best ingredients. Meat can be brought to perfection after 4 to 14 hours of slow smoke.
  5. Buffet at St' Louis Lumiere Place Casino & Hotels, I know casino buffets can be a mixed bag, but in this city that clearly knows the taste of its mouth, you cannot bluff. The food selection at this buffet keeps it fresh and nutritious. Their dessert selection is worthy of an A list Vegas casino buffet.
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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

10 Things to Help Muslims Survive Christmas

  1. Watch the Access of Evil Comedy Tour! Nothing can cheer you up faster than realizing that all you need is an hour or so of overdone and repetitive airport jokes to make it big in comedy. As a Muslim anyway.
  2. Watch the extended version of Kingdom of Heaven. Murderous Christian savages and Salahuddin! Two things embedded in the collective consciousness of all Muslims reminding us constantly that we can be pretty awesome.
  3. The day after Christmas, go to your closest big box store and pick up those Christmas-branded chocolates and merchandise for 30% off. But watch out for the alcohol-filled ones. They taste bitter. 
  4. Be happy you're not stuck in the mall. Looking for a parking spot is a lot harder than finding a spot to place your shoes at the Friday prayer service. 
  5. Knock yourself out watching European soccer, as the Europeans are Godless heathens and don't believe in taking time off from kicking their balls to celebrate the birth and sacrifice of our savior Steve Jobs.
  6. Join your fellow Jewish cousins at the nearest Chinese food restaurant and enjoy a serving or six of General Tsao's Chicken. This is the one time of the year you all can put aside land and ethnic cleansing disputes aside and gush over sweet and sour sauce.
  7. Deck the Halls with Kuftah Balls. And by 'Halls' we mean your big pots. 
  8. Christmas is one of the few times Christians feel they have earned the right to ask odd questions, so if you can endure the occasional "How come y'all don't b-leeve in Jaysus?" or disruptively drunk co-worker, join a Christmas Eve party. 
  9. Help reinforce negative stereotypes for future generations! Bust out your hookah and play a round of Tarneeb with your unshaven, loud-talking young buddies. If you're a lady, just sit and gossip with your equally unshaven buddies. 
  10. Santa's got nothing on you, Muslim man: you are both fat, both have beards and both draw stares from little kids and TSA screeners. Santa has his lists and you are on a no fly list. Time to re-think our differences? 
Bonus: Take a vacation in Hawaii or Arizona, the least Christmasy places of them all Spend your time at the gym, while the rest are indulging in fruitcakes and eggnog, you can do something that is quite the opposite
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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Where To Find America's Thinnest Lenses

For Black Friday I got an amazing gift, I broke my glasses, the ones I paid 350 dollars for three years ago. This was devastating to me, as I am trying to wear my contact lenses less. On the bright side, my wife never likd the frames, so she was happy those glasses are no longer something I can wear.

Since I ordered my glasses from Hour Eyes, I headed to the nearest mall where they have a branch and tried to ordered them. My eye doctor has previously told me that I can get thinner, lighter plastic lenses for my glasses. Hour Eyes store employee told me he will order my the thinnest lenses he can order. I took that to be the thinnest in the market, but wrong. There's was another store A Visual Affair that had an informed associate who took the time to explain me the difference, and for that I was grateful.

I strolled down to Lens Crafter's store and I inquired there, I learned that the index for their lenses is 17.3, which is the highest in the market right now. I go back to Hour Eyes and learn their index is 1.64 and can go up to 1.67. But the 1.7 line is at least 30 percent thinner and lighter.

If you are like me, thin and light lenses is like a dream as I am near sighted and last thing I need is a heavy lenses. Then comes an idea, I head to America's Best Contacts, and learn something else. America's Best is one for the few places in the US that carried a new lens technology known as DigiMax HD lenses. This technology is supposed to be the top notch lenses, light and thin as they come. Supposedly the military and Wal-Mart have them as well.

So I ordered them from America's Best. I would have been content with Hour Eyes, had I not learned more about this matter. So when I picked my glasses, I was very pleased with this technology. My wife is also happy with the frames as well as the lens. The prices were also right for what I got, I ended up getting two eyeglasses for a sweet deal along with a free eye exam--only if you purchases two frames.

So ask around and for sure shop around and do not settle for the first line.
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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

7 Arabs at the Gym

Can an Arab really get to the gym? Sure, but it might kill him
Arabs do not monkey around with their time, they do not do stuff for fun if grandma cannot make sense of it. Time is precious, the only time Arabs do not watch the clock is if they are a guest at someones house who they don’t like of if they are smoking hookah. So gym doesn’t fit in that narrative.

I present the Arabs at the gym edition:

  1. My Mom’s Mansaf Is To Die For- Cannot apologize for that, most people eat once at my mother’s table and they enjoy it, I cannot maintain my weight and continue to please my mother by consuming her dishes. This is like going for confession, it’s not about being fit, but rather minimizing the damage.
  2. My Mother In Law HATES Me- You are good looking, but your husband makes a lot of money. For that his mother thinks you should suffer at her hands. She often comments on your weight and health. An hour at the gym would shut her up. Note to self--”Why Can’t Bashar’s thugs get to my mother in law?”
  3. The Honeys Won’t Come- I have a stable job, my hair is still intact, and my teeth are in their designated places, but still, I do not seem to attract the ladies. Lose that belly and brush often--now repeat. The gym would another good excuse to shower, rinse and get rid of that chronic garlic body odor.
  4. My Doctor Told Me, I Will Die- My Doctor is very persuasive, given my family history, there is no way around it. I need to get healthy or Diabetes type 1 will soon find me. This is also a great excuse to go crazy on all those sports drinks. Sugar free ones of course. Plus, I got a really good deal on my gym membership.
  5. Gay in Denial- There’s not better excuse to wear those tights than “I was at the gym.” No one will point fingers, and you can have so many pictures showing off your body. Plus, the locker room is like a buffet of muscular dudes in the nudes--i guess that dirty blond will go home alone...exercising at the gym to Haifa Wahbe and Elissa songs can do that to you.
  6. Vertically Challenged- The genes game is a bitch. Short Arab’s try to correct nature, but expanding horizontally. Never cardio, always free weights, and really long shorts. They secretly fantasies about beating up the tallest guy in the gym. Those make one of the most loyal demographics for the gym.
  7. Me, And My Cousin Special- We don’t go to clubs and bars, because they are HARAM! But it says nowhere not to go to gym to meet the future Mrs. Ahmad. If we get buff it’s a plus, and this is like a fashion show and my mom will never guess why I’m here. Plus, I can sports those Palestine and Lebanon t-shirts. They tend to be loud and obnoxious which annoys everyone else at the gym especially that reading lady on the bike
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Thursday, December 08, 2011

A Day With Lawyers And Dentists

So, I spent few hours in the courthouse yesterday, just for kicks. I did not think people should overlook the high entertainment value court offer. There are way too many stories and people from all walks of life.

I have never been in an actual courthouse, I thought it would be fun to accompany a friend of mine who has a non-jailable misdemeanor. It was cool. The judge was really nicer, it was the holiday season and it was a lot of cases asking for bail. Funniest case, was a guy caught urinating in public. His fee I think was 25 dollars. Public intoxication is 75 dollars. Few Hispanics, two Asians and one Muslim guy who did not bother to show up

The only white people to be brought in front of the judge, were half a dozen of white females on charges of fare evasion on the metro....they only said they were guilty, charged 50 dollars a pop and court's time.

After that fun day, I had to go to my dentist for my biannual cleaning....

A Dentist gets paid a lot of money to make you look good,
A lawyer gets paid a lot of money too, but he is the only one wearing a 1000 dollar suit.

Usually, the nicer the suit of the defender, usually the bigger his crime.
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