Monday, November 19, 2007

I am not OfficeMax

Contrary to popular belief, I am not OfficeMax or Staples or any other office supply store.

Yet because my cube is the nearest one to the photocopy/fax/printer area, people assume that I keep the necessary appurtenances for these 3 machines on my desk. And I wouldn’t really mind it except for the fact that all these things are actually available right on top of the shelf unit between the copier and fax machines.

This is what happens: someone copies a pile of papers and then, instead of looking down and picking up the stapler, turns around, walks to my desk and asks, “Do you have a stapler?”

“No, I don’t, but there are three right behind you.” (I say it nicer than this of course, but right now I’m venting so I’m not bothering to sugar-coat things)

Then, not 2 minutes later, the same person might realize she didn’t mean to staple those papers together after all. But instead of looking down and picking up the staple remover (I’m not making this up by the way, this really happens), she turns around, walks back to my area and says, “Do you have the thingie?”

Now, having just gotten back into my work, I’m a little at a loss as to what thingie she’s talking about. With the help of some descriptive gestures we usually figure it out after a few minutes, but still—those are minutes that could have been spent stapling something.

So just for the record, the only office supply I keep at my desk is post-it notes (which I used to call "stick-ums" until I was teased about it).

Well, I also have pens, but please, please don’t take the blue pen, I have to edit in blue or my boss can’t read my changes—and someone in the office must be eating blue pens because I think the one on my desk is the only blue-ink pen left in our whole building.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Criminal "Justice" in Saudi

Gaaaah! This makes me mad. What is it, exactly, that makes people think it's a-okay to beat a victim of gang-rape and then more than double the number of lashes and tack on a prison stay for good measure just because she appealed?!?!

"But the victim was also punished for violating Saudi Arabia's laws on segregation that forbid unrelated men and women from associating with each other. She was initially sentenced to 90 lashes for being in the car of a strange man.

On appeal, the Arab News reported that the punishment was not reduced but increased to 200 lashes and a six-month prison sentence.


The Arab News quoted an official as saying the judges had decided to punish the girl for trying to aggravate and influence the judiciary through the media."

[BBC: Saudi gang-rape victim is jailed]

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The stains mystery

I finally solved the mystery of stains on my pants.

For the last few months, I kept noticing my pants having oil-like stains. First, I thought it was just a sign that I am just getting older and clumsier. I thought may be I am just not being careful when eating my food or drinking coffee. It was so embarrassing to be in a meeting or right before giving a Khutba (Friday sermon) and then notice the obvious stain circles, in various sizes and shapes, all over the pants. Of course, I learnt my lesson quickly and the hard way that trying to clean such stains with a wet towel will only make the stain larger and more obvious.

So I decided to start tracking my actions to find out when and how I was causing those stains. Three nights ago, after finishing our last Iftar (breaking of the Ramadan fast) I checked myself and was happy not to find any spots. I assumed that by being careful, I won't spill anymore. So I went on with my daily routine playing with my little girl Safiyya. Safiyya is one year old (next week) and is very playful. She would crawl and slowly walk away then back to me, repeatedly. She would get more excited every time she succeeds. It then occurred to me that every time she came back to me, she was actually wiping, rather stamping, her drool from her mouth on my pants, creating a wet stain. I finally solved the mystery. So I carried Safiyaa and tickled her in celebration. Little did she know that she was, both, the cause of that mystery and the key to solving it. May be one day I will tell her about it and that I even wrote a blog post about this matter. (Of course, by then, a blog would be as foreign to her as a letter to today's teenage kids.

I was relieved to know that I wasn't necessary getting clumsier (though I was still getting older).

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Mass Ramadan Greetings

Greetings everyone,

This is my first post, so I'll make it short and sweet.

So Ramadan is finally upon us. It's a great time for spiritual rejuvenation and atonement. I love the family atmosphere that overcomes the community; people smiling at each other when they cross paths, saying salams to strangers--it's great.

But Ramadan is also a time for mass text messages, which are not so great. At the beginning of every Ramadan and every Eid, I get at least 10-20 new text messages on my phone. They're all mass text messages, all forwarded, and almost all identical. Now, don't get me wrong, I appreciate people wishing me Ramadan mubarak and I appreciate the dua'as from everyone who offers them, but a mass text message is so impersonal, and it usually drones on and on--which can become annoying after the 10th identical message.

Moral of the story: pick up the phone and call your brother or sister!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Row Formation

Just got back from was really nice and made me excited about Ramadan.

Since moving to the DC-area, for the first time in my life, I actually have a choice about which masjid to go to. This may not seem like a big deal to y'all big city folks, but having grown up in a place where going to the only masjid meant a 35+ minute drive, this is huge.

Last year, we lived about 10 minutes from a masjid, but we were kind of bad and didn't really go as often as we should have. The ladies at that masjid had this shoulder-to-shoulder, foot-to-foot theory of row formation and would pluck at your clothes or pinch your elbow until they felt that you were sufficiently close. I found this to be insanely annoying. Not to put too fine of a point on it, but considering the female anatomy, being shoulder-to-shoulder, foot-to-foot also means being plastered together shoulder-to-foot--not exactly fun because:
(a) your neighbor is a complete stranger who is a good eight inches taller and likes to stick her elbows in your ribs;
(b) you concentrate more on keeping your balance than on praying; and
(c) it's really hot.

Anyway, we totally had this perfect strategy for ending up at the end of the row or on the back row where one has more of a right to define one's personal space. But it's not really the best feeling in the world to leave taraweeh and realize that you spent more time thinking about avoidance techniques than prayer. The last straw was when some lady tried to put her foot on top of mine. Umm, no...I will put up with being jammed up so close to someone that I can smell what she had for iftaar for the last three days, but I draw the line at having her foot on top of mine.

Alhamdulillah, we've moved since then and we thought that this Ramadan we would have not problems because now we live close to our favorite masjid. It's really cute and has a great mix of people. It's traditional without being uber-conservative (unlike aforementioned masjid), they do 20 rakat for taraweeh, and we actually go there regularly for Zaytuna classes anyway.

So we go tonight and the place is packed. But as people start leaving, we discover that the women have adopted an ignore-the-gaps-and-resist-your-neighbor's-sleeve-twitching-and-maintain-your-position-at-any-cost theory of row formation. These weren't just a loosely spaced lines, these were lines with three foot holes every half-dozen people. It's awfully ironic, but having these huge gulfs was almost as distracting as standing next to the footsie ladies. What's up with that?

I miss Knoxville.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Moon Sighting - Moon Fighting

Have you ever been inside a mosque board meeting? Or even better, a general body meeting with the mosque board?

Let me tell ya...HILARIOUS!

I've never seen more finger pointing in my entire life. Someone in Hollywood needs to make a movie about the drama that ensues inside these board meetings. It would be a comedic hit! Of course only Muslims would see the comedy, everyone else would just be scared.

I can already see the title of the first episiode, "Moon Sighting - Moon Fighting" (That title alone is hilarious...just think of the dialouge, and the finger-pointing!)

I should write a script about this, I'm sitting on a gold mine!

Friday, August 17, 2007

You have won a Free Visa in the US Lottery

I am US citizen. When I got this I was really laughing hard. But the sad part is people might be desperate enough to fall in the trap and lose out on much needed money as well as have their identity stolen:

U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW Washington, DC 20520

Dear Winner,

It is my pleasure to congratulate you on your success
applied and processed by our agency. You were selected
as one of the lucky winners on our internet screening
machine,for the DV2008 USA national visa lottery
program. Your visa lottery winner's identity is
ID-6200DV and your serial net visa passport with us is
SNVPh700IU. In this respect, you are directed to
forward the following requirements:
1. NAME:......
3.DATE OF BIRTH...........
5. PRESENT CONTACT ADDRESS (for correspondence)
You can also send your photo(s) by regular mail. The
photo must be between 1 1/2 by 1 1/2 and 2 by 2 inches
(37-50 mm) square, with the applicant's,spouse's, or
child's name printed on the back. Please mail
the photos to:
Immigration Services:
PA/PL, Rm. 3206
U.S. Department of State
2301 C Street NW Washington, D.C. 20720
Or preferably, you can scan them and send via email
for faster processing.
For information on how to send across the fees,please contact
the Clearance Officer with your contact address attacted to it.
Mr.Trevor Blair through his
email(, ).
Your payment
confirmation shall be sent to you as soon as
clarification is done on your payment...


Mr. Matthew Brooke
The thing I could not copy was the authentic (no really it was) letter head from the State Department it had originally come with. Mr. Brooke will probably not get caught, but the e-mail address do give this away. But really " whats up with these" e-mails about rich Nigerian princes dying of some African disease you can not even pronounce or rich Oil Sheikh's you would think the english would be better.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Black, new, Quiksilver brand- Please return at your earliest...

I was a bit disappointed this weekend. I stubbed my toes really hard and broke some bones. I needed slippers (chapaals in Urdu) and I didn't have a pair because I couldnt wear closed toed shoes. In fact my favorite pair had been stolen and I was upset at how this came to be.

Yes, they were stolen. I don't know who would want to steal a pair of slippers, and get this, a pair of slippers from the Masjid at Isha prayer to be precise. I guess some one came bare foot and decided my pair of chapaals were perfect for them so they went off wearing them. They were only three days old. (I just bought an expensive pair because the ones I had previously had lasted for a good two years so I thought might as well buy another expensive pair)

Or maybe, they had crusty old chapaals and decided that my pair was new, not being worn, so they must have all rights over it. They walked away wearing my 9.5 size chapaals leaving their crusty falling apart size 10 chapaals.

Whatever the case might be, I looked and I searched for my chapaals for twenty minutes after Isha prayer and did not find them anywhere- no one wore them to the restroom, no one picked them up and placed them on another rack, no lost and found- so all i can say is that there is a chapaal bandit out there and they took off with my chapaals!

But what is up with stealing chapaals at the Masjid, after Isha prayer?!! (there is no way they could have thought my chapaals looked like theirs because there were no chapaals that looked like mine left at the masjid) - I am tempted to say which masjid this happened at so people are careful about their chapaals, but my conscience tells me otherwise, since it might be more a rare occurrence (until this person destroys my chapaals and needs another pair).

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Dear Neighbor Chronicles: Sound the Alarm

Dear Neighbor,

If you're going to have such a high-tech alarm system installed in your car that it sounds for 20 minutes when someone so much as sneezes near it and changes tone every 5 seconds, and if you insist on arming it every night even though your car is parked in a patrolled lot, please have the courtesy to turn it off when it sounds at 3 in the morning. Some of us can't sleep through that kind of din.

- Your Neighbor

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Say what??

This past weekend, my family and I drove down to Buffalo for a day of good ol' American shopping. Midday, we decided to take a break. I got in line at a popular joint in the food court. When I reached the front of the line, this is the conversation shared between me and the cashier.

Cashier: (Upon seeing me) "Oh you'll have to wait, she will help you, I don't understand you." (indicating to the cashier on her left).

Me: "Excuse me?" (giving her a look of disbeleif).

Cashier: "Oh you cool, I understand you, ya I can help you."

Me: "Excuuuuuuuuuse me?"

Cashier: "Oh I couldn't understand the other lady *giggles* (an elder Indian lady was in front of me in line) but you cool, your English is good."

Me: "You know what, that is extremely racist and you are stereotyping me, just because I wear a scarf doesn't mean I don't speak English and that certainly isn't the way you speak to customers."

Cashier: (glances everywhere but at me). *giggles* "Okay so what can I help you with."

Me: (Through clenched teeth I gave her my order, it was for someone else otherwise I would have promptly stormed off.)

I got my receipt and went off to my family's table and blew off my steam. When I went back to wait for our order, I saw the manager in the front. I told him what happened, and told him that whatever her views/problems were, that wasn't the way to speak to customers. He gave me a weak "okay I'll talk to her" which wasn't very convincing.

In short....WHAT'S UP WITH THAT?!?! (yes I'm still fuming)

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Queues in Britain

During my recent overseas travel, I was stranded at Heathrow airport in London, twice. While we both, Americans and British, share the same language, I learned that we somehow have a different set of habits.

If you have a question or a problem in America, the customer service person will work with you until they resolve the issue. This is true whether at the airport, mall, or over the phone with a company rep. In Britain, the customer service person will engage in what seems to be a common practice of flow control. This basically involves hearing your question then dumbing to another agent or rep. The trick is that in order to talk to the other person, you will have to get in a queue; this is what the Brits call a line. In most cases than not, by the time you get to the agent, he or she will tell you that you did not need to be in that queue and that you actually have to stand in another one. And this goes on and on until you get lucky at some point and catch the correct customer service person or agent.

Here are a few observations that I made.

- British people are so used to forming lines and do not seem to mind it. Actually, most of them, automatically line up in queues as soon as they face a problem. I admire their sense of order.

- You should have seen us Americans at the airport. We were just complaining about this inefficient process. And while saving each other's place in the line, we would send one of us to cut the line and ask the agent at the end of the line if this was the right queue to be in. We got no sympathy from the agent nor the people in queue (obviously).

- As strange as it sounds, this system worked in dispersing large crowds of angry travelers into small queues where they had all the time to think about a million other thing and somehow calm down. The repeated process of dumping people from one line to another eventually tames people and suck all the energy out of them. It also lowers their expectation to the point where any answer from an airport or airline agent would be satisfactory. Just get me out of the queues! I had enough of those hours-long queues.

Dear Neighbor Chronicles: The Parking Edition

Dear Neighbor:
Please learn how to park; here's the number for the friendly, local driving school.
-Your Neighbor

Dear Neighbor:
I just wanted to let you know that the white lines in the parking lot are not merely suggestions for where to put your car, though your parking job might indicate you think otherwise.
-Your Neighbor

Dear Neighbor:
How is it that the driver of the Yukon manages to only use one parking spot, while your Yaris takes up two?
-Your Neighbor

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A tale of Ajdaabh and Affad

Recently my room mate got a kitten. His wife will soon- God Willing- be arriving from Canada (part of the reason why I need new housing, and can be a whole other "whats up with that!?" story) so he decided to get a kitten. The kitten, Ajdaabh, was a runt at five weeks compared to his litter mates.

This kitten is the cutest thing in world. Man it just had this way to melt your heart. It also has proven that it lives up to its name- which in Arabic means stupid. Besides the usual, he has this peculiar habit of eating food out of my plate, climbing up my leg as I was the dishes, not letting me shower or use the bathroom in peace, chasing after everything that might move, poking its head into everything, still afraid of mirrors and it goes on. These I guess are normal kitty things. However, I think Ajdaabh hates me.

In the initial two weeks Ajdaabh has managed to pee all over my clean laundry, my sleeping bag (I refuse to sleep in a bed since I live such a nomadic life), my favorite pair of Adidas sneakers and God knows where else I will discover his pee.

When I told my room mate, we both tried to create theories to explain why, Ajdaabh would possibly pee on my stuff an not on his and still use the litter box regularly. Being Muslim we gave him many many benifits of the doubt. However, deep in my heart, I still held on to the idea that Ajdaabh hated me.

WELL GUESS WHAT FOLKS!? It has been confirmed. The darn cat hates me. My room mate asked the pet store expert and she said that Kittens do that to people they don't like. Whats up with that?

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Pakistani joke was lame

I find the comedy of Conan O'Brein quite amusing, but his timing, wit, and punctuality really gives him a unique trade mark as a comedian...and it makes me literally laugh out loud.

My fellow Sri Lankan CAIR colleague Nabeel Jawahir posted this on facebook and I found it quite entertaining. Not just because of its comedic value...but it is very interesting to see the type of stereotypes which follow every human being on the planet earth.

To understand what I'm saying, Conan did a bit where he showed fake Euro coins. One of those coins made fun of the Ukraine, which provoked a lot of angry letters. Here's the interesting part: those letters were from the Ukraine. Conan had no idea that Late Night was aired in the Ukraine, and began to wonder where else he was on. You would think he could just ask NBC, but they won't tell him, because then they'd have to pay him more.

There is just one way to find out, and that is to viciously insult every nation in the world, and see which ones he gets letters from. So he basically made a stereotypical joke about every single country in the world.

I was sad to see that Sri Lanka didn't make the list - there is so much material on that island. But worst of all....the Pakistan joke was pretty pathetic. There are a lot things you could say about Pakistan, which will make Pakistanis laugh out loud.

The Middle East jokes were a bit redundant too. I guess the bottom line is, we're not promoting our own stereotypes enough for Conan and his team of writers to notice!

Here they are:

The bad news is, there's a new article about everyone farming opium.
The good news is, you can't read.

The perfect getaway for people who love Kosovo, but hate the working phone service.

It took you eight years to beat France.

Hey, call me when your life expectancy catches up with your inflation rate.

Believe it or not, you can use oil for more than just killing seals.

The Bahamas
It takes a lot of rum to forget your major export is crawfish.

A thriving centre of trade and culture... until 2000 BC!

If you can hear this, your television isn't underwater. Congratulations!

There simply isn't a more beautiful island... to sail by on your way to Jamaica.

Clay, sand, and chalk: Your richest natural resources are what a toddler throws up after a big day at preschool.

The only European country to never successfully invade Belgium.

Get your camera; they're paving a road!

Keep practicing those voodoo spells and maybe someday you'll be as rich as Rwanda.

So they took away your freedom of the press? Who needs it when your only headline is "Bhutan Continues to Suck?"

Remember kids, you must be at least nine years old to overthrow the government.

Bosnia & Herzegovina
Nothing spells a bright future like signing your peace accord in Dayton, Ohio.

Diamonds are forever; too bad your people check out at 35.

If there was ever an argument for the death penalty, it's chicken smuggling.

So what if you misplaced a little weapons-grade uranium? The important thing is keeping track of all those hand-made doileys and goat hair rugs.

Burkina Faso
In the traditional tribal language, that's Burkina for "land of" and Faso for "people who want to get the hell out of Burkina Faso."

The bad news is, you've got rampant malaria. The good news is, it doesn't stop the kids from making those shirts.

All that coffee in a country with no reason to wake up.

Not to be mistaken with the macaroon, a small, chewy cookie... with a longer life expectancy!

With massive overpopulation threatening the globe, Canadians maintain a population of less than 35 million. How do they do it?

Cape Verde
Millions visit your island nation... to refuel their planes!

Central African Republic
So bad, the gorillas learn sign language for "Poach me."

Good news: Ustad Ali Khan is headlining the Locust Plague Festival.

The good news is, it's finally legal to get a divorce. The bad news is, who gets the active volcano and who gets the 55,000 square miles of lifeless desert?

If you're gonna be in prison, it might as well be for no reason.

You'll come for the enticing beauty of the Caribbean Sea. You'll stay because you've been kidnapped and locked in the trunk of a Dodge Dart.

On a list of the world's purchasing power, you're ranked 222. Did I mention there are only 190 countries?

Democratic Republic of Congo
Where even a poor boy with no prospects can grow up to be run over by a presidential motorcade.

Republic of Congo
Without you, who would the elephants trample?

Costa Rica
Thanks for giving us a place to dump our potheads.

Cote D'Ivoire
Cocoa, sugar, and mass killings. Are you a country or a Willy Wonka nightmare?

Congratulations on your candidacy for the European Union. Imagine, if that comes through, it could employ two, maybe three people.

Where "high-tech" means you've got a radio on your homemade raft.

Where the Mediterranean climate makes it a joy to spend each day mining asbestos.

Czech Republic
The country that explains why Kafka never wrote a happy story.

Too bad you can't build a warm, sunny day out of Legos.

Imagine how great life would be if you had the rich natural resources of Ethiopia.

Where the national catchphrase is "I'm sorry, officer, I didn't mean to interrupt your armed robbery."

Dominican Republic
The perfect place for anyone who's ever asked themself "Where'd my car go?"

East Timor
It takes a lot to admit you live on the bad side of Timor.

Street crime is on the rise, so keep your ransom note in an inside pocket.

Where priceless ancient statues and mummies are so close, you can fly to London and see them at the British Museum.

El Salvador
Where no resumé is complete without the phrase "Supervised six-person death squad."

Equatorial Guinea
Congratulations, you just discovered vast oil reserves... I mean, we just discovered vast oil reserves. *evil laugh*

You only have one TV station, but cheer up - it's got locust reports on the eights!

Home of the European flying squirrel, the only Estonian mammal that's not an alcoholic.

I can't do this one, let's move on.

If you're visiting Fiji, you have to go snorkeling, 'cause it's the best way to flee cannibals.

We're so dumb, we can't wait to be insulted to send a meaningless postcard with a tire on the front.

You've had over 5,000 years of culture, and the world's most famous Finn is still Huckleberry.

You gave us the term "deja vu," as in "Wow, I have this weird feeling you've been obnoxious and arrogant before. Deja vu!"

(Wait a miniute, this is France, so I think I can't do just one.)

Rimbaud, Baudelaire, Gauguin, Manet: You're number one when it comes to great minds that died of syphilis.

You have to question a country that grants five terms to a man called "President Bongo."

The Gambia
The only nation brave enough to say "Let those offshore oil reserves wait. We've got a good thing going with these peanuts and palm kernels."

Where Europe meets Asia and says "Hey, why don't we both dump our crap here?"

The great 20th-century power that said, "Ditch Einstein, get Hasselhoff."

The 'h' is silent, like a room full of people after you ask "What's worthwhile about Ghana?"

Big news: Historians now think the first marathon took place in August 490 BC, not September. That means nothing good has come out of Greece for a month longer than previously believed.

When you're at the end of a grueling fifteen-hour day peeling the husks off nutmeg, remember this: without you, the world would have to sprinkle its eggnog with cinnamon.

Where the Mayans invented the zero, as in "What are the chances this shirt was made by someone over the age of eight? Zero!"

Even guinea pigs have the good sense to claim they're actually from Peru.

The only book that mentions it is The Audubon Guide to Locusts.

The Eskimos have sixty words for "snow." The Guyanans have eighty words for "dysentery."

You just celebrated two hundred years of independence. Congratulations. Now make a wish and blow out your burning pile of tires.

Sure, your next-door neighbour Austria was home to Mozart, Beethoven, Strauss, Schubert, and Freud, but don't forget, you make pretty good stuffed cabbage.

I'm amazed you don't have a military. How do you protect your 85,000 square miles of uninhabitable land?

A nation so richly diverse, you can walk into a single neighborhood and find cholera, dengue fever, malaria, typhoid, and plague.

This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of your first democratic election, in which apparently, everyone voted to never have another democratic election.

Just two more years 'til you have a nuclear warhead, and two years and a day 'til you use it on a woman holding a beer.

You know, there's a wonderful old Irish legend that goes something like this: Once upon a time, many years ago, there was an Irishman who could hold down a job.

Hey, remember when life in Israel was vibrant and carefree? Man, that was the day.

Of course you've got an astronomical murder rate. You've had "No Woman No Cry" on repeat for 25 years.

Last century, you brutally defeated China and Russia. This century, you make Hello Kitty toasters.

Thanks to your country's progress in human rights, now your citizens can choose which hand you cut off.

It's a beautiful place to grow old, assuming you're one of the 2.3% of Kenyans who live to 65.

South Korea
Your biggest natural resource is coal, which gives dog a nice, smokey flavour.

If your country could afford vowels, you could spell "this place sucks."

You'll come for the early Asian ruins. You'll stay 'cause you've been stricken with avian bird flu.

Your leading industries are textiles, heavy machinery production, and trading your daughters for second-hand American blue jeans.

Are you bummed out 'cause your country has only 120 miles of paved road? Well, cheer up! Your 41-year life expectancy should give you plenty of time to see all of it.

Come visit our country, but make sure you also have an afternoon activity.

Just like Florida, except without the electricity, phones, drinkable water, or protection from roaming death squads.

Where the police cane you first, then ask for a bribe.

You'll come for the tropical climate. You'll stay 'cause you've been eaten by tiger sharks.

What's that noise? People arguing in tribal languages over the last pile of ground nuts!

Marshall Islands
To write a joke about your country, we Googled it. No results were found.

Look, there's an honest policeman! No, wait, they got him.

Where Eurotrash goes to gamble away their facelift money.

Where Chinese freedom meets Siberian comfort.

The good news is, you only have the fourteenth highest death rate in the world.
The bad news is, you border numbers one, three, four, and seven.

Remember when your government was almost toppled by a pair of cigarette-smoking twelve-year-old twins who you thought were immortal? Man, you sure have come a long way since 2001.

Home to eight of the world's highest peaks; nine if you count your unemployment rate.

The Netherlands
Congratulations, you've turned 500 years of culture into a pot joke.

New Caledonia
Still a world leader in beach erosion.

Come learn about the heritage of your nanny.

Where children come first... in the draft.

Sweden has Ikea, Finland has Nokia... Hey Norway, what do you have? Nothing-kia!

As in "Oh man, I can't believe you cut my hand off for stealing an orange!"

Guess what? You're not worth jack-istan!

How do you enter Palau? Arrive in a national airport.
How do you leave Palau? Through a shark's colon.

Mi casa es su landfill.

We'd write an insult about Poland, but they'd just send themselves the hate mail.

Come see our museum of the Middle Ages. We call it "Romania."

The perfect marriage of rampant corruption and tacky track suits.

St. Kitts and Nevis
You know, after you get through the shrinking population and the low birth rate, there's almost no one left to die during hurricane season.

Kind of like Fiji, but without all the reasons to go there.

Saudi Arabia
You'll come for the history, you'll stay because they arrested your wife for accidentally showing her ankles.

You tried ethnic cleansing; how about cleaning your armpits?

Sierra Leone
You fought for the British in World War I, now you're fighting for your first working toilet.

In 1993, Czechoslovakia was split into two seperate parts: Slovakia, and the good part.

Plagued by decades of civil war. Come on, guys, there's plenty of rubble for everyone!

Five hundred years ago, you were a global superpower, and now you're not. Hmm, that's strange. Oh well, time for another four-hour nap!

Your contributions to the world: crappy furniture and Stockholm Syndrome.

We haven't bombed you yet. Still, I'd hold off on any major construction projects.

Congratulations, you're where Uzbekistanis go to feel better about themselves.

Trinidad & Tobago
The Siegfried & Roy of the Lesser Antilles.

You've got it all... and by "it all," I mean risk of both bacterial and protozoal diarrhea.

Formerly the Ottoman Empire, whose greatest achievement was inventing a piece of furniture to rest your feet on.

Why don't more people give their children Turkmen names? I don't know, let's ask President Gurbanguly Berdymuhammedov.

Turks & Caicos
Where the national library is housed under the reception desk of a Sandals Resort.

Remember that scene in Star Wars when they're on that desert planet and they go into that bar with all those weird creatures? Guess what, that was filmed in Tunisia, and those weren't actors!

Situated right between Rwanda and the Sudan. Jealous?

You've got a novel way to fight corruption: you don't have anything worth stealing!

United Kingdom
The sun never sets on the United Kingdom, and it never rose on British dentistry.

United Arab Emirates
You're remarkably tolerant on women's rights: you let them drive a car to their stoning.

You have more than a hundred local languages; in other words, over a hundred ways to say "Hey, remember when Survivor was here?"

Come and reunite your sneakers with the eight-year-olds who made them.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Opening the Quran, SubhanAllah! What's up with that :)

Many times in my life when things have seemed difficult and troubles are plentiful Allah has shown me His mercy, love and care. This past weekend our family has had to deal with two different difficulties, both of which have to do with our in-laws. The relationships are strong and healthy but circumstances have presented us with several challenges. After salat I made duaa' for help, support and guidance in general and specifically for relief, sustenance, righteous spouses for our children, relief for a dying family member and comfort and guidance for his family. Then I open the Quran at random (as I love to do) and what do I see? Surah An-Nahl, ayat 66-75 and Allah's beautiful words about sustenance, death, spouses and guidance! Subhan Allah!! Just what I needed.
What's up with that? :)

Sunday, July 8, 2007

It is a interesting read, but I got this forwarded to me, but honestly what is up with Sisters and mirrors...?

Here's the deal... I need to see if my scarf covers all of my hair, and that it comes down far enough to cover that which should be covered. I need to be able to see if my hijab isn't really hijab... you know a little curve may be showing here or there, but I can't see because.... I need more mirrors! I need to be able to identify areas that need improvement without having to hear one word that this is what is wrong. You see mirrors don't talk back, but they show what's apparent without words, the good and the bad. I need to know that some things are actually in place and that I am not a total mess...

I need...

I need..

I need...

Seriously!!! I need more mirrors.

Maybe my approach is wrong, maybe I shouldn't be looking for more mirrors but looking at the mirrors that are available to me. Alhumdulillah I get to look in mirrors some Tuesdays and Thursdays, and most Fridays, but my look into them are so brief. Sometimes when I am at the store I get a glimpse into a mirror. Alhumdulillah for the glimpse. I don't think anyone can ever have too many mirrors, but thats just me. When I do get the opportunity to look into mirrors though... MashaAllah I see things that are sooooo beautiful! I see beautiful application of hijab... I see self respect and self assurance. I see a thirst for knowledge and a willingness to share the knowledge already held. I see a sister who cares about her family and the community, and actively works toward helping others. I mean just.... MashaAllah!

Hehehe... at the point you are probably saying this sister needs to stop looking into mirrors because she may get full of herself ^_^ I would be inclined to agree with this observation, but I am not talking about myself. I am not talking about mirrors that can be bought in a store. The mirrors I am talking about are my fellow sisters in Islam. MashaAllah, every time I am able to be in a gathering with them, I learn something that I can improve on without anyone ever saying a word that this is a flaw in myself. They are such an inspiration to me.

Maybe we all need more mirrors, or maybe we just need to look into the ones available to us. How often do we look into our "mirrors", but don't really look? InhaAllah by appreciating the mirrors I have available to me, will open doors that give me access to more mirrors ^_^. Cause I need to look into more mirrors.

Monday, July 2, 2007

NOC vs. SOC - what's up with that?

OK, being the hungry, picky pregnant woman, I needed a cold nutritious drink the other day and fast and I didn't have the ingredients at home - what better drink than a smoothie right?

There are no decent smoothie places in North Orange County! Closest thing that they sell in NOC is one of those fruit juice concentrates with ice, with the occasional REAL banana in North Orange County (NOC). But if you live in say Irvine which is South Orange County, the way Asma does, you can get a smoothie with ALL the REAL ingredients. There are many smoothie chains in NOC to choose from.

NOC residents are also deprived of other establishments such as Coffee Bean (of course Starbucks is already everywhere), or Trader Joe's. Not to mention nice places to eat like one of my favorites Cheesecake Factory. You either have to go to SOC to go to these places or - God forbid - drive towards LA!

Why are we NOCs being discriminated against? Don't we deserve nice things too? Don't we desersve fresh strawberries, mango, barries like SOCs? We NOCs were here first. Without NOCs, SOC would not have been established.

What's up with that?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Stating the Obvious

Whenever I see a personalized license plate, my eye is immediately drawn to it and I puzzle over it until I can figure out its meaning. Some are clever and gratifying to understand, such as this one from our office: CVLR8S; or the plate of a physics professor I know: PH6RLS; or this one I saw on a minivan on the Beltway the other day: MUSAFAR. I was stuck behind this one in traffic the other day: 8YOPIA. (I know, I know – you’re all shocked I was stuck in traffic)

Others are less inspired. Obvious. Such as the green car with the license plate GRNCAR, or BIGTRUK on an F-350. Thank you, I might not have been able to tell without that helpful label. And this makes me wonder: if someone made the effort and paid extra money for a vanity plate, why would they choose something so useless? What’s up with that?

The way I see it, if I’m investing my concentration and precious eye-time while driving, it should at least be worthwhile.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Whose idea was it to have miniature bananas?

I like to begin my mornings (most of them at least) with a smoothie. Nothing beats a fresh cup of milk, honey, strawberries, and a banana. This formula (recipe) has worked fine with me for years. That's until some agricultural genetic engineer (isn't that what they call them) decided that today's banana is not good enough. Someone out there figured that if he or she reduces its size to a finger size, there will be a huge market for it. It was assumed that there is out there a large number of people whose life has been miserable because bananas were two or three bites too much for them to eat.

So my wife decided to buy those tiny bananas (in all fairness, she bought them to support a good cause; a long story). Now, when I use one miniature banana, my smoothie has a weak taste of banana. When I use two, all I taste is banana. Thanks a lot Mr. Banana Einstein for this life-saving invention. Shouldn't you have started with something more useful such as seedless mangoes or a skiness watermelons!

What's up with that?

Friday, June 22, 2007

Ahh...the many joys of parenting

My son, 9 months and counting Mashallah, has been teething big time lately. I could see his tooth just about to cut his gums and he was fussy and cranky, as are most teething babies. We have all kinds of teethers for him - plastic ones, colorful ones, water filled ones, gel filled ones, freezable ones, etc. He however, does not want any of them. Instead he wants a new one he TOE! If I am sitting on the sofa with my legs up, he will sneak over and start sucking them. While cooking, he will creep up behind me, lie down flat on his tummy and try to bite them. When I move my toe away and say No to him, he looks up and wails at me as if I just did the greatest injustice to him. (What he doesn't realize is I just saved him from the greatest injustice.)

What's up with that?

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Training Dilema..Should I or Should I not?

Ever since my two inguinal hernia operations, I've stepped away from my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) training (now going on almost 3 years). The Jiu Jitsu gi (the uniform that BJJ practioners use which consists of a heavy reinforced cotton jacket and pants, kind of like a Judo uniform) has been calling to me from my closet...

Now I hope none of you think I'm insane or possessed by Jinn or anything like that, but I'm now at the crossroads of whether I should go back to BJJ training or simply retire and find less violent and physically demanding hobbies to take (like my recent return to bowling).

I'm not young anymore (I realized that when I started feeling sore from bowling) and at age 30 it will only get worse. My wife actually encouraged me to train again after I reassured her that I was not doing the stuff she saw on TV called the Ultimate Fighting Championships. I had to explain to her what the sport of Mixed Martial Arts(which involves boxing, muay thai kick boxing, wrestling, and BJJ. The sport is usually in a cage or boxing ring where two people duke it out and either win by knock out, submission, or decision.) is as opposed to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Plus she said the shorts that those MMA fighters in the UFC wear don't adequately cover the man's awrah (at that point I told her to lower her gaze lol).

I also asked my wife if she wanted to train with me but she preferred a tread mill at an all women's gym down in Chula Vista than choking and arm locking someone out with their own BJJ gi.

Thinking a little more about it, when I trained a lot back then, I saw people in their 40s training and it seemed fine for them. As with all matters I should seek Allah's guidance on it and do an istikarah prayer.

I then went on to try my old gi hanging in my closet. It actually still fit me despite the fact of sitting in the CAIR office close to 8 to 9 hours a day (and access to the vending machine downstairs) has led me to gain about 15 to 20 pounds more than my competition and training weight (I leave all of you to guess that lol). My wife tells me that all the weight gain is part of the whole "nesting" phenomenon where a new married couple like my wife and I (Can you believe I've been married for 3 years now?) are settling in and beginning to start a new family (inshallah we hope to have some children someday).

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Life in the great North

Having lived north of the border for the past 3 1/2 years, I've had quite an experience living as an American in the land of Canucks. My first year especially. Whenever I would meet new people and extended in laws, upon hearing that I was an American, all the "uncles" would let loose and vent all their frustrations against the Bush Administration to me. They thought that since I was an American, I would somehow be able to convey all their personal complaints to Dubya himself. Hello people...just because I'm an American doesn't mean I agree with everything, let alone have connections to Dubya.

What's up with that?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Driving in Florida

There's a phenomenon of driving in Florida that I still don't quite get. As I was explaining to my uncle who lives in California earlier, driving is, shall we say, a bit different.

Learning to be a defensive driver in California, I was taught the 3-second rule: that is, leave enough space as you can from the driver on the highway in front of you. You never know if you have to make an immediate stop on the highway or try to avoid some danger or accident.

Apparently someone has edited out this 3-second rule page in the Florida Driving Manual (if that's what it's called).

If there is a space in between two cars enough for a third to fit right in, a third car will just get into this space. It does not matter if the rest of the highway is wiiiiiiiiiide open. That space must be filled. There is barely a foot between cars.

Of course me, being an activist, I felt it was my duty to change this dangerous habit for the sake of Floridians. So I would always leave ample space in front of me.

Silly me, tricks are for kids.

What happened in reality was that all these cars would just cut in front of me and I'd feel so cheated for trying to do something good (and way behind so many cars). So now that's how I drive there. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. I bet Floridians can parallel park really well in LA if they can squeeze in at 80 mph on a highway.


During this past weekend, i had the privilege to visit Columbus, Ohio for a singing performance. Mashallah, I'd have to say i was very impressed by the beautiful masjid and the great facility.
So the program was in the basement with "no AC" but HUGE fans, you know the type you see at warehouses!

So they had two shows, one in the morning at around 11 am and another around 7pm.

Besides the Noor Islamic Center hosting Noor
they also invited the comedian Muhammad Amer. For the morning program they had a dismal 25 people show up.
Now most entertainers out there will repeat their material. My friend Bassem, has heard Amer perform numerous times but to support him, he was cracking up as if its the very first time he heard the 'shib sheb' joke among others. I mean he was the loudest guy there!

So fast forward to the evening program, Amer repeated some jokes from the morning and had a few very funny jokes as well. But nothing tops this! During his performance a small 3 year old boy starts walking by the stage with his cellphone. Amer starts to interact with him and telling him to give him the phone. The boy doesn't really listen and then Amer suddenly shoats like an Arab parent "lik hata ya walad!" The boy gets scared and runs off.

Five minutes later, the boy returns without his phone this time. He starts talking to Amer in gibberish language. And then all of a sudden, out of the blue, this kid starts to take off his shirt!! Amer tells him "no you don't want to do that" as soon as he said that, the boy takes most of his shirt off! and then Amer had to say something like "give him some beads" :-)



CAIR staffers blogging instead of working...what's up with that? =)

A Return to Bowling

About two weeks ago, I decided to go back to a recreational sport that I once enjoyed as a junior high school student. Some of my childhood friends convinced me to join with them in a bowling league down in Brunswick Bowling Lanes in Chula Vista. I had several problems: 1) I didn't have a bowling ball 2)No Bowling shoes 3) I haven't bowled since Eid al Adha with the Brothers from Logan Islamic Community Center (several months).

Alhamdulillah, there happen to be a bowling ball pro shop about two minutes away drive from the CAIR SD office. I called them up and asked if they had this one particular ball in stock, it's called the Black Widow made by a bowling ball company called Hammer. Well the reason by behind choosing that one was it was the only ball that looked really nice (it was black with a hint of red and had a picture of a black widow drawn in red). I ended up buying the ball, a matching bag to carry it, and some nice Dexter bowling shoes (in black).

My first week at bowling league was dismal. I ended up averaging 92.5 and my fingers started to hurt a bit. I guess I shouldn't have bowled two full games before my league started. I ended up averaging 138 on those two games!

My fellow teamates also asked me what would be a good name for our new team. Well, the people we bowled against, coupled with all the people bowling league around it me or are we the only young guys here? The people in the bowling league were at least in their 40s. On our team the oldest person is 32 years old (I'm 30). So we decided to call our team Young Gunz (nothing to do with the movie).

After bowling two weeks, I'm getting back into the groove. Alhamdulillah I'm now at 105 average and seem to be getting better each corresponding week. It's nice, Mashallah to go back to sport I always had fun with.

The downside was after each day at bowling league, my knee would hurt to the point that I would have to ice it and take a couple of motrin. Also, not related to the bowling, I think something is wrong with my dominant (left) hand. It might be broken (not seriously but it annoys me). Need to go to the doc for that inshallah. I guess I'm coming to the realization that I'm not young anymore and my body is slowing a bit and does not recover as fast as it used to.

I would be nice to have some sort of CAIR bowling game at one of our national or even state retreats. Now I can bring my black widow!

My Knee is Sore

Can someone please explain to me why people slap their knees when they laugh hard?

Is this some kind of genetic response, human reaction, or can we blame the Republicans on this one. (I'd like to blame the Republicans on this one!)

Everyone knows someone who slaps their knee when they get a good laugh going. But why the knee? Why can't we tap our heads or rub our tummy's. Why slap our knee when we have so many other body parts to slap.

Why can't we be like the Pillsbury Dough Boy...where we get poke our tummy then rub it while laughing? Not only would that be even more funnier, but it takes talent. Imagine poking yourself in your tummy while laughing...then, rubbing it right afterwards while still maintaining that laugh. You have to burn at least 50 calories, and come on...everyone loves the Pillsbury Dough Boy!

Whenever my friends (or my boss) says a really corny joke, I say sarcastically, " that's a knee slapper," and people take that as a compliment. Now I do not know if the quality of jokes in America have been digressing, or that knee slapping is now a custom trademark of a funny joke but I say nay nay as a compliment.

But back to my root question, why slap the knee? I have seen people slap their knee when they are standing and laughing! And people grow into knee-slapping right. Nobody does it when they're young, only when you get older and it just happens!

Why can't we stick with something like the liquid coming out of your nose? Come know what I'm talking about! It's when someone is drinking something while laughing, and they are laughing so comes out of their nose! If you haven't seen or experienced is by far one of the most funniest things you will ever see in your life! Trust me...especially with milk, because no one can hide milk gushing out of your nose! (**ONLY FUNNY TO THOSE WATCHING THE MILK COME OUT SOMEONES NOSE**)

Wow...I am way off topic.

But seriously, why the knee? (Damn those Elephants! Damn them!)

Passing the buck

Are you like me tired of receiving all those emails or forwards that fill up your inbox folders?

Do you receive forwarded emails which usually include a useless urban legend, a photo of someone driving a car into a river or a hate message about some group.

Why on earth would any person forward such messages is beyond my comprehension. Did someone really believe that I am interested to learn how to prevent someone from stealing my kidney when I am at a party (I am the party type anyway; it is hard to with 4 children)?

Another type of forwards are those daily emails from CAIR, MPAC, MAS, ACLU,, Interfaith Alliance, and tons of others activist groups? Actually, many might not even be subscribed to such lists, but receive them as forwards from others.

The problem is that many of us are just forwarding without taking any action. Of course, we convince ourselves that we are busy or that our voice or action is not going to make a difference. But to avoid guilt, we just forward.

This is a symptom of a bigger problem. My theory is that many people are not sufficiently intellectually stimulated anymore. We are not busy doing serious and hands-on activities to help society at large. We as a human race are replacing real activism with arm chair behind the computer active forwarding. No one writes letters to the editor anymore. No one visits or even calls their member of Congress or city hall to express a view. No one protests on the streets. No one wants to meet and organize people over political or social issues. At best, we forward a good article, an action alert, or a strongly opinionated comment to our small circle of friends. That's it. We have done our part. That's what we believe to be the extent of our moral and social responsibility toward our society or world.

The Internet and computers might very well be one of our most useful inventions in modern times. However, those great tools are guilty of turning us into a nation that forwards its social activism to others, in a passing the buck manner, in the hope that someone will act upon it. Until each one of us (or at least most of us) realize that the buck stops here, with each one of us, I am not betting my buck on any change (anyway, betting is Haram).

Meanwhile, please do not forward to me anymore emails about the Bill Gates/AOL giveaways.
(it is an urban legend!!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Should be studying for the LSAT, but I couldnt stop staring

I take the LSAT on Monday. I am having a difficult time studying, in this state of mind I decided to take a dinner break.

I ordered a great meal at one of my new favorite places in Little Gaza, off of Brookhurst in Anaheim. Its wonderful, not just the food, but the fact that at these places you get such a diverse group of people.

When you get all these groups in one place, the cultural characteristics start popping out in sharp contrast. I enjoy these sorts of social points, they firmly buttress my belief that all people can get along no matter how different we are. Also, that unlike the default tolerating others that Californians do on a regular basis, in these circumstances there are great potentials for cross cultural experiences and "fusion".

Well as you can tell I have had numerous experiences like these. My recent visit brought out a "what's up with that" moment I felt I had to share.

I was casually sitting at the restaurant doing some practice problems and through the door walked in a family. Father, Mother, two daughters, another person that seemed to be an Aunt maybe. Anyway, even before they entered the restaurant they stopped at the door. I was sitting near the door, clearly visible- wearing my favorite plaid pants, with a bright green shirt, long hair- no way you could miss me. I also happen to be clearly South Asian.

The parents stopped to measure me up. I think you can, if you are not South Asian, come up with seventy excuses as to why they did this- my "weird" attire, the bright green shirt, my long hair, I don't know could be a number of things for an outsider.

But I immediately knew what was up. It was the South Asian stare. Many a times I go places and found myself being stared at by fellow South Asian-ers. Cold, calculating, verifying stare. The type that you are trying to measure the person up, if you were Cyclopes from X-men, getting ready to fire his laser beam at the object of your gaze. Any moment you would think they would stop staring at you. But no. This stare continues. Other people would just look up, acknowledge and that would be the end of that.

However, with South Asians, the stare only becomes ever more present. Trying to rip you apart molecule by molecule. You know, if they stare at you long enough then you would just vanish. If it were the stare "Oh I might know this person", once acknowledged there would be a shaming smile and an immediate glancing in other directions. But no. They just keep staring.

At a convenient store, Disneyland, the Mosque, college admission days, grocery stores, gas stations, here at this restaurant; they stare and stare and stare. Its a bit overwhelming. Have they confirmed that I am South Asian too? Do they now know after staring at me for two minutes where my family is from, when I was born, that I have a birth mark....I mean these people don't stop staring. (There are only 1.5 billion South Asian people in the world, but every time we meet each other the stare must a be a shock of realization that, yes, there are other South Asian people out there!)

This behavior irks me to my core. Long time ago, I decided that I would fight back. Its comical because I take advantage of this for my personal pleasure. When I get stared at like this, I started to stare back. The stare that is more like, "what you want to fight with me". Then I slowly found that wasn't enough, so I started to stare back steadily, with confidence, relaxed body language (yeah, I know I am cooler then you) with a smirk on my face. That got some responses where the South Asian person staring becomes a bit uncomfortable and starts glances sideways- but NO! they fix their gaze back on me as if I stopped staring at them. I went to the next stage of communication, body language obviously was not enough, where I would say "hello" or "what's up?" or "how are you doing?" and this totally took South Asian off guard. They were really affected by this and I would see them trying to scramble to find a way out of this unexpected conundrum.

I have tried to go back and think of any time where I might have done this. I can not recall ever exhibiting this South Asian behavior or characteristic, so its not genetic. Are South Asian people socialized this way? Many questions come to mind, but I am always left with unanswered possibilities, because each time there is a new twist. With my recent escapade they sat behind me and kept on staring. I could sense it, and to verify I would get up often and go to the counter start a conversation with the owner the waitress and each time they would glance away or rather pretend they were staring into blank space- but that's hard to do when you have three sets of eyes constantly staring into blank space! It only brings me to ask, frustratingly, What's up with that?

Monday, June 4, 2007

What’s up with rubbernecking?

City traffic is a phenomenon with which I’ve become all too familiar in the past year and a half, and some aspects of it never cease to astound me, such as the strange ability of a relatively small thing to bring hundreds of people to a standstill.

For example: this evening as I was driving home, traffic piled up in an unusual way for that part of the highway. We all proceeded to crawl along at about 7 mph for the next 3 miles or so before I could see the cause of the delay. On the far side of the HOV road (“carpool lane” for you California people), a car had run off the road into the barrier. [Alhamdulillah, it didn’t seem to be too bad – no ambulances or shattered glass, just a tow truck.]

Now, on this particular highway the HOV lanes are a totally different roadway separated by concrete barriers, so there should be no connection between traffic problems in one and the other. Still, that amazing phenomenon occurred that made someone feel obliged to slow waaaaay down to look, and then the people behind them slow down, and so on until we’re all sitting still, drumming our fingers on the steering wheel and wishing we had a snack to sustain us – perhaps a banana to restore sore muscles after a fundraising walk.

I know it was only rubbernecking and not a real problem because traffic resumed a normal pace almost immediately after the accident site. So it’s kind of incredible to think that a fender-bender on the shoulder of a separate road had brought 8 lanes of traffic to a crawl for miles.

I guess in these situations I can just be grateful that it wasn’t my fender-bender, alhamdulillah – and that helps me not get quite so frustrated with the whole thing. And of course venting about it helps too :)

I hope it is something important!

The Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) taught us that once the Khatib (Imam giving the Friday sermon) begins his Khutba (sermon), one is not allowed to distract himself or herself in any action or talk. It is such an important rule that even asking someone to be silent during a Khutba puts one at the risk of actually losing the reward of the Jum'aa (Friday) prayer. Of course, this does not stop some Muslims from engaging in greeting everyone they pass by, as they enter the Mosque late while the Khutba is going on.

Every once in while, while I am giving a Khutba, someone's cell phone starts ringing. Most people rush to silence it. I can see the guilt and embarrassment on their faces. However, I also witness the rare cases of those who reach to the phone and answer it. I vividly remember the time a middle-aged man sitting in the 2nd or 3rd row answered his cell phone and angrily and discretely (at least he thought he was discrete) whispered to the caller (who I guess was not Muslim): "I hope it is something important. I am in the middle of a sermon and the angry preacher is looking at me now!"

I have to admit, while this was a "what's up with that" moment, I struggled hard to keep myself from laughing in the middle of the Khutba.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Whats up with Desi weddings?

I get a kick out of this. If I was ever an emcee at a wedding, if ever I was asked to do something that gave me THIS MUCH power- surely I would abuse it.

Going to the story. You got a nice gathering of totally decked out women. Wearing expensive jewelry to the hilt- this would be the perfect time to rob desi's when all the goods are on the person and every single person in a room of 300 is loaded with gold, gems and expensive watches- and dresses that easily are no less then $300 bought here in the US that is. Everyone is looking nice.

Most women at these shin digs do not wear the scarf, generally these people are "liberal" to use a term in a general fashion. At one point during the course of the event, the cultural thing, an obligatory thing is to begin with a reading from the Quran. Begrudgingly some child gets up, cough, clears his throat and in a laborious fashion begins to read the verses from the Quran.

Everyone in the room knows, in fact its usually even announced, "Now such and such, son of such and such who made this such and such event happen, is going to recite from the Holy Quran". You would think people are dying from anticipation. But no, the kid gets up fidgets and begins to read.

Somewhere, at some point, I think the crowd finally understands- "oh Lord, the Quran is being read" and there is rush, like a wave of hands- almost like a crowd cheering on their club as the striker goes to kick in a penalty- hands goes grabbing for the miles of cloth that make up their scarves. The boy reading the Quran, his voices is drowned out by the clanking of bangels and russling of cloth, as the women are trying to find, figure out and adjust their scarves on their heads.

It's quite a spectacle. No matter where I am at, whether it's a wedding or at an event, I never stop laughing out loud at this spectacle. But the best are weddings. Where during the short sermon and the supplication that is made, you see these women struggling to keep the scarf on their head and at the same time not ruin their hair.

So if ever I would be asked to be an emcee at these events, every so often I would bust out with some verses from the Quran, sometimes I would even do the longer chapters I have memorized just to get a laugh out of the spectacle. What's up with that?

Friday, June 1, 2007

Ways to keep a healthy level of insanity

(not my ideas, but I thought they were funny and make good therapy!)

Page yourself over the intercom, and don't disguise your voice.

Every time someone asks you to do something, ask if they want fries with that.

Put Decaf in the coffee maker for three weeks. Once everyone has gotten over their caffeine addictions, switch to Espresso.

In the 'Memo Field' of all your checks, write, "For Smuggling Diamonds."

Order a diet water whenever you go out to eat -- use a serious face.

Five days in advance, tell your friends you can't attend their party because you're not in the mood.

When the money comes out of the ATM, scream "I Won! I Won!"

When leaving the zoo, start running towards the parking lot, yelling, "Run for your lives, they're loose!"

Really, no comments!

Must have been designed by the same smart guy who discovered the WMDs in Iraq.

driving in california

Salams to all,

I think driver's education in California should be revised....I always see the too often: either toooooo slow drivers who think time is of no essence or people driving too fast and too close /or on the cell phone. I think most of the accidents according to some TV commercials is due to NOT PAYING ATTENTION to the driving. I try to take my time so I dont have to be speeding, but usually I do encounter the above on a daily basis. At school, I have been almost run over 3 times because parents are saying "goodbye" to their kids while not paying attention to the driving.....

Any comments????

The Importance of Coffee Placement

While traveling recently, I was reminded of a hotel oddity that has bothered me for some time. Why do they insist on putting the coffeemaker – and all the ingredients – in the bathroom? What’s up with that?!

I tried to figure out the logic behind this, but the best I can come up with is that they thought it ought to be near a sink, even if the wrong kind of sink. Still, it seems odd to me to store foodstuff (coffee, sugar, creamer) in the bathroom. It strikes me as less than hygienic, even with the little paper hats on the cups.

The whole situation just makes me glad I’m a tea person :)

What's up with Kobe!

What's up with Kobe wanting to be traded from the Lakers? He is acting like a selfish player who never passes the ball, which is very unlike him. The Kobe I know is a team player!

So to honor Kobe demanding, or once demandng a trade here are the best trade scenarios for all the Kobe Haters!

1. Kobe Bryant for Dwayne Wade.

(I'm sure we would all love to see Kobe and Shaq team-up together and then kill each other afterwards.)

2. Kobe Bryant for anyone on the Denver Nuggets!

(What better then to remind Kobe of his trial in Colorado!)

3. Kobe Bryant for anyone on the Memphis Grizzlies. *pending Jerry West comes back to LA*

(I'm sure Kobe would love it if he's traded to Jerry West's old team)

4. Kobe Bryant for Pluto

(Yes, Pluto is no longer a planet, but I'm sure they have room for a selfish basketball player!)

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Shoulder to shoulder, foot to foot

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) advised that when we pray in congregation that we close the gap between us and the people next to us, on each side, by ensuring that we stand shoulder to shoulder and foot to foot. The apparent wisdom is that this bond will encourage unity and brotherhood/sisterhood.

Some people misunderstand this great tradition to the point where they become obsessed with the foot to foot part. Who among us did not have to stand next to such a person who turns the prayer into a mission for his foot to chase yours. After every step in the prayer, he makes sure that his foot forcefully presses on your foot, and if you dare to move your own feet closer to escape the pressure, his foot will follow yours to remind you that there is no escape from that destined bond. I wonder how could he keep his balance with his legs so far apart? It must take a lot practice.

What's up with that?