Monthly Archives: October 2007

Halloween Went Well

I had seventy-two candy bars, gave one to each trick-or-treater, and was out of candy by eight o’clock. I love my neighborhood.
It never seems like that many kids, because they show up several minutes apart, in small groups, and somehow it still ends up being sixty kids or so. This year I got more than usual. Lucky for me I had enough candy for all (except that one last kid in a group of three, and I only had two bars left. He was cheerful about it and wished me happy Halloween, anyway).
I mistakenly bought some king-sized Snickers instead of full-sized Snickers, so two dozen kids were pretty happy about that. The ones that got the full-sized M&Ms seemed pleased, too.

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Kingdoms that Share Common Values

Saudi Arabia’s ruling monarch has just paid a visit to the United Kingdom, where Kim Howells, the Middle East minister standing in for Foreign Secretary David Miliband, said Britain has shared values with the Saudis.
I’ve searched for but haven’t found any explanation or exposition on what, exactly, these shared values are. Here’s a good article from the Daily Mail:

But bizarre claims have come from our side too. Foreign Office Minister Kim Howells has spoken of the ‘shared values’ between our two countries.

What shared values? Was he thinking of Riyadh’s ‘Chop-Chop Square’ where adulterers and thieves lose heads or arms under the kingdom’s brutal Sharia law?

Was he referring to the scores of Saudi political dissenters executed and tortured every year?

Perhaps he meant the Saudis’ treatment of women who are, in effect, kept under house arrest, banned from driving or leaving their home without a male guardian and made to dress ‘modestly’ – in other words covered from head to toe.

He presumably did not mean Tony Blair’s suppression of a corruption probe into British Aerospace’s alleged bribery of the ruling dynasty to secure a multi-billion arms contract.

In the coming days, the Saudis will claim that both Osama Bin Laden and the 15 Saudi 9/11 hijackers had no deeper connection to the culture and mores of the kingdom than that they were born and educated there.

Just as they did unconvincingly after 9/11, the Saudis will trumpet their new-found resolve in combating domestic terrorism, while promoting the idea of a UN centre to co-ordinate information on international threats and touting their peace plan for the Middle East.

But all of this polite verbiage conceals stark realities. For the truth is that for nearly three decades now, the Saudis have been exporting their indigenous extremists all over the world.

It was in 1979 that Saudi fundamentalists – fuelled by mass unemployment as well as the vast wealth, corruption and hypocrisy of the royal dynasty – stormed and occupied the holy shrine at Mecca, killing and capturing hundreds of pilgrims.

The Saudi authorities retook the mosque but they placated the growing unrest by introducing a religious crackdown and ensuring that strict Islamic codes were enforced.

They also encouraged fundamentalists to find trouble elsewhere – to go to Afghanistan and fight the atheist Soviets, even providing them with cheap flights and cash for weapons.

In this way, the authorities played a major role in financing what coalesced into Al Qaeda, whose leader, Bin Laden, is the spoilt scion of the largest Saudi construction firm.

So keen have they been to bury this connection that London’s libel courts have been used to obliterate an academic book called Alms for Jihad for daring to broach this subject.

Equally disturbingly, Saudi Arabia has used its vast oil wealth to purvey on a global scale the austere Wahhabist strain of Islam on which the Saud dynasty’s legitimacy rests, but which poisons young minds and fuels murderous anti-Jewish and anti-western resentment.


Filed under arabian, Salafism, Saudi Arabia

Rise in Sorcery in the Saudi Kingdom

Arab News article:

TAIF [Saudi Arabia], 27 October 2007 — The Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice in Taif has arrested 25 charlatans of both sexes following the establishment a year ago of a special anti-sorcery department in the agency’s local branch.

Fahd al-Thubaiti is the head of the special anti-sorcery department in the Taif branch of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (the Mutawwa’in).

Al-Thubaiti said that the center arrests both people that dabble in magic and also fraudsters who claim they have special skills.

That’s good. While you’re arresting people who really perform magic, it’s good to also nab those fraudsters who only pretend to have magical powers.

According to Al-Thubaiti, the number of witch doctors in the Kingdom has increased thanks to television programs that promote magic. “For some reason, women are more attracted to black magic and tend to be easy prey for charlatans.

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Filed under Islamic relations, Saudi Arabia

Houri of the Week

morena baccarin
Morena Baccarin, actress.

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Video Clip

So there I was on YouTube, hoping to find a clip of that Saudi woman who pepper-sprayed the mutawwa a couple weeks ago, which, by the way, I still haven’t found. But I found this clip posted by a duo calling themselves Saudi Princesses. They appear to be a couple of fun-loving young ladies enjoying life and filming themselves goofing around.
Words can’t adequately describe this video. The song they’re dancing to is Lean Like a Cholo by some entity known as “Down.”

I didn’t realize there were face veils that covered one’s face so thoroughly. I have a halloween mask that’s similar, but you can hardly see through it. I wonder how well they can see.

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Filed under arab, hijab, Saudi Arabia

Where the Wild Hamster Roam

Syria! The kind of hamster most often kept as a pet is the Syrian or golden hamster. They’re endangered in the wild, which is to my mind one more very good reason for the US not to wage war on Syria. Our tiny, furry brethren need our protection. Do we want to see the majestic and elusive wild hamster go extinct?
Apparently almost all pet hamsters today are descendants of just one litter captured in the wild in 1931.
From Wikipedia:

In the beginning of the 20th century, the Syrian golden hamster was considered to be virtually extinct in the wild by unknown reason until Professor Aharoni collected one female and her 12 broods in Aleppo.[3] After that some later sightings and captures were reported. Since the 1980s this species was not seen in the wild, until two expeditions were carried out during September 1997 and March 1999 to confirm the current existence of the wild golden hamster in northern Syria. The researchers mapped 30 burrows. None of the inhabited burrows contained more than one adult. They caught six females and seven males. One female was pregnant and gave birth to six pups. All these 19 caught wild golden hamsters, together with three wild individuals from the University of Aleppo, were shipped to Germany to form a new breeding stock.

For more hamster cuteness than you can possibly handle, go here:

Also, as always, try Cute Overload.

hamster in a box<

For hamster info, go here: This photo is from the hamster care site.


Filed under animals, arab, arabian, Syria

OMG! The Neatest Internet Toy

The English-to-12-Year-Old-AOLer Translator

The beginning of an epistle from Osama Bin Laden:


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Filed under arab, arabist, miscellaneous

What Saudi Arabia is Banning Today
They’re banning the latest issue of Forbes magazine, Arabic language edition, because it has an article on the wealth of fifteen ruling dynasties, seven of which are Arab.
This is an extreme step. Apparently the usually deal with such things by just ripping out the offending articles. *rolleyes*
Sneak preview: King ‘Abdallah of Saudi Arabia rates third. UAE and Brunei have him beat.

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Filed under arab, arabian, Saudi Arabia

Laura Bush Visits Saudi Arabia

laura bush uncloaked

I was hoping there’d be something really funny about this story, but the best I can come up with is this photo. Of course, it’s not so funny when you know the two other ladies are breast cancer survivors. But still, the picture’s kind of funny.
I admire Mrs Bush for not wearing the hijab or any kind of head scarf. Right on!


Filed under arab, arabian, Saudi Arabia

Houri of the Week

colin farrell
Colin Farrell.


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