Monday, August 31, 2009

Losing Faith in my Favorite Airline

Qatar. I have a ticket to take a trip to the States. Because I want to make sure that I am not served chicken, beef or lamb for any of my meals, I request "vegetarian" meals. It is a long flight from Doha to Washington - 13 hours - you need to eat on the plane at some point. I do, anyway.

In Qatar's classification system, there are several different types of "vegetarian" meals available to choose from. Vegetarian Asian: free of meat, poultry, fish or shellfish. Vegetarian Lacto-ovo: free of meat, poultry, fish or shellfish. And, Vegetarian Non-Dairy: free of meat, poultry, fish, milk-dairy products [cheese, eggs, or honey]. Interestingly enough if I choose Vegetarian - any of the above - I get served the exact same thing every time I fly with Qatar. I am not really complaining [yeah, okay, so I am always complaining], because the egg-plant dish they serve is quite tasty. However, with the "vegetarian" status I don't get real butter or any of the good seafood items that are often available - like lobster bisque, or shrimp cocktail. I do eat seafood and shellfish. I just don't eat any poultry, beef or lamb. I will eat an occasional piece of pork though. [Qatar has never had a single pork item offered on its menu and I don't anticipate that they ever will, given that they are a middle-eastern company where most people practice a religion where eating pork is "haram," or very bad. Of course, drinking alcohol is supposed to be as "haram" as eating pork, but that doesn't seem to stop them from drinking.]

So, anyway, I sent the following e-mail to Qatar Airways Privilege Club - the mileage program - where I have Gold Card status:

"I would very much appreciate it if you could remove "vegetarian meal" status from my upcoming ticket [number provided]. I have changed my preferences to reflect seafood meal. The preferences for vegetarian do not include one to specifically say "no beef, no poultry" which are the foods I do not eat. [Somehow I always receive a non-dairy meal with this vegetarian choice and I DO eat dairy products.]"

This is the e-mail I got in response:

"Thank you for your email.

We wish to inform you that your meal preference is updated in your profile. Kindly contact your nearest Qatar Airways office to update the same in your Booking Reference (PNR)."

Joke. Has to be a joke. It is Ramadan. And you want me to try to find someone at the nearest Qatar Airways office that is actually working? Ha! There are six men that work there - I've spent several hours at a time there in the past getting our tickets to Greece and Turkey - and only one or two of them actually do any real work when it isn't Ramadan.

I responded with this e-mail:

"Is this not something you can do for me? I live in Saudi Arabia. It isn't like I can just jump in my car and drive downtown to the office, myself. Women are not allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia and ex-pat women are not allowed to contract their own drivers. [And by the way - going to the office in Khobar is a joke. One man working and four sitting around playing on their mobile phones.] I have sent you the reference number and do not understand why you cannot access a computer to change this for me. I would not have bothered to contact the "Privilege Club Team" if I didn't think that I could get some assistance. I would like a manager to contact me, please. My telephone number is 555-5555. Thank you."

No response so far. We'll see. Chances are really really good that I will be eating another non-dairy meal and served egg-plant, again, on my upcoming flight to the States. Honestly, if I didn't like this particular flight - it cuts off about six hours, if not more, of travel time, as it goes direct from Doha [Qatar] to either Washington, D.C., New York City, or Houston - then I would probably be looking into another airline. I will say, however, that not only does this particular route cut quite a bit of time off the total travel time for me, but that with all but one exception the service Qatar provides, in-flight, has been impeccible! I'll update this post with their response to my e-mail once I receive it.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Issue Number One

I have a trip to the States planned. One of the things I plan to do while I am there is consult with a plastic surgeon. Yep. Plastic surgery. I want to have a couple of things "fixed." One of those things is my tummy. I want to find out about having a tummy tuck done. I have done some research on-line and know that it is some pretty major "elective" surgery. And from what I understand, quite painful. Whether or not this interests you - about my decision to have a tummy tuck... I do plan to do a whole series of the before and after. And, yes. I will post a photo of the "tummy" before. And then the "tummy" after. That is, if I decide to go through with it.

Have any of my readers had a tummy tuck? Does anyone know someone who has? Was it worth it to have it done? Were there true and real noticeable results? How painful was it? What was the recovery? How was the recovery? Would you recommend this type of surgery to someone? Does anyone know "the best" plastic surgeon in North Carolina [I do have a surgeon that I picked from "reviews" on-line and do have the initial consultation already scheduled - I am, however, open to suggestions of other surgeons].

As for "Issue Number Two." Having just had a very, very lengthy conversation with my Dear Mother, I have got to share what happened to her at a store yesterday. Poor thing [Mom, that is]. And "Issue Number Two" will be my next post.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Hot, Humid, Lazy

Mostly just lazy, though. And dealing with some "technical" issues as well. Like I cannot print off any photos - the error message says the program may need to be reinstalled. Or some ridiculous thing that is going to make me crazy. I'll try to put a program of news from the last few days together for tomorrow. If - big if, there - I get beyond the "mostly lazy" that I've been lately. How does that saying go? "When in Rome, do what the Roman's do..." Something like that.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Lights are Off and No One IS Home

I read some story a while back - at JWF's place - about Indian's and Muslim's practicing some ritualistic "baby toss." They have got to stop. Just stop it. You are causing irreversible damage and harm to little children who are at a ripe young age, and who, after you've thrown them from some 15 meters high into the air to land on a sheet being supported by the hands of a dozen men, stand absolutely no chance of maturing into normal adults with fully functioning brain cells. Nary a one. Functioning brain cell, that is. JWF posted the video, which, admittedly, I had not watched until this morning. Sweet Mother of PETE!?!

File under: What The F^ck ???!!! It's not bad enough you're throwing babies off a roof or a balcony, but you're holding them by the feet and hands and SHAKING THEM FIRST?!!! Words cannot adequately express... If you can stomach it. Watch it. Wait for the end. The little baby girl you see get shaken then tossed? Her eyes are rolling. Don't tell me that this stone-age practice hasn't caused a good number of innocent BABIES to be brain damaged! What is the reasoning? Because this was done to you as a child and caused you severe malfunction you are going to impose it on the next generation? When does it stop?!! Madness, I tell you. Sheer and utter madness.

I'm not sure if this is what has happened to Pool Guy, but something happened to him as a small child. I have often thought "shaken baby syndrome." Pool Guy? He has my sympathy. His mother died when he was a small child and it is more than obvious just looking at the man that life has been very rough and hard on him and for him.

My gardener? Appuk? I don't know what kind of childhood he had. He "looks" normal. He isn't. Part of our problem is a communication barrier - it is a small part of our problem. The other part? The sun has fried his brain. Or else he was part of the ritualistic baby toss. No matter what I ask him to do or ask him NOT to do, he smiles and laughs and says, "Yes Madam." It comes down to showing him what I need him to do. That works fine. Most of the time. But not all of the time.

This morning? He asked me over a week ago if it was time to "cut" the bushes. Yes. They need done. They were supposed to get done last Thursday. They didn't. Appuk depends on his son, Hadar, to come and help him [his nephew, Inom, is our houseboy] when the bushes get done. I don't pay Hadar. I pay Appuk and if he chooses to pay Hadar, that is their deal. On Thursday Appuk told me "Hadar not come today, Madam." Yes. I see that. When are we going to trim the bushes, then? "Saturday, Madam." Well, they didn't get done on Saturday, either. A week later? They still aren't done.

Well at 6:50 A.M. today I hear this funny noise. What is that? Are one of my precious Kids getting into something they are not supposed ot be in? Very odd sound. Cannot duplicate it in words. I was in the study when I heard it - then it stopped - seconds later it started up again. I went to the kitchen to see if it was one of my Kids - nope. They're both still in bed, sleeping with Daddy. I look out the back window from the kitchen - is the Rooster here, again? Nope. It is Appuk and Hadar out front attacking my bushes and shrubs with their hedge-trimmers. Oh, I DO mean attacking. [Is there some internal private war you have with my bushes Appuk? Are you mad at any growing living green thing? Or just "mad?" Do we need to get you some professional help with this? An anger management course, perhaps?]

I went out front to see what was being done and could not believe that they actually thought they were doing a good job. "Trim bushes today, Madam." Yes, Appuk, I can see that. Only that isn't a "trim." That is a slaughter. Have I ever specifically asked you to trim everything in a haphazard zig-zag shape? No. I have not. Ever. Not a single even height hedge in the entire dayum yard! By haphazard zig-zag shape I do not me some sculptured design that you might see in a botanical garden. Oh, no I don't. I was actually gasping at what they had done. I was mortified. I should have taken a picture - but then, I would have had to have taken a "before" picture - then a picture of their "attack" - and a then a picture of the "after." The "after" being after my blood returned to where it is normally supposed to be in my veins instead of shooting out my eyes.

We had words. It was early, still. I had only had but a couple of cups of coffee and a few cigarettes at that point. I remember some waving of the arms and frantic hand gestures. And something about "Do you know what e-v-e-n means? What the heck are you doing?! Stop! Do it right or don't do it at all." The response I got from Appuk? Enough to make me want to grab his hedge clippers out of his hand and beat him to a bloody pulp. [I do not advocate abusing help and I am quick to admonish anyone who does. That said, I can see quite clearly how it is that it happens in the heated moment of frustration! Of course I didn't beat him - but if I thought it would knock an iota of sense into that dense mass he wears on his neck in that empty head of his - I might be tempted to do it.] Here is how Appuk responded, he chuckled and said, "Yes, Madam." No. You did not just "chuckle." I had a hard time controlling my voice and not screaming at him. "There is nothing remotely funny about this Appuk. You do it right or I'll find another gardener to clean up this mess. You can work somewhere else, but it will not be here. Do you understand?" "Oh, yes, Madam." No chuckle, either. Did he understand? I think so. Dayum. I hope so.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

What a Good Little Doggie!

I'm going to work on this trick with The Baby. I won't have to with The Boy - he's so fussy as it is. He'd be easy to train this way.

What a good little doggie!!!

Friday, August 21, 2009

I Am Not As Sentimental As I Thought I Was

I missed my own blog birthday. Hmmph. This blog is now three years and 77 days old! Never even crossed my mind that it was my blog's birthday on June 5th. Imagine that. So, some 931 - or something like that [but who is counting!] - and three years and 77 days later... Yeah. Not really that much of a milestone. Nope. I'll just wait for five years to see if I'm still at it. I think I can call that one a milestone. And at that point, I'll have been in The Sandbox just shy of ten years - but a full eight - or nine years.

That, is, of course, if we are still here on June 5, 2011. Who knows? Anything can happen between now and then.

In the meantime, happy belated birthday to this blog. But more importantly, to all the readers who come and visit me - a big huge THANK YOU!!! The pleasure is all mine...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Liars. They Just Don't Get It!

Has absolutely nothing to do with race, you morons. Here's what is interesting about this, though.

Watch the clip. See the man with the gun? What color is he?

You'd never know he was a black man until you see this clip:

Most of the media is in the tank for the jeja. They have their heads so far up his smelly posterior that they can't see the forest through the trees. Infuriates me. A little truth just once in a while would go a long way.

Saw this at Ace's place first, where he eloquently says:

Contessa Brewer is a dirty, lying, pus-mouthed whore.

A cheap, sore-riddled nasty bit of gutterscrunge who'll rent you her mouth for the change in your pocket.

A tawdry wallow-trollop oozing with syphilitic fester who raises her filthy skirts at the scent of crack-smoke.

A disease-dripping pincushion, the media's vile mattress of last resort, a pathogen in garish vinyl high heels, a loose-toothed croup-breathed nightcrawler reeking of bathtub gin, fungicide, and the genetic stink of human desperation.

A skanky bit of mung-trash sloughing off diseased skin like a leprous snake. (A leprous snake who whores out her verminous cloaca for two bits a pop, I mean.)

This sad clown of a whore, oozing with foul custard and slack and sloppy as an over-used trash bag, is too stupid to know how to lie judiciously, and so lies promiscuously and wantonly, demonstrating all the discretion she once showed in junior high when her nickname was "Automatic" Brewer.

By the way: No, I don't think Contessa Brewer really "did" this. She's too stupid. She doesn't have that kind of responsibility. Her job is to wear a wonderbra, eat rice pudding with a "safety spoon," blow the line producer, and read the phonetically-spelled questions someone else writes for her.

Some pale fat loser in the producer chair did it. But I don't know that porky nobody's name, and Contessa Brewer knew what was being done here, so the hell with Typhoid Brewer.

He's repented?

Pluheeze! He's just sorry he got caught and now he has to pay the price. What's that saying? "Don't do the crime if you can't do the time." Something like that. Five years in prison, 50 lashes [that's it?] and a 100,000 riyal fine [$26,809.65]. The article does not say how old the "youth" is, who "repeatedly blackmailed a woman." [It does not mention the youth's nationality, either.] Not a one-time thing, apparently. "The court witnessed emotionally charged scenes when the judge pronounced his verdict. The youth, shocked at the severity of the punishment... declared he had repented the crime." Then he "begged" someone to "intervene on his behalf to secure a pardon or a lesser punishment." Man up. Quit your crying. The court must have had reason to find you guilty.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

No. 52

At this rate, one-a-day, last year's total will be surpassed in no time. A Saudi man was beheaded yesterday for killing a Yemeni man when a hashish deal went bad. A twofer, there. First he killed someone - one of the crimes where execution is required - and there were drugs involved. Another crime that can carry the death penalty [depending on the circumstances?]. So we are up to 52...

Arab News is getting bolder. Of course, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out a man's nationality in any of the articles. If the man [or woman] is NOT Saudi than the nationality is prominently mentioned. Today an article says, "Saudi arrested for xesual abuse." [Of course I have to spell it like that or else my own blog gets blocked from me!] Who did he allegedly xesually abuse? His own little daughters. One of them is only 9-years-old! He denies that he has done anything wrong. But, of course. Kudos for the mother for reporting him. What I want to know, though, is how long has the abuse been going on? One of the daughters is 21-years-old. She didn't know that what her father was doing to her was wrong and couldn't do anything to stop it? How about the youngest? How long as the pervert been taking advantage of her? And, if the abuse has been happening for sometime, why hasn't the mother come forward before now? Questions we will likely never know the answers to. Sadly, it is reported that one of the girls "is thought to suffer from a mental illness caused by the abuse." Gee. Ya' think?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Up to 51

Still behind last year's total. A Saudi was beheaded yesterday for murdering two people. He shot them during a dispute.

Very slow news day, here. Expect slow news days for the next month. Especially beginning as soon as the crescent moon is sighted. Office hours - and I would guess this will include newsrooms at our two papers - will be shortened. Government office hours will be cut almost in half. Good thing we don't need to get new visas or renew our license plates or something like that...

The wedding fire in Kuwait was no accident. The groom's 23-year-old ex-wife set the tent on fire in revenge for the mistreatment she got from her ex-husband while they were married. What's that saying about a woman scorned? I don't understand why she went after the women's tent instead of the men's tent, though. And, seriously, if you wanted revenge, could you not have gotten it in some other way? 41 or more dead. Including 9 Saudi's.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Well, This is A First!

A woman [care to guess the nationality?] is going to be given 300 lashes AND will spend two years behind bars for cheating men out of the opportunity to have their way with her. She had quite the little scam going, as she would pose as an unmarried woman, then would agree "with the men to have [a] 'Misyar' marriage and would escape after receiving [the] dowry." [Misyar marriage: couples live separately but get together to do the wild thing.] Apparently it is the "scam" part that got her in trouble. Because "Misyar" marriages are perfectly acceptable. The woman - little information about her is provided - is "married to an aged Saudi" and enlisted the assistance of a "female matchmaker and a 30-year-old man." For some reason the 30-year-old man that played a part in this has been sentenced to a year in prison and 150 lashes but the female matchmaker is not receiving any punishment. However, it was the woman's "aged husband" that filed a complaint at the police against his wife [some marriage that must have been!] that she was having "relationships with unrelated men." Had this situation have been reversed there would be abolutely nothing wrong with it, but when it is the woman who is trying to get a little something that her "aged husband" probably couldn't provide without the help of a little blue pill, then it is an entirely different matter. Truly a situation where what is good for the goose is not good for the gander.

113 drug smugglers, of which 57 of them are Saudis, have been caught "attempting to smuggle huge quantities of Captagon pills, hashish and heroin into the country." Just in time for the upcoming holiday month, fellas? "Totally seized... in several parts of the country were 3,044,926 [are you sure about that number?] Captagon tablets, over three tons of hashish and 10.6 kg of heroin." How many pounds are in a ton? 2000? That is over 6000 pounds of hashish! The economics of supply and demand. Hard at work. Now, how are all of those people going to be punished? Same punishment for all of them? Or is the punishment all going to depend on who you are and who you know? For a country with such stringent drug laws, it doesn't sound like those laws are working very well any more. "In six other failed attempts by smugglers... 939,118 Captagon tablets were seized... Additionally 657.748 kg of hashish, 765,063 Captagon tablets and 6.59 kg of heroin were seized. Saudi Customs seized 1,340,045 Captagon tablets and 4.567 kg of heroin - including 3.749 kg found in the shoes of an expatriate arriving at Jeddah airport and 818 grams recovered from the stomach of another." Of course, the one drug bust that took place at a remote airport involving some dozen or more Saudis trying to board a plane was never reported in the papers - so let's include them in that tally for all the hashish that is being distributed. From what I understand it was quite a bit... Oh, and by the way, that seems to be an awful lot of Captagon being smuggled in. Perhaps that is why there are so many skinny [very, very skinny!] men here?

Psst. The talking campaign and the "initiatives to educate" drivers are NOT working! The ongoing problem - which will continue and will no doubt get worse - of PCRC is not going to be resolved with such futile efforts. The ONLY way you are going to solve this is to finally quit talking about it and start acting! "According to the latest data (2007) from the World Health Organization (WHO), Saudi Arabia ranks among the most dangerous countries in the world in terms of traffic fatalities with 29 out of every 100,000 people dying on the Kingdom's roads." Why is that? Because instead of issuing tickets and hefty fines to all of the men who drive like maniacs authorities continue "preparing campaigns and initiatives to educate and warn drivers of the dangers of speeding and disregarding traffic laws." Is this "statistic" not glaring enough to show that there is a problem: "...aside from the positive efforts and good intentions of the campaigns and initiatives [which have done relatively little, don't 'cha think?], estimates have shown that passengers and drivers of the country's estimated 9.1 million vehicles were involved in 485,931 accidents that injured 36,486 people and killed 6,458." Population control / road carnage. A manager at one of the Red Crescent branches said that "drivers were not getting the message." D'oh! And they are not going to get the message until you do something more than campaign and educate through initiatives. Authorities are going to attack the situation again. How? Well, more talk of course. Issuing tickets, levying hefty fines and throwing men in jail [and by men, I mean besides the ex-pat drivers - we all know that if they so much as let a tire touch a line on the side of the road they are arrested, thrown in jail and then deported] would surely improve the situation. I've been saying this for years. The problem of PCRC would be solved almost overnight. Never mind, though. You just go on talking about it. Let us know how that works out.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

4 Dead Maids + 2 Illegitimate Children

Well, actually, only two are confirmed maids. Can't say we weren't warned. Ramadan starts in less than a week and housemaids, whose lives are already a pathetic existence, will be expected work around the clock. Many sponsors fear their maids will flee escape. If they don't escape before Ramadan, then they do their best to do so afterward. At least two have managed to "escape." Permanently. We can be assured that now two families are not scurrying around like chickens with their heads cut off looking for maids that they absolutely have to have and they are going to want them in place before September 22nd. Two of the deaths are "suspected suicides."

The first is a 34-year-old Ethiopian housemaid "who was found hanged." A police spokesperson said "Investigations were under way to determine the motive." Here. Let me help you with that: She was overworked and underpaid and just couldn't take it anymore. May she rest in peace.

The second is a Nepalese woman in her 30's, who was "also found dangling by the neck in her sponsor's house." Lovely description, isn't it? That is the best a staff writer could come up with? She deserves a whole lot more respect than that, if you ask me. May she rest in peace.

The third maid, in her 30's, and her approximately 19-month-old illegitimate child, a little girl, were found in a garbage container near a mall in Jeddah early yesterday morning. The article says, "It is possible that they were denied treatment in hospitals because of their illegal status and that their relatives were forced to dump their bodies into the garbage container." I suppose it is also possible that they were denied basic human decency and that the woman, a raped housemaid who became pregnant with her sponsor's child, was killed along with her child by her sponsor's wife out of jealousy and for revenge. Or, something like that.

And the fourth. An East Asian woman [read: housemaid] and a child "were found in a suitcase." Another raped housemaid with an illegitimate child? We used to have some of those big suitcases. When airlines changed their rules about size and baggage restrictions we sold them for a mere fraction of what we paid for them. Those are the suitcases though, that would be perfect for this kind of "disposal." You could easily fit a small housemaid and her child in one. "Investigators were trying to determine the identities of the victims and the cause of deaths." That shouldn't be too awfully difficult. Everyone that comes into this country is finger-printed [I had to be fingerprinted again two weeks ago when I went to get my new I.D.]. Are their "purple marks" around their necks? They were strangled. If there are no "purple marks" then they were poisoned. By a jealous wife who wanted revenge because her husband raped the maid and got her pregnant. Case solved.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A New York City Hero!

America needs a few more of them. Willing to stand up and fight back. Two street thugs dead. Good. Two less mouths to feed and clog up an already over-crowded prison system. We can all quit worrying about some 45 million uninsured people. There are only 44,999,998 of them now. Thanks to Gus!

What happened is that FOUR men tried to rob a 72-year-old man's restaurant-supply store a couple days ago when they barged in and pulled out at least one 9mm pistol and then pistol-whipped an employee all the while demanding cash. The shop owner, Gus, said he told them that there wasn't any money and told them to "take your gun, put it in your pocket, and go home." They just didn't listen. Choice. Life is all about choices. Gus pulled a shotgun out and fired three times, "peppering all four men with buckshot." Wooo Hooo!!!

The four men realized then that they had made a mistake by not listening to him and choosing the first option he gave them. The thugs tried to run off but apparently didn't make it very far. One of the thugs, a 29-year-old named James Morgan has had NINE PRIOR ARRESTS. What the heck was he doing out on the streets to begin with? Career criminal. Should have been behind bars. No matter. He took a shot "directly to his face and made it only as far as the shop door before crumpling dead to the ground." Good grief, I hope he didn't get any blood on the floor. Bad enough Gus had to endure the "attempted robbery" without having to have to clean a mess up, too. The second thug, Raylin Footman, who was only 21-years-old, wasn't quite yet a career criminal with only one arrest for robbery under his belt. He died on the way to the hospital. [Who's footing the ambulance bill for him?] Their two accomplices, both 21-years-old, Bernard Witherspoon and Shamel McCloud must have left a blood trail. They were picked up by police and are "expected to survive." Taxpayers will foot the bill for their trials, their medical treatment, and state-run hotel with all the ammenities. Dayum. They are going to be "arraigned today on robbery charges." What are their prior records?

Gus says that "he felt bad about what happened." Why? He didn't do anything wrong. He felt bad that four low-lifes wanted to rob him of his hard-work? No, Gus. You have nothing to feel bad about. You did the rest of us tax-payers a favor. You single-handedly got two criminals off the streets permanently. The only thing you might even consider feeling bad about is missing the other two. The employee who was pistol-whipped, J.B. doesn't seem to be awfully upset. He said, "Sh!t went real bad for them, not for me. I'm breating. They're dead." Yep.

I think most of us will agree with Gus: "If every single citizen were allowed to hold a gun, there would be less carjackings and robberies." He's right. Fortunately Gus isn't facing any charges for his bravery. After all, "What's the worst they could do?" Shoot him. But they - the low-lifes - didn't get the chance. Yesterday Gus and his employees "tried to get back to business as usual." A woman, in an effort to memorialize the deaths of two street thugs, placed a candle outside of Gus's shop and the employee who was pistol-whipped, J.B. "angrily kicked it across the pavement." "What's this for?" he asked her, "For the guy who died? F^ck him!" Double wooo hooo!!!

Read the comments. There are some good ones.

The Chief makes a most excellent point - and I was thinking the exact same thing when I was reading the article, "I'd like to thank the writers for letting anyone that might want revenge against this real American hero the shop's name, where he hides the gun, and where this guy lives. Why didn't you just hang a bulls-eye on his back when you were interviewing him, you jacka$$e$!!!" Bingo! Well said, The Chief.

Grampa says, "Maybe it's time to explain to the PUNKS of America you're supposed to WORK for a living not take other peoples money." No kidding. The sooner the better.

BobbyB makes if humorous, "Maybe we need another beer summit. The [jeja] can lecture us on how we shouldn't use violence to settle our differences. Gee. I wonder if the kids would have been saved if we already had health reform??"

Stu C. "gets it" with his comment, "Just think about the possibilities... if everybody did what Gus did, there would soon be no more (living) criminals. It would be like a 'Pick Four and Win' lottery. Prisons and extra police would not be needed and we could balance the budget of every state." Most excellent point, Stu! Now if we could just get the criminals out of Washington. Any suggestions?

oj10030 has the audacity to say, "I really feel bad for my four brothers. They were too young to go. This country is going down." Well, oj10030, perhaps if your four brothers didn't try to rob the man's store - at gunpoint after pistol-whipping an employee - they'd be with you today. [oj10030 is an obvious product of public schools. How do I know? He cannot read. Only two of his "brothers" died.]

Downtown responds to oj10030 eloquently, "It's not a matter that they were too young to die. It's more like they were too stupid to live."

Saw the article first at JWF's place. The whole thing forces me to keep humming "Beer for My Horses" to myself... The words are so appropriate!

Well a man come on the 6 oclock news
Said somebodys been shot, somebodys been abused
Somebody blew up a building
Somebody stole a car
Somebody got away
Somebody didnt get too far yeah
They didnt get too far

Grandpappy told my pappy, back in my day, son
A man had to answer for the wicked that he done
Take all the rope in Texas
Find a tall oak tree, round up all of them bad boys
Hang them high in the street for all the people to see that

Justice is the one thing you should always find
You got to saddle up your boys
You got to draw a hard line
When the gun smoke settles well sing a victory tune
Well all meet back at the local saloon
Well raise up our glasses against evil forces
Singing whiskey for my men, beer for my horses

We got too many gangsters doing dirty deeds
Weve got too much corruption, too much crime in the streets
Its time the long arm of the law put a few more in the ground
Send em all to their maker and hell settle em down
You can bet hell set em down cause

Justice is the one thing you should always find
You got to saddle up your boys
You got to draw a hard line
When the gun smoke settles well sing a victory tune
Well all meet back at the local saloon
Well raise up our glasses against evil forces
Singing whiskey for my men, beer for my horses

Justice is the one thing you should always find
You got to saddle up your boys
You got to draw a hard line
When the gun smoke settles well sing a victory tune
Well all meet back at the local saloon
Well raise up our glasses against evil forces
Singing whiskey for my men, beer for my horses

Mandi, You're Beautiful

...But ain't it time we said goodbye. Oops. My mistake. Those are the lyrics to "Angie," not Mandi.

A groom here threw a hissy fit because the caterer who was preparing the "mandi" for his wedding prepared it a day early. What is "m
andi?" Steamed lamb with rice. Surely it was just a simple miscommunication, but the "groom exploded when he learned that his large order had been prepared a day earlier than expected, and there was no way he was going to serve re-hashed day-old mandi" on his special day. Does this qualify as news worthy of sharing? Nah. Not really. But it gives me the opportunity to post the perfect picture! [Courtesy of WZ.]

When I posted on child trafficking last week - I was really hoping that I was all wrong about how children would be treated in The Sandbox once they were smuggled in to become beggars. I wasn't. They are treated just as depicted in the movie Slumdog Millionaire. Apparently Jeddah "may be a hub" for child beggars. [May be? Cough cough.] With prime begging season about to begin - one week from today - authorities are taking notice. A recent study "calls for the creation of a system to have foreign children... registered with the embassies of their respective countries." There. Problem solved. No more children "from African countries, especially Nigeria," will be smuggled in from bordering countries, mostly Yemen, where they will "may be" taken to Jeddah, "one of several destinations in the Kindom [sic] where the children are housed, physically abused, mentally tortured and amputated in order to generate sympathy as beggars."
[Emphasis, mine.]

Friday, August 14, 2009

Stimulus: Waste of Taxpayer's Money

I have no kind words for our government. None. If they were not the most useless entity in existence before January 20th of this year - and they were - it is unbelievable how much MORE useless our government has become. How is that even possible? [One word: jeja.] Spend and tax. Bleed you dry. Is this not just another foolish excuse for use of taxpayer dollars? Give every welfare recipient in NY who has "school-age" children a $200.00 bonus so that parents can buy school clothes and supplies for their children that they cannot afford to support on their own. Why would someone - David Patterson - think that the rest of the American people would want to support a bunch of welfare brat? I know I don't. Thank you very much.

An article on it here. Read some of the comments. There are quite a few who feel they are entitled to the money and there are quite a few who instead of spending the money on their children to prepare them for the upcoming school year are going to instead use it to buy HD TV's, or go on vacation, or smoke crack. One commenter, "ML" tried to say that this is being funded by someone other than the government. Dumbass. He says, "Read the article it say..." Perhaps you should re-read the article, ML, it says that government funds are being used to the tune of $140,000,000. $140,000,000! One Hundred and Forty Million Dollars being spent where there is no system in place to make sure that the money is spent on what it is intended to be spent on. Typical. Although, really, New York gets the government it deserves. They keep voting all of these fools into offices. [Yes, I know, Patterson took over when Spitzer got caught screwing around with a hooker. Patterson, however, has had his own run-ins, hasn't he? Will he be re-elected? Oh, I bet he will be. Why? Because if you don't vote for him you are a racist.]

More on this waste, here. Although I guess the waste pales in comparison to some of the other astronomical tax payer dollars wastes that our government has shoved down our throats up our butts.

Global Warming

Almost cool out. 84° according to our thermometer outside. 88° according to MSM. Pleasant. DH has already headed to the golf course. Perfect golf weather.

What is going on that it is so cool here, in August? We've had some very nice days this month - with temperatures at least 10 or 15°'s lower than normal. I'm going to have to get my sweater's out early if this continues.

With Ramadan right around the corner - starts in eight days - I do hope that the cooler temperatures prevail. The gazillion imported workers who are out there everyday toiling in the sun and the heat are going to be expected to do so without eating and without so much as even drinking water, regardless of how hot it is, until September 20th.

Looks Like I Was Right

About who gets their hands severed as punishment for the crime of theft and who doesn't. I don't know what the heirarchy is, here, as far as how the "caste" system works. We can be sure that Saudis are at the top of the ladder - and I would guess that American's are probably on the next rung down. Yemeni's? They must be somewhere in the middle of the ladder but toward the bottom - although I don't think they are at the very bottom. That would be reserved for Asians - most of whom are viewed as nothing more than disposable workers [two more, dead]. Why is it that we have never learned what it was that the Yemeni man took - his crime was theft - his punishment was amputation of his right hand? Did he steal something that has more value than equipment from a yacht or six cars or an expensive ring? Can we surmise that it is all who you know when you are a Yemeni and you commit a crime? How is it that a Saudi and a Yemeni can be convicted of theft - stealing a ring worth SR250,000 [$67,024.12] - and get sentenced to two years in prison and yet another Yemeni gets his hand chopped off?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Lawsuit to be filed in... 3, 2, 1...

Oh yeah. For sure there will be a lawsuit. Because a woman, who happens to be Muslim, was not allowed to go swimming fully dressed. Sure, one could argue that the "burkini" is nothing more than "full coverage" swim wear but Daniel Guillaume, who is an "official in charge of swimming pools for the Emerainville region" in France differs. He says, "These clothes are used in public, so they can contain molecules, viruses, et cetera, which will go in the water and could be transmitted to other bathers." He has a good point. Sounds like there are some fairly stringent "health standards" which "require all pool-goers to don swimsuits for women and tight, swimming briefs for men - and caps to cover their hair. Bathers also must shower before entering the water."

The woman, named Carole, was refused entry into the pool for wearing her full-coverage suit, and "tried to file a complaint at a local police station, but her request was turned down as groundless." Wow. Does this mean that that particular police station has finally found a bit of spine? Did not see that coming. Not from someplace in France!

The mayor, Alan Kelyor, said that he "could not understand why the woman would want to swim in head-to-toe clothes. We are going back in civilization... Women have fought for decades for equal rights with men. Now, we are putting them back in burqas and veils." Ut-oh. I bet that his sentiments are not going to be well received.

There will, no doubt be a lawsuit filed. The woman is already out there trying to find some anti-discrimination groups to start protesting.

Carole, woman up. Put your big girl panties on and quit 'cher whining.

Punishment System No Longer a Deterrent

Apparently not, if crime is up 14 percent. What's that about? There were 78,737 crimes "recorded" last year in the Sandbox, an increase of 8,335 from the previous year. "The crimes, including aggressions against people and drug abuse, have increased by 14 percent over the same period in the year 2007... there were 21,395 drug and alcohol related crimes." There were 27,888 crimes of rape or xesual harassment. That seems like a lot. What is the population of this entire country? In 2008 there were 28,686,633 people in Saudi Arabia of which 5,576,076 were "non-nationals." And why haven't the statistics been broken down as to which nationality is committing the majority of the crimes? Seems to be an awfully important fact when the crimes are reported. How many of those crimes were committed by ex-pats versus locals? A report ranks Jeddah as the top city for drug and alcohol crimes. "Most of the distilleries discovered in Jeddah were run by expatriates who were residing illegally... They wanted to make quick money before going back home." Okay. Sure. The report also says that "there were 143 suicide attempts." So, that doesn't count the number of successful suicides, then? How many of those were there? The area where I live, the Eastern Province, topped the "other regions with 49 suicide attempts." Interesting.

Yet another sad story about a young woman [she is 20-years-old] having to pay off her much older husband [he is forty - 40! - years her senior - so he is 60-something!] to get a divorce. SR10,000 [$2,680.96]. Poor thing. I do actually have some sympathy for these women - they are married off at a very young age - to men which their families choose for them instead of men they choose on their own. How awful that must be. Because it is such an integral part of the culture, it is unlikely that there will be any change in the custom until women start banding together and demanding that they have a few rights and that they don't have to marry some pedophile that is four decades older than them. On the other hand, my sympathy is limited. This is the life you choose.

Are we going to read that two Saudi joyriders have had their hands cut off for stealing cars? [Arab News actually published their nationality! They must be trying hard to keep up with Saudi Gazette.] Or is the punishment of severing someone's hand reserved solely for ex-pats? Remember the Yemeni man who was sentenced to have his hand cut off for stealing? [We never learn what it was he allegedly took - only that he was accused of "theft."] These two hooligans have admitted to stealing six cars and using them to commit robbery. What is their punishment going to be?

Lots of PCRC, today. Here - a young man "fell under the wheels of his friend's moving car." Here a family of four was killed when their car overturned [no mention of whether or not the man was driving too fast while he was smoking a cigarette in one hand and talking on his mobile with the other - and it is also highly unlikely that his two children were seat-belted or in safety seats] on the same road where a family of ten was killed, along with their housemaid, earlier this week - fifteen total. And, here, where a "qat smuggler was killed when his car, with the police in hot pursuit, overturned." [With no mention of the "qat smuggler's" nationality we know he was a Saudi.]

Another disposable worker. Dead. He, supposedly, hung himself from a ceiling fan in his room. No matter. There are plenty more disposable workers available where he came from [Asia].

Authorities have "foiled an attempt to smuggle 20 children into the Kingdom" from Yemen and have "arrested five smugglers." The children were going to be used "for begging during the month of Ramadan" [which starts in nine days - September 22nd]. What do the parents of these children in Yemen think about this? Are they complicit? Do they actually give their children up willingly? Do they sell their children? If they are selling their children - and we all know it happens - what is the point of having children in the first place? Just for profit? That is just so wrong. [See below.]

There will be a forum held in October "for family production." For a country that is ranked at number 52 out of 224 is a forum really necessary? Isn't everyone managing to do their part in producing? How many children does each family have to have? How many children can these families afford to support? If the men, as head of the household, cannot find work how is it that they will be able to support their families? I know, ranking number 52 behind Yemen, that comes in at number 12, is a slap in the face. But look at what all those Yemeni's are doing? I wouldn't call it productive. But then...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Stuff Happening in My "Neck of the Woods"

Woods. What woods?!! Sand. Desert. There are no woods, here.

Seems a bit harsh. This punishment of two months in prison and 60 lashes "to be applied in three equal batches." Supposedly for threatening to burn an 18-year-old Saudi girl's face with acid and for threatening to publish her picture. The young man is a 23-year-old Yemeni. Important that we know that. The young man and the young woman were in some sort of "illegitimate relationship for three months," and when she tired of him and tried to break it off he threatened her. Doesn't she have some responsibility here? She has admitted to being in the relationship but she has, apparently, been absolved. As well as her family. They have been reprimanded by the court and she has taken a pledge "never to enter into such relationships again." Phew. The young man's version of the events are slightly different than what he is being accused of. No! He says he had her picture so that he could show it to his family as he was planning on marrying the woman. The woman, on the other hand says that he "started to blackmail her through mobile messages" and he says that his threats were only made verbally and "that he had no intention of harming her." Was there any proof otherwise on her mobile or on his mobile? I'm sure that doesn't matter. A "he said she said" case. With the end result being that the man is getting a far more severe punishment. The girl's family must be so proud. [I do find it disturbing that there was the threat of acid being used to burn her face - whether it was verbal or via mobile text messaging. There is that old saying, "Children learn what they live." It isn't like we don't know that this kind of thing doesn't happen in certain parts of the world...]

Are these one and the same? The facts are slightly different. [What a surprise!] In one report "two brothers and two sisters" have been arrested "for killing their sister and burying her body in the desert." This says that the young woman that was killed was 18-years-old and that it is believed that "the brothers took turns in beating" their sister to death after which they tied to hide the evidence in a "shallow grave." This says that "a man and his sister" have been arrested for beating their 20-year-old sister. It also implicates the beating-sister's son as one of the culprits: "The woman, the main suspect and assailant, confessed during investigations and guided the police to the location where she and her brother and son had buried the body." Good grief. What did the poor girl do to deserve this kind of treatment at the hands of her own brother and sister and nephew - or sister and two brothers depending on which version of the report you are reading? And, where are the girl's parents? They didn't realize she was missing? If they are still around and know that she met with such a horrid fate, should they not be held responsible, too? With no mention in either article as to the nationality of those involved, we can be certain...

With three simple words - said three times - a marriage can be done and over with. Of course, only the man is allowed to initiate a divorce as the woman has no right or say in the matter. What happens when your husband divorces you and you don't know it? An Egyptian woman was divorced a year and a half ago from her Saudi husband - who never bothered to inform her. Something isn't quite right about this, though. "The woman left the marital house a week ago when by chance she found the papers stating that she had been irrevocably divorced." Huh? What, she walked outside and found them stapled to a tree or something? The article seems to indicate that she had no idea that she was divorced and a judge "who has asked for anonymity said that if is proved the two had xes during that period, then the husband is guilty of adultery and must be punished..." How can you be in a relationship with someone that has divorced you eighteen months ago and not know? Nah. Like I said, something is not quite right about this.

Interesting albeit contradictory article about "Young Saudis willing to accept low paid jobs" here. It says they are willing to accept jobs such as "cashiers, tea boys, salesmen, waiters and taxi drivers." On young man, 22-year-old Abdurraham Al-Mohandis, says that he is "proud to earn some money during his free time so he can gain some experience and amass savings to be used in realizing his dream of becoming a pilot." Good for him. On the other hand, Mohammed Al-Tayyar says "I could never work as a taxi driver; this is unacceptable in our society." It is? Why? Umran Marghalana says that "his social status does not allow him to work in low-paid jobs. I'm educated, I will not accept a job that does not suit me or my family." Telling, isn't it? He is a 23-year-old business management student who obviously thinks that he is going to be a CEO as soon as he graduates. Let us know how that works out for you.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sometimes I Must Share

This is good.

Two democrats on an escalator...

Saw it at Flopping Aces, first.

To Pay or Not to Pay - That is the Question

Through no fault of Inom's, really, he has been missing about a day per week working for me for the last month. His sponsor was supposed to return last night and hopefully the situation will be resolved. In the meantime, with his sponsor gone on vacation, Inom has had a very difficult time getting on the right "list" to get in and out of our compound - and it has not been easy for him to do his job. However, my deal with him is that he works for me and I pay him. Simple. That is all that there is to our employer / employee relationship. I am not going to sponsor him. We have already tried to go that route with another worker and it did not work out. I am not interested in sponsoring someone unless they are going to be our full-time house assistant and house sitter AND baby sitter. Inom is nowhere near ready for that responsibility. I do not trust him with my Kids and likely never will. Thus, our agreement is basic: He works for us and we pay him. That is it.

To be fair to Inom, though, because he counts on the money we pay him to provide for his own family - a wife, two sons and a daughter - I also pay him when we go on vacation, which, in essence, is a paid vacation for him. There is a different man that comes and stays at the house when we leave and he baby-sits The Kids and takes care of the house - he can clean up after himself. Inom does not even have a housekey. I do not want for our baby-sitter to have to worry about the days and times that Inom is supposed to come, or to have to wait for a call to sign him in, etc. So when we are gone - Inom does not come to the house, at all. My reason for paying him even when he doesn't work for us is because I expect that that time that he currently works for me will be kept open. Whether he chooses to pick up extra work while we are out of The Sandbox traveling and his services are not required is his choice. It is my choice, though, to make sure that upon our return to The Sandbox that he continues to work for me during the already scheduled hours on the agreed upon days. This is non-negotiable. Do not come to me and say, "I found other work and will now work for you on these days at this time." Nope. I tell you what days you will work for me and during what hours. [I've been down this road, before, with other houseboys. Not going down it again.]

Inom missed a day last week - because he could not get on the compound. He missed Wednesday. Wednesday is floor day. So he did the floors on Thursday, which means that the outside work I have him do - cleaning all the patio furniture, etc., did not get done. The week before that he missed a Sunday. Sunday is bathroom cleaning day. He did those on Monday when he came, but that means that the regular Monday jobs did not get done last week. And, now, he has missed Monday of this week, again - so not only did the jobs that he is supposed to do on Monday not get done last week because he did Sunday's work, but now, he's not going to get them done this week either. He does not come on Tuesday's. Tuesday is girls' day at the pool, here. I do not want Inom - or anyone else- for that matter - here on Tuesday's. Out of the question.

Yesterday afternoon I told DH why Inom didn't come. DH said, "I hope you are adjusting his pay, accordingly." My goodness. We don't pay him all that much. And he is on salary, after all. By not paying him for the three days this month he hasn't worked, I would need to deduct SR173 [$46.38] from his monthly salary. I am between a bit of a quandary about whether he should be paid or not be paid...

First of all, I made the arrangement with him that he was going to be on a salary. It is not really 100% his fault that he cannot be here to work if his sponsor is out of the Kingdom and he cannot get on the "proper" list to get onto the compound. I tried to rectify this for him at the end of July, but that was nothing more than an exercise in futlity.

It certainly is a little odd though, that on Sunday when he was here before he left he said, "I will not be able to get in tomorrow. My sponsor will return tomorrow night. I will be here on Wednesday." How did he know he couldn't get in on Monday? And, how is it that he got in on Sunday, but knew he would not be able to get in on Monday? Did he go and work for someone else doing something to make some extra money and just didn't want to tell me? I don't know.

Should I let him know that I expect him to be here to work and that if he doesn't work then he doesn't get paid? How is that fair when I pay him to not work when we are not here? If he truly has only had this problem because of his sponsor being gone, I rather think that since it really isn't his fault I should pay him - even though it isn't MY fault, either.

Probably what I will end up doing is telling him that I am going to pay him this time, but in the future, if he cannot come to work because his sponsor is gone and he hasn't done whatever it is he needs to do to get put on the "list" then I am not going to pay him for the days that he misses. I suspect that if I put it in those terms he won't be as inclined to just brush it off. As it stands right now, he believes he is on salary and that he is going to be paid regardless of whether or not he comes to work. I do not want to have this kind of arrangement in the future, that's for sure.

Guess it is time for yet our umteenth chat on what it is that I expect and what it is and how it is that I am going to pay him. Really, he needs to consider himself quite fortunate working for me. I don't know any other ex-pat that pays a non-sponsored employee for time that he / she does not work.

What would you do?

To Pay or Not to Pay?
Pay him and let it go
Pay him this time - but explain he will not be paid next time
Dock his pay
Fire him free polls

Excellent Customer Service

Kind of sort of. The intention was there - and it was an excellent intention.

I called maintenance on Sunday afternoon to have a couple of things looked at. The door handle on the front door is missing a piece - and without repairing it, it was only going to be a matter of time before the door handle fell off/out, completely. Who knows how that happened, since we rarely ever even use that door or the door handle. I guess that's not really true. We open it once a day to get the newspapers in the morning. The last time we either entered or exited the house out of the front door? Cannot remember. So, as to how a door handle that gets used so infrequently has started to fall apart - is beyond me. But, like I said, without getting it fixed it is going to be just a hole in the door very soon. If it was as simple as a screw or something I would have had DH take a look at it to fix it. It is not that simple. The other thing that is going wonky is the overhead florescent light in the kitchen. It sometimes turns on and it sometimes doesn't turn on. DH said, "Someone needs to take a look at the ballast." Fine. So, I requested that that be checked out, too.

The appointment was scheduled by the very nice young woman who answered the phone. I set it up for 12:30 yesterday, Monday. Two separate "maintenance jobs" - one carpentry request and one electrical request.

At 12:05 yesterday a very sweet young woman called and identified herself and said she was calling about our request for an electrician to fix the kitchen light. She wanted to know if it had been satisfactorily repaired. Honestly, she was just trying to do her job, but she jumped the gun just a little too quickly. I had to tell her that she was correct, there was an appointment scheduled, but that my appointment was not scheduled until 12:30 and she was calling me at five past twelve. How about you call me back in forty minutes or so, and I'll tell you whether or not my kitchen light was repaired satisfactorily.

I could tell by the change in the tone of her voice that she was embarrassed. Don't be. We all do things that had we have thought them through just a second or two longer we wouldn't do. I'm guilty of doing that - mostly just by what falls of the tip of my tongue - off falls off my fingertips onto my keyboard and onto my computer screen.

Cannot complain about customer service though when they are ahead of the game, right?

You're Just Asking for Trouble

When you do stuff like this... A Saudi man has been arrested for posting his h*m*xesual conquests on the internet. He must have thought he was invincible because the Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice has been trying to catch him for two years. They nabbed him in a "sting operation." Apparently the man has been attracting teenagers and tempting them to commit "immoral acts." These are things that do not get you your own reality show, here. Prison time, maybe, but not a reality show. Perhaps with two examples of what happens when you are stupid - this man and Mazen Abdul Jawad - others will learn a valuable lesson and not repeat what these guys have done. I mean really. It is one thing to push the envelope and try to get away with doing things you know you shouldn't be doing, but it is quite another to go on television and boast about what you've done, or post yourself in the act on the Internet.

Divorced at the wedding celebration. All over the groom's mother and the bride's mother disagreeing as to what music could and could not be played. Doesn't sound to me like the marriage stood much of a chance to begin with if this is all it took to end it.

Correction. It was not $19,000,000 worth of cash and jewelry that was stolen from an unidentified Saudi Princess. It was only $15,500,000. Um hmm. Sure.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Casanova and Maids

Which to tackle first...

The issue of the maids. It is more important, in my opinion, and affects many. In an article today it is stated that "On average 20 Filipino housemaids deployed in [the] Eastern Province [where I live] run away from their employers every month." I think we can all pretty much surmise that the maids are not all running away because they think they can find better employment at some other household - although from past articles that is what we would be led to believe. That may, however, hold true for a small percentage of them. Who wouldn't want to find better wages? Don't we all? But that small percentage should not be included in the real crux of the situation. According to a welfare officer at the Philippine Overseas Labor Office [POLO], he says "In the Kingdom, we can say that no less than 50 of these workers abandon their employers in a month." Further, he states, "...that in the entire country, the combined number of other foreign housemaids running away from their employers every month could be much higher than those of Filipino housemaids." Are there any statistics out there as to how many Indonesian housemaids there are? Or how many housemaids are here from Sri Lanka? Vietnam? What are the true numbers of housemaids here and how many are here from each of the various countries that import them? I have no idea.

With Ramadan starting in just a week and a half - it begins on August 22nd and lasts until September 20th - the welfare officer says, "We expect that more housemaids will be running away from their employers before and after the month of Ramadan. The big workload during the Ramadan season is a factor that drives many household workers to leave their employment." I bet it does. A labor attache from another Asian country, who asked that his identity remain anonymous, says, "The workloads mount beyond the capacity of these workers during the month of Ramadan. [The] Work period starts from dawn to past midnight until the following morning; and abuse and maltreatment usually escalate during the season." No kidding? Working for stretches of twenty-four hour periods is beyond the capacity of these imported workers? You don't say...

I've done some previous posts on Ramadan. It is a religious celebration that I know little about. I do know that one of its requirements is that no one is allowed to eat after sun-up or before sun-down. Which means things get turned upside down in The Sandbox for the duration. People tend to be awake during what would be normal sleeping hours, and asleep during normal working hours. Work days are shortened for many - not all - the imported laborers will not see a reduction in their work hours - and of course - neither will the housemaids. In fact, the housemaids will see their working hours extended, according to the unnamed labor attache, who says, "the practice by many Saudi families to loan their housemaids and other household helps [sic], like drivers, to extended members of their families during Ramadan is another factor that encourages these workers to abandon their jobs." You might think there would be the opportunity for these workers to make extra money during said period. You would probably be wrong. He goes on to state, "This practice is not only illegal, but also a violation of human rights..." Well, yeah, it probably is, but then... Supposedly slavery was abolished, here, in 1962. Hmmph. Forty-seven years later? Where does that stand?

When someone works in an employer / employee relationship, that would seem to indicate that there is some sort of remuneration - as in a benefit to the employee in the form of monetary compensation or wages for having given some service rendered, i.e., labor, to the employer... When there is no pay given for whatever service or services has been performed, what is that called? And how many people - anywhere in the world, not just here in The Sandbox - would be willing to work for free? [Volunteering for anything is not the same - when you volunteer - you do so knowing that you are NOT going to be receiving anything other than personal satisfaction. Housemaids and other laborers do NOT come here on a voluntary basis. They come here to work and expect to be paid!] How it is that so many "employers" [and I use that term loosely] here then believe they do not have to honor that employer / employee relationship and NOT pay their workers?

"According to labor and welfare officers in Asian embassies, housemaids and other household workers usually run away from their employers due to unpaid wages, delays in salaries, abuse and maltreatment and overwork." How many more articles are we going to have to read that say that workers are running away because they seek to be paid more somewhere else? Perhaps if they just got paid in the first place they wouldn't have to seek employment elsewhere. 'Ya think? For two single reasons - two! - which are the "major" reasons why housemaids runaway. "Wages and maltreatment." Add a third. "Overwork during Ramadan - [which] only deepens the resolve of household workers to run away." Seriously.

According to the article, "those who did not have the chance to escape during Ramadan will do so after the season." Another word worth deciphering. "Escape." Does that not suggest that in order for someone to escape that they have to first be held against their will?

The POLO welfare officer goes on to say, "With Ramadan coming in a few weeks [twelve days - but who's counting?] time, almost everyday now there are housemaids - household service workers - who are running away and seeking help of our embassy."

From the article:

At the Eastern Province Social Center, where runaway maids are kept before being deported, there are always no less than 100 housemaids from the Philippines, Indonesia and Sri Lanka at a given time. These runaway housemaids have one of two options: reconciliation with their employers or deportation. Those who opt for deportation face another problem of producing their own air ticket. Runaway Filipina maids have become a burden on the Filipino community and to their embassy. Those scheduled for deportation have to produce plane tickets of their own because most employers refuse to provide the cost.

That speaks volumes, if you ask me...

Onto another pressing matter: Saudi's own "Casanova." What he has done, in my opinion, is really no business of anyone else. If he were in The United States of America, he would not be in the situation he is in today. Heck. He'd be the star of his own MTV reality program. But in a Country where there is no "First Amendment" right to freedom of expression, he probably should have been just a bit more mindful of what he was doing before he did it. That is, going on a televised program and boasting of his xesual conquests. Do I think that he deserves to be beheaded for doing so? No. But, then, it is not up to me to make that decision. The charges against him - Mazen Abdul Jawad - and two of the three men who have been arrested along with him - have been outlined. The charges however, have not yet been disclosed. Of the charges that the main culprit could be convicted of, one includes "publicizing vice (making public one's sinful behavior)" or he could face "a more serious charge of promoting sinful behavior, a crime roughly akin to committing sedition against society." The other three men who have been arrested "are scheduled to go before a judicial panel this week." We can expect the trial soon. The matter will continue to unfold and I will continue to post on it as events occur...

Sunday, August 09, 2009


Setting in. Big time. We need something exciting to happen. On second thought... No. We don't, either.

News here? Same as the news in the States. Nothing worth reporting. Sick and tired of having the DNC [nancy pelosi, barbara boxer and their ilk] think that the outrage over the situation of Health Care is manufactured and not real. Wake up. Get a clue. And sick and tired of having the outrage blamed on the color of a man's skin. Personally? I got nothing from his teachable moment. But then, in my opinion, we can add the jeja to the list of professional race-baiters that the United States of America somehow got so blessed with. I wouldn't care if he was green and yellow striped - I would still hate him - even if he could turn water into "real" grape juice. Apparently he has effectively turned it into something though - lots and lots of people seem to be willing to drink it - kind of like a Jim Jones thing. Too bad it doesn't have something in it that would permanently take care of problems - then we wouldn't need to give health care to a group that can't afford it. Here's a thought? Get a job. Get off welfare. Quit blaming everyone else for your miserable existence. Survival of the fittest. I have ordered Michelle Malkin's newest book. I cannot wait to read it - won't have that opportunity for another six weeks or so. With all that I've heard about it - she was on The View [Michelle has more balls than most of our congressmen combined!] [oh - and by the way - The View is a show I would never even fathom watching - saw the YouTube clip of it with Michelle's appearance - otherwise I wouldn't have bothered], and she was on Mark Levin's radio show and on Fox... I'm guessing it won't be required reading for high-school students any time soon. They're still too busy struggling over the words to books like Sally has Two Mommies, or something like that. Indoctrination. Just part of the plan if you're going to be a good little grape juice guzzler. I digress...

A princess has had $19,000,000 worth of jewelry stolen from her hotel room in Sardinia. Anyone care to guess how it is that a princess amasses that kind of wealth? One word. Three letters. Has two vowels in it. Was there insurance on all of this? Any proof it was actually in her room in her safe? One short article without much information. Inside job, maybe? "You rob me and I'll split the proceeds?" Who knows? And who even cares?

Speaking of royalty. One of the richest men in the world, a prince here, has now had his "LBC" television station shut down. Of course he is also the same prince that said we should have movie theaters here, too, so I don't think he is all that well liked by some of his peers - the other prince's. That his television station is the one that broadcast the shennigans of Saudi's "Casanova" cannot have endeared him further to his peers. No doubt the shutting down of a television station to him - a man of such incredible wealth - is like one of us regular folks losing a $10.00 bill.

The girl that drowned a month or so ago? When she wandered into the water in a "No Swimming" area? Her father can't see that only SHE was responsible for her actions. He is suing. Well of course he is. No sense in taking the blame for something that you can hoist onto someone else. It is the mentality all over the world. When we first moved here, lawsuits were something you heard very, very little about. But now that so many "Western" ways have taken hold, here, it was only a matter of time before lawyers started advertising "1-800-IAM-HURT" hot-lines and filing frivolous lawsuits against municipalities for something that the municipality really had nothing to do with. Personal responsibility? That has never been part of the mindset, here. Now, with lawsuits being filed on a daily basis we are going to see even less personal responsibility. As if that is even possible! I rarely mention them, the lawsuits, because I so disagree with it. Both here and in the States - having worked as a paralegal for one of those "1-800-IAM-HURT" firms for many years... I saw the abuse. I sat in courtroom after courtroom with low-impact-rear-end accidents where the person claimed permanent injury. B.S. And don't even get me started on Workers' Comp! It is a complete and total farce - but of course - it is a government program, after all. Of the gazillion cases I dealt with only a very, very slight percentage had any merit - the rest were all people that just didn't want to have to work any more. The system is rife with abuses and liars. Care to guess the demographic? It was Durham, N.C. 'Nuff said. Why did I work there if I so disagree with the premise? Money. A lot more money to be made in a plaintiff's firm than there is in a defense firm. Until there is "tort reform" the system will never change. And because the Trial Lawyers' lobby is so massive and our government is so in-bed with them, that will never ever happen... I will admit to being giddy with glee watching John Edwards on his way down. He made all his $$$ at Kirby and Edwards - and I worked at a defense firm at the time which argued cases against his firm - suing doctors and hospitals for something as remote as a perceived wrong: That doctor gave me Tylenol instead of Excedrin and I now have permanent heartburn. That kind of thing. Thankfully I am retired and will never have to lower my standards to do something so vile. What's the joke about how you can tell if it was a deer or a lawyer that gets hit in the road by a car? Something like there are skid-marks in front of the deer. Again, I digress...

Has anyone seen Seven Pounds? DH and I watched it last night. We both like Will Smith but this is one of the slowest moving movies either of us have seen in a long time - and Will Smith, whose character demanded it, looked like he was on the verge of tears throughout the entire two-long hours. I am just so thankful that Duke doesn't die. Someone at our party a couple of weeks ago asked me if I'd seen it - it stars a Great Dane - so I automatically thought, oh great, another sad movie where the dog dies. Phew. Duke is just fine. It's only a movie... Oh - and I'm even more thankful that we didn't spend the money to go see the film in a theater. Just not that good. It happened to be on Showtime or I wouldn't have bothered with it. A couple of years ago when I was in the States I got talked into going and seeing "Eight Below." I cried for days afterward. Still don't want to think about that move. I'm glad I saw it, but still...

See? Did I mention that I'm bored? I have not left our compound in several weeks. Have no desire to do so - unless I am headed to the airport. And, after a while, here, you really, really need to get out and adjust your attitude. I've been in dire need of an attitude adjustment for a while, now... What is even worse is that I can promise you that my attitude is going to go from bad to horrible in less than two weeks.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Woman = 30 heads of sheep and some $$$

30,000 riyals [$8,042.89]. That is the amount that a woman has to pay in order for her husband - who is some thirty-years older than her - to grant her request for a divorce. The proceedings have been going on for some seven years! The couple "produced a baby girl," and that little girl is being held "hostage" by the 50-something-year-old man until his twenty-something-year-old ex-wife pays him the divorce dowry. How much does a sheep cost, anyway? No clue. The woman was seeking a divorce as she was "unable to live with the father [of her child] due to 'age-gap and differences in ideas.'" Gee. Who would have guessed that a thirty-year age difference would eventually be a problem in a marriage?

In the same article, a man who is currently behind bars has been allowed to sign a wedding contract. This is the "first case of its kind." There will be "nuptial festivities... held at the prison center within the next two weeks." Will the groom-to-be be allowed to have a conjugal visit with his new bride? The groom-to-be is serving a five-year prison sentence. No mention of what the crime was that landed him there in the first place and no information given as to how much longer he will be behind bars.

John Edwards has a "twin" brother living in The Sandbox. "A two-timing husband out to lunch with his second wife and their child was spotted by his first wife's driver..." When his first wife confronted her husband, she found out that he has been married to the other woman for four years." Four years! And the first wife didn't suspect anything?! Perhaps if you were not wearing blinders... Doesn't say whether or not wife number one wants a divorce from her husband for marrying a second wife. Not that it matters much since husbands, here, are allowed four wives.
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