Monday, November 30, 2009

Our Fault. We NEED Satellite Internet...

...because Websense won't interfere with my "clicking."

Don't ask me how I got there - I was actually at Legal Insurrection's site which took me to Dan Riehl's and then to... You know how that goes. One click leads to another. Somehow or other I ended up checking out this two-legged cat [which, in my opinion, is OBVIOUSLY photo-shopped], and then I scrolled down and saw "Crazy Splits." Cannot link to it because the most useless program in the entire world, Websense, has blocked it. Why?


The Websense category "Lingerie and Swimsuit" is filtered.

How is it that something as innocuous as "Lingerie and Swimsuit" can be "filtered," but yet, I can still get to "The Greatest Cleavage Moments in TV History?" [Not linking it, I'll be blocked.] I can also click on "The 10 Biggest Breasts in the World." Unbelievable. Well. No. Actually it isn't. That's websense, for you. Like I said. The most useless program in the entire world. Oh. And thank you so much for protecting me from myself. You can view the entire site, here.

Another POS

I could not possibly do blogging on him justice. Others have done it. Dinah Lord did a most excellent job. The only thing she did not cover was the latest update. That the POS is dead. Maybe. Maybe? Either he is or he isn't.

Personally? I wish he wasn't. He needs to be brought to justice. If we find out that he was paralyzed, let him lay in a bed next to the Fort Hood POS. They can commiserate about their sorry-ass lives, together. Doubtful too many others are feeling sorry for either one of them... If he is dead, he took the easy way out. Coward. But then, we knew he was a coward when he gunned down four police officers, execution style, in a coffee shop. Plus, we need to hear from him what his motives were. Or, do we. The POS was a career criminal. Never should have been out on the streets to begin with. But thanks to a then namsy-pansy governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee, he was given clemency, paroled and set free.

Mike Huckabee's response? To pass the buck. Typical of any presidential candidate. Any future presidential runs are completely out, now, Mike. That is a good thing. The man was far too wishy-washy [and namsy-pansy] to have been a contender in the first place. Stick with your radio program, Mike, and your weekend show on Fox that only a few bother turning on in the first place. I know I change the channel if he is on - I would much rather watch something a little more stimulating. Re-runs of "Malcolm in the Middle" or "Two and A Half Men." Or something. Anything else. Fox would be doing itself a big favor by letting his contract run and replacing him with someone else. Better? Buy his contract out and get him off the air. Give Charles Krauthammer his own show. Just my opinon.

The POS's sister-in-law says, "He didn't have a mean bone in his body... If there were more people in the world like Greg, things like this wouldn't happen." Say what?!! Does the fact that the man had "an extensive violent criminal history from Arkansas" and outstanding charges in Washington for "assaulting a police officer, and second-degree rape of a child" NOT resonate with you, at all?!? Sure, lady. Sure. Believe me when I tell you that the rest of us are unbelievably thankful that there are not "more people in the world like Greg." [His name is Maurice!]

Has the jug-eared-jack-ass issued a statement yet telling us to not rush to judgment? No? Expect it momentarily. Oh, wait. It is only when someone WHITE does something that we are not supposed to rush to judgment. I get it. My mistake. If and when the jeja speaks out - he's probably very very busy playing golf right now - his spin on this will be that "the Seattle police acted stupidly."

In the meantime, without politicizing yet another horrific event any further...

Thoughts and prayers to the families of each of these senseless victims: Greg Richards, Mark Renninger, Tina Grisold and Ronald Owens. Everyone of these police officers had families. Every single one. May they get some comfort in knowing that many have them in their hearts at this time of sadness and sorrow.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Animal Lovers You MUST... this. If for no other reason than to see the pictures. A woman's beloved Labrador, Tyler, riding on the back of her beloved horse, Monty. What a sight. The story will bring tears to your eyes. It is truly heart-warming. Corporal Sarah Bryan's father, Des Feely, has written a book, "Monty and Tyler Take The High Road." The link to order is here. I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy!

Rest in Peace, Sarah. You have done your daughter proud, Mr. Feely.

Thanks to bni who posted this, first, who understands why I, selfishly, cannot link her.

Things I Need to Must Comment On

There is a column in one of our daily papers called "Blogosphere - Voices from the Internet." Last week one of the "regulars" who happens to be a "local" [kind of sort of - she is an American woman married to a Saudi] was given the opportunity to have her two cents about "Grocery Shopping" published. I won't link to her because she and I share such completely differing opinions on things, here, in the Sandbox. I'm sure she is a very nice lady and all, but... and there is a good chance that there are a good many who visit my blog that probably read her blog for "fair and balanced" viewpoints. Google her and you'll find her. Anyway, her little blurb said that doing food shopping is unlike doing food shopping in other parts of the world [i.e., the States]. She hasn't written anything about food shopping that I've not addressed but for this: She says that in Saudi Arabia you should count your grocery bags because occasionally a bagger will try to keep one for himself. I have been shopping here for seven years and NEVER ONCE has this happened to me in a grocery store off our compound. Not a single time at Tamimi or Panda or Farm 5. Never. It kind of tee'd me off that she was given several inches of newspaper space to even say that. She basically accuses the baggers of stealing. There is no other way to say what she said. She called them thieves. Which isn't to say that something like that has never happened. I'm just saying that in all of the visits I have made to grocery stores that it hasn't happened to me. I had a bagger on our compound forget to put my soda on the bottom rack of my trolley once, but he wasn't trying to keep it for himself. I have a hard time imagining that these guys, the baggers - the majority of which are imported - would even try something like that. They'd be hauled off to jail in a heartbeat if someone accused them of trying to steal a bag of groceries. Simple as that. That this woman seems to think that one has to be mindful of exactly how many bags of groceries are bagged and goes so far as to accuse a bagger of trying to steal a bag just rubbed me the wrong way. Hey. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

In another post from the "Blogosphere" section, someone at "" [which I cannot locate no matter how I search it - if someone can come up with this site, please let me know] says, "America's most affluent 1 percent now pay, on average, just 6.4 percent of their incomes in state and local taxes. But they actually pay even less than that..." Click here to read the whole thing [scroll to the bottom of the "column" for the three quick paragraphs]. I think someone - whoever this person, "joyslig" is, needs to recheck their facts. How many American's at the bottom of the income scale EVEN pay taxes!?! According to "The Journal of American Enterprise Institute," the people paying the most taxes are American's wealthiest by a far greater proportion than the poor. Looking for something more recent to get this straight, "joyslig?" Go to Moneychimp and tell me how it is you figure that those of the "America's poorest families pay even more." B.S. Hey, I'm all for a flat tax. Flat income tax, and flat sales tax. Get rid of all the other taxes. Property tax... [The reason we left New Hampshire many, many years ago is because our property taxes were so astronomical. Sure, we had no sales tax, and no income tax, but property taxes on a very small house and a "city" lot were almost as much as our house payment!] That way, everyone will pay their fair share. Right now, though, DH and I get to cover the burden for a slew of those who pay virtually nothing! There is no fact checking done on the blogosphere posts in the paper, here, obviously. Perhaps the AP could lend Saudi Gazette a few of theirs now that Sarah's book has been gone over with a fine tooth comb.

There is a recent Letter to the Editor in Arab News, from John Abraham, sent via e-mail, with regard to "Expats need to take part in dialogue, says 'study'" [from 26 Nov?]. I'd post the specific article of same date if I could find it - I've checked and double-checked the newspaper - it simply is not there - this is the ONLY article with that title that I can find and it doesn't seem to fit. No matter. Mr. Abraham opines that he is pleased to "hear of such initiatives from authorities..." whatever those might be as "Workers arrive legally here and then they run away from the employers as others pay them more money... ignoring the fact that the person who had initially brought a worker had paid a huge amount in fees and charges." No doubt, in many circumstances he is right, employers do pay huge fees and charges as well as incidental expenses [moving costs - hardly incidental!]. But for many workers who come here the fees to hire them are minimal and yet the workers are charged outrageous sums for the privilege of getting the documentation and paperwork necessary to become laborers and household staff [maids, gardeners, drivers]. Mr. Abraham says that "In other parts of the world this is considered a serious crime punishable by imprisonment and fines." Really? Where, exactly? I'd be interested in knowing what countries do that. It certainly isn't the United States of America. We all know that is a fact. Illegal workers there? Authorities pretend not to notice. I digress. What Mr. Abraham only barely addresses is the fact that so many run away due to NON PAYMENT of salaries and abuse. What punishments do you recommend for the employers who do not pay their help? And, what punishments do you recommend for the employers who mistreat and abuse their help? Oh, he addresses that, alright, albeit casually. But the workers? They should be more severely punished than they are already... "like imprisonment for one year for the run-always [sic] or lesser punishment if they pay back the sponsor all his expenses." Do you not realize how much the majority of these workers have paid to get here, Mr. Abraham? Do you read the paper, regularly? I guess not.

Last week I did a post on the abuse of two more maids. My archives are full of posts on abused maids. What are two more? Yesterday there was a follow-up article in the paper about the maids' plight, "Abused maids left to fend for themselves." [What about these maids, Mr. Abraham? Who should be punished for their situation? The maids? How about their sponsor or their employer?] These poor women [literally!], Aisha Sultana and Fatima Bebe "were one [sic] of many who were drenched by Wednesday's downpour in Jeddah." Neither of them has a place to go. They are SOL, here, in a foreign country and must "live on the street and fend themselves from the kindness of strangers as they wait for justice." Don't hold your breath, ladies. Justice could be a very, very long time off... They came to Saudi five months ago to work as housemaids, but "the man who brought them... had made an arrangement with another man with less than honorable intentions." Oh my. What a surprise. The gist of the story is that the women ended up at a labor placement agency, "managed by a man who sexually harassed Sultana and physically abused both women." [What should the punishment for that man be, Mr. Abraham?!?] According to Sultana, the same man - the one who ran the labor agency - had other women who were also "coerced" into the xes trade. If they refused to comply, they were beaten. Read the whole thing, keeping in mind what time of the year it is. It is cold outside. Food is not inexpensive. It is... Oh never mind. Just sad. Very, very sad.

Oh. And finally. On all the sheep that are being slaughtered for the Holiday in the Sandbox. Click here for a photo of a sheep that tried to escape. Notice the top of his [the sheep has horns - I assume it is a he?] head is painted red. Don't try to tell me that this furry little guy didn't know what was in store for him. They know. I'm sure they can "smell" what is going on around them for miles. [I really don't know that much about sheep to state this for fact, though.] How many sheep are going to be slaughtered? How many cows or camels or goats? A lot. "Five locations can slaughter 1.5m heads." Humanely? Sure. I think not. Lots of competition for slaughtering sheep out there right now and it is driving up the price. Good old capitalism. Click here for a photo of a sheep being skinned. PETA? No such group or organization on this side of the world looking out for the welfare of animals. And besides, it is only polar bears that they are worried about and since they are not being sacrificed slaughtered...

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Blah Day, Little Pink House &Tiger Woods

Don't we all have those days once in a while? It was dark and gloomy out this morning and actually very, very lightly sprinkled when we were out on our morning jaunt with The Kids. Very, very lightly sprinkled as in I had three rain drops cause wet spots on my blue t-shirt. It must have rained last night though, at some point, lightly. Sidewalks were damp, streets were damp and the grass was damp. Not wet. Damp. Perhaps it was just the humidity? If it did rain during the night, it was nothing like the rains that have been experienced in Jeddah. Click here for a photo. The bigger version in the paper is better, but... [Wasn't it just last month that everyone was told to pray for rain? Well, you got it!]

The sun did come out this morning, though, and it warmed up, some. I took some magazines that I had piled up, saved, waiting to be read, and went out to the patio with The Kids. We were out there for about ten minutes when it turned dark and overcast, again. And cold. Cold, of course, being a relative term. Cold enough for me to come inside and get a sweatshirt. 70° maybe? It is supposed to get down in the 60's tonight. Time to turn the heat on. [I said, "cold" is relative... When you acclimate to 100-120° then 60° is downright cold!]

I have finally learned how to do something that I never thought I'd be able to do. I knew, eventually, I would be able to do it, but didn't think that it would be as easy as it was! I can read AND knit at the same time. Oh happy, happy day!!! Now, I'll be able to combine two of my favorite past times. How exciting is that!? [Thanks, Warrior Knitter. As much as I think I hate you sometimes... Really it isn't your fault. But I have to say, with any free moment I'm picking up my needles and click, click, clicking. I thought it would wear off - so far, it hasn't. It has just gotten worse. I spend far too much time searching for yarn. On the plus side, I'm not interested in finding the perfect "tan" paint anymore. Although that too, does need to happen.]

So, whilst knitting, I finished "Little Pink House." What a good book! A very, very good book. I keep a small three-ring notebook with the title and author of every book I read - I've kept this notebook for a couple of decades - I think I started it in 1980-something. Early 80's. Sometimes I make notes of whether or not I enjoyed or liked a book, or more often, if I didn't enjoy a book or didn't like it. Today I made the decision that I am going to start rating them on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being horrid and 10 being absolutely fantastic and wonderful. I put the number "3" next to "Against Medical Advice," today when I added the entry for "Little Pink House" which I gave an 8.

Everyone knows the story. It is the eminent domain case in New London, Connecticut, where the New London Development Corporation decided that it could entice Pfizer to come and offered them all sorts of incentives to do so - including offering them a parcel of 90-something acres so that upscale housing and condominiums could be built, along with hotel and convention center space. So what that there were homes and businesses already on the property? Those existing homes, and businesses, just didn't fit into their "plan." So they sought to take it - whatever they could get their grubby little fingers on - via eminent domain. For the "greater good." Or something like that. The principals - mostly the New London Development Corporation - along with others, though, spent many years in courts and spent many dollars to end up with a STILL VACANT piece of property! Lives were uprooted and lives were destroyed. All for the sake of getting the drug that "progressives" crave. Tax dollars. Jeff Benedict did Susette Kelo proud with the story. I would definitely recommend the book. It moves quickly and although not exactly riveting, is certainly an attention holder. In the end, the homeowners and businesses did not win. With not thanks to judges John Paul Stevens, Anthony Kennedy, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer. The five of you should be utterly ashamed of yourselves!! However, because of Susette Kelo, et al, laws have been changed so that eminent domain can longer just be used - in most states - to let someone who can pay more tax revenue take something that someone else owns. Theft. Simply put, the case is one of a town outright stealing something from someone else. [One of these days, there IS going to be an uprising. People ARE going to be pushed to the brink and they are going to have had enough!!! It IS coming. Just my opinion.]

Interesting that not too long ago I saw something that the National Enquirer had the "scoop" on Tiger Woods supposedly having an affair. No, I didn't see it in the National Enquirer. I don't recall where I read it. It was on the internet, though. The National Enquirer can no longer be discounted, though, in my book, for having broke the story on John Edwards having an affair with Rielle Hunter during his run for President. No other main stream media outlet wanted to touch that, at the time. They had that scoop. And, they had it right. So, perhaps they are right about Tiger Woods, too. Not that I really care. So, then, today, on the news is the story that Tiger got in a car accident - he hit a fire hydrant and a tree, and his wife saves him by knocking out the window of his truck with a golf club. But of course. I mean what else would she use, right? There is probably a lot more to the story. And, if it wasn't Tiger Woods, it wouldn't even be news. I just thought the comments from this site were amusing [go to the post, "Stupid question of the day"], so I'm posting them:

imagine the product placement:
"My {insert golf club name here} saved my life."

The headlines write themselves on this one. "Tiger shanks drive into tree", "Tiger and wife tee off in Cadillac Classic", "Shortest drive of Tiger's life", etc. etc.

Perhaps if I wasn't a "golf widow" I wouldn't be as amused. It was a "blah day."

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Truckloads of Goats [Sheep?]

And I cannot get the pictures to upload. Problems with this computer for months now.

Trust me when I tell you the goats/sheep were not happy. I wanted to know why so many were painted different colors - green and orange and pink. What does that mean? Different kind of goat? Tied down in little Toyota pick-ups. Packed so tightly they couldn't move in double-decker trucks. Oh, I bet they know what is coming.

[A young boy, probably about 11 or 12, wanted me to take his picture and he wanted me to give him 10 riyals for it. Had I realized that is what he was trying to tell me - I would have done it. But, it was only as we were pulling out that my driver translated what the boy was trying to tell me. I thought he was trying to sell me a goat. I kept telling him, "No thank you. No need. No thank you." He wasn't understanding me any better than I was understanding him. It was interesting that he followed me around as I was taking the pictures... Kind of like a store security guard would if they thought you were shop-lifting or something. I had no intentions of stealing a goat. Letting them loose and free, maybe... Someone needs a few more Arabic lessons.]

Today they will be purchased. They will be mistreated - not fed or given any water to drink. Tied tightly to a tree or a post or a gate in the sun with no source of shade. Tomorrow?

They will be manhandled as they are thrown to the ground to have their little throats slit. Afterward, they will be hung in trees or off walls or balconies by their hind feet to bleed out. Then, they will be dinner.

Tell me how well animals are treated here. Just try to tell me. I have never seen such filthy goats/sheep in my entire life. Matted down "fur" that has never, ever seen a brush or a comb. Never mind a hose and some soap. Trucks full of goat/sheep dung that the poor animals were confined in. Nice.

Where is PETA? Doesn't matter. This doesn't fit into their left-wing agenda. They are far too concerned with polar bears raining out of the sky and crushing people.

I am going to try to print the photos out from PMB - since I can't get to the program that I want - and then scan them into the HP program so I can put them up, here. As soon as I put that nasty turkey in the oven.

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Grape Juice Came Out My Nose

Reading this:


"With a wonderful opportunity to cut the knees out from under democrats and the other twig eatin', tofu fartin', lily livered, Prius driving, America-hating, bleeding heart liberal, blinkered, Starbucks drinking elitist, can't-we-all-just-get-along, granola eating, namby-pamby, Birkenstock wearing, tree hugging, long haired, pansy-assed, kumbaya-singing, Earth First, bed-wetting, patchouli wearing, dirty, smell, dop smoking, bongo playing, arm pit haird women and feminized, armpit shaving men crying "Mother Earth is Gaia," tortured "artiste" types who believe in global warming, the RNC is refusing to take a position on the disclosure of those documents exposing the fraud perpetuated on the entire planet by men pretending to be scientists." But mostly Al Gore.*

[*I probably added that part about Mr. Meat-Eating biggest global "foot print" in the world - also known as - Al Gore, on my own.]

"How phukking pathetic."

Couldn't agree with you more, Vilmar.

If you haven't been over to visit his blog, well worth a click-around. "Kickin' and Screamin'." You're welcome.

Truly I think Vilmar pretty much covered "them" all.

"Need a bathroom break? Hold your nose."

It is much worse than that. You must cover your mouth as well! Better yet - at all possible cost - avoid having to use the public restrooms completely.

The situation has been addressed by the media in the past. As is typical here, and in other "governments" around the world, the "blame game" gets played and the buck gets passed all the way around with no resolution. Big surprise.

This article limits the restroom situation to those specifically "attached to mosques along the highways" stating that they are "anything but clean." I've been to one of those restrooms and all I can say is that I was thankful that I had platform shoes, that I was doubly thankful to have my pocketbook with me in which I always carry tissues and [antibacterial] wipes, and I was quadrupley thankful that I didn't have that foolish black garbage bag on! [More on that little adventure, further down this post.]

"A familiar view at these way stations is women and children holding up their clothing to prevent them from being soiled by the filth of these public toilets - one hand holds up the fabric that dangles a little too close to the ground while the other hand pinches the nose." For the record, I've not seen women holding up their black fabric. I have, however, seen women who allow the fabric to act as a mop wiping the floor as they walk along...
Perhaps if their faces were not completely covered in black with just a slit for their eyes, they'd be able to see what it is they are wading through. Personally, if it was my black bag and it had been soiled like that beyond disinfection I'd make sure it ended up exactly where it belongs - in the trash. Oh, wait...

"A lack of tissues, soap and even garbage bins adds to the mess. The doors to the stalls often have no locks. The bidet sprayers are often tossed down into disgusting puddles because the holders on the walls are missing." Someone explain to me, please, how "garbage bins adds to the mess." And, I think we all know why there is no tissue in restrooms for women throughout the Sandbox. I've addressed that issue, already, here and here: It is much better to prevent girls and women from allowing their hands to come into contact with their bodies than to prevent a wet, warm and dark environment to absolutely positively breed infection as opposed to using tissue for the purpose it was intended and instead use a hose with absolutely no way to "dry" those nether regions afterward.

Supposedly, "Concerns have risen not only with calls for the protection of public health but also to care about toilets linked to houses... where personal cleanliness is paramount." I call B.S. on the public health issue because if that was a concern then tissues would be provided - along with paper towels! Does anyone but me wonder, though, how it is that these toilets get to be the way that they are in the first place? I'll tell you. Complete, total, utter LACK of PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY. The mindset is so geared toward knowing that someone else will clean up the mess that people just don't care. In a country where every household has at least one maid - if not more - and where there are more street cleaners than policemen there is no mystery as to "how" the restrooms got that way!

An Islamic scholar, Ali Badahdah, says "the condition of these rest stops reflects on the country" and he adds "that Turkey does a better job maintaining these roadside rest stops." He has a point. I took pictures of the restrooms in Turkey [they are in my archives], and for the most part, although many had obviously aged through the years, showing obvious signs of normal wear and tear, not a single one of them was as bad as what I have encountered here in the Sandbox. Do they reflect on the country? I'm not going to make that judgment call. I judge enough on other issues. [Read between the lines.] Mr. Badahdah goes on, "...we should not be doing this for the sake of reputations but rather because this is what Islam asks us to do and this is what civilization demands." What this all has to do with Islam is not something I am even going to comment on. When it comes to religious aspects of things here - and elsewhere - I am not a scholar and do not have sufficient knowledge with which to form an opinion [that I care to share in this forum - on my blog]. Whether or not civilization demands it... When "civilization" starts taking personal responsibility for the messes it creates then this won't be an issue. But until then - and as long as a "civilization" goes forth with the attitude that someone else will clean up after it, the situation will never change.

The scholar continues, "that authorities ostensibly monitor the situations on highways... however the monitoring of roadside rest stops is not always a priority, attributing the neglect to 'the conflict of responsibility among government departments,' such as the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Ministry of Rural Affairs, Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Haj." Wow. Four different ministries all charged with monitoring the rest room situation. [Sounds more and more like the federal government in the United States, if you ask me. First, by putting so many authorities in charge - none of which knows what the other is doing or who should be doing what, and second, by allowing them all to pass the buck from one to the next with out a single one of them actually taking responsibility for any of its actions.]

At least one ministry official is willing to place blame on a single party and let the proverbial buck stop there. Tawfeeq Al-Sudairi, a deputy minister of Islamic affairs - responsible for a slew of stuff which includes the "operation and maintenance of mosques on highways," says that the upkeep of these rest rooms "is the responsibility of the owners of these stations." Well, alrighty then. Know we know. I had no idea that mosques were owned by individuals. Of course, no one gets down to the nitty gritty and says how those owners are supposed to actually be responsible for the rest rooms. Cameras? Stall monitors? [There's an idea!]

When we were in Germany and I had to use the facilities I was impressed with the "automatic" cleaning apparatus that each stall was equipped with. No, not impressed. Fascinated. [I stayed to watch the whole process.] It was something I had never before seen and I just had no idea... What I wasn't prepared for, however, was that it cost a Euro [or whatever coin it was that was required to even enter the line to get to the restroom] to use the facilities. Another novel idea. Charge EACH individual for the privilege of using the facilities. Never mind. That is just one of those wild and wacky Western ideas that are so frowned upon, here. Mr.
Al-Sudairi says, "They are the ones who are benefiting from the presence of mosques at their stations and they must take care of them according to the system." Oh. Well, there you go. The owners are somehow benefiting from people using their restrooms. I fail to see the logic there, as to how someone is benefiting by allowing the general public to have a convenience that they then have to be responsible for upkeeping. Unless that owner is making a profit, how are they benefiting? Apparently, according to Mr. Al-Sudairi, "The Ministry of Rural Affairs is the one responsible for obliging the owners of these station [sic] to do their job." I can tell you what I'd do as an owner of one of these stations who was receiving little or NO benefit from having one: raze it. Problem solved.

Naturally, with Mr. Al-Sudairi placing the blame on the Ministry of Rural Affairs, it - that ministry - shoots back. Spokesman, Hamad Al-Omar, disagreeing with Mr. Al-Sudairi, says that with regard to mosques and their accompanying rest stops they "are the responsibility of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs." Getting to the bottom [ha!] of who is really responsible is going to be a never ending game, at this rate. In the meantime, if you are going to have to use a roadside restroom in the Sandbox be prepared to "hold your nose."

...true story. Several years ago when DH and I were headed to Bahrain the Causeway was backed up and we ended up having to wait and wait and wait in a cluster-phukk of cars all trying to merge in front of one another to get to the booths where your documents get stamped. I don't recall if I was drinking a Diet Coke or a bottle of water, but whatever it was, after being in the truck for far longer than had been anticipated I needed to find a "facility." There just happens to be one, right there, on the Causeway [Saudi side]. I jumped out of the truck - uncovered [we were headed to Bahrain where the black bag is not required] and quickly entered the little building that is there - which at one point might have resembled a "rest room" but now resembles something completely different. There was one little window - high up - to allow light into the building. Other than that, it was completely dark. Without even bothering to explore further that the doorway I quickly returned to our truck. DH said, "That was fast." Umm-hmm. It sure was. There was not a chance that I was going to venture ALL the way into the little building there on the roadside. Surely I was going to be able to "hold it" a while longer.

Unfortunately, the hold-up at the Customs booths continued and as we inched our way toward getting our passports entered into the system and stamped it was necessary to rethink what I was going to do in order to relieve myself of whatever liquid it was that I had consumed. DH asked the Custom's guy for me where the restroom was. "Behind you, there." No. Already checked that "there" out and made the decision to let my back teeth float... DH asked about another rest room - another "hammam" [Arabic for "bathroom"]. Custom's guy points to the big building on our left - where people go in and out to take care of passport issues. So, I jumped out of the truck as we neared the building and went to find the ladies room. Almost as big of a mistake as attempting to use the smaller restroom we'd already passed. A man - whilst giving me the evil eye for being uncovered - pointed in the direction I needed to proceed. As I started walking into the darkness of the area - all I could think of was, "This is something out of a bad movie. There are going to be men squatting here doing heroin and getting ready to pounce on me to take my pocketbook - or worse." I headed back to the truck for the second time without taking care of business.

As I was explaining to DH what the problem was with this particular rest room he said, "What do you need? Pink shag carpeting and mood lighting?" I'd be happy with ANY light! And no, of course I don't need pink shag carpeting, but safety is a concern. So, after finally passing through all of the check-points and getting onto the Bahrain side, and after again inquiring with the final Custom's man on the Bahrain, where there was a rest room, we stopped at the one that is next to the mosque. At that point, my back teeth were uncomfortable. DH pulled into the parking lot and for the third time I jumped out of the truck.

Busy, busy ladies room! All the women hustling and bustling in dressed in head-to-toe black - but for one, me. Didn't care. Had a purpose. Waited my turn in line. Standing in no less than an inch of water [please let it just have been water!] and finally got into the stall. The stall had a lock, thankfully, and I did what I always do in a public facility and used my left hand for everything that has to come into contact with a hard surface - the door, the lock, etc. The stall was filthy. Trust me when I tell you that my skin came into contact with NOTHING in there. And, the stall was soaking wet. [The entire rest room was soaking wet! Those bidet hoses are a fabulous idea. Oh, yeah, they are. Let's forget the whole "hygienic" aspect of this hose thing for a minute - and the fact that it would be so unacceptable for a woman on this side of the world to have her hand clutch some toilet paper to accomplish a small task - and concentrate on safety. Nothing says "safety" like a soaking wet TILE floor!] Did my thing - had my tissues. No. Of course there wasn't any in the ladies room stall. I left the stall and as I was leaving the rest room was digging through my pocketbook which was on my shoulder - with my right hand - to find my wipes. There was no need to stand in line at the sink or at the blow-dryers to wash my hands. And thank goodness I didn't need to. I had been holding my breath for almost the entire time I was in this ladies room because the stench was sooo bad. I could go on - yes, there were women in there who had their head-to-toe black - all staring at me - and thinking, "she didn't even wash her hands." Didn't care. Had my wipes. The whole experience was just plain ole' disgusting. And, this particular disgusting experience is the one that allows me to say that not a single woman was holding up her black fabric to keep it either dry OR sanitary!!!

Now that you have a nice "visual" of that and want to get it out of your head. Sing a song. "Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, the medicine go down, the medicine go down. Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. In the most delightful way."

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Good Thing My Mother Called

Thanksgiving is in TWO days. TWO! My Mom called and left a message on my machine about what her plans were going to be - we were outside last night when she called the first time, and when she called the second time - I must have been in the shower or something - because I never heard the phone... DH was probably in the living room watching TV. You have to be in the study - or in a very quiet house - to hear the States phone ring. Saw the light blinking this morning. Oops. Dear Mom was already in major preparation mode. Huh? Thanksgiving is THIS Thursday? Really?

There were FOUR turkeys left in the freezer at the Commissary. I got the smallest one. I don't eat it and cannot stand the smell of it cooking so I want it to be in the oven for as little time as possible. This is the first year that I can remember the DH hasn't won a turkey playing golf - but this year the rules changed so that some of the people that have never won turkey's in the "turkey shoot golf tournament" could win. Yeah - his buddy John! Dayum you, John. You have OUR turkey. So I forked out 127 riyals [$34.04] for a ten pound turkey. $3.40 a pound. For turkey! Half of which is completely inedible because it either a full-out bony carcass or guts. [The direction say to cook the guts in a pan and add them to the gravy - or stuffing, which they provide a recipe for - yeah - thanks. Fat chance of that ever happening in this household. That's precisely why they make gravy in a jar and stuffing in a box!] Outrageous. Just outrageous. What is the going rate in the States - per pound? Just curious.

No matter. We're having the traditional dinner and DH will be happy. He gets turkey only once a year, unless someone else makes it for him. [He doesn't get chicken, either - unless it is served outside our home. I'll cook beef and seafood and pork - but not poultry - unless, of course, it is for The Kids. That's a whole different story.]

Turkey, instant mashed potatoes - I honestly think the Betty Crocker Butter & Herb instant mashed potatoes are just as good as any I can make - and a whole lot less fuss and mess, Stovetop Cornbread stuffing, broccoli with Velveeta cheese sauce, rolls... and for dessert? Mrs. Smith's Peach Cobbler with vanilla ice cream. Dinner - in an hour or so - not including cooking that nasty turkey.

Just cannot get into the whole Holiday's thing, here, yet. Perhaps in a week or so. Have given Christmas absolutely no thought at all, but for having done shopping for friends and relatives in the States while I was there. They were wrapped and delivered before we left. Here, though? Barely on my radar at this point. Oh well... Not like there are decorations on the street-lights, Salvation Army bell-ringers outside of the department stores, Christmas carols on the radio, and a whole lot of Christmas-y things going on in the Sandbox. The Holidays have never really been quite right over here on this side of the world. They just aren't the same. Gee. Go figure. In a country where only ONE religion is allowed to be practiced. Who'd have thought...

Monday, November 23, 2009


Same "story," two different "headlines." The first, "Mother seeks probe into child's death." The second, "Maid accused of infant death" [it is always the maid, isn't it?]. Not enough information in either to form an opinion, but who is to say that it wasn't the child's mother's sister that had something to do with the child's death? The mother of the child says that her sister's maid killed the child because she wouldn't buy her a phone card. You've got to be kidding. Someone would kill a 15-month-old child over a phone card? Stranger things have happened, here, in the Sandbox.

A severe punishment for a "Blackmailing womanizer." One can only surmise that this 45-year-old Saudi man pissed off someone much further up the proverbial food chain than his position. [Saudi Gazette published the nationality.] Right now, the only thing missing from the article is the man's name. No matter. Whoever he is, he has been "sentenced to eight years' prison and 700 lashes of the whip for blackmailing and threatening women after obtaining their telephone numbers and photographs." How do you obtain someone's telephone number AND their photograph without someone knowing it? Ahh-haa! They did know it - all of those women - because he "obtained telephone numbers of various women and 'improper' images of them through e-mail after building trusting relationships with them" and then of course he screwed his little plan up when he decided to "ruin their reputations" if they did not comply with his demands for money and xes. It always ends this way... One of his victims turned him in and "officials fournd incriminating evidence on his mobile telephone and laptop computer." Naturally. "The sentence includes a SR50,000 fine and the publication of the conficted man's photograph in a local newspaper." Oh, my! The shame!!! Finally, "the lashes of the whip [will] be carred out in public with the man's face exposed." Well, okay, then. Like I said, this guy pissed someone off. Big time.

Last week a blogger I have never heard of made it into the "Blogosphere" section of the Saudi Gazette with her take on the jeja's bow to Japanese Emperor Akihito. Obviously readers in the Sandbox are not impressed with the jeja's ineptitude or Sandra Rose's little snippet never would have been published.

Not a whole lot going on over here...

Another, Albeit Minor, Fraud Exposed

Due to her own stupidity. A woman, Nathalie Blanchard, who claimed she had "major depression" and couldn't work posted pictures of herself having too much fun on Facebook. The insurance company now says if she is "well" enough to have as much fun as she was having at a Chippendale's show, then she is "well" enough to get off the dole and go back to work. I agree.

Having worked in the legal field for many, many years, I personally saw the fraud and abuse of the Workers' Compensation system. One of the firms I worked at, "1-800-IAM-HURT," took these kinds of cases as a major percentage of their client base. I worked there in both the personal injury department - you know, the rear-end accident at three miles an hour which caused a person to suffer severe and debilitating injuries [not!], and on the Workers' Compensation department for all those "I pulled my back lifing a piece of plywood and I'll never be able to work again" and then would see that same client out on a Friday night sans cane and walking with NO pronounced limp. Which is NOT to say that there are not some legitimate cases in either personal injury or Workers' Compensation - I saw those, too - but more often than not it was someone trying to game the system and get something for nothing.

Unfortunately, there is less money to be made on the defense side, and yes, I compromised my integrity working on the "dark side." Thankfully, I am retired, now, and never have to concern myself about putting myself in such a position again.

It is quite telling that this exposed Workers' Compensation fraud - if that is what they call it in Canada - has very little support from the pages and pages of commenters! Oh, sure, there is some there, but I think - judging from this and from the comments left for that POS Ft. Hood murderer - people are FINALLY getting quite weary about what our responsibility is insofar as taking care of everyone else.

Nathalie - get off your ass, put your big girl panties on, and get back to work. The rest of us are sick and tired of supporting you and all of the others out there just like you who are taking advantage of a system that has been put into place to help the truly needy but which instead only encourages fraud and abuse!

Serious Question

If the POS who shot FOURTEEN innocent people at Fort Hood and wounded many others is paralyzed from the chest down how can he be in "severe pain?" Really. He cannot move his lower two-thirds of his body, right? Nerve damage or something - caused by bullets - but he is in "severe pain?" I think someone is trying to elicit sympathy.

Severe pain is what the families of his victims are dealing with right now. My sympathies are with them.

The man will never suffer enough in my book. I hope pain killers are being limited to a daily aspirin - if. Oh, and since he resigned from gainful employment the day he took a gun and went on his rampage - doesn't this mean he no longer has that medical insurance coverage? Who is footing the bill for him to get this "constant medical attention" he is receiving at the intensive care unit at whatever hospital he is in? Never mind. As with many things unjust, it is us, the taxpayers, who are footing the bill... Just like we will foot the bill for his "fair" trial and all that crap, too.

Seems that I am not alone in my thinking on this... Read some of the comments, here. Interesting that out of some 150 comments only just a small handful are "sympathetic" to the alleged [snark!] murderer.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Is this a good thing?

I guess so. I do not follow the political realm of things here in the Sandbox like I try to follow what is going on at home in the States. There has been a conflict here - men from Yemen trying to infiltrate Saudi Arabia, at the border, not too far south from where we are to do... Who knows what... Disrupt the status quo.

All of the fighters here who have martyred themselves, fighting forces in Jizan, are going to be paid SR1,000,000 for doing so. That is $268,096.51. Probably not a bad thing. A whole heck of a lot more than families are reimbursed for soldiers who fight for America [and, by the way, that is one increase in our federal budget I would support - but make there be cuts somewhere else at the same time - how 'bout we try to recoup some of the billions paid out in FRAUD every year... again - as usual - I digress].

Have to say this, though. King Abdullah knows what dithering means and he doesn't dither. It is through his Royal order that the payment will be made to the families of the men, "of each martyr," and along with a handsome pay-off "each martyr will be promoted posthumously to a higher rank." If the jeja had just a miniscule of the "gumption" that King Abdullah has... [Remember when the jeja came to visit the Sandbox? Did you see King Abdullah bow down to him? Of course not. Don't be ridiculous. That would NEVER happen. Nope. You only saw the jeja bending over to - oh - never mind.]

This I don't quite get, though: "Also, all their sons and brothers will be recruited into the military, according to the Royal order." So, that is a good thing, then? Now, these men's martyr's "sons and brothers" get the opportunity to risk their lives, too? Is that what the "sons and brothers" want? Is that what the martyr's families want? Not that it matters what anyone else wants. The King has said what is what in a Royal order. It will be done.

Liar liar pants on fire...

But no one in Washington seems to care that whatever comes out of the mouths of our "esteemed" leaders is nothing but a big fat lie.

harry reid, just a couple of days ago, said this, about his ohhh-soooo-fabulous plan that got shoved up our unlubricated butts last night:

"We've traveled really a long ways to where we are and tonight begins the last leg of this journey that we've been on now for some time. The American people - president obama - have asked us for health insurance reform - it [that?] does two things - one, makes it more affordable for the American people - we're not going to add a dime to this - in fact, quite the opposite. We will cut the problems we have with the money around here by as much as three-quarters of a trillion dollars - and - this bill is going to do good things over the next ten years for so many different people in our society."

Oh my gosh. Just listening to this numb-nuts-gas-bag talk makes my head spin! Has this man got any more than a public school education? He comes across as someone who has no secondary education whatsoever - and these are the people we have in charge running our Country? God, help us!

Rush Limbaugh nails it:

"None of that is true. The American people are not asking for this. It's toward the bottom of the list of things they think are important. Employment - the economy - is at the top of the list right now. It's not going to be deficit neutral. There is not a word he said that's true, here. Not one."

Unfortunately, the fact that whatever comes out of the mouths of ALMOST ALL OF OUR WASHINGTON elite is a complete untruth just does not seem to matter any more. I just don't get it. I just don't. Is it just me? And, how is it that this
ohhh-soooo-fabulous plan we're going to be forced to eat isn't quite good enough for "them?"

My. Gosh. What, exactly, is it going to take? I can think of only one way that any good can possibly come out of this. Just one. It is not pretty.

Two More Maids Abused

Nothing to see here folks, move along. Just some abused maids. Send 'em back to wherever they came from and get some more. Just two of many...

Interesting that we are not hearing much about abused maids lately. It has been quite a while since there was a report in the paper of a maid being abused. Make sure that nothing like that gets printed in one of our two English-language papers and that means that it just isn't happening any more, right? Something like that.

Or maybe not. "The abuse of foreign maids shows no signs of abating, especially with the emergence of another case involving two Indian maids." Both of them came to the Sandbox from Hyderabad and discovered after the fact that their "sponsor had made a deal with a recruitment agency" which was completely different than what they had been promised. Big surprise. One of the maids was repeatedly pushed into a swimming pool [could she swim?], beaten and locked in her "for eight days when she refused to work and said she wanted to return to India." Ahh. No. Silly woman. It doesn't work that way. You sign a contract and you work that contract out no matter what happens. She begged to be able to return to India but her sponsor wouldn't let her unless she paid him SR15,000 [$4,021.44]. That is an entire lifetime's earnings in India! If a woman - coming here to work as a maid - had that kind of money, she wouldn't need to come to the Sandbox in the first place.

One of the maids says, "We worked as slaves for months but nobody paid us a single riyal. The money we earned was given to the agency." I'd be willing to bet that the agency will say that it never got any money. You hit the nail on the head at the beginning of that statement: "We worked as slaves for months..." Did you not understand that that was exactly what was going to happen to you when you got here? Don't maids communicate back and forth and tell others what the situation is before they come here? Apparently not. She says, "And we aren't the only women, there were other women in the agency. I don't know what happened to them." You never will, either.

The other maid came "to earn money to pay for an operation for her five-year-old sick daughter who has a hole in her heart." She borrowed money to get here. [Something is terribly wrong with this system - that you have to PAY to come here...] "For one month, the sponsor kept me locked up. It was Ramadan and for the entire month he gave me nothing to eat but two dates... I used to drink water from a tap." [Water from a tap? Saltwater.] After her sponsor was finished abusing her for the month of Ramadan he turned her back over to the agency. No need to pay her for any of her work.

The article says, "Both women are appealing to the Indian community and to the authorities to come forward and save them and help them return to India." Let us know how that works out for you. Maids. Along with the rest of the imported laborers. Disposable help. Plenty more available where they came from.

Well So Much For That

Of course it hasn't passed yet. Just the bought and paid to "vote for cloture" so that it can be debated on the Senate floor. Fools. We have fools in elected positions spending every freakin' dime that Americans have not yet made. If this ridiculousness passes - and it will - so much for having my surgery in February in N.C. I refuse to give another dime more than I have to to the American government.

For all of you out there who think you are going to have free medical care and will have health insurance coverage for the rest of your sorry little lives, do you realize what your congress critter has just done? Women no longer need that pap smear and they will no longer be a candidates for a mammogram for early detection. Cervical cancer kills. Breast cancer? Don't worry about it. Men? That PSA test isn't really necessary either, since prostate cancer is slow-growing... [Good thing you can afford to pay for your colonoscopy, Katie!] I, personally, can afford to pay out of my pocket for health care - and will - but the rest of you that voted for anyone that has a "D" behind their name? You are going to be $hit out of luck. Don't come crying to me.

There will be a 5% "botox" excise tax on every cosmetic surgery [and similar] procedure - beginning in 2010. That is $585. more that I would have to pay. Not paying it. Oh, I'll still have my surgery done. I just won't have it done in the States. If this monstrosity does pass...

Americans are being taxed to death - literally - and there is a percentage of the public - some 47% of them - that thinks this is okay. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. How's that hopechange working out for everyone? Jobs? You are not going to have one. You won't be able to afford a home and that SUV you had your eye on? Ha! Regardless of this whole climate change scam, the government is going to force you to drive some little buggy with a scooter engine.

Is no one else upset that the people running our federal government are going to be covered by different standards for medical care and insurance? If it is good enough for the American people, shouldn't it be good enough for them, too?

Vote the whole lot of 'em out. With few exceptions most of them are not worth what we've paid them for.

Oh, and this butt-phukking we're about to get? There will be a tax on lubricants, too. Just bend over and take it.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Child Labor

A problem, here? Apparently it is. Child begging is a problem. Is that the same as child labor? Both could be considered forms of child abuse, right? I don't know so much that "child labor" is necessarily child abuse, but then that would be dependent on the "labor." Didn't children in many countries use to help their parents on the family farm? Was that considered child labor? My mother used to make us clean our rooms and follow a "chore chart," detailing which of us four girls were assigned to vacuuming, or doing dishes, or cleaning a bathroom, etc. [My brother was NEVER included. Where was the ACLU, then?] I recall that we - me and my three sisters - believed that having to do chores around the house was child abuse at the time - making us contribute labor to help clean the home we lived in, instead of letting us play or read or talk on the phone [we did not have a television set in our house until I was almost ten-years-old - and then - we never had cable!] - or whatever it was that we used to like to do. I digress...

Muhammad Al-Naji, from King Khaled University, "has recommended a new law enforcing the protection of childhood in the Kingdom in accordance with the regulations of the International Labor Organization of the United Nations." This, in a country that cannot agree on what age should be set that allows a little girl - a CHILD - to get married, now someone wants to set a minimum wage for children to work?
Let us know how that is going to work out.

The example shown in the article has to do more with "child begging" than "child labor," in my opinion. A reporter tells of a five-year-old Afghani child who followed him "begging him to buy some gum." You can see this first-hand at any major traffic light downtown - little children running to your car, hand held out begging - occasionally they have gum that they will sell. No. I don't buy the gum. And no, I don't give out money either. At the parking lots of grocery stores the begging is much more aggressive and the mother's are the ones racing to the cars with their hands held out. Regularly we read reports that the authorities are going to crack down on this begging behavior, but I have yet to see that happen. How then, are they going to crack down on the children who are doing it for work?

So this reporter has this conversation with the five-year-old who is "working" [selling gum - basically, begging]:

Child says, "I have a young brother."

Reporter asks, "Where is he... Is he selling her with you?"

Child responds, "He is in Afghanistan, with my father."

Reporter asks, "Where is your mother?"

Child says, "She is in Makkah, please, buy this from me, please!"

Well, sure. There has to be some "human interest" in the story or no one would bother reading it. I don't buy it. Dad is in Afghanistan with a younger brother and the mother is here in Saudi Arabia? Doing what, exactly? Everyone knows that women in Middle Eastern countries are not allowed to travel alone! Color me skeptical. And, if the mother is actually here, then she came as a maid or something and the poor child is the product of his Mom having relations with someone who she is not married to. I guess there is always the chance that the woman could have come here as a maid and been only just pregnant enough so that no one noticed, but you can bet that as soon as the family she was working for figured it out that she was out of that house so fast... Which would make her being here illegal, at this point.

"Despite the attempts made by the reporter to find out about his family background, the boy's greater concern was to get rid of the gum box between his two little hands before the end of the day." Well, of course it was. The child was brought here - by someone [read between the lines] - to beg and make money. Isn't that what the problem here really is? How many times have we read about all the children that have been caught being "smuggled" in through the Yemen border to beg. Especially during holiday times, like Ramadan and now, Eid. If there are Saudi children out there working, they are few and far between.

"The reporter watched from a distance to see who would eventually come to collect the child. At 11 P.M., after all the shops had closed, an old man with a white beard dressed in Afghani-type clothes appeared and called to the boy. Sajid immediately went to the man and handed over the money... The old man took Sajid to a car filled with other children and drove away." There you go. Someone brought a bunch of children, illegally, into the Sandbox and is making them beg. Whoever that someone is, you can bet that whatever the childrens' earning are for the day that he has to share that money with someone else further up the food chain or he wouldn't be allowed to stay and get away with the scam that happens, here, far too frequently.

Apparently child labor violations, "including forced child labor, are rarely reported, investigated, or prosecuted in major urban areas... investigations are nonexistent in more remote regions." Why? Why is that? Is it because, as I have suggested, that others are making money off these little beggars, too? Just a guess on my part. But, for all its differences, Saudi Arabia is no different than any other country in one regard. It is all about money. Whoever is paying gets to play. Same as Chicago style politics. Why try to make it be something it isn't? "It has become one of the most distressing sights throughout the Kingdom to see children of families out of school working at car workshops, traffic lights and outside malls." Really? I don't think so. You get hardened to it after a while. I might have thought it was distressing when I first got here, but not any more. And if someone wanted to stop it they could. You can see little children running out to vehicles at the traffic lights with Traffic Police RIGHT THERE AT THE SAME LIGHT and they don't seem to be bothered by it - the begging children - either.

"Family disintegration, low cultural awareness, ignorance... and trafficking of children from neighboring countries, especially Yemen, are the factors contributing to this problem," says a Saudi social researcher, Saud Al-Shehri. Did I not say the same thing about children being brought in illegally from Yemen? Couldn't even get half-way through the article without finding out that that is more than mere speculation on my part, and is a fact. As far as "family disintegration" goes, I say that when a man is allowed to have four wives and four different families that that could would certainly play a major part in disintegration. But, again, that is just my opinon. Look at the "family disintegration" in the States. What are the statistics that show that so many young men that are now crowding the prision system came from single-parent homes? I don't care who you are, I do not think you can be an effective FATHER if you have four different wives and four different sets of children living in four different households. That is "family disintegration." Just the same as it is for some man in the States that thinks he's some kind of stud or something and has children by numerous different women without ever making them his wife and without ever taking responsibility for the children he has fathered.

Supposedly a number of these women, some "88 percent" are mothers that "are illiterate and only nine per cent of them hold even an elementary school certificate." They knew how to do one thing, though, didn't they?! Procreate. There are a lot of single mothers in the States that have pulled themselves up and provided for their children without the benefit of college educations! Just because someone is illiterate doesn't give them the "right" to send their children to go out and beg. How many children do you have to have before you figure out what "caused" you to have them in the first place? "Poverty forces these children to resort to begging and finding street jobs to make a living for themselves and their family members." I disagree. If you have a child then it is YOUR job to provide for your children, not the other way around - that the children should have to provide for you. When did it become acceptable for the children to have to work and not the parents? You cannot imagine how many children I see running to our truck at the traffic lights where a figure dressed in head-to-toe black stands back on the sidewalk watching. Children, no doubt, command more empathy than a full-grown woman [or man - who knows whether it is a man or woman underneath all that fabric?!!] insofar as begging goes. That is why children are the ones who do this - because the adults are not as prosperous. I feel a whole lot more sorry for a child in this predicament than I do for an adult. [No matter. No one gets money from me that way. And we "give" plenty to charity. You are a serviceman and in need? I'm ready with a donation. You need assistance getting your pet some surgery and you work as hard as you can to make ends meet? Let me get my checkbook. You want me to give you what I've worked for because YOU don't want to work? Bugger off.]

"According to UNICEF [a thoroughly over-rated "charity" that takes far too much money administratively and leave little for the actual recipients], an estimated 158 million children aged 5-14 are engaged in child labor - one in six children in the world." I'm calling bull$hit on that. One in six? Perhaps in certain countries - China, North Korea... But not all over the world.

Another you man who "has worked as a laborer in Jeddah since he was 10 years old" did not want to speak to a reporter. Instead, "his employer, Abu Yousef [son of Yousef - not the man's real name], encouraged him to do so." He too had a tale of woe, being "forced to work so that he can pay for school and help provide for his family." I can see the being responsible for paying for schooling - and it truly is unfortunate that "public" schools are not the norm world-wide, but again, WHY is it a child's responsibility to have to provide for the family. Did the reporter - whoever it was - even ask ONE child what the parents - or parent - did to provide for the family?!! Abu Yousef, who by the way is a Palestinian mechanic, no doubt here on a work visa, said that his protege "is attending French school in the morning and comes to the shop at five in the evening. He is a professional mechanic now and can fix any car." What nationality is this young man, who is now 19? African. Another child smuggled in when he was a small kid, maybe? Abu Yousef has another child now working for him - a 10-year-old boy - who has been "working for him for three years." What is it with all of these children from other countries? Does anyone think for a single solitary second that the authorities here are going to care about children that have been imported? And, as I stated above, someone wants to set a law as to a minimum age? Sure.

There is much, much more. I could drone on and on and on. But frankly, my "I don't care" is in full gear today and I really, really don't care, today... Call me cold-hearted. I just don't see that it is my responsibility to take care of everyone else. I don't want to do it here, and I will absolutely stead-fastedly refuse to do so in the States. We will go somewhere else. Plenty of other countries that would be happy to have the dollars that DH and I have. There are gated communities in Mexico where we could live like gazillionaires. Cyprus. Brazil. There are always going to be child beggars because there are always going to be ADULTS / PARENTS who refuse to take responsibility for their own children. I will just refuse to support those people. DH and I have worked far too hard for what we have. In order to get it, it is going to have to be pried from our cold... hands.

In lighter news... A job that you should not have is breaking spells. Yeah. I don't know. Maybe there really is something to all of this black-hocus-pocus-bullarky. Not something I believe in, but that isn't to say that I totally disregard it. I know it is big in some parts of the South in the United States. I know that there are other countries where it is part of the culture. I attribute it all to being uneducated and - ooh - how to say this delicately - third world. [So much for being delicate.] But then, part of whether or not you fall for it also has to do with frame of mind. I can sometimes believe you can will yourself not to feel good and vice versa to will yourself to feel better. "I do not have a cold. It is all in my head." Umm, that fever, the runny nose, the sore throat, and that cough? Not so "made-up" after all... Whatever. Do I believe some magic spell can be cast upon me and that someone with special powers can undo that? No. I do not. Many, here in the Sandbox, do believe in all of that though, and if you get caught practicing your special gift? Depending on your nationality you will be punished - some more severely than others. [See my archives for much more harsh punishments.] If you are a Saudi - shocker - the nationality IS published - then you can be punished and sentenced to two years in jail and 500 lashes for being a magician. Good grief. Wonder what kind of sentences David Copperfield or Kris Angel would receive here.

Really Odd / Really Bad Dream[s]...

Maybe the patch shouldn't be worn to bed. I don't recall having such an odd / bad dream in a long, long time. I kept waking up - checking the clock - realizing it was no where near time to get up - falling back asleep and picking up the dream where it left off. Not settling. Not settling at all. I really wanted to stay in bed this morning and make sure that it ended "happily ever after" [i.e., "alive"] but I couldn't. DH was in the dream so I know it ended just fine.

Strangly, DH looked a lot like Sawyer [from Lost], with red sun-glasses. DH doesn't wear red. At all. Ever. And the day he wears red sun-glasses? There is a problem. There was also a small lavender horse - or maybe it was a donkey - no, I'm pretty sure it was a horse - in there at the beginning, but something happened to him even though he was supposed to be my pet. I clearly remember him running and trying to cross the road - there were "bad guys" doing something that made him want to run away - but he came back to me when I called him. Then, he disappeared. He wasn't in the whole dream, either. Hard to fit a small horse in the back of a VW.

Perhaps if I hadn't been locked up in a garage with a bunch of other mostly unknowns - along with my husband who looked like Sawyer [who was, at the end, trying to save us! he is a hero!!!] - and forced to eat scrambled eggs that no one took the squiggly's off of and miniature little spicy beef sausages - like pigs in a blanket - with the mustard already in them - YUCK! - I would have been able to sleep and get to the end of the dream... But with a meal like that - when you don't eat beef at all, and the thought of eating an egg that still has the squiggley on it... Had to get up. Surely if I wouldn't have gotten up, the ending of the dream would not have been pretty as food like that would never stay down.

There were an awful lot of "bad guys" in the dream. Which, by the way, took place in Concord, N.H. [where I grew up as a child], but had a garage like the one I used to park in in Springfield, Massachusetts. Back to the "bad guys." They were mostly young and handsome. And mostly they were all very "ethinc" looking [read that however you want - they looked like "locals" from here in the Sandbox, but in Concord, N.H.] Huh? A few older "bad guys," though, one that was fairly mean to a donkey - which is how I know that what I had was a small lavender horse. Throw in a couple of old women "bad guys" for good mixture - but mostly they just got yelled at by the men "bad guys" so they were out of the dream for the most part.

Plus there was this very weird thing about going to work late at night, very, very late. Was I driving to Boston? The drive was clearly on Highway 93 South. Then, getting stopped on the highway because for some reason it was closed. Waiting at a rest area and meeting up with a group of women who needed a ride. I think I even knew a couple of them. So we all piled back into my VW Beetle - light blue - like I had for my first car, eons ago - and headed "home." We got into a car accident on an on-ramp - on a steep uphill on-ramp - like that would even be possible. It was more like a roller coaster, actually. When we got to the very, very top, I flipped the car - IN THE SAND! We were completely off the road/roller coaster and in sand. I don't mean sand on the side of the road. I mean sand. Soft sand, though, like at the beach. Everyone was fine. Shaken up. Gee. Who would have guessed? We got rescued by a group of misfits who led us straight into the hands of the "bad guys." Only the misfits didn't know it then.

The "bad guys" weren't "bad guys," at first. They tried to be our friends. They wanted us to sell magazines door-to-door [Newsweek - of all magazines!] and they made me pay for 42 subscriptions up front on my credit card. $6,935.00. What? Sixty-Nine Hundred and something dollars for 42 subscriptions of Newsweek?!? [Nope. Not 40 subscriptions or 45, but 42. It started out with 21, but I said something about that being too easy so they doubled the amount of subscriptions we had to sell.] When I protested paying for the subscriptions up front is when we all got locked in a garage... Like a car repair garage. Someone had a cell phone - not me - and that is how DH came to try to rescue us - but he was far outnumbered and got thrown in the garage with us.

Oh. Did I mention that there was one of those cattle air-pump-killing-guns like in the movie "No Country for Old Men?" One of the "bad guys" had it and was shooting up oil tankers that would drive by with it.


If anyone even wants to try deciphering that wildness for me, have at it.

In the meantime, no more patches on at night. And if quitting smoking is going to be this bad, I will not be a non- smoker. Oh. My. Gosh.

I feel a nap coming on today. I really - REALLY - did not sleep very well last night.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Day One

Let's just not talk. M'kay?

I think if I keep busy I'll be fine. And, I've got patches. Lots of patches.

Others have done this. I can do this, too.

Monday, November 16, 2009

But, but...

...there isn't any of that wicked liquid allowed here, right?

Another quickie article and another quickie game of "guess the nationality."

The police have had to "rescue... a woman found running down a street... 'half-naked' with her drunken husband in pursuit." So. Let's see. The husband gets drunk, the couple gets in an argument and the husband turns violent. The woman has to "flee the house" and does not have time to put her black bag head-to-toe covering on. The article doesn't say whether or not either of the two were arrested for anything - but if the husband was arrested for his "drunkenness and violent behavior," shouldn't the wife have been arrested for venturing out without her obligatory covering?

Snark off.


"Four die in 'horrific' head-on crash." Body parts strewn across the road. Charred bodies of two men in one vehicle. Tell us again how that new traffic strategy is working out. Very, very convincing. Umm hmm.

You Can Bet They Won't Be Waterboarded

That particular "act" seems to be reserved for use only by Americans. No other country in the world uses such unbecoming methods to extract information from "infiltrators" or enemies. Cough. Cough.

Yemeni infiltrators will be tried. The conflict between Saudi Arabia and Yemen is one I know very little about. I know this though: Saudi Arabia has "brass ones" when it comes to dealing with issues that might threaten its security. There is no waffling back and forth about what to do. There is no commander in training pants that says, "go easy on the illegals - don't bother arresting them." Not a chance. Instead, there are orders issued which direct forces here to shoot the "infiltrators" on sight if the approach the border. Those that are not shot on sight and happen to be captured? You do not want to be one of those...

Good for Saudi. Wish the United States would take a few lessons on how this kind of "diplomacy" is handled.

There is no "oh, what should we do" with regard to the trials of the "infiltrators," either. The Chairman of the Supreme Judiciary Council, Salah Bin-Humaid, announced yesterday "that the Kingdom would try the Yemeni infiltrators who attacked a Saudi border post... ...the trials would be carried out in coordination with relevant agencies." A specific starting date was not given. Interesting. A country that understands security risks and holds its cards close, instead of laying them face down for all the other players to see. What a novel idea!

"The matter will be handled by security and military authorities... the trials [will] start soon after the end of the ongoing military operation to cleanse the area of intruders." Can you imagine? No ACLU lawyers. No putting the Kingdom on trial about their methods for abstracting information. No congress critters involved. Oh my. Anyone want to place bets on whether or not the men who will be put on trial will be found guilty? No worries for anyone being called for jury duty thereafter having a permanent bulls-eye on their back.

For its many faults - and what countries don't have them - faults, that is - the Kingdom deserves much credit for the way it chooses to deal with enemies and terrorists. Swiftly and to the point. [No. Really. No pun intended.]

You can bet - that although no trial date has been announced - that anyone being held in custody, here, for being involved in breaching the Kingdom's security, is not be coddled with "special" meals, or given all sorts of rights and special accommodations while languishing in jail. From what little I do know, it is doubtful that jails and prisons on this side of the world are anywhere near as comfy as those in the United States.

Saudi Arabia also has it right when it can say who is the enemy - or terrorist. Is this country trying to be so politically correct that it cannot call a spade a spade? No. Absolutely not. "The way the militias operate and the amount of money they spend on the conflict make the involvement of foreign powers almost a certainty." No beating around the bush, there. Saudi officials know who the enemy is, know who is involved, and are bound and determined to stop it. The United States? Hmmph. Most of the authorities in charge there are still in the very early planning stages of trying to figure out who it is they need to stop. And once they do figure it out? No worries. There will be a little tea party - cookies and lemonade will be served and everyone will sit around in a circle holding hands and sing kumbaya. Umm hmm. That'll stop it.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

jeja b[l]ows again

Blows, bows... Same same. After all "bow" is just "blow" without the "l" and "blow" is the same bending as a "bow" with the extra letter, right? Yeah. Okay. It is a stretch. But a good one!

It is all over the interwebs. Doesn't the jugearedjackass have someone helping him with protocol? All those czars and nary a one of them has a f'ng clue. We know the jeja is utterly and totally lacking one - a clue, that is - along with a brain and balls.

Go here to see the difference between a "Hero" and a "Zero." As usual, Zip nails it!


"Against Medical Advice." I just finished James Patterson's book - co-authored with Hal Friedman - about Mr. Friedman's son, Cory, who spent many agonizing years trying to cope with OCD and Tourette's Syndrome. Although it was a good [not great, slightly better than okay, and not bad] story, it was disappointing as a book. Story wise, I'd give it a 6 out of 10; book wise, I'd give it a 3.

Surely it was because James Patterson's name was so familiar that prompted me to pick the book up on the shelf to begin with... I can't tell you exactly what it was about the book that made me actually purchase it. I know that no one ever actually recommended the book to me - and although I would not discourage anyone from reading it - I wouldn't recommend it, either. The dust jacket tells the entire story and unless you want to read a memoir about the details of OCD and Tourette's Syndrome - skip it. Just read the dust jacket. I am not attempting to minimize what Cory went through or his parents and sister, there is just nothing earth-shattering about his story. Cory is "fine" now, with relatively minimal symptoms of the two illnesses or diseases from which he was originally diagnosed.

First of all, it was 267 pages of mostly "white" instead of "black." In other words, it was more paper than ink. Of those 267 pages - only 99 of them contained a full 30 lines of print. 30 lines. [The book I am reading now - smaller print - 37 lines per page.] 24 pages were totally blank. Just white "filler." Of the 130-something "half" pages - I am being generous by calling them "half" pages - 20 of them had eight or less lines of type. This book could have been done in a hundred pages or so. It is a very, very quick read.

I wish I would have taken the time to read some of the reviews from Amazon before actually buying the book, myself:

Do not buy this book. I thought I would learn more about Tourette's Syndrome. I learned so little. I was left wanting so much more. Shame on Patterson for exploiting this true story for his personal gain. A missed opportunity to raise awareness and better understanding of this horrible condition. Such a superficial read when I was looking for something more substantial. Very repetitive to the point of tiresome. All of a sudden, Cory gets better. No real explanation for us to better understand this. It was as if it was time to complete the book. DONT WASTE YOUR MONEY.

As a Special Ed teacher, I was very excited to read this book. I am sad to say that I was quite disappointed in the book. First of all, I thought the layout was strange. There were 72 chapters and each chapter was one or two pages. Secondly, I thought the book lacked depth. I finished the book in two days, and I really felt I was left without much of the story. Although I don't want to ruin the ending, I thought it was also somewhat unbelievable.

Umm-hmm. My thoughts exactly. I took the time to count the pages - count how many half pages there were - and how many pages were completely blank. [Someone has just a little too much time on their hands.]

I read this book in about 4 hours,it is interesting and once you get started you do want to see how it turns out. But it is not a "keeper", just get it from the library.

You won't learn much about Tourettes, but you will learn a lot about the medical establishment's compulsion to prescribe medications and keep on prescribing regardless of the consequences.

It wasn't a bad book. I just wouldn't recommend it - unless someone was looking for a fast read about a young boy who suffers, along with his family, and then, in the end, mostly lives happily ever after. Again, not that I would discourage anyone from reading the book, I just finished it and said, "Umm-kay. Now to read something with a bit more substance."

Along with the not so good reviews over at Amazon, there are many, many good reviews of this book. To each his own.

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