29.11.06

Now I do have a reason to hate Bush

President Bush of the United States of America is visiting Amman today, he was scheduled to arrive at 11:45 am in Queen Alia International Airport (OJAQ/AMM) and therefore my scheduled takeoff of 10:50 was cancelled.

I never had any personal reason to hate him before, I mean he did many things I would rather not see the consequences for, the Amman Bombing that affected three hotel a little over a year ago, were a direct consequence of him invading Iraq, it affected tens of families, hundreds of people and millions empathized. Personally, I was sorry that that sort of thing happens in Amman, but I wasn't hating bush till today ;)

It's so aggravating watching the streets of Amman flooded with police and patrolling army units, it's also annoying thinking Jordan is in the middle of three very troubled countries and America and its policies are partially responsible.

Somehow, I still have hope that Jordanian wisdom and courage will rub off to the guests of our country and hopefully King Abdullah will be able, through his inherited Hashemite legacy, of making ends meet and drive this region to peace.

I was born with stories of war, Palestinians, Jordanians, Lebanese all had some sort of civil war and many were engulfed in it. Iraqis, Egyptians, Syrians and the above mentioned all had war with other countries or had resistances of some sort. When you think about it, in the past hundred years, there has been a war of some sort twice in each of the countries surrounding our beloved country, Jordan not excluded.

When will peace ever come, I understand international politics, I understand human greed, I understand expansionists. What I will never understand is death, we are dooming a whole generation to orphanhood, widowry (if that's a word) and emotional turmoil. I can't get over my father's death which occured more than 8 years ago of natural causes. How will there ever be peace if people die?

I don't think I will live to see the day when my kids will drive to Jerusalem in two hours and come back just in time to catch the bus ride to Baghdad where we will have dinner with our religious Jewish friends who will be calling on our Christian neighbour to stop barbecuing pork because our kids love the smell and can't understand the difference in religion.

I think freedom fighters everywhere have the right to fight, I also believe in human rights and most importantly children's rights. Until everyone can feel inclined enough -by reasons of rights and freedoms- to have peace because he sees no point in war, I don't think we will be able to drop the notion of "kill or be killed"

This might be a first for me,

حمى الله الأردن وشعبه الغالي وأعطى كل ذي حق حقه

28.11.06

Thanks for the comments

I wasn't being very objective in my previous post, this blog has a wide readership in Canada and the US and also south-west Europe, I track people who link to me often (at least once a week) and I know how people conceive my blog.

Most of those people are friends, colleagues and adversaries, they seldom write any comments, they think I might mobilize against them on "go to the mattresses" as Mario Puzo so eloquently put it. I never nor will I ever do that, my previous site, radi.150m.com forwards here, I had alot of articles there, and I made some serious point. People in the west tend to follow up.

I made $25 this November from people clicking through adsense on my site. It shows how many people clicked through this site, I am guessing quite alot, I however do not like the idea that people don't comment on what I say, that's why I ask people to comment. Please do.

I thank everyone who posts and hope you like what you see here.

27.11.06

Pride in being Jordanian

Every time I find one reason to regret staying in this country, I always tend to find ten more that make me proud of staying and belonging here. Today, I was tossed dry by my academy, of course I was pissed, but then I picked up my friend from her university and she "made" me listen to the song she wants played at her entrance to her wedding.

Although when I first came to Jordan around 7 years ago I had trouble understanding the local tongue, now I have not only mastered it but can also speak it with pride and switch it off and on like a light-bulb. I loved this song, for those of you with an objection to Arab sites lack of privacy policy, you can check listen to a sample of it at the band's own website, don't forget the main page

Tareq Al-Naser is the most talented Jordanian composer I have met or listened to, he has by far the best group of talents around him. He is yet to disappoint me with a piece of his. This song is so reminiscent of the good old days I hear people talking about, the accent the female voice Sahar Khalifa portrays is the of not only purity but genuinely nostalgic, it remind me of a friend I had who talked like that, it seemed like the most normal thing in the world, uncorrupted and so fitting.

This musician not only made me proud to be country-mates with him he also made me understand a lot of the beauty of our heritage and our past.

Great job

25.11.06

It's official, no one reads my blogs

For the past two days I was busy preparing for an exam, I got no page views, yes, zero, nadda, nil, not-a-one, nothing, zip. I hate this, if you do read my blog just write anything, any comment, any email, anonymous would do, please, this is so aggravating!!!

23.11.06

RJ here I come

Countries where I get traffic from:
Jordan, United States, United Kingdom, France, Finland, Canada, Australia, Portugal, Spain and Monaco.

It makes sense, its the same countries I am most excited to go to WHEN I start working for Royal Jordanian. Oh, yes, the if changed to when, YES!!!!!

I passed, I officially have the green light from DLR (Duetsches Zentrum fur Luft und Raumfahrt or the German Aerospace Center) to pursue a career as a pilot in Royal Jordanian.

They have a very difficult exam that is in most parts psychological but tests you in many areas. It is very selective, but as of Thursday 23rd of November 2006 I passed it, it was exactly 4:24 pm when I left the Interview with the good news. It was fun but very stressful and I at last proved to able to make it.

21.11.06

Brave Young King

Most of the libraries in Jordan have little if no historical periodicals, I mean, Jordan University, the oldest in the land, was established in 1962, and with a mediocre start, you can't expect to find a 1958 article in there.

The Time magazine article, which came 6 years after the abdication of his father, King Talal, had the above-mentioned title, was first shown to me by a friend of mine, he had the magazine which he inherited from his grandfather's collection.

Fortunately our friends at Google helped me find it in their news archive. You can find it here, I am also trying to collect a repository of his late Majesty dealing with grave situations.

Just an example of his wisdom in navigating all the powers of the world, to keep his Kingdom alive. Plots always thickened against him and more often than not he was facing a joint effort against him.

15.11.06

It's freaking me out

Sometimes it's just scary, I started believing in "be careful what you wish for". I tried having my blog on Jordan Planet. I tried a systematic approach, I checked many of the blogs in there to see how mine compares. As for the frequency, many of them don't get 5 posts per month, as for the quality, I guess the people in there are smarter than that, they don't judge based on that.

So I was left with one assumption, I am fit to add my blog to their listing, so I sent my request, I waited for a few weeks, and I wasn't added. I sent them an e-mail to inquire about why I wasn't added; they only asked for the blog to be a month old.

Not only did I not get added, I didn't get a reply to my e-mail, so I wished for the site to go under. Yes, you heard me, I wished them bad luck, wished for all their data to be lost, and since they seemed like smart people, I wished for all the backup to be lost as well.

I know for a fact that the first part came true, and I'm now wondering what happened to them.

I also have a feeling that originated a year back, a feeling that I can harm people just by wishing it. Anyway, don't cross on a bad day, or else...

13.11.06

Driver Ed 102

This is the second part of this series about driving in Jordan, we dealt in the previous part with light usage, today we will deal with changing lanes, please make sure you use the signals when changing lanes:

Ch. 2 - Changing lanes

Don't use the following techniques in changing lanes or streets:

1- You push the tip of your car in front of some other car, so that's he won't be able to pass unless you pass, I will hit you car in a second if you do that in front of me. Also, save yourself the embarrassment of your lane moving and not being able to go back.

2- You think the person in the car you are trying to cut off won't try to go around you because he has a nice car and they won't want to wreck it. Nice cars usually come with insurance and someone like me behind the wheel. I will hit you and your car for that silly assumption.

3- Wave your hand out of the window, there are signal lights use them.

Don't change lanes if:

1- You are trying to go to the faster moving lane in traffic jam.
2- You think you can overtake one or two cars and reach your destination 15 seconds later, It'S NOT WORTH IT.
3- You want to checkout some girl that is in the same rush-hour traffic, if she likes you or wants you, she will open her window and talk to you. If you just wanna stare, DON'T!!!
4- You think you know someone in the other car and try to sneak up to him, especially if you have doubts because the colour of the car or the license plate number changed, IT'S NOT THE SAME CAR!!!

Please refrain from making split seconds changing lane decisions in Jordan for the following reasons:

1- Not all of Jordanians know where you are going or what you planning to do, we have the audacity to presume people will use those yellow things to tell us if you are going left or right.

2- We don't like slamming brakes and trying to avoid your car, I swear the next time you don't try to give sufficient signal and priority to the lane you are switching to, I will crash into you. I checked my air bags and I have two on my side that work, I will not even touch the brake, and it will be your fault and I will fix my car at the dealership on your expense, I have a good lawyer.

3- Brake pads last so short of a time in our hilly and mountainous terrain without your help, I am sick of avoiding careless drivers, my leg hurts at the end of each day.

4- Some people use crappy brakes or don't have quality brake systems because they can't afford it, don't rely on the condition of our roads, nor on our concentration, we have other stuff to worry about.

The reasons I might exempt you from a crash:

1- First and foremost, you driving on the right lane and a taxi driver or a bus driver cuts you off, just to pickup that "bareezeh" or "nos-lairah", in otherwords: " a fare". I don't require much of a warning but common courtesy is still in order.

2- Trying to avoid someone else while they try to crash into you, reflexes are permitted and in some instances encouraged, especially if they situation involves pedestrians.

3- If you are shot above the waste or a female in your car is giving birth, in that case use the emergency light.

The reasons I might step on the gas while crashing into you:

1- If you are the taxi driver or bus driver cutting me off, just to pickup that "bareezeh" or "nos-lairah", in otherwords: " a fare".

2- If you think that your Daewoo, Kia or Hyundai can overtake any car, especially if you drive a Pregio bus, and you make the mistake of zig-zaging between cars behind me and/or in front of me.

3- If you think that Schumacher watches videos of your driving for lessons. I mean thinking you can squeeze in an extra lane or use shoulder of the street as a lane.

11.11.06

Driving Ed 101

Ok here's a crash course in driving manners, these are universally acknowledged manners, and although there is no official rule book to state them, think of them as my guide to telling you how much you stink in driving (left steering wheel countries):

Ch. 1 - Lights:
If you:
1- Use the signal light less than 2 seconds before you change lanes, you stink.
2- Use the signal light less than 5 seconds before you change lanes, you stink.
3- Don't use the left signal when entering a roundabout (circle), you stink.
4- Don't use the right signal when exiting a roundabout (circle), you stink.
5- Flicker the high-beam to mean "go ahead" or "come on up", you stink.
6- Flicker the high-beam to mean anything but "give me way", you stink.
7- Flicker the high-beam to annoy the driver in front of you, you stink.
8- Flicker the high-beam to punish the driver ahead of you, you stink.
9- If you have white light at the back of your car, or connected to the brake lights, you stink
10- Have brilliant blue lights, you stink, they aren't zenon, they won't be, Zenon is a brilliant white. Blue is blue, take them out, they won't make you look cooler, trust me.
11- Have "indoor" lighting, you stink.
12- Have any lighting colour inside your car, you stink.
13- Have red lighting inside your car, call me, I'll shoot you myself.

Red light = Rear side of the car, also brake light and in some silly American cars, it can be the rear signal light.
White light = Direction of motion light, when you see it in your face, the car is moving towards you.
Yellow or orange light = Signal light, if the one to the left is on, the car is going to the left and vice-versa. If both are on, then you should pay attention because something is not right in that car.

There should be no other colours of lights until further notice, if you do have a green or blue light, break it. Pink, purple, same fate. Light under the car, NO, NO, NO!! unless you plan to drive down to hell, then you might need it.

Don't use both signal lights together (emergency light) except in emergencies. If you are shot, a female is giving birth, or maybe if you halted suddenly and you want to be courteous for the person behind you.

9.11.06

No work gets done in the congress

The United States Congress has two parts: The Senate and The House of representatives.
For some reason -unbeknown to me- most Arab media calls the latter: the congress, but its not, its the house.

The house members are chosen every two years, the president every four and the senate every six. The recent elections on the 7th of November had a landslide victory for the democrats, now that is good news to me, a liberal of sorts. However, the president is still a republican but that's OK, people will have more fun watching news news of filibusters and stalls, maybe even a veto by the president, haven't seen that in a while!

How work gets done in congress is beyond me, if you have to run for re-election every two years and if you will have to start fund raising for your campaign a year before the actual race or election, then you have a year for listening to the people and then a year listening to companies who support your campaign. It's simple really, you spend half your time telling people you "take the American dream back from corporate America" and then spend your other half telling lobbyist from the fourth branch of government in K street that "what is good for corporate America is good for America"

This is obviously a conflict of interest, so you have to find the companies that have similar interests to your constituents and vote for them if you are to have enough money to get people to keep you in Capitol Hill.

The senators face the same dilemma, while only a third of them go to election every two years, it still means that they have to support their party, I mean its just like Senator John McCain of Arizona who visited 21 states in the previous month, he has presidential ambitions but still, a month or two every two years is a lot to waist especially if the country has only a hundred of you.

Good thing a President can only run twice, we wouldn't want a guy like Clinton doing a third term even if the people like him, let's just give bush and his people a chance. No point restricting the incumbency of congressmen because they make the laws and amendments.

7.11.06

Cars in Jordan

I drive a Mercedes-Benz C200 and no I'm not a rich kid who had his daddy buy it for him, its mine, the thing I want to say is, owning a car in Jordan is hell, I only owned one for the past three months and I am suffering. I am glad you asked why. I went to top-notch Mercedes experts, all the mechanics with years of experience in Mercedes could not figure out my tiny problem.

1- no two mechanics would give you the same opinion on any one matter.
2- all mechanics are ready to go on a trial and error quest to fix your car.
3- all mechanics want to get a hint at your budget so they can squeeze it out of you.
4- they notice little mundane things about your car that I don't give a shit about. Like the colour of the wiring or the little extra features I have installed
5- even in parts which they get very little out of, they try to send you to their "friends" so you could get screwed over.
6- they never say "I don't know" or "get a second opinion", they are always sure.

I tried all the best known Mercedes mechanics and they have failed me, I only have one guy left to declare the mechanics of Jordan incompetent.

Lucky me, I saw this scene before and I didn't fall for it, the one thing I did change were spark plugs, those looked really bad and I still felt like an idiot for not shopping more to save 2 JDs. Well, I will save 2 JDs if am willing to spend 10 in gasoline for the car.

Which brings me to my second point, the government is making a living out of the poor peoples back, I mean people in Jordan are under-payed and overtaxed. I don't mind a 20% tax if I someone is making 50 thousand a year, I do mind people taxed and customed -I meant literally- if the money is barely covering their needs. Also, who do I go to if I see a government employee or office squandering away our money. Yes, face it, its the taxpayers money. Welcome to the jungle.

Why does the government allow knockoffs if it warns people not to use them, and those people who line your brake pads with fiberglass, shouldn't they close their shops. Oh, wait, we have such high unemployment that we don't care as long as people make a living. Welcome to the Jungle.

The other day I got a parking ticket, it was in a shopping area in Amman, were they previously had a meter, just like the ones all around the world, only more high-tech because you could pay with the credit card or the pay-phone card. I loved it, so I bought a pay-phone card from that company.A week later, the company went out of business and they still owe me 3 JDs worth of parking. I told that to the police officer, I also told him that he should tear up the fine and let me park here for 10 hours, or pay me back the 3 JDs, needless to say, I went and payed the ticket yesterday.

P.S. I have a very good idea what my problem is, I found it on the Internet and a friend who owns a similar car and had the exact same problem, he went to the dealership and got it fixed but I am enjoying knowing why the dealership charges more.

5.11.06

Getting an Award

Getting an award is always fun regardless of the person who gave it to you, or even of the acclaim for such an award. I got one at Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia. Most of my work there is about Jordan and making sure the facts are correctly stated before they get circulated on the Internet. I mean Wikipedia is becoming a reference and people are trusting it, so I try to get it to work.

Check it out, and also read my user boxes, some are funny.