Cast of Characters:

Enkidu (AKA Slim)
Beowolf (AKA Wolfie)
Blaze (AKA Blaze)

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Hands off my hands!

Apparently, California Assembly woman Sally Lieber - D has introduced a bill that would make spanking your kid a crime.

Jennifer Roback Morse has cited the San Jose Mercury News saying the following:
“The bill, which is still being drafted, will be written broadly, she added, prohibiting ‘any striking of a child, any corporal punishment, smacking, hitting, punching, any of that.’ Lieber said it would be a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail or a fine up to $1,000, although a legal expert advising her on the proposal said first-time offenders would probably only have to attend parenting classes.”

Although I wouldn't agree with most of Morse's politics, I think that I have to side with her critical evaluation on this one. I think that it is wrong to beat a child. However, I think that it is also wrong to prevent a parent from using reasonable physical force to discipline. Most people can tell the difference between a swat (just fine), a spanking (sometimes appropriate) and a beating (inappropriate), I think. If not, then maybe some education should be the topic of discussion, rather than a ban on physical discipline.

Although I have no children at this point in my life, I'd thank everyone to keep their hands off of my hands when it comes to a well placed swat when the time comes.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Shouldn't we all just be barefoot and pregnant?

I really don't understand how a woman can be so anti-woman.

Anne Coulter has written again about how woman can't be taken seriously as politicians, saying that they have to marry their way into power. Then she comments on how the Democrats are so feminine.

I find this quote particularly disturbing:

Webb began his rebuttal by complaining that we don't have national health care and aren't spending enough on "education" (teachers unions). In other words, he talked about national issues that only are national issues because of this country's rash experiment with women's suffrage...

It suggests that health care and education aren't important and that they are and should be unimportant in the more legitimate world of men.

I don't consider myself a raging feminist, but I think that Anne has got it wrong.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

I wanna codeswitch!

I've got a problem that most American's can't identify with.

I love talking to English/Spanish or English/German bilinguals, because we are able to code-switch (i.e. use both languages in conversation as a linguistic tool or literary device). Sometimes, another language just has a better word to express a certain concept more elegantly. Somtimes, there is a breakdown in understanding when talking about philosophy or religion, and it is nice to be able to try it again in the other language. Code-switching has been linked to identity issues as well. Speaking to someone in their own language can also be more intimate.

I feel extremely limited when I talk to bilingual people, who speak a language that I don't know. I often want to be able to express myself in their language or let them explain something in their language. Recently, a friend of mine was trying to explain his views on creation and God in English, which is his second language. He wasn't able to express himself as clearly as he wanted to. Had I even an elementary understanding of his native language, then he would have been able to tell me in the way that he was best able to conceptualize.

Time to start another language.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

National Guard targeting Latinos

I've seen a number of military ads targeting Latinos in the last few days. I guess that's how they're planning to come up with the extra troops that Bush wants to send to Iraq.

The ads are completely in Spanish, except for the phone number at the end, which is spoken in accented English. Interestingly enough, there is no link to Spanish language information on the recruiting website.

It struck me as odd to have Spanish only ads. On the other hand, I guess one could consider it equal opportunity exposure.

But on the other hand, I haven't seen any English language ads lately.

More thoughts from Iraq

Here Jassim reflects on the 100 university students killed today in Iraq and on a possible operation against Muqtada Al Sadr

He also names the United Coalition Party as more dangerous than Muqtada Al Sadr, which after checking with him, I found out is the United Iraqi Alliance. (Translation from Arabic to English sometimes results in some interesting solutions - it would be easy to confuse Coalition and Alliance)

Jassim: yesterday more then 100 college studants died horribly
Karen: what happened?
Jassim: still thinking of them
Jassim: in Al Mustansiriya university in Baghdad
Jassim: a car exploded just in the fron door of the complex while studants were leaving to homes
Karen: I just don't understand why anyone would feel the need to kill innocent people!
Jassim: when they saw explosion and cut boddies arround them with blod they ran away fleeing but a suecider bombed him self among them
Jassim: I keep thinking of those studants
Jassim: girls especially
Jassim: what did the souecider was telling him self ??
Jassim: I wish I can disappear
Jassim: after all that some one come to say aaahhh why you excute Saddam
Jassim: how can we live with those animals ??
Jassim: an animal who want to kill 100 inocent studant just to prove his crazy point should not stay alive
Jassim: he must be removed
Jassim: to make societies lives better and safe
Jassim: they should remove hitler at once he shown his gressive behavior
Karen: yes...sometimes I think that it would be best to round up all the violent people and kill them. However, chances are that innocents would be mistakenly taken in the process
Karen: of course, once you kill, you yourself are a violent person
Jassim: hisitating only caused millions of innocent peoples souls
Jassim: this is not about revenge Karen
Jassim: tell me
Jassim: in your garden why you remove bad planets ??
Jassim: or in farms
Jassim: I will tell you
Karen: they should arrest these people
Karen: I agree
Jassim: it is the same
Jassim: but it is important to make sure and recognize who is the bad and who is the good
Karen: yes. That is always the problem

Jassim: i think some thing happening soon
Jassim: some arm conflict
Jassim: I heard romurs of a limited operation by ploice to arest Muqtada and don't know how true it is, they gave us an extra hours of power, this was always an indecator that some thing is going on
Jassim: I feel it but not knowing what is it or what would happen
Karen: I hope that they catch Muqtada
Karen: that would be the best for everyone
Jassim: well not only Muqtada is scaring
Jassim: he is only a one among many
Karen: well, one is a start
Jassim: what is more dangerous then Muqtada in Shia areas is the united colation party
Jassim: they are organized and strongly suported by Iran
Jassim: they are not killing or bombing but they aim to control
Jassim: I consider them much dangerous then Muqtada
Karen: interesting. What are their goals?
Jassim: to role
Karen: to rule
Jassim: I was suspecting that they have their ways to make american fail in their plans in Iraq
Jassim: only to force them to leave so they will be free to do what they want

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Justice can't be done

How does one define justice?

Does justice mean an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth?

Does it mean giving everyone equal treatment under the law?

If justice means retribution, then the leaders of Saddam's regime could never really have justice meted out on them. Nothing can make up for all the torture and murder.

If it means fair treatment under the law, then they deserve the dignity of a fair trial. All procedures should be followed. Schedules should be set and kept in accordance with the norms of the society.

The surprise executions of Barzan al-Tikriti (whose head become separated from his body in the hanging), and Awad al-Bandar are problematic, because they bring into question the fair application of law. Even if all rules were followed, it was done in such a way that is more likely to incite distrust of the new government than trust.

Iraq did not have a choice in its regime change. However, they need to live with what results from it. Those in power in Iraq have a responsibilty to act in good faith and to show themselves to be better than Saddam's people.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Fuzzball's game

I really don't understand why, but one of Fuzzball's favorite activites is to get between the litterbox and the wall. She'll push it away from the wall and then roll around behind, sometimes pushing or scratching against it. Go figure.

A bit of wisdom from early Islam

My friend told me that Imam Ali said: live for your life like you will live forever and live for your after life like you will die tomorrow

Rendered elsewhere as: Work for your life as if you will live forever, and work for your after-life as if you will die tomorrow.

And here:
Plan your life like you will live forever, but live your life like you will die tomorrow.
Reference: Imam Ali (R)

Also attributed to his son Imam Hasan (probably in error):
A famous saying of Imam Hasan is “ In regard to the world be as if you were going to live forever. With respect to the Hereafter, be as if you were going to die tomorrow.”

Anyway, you get the point!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Answer to a comment/question about Muqtada Al Sadr

This is Jassim's response to r_bayless's comment/question at (r_bayless' words are in quote)

I've assumed that the reason the U.S. never attacked Al Sadr was because he is described as a holy man (not sure what the correct term would be)...For two reasons:

We didn't want this to appear as a Christian crusade...The same reason (sorta) why we do our best to avoid hitting a mosque. I'm sure our "rules of engagement" Prohibit fighting in their mosques.

Well here I only think now in how all Iraq case is complex and many things needs to be much explained before we can assure that any people around world can get the conception correctly. In Shia culture/Islam religion principles the holly man (cleric or what translation should be) not being any one, I think the correct call would be a reference, a religious man who spent along years in deep studying many sciences including basically Islamic canons, so normally few people can reach this level of science rank, currently there are about only four (references) in Najaf the capital of Shia in whole world, though and in addition to many other criteria Muqtada should not be consider as a (holly) man, nothing would fit for him. This case is confusing not only Americans but also Iraqis, not all Iraqis but either Shia themselves, reasonable people not considering him ever as a religious man, he only tying to act this role but he is far away from it technically, so we see that many Iraqis do not meet on how to describing him, between reasonable people and those who follow him we finds a huge collision in their views related with every thing in Iraq, many people including me considering them as the ignorant of Shia and do not ever represent Shia culture. Muqtada's followers are different between many categories: simple people who can not analyze his behavior and trapped with his religious shape, people who want benefits and some power by following him and people who were criminals or suspected to cooperate with Saddam regime. For Muqtada and his followers they deny this and they consider him as a religious man although he is not fitting any of religious man except his clothes!!! The say that American didn't attack him is totally not true, what do you name the horrible battle in Najaf then?? Also very few people (actually so rare) who would consider an American attack as a crusade. We know already it is a political issue and have nothing to do with religion; at least this is what we think here, no evidences for apposite appeared. Accidents of hitting a mosque is happening regardless Americans' attempts to avoid it, I think it is impossible to avoid it completely because this is war and this is what happening in it. Any way all Muqtada case for me is totally a social and political case not religious absolutely although if some people believe in it.

We don't want to enrage all of his followers and have many more Iraqis hate us for attacking a "holy man".

This would never happen, Muqtada started his criminal activities in attacking Americans before they do any hostile activities against him, he used the excuse of resisting occupation to fight Americans although they left Najaf governorate completely to Spanish forces (this indicates to me at least how hypocrite he is being Americans removed his main enemy Saddam who killed his father). He had been used effectively by other extremist and terrorist groups in Iraq especially in Sunnis side through money, fighters, political support and orienting many of Arabic media to support him like Al Jazeera extremist TV channel. The public visits and money checks were been given to him all the time by Islamic Scientist Committee (which it the most extremist group in Iraq leaded by the previous agent of Saddam's intelligence system Harith Al Dhary).

Karen, can you please ask if any/much of Iraq would consider al Sadr a holy man or be enraged that we attack him?

I hope that all information above would help in figuring some sides of Muqtada case; for sure many people would consider any attack at Muqtada as an attacking a holly leader in Iraq, but from the other side in my opinion the majority of Iraqis would be so happy to drop him for ever in the garbage including me for sure!!!! He caused and will keep causing problems for Iraqis regardless of any useless negotiations with him. It is a dirty job but some one has to do it. For me Americans made a huge and strategic mistake by leaving him a life during Najaf battle whatever the considerations they had in that time. I only pray that Americans would implement a fast operation to eliminate him with no battles that would cause harming innocents. I suppose that Americans are preparing for fighting him soon as I heard from several American references and this is why they took a promise from the prim minister to not protect him anymore.
I'm not sure if this would answer the questions but I'm ready to provide any further information. Thanks for all.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

America was never meant to be officially Christian (or anything else)

My friend over at has compiled a list of historical quotes making it pretty clear that such American leaders as Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, etc didn't have any intention of favoring Christianity.

Here's a teaser:

"The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion..." -- Treaty with Tripoli, passed unanimously by the senate,
signed by President John Adams on June 10, 1797

"No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever..." Thomas Jefferson, in the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom, 1786

"Christianity neither is, nor ever was, a part of the common law." -- Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814
So, head on over and read the rest at

OH! I really like this one:
"When a Religion is good, I conceive it will support itself; and, when it does not support itself, and God does not take care to support [it], so that its Professors are oblig'd to call for help of the Civil Power, it is a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one."
--Benjamin Franklin, letter to Richard Price, October 9, 1780

6 What if the Americans leave Iraq? Where is the aide money going?

This is one of a series of conversations. See links at the bottom of the post.

Jassim: I still believe in american
Karen: yes, many people are asking to force a full American exit from Iraq
Karen: what do you think would happen if the Americans were to leave now?
Jassim: even if I do not agre or understand USA government policy some times I respect soldiers
Karen: Bush is currently planning to send 21,500 troops
Jassim: because I know what they suffer too, I jusy hope them would take care of iraqis
Jassim: yes I know that
Jassim: if usa withdraown from Iraq every one will kill every one else
Jassim: it is like a civil war now but it will be official
Jassim: no one know what would happen exactly but every bad thing is possible
Jassim: may be arabic countries will attack us
Karen: is the Iraqi military part of the solution or part of the problem?
Jassim: Iran also
Jassim: both !!!
Jassim: no one can depend on them
Jassim: they are a wasting formoney
Jassim: for money
Jassim: like most of money spent in iraq
Jassim: just wasting
Jassim: most of it went to private pockets !!
Jassim: or to support militia
Jassim: political parties
Jassim: imagin
Jassim: let's say that there is a 100000 dollars for some charity project
Jassim: 80% of it is an expences for forighners: flyes, expensive hotels, parties, useless workshops and conferances and so on
Jassim: only 20% officially will go to charity
Jassim: 10 or 15% of this 20% will go for local staff (steel it)
Jassim: finally only 10 or 5% reach the targeted populations
Jassim: I went to Jordan last year
Jassim: we had a workshop for so silly thing in IOM
Karen: IOM?
Jassim: I saw how they spend money there while they gives me nothing to do here
Jassim: International Organization for Migration
Jassim: a UN agency
Jassim: they have a party mostly every day there!!!
Karen: that is the western model for conferences
Jassim: I begged them many times for few money would do many things here but they always refused
Jassim: you can not do this while this money is for poor people
Jassim: it is not for all that expances
Jassim: expensive flys tickets
Karen: I agree. A lot of money is mismanaged, and not just in Iraq!
Jassim: vacations, big and expensive offices
Karen: at the university here, they talk about money shortages, but every department still has parties and there are receptions at every conference
Jassim: I could do much things in silly amounts like 5000 or ten thousend dollars
Jassim: but they always refused
Jassim: yes you right
Karen: that's sad!
Jassim: I saw how money wasted here for nothing
Jassim: while people get nothing
Jassim: remember
Jassim: I'm implementing a former evaluation now
Jassim: on IOM and UNHCR projects
Jassim: this was a part from what we mentioned
Jassim: ----- was happy to expose that too hhhhhhhhhhhhh
Jassim: although we believe that we change nothing

1 A conversation with an Iraqi
2 Further conversation with an Iraqi
3 Conversation with an Iraqi disclaimer
4 What are the Americans doing in Iraq? An Iraqi point of view
5 Muqtada al-Sadr and the Battle of Najaf -or- Shell casings were falling on my roof

5 Muqtada al-Sadr and the Battle of Najaf -or- Shell casings were falling on my roof

This is one conversation in a series. See the bottom of the post for links.

Jassim: one of the most confusing cases for me is Muqtada case
Jassim: you know him right ?
Karen: Al Sadr?
Jassim: yes
Karen: yes, his name is often in the media here
Jassim: do you know that he was my friend in secondary school ??
Karen: really?
Jassim: yes
Karen: tell me. What does the man want?
Jassim: I hate him so much
Jassim: not more than an a freeking dumb
Jassim: no one knows
Karen: never underestimate the power of stupid people with guns
Jassim: I think he just wants to role
Jassim: he use relegion effectivly to trap poor people here
Jassim: he use the power of his killed father
Jassim: he was one of the Sgia referances in Najaf
Jassim: killed by Saddam
Karen: Sgia referance?
Jassim: people loved him so they like been loyal to his father by following Muqtada
Jassim: Shia
Karen: His father was a Shia cleric
Jassim: not a cliric
Jassim: a big relegious man
Karen: cleric=religious man
Jassim: he risisted Saddam and this why he killed him
Karen: clerk=office worker
Karen: I see
Jassim: ok
Jassim: so Muqtada as I said is not more then a freeking murder
Jassim: using poor people who it is so easy to trap them by relegion
Karen: what do you think would convince the poor people to stop following him?
Jassim: when Muqtada started his activity after war and composed his militia named Al Mahdy Army
Jassim: giving them what they want
Jassim: ooohh sorry
Jassim: I understanded the question wrongly
Jassim: as I said Karen, they think they be loyal to his father by following him
Jassim: traping them in speachs
Jassim: giving money and power some times
Jassim: jobs
Karen: so, it's mostly the poverty that is driving people to Muqtada. If the people had money and jobs they would not follow him?
Jassim: some of them yes
Jassim: may be the majority
Jassim: not sure
Jassim: so
Jassim: he is a serious peoblem maker
Jassim: since he started his activity
Karen: Do you trust the current Iraqi government?
Jassim: no
Jassim: I trust no one in Iraq dear
Jassim: no one
Jassim: any way
Jassim: directly after war finished he composed his own militia
Jassim: most of them were from previos murders and convected
Jassim: he was completely unknown even by people in Najaf here
Jassim: there was a man
Jassim: named Said Majeed Al Khoiy
Jassim: he was a son for one of greatest shia relegios men
Jassim: killed by Sadam too after 1991 war
Jassim: he was living in London after he fled after 1991
Jassim: he have there a very big foundation in London named Al Khoiy cultural foundation
Jassim: a foundation with about 500 millions dolars doing activity in charity, education and culture
Jassim: he was with the american forces when they entered Iraq
Jassim: we were seeing him in american militry broadcasting while war
Jassim: on tv
Jassim: at once he got to Najaf his city he started to help in return services to city
Jassim: paid money and salaries to employees saying work work we have to build Iraq now
Jassim: he started to be so public
Jassim: but he couldn't go far
Jassim: this when Muqtada started his army
Jassim: he killed him in most holly location in Shia culture which it is the holly shraine of Imam Ali here in Najaf
Jassim: I saw part of the kiling
Jassim: was there when it happened
Jassim: Muqtada didn't want a compitition
Karen: he sounds horrible
Jassim: for me he is so horrible
Jassim: any way
Jassim: step by step he was growing
Jassim: increasing his power and militia members
Jassim: recieving finance support from terrorist Sunnies groups
Jassim: untill he started to face american militry
Jassim: he used some excuse of that american closed one of his newspapers in Baghdad
Jassim: that day I was working with ------------ and it supposed to leave to Baghdad
Jassim: so suddenly conflict started
Jassim: his followers came in a emonstration to the Spanish base in Najaf
Jassim: they said that they were unarmed and came peacefully just to protest
Jassim: this what media said also
Jassim: but I saw them in my eyes holding wepons
Jassim: some of wepones were RBG and morters
Jassim: !!!!!!!!!!!
Jassim: they attacked Spanish forces who were few and not that organized
Jassim: american forces was not in Najaf that time
Jassim: thousends of balts were in air arround us
Karen: bullets
Jassim: we were holded in our office
Jassim: ooohh sorry
Jassim: I'm entering in deep details sorry
Karen: no, please continue. I am interested
Jassim: thanks
Jassim: so things were crazy
Jassim: I went to roof and could shot some vedio clips
Jassim: were for security reports
Jassim: we have female employees and we were afraid and asking how can we reach our homes
Jassim: later untill afternoon we could flee after we closed office and take important files and computes to home
Jassim: I had to take all my files and my cmputer to home
Jassim: the international staff left to capita Baghdad one week before
Jassim: they were like know this would happen
Jassim: one of them was in Najaf when all this started
Jassim: his name was ----------. an Kanadian citizin and basicly from Seyria
Jassim: I begged him to come to my home to hide and promissed him that no body will touch him in my house
Jassim: he refused but we all noticed him was so scare and shaking
Jassim: imagine you find your self a lone sudenly in the middle of enemy
Jassim: the manager promised us that he will take him to his house and provide all necessary guarding
Jassim: two days later we saw him on TV after Muqtada militia kiddnaped him !!!!
Jassim: they said that he was a spy for Israiel
Karen: that's horrible!
Jassim: I was from people who tried to save him
Jassim: by contacting some powerful people
Jassim: later american forces started to go back to Najaf, taking locations and preparing to attack
Jassim: but for our surprise they were too slow
Jassim: some times I was seeing groups from militia attacking american patrols with no respond shot from american
Jassim: like they wanted militia to gather in city from all Iraq and then attack
Jassim: so they could finish him so easly that time but they couldn't
Jassim: they just waited till all fighters gather in Najaf
Jassim: later and after many days (I don't remember it may was months) they attacked
Jassim: again I was a witness to an operation when speciall forces attacked sudenly his house trying to capture him but they failed, they didn't find him at house
Jassim: he was heddin
Jassim: I was driving my car beside the Hamvies driving leaving his house !!!!!!!! looool
Karen: unbelievable
Jassim: I pointed to american too hhhhhhhhhhh
Jassim: dear I know it looks like a movie but this is life here loll
Karen: what happened to ----------------? Did they ever let him go?
Jassim: any way Muqtada invaded all Najaf while americans were waiting
Jassim: later and after some time we paid to release him
Jassim: may be the ammount was 2500 thousand dollars personely to Muqtada !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jassim: after a long negotioations with his assistants
Jassim: sorry 250000 dollars
Jassim: 1/4 of a million
Jassim: Muqtada occupaid Najaf and started to kill many people in some court he composed
Jassim: any one was working with an international organization or company or have any relation with a forighn was a target
Jassim: my name was […] on his black list !!!!!!
Jassim: we were seeing them in streets, every where controlling the city
Jassim: seveal limited armed conflicts happened but effect nothing of Muqtada
Jassim: he was getting more and more power
Karen: I went on the air. I told them that the Americans aren't going after the terrorists and that they didn't go after Al Sadr
Jassim: Arabic media was supporting him and telling people that he is a leader for Shia and resistance while he was definetely not
Jassim: Karen this is my openin
Jassim: what I'm convinced here
Jassim: any way after some time we got back to work and life started to go little normal
Karen: I think that opinions are important. Lived experience is important
Jassim: I remember american snipers on main building, we had to move so slowly so they would not suspect us
Jassim: some civilian people killed by those snipers
Jassim: about 7 months later and I'm not sure of the period definetely the big battle happened
Jassim: I could feel it and reported my managers in Baghdad a week earlier
Jassim: I told them that in one week a fight would happen and this time it is not limited !!!
Jassim: they asked me to gain any information about food, water and hyginic situation in the city
Jassim: in that week I could collect some good information about what city have to face the next battle
Jassim: and after one week it started!!!!
Jassim: this time it was not a game, tanks and eiroplans were striking Najaf 24 hours a day
Jassim: this battle continued for exactly three weeks
Jassim: fight was in streets, this time some of Iraqi army involved in fighting
Jassim: from roof on my home I was watching every single day the fight in great cemetry which so close to my house
Jassim: also our home is located on the main road on the next governorate (Kerbala) where american forces came from
Jassim: I was watching tanks, Hummers and all troops heading to fight in city center every day just from my house front door
Jassim: black birds and abatchies were flying all the day above our homes shooting fire
Jassim: some of bullets covers falled on our roof
Karen: wow.
Jassim: brifely was eeing most of the fight from my roof !!
Jassim: it was a horible fight seriously
Jassim: the sound of bombing was horebile
Jassim: Vantoms were shooting too
Jassim: instead, militia was bombing too, but not on american, actually they were bombing us !!
Jassim: with morters
Karen: why would they bomb civilians?
Jassim: in some day a bomb falled about 15 meters from me
Jassim: ask them
Jassim: may be because Najaf people didn't support him and he had to bring fighters from suthern cities
Jassim: before fight many people in Najaf fighted Muqtada, but with authority abcens and with no support they couldn't finish him
Jassim: he was growing every day
Jassim: he tried to kill the most relegious man in Shia now: Imam Sistany
Jassim: you know him I suppose
Karen: I've heard of him
Jassim: yes
Jassim: without him all Iraq will be a history
Jassim: so wise man
Jassim: any way
Jassim: Muqtada tried to kill him as he did with Majeed Al Khoiy but he faild this time because people came from many cities to help people in Najaf to protect him
Jassim: it could be a civil war that time when americans were just waiting
Jassim: three weeks of fight
Jassim: hard fight
Jassim: we thought all that we finally will get Muqtada away
Jassim: forget him
Jassim: slowly while forces were heading to city center where Muqtada centering and occupaing holly shrain the distruction was so big
Jassim: people were surrounded in city center
Jassim: some of them died and we could not enter the city to help
Jassim: it was totally impossible
Jassim: who could flee before battle was lucky
Jassim: all the world was watching the battle and when american forces where about some meters from him they stopped
Jassim: they stopped !!!!!!!!!!!
Jassim: Sistany called for peace to save civilians in the center
Jassim: and he decided to start a demonstration heading to holly shraine
Jassim: he called Muqtada to drop his wepon and to not fight americans
Jassim: we all shocked
Jassim: our city destroyed for nothing
Jassim: people died for nothing
Jassim: we suffered for nothing
Jassim: Muqtada remain a life
Jassim: Al Khoiy family still demanding to sui Muqtada but no one lestin to them with all families who Muqtada murdered
Jassim: most of people Karen thought that at least Muqtada will not make any problems any more after he lost the majority of his power
Karen: I suppose the authorities are afraid to arrest Muqtada, because they are afraid of his followers fighting back
Jassim: some of the very few people didn't think that and I was one of them, I knew he will keep murdering and look to how powerfull he is now
Jassim: yes you right
Jassim: he gained more and more followers since that fight
Jassim: he have many people now in government
Jassim: ministries
Jassim: the thing I will never understand is why they left him alife ??
Jassim: they were too close
Jassim: too close
Jassim: but just stopped
Karen: maybe they left him alive because they are hoping that he will help to maintain order
Karen: I don't know
Jassim: it looks like a strategy with american to allow terrorist to gather in some location, keep people of that location suffering till they attack, and when attack they do nothing but fighting from air which not efecting that much on elimenating terror
Jassim: for sure he not
Jassim: every one here know and sure that muqtada will never stop
Jassim: it is a strategy for Bush too to allow terorists come to Iraq from all world and fight them in Iraq
Jassim: he stated this some time ago
Jassim: so he considered Iraq as just a field for fighting
Jassim: this is why I tell you that americans seems to be waiting for something and when they get the signal they will move effectivly this time and eleminate them all
Karen: the idea of wanting all the terrorists to gather in Iraq isn't very logical. I know that there are more terrorist there than before the war, but I think that of all the terrorists in the world, very few are going to fight in Iraq
Jassim: well as I said I don't understand this strategy
Jassim: I still believe in americans
Jassim: and never stopped blaming iraqies for not being serios and logeical to use this great chance to build iraq again with USA help
Jassim: for me it is like we destoyed our selves by our selves
Jassim: now Karen I think that more fight will come
Jassim: american said that they would start fighting Muqtada soon and they asked primminister to not protecting him
Jassim: this what he promised Bush in last visit for him to DC
Jassim: but imagine
Jassim: Muqtada now is much more powerfull then the fight with him in 2004
Jassim: well I knew some of its points
Jassim: I think fight will start soon
Jassim: not sure but just it is potential
Karen: well, Bush seems to be planning to do something soon
Jassim: yes exactly
Jassim: some people say here and many of them that it may the time for Bush now to push the button !!!
Karen: I don't think he'll use an atomic weapon
Jassim: sure not
Jassim: I'm afraid that who will come after him or Congress will force him to withdraw from Iraq
Jassim: this will be a disaster for Iraq

1 A conversation with an Iraqi
2 Further conversation with an Iraqi
3 Conversation with an Iraqi disclaimer
4 What are the Americans doing in Iraq? An Iraqi point of view

4 What are the Americans doing in Iraq? An Iraqi point of view

This is one conversation in a series. See links at the bottom of the post.

Karen: I have a question. If the Americans aren't going after the terrorists, what are they doing there now?
Jassim: just watching
Jassim: not in all areas
Jassim: in Anbar governorate which it the most gressive area the do defending
Jassim: they implementing some limited operations between time to time
Jassim: and it results nothing
Jassim: while terrorists moving in streets and wearing civilian cloths the american just bomb all area by aircrafts !!!!!
Jassim: tell me how can an eiroplan can hit a terrorist ?
Karen: yes, that is the problem. The Americans don't know who the terrorists are, because they are disguised as civilians
Karen: And how can the Americans know?
Jassim: no Karen
Jassim: they are known !!
Karen: Some (a lot?) of Iraqis tell them who is bad. But how can the Americans know that the accused person is really a terrorist, and not just a personal enemy of the accuser?
Jassim: most of people in Iraq believes that american can resolv all this killing so easly but they don't want to do it, they seems that they are waiting for some thing
Karen: how do they think that Americans could be able to solve it easily?
Jassim: I had heard many stories about that american released many terrorists after they been captured by Iraqi police, other stories talked about a finance support to those terrorists groups
Jassim: I still not sure about how true those stories is, yet I have no eveidences
Karen: can you give me names of these groups?
Jassim: they have no names
Jassim: just people doing killing all the time
Jassim: some times infront of americans !!! while americans do nothing
Jassim: this is what couldn't understand yet in americans
Karen: In America, we are told about the Americans capturing too many innocent people, so there was pressure to release captured Iraqis
Jassim: asking my self if it some kind of strategy
Jassim: this is another story
Jassim: it is a differant case

1 A conversation with an Iraqi
2 Further conversation with an Iraqi
3 Conversation with an Iraqi disclaimer

We are going insane through multitasking

See! See! I'm not the only one saying this!!!

Why are we all so crazed these days?" a reader asked.
Too often, the
blame is laid at the foot of the individual. We aren't good at time or stress
management, we fail to say "no" enough, we don't create work-life balance,
All true, but taken out of context. Sanity requires a degree of inner
peace, but there's little in our society that encourages or supports this state
of mind.
Our world is so complicated, frantic and intrusive that few of us
can find the personal space and life pace necessary to attain a healthy mind.
But not that long ago, this was within the reach of many.
Imagine a workday
without e-mail, the Internet, multitasking and "Do it yesterday!" expectations.


We don't just multitask - we multi-live, cramming as much activity and
stimulation as possible into increasingly narrow corridors of time.
Our very
short attention spans, combined with the constant bombardment of sensory
overload, leave us twitching, hyper-reactive and mentally scattered.
For most
adults, ADHD - a euphemism for consciousness on steroids - is the new normal.
Sure, some love or are addicted to hyper-stimulation but, for many, it's a
reflexive response to a crazy-making context.
Our society pushes us to live
fast and on the surface, not slow and at depth.
And that makes us
Philip Chard is a psychotherapist, author and trainer. Names used in
this column are changed to honor client confidentiality. Contact him by e-mail
at, or visit

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

3 Conversation with an Iraqi disclaimer

I hadn't told "Jassim" that I would be posting our conversations. When I showed "Jassim" the last two postings here and here, he had this to say:

Jassim: wooooooooooooow you wrote it
Karen: well...I copied and pasted it
Jassim: omgggg
Karen: but, I took out your name and references to ... and ...
Jassim: ye I nnoticed that
Jassim: but Karen
Karen: yes?
Jassim: this is a personal view it may not be that true
Jassim: it is just my view or my own openion
Jassim: would this make a problem ??
Karen: I am in no danger, and it might make people think more about the individuals in Iraq
Jassim: aha
Karen: I don't think it can hurt; it can only help
Jassim: not hurting me I mean but being it a personal openion it doesn't mean the reality
Jassim: I'm convinced with what I say but not all people agre with me
Karen: no one has the monopoly on the truth
Jassim: remember: people here and even my friends considers me as a strange because I think much differantly
Karen: how do they think?
Jassim: so differantly
Jassim: some blame american for every thing, some blame Sunnies for ruining the plan of developing iraq by americans and so on
Jassim: it is diffecult to find two pesons agree on one thing
Karen: one can never really speak for a whole country. However, I think it is important to hear different voices
Jassim: you right
Jassim: any way Karen I want you to know some thing
Karen: yes?
Jassim: for me at least I'm so thankful to brave soldiers women and men who came to Iraq for purpose of help Iraqis
Jassim: I may not agree with presedent Bush policy in Iraq or USA government that much
Jassim: I believe that he have his mistakes but however; nothing great would be like removing the monster Saddam
Jassim: so tell any american that I'm thankful
Karen: ok. I'll post this too
Jassim: I hope peace for all world and god to keep american, Iraqies and all people in safe
Karen: If only more people had the same hope!
Jassim: I know and met many of those brave soldiers
Jassim: yes
Jassim: I respect any one who aim to help people
Jassim: and hope some day that America would change their look about Islam, no real Muslim can deal or agree with what Bin Laden did, he killed us as he killed innocent American
Jassim: ok now excuse me my friend
Jassim: I have to leave, generator is working sinse early afternoon and now it is 1:41 am, it would explode if I didn't shut it down lolllllllllllllll
Karen: ok! Take care of yourself!
Jassim: take c are and thank you for this nice converesation
Jassim: God willing
Jassim: I will look for you tomorrow
Karen: ok. until then!
Jassim: have a nice time my friend
Jassim: until then
Jassim: byeeeeeeee

2 Further conversation with an Iraqi

Yesterday, I was talking with my friend "Jassim". Today, the conversation continued.

Today, I learned that the Americans aren't really going after the terrorists to the best of their ability. And again, much of the aide is not making it to those in need. Also, it's not individual Suni and Shia who are trying to kill each other, but rather the political parties.

Karen: you said that Saddam's death was not the reason for increased violence, but rather that business is responsible
Karen: I was curious about which businesses are causing the violence and how
Jassim: I was not talking about just Saddam's death
Jassim: I meant all Iraq case since Saddam age till now is just buesniss
Jassim: explosions, killing and every thing in Iraq is about buisness
Jassim: let me give you an example
Karen: ok
Jassim: each bomb that some terrorist put in any street he taking money on it
Jassim: people who are encourging violence in Iraq doing this for purposes that ends with money
Jassim: they all aiming for the big cake of Iraq: oil
Karen: There are many Americans, who have been blaming the war in Iraq on oil. That explains the invasion, but not the continuing civilian violence
Jassim: well Kaen in my openion american in Iraq is not for oil
Karen: what do you think is the reason?
Jassim: USA is a ery rich country and Iraq's oil does not worth that much to make USA government do all this just for oil
Jassim: it doesn't make any sence
Karen: I've heard that argument too.
Jassim: I'm not sure Karen, may be the reason is deploying USA power arround world
Jassim: may be
Karen: that sounds likely
Karen: do you have any idea how to stop the violence in Iraq now?
Jassim: yes
Jassim: but I do not think you would like it
Karen: tell me
Jassim: a neuclear bomb on Iraq !!!!!
Jassim: lollllll
Jassim: sorry was kidding
Karen: yeah...that does seem rather exreme
Karen: extreme
Jassim: this what we say some times when being tired of talking about our case
Jassim: we are not united on what we think
Jassim: each one has a dierant view
Karen: I see
Karen: what are some of the ideas?
Jassim: but if you ask me about what should USA do from begining to not allow this to happen in future (I mean in 2003)
Jassim: I would say that they should immediatly after controlling Iraq is to eleminate all Saddam's lovers and believers
Jassim: Bath part, security officers, big army officers
Karen: by lovers, do you mean 'romantic lovers' or 'supporters of Saddam'?
Jassim: the case is that they left them then they gathered and established a strong and powerfull organizations then back to fight USA and Iraqi people
Jassim: supporters i mean
Jassim: Bath party sorry
Jassim: I think Americans does not know what happenes in Iraq clearly
Karen: here, the news media tells us that the Sunis and the Shias are trying to kill each other
Jassim: my idea now is that it is too late now and nothing could be done
Jassim: no
Jassim: not true
Jassim: may be parties but not people at least
Jassim: for me I decided to leave
Jassim: flee out
Jassim: anywhere
Jassim: even if this would be imposible
Karen: are you able to leave Iraq yet?
Jassim: but staying here and waiting the moment when some sick brain would kill you is not making any sence
Jassim: not yet
Jassim: I have few money
Jassim: also no one accepting Iraqis any where
Jassim: the only country I can go now is serya
Karen: I see
Jassim: Seria
Karen: I am told that Syria is beautiful
Karen: I had a friend from there when I was living in Germany
Jassim: you can find hundreds thousends of Iraqis there now on doors on UN office asking or begging for asylum
Jassim: yes it is beautiful
Jassim: but not suitable for Iraqis or some reasons
Jassim: first is that they have Bath party controlling government too (same as Iraq while Saam age)
Jassim: second is Seriya is a poor country and it is impossible mostly for Iraqis to find a job there
Karen: yes, that would be a problem
Jassim: yes
Jassim: it is like imposible here to keep working in NGOs
Jassim: we are targeted now
Jassim: I recieved several threats
Karen: what do the people threatening you want you to do?
Jassim: stop working
Jassim: they consider every one working with NGOs especially with international ones as a >>>>
Jassim: ,,,,,,
Jassim: I forgot the word
Karen: traitor?
Jassim: kind of yes
Jassim: like an agent to them spying
Karen: I see
Jassim: a traitor too yes
Jassim: also I have been told while I ...[to give] to a local militia
Jassim: I refused but they treaten me to be killed if I do not pay
Jassim: I had no choice except to quite job
Jassim: yes
Jassim: the case still hot untill now and this is why I'm staying at home mostly
Karen: It is sad having to quit your job.
Jassim: better then losing my life lolll
Karen: How much of the population is involved in the militias?
Jassim: many of them
Jassim: it is a chaos
Jassim: I'm telling you this as a friend
Jassim: i don't mean any thing by saying this so please do not tell this to many people, it may cause me problems
Jassim: I'm feeling big lonely here and no one to share my thoughts with
Karen: May I tell others about it if I do not use your name?
Jassim: I'm sorry
Jassim: but
Jassim: if you talked about ....I may exposed cuz ....
Karen: ok
Karen: what if I don't say ....?
Karen: I want to be able to help you by sharing what you have to say with others
Karen: it might make them write letters to the UN or other people of power
Jassim: you can say any thing you want, you can know what would be harm
Jassim: so I trust you
Karen: ok
Karen: I will never tell anyone that ...., or use your real name
Jassim: I have many offers from some international NGOs to donate NFI to distrbute, it is not that problem, but the problem is to working on field, it is not safe
Jassim: thank you Karen
Karen: is there no one who can help?
Jassim: who you mean ??
Karen: does anyone have the power to change things in Iraq?
Jassim: no
Jassim: no one
Jassim: it stated and no one can stop it
Jassim: this is why I say I wil leave
Jassim: I'm depending on facts here I see
Karen: do you think that the Americans should stay or go now? Would it make a difference?
Jassim: sure
Jassim: they have to stay
Jassim: I know many families are wory on their sons in Iraq
Jassim: it is so sad
Jassim: but may be I say may be if USA government follow a new strategy it would make a differance
Karen: what kind of strategy?
Jassim: wel some thing like chasing terorists
Jassim: eleminating them
Karen: I thought that the Americans were already hunting terrorists
Jassim: support independent people in government not parties
Jassim: no
Jassim: they are bearly doing that
Jassim: it surprise you right ??
Karen: yes, it does
Jassim: I know
Karen: the whole reason for being in Iraq is supposed to be "The War on Terror"
Jassim: they are defending themselves but not attacking them effectively
Jassim: well in some how it changed
Karen: In the news, we are told that it is impossible for the Americans to tell the difference between terrorists and civilians. They are afraid to go after terrorists, because they might kill more innocent people.
Jassim: Bush strategy was to allow all terrorists to gather in Iraq instead of attacking USA then eliminate them but slowly
Jassim: no
Jassim: every one know where terrorists located
Jassim: even children
Karen: I definitely will need to tell others that
Jassim: so you see he used Iraq as a field for his war instead fighting on USA ground
Jassim: we pay for this strategy
Karen: have Iraqis told the American soldiers where to find the terrorists?
Jassim: yes
Jassim: I was involved in one of the hottest cases during my work
Jassim: it was what happened in ...
Karen: would the civilian population support the Americans if they went after the terrorists?
Jassim: for months terrorists were entering fom borders in Seyria and gathering in this city
Jassim: killing Shia, bombing, prepare bombing cars
Jassim: american forces reported for months about this activities but they did nothing
Karen: Are you Shia or Sunni?
Jassim: lol
Jassim: this is a trap question Karen lol
Karen: why? What's so funny?
Karen: There must be something about Shia/Sunni relations that I don't know
Jassim: I lost connections
Jassim: as I told you, we as people do not have issus, it just parties who making all these problems
Jassim: so if you wanna know my friend, I'm Shia
Karen: I used to have a really bad connection
Karen: I know how it is to be disconnected
Jassim: not like here lol
Jassim: I used wireless connections and it is so bad
Jassim: but better then nothing
Karen: true
Karen: here, the wireless connections are better than the telephone connections, usually
Jassim: aha
Karen: better still is a LAN or Cable connection
Karen: but I just use a telephone line at home
Jassim: we don't have phones connections yet
Karen: do you have wireless internet at home, or are you in an office or cafe somewhere?
Jassim: at home
Karen: that's good
Jassim: yes
Karen: so, how are you paying for food and housing if you are not working?
Jassim: I saved some money, also some times I work small things like accounting
Jassim: my father is paying for house expences too
Jassim: in addetion that I didn't lose my job from a long time
Jassim: I wish I be in USA now
Jassim: it would be just great
Karen: it would probably be better than Iraq, but it would not be easy for you here either, I'm afraid
Jassim: some times I imagin that Opra guesting me hhhhhhhhhhhh
Jassim: yes you right
Jassim: but nothing would be worst then hell here any way
Jassim: there I can obtain many chances to live better, study, marry
Jassim: and the greatest thing I would do is keep working in some aid foundation there
Karen: I see
Jassim: woooooooooooooow it's like my best dream became true
Karen: hopefully it will work out for you some day
Jassim: thanks Karen but I'm afraid it would be impossible
Jassim: I wish to find some place on earth that no much people in it
Jassim: some small villages on some mountain
Jassim: you can be helpfull if you find some foundation would accept me as a volunteer
Jassim: aid working
Jassim: I don't want to stop this work
Karen: I understand
Jassim: if I can't work it here then I'm sure some people in some country would need a hand
Karen: yes, and speaking Arabic would make you very valuable for many organizations
Jassim: well may be, although I found nothing till now
Jassim: I didn't want to hide like a cowerd
Jassim: why should I ??
Jassim: I don't mind even if they killed me, what I concern is to die for a good reason
Karen: hiding from people with guns isn't cowardly
Jassim: also it is not that risky
Jassim: well I will not be differant then who die every day
Jassim: I would die in a bomb or by an accedant
Jassim: if God want me to die nothing will stop it
Karen: yes, that is true
Karen: but, he has kept you safe until now
Jassim: yes
Karen: don't test him by putting yourself in unnecessary danger!
Jassim: and I have this beleive that I would live for a long time
Jassim: don't know but it is a strong feeling

Monday, January 08, 2007

1 A conversation with an Iraqi

I have known "Jassim"* online for a little over 3 years now. He was jailed under Saddam's regime as a political dissident and was scheduled for execution when the Americans (and allies) marched in. Since the occupation, he has been trying to work with various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to try to make Iraq a better place. In previous conversations, he's spoken about the corruption in the region and that a lot of the aide money isn't making it to the people for whom it was intended.

Anyway, here is an excerpt from a conversation today, in which I asked him about the fallout from Saddam's execution:

Karen: and what are you doing now, Jassim? Are you working for an NGO?
Jassim: kind of Karen
Jassim: it keep being more impossible day by day
Jassim: I'm implementing now an evaluation mission on a British organization working here in Iraq
Jassim: finished data collecting and anlayzing and now preparing final reports
Karen: may I ask you what you think of the execution of Saddam?
Jassim: huuummm
Jassim: it was justice made
Jassim: I do not believe that much in capital punishment but in Saddam's case it was justice
Jassim: he killed millions
Jassim: so I'm thinking in this case as removing Saddam from effecting on developing our society not as a punishment
Jassim: no punishment would amend millions of his victims
Jassim: but I'm also sad because this case exposed how much we are hated in world now being Iraqis
Jassim: many people arround world now considering Saddam as a hero while Iraqis as killers
Karen: here, the news media says that there is more civil war in Iraq because people are upset by his death
Jassim: no
Jassim: this is not true
Jassim: it is right that a civil war would happen but not for this reason
Karen: they cited an increase in sectarian violence after the execution
Jassim: unfortunatly Iraqis now have differant views about every thing including Saddam death
Jassim: practically civil war is real from some time ago
Jassim: yes this is right but it is not a main reason
Karen: what is the main reason?
Jassim: buesniss
Jassim: buisness
Jassim: all this about just buisness
Jassim: the sacterian, resisiting occupation and other reasons on media is just a crap
Jassim: I know you may surprise from what I say but this what I believe here
Jassim: I'm not believing that things would go better, actually I believe it would go worst may be so soon

*No, "Jassim" isn't his real name, but I would hate to have him get in trouble because the wrong people were to read this blog entry (not that that many people are likely to read this...but still).

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Fahrenheit 451

Yep, another book read, cover to cover, including afterward and coda.

It's uncanny how much of what Ray Bradbury wrote in Fahrenheit 451 in the 1950s still applies today! When he talks about the seashell radios in everyone's ears, constantly feeding a stead flow of sound, I think of everyone plugged into their iPods. When I read about the wall sized television sets and the mother talking about just setting her kids in front of them, I think about how kids (and even adults) I know can become 'plugged-in', unable to interact with anything else when the TV/computer/game console is on.

I found the three 'necessary things' for making use of books to be rather insightful.

...Number one, as I said: quality of information. Number two: leisure to digest it. And number three: the right to carry about actions based on what we learn from the interaction of the first two...

In the book, he talks about people rushing around so quickly that they never have time to stop and think. Compared to today, the 1950s must have been idyllic, but yet he still had these fears. I've found that a problem with today's society is that we don't slow down. Granted, I'm not willing to give up my radio, computer, cell phone and TV, however, I do think that all things should be used in moderation. Aside from being poor, one reason why I don't have more minutes on my cell phone contract is because I would be likely to try to use them, spending all the time on the phone. Ever notice that it's almost impossible to strike up a conversation at the bus stop, because everyone is already having a cell phone conversation?

In this past year or so, I've noticed that I've had difficulty just sitting and being quiet. I've come home and felt the need to turn on the television, even though I hadn't watched much TV in the preceding 6 years or so.

Anyway, the world is still going to hell in a handbasket now, just as much as it was then. I won't be so arrogant as to think that things are worse now than they ever have been before. If the people preaching the fall of society had been right, then human society would have ceased to exist long ago. On the other hand, this is no excuse for ignoring the need for social change. The poor still need to be fed. Intellectual freedom still needs to be respected, etc.

George W. Bush has decided that he has the right to open our mail

Welcome to the fascist state. I just heard from Jay Leno that W has decided that he can open my mail without a warrant. WTF. This was common practice in the Communist regimes of the Cold War and in Nazi Germany, but in the USA? We knew that there were problems. Here's one more step in the wrong direction.

I should not have to hear this first from Jay Leno or Media Matters. How can the mainstream media afford to ignore this???

Not a happy camper.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

On call for Walmart

Ron Galloway wrote yesterday about a new plan at Walmart. Now, instead of relying on the management to decide when to schedule people, there will be a computer that deterimines when people should be called in to work and when they should be sent home, as well as notifying when they get close to 38 hours so that the store can send them home to avoid paying overtime.

Really, the only new thing that I see here is the idea of having people be on-call without pay.

I worked for a couple of different stores with differing degrees of schedule flexibility. At Fleet Farm, you had your schedule and worked whether there were people there or not. This often meant that sometimes there were a lot of people on the floor and sometimes not enough. I remember one night where I was the only person for the whole department because everyone else had scheduled time off. At that point, I would have wanted to be able to call someone in.

At Jo-Ann Fabrics, they often schedule people for 3 hour shifts and/or send you home early if there are no customers in the store. That was frustrating, because it was hard to know when you would have time or not to be doing other things, and you didn't know what your paycheck would be.

I don't think that there is much to be done about sending people home early, but as far as being on-call, I think that a better solution would be to either pay people to be on call or to not have them be obligated to come in. For example, with the Fleet Farm thing, I would have liked to have been able to call around to find someone willing to work, had I been allowed. If I had been home on my couch, then I would have probably come in, had someone called. Some people would welcome the option for extra hours, while chafing at the idea of being on-call.

It really bothers me that the employer always has the upper hand in the scheduling of employee time. I remember reading at some point that some cultures consider the whole employer/employee thing to be a form of violence (though one should note that this was a culture in a jungle somewhere without McDonalds or Walmart). People will say that if you don't like it, then you can work somewhere else. Unfortunately, pretty much all employers operate the same way for any given segment of society. Try finding a job in unskilled retail that doesn't try to dictate your life.

When I was a student working in retail, I decided that I wasn't going to give the job that much control over my life. When I was there, I worked - don't get me wrong; they were paying me to be there, so I held up my end. It was a way to pay the bills, but not my main focus (and I have to admit, that my parents were still paying a lot of my bills at the time, so I had the option of quitting). Anyway, I told my employers that I was taking certain days off (always before the schedule was written), and that they could schedule me if they really wanted to, but that I wouldn't be there. Maybe I just got lucky, but I never got fired over this. This is probably not an option for most people and probably not as appropriate if you've selected said employment as a career, but really, life is too short to have some boss dictating your life.

I have a friend working for a small pizza parlor. The boss has been laid up in the hospital a lot over the last few years and hasn't been able to work. Well, my friend is the manager, so she's been working 80 hour weeks for the last few years. I couldn't imagine that. She says that if she stops, the boss will never be able to afford to pay her for all her work. I don't my mind, no amount of money is worth working so much that you don't even have time to go spend it!

Another book down

Well, I finished another book this morning. I had to find a new one after finishing The Da Vinci Code, so I went through a closet at my parents' house until I found one. This time, it was Tony Hillerman's The Fly on the Wall. It's a story about a capitol reporter, who ends up uncovering a story that's already gotten 2 reporters killed and threatens him next. It was a pretty quick read. I liked it. It was much more entertaining than what I was reading this afternoon.

This afternoon's activities consisted of copying lines from Der Ritter von Staufenberg, an Early New High German story about a knight, who has an affair with a magic woman, who promises to come to him and let him have his way with her whenever he wants, as long as he never marries. Well, he marries and after the magic woman's foot appearing through the ceiling at the wedding feast, the knight dies three days later. (OK, the story is alright, it's the paper waiting to be written that's annoying.)

Then I went to the library and paged through about 30 books on the history of the German language and only found information on the development of the future construction in German in about 5 of them. Lovely. Apparently very few people cared to write about it. I'd imagine that this is because it is an analytic form (meaning that it takes two words to do it) and was not in Germanic. *sighs* I find between a paragraph and a few pages in the few history of German books that treat it at all, and I have to write 15 about it. Lovely. If I were really interested in the topic and had found something new and exciting, it would be great to be able to write what few before have written on. However, I haven't discovered anything earth-shattering, and can't really get excited about the topic. At least I can spend a few pages talking about how possible future forms are expressed in the knight story.

Yams vs. Sweet Potatos

Yams are not as sweet as sweet potatos.

I decided to duplicate my holiday creation at home. However, all they had at the store were two yams and no sweet potatos. I had one good sweet potato left, so I boiled it with the yams and mashed them, adding nutmeg and margarine. It just wasn't nearly as good!

In case anyone out there is confused, at least in the Midwestern part of the United States, yams are the ones with the yellow flesh, and sweet potatos have the orange flesh.