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Monthly Archives: June 2010

Parking in Kuwait

Parking in Kuwait has become a pandemic. You cannot find a decent spot anywhere anymore. However, the thing that really irritates is how blatantly insensitive folks can be when parking their cars. One would either haphazardly park at an angle that takes up two or three other spaces, with a complete and utter disregard for others who may come afterward.

To prove my point, see the example.

 There are ample parking spots, one right NEXT to the parked car, yet, driver decides to park on what is, for all intents and purposes, as the lines show, pavement. This will make life difficult once the parking lot is full.

The yellow lines have since faded away, but one can still visualise what the area should look like.

Judging by the giant pink bag, I conclude it is either some flamboyant male, or…

Banning Big Brother

It is impossible, with this much media coverage, to not be drawn into the vicious cycle that is world cup fever. Whether you don a team jersey, face-paint or any other form of memorabilia, to each their own, we all have different ways of saying the same thing, this Summer, football is the universal language.

A spectacle that takes place once every 4 years, what more can one ask for? The international exposure is beyond overwhelming. Countries do battle on the field for the coveted trophy they get to keep for the next 4 years. And it is a battle on the field.

The battle that immediately comes to mind is the England Vs. Germany match.

History
 the English have squared off against their German counterparts on 4 separate occasions. The first being their meeting during the finals of the 66 Cup, which England went on to win, their sole victory, which was also shrouded in controversy. It seems Karma has returned for payback 44 years later.

1970, quarter finals, England 2 West Germany 3.

1982, second round, zero-all.

1990, semi-finals, 1-1. Penalty kicks, West Germany wins by a factor of 1, 3 to 4.

Many viewed their meeting during 2010 as Englands triumphant return, recapturing the glory of ’66, even donning the same colored uniform as their predecessors. The only part of history to repeat itself on that fateful day was the controversial bouncing of the ball, from the top bar, onto the goal line, and beyond. Despite various camera angles signifying that the ball did infact enter the goal vicinity, the decision was made to ignore the goal. England went on to their most bitter defeat at the hands of Germany, 4 – 1.

This has sparked a fierce debate regarding the referees, visual impairment, and the possibility of using electronic sensors to alert the referee to things such as the ball crossing the line etc.

It is my belief however, that the game should remain free from Big Brother’s watchful eye.

When the first players inflated a pigs bladder and kicked it around for fun, football was created. Little has been done to the sport since then; you have 5-aside football played indoors, and 11-aside football played on a pitch. Other than that, the sport is relatively stable.

During the games I kept envisioning extreme football, much like Vince McMahons now defunct XFL, having camera’s on the players to give a real-life experience to the watchers, even a camera on the ball itself! Playing a game with a wider goal, and two goalies etc. The possibilities of messing with the game are endless, however, classic football has not changed.

Now, the very concept of controversy is that it harms one and benefits another. One team is angered, another is elated. Think back to when controversy served to make a people proud. The infamous “Hand of God” incident during the finals of ’86.

Ironically, England was victim this time, 20 years after they “stole one” from Germany. Fate is a fickel friend, and despite believing that their cosmic payback was settled, once again, England is robbed.

The shot:

Clearly in.

We perform several silly acts in the name of superstition and tradition. Despite vehement claims of their audacity, we continue to believe in preserving the ways of old. It is the reason why people opt to throw a pinch of salt over their left shoulder if they spill the salt. It is the root for many flaws that in the end, reassert our humanity.

Human error is what makes the game special. If electronics were allowed to interfere with human judgment, what would be the difference between watching a live football match, and playing Winning Eleven or Pro-Evolution Soccer? What the lord giveth, the lord taketh. In a game that pits two opponents against each other, one will always walk away the beneficiary, whilst the other wallows in the pains of what could have been.

In order to perserve tradition, the game must be allowed to continue, in all its imperfection, as it is that imperfection that ultimately, makes it that much more fun to watch.

Arab Times: Better Luck Next Time

Whenever one reads the paper, certain headlines have a habit of jumping out at you, eye-catchers, the title sounds so intriguing, so thought provoking, you immediately find your eyes scanning down the paragraph and realise… its a hoax.

This is a habitual occurence in Kuwait News Media, which tends to over-exaggerate the titles to make the article appear snazzier than it really is.

For example:
Title: Devil worshippers caught

article: KUWAIT CITY, May 31: Police have arrested two young devil worshippers and are looking for others for disturbing shoppers at the Central Market in Adan, reports Al-Shahed daily.



Acting on information police rushed to the place and saw the youths wearing weird clothes and carrying strange tattoos on their bodies.


However, the youths escaped when they saw police. The two arrested youths have admitted that they are devil worshippers.
 
Now, the very title would have me believe that some deranged, unfortunate sob was nabbed whilst, oh lets say, sneaking into a cemetary to perform a sacrifice of a goat on a night with a full moon. No where in my imagination would I have thought that the “Devil Worshippers” were simply shopping and merely disturbed shoppers.
 
Highly unworthy news.

Work Less, Save More

Atleast that is what the Government Thinks.

It is a well known fact that all public sector employees, everywhere, have to operate through a jungle of bureaucracy and red-tape. Hence, it is well documented that any dealings with the public sector by private citizens is tedious and dubious at best.

A common caricature of public sector employees:

Now Kuwait is having an energy crisis. The maximum output of the powerplants is roughly 11.8GW, current consumption is hovering around 10.2GW. A few more GW and we can kiss the power goodbye and hello dark ages.

Kuwait’s Parliament has approved a recommendation by several of its members to cut the working day for public sector employees during the summer by up to two hours as the country looks to conserve energy amid major electricity shortages, The National newspaper reports Monday.

Employees, who usually finish the working day between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m., will now begin at 7 a.m. and finish at 12 p.m., the paper said.

That is right. Give those who work the least more time off to cut electricity costs. That is because they live in tents out in the desert, not highly automated, plush, air-conditioned villas.

source: http://thenational.ae

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

The current Egyptian State of Affairs is an anachronism more befitting of the Stone Age.

Ever since the assassination of Anwar Elsadat, the so called “emergency law” has been enforced, for a period of over 30 years. The law has been continuously extended every three years since 1981. Under the law, police powers are unobstructed, constitutional rights non-existent and censorship is legalized. It is the oppressive foot over the neck of the people.

Most recently, in a bid to win favor with its US ally, Egypt has renewed the emergency law for a further 2 years, however adding stipulations that it was only to be used to combat terror and drug trafficking.

Examining the clauses:

1) Terroristic acts were thought to be confined to weapons training, manufacturing improvised explosive devices. However, suspects arrested in JFK airport and accused of terrorism had supposedly trained for terrorism by working out and playing violent video-games, and watching the news.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

2) The police, the elite charged with protecting the innocent and civil rights, are given carte blanche to run rampant.

On a trip to Sharm-elsheikh, I ran into one of the elite with a few of his friends having a well deserved R&R at the resorts near the Red Sea. He regaled me with heroic stories of chasing down gang members, druggies and murderers.

Despite having to uphold a certain dignity being a member of the police force, this man was receiving dirty looks from the Russians for indulging in Vodka in the early morning. He also mentioned how he would receive his “share” of contraband confiscated from travelers whilst en-route to Sharm-elsheikh and being stopped at security checkpoints.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

As it is painfully obvious to see, the umbrellas of drug trade and terrorism encompass far more than their name-sake. They, like freedom, are open to interpretation.

The police are free to “plant” any evidence they so wish on anyone; that is a fact. A fact I have been informed of by several people, where the police would openly declare their ability to pin any form of crime on a person, preceded by the officer pulling out a bag of contraband and using it as leverage.

The recent murder of an Egyptian youth at the hands of the authorities, whereby he was brutally beaten to death before onlookers, has stirred public outcry.

The police claim he swallowed a bag of contraband that the officers were searching for. A second autopsy has been scheduled.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
Who is watching the watchers?

When Science goes Bad

This day in age, it seems that everything that can be done, has been done. The atom has been spliced, and we now know it is not the smallest moelcule, the second has been reduced to the femtosecond, the very process that ignited creation is purportedly being studied via the LHC.

What do scientists do, when there aren’t enough exciting discoveries to go around?

This unique, wacky individual has lain claim that the FIFA world cup is NOT as the millions of fans around the world believe, made of solid gold.

Firstly, what is it with scientists and crazy hair-styles? You are no Albert Einstein, or is it simply to claim one has no time to spare on looks when involved in such riveting, mind-boggling discoveries such as this.

In an interview show on the BBC, the Professor explains:
“According to my calculations, if it was solid all the way through, it would have somewhere between 70 and 80kg of gold in it.”

Please bear in mind, the good professor has never been interested in football, and has yet to watch a single world cup match.

And, the noble prize for Chemistry goes to…

Not to be outdone, a group of researchers have banded together to prove that X-rated websites are infact, above being a cesspool of indecency and promoting promiscuity, are in fact putting their users in clear and present danger by exposing them (lol) to mal-ware and cyber criminals.

Literally, caught with their proverbial “pants down”.

The most interesting paragraph from this article on the BBC as well:
“By creating their own porn sites researchers found that many consumers were vulnerable to known bugs and loopholes.

Begs the question, what kind of material did they use on said websites? “Lab techs gone wild”, “Geeks on the rise”, “Science of Erections”?

and, the piece de resistance:
“As a first step the researchers trawled pornographic sites to classify what they found and how the industry was structured. “

After reading the BBC article, a majority of middle-school children changed their ideal career path from firemen and policemen to researchers.

Try to imagine a researcher, sitting at the dinner table with his wife and children, being asked, what new and exciting topics have you been researching father?

I for one am very pleased to find out that science is taking such mundane issues seriously, how many people are expected to work on a cure for cancer, AIDs, cereberal palsy, Autism and the likes? Hereditary diseases, nonsense, we need to know why porn sites are stealing our money, and what the world cup trophy is really made out of.

And that, is the News.

Poland Castration Law takes effect

Let the punishment fit the crime.

Literally!

Poland has enforced a tough new law on sexual predators and paedophiles; they must undergo obligatory injections that will curb their enthusiasm, or libido.

These injections do not come cheap, its around $450 a pop.

Smart move on the part of the Polish government, after a series of high-profile paedophilia cases, mainly a professor once considered Poland’s top psychologist in treating child victims of sex abuse was himself facing charges of paedophilia in a trial which began behind closed doors in the Polish capital Warsaw.

A step in the right direction.

Hail Helen Thomas

Injustice is the one word that springs to mind when reviewing the current debauchery happening within the walls that house the most powerful man on earth; The White House.

Helen Thomas, US White House reporter, has been rendered effectively unemployed after her heart-felt comment that Israel should “Get the hell out of Palestine”, and jokingly adds move to Germany, Poland or the US.

Her resume is staggering, her accomplishments over-whelming:
* The first female president of the White House Correspondents Association (WHCA)
* The first female officer of the National Press Club
* The only female print journalist to travel with President Richard Nixon on his inaugural trip to China
*The unofficial dean of the White House press corps.

Make no mistake, Helen Thomas did not resign, she is merely a scape-goat in the never-ending struggle to always paint Israel in light of being the victim.

An illustrious career, cut short by the very freedom she was given. It was considered a right of passage for Presidents to be grilled by Helen, “This is my inaugural moment here. I’m really excited,” President Obama stated after calling on Thomas in his first press conference as President.

She joins a long list of celebrities who, as a result of their exercising of their god-given freedom of speech, were struck down by the iron-curtain that is anti-Israeli comments, the likes of Mel Gibson.

This begs the question, why is it ok to mock the president of the USA, and yet taboo to mention Israel in anything but a white light with a halo over its head?

It is ok for caricaturists to insult religion and attack Islam, it is ok for residents to boycott the building of a mosque on ground zero @ NY, it is ok for citizens to criticise the government,  but when it comes to freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of press, the very fundamentals on which the USA was built, the First Amendment, you draw the line.

It is alright to denounce what is happening in Gaza, not only that, but for the USA to fund a missile defence program for Israel as well, in the region of $2~3bn.

It is ok for Israel to act as a top-authority and reject world criticism that an international inquiry be made into the deaths of the 9 crew-men from the Gaza-bound flotilla.

It is blatantly clear, that in this world, Israel answers to no authority. Worse, the super-power of the world cowers before it. All the comments made by US post-attack were “guarded”, never directed AT Israel. More of a blind response to a problem, without assigning blame. “Mourn the tragic loss of life”, when the world has “condemned” Israel for its heinous crime against humanity. And yet, despite all that, Israel remains undeterred in its response to the world, they are basically telling everyone to F*** off, we’ll handle our own business, yet run to the UN with “allegations and speculation” that Iran is mounting a nuclear offence against them.

Israel is without doubt, a superpower in todays economy. For a nation to respond with an all-out arial warfare, in response to haphazard rocket fire and stone-throwing, is proof of that. They act worse than the criminals they so seek to pass justice upon.

Is it a coincidence that on the eve of European foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton’s first visit to Gaza, a Thai farm worker was killed by a Hamas rocket?

How much longer shall we object behind closed doors,
As the blood of innocents flows onto our shores,
Till when shall we remain in silence,
As the innocents in Gaza fall victims to violence?

Terrorist Training Camp

By now everyone must have read about the pair picked up @ JFK airport, Mohamed Alessa, 20, and Carlos Almonte, 24, from New Jersey, who were on their way to Cairo, to slip into Sudan, to join Al-Shabab (translation: the teens), a terrorist group as per US policy.

The pair had knives, and no apparent sophistication.

FYI both were bearded.

How to be a terrorist? As the BBC article says:

 Prosecutors said the men, arrested on Saturday at New York’s JFK International Airport, prepared for the alleged attacks on US troops by lifting weights, playing violent video games and watching terrorist videos online.

So, if you work out, play Call of Duty, and watch, well, the News, as it seems that all that the media broadcasts is terrorist-related, you are a terrorist.

Turn yourself in, resistance is futile!

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