In Laymen’s terms

*Location: random Irish bar on 42nd and 6th in Manhattan
* Date: few days ago, around 7 pm
*Who: Me and my friend K., whom I've known since college

K: Ok, so you have studied all of this economic stuff. Can you please
explain to me what the hell is going on and why are people this freaked
out?

Me: Ok, do you want me to go with route of laying out all
the financial terms and how it all played out, or would you rather I go
with the simplistic Laymen's terms of it all?

K: Go with Laymen's terms.

Me: Ok, so imagine the economy as this big nice Bonfire y'all have created a while ago.

K: Ok…

Me: And instead of enjoying this bonefire, you know, getting warm next to
it, or roasting marshmallows on it or something, you keep obsessing
about making the fire bigger. Every year the fire has to be bigger than
the year before or you have all somehow failed at something. So you
keep throwing wood to the fire, because it has to keep getting bigger,
right? Well, as any stupid camper would tell you, if you keep getting
the fire bigger one of two things will happen: Either you will run out
of wood, and the fire will eventually cool down and be put out, or the
fire will get to be so big, that no one will be able to control it, and
it will burn everything around it.
K: And which happened here?

Me: Both!

K: We are screwed, aren't we?

Me: In more ways than one my dear. More ways than one!

Obama and AIPAC

Me and Lisa on Gchat!

Lisa: i'm watching Obama. he gives good speech.

5:46 PM me: yes

he is very well spoken

:P

5:47 PM Lisa: mccain's wife gives me the creeps

she's so blonde and toothy

and tightly wound

me: u hate her cause she is pretty

5:48 PM admit it

:P

Lisa: nah

me: she is rich

pretty

Lisa: i'm not that type

5:49 PM me: and has access to percesetts

Lisa: oh god, he is drooling over aipac. i want to vomit

5:52 PM

me: hehe

lol

5:53 PM Lisa: his first speech as the dem nominee has to be to aipac??

me: yes

Lisa: god, this is going to feed into the walt mearsheimer tinfoil hat wearing crowd

me: nahh

cause no one believes it

they just think he is doing it to get elected

everyone knows the blacks hate the Jews

:P

5:54 PM Lisa: he just reminded them of the jewish involvement in freedom summer

me: then again, who doesn't?

5:56 PM Lisa: the BBC announcer just said "jewish lobby in the united states" instead of "israel lobby"

they do it all the time and no-one calls them on it

most AIPAC people are Christians, for heaven's sake

me: lol

yeah

5:57 PM but the jews pay them to join

Lisa: geez, you are part of the conspiracy, aren't you?

From the mouth of an ex state-secuirty general

"Oh, the way we treated the State Secuirty soldiers was so horrible it bordered on funny. We would keep them crammed inside those cars in the sun for hours, and then when we take them out, we start humiliating them. We would slap them, beat them, spit on them, kick them. We would pick them off randomly and beat them with our belts. And then we would start making them fight each other. We would tell them that this or that soldier insulted them or their governorate or something, so they would fight him and people from his governrate. We would make sure they hated each other, so that they would never unite against us again. We fill them up with hate and rage, and we would work them up until they can't take it anymore, and then we release them on the people at protests. This is why when they beat the people there they really beat them hard. It's the only outlet we provide them for their aggression and hate. Sure, it's sick and demented, but they were orders from up top, from the Minister of Interior himself. And don't kid yourself, they all demand that we become worse than their predecessor. Every one of those guys suddenly finds himself in charge of the security of the state, and the state is huge, so if he can't break their spirits, scare them shitless, anything could happen, and then he could be disgraced and out of job. Same goes for us, and the population we work with doesn't help. You learn quickly that Respect won't work with them, because they have been wronged for so long that if you try to remedy it they will get this sense of entitlement about it and demand even more. And sooner than later, they will get riled up and things will get out of line. No, my boy, fear is good. Fear is what keeps our people in line and saves this country from tearing itself apart. We do terrible things, because the alternative is much much worse. Nothing can change that."

An ex State-Security General friend of my father, yesterday! 

Next to the bed

The setting: Sequoia.

The Players: Me, R. (Financial associate, MBA Student, one of the most intelligent females I know), M. (a female acting coach who also sings a mean Amy Winehouse), A. (Structural engineer who is even a worse case of "know-it-all" than me), K. ( Brilliant Architect and Designer, also one of my closest friends) and J. ( American Lawyer who works in Irbil, and whom I think is now drafting what will be known in the near future as the Iraqi commerce law, really nice guy).

The event: R. Farewell Party after returning to the motherland for a 2 week vacation from her MBA program at Wharton.

The Set-up: R., who was staying in a hotel infested with Saudi tourists, but otherwise respectable, found a Viagra pill lying next to her bed (Make your own conclusions), and she is about to share the story, which I already knew, with the rest of the group.

R.: So, you guys, you will love this. So Yesterday, as I was packing my bags, I look under the bed to see if I am maybe leaving a sock or a shoe behind, and I find something really indicative of the nature of the Egyptian tourism industry. Can you guess what it was?

K.: can you be more specific?

R.: Well, what do Saudi tourists come here to do? Think along that lines.

J.: A condom?

R.: you are in the right direction, but take a step back.

A.: Sperm stain?

M.: Cum stain?

K.: A used condom with cum in it?

R.: No, no and no. You guys, a step back. Take a step back.

J.: Well I got to go to the bathroom, so you guys tell me when I am back. (He then leans towards me and whispers in my ear as he is leaving) you know, my next guess was a blood-filled Condom.

M. (speechless, mouth agape in horror, looking at the walking away silhouette of J. as if he is a toilet filled with condoms): OH MY GOD. THAT'S JUST FUCKING WRONG!

K.: What?

M.: What did he say?

Me: You don't want to know, trust me!

A.: But we do!

K.: Dude, if it disturbed YOU that much, I want to know it.

R.: Yes Sam, tell us.

Me: Fine. You asked. He said "a blood-filled condom".

(They all share the same look of horror that I had on my face as they all visualized it, and then an avalanche of "Ewws" and "Yucks" followed for like a minute, and then J. came back!)

R.: J., you sick bastard, it was just a Viagra Pill. That's it. What's wrong with you?

J. (looks at me all surprised): You told them?

M.: Of course I did. You want me to suffer from that mental image all by myself? I had to share it

R.: Yeah, thanks for that Sam. Thanks a lot.

M.: I just have to know, how the hell did you come up with that?

J.: It's just something I once saw!

M.: Where? In Iraq?

J.( solemnly while looking down): Nope. My fraternity!

Me (I stop for a minute, process what he just said and what it means, and then I pat him in the back and say with a sympathetic tone): Oh J. , You poor poor bastard!

J.: I KNOW! I know!

The most important thing in the world, apparently!

Me: So, how is working in Al Sharjah?

Her: It's shit. I hate it. I work with the dumbest people.

Me: Really? That bad?

Her: You don't understand! The day after we won the african cup, I went to work all happy and excited. Egypt won, you know? And this Co-worker of mine looks at me with disdain and says "I don't understand people like you. All concerned with winning a soccer game, when clearly there are more importnat things that demand your attention". So I asked him "like what?", you know what he said?

Me: Palestine?

Her: YES! He actually said Palestine! How did you know?

Me: Just figured! 

Her: That fuckin Buzzkill! 

Me: They all are! 

The view from Tunisia

"The country is perfect. The man in charge is hooking up the country big time. He only treats the people who don't want to work badly, but other than that he is doing a fantastic job running the country. There is work if you want to work, and you will make great money and have a great life. Nobody asks you what you are doing or who you are doing it with. Drive drunk as shit with 3 half naked girls and the Police won't even bother me. Just stay away from Politics or illegal drugs, and you will be fine. And for me that makes sense. This is stuff only unemployed people do. Ohh, and don't forget the soccer. The number one team you always cheer for is ElTarabgy, and after that ElNegm el sa7ily. But El Tarabgy is number one. It's in the blood, man."

A half Egyptian/half Tunisian friend, who just came back after spending 3 years in Tunisia!

What she said

Me: roba

Me: i have a new problem

Me: i no longer have a jewish fetish

Me: i have developed a Palestinian fetish

Me: I need to get out of the middle-east before I develop a Libyan one

Roba: hehehe

Roba: thats funny

Roba: a palestinian fetish doesnt sound too bad

Roba: but please do stay away from libyans..

Conversation:Honeymoon

* Me and cousin Y. discussing her honeymoon plans*

SM: So, where are you spending your honeymoon?

Y.: Asia. We are spending it in Asia.

SM:Where in Asia? Phucket?

Y.: Yes. We are going to Phucket. We are also thinking about going to Thailand as well.

SM: (silent for a second): Ehh, excuse me? What?

Y.: What? I can go to two countries on my honeymoon.

SM: Oh, but aren't you afraid that it might be too exhausting to visit Phucket and then go all the way to Thailand? 

Y.: Ehh, I will have O. handle the all the flight arrangments. We are flying first class anyway.

SM: Ok, fun time is over. Listen to me sweetie before you mention what you just told me to O. and make him realize what a stupid clueless airhead you are: Phucket is in Thailand.

Y.: No, it's not.

SM: Oh, Yes, it is!

Y.: No, the capital of Thailand is Bangok. Phucket is a totally seperate place.

SM: Jesus effin Christ. Ok, try to follow me here: Egypt..Thailand, Cairo…Bangok, Sharm Al Sheikh….Phucket!

Y.: Ahhhhhh.

SM: Finally sunk in? Get it now.

Y.: Yep yep.

SM (mumbeling to myself): Thank god we found someone to marry you, you are a walking scandal.

Y.: What?

SM: Nothing… 

Conversation: Me, grouchy?

* Me, my dad, my cousin Y. and my aunt at a Family dinner today*

Dad: So how are the wedding preperations?

Aunt: All is going well, the dress fitting is tommorow, after which we are meeting the wedding planner to  yadayada blah blah dodododododo (apologies for not being able to transcribe all the important and riveting details in that conversation. My ADD kicks in whenever I hear the words "wedding planner".) 

Y.: Sam, so what do you think?

Sam: Huh..about what?

Y.: He didn't hear a word we said. You should pay attention. It's only you and T. now who are not yet married.

Sam: (fake enthusiasm)Thanks for reminding me! I will get right on that. Cause god forbid people stay single.

Aunt: What's his problem?

Dad: From what I know, one of his bestfriends got married 2 months ago, the other is getting married in a few months, 2 of his ex's just got engaged and one he actually was very deeply in love with is about to give birth in 2 weeks.

Sam: Thanks for sharing that dad. Also, for those who are keeping count, 4 of my friends who got married in the past 2 years are now divorced, 2 within the first 2 months of marriage. Gives you a lot to look forward to, huh Y.?

Y.: That won't happen to O. and me. We are in love.

Sam: I am not saying it will. I just got 2 words for you for the first 2 years of marriage though, and consider it a brotherly advice from me to you: Birth Control!

Aunt gives me looks of death 

Dad: Sam, simmer down. 

Y.: Don't worry. We don;t plan to have kids early anyway.

Sam: That's smart. Have you two got tested yet?

Y.: For what? Fertility?

Sam: Ehh..no. STD's.

Dad: SAM!

Y.: Why would we get tested for that. I am sure he is clean.

Sam: Oh, I am sure he is. Didn't he spend 2 years of his college in the US?

Y.: Yeah..why?

Sam: Nevermind.

Y.: Anyway, you better come this Friday, or I will be very mad at you.

Sam: What's this Friday?

My Dad and my Aunt together: The WEDDING!

Sam: Oh yeah, sure thing.

Y.: I am serious. You evaded the last 2 weddings. I've noticed. You better come to mine!

Sam: Ok, Ok! Will there be a Belly dancer?

Y.: No!

Sam: Okay, open bar?

Y.: Of Course not!

Sam: What, no drinks of any kind?

Aunt: God Forbid!

Sam: Then what am I supposed to do there?

Y.: Well, be happy for me!

Sam: For 4 houres? Without alcohol? Are you kidding me?

Dad: You can always smoke some hash before it.

Sam: Thanks dad!

Aunt: A. How dare you suggest this? See, this is why he is the way he is. You encourage him.

Dad: What? I smoked some the day of your wedding too.

Aunt: What????

Dad: And if I recall correctly, your Husband, god rest his soul, smoked with me that night too.

Sam: Oh Boy! 

Aunt: How? What? How could you sully..How DARE YOU?

Sam: Okay, I rememberd I had this appointment with someone.Soo…yeah… See you guys later. 

Dad: You are bailing on me? Now? Look what you got me into!

Sam: Don't blame me, man. That was all you. 

Aunt: K. never smoked hash.He was a saint. Shame on you A. Sullying the reputation of a dead man. And you know what Sam, you better not come to the wedding high on hash!

Sam:What about other drugs? Is coke Kosher? Extacy ok?

Aunt and Y. together:NO!

Sam: My sense of Humor is wasted on y'all.