June 01, 2006
New Month Open Discussion
In keeping with tradition, a thread for all manner of whanking and whinging. Feel free to introduce yourself, comment, complain and/or ask our venerable authors inappropriate questions.
Posted by eerie at June 1, 2006 10:17 AM
Filed Under: Site News
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You know, I just noticed you can't get back to Aqoul from lounsbury's place. I assume that'd be true from you too. Doesn't appear on the menus.
Normally, you can click on the banner up top to go to the top-level home of a site.
Posted by: pantom at June 1, 2006 12:42 PM
Ah, good idea. Will make the banner clickable across the site.
Posted by: eerie at June 1, 2006 01:21 PM
thank god for the ability to wank on incessantly!
as we were discussing on another thread, it sure has been tame around here lately. can't someone post some inflamitory posts on an iraqi dinar speculation forum or start a minor war on wikipedia to draw in some more sub-literate cretins to incoherantly wank for our pleasure?
wank on, wank off
Posted by: Ali K at June 1, 2006 02:02 PM
ali k: are you related to ali G by any chance? i can do a mean Borat impersonation. perhaps we should start the Aqoul politically-incorrect road show...
"ali k: are you related to ali G by any chance?"
Of course, he's my cousin. Respec!
"perhaps we should start the Aqoul politically-incorrect road show..."
We'll name it the Aqoul Acolytes.
Posted by: Ali K at June 1, 2006 02:26 PM
in my country man wank how you say... how you say... (rude hand gesture demonstration) khram! it normal!
one of my all-time favourite ali-g sketches was when he visited the UN and interviewed Boutros Boutros-Ghali.
his note to Kofi Annan was priceless "Saddam is a bell-end. sort him out!"
and, as we all know, Borat has started several international incidents and is currently in a dispute with the Kazakh government.
Evidently also the cause of a (at least public) split between the Pres. of Kazakhstan and his daughter. She, playing the part of "the presidential scion who really understands the modern world and will Reform All This if only the Old Guard got out of the way", says that Ali G. is all good fun. He is not so amused.
Or at least so the tale goes. (I'd link, but the source column won't be on the web for 2-3 weeks).
Posted by: Tom Scudder at June 1, 2006 02:53 PM
wowwowwiewow! i like.
i'm sure you've seen Borat's response to the lawsuit Kazakhstan brought against him.
eerie - why don't you put up lounsbury & eerie banners next to the aggregator & book tabs? as it is now, new visitors could easily miss the sub-blogs.
also, it would reduce the amount of work i have to put in to be able to check the whole aqoul site, by a full two clicks.
Posted by: alle at June 1, 2006 05:30 PM
as we were discussing on another thread, it sure has been tame around here lately.
I rather think it may have something to do with the fact that I have broken two fingers and have had to abandon all posts and that bint ash-shaitan seems to be preoccupied by some devilish business of her own.
Self importance, where would Aqoul be without it.
Posted by: Meph at June 1, 2006 05:55 PM
alle - I might put a Lounsbury button up there, but not sure how much I want to promote my idiotic ramblings. At least his idiotic ramblings are colourful.
As for being "tame" lately, I blame the lack of sex posts. Too many egghead entries on democracy, religion, foreign policy, etc. Partly my fault as I've been preoccupied with other things and haven't spent nearly enough time thinking about sex.
We should just send Tom to a Beirut nightclub and have him write something debauched and Tottenish about his experience.
Posted by: eerie at June 1, 2006 06:25 PM
Yeah I agree, not enough posts about sex in the Middle East.
Posted by: showtime at June 1, 2006 07:26 PM
I was discussing with Dubaiwalla over the weekend some....interesting revelations of his (unfortunately secondhand) re: the above - the problem is how to get firsthand info without being jumped in a dark alley, apparently.
Posted by: Eva Luna at June 1, 2006 07:43 PM
I notice that 'Agoul's snarkisms directed at Andrew Sullivan have mildly increased, does he ever say anything back? Would be pretty funny to start some stuff with him.
Posted by: djuha at June 1, 2006 08:02 PM
Not to my knowledge - the closest he ever got to a response was declaring us a "moderate Muslim blog." Which I thought was pretty darn hilarious, especially in light of the fact that it was right after I, a staunch Reform Jewish agnostic, wrote a post criticizing his blame of the Muslims of the Russian Federation for gay-bashing there. (I even "outed" myself to him via e-mail afterward, but never heard back from him.)
i volunteer to gain first-hand knowledge for a sex post. can we start a "send drdougfir to the brothels of beirut" donation button on the sidebar? or, perhaps, since beirut has been done to death, aqoul can send me somewhere more "exotic," like detroit.
question for E regarding site submissions: do the individual authors retain copyright, etc of their work?
Detroit instead of Beirut?
::Thinks about this::
::Thinks some more::
I dunno, even done to death, Beirut would win in my book. (Going on rep purely, of course. Never been to either place.)
Posted by: pantom at June 1, 2006 11:27 PM
okay let's think about this some more. if this were 2001, i'd say kabul. i'd title the article something like "burqa-clad women gone wild!" think that'd stir up some controversy?
perhaps some of the towns in southeast tunisia. zarzis or gabes would serve our needs. the college professors i knew down in gabes would always talk about this one specific villa...
rather think it may have something to do with the fact that I have broken two fingers and have had to abandon all posts and that bint ash-shaitan seems to be preoccupied by some devilish business of her own.
Lazy whinging no account bollocks for excuses.
Here I am puking up blood, semi-dying of cancer (or being cured, although it feels like dying and I lost all my beautiful hair) and you whinge on about broken fingers, never mind make excuses for no account Devil's Daughters.
Bah, lazy humourless whingers the lot of you.
Posted by: The Lounsbury at June 1, 2006 11:32 PM
how about i submit the off-colour story of the drunken jedi master and his lifelong dream to be a ninja. i can assure you, it's certainly a humorous story.
See the About Page. It has the added value that I wrote it while in my much belove Cuban bottles.
Posted by: The Lounsbury at June 2, 2006 12:53 AM
Didn't know you needed hair, beautiful or otherwise, to type ya Lounsbury ya la'eem?
Posted by: bint ash-shaitan at June 2, 2006 10:33 AM
I think we are owed the story of how Aquol came to exist.
Posted by: Ali K at June 2, 2006 12:40 PM
gather round now boys and girls for the story of Aqoul's founding!
once upon a time, about a year ago, L was ranting about cretinous Tottens and Iraqi dinar speculators. E, being lazy, decided she wanted a consolidated venue to read L's rants. She also desired to bring some of her favourite MENA bloggers under one internet roof. and, thus, Aqoul was born.
oh, and there was a fair bit of Cuban comfort involved.
and they lived happily ever after, except for the dinar speculators who lost all of their money.
I should send that little moron a thank-you note.
Posted by: eerie at June 2, 2006 01:03 PM
This is where to suggest new topics, yes?
So here's one: if anyone wondered why Algerian president Boutefliqa recently shunted his thus-far loyal prime minister Ouyahia aside last month, and replaced him with the FLN's Abdelaziz Belkhadem (finally allowing them to recapture the post), here comes the answer -- the FLN will now propose a referendum on a constitutional amendment letting incumbent presidents run for a third term, extending it by two years, and assign more powers to the presidency.
Horse trading at its finest. And of course Boutef deserves a chance to end his days the traditional Arab leaders' way -- dying in office.
Anyway, I'm no good with either Arabic nor French, so if one of the great minds at 'Aqoul would be interested in digging deeper in the slimy pit that is Algerian politics, I'd be very grateful. What parties can be counted on to resist this, for example; and what difference could that conceivably make? Etc. I'm much interested in the country, but apart from French & Arabic sources, there's really nothing out there.
Posted by: alle at June 2, 2006 01:04 PM
ahhh! the memories!
Eerie, Eva, and other Aqoul ladies... This scientific study is for you:
My dear Meph, you won't resist me anymore after the above...
Raf, you can add the link above to your religious knowledge base.
Last but not least, Lounsbury ya khouya. The link above will give you some education about basic Islamic principles, so you won't show off any more ignorant pseudo-expertise about MENA and Islam. Since you won't take it from Ann, take it from the wise guy above. And while we're at it, those banks looking for scholars to speak about Islamic finance should be interested in him. It would ensure Islamic finance the future it deserves...
Posted by: Shaheen at June 3, 2006 02:32 AM
shaheen: that man is brilliant! just look at his tablet PC skills!
i'm going to have to tuck that link away for later use.
The link doesn't work for me.
Posted by: Ali K at June 3, 2006 11:26 AM
works for me. I learned a lot today.
Posted by: Klaus at June 3, 2006 11:42 AM
all the men of Aqoul: this gives us new ammo in our struggle against the uppity women of Aqoul!
"...of course I am not speaking about all men and all women, but most of them..."
I'm putting this video in the sidebar.
Posted by: eerie at June 3, 2006 12:12 PM
wait, what's mms?
Posted by: Ali K at June 3, 2006 12:24 PM
A protocol that launches Windows media player. If it doesn't work, change the mms: to http:
Posted by: eerie at June 3, 2006 12:26 PM
Dr. Doug: believe whatever you want, but the women in my family learned something important a long time ago. Many men are happy as long as they think they are running the show. Whether they are, in actuality, running the show is pretty irrelevant.
"iqra tv" is priceless. this guy is syrian (banu "moooo") - so i'm just going to play the "see, this is what happens when you take someone from a land living in the 60s and put him in wahhabi school" card.
of course - i do like eva's "hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy" reference.
could we start a new section on aqoul where we just collect "fun media bits from m.e.n.a."?
just a thought ...
Posted by: raf* at June 3, 2006 01:25 PM
How do you know he's Syrian? (did you know him before that video?)
I'm asking because from his accent he sounded very Khaleeji to me (his use of "7agg" and the way he pronounced j for example are very typical of the Gulf AFAIK).
Posted by: Shaheen at June 3, 2006 01:56 PM
raf - There is such a site already, called MEMRI. For some reason, though, it's not billed as the freakshow clip collection it really is, but as a serious and balanced media analysis group, aiming to provide a representative selection of translations from the Arabic media.
But, hey, haven't we all made that mistake.
Posted by: alle at June 3, 2006 03:31 PM
Speaking of wacky clips, has anyone seen this sundance short?
Posted by: Ali K at June 3, 2006 04:35 PM
in the very end, he says that the wife asks her husband "inta leesh saakit? wa huwa tab'aan moo-saakit." that sounded pretty syrian to me. the "jim" is typical levantine as well (ya'nii - NOT the egyptianized "g").
plus, i got my impression from the manner of speaking, the light skin, the reddish-brown hair. obviously, i could be wrong.
--> just looked at the beginning again - "jasem al-mutawah" is so NOT a syrian name ...
yeah ... i've "heard" of that m.e.m.r.i. thingy ... i was thinking more in terms of "kewl stuff", not just crazy ideologisms. for an idea - check my blog (levantese.blogspot.com).
Posted by: raf* at June 3, 2006 06:17 PM
I was gonna say also that his name doesnt sound syrian. I didn't find his voice syrian at all. Kuwaiti more like.
Posted by: Ali K at June 3, 2006 06:34 PM
i found out - he's kuwaiti, from a well-known kuwaiti family. case closed.
interestingly enough - the kuwaiti women are the most outspoken in terms of political rights...
Posted by: raf* at June 4, 2006 05:38 AM
ali K, RE: sundance shorts: I LOVE IT!
also, one of the clips was from a james bond movie that portrayed the "arabs" (acutally, mujahadeen fighters in afghanistan) in a good light. in fact, they were the *good guys* afterall, they were fighting against the commies.
the music really made the movie.
"Stay down! There are Arabs out there!"
"Stay down! There are Arabs out there!"
I always have a right chuckle at that line. Brilliant editing.
"There's no border, no customs. They can just drive anywhere they want. there's nothing to stop them!"
Posted by: Ali K at June 4, 2006 09:04 PM
"There's no border, no customs. They can just drive anywhere they want. there's nothing to stop them!"
they're talking about the border with canada. (there was a great piece on the Daily Show a while back where one of the reporters went to the border with canada and prentended to be a canadian sneaking across. it's worth finding the clip to watch)
It's been a while since I last saw True Lies, but weren't they in florida?
Posted by: Ali K at June 4, 2006 09:20 PM
i was being precocious, Ali K. i've actually never seen the movie.
what i meant was: everyone is worried about the mexican border while the canadian border is much longer and much MUCH less secure. there isn't even a river or a desert to mark msot of the border!
To all who are horrifed- the man in the clip presents a show on Iqra that targets children and teenagers, it's not a heavy hitting grown up show hence the slow baby talk and graphics.
Oops! that's not what I meant to say, I spoke before I thought again, changing the subject intelligently, Saudi Arabia or Tunis in Germany '06?
Posted by: Meph at June 5, 2006 09:10 AM
tunis, of course! (i know/knew a couple of the players on the team)
Are you sure it is aimed at children? I am only asking because his way of speaking does not strike me as specifically aimed at children. That's how a lot of them types speak. Besides, I wouldn't have thought he'd use words like 'istadrakat'
Re the world cup. Let me think first (!) Neither really. Normally I would have supported saudi, but judging from the friendlies played so far, it's only a waste of time. They were beaten by every single team they played, except .... Togo (Who?) and Iraq which they equalised. Hopeless.
Tunis sound like a good bunch.
Posted by: Ali K at June 5, 2006 12:30 PM
Ali K: yes, the Tunis team is a good bunch of blokes. A bunch of pot-heads too. I hope FIFA doesn't do drug tests!
Yes I am sure Ali, I have Iqra TV coming out of my ears thank you very much. The use of big words is typical of the pompous nature of its programmes. By children I don't mean Sesame Street age but adolescents and teens, who are being educated through 'science' and 'technology', how easy it can be to be a Muslim in the modern age.
Re Saudi and Tunis, I recall in 2002, a Saudi man popped into an Arab cafe in London and asked what the score was (Germany vs KSA), a few men promptly replied, '6-0'. Upon which he responded, 'to whom'?
Never heard so much loud raucous laughter in my life..Ah, can hardly wait!
Posted by: Meph at June 5, 2006 01:27 PM
Ah the 8-0 defeat. I was trying my best to repress that memory. Thanks for bringing it back.
Posted by: Ali K at June 5, 2006 06:12 PM
Re arab cafes in london. Do you know what will happen to the shisha places after the smoking ban takes effect?
Posted by: Ali K at June 5, 2006 06:22 PM
With all due respect to KSA citizens, only a retarded leper of a fool would seriously bother investing even an electron worht of energy into supporting the KSA team in the Cup. (As Meph's note illustrates) Really, come now.
At least Tunisia is not a laughable chance.
Posted by: The Lounsbury at June 5, 2006 06:27 PM
does anyone remember the Tunis chant? it's been too long since my last Tunisian football game!
I can't speak about soccer to save my life, but having heard friends chant a few Tunisian supporter songs, I think one of them went along a tribal rythm like:
"Ahom ahom, [put your favorite player's name here] ahom,
[your player] jaa w' erra7ma la"
Don't know the rest of it. Others I've heard are not the kind you'd sing in polite presence.
Posted by: Shaheen at June 5, 2006 08:24 PM
"only a retarded leper of a fool would seriously bother investing even an electron worht of energy into supporting the KSA team in the Cup."
Sorry L, energy is measured in Joules not electrons. (I knew this stuff would come in handy sometime)
Posted by: Ali K at June 5, 2006 09:02 PM
my dear Shaheen, football is not a sport meant to be played in the presence of polite company. i recall a few rather spirited matches where we would be shouting something to the effect of "go fuck your mother" to the opposing team with the opposing team dishing it back to us.
oh... those were the days!
ah, but Ali K, if you get down low enough, things CAN be measured in electrons (or electron volts).
then again, who really wants to go that small? if the part one is designing gets much smaller than a 10 mil piece, it's too small!
An electron volt is not an 'electron's worth of energy' it is the energy transferred by moving one electron through one volt. Common mistake. So no you can't measure energy in electrons. Anyway, enough of this eng stuff. People are getting bored.
Posted by: Ali K at June 6, 2006 12:32 AM
in my country, electron measure voltage. it normal!
in my country, we say a man whose... how you say... how you say... khram is tiny as electron is no man. he is woman! haha! or man who had horrible industrial accient.
(sorry, i couldn't resist)
and what do i know anyway? my specialty ranges more toward mech engr, systems integration, and control systems with a thick strain of project managment. i assume you favour the EE side, Ali K?
Ah, I'm suddenly having horrible flashbacks.
Posted by: eerie at June 6, 2006 12:46 AM
It's ChE actually. We lot cover pretty much everything.
Posted by: Ali K at June 6, 2006 12:49 AM
ChE is where all of the female "brown skins" that L and i love so much congregate at my school. let me tell you, the kuwaiti girls (the completely "westernized" ones) in the ChE department are the BEST. i never fully appreciated the term "Gazelle" before i visited a freshman ChE class! to quote Borat, WOWWOWWIEWOW!
also, must take a bit of a jab, did your professors all drive feraris and have class projects such as "let's make LCD or Meth" but take away all of the final product?
(i assume you work in petrochemicals?)
and, E, are you referring to electron volts or engineering?
Neither. Engineers. I dated them almost exclusively at one point.
Posted by: eerie at June 6, 2006 12:59 AM
what about a dual engineering / international studies major? i'm single at the moment, E... ;-)
I sometimes wonder about my readership. Really I do.
For Ali's benefit let me confess that once upon a time I knew about joules, but with time and corruption.....
Posted by: The Lounsbury at June 6, 2006 01:06 AM
L: so that's where your love of cuban comfort originates!
(it's best not to think of your readership. it'd probably disturb your sleep.)
dear ali, doug, eerie,
you nerds are fun to watch. please, DO go on!
and, e, that "Engineers. I dated them almost exclusively at one point." was a mindopener. now it's all becoming much clearer...
ANYway, tunis is gonna trash saudi. ukraine is gonna bury saudi (or as i call it "the prostitutes' brothers take revenge"). and the spain is just left with dancing on the grave.
but at least the team (& thousands of fans) will have enjoyed seemingly limitless supplies of booze and blonde chicks.
Posted by: raf* at June 6, 2006 05:09 AM
the prostitutes' brothers take revenge
You know, this concept just made me actually interested in watching that match.
but at least the team (& thousands of fans) will have enjoyed seemingly limitless supplies of booze and blonde chicks.
Oh God Protect Them.
I just thought of a stupid reality TV show: Saudis Behaving Badly.
Posted by: The Lounsbury at June 6, 2006 03:29 PM
L: you may just have struck upon something amazing... saudi reality TV!
and, on the subject of drunken saudis, this is somewhat related: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arbre_du_T%C3%A9n%C3%A9r%C3%A9
one has to be mightily drunk to hit the only tree for 400km in any direction.
this site has a picture of the tree today
How very strange.
The Kircher Society comments are just incredibly stupid. The Saharan desertification began long, long ago and has fuck all to do with Global Warming or any such thing.
Contemptible idiot Lefties whanker twits.
Posted by: The Lounsbury at June 6, 2006 07:34 PM
well, PERHAPS there was a small global warming contribution. but, we all know, it was the blacks that caused it. just ask Muammar. or had the white chariotteers from the east already driven out the black troglodytes that spoke a clicking language? no matter. i think we can blame it on the blacks somehow.
is Left the new black?
(in all seriousness, wasn't it a combination of climate shift and overgrazing from the nomadic shepard types that ended the great grasslands of the Sahara? i imagine they probably cut all the trees down too. Tunisia and Libya both are replanting at an extraordinary rate. And almost all the new trees are eucalyptus. quite amazing, really. and a damn good idea too. although, not very well exicuted in Libya.)
Desertification of the Sahara began 10-20k bp, I've never read that human activity triggered. There may have been contribution, but the desertification cycle wasn't achieved by a few thousand herders.
Posted by: The Lounsbury at June 6, 2006 07:58 PM
does that mean Before Petroleum?
i'll have to get in touch with my old boss again (a geographer (of sorts) by training) to refresh my memory on this topic. as i vaguely recall, the place didn't get sandy and dry until about 1000-2000 years ago. for instance, in egypt what is now the Fayum desert was once a large grassy savannha. just go poke around out in the desert and check out all of the old roman settlements.
and, no, it wouldn't have been done by a few thousand herders but by a few thousand herder's flocks. (not saying that they contributed everything to it though)
now, remind me, how did we get on this topic again?
BP = before present (benchmark 1950).
And no as i vaguely recall, the place didn't get sandy and dry until about 1000-2000 years ago. for instance, in egypt what is now the Fayum desert was once a large grassy savannha. just go poke around out in the desert and check out all of the old roman settlements. This is incorrect.
Desertification began 20k bp, although yes, even around 7-10k bp the areas bordering the Nile valley were wetter.
There has been a continuous macro drying trend since the stone age across the whole of what is now the Sahara. Once wet and lush 20k then dry and now desert.
Blaming the emergence and expansion of the Sahara on humans is plain idiotic. Recent expansion is another matter of course, but even allowing for agriculture damage in the Sahel, its a queer form of egocentrism to blame the Sahara on humanity.
Posted by: The Lounsbury at June 6, 2006 10:17 PM
hmm... still doesn't ring quite true to what i remember. i think the academics are positioned somewhere in between our two thoughts. i'll see if i can dig up further info on this from former bosses/colleagues in the macro-temporal-climate "know."
L is right. the reason why the nile valley civilization developed was the desertification of what is now the sahara region and the subsequent emigration of human hunter/gatherer groups from across that region towards "better" areas like the sahel zone and the nile valley.
yes, even in roman times the sahara wasn't as big as it is now (fayoum, parts of the north african hinterland, etc.) - but still it was in a desertification process that human activity may have aided.
Posted by: raf* at June 7, 2006 06:38 AM
dear raf and L:
but what L said is impossible! its impossible see! because the world was only created 5000 years ago! the bible says that and we all know it's super accurate 100% on everything! [okay i'll stop now before i'm attacked by a literalist]
do either of you have any book reccomendations to further my knowledge on the subject?
Other than the bible?
Posted by: Ali K at June 7, 2006 10:29 AM
Sorry mate, but the facts are the facts. Humans may have aided the expansion of the Sahara, on the margins, but the emergence of the Sahara and the macro-climate trend behind it sure were not created by people (which is my core objection to the idiotic comments at that site re the tree, whinging on about how horrible people are.... Those supposedly non-humancentric idiot lefty ecology whankers are just engaging in pure self-centered idiocy [oh we're so bad...])
Posted by: The Lounsbury at June 7, 2006 11:25 AM
ali K: touche.
L: facts are facts until another group of scientists changes the facts. i agree that the wanking going on at that other page is nothing but wanking. i still want some suggestions for further reading on the topic. suggestions?
Hey, anyone read anything by Yasmina Khadra & have comments?
Posted by: Tom Scudder at June 9, 2006 01:34 PM
to continue to beat a dead horse...
my geochronoclimatic professor friend finally got back to me. seems he was at a conference in Tangier.
There is no reason to believe it has been a "gradual" climatic shift of 20,000 years duration.
20,000 years ago was the heart of the last glaciation. North Africa was
drier and colder than today.
What your friend may have read about & misinterpreted is the
"post-Pleistocene pluvial" which began several thousands of years after the
retreat of the ice (12,000 ya) at about 7,000 BC. Then the climate in North
Africa and the Sahara turned much wetter than it is today or had been, and
much of the Sahara became brush or steppe and places even vastly more
bioproductive than before or since. This period lasted variously 3 to 4,000
years; apparently longer in the eastern Sahara than in the western Sahara.
Fred Wendorf is a good source. I have references at home.
so, without reading Fred Wendorf, it looks like we were both wrong.