Monday, May 31, 2010

Reaction to Gaza aid ship deaths - Translated

Source: BBC - Reaction to Gaza aid ship deaths

"The United States deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries sustained, and is currently working to understand the circumstances surrounding this tragedy."

What it means:
Thank God no one's talking about BP today. Those damn bastards better find a way to plug that oil well today. They got one more day now.

I am shocked by reports of killings and injuries of people on boats carrying supplies for Gaza. I condemn this violence.

It is vital that there is a full investigation to determine exactly how this bloodshed took place. I believe Israel must urgently provide a full explanation.

What it means:
I am not shocked at all by the killings. Just sad. Israel as we expected. Time for a trip to New York to head this "investigation". I wonder if my wife has to do some shopping while I am there.

High Representative Catherine Ashton expresses her deep regret at the news of loss of life and violence and extends her sympathies to families of the dead and wounded. On behalf of the European Union, she demands a full inquiry about the circumstances in which this happened.

She reiterates the European Union's position regarding Gaza - the continued policy of closure is unacceptable and politically counterproductive

What it means:
Israel's blockade is bad. We condemn it. That's all the US will allow us to say.

The Arab League's Secretary-General has called for an urgent meeting at the level of representatives to look into this heinous crime committed by Israeli forces against unarmed civilians that left scores of dead and wounded.

The Arab League strongly condemns this terrorist act.

What it means:
We who are without balls can all gather to watch the World Cup together.

I deplore the loss of life during the interception of the Gaza flotilla.

We have consistently advised against attempting to access Gaza in this way, because of the risks involved. But at the same time, there is a clear need for Israel to act with restraint and in line with international obligations.

This news underlines the need to lift the restrictions on access to Gaza.

What it means:
Arabs, please continue to do your "Islamic banking" with us. See? We criticized Israel, as you asked. We will join you at the World Cup party.

The inhuman action of the Zionist regime against the Palestinian people and preventing the humanitarian aid from reaching Gazans does not show this regime's strength, but is a sign of its weakness, and all this brings this sinister and fake regime closer than ever to its end.

What it means:
It's the Jews.

What it really means:
The inhuman action of the "clerical" regime against the Iranian people and preventing the universal values of freedom from reaching Iranians does not show this regime's strength, but is a sign of its weakness, and all this brings this sinister and fake regime closer than ever to its end.

I express deep regret and shock at the tragic loss of life. There obviously has to be a full investigation into what has happened.

What it means:
I still have a job.

Though our naval servicemen were instructed to exercise maximum restraint, they were attacked. They were attacked with knives, with iron clubs, and also with live fire.

We have unfortunately 10 servicemen injured, one of them very, very seriously. The violence was initiated unfortunately by these activists, and this is regrettable.

What it means:
When I say this is regrettable, I mean this is a Public Relations nightmare. It will be that much harder to get donations for the Holocaust Museum now. Actually, it won't, but you know what I mean.

What it really means:
We don't care about any international law or treaty. And we are right because we said so. If you don't agree you are an anti-Semite.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Washington D.C.

It was a long weekend in Canada - Victoria Day. Since I neither have any knowledge nor desire in celebrating the birth of a monarch who has never set foot in Canada (nor do I think, most Canadians), I will cheer ANY reason for a holiday. So, we suddenly decided to check out the capital of our neighbour to the south. On to Washington D.C.

However, any trip to the US by any Canadian would not be complete without shopping. En route to D.C., we stopped by Grove City Prime Outlets.

With just a short time to spare, shops had to be selected and sacrifices made to maximize shopping time!

Our first stop in Washington next morning was the White House. We made our way to the rear of the building, where, for about 29 years and running, Concepcion Picciotto has been protesting over the atomic bomb.

The White House is indeed a glorious building. Did you know that Canadians (then British) burnt it down completely in the War of 1812? Of course then they got bored and came home.

Here's a view of the White House from the front. Unfortunately this is as close as they would allow us to approach. For tickets to visit the White House you have to reserve one up to 6 months in advance.

One can see the famous Washington Monument from almost any spot in the D.C. area.

Walking to the Monument on the way to the Mall.

A view of the Monument as seen from the World War II Memorial.

The Washington Monument as seen from near the Lincoln Memorial.

The setting of the Mall, with the White House, Monument, the Capitol and the Lincoln Memorial reminded me very much of the layout of Paris. You will see further down in the post, from the pictures I took from atop the Monument, that Paris has inspired Washington (as have ancient Greeko-Roman designs) a lot.

Abraham Lincoln's statue at the Lincoln Memorial.

Any visit to D.C. will be incomplete without visiting the Smithsonian museums. Due to time restrictions, we only could pick one and I chose the National Air and Space Museum. On our next visit, inshAllah, I plan to visit the Natural History Museum.

A mirror of the Hubble Telescope on display.

This was the toilet on Skylab space station. If you use your imagination, you can see what the function of the hose and the large hole on the wall was!

The first controllable air craft to fly - Kitty Hawk.

The next day was cloudy and overcast, unlike the previous day which was blazing hot. Even then, the long walk from downtown Mall to the Jefferson Memorial was very tiring - it was really humid. D.C. may have a much more connected subway system than Toronto, but one stupid rule they have is the day pass on the trains do not work on the buses - you have pay a separate fare.

Now, if you have read the The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown, you will know that it's set in Washington D.C. The Jefferson Memorial is mentioned in the book as America's Pantheon.

The Jefferson Memorial on the banks of the Tidal Basin.

Next, it was time to visit the Monument (or, as the Lost Symbol refers to it, America's obelisk). For this, you have to line for the (free) timed tickets they distribute. The office opens at 8.30 am but people line up from 7.30! We reached there at a leisurely pace at around 10 (after breakfast) and were very, very lucky to get the last 4 tickets left! As soon as got our tickets, the notice went up - "All tickets for the day are gone".

An epitaph at the entrance of the Monument.

The following images are those of Washington D.C. as seen from the top of the Monument. Now you can see why the city reminded me of Paris. I remember seeing a similar layout from the top of the Eiffel Tower.

The Capitol building, as seen from the top of the Monument.

The Lincoln and the WWII Memorials, as seen from the top of the Monument.

The White House, as seen from the top of the Monument.

In the final scenes of the Lost Symbol, Peter Langdon is atop the Monument and while descending, the book describes the commemorative stones placed in the stairwell. This is actually true, as we saw when the elevator taking us back down stopped for a bit for us to see those stones.

Our final visit was to the Capitol. For this, we were lucky enough to get a tour reservation during our stay.

Our tour started at the Capitol Visitor Center, then on to the Crypt, and then to the Capitol Rotunda and finally, to the National Statuary Hall.

The painting "The Apotheosis of Washington" on the Rotunda, which plays a part in the Lost Symbol.

Other famous paintings below the Rotunda of the Capitol Hill.

The Supreme Court of the United States.

Washington D.C. is a city with a lot of history and pomp, and is full of museums, especially for those interested in American history. The highways leading to the city pass through some gorgeous scenery. It's definitely a must do for someone interested in visiting America.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Kick For A Cause

Saturday two weeks from now, I have bravely signed up to play football (soccer to you Americans) once again after many millions of years. It's all for charity - the fund will support Braille equipment for blind school children in Bangladesh. It's organized by a few of my friends, and the flier is shown below.
Kick For A Cause
Charity Soccer Tournament

Join us for a great day of soccer & BBQ and support the
North York football community!

When: Saturday, May 29th 2010 12:00pm – 6:00pm

Where: George S. Henry Academy Soccer Field
(200 Graydon Hall Drive, Toronto, ON, M3A 3A6)

What: 6 vs. 6 outdoor soccer (5 players + goalkeeper)

Cost: $11/person (min: 6 players per team; max: 10 players per team)

The tournament social will include BBQ – burgers, hotdogs and pop – (free for participants) and awards for the winners. Bring your friends and support a great cause!

  • All teams are guaranteed two 25 minute games
  • Game officials

    Got questions? Email us at

  • So, if you are in North York area and are interested in playing a little recreational soccer (and support a good cause while you are at it) please contact the above email. Teams are already being formed and payments are required by May 21st, 2010.

    Tuesday, May 11, 2010

    The iPhone Disease

    If you are like me, you probably have a lot of friends (usually of the female variety) who are hooked on to their iPhones, swear by it and at every possible moment try to impress upon you as to how urgently you require an iPhone.

    Now I can still have my (very) old phone, and an even older plan, as a result of which I would not pay Robbers Rogers a huge hefty monthly bill in data plans, and can concentrate on paying down my even heftier student loan first. However, this post is not about the telecommunications industry in Canada nor a discussion on where the idea of not being online all the time was viewed as common sense, but of a particular and a very contagious disease.

    The iPhone disease.

    This disease (it can be classified as a mental illness) manifests itself in many ways. Following are some symptoms.

    I Have an App For That

    Every normal conversation with an iPhone holder is interrupted with this favourite phrase of theirs. For example,

    You: "I want to see how Ironman 2 is."

    iPhone User: "Oh wait, I can tell you. I have an App for that. It's called Movie Review For Dummies iMovie."

    [5 minutes of caressing the iPhone later]

    iPhone User: "it has 3.5 stars ..."

    You: "Hmm. I have some time to kill. I wonder where it's playing."

    iPhone User: "Oh wait, I can tell you. I have an App for that. It's called Theatre For Dummies iTheatre."

    [5 more minutes of caressing the iPhone later]

    iPhone User: "it's playing in X, Y and Z. Do you want to book tickets? Coz... I have an App for that as well."

    Touching the iPhone

    Every iPhone user has to touch the iPhone every 5 minutes or less. It's a built in withdrawal symptom. Try it - talk to an iPhone user for 5 minutes and see if they don't whip out the monstrous brick every 5 minutes or less. You may be having a perfect conversation with them but they will still take it out, check something on it and then remark to you, "Oh isn't that funny? Look what Mike posted!"

    Do I care what Mike posted? I was talking to you!

    If it's not checking their email, or boasting about an app (see above), it's tweeting. Again, you will be having dinner, and the iPhone user will be tweeting:

    "having dinner with @so-and-so. #fun!"

    Why do you do this? It would be pathetic if not for the other iPhone user tweeting back:

    "@iPhoneUser1 you too? Me too! #goodtimes #fun"

    It's all an excuse to touch the iPhone.

    Comparing Notes

    As soon the iPhone user comes into contact with another iPhone user, there is some sort of signal which allows them to ascertain that the other person also belongs to this not-so-exclusive club. They will instantly both whip out their iPhones (see point above) and start comparing notes.

    "Oh, what a nice skin."

    "Oh, that's a nice screen filter."

    "Oh, do you have this app? You must get this app. It tells you how much battery the other apps are using!"

    "Oh really, nice! Btw you MUST get this app. It makes snide remarks about anyone not having phone with a data plan!"

    "Oh lovely! But you MUST get this latest app. It automatically calculates how much happiness the iPhone is giving you and transfers an equivalent amount of money to Apple immediately."


    So, if you and your friends have an iPhone, do check that you do not succumb to this deadly disease. It's very curable, I tell you.

    - Posted from my iPhone

    Wednesday, May 05, 2010

    This Week in Toronto Through A Cellphone Camera

    Spotted outside a Restaurant near Chinatown:

    Being a Muslim, I can't verify his claim, but if you are looking for the best pork in the whole of North America, this is where you would go to.

    Signs that Walmart is Going Even More Brown:

    Yes - they are now selling cricket pads. I think these were around $30.

    Because, in Toronto, We Want to be Very Clear

    Er, ... FAIL!

    Quick!!! In the 1 second it takes me to drive by an empty spot, can you tell me if I am allowed to park here?

    Basking Robbins. 31c per scoop:

    Do I really need a caption for this? :-D