Friday, May 29, 2015

Why I am skeptical about the US led witch hunt on FIFA

By now it's old news that an US-led investigation has led to Swiss officials arresting seven top FIFA officials in Zurich, and the US fraud inquiry has already indicted 14 people. Loretta Lynch is the woman who took on FIFA. Amidst all of this, Sepp Blatter has just won re-election as the head of FIFA.

Pardon me if I am not amongst the majority who are 100% enthusiastic about the US led witch hunt into FIFA.

  1. Blatter has been good for world football. For so long has football remained an Euro-centric game, with some token South Americans. It was Blatter who took the World Cup to Asia (in Korea/Japan 2002) and to Africa (South Africa in 2010).
  2. It was Blatter who expanded the World Cup to 32 teams, and then changed the rules so that African and Asian teams have a greater chance of qualification.
  3. It was under Blatter that a lot of investment has gone into football outside the traditional powers. Cricket could learn something from the way FIFA globalizes the game. No wonder Africa and Asia loves Blatter.
  4. Everyone seems up in arms about the decision to award the games to Russia and Qatar (with allegations of bribery and corruption) yet no one bats an eye into the way Germany nipped the World Cup in 2006, right when everyone assumed it would go to South Africa. The media keeps bringing up the corruption of the Qatar bid, yet no one talks about how Salt Lake City got the Olympics from IOC in 2002.
  5. When did the US start to investigate FIFA? Right after their failed bid in 2010. If they had been awarded the world cup, all things were then hunky dory?
  6. US Senators repeatedly tried to pressure FIFA into dumping Russia as a host. Citing the occupation of Crimea and Russia's involvement in Ukraine, they conveniently forget all the wars and lands occupied by the US soldiers since the Second World War. The Iraq war alone has caused the deaths of far more civilians than any recent Russian military adventure.
  7. All of this as FIFA was set to suspend Israel. The Palestinians have now dropped their effort after the corruption probe.
So yes, it does look like there was corruption in FIFA, but there's a whole lot more going on than it meets the eye.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Halal Foodie Reviews

I have started to write for Halal Foodie, a website devoted to halal restaurants and food in and around Toronto, as well as restaurant discounts and promotions. Till date I have reviewed three restaurants for them.

Curry & Co

Pizza La Rosa

Chill Grill and Café (formerly known as House of Bengal)

Head over to Halal Foodie to read the reviews and let me know whether you agree or disagree via the comments. Happy eating!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

How to Attract Women

So I was shopping with my wife for groceries when suddenly she said, "We MUST stop over here."

Another man was walking past when his wife told him, "Let's go HERE."

The man was obviously in a hurry to get away from "here" but his wife wouldn't budge.

This is where HERE was.

So you need a six pack to attract women, for those with Dad bods (apparently there's such a thing), some of these might do the trick as well. And judging by the traffic at the counter, women were definitely turning their heads to take another look.

I don't mind saying even I was definitely awestruck enough to compete with my wife for the delicious goodies.

"Oh, you are taking three pastries?! So am I!"

In fact, this post made me so hungry, I am going to go have my black forest slice right now.

Picture of the Adonis pastry section, Eglinton and Warden, Toronto, Canada.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Rejecting the Kindness of Strangers

So there I was, sitting on the food court of the mall with my son Yusuf. We were waiting for my wife to finish her shopping. I was sitting, sipping my cup of tea, while the son was busy with a toy that I occasionally had to feign interest in. All of a sudden I see two hands reaching out to give my son a couple of candies.

It was an old lady seated at the next table in the food court. She was having nuts from a bag, and was dressed in a shalwar kameez and had a scarf on, and a smile on her face.

"Your son is so cute, MashAllah." She said, munching on her nuts.

"Why, thank you." I said. Even as I beamed her a smile, my mind was running in a different direction.

Don't unwrap the candy. Don't even think of eating it. I silently prayed, trying to mentally project my orders to my son. Happily, my son was not too hungry - he was just fascinated by the shiny wrapper on the candy, but at that moment the toy had more attraction to him.

"Do you want some?" Before I could say anything else, the lady took a handful of nuts and offered them to us. And when I say offered, I mean she literally dumped them on our table. At this point, I did have to take a firmer stance.

"Er, we don't really eat nuts, and my son is definitely a fussy eater."

I took the nuts and placed them back on her table.

"But thank you anyways."

Later, when we left, I took the candies (they were some toffee that looked Chinese) and threw them into the bin, feeling guilty as I did so. The lady seemed thoroughly a nice old kindly lady, but I wasn't going to feed mystery food to my kid.

It's the society that we live in now that we have to reject the kindness of strangers. I myself would never offer my own food to another person's child, and as a man I would never comment on another baby's cuteness or pet him. Even as we have become more connected via online, in reality we have built these highly invisible walls around ourselves and woe betide anyone who wants to break them. And why not, when there are sickos like these in our society.

For the evil of a few, the goodness of the many must be shunned.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

For so long we South Asians in Canada had to do with a milk jug. White people visiting our house would leave mystified as to why we have a milk jug in the washroom. What possible use could it serve? Alas, it has all to do the Lota, thus ensuing we have squeaky clean bums.

But fear not. Due to creeping Sharia / mass immigration / desification we now have the Mrs Bidet attachment.

According to Home Depot's website, it can be used by the whole family (though, presumably, not at the same time)! Only, why did they call it an "European bathroom accessory" ? Since when did those 17th century Europeans engage in bathroom hygiene?  

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Every Day is NOT Mother's Day

So while perusing through Facebook I saw that one of my friends had posted this.

This is not her original post, of course, but a retweet (or a repost, if you will) of some "Islamic" group that shared/created/plagiarized this image.

Now everyone has the right to an opinion (no matter how deluded) so here's mine on this image (and others of that ilk).

  • This picture claims that every day is Mother's Day in Islam because Islam encourages you to respect, love, obey and honour your mother everyday. My question: so which religion doesn't? Every religion that I know of thinks it's a great idea to respect, love, obey and honour thy parents. So Every Day is Mother's Day in Islam / Judaism / Christianity / Hinduism / Buddhism / Taoism / ...ism.
  • Mother's Day is primarily a North American festival. You don't like it where you live, you don't need to celebrate it. There's nothing in Islam requiring you to believe in Mother's Day, but there's nothing preventing you from celebrating it either.
  • We should treat our mothers every day like it's Mother's Day, but in reality (and practically) it's not doable, so we take out one day to do something really special for our mothers. I don't really believe in cards or flowers, so the whole "commercialization of the day" is really lost on me, but I do something, like taking the whole family to a restaurant or something special.
In reality it's not just about Mother's Day. You see these pseudo-salafis (they are like the right wing Hindu nutjobs in India who go crazy on Valentine's Day) post similar stuff on Father's Day, Thanksgiving Day, Sharia Appreciation Day (ok so I made the last one up). On Christmas they usually post notices about how it is a mortal sin to wish someone Merry Christmas. On New Year they will post statuses on how there is only two Eids in Islam, and so on.

So maybe we need a Just Chill day. Where everyone can agree (that it's a holiday) to Just Chill. Most likely those pseudo-salafis will have a problem with that as well.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Viktoria Professional Movers - The Difference In Hiring a Good Mover vs a Cheap Mover

I recently moved condos in Toronto. For the first time I was in a position to spend money on professional movers (rather than googling online for cheap movers) and it made a ton of difference.

Moving is stressful enough, and you don't want a hassle with unprofessional movers on moving day. Yes, I was lucky I never got scammed in Toronto, but there's a lot of dishonest people trying out their schemes in the moving businesses.

You find someone from craiglist or kijiji, and it is usually a desi uncle with a van who has hired three students on contract. They don't really care about customer service, they lack proper care with your valuables and there's always some broken stuff. Sometimes they don't even complete the job properly. Moreover, I didn't want movers who show up late. I have to book the service elevators in both condos (where I am moving out of and where I am moving into) so I needed movers to be on time. 

So this time, I decided to not just go for a cheap quote, but shop around and hire a good, professional moving company. I hired Viktoria Professional Movers and had such a good experience that I had to post about it.

The first target for anyone looking for these kinds of services is They have categories for all types of work, and one of them is movers. Not only do they have a comprehensive listing of companies, but also ratings and reviews by ordinary customers. Based on those ratings, I contacted a few companies for a quote. In the end, I decided (based mostly on reviews but also pricing that I considered reasonable) on Viktoria Professional Movers. In addition, they also had an A+ from the Better Business Bureau.

When I booked with them, I had to give them a list of things I wanted moved, so they could give me a proper estimate of time required and the pricing. I also had to give them the timings of the elevator bookings.

The first sign that I was dealing with a proper moving company and not a cheap one was when they arrived right on time at 11.30 am. I had booked the first service elevator from 12-2 pm, so I wanted them to come half an hour before to get started and they were right on time. They had already talked with the concierge and had the service elevator in service even before they knocked on my door.

The next sign I saw is how they spread rollers over the hardwood floor of the condo so their dollies wouldn't leave any mark (and move more smoothly!).

It was just a two men crew, but they worked fast. They took an immediate survey of what needed to be moved, identified which were the more fragile items, and then got to work. Here is a picture of the dresser - they removed the mirror and wrapped it in blankets for safety, and then shrink wrapped the rest of the dresser so there would be no scratches.

The sofa was truly a work of art. My sofas aren't really condo sized, but really large (the comfy ones you can sink into). They took out the legs and then wrapped it in blankets, and then in shrink wrap.

They had a 26 foot truck, and we were able to fit everything in one trip.

Inside the truck, the wall of the truck had notches where you could attach belts with hooks. Thus all the furniture was securely tied up and held in place.

Everything was done on time, and we reached the second condo at 2 pm, right when I had booked the elevator there. Once again, everything was done properly. Each piece of furniture was placed where I wanted it to be, and they were very professional about everything. The movers were also courteous and polite, and it was really a pleasure to do business with them. I would not hesitate to recommend Viktoria to anyone requiring a move here.

And I recommend everyone to spend a little bit more money for that peace of mind when you move.

Monday, May 11, 2015

The Mystery of the Disappearing Enid Blyton

I love reading, and growing up I had a library of books at home. Unlike many others, I can actually pinpoint the first book that I read which would make me fall in love with reading itself.

The Mystery of the Invisible Thief, by Enid Blyton. I still have my copy from 1989, back when I was still in primary school. It opened an amazing world to me - kids my age having adventures, going places by themselves, solving mysteries and having a "smashing time" that I could only dream of. It also helped that this was one of the best books from Blyton's best series - The 5 Find Outers - so before long I was rushing off to finish other books from other series such as The Famous Five and The Secret Seven.

I recently started to commute to work by public transit, after a decade of driving to work. The long time spent on the bus and subway meant I had to fill that with something (other than sleep!), so I returned to an old love - books. And I managed to dig out my old collection of Blyton novels and especially the 5 Findouter series. And the books are perfect for my hour long commute. Enough time (to and from work) to finish one book!

Enid Blyton was one prolific writer. Everyone of us who grew up in the Middle East in the 80s and 90s grew up reading her books. From Malory Towers (oh my God school can be this fun?), Noddy (really for kids but so funnily politically incorrect now), the fantasy Faraway Tree series, as well as her Adventure and Mystery series of books. My favourite - of course - remains the 5 Findouters.

Not only was she a fun and easy read for young children, but boy she was hilarious as well. These are excerpts from the Mystery of the Strange Bundle.

It was all I could do to stop myself from bursting out into uncontrollable laughter on the subway. I am sure my co-passengers would have reported a crazy 30+ year old man reading children's books and laughing like a madman, but this was how funny that book was.

In fact, one lady seating beside me once suddenly told me, "Wow! Enid Blyton! You don't see those books here now!"

And that was what led me to post this - I wonder why. Why do kids nowadays not have the same pleasure we had of reading Enid Blyton's books? Why is she hardly known amongst children today? My mom used to read her books as a child, and so did all my teachers, and then so did I and all my friends and cousins. If Twilight is what young kids read nowadays, I feel sorry for this generation.