Saturday, December 30, 2006

Closing Jordan Planet: Wrong Decision

There's nothing to justify closing Jordan Planet. The quality of posts have not really detoriorated from before but it's now harder to follow. In case the administration felt there were too many blogs, it could have simply frozen some blogs especially those inactive ones, or restrict posting to a certain number of posts per week or month, or come up with different suggestions.

If it was to make a new design for the planet, that could have been done without shutting down the site for six months, and if the bloggers were asked I'm almost certain they'd prefer keeping Jordan Planet rather than closing it for six month to add new colors.

Besides, the old Jordan Planet where the front page was full of picutres was much more attractive to read than the most recent where almost no photos would appear on the front page.

I really don't know who's running the planet other than Isam, he did a wonderful job creating the planet, and if needed help I'm sure many bloggers would be more than happy to, but closing down the site seems like avoiding solving a problem rather than dealing with it.

Again, if there are other reasosns for closing JP we need to know.

Friday, December 29, 2006

America needs Sawsan Tuffaha

The cable news channels in the US are useless. You watch the news bulletin for one hour and it would be interrupted at least five times by commercials, and the news itself is just one line followed by different headlines in big fonts and arrows and colors then appear a few people to discuss the story. It doesn't matter who these people are, nobody knows, but they need to have different points of view and the viewer is to take sides. That makes the news exciting! The problem is that it's really difficult tot tell what the piece of news was. Among all of these debates you really miss the actual news.

What's worse? the news itself. Celebrities get most of the attnetion, the stupid legal cases that affect nobody like a missing girl in Aruba or three college students raping a strip dancer and this news took more space than the war in Iraq and definitely than news in any other area in the world.

The Sawsan-Tuffaha news is the one when someone who doesn't smile or frown shows up on a TV screen at a certain time, shoots the news for 20 minutes straight in your face, nonstop, no commercials, all serious news, and celebrties are mentioned in it only when they die. News are not enjoyable anyway, you'd be a moron to enjoy watching news about wars and earthquakes but that's the news and that's how it's supposed to be.

Many Americans are getting their news first from comedians like Jay Leno and Bill Maher even the Jon Stewart before they get it from what's supposed to be the real news channels!

America needs Sawsan Tuffaha.


Here's of clips from Jon Stewart making fun of cable news, hilarious!!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

A Christmas Diary

It was mid-December and I haven't decided yet what I should do for Christmas. I remembered my first Christmas in the US which I spent with my gay friend and his lover, and that time I made a decision not to spend any Christmas in Arizona anymore. I bought a super-expensive ticket to Chicago to visit my sister there. Cool.

Next... Gifts, yes I gotta get some gifts... Let's see , I was overloaded with work from Dec 5th till the 23 rd with NO DAYS OFF at all. The only day when I could shop was the 24th, the day of my flight. My flight was scheduled at 6 pm, so I had some time to shop in the morning.

I woke up at 9, watched TV and played FIFA World Cup 2006 and won the cup again with Argentina, and this time I defeated Brazil 11-0 in the final. Although that was the 46th time that I win with Argentina, I am still celebrating everytime they win by kicking the sofa 12 repetitive times and jumping on my bed for 5 minutes and, occasionally, running to my patio and screaming "3aaaaaaaa" until my neighbor's dog starts barking. Now it's 11am and I'm really screwed because I had to drive to the airport in Phoenix and that takes 2 hours (unless you're drunk then it's 1 hour 15 minutes) and I still have to do my Christmas shopping. I took a quick shower and was about to leave, then I heard a knock on my door. It was my neighbor. I opened the door...

"Hi" she said, and the smell of beer spread across my apartment and filled it replacing the smell of the old rotten yogurt I bought in August and was too lazy to throw away.

She continued, "listen, I know you're going to Chicago, Chris (her boyfriend) is a crazy Chicago Bears' fan , he wants that Bears cap that Snoop dogg wears in his last video".

"How does the cap look like?"

"I don't know, I don't watch Snoop Dogg, but it's black and covered with red in the front and has a big red C on it, it's not orange, it's red, and the C is different from C in Cubs. Chris told me that cap looks naaaasty!"

"Do you know what's the video? I can check it on youtube"

"It has tam tam tana tana in it" then she started moving her head circumferentially.

"But there's like 5 million songs that have tam tam tana tana in them!"

"Let's google it"

I googled everything and went to the Chicago Bear's website and couldn't find the freakin cap she was talking about, and somehow I convinced her that the Chicago Bears made Snoop Dogg a special cap just for that clip.

"Now what should I get him for the new year? He loves the bears"

I felt sorry for her, so I searched ebay for the Bears products and found a T-shirt for their star Brian Urlacher with a print on it "Brian Urlacher will make you his bitch"!! She was sooooo happy when she found it and she bought it.

Now it was 12.30, I called my friend in Phoenix and he told me to come early so we can hang out together before the flight. I went to the Mall on my way and did my Christmas shopping in 20 minutes. I was in Phoenix by about 3.

I called my friend on his cell.... no answer.
I called again... wala eshi

I rang the bell of his house, nobody opened.
I was about to open the door and go check inside, but I remembered there was another guy living with him with a 3agel karaki who's never met me, and maybe if he sees me coming in like that he might grab his gun and shoot me in the face. Retrospecitvely I know now that he was sleeping. I did not come in. I called another friend, we had lunch then I headed toward the airport.

I was supposed to go to terminal 4 but I went to terminal 3 instead. I thought to myself "ma howeh kulhom terminals" . I parked there. I'm not sure if there's a longterm parking but if there was one I did not use it. I parked in the regular parking where they charge your ass 3 dollars an hour. I was short of time so I just parked and took my two carry-ons and left. I realized that when you're supposed to go to terminal 4, you need to park there. I had to take a bus to terminal 4 and that wasted a lot of time.

I arrived at the security check and stood in the line. My Arab paranoia started to kick in. I remembered that some airports in the US started to hire specialists in psychological profiling. These people observe the behavior of the passengers standing in security checkups and if they a strange behavior they'd take the passenger and search him very carefully and ask him a zillion questions. Just knowing that someone might be observing me made me nervous, and now I thought to myself, "I'm a young Arab male with an Arabic passport traveling on Christmas Eve, alone, not even carrying my passport or any of my work documents, and totally unshaven, add to that that my karsh gives the impression that I'm hiding four explosive belts. " I thought that if I was one of those who do psychological profiling I would definitely stop "me" and ask myself questions.

Then I remembered that I put my shaving razor inside my carry-on. Oops! Is that allowed? I didn't now and still don't know, but that just worsened my paranoia. I kept smiling and smiling and I was smiling even more that how much late Rafe3 Shaheen would smile for a female contestant. I passed through security in less than 30 seconds, no questions asked, no carry-ons opened or searched. My only thought was "these security people let me pass smoothly, they need some extra training".

I arrived at the gate at 6.25, my flight was scheduled to take off at 6.35 and yes it did. I was the last passenger to check in! I was totally surprised. It was a Southwest flight and on Christmas eve and still took off on time. In case you've never traveled Southwest, it works like the public buses, whoever gets in the plane first would sit where he likes, and it might stop on its way to drop and pickup passengers without changing planes. The flight went fine, except when I had to use their extremely tiny one restroom shared by the 150 passengers on the plane. I'll try not to be very graphic, but when a male is releasing his liquidish product of metabolism, he has to point well down to where it is supposed to land, and with all the turbulences during the flight nothing of that was possible. Looking at how the restroom looked like whenI went in, I was sure that at least five men had that same problem before me.

I arrived, it was nice to meet the family. Today was Christmas and we went to have the Christmas lunch at the house of my brother-in-law's aunt who lost her husband last month, so the whole family in Chicago (over 40 people) went to her house for lunch.

On the way there I asked my brother-in-law, "What should I tell them there, Merry Christmas or Yeslam Raasko (sorry for your loss)?

He replied," Say Merry Christmas, her husband died more than a month ago, and it's Christmas now, say Merry Christmas"

then my sister interrupted , "you should say Yeslam Raasko, because so far you haven't paid condolences and this is your first visit there, so we should say Merry Christmas but you're supposed to say Yeslam raasko"

then my brother-in-law said, "Listen habibi, people will greet you first, and they will say Merry Christmas first, so you can just reply back with Merry Christmas"

I was still confused about what to say, so when I got there I decided not to say anything. I just shook hands and nodded my head and made some sounds with my mouth with a lot of "Sh" and "S' and "e3" and believe me when you say these words in a low voice repetitively while nodding your head they would give the impression that you are saying real words of a greeting that the other person cannot hear. Surprisingly, you'll find the other person nodding his head and saying words that you cannot understand.

Then came a young man and handled me a cup of coffee (gahweh sadah), and the dilemma was whether or not I should shake the cup when I'm done and what to say, Merry Christmas or Yeslma Raasko. It shouldn't sound that bad except that there were all these men who I barely know watching me and I felt that if I made a mistake they'd be talking about it up until the next Christmas (and their wives would talk about it forever). The man who gave me the coffee stood next to me waiting for me to finish it. I drank the coffee really slowly, thinking of should I do. I thought about dropping that cup and breaking it and pretend it was an accident, but the floor was covered with carpet, it wouldn't break. Then, thank God, that man turned his head to he other side to look for something, and in the blinking of an eye I extended my hand to the nearby table and landed the cup of coffee there.

We had lunch, a damn good one, and just before I left the unbelievable happened again, another man came next to me and handled me another cup of coffee. I took the coffee, drank it, but this time the man did not leave or turn his head, he was standing in front of me as if he was saying ,"and now what will you do ya tabara?"

I drank the coffe, then looked at the man and handled him the cup as I was saying "esh" and "e3" and "ess" while nodding my head, gave him a smile, and then asked my brother-in-law about when are we going to leave.

I love Christmas :)

Merry Christmas

Bethlehem in 1896

"People continue to die of hunger and thirst, disease and poverty, in this age of plenty and of unbridled consumerism"......

That was a good reminder on a Christmas Eve!

Merry Christmas

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Try this at home

I was called at 6 in the morning to admit this old man to the ICU because he couldn't breathe. The ER doctor was very concerned because he was having angioedema.
Angioedema is a very rapid swelling of the throat which usually results from an allergy. This man started to take a new medication a day before that he was allergic to, so his neck swelled up in a few minutes and he came to the ER.

I went to see him. He could not talk at all, his tongue and the entire neck were massively swollen. He tried to speak but no words came out. The biggest concern was for his throat to completely close up and he would then stop breathing. That was a matter of time, probably a few minutes.

To prevent him from dying we had to make a big hole (called tracheostomy) in his neck to allow him to breathe. Cool. The only problem is that I don't know how to make this hole, I've never done it and never will, I'm not trained to and I'm not officially supposed to. I turned to the ER doctor and asked him about it, and I could see him almost shitting in his pants because he didn't know how to do it either. We had to call the specialist and bring him from home to do it. That would usually take at least half an hour to do and by then the patient would be in heaven singing with angels.

We gave the patient a bunch of medications and we were hoping they would still work. We gave extra doses of each medication and still waited to see some improvement. Time passed and the old man started to breathe better... good, then he started talking and that was great. An hour later he was able to speak well so by the time the surgeon arrived to the hospital in his pyjama there was no need to stick a knife in the man's throat.

The old man told me the story

"I woke up with this pain in my neck. I couldn't move it and I felt I was losing my breath"

"So did you call 911 for help?"

"No, I couldn't speak, if I called them what the hell was I gonna say, I couldn't say anything"

"Well sir if you would have called 911 and you didn't say anything they will locate your address and come in to your place"

"Oh, I didn't know that!"

"Ok so what did you do, how did you come in to the hospital? Did someone drive you here"

"No, I drove myself, but I didn't know the address to the hospital, it's been a long time since I've been here"

"Did you drive here while you were out of breath"

"Yes I had to, I didn't find another way, the problem is that I forgot how to get in"

"What did you do?"

"I stopped by a couple who were jogging and asked them for directions"

"But you couldn't talk....."

"That's right, but I had a pen, I wrote my questions down on a piece of paper "How do I get to the VA Hospital?"


" ....but the couple did not the address, they told me it's in the South but they didn't exactly where. "

"So what did you do? Did you ask other people?"

"No, it was 5 in the morning and the street was empty, so I went back home and checked the address on the internet and got in here"

"where you out of breath all this time?"

"Yes, I felt I was gonna die, but I had to do something"

"If this happens next time, call 911 immediately and they'll come pick you up"

"What if they I didn't have a phone around?"

"We will give you allergy needles, if you couldn't breathe grab one of these needles and inject yourself with them until you get to the hospital"

"What if they did not work"

I thought for a second then told him, "then grab a knife a stick it in the middle of your neck, that's where your breathing tube is located, and this can help you breathe. With all honesty that's exactly what we were about to do in the emergency room"

I was waiting for him to ask ,"what if there was no knife around" but he didn't. He seemed to really like the idea of stabbing his neck with a knife.

He did well overnight and we discharged him home the following day.....

I just hope that he doesn't come one day to the ER with a knife sticking out of his throat and him wiriting on a piece of paper , "this is not working, what should I do now?"

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Good-bye Tom and Jerry

Very few men could come up with something that would unite the whole world
One of these men, Joe Barbera, died last night in LA.
Enjoy one of his clips......

Monday, December 18, 2006

Gimme a break

I admitted a patient one month ago to the hospital as a favor for the on-call team because they were very busy. He had a pneumonia (lung infection). Next day another team took over his care, I was expecting him to get better and leave in a couple of days.

Two weeks after that I was passing by and I found his name on the board. I was surprised he was still in the hopsital.

For a second I was concerned I made a mistake when I admitted him, "Have I missed something?? Did this man have a heart attack that I missed??"

I checked with his nurse.

"Hey why is Mr. X still here, I admitted him 2 weeks ago!"

"Yeah doc something happened in the hospital"


"Do you know nurse Glory doc?"

" Nurse Glory.... yeah I think so" and I was thinking of that chubby nurse who works in that section

" She was changing his IV doc, and she slipped, and she fell real hard doc, real hard"

" Wow! Is she OK"

"Yes she is , but Mr. X is not, she fell down on him doc, poor guy, she broke his hip, he got a DVT now (blood clot) and he can't walk"

"And how's his pneumonia"

"It's good doc, you fixed his lungs doc"

"That's good, now you gotta call someone to fix his hip"

Wednesday, December 13, 2006