Sunday, May 31, 2009

99 Red Balloons

Ninety-nine dreams I have had
Every one a red balloon
Now it's all over and I'm standin' pretty
In this dust that was a city
If I could find a souvenir
Just to prove the world was here
And here is a red balloon
I think of you and let it go

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Turth About Forbidden Lies and Norma Khouri (No Spoilers)

I was not sure whether or not I should be going to another movie about Jordan. I saw Body of Lies and that was terrible. However, Forbidden Lies seemed like a very serious documentary, dealing with a very real issue: honor killing in Jordan and the book : Forbidden Love that Norma Khouri had written a few years back and was revealed to be a hoax.

A local movie theater here in Tucson decided the movie was so good that they were going to squeeze it into their schedule and show it only once on a Wednesday evening. I was really hesitant to go. Despite the ugliness of honor crimes, I was not looking forward to seeing another movie showing us as clueless Bedouins who beat up women and watch all their movements and deprive them of any right, something that Norma Khouri had claimed in the beginning of her book. But with town half-dead in this heat, I had nothing better to do.

I was surprised by how many people showed up (more than a 100), even thought the movie was already on DVD. My only wish was for it to show something positive about Jordan. ANYTHING.

Briefly, Norma Khouri wrote a book about her best friend (Dalia) who was honor-killed sometime in 1997, and the father who murdered her got away with 3 months in jail. She wanted to tell her story to the world. The book became a best seller, and was well-received in the West. However, many stated-facts in the book were clearly big fat lies. (for example, as a spoiled Shmesani kid myself, I immediately recognized that books @ cafe did not exist before 1997).
Norma responded by saying that she had to modify a lot of things in the book to protect people. The director of the movie goes Norma a chance to defend herself. It also interviews and interacts with a few Jordanian personnel who work on honor killings in Jordan, including Rana Al-Husseini.

The movies is fantastic. It has many twist and surprises. It's really one of the best documentaries I've ever seen and an example on how looking for one piece of truth leads you to the full truth. I very highly recommend it to any person interested in honor killings, Jordan, or journalism overall. And at times it's very funny, we really got some sense of humor.

Regardless of what you think of Norma, her story could have been true and it did happen to many women and will happen this year and the year after. However writing a bunch of lies about her country and her people did hurt the cause of these victims and the country itself. If you think differently let me know!

Finally, the take-home-message from the movie could be: Jordan River does not flow through Amman! HAHAHAHAHA

here's the trailer:

Football's Malignant Fever

The following happened in Nigeria, not Abdoun.


Eurosport- A Manchester United fan in Nigeria killed four people when he drove his minibus into a crowd of Barcelona supporters after his team lost the Champions League final.

The crowd in the town of Ogbo were celebrating Barcelona's victory after the match when the bus drove into them. A police spokeswoman said 10 people were injured and the driver was arrested.

"The driver had passed the crowd then made a U-turn and ran into them," she said.
Barcelona beat Manchester United 2-0 in what was hailed as a dream final between two of Europe's best clubs. Both teams have large fan bases in Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Diary of a 20-something Ammanite

I'm writing this just to tell you how awesome I think I am. I mean I really keep surprising myself with how much great of a person I am. On many occasions I say something really smart that surprises people, they don't say it but I'm sure they just feel it. Also I'm sooo good looking. I always pick my clothes carefully and I look fascinating when I enter a room and all eyes turn on me. I'm so great to be with, and I have a lot of awesome friends who look great in all places and always say the right things. I don't know what it is but I just feel I'm a very special person and everyone else wants to be like me. Still not sure why I feel so great, could be my parents who are like the most important people in Jordan and everyone respects them, or maybe my house which is really huge and designed by that French designer my father brought from Paris to design our awesome house. My car is awesome and everyone in Jordan dreams of riding in it.

My school is the best school in the Middle East and my teachers were the best in their colleges so I must be great like them. I also have a great voice and can sing in 4 languages and I always rock in Karaoke nights. I have appeared on 7 editions of Layalina and I have like a 1000 friends on facebook many of whom are from those weird countries and have those weird names who just want to be my friends because I am soooo frickin' awesome.

I love myself more than anything else. When I look at myself in the mirror I want to kiss myself and make love to myself because I'm a super cool Jordanian and best-est-est human that ever existed and I am the hottest piece of shit that ever stepped on this planet. I am so special. I love myself and love everyone and love everything and everyone and everything loves me back.

I only hate narcissists.

Monday, May 25, 2009

واحد وستين عاماً من العزلة

لا تصالحْ!
..ولو منحوك الذهب
أترى حين أفقأ عينيك
ثم أثبت جوهرتين مكانهما..
هل ترى..؟

Friday, May 22, 2009

BiWeekly Video" Great Debate on WaterBoarding

This is a great debate on a absolute trashy morning show in the US named the View, that occasionally hosts interesting hosts, like a former governer named Jesse Ventura. He's against waterboarding while the blonde girl from Survivor is for it.

This comes as part of my bimonthly aweomse videos with less than 500,000 viewes on youtube

(At the end, Ventura mentions Sharon Tate, who was a young actress murdered in mysterious cicrumstances 40 years ago. Great quote!!)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Sex in..... Gaza????

As I was surfing through dozens of infectious disease journal Icame across this interesting article in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases (Volume 13, Issue 3, May 2009, Pages 334-341 ) about the prevalence of Chlamydia among women visiting infertility clinics in Gaza. Chlamydia is one of the most common sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs) in the world.

The study was conducted by researchers from Al-Azhar University, The Islamic University and the Medical Military Services all located in Gaza in 2005 and 2006. 109 women were screened, and 20.2% of them were found to be infected with Chlamydia.

Although Chlamydia is a very common cause of STDs, it is not the only one. The study did not investigate further if the same group of women or other women were infected with other STDs, which is very possible. At the same time we cannot extrapolate this high percentage of infection to the rest of the community living in Gaza because women who visit infertility clinics tend to have a higher chance of being infected with an STD.

I am still somewhat surprised. I will assume that most of these women were infected by their husbands. Men can get this infection from women or men. These results should be an eye opener not only to people living in Gaza whose last worry is getting an STD, but also to other people living in the Middle East. Gaza is not exactly known to be a safe haven for the sexually promiscous, and yet one out of five women there carries an STD. I wonder how the results in Amman or Dubai would look like. Chlamydia is easily curable, but other STDs (like syphilis, HIV, HPV) harbor very serious longterm consequences on those who are exposed to them and their human and economic cost can be incredibly high for countries with tight budgets like Jordan or Palestine.

To read the abstract for free, click here.

Suing Jordan

A Jordanian-American couple living in Las Vegas are suing Jordan after their son, Firas Zaidan. They claim he was beaten to death which being arrested there.

For details, do not check any local Jordanian newspaper. Check this local Vegas paper.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

I Know Who Killed Me

A story about corruption in a Latin American country like Guatemala might sound boring, until you watch this personal video of a lawyer.

This lawyer, named Rosenberg, had previously defended a client named Khalil Musa. Khalil Musa was later assassinated, and Rosenberg claimed the president of Guatemala, Alvaro Colom, had a hand in it.

Rosenberg (the lawyer) then felt threatened, so he taped this video. It was a message to his people in the case he got murdered.

Indeed, he got murdered six days ago.

Then the tape was released.

It's about 9 minutes, you may just watch the first 15 seconds to know why it's causing a huge crisis in Guatemala.

Anyway, if I die soon, it's because the Lebanese song director Jad Chowayri assassinated me. I'd love to get that bastard in trouble.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Another Reason to Stand Against the Death Penalty

Paul House, convicted of killing and raping a woman in 1986, freed from prison 22 years later.
He was scheduled to be executed next month.
How can one be against abortion but for the death penalty?

Friday, May 08, 2009

Another Awesome Football Video

This is one of those moments that makes you appreciate how awesome football is, with all its surprises and unpredictibiliess (is this a word?)

Khoshi Khoshi Khoshi

Hey Saudis: Can you please.... Stop Raping Your Children?

The word marriage can let you get away with a lot of things, especially in the Arab world. It legitimizes sex between unmarried adults, prostitution, forcing a women into sex with her husband, and recently, it was clear to everyone how "marriage" was a way for low-life pedophiles into practising their sick paraphilias in a country that has the reputation of being very conservative, whatever conservative means these days in Arabia.

To define pedophilia, you have to define what a child is. There's an argument whether 16 or 18 should be the legal age of marriage. When the child's age is less than 15, the arguments start to fade away. However when you start arguing that children as young as 10 should be allowed to consent for marriage, you are an absolute moron.

We had a lot of strange practises in old times. A lot of other countries did. We are not in any way better or worse than most of them. However through the process of civilization nations started evolving into better ones. A major key in civilization is the well-being of all people living in a community, especially those who can easily be abused, like people from a certain ethnicity, religious background, women and children. Those groups had nobody to speak for them. Most nations who advance are the ones that pay attention to those little people.

In Saudi Arabia, there is nobody to speak for women or children. Raping a child is very traumatic, and it leaves them with terrible psychological consequences they will rarely ever recover from. For the little girl in the fifth grade, all what she can see and feel in those marriages is a man (usually an old guy) touching her genitals and forcing her into something very awful, very strange and impossible to understand for someone her age. It really doesn't make it any better when the government tells her that she's supposed to live with this abuser for the rest of her life, being under his command in whatever he does. Her only slavation would be if her man picks up another girl from the third grade to be his wife and let her go.

This is child rape. Do not spice it up. Do not defend it.

Monday, May 04, 2009


Enjoy the six goals that Barcelona hammered Real Madrid's net with. I apologize for Real Madrid's fans for not posting their 2 goals: they were not well-deserved.

Seriously, if it wasn't for Real's goalie Casillas, it would have easily ended 15-0.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Your Facebook Status: Your Short Diary

A friend told me she stores her facebook stati. I liked the idea, you look one year back and it reminds of things, usually tiny things that can bring memories from good times you had. I'll do this every year or so. The most recent are first...

- America: STOP YOUR SEXISM. if you're gonna allow women to breastfeed in public, you should allow men to urinate in public without being charged with "public nudity". Men are human too

- is upset that "bitch" isn't part of my cell phone's sms auto-dictionary , I may need to start calling people by their real names

-is asking people not to panic over the swine infleunza, even though if you get it your skin will PERMNANETLY BECOME PINK AND YOUR FECES WILL SMELL LIKE BACON, FOREVEr, but don't panic , calm down...

- You know you're not eating healthy when the fire alarm goes off every time you fart

-encouraging people not to panic about the swine influenza, even though IT CAN TRANSFORM YOUR FACE TO MAKE IT LOOK LIKE A PIG IF YOU GET THE INFECTION.... DO NOT PANIC PEOPLE, DO NOT PANIC

-As much as I love myself as much as I hate narcissists

-I'm so amazed by the enormous amount of asbestos found in the office and already considering giving donations for mesothelioma research

-wishes the government was just as a creative and aggressive as the influenza virus

-Free medical advice from Dr. Masannat: to stop a hiccup hold your breath for 20 minutes

-Fuck Susan Boyle.. ok? FUCK SUSAN BOYLE. F-U-C-K S-U-S-A-N B-O-Y-L-E

- microbiology 101: candida smells like baked bread, Pseudomonas smells like grapes, gram negative anaerobes smell like my car

-So annoyed by my neighbor who keeps trashing the street every Saturday night. I think it might be the right time now to make him an offer he can't refuse

-I terribly miss Jordan around Easter time (not as much the rest of the year)

-I received a coupon from Southwest for a free drink on one of their flights. I'll be happy to mail to anyone who wants it but I guess it will stop at four mailing stations before it reaches your address.

-Every insect on this planet -or at least my bathroom- can be shrunk to a third of its original size with only 10 cc of Absolut Vodka

-Dust, heat, cold, rain, poop of unkown origin on the road, knowing about every accident, road closure and song dedication in Tucson, Phoenix, Yuma and LA, middle fingers, dead dogs, dead cattle, talking to voices in my head, voices talking back... things you encounter when you drive from Tucson to LA

-I'm totally against the death penalty, except for those who make collar shirts without those small pockets. Those designers need to be executed naked upside down in public stadiums and beaten up afterwards Mussolini-style

- haven't done my taxes yet, in hope to be picked for Obama's cabinet...

-Fever is not a state of vanco+zosyn deficiency, thank you very much

-I do not like all those facebook quizzes, at least those that tell me I'm a lesbian

-Will always stand behind Argentina, led by the most genius super-human to ever touch a ball and dance with it, the greatest human alive Mr. Diego Armando Maradona... Diego, football's your bitch

- Message to all my patients: I'm now officially accepting tips. On the door of my clinic you'll find 2 cups: kindly drop your tip in the blue one and your stool sample in the green one

-decided to be his own primary care physician, and has already talked himself out getting a rectal

-Keep your toothbrush 6 feet away from the toilet seat to avoid contamination. Or you can just do like me and bring a toothpaste with a very powerful mint flavor

-I realized today I'm not exactly slim enough to walk between 2 parked cars. My apology for setting off car alarms at the UMC parking today

-Does solving complex Math equations on my butt make me a smart ass?

-wondering if my neck pain, ear numbness and the delicious taste of gram (-) anaerobes in my mouth have anything to do with my visit to the dentist last week

-Can't stop smelling the 1930 World Cup Argentina Football shirt he got on ebay. mmm that arousing smell of sweat from 80 years ago, can't wait to buy the shorts

- Is it normal to get high for 3 hours after visiting a dentist?

-Staying in Sedona is like marriage; it's great only in the very beginning and most people say they're having much more fun than they actually are.

-For lent I'm giving up rational thinking. The church should honor me: not only am I giving up something, but all my patients will start praying more

- is going to become vegetarian for some time. That measure is expected to increase the population of beef worldwide by 300%

-just knew that Viva La Vida was chosen as the best song of 2008. I guess Jizzed in My Pants wasn't sophisticated enough for those chauvenistic judges.

- is so glad he personally participated in physically doing a fecal transplantion today. I can't get that aphrodisic smell out of my nose

-is experimenting with matches while listening to Sunny came home... (Kathy if you're reading I'm just kidding I swear to God)

-if facebook wants to add "Like" beside each status, they should also add "Doesn't like" or a middle finger as well.

- is still bidding heavily on Mafioso Joe Bonano's eyeglasses. He can't wait to lick them to taste the suspense (and blood if he hadn't cleaned after his victims)

- is observing Charles Darwin's 200th birthday. In his memory I will throw bananas at my neighbor's door and take a dump in their backyard

-is spending Valentine with person I love the most and will always love and serve more than anybody in the whole world... I'm dating myself

- A woman with 6 kids decided to have 8 more and is asking for donations. I'll donate money to do whatever it takes to push those babies up where they came from

-watched Waltz with Bashir. It will ruin your day, make you feel helpless, useless and weak, and will suck your soul. You really really have to watch it.

-is tired of explaining that Jordanians do not eat dogs or cats (but a pair of old fashioned juicy goat testicles....hmm.. we would kill for that)

- is suffering from FUFS(Fucked-Up Foot Syndrome). The major risk factor for FUFS is insisting on wearing your new shoes even when they're too small for your feet

- is working on his visa renewal. Plenty of paper work, paying lots of money, mailing stuff, whatever it takes to not end up selling falafel in manhatten

-is shokced Comcast viewers in Tucson had to see that naked-men ad during the Super Bowl. Ads like these should only be on COX.. (baaad joke, i'm going to hell)

- is excited about Arizona playing in the American football Super Bowl today, until then he's watching a REAL football game between Liverpool and Chelsea

- is watching the debates about stimulating the economy. Here's my suggestion for a great stimulus package: Jessica Alba

- is learning new things from his infection control rotation. From now on he'll start washing his hands after each rectal exam

- is now convinced by the voices in his head that he can light his brain farts. Hey Tucson Fire Department: Watch Out!

-watched My Bloody Valentine. A bit scary but very inspiring. It inspired me to bring an ax to work tomorrow

- George W. Bush: FUCK OFF.

-on this great Martin Luther King Day I'd like to send my best wishes to African Americans living in South Dakota, all 3 of them

-is glad that all passengers survived in that plane crash in NYC. Not only that, but those lucky bastards will get back their 15 dollar luggage check-in fee

-had it with those patients who don't show up to clinic because they're sick or "got the flu". I'm an INFECTIOUS DISEASE doctor for God's sake...!

- I love big butts is a great morning song.

- is devastated about the terrible massacres happening in Gaza every day.

- is wondering if stealing the bible at his hotel room would be considered a sin. I may have to read the bible to know (will be skipping the 10 commandments)

- wishes everyone a non-tragic, non-catastrophic, satisfactory acceptable new year.

- is starting the period of saving lots of money on haircuts. Hint: become bald.

- the curious case of Benjamen Button: the curious case of how a shitty terrible awfully long movie gets excellent reviews.

- is pissed from his neighbor who blocked his garage. I'm gonna tell her 2 little kids today that Santa is fake. Merry Christmas!!!

- watched slumdog millionaire, it's a proof that you can have a wonderful Indian movie with very little dancing, and with the movie lasting less than 9 hours

- congrtulates his friend Rob for making his first solo flight. I would also like to tell people that I bought a new Hoover and assembled it myself. So we're even.

- OK, no more Christmas carols before 12/24. Remember, even when Jesus himself was born there were no Christmas carols on radio.

- is tolerant to lactose, intolerant to lactose fermenters....

- I don't know about you guys, but I don't really like it when my patient on the vent wakes up for a second , looks at me and then gives me the finger

- is excited about doing his first stool transplantation. It really saves lives. Give me feces or give me death.

- saw Quantum of Solace today. What a quantum of bullshit.

- believes that women should be independent. They shouldn't blindly follow what their husbands tell them to do, except of course if you were Hillary Clinton

- is shopping for tickets + hotel in Oralndo this January. Hey Congress, you bastards, I want an 800-dollar bailout

- because it's very cold in most states now, why the hell don't they send all their firefighters to LA? Montana and the Dakotas: redistribute your firefighters

- is planning on attending the World Cup in 2014 in Brazil, can't wait for the tickets to go on sale in February 2013

- strongly advises everyone to never iron their shirts while wearing them. Those irons can be very hot.

- has some sewage leakage in the house. Thank God it's being fixed now by Joe the Plumber.

- will be missing Tina Fey.

- Obama, will he pave the way for a Kenyan invasion of America?Will 50 cent become his advisor? Will he erect a statue for Stalin? just predicting new McCain ads

- enjoyed looking at the first plane ever flown successfully by humans in 1903. I'd rather fly with this plane than with Southwest.

- discovered a new disease, and called it Frozen Ball Syndrome (FBS). The major risk factor for FBS is going from Arizona to D.C. without bringing winter clothes.

- was glad to have a poster at the IDSA meeting. He was also glad to go thru the experience of being ignored by 13 thousand people from every corner of the world

- misses the smell of formalin in the morgue from the days of his second year medical school. He'll go smell his jar of pickles to bring back the memories

- can't imagine how someone's ass can get kicked for one hundred years? Any idea, Cubs fans?

- is hoping his new thick old-fashioned eyeglasses with the super gigantic thick lenses will add to his nerd cred

- is suspending his clinical research to focus on the economy.

- People should not complain about things they get for free. If you don't like the new facebook quit using it.

- watched "Burn after Reading". Can't wait to see its sequel... "Forget after Seeing"

- McCain never failed to shock me. I think he will win this thing. Shit!

- shouldn't have tried that massage-sofa at Sam Levitz today. My apology to the workers at the store. They'll know why tomorrow.

- is amazed by the 8 gold medals Mike Phelps got in Beijing. I bet I can get more medals, but fart-lighting isn't considered an official Olympic sport :(

Friday, May 01, 2009

My Experience with Swine Influenza

I sat down with four other infectious disease physicians in a small room this afternoon to discuss a problem: we don't have any drugs left to treat influenza.

It was worse, we were running out of kits that do the rapid test to check for influenza. We have to run test that take a long time to come up with a result

We had 10 patients who almost certainly had the swine influenza virus, which makes me think we have hundreds of cases only in town. In the US, it's almost certain there are thousands of patient with the infection who are yet to be diagnosed, and probably will never get diagnosed.

The CDC (Center for Disease Control) encouraged anyone with symptoms resembling influenza to go to the ER. Meanwhile, they told physicians to not check those with mild or moderate symptoms for the virus. So we have more people coming to the ER with large numbers, but we won't be testing them.

Our ER is full, so we are emptying one of our wards and transferring all patients coming in with such symptoms to that ward. Most will not be tested, and only the very sick will be admitted to the hospital and treated. I'm still not sure were will the drugs come from , but they will come from somewhere. Even in America, you'll need someone influential to push some buttons and get some drugs sent to those who need them.

Homeland security (headed by the former Arizona governer) will be shipping doses of Tamiflu (influenza drug) that will be enough to treat 30 patients in our hospital. It's harsh to say that, but I'm glad the first case of swine influenza was reported in Arizona yesterday, which allowed them to send us some Tamiflu. It didn't occur to them that Arizona borders Mexico, and that we have hundreds of people coming to Arizona from Mexico everyday.

And here comes the challenge: we had to make a policy of treating only a certain group of patients who we believe will be the sickest and who may actually die from this influenza. It's not an easy decision to tell someone with the infection that they will not be treated because there isn't enough drug on board.

What makes things less dramatic is the fact that those drugs work only within 2 days of the onset of symptoms, so even without the extreme shortage that we're experiencing we wouldn't have treated a lot of those infected to start with.

Last year I took part of an enormous workshop lead by former Surgeon General Richard Carmona to teach students from the colleges of medicine, pharmacy and law about the dangers and implications of an influenza epidemic. It was a little overwhelming for most participants, but the point we all agreed upon: We can never be 100% ready to face an epidemic. The ethical and economic challenges of any epdiemic can be more dangerous than the epidemic itself.

Take this for example: In 1972 in Yugoslavia, one citizen came back from Saudi Arabia carrying a small pox, and infection that had been eradicated long before that. This one person infected many relatives, and those relatives spread the infection all over the country. The military had to act and lock those infected or even anyone with symptoms in buildings. They forced everyone in the country to be vaccinated, and held checkpoints to make sure everyone was vaccinated, and would force everyone to get the vaccine. They succeeded in eradicating the infection, and thanks to science smallpox has been eradicated from the face of the earth since 1979.

If you think the military would only violate the privacy and freedom of citizens in communist Yugoslavia, think again. If the US was faced with a similar epidemic , it won't be surprising to see soldiers down the streets forcing sick people to stay home, forcing laws that decide on the patients who need to be treated, and shutting down schools and arresting whoever aims at spreading mass hysteria and panic among people.

Fortunately, this current swine influenza epidemic is similar to "the regular human influenza" that have affected everyone of us several times in our lives. Even though the number of those infected will continue to rise, and very few people may succumb to the diseases, it's nothing out of the ordinary and most infected people will recover beautifully. This outbreak showed that we are much better prepared for epidemics than we were a century ago, a lot of work still needs to be done, and influenza will keep mutating and hitting and the next hit may not be as soft as this one.

And Egypt slaughtered all pigs- for this moment I am ashamed of being an Arab, seriously.