Thursday, December 14, 2006

Garden variety of choices

People ask me why do I love living in the United States ? I say it is the choices that are present in the United States & can't be found any where else are the main reason.

It is up to the individuals themselves to make whatever choice they want to make, and when the choice turns out to be a bad one they have no one to blame but themselves. Why? Because it is they who made the choice in the first place, the parents don't make choices for their children in here, the teachers, the doctor, the lawyer, or your next door neighbor don't make choices for you, it is you who make a choices for yourself.

If you don't like your present job, quit and look for another job somewhere else, the opportunity is there for you, you just have to look for it and it isn't too much to ask for.

If you don't like living in this part of the town, then pick up your stuff and move to whatever part of the town that suits your need, you need not be stuck living in the same place or same neighborhood for the rest of your life.

If you don't like your appearance change it, either by changing the way you dress, the way you style your hair, or you can even change your entire facial expressions if you really want to do that.

If you don't like your car then sell it and buy another car with another model and more horse power to it, you need not stay stuck with the same car for ever.

I mean all of these are just samples to give you an idea about the wide variety of choices that exist in America, they are by no means representative of every choice but I'm sure that you get the jest of it.

It is very nice in my opinion to be able to decide for yourself, it gives you a sense of empowerment, a feeling of boldness, and when the choice turns out to be great you feel the ecstasy emanating out of you. By the same token when your choice turns out to be bad you feel the agony of defeat, but still it isn't so bad because it was you who made those good and bad choices in the first place.

I recently made a choice to be involved in the lives of the gifted and academically enriched children ages 11 to 14, and what an exciting experience it turned out to be, those gifted children have a lot of talents hidden underneath their sleeves, you be surprised how much of cognitive skills they have, sometimes they keep me on my toes throughout the period that I spend with them.

This is by the way totally volunteer program aims at helping to further the knowledge and depth of abstract reasoning for children in sixth through eighth grade.

Some people may have a choice of working with senior citizens, some may choose to work with people that are physically and mentally challenged, some people choose to do nothing and live their life without doing any paid or unpaid work, the choice is still yours.

In America the choices are endless, the menu of choices is so long it could be wrapped around the entire globe several times and there would still be more choices written on it for you to choose from.

Endless choices

Monday, December 11, 2006

Investing 101

Following is my reader response to Mr. Mohammad El Huseini, program Editor for Business News at Al Arabiya . The article in question was published in Jordan Business monthly Magazine. Their link was posted by Oula yesterday. The link to the article itself appears at the bottom of the page.

Your article is both; informative and entertaining, the last paragraph about your mom's shares sums up the investment industry in an eloquent fashion. An average investor should never go wild trading on a daily or even weekly basis, he should learn from the institutional investors by waiting it out and stick to the original premise, buy low and sell high. When the average investor starts going wild with his investments techniques such as taking a loan on his house or mortgaging a piece of land that he owns in order for him to make a fast dollar in the fast moving stock market, he would be doing nothing but risking his nest egg that one day will crack and splash him right in his face, and that is what happened to many of the average investors who were investing in Amman stock exchange over the past year and a half or so. Investing is supposed to be a long term upward wealth building up project not a short term fast buck making. Those who fall victims to the get rich quick schemes have no one to blame but themselves. Buying stocks, bonds, and mutual funds ought to be incremental first and diversified second. No one should put all of his eggs in one basket, shares need to be bought in small parcels from variety of sources and companies including blue chip companies, emerging markets start ups, and even capital ventures' shares. It should never be limited to this company or that company because if this company goes down all of the purchased shares go down with it such as what happened with Enron, world com, and some of the others that went bankrupt over the past couple of years. Buy and hold is the key to investing, a 10% average annual return is a reasonable yield expectation. Any thing above that would put the investor into a higher degree of risk taking. We all heard moderation is the best modus operandi one ought to take, guess what; it applies to investing as well. Invest only the amounts that you can afford and you don't need to convert it into liquid cash on a short notice, set a side different budget for that kind of spending. When one enters the world of investing in the stock market one ought to understand that he is in it for the long haul.
Hatem Abunimeh

Saturday, December 09, 2006

1 state or 2 states,7340,L-3329865,00.html

The writer of the article In his sagacious analysis didn't factor in all the usurpation that has been taking place in the Palestinian occupied territories since June 1967. If he adds up all of the Israeli settlements blocks, the Jewish settlers only roads, the areas taken by the apartheid wall, and the newly planned additional housing units slated for expanding the existing settlements, it will leave him with only 45% of the land existed prior to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank in 1967.The residual land represents only about 10 to 12% of the historical Palestinian land. In addition, the realities on the ground nowadays tells a different story, Israel already has a total and complete control of all of the Palestinian territories, the three noncontiguous Palestinian enclaves as well as Gaza Strip are cut off from the outside world. In order for a viable two state solution to be implemented a complete reversal of everything that took place in the occupied territories need to be taken into consideration, a tall order that is impossible to achieve given the current circumstances. So yes a two state solution is equally as bad as one binational state solution. The only solution that is doable and achievable is the one that tells Israel to comply with the international resolutions spelled out in the United Nation Security council resolutions 242, and 338. While this demand may sound like a broken record since it usually falls on deaf ears, it remains to be the most powerful & the most widely recognized solution. Advocates of the one state and the two states may continue their dialogue in the coming months and years, unless Israel comes to the realization that the Palestinian people must be given their independence, we will continue with our futile haggling over one binational state and two state solution until dooms day.
Hatem Abunimeh

Thursday, December 07, 2006

I'm inspired by the following eye catching headline report that I read in Alghad Newspaper today's issueدعوة للتعر

I'm inspired by the following eye catching headline report that I read in Alghad Newspaper today's issueدعوة للتعرف على أصحاب الصور التالية

I'm really amazed by this report which states in so many words that there are at least 3 people the authority is aware of their presence in their custody, but nonetheless, no one else had come forward to identify any one of them.

I was thinking to myself, how could that be, someone, somewhere in the kingdom has got to know one or all three of them.

How is it possible that three families that have members missing from their household and don't even bother asking about them.

Are some people in Jordan are becoming so callous to the point that they don't even bother asking about their children's and grand parents whereabouts whenever they are gone missing.

Can someone offer me some explanation about these found by the police people but never claimed back by any citizen including members of their own family.

May be I'll understand the case with the old man, perhaps he was never married and doesn't have any children, it is also possible that most of his family members live outside Jordan like in the West Bank or some other Arab or foreign country and he was living alone when he got sick and went to the hospital and subsequently passed away.

But what about those other two children, they have got to have a mother, a father, a brother, a sister, a cousin, or any relative. They got to have a neighbor or a kid from the neighborhood that can recognize them.

Heck, I have been outside my neighborhood in Amman for over 30 years but there are many people living in that same neighborhood that still recognize me until now, and I'm almost sure If any one of them sees my picture in the newspaper he/she will come forward and identify me to the authority.

I honestly don't know what to make of this highly unusual story, why no one wants to identify those kids.

Are they for instance illegitimate kids and their family members too embarrassed to come forward for the fear of the stigma?!

Have they been diagnosed with some kind of a terminal disease such an HIV positive and their families don't want to have anything to do with them and they just want to see them go away.

Were they pushed out intentionally out of their households because their families don't have subsistence to sustain living for them.

Did their families leave the country and they just left them behind without worrying about what is going to happen to them in hope that someone will take them and raise them.

I mean How--- Why-- what-- The more I think about it the more baffled I become, I better leave the topic alone before I turn into a nut case.

I hope that in the next few days or so I would read another report revealing that their families have been located or someone out there had come forward to claim them.

My new me.

For any one that is interested to see my new me, this is how I look at the present time. Sorry for the picture's bad quality.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Fat / Skinny

I have had battle with the bulge back and forth for over a decade or so.I was buying larger clothing sizes every other month, I went from size 34 in pants waist all the way to size 46, that is 12 extra sizes, I went from size 38 long in suit jackets all the way to size 46 regular, that is 8 extra sizes on the shoulders. My shoes size went from 9 to 11 triple e. I was starting to have trouble with my left knee, my lower back was aching all the time to the point where I was having trouble walking for a short distance, I was constantly having a heart burn, I would get up at night feeling like something is chocking me, my wife abandoned the bed room because she said that she couldn't stand my snoring all night long, my daughter refused to go with me to her school to pick up her report card for the fear that her girl friends would make fun of her because of her dad being too fat, I was getting to the point where I was unable to do any of the work around my house areas --such as cutting the grass, trimming the trees, and sweeping the leaves. All I wanted to do is eat and stuff my stomach with food. I was constantly shopping for food, the food was falling out of the refrigerator when you open the door while I'm still going from store to store buying more meat, more chicken, more fish, and plenty of sugar and rice. My situation was getting ridiculous by the day, every one I meet tells me that I ballooned a lot lately but all of their remarks were falling on my deaf ears. I just didn't want to hear that I was fat, I thought that I'm still in control of the situation, and while I can see that I'm a little over weight I still felt that it was manageable.. Then In February of this year 2006, that is about ten months ago, something clicked in my head and told me enough is enough, you have got to lose all that darn weight that you have been carrying around for several years now. And lo and behold, over night I stopped eating like a pig, I started by cutting down on my carbohydrates intake, i kissed the potato, the rice, and the bread good buy. Then I moved to the glucose intake, I kissed the sugar good buy, that was the most difficult one to give up since I used to love my tea and my coffee real sweet. I'm not kidding you I used to put about 4 or 5 spoons of sugar on a small cup of tea. It is a thing of the past now. From there I reduced my saturated fat intake to 6 oz per week, be that fish, chicken, or meat. I switched from eating solid food to soups. I started eating lots and lots of salads, something that I used to hate eating in the past. I added lots of fruit to my nutritional intake, oranges, apples, carrots, pears, and so on and so forth. I started drinking plenty of fluids, mainly water, about 64 oz per day, water helps flush many of the food we eat, but since I grew up in Jordan and the water was always scarce there, I wasn't used to drinking plenty of water. I started walking briskly for about an hour a day, sometimes an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening, that is on my days off. I gave up all of the sweet stuff. My meal portions have become smaller and smaller day after day. Within the first month I started feeling the difference, my waist size was getting smaller by about two sizes. In April I was in Jordan visiting my family and I happened to be there while the Jordan Planet monthly meeting was taking place. I sent an email to Roba and I advised her that I'll be attending the meeting but then on that fateful day I looked at myself in the mirror and realized that I was still fat looking and I shouldn't expose myself to the Jordan Planet gang members while I was still fat, so I decided not to go to the meeting, I also never wrote back to Roba to advise her why didn't I show up for the meeting[ sorry Roba]. Now we all know the reason, I simply was embarrassed from being too fat. At least by my own standards, as I may or may not have looked fat for some people but nevertheless it mattered what I thought of myself at the time. Any way by June which is 4 months later, most of clothes were starting to look big on me as the effect of the diet was starting to work, and all of that excess fat was melting away, only then did I start to believe that I'm inching toward my goal, so I continued with my strict food intake, daily walks, plenty of fluids diet. I started buying clothes in a reverse order, down to size 44 from 46, down to 42, to 40, 38, 36, 34, I now even can fit in size 32 pants but I don't want to push it. All of this ladies and gentlemen took place in about 7 months, I set out on one single diet and exercise course and stayed with it until I achieved my goal. Today I'm happy to announce that as of September 1, 2006 I'm fully emancipated from the dreadful heart burn that used to wake me up at night thinking that I was having a heart attack, my knee is no longer bothering me, my back feels great I can walk for miles and miles without feeling tired, my wife has come back to sleep with me in the same bed because she said that she doesn't hear any kind of snoring at night, and my daughter is proud of me for becoming a skinny dad again. I feel so much better, so much lighter, I can move around much easier, I can climb a fifty story stairwell without panting at all. I'm so much at peace with my self, carrying all that weight around was a burden that I had to contend with for many years. I'm pleased to announce that I got rid of 50 kilos. I used to weigh 140 kilos and now I weigh only 90 kilo. What a difference seven months can make. I look completely like a different person, those who used to know me before can't believe their own eyes, somebody the other day asked me: Whatever happened to the other half of you?! Some other people don't recognize me at all, some say that I look too skinny, and so on but It matters what I think and I really like myself right now more than any other time before, no one is going to be able to shake my confidence any more, I don't need to hide behind difficult vocabularies that are only discern able to the select few. I'm what I'm and I'm proud of it. May be one day I'll post the before and the after pictures and let you decide for yourselves, as for now, I'll just leave it like that.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Memo to Salam ( Reflections )

Dear Salam:

This is the first time that I'm commenting on your blog, please don't take my subsequent observation as criticism, or at least if you do think about it as criticism, think like it is a constructive criticism. You need to start hitting the space bar each and every time you use a punctuation mark, for instance if you use a comma-hit the space bar, if use a semi colon-hit the space bar afterwards, if you use a period-hit the space bar, and so on and so forth. By doing so your text will be much clearer for the reader to read, the text will even have a better over all appearance. I read your blog all the time and now that you have settled in your new home you probably have more time to write in a slower pace and hit the space bar after each punctuation mark. Good luck and happy space bar hitting-----Peace.

Here is how your text will look like when the space bar is hit.

Abu Mhammad is the nice old man who works in the parking lot next to my office. He is such a sweet person and his genuine greetings always make my day. "Good morning bash mohandiseh , ya3teeki el 3afieh!" always with a sincere cheerful tone. I have been working in the same place for around 11 years now, I left for around a year and half, during which we lived abroad and during which I had my daughter. A couple of years ago, after having my son and returning from my maternity leave, he congratulated me on having a baby boy, he kept repeating how glad he was that it's a boy, and it was all very sweet of him. Every few days he'd ask me again, how is "the boy" doing , and never ask about "the girl". I used to think it's all very natural since this is the latest, most recent,event that happened to me and he's checking on him alone for that reason only. After two years of the same routine,where he only asked about Zaid and never Raya, I started wondering if he knew I had another child. I was puzzled and wanted to know if this was the case , or is it because he is an old man , who comes from somewhere where your mother's name is the best -well -kept secret in your life, where your wife is never referred to by her name but is called (el 3aileh-the family)or (el jama3a-the group)and where daughters are always called by the same term,even on their wedding invitations, the name is always (kareematoho-his daughter)written below the fathers name!. My curiosity took the better of me and I had to ask him:

Daily Kos

According to Yahoo search engine one of the top ten blogs in the world is a blog called daily kos, I’m not kidding you, check it out for yourselves When I was introduced to it several years ago I thought that the owner was an Arabian guy trying to play some kind a joke by naming his blog “Daily Kos” but then the more that I probed the web site the better understanding I started to develop about it. I can confess without any reservations that “Daily Kos” is one of my favorite blogs to read. I say that because I consider myself a political animal and this blog discusses nothing but politics. So if your interest is in politics I recommend that you pay a visit to the “Daily Kos”. It will give an insight look into the American political landscape, it will give you a clear picture of who is who in Washington, and It will even give you some predictions about what is going to happen next in US politics. The owner isn’t Arabian for sure and although part of the blog name constitute a forbidden word in the Arabic language [i.e. Kos] is seems that it has no relevance as far as the blog is concerned. I therefore, here by nominate “Daily Kos” for your daily reading enjoyment. Those of us with dirty minds may want to associate the name of the blog with the woman genitals, but that is alright too provided that the reader benefits from reading through the blog and learning on a daily basis about what shapes the American political scene.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Kamel Nsirat--Youssef Gishan & Me

You probably are familiar with these two columnists because Jordan Planet publishes their columns on a daily basis or every time they enter new column on their personal blogs. I like the way these two columnists interact with their readers, for one thing they obviously are professional journalists since both of them write for major Jordanian daily newspapers, but more than that they communicate with the every day language without adding the jargons that are normally used by other columnists such as Fahed Alfanek of Alrai or Mohammad Aburumman of Alghad Jordanian dailies. So why am I writing about these two gentlemen since I’m fully satisfied with their work and fully acknowledging their competency in their field of their expertise! The reason is that they remind me of my own lousy style of writing and how much do I need to change my style in order for the average reader to begin comprehending what the hell is it that I’m trying to communicate to him or to her. I have been writing since 1981, that is longer than many of Jordan Planet personnel being on this earth, throughout all of these years I was under the mistaken impression that the harder the language, the more difficult the vocabulary, the better the topic will sound. Lately, and since I started reading for these two Jordanian columnists I realized that the opposite is true, and only scholars and academics are the only people on this earth that care for rhetorical language otherwise the every day language is fine and dandy with the majority of the people, as a matter of fact, the simpler the language the better that it will sound and more audience will be attracted to it-- as opposed to the pedantic language which will only attract the select few who in the first place don’t have the time or the desire to browse through personal blogs. I’m writing today to extend my sincere apologies for all of those readers that had difficult time reading through my thoughts or found the language too rhetorical and abandoned the reading after the first paragraph. I pledge that from here forward I’ll stay away from any difficult vocabulary or phrase that I think it couldn’t be understood by an average person with a high school diploma. I have perhaps over the years offended many people with the usage of unnecessary difficult words that I probably could have used dozen other words to express my thoughts in a more translucent way but elected to use the intricate route. I still don’t understand why I was doing that! Generally speaking I’m not a show off person and for those of you that know me up close know what I’m talking about is the honest truth, but why did it take me over 25 years to realize that my writing style is too lousy and in need of major overhaul, I have no idea. I have been told over the years by many readers on too many different occasions that I’m using incomprehensible words and phrases and I’m in dire need of restraining my rhetoric but to no avail. Only today did it occur to me that I must change and of course the credit goes to Messrs Nsirat & Ghishan, I learned from them what is it like to be humble & what is it like to communicate in a way that is understood to every reader and not just to the select few of the elite or affluent group of people. I’m going to do my best to stay away from all of the jargons that provoke nothing but anxiety in the readers mind. I’m going to pick new smooth easy to read style free from any complications from beginning to the end of every essay long or short or anything in between. The era of flexing the vocabulary prowess is over and done with. My new writing style will be user friendly full of clarity and transparency. So help me God.