Friday, October 20, 2006

The Mailbag (IV)

The latest assembly of time-wasting in-FAQs.

What is up with JU instructors and taking attendance? Aren’t they aware that this is college? Are they so insecure to the point that they are afraid nobody will attend their lectures if they stop practicing this brutal display of authority?
-A JU sophomore who already used up his excused and non-excused “absences”. (with two freakin months to go!!).

You definitely have a point. Notice how you rarely find an engineering student who is counting his absences with the precision of the humanities folks. After all, in most engineering courses you are attending every single class and barely passing. The self-dependant home-schooling approach requires a much bigger effort and is almost impossible to pull off for some subjects.

Then, you have some professors who are completely aware that they are not providing the students with anything they won’t be able get on their own, and hence attendance becomes a defense mechanism.
Take for example the first two courses in Physics. You are coming out of a Tawjihi year where you already memorize by heart everything you are supposed to “learn”. You have a professor (without calling him out) who knows for a fact that his students’ knowledge of the subject is actually depleting with every class they attend. (To quote my friend Zain: “How does such a guy achieve a full professor status when he has no clear understanding of Newton’s second law?!)

Actually I am going to mention his name based on the strength of this story he proudly repeats to his class. When he was holding the position of “Assistant Dean for Scientific Research”, a student- who was working on a theory to describe the shape of the Universe- was referred to him to discuss the issue. The student started with: “If we assume that the universe was a cylinder…”. The professor interrupts: “Hold it right there. What do you mean assume?” The student replies: “It is a theory, so we are assuming that…”. The professor interrupts again with a serious confident tone: “What are you talking about?! You are definitely mistaken. If we assume that you were a cow, this would mean that we could milk you”. End of conversation. That is why if you are taking Dr. Naji Sheikh for your freshman Physics classe, you will not get an “A” unless you have a near perfect attendance.

If all you have in your pocket is two dollars until the end of the month (and it’s only the 10th) what would you spend them on: A sandwich or two lottery tickets?

While a sandwich may give you the instantaneous feeling of satisfaction for a period of 4-6 minutes (depending on how fast you devour it), the lottery ticket will provide a false sense of hope at a cheap price, which should keep you afloat until the next scheduled draw. Better yet, if you manage to come up with another dollar (or split the two) you will be able to survive off of two weeks worth of hope.(Unless there are two draws a week, then you are screwed.)

As we officially celebrate the definite conclusion of an era, can you please remind me why the VHS tapes absolutely kicked my ass?
Hanging out in oblivion, along with cassette tapes, floppy disks, and (former crown-) Prince Hassan of

The reasons are well documented all over the place. The minor (and inaccurate) reasons include licensing problems between Sony and other manufacturers, since JVC’s VHS machines were simpler and easier to manufacture. Another doubtful reason was the public misconception that there was more material available for rentals on VHS than those on Beta. (Actually this could be a result of the market domination more than a cause for it). However the main reason that caused the better-quality Beta format to rapidly lose its market share was recording length: “Standard Betamax tapes lasted 60 minutes- not long enough to record a movie. Conversely, the 3-hour VHS tapes were perfect for recording television programmes and movies. Sony did adapt and offer various solutions for longer recording, but it was too late.-[]”. Another often neglected factor is the role the porn industry played in supporting VHS. It was similar to the decisive role the multi-million dollar business has played in the more recent high definition DVD battle.

Speaking of porn…

What do you think the future holds for the Arabic pornography scene? (I mean the overall picture, not one scene in particular). With all the changes impacting our region, and the slight twists applied to the base of our social structure and set of traditional values, isn’t it about time we take it to the next level?
-Larry Bin

First let me make a clear statement on the whole issue of sexually-explicit material of all forms and nationalities: I do not endorse the production, purchase, or trading (internet linking) of any such material. I do not condone any of the behaviors associated with this art form. This seemingly harmless business has more destructive social effects than one could imagine. Some studies report that the addiction to such a habit can reach chronic proportions since it could be triggering the same nervous centers that respond to cocaine, and could cause brain damage. Cultural and anti-porn activist Susan G. Cole reminds of the following facts [Pornography and the Sex Crisis]:

-“It is an act of sexual subordination that turns women into objects. It is a form of validated record of sexual abuse that reinforces the social conditions of male power and female powerlessness.”
-“It is a form of prostitution with a slightly higher pay.”
-“The myths of pornography become more credible than the voices of real women.”
-“It sets a distorted standard of what women are for and what they should look like”.
-“It increases the men’s anxiety regarding the expectations of their performance”
-“It desensitizes viewers to violence against women”.

HOWever, and from the slightly skewed point of view, there could be numerous benefits of establishing a wider and more professional explicit Arabic film industry, even if it were only at the softcore level. The positive effects could include (and not limited to):

-Restoring some dignity to the Arabic music scene. At least the exposure to such clearly “labeled” material will be optional, instead of being forced on the public (in a more subtle form) through the multiple scandalous Music videos channels.

-Providing a venting space and a “release” medium for the frustrated Arab male population, in a desperate attempt to replace sexual harassment, pedophilia, homosexuality and other more twisted trends.(Without mentioning any particular nationality or geographic regions).

-Offering more entrepreneurial opportunities to the Arabic creative minds, (who are coming to realize that profit is the name of the game) outside of the traditional projects. After all the business startup kit is a Camcorder, a “girlfriend” and a smooth persuasive approach.

-Contributing to the feminism movement and opening the gates in front of Arab women into freedom and independence. For example, an “Outgoing” (yet intellectually limited) lady have a chance to earn a hefty check, making a living on her own, while sticking it to her old-fashion dad who made her life miserable as an “open-minded” teenager. This also will help even out the unbalanced and unfair overall salary structure between men and women who are doing the same job: females there are going to be making much more money than their male “co-stars” for the same number of working hours and under much less pressure.

When I was a little kid my mother had to sell my tricycle for 5 bucks so that we can eat. I am not planning on starting a big enterprise, playing the stock markets, trading real estate or becoming a lawyer. Still, sometime in my lifetime I want to make it to the Forbes list of the richest men of the world, what are the odds?

It is kind of hard but not impossible. It requires a lot of hard work, wheeling and dealing, shoving and pulling. You may want to try something in the areas of farming or herding. But it has been done before and no one seems to care.

Do you see a resemblance between the power struggles of (Ali-Muawiyah) from one side and (Stalin-Trotsky) on the other? Both conflicts were lost by the more rational (yet relatively passive) party in favor of the opponent who was more aggressive (and had no problem in crossing some supposed “redlines”). Both losing sides were (theoretically) much more capable of (and even better qualified for) sustaining and improving their respective states. In the meantime the winning side set its priorities to personal agendas and capitalized on instantaneous gains that resulted in disastrous consequences on the long run for both empires and the system they were built on. Could the world have been different today if any of these battles ended differently?
-Memeber of the S.S.P. (under construction).


One could argue that if G.W. Bush’s brother was not the governor of Florida the world would have been different today (highly unlikely though). But it is true that the results of the above two conflicts had a huge impact on the modern history of our region. The similarities (that could extend to reach the eventual “execution” method of the losing leader: A sword to the forehead compared to an ice pick through the skull)) make for a very interesting topic for research and debate, but here is a quick note:

Despite all the negative propaganda that tries to tarnish Stalin’s legacy (by the imperialists and their agents (and even by Trotskyists in a different context)), he remains a legendary statesman and a war hero. There was no doubt that he made some historic mistakes, but he found himself trying to preserve the gains of the revolution and lead a country in a turbulent world during a time when neither of them (the country or the world) had the foundations for the “permanent revolution” in its pure Marxist form. On the other hand Muawiyah's reign was practically a reinvention of the pre-Mohammad Arab society and a coup d’etat against the accomplishments of the Mohammadian state under the prophet and Omar. Muawiyah was the presidency candidate backed up by the merchants and the Quraish bourgeois. Between the lavish lifestyle, the introduction of throne inheritance, and the initiation of the eternal split in a system that prided itself in its unity, he managed to set the standard for the Arab ruling regimes until this day. One could not imagine Ali (who had sworn if poverty was a man he would have killed him) indulging in the corruption of authority, and if he was not that unwilling to spare the blood of fellow-Muslims, he would have been the one more capable of sustaining the state of Islam based on the socialist equality that Mohammad intended for it to achieve.

While Stalin and Trotsky carried different views and programs for implementing a shared ideology, the conflict between Ali and Muawiyah may have been one between two different ends of a spectrum.

After you wrote the ridiculous statement: “The Tigers are no match for the Yankees” and since you ranked the A’s as your number one team in the AL, do you feel like apologizing to the 2006 World Champs the Detroit Tigers right now or are you going to wait until its official?
-One of the only two people who care about your baseball takes.

First, I am really delighted that there are that many people reading my baseball insight.

Second, I sure do owe the Tigers an apology since I seemed to “misunderestimate” the huge pitching advantage they have over the Yankees pitching and the (turned out to be) waaaay overrated Oakland staff. I seemed to focus on the terrible second half they had and the sweep at home by the freakin Royals in their final series of the regular season. But there is no way Peter Gammons himself could have seen any of these things coming, let alone all of them happening at once:

-Kenny Rogers dominant pitching. Rogers himself could not believe it, he was crying after the Yankees game.

-The Yankees alleged “best lineup ever” going dead cold for three straight games, and A-Rod going 1-19 and dropping to 8th the in the order. (Actually forget about the last part, everyone saw the A-Rod thing coming).

-After Frank Thomas carries the A’s all year and gets on fire against the Twins, he looks like he is swinging that warming-up iron rod and not a bat when he is at the plate. He suudenly lost the ability to turn on a 89mph fastball, let alone how ridiculous he looked against Detroit's 98+ flamethrowers.

-The A’s missing Mark Ellis more than the Tigers missed Sean Casey.

-Todd Jones not only gets by without one blown save, he and his 88mph fastball did not allow a run in five appearances.

-Joel Zumaya getting hurt and it still did not matter.

-Clutch hitting from anywhere and everywhere no matter how the Tigers set up the lineup. (See the Alexis Gomes!!).

As for NLCS, way to represent the pathetic status of the national league guys. Can we get a starting pitcher (not named Carpenter) on either team who can throw a 91 mph? And so much for the Mets being the best lineup in the division and making up for the pitching with their bats. Jeff Suppan (who barely got a roster spot with the RedSox in 2003 ) gives up 5 hits in 15 innings of work! A perfect conclusion to the steroidless greenieless season.

A bus driver operating the vehicle like a drunk who is on crystal meth. The bus is weaving, swerving and bumping. The women are crying, old men praying, and little kids puking in their book bags. The passengers ask the driver to try to do a better job driving. The driver yells back : “I am driving just fine, you are the ones who need to do a better job riding”. Why do I feel like I am stuck on that bus?
-Coaster Commuter
Amman-Irbid daily.

The worst part is when the “كنترول control: A slightly harsher version of a ticket collector” and another guy who knows him (who is riding for free by the way) joins the driver in yelling at the traumatized passengers.
Even worse, when the guy sitting in front of you, whom you have been watching his head banging against the window with each turn and bump, turns around and starts preaching to you:

-“You heard them, learn how to ride these things, dipshit.”

-“Yeah, but it is not me. The driver has no idea what he is doing. The whole bus is in danger.”

-“Shut up. The bus comes first.”

-“What exactly does that mean? I am telling you, we are all going to suffer the results.”

-“we are all the bus.”

-“That did not make ANY sense either!!”

-“You do not like it get off at the next stop.”

So you lean back, wondering what is wrong with that guy! You clinch the side of your seat with one hand, you press against your upset stomach with the other and you get back to thinking about the stuff that really matters: baseball and Arabic porn.

If you missed the last Mailbag, you did yourself a favor.


jameed said...

Everytime I read your "mailbag", i get the sense that you truly suffer from schizophrenia. Having said that, a few of your personalities do actually make sense and I enjoy being friends with them.

Anonymous said...

I did not enjoy the Mailbag this time as the previous ones :) ..

nonetheless , I related very well to the first "problem" of attendance , brought me back some memories .. I used to be a student in JU , in Science faculty , while most of my friends where in Engineering .. amazingly, many of them skipped classes , but they all made it with V.good marks .. anyways that's not the point .. speaking of physics , sometimes one skips the class simply because the professor does not even make any sense .. I took phy.101 with Dr. Homam 3'aseeb , his class was always full, we had attendees from other classes as well , he took attendance , although he never had ! , On 2nd semester , I had Abu Elhaija for phy.102 , and that was the biggest mistake , I did not take physics in tawjeehi , so I had the hardest time trying to study it by myself, ((having all phy.102 talking about circutes and related stuff)) However, abu Alhaija lectures revolved around "politics" ! thinking about it now ,. I should've taken my first/second and final in "taree7' elUrdon" instead !

.. he surely was a fun doctor to talk to , but when it came to teaching I had the worst experience with him ! ..

Abu Shreek said...

Although considered a mental disorder by some, schizophrenia could be a very helpful tool in the face of adversity, as long as it does not involve violence or self mutiliation.
Wa Ahlann bika sadeekann lil bornamejj.

Tea lover,
I completely agree with you that this mailbag is not very impressive, but I disagree that the previous one was any better. I blame the readers for this, since they are not coming out with worthy questions. What I am trying to say that if you do not like the bag (and the porno theme it assumed), go ahead and send a question, you may win fantabulous prizes (just ask the previous Mailers of the months).

Anonymous said...

رئيسية الموقع :
مصر اليوم
اخر مواضيع منتديات مصر اليوم :
ترددات قنوات النايل سات الجديدة
اسعار السيارات فى مصر 2012 بالصور

اسعار السيارات فى مصر 2012

مشاركة ارباح ادسنس

اهلا بكم , اضع لكم موقعى لتتطلعوا عليه

منتديات مصر اليوم هى منتديات عامة تهتم بالكثير من الاشياء المصرية . منتديات مصر اليوم هى منتديات عربية عموما مصرية خصوصا و هى منتديات عامة تهتم بكل ما يهتم به الشباب المصرى من الحوار او النقاش او اخر الاخبار او جديد الصور و الاغانى و الالبومات و الكليبات و الافلام و النكت و الفيديوهات و الموبايلات و تحتوى على اقسام مميزة مثل قسم اللغة الانجليزية و قسم اصحاب المواقع و المنتديات و قسم البرامج و القسم الاسلامى و قسم المرأة و قسم الرومانسية و الرياضة المصرية و الكثير ....
شاهد اقسام المنتدى :
اخبار مصر صور نكت مصرية اغانى قنوات و ترددات اخبار الرياضة المصرية مشاهدة مباريات بث مباشر اسعار السيارات