Friday, April 29, 2005 



When a baby is born in Syria, the ceremonial Karawia pudding is served to all the family's friends and relatives. The pudding is made of crushed caraway seeds boiled with water, sugar and powdered rice. It is then served hot, topped with shredded cocoanut and sprinkled with pine nuts, walnuts, pistachios, and almonds. This delicious pudding is especially good during the cold winter days. It is said that the pudding is especially good for the new mother to eat as it is nourishing. But weight watchers beware! This pudding can be quite high on calories.

The interesting thing is that in Lebanon, the very same pudding is also served in celebration of a baby’s birth, except it is called Moghli. It is made the same way with some differences and it is served cold.

Note: Unfortunately, the above image (taken from the Chef Ramzy cookbook) is a picture of the Lebanese version of Karawia as I couldn’t find one of the Syrian version.

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Saturday, April 23, 2005 

23 April-World Book and Copyright Day

"The Librarian" by Giuseppe Arcimboldo.

23 April is a symbolic date for world literature, for on this date and in the same year of 1616, Cervantes, Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega all died. It is also the date of birth or death of other prominent authors such as Maurice Druon, K.Laxness, Vladimir Nabokov, Josep Pla and Manuel Mejía Vallejo. It was a natural choice for UNESCO's General Conference to pay a world-wide tribute to books and authors on this date, encouraging everyone, and in particular young people, to discover the pleasure of reading and gain a renewed respect for the irreplaceable contributions of those who have furthered the social and cultural progress of humanity. The idea for this celebration originated in Catalonia where on 23 April, Saint George's Day, a rose is traditionally given as a gift for each book sold.

My favorite books are J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter series and Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice, what’s your favorite book?

Friday, April 22, 2005 

Pun Fun

A pun is defined by Webster as "the humorous use of a word, or of words which are formed or sounded alike but have different meanings, in such a way as to play on two or more of the possible applications; a play on words."

Here’s a list of some funny puns I found:

To write with a broken pencil is pointless.
Talking to her about computer hardware I make my mother board.
He drove his expensive car into a tree and found out how the Mercedes bends.
I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger. Then it hit me.

A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum Blownapart.
Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
A bicycle can't stand on its own because it is two-tired.
When a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds.
Buying a cheap mouse could leave you with a squeak and a sad tale.
Those who jump off a Paris bridge are in Seine.
A student limped into class with a lame excuse.
The couple who met in a revolving door are still going round together.
She was given a violin lesson for free, with no strings attached.
He was a restaurant critic but had no taste.
Thirsty jokers can be seen waiting in the punch line.

To read more funny puns go to:

Thursday, April 21, 2005 

Prophet Muhammad's Birthday(pbuh)

Masjid al-Nabawi (Mosque of the Prophet), Medina, KSA

Hundreds of years after his death, over one billion Muslims across the globe celebrate today the Prophet Muhammad's Birthday(pbuh). He has inspired people from all walks of life, and much has been written about him such as the following:

I wanted to know the best of the life of one who holds today an undisputed sway over the hearts of millions of mankind…I became more than ever convinced that it was not the sword that won a place form Islam in those days in the scheme of life. It was the rigid simplicity, the utter self-effacement of the Prophet the scrupulous regard for pledges, his intense devotion to his friends and followers, his intrepidity, his fearlessness, his absolute trust in God and in his own mission. These and not the sword carried everything before them and surmounted every obstacle. When I closed the second volume (of the Prophet’s biography), I was sorry there was no more to read of that great life.
Mahatma Gandhi, statement published in young India, 1924.

“If any religion had the chance of ruling over England, nay Europe within the next hundred years, it could be Islam.”
“I have always held the religion of Muhammad in high estimation because of its wonderful vitality. It is the only religion, which appears to me to possess that assimilating capacity to the changing phase of existence, which can make itself appeal to every age. I have studied him-the wonderful man and in my opinion for from being an anti-Christ, he must be called the Savior of Humanity.”
Sir George Bernard Shaw in ‘The Genuine Islam,’ Vol.1, No.8, 1936.

For additional info, go to:

Sunday, April 17, 2005 


Snoopy, Charlie Brown and Friends

For Sparky, school was all but impossible. He failed every subject in eighth grade. He flunked physics in high school, getting a grade of zero. Sparky also flunked Latin, algebra and English. He didn’t do much better in sports. Although he did manage to make the school’s golf team, he promptly lost the only important match of the season. There was a consolation match; he lost that, too.
Throughout his youth Sparky was awkward socially. He was not actually disliked by the other students; no one cared that much. He was astonished if a classmate ever said hello to him outside of school hours. There’s no way to tell how he might have done at dating. Sparky never once asked a girl to go out in high school. He was too afraid of being turned down.
Sparky was a loser. He, his classmates…everyone knew it. So he rolled with it. Sparky made up his mind early in life that if things were meant to work out, they would. Otherwise he would content himself with what appeared to be his inevitable mediocrity.
However, one thing was important to Sparky-drawing. He was proud of his artwork. Of course, no one else appreciated it. In his senior year of high school, he submitted some cartoons to the editors of the yearbook. The cartoons were turned down. Despite this particular rejection, Sparky was so convinced of his ability that he decided to become a professional artist.
After completing high school, he wrote a letter to Walt Disney Studios. He was told to send some samples of his artwork, and the subject for a cartoon was suggested.
Sparky drew the proposed cartoon. He spent a great deal of time on it and on all other drawings he submitted. Finally, the reply came from Disney Studios. He had been rejected once again. Another loss for the loser.
So Sparky decided to write his own autobiography in cartoons. He described his childhood self-a little boy loser and chronic underachiever. The carton character would soon become famous worldwide. For Sparky, the boy who had such lack of success in school and whose work was rejected again and again, was Charles Schultz.
He created the “Peanuts” comic strip and the little cartoon character whose kite would never fly and who never succeeded in kicking a football, Charlie Brown.

Bits& Pieces
Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul

Wednesday, April 13, 2005 

Baron Hotel, Aleppo

Baron Hotel, Aleppo1

Located in Aleppo, northern Syria, the Baron Hotel was originally built in 1909 as a select staging post for grand tourists and pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem. It was at that time the premier hotel in the Middle East,

The Baron Hotel has seen the likes of Kamal Attaturk (founder of Turkey), Lady Louis Mountbatten, archaeologist Sir Max Mallowan(Agatha Christie’s husband). None more famous than T.E. Lawrence of Arabia. Lawrence stayed here regularly 1911-1914 when working as an archaeologist in nearby Carchemish.

The hotel still proudly displays T.E.'s unpaid bar bill and a leather-bound guest book sporting such names as author Agatha Christie, US president Theodore Roosevelt and Aviator Charles Lindbergh.
The 40-room Baron may not be the swankiest place in town, but what it lacks in modern sophistication, it more than makes up for with charisma.
A double room including bathroom and breakfast costs around 45$.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005 

Today in History



April 12, 1961
On April 12, 1961, aboard the spacecraft Vostok 1, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin becomes the first human being to travel into space. During the flight, the 27-year-old test pilot and industrial technician also became the first man to orbit the planet, a feat accomplished by his space capsule in 89 minutes. Vostok 1 orbited Earth at a maximum altitude of 187 miles and was guided entirely by an automatic control system. The only statement attributed to Gagarin during his one hour and 48 minutes in space was, "Flight is proceeding normally; I am well."

Wednesday, April 06, 2005 

You know you blog way too much when…


  • you post the wrong article on the wrong blog
  • your family prefers to interact with you through your blogs
  • you met your girlfriend/boyfriend through a blog
  • your “blog community” is much, much larger than the number of people you know in real life
  • you consider yourself an “alternative journalist”
  • you start your day by checking your blog stats
  • a day without blogging seems like a month without food
  • your feedreader is open all day
  • you get more “approve this comment” email messages than spam
  • you know what RSS stands for and you know how weak the medium is
  • people worry about you when you do not post anything for a day
  • work is the little time you spend in between writing on your blog and IRC
  • my pagerank is bigger than yours!
  • invalid XHTML is a bad word to you
  • you check your blogshares weekly, more than you check your savings account
  • you’ve gotten your parents to blog
  • your dog has her own page on Dogster and it gets updated!
  • Kubrick is no longer just the legendary filmmaker
  • you have to switch hosts to keep up with your bandwidth needs
  • you make more money from blogging than you do at your day job.

Taken from:

Monday, April 04, 2005 

Pope John Paul II (1920-2005)


  • Born Karol Józef Wojtyła, in Wadowice, Poland on May 18, 1920,
  • Made a cardinal in 1967.
  • Became Pope on October 16, 1978.
  • Survived assasignation attempt in 1981.
  • Was the first non-Italian pope in 455 years and the first of Slavic origin in the history of the Church.
  • Made over 100 trips abroad, travelling a distance far greater than that travelled by all other popes combined.
  • Visited in 2001, Syria, Greece, and Malta to retract St. Paul's missionary journeys.
  • First Pope ever to enter a mosque.
  • Note: Out of the 264 popes in history there were 7 Syrian Popes. They were: Evaristus (107), Anicetus (168), John V (687), Serguis I (701), Sisinnius (708), Constantine I (715), and Gregory III (732)
  • For more info on this go to:

Many thanks to Firas for supplying this additional information.

Friday, April 01, 2005 


An old Arab man who has been living for 40 years in Idaho wanted to cultivate potatoes in his garden, but digging up the earth was getting to be too hard at his age. His only son, Ali, was studying in France, so he decided to send him an e-mail explaining the situation:
Dear Ali: I feel very disappointed because this year I'll be unable to plant my potatoes in my garden. I am too old to plow the ground. I wish you were here, then my problems would be solved, because you would remove the soil for me. I love you, Dad.
Ali replied, Dad: For God's sake, DO NOT remove the ground of that garden. It's there that I have hidden the "thing". I love you, Ali. At 4 a.m. the next day the local police, plus FBI and CIA agents, along with Pentagon delegates, came in and turn the garden upside down looking for the "thing". They found nothing and they left. The same day the old man received another e-mail from his son: Dear Dad: I am sure you can plant your potatoes now. It was the best I could do in the current circumstances. I love you, Ali.

Sent to me by Rheem.T

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