Thursday, December 31, 2009


In Memoriam
(Ring Out,
Wild Bells)

By Lord Alfred Tennyson

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind
For those that here we see no more;
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


oday, there seems to be an apparent struggle of extremes. This is most often observed from people's attitudes and reactions toward events or issues that concern the common good of all. One extreme is the isolation or I-don't-care attitude. As long as the issue is not and will not directly affect us and the family, it is not our concern. This negative attitude has been around since time immemorial.

Another extreme is the prejudice or bias attitude. It is an attitude that we totally believe only our opinion is right. Nobody can ever alter that belief. This attitude is always accompanied by ignorance, fear, or hatred. It always resists change even when evidence fails to support them or points to the contrary.

Such existing attitude not only widens the gap between and among people, but also creates tension and thus, rock the existing peace and tranquility of the environment. What happens is that nobody will work for the common good, but for personal aggrandizement.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


he Koala of Australia is perfectly adapted
to one specific tree. the eucalyptus, and doesn't need anything else, not even water. It is one of the few land animals that do not need water to supplement their food. If the eucalyptus tree were to become extinct, the koala would become extinct, too, for it eats nothing but eucalyptus leaves.

If the zebra population were to vanish overnight, African lions would decrease drastically in numbers.

Bees and numerous species of plants that depend on bees for cross-pollination would be wiped out as well.

Monday, December 28, 2009



By Johanna Fuchs

Instead of counting candles,
Or tallying the years,
Contemplate your blessings now,
As your birthday nears.

Consider special people
Who love you, and who care,
And others who’ve enriched your life
Just by being there.

Think about the memories
Passing years can never mar,
Experiences great and small
That have made you who you are.

Another year is a happy gift,
So cut your cake, and say,
"Instead of counting birthdays,
I count blessings every day!"

glitter graphics

A birthday greeting to my ever faithful, loving, best friend, Baby Jazmin, who is celebrating her nth birthday today!

Sunday, December 27, 2009


y father? Oh, he had lived a happy fu
ll life. He was a very good provider, disciplinarian, and a dedicated teacher. I remember the days when he would summon me to his school to collect school documents. I recall the many nights when he would dictate his lesson plans to me. He was a very devoted educator, a quality that you would not see among the young breed of teachers today.

My youngest brother is a Mechanical Engineer, but chose to teach Mathematics and Physical Education in high school, and he is really enjoying every minute of it. He also coaches a high school chess team.

I had my share of teaching in college, too. I taught different business subjects. Here in Saudi Arabia, I conduct piano and voice lessons.

Many things have been written about teaching. It is considered the noblest of all professi
ons, an article of faith to many. To be a teacher today, one must be a hero and an idealist. In hope and despair, one trusts only your own unshaken will and faith in the nobility of the profession. Teachers possess and pass on a far reaching power, the ultimate form of power--the command of ideas. They are the praetorian guards of democracy, for knowledge is the foundation of the love of freedom and the principles of human liberty.

Teaching job is intellectually challenging. If you're good at teaching, it is very interesting, fun, and fulfilling. Most importantly, teachers help in turning some lives around, empowering individuals, giving them confidence to explore new things and express their own ideas, helping them to reach important life goals.

Noblest as it seems, teaching is the most neglected of all professions. Compensation is not commensurate, effort and hard work are not properly recognized, making it one of the least preferred careers.

Saturday, December 26, 2009


"A gifted teacher is as rare
as a gifted doctor, and makes
far less money."


Thursday, December 24, 2009


t was just before Christmas and the magistrate was in a happy mood. He asked the prisoner who was in the dock,

"What are you charged with?"

The prisoner replied,

"Doing my Christmas shopping too early!"

"That's no crime, said the magistrate.
Just how early were you doing this shopping?"

"Before the shop opened,"
answered the prisoner!

ja ja ja!!!

Happy Holidays !!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


ave you ever experienc
ed being chased by a dog?

When a person is being chased by a dog he feels his heart pound and pulse race. The unconditioned stimulus signals danger and elicits an unconditioned response. Extra adrenalin is pumped through the person's system, helping him to get away. Later, his heart still beats wildly at the sight of a dog--even though it's quite friendly and shows no sign of giving chase. The danger has disappeared, but the adrenalin goes to work anyway.

Why does this rush of adrenalin take place? Apparently, this type of unconditioned response can remain with us in the form of a conditioned response. The conditioned response continues to operate even though it may not be necessary. The conditioned organ has learned too well, and there is little or no extinction.

This process is called schizokinesis. Schizo means divided or split. Kinesis means action. Schizokinesis is a body response that goes off in two directions. When it occurs, a given stimulus no longer causes a coordinated response between the organs that sense danger and those that are mobilized to take action. The original response was so useful that the action organs still get alarmed, even when the threat of danger is not longer real.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


How to balance work and life has become increasingly difficult to achieve nowadays. It is in our hands to find the activities that are using much of our time. We need to learn how to prioritize tasks and seek resources and aids that will help us reduce the time spent on less important activities and devote more to our life's interests.

Most of the time, we are caught in between two important responsibilities both needing immediate attention. Equal distribution of time is just impossible. We end up wrangling and bickering over lack of time. Not being able to finish a task on time is very frustrating.

Work and fun can come together in life if we want them to. Devoting time in work and projects for a specific period and then taking time off for relaxation without any word of work will enable us to wind up.

I always remind my piano students to take things in equal stride; never too happy, never too depressed. To excel academically and be guaranteed excellent results, I advice them to manage their time wisely, study in advance, review their notes everyday, and never, never cram for exams.

We can always mix two similar activities. In this way, we can relish the moment and get both tasks completed. Identifying things that matter the most carefully and removing the trivialities out of our schedule will help us devote time and energy to more important things.

Monday, December 21, 2009


collect colorful items like soft drink bottle caps, cigarette pack covers, chocolate wrappers, candy wrappers, rubber bands, marbles, etc., and when I came to Saudi Arabia, I started collecting coins and paper mone
y, stamps, sands, flight souvenir items, novelty items, cards, statuettes, crime magazines, mysteries of unexplained books, DVD movies, CD records of long-ago artists, grand opera productions on DVD, and anything that takes my fancy. It is fun and brings comfort and excitement to me. But I have a friend, who has an even more interesting hobby; collecting postcards.

Modern postcards are cheap to buy and can be collected according to theme, or subject. It might be hard to decide where to start, since there are plenty to choose from. Some of the older cards can be bought quite cheaply, too. Some will increase in value much quicker than others. A few varieties will never become collectible; they will only be valuable as personal souvenirs.

Postcards that show pictures of towns, villages, and landmarks as seen through the eyes of the camera are known as topographic postcards. If you go to a trade fair or antiques market in search of postcards, you will win respect among the dealers if you use the correct term, topography. Old views are expensive to buy. They are usually available in color or in black and white. While the colored cards are more attractive, the black and white pictures are often much clearer.

Part of the the fun collecting is in the search. If you collect anything and everything, you will simply be hoarding mountains of paper. So take your time, look around and choose carefully.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


n my 66th birthday, I got a gift certificate from my wife. The certificate paid for a visit to a medicine man living on a nearby reservation who was rumored to have a wonderful cure for erectile dysfunction.

After being persuaded, I drove to the reservation, handed my ticket to the medicine man and wondered what would happen next. The old man slowly, methodically produced a potion, handed it to me, and with a grip on my shoulder, warned,

"This is powerful medicine and it must be respected. You take only a teaspoonful and then say, '1-2-3.' when you do that you will become more manly than you have ever been in your life and you can perform as long as you want."

I was encouraged. As I walked way, I turned and asked,

"How do I stop the medicine from working?"

"Your partner must say, '1-2-3-4,' he responded.

"But when she does, the medicine will not work again until the next full moon."

I was very eager to see if it worked so I went home, showered, shaved, took a spoonful of the medicine, and then invited my wife to join me in the bedroom. When she came in, I took off my clothes and said,


Immediately, I was the manliest of man. My wife was excited and began throwing off her clothes. And then she asked,

"what was the 1-2-3 for?"

And that boys and girls, is why we should never end our sentences with a preposition!


ja ja ja!!!

Saturday, December 19, 2009


"So remember while December
brings the only Christmas day, in the
year let there be
Christmas in the
things you do and say."


Friday, December 18, 2009


book of maps is called an atlas because the innovative sixteenth century Flemish geographer Gerardus Mecator's book of maps detailing various portions of Europe sported on its cover a picture of the Greek titan Atlas holding the world on his shoulders--and this book beca
me known as the atlas.

Gerardus Mercator

Thursday, December 17, 2009


The Sahara is not the perpetual oven of baking sand, as many believe. It has the typical continental climate of alternating hot and cold seasons. Its high temperatures range up to the 136.4 deg F (58 deg C) recorded at Al-Aziziyah, Libya, and as low as 5 deg F (-15 deg C) in the Tibesti mountains in midwinter.

The Sahara's climate consists of basically two sub-climates, a dry subtropical climate in the north and a dry tropical climate in the south. The dry tropical climate is generally characterized by mild, dry winters, a hot dry season just before the rainy season, and an annual temperature cycle. The dry subtropical climate, however, is characterized by annually high temperature ranges, cold winters, hot summers and two rainy seasons. There is a narrow strip in the western portion of the Sahara, along the coast, which generally has cool temperatures compared to the rest of the Sahara because of the influence of cold Canary Current.

In living memory, it was not until February 18, 1979, that snow fell on the Sahara. A half-hour storm in southern Algeria stopped traffic. But within a few hours all the snow had melted.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009



Marie Williams

Listen to the sleigh-bells ring.
their tinkling sounds delight;
Both young and old gathered 'round
The Christmas square, tonight.

Sing of joy and peace on earth,
Good will to all mankind
Voices echo through the hills
Of precious love divine.

And, as the stars, in heav'n above,
Cast down their brilliant glow,
Angels sang, along with man,
While gazing down below.

Christmas time is in the air
And with it comes the hope;
A Savior born in Bethlehem,
So many years ago.

Let peace, now, reign in your heart
And joyful praise proclaim.
What wondrous gift the Father gave,
Emmanuel His Name!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


... no one can see your password

or whatever you are typing ...

... no one can see whatever you're typing
or which website you're surfing ...

... and the ultimate is ...

ja ja ja !!!

"a laugh a day drives your worries away!"

Monday, December 14, 2009


"I was not literate in computers at all,"
the sprightly nonagenarian said. "I was
completely self-taught as far as that
was concerned."

Learning is a continuing process, and it proves to be true for a 91-year old man, who received a law degree and finishing the six-year course more than a year ahead of schedule because he said, "time is of the essence." Learning how to use the internet was his biggest challenge in completing the degree.

True learning is a lifelong process of experience and exploration, and anytime we return to a classroom or any kind to learn something new, we are continuing our education. It helps us to become more knowledgeable, more aware, and able to help others by the information and experience we acquire through this learning process.

If you stop learning, you will travel one of the quickest paths to career obsolescence that you can find. When you stop learning, you stop growing both personally and professionally. We need to retool our knowledge base not once in a while, but on a continuous basis.

Learning is a whole life career, and absolutely not limited to in school.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Strange News

Baboons are a common sight in the western region of Saudi Arabia, but what about drunken baboons?

A troop of monkeys went ape wild on a m
ountaintop near this village in the south, causing police to investigate. It turns out our simian friends happened upon a stash of distilled libations, and that's when the party started. They managed to get into those bottles with the magic of opposable thumbs. Authorities believe smugglers from the south hid the stash, though perhaps only the monkeys know for sure who the culprits really were.

Monkeys like beer, too!

Saturday, December 12, 2009


"To quit smoking is the easiest
thing I ever did, I ought to know
because I've do
ne it a thousand

Mark Twain

Friday, December 11, 2009



Filtered cigarettes are less
dangerous than unfiltered ones.


The opposite would be the case: people who prefer filtered cigarettes are in danger of dying two to almost four years earlier than smokers of filterless cigarettes. Filters prevent the dilution of the smoke by oxygen so that the bloodstream builds up higher levels of carbon monoxide, in the form of carboxyhemoglobin. One of the effects is greater damage to the cardiovascular system, with the danger of strokes and heart attacks. Approximately 50 percent of deaths studied resulted from heart attacks and about 20 percent from cancer.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


My buddy, Yusuf, insisted that I should post this one --

* * * Presenting * * *

The Top Ten Contestants
for the Women Drivers Award 2009

10th Place Goes To

9th Place Goes To

8th Place Goes To

7th Place Goes To

6th Place Goes To

5th Place Goes To

4th Place Goes To

3rd Place Goes To

The Silver Medal Winner

Her helmet is being worn backwards

... and finally, here is our

2009 Women Drivers Award

*** Gold Medal Winner ***

Wow!!! How the heck???

Ohhh.... never mind....


This concludes the
2009 Women Drivers Awards Ceremony

Thank you to all contestants for
giving us all a reason to laugh and smile!!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


o one has ever explained the Minoan art depicting the bull acrobats of ancient Crete. If we can believe this art, an acrobat would face a charging bull, grasp its horns, and do a somersault over its back to the ground.

The problem is that the feat appears to be im
possible. No daredevil has been reckless enough to attempt it, at least not in our time.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


It is sometimes called the "corpse flower" for its stomach-churning scent, or the "giant panda of the plant world" for its rarity. It has no stems or leaves and grows endoparasatically within the woody stems of its host. vine. It is a massive fleshy orb designed by nature to attract insects by mimicking the color and stench of rotting meat.

The bizarre bloom, which is now under th
reat from deforestation and harvesting for traditional medicine, is named after the famed British colonialist, the founder of the British colony of Singapore, Sir Stamford Raffles. He stumbled across one in Sumatra in 1818, with his friend, Dr. Joseph Arnold, after whom the largest of the species, is named.

The plant grows only on a specific jungle vine in parts of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand. It emerges as a small lump on the vine, and over about nine months, swells into a cabbage-like bud, which opens to reveal a massive five-petalled flower sometimes measuring more than a meter cross.

The bloom, colored a mottled red, pi
nk or orange depending on the species is visible for just a few days, before turning black and rotting away. Not all varieties of Rafflesia have the distinctive stench, and even among those that do, the open bud has to be caught just at the right time.

Scientists agree on 24 as the total number of species, three of which are already extinct. The best known of these species is Rafflesia Arnoldii, which has the distinction of the being the world's largest individual flower and a magnificent bloom of the plant kingdom, reaching a diameter of about three feet.

Many thanks to the innovative Malaysian scheme, indigenous tribes who once gathered Rafflesia buds by the sackload are being trained as custodians of the rare flowers, and to act as guides for ecotourists.

Monday, December 7, 2009





multiplied by itself.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


"As death, when we come to consider it closely,

is the true goal of our existence, I have formed during the
last few years such close relations with this best and truest

friend of mankind, that his image is not only no longer terrifying
to me, but is indeed very soothing and consoling! And I thank
my God for graciously granting me the opportunity of
learning that death is the key which unlocks
door to our true happiness."

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Saturday, December 5, 2009


oday marks the 218th death anniversary
of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

But did you know that the man who gave the world wonderful music to last forever died penniless, and only one person walked with his coffin from the church to the cemetery for its burial in an unmarked pauper's grave? His interment was a disgrace to all of Vienna. Thrown in a ditch with several other people, not even a bad inscription marked its location

Mozart come closest of all musicians to being the universal composer. During his short life time (he died at 35), he wrote operas and symphonies, chamber music and church music, solo and concert works for virtually every instrument--plus mechanical clocks and musical glasses.

Rossini once said, "Mozart is not the greatest, he is the only musician in the world." And to quote Schubert, "O Mozart, immortal Mozart! How many and what countless images of a brighter, better world hast though stamped on our souls."

Friday, December 4, 2009


Friendship is like a tree.
It takes time to grow and mature.

Oftentimes, we hear people say, "it's not easy for me to make friends." Even though we may enjoy and need to be alone now and then, we are basically social animals who need the company and cooperation of others. We need to make friends, to like and be liked, and to form loving relationships with at least a few people who are in some ways special to us. Maintaining the relationship is even harder. It requires more than similarity in nature and tastes.

e all have our flaws and imperfections, but as two people get to know more of each other, these shortcomings will not affect the re
lationship. Instead, they help strengthen the bond of friendship.

To understand the relationships that people form, it is important to realize that we are not focusing on individual behavior. Instead, we keep meaning to understand behavior between pairs of human beings and the reasons people like and love those they do.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


ove is so meaningful, yet so very difficult to define!

Is there an acceptable definition of love? Many poems have been written, many songs have been sung, many words have been uttered, many hearts have been broken, and truly tragedies abound all because of love. Unfortunately, no such definition exists because it is extremely general concept encompassing many kinds of interpersonal relationships.

The love that a parent feels for a child is not the love felt by brothers and sisters for each other or for their parents; nor is it he same as that experienced by husband and wife. In quite another way, we love ourselves. In still another sense, we "fall in love" with someone with whom we had no previous relationship, perhaps "at first sight." We speak of "spiritual love" and "sexual love." We "love" certain kinds of food. The term is used so often and in so many contexts that it has almost ceased to have meaning.

A psychologist has the following definition of love: "Love is the active concern for the life and growth of that which we love," and "when the satisfaction or the security of another person becomes as significant to one as is one's own satisfaction or security then the state of love exists."

Whatever the definition, many will agree that the ability to love, to care for others, and to engage in mature sexual behavior is a product of learning.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


id you know that all the world's
main alphabets have developed from
an alphabet inven
ted 3,600 years ago
in the Middle East and known as
North Semitic Alphabet.

The Semites

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


ecember is the twelfth and final month
of the Gregorian calendar and the first month
of winter. It derives it's name from the Latin word
cem, meaning ten, as December was the tenth
month of the oldest Roman calendar. The
Latin name is derived from Decima, the
middle Goddess of the Three Fates
who personifies the present.