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Realistically idealistic daydreamer, seasoned procrastinator, atheist and monarchist with a secret agenda and a slight inclination towards voodoo practices.
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    29 May 2006
    Oh, Dubya...
    From an outspoken royal to an outspoken politician

    Mr. Bush
    has promised the world the following:

    "we will not rest until the promise of liberty reaches every people in every nation" and that "by standing with democratic reforms across a troubled region, we will extend freedom to millions who have not known it and lay the foundation for peace for generations to come".

    In other words, Be Nice to America, or We Will Bring Democracy to Your Country.

    HT: Marjorie

    If only Bush were THAT outspoken (in response to Mr. Ahmadinejad's letter).

    HT: Sandmonkey
    posted by Bravecat @ 1:02 pm   11 comments
    28 May 2006
    I Heart Prince Philip
    I absolutely love him. For this among other things:

    "Prince Philip says all opening and closing ceremonies at the Olympics should be banned.

    "I am truly fed up with the opening and closing ceremonies. They are a pain in the neck," said the Queen's husband, renowned for his outspoken views and political gaffes.

    Interviewed by Saturday's Daily Telegraph, Philip said he hoped to do "as little as possible" during the London Olympics in 2012. He will then be 91 years old.

    "Opening and closing ceremonies ought to be banned," he told the newspaper. "Absolute bloody nuisances. I have been to one that was absolutely, appallingly awful."

    When asked what he thinks about Walcott (Rooney's replacement from Arsenal), he said:
    "No idea. I don't have opinions about things I know nothing about".

    Prince Philip, you ROCK.
    posted by Bravecat @ 9:19 am   13 comments
    25 May 2006
    My needs

    Go to Google and type in your first name and the word "needs". Copy and paste the top ten results

    Here is what I got!

    1. QC needs to find a toilet
    2. QC needs skin
    3. QC needs a feeling of success in tennis
    4. QC needs to be excused from class today
    5. QC needs a fan club!
    6. QC needs to suffer
    7. QC needs all the support she can get
    8. QC and her husband need to have a frank discussion
    9. QC needs to grow up a bit
    10. QC needs the money

    Try it out with your name and have a laugh :D

    posted by Bravecat @ 9:23 am   28 comments
    23 May 2006
    And the number goes to...
    I had a laugh when I saw this:

    Doha • Qtel will be holding an auction on Monday at the Diplomatic Club for the vanity cellphone number ‘6666666’. Tickets to participate in the auction have been priced at QR3,000 and the proceeds will be donated to the Zakat Fund. Bidding for the number will start at QR1 million and multiples of QR100,000 thereafter.

    And now the update:

    Vanity phone number nets QR 10mn* in auction.

    In a keenly contested auction, the vanity phone number 6666666 was yesterday sold for QR 10mn, setting a new record for an easy-to-remember telephone number in Qatar.
    The highest bidder was a Qatari who preferred to stay anonymous.

    Well, I guess we can call 6666666 to find out who the anonymous Qatari really is. That is, of course, if we can remember the number!

    Do you think he'll ever get "wrong number" callers?

    What fun!


    *For those not in the know, QR 10mn = US$2,74mn.

    posted by Bravecat @ 12:49 pm   20 comments
    21 May 2006
    You bit my butt, that's why I came...
    Honestly. That's what she sang. From the stage. Then of course I searched for the lyrics and apparently it should have been "you'll be my part" and not "you bit my butt" but the damage was already done and anyways who cares? It was good fun anyways. For those who haven't guessed, I am talking about Eurovision and the Ukrainian singer Tina Karol's song.

    Gotta love the Greeks. They hosted Eurovision this year and it was a great show. Amost on the Olympic scale. Eurovision wasn't spared in terms of Greek nationalism and culture. Of course we had the singing, and the dancing, and Nana Mouskouri, and the Pan, and the mermaid, and you name it, and all the stages of Greek (music) history from the creation of the world until it culminated, ultimately, in Eurovision contest on the Greek soil. Oh, sorry, I forgot the last year's Greek Eurovision winner, Elena Paparizou. It was her winning number (aptly called "My Number One") that secured the venue for this year's extravaganza. She had to sing it at the beginning of the contest yesterday, and she rocked.

    The hosts were great. Maria Menounos is a gem - and Greece gets thumbs up for this choice. And Sakis Rouvas was not bad either although I am not a big fan. They did a great job and apart from the fact that Maria looked like a poodle (stick to the irons, girl) - no complaints there.

    (I wanted to write about the NET Greece TV channel commentators of the show but I realised I didn't know enough swearing words in all the lanugages I speak, combined, to give them justice, so I'll skip it altogether.)

    And the winners!!! Finland, if that wasn't the cleverest, the cunniest, the most ingenious idea - I don't know what is! How did you guess that since the voting is done via mobile network you should target the tech savvy, mobile phone wielding teenage European population?? Nobody else stood a chance once the Monsters got on stage. Well done, all the makeup and special effects didn't go to waste, and the song was actually kinda cool. So - no grudges.

    The songs I liked all did well, except Cyprus. Duhh. Here is my list of preference:

    1. Russia. As long as I didn't have to actually LOOK at the guy.
    2. Sweden. Gotta praise talent, determination and stamina :^)
    3. Greece. I guess weeks of listening to Anna's song paid off - I could hum along, and when I can hum along I tend to like the song more :P Not that it wasn't nice - it really was, but people respond to familiar hits more readily.
    4. Lithuania. A very communism-spirited little number, funny as hell.
    5. Finland. Couldn't help it. I liked them!

    That was my top five. I was going to post my bottom five as well but I don't want to be mean :P

    So next year - Helsinki!
    posted by Bravecat @ 12:36 pm   16 comments
    19 May 2006
    Oh, Saudia, Saudia...
    First there was this.

    Then there was this.

    What next?
    posted by Bravecat @ 6:58 pm   10 comments
    16 May 2006
    At it again (updated)
    It's late in the evening, and of course I, being my usual self, i.e. lazy to go out or do anything else, am surfing the Net. I always surf with an idea in mind. Today's idea? Complicated. I came across "muta'a", or temporary marriage concept in Islam and (naturally) I was keen to find more information. I won't talk about the muta'a itself here for it needs little introduction to those who know what it is, and those who don't can always Google it out (as did yours truly). I won't even bother writing what I think about muta'a as I am sure that it will set off another debate in my comments section, ultimately leading to an exchange in unpleasantries. Instead, I will tell you about the surfing itself, and how important it is to NOT take everything you read for granted.

    Googling for "temporary marriage" brought an array of links, as I expected. Luckily for me, the first one I clicked on was a "dissertation completed in 1974 under the direction of Professor Abu 'l-Qasim Gurji of the Faculty of Theology at Tehran University". It looked and sounded credible enough for me to start my reading and getting some basics straight (which I did). But oh boy, what was to follow! A collection of the most weird sites which I didn't know whether to laugh or cry at. From forums that, predictably enough, looked like my comments sections after my religion related posts, to various Muslim and Christian organisations discussing pros and cons of each other, to personal accounts, Shia bashing sites, Christianity bashing sites, government law sites, etc. and half of these, of course, are conveniently blocked by Qtel.

    In a matter of 30 something minutes I learned that muta'a practice is allowed, used to be allowed but is not allowed now, was never allowed, is prohibited, is legal, is illegal, is allowed only for Shia, is allowed only in Iran, was allowed only for the Prophet (may Peace Be Upon Him), is relatively new in Iraq but is gaining ground, was never practiced in Iraq, has always been practiced in Iraq, is a legitimate source of income for single women, is a legalised prostitution scheme, is an honourable solution for travelling men, YOU NAME IT. And each and every author of every such statement based his/her argument on documented sources. My conclusion was the usual one: use your own head when deciding who and what to believe. It is amazing how much rubbish one can come across on the Net! For instance, on one site I clicked during my search I learned that Bible is a Gospel of Porn. I actually read some of the article, couldn't resist, and needless to say - I laughed my heart out on that one. Apparently, the Bible is a new (ok maybe not THAT new) Kama Sutra! And here we were all thinking that sex is sinful in Christianity. The Gospel of Porn begs to differ!

    Anyways, from there I went on searching for personal accounts of people who experienced muta'a first hand, and in one of those stories I came across Banat Al Riyadh book by a female Saudi author. Now, I've heard about this book, and as far as I know it's not yet translated in English, and I would love to get my hands on it as soon as it is. Many sites offer critique on the book (thankfully, in English), so I was able to learn from various credible and not so credible sources that the book is brilliant, total crap, beautifully written, horribly written in an internet language, is written in classical Arabic, in colloquial Arabic, in a mix of classical and colloquial Arabic, in chatroom English, nobody can understand this book, this book is easy to understand, the author is pretty (I loved that one!), the author is ugly, the book is only a success because the author is pretty, those who say the book is only a success because the author is pretty are jealous of the author's beauty, and so on. Once again, it was impossible to find out absolutely anything about the book that two critics would actually agree on. Solution: wait till I get the book and then judge for myself. However, I do tend to think that the book is good, if only because of all this controversy! ;-)

    My other interesting find in the search for muta'a was CAIR website. Lots of interesting info on life of Muslims in the USA, and well done to them. The amusing part of it is that some websites (rather credible ones, if I may say so) are of the opinion that the chairman of CAIR himself, Mr. Omar Ahmad, issued a statement (no less!) that Quran should be America's highest authority. This statement of his is widely publicised on various (mostly Western) sites. However, there is no mentioning of it in CAIR website, and many Muslim sites write that Mr. Ahmad had never said such a thing. Who do I believe? As usual, I would believe my common sense and dare to suggest that Mr. Ahmad might have said something along these lines, or rather something that had "Quran" and "America" in the same sentence, although of course nothing as far fetched as trying to substitute Constitution with the Quran, and then some over-zealous reporters inflated whatever it is he might or might not have said into what I was rather amused to read on a WorldNetDaily site.

    So here is the conclusion for the day's surfing: Internet is fun. It's a LOT of fun. But it is definitely worth checking the credentials of people who write the stuff we read, even if we agree with what they say (and I might add, especially if we agree with what they say - as there is little else that takes us off guard easier and makes us more gullible). Too often people would read the first thing they can get hold of and make up their mind based on that one piece of information alone. I think nowadays we need to take a look at a bigger picture, especially if the matter we are trying to research is new to us, controversial, sensitive or culturally different. Internet is a wealth of knowledge, viewpoints and opinions. And this was mine.

    UPDATE: OK so you want to talk about muta'a? Do your homework first. It came to my attention that Religious Policeman wrote a lovely post that discusses temporary marriages, among other interesting things. I thought you might want to have a look! Also, he cited the following article from Arab News (again about muta'a marriages) which I found extremely helpful in my search for information. Please have a look and tell me what you think :^)
    posted by Bravecat @ 11:49 pm   45 comments
    15 May 2006

    ... you can dance so pretty ...

    ... but Nadal can play tennis ...

    ... way better!

    And he equalled the record of 53 straight wins on clay, too. You rock, Rafa! That made my day.

    posted by Bravecat @ 9:48 am   5 comments
    13 May 2006
    Open all your windows, can you hear me?
    Can you feel me breathing, see me walking
    Down narrow streets? It's funny, really
    I would recognize you in a million
    You don't even know who is talking

    I was drunk with wine, with air, with stories
    Though I guess you wouldn't find it clever
    I forgot about all my worries
    And I think that asking you for more is
    Simply spoiling everything forever

    How much my heart can take, I wonder?
    Day by day, by night, by fall, remember?
    In my dreams these days I'm walking under
    Skies that burst with rainbows, sun and thunder
    I'm in love with Malta in November

    posted by Bravecat @ 10:08 pm   5 comments
    8 May 2006
    Quick update
    I am sorry I've kept you waiting so long for a new post!

    I seem to have a blogger's block. Ideas aplenty, just can't put them into words. There have been some interesting suggestions from my readers with regards to the topics for new posts (i.e. homosexuality, mobile phone models, voodoo, dating, tennis features, movie reviews) and I am actually seriously considering one or two of these. If you have a suggestion - put it in a comment :^)

    For the time being, however, here is an update of what I was up to all this time:

    1. Office fiasco. Yup, we still haven't moved. We have to move urgently. I hate moving! Apparently my sweetheart of a boss found some prospective office premises just near my house. So keep your fingers crossed for me that it would work.

    2. Holiday planning. Silent and I are going to Malta end of June for 2 (fabulous) weeks. I love Malta! Yay! The in-laws will join us there for the first 5 days, should be fun.

    3. Car daydreaming. I want a new car, yet I don't think I'll get it anytime soon. Sigh.

    4. I got a guitar! I used to play fairly decently but that was 15 years ago. Time to brush up those skills! My fingers hurt badly already, but at least I can produce a tune or two. Now you know why I haven't been typing much :p

    5. Tennis (of course). Many tournaments simultaneously. Estoril, J&S Cup, BMW Cup, etc. The tensions are high, and new tournaments are underway: ATP Masters Series in Rome, and WTA Qatar German Open (yes Qatar actually bought a German WTA tournament. Don't ask me why.) And I am so very proud of myself - I managed to tune in to Eurosport 2!! That means much more tennis to watch!

    6. Thinking of a new mobile. I love the one I have, and it has worked hard for me, and it'll be a wrench to let it go - but it's getting a bit tired (and tired looking). It's been with me for a year and a half - a record time! If you know a great new model (or something I definitely shouldn't get) - please let me know.

    7. And a little brag - I am now working full time, which is essentially a bummer, but the pay is way better, so I don't complain. It is however rather time consuming, so I am not blogging as much as I would like to.

    Stay tuned for a new post (hopefully) coming up soon!


    posted by Bravecat @ 9:47 am   19 comments
    1 May 2006
    If Islam ruled the world
    We were sitting and talking one lazy afternoon in my house. My friend – pretty local girl, miles of lashes and heavy black shiny locks, lovely smile showing off her pearly whites, thick black kohl accentuating her already deep, beautiful brown eyes. Blue jeans, pink shirt, fancy beaded Moroccan flats. Abaya and headscarf thrown casually on the other sofa. Let's call her Miriam.
    'Why are you so negative towards Islam, Cat?' asks Miriam, absent-mindedly flipping through my husband's FHM magazine. 'You just don't know how nice it is'.
    'Me? Negative?' I am somewhat unprepared for this question. 'No way. I am not negative at all. And I am pretty sure it's very nice. Maybe I am a bit sceptical... It's just – well, you know me, I am not a believer. I am just as sceptical towards Christianity, only it's a bit closer to home, so I am kind of used to it. But the whole idea of believing in God – I guess you have to be brought up with it. My parents are both atheists, you know.'
    'Really? But that's horrible! How can you not believe? How can THEY not believe? Your parents?' A look of genuine surprise in her exotic eyes, fingers still turning pages.
    'I don't know, it happens. Where I come from, some people are really religious. Some are not at all. I guess I fall into the latter.'
    'But... wouldn't it be nice if everyone believed in God?' she asks, almost pleading, almost naïve.
    'I don't know, Miriam. I think it would be better if people were more tolerant to the beliefs of others.'
    'Yes of course... everyone should be tolerant. Islam is the religion of tolerance, you know.'

    I didn't have an answer to that, and so I rose to get some more water from the kitchen. I am a terrible host, and my house is totally devoid of any kind of treats to offer our rare guests. Miriam got hold of the remote and started zapping the channels, magazine still on her lap.
    'Tell me why you think Christianity is better than Islam' she demands, transfixed on the presenter of some afternoon talk show.
    'I don't think anything like that, silly.' I put a glass of water in front of her and try to pull FHM from her hands. Impossible.
    'Let me! I don't have anything like that at home! This is so funny!'
    'Yes I know it's funny, I also suspect it's totally haram, so good Muslim girls shouldn't!'
    Miriam retaliates by smacking me on my thigh with the magazine. 'Oh shut up, Cat.' Giggles. 'Stop being so damn sarcastic. Better look at this one's ass.'
    Few minutes and lots of giggling later we are done comparing models and she says 'Don't you mind your husband looking at all these girls?'
    'Why should I?'
    'Well, he has you, doesn't he?'
    'Yes he does, but I am not a model.'
    'So what? He should adore you as you are.'
    'I am sure he does.'
    'And yet he looks at these girls? Why?'
    'They are very pretty. I like looking at them too. And obviously, so do you!'
    Miriam slams the magazine shut, 'I don't!'
    'Well give it back then!'
    'No! I am not done yet!' She opens the magazine again and changes the channel on the telly. 'Look, look, Shakira! I love Shakira!' MTV channel... just in time for the video. I love this Colombian chick too, especially her last song. So I watch the video and Miriam jumps up trying to copy Shakira's moves. To my utter envy she actually manages pretty well. 'See? Like that!'
    To me, Miriam looks thousand times better than any model in FHM. And there, I have it! 'You know why I don't mind my husband having those magazines? These girls, they are not real. They are just paper and paint.'
    'Yeah yeah whatever. They are gorgeous! And so is Shakira!' The dancing continues until the end of the video clip. She is so uninhibited, really, Miriam. I don't think I would be able to just jump up like that in front of her and shake my stuff. I guess years of serious girl partying do make an impact.

    She falls on the sofa next to me and grabs the water. 'Still, I think it would be great if all people were Muslims.'
    'Why, Miriam?'
    'There would be no wars any more.'
    She has a really good point, I have to give her that. I think most conflicts are religion based. Yet, I am not convinced.
    'Miriam, can you imagine how much I will have to give up if everyone just converted to Islam?'
    'Like what? You would gain so much more!'
    And she went on telling me about all the nice things that Islam would give people. Mostly it had to do with families being closer, women being more protected, and of course everyone eventually going to heaven. While she was at it, I made a small mental list of things that will be no more should proper Islam rule the world. Just off the top of my head:

    - FHM magazines
    - Shakira videos
    - bacon sandwiches
    - figure skating championships
    - all other professional sports with female athletes
    - women's tennis (I love tennis, so it gets its own category)
    - portraits and statues
    - Christmas
    - wine and wine bars
    - prom dances
    - beauty pageants
    - dating
    - Hollywood movies
    - Gothic cathedrals and beautiful mass music
    - seaside open air night clubs in Athens
    - knock-out piña coladas
    - Copacabana babes in bikinis

    I could go on thinking and counting... but I chose not to. Instead, I told Miriam about some of the things that I would surely miss.
    She looks at me incredulously and laughs: 'Yes, it's hard to imagine you without your tennis.'
    She finally puts the magazine down and looks at her diamond studded watch. 'Habibti, I have to get dressed. My sister will be here soon to pick me up.' She stands up and wraps up in her abaya and headscarf. How come she look gorgeous in this stuff?? When I tried them on (of course I did, lol, I am a girl, we try things) I looked like refugee nun from Albania. Miriam, on the other hand, looks like royalty. Her mobile starts wailing with some ear splitting arabic tune. That must be her sister, already in the compound coming to pick her up and go to some relatives' house. Miriam kisses my cheeks and whispers in my ear as her sister stops her car in front of the house:
    'Don't tell her about the magazine.'

    posted by Bravecat @ 12:04 am   90 comments
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    Name: Bravecat
    Home: Island of Love, Cyprus
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