Various writings on culture

Nadir Ali and Company: Musical instrument maker with global reach


The local TV news had a short video about an Indian company called Nadir Ali and Co. (NAC). The company is currently run by Managing Director Aftab Ahmad, who is over 70. It is based in Meerut, Utar Pradesh, where it has been operating since 1885.

The company makes musical equipment including horns, trumpets, and drums for many armies around the world as well as famous jazz performers.

One in three Britons dreams of emigrating to ease financial worries


According to the Daily Mail, one in three Britons dreams of emigrating to ease financial worries.

They quote a YouGov poll citing cost of housing and tax burden on the middle class. People between 25 and 34 are the most likely to leave.

If that is the case for Britian, I wonder what the ratio in Egypt would be?

Muslim veil, Elections Canada and Stephen Harper: why the issue?


I am not a supporter of the Muslim veil (Niqab or Burka, among other names), as I think it is more cultural than religious. But I certainly do not mind someone wearing it for whatever reasons she may think.

Elections Canada said that veiled women will not have to uncover their faces to have their identity verified for the upcoming elections.

CBC reports:

The Cost of Experience: Furnace repair bill


I saw this a while back, and thought that it raises a good point: the cost of experience! 

A furnace repairman coming to a home and after looking at the furnace for about a minute and a half, listening to the rumbles and gurgles. He takes his hammer out and at once precise place he hits the furnace. The furnace starts up and runs fine as if it was brand new.

The bill was $200.

The homeowner asks why so much when all he did was hit it once with a hammer?

The repairman takes back the bill, and itemizes the bill still totaling $200.

Egyptian bloggers and use of offensive language


I have very little time to read general blogs. I visit random blogs of various Egyptians occasionally when a link is passed on to me or when I am lost or something.

I don't know when the topic of this post started to happen, but I am amazed at the amount of foul language in use by Egyptian bloggers currently.

Perhaps it is a meme that I missed, or perhaps something else.

Previously, extremely offensive language was used only by anonymous posters when they tried ad hominen attacks on the blogger. Alaa and Manal's blog had many of these for example.

Historical Islamic Cooking: Andalusian and Baghdadi Recipes


When studying history, we often look for literature, archeology, events, and the like. Seldom do we consider food and recipes to be a topic of history.

However, there are several sites that have recipes from olden days. Some of them have a nice collection of recipes from Islamic countries, most notably Iraq and Andalusia.

These recipes go back all the way to the 10th century, when Baghdad was the seat of the Islamic Caliphate, in the Golden Age of Islam in the East. The Andalusian recipes go further into the 15th century, just before the fall of Granada.

Sumac: a Middle Eastern spice or conspiracy to poison Americans?


Sumac is a a family of plants from the genus Rhus. In some Middle Eastern countries, the drupes of Sumac are crushed and dried to yield a reddish sour coarse powder. This is used to garnish salads and dips because of its color.

What is both funny and sad is when one Iraqi blogger back in November 2003 posted a
recipe for Sumac salad. One aggravated American emailed him to say:

Death by (violin) firing squad?


This is a funny ad. A teenage boy in jeans, baseball cap and teen attire is against the wall screaming, while four groomed men in formal tuxedos are playing the violins.Another ad shows a punkish looking youth with spiked hair put in a guillotine that is made of the pan flute. This is probably alludes to the Francisco de Goya's famous painting


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