Zombies, Ignorant or Illiterate

Zombies, Ignorant or Illiterate.

I had to give out three options, but in reality there are only two, because if you think about Illiteracy, it really doesn’t fit in. In our blogs we are targeting people primarily that are on Facebook and other social networks. Of course to have an online account in any of the social networks one would be required to have a username and a password, which by default defies ones inability to read and write.

So you’re off the hook in a way. But that would only push you closer to being an ignorant or a Zombie.

Zombies, on the other hand, have not been proven to be real, which is a shame because many would mentally fit right into that description. Unfortunately, since we’re not looking at things in the literal term, we have to flush down that idea as well.

I guess we’re left with the last item on our menu handpicked from a wide selection of synonyms, “The ignorant”. Before I proceed, you must understand that not everyone is fortunate enough to earn this title, after all you have to work really hard for it. It really doesn’t choose you, but you do.

For all those that have been reading our blogs in secret or openly, we truly thank you. But above all, to the ignorant ones that have been purposely avoiding a mental stimuli, I must thank you more than anyone else, because whether you know it or not, you just gave us another idea for a blog, and I dedicate it to you.

It’s a shame you won’t know about it, because most probably you won’t read it.

Raghid Khalil

The Unfortunate Genius

Wheel of Fortune

How many geniuses do you know? How many of them are successful?

I am in the midst of reading a book written by Malcolm Gladwell titled “Outliers”. It tries to reshape our understanding of success and successful people. I am still halfway through the book and I can say Gladwell is enlightening and thought provoking. His inventive theories are logical and delightful.

What do you think Bill Gates and the Beatles have in common?

In a nutshell, the answer is practice. The saying “practice makes perfect” is revised and well defined. In order to be good at anything you have to do it almost 10,000 hours. It is the 10,000 hour rule. Mozart practiced over 10,000 hours before producing his masterwork of a concerto that contains his own original pieces at the age of 21. Before the Beatles hit stardom they were performing at strip-clubs in Germany. They used to perform for 8 consecutive hours, 7 days a week, for a whole year. I am not such a math wiz but looking at the calculations they got to practice 2,950 times in one year. It took them 10 years to be famous. So around 29,500 hours in 10 years. They exceeded the 10,000 hour rule and voila they became famous.

Talent does definitely play a role too in success. I am not going to argue that.

So the formula so far is practice + talent.

The third and last piece of the formula to success is Luck. How lucky are you?

Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and other successful individuals were lucky as lucky can be. You would think that some invisible force is disregardful to all of us 7 billion people on earth and focusing on gearing these lucky people toward good and better opportunity.

Let us examine this simple anecdote of Bill Gates life. His family was well to do. They enrolled him in a private school. That school club raised money and decided to get the most up to date computer of that time. He got the chance at a very young age to practice programming and work on the computer for hours on end. By the time he was at university he exceeded 10,000 hours of practice. Mind you that was in the 60’s when computers where expensive and not that very available. Thus he had the upper hand and practice. He had talent. And to top it all, he had a series of fortunate events.

On the other end of the spectrum we have the smartest man in the world, Chris Langan. His IQ is the highest recorded. Langan’s IQ is 195 compared to Albert Einsteins IQ of 150 . Yet this poor man is jinxed. He grew up in poverty. His stepfather used to beat him up. When he went to college his mother forgot to fill out the scholarship renewal forms so he was expelled. The universities he went to were disregardful to his genius nature. He dropped out. He lives in Montana and has worked in construction and as a bouncer at clubs throughout his life. This is the smartest person in the world… Now that is food for thought. He taught himself and has come up with a theory on the universe called “Cognitive-Theoretic Model of the Universe”. I tired reading through it but to no avail… The sad thing about his theory is that it will never be published or peer reviewed because at the end of the day it is written by someone who does not have credential and a degree.

Finally, to sum things up; the formula to success is practice+ a dash of talent + a tub full of opportunity and luck.

For all the people out there dreaming of success I wish you Good luck.

Rasha Nasser Khalil

It’s That Time of the Year!

I hear songs from the eighties, songs that millions of people have heard before. It might not be playing on the radio but it sure is playing only in the minds of those that want to hear it. “It’s the eye of the tiger”, that’s right “the eye of the tiger”.

Less than a week to go… Everyone is on the lookout for everyone else’s action. People slowly walk down the aisles of different electronic and clothing stores, smiling and nodding their heads to others while greeting them, as if they hail from an era not like the one we live in today. They register items and prices in their heads, yet walking out the stores empty handed, again … as if nothing was good enough for them.  That’s how civilized they are … all year-round.

Another day or two go by… Those same people start to lose some sleep. You can see the dark circles under their eyes, but they will deny any accusation of sleep deprivation. That’s a normal behavior. Another one would be their inquisitive nature that pops out of nowhere. They try to suck out every bit of detail you might have, about anything that you may have shown interest in over the past couple of weeks.

The song gets louder and louder, the nights get longer and longer. A cup of coffee is no longer helping. They start resorting to double espresso shots as the time starts closing in on them.

It is almost midnight. Those same people that hailed from the 1900’s era have begun their fast transformation yet backward evolution, an era that many of us were made familiar with, by simply watching movies like ”The Planet of the Apes”.

At midnight precisely, right outside the doors of several stores, you see people in masses running into the stores they were previously visiting in a very civilized manner. This time however the smiles have disappeared, the only eye contact is that established with an item on a shelf or could be in someone else’s cart. No need to get into details: “it’s the purchase of the fittest”.

Life will only return back to normal after checkout has been completed.

The bad news… it is almost the end of civilization. The good news… it is black Friday. Happy shopping!

Raghid Khalil

Love … at a Glance

She loves him … but… he loves another.

Typical, is the word that first comes to your mind. It’s always the case. When will women learn that no good can come from a man?

He has a heart of stone, that is to say, if he has one in the first place. She, on the other hand, is so loving and caring. He rationalizes each step she takes, and she feels every action he makes. She gives him her undivided attention and surrenders her love. What does he do instead?

Words start flying out easily when describing the harshness of men. His cold-blooded nature, his indifference, and hard-heartedness are some of his general attributes.

But when it comes to women, we find ourselves very careful with our choice of words. No matter how cruel we tend to be with our description, we still manage to throw in a couple of motherly and angelic words.  Even when she is remote, she is concerned. Even when she is harsh, she conveys compassion.

This is how it has always been, and most probably will remain for centuries to come. Unfortunately none of us will be alive by then to confirm or challenge those accusations. The earlier we accept them, the earlier women can formulate ways to protect themselves from the one they love.

Women have always been the victim and like I stated before:

She loves him no more, but without a doubt he has been wrongfully accused that he loves another.

Raghid Khalil

A Glimpse from the Past

Michelle Meiklejohn- freedigitaphotos.net

Raising Generations:

The way parents raise their kids can vary drastically, but they all seem to have one thing in common.; they want what’s best for their kids. So far this is beautiful. Parents across the globe seem to agree on the end result, but the implementation seems to be different. When I was growing up, discipline played a big role in the community. Kids my age didn’t feel any different. We all got the same treatment, and if we didn’t, at least we knew what to expect and what should be done to avoid the torture that could be inflicted on us by our parents. It was very simple, you get bad grades you get punished, you cause trouble you get punished, you decide to drop out of school, well that wasn’t much of an option because the punishment bar gets risen before you even think about dropping out. It is very similar to what happens these days, except for one tiny thing, “the punishment”; maybe if I use the term “timeout” some people might understand what I’m talking about.

The equation is quite fascinating. If I wanted my kids to succeed in life I made sure they got there. A good example is the “baby boomers”; we have now reached a point whereby parents have become so soft that there will never be another baby boomers generation. To some, this is a great relief, but to others this is a disaster. When I discuss the baby boomers I am not merely referring to the mass births of babies right after World War II through the 1960s; I am referring to the way they were brought up and what they have brought back to society, in terms of knowledge, education and wealth.

People from my generation and older have been exposed to different behaviors among each other, maybe eccentric but it led to some results. Before I proceed with this, let’s put some guidelines. When we discuss punishment, we’re talking about beating, but not to the extent of causing damage, which is also tricky in a way because we have physical damage, mental damage and societal damage. Let’s break them down:

Physical damage: The most obvious form of damage. You get marks all over your body, black eye or broken bones etc.. Well deal with it time is a healer.

Mental damage: In my opinion mental damage is not really caused by parents, because in their mind whatever punishment they’re inflicting is for your own good. Since they care about you they wouldn’t do anything with the intention of hurting you. Mind you, this is the norm, we’re not talking about the abnormal cases where parents get drunk and go rampage around the house. Mental damage in my opinion comes from schools and their therapists these days. One way or another they teach the kids that their parents could be a possible danger or threat to them; it gets funnier cause by the end of the school day they send the kids back home to this horrific image they have implanted in their brains. Kids now feel they are on a mission to spy on their parents and maybe put them to the test, and parents on the other hand have to make sure that their kids won’t play a prank on them because it could be extremely embarrassing and costly; and by prank I mean, jokingly tell someone at school that they were beaten by their parents. It does happen.

Societal Damage: This one is hilarious in my opinion. If a man lacked affection while growing up, he would make sure his kids will be deprived of it as well, under the pretext that this is the acceptable thing to do and everything else is wrong. It gets even worse because kids are known not to keep any secrets, so this wealth of social knowledge of what’s right and what’s wrong gets spread among all the kids, and before you know it the kids grow up to be distant and isolated, constantly on the lookout for suspicious parental behavior.

So by reviewing those three damaging factors, you are taking power from the parents and handing it over to the kids, who now can  be in control of almost anything that is not of monetary value. Your only bargaining chip as a parent would be “As long as you live under my roof, you abide by my rules”.

From an initial stance, one might like this idea. It seems intriguing…but let’s look at the bigger picture. Let us draw a long-term scenario. On the long run, it’s creating a rift between the children and their parents. Parents would be waiting for the minute their children turn 18 so that they can move out. Sure it might seem great, but don’t blame your kids if they never want to be part of your life, don’t blame them if they are too busy taking care of themselves that they couldn’t make it to your funeral; in short, the minute they step outside that door, start blaming yourself cause they will.

– You weren’t there to hold them when they needed you, whether girls or boys, you were too worried about the judgmental society that you risk losing your children.

– You couldn’t punish them old school, simply because you were afraid of being punished yourself by society.

– You risk watching them go on drugs, and start drinking at a young age, just because you couldn’t properly teach them what the limits are.

As a kid, I had two choices, either burn my hand with fire, or get slapped on my hand before the action. Of course at the time I didn’t understand why I was being slapped, but now I know why my hands are not deformed.

Parents need to regain this control; the foundation is the most important thing in any matter. To lay a good foundation, there needs to be proper understanding of your kids. To understand your kids, you need to have more interaction with them, guiding them between what’s right and what’s wrong. They might act tough, they might act knowledgeable. In short they’re not, they’re kids, they’re teenagers, and they are not fully adults.

As a parent I would rather regret one incident with my kids than watch them regret their entire life.

Raghid Khalil

…. And Felines Get It Too


Feline Aids

So we all heard about the transmission of aids to Humans, or maybe I should use the word, discovery and tracking back the origin of the virus. We have several scenarios thus far:

Scenario 1: Weapon – Man

Scenario 2: Monkey – Man

Scenario 3: Man – Man

Regardless of which one you want to believe as being the original one, one would think that one scenario is sufficient. But we live in a creepy world and one scenario might not be sufficient. It could involve all three scenarios… an orgy of scenarios. However, I still haven’t gotten to the intriguingly interesting and mind boggling thought. Just recently, being the non-clinical person, I heard of what is called the Feline aids disease,  and this is where I could use some help understanding how cats came into play.

Sure, cats and monkeys don’t get along; I can see cats and dogs have more things in common than with a monkey; just like I would see a man having more things in common with a monkey than a cat.

So, how did felines get aids?  Should I go back to my drawing board to write down all the possible scenarios? You know what? I will do that, just for the fun of it.

Scenario 1: Weapon went wrong- Feline

Scenario 2: Disturbed Monkey – Feline

Scenario 3: Man beyond wasted and experimenting – Feline

Scenario 4: Feline (gay) – Feline

It might be self-explanatory, but come on why skip the details when we can make it more fun. It is true, chemical weapons are manufactured under highly secured remote places that no one can ever come across, maybe tens of floors below ground level or deep in an invisible mountain, but believe it or not, they keep cats around just for fun. One of those days, a syringe was left unattended and unfortunately the cat chasing after a mouse in the lab, now you do know that they always have mice in their labs, that should not come as a surprise to anyone, that’s the norm; but anyway so the cat was chasing the mouse around the lab, breaking test tubes and what not, thinking that it had the whole world in its paws. Little did she know, the mouse who was once part of the three miceketeers, picked up what appeared to be a sword and stabbed the cat  several times with it, hence transmitting the disease.

If that story was hard to believe, then try to get this one. Monkeys are found primarily in two places, either at the zoo or in a forest, living their life to the max. Of course no one can believe that a cat could get itself in a cage with a monkey, why would a cat be at the zoo in the first place? which in itself is an interesting observation… I have never seen cats in any zoo. You either have them at home or you buy them from a pet store. But that’s not the point; let’s consider the latter case being the more probable one. A cat decided one day to elope with her lover, only to discover that he has already left her for another feline. It may be sad, but it happens all the time and that’s why you hear them moaning in February, that’s how sad they get. Anyway, the cat had two choices; either go back to the loving home and reminisce in sorrow and misery or commits suicide. A quick note for the reader, a suicidal cat does not jump off the bridge, it is almost impossible for a cat not to land on its feet, so the suicidal thought for a cat is to go to the jungle. Of course you all know what happens next; I will explain for those that don’t. The cat stepped into the jungle thinking that a lion would jump on her and devour her and she would die without feeling any pain, instead she encountered a bald blue-eyed monkey, who wasn’t sure what species he belongs to. He always felt out of place. Right away those sparkling eyes at night caught his attention; both having blue eyes, it felt like a match made in heaven. Unfortunately for the cat, she found her destiny in the arms of a monkey, but with it came a great feline disease.

It’s not over, well the monkey and cat scenario is, but what about man and feline. I’m sure if this story was ever true, it would have made the headlines all around the world. This is how it goes: A Man came home earlier one day from work only to discover that his wife was cheating on him, in his own house, on his own bed. He didn’t know what to do. Because the unlucky dude lived in a “no-Fault” state, which by the way I will be talking about in another blog, he decided to leave the house. Yet he couldn’t get the picture out of his mind. He went to the nearest bar and got wasted beyond imagination, and couldn’t find anyone else to blame but himself. After all, he knew he had a size issue, and of course he heard his wife tell him before that “size does matter”. He felt that he was a looser and wanted to prove that he was capable of pleasing another, but deep down inside he knew it was biologically impossible. On his way out of the bar, after being kicked out of course, around 3:37 am, and no one around, he saw a cat wandering, and cats by nature are so friendly, they let anyone pet them. Once again this poor cat has seen things she was not meant to see. Nonetheless she was satisfied and eventually diseased, but look at the bright side the man too had accomplished what he asked for “to please another”.

Last by not least, it’s the story of the gay felines couple. If penguins can do it, why not cats! As lady Gaga states: They are born this way… Who are you to judge?

Raghid Khalil

Taxes Gone Wild

You earn to live, but do you ultimately live with what you really earn?

Let’s do a simple exercise:

On average, a person works 40 hours a week based on an income that has been originally approved by both the employer and the employee. At this level, everyone seems to be happy as the latter was approved and accepted by both parties.

The tricky part comes into effect: Government Taxes.

A hardworking employee receives a paycheck, which in most cases would leave a smile on his/her face. That smile gets ripped off within seconds simply by introducing a tiny mathematical equation that leaves the employee with a significantly less amount of money. The government calls it “Tax”.

Most employees around the world start off their morning with a cup of coffee and maybe a quick snack. We got so accustomed to it that most of us tend to forget that we are also taxed on our daily food and beverage intake.

Taxes are paid on grocery, shopping, movie tickets, parking space, and even home insurance. For crying out loud, would you tell me what is not taxed. Is there anything that is not?

BUT, here is the fun part!!!

Ironically, when you flush the toilet you do not realize that you are actually being taxed. How so? Well, you are paying the water bill which of course is being taxed. By transition, the more you flush the more you are taxed.

Sometimes you crack the window open for a few seconds to freshen up the air in the house and you would assume it is free because it is air coming from the outside. You are wrong again. You are being taxed! How so? well, you are paying the gas/electric bill to keep the house fresh which of course is being taxed.

For those who think that taxes fall within a very small range, I would urge them to revisit the numbers and recalculate how much they are really paying in taxes.

Please be advised that the aforementioned concerns mostly employees. Company owners with their skilled accountants have devised devious plans to manipulate the system and turn taxes into profits.

And those are my two cents! Good luck to you all.

Jamal K. Khalil