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


Three Necessaties of Life


There are three main things every person has to abide by in order to lead a happy and healthy life.  You read them, you memorize them and of course you implement them; it doesn’t get any simpler. It feels like I am giving away the secrets of life.

1- The first one is very important, without it you can barely accomplish anything. Love it.

2- The second is not as important as the first, but it goes hand in hand with it.

3- The third one will lose its meaning unless I tackle it in a separate blog.

Hold on to those three steps and they will pave the way to sucess and eternal bliss.

Raghid Khalil

Human Rights or Human Writes

Grant Cochrane-freedigitalphotos

As I was reading about human rights I came across this sentence:

the human right to water is indispensable for leading a life in human dignity. It is a prerequisite for the realization of other human rights.

—United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights”

I think this right to water alone abolishes all the other rights to humans, mainly the right to life which says

“Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.”

—Article 6.1 of the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

If the access of water is a human right then what is man to do when the water starts to run out? I can see a few scenarios but eventually there can only be one ultimate scenario that in a way or another is inevitable.

Water Runs Out:

We are currently experiencing what is called “water crisis”. Millions of people, adults and kids, are dying every year of diseases primarily because they don’t have clean water to drink. Where is their right to life? Or do you mean to say they have chosen to be terminally ill and die? Where is their right to water? Or is it unspecified kind of water, thus saying they already have access to it? As long as no one has turned to those affected by this crisis, it may keep passing on unnoticed, and there will come a day where those affected people will revolt and wage a war or attack other nations therefore violating the “right to life” giving the defender all the right to annihilate the offender under the pretext of defense.

How does it end? It doesn’t. The water crisis will still be there.


In theory, it sounds like a great process, but how would it be different than the current oil concept?  Countries that have oil but not export any, will import as much as they can hoping that when oil runs out from the world they will have enough oil for a century to come, or until they come up with a new source. The same thing will happen with water. But let’s not forget, there are other factors that come into play here. Not every country is bordering a sea or an ocean, meaning some countries might not be able to build desalination plants and would be at the mercy of those that can. Keep in mind, there is also transportation; we now have to worry not only about desalination but also transportation of water. You can only imagine what the costs will be. Just like we monitor the price of a barrel of oil, we will start monitoring the price of a barrel of water. It gets even better, whoever controls the major hubs, and by hubs I mean desalination plants will be the ones to control the world or even earn the title of a superpower, because now they can control your “right to life” simply by controlling your “right to water”.  Countries bordering the seas, will have stronger military presence, those that are not will try to conquer weaker ones with water access thus taking away both rights given to you by the human rights.

How does it end? It doesn’t, it creates a regional war and eventually a world war.

People might wonder if there is a solution to all this? Of course there is.

Raghid Khalil

The New Seven Wonders of the World

Many of you have seen some form of notification either by email, or on the news about the new 7 wonders of the world. We are just a few days away from selecting the seven new ones. Believe it or not your vote counts.

Here’s a percentage perspective on the matter.

A country as tiny as Lebanon, who has 4 million in populations ( the 2008 consensus is 4,242,000 ) can only hope to have its Jeita Grotto selected among the winners. Why? Well let’s do the math. Assuming that 100% percent of the Lebanese people vote for this truly amazing wonder, and only 15% of the Canadians vote for the “bay of Fundy” which looks no better than the “Raouche Rock” that also happens to be in Lebanon. In that case the “bay of fundy” will advance into the list with  no real merit, but simply because of the percentage in respect to the high population which is at around 30 million (the 2011 consensus put the population of Canada at 34,636,000 ) .

If India dedicates only 1% of its 1.2 billion people ( the 2011 consensus marked the Indian population at 1 ,210,193,422)  to vote for “Sundarbans”; their 1% (12 million) voters are still three times larger than the entire Lebanese population. Where is the fairness in this?

To add salt to injury, there is another giant market anxiously waiting to vote for “Yushan”, in case you haven’t guessed it yet, it’s China  who is still holding the title in population size. (2010 consensus ranked them as number 1 with a population of 1,339,724,852).


I suggest to have what we call a curve, or matching votes; meaning every vote from Lebanon counts as 7.5 Canadian vote , 302.5 Indian or 334.9 Chinese  votes. Look at the numbers, does anyone doubt that “Sundarbans”  from India and Bengladesh won’t make it to the list, or Yushan for that matter?

For the theorists:

Some might argue that each person gets to nominate 7 locations, which could tilt the odds. Still that doesn’t make sense, because you still have all the Indians unanimously selecting “Saundarbans” and spreading their remaining 6 votes across the 28 other nominees, and of course  their main opponent China with a population of more than one billion doing the same.

Dead Sea ?

To top it all, you have three countries Jordan, Palestine and Israel whether at peace or war, voting for one dying sea, the “Dead Sea”. Why? Simply because each one is claiming it to be their own wonder. I can’t see what wonder it has, eventually with the global warming we will have several “Dying Seas”, just be patient and every country will have one.


How about nominating a wonder that is unique to one country!

Look at the Amazon for instance. It extends over seven countries (Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, Venezuela). It is  magnificent, there is no doubt about it, but when people decide to have an amazonian experience, which country will they choose as their destination? Is it well maintained across all seven countries? Is it easily accessible? Those are the things that matter to me. I believe in a one to many “relationship” only in the case of a country having several wonders on its territory, but not when one wonder extends over several different countries.

There isn’t much decisions to be made here, I am sure each country has its own wonders. What we are looking for is objectivity. Do the right thing, Vote Jeitta. I am not trying to show favoritism here, I am simply trying to shed some light on a hidden jewel. The Jeita Grotto, is truly a wonder. It has survived wars over the years and still has managed to fascinate millions of people. What is even more fascinating about it is that just like the “Pyramids” it still holds a few secrets that keep on getting discovered even as we are voting.

To all the people out there, one thing you need to know about the Lebanese people; they are caring and more importantly they love to share. This is their legacy. If Jeita doesn’t make it among the top seven wonders, it will be another disappointment to the world but not the Lebanese. They have it, they have seen it and they have enjoyed its mysteries. Now it’s your turn.

Follow this link to  Vote:

Pictures From top to Bottom (Jeita Grotto, Bay of Fundy, Raouche Rock, Sundarbans, Yushan, Dead Sea, Amazon and Jeitta Grotto).

Images can be found at  this link:

Raghid Khalil


Which is the better one?

We see people walking down the street, each one to his/her phone, minding their own business. They all seem happy with what their O.S has provided them with. No one seems to care, no one feels the urge to show off or compete, until we start approaching a national holiday.

We start seeing commercials on TVs, ads on websites, and huge billboards by the giants displaying the new and upcoming feature of their product.

Those who have that particular phone now have something to show off about for the next three months or so, since that is usually the longest period before the competitors introduce the same or a very similar feature.

Some of the new features you hear about sometimes have nothing to do with the operating system, but more like a hardware change. For instance, the new phone will be slimmer and lighter, it used to be 15 mm in width, but now it’s only 14.5 mm and down from 210g to 202g. As if, my back won’t hurt me as much now that it’s lighter; but my pocket will.

I must admit some features are really interesting, but since we’re the ones paying the full price to buy a new phone or maybe renew a contract with a carrier and be stuck with their crappy customer service just because we want this phone, I think we should have a say in what we would like to see.

No one ever consulted with me for an opinion on what I am paying for. They say the people have spoken and we have listened. Well not in those exact words but in reality I never said a thing and I am part of the people.

What do we really want from our Phones in terms of hardware and software?

To begin with, if you are going to manufacture phones like there’s no tomorrow and you’re going to have updates and upgrades that only work with the newer version; I suggest you think about lowering your prices.

-A single person “might” consider buying a new phone once a year as his/her new year’s gift at the full price which ranges between 400 and 700 usd. If this is your target, then incorporate things that would attract this chunk of the market.

-A couple would find it overpriced to spend the 800 to 1400 usd every year to get the latest and “bestest” as advertised phone out there .

-An entire family would consider this as a disastrous day, a new phone? What do you mean a new phone? We just bought new ones? Has it been a year already? But mine still works fine. Ok, ok I will pass by the bank and get another loan, or sell my blood.

While those giants are competing, they leave their dirty work to the smaller yet huge companies, we call them “the carriers”, I am sure you have heard of them. These days you can’t have a smartphone unless you have a data plan. That’s right, no data means no deal.

It seems the phone manufacturer, the OS developer and carriers have one thing in common and that is the consumer. While they brag every year how they met the criteria or their sales or what their revenues were on the third quarter, we “the consumers” anxiously wait for new updates that wouldn’t have been noticed in the first place and might not even be used by many, simply to say “we have the latest and meanest product”.

Raghid Khalil

Salvador Dali Revisited

Artists are the minds mirror. They have the gift and ability to reflect the intricacies and intertwined synapses of our mind so vividly.

What I like about Salvador Dali is that throughout his life he got influenced by many art movements and expressed each brilliantly. He adapted and changed and grew. This is well reflected in his paintings and expressions.

Dali was born in Figueres, Spain on May 11, 1904.

In the 1920’s he held one man shows and got recognition for his impressionist paintings. His famous was The Basket of Bread.

Salvador Dali-The Basket of Bread-1926 (wikipedia)

1929 highlights Dali’s connection with the Surrealist Movement . His painting, The Persistence of Memory, with the soft melting watches echo space and time; gentle, bizarre, introverted and dangerous. It is as if time adjusts to the circumstance and envelops its existence around it.

The Persistence of Memory-1931

Twenty years later in “The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory” (1952), Dali broke these images. He was fascinated by destructive nature of atomic energy and reflected it in breaking his images as a mere consequence of the knowledge that we possess.

The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory-1952

By 1940, Dali was moving into a new type of painting with a fixation with science and religion trying to revive the classic period. Among the best known of these works are The Hallucinogenic Toreador.

The Hallucinogenic Toreador-1940

His health deteriorated after the death of his wife and muse in 1982. Salvador Dali died on January 23, 1989 in Figueres from heart failure with respiratory complications.

Rasha Nasser Khalil


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They say “behind every successful man, there is a woman.” I say behind every woman there is “Apple”. Why might one wonder? What does apple have to do with it? We all know about their success in iPods, iPads, iPhones and all other “i”s that came along over the past years.

What people have forgotten is the greatest creation of all: that is the “Woman”. She comes in different versions with an intuitive and self-upgrading operating system. She starts off with the basic and simple version “iKnow”, then climbs up the ladder to version “iNeed” until she reaches the highest of all levels “iWant”. All three levels are backward compatible. She can easily switch between them with no lag time.

I blame apple for this, and at this point I ask them to declare what updates of “Woman” they have in store for us.

There was one version of “Man” and it hasn’t been updated since. It’s a one-time application that runs under extreme pressure; it’s a very effective application and eventually affects the lives of men running it. It’s the “iDo” app, works best in wedding ceremonies.

Raghid Khalil


Andy Pucko -

Organic vs. Non-Organic Eggs

Have you ever wondered about organic and non-organic vegetables, foods, drinks and other products?

The other day I went grocery shopping with my wife. As we were walking down the aisles, we came across several products of organic and non-organic nature. It was surely obvious which is which, not by the packaging but simply by the price. Organic products tend to be more expensive. Interesting indeed! I’m sure there is a reasonable justification for this high price.

We reached the butter and juices section, which is always a tad cooler than sticking your face in your freezer for 5 minutes (I am sure you are thinking about it… go ahead…try it). Scanning the shelves i noticed the organic and non-organic eggs. For a moment there I didn’t know how to interpret this. I thought there could only be organic eggs. I was mind boggled with the concept of organic and non-organic eggs, that as soon as I got home I turned research mode on and started my investigation. I discovered an amazing truth which I am certain that many of you do not even know to this day.

Let’s start with the Organic egg:

The hen gets up in the morning to the beautiful sound of music, the sound of a rooster. She has enough time to brush her feathers, dip her face in some water, and walk around the farm to get some food. The rooster meanwhile, notices the daily and routinely actions of the chicken, descends from the rooftop, the fence or whatever high-rise location he’s in and starts flirting with the chicken. A few moments later they exchange phone numbers. Later that evening he ends up in her bunk bed.

A few days after their first encounter, the chicken lays a healthy beautiful and tasty organic egg, which eventually ends up on the shelve of some market with a high price tag.

As for the Non-Organic egg:

(Reader discretion advised, this part might cause you to stop eating eggs)

When the hen first hears the voice of the rooster early in the morning, she gets the chills. She looks around at all the other shivering hens that are with her in the chicken coop and sees that each one of them has started to pray. She knows she is not alone in this, but she only prays that today is not her turn.

She tries to play sick every single day but to no avail. She screams and pleads for a day of mercy. She wonders if it is a communication issue she is faced with because the people seem to misinterpret her shouts. Obviously, she
can’t speak human and humans for sure don’t understand chicken… They only understand taste.

The countdown starts. It’s only a matter of time where her pimp (the human being) picks her up and shoves her in a cage with a rooster whom she has never met. The “animal” ravages her without even an introduction. Every day a different rooster…. sometimes multiple times a day.

She lays the egg that she already hates. Before she could do anything about the bastard egg it gets taken away from her. This egg is then labeled as the non-organic egg that we are eagerly buying for a cheaper price. The hen can only hope that tomorrow will be a better day but it never is. She was forced into prostitution ever since she hatched from an organic egg.

At least one thing is for sure, if that hen had fingers instead of wings, she would have been the first to pull up a cigarette and smoke it.

Raghid Khalil

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