27 February 2016

I got creeped out this morning

Whomever Allah placed in charge of the sky has bungled it. It’s the wrong color.

There are colors that are sky colors and a good variety of them, too. On any given day, I might see a sky that is cobalt or sapphire, perhaps even trailing off into the realm of cerulean or arctic at times. City nights of denim follow sunsets of candy apple or vermillion. Nearly anything can happen, just like white skies in Egypt or green skies on the northern Turkish coast.  

I am trying to tell you that I am not a person easily shocked or confused when I look up.

Yet this morning, I felt fear – genuine brassy fear! – while I drove down the freeway, for the sky was not a sky color at all. It was something else, yet the other drivers seemed too busy texting to notice.

It was something between army green and asparagus, only not either of these, and not something appearing on the usual spectrum for any purpose, sky or non-sky.

“What kind of cthulhic madness is this?!” I said and I briefly considered getting other drivers’ attention. Instead I called my sister, who sensed my panic as I related my concerns about the planet having moved or the paints having been stirred improperly.

“Don’t worry,” she said. “Try not to think about it.”

So that is what I’ve been doing all day: Not thinking about the alien sky outside my window.

If this is The End, I am prepared.

(*NOTE: Good news! I wrote this on Wednesday. It was not The End.)

23 February 2016


I have fled work this afternoon in order to do some shopping and blow off steam.

What are YOU doing right now? 

21 February 2016

The letter

Dear Andrew:

You ought to be aware of this. It happened just this past December, which is not long ago, really, in the grand scheme of things.

It happened in Virginia. A teacher, teaching about world cultures, had her students write out a bit of Arabic calligraphy. For this, she chose the Shahada, the Muslim profession of faith:

“There is no god but God and Muhammad is the messenger of God.”

In the ensuing national outcry, the entire school district was closed and classes, fundraisers, and extracurricular events cancelled.

I do not bring up this story to you at random, Andrew.

16 February 2016

In Syria

The story of the current civil war in Syria is an amazing story and tragic to the point where you can’t bear to look at it directly.

This BBC article summarizes it as well as I’ve seen it summarized. It’s called “Syria: The Story of the Conflict.”

It’s like this: In 2011, the Syrian people tried overthrowing their government as part of that whole Arab Spring thing. 90,000 of them died for it. Now, they’re trapped between Russia, Turkey, anti-government forces dominated by ISIS, and the Syrian government (which uses starvation methods and chemical weapons against them).

A quarter million are dead, maybe more. Eleven million have been displaced.  
“A UN commission of inquiry has evidence that all parties to the conflict have committed war crimes - including murder, torture, rape and enforced disappearances. They have also been accused of using civilian suffering - such as blocking access to food, water and health services through sieges - as a method of war.

“The UN Security Council has demanded all parties end the indiscriminate use of weapons in populated areas, but civilians continue to die in their thousands. Many have been killed by barrel bombs dropped by government aircraft on gatherings in rebel-held areas - attacks which the UN says may constitute massacres. IS has also been accused by the UN of waging a campaign of terror.”

12 February 2016

Nothing to see

There’s a game I sometimes play on my own. I call it Nothing to See.

I pull the blankets up and over my head and I listen.

That’s not all. That is not the extent of this game. If it were, it would be a very poor game indeed, I believe, although still somewhat better than other games I find that are much more profitable.

11 February 2016


I admit to listening to an awful lot of Reshma (1947-2013) in recent weeks. Her music is the ideal accompaniment to the full spectrum of our household chores, from washing dishes to dusting and everything in between.

I say this not as an insult to the great Reshma, but as an endorsement of the highest order.

Perhaps she can help your chores go by more quickly, too!

07 February 2016

Abbu the conqueror

I opened my front door yesterday and do you know what I found there?  

My mother, standing alone and looking worried. I very nearly screamed, such was my shock at seeing her. For a moment, it could have gone either way, screaming or not screaming. In the end – mercifully – no scream was forthcoming. (Alhamdulillah…)

04 February 2016

"Muslim and American"

President Barack Obama, speaking at the Islamic Society of Baltimore, February 3, 2016:
“Today, there are voices in this world, particularly over the Internet, who are constantly claiming that you have to choose between your identities — as a Muslim, for example, or an American. Do not believe them. If you're ever wondering whether you fit in here, let me say it as clearly as I can, as President of the United States: You fit in here — right here. You're right where you belong. You're part of America, too. You're not Muslim or American. You're Muslim and American.”
Young Muslims waiting to fist-bump the President

01 February 2016

Vegetable man

Reading your blogs is a wonderful way to pass the time, on most nights, unless I am in pain or there is a great noise outside or I feel as though I am being watched.

I am not in pain.

Tonight, I might read some of your blogs.