Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Oxo Salad Spinner

The first time I ever used the Oxo Salad Spinner in Kuwait, I became a fan. Do you ever buy the Kuwaiti Salad Greens at the Sultan Market? I hope you wash them before you use them!

The Oxo Salad Spinner has three parts; an outer bowl, and inner bowl like a seive, and a top that you press on and it makes the inner bowl spin very very fast inside the outer bowl, and the centripetal force makes all the water fly off the leaves and fall to the bottom of the bowl. So you can just lift out the inner bowl and empty the water out.

No electricity needed, it is entirely mechanical, and so well engineered that the bowl will spin on and on and on unless you stop it.

Before I spin the salad, I put all the salad greens in the inner bowl, put the inner bowl in the outer bowl and run cold water over the greens until the bowl is full. I leave it a couple minutes, then pull the inner bowl out, and empty the water from the outer bowl. The water is BROWN with dirt! I put the inner bowl in the outer bowl and rinse again, and again, until the water comes clear. Then, and only then, do I spin the lettuce/greens dry.

After emptying the spin-off water, I can actually put the spinner in the refrigerator, with the greens inside, or I can transfer them to another bowl or sack. They don’t last too long in our salad-eating house.

This is what the Oxo Salad Spinner looks like:

00omosaladspinner.jpg

The part sticking out can be locked in the down position for storage. There is also a button that stops the salad spinner’s spinning motion, otherwise it takes a long time for the spinner to slow and stop.

If you are a reader who does not live in Kuwait, but who buys from local markets or farmer’s markets, you will still find this honey incredibly handy.

You can find the salad spinner by Oxo at Amazon.com for $24.95 plus shipping.

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April 26, 2007 Posted by | Cooking, ExPat Life, Health Issues, Hygiene, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Shopping | 6 Comments

“Make This Case Go Away”

This is from today’s Kuwait Times.

MP Intervenes to save rapists
by Hanan Al-Saadoun

Kuwait: Two men accused of kidnap, rape and assault were let off the hook after pressure from a lawmaker and a senior police officer. A captain from the Traffic Department was on duty in Khaitan when he saw a parked car with an Asian maid in it and a man standing next to the car. The maid suddenly pointed to the officer and cried for help, so the captain rushed to the car and found another man inside with the maid.

The captain asked the man outside what the problem was. The main replied that this was a runaway maid and he was a detective. The captain asked for his ID but the man refused. The captain then realized that the man smelled of alcohol.

The men suddenly assaulted the captain and bit his hand, injuring him severely (emphasis added by blogger.) After the captain subdued both men, they confessed that they were drunk and that they had tried to rape the maid. The captain then tried to file a case at the Khaitan police station against the two men, but the MP intervened and tried to stop the captain from registering the case. The captain persisted and kept pushing to file a case for a week, until his superior intervened too and told him to “forget the incident.”

My comment: If I ever stop getting outraged when I read reports like this, God forbid, I will be dead.

First, the maid’s life is seriously damaged. Any victim can tell you that the terror of abduction, with or without rape, resonates through your life. When you are in a situation where you have no power, and are at the mercy of someone stronger or more powerful than you are, it is a life-changing event. And would her sponsor accept her back, even though it were no fault of her own? Would they not be afraid she might be diseased? They might even accuse her of inviting the assault – and this was an assault.

Second, these young men lied to the police, impersonated a police officer, resisted arrest and caused bodily harm to a senior police official. Did you notice – THEY CONFESSED.

Third, the police captain had the guts and integrity to persue filing this case against these wicked young men, inspite of pressures from above. WOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOO on you, brave one, for your integrity.

Last, kudos for Hanan al-Sadoun who does such a great job presenting so many of these outrageous stories in an objective manner, letting us fill in the details and express our outrage in our blogs. Brava, habeebti.

Evidently this air tight case will never get to court.

And what have these young men learned about accountability? That their name and wasta will make their despicable actions go away? What is the fitting punishment for what they have done? C’mon readers, check in on this one.

OK, OK, I’ll take a deep breath and stop now.

April 25, 2007 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Community, Crime, Cross Cultural, Customer Service, Detective/Mystery, Family Issues, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Mating Behavior, Middle East, News, Rants, Relationships, Social Issues, Women's Issues | 18 Comments

The Best Tomato Salad

The best tomato salad starts with my friends’ home-garden-grown Kuwaiti tomatoes, little tiny cherry ones, that we cut in half. We mix up some of the best olive oil and balsamic vinegar, we cut some fresh basil leaves from their garden and chop them and throw them in.

Then we add cubes of this:

00mozarella.jpg

We grind fresh salt and fresh pepper, add the dressing, and oh! It is almost a meal in itself. Perfect with “sheem” and rice and zucchini. Coffee in the garden, while the nights are still so moderate and pleasant.

If there is someone making fresh mozarella in Kuwait, I haven’t been able to find him/her. This is about as close as I have been able to come. It is horrifyingly expensive, and worth every fil. You find it at the Sultan Center, in the dairy section.

April 25, 2007 Posted by | Cooking, Diet / Weight Loss, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Lumix, Photos, Recipes | 7 Comments

My Addiction

Even though I know it is hopeless, I always look. It’s never there, or only once in the entire time I have lived here, and that was at the BIG Sultan Store in Salmiyya. But without any real hope, I looked and there it was!

When I was a kid growing up in Germany, there was something called PX rules. PX means Post Exchange, it is the place where American military people, or state department, or Canadians or British peoples would shop for things that the local German economy didn’t carry. The first rule is “if you see it, buy it.” The second rule is “if you see it and like it, buy several, as you may never see it again.”

So I bought all four bottles:
00caramel.jpg

Even knowing that this behavior is known as “hoarding” and that hoarding leads to shortages and that is probably why I see it so rarely, and knowing I should leave a bottle or two for someone else . . . knowing all that, I still bought all four bottles. I couldn’t help it. I’ve been conditioned. The rules are too strong; I can’t resist.

When I first go back to the US, and see it plentifully on the grocery store shelves, it is still hard to just buy one . . . except that there, you can even buy a litre size, and that usually lasts me a week or so.

Vanilla Caramel . . . ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh . . .

April 25, 2007 Posted by | Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Lumix, Photos, Shopping, Social Issues | 13 Comments

ATV Man

Why would a grown man – this guy must’ve been in his 40’s – drive an ATV to the Sultan Center?

00atvman.jpg

April 24, 2007 Posted by | ExPat Life, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Lumix, Middle East, Photos | 11 Comments

Google Earth Fantasy Flight

The same good friend who shared the quotes with me, sent this connection yesterday to an 8 minute video compiled with music by a GoogleEarth fan who takes you to some of the oddities you can see with the high resolution of GoogleEarth, including sunbathers and what I can only describe as EarthArt.

To see the movie, click here.

April 24, 2007 Posted by | Adventure, Cross Cultural, Experiment, Geography / Maps, GoogleEarth, Technical Issue, Travel, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

When the Experts are WRONG

This started my morning with a big grin. A friend sent it to me, and I hope it delights you as it delighted me.

Below is a nice collection of quotes that turned out to be very wrong. Many of the quotes are from very famous and respectable people. Maybe we should stop underestimating ourselves so much?

* “Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons.”
Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949

* “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.”
Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943

* “I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won’t last out the year.”
The editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall, 1957

* “But what … is it good for?”
Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, 1968, commenting on the microchip.

* “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.”
Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977

* “This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.”
Western Union internal memo, 1876.

* “The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?”
David Sarnoff’s associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio
in the 1920s.

* “The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a ‘C,’ the idea must be feasible.”
A Yale University management professor in response to Fred Smith’s paper proposing reliable overnight delivery service. Smith went on to found Federal Express Corp.

* “Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?”
H.M. Warner, Warner Brothers, 1927.

* “I’m just glad it’ll be Clark Gable who’s falling on his face and not Gary Cooper.”
Gary Cooper on his decision not to take the leading role in “Gone With The Wind.”

* “A cookie store is a bad idea. Besides, the market research reports say America likes crispy cookies, not soft and chewy cookies like you make.”
Response to Debbi Fields’ idea of starting Mrs. Fields’ Cookies.

* “We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out.”
Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962.

* “Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.”
Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895.

* “If I had thought about it, I wouldn’t have done the experiment. The literature was full of examples that said you can’t do this.”
Spencer Silver on the work that led to the unique adhesives for 3-M “Post-It” Notepads.

* “So we went to Atari and said, ‘Hey, we’ve got this amazing thing, even built with some of your parts, and what do you think about funding us? Or we’ll give it to you. We just want to do it. Pay our salary, we’ll come work for you.’ And
they said, ‘No.’ So then we went to Hewlett-Packard, and they said, ‘Hey, we don’t need you. You haven’t got through college yet.’”
Apple Computer Inc. founder Steve Jobs on attempts to get Atari and H-P interested in his and Steve Wozniak’s personal computer.

* “Professor Goddard does not know the relation between action and reaction and the need to have something better than a vacuum against which to react. He seems to lack the basic knowledge ladled out daily in high schools.”
1921 New York Times editorial about Robert Goddard’s revolutionary rocket work.

* “You want to have consistent and uniform muscle development across all of your muscles? It can’t be done. It’s just a fact of life. You just have to accept inconsistent muscle development as an unalterable condition of weight training.”
Response to Arthur Jones, who solved the “unsolvable” problem by inventing Nautilus.

* “Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You’re crazy.”
Drillers who Edwin L. Drake tried to enlist to his project to drill for oil in 1859.

* “The bomb will never go off. I speak as an expert in explosives.”
Admiral William Leahy, US Atomic Bomb Project.

* “This fellow Charles Lindbergh will never make it. He’s doomed.”
Harry Guggenheim, millionaire aviation enthusiast.

* “Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau.”
Irving Fisher, Professor of Economics, Yale University, 1929.

* “Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value.”
Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre.

* “Man will never reach the moon regardless of all future scientific advances.”
Dr. Lee DeForest, inventor of the vacuum tube and father of television.

* “Louis Pastueur’s theory of germs is ridiculous fiction.”
Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse, 1872

* “The abdomen, the chest, and the brain will forever be shut from the intrusion of the wise and humane surgeon.”
Sir John Eric Ericksen, British surgeon, appointed Surgeon-Extraordinary to Queen Victoria, 1873

April 24, 2007 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Experiment, Humor, Random Musings, Social Issues, Technical Issue | 5 Comments

Saudi Dies in Court

As an ironic tie-in to an earlier blog article today about Kuwaiti women seeking legislations on Women’s Rights, here is a related article from today’s Kuwait Times 23 April 2007:

JEDDAH: An elderly Saudi man dropped dead in court after it banned him from stopping his three daughters from getting married, newspapers reported yesterday. The man apparently had a heart attack once the cassation court judge in Makkah told the three women, aged 36, 39 and 40, that they could marry over their father’s objections, Okaz reported.

The women, whose father had on several occasions turned down their requests to marry, can now marry “honest men” who follow their religious duties, the Islamic court ruled, according to Al-Madina newspapers.

April 23, 2007 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Community, Cross Cultural, Family Issues, Living Conditions, Marriage, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Social Issues, Spiritual, Uncategorized, Women's Issues | 8 Comments

“You’re Fired!”

Today on AOL Jobs Section is an article on how difficult employers find firing an employee, even employees they know are lazy, have addiction problems, or are persistently late or absent. The Fonz discusses this, and other work related issues while blogging from one of his two or three different jobs.

“You’re fired” isn’t a phrase that rolls off Ed Cook’s tongue. The owner of a Stone Mountain, Ga., State Farm agency, Cook recently became concerned about an employee who spent far too much time chatting on her cell phone at the office. The last straw was an hour-long personal call she made while he was out on business. When he confronted her and she shrugged it off, Cook decided — then and there — to let her go. In his 30 years at the agency, that was only the sixth time he had ever fired anyone.

“It kills me to have to fire an employee,” Cook says. “I lose sleep over it. But when I’m paying someone to work, I expect them to work.”

While television bosses — from Trump, to Montgomery Burns on The Simpsons, to Michael Scott on The Office — gleefully terminate employees with abandon, real-world employers are far more hesitant.

In a recent national survey, 61 percent of small-business owners said they find it hard to fire employees — even bad ones, according to SurePayroll, a Chicago-based small-business payroll firm.

“The survey confirms our belief that small-business owners struggle with many HR issues and would prefer to focus instead on growing their businesses,” says SurePayroll president Michael Alter. “Firing employees is particularly difficult.”

That’s why as many as 78 percent of business owners said they prefer to put it off as long as possible, the survey found.

Francisco Dao, the founder of StrategyandPerformance.com, a San Francisco-based executive coaching and consulting firm, remembers working at a financial firm alongside a full-blown alcoholic.

Read the Rest of the article on AOL by clicking here.

April 23, 2007 Posted by | Blogging, Bureaucracy, Communication, Community, Financial Issues, Living Conditions, Social Issues | Leave a comment

Senior Citizens in Kuwait Taking Hospital Beds?

Tacked on to another article in yesterday’s Kuwait Times was this tiny bit of news, with much larger social implications:

“In other news, sources revealed that senior citizens have changed the rooms of public hospitals into old aged homes due to the low fees that are imposed on reserving a room at the hospital.

The rooms at public hospitals are worth KD 1 per day, and if the patient stays for two months, then he will pay only 500 fils per day.

Effective measures must be adopted by the Ministry of Health such as giving a determined time for each patient in order to enable hospitals to receive other patients.”

In a related article several months ago, a article in the same newspaper said that the hospitals were overrun with old people because people couldn’t take care of them at home, and it was much less shameful to say “my Mother is in the hospital” than to say “my mother is in a home for old people.”

It sounds to me like the solution is for the Kuwait government to open a state of the art “hospital” specializing in Gerontology, which in reality would be a retirement center for people unable to take care of their own physical needs, and whose families cannot meet their needs (believe me, after my father’s lengthy and debilitating illness, I know there is only so much a family can do), and they can still say that their parent(s) are in a hospital.

It would meet the need of “hospitalization,” would provide the older people with the intensive and personal services that they need, and would free the beds in traditional hospitals for the seriously ill and damaged citizens.

It’s only words.

April 23, 2007 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Communication, Community, Cross Cultural, Customer Service, Experiment, Family Issues, Financial Issues, Generational, Health Issues, Hygiene, Kuwait, Living Conditions, News, Relationships, Social Issues, Women's Issues, Words | 9 Comments