Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Wanted: Qatari Lady

This morning I found two comments on an old post about high temperatures in Qatar (now deleted). I was offended, but now I offer up this commenter to my Qatari friends. He has included his phone number. I suggest you call him and correct his mistaken ideas about Qatari women.

Screen shot 2015-01-15 at 10.04.12 AM

Note: My site is not a hooking-up site.

January 15, 2015 Posted by | Communication, Cultural, Doha, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Mating Behavior, Qatar, Social Issues, Women's Issues | | 3 Comments

Freedom of Speech: Je Suis Charlie

In our country, in the West, open discussion is a part of life. Your point of view may be ignorant, or repugnant to me, but I will defend to the death your right to express your opinion. One of the great weapons of freedom of speech is humor. It’s hard to maintain a dignified moral high-ground when one of the cartoonists piques with a cartoon showing the emperor has no clothes. Or at least the emperor has flaws, as do we all.


Pensacola is blessed with such an editorial cartoonist, Andy Marlette. Andy Marlette is controversial, and in a state with lax gun laws and pistol-packin-mamas, he risks his life daily, skewering the pomposity of us all. Occasionally, he is outrageous. Occasionally, he is offensive. That’s OK. If an editorial cartoonist isn’t skewering someone, or all of us at once, he isn’t doing his job. His job is to elicit discussion.







I have lived for so long in Moslem world that I take a risk now, offending my Moslem friends, by printing the cartoon of Mohammed weeping. It’s the cartoon that touched me to the bone. I have listened and learned in the Moslem world, and I have never met with hatred. The Mohammed I have read about in the Qu’ran and in hadith, and heard about in legend and stories from my Moslem friends portrayed a prophet who, like Jesus, was all about loving and serving the one true God. He would weep at what has been done in his name, as Jesus weeps for us, when we kill others in his service.


January 8, 2015 Posted by | Afghanistan, Africa, Arts & Handicrafts, Bureaucracy, Character, Circle of Life and Death, Communication, Community, Counter-terrorism, Cross Cultural, Cultural, Doha, ExPat Life, Faith, Free Speech, Humor, Interconnected, Kuwait, Language, Law and Order, Living Conditions, Pensacola, Political Issues, Quality of Life Issues, Social Issues, Spiritual, Values | , , , | 2 Comments

Texting Terms Teens Don’t Want Parents to Know

From AOL/

Earlier this fall, a Michigan prosecuting attorney began making the rounds of metro Detroit high schools letting kids know that increasingly normal behavior – sexting – could land them in jail for a long time.

Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper stepped up her education efforts after nearly three dozen Rochester area teens faced felony charges after circulating nude photos on their cell phones.

Cooper backs reform of laws that require Michigan prosecutors to charge sexting teens under the same statutes intended to prosecute pedophiles.

But in the meantime, she wants kids to be aware of the serious legal consequences of activity that a study by the American Academy of Pediatrics found is a “normal” part of adolescent sexual development.

And because they don’t want their parents to know what they’re up to as they click away on cell phone screens, they’ve developed their own shorthand to keep them in the dark.

A Denver television station tested – and stumped – several parents to determine if they could crack the codes their children use when they’re texting or sending online messages on their phones.

A detective with the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office told Denver television station KMGH that parents may be missing some red flags “because they don’t know the lingo or the language.”

Here’s a list of commonly used terms:

8 – it means ate, can also refer to oral sex
9 – Parent watching
99 – Parent gone
1337 – Elite, leet or L337
143 – I love you
1174 – the meeting place, meet at
420 – Marijuana
459 – I love you
53X – Sex
ADR – Address
AEAP – As Early As Possible
ALAP – As Late As Possible
ASL – Age/Sex/Location
BROKEN – hung over from alcohol
CD9 – Code 9 (parents are around)
C-P – Sleepy
F2F – Face-to-Face
GNOC – Get Naked On Cam
GYPO – Get Your Pants Off
HAK – Hugs And Kisses
ILU – I Love You
IWSN – I Want Sex Now
KOTL – Kiss On The Lips
KFY or K4Y – Kiss For You
KPC – Keeping Parents Clueless
LMIRL – Let’s Meet In Real Life
MOOS – Member Of The Opposite Sex
MOSS – Member Of The Same Sex
MorF – Male or Female
MOS – Mom Over Shoulder
MPFB – My Personal F*** Buddy
NALOPKT – Not A Lot Of People Know That
NIFOC – Nude In Front Of The Computer
NMU – Not Much, You?
P911 – Parent Alert
PAL – Parents Are Listening -or- Peace And Love
PAW – Parents Are Watching
PIR – Parent In Room
POS – Parent Over Shoulder or Piece Of Sh**
pron – Porn
Q2C – Quick To Cum
RU/18 – Are You Over 18?
RUMORF – Are You Male OR Female?
RUH – Are You Horny?
S2R – Send To Receive
SorG – Straight or Gay
TDTM – Talk Dirty To Me
WUF – Where You From
WYCM – Will You Call Me?
WYRN – What’s Your Real Name?

December 13, 2014 Posted by | Communication, Cultural, Family Issues, Generational, Living Conditions, Parenting, Relationships, Values | , | Leave a comment

ISIS Communication

Article from The Daily Beast


ISIS Keeps Getting Better at Dodging U.S. Spies
There’s a reason ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi has proven so hard to take out. He and his followers have become really good at keeping their communications covert.
On Thursday, around the same time ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi announced that he had survived a U.S. airstrike and promised in a recorded message to “erupt volcanos of jihad,” American officials were meeting to discuss just how hard it was to track the militant group.

Baghdadi and his followers have proven exceptionally difficult to track and kill because they’re encrypting their communications and taking steps to avoid being detected by U.S. surveillance, according to several current and former officials. Without American intelligence operatives on the ground in ISIS’s home base of Syria—and with only a limited number of surveillance planes in the air—those communications are one of the only surefire ways to keep tabs on ISIS.

In addition to encryption that American officials say has proven very difficult to crack, ISIS is also using a commercially available service that permanently deletes messages sent via the Internet, making them nearly impossible to intercept, according to an individual who was briefed on the issue Thursday. This person didn’t name the service, but one application ISIS has been known to use is called FireChat, which allows users to send messages to each other without connecting to the Internet.

U.S. intelligence and counterterrorism officials told The Daily Beast that ISIS has adjusted its communications patterns because it knows that the group is constantly being watched. Fighters have been taking extra precautions for months, but the length of time that it took the U.S. to target Baghdadi—six weeks after airstrikes began in Syria and more than three months after they began in Iraq—and the fact that he wasn’t killed in the attack suggests that ISIS is practicing tight controls on their communications, especially at the top of the organization.

“These guys have a level of discipline. They will enforce through the ranks not using cellphones,” said the individual who was briefed on ISIS counter-surveillance techniques. The group has also used couriers to convey some messages in order to avoid digital communications altogether.

Testifying before the House Armed Services Committee on Thursday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel acknowledged that ISIS is ducking U.S. spies, particularly now that the military is bombing the group. “ISIL fighters have been forced to alter their tactics—maneuvering in smaller groups, hiding large equipment, and changing their communications methods,” Hagel said, using the government’s preferred acronym for the militant group.

A former U.S. official said that another factor has been complicating efforts to find ISIS members: the lack of combat troops on the ground to follow up on any leads collected by intelligence agencies or drones, which are monitoring the battlefield from the air. “When you literally have a force on the ground, you’re in a better position to take advantage of these communications,” the former official said.

In 2007, the National Security Agency tracked the computers and cellphones of members of al Qaeda in Iraq—ISIS’s predecessor—and then told ground forces where to find the fighters. That cycle of intelligence-gathering and capturing or killing fighters helped turn the tide of combat operations. But no such cycle exists now in Iraq or Syria.

“The easiest day of the air campaign against ISIS was the first day,” said Christopher Harmer, an analyst with the Institute for the Study of War. U.S. pilots knew the locations of ISIS command and control facilities and storage depots, and to an extent the group was taken at least partially by surprise, since it didn’t know the precise time the strikes would begin. “Past that first day or two of easy targets, ISIS predictably dispersed into the civilian population. They quit using high-power radios, satellite and cellphones, starting moving to a dispersed command and control model,” Harmer said.

With ISIS proving an elusive target, the intelligence agencies have taken to monitoring communications of Assad regime officials to find out what they are saying about ISIS. The Wall Street Journal reported that intelligence analysts have treated the Assad communications cautiously, however, because private conversations among regime officials have proven difficult to verify.

“The easiest day of the air campaign against ISIS was the first day. Past that, ISIS predictably dispersed into the civilian population. They quit using high power radios, satellite and cell phones, starting moving to a dispersed command and control model.”

ISIS members may be harder to track, but on the flip side, persistent U.S. electronic surveillance, as well as overhead monitoring by drones, has constrained the group. “At the end of the day, an intelligence organization [conducting surveillance] forces two choices: Communicate and be at risk, or don’t communicate and fail to coordinate,” said the former U.S. official. “Should I encrypt my communications? Should I use onion routers? Should I use cut-outs?” Those would be the kind of questions this former official said he would ask if he were on the militants’ side.

Onion routers refers to the TOR network, a system that allows users to mask their location and communicate anonymously online. But the number of users connecting from Iraq is low, around 2,000, down from a high of more than 15,000 in June, according to the TOR Project, which helps with the ongoing development the system. Connections from Syria are also down, with only about 2,500 users are connecting from there, the group said. It’s unclear whether ISIS is using the routing system, which has also been used by Syrian rebel groups fighting to overthrow the regime of Bashar Al-Assad.

ISIS isn’t new to the counter-surveillance game. But current and former officials debated whether disclosures by Edward Snowden about the massive reach of the NSA tipped the fighters off and led them to be more cautious when communicating with each other.

One U.S. intelligence official said ISIS has “likely learned a lot from recent unauthorized disclosures, and as many of their forces are familiar with the U.S. from their time in AQI [Al Qaeda in Iraq], they have adapted well to avoiding detection.”

November 14, 2014 Posted by | Communication, Counter-terrorism, Political Issues | , | Leave a comment

The Devastating Power of Slander

Again, from the Lectionary readings for today, the devastation of gossip and slander, particularly appropriate during this season of vitriolic campaign ads, each more disgusting than the next:

Sirach 28:14-26

14 Slander* has shaken many,
and scattered them from nation to nation;
it has destroyed strong cities,
and overturned the houses of the great.
15 Slander* has driven virtuous women from their homes,
and deprived them of the fruit of their toil.
16 Those who pay heed to slander* will not find rest,
nor will they settle down in peace.
17 The blow of a whip raises a welt,
but a blow of the tongue crushes the bones.
18 Many have fallen by the edge of the sword,
but not as many as have fallen because of the tongue.
19 Happy is one who is protected from it,
who has not been exposed to its anger,
who has not borne its yoke,
and has not been bound with its fetters.
20 For its yoke is a yoke of iron,
and its fetters are fetters of bronze;
21 its death is an evil death,
and Hades is preferable to it.
22 It has no power over the godly;
they will not be burned in its flame.
23 Those who forsake the Lord will fall into its power;
it will burn among them and will not be put out.
It will be sent out against them like a lion;
like a leopard it will mangle them.
24a As you fence in your property with thorns,
25b so make a door and a bolt for your mouth.
24b As you lock up your silver and gold,
25a so make balances and scales for your words.
26 Take care not to err with your tongue,*
and fall victim to one lying in wait.

October 29, 2014 Posted by | Character, Charity, Civility, Communication, Community, Interconnected, Quality of Life Issues, Values, Words | 2 Comments

698-722 Text

Today I received a text from my bank telling me that a document from them had been returned as undeliverable and telling me to click on the blue hypertext with my banks name dot com.

It didn’t smell right, so I called my bank, and no, they had not sent that text.

Did you know when you get a phone call or text that seems odd to you that not only do you not have to answer, but you can go online and check that number? Just google the exact number and you will find records that show if it is a scam or telemarketer. It is a wonderful resource.

October 8, 2014 Posted by | Communication, Crime, Financial Issues, iPhone, Scams, Technical Issue | , | 2 Comments

Good2Go for Consensual Sex

Go figure. In spite of admonitions to the contrary, young people have sex. Problems arise when someone isn’t old enough to consent, isn’t coherent enough to have sex or is forced to have sex or participate in a sex act they don’t consent to.


I love this idea. It takes a little of the “he says – she says” out of the classic dilemma of who did what to whom and who should be held accountable? Was it consensual? Was it rape? Were both parties in a sober enough state to make that decision?

This is from SLATE Online magazine


Consensual Sex: There’s an App for That


Courtesy of Good2Go

Last June, Reason’s Robby Soave called for an iPhone app that would clear up pesky he-said, she-said rape cases by recording “mutual consent” to engage in sexual activity before two people do the deed: “Maybe they would have to input a password and then touch phones, or something?” he proposed. Last week, his prayers were answered: The Good2Gosexual consent app isn’t as touch-and-go as the app of Soave’s dreams, but it does encourage sex partners to assess their mutual interest in sex and record their intoxication levels before getting busy.

Here’s how it works: After deciding that you would like to have sex with someone, launch the Good2Go app (free on iTunes and Google Play), hand the phone off to your potential partner, and allow him or her to navigate the process to determine if he or she is ready and willing. “Are We Good2Go?” the first screen asks, prompting the partner to answer “No, Thanks,” “Yes, but … we need to talk,” or “I’m Good2Go.” If the partner chooses door No. 1, a black screen pops up that reads “Remember! No means No! Only Yes means Yes, BUT can be changed to NO at anytime!” If he or she opts instead to have a conversation before deciding—imagine, verbally communicating with someone with whom you may imminently engage in sexual intercourse—the app pauses to allow both parties to discuss.

If the partner—let’s assume for the purposes of this blog post, partner is a she—indicates that she is “Good2Go,” she’s sent to a second screen that asks if she is “Sober,” “Mildly Intoxicated,” “Intoxicated but Good2Go,” or “Pretty Wasted.” If she chooses “Pretty Wasted,” the app informs her that she “cannot consent” and she’s instructed to return the phone back to its owner (and presumably, not have sex under any circumstances, young lady). All other choices lead to a third screen, which asks the partner if she is an existing Good2Go user or a new one. If she’s a new user, she’s prompted to enter her phone number and a password, confirm that she is 18 years old, and press submit. (Minors are out of luck—the app is only for consentingadults.) Then, she’ll fill out a fourth prompt, which asks her to input a six-digit code that’s just been texted to her own cellphone to verify her identity with that app. (Previous users can just type in their phone number—which serves as their Good2Go username—and password.) Once that level is complete, she returns the phone to its owner, who can view a message explaining the terms of the partner’s consent. (For example, the “Partner is intoxicated but is Good2Go.”) Then, the instigator presses a button marked “Ok,” which reminds him again that yes can be changed to “NO at anytime!”

Then you get to have sex.

Easy, right? When I tried this process out with a partner, it took us four minutes to navigate through all the screens, mostly because he kept asking, “Why are we using an app for this?” and “Why do I have to give them my phone number?” (More on that later.) I was confused, too: As the instigator, I wasn’t asked to confirm that I wanted to have sex or to state my own intoxication level for my partner’s consideration. (A promotional video modeling the process begins by announcing how “simple” it is, then snaps out instructions for three minutes, but questions remain.) Perhaps the process is deliberately time-consuming: The app provides the “opportunity for two people to pause and reflect on what they really want to do, rather than entering an encounter that might lead to something one or both will later regret,” the app’s FAQ reads. Or maybe I’m just old: At 29, I find it much easier to just talk about sex than to use an app for that.

Lee Ann Allman, a creator of the app, says she was inspired to make it after talking with her college-aged kids about sexual assault on campuses across the country. They “are very aware of what’s happening, and they’re worried about it, but they’re confused about what to do. They don’t know how they should be approaching somebody they’re interested in,” she told me. Meanwhile, “kids are so used to having technology that helps them with issues in their lives” that Allman believes the app will help facilitate necessary conversations, encourage them to consider their level of intoxication, and remind young people that consent to sex should be affirmatively given and can be revoked at any time.

“Good2Go” is obviously a euphemism for sexual activity, but it’s not clear what that means exactly—is it making out, oral sex, vaginal intercourse, or anal sex, and with protection or not? (I guess you could always pause, grab phones, and start the process over to consent to another specific sexual activity—but at some point, you’d actually have to verbally explain what you’re agreeing to be Good2Go4.) The message that people need to consent to sex, and that they can withdraw consent, and they probably shouldn’t be totally wasted while they do it is one that college campuses are already administering to their students upon orientation. It may not always be getting though, but it’s not clear how the app (which is now being promoted through campus ambassadors) advances the cause.

In fact, Good2Go could contribute a dangerous new element to those he-said she-said rape cases. What Good2Go doesn’t tell users is that it keeps a private record of every “I’m Good2Go” agreement logged in its system, tied to both users’ personal phone numbers and Good2Go accounts. (Records of interactions where users say “No” or just want to talk are not logged in this way.) Allman says that regular users aren’t permitted access to those records, but a government official with a subpoena could. “It wouldn’t be released except under legal circumstances,” Allman told me. “But it does create a data point that there was an occasion where one party asked the other for affirmative consent, that could be useful in the future … there are cases, of course, as we know, where the accused is an innocent party, so in that case, it could be beneficial to him.”

That record may help the falsely accused, but it’s unlikely to aid a real victim. Good2Go may remind its users that consent can be revoked at any time, but there are still judges and juries that will take evidence that a person said “yes” to sex at one point, and conclude that they were asking for whatever happened later that night (or the next). Compared to that scenario, talking about sex doesn’t seem so scary.

Amanda Hess is a Slate staff writer.


October 3, 2014 Posted by | Character, Civility, Communication, Crime, Cultural, Family Issues, Health Issues, Law and Order, Lies, Mating Behavior, Social Issues, Women's Issues | 2 Comments

The Cable Bill: A Tiresome Battle

Every year around this time, we get a whopper of a cable bill, far above our normal bill.

And we gird for war.

I used to handle it and AdventureMan would sometimes laugh from his office. (Once an insurance agent said to me “You READ the policy??” when I told her I was discontinuing it because the things it covered were things that didn’t apply, and the things that I needed weren’t covered.) When AdventureMan volunteered to handle the annual cable bill call, I danced for joy.


If you want to win, you have to have a strategy. But not any old strategy is going to win the cable bill battle, you have to have the strength and fortitude for THE LONG PHONE CALL.

As we do this, I can hear my Dad’s voice as he would do battle over the phone, with the post office over an extra charge on a package, or a financial institution about just when that interest should be paid and how it should be calculated.

You can’t do this unless you have the time and energy.

AdventureMan ultimately prevails, and saved us over $600 over the course of the cable year, but it is a tedious battle, at one point, the equivalent of a siege, a battle of attrition, as he goes through what we are buying line by line.

The cable representative, however, has his own weapons – wire and smoke and mirrors, disguised as bundles and discounts and specials. They can “stack” some, but not others, and the packages may not be as described. It’s dirty warfare, down in the trenches, but the ultimate weapon is that AdventureMan has the time, and they have their time limits.

One day we are hoping to walk away from cable altogether, but until we can figure out how to get Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, and other programs we like on a reliable basis, we stick with the devil we know.

September 3, 2014 Posted by | Adventure, Bureaucracy, Civility, Communication, Cultural, Customer Service, Entertainment, Family Issues, Financial Issues, Living Conditions, Pensacola, Pet Peeves, Quality of Life Issues | 2 Comments

“You Can Be Right, Or You Can Be Happy”

As AdventureMan and I were trying a new place for lunch yesterday, the booth next to us filled with a group of roofers (roofers have a lot of good business in a place like Pensacola which gets both heavy winds and heavy rains). While they were not talking overly loud, one had a voice that carried and he shared with his friends – and us – a rule of life his Grandfather had told him.

“You can be right, or you can be happy.”

We laughed. When AdventureMan wants to annoy me, he tells other people that the reason we’ve been married so long is that whenever we disagree, he apologizes.


August 20, 2014 Posted by | Civility, Communication, Cultural, Family Issues, Humor, Pet Peeves | Leave a comment

Pockets of Silence

Every now and then, after all these years, I can still crack my husband up by saying something unexpected.

Happy mature couple discussing their finances at home

Retirement carries some unexpected adjustments. There was a time, when he was managing a major contract in Germany, where over dinner, I once told AdventureMan I needed him to look at me and to listen. He looked at me in horror; he told me later he thought I was leaving him. No. No. I just looked at him and told him that I am very independent, but that at least once, every single day of our lives together, I need five minutes of his undivided attention.

“Five minutes isn’t much,” he said to me.

“Five minutes is more than I am getting now,” I responded. I knew he was busy, and under a lot of stress, but relationships require nurturing, and I knew I could get by on five minutes, as long as I could count on that five minutes to stay connected.

Now, years later, the shoe is on the other foot. AdventureMan LOVES retirement, and he comes into my office all the time to tell me about a new Tiger Swallowtail in his garden, or to update me on our financial worth, or to use me as a sounding board for a political item that has come up in his garden club.

There are times I need focus. All the years we were married, I had that time, and more, I had all this time to myself, and I learned how to fill and manage my time. I rarely had to coordinate anything with AdventureMan, he just trusted me to manage the house and finances and making sure everything was in its place.

Once he had time, I had to learn how to share my time. I also had to let go of a lot of control. The first time he organized and cleaned out the garage, I almost had a heart attack. He was so proud! And I was so horrified! I am very logical, and more than a little compulsive, and I knew where everything was, in its logical place, and now . . . things were, very literally, out of control. A part of me wanted to kill him, and another part of me said “hey, cool, now you don’t have to clean out the garage, he he he” but making that gain meant giving up control over where things were!

AdventureMan started cooking, and suddenly pots and pans and measuring spoons were not where they were “supposed” to be. AdventureMan took over the garden, and I danced for joy at not having to go out and water in the heat, but I lost control over what was planted out there.

It’s hard. We are both managers, and both very good at it. We’ve had to draw some lines. I’ve had to share territory I always thought of as mine, and he has had to consult with me, when he would much rather carry out his plans directly.

We’ve both had to draw some lines. We don’t touch stuff in one another’s offices. We consult. When I clean out the pantry, the first thing I do is show him the logic, even put little signs so he will know where to find things when he is cooking. I put up with things ending up in the wrong place, except for the spice drawers, where all the normal cooking herbs and in spices are in the left drawer and all the chilis and peppers and exotic herbs are in the right drawer, with all the teas. It can be irrational, but sometimes it is the smallest things that matter.

From time to time, I need a pocket of silence.

I welcome my sweet husband into my office; he is always welcome. From time to time, however, if I am working on paying bills or a blog post or designing a quilt, or trying to get my readings done for my bible study, I tell him I can listen for five minutes, and then I need a pocket of silence.

The first time I said it, he looked at me in horrified disbelief, what I was saying was so astonishing to him that he couldn’t even take it in. Once he comprehended, he started laughing, and now he tells his friends he has a wife who needs her “pockets of silence” – and I do. As he has become more relaxed and stress free, he has become chattier. As I live a life of commitments and connections in retirement, I need some times with no talking.

I need silence in my life the way some people need to be around other people hanging out. Silence refreshes me. Silence helps me focus, helps me think things through and develop a strategy. I am never bored with silence; for me silence is a resource I use with great respect and gratitude. I love my family and my friends, and then – I need a pocket of silence.

August 16, 2014 Posted by | Aging, Character, Civility, Communication, Community, Cultural, Family Issues, Generational, Interconnected, Living Conditions, Marriage, Quality of Life Issues, Relationships | 5 Comments


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