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Weekend Bloggerback
Best of Blogs Round-Up: March 11-12, 2006

Non-disclaimer: We're liberal to the core, but we include in this daily blog review the political, the social, the cultural and the undefinable from the left, the right, the in-between from all over the globe. And we're suckers for good writing regardless of ideology. Clicking the link will take you to the original post.

Featured Blog I: Woody Alleny
Operation Cheesy Freedom

We've just finished a late dinner and a couple episodes of Doctor Who when Stuart takes the dishes into the kitchen to start washing up. I flip to channel 11 (o, SaTC at 11PM, how you torture me) to watch a few minutes of the episode where Carrie finds out about Natasha when a plaintative bleat comes from the kitchen.

"The cheese is OUT. On the COUNTER."

I blink for a minute. I'd cooked dinner and grated some parmesan to go on the dinner and in my hurry to eat a warm meal, I'd left the parmesan block on the counter next to the ziploc bag it came out of. So I laugh.

"Cmon, you left the cheese OUT!"

"Are you serious?" I yell as I turn down the whining Carrie. Surely he's not seriously taking issue with the cheese thing, for reasons I will soon reveal.


"So -" I get up from the couch and wander into the kitchen. "I was cooking dinner. We ate dinner. I left the cheese on the counter. Seriously?" He's got just a HINT of a smile but no! He's seriously taking issue! I strap on the relationship equivalent of a bazooka.

"Wait. The cheese, it's on the counter. And you're objecting to this? YOU ... are objecting to this?"

Stuart is now staring down the barrel of my bazooka wondering if his troops really have enough ammo. He's radioing the RAF for backup.

"YES! Look, the fridge is right here, you can just put the cheese back in the fridge!" He opens the fridge to demonstrate his point and my men launch a full-scale attack. Except we're both laughing so hard at this point it's difficult to hold my weapon straight.

"YOU. Stuart, every single time you put any sort of newly-opened cheese packet back in the fridge, you just PUT IT IN THERE. You never wrap it! Or pull a handy ziploc bag -" I swing around to indicate the handiness of the bag cabinet, "- out of the bag cabinet and put the cheese in it! Mozzarella has DIED a slow, hardening death in there! SERIOUSLY, you're still objecting to my hour of cheese-on-the-counter neglect?!"

We starts laughing harder.

"But," he says, valiantly holding the line, "it's so easy to just put it back in the fridge!"

"YES," I yell, "which is exactly how you do it, you just PUT IT IN THE FRIDGE. Do I need to bring up the DEAD CHICKEN IN THE FREEZER episode?!"

Stuart sputters that frostburn on chicken (which he simply PUT in the freezer in its open original container without the all-holy assistance of wrapping HOLY GOD THE WRAPPING) doesn't diminish the value of the chicken either way.

"THE BACTERIA... it...", but I can't talk for laughing now, because it's my turn up against the wall, I genuinely don't know WHAT the bacteria will do, it's a flawed argument, I just don't like FREEZERBURN CHICKEN but I had to go haul the bacteria into it. Nevertheless, I press on. "Raw chicken has bacteria!"

"And they're going to, what? Suddenly come alive in the frying pan only to DIE SECONDS LATER?" He imitates bacteria here, which may be the last recognizable straw of my ability to technically count this as a fight, because I'm sputtering and laughing and pounding his chest: "Oh, hello, I'm awake -AUGH AIE FIRE DEATH," and the bacteria go dead.

The thing is, technically this is a fight. Technically, we have a real communication breakdown about the need to WRAP THINGS BEFORE YOU PUT THEM IN THE FRIDGE, and the need to not bring up pointless arguments about bacteria that you can't back up with science. Technically, that was a fight. But it's really hard to snarkily deccimate someone else's argument when they're imitating bacteria dying in a frying pan, or when you know you don't stand a chance in hell arguing about the cheese on the counter because all I have to do is BRING UP THAT DEAD WITHERED TEN DOLLAR MOZZARELLA, you know the one.

I think it's fair to simply conclude that both factions have winning points. My winning point is the dead mozzarella.



Featured Blogger II: When Oscar Does Baghdad
The 2006 Sayid Awards

It’s Oscar time once again. We’ve been bombarded with Oscar propaganda for nearly a month now. MBC and One TV (a channel from the Emirates) have been promising us live Oscar coverage since January. It seems like all the interviews and programs for the last week at least have been about the Oscars- Barbara Walters, Oprah, Inside Edition, Entertainment Tonight- it’s an endless stream of Oscar nominees and analysts.

Now I’ve seen the nominees- we see them every year- and I’ve come to a conclusion- Iraqis need an award show. While the Hollywood glitterati make good entertainers, our local super stars, Hakeem, Jaffari, Talabani, Allawi et al. make GREAT entertainers. This last year we’ve seen several dramas unfold and our political leaders have been riveting!

So… not to be outdone by Barbara Walters and Oprah Winfrey- we bring you the Baghdad Burning Oscar Special!! Except, for our award show I suggest we change the name of the little statuette from Oscar to something more local and familiar. (Oscar is too close in pronunciation to the Arabic word “Iskar” which means “get drunk”. Should we use “Oscar” I fear the award show would be hijacked by Sadr’s religious militia, hence I would like to suggest the “Sayid” Awards!)

Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, we bring you the nominees for the 2006 Sayid Awards!

Nominees for Best Actor:

Ibraheim Al-Jaffari in “Free Iraqi Elections” for his attempted portrayal of a non-sectarian, independent PM of a ‘legitimate’ Iraqi government.

George W. Bush in “OIF: The War on Terror” The third sequel to the original “Operation Iraqi Freedom: Weapons of Mass Destruction” and “Operation Iraqi Freedom: Liberating Iraqis”. Bush’s nomination comes for his convincing portrayal as the worlds first mentally challenged president.

Bayan Baqir Solagh in “Torture Houses”, for his world-class acting as the shocked and indignant Iraqi Minister of Interior during the whole torture houses scandal.

Abdul Aziz Al Hakeem in “Men in Black [Turbans]” as the deeply devout Mullah pretending to be independent of his masters in Iran.

Mihsan Abdul Hameed in “Fickle” for his compelling portrayal of a victimized pro-war, then suddenly anti-war, anti-occupation Sunni politician.

Nominee for Best Leading Actress:

Condi Rice in “Viva Iran!” as the vicious Secretary of State in the charade to stop Iran’s nuclear power program (in spite of Iranian control in Iraq).

Nominees for Best Supporting Actor:

Jalal Talbani in “Kaka President” (Kaka = Kurdish word for 'brother') for his attempt at playing the ‘legitimate’ leader of the New Iraq (and although, technically, he’s the star of the movie, we nominate him for best ‘supporting’ actor as the PM managed to upstage him all year).

Dick Cheney in “OIF: The War on Terror” for his role as the devoted, fanatical VP and his relentless insistence that all goes well in Iraq.

Muqtada Al Sadr in “Viva Iran!“ as the young, charismatic, black-turbaned spiritual militia leader intent on protecting Iran from all harm and promoting tolerance between Sunnis and Shia (in spite of his Sadr militia responsible for vandalism and attacks against Sunnis and secularists).

Scott McClellan in “OIF: The War on Terror” and "Denial" best known for his ability to keep a straight face while reading through White House press briefings.

Nominees for special effects:

Ahmed Al Chalabi in “Disappearing Act” for his magnificent evaporation from the Iraqi political scene this year. Mr. Chalabi is quite the master of illusion and received a previous nomination for his disappearance from Jordan in “The Petra Bank Scandal”.

Best production:

“OIF: The War on Terror” (originally called “My Daddy’s War”) produced by Washington neocons, including Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, etc.

“Free Iraqi Elections”- produced (and directed) by Abdul Aziz Al Hakeem et al. and his army (quite literally) of supporters (the Badrists).

Best motion picture:

“OIF: The War on Terror” starring George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Condi Rice and others. A riveting drama set in Iraq. Rated “G” for ‘Gullibility’ and “R” for ‘Republican”.

“Disappearing Act” starring Ahmed Al Chalabi, Adnan Al Pachachi, and Ghazi Al Yawir.

“Free Iraqi Elections”- A black comedy based on the farfetched theory of free elections under foreign occupation starring Abdul Aziz Al Hakeem, Ibraheim Al-Jaffari and Muqtada Al Sadr.

“Kangaroo Court” - starring Saddam Hussein, Barazan Hassen, and various judges, prosecutors and lawyers.

Many honorable mentions:

First and foremost, an honorable mention to Bush’s speech writers. It must be the most difficult job in the world writing scripts to make George W. Bush sound/look not great, not even good- but passable. It must also be challenging having to write speeches using words with a maximum of two syllables.

An honorable mention to the Saudis for their support of Sunni extremists and Wahabis, the Iranians for their support of Shia extremist, and Americans for their support of chaos.

And so, as our Green Zone glitterati retire to their camps to celebrate their great victories, Iraqis wonder what wonderful, new cinematic opportunities await. There is much talk that a block buster is in the works - in the pre-production stage of this years most anticipated psychological thriller "Iraqi Civil War".



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