Aleppo Soap


MB attended a Farmer’s Market in Doha today and had the pleasure of coming across a market trader selling 100% genuine Aleppo Soap. As far as MB was aware, the soap industry of Aleppo ceased completely because of the war and it’s no longer possible to buy the real thing. Maybe some Syrian reader can confirm, or otherwise, MB’s statement.

Soap from Aleppo is generally considered the oldest soap in the world, dating back at least 2,000 years. But nobody really knows when production started. It was considered a favourite of Queen Cleopatra of Egypt and other royalty of that time.

The recipe remains the same for the most part as it was a few thousand years ago. The main ingredients are olive oil and laurel oil. When the soap is cut into blocks in the factory, it is stored for approximately 9 months before sale. This allows a number of chemical changes to take place and a reduction in the moisture content, resulting in a very lightweight but durable soap that is browned on the outside while remaining green on the inside. The blocks in the below photo is, in the opinion of MB, only some 25% of the weight of more normal everyday soaps.

On asking the French lady market trader (Mrs Noor) today how she managed to procure fresh Aleppo Soap, she informed MB that she and husband bought a full steel container load of it back in 2012, before the war stopped exports, and eventually, production. She expects that her remaining stock will run out in the coming months.

Syria and its soap have much in common it would seem.


For those who might be interested in contacting Mrs Noor and/or purchasing some products online, she can be contacted on any of the following: noor@noonnabalsy.com (email), http://www.noonnabalsy.com (website), NOON Nabalsy Paris (facebook), noon.ethic.organic.skincare (Instagram).

Aleppo SoapsIMAG1191

Mrs Noor also sells a variety of other cosmetics, all produced by small-scale artesian producers from a wide variety of countries. Her stories of each producer are as fascinating as the products themselves.IMAG1190

 

Weekly Photo Challenge – Dinnertime


Dinnertime

On receiving this week’s Photo Challenge from Michelle at the WordPress website, MB started a trawl through his photo library for something suitable. He came across a really nice shot of some street pigeons eating bread crusts on a footpath in front of Lake Geneva in Montreux, Switzerland. It would have got lots of ‘likes’. He came across another cutie shot of a monkey in a forest park in Goa, India, eating a banana while holding her baby. For sure many ‘likes’ would have clocked up. There were many others that would equally have brought smiles to the faces of observers.

Then MB came to some pics he took in Istanbul on his last visit to that city in the Spring of 2015. And he saw some pics of Syrian refugees begging on the streets so that they might enjoy some occasional food, ‘dinnertime’ being a long forgotten concept. And but for the generosity of passers-by, which obviously fluctuates up and down, even ‘occasional food’ becomes even more occasional.

Turkey has some 2M Syrian war refugees at this stage. The refugee camps are places of horror, and hence many refugees prefer the indignity and awfulness of begging on the streets of the major Turkish cities, in all weather conditions, in preference.

The EU has recently promised Turkey some USD 3B to cater more easily with the refugee influx, but more critically from an EU point of view, to stop the refugee tide flowing into Europe from the Turkish mainland. A Turkish friend said to MB recently that we can expect about 10% of the cash to go to the migrants and about 90% to be syphoned off by Prime Minister Erdogan and his cronies. If you know anything of Turkish politics then you will know that such predictions mightn’t be too far off the mark. Incidentally, a Syrian acquaintance of MB’s in Doha, hailed the re-election of Erdogan some months back as “a great day for Islam“. MB nearly wept on hearing. Erdogan wraps himself in the Islamic flag for sure and plays the Islamic card very well. It doesn’t surprise MB one little bit that Erdogan’s major support base comes from the lesser educated sectors of the Turkish population.

And so MB comes to the end of his ‘preachy’ introduction to this weeks photo challenge. Please forgive the departure from the more pleasant norm. A little commentary follows on each of the pics.

MB is not expecting many likes!

The angelic faces of the two babies caught MB’s attention in particular. The shot was taken in the heart of Istanbul’s tourist area, approx 100m from the famous Blue Mosque and other iconic Istanbul attractions. A grotesque contrast if ever MB saw one.

IMG_1624

This is not a nice photo, in the sense that it doesn’t convey anything nice. In fact it is very un-nice. MB is sure that when this young couple got married only a few years back, the world seemed full of great promise and all things good. Then their country and their region were engulfed in war. MB noticed that the father never lifted his eyes from the downward direction. He would raise his hand to beg money on hearing passers-by get close or on seeing their feet, but the shame of his new found refugee/begger status didn’t allow him to look strangers in the eye. The look on his wife face is even worse, and speaks a thousand words and more of her new-found situation also. To say that she is beginning to look more animal than human is not an exaggeration. What a world we live in.

IMG_1637

The awful irony of this photo is that the two signs behind this hungry mother and child refugee beggar duo, on a hot Istanbul street, are advertising health supplements in the adjoining shop.  The mother has positioned herself and child in the shadow of the tree trunk to avoid the sun’s heat and allow her child to get some easier sleep. She would raise her hand to passers-by for donations.

IMG_1638

I know them


Like many, MB has watched the refugees streaming into Europe on his TV screen over recent months. He didn’t realise until today that he actually knows some of them personally.
Read More

Flotsam


In the Spring of 2011 a man told MB a story from his home town. Read More

Photo Story – 2 of 7


The War in Syria has created some 10M refugees from a total population of 23M. Approx 6.5M are internally displaced and some 3.5M have fled the country. Millions of houses and apartments are now reduced to rubble. 250,000 to 300,000 people have died as a result of the extremely complicated civil war war which has many participating actors. More than the combined dead of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Read More

Photo Story – 1 of 7


Suddenly, one early afternoon in February 2012, MB found himself face to face with a Hezbollah street demonstration in Beirut, in support of President Bashar Al-Assad in neighbouring Syria. Read More

Refugees


At end of 2014 the number of forcibly displaced people in the world was estimated by the UN to be over 50M. The highest number since WW2. Africa, as ever, is one of the race leaders. But in the last 4 or 5 years it’s Syria that’s won the gold medal. 0.25M or thereabouts dead as dodos. Some 2.5 to 3M have fled the country and some 6.5M people are displaced within the country itself. A huge proportion of the countries housing stock is totally destroyed. Read More

The War In Syria


Last night MB watched an elderly Syrian lady cross an Istanbul street on her hands and knees as her two children begged for money nearby in the cold Spring night. Her feet are too sore or too diseased to stand upright.

By the end of 2015 Turkey expects to have 1.7M Syrian refugees within its borders who are fleeing the fighting back home, where over a quarter million people are already dead as a result.

IMG_1632 copy

#StopTheMadness


Stop the madness. Read More

HX Report – Syrian solutions (I wish)


Marhaba all (Hello Crossers)
It’s good to have music in this mad mad world. It makes us happy or sad or cry or lifts our spirits. It can make us relax. And in this mad world it’s good to relax. So click on this one, and come back to MB.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDdi6bn06bo

Read a few blogs on the Syrian crisis of late and decided to write about some conversations MB has had with Syrian friends & colleagues in recent days & weeks.

SONY DSC

Read More

Monday Mono – Syria


One day late!

Thanks to The Oatmeal

THE WORLD REACTS TO THE SYRIAN CRISIS

Syria

The Holy Book


Marhaba & Hello from MB

IMG_8188Mar

Firstly lads, an apology from MB. In last week’s blog MB used an Arabic word that he though was acceptable translation of the English word ‘prostitute’. It was subsequently pointed out to MB that the word used is a street-slang swear word, not suitable for common usage (as in MBs blog) and likely to cause offense. The Egyptian lad who originally gave me this word failed to point out this important fact! This is not MB’s style as you are all aware. So big apology to all, especially to MB’s Arab lady followers of which there are thousands – not!

Met this kid on the street selling newspapers and magazines. Streetwise as hell, huge confidence, great attitude. He will be Prime Minister of Lebanon some day

IMG_8221Mar

The news from all over the Middle East of late just seems to get darker and darker. Acceptance of others views and beliefs seem to be shrinking. Saw interviews on the net recently with various Sunny clerics who were preaching the need to destroy (kill) their Shia neighbours, who also read the same Quran holy book. On the grounds that the Shia are somehow heretics who must be put to death for having a slightly different interpretation of the book. Bit like we use to do in Europe when we burned heretics and witches at the stake. Inshallah the Middle East does not have to wait 300 or 400 years to see basic human tolerance and decency prevail. As usual, as in most places, the majority of people are decent and reasonable, but an intolerant crazed minority can cause havoc and misery for all.

IMG_8324Mar

Was talking to a Syrian friend few days back and he told me that he had other Syrian friends around to his house recently. His friends are supporters of Bashar Al Assad, the Syrian Prime Minister and his government. I expressed surprise that the trouble in Syria with tens of thousands of people now killed had not affected his friendship with his friends. I am aware that he regularly posts anti-Bashar pieces on Facebook and has been advised by friends inside Syria that it would not be safe for him to return home. He replied to the effect that he could not allow Bashar Al Assad to affect 40 years of friendship he has enjoyed with his friends, regardless of their views, and they would continue to be his friends. In the midst of much blood and darkness and death, my friends attitude was a bright light. A small light for sure, but hopefully one that spreads far and wide in the future. Most have now come to conclusion that in the case of Syria there are even darker days ahead. Let us pray not.

IMG_8345Mar

Met a Lebanese man in recent days through work, and in response to MB’s ‘min ina anta?’ (‘where are you from‘ in Arabic) he informed MB he comes from the city of Tripoli, where a number of people had been killed in gun battle in recent days as result of troubles spilling in from neighboring Syria. Meeting him reminded MB of trip to Lebanon in early 2012 and the fantastic few days enjoyed there with family. And the friendly people encountered. In memory of that trip, and in big hope that Lebanon at least will be spared the trouble of the region MB is giving you some pics this week from that trip. Hope you like.

IMG_8365Mar

Music
Thank God for music. Played this a few times last night. Switch to full screen. Amazing:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtSjM3YU7Qw

Lots of poverty throughout the Middle East and absence of welfare benefits make it even tougher than in the West. Stopped to speak to this man for few minutes, who was begging for money.

IMG_8374Mar

HX Festival
As informed you last week lads, MB will be heading home in few weeks for the HX Festival (3 local festivals actually). If you are of a mind to travel then take a look at the itinerary for this year’s event. Specifically this is the list for the Lough Gur Festival, but there are two other Festivals taking place in the neighboring villages for Bruff & Knockainey. Mentioned daughter of JFK in last week’s blog Caroline Kennedy – who will attend the Bruff event to dedicate a local building to the memory of her great-grandfather, who left the village in 1852. MB will have to use the grease gun on the Canon 7D before he goes back, it’s going to be hectic few weeks & photo opp heaven:

LG Festival

So hopefully see some of you at the festival, inshallah.

Like this one!

IMG_8375Mar

Beware the lady in the Burka who wants a hug!
Spare a thought lads for the misfortunate Indian lad who got the surprise of his life last week when a lady in a burka (abiya) suddenly hugged him in the lift. Obviously he assumed that the Arab Muslim lady was so overcome by his Indian masculinity that she threw religious caution to the wind and just gave in to her animal instincts. He later discovered this was not the case:

No lads, we did not have earthquake. MB is just playing mind games with you all, with his incredible camera wizardry!

IMG_8388Mar

ABU DHABI: They say a hug costs nothing, but for an Abu Dhabi resident it proved otherwise.
Indian expat Noushad lost Dh29,000 when an abaya-clad con woman stole his bulging wallet after locking him in an unexpected embrace in an elevator recently. The incident happened in broad daylight in the Al Raed Automatic Laundry building in the capital’s Tourist Club area.

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/crime/hug-from-an-abaya-clad-woman-costs-abu-dhabi-man-dh29-000-1.1193020?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Newsletter&utm_campaign=&utm_term=%26287020

The corniche/harbour area of Beruit. Has undergone huge redevelopment in recent years. A must-see location.

IMG_8396Mar

Sharia law – Husband to be whipped
The law in Saudi Arabia applies to women and to men. The judges really do not care about male or female. Justice comes from Sharia law which is based on the teachings of the holy book:

Manama: A judge in Saudi Arabia has upheld a flogging sentence against a husband for slapping his wife even though the wife later said that she forgave the husband and wanted the case dropped.

Beruit & Lebanon generally – Incredible food. Maybe the best MB has come across in all his travels. This pic is from the rooftop restaurant at Le Grey Hotel in the corniche.

IMG_8401Mar

The man was sentenced to 30 lashes and 10 days in jail and ordered to attend special sessions on marriage counseling and on how to treat and deal with spouses.

The court in Al Qateef in the Eastern Province said that the wife could witness the flogging in retribution for the physical pain her husband caused her.

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/saudi-arabia/saudi-judge-ignores-wife-s-mercy-plea-upholds-flogging-sentence-against-husband-1.1193486

The famous Rafiq Hariri Mosque. RH is Assassinated former Lebanese leader. Assassinated by Hezbollah according to recent UN report.

IMG_8413Mar

More English words from the Arabic
More educational stuff from MB lads, who continues to amaze you weekly with his eclectic mix of photos, wisdom and general ‘stuff’. Awesome!

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/heritage-culture/it-s-arabic-1.1127251

The Lebanese consider themselves extremely sophisticated and a cut above the other Arab nationalities. These local girls spoke French as their language of first choice as they lunched next to MBs table. They informed MB that they are equally comfortable in both languages.

IMG_8427Mar

These 2 would not be out of place at some restaurant in Paris. Classic Lebanese sophistication!

IMG_8417Mar

Gay Games 2018
Yes lads its now down to 3! London, Paris or……………………….. Limerick! Organisers have short listed Limerick, along with 2 no-hope non-entity cities to host the 2018 Gay Games. Am sure Amsterdam & Orlando will be sick as parrots to get booted out. With approx 10,000 participants it should be a fun week in HX if Limerick wins the hosting. 2018.gaygames.org if any of you want to participate lads.

The grave/shrine of Rafiq Hariri

IMG_8458Mar

Federation of Gay Games announces finalists in bidding for Gay Games X
Limerick, London, and Paris continue in race to host the world’s largest sport and culture festival open to all

Today the international Federation of Gay Games announced that groups from Limerick, London, and Paris would continue in the bidding process to host Gay Games X. The three finalists garnered the most votes from among the members of the FGG’s site selection assembly, who for the first time designated this short list by online instant runoff voting. Unsuccessful in the vote were groups from Amsterdam and Orlando.

http://gaygames.org/wp/blog/2013/06/01/limerick-london-and-paris-selected-as-finalists-in-bidding-for-gay-games-x-in-2018/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

IMG_8501Mar-2


Another blog

Occasionally give you link to other blogs I come across that catch my interest. Liked the following:
Letter to my 16 year old son
http://katrinaannewillis.com/2013/05/23/a-letter-to-my-16-year-old-son/

IMG_8503Mar

HX Homeland
If any of you followers wonder what the HX land is like lads, I give you link this week to our local community newspaper called the Vale Star. It’s focus is almost entirely on local sporting and community group activities. Some of you Arabs might enjoy a quick scroll through it. Gives good idea of life in rural Ireland.

http://www.vsopublicationsltd.ie/wp-content/uploads/pdfpapers/Vale%20Star%2030-05-2013.pdf

Many in the Middle East were recently very surprised to discover that Hezbollah are involved in Syria, fighting on the side of Bashar Al Assad and his government forces. MB came across a Hezbollah demonstration in support of Assad on his visit last year and wrote about it in his blog at that time. Absolutely no surprise to MB that these guys got involved.

IMG_8537Mar

Iran
Big news in Iran last week lads. A judge can now sentence those guilty of adultry to death by other means “where the possibility of stoning does not exist”. That phrase is not actually defined. So presumably it will apply in the sandy areas where there are insufficient suitably sized rocks. One can only but have sympathy for the lads throwing fist fulls of sand in the past for days on end as they tried in vain to stone (sand) the sinners to death. But no more. Mashaallah!

IMG_8539Mar

It was interesting to read in the article that if a sinner can free him or herself before death they are pardoned. But a man is only buried to his waist whilst a woman is buried to her shoulders, lest any of the rock athletes should see her bare breasts during the stoning games. Hardly seems fair.

Pics of Bashar Al Assad at the Hezbollah demonstration

IMG_8541Mar

Let the hunger games begin!

http://gulfnews.com/news/region/iran/iran-amends-law-on-stoning-for-adultery-1.1190780?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Newsletter&utm_campaign=&utm_term=%26286255

IMG_8546Mar

Reluctant Emigrant
Cheers to DH!

http://thereluctantemigrant.wordpress.com/2013/06/03/public-displays-of-affection/

Demonstration was good natured and noisy that day, with the soldiers smiling and joking. Suspect that would not be the case now.

IMG_8547Mar

Slan lads
Ok lads. Another week down. Planning a good sleep tomorrow on the Muslim holy day. Take care all. Have a nice weekend. May the sun shine!

MB supporting SMEs in Beruit

SAM_1092Mar

MB

The famous bombed out and bullet ridden Holiday Inn Hotel in Beruit. Still standing to this day and testimony to the war of the 1970s. Let us hope no repeat of that fiasco for modern Beruitis. Inshallah.

SAM_1140Mar

Who knows what’s round the corner?!


Warm greetings to you all lads
Weather improving at home, and getting hotter out here by the day. Late 30s most days at hottest time (bit of weather talk from MB).

IMG_5865Mar

In future lads MB will try to introduce some single subject blog posts. MB is attempting to get his blog to appear on a section of the website where good stuff gets posted by the blog site owner gurus for all bloggers to see (it’s called ‘Freshly Pressed’), but its impossible to get onto this with a blog like the HX, as it has too many topics and is just too general. Even though it’s still awesome. As you all keep telling MB lads. Thanks.

So it’s MB’s intention to make one of the blogs just like it is at the moment, and put a single mega sexy topic (if MB can think of something decent) onto another separate post, that just might catch the eye of the mandarins. Maybe every second week lads. MB still mulling it all over in his brain.

Only in this way lads can MB get up to tens of thousands of followers and sit back watching the advertising revenues pour in. MB can then spend one day each week writing, 2 days (if MB really wants to work hard that week) taking photos (in Africa or China) and take 4 days rest, as the good Lord no doubt intended for MB. Inshallah.

So lads, you will all agree that sounds like a plan. We do not know how it will pan out and we just never know what’s around the corner. Best of luck MB. Thanks lads. MB will not forget you all when he is stinking rich. Ya right!

This week’s pics
Still using MB’s pics from Dubai World Cup race night lads. Last 2 weeks MB gave you flavour of the people. This week MB gives you flavour of the occasion & the venue. Featured people hanging from the sky. Aerial display plane doing tricks in the dark of night. Fireworks. The fantastic Meydan stadium. Truly incredible occasion. Get there sometime if you can lads. Big recommend from MB.

Similar to the previous occasion MB attended 3 years ago, it was a real ‘spectacular’, giving great PR to brand ‘Dubai’. MB’s skill with the camera is on full view for all to see. You are really awesome MB. Don’t mention lads.


Wordpress.com

MB wants you all to be aware lads that you are part of the wordpress.com community. This is the website that hosts the HX blog and allows MB to compose the brilliance week after brilliant week. Approx 370M people around the world are reading blogs each month hosted by wordpress.com. We (you) were in the news this week when the site came under a hacker attack which attempted to plant malware on all (your) computers.


Munching 

Ok lads. You will all remember the brilliantly witty & amusing piece MB did last week on the Munch painting The Scream. Well lads, be pure coincidence, the  website also featured another blog on the artist Munch last week that MB discovered mere minutes after he posted his own.

MB decided he would say hello to a fellow blogger, ‘chew the Munch fat’ so to speak, and left comment in the comment box, complete with link to MB’s blog which MB thought might be of interest to all Munchers.

But just to prove how nerdy the art nerds really are lads, the blogger comes back all high ‘n mighty ‘n all, and tries his pathetic best to insult MB in front of the whole art blogger community. MB’s initial thought was just to tell Art Nerd to f**k off, but decided to take pity on the nerd, and merely explained that MB’s piece was ‘tongue in cheek’. Art Nerd did not have the good grace to reply lads so presumably he did not understand the phrase ‘tongue in cheek’. MB suspects he is American.

Art Nerd also informed MB that he too had written humorous piece on The Scream. What a joke lads. MB made the mistake of finding and reading the ‘humorous piece’ and discovered that there is more humor at a Saudi beheading.

Well, having looked at your blog I’m pretty sure you can’t have seen much of Munch’s work to draw your conclusion, but respect your right to express your opinion.

I have also written a more light-hearted assessment of The Scream entitled ‘The Scream – doesn’t it make you want to scream’ after one version sold for $120 million at Sotheby’s, New York in May last year. (Yes Mr Art Nerd, I mentioned that in my blog which you said you read!)
http://bryanhemming.wordpress.com/the-scream/
You might want to look at that.

So lads, whats the moral of the story? MB does not really have a clue. And is still trying to think of one.

The End lads!

Syria
God rest the victims in Boston and bring some comfort to the families. Three dead and 150 approx injured. Loads of news time. And an inhuman Godless crime.

70,000+ Killed in Syria in 2 years, maybe a million homeless. Disappearing from the news. A few pieces from MB. Irish charity ‘Goal’ is on the ground doing its best.

http://blog.care.org.au/2013/04/17/indecent-proposal-syrian-women-exploited/

Handsome Arabs
Amusing story from Saudi Arabia this week which occurred during a cultural festival. A group of young males from UAE were performing some traditional dance that was attracting large crowds. Suddenly a member of the Religious Police jumped onto the stage shouting that the show was Un-Islamic and haram. But the Religious Police donkey did not know what was around the corner – real police! Then real police then grabbed the RP donkey and kicked him out of the venue.The Police then decided that 3 of the Emirati men were too good-looking and likely to cause sinful thoughts amongst the Saudi female onlookers. They grabbed the 3 lads, escorted them to the airport and immediately deported them back to Dubai.

The whole story got lots of coverage in the Arabic newspapers in Saudi, but MB could not get the full story on any English site. The chucking out of the Religious Police guy is posted on YouTube but MB has not seen.

Only in Saudi Arabia!

Tasty chicken available at the fast food outlet


Dubai Police Cars

The Dubai police will not be outraced by boy racers. No Siree. No way. In recent weeks lads we have acquired a:

  • Ferrari FF
  • Lamborghini Aventador, &
  • Chevrolet Camaro

Dubai Property
We are starting to see the early stages of a recovery in the property market. 400 queued for the latest bargains:

http://www.zawya.com/story/Mad_scramble_at_Emaars_Dubai_villa_launch_eyewitnesses_recount_chaos-ZAWYA20130414041503/?lok=041500130414&&zawyaemailmarketing

Coffee/Qawah
Was given to you all by the Arabs lads. From the bbc:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22190802

Willie Nelson’s brother was also in attendance

Reluctant Emigrant – Earthquake
There were 2 large earthquakes in Iran in recent days lads and DH is blogging about her experience of ‘the earth moving’ in her Abu Dhabi home. She was probably wondering what next, on a normal day. Little did she realise that just around the corner was – earthquake!http://thereluctantemigrant.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/earthquake/

The End!
Ok lads. Gotta go solve world hunger and other stuff. Have a good weekend y’all. Take it easy.

MB (taking a quick look around the corner!)

It’s a scream


Msa al khair lads
Inshallah you are all in good health lads and have big smiles on your multicultural faces. God only knows home many nationalities the HX Blog now goes out to lads. Masha’allah! It’s become almost impossible to keep track of it. Think was approx 30 nationalities last time we checked. But since MB went on this new Blog site, and became even more internationally famous, we now have people joining up to ‘follow‘ MB from all over the world (and beyond), and MB does not even know half of them. They are merely (& understandably) attracted by the mega awesome writing, and the even more mega awesome prize winning photos. Albeit MB has not yet won any prizes, but that time can not be far away lads.

MB got big surprise earlier in the week lads when he logged on to his stats to discover that a person had just logged on in place called Reunion. MB is not joking lads – it’s called Reunion. But MB never heard of the place previously lads, so had to look it up (yes Cla, there are a few things in this world the MB does not know – but only a few).

It’s in the Indian Ocean lads, East of Madagascar, and get this lads – it’s part of France! Not just some place they steal minerals and plunder other natural resources from, like most of their colonies, but it’s actually considered part of the French mainland, and is the most Easterly part of the EU – even part of the Eurozone for God sake lads! They have population of 800,000 Frenchies, all speaking Frog, and eating fresh croissants every morning with their double espresso. Mais oui lads.
One can only assume that MB will shortly receive communication from the Mayor of the Island (or whatever he’s called – maybe ‘Chief’ or ‘Le Chief’) asking for permission to put MB’s blog on the school curriculum – so the kids will be worldly wise and well prepared for life outside the Island when they jump into the boat with their Tiger and head off in the direction of Ireland or USA, seeking Nirvana. Anyway lads, don’t ever say that MB does not provide you all with education, take a read of the following:
Reunion

Réunion is a French island with a population of about 800,000 located in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar, about 200 kilometres (120 mi) south west of Mauritius, the nearest island. Administratively, Réunion is one of the overseas departments of France. Like the other overseas departments, Réunion is also one of the 27 regions of France (being an overseas region) and an integral part of the Republic with the same status as those situated on the European mainland. Réunion is an outermost region of the European Union and, as an overseas department of France, is part of the Eurozone.

Music
Let the music play lads, and read on:
This week’s pics (& last)
Great reaction to last week’s pics lads, with emails flooding in so quickly there was stage last Saturday when MB thought he was under attack from some hacker group. One 83 year old female follower informed MB that she looked at the Lady pics every night since she received them, to take admiring look. She was happy that MB had sacrificed his time for the good of others by taking photos of young shapely sexy ladies with tight fitting dresses with lots of leg and flesh showing. MB assured her he was concentrating mainly on the hats and barely noticed the shapely bodies at all.

This weeks pics lads come from the same night, and are another collection of characters. More interesting even than last week I think, with some great faces and costumes. These were the more normal people and formed the vast majority of the 60,000 in attendance, rather than the dressed up doll babes from last week. Hope you all like.

Face Your Troubles – Dont Facebook them!
Attended a Photography workshop in Dubai few months back lads, which was about using Social Media to publicise your photography. Was hosted by some world famous American Photographers who, unlike MB, needed more publicity. MB attended, much like a paleontologist studies dinosaur fossils.

But one comment caught MBs attention (which he put in his brain to tell you later), when a guy mentioned people who post their ‘issues’ and personal problems up for all to see. His comment was: Face your problems – don’t Facebook them! Pretty clever words (for an American) thought MB to himself!

Child Brides
Have mentioned this topic to you many times lads, and sad that it’s prevalent in various parts of this region. Following story tells tale of a 15 year old girl who was granted divorce from her 90 year old husband. The old lad told the court that the first wife had just got too old, and they had not lived as “husband and wife” for a long time, so he needed another. He informed the court that he did not want the dowry money back (fair play to him), and just wanted his new wife to come home. But it was also discovered he had married another teenager some time back, and she had also run away. Sad story really.


90 Year old husband & 15 Year old wife

Why Edvard Munch is not as great an artist as MB
In 1895 the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch painted what would become the most valuable paintings in the world, called ‘The Scream’. http://www.sothebys.com/en/sales-series/2012/impressionist-modern-art-evening-sale/overview.html He actually painted 4 versions of the painting over a number of years.

This is Munch’s explanation of how he came up with the idea:
I was walking along the road with two friends – the sun was setting – suddenly the sky turned blood red – I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence – there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city – my friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety – and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature.

If you believe the above lads, you have the IQ of the mug that contains the tea or coffee you are presently drinking. Munch is talking complete BS!

MB has a different theory. Herewith:
The diarrhea preventing drug Immodium had not been invented in the year 1895. The guy in the picture seems to be in a state of extreme discomfort. I think we can safely add 2+2 and come up with 4 lads. Munch painted a picture of some friend in a state of diarrhea induced stress. I think we will all agree that this is far more plausable explanation than the BS “infinite scream passing through nature” explanation. Thank you & Sukran lads.

Munch v MB
And now lads, let us partake in a critique on the so called great painting ‘The Scream’ by Munch, and a recent MB effort that has yet to gain international recognition called ‘The Yawn Scream’. But recognition can not be far away lads – if God is even half fair.
The Scream – by EM

Munch - Scream

  • The Man: Edvard Munch
  • Nationality: Norwegian (enough said!)
  • Trade: Painter (the term is used very loosely in the case of Munch – unless we want to say ‘house painter’ – assuming he gave the occasional lick of emulsion paint to the walls & ceilings of his apartment).
  • Work: The Scream
  • Clarity: Totally blurry. Possibly painted whilst under the influence of alcohol. Or Munch was extremely short sighted.
  • Attempts to get it right: 4. Munch painted this open mouthed buffoon 4 times, as he obviously came to conclusion that each effort was complete crap
  • Artistic Merit: Sweet FA (as we say back home in HX)
  • Could Homer Simpson have produced it: Definitely – yes. Or even his son Bart. Or even the cretinous neighbour Ned Flanders.
  • Similarities to The Mona Lise – You gotta be kidding!
  • Profound in any sense: You are having a laugh. Total no.
  • Monetary Value: USD 120M, at auction in 2012 (what a joke).
  • Will anyone still remember it 100 years from now: Absolutely no f*****g way – assuming increasing IQ levels in the intervening period. If we regress as a people to the level of the chimpanzee, then Munch will be the most popular dead Painter on the planet.
  • Nett value to the world of art: Minus 100
The Yawn Scream – by MB

  • The Man: MB
  • Nationality: HX
  • Trade: Photo/Scribe Man
  • Work: The Yawn Scream
  • Clarity: Tack sharp!
  • Attempts to get it right: One shot. And he didn’t blow the opportunity! (thanks Eminem!)
  • Artistic Merit: Loadz
  • Could Homer Simpson have produced it: It would be foolish to underestimate HS. He always seems to find a solution in the end. So we will answer the question initially with a – No (‘La‘ in the Arabic lads). But if Homer could find 5 or 6 Photographers who were on week off from National Geographic, and they pooled their entire photographic brainpower, and spent a week editing it on Photoshop – then maybe, just maybe, Homer & the lads from Nat Geo might come close. But match it – not!
  • Similarities to The Mona Lisa: There are many. The Mona Lisa – Was it a happy smile or a sad smile? The Yawn Scream – Is it a yawn or is it a scream? Is she a 3rd World lady screaming against the injustice of the 1st world, in the location of the mega rich in Dubai, on the occasion of the richest horse race in the world? Or is she just tired of working endless hours for a tiny maid’s salary in some wealthy local villa or palace – and it’s a yawn of fatigue? So many questions lads. So few answers.
  • Profound: Hugely. See last.
  • Monetary Value: Presently zero (but for how much longer?).
  • Will anyone still remember it in 100 years from now: It will be revered.
  • Nett value to the Artistic World: Beyond infinity.
I leave you to draw your own conclusions lads. MB forever!

IMG_6112Mar-2
RM in WA – Flat Back Turtles
Every so often lads I encourage you all to consider writing something for the HX Blog, and you have produced some masterpieces in the past which all have enjoyed.
This week we have a gem, from the pen of RM, who works as a Paramedic in the mining industry in Freemantle, Western Australia. RM hails from HX back home, and enjoys the distinction of having made it onto some HX soccer teams in the past (under the management of MB on one or two of those occasions), down the left wing where his tasty left foot could put a football in your eye from 50m.

We actually featured pic of RM few weeks back standing in front of a giant mining truck. And I am lead to believe ladies that this 20 something hunk of Irish manhood is still single and available. And if he can write like this ladies you can just imagine the sweet nothings he might whisper in your ear as he took you to Glynn’s Fish & Chip Shop in Bruff village for the 1st date. Emails of interest please to MB ladies, and MB will pass them on.

RM’s piece is a little long (and we do not want him stealing MB’s thunder, do we lads?!) so I have created link to the full piece on my Dropbox a/c. I urge you all to take a read. Fascinating piece.
The pics sent by RM were not great, as were taken at night with only a camera-phone I suspect, but I give you one of them (next pic), to give you idea of the size of these tiny creatures.

TVM RM. Great story about the turtles. Great writing and must have been an absolute pleasure to have been on that gig. A memory for life I am sure. Would love to receive further pieces from you. Please consider. A star is born!
A few short excerpts from RMs piece lads:

This is a project I was asked to go on by the company I currently work for. It appealed to me because this was not your typical mine site job. The job involved providing medical care to a group of environmental scientists who are monitoring a breeding program for flat back turtles offshore on an island approx 30k off the mainland…………

The job itself ran over 10 days and was all night-work. This involved getting on a catamaran style boat and traveling 30km to the island. We would anchor off the island waiting on tidal changes to allow us assess to the island via a small dingy with an outboard motor. While at anchor we would eat our dinner looking out at some of the best sunsets and surrounding I have ever seen, and the odd lighting show far off in the distance out at sea……….

I was unsuccessful in finding any hatchlings until the second last night, when I was digging out a nest, and there about 2 feet down – a little hatchling. It was amazing to see this process. When they come out of the shell they have a food source like the yoke of an egg attached to their tummy. They eat this and get the energy to dig their way out of a nest that is 3 feet down in the sand, make there way down to the beach and swim for the next 24 hours for survival. Truly amazing stuff when you see how small there are……… 

RM’s full story:
English Words from Arabic
A number of ‘wordy’ followers were interested in a recent similar piece, so here is another one for you lads:
Tom Cruise
TC was in Ireland last weekend as you may have read lads to publicise his latest movie. Our Irish tourist chiefs did not miss the opportunity, and presented TC with history of his Irish heritage – which featured Knights in the 12th century, Rebels in the 17th and a real live hero in the 19th. TC will never want to holiday anywhere else again I am sure!

A smiling racegoer!

Jack Warner – From KH
Football fans will remember the name Jack Warner from the FIFA corruption scandal 2 years ag0, which was related to the story of Qatar winning the 2022 World Cup. One of our HX Crosser number lives and works in Trinidad & Tobago (Irish & still single also ladies!) and send me great piece on the flamboyant JW. How much longer can this donkey survive?! KH has promised updates as and when. Thanks KH, keep ’em coming.

IMG_6241Mar

 
From KH:
On a somewhat related note, we all know you and your readers are always interested in a little local or international scandal / gossip so revert to the following website for a recent up-date on Jack Warner (Minister of Defense in Trinidad & Tobago, also Former VP of FIFA). Some of you may remember FIFA suspended him two years ago pending an investigation following allegations he and Mohamed Bin Hammam had offered financial incentives to members of the Caribbean Football Union around World Cup bid time….
Will keep you posted if there is any truths / developments on this going forward. Some colorful comments from readers follow after the article also…

Syria
MB has featured the plight of Syria many times recently. The butchery continues with hundreds dying every day. The situation just gets worse and worse daily for all the citizens according to my Syrian friends.

IMG_6254Mar
Found some great pics from Aleppo on another blog site, from 2 years back as the trouble were just starting. Mainly pics from Aleppo, one of the oldest cities in the world, where a good number of the HX Blog followers come from:
God help Syria.

Dubai Airport
We are now Nr 2!
Many gay people in the Middle east move to Dubai, due to the tolerant ‘live and let live’ attitude. But there is no openly gay scene as its totally illegal if caught.

Khalas lads (finished!)
Ok lads. Too much this week I think. Not at all MB, more, more, more, please! Thanks lads, you are most kind.
Have nice weekend lads. TC.

IMG_6360Mar

MB

IMG_6380Mar