Monthly Archives: June 2011

Dumpsters of Riyadh

By popular demand.


Rain starts with a single drop

Al-Jazeera has an in-depth opinion piece about the June 17 women driving in Saudi. Some new things: 1) quotation from Manal al-Sharif “Rain starts with a single drop”, apparently quoting traditional tribal folk wisdom 2) story about foreign guest worker women in prison who have served their terms but cannot get released, even after Manal’s publicizing of their plight prompted enough donations to pay for their return flights 3) the story about how Manal’s father went to her tribal leader to get the king to order her release – this illustrates very well the necessity of wasta in this part of the world.
[Image: ticket issued to Maha1410 by Saudi police for driving while female. Via Women2Drive on Twitter.]

NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition.

This never gets old.

Full tapescript at, some excerpts from the Palin’s lines below:

In the early years of the 16th century, to combat the rising tide of religious unorthodoxy, the Pope gave Cardinal Ximinez of Spain leave to move without let or hindrance throughout the land, in a reign of violence, terror and torture that makes a smashing film. This was the Spanish Inquisition…

I didn’t expect a kind of Spanish Inquisition.


[The door flies open and Cardinal Ximinez of Spain [Palin] enters, flanked by two junior cardinals. Cardinal Biggles [Jones] has goggles pushed over his forehead. Cardinal Fang [Gilliam] is just Cardinal Fang]

Ximinez: NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition! Our chief weapon is surprise…surprise and fear…fear and surprise…. Our two weapons are fear and surprise…and ruthless efficiency…. Our *three* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency…and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope…. Our *four*…no… *Amongst* our weapons…. Amongst our weaponry…are such elements as fear, surprise…. I’ll come in again.

[The Inquisition exits]

Chapman: I didn’t expect a kind of Spanish Inquisition.


[The cardinals burst in]

Ximinez: NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition! Amongst our weaponry are such diverse elements as: fear, surprise, ruthless efficiency, an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope, and nice red uniforms – Oh damn!

While we’re at it, these are not the droids you’re looking for.


You don’t need to see his identification.
These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.
He can go about his business.
Move along.

[Note: yes, the mutawwa ruined my birthday, four of them, one with a purple robe.]

Islamic champaign

Identifiable ingredients are orange and apple slices, mint. Price: SAR 15 (about $4 or £3). Drinking non-alcoholic beverages in Riyadh: priceless.

Let the weekend begin.

Lunar eclipse

The full moon started officially at 10:12 pm and the lunar eclipse in Riyadh about the same time.

Then it was over, with just the full moon illuminating the night landscape.

You don’t see this very often

Obligatory screen shot:

Looks like Facebook is down.