Fiat in USA! It's happened!


I just realized something amazing today, while being slightly less disappointed at something more amazing not taking place– I mean, I saw an ad for “Alfa Romeo Seattle” and got really excited only to discover Alfa is still not actually in the US. No, the Competizione 2C does not count! BUT– Fiat has apparently finally landed! Above is actual footage from the website where you can find out that a new Fiat 500 is base-priced at just $15,500. That is quite less than I was expecting, and that is very exciting. Now the real question is, when does the Abarth come to our shores? ¬†ūüôā ¬†Ok, ok, I’ll take a moment to be happy about what’s actually there now. All sorts of old-timers will be making fix-it-again-tony jokes, and an unfortunately large amount of people will think these are unreliable Italian cars of the early eighties. Hopefully, though, there will be enough of us excited to have something different than the usual malaise of Hondas and Toyotas plodding along our streets touting some otherworldly mileage figures and scoring zero for being a good, interesting car!

Also on the topic of Fiat getting to places, they’ve also brought this car to Kuwait recently. More on that later.



Kuwait Events: Desert Song musical

ust on the heels of the Kuwait Little Theatre’s fun production of Hairspray, there is still more musicals happening in Kuwait!


Tuesday 31 May, Preview Performance for students.  Tickets 4KD
Wednesday 1 June, Black-tie Gala Opening Performance followed by Buffet Supper.  Tickets 10KD
Thursday 2 June, Performance. Tickets 8KD adults/ 4KD children under 12
Friday 3 June, Performance. Tickets 8KD adults/4KD children under 12.

The English School, Salmiya.
–From Hwy 30 (Fahaheel Rd)
take 4th Ring Road East (towards Gulf Rd)
take first Right
take Right at end of road
take Left at end of road
take first Left
school is on your left- cream colored building w/ blue, and a high fence

The Ahmadi Music Group, directed by Richard Bushman, is delighted to announce the forthcoming production of The Desert Song by Siegmund Romberg.  Fully-staged, with costumes, dancing, professional soloists, a cast of around fifty people and a full symphony

orchestra, this will be a wonderful opportunity to experience an evening of musical theatre in the stunning new Performing Arts Centre at The English School Salmiya.

The Desert Song is one of very few operas in existence set in the Arab world. It tells the story of the efforts of the French in Morocco, in about 1910, to suppress rebellion by a band of desert outlaws, the Riffs.  The stern General Birabeau is sent from France to be in charge of the combat; he is impatient that his son Pierre is not interested in soldiery.  Only at the end does he discover that Pierre is secretly the dashing Red Shadow, leader of the Riffs.  The production includes comedy, romance, warfare, and more romance.

Desert Song is not well known nowadays, but in the first half of the 20th Century, its songs were performed by every major singer and
orchestra and dominated the charts.  Most tellingly, it has been made into a full Hollywood film three times, making it one of the most sought-after theatre properties ever created.  In 1929, it was the first all-talking Hollywood musical ever made.

Woman jailed in Saudi for driving

Rabab sent me this comic and I thought it was at once very funny and terribly depressing. It really brings home the point about perspectives, and the relativity of right/wrong and therefore the importance of tolerance for multiple perspectives. That having said though, there are many many “traditional” viewpoints which ¬†I find are really due for being called out as belonging to a different age and time, and not given the excuse to hide behind “religion” or “culture” or “tradition.”

For example, a Saudi woman was recently jailed (and is still in jail, despite ongoing protests) because of this video she posted of herself driving. This is so ridiculous that I can’t even express the ridiculousness…

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How lucky can you get on a moped

So thanks to Jalopnik for pointing out this crazy video of how lucky one can sometimes get. (The flipside of this is the guy on the motorcycle should have seen crazy people coming behind and moved away)

The real question, though, as Virginia asked when she saw this: “why did that happen?” I mean the first car sweves left too fast, ok. But why does the other guy crash? Was he staring at the first car crashing?! I wonder if this was in Kuwait…

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Yom Hashoah: Holocaust Rememberance Day in Israel

It happens every day on military camps, but it’s quite startling to watch traffic stop in the real world to commemorate anything. I suppose when your country is founded practically because of a particular tragedy, things are a bit different. If only people would spend more time contemplating the real reasons behind this terrible event, or how to prevent it from repeating only with different characters involved…

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World record Hummus!

This isn’t entirely new– Lebanon took over the world record for largest batch of hummus ever made from Israel sometime last year, but mostly I just wanted to point out this excellent article on Foreign Policy magazine about “how we are what we eat” talking about some of the peculiar ways in which our food supply is affected.

huge hummus

I’m not planning on becoming a vegetarian for sure, but it’s yet another article that makes us think we should watch our consumption of meat– not just for the side-effects of quantity, but also for the quality.


finally bought an Alfa Romeo!

Edit : Sadly, I’ve sold this car as I’m leaving Kuwait. Happily, it now belongs to a friend of mine, who’ll be enjoy it’s awesome.
Added Photos.

I had always had a thing for Alfa Romeos. I remember when the then-new Alfa 156 was a wallpaper on my then-new computer in the late 90s. Of course, the classic ones are gorgeous and gorgeous, but I always wished we could get the newer also-beautiful cars in the US. But it has been just too many times that we have been disappointed in the US about Alfa’s return. It almost happened so many times that I really just have lost interest and will only pick up interest again about anything Fiat or Alfa if there are actually cars in the States. And no, the 200,000+ dollar 2C does not count. I mean, it is quite possibly the most beautiful car to come out in a good 20 years, but it’s just not a “return to America” kind of event. It’s more like “well, if you have enough money you probably could have figured out a way to get it to the States anyway!” car. To make certain that I might be interested in case the company did make a return, though, we rented a 159 JTD when we went to France for a vacation. My GOD what a great car! Everything was right about it– the seats, the acceleration, the handling, the torque from the quiet diesel. It was such a great car, we decided we would buy one for sure if they ever brought it to the States. Alas, it doesn’t look like that will happen. This design, anyway, will not be making it over it seems. Pity, that, given how beautiful the car is. overlooking Grenoble, France Luckily for me, though, I found myself in Kuwait a few years later, and here there is a small smattering of Alfas available! So after almost a full year of looking for the right one–because it seems Alfa had only a half-hearted attempt here– I finally found something we fell in love with. Virginia was instantly in love, and I knew I liked it so much I was trying really hard to be rational and calculating etc. So we decided we’d give it a go, and bring her home. So here she is: our very own Alfa Romeo 147 our Alfa It’s a dark dark grey metallic that almost looks black–called Graphite Grey. The car has the Selespeed transmission, developed by Magnetti Marelli, which is a “robotic manual” similar what Ferrari calls F1 that debuted in their F355 cars. It has one clutch, and the transmission is the same as the manual cars, but the clutch is automatic by hydraulics, instead of being operated manually by the driver. It also lets you put it in a fully automatic mode called “city mode,” but I like that it defaults to manual operation. The thing is great to drive– shift times are not quite as quick as VW’s DSG because it still has only one clutch, but that also means it feels more like a “standard” manual to drive. This is also similar in style to BMW’s SMG cars, but I haven’t driven one of those (or a Ferrari F1) so I can’t comment on them! The handling is quick and a lot of fun, and the 2.0 16v TwinSpark engine–with two spark plugs per cylinder– sounds so delicious in just stock mode that I’m thinking about an exhaust system just so I can hear it better! The other day I spent an entire day driving around all over Kuwait for various things that I didn’t want to do, and the whole time I was enjoying myself just because of this car! Jeremy Clarkson was saying one day that “every petrolhead needs to own an Alfa Romeo…”– and I see what he was on about. It’s really just that good.

From Alfa Romeo 147, posted by Ridwan Ahmed on 6/06/2011 (15 items)

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Bin Laden is killed! aka Obama captures Osama

Obama speaks:

Here’s a good replay of President Obama’s speech announcing the demise of Bin Laden.

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It’s amazing to think this has actually happened. There’s some part of me, though, that wonders if it really did/ what if it didn’t? It’s ok, we’ll just go along with t he celebrations… the real thing is, so what? I somehow don’t see a world-wide reduction in terrorism all of a sudden. And as for the sorrow of the people who’ve lost someone / some part of their lives at the Twin Towers calamity, I don’t see any of their sadness abating either.

At any rate, if we’ve taken out a real mastermind planning the demise of countless others, well then this is a good thing.