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The times, they are a’changing in Russia 13, November 2009

Posted by thegulfblog.com in China, Russia.
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Russian time zones

Russian President Putin Medvedev announced that he is considering cutting the number of timezones in the country. Currently, Russia spans 11 timezones which, for example, makes business difficult for those at opposite ends of the country. Looking at the map above, it doesn’t look too difficult to do. The +4, +6 and +8 ones look like ripe candidates for the chop to start with. Then again, he could go the Chinese route and make everyone work by a unified Moscow timezone. And to think that people in the UK think that Britain is too London-centric…

Collective Nouns 13, November 2009

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Middle East.
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No, this isn’t too much to do with the Middle East but it’s just plain interesting. Here are my top 10-ish favourite collective nouns for animals. As far as I know these are all correct. To crow-bar some Middle Easternyness into this post, I’ve come up with a few collective nouns for some regional bits and pieces too.

  • A descent of woodpeckers
  • A sneak of weasels
  • A hover of goldfish
  • A storytelling of ravens
  • A murmuration of starlings
  • A bouquet of pheasants
  • A tidings of magpies
  • An ascension of larks
  • A memory of elephants
  • A tower of giraffes
  • A shrewdness of apes
  • An implausibility of gnus (some quasi-wilderbeast thing)

Some Middle Easterny ones:

  • A bling of Gulfies
  • A rage of extremists
  • A grope of Egyptian men
  • A pedant of Arabic teachers
  • A tick-tock of Mubaraks, Bashirs and Ghadaffis

Please feel free to come up with your own. The best entry will win the fabled squashed Kit Kat.

Algerian players injured after arriving in Cairo 13, November 2009

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Egypt, North Africa.
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Algeria’s football team arrived in Cairo to play their crucial World Cup qualifier only to have their bus assaulted with stones. Four players were injured and one had to be taken to hospital. In a PR exercise worthy of Iraq’s Comical Ali, a police spokesperson said that none of the Algerian players had been injured.

There is hugely bad blood between the two football rivals stemming mostly from the infamous 1989 encounter which Egypt won 1-0. After the game there was widespread rioting and a former Algerian footballer blinded Egypt’s team doctor in an assault. Charming.

Update: Via MEI and Sandmonkey, I’ve got a fre updates on all the shenenegans that have been going on:

  • There is a football tradition of killing owls in order to jinx your opposing team. It has been relayed to me that an Owl holocaust was started last week and is continuing until this very moment.
  • Tamer from the popular TV show el beit beitak went on TV a couple of days ago and informed the egyptian audiences of the Hotel the algerian team will be staying in, and urging the egyptian people to “go there and hang out” until the day of the game.
  • Algerian municipality workers have stopped the paperwork for an algerian girl getting married to an egyptian guy, telling her that she can come back for it after saturday’s game.
  • Egyptians dying for a ticket to the Game attacked all ticket selling centers in droves today. The Elite Heliopolis Sporting club managed to secure a couple of thosunad tickets to sell to its members, only to have word of this reaching the egyptian population and having hundreds of egyptians storm into the private club to get their hands on tickets. 40 police cars were called to secure the facility.

A modern man 13, November 2009

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Random.
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George Carlin at his very best. Not only is the delivery flawless but the content is an encyclopedic compendium of modernisms.

Hat tip: Abstract JK