Is There An Explanation For This?

For these past few days, I’ve been running on adrenaline and the occasional bite from the Chabad House; doing a presentation and having three days of holiday will do that to you. I think I did okay on my presentation. I’ve been so tired though, and was just going to skip posting today until a weird sound woke me up from half-sleep, and now I’m wide awake.

So, last week I went to the optician to have an eye exam and get a new prescription for contacts. The eye doctor was wonderful and friendly, and thanks to my health insurance, fees were minimal; I only paid for the contact lenses themselves, and knew I’d be paying something.

A few days later, I get a letter from my insurance company. I dig out my checkbook and prepare to write a check as I open the envelope, only to see…

An Explanation of Benefits.

Basically, a bill marked “THIS IS NOT A BILL” with no return envelope (the actual bill, which looked exactly the same, arrived yesterday. I paid it today).

What is the importance of this Explanation of Benefits document, then?

Health Insurance Company, why did you have to kill another tree to mail this useless piece of future recycled paper to me? Especially when it is the exact some document as the bill I’ll be receiving in the mail IN THE NEXT FEW DAYS? Am I supposed to have a backup copy in case the original goes missing? Will your office cease functioning without my payment of $18.96 – money which, because I read the bill which tells me where it will go, I know why I’m being charged what I’m being charged and where the money will go? It’s like getting a receipt at a grocery store, telling you what you bought, and THEN getting another receipt, which actually requires payment. Or something like that.

There is something about this that makes no sense, other than you sending me another false reason to get excited when I open my mailbox.

Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

Now that I’m turning my mind in little circles, I’m getting tired again. Please excuse me while I get ready for bed, unless I have to get ready to get ready for bed for first. Actually, that’s kind of what I’m doing right now.

Before I do, welcome to my first visitors from Luxembourg and Madagascar. Such fun and diverse visitors lately!


Better Ideas for A TV Show Featuring Muslims

I’ve still been thinking about Alice in Arabia, so consider this a Part II to yesterday’s post. Sometimes, I look at ideas by others and I think that, given the chance, I could execute them better. So, here are a list of pitches for television shows I’ve come up with that could feature Muslim characters without stereotyping, or at least that are better than Alice in Arabia. Here we go.


Eyes Open


Souad is a twenty-something Muslim woman who has left Afghanistan to pursue her dreams of being an ophthalmologist. In the pilot, we see her getting her acceptance letter to a university in America, and leaving with her family’s blessing. Souad thinks she’s got it all figured out, but upon arrival at school, however, Souad discovers that there’s more to America than meets the eye. Proudly sporting her traditional burqa, all that others can see are her eyes, which are usually in a book or looking into a microscope. Follow Souad as she struggles through navigating her new life and her new language, challenged by her fears for her own safety as well as that of her family back home; but revel in her triumphs of never giving up, and finding love where she least expects to see it, with a man who can look past her veil without removing it. One unique feature of this show would be the usages of two camera styles: one as Souad’s eyes and one as the eyes on Souad.


Beyond the Screen

Abdul, a young man of a wealthy Saudi family, spends every waking moment on the Internet, making friends all over the world through a computer simulation game where he is mayor of a virtual city. Things take a serious turn when he finds out that some of his citizens are not who they seem; he stumbles upon what he thinks is a virtual terrorism fantasy story that is an actual plan to kill a powerful figure overseas. For help, he reaches to the one person he still trusts: his virtual wife and first lady of the city, Nadia, a beautiful young player from France who speaks impeccable Arabic, in whom he has confided his deepest personal secrets, including this one. In the pilot, after they decide to team up to take this player and his real-life plan down, Abdul and Nadia video chat for the first time, Abdul is relieved when the beautiful young woman he’s dreamed of looks just like her pictures, but the truth comes out that she is not as far away as she seems: Nadia was born in France, but grew up and still lives in Tel Aviv, Israel, and is Jewish.



Two Muslim sisters-in-law decide to open the first halal shish-kabob food truck in Boston, and turn Beantown (and their families) upside down with their newfound friendship, custom-painted truck, and unconventional ingredients. A recipe for fun.



When Sherri Met Ali

When Sherri, a stubborn, high-powered American executive, gets dumped, she crashes into the first man she sees for a one-night stand. That man turns out to be Ali, who’s an arrogant Muslim fashion model. Sherri and Ali detest each other and swear to never get together again, but they find out they have more and more in common, with Sherri’s firm taking on a company Ali models for as their newest client. Ali starts developing feelings for Sherri but has to keep it professional, and when Sherri finds out that Ali’s “traded up” to a new girl, a co-worker with model-esque looks, it turns into a case of…

Estelle Reiner, we have liftoff.