My Moroccan Neighbors Won't Stop Their Damn Ululating

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Vol 36 Issue 33

Slow-Motion Woman Emerges Glistening From Pool

LOS ANGELES–An unidentified woman in her early 20s emerged from a large, backlit swimming pool at approximately one-third normal speed Monday. According to witnesses, the woman, accompanied by sultry saxophone music, began emerging from the pool at sunset with incandescent pool lights highlighting the droplets of water running down her lithe frame. Upon exiting, the woman reportedly closed her eyes and slowly leaned her head back in preparation for toweling-off procedures.

Everything You Worked So Hard For Lying in Splinters At Your Feet

DURHAM, NC–According to a Duke University report released Monday, all of your hopes and dreams are no more than splinters at your feet, swept away by the uncaring wind. "All that you labored to make a reality, all that you saved and sacrificed for, these are but ashes and dust," said Duke sociologist Dr. Edgar Pratt following the collapse. "Not even history will remember these toils and endeavors, for the world never knew nor cared to know of the struggle behind them."

New Hyundai Owner Sort Of Brags About it To Co-Workers

LODI, OH–Days after buying a brand-new 2001 Hyundai Excel, accountant Dale Grich kind of half-lorded the acquisition over his moderately impressed coworkers Monday. "If we're going to Chi-Chi's, I can fit three of us," said Grich during discussion of a lunch outing. "Got the new Hyundai and all." Upon laying eyes upon the reliable, sensibly priced vehicle, co-worker Al Arnot emitted a low, descending whistle to indicate his being semi-wowed.

William Safire Orders Two Whoppers Junior

NEW YORK–Stopping for lunch at a Manhattan Burger King, New York Times 'On Language' columnist William Safire ordered two "Whoppers Junior" Monday. "A majority of Burger King patrons operate under the fallacious assumption that the plural is 'Whopper Juniors,'" Safire told a woman standing in line behind him. "This, of course, is a grievous grammatical blunder, akin to saying 'passerbys' or, worse yet, the dreaded 'attorney generals.'" Last week, Safire patronized a midtown Taco Bell, ordering "two Big Beef Burritos Supreme."

Media Suffering Through Record Normal Temperatures

KNOXVILLE, TN–Across the U.S., the news media are coping with another week of cripplingly typical temperatures. "It's awful," said Jim Moore, editor of The Knoxville News-Sentinel. "We'd love to run a good lead like 'Dozens Dead In Brutal Heat Wave,' but the temperatures have left us with nothing." Tom Pierre, news director of Fox affiliate KABB-TV in San Antonio, was equally distraught. "Yesterday, it was a pleasant 73 degrees," Pierre said. "How is a 92-year-old widow supposed to tragically perish in an unventilated tenement apartment with weather like that?"

I'm Pretty Sure I'm Not The Fishing-Tackle Serial Killer

Well, I see by the TV that the Fishing-Tackle Serial Killer has struck again. Apparently, this time, he used a spin-casting technique to lay a treble-hook muskie lure right across the path of Brent Parks, a waterskiing tourist from down Illinois way. Ripped the poor feller's throat right open, they say, before the 50-pound test line drug him under. Funny thing is, they found Parks less than a half mile from my shack on Fence Lake, just like all the others. I say it's almost certainly a coincidence, though: I'm almost positive I'm not the Fishing-Tackle Serial Killer.

Bobby Knight Through The Years

Fired Sept. 10, Bobby Knight has been involved in his share of incidents during his 30 years as Indiana University basketball coach. Among the highlights:

Washington vs. Hollywood

In recent weeks, both George W. Bush and Al Gore have stepped up their attacks against the entertainment industry for marketing violent and sexual content to young people. What do you think?
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My Moroccan Neighbors Won't Stop Their Damn Ululating

Well, there goes the neighborhood. Last week, the moving van pulls up to the Petersens' old house and--yup, you guessed it--a bunch of Moroccans move in. I haven't even met the Aatabous yet, but already I can't stand them: All night long, they won't stop with their damn ululating!

To be honest, I haven't the foggiest notion what they're even wailing about. Maybe they're lamenting a deceased relative. Or retelling the traditional Moroccan folk tale The Girl Who Lived With The Gazelles. Or maybe they're just performing some Gnawa devotional trance music. All I know is, that damn ululating of theirs is loud, it's in D-sharp, and it goes on well past 9 p.m. Next time, I'm calling the cops.

Last Monday night, I'm trying to relax in my own home--which I paid for with my hard-earned American dollars, mind you, not some wad of dirham--and enjoy the big game. The whole time, the Aatabous are out on their backyard patio, ululating up a storm! They've even got the Santur dulcimer and three-stringed Berber lutes going. I try to ignore it, but, finally, I just can't take it anymore. I open my window and shout, "Hey, would you mind keeping that bendir-thumping down to a dull roar? A man can only take so much of those cylindrical, single-membrane tambourines, you know!"

It usually gets better for a few days. They promise they'll try to keep it down. But like clockwork, the ululating always starts up again. And even on the days when their voices aren't raised together in a long, sorrowful cry, their teenage daughter is usually blaring that Moroccan pop singer Lem Chaheb out her bedroom window. As if that's an improvement.

Isn't that always the way: You work hard to make a nice home for your family, and then, just when you're ready to enjoy the fruits of your labor, the whole neighborhood goes to the Moroccans. They move in and, just like that, braziers and woodcrafts stores start popping up on every corner. Guys are out there selling olives and pomegranates right on the street. Next thing you know, property values are plummeting.

It gets worse, though--you should see what the Aatabous have done to the Petersens' front yard! They've got handmade rugs hanging out to dry and some sort of pet bird flapping around. They're laying hand-painted tiles left and right. It's an eyesore for the entire block!

Then there are those horrible smells that come from their house--coriander, cumin, saffron. It's awful. Haven't these kebab-eaters ever heard of a Big Mac? Couscous marrakesh made with grilled lamb, batinjaan zalud dribbled with olive oil... I've got to smell that crap seven days a week!

Then, to add insult to injury, I find out that the Aatabous come from the port city of Tétouan. Well, I don't have to tell you what those Moroccan coastal types are like, especially the men. They get all hopped up on mint tea and go out and have their way with white women. Thank God our daughters are grown up and out of the house, that's all I have to say.

And I haven't even mentioned the bonfire dances. You know what I'm talking about. That guedra dance, where the woman starts out kneeling, hidden completely under a black veil. Pretty soon, her fingers are swaying to the music and, from there, it's anything goes. Before long, everyone is dancing the ahaidous, beating the ground rhythmically together in a circle. I won't have it! Not in my neighborhood, dammit!

The way I see it, if you want to go bangy-bangy on your goatskin-topped wooden taarija drum, go back to Morocco. This is America, land of the Dallas Cowboys, John Wayne, and barbecued ribs. We don't cotton to that kind of stuff around here.

Nothing, though, is worse than that incense wafting over the fence. When you smell that, you know exactly what's going on over there behind those walls. They're doing that crazy religious stuff, what with the dancing and the singing and the instruments. Damn Sufis. That's just what this country needs: more Gnostic sympathizers going on about tawakkul, the total reliance on God, and dhikr, the perpetual remembrance of God.

We could move, I suppose, but it probably wouldn't do any good. My brother lives over on the east side of town, and he's having the same problem with the Inuits. No place is safe these days, I tell you.

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