The Right Coast

August 03, 2004
Oh, that's just great
By Tom Smith

Several weeks ago, an article by Annie Jacobsen of Women’s Wall Street received a good deal of attention. The article chronicled a frightening experience she had on Northwest Airlines flight 327 from Detroit to LAX on June 29. In the article, she described the unusual behavior of a group of middle eastern men on the flight, including actions that caused some on the plane to fear that a terror attack was in progress.
Ms. Jacobsen was told by authorities that the men were verified to be members of a band en route to play a gig at a Southern California casino. Clinton Taylor checked with the Sycuan Resorts and Casino in Al Cajon, CA, near San Diego. The Casino verified that the artist Nour Mehanna and his backup band in fact performed at the casino on July 1. (

From here, a probably off the wall paranoid homeland security site. The point is, that casino is quite near where I live. I look down on it when I climb the "mountain" behind my house. I also drive by the gas station one of the 9/11 highjackers worked at while living in San Diego. It makes sense the musicians would come here as a lot of Iraqis and other Middle Easterners live in this general area. The Starbuck's I go to frequently is one of their hangouts. Let me tell you, it was no laugh riot there on 9/12, but that's true of a lot of places. My kids go to school with a lot of Iraqi-American Catholics, aka Chaldeans. They stick to themselves mostly, but there is a lot of good Iraqi food. Oh, and it's El Cajon, not Al Cajon . . . revealing slip. El Cajon is Spanish for the box, with a pejorative connotation, the nasty box. It has never been considered a particularly desirable place to live, and still isn't. Not to be confused with lovely rural Jamul, where I live, the word said to be Indian for "slimy water."