Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Magician's Secret Revealed

Andre Lala makes one of the best chicken sandwiches in town. The garlic sauce he makes can't possibly be legal, but at least you can rest assured bird flu stands no chance against the smell. I've inspected the shelves at this little hole in the wall in Rmeil and found no unusual spices. But the answer to the Lala mystery came to me from up above, the recipe secret that gives the Lala chicken that extra oomph comes in the form of a bug zapper situated directly above the work area. You can see some remnants of the special ingredient stuck on the metal rods since before the war. Electrilicious!!

Hollywood is for Kids

That's the impression you come out of the movies with if you have visited a lebanese movie theater the past few weeks. Hollywood provides the rated G movies (Bee Movie, Fred Clause, Enchanted...), while Beirut provides the Drama, Adventure, and Comedy. It had been a busy year for the Lebanese movie industry, and it has had some success at the box office which should naturally help the evolution of Lebanese movie making up from the Micho Qazzi stage to the intelligent human stage in the near future.

Status Quo

Despite Nabih Berri pendular outlook between the mother of all evil and great salvation we find ourselves right where we were a year ago. So watch for some incidents that end of January, a dozen of useless tete-a-tetes between Zaeems, and summer war; or you can wait to hear it from your favorite TV channel's Nostradamus on new year's eve.

My Rosy Outlook for 2008. Why the heck not?

2008 ought to be W's final year in power. There's always a chance for a constitutional amendment as we are experiencing first hand.

Beijing 2008 basketball qualifying tournament. After choking against Iran in the Asian Championship game, Lebanon's national team gets another chance to make it to Beijing. The competition will be tough but it should be fun.

Charlie Kaufman has a new movie out in 2008 with Philip Seymour Hoffman no less. I know it's not Abu Riad the sequel, but I'm looking forward to it nonetheless.

Ok maybe not too many rosy things on the horizon afterall, but (insert your favorite motivational hallmark quote here).

Friday, December 21, 2007

Ought To

"...the world ought to say this: that the March 14th coalition can run their candidate in their parliament, majority- plus one ought to determine who the president is, and when that happens, the world ought to embrace the president."

Inspiring words on what ought to happen and what we ought to do to make it happen.

We ought to embrace Siniora's 11 pm announcement of mourning the next day for Francois El Hajj's funeral because it means he is working late without billing us for overtime.

We ought to embrace the astronomical increase in the price of Potatoes and other produce since it boosts our export revenue numbers.

We ought to embrace the quality of the American made Israeli dropped cluster bombs which are still killing Lebanese civilians and mine clearing volunteers at a brisk rate.

We ought to embrace Elliot Abrams gracing us with his visit for everything he touches turns into a glowing picturesque ball of light and warmth.

We ought to embrace, sit still ,and hold tight for a new year is upon us and that is never a good think.

Happy Holidays

From Lebanon Again

For Most Anglosaxons the expression "Kiss Me Again" can only be interpreted as a request for an encore act of contact from foreign lips (teeth, tongue, and/or tonsils) against any part of the recipient's body with some sort of spastic motion that creates a certain degree of noise and moisture.

In Lebanon Kiss-Me-Again is not even remotely associated with the verb to kiss (as it could be used in reference to a power outage), the pronoun me (which might as well be replaced with them or y'all or Timbuktu) , or the adjective again for it might be about a novelty or something that will never happen once let alone again. "Kiss-Me-Again, Siyedeh, Istiqlel..."

Now you might think this is just an expression used by pre-teens to circumvent the use of the real thing which keeps them cool without risking the consequences of a nanny 911 time out. That it's a phase they'd outgrow once they develop a more articulate vocabulary. Don't get your hopes up as there are documented cases of retirees in Basta who don't even know a word of english dropping kiss-me-agains over games of Backgammon.

A new phrase can soon be added to the languages display at the national museum: kiss em again akhou sharmouta.

Pardon me for the vulgar use of again.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Golden General

Never has silence been more golden than in the case of our Presidential candidate du jour. Heck he's starting to lose some points because he's been seenlately visiting some people. So the peak of his popularity was when he was silent and invisible. A poll a few weeks back showed that the number 2 answer to "who would you prefer for president?" was "No one". So after Syria and the anti-syrians agreed on eliminating the people's number one choice from contention, they opted for the closest thing they could find to a "no one".

As no one fills the void, the parties involved have moved ahead to the next step which is the first Post-Siniora Cabinet. Siniora might or might not be back at the Ministry of Finance. Kouchner might be lobbying for the foreign ministry seat. The only sure thing is that Tareq Mitri and Charles Rizk won't ever see the Serail again.

But enough politics, let's move on to other places where silence is golden on the cultural scene which swung back in full force as soon as Ammar Al Houri declared the end of the presidential crisis. Charbel Rouhana debuted a few songs at an anti-AIDS concert, or was it pro? In any case, from what I've heard, and wish I haven't, the follow up to his last Album "Khateerah" is apparently going to be "Khabeesah".

An Arabized and watered down remake of Lorca's "La Casa de Bernarda Alba" opened yesterday in Babel Theater under the direction of Jawad El Asadi and the title "Sexophone Women". Overall, it is a worthy effort given all the difficulties a theatrical production faces these days, as the show has been postponed as many times as the presidential selection session. The colorful performance was overall "entertaining". I have to note my reservations on cutting out half of Lorca's characters and thus gutting the story. Jahida Wehbe was able to act the lead role, but she failed at singing it. The Young'un Yvonne El Hachem's performance stood out, and Aida Sabra's energy triggered a Tsunami watch in the South Pacific.

Now for this stormy weekend, and keepig with the theme of Silence. I'll be camping out at the movies. We've got the ongoing European film festival, Burhan Alawiye's "Khalas", and Mai Masri's "33 Days." So طير و فرقع يا بوشار، ما بيصير أكتر ما صار, or so we hope.