Monday, December 29, 2008
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Israel can pump all the American tax money available into that war machine, but when it starts a campaign by wiping out sitting targets like the police stations they targeted today just for the sake of killing as many bearded men as possible; that is a sign of bankruptcy. Militarily it gained nothing, strategically it lost the war. If all a 60 year extensive military program is capable of are sophomoric war crimes, then it is not facing an "exsistential threat"...it just does not deserve to exsist.
Go ahead Israel pump out more hate, but the more hate you throw out the more hated you get... and you can't handle being hated. Your image is crumbling faster than the falafel recipe you need to steal to keep up your farce, and your whole exsistence is about that mirage of an image you try to paint with blood.. The mirage of an army for what is nothing but a mass murderer... the mirage of victimization that is nothing other than a hijack attempt of the real suffering suffered by your coreligionists... the farce of democracy for what is ugly apratheid... the mirage of citzenry for colonizers rampaging through poperty of others...the mirage of an economy that is only kept afloat by subsidies courtesy stolen from people who don't where and how their taxes are spent...
The mirage of a state for what history books will only remember as a most savage example of organized crime.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Monday, July 28, 2008
Getting stuck in the ascenseur
Just when you think that you have mastered the game, that the rules no longer apply to you; a major coup swiftly puts you back in place.
After four years of always escaping, of knowing exactly when to risk it and when to feign extra energy for five flights of stairs; one week got me twice. In both incidents the ever-present Natour was nowhere near his lair. In the first case; ten minutes in the heat and in the dark in close proximity to 7 strangers clearly put in perspective the number of emigrants fleeing the country. The 10 minutes should be multiplied by the dog year- human year factor to get the “felt like” time. While the second time around, a struggle to pull my body up into the Shibr wide opening out of the cabin was a blunt warning that the long overdue gym visit cannot be put off any longer.
Personal issues aside, getting stuck in the ascenseur is a rite of passage here. You cannot delay the inevitable indefinitely. Its risk factor has to be taken into consideration every time you are getting off the ground aiming for higher floors. Grocery shopping, garbage collection, wakes, tea time, and other social gatherings are scheduled around possible outage times. As you know, most mascara brands are not stuck-in-the-ascenseur proof. To be fair, this ritual is not all bad, there is one positive about it: it kills the music.
Stuck in the ascenseur; another slightly inconvenience in a long line of Lebanese inconveniences.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Thursday, May 01, 2008
Nudity. I still have a clipping from an October 1993 Nouvel Observateur, an opinion poll: twelve hundred people describing themselves as on the left were sent a list of two hundred ten words and asked to underline the ones that fascinated them, that appealed to them, that they found attractive and congenial; a few years earlier, the same poll had been taken: back then, of the same two hundred ten words there were eighteen on which left wingers agreed and which thereby confirmed the existence of a shared sensibility. In 1993, the beloved words were down to three. Only three words that the left can agree on? What a decline! What a collapse! And what three words are they? Listen to this: “revolt”; “red”; “nudity.” “Revolt” and “red,” those are obvious. But that, aside from those two words, only “nudity” quickens the heart of left-wingers, that only nudity still stands as their shared symbolic legacy, is astounding. Is this our total inheritance from the magnificent two-hundred-year history solemnly launched by the French Revolution, is this the legacy of Robespierre, Danton, Jaurès, Rosa Luxemburg, of Lenin,
-Milan Kundera, Slowness
Sunday, April 20, 2008
I don’t have the time or the knowhow to conduct scientific research on this phenomenon, but I do have an eye that spots potential case studies.
Dunkin Donuts is an American franchise that sells fried dough and sugar. It has long been known as a favorite hangout of men in uniform out late at night to protect and serve. It also serves as a quick pit stop for commuters that are late for work and in need of cheap coffee and a cheaper heart clogging sinful treat.
The Sodeco Area of Beirut is smacked right in the middle of what formerly the dividing line between East and West Beirut. It was an area known for its legendary snipers, and thus the bullet poked façade: a unique Beirut architectural style. Coffee there was a vital part of the survival kit back in these days under the snipe or be sniped theory.
The Dunkin Donuts at Damascus Road in the Sodeco Area of Beirut has Valet Parking.
Lebanon has been suffering a massive brain drain since the opposition sit in started, or was it since the July war? The Hariri assassination? Since Hariri assumed power? Lausanne? 1982? April 13th? The Cairo accords? World War II? My great grandfather was in Cuba at the turn of the century so let’s just say that people have been fleeing this mountain range for a long, long time. A random sample of the youth would reveal that a good chunk of those leaving do so for the lack of money making job opportunities.
Forward Forum is a career fair that took place at BIEL this past weekend. Thousands of jobless youth flocked for a shot at a career that would keep them in the country. Careers that are unlikely to pay for mortgages, but at least they would cover their food; modest aspirations for college graduates.
Forward Forum had a Valet parking service that would save these 20 some year olds a walk of no more than 50 meters, yet hundreds of the job searchers opted to pay the extra fee for the luxury of just tossing the car key.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
There are no sheep in Beirut but I have witnessed a group of people that made unintelligible noises recently. It was right here in Hamra at something called Homeworks. They kept calling themselves "intellectuals." I wonder if they have the same effect.
Hazem Al Amin
Friday, April 11, 2008
Earlier this week Siniora and Berri each kicked off a tour that'll take them to various stops where they can woo their fans, or was it fan their woes?
In any case with the absence of the top 3 Politicians, Farid Makari became the highest ranking politician in the country. Now that's an honor that Makari would be able to claim for just a few hours, maybe a day or 2 max. But that was enough to ruffle some feathers among the esteemed Orthodox brethren. It donned on Michel El Murr that he, and not a Makari, should have been the king for a day.
So in order not to miss out on an opportunity like this if it were to present itself again, Mr. Murr Sr. quit the Orange Parliamentary grove and positioned himself as the next independent consensual vice-speaker of the parliament.
Clever. huh? Well you don't just go from being Israel's most reliable ally to becoming Syira's most reliable tool , and then finally somehow be both in the government and in the opposition without being clever. It's a bit unorthodox though.
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
I was watching the Egyptian equivelant to CNN sunday night. The host was going to extraordinary lengths to tell us that Sunday was an ordinary day. He went on and on explaining how traffic was ordinary, schools had ordinary attendance, hospitals did an ordinary number of nose jobs, and football games had the same number of unspectacular goals scored as any other ordinary day. See here being the inquisitive guy I am, I grew suspicious. Why would anyone be so adamantly bragging about the ordinariness of a day? Well, because they wish it was.
The day was so out of the ordinary that our own Siniora was summoned to Cairo on Sunday. His experience in ignoring protesting citizens would surely come in handy in times like these. Sure, neither the Lebanese opposition is as courageous nor that Lebanese government is as oppressive as their Egyptian counterparts. After all,the so-called-opposition in this country is still to this day begging for "partnership". You are one ugly, evil, money hungry, conniving bastard, will you marry me?
On a final note, the money witness in the Hariri assassination investigation has disappeared. It might just be a witness protection move. In any case, this blog has received exclusive footage from the international tribunal in the land of legal hos and weed. Enjoy the show.
Thursday, April 03, 2008
I'm talking, of course, about putting presidential faces on currency. Spare me the talk that we shan't worship false idols because we do it more than anyone ever did. Heck, we produced the real idols who preached about false idols.
We'll start off with Beshara El Khoury on the 100,000LL bill; not because he is worth more than the others but purely for aesthetic reasons, no one else would fill up this bill. 50,000LL has to go to Elias Hrawi. He was our only president to get re-elected without the MP's going "Oops, we were just @#$%ing around." 20,000LL has to feature Fouad Chehab as 20,000 of his preteges went on to become presidents.
In the US the $1 bill is reserved for Washington, clearly the President with the best head of hair. If we follow the same logic, only Amine Gemayyel can be on the 1000LL note. Emile Lahoud gets the pink 5,000LL note, only because there isn't a glittery lilac silk one.
That leaves us with the 10,000 Liras: Orange numbers with a yellow background. I say we keep it vacant for the time being, there's a good chance someone would fit this bill sometime next year.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
I must admit it is a very attractive "culture" for consumers. It's actually heavenly. Except you don't have to die to go there. It's right here on Earth; in Beirut specifically. Spring is beautiful, unlike the harsh winter, the long hot sweaty summer days, and not to mention Autumn which is synonymous with the end of life. Of course, a culture of no worries and no responisibilities naturally would have no accountability. The consumer is buying this culture as is. Anything un-springy one might encounter is just foreign. Alien obstacles are maliciously placed solely to ruin this midspring night's dream.
Things might be looking gloomy, but the guardians of culture keep huffing and puffing into a huge heartshaped balloon. I admire that, but we all now what happens to an overinflated balloon. That's a whole lot of bad breath.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Now Carlozinho might not have fully grasped what people saw. So I'll put it in terms he should understand. Dude, you looked far more ridiculous than Tante Imm Micho doing the Lambada. I do still find him cute and adorable, but Elie Beik Skaff will always be number one in my heart.
There are many angles in Lebanon where you can take a picture and capture a church and a mosque in the same frame. Oh, the beauty of peaceful coexistence. Well, that isn't entirely accurate. If you look closer, you'd notice that the newer shrine is on average three times the size of the older house of worship. This phenomenon can be attributed to the fact that this beautiful picture was actually the result of a pissing match between the coexisting village people.
The Story of Ayyoub
In Lebanon we have a political opposition. It's there, it's really there. Don't be fooled by the lack of vital signs. No Breathing, no pulse, that's all an illusion. It is not dead. You see, the opposition happens to be of the patient variety. Patience as you know is a virtue.
I guess it would take a patience virtuoso to understand. That's Ayyoub.
Friday, 7:30 pm, Waving Flag Caravan Concerto Around the Block
Saturday, 10:00 am, Bread and Rice Bribe-A-Thon, Diwaniyyet Al Aish al Mushtarak, Istiqlal street
Saturday, 10:00 pm, Traditional Zajal by Zaghloul Abou Faour and the BIEL troupe, La Hoya Suites, Manara
Sunday, 10:00 am, "Now you have One Man, Now you see 50", Magic show, Liberated Section of Martyr Square
Sunday, Tea Time, Fibs and Tales of the Truth , Taditional Storytelling by Grand Hakawati Ahmad Fatfat, Grand Serail
Mon-Sun, 12:55pm, "In the Third Year, He Rose Again", Recitale by the Sea
Friday, February 29, 2008
-Oye Doña, un cortadito por favor. Make it special, it'll be my last one in this country.
- What do you mean last one, Chico.-Listen Jacinto, we can't go wrong.
- No what ifs, no nothing. We will go in through the Bay go straight up the hill. Once we're on the hilltop Fidel will have nowhere to go but to jump in the sea.
- I don't know, Men. Can we do that alone.
- We will not be alone man, that's the beauty of it. The Gringos will bomb Fidel by air, to open the way for us. Señor Jon Jon senior promised us support. The Gringos already deployed 3 warships to cover our butts. It'll be over in a week. Even the prisons are ready, we just need the prisoners.
- A week, chico!?
This post is dedicated To Ahmad El Assaad, Dory Chamoun, and their other cute little playpals.
Monday, February 25, 2008
كلّ لبناني ينظّر من الغربة، لا يعوّل عليه
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
These days, however, directions have gotten much easier. You see the huge picture of Saad Hariri with his dad hovering over him? I'm in the third building to the right. There's that building with the whole side covered with a humongous Hassan Nasrallah, he's even larger than the crowd at the downtown rally. The big poster with the much younger yet no less bald Samir Geagea points you in the right direction. At the end of the road you'll see a Large picture of Pierre Gemayyel turn right; your right, his left. Don't worry the power is out but the general and his bright orange mural will illuminate the way. And just in case you get lost getting to Nabih Berri's residence, there he welcomes you with a slick smile and even slicker Ray Bans.
You can't miss it.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
15 acts for a maximum total cost of $715,000 and a guaranteed "1.5 Million."
...and he's the one that's supposed to be the Money wiz.
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Today, there's a World cup Qualifier against Uzbekistan. The weather is beautiful , so here's an opportunity to enjoy an outdoor activity away from the soapish drama of Lebanese so called politics; except the game will be held in an empty stadium to preserve civil peace. Let's see if I can con my way to a press pass. More on that tomorrow if I succeed in making it into that beautiful serene stadium.
The affair between the Free Patriotic Movement and Hezbollah reminds me of Woodstock. Except there is no alcohol. Ok there is very little sex. The drugs are prescription, and there is no rock and roll. The main event tonight culminates a week of love expressions hardly ever seen on the Lebanese scene. Don't get me wrong, I'll take fake love over real bombs any time, but get a room. The big question for tonight remains will they or will they not kiss, but I think Claude Shalhoub would have been more appropriate than Jean Aziz for the occasion.
What the heck is a Sansoul? The song has been stuck in my head for a week and I have no clue what it means.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
I estimate Corniche El Mazraa to be about a kilometer long, which if you divide by 5 meters you get room for 200 cars on each side of the road. On a Friday afternoon there are over 400 cars parked along the Corniche and none had a parking ticket on its windshield, so I assumed it was safe and extremely lucky for me to park right in front of Abou Ahmad for a quick bite. However, as I walked out I found an Eric Estrada writing me a ticket. "Why me?" I cried cautiously not wanting to push any wrong buttons considering I don't even carry a valid driver's license. Out of hundreds of cars, I was the only one being cited because... "you didn't leave your flashers on."
That was when a lot of Lebanese mysteries became clear to me. You can get away with murder if you leaves your flashers on. When downtown property owners tried pleading their cases against Solidere with judge Eido, they always hit the brick wall when confronted with "But did you have your flashers on?" Nabih Berri knew the power of flashing lights when he controlled the source of all our lights, that's how he's still shining even though his Amal movement has faded away. Shaker El Absi must have had his flashers on when he fled Naher El Bared leaving our mighty army dazed and impotent like superman under a blinking red sun.
I thought I had Beirut all figured out, but this town never ceases to intermittently amaze me.
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
Sunday, January 06, 2008
It is all about my mother.
I met my mom some twenty eight years and change ago, and since I can remember I can only picture her in a calm mellow mood. She never screams; never throws or breaks stuff. I can really say that I have never seen her angry or overly emotional not even when she's PMSing, and my mother is a woman; I am not adopted by a same sex couple, she is my biological mother and most people say I look like her.
So this woman who is my mom is very peaceful. She has never been politically active, except an occasional prayer to the higher powers wishing to rid us of all TV talking heads. What could the subsecretary of social affairs in the Lebanese Option Gathering possibly have to say to merit 3 hours of satellite uplink time? Chef Antoine feeds people across the Middle East and he only gets an hour live in front of his RCA Tk40. But I digress..
My Mother didn't take part in March 8th or in March 14th. She didn't take to the streets on December 1st or 10th. I don't think she's set foot in Riad El Solh Square in 40 years. She didn't protest against rising prices, global warming, or any war. She never clapped for Peace, or lit a candle for national unity. She was never part of any labor union so she never went on strike. She has never voted in either of the two countries she's a citizen of. She just isn't that big on the whole concept of government. At the same time she has never been in trouble with the law. I don't think she even has a parking ticket on her record.
We are talking about a long slate of personal serenity and political apathy that goes back into the 1950's (Late Late 50's. I have to cover my ass In case she reads this). She's seen a lot, been through a lot, but always maintained a level head and nothing has set her over the edge.
If George W Bush sets foot in Beirut this week, this same mother of mine has sworn to storm the Serail, and unleash 50 years (I mean 40 some years) of supressed rage. She even has set aside some eggs to rot for the occasion. Yes, I know..., just eggs. I told you she's a peaceful woman.
So this is the story of my mother: my calm, peaceful, mellow, sweet mother. Imagine how the rest of the population would react if such provocation were to happen.
Friday, January 04, 2008
Personally I don't mind walking up 5 flights of stairs, it's good for the glutes. But Shaker El Absi has vanished and it's not that hot anymore, so why hasn't the electric company come up with a new spin?