Monday, December 29, 2008

Return of the Savages-day 3

Israel continues to bomb blindly further proving that having the latest murder technology is not enough to cover for military incompetence. A university campus, mosques, and a TV station were the latest targets. Palestinians will continue to learn, pray, and that station continues to broadcast. So the Israeli armed gangs continue to reap death and destruction, but zero military gains. The longer Palestinians in Gaza hold on and they will persevere, the more the incompetence of Israeli military is exposed. 

There is no question Israel under the wise leadership of Olmert, Livni and Barak will come out of this round having lost on many fronts. Militarily it can only kill indiscriminately Its insatiable blood thirst is being beamed live into homes around the globe further exposing its barbaric nature. Meanwhile politically, they risk losing historic gains they've made with their Arab allies. No doubt Israel's cooperation with the two Abdallahs, Hashem and Saud, will continue in a not so covert manner. However, the longer these massacres continue the more trouble the Arab dictators will have in openly push naturalization efforts. In 2006, we saw how Mubarak, the Sauds, and the Hashems panicked after Israel failed to finish off Hezbollah. They scurried with their damage control efforts by trying to outbid others in the process of erasing the traces of the crime they took part in.  No doubt they will do the same in Gaza. 

As  for Israel's Palestinian collaborators, the war on Gaza should be the end of an already frail Abou Mazen. The charade called Annapolis has reached an unceremonious end, and the Israelis will have trouble finding another Palestinian "peace partner", willing to risk as much as Abbas. 

The number of deaths has reached 310 in 48 hours...1400 injured...

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Israel is no more

Today Israel's heavily armed gang did what it does best...Killing for the sake of killing... Although Israel has since its conception been morally bankrupt today's massacre proves more and more that they are military bankrupt too. The 2006 defeat on the edges of Maroun El Ras and Bint Jbeil was the beginning of the end.

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" 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

بحبك يا لبنان

The driver of this BMW I saw today clearly loves this country. He has dressed the 4 headrests in his car in red, white, and cedar. He also has Pierre Gemmayel's legacy, the "Love Lebanon? Love its products" bumper sticker, adorning his rear fender. He's so patriotic he might know the second , heck even the third verse of the Lebanese national anthem.  

Nothing however says "I love Lebanon" more than him throwing his empty Marlboro flip top pack out his car window.  

from the campaign trail

Thirty some odd years ago, the war in Lebanon was between the arms that were a guarantee for the safety and defense of the Christian minority in the Middle East and those weapons that were slated to liberate Palestine.  The funny thing today is the argument you hear that a certain arsenal in Lebanon serves as a protection and a guarantee for the minorities in the Middle East including Lebanon's Christian minority; while some are convinced this same weaponry will pave the way back to Jerusalem. 

Rockn't the vote

In this period between the olympics and the world cup, plenty of spectacles try to fill the void. It seems elections are en vogue this season. All the cool kids are doing it. There's the great U.S. of A. with its bipartisan bout. On the other hand, we have Iran with its bipolar act. Down south they are playing hot potato as no one wants to be the next Olmert. Then there's our show which some believe to be as significant as the previous three combined as all these three nations and multiple other states are involved directly in the electoral process in Zgharta el Zawya and others of the thousands of major metropolitan areas in Lebanon.  

Since the campaign is in full swing it's time to start evaluating the candidates and filtering the m down to those worthy of our vote. After all a vote is not something to be taken lightly, you are ceding power over your interests to someone who should be trustworthy and who would choose your interests above all other considerations. There are also the so called principles that you might stand for or against and they should be reflected in your choice. I for one am against. It's actually the easy out to be ever-opposing without presenting a viable alternative. You never have to defend your position while always pointing out imperfections in a perfectly imperfect world. Well that is the actual job of a citizen; to boss politicians around pushing for an ever-eluding perfection. It seems easy but we always fuck it up.
In any case, I'm against the elections. I don't think I need to back that up with any solid reasons, because that might actually set a dangerous precedent in a country that is not very tolerant of reason... among other things. So instead, I'll just back up my opposition to the election with a hunch or a gut feeling. You can't argue with a gut; it might let its feelings out and it wouldn't be very pleasant. 

I just don't think these elections matter. Not that other elections matter much. Regardless of my strong opposition to that election law that is gerrymandered specifically to shatter a fragilely glued country. It is not about an election law or a political platform. Elections in Lebanon are just for show. A spectacle of long hours of TV programming  to create a diversion from the real politics taking place. Ultimately, they do not matter at all. There are doubts the elections take place, and I certainly hope they don't so this charade isn't gratuitously extended for 4 more years. Now if they do take place, they are likely to be the last or one of the last in this current establishment.   You have to foresee this if you hope to have a political role in this country's future. Those fighting for a seat here or there won't. 

O Canada!

The mighty Zohans have foiled 5 kidnapping attempts of Izzies by Hezbollah in different parts of the world. Now I don't know if these claims have passed the test, but I'll play along. So here we have the same intelligence apparatus that failed to sniff what goes on under its nose in Maroun El Ras going 5 for 5 in pulling needles out of haystacks around the globe; thus out-omnipresenting  the party of God...  Good job Mossad, you're so impressive  you obviously don't need to make these annoying dinnertime telemarketing calls offering me $10 million for information about Ron Arad. So stop them.

Back to these latest achievements. One of these cases was in Toronto. So a Hezbollah operative was going to kidnap an Israeli over there and face one of 2 scenarios. Either drug him and and hide him on a transatlantic flight, entertain him for a long layover at Schiphol, then smuggle him agin onto a flight to Beirut where they can hide him in one of their secure bunkers. That's just very unlikely, and too risky. So the second  scenario is more likely. Hezbollah would keep the hostages in Toronto.. in their complex bunker and tunnel system under Toronto's southern suburbs where they hide an arsenal of thousands of missiles that can reach Detroit, beyond Detroit, and beyond what's beyond Detroit. Yep that's the one.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A man of principle

Hussein el-Husseini just resigned from that mockery of a parliament they run down in Solidere. 

His reason: it is unfair, preposterous, lewd, lascivious, and outrageous that after 2 years of getting paid for doing nothing, he actually has to show up for work now.

Submit to Webster's

Metrosalafi (n, adj): a young, cool, suave, well off, Armani-dressed, well-trimmed, intolerant, Islamist, takfiri, and occasionally pious party animal; mostly spotted in multi-million dollar mansions  in Beirut, Mediterranean isles, and on the Saudi Riviera. A Metrosalafi is often involved in politics, philanthropy, propaganda, business dealings, feudalism, funding of militants and scholars, and promoting interfaith dialogue.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The land of innocence

So the barge owner on which over a thousand egyptians died was declared innocent by the court; it is not that he purposely pulled a drill out of his tool box and poked holes in the vessel. Accidents happen. Sure the decision was put on hold,  but who are we kidding, he is a card holding member of the ruling party.  

In Lebanon, nearly a thousand people die every year in car accidents. It's not that the roads are unsafe, or the cars aren't street legal. It is not because traffic cops don't even know the rules much less enforce them. Accidents just happen, and people die. Lebanon's roads proved unsafe for Generation 4 Merkavas, yet teenagers popping wheelies on  their home-made scooters are common sights on busy highways. It's all innocent fun, and accidents just happen. Just like the tens that have been accidentally shot and killed throughout the country the past couple of... millennia?

But I am curious to know one thing though. I wonder if YASA keeps these stats. Does the rate of fatality drop when  a car is protected by some type of religious iconography? If so, which icon is the most protective?

Monday, July 28, 2008

It must be tourist season

These days I get an average of 2 address inquiries every time I walk down the street. It does not even matter what time of day or night it is, lost souls are all over the place. I assume everyone gets these questions, because either that or I'm someone who looks like he nows where he stands. 

During tourist season, even cab drivers stray from their routes into unfamiliar and what is perceived as hostile grounds.  You can tell a cab driver is outside of his comfort zone when they are not their usual aggressive and rude selves.  "Pardon, Monsieur, where can I find le Roi de frites?" "Sorry, What?  you lost me at Pardon Monsieur..." "Lik Wayn Malik El Batata." " Much better, down the street you'll see it on your right."

Some other people you expect to be lost; like the Saudi license plate in front of Starbucks Hamra asking how to get to Starbucks Jounieh. Or the family of blondes asking for "Rue Hamra" on Rue Hamra. "But it looks nothing like the Champs Elysees." "Well.. Nostalgic ex-pats tend to slightly exaggerate the virtues of the homeland, but personally I like it better than the Parisian Avenue, No stupid Arch of Triumph, even though we claim more triumphs in a week than the French army has in its history. More importantly , no Golden Arches." "Whaat, no McD's???!"  "No  but there's le Roi de Frites."

P.S. This blog in no way, shape or form endorses Malik el Batata as a lunch option. It's solely to be used as a landmark for directions and a campaign stop for candidates who need a photo op with a "regular citizen" before an election. 

From Lebanon on and off

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

From Lebanon neither 8 nor 14

The order of engineers windshield sticker

First of all, you would think that with the centuries spent cumulatively in various design classes the order would come up with a more aesthetically pleasing sticker. Well, any attempt to alter the logo in the current politically charged environment would undoubtedly lead to a color battle that would make a gay pride parade seem pale.

The sticker is there as is, but why is it so common? It must be for insurance purposes or some quirk like that because I can't understand why would anyone want to brag that his or her Harvard aerospace engineering degree has landed them a Picanto; in installments over the next 7 years.
Or maybe mister engineer wants to divert your attention with his dazzling order of engineers windshield sticker away from that red license plate that adorns his car.

A tough job market, struggling engineers, a yearly reminder call from your sectarian party representative, and kickass math skills: these come together symbolically packaged in that boxy design of the order of engineers windshield sticker in Lebanon.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

لا خاسر ولا مخسور

I think it's time I lift my self imposed gag order. I'm a person who lives in a state of denial. I could not handle the Lebanese week of honesty. People expressing their feelings freely was long overdue in Lebanon, and what do you know; all it took was a few days of open hatred and then  a la Emeril Lagasse ... Baam a group hug to heal all. 

Here's how Andre Breton defined Surrealism:

Psychic automatism in its pure state, by which one proposes to express -- verbally, by means of the written word, or in any other manner -- the actual functioning of thought. Dictated by the thought, in the absence of any control exercised by reason, exempt from any aesthetic or moral concern.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

و بيتين عتابا للمناسبة

سبع بورومبو معيّد بواحَد و مأضْرِب بسبعة مايو
ما في شغل، نازل عالبحر و معو لابسة سبعة مايو
اليوم يومو إن نصَبّ زيت عنارو أو تلج صَب عمايو
غصب عن اللّي بالضاحية والرابية و قريطم و معراب

شو عم بيصير هالإسبوع بين بيروت و محلّة
هون حكومة ما بيرفّلها جفن و باقية بافية باقية محلاّ
و هونيك تلاتين سنة و إنّو تشبع سرقة و قمع ما حلاّ
إن لفظتو الجيم جيم أو الجيم جيم كلكن سوا بلإضراب

للمزيد أنقر هنا

... and on May Day

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, Gramsci, Aragon, Che Guevara? Nudity? The naked belly, naked balls, naked buttocks? Is that the last flag under which the final brigades of the left simulate their grand march through the centuries? 

-Milan Kundera, Slowness

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Valet Parking Part Deux

I have touched on the subject previously, but this is one topic in Lebanon around which many dissertations could be done. One could study the Freudian interpretation of the glee derived from the key tossing experience; or the statistical correlation between the time it takes a poser to get out of his or her street blocking car and the number of angry eyeballs in the cars behind him or her.
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.

Case #1

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.

Case #2

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

Counting Intellectuals

It's 4 am, and I can't sleep. An old trick that I know is to count sheep, but I've been living in a city for so long that I forgot what they look like. I do remember that they often come in herds and they make unintelligible noises.
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 Saghiyeh
Wissam Saadeh
Houssam Itani
Hazem Al Amin
Bashar Haydar
Rabih Mroueh
Jalal Toufic
Emily Jacir
Marwan Rechmaoui
Kamal Aljafari
Zeina Maasri
Khalil Rabah
Joana Hadji-Thomas
Khalil Joreige
Wael Shawky
Bernard Khoury
Hazzzem Saghiyeh

Friday, April 11, 2008

Greek Orthodox: Pound for Pound

No need to remind everyone that the office of President of the Republic is vacant. That counter is well into triple figures, but it is almost a 1000 days behind the mother of all counters.

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

Who's your daddy?

I perfectly understand why a group of people chose to erect large posters of Abdallah Al Saud all over town. The "others" have posters of Khamenei up. So the only logical match would be the Servant King of Islam's Holiest places; a feat that certainly trumps Supreme leadership of a revolution in terms of Holy brownie points. What I don't get though is the timing. Why now? The only thing I could think of, is that this has to do with the absolutely successful and/or completely failed Arab summit is Damascus; a message to Assad to show him who's the Half-Man. Nah, I'm sure a King would be over this more than a year after the fact and wouldn't let a mere word get to him. CNN did call him a history maker after all. CNN called me "a blogger" once; I'm telling you, these people have an amazing nose for accurate labeling.

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

Maronites: Pound for Pound

The United States does it. So do Arab states; the moderately evil countries and the evilly moderate ones. I don't see why Lebanon should refrain from doing it, aren't we afterall the face of the Dakotas in the Middle East according to one Lebanese ultranationalist.

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

Cultural Agenda II

This whole Beirut Spring Business, or Culture, is now starting to captivate me. I'll assume the use of "Beirut" is just synecdochical, and what is really meant is the whole of Lebanon. But the same does not apply to "Spring", Spring is just Spring without the rest of the seasons. It fits in with a Future without a past, and Love and Life in an eternal Hallmark moment.

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

Redefining Absurdity

First of all, a message to the readers. I know I've been away for a while, but Please, please, please I urge you, nah, I beg you not to fire any weapons in the air when you're done reading this. The culture of propaganda is all about firing up lies, not live bullets. But if you must, go for the M-16. With the US Dollar in its current state, it has become cheaper to waste American bullets than Russian ones.

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.

Pissful Coexistence

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.

Cultural Agenda

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

Libertad, Libertad!

Overheard on April 14th, 1961 at Cafe Versailles, Eighth Street, Miami, FL

-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.

-What if...

- 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

بالإذن من إبن عربي

كل مبادرة شفيعها عمر موسى، لا يعوّل عليها
كل قمّة لأمّة قادتها طغاة، لا يعوّل عليها
كل جدار يفصل حبيبين ،مهما علا لا يعوّل عليه
كل سلاح قمع ذكي كان أم غبي، لا يعوّل عليه
كل احتجاج مطلبه كرسيّ، لا يعوّل عليه
كل كرسي يُقعِد جالسَه مدى الحياة، لا يعوّل عليه
كل مليون تتّسع له كراسي استاد ميشيغان، لا يعوّل عليه
وكل فرد ينوب عن مليون ، لا يعوّل عليه
كل جمع ضرب و طرح و قسمة، لا يعوّل عليه

كلّ لبناني ينظّر من الغربة، لا يعوّل عليه
وكلّ غربي ينظّر من لبنان ، لا يعوّل عليه
أمّا كل لبناني ينظّر من لبنان،من أمثالي يعني، فلا يعوّل عليه

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Big Picture

Landmarks have always been used in directions due to the lack of street signs and building numbers in Beirut. "50 meters after the pothole", "right next to the chestnut tree", or "where that restaurant used to be" are regularly used even though that restaurant closed before you were born.

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

Penny Pinching

Haifa Wehbe $75,000; Nancy Ajram $75,000; Najwa Karam $75,000; Assi Hellani $75,000; Elissa $75,000; Majida El Roumi $60,000; Ragheb Alameh $60,000; Nawal El Zoghbi $50,000; Wael Kfouri $50,000, Fares Karam $40,000; Walid Toufic $30,000; Dominique Hourani $25,000; Jad Choueiri $25,000; Mayez El Bayyaa $Peanuts; Ahmad Kaabour $Tossed Salad.

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

Nothing Nice to Say

How does it go? "If you have nothing nice to say... just say mean things." My silence over the last few weeks is not due to the lack of things to talk about, but the lack of nice things to say. Anger is a different domain with its own specialists.

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

License to Kill

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


x + y + z = u

x < u/2

y < u/3

x > y > z

x + y + z + u ≤ 0

x ∩ y = Ф

x U y = 235U

u= √-1

Find x,y,z,u

Bonus: Find Michel Nayla Mouawad

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Todo Sobre Mi Madre

I did not like the movie but this has nothing to do with Spanish Cinema.

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

Rationing Rationale

Back in early Summer, Electricite du Liban started rationing power in Beirut on a temporary basis due to peak demand during the hot summer season exceeding the production capacity. Off course, areas outside Beirut were used to heavy power cuts even in off, way off peak seasons. Then on August 2nd an excuse fell from the heavens in form of a Fatah Al Islam rocket that completely shut down the Deir Amaar power plant and forced fuel ships far far away. I know I know, this was a grave situation. It was War, a legitimate safety concern; the Electric company would never just make up cheap excuses.

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?