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 = ะค

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?