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 fa├žade: 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.