Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The more the leaks, the more it reeks

See I'm all for fair play and sportsmanship and all that crap, but hypothetically if I were to cheat to win a football game here' s how I would do it. First of all I would convince some idiots to sponsor my team with billions of dollars. See I need all the help I can get because I do not belong on a football field. My athletic abilities are more apt for Mahjong than they are for football, and even then I'd risking serious injuries. No worries, idiots with money abound around here. I would invest some money in the best damn equipment out there... Best cleats, the kind that add speed to the shot... Best Space age polymers Shin Guards... Best Circumcision friendly Cups... Best Rhinoplasty friendly nose guards... The works....

Then of course I would buy off the referees, and I don't mean just the referees of the match. I would buy off the whole profession. Why the heck not, I would have the money to do it.I would also sabotage the opponents' preparations. I would invite a mole colony to take refuge in their practice field. I would buy all the balls in the market so they are forced to play with straw stuffed hemp bags. 

But that doesn't guarantee a win... because I am that incompetent. 

I would google earth their practice formations, while paying off google to pixelate my practice field. I would also hire attractive sex workers to sap all their stamina the night before the game. I would pay off their team's cook to serve a potent laxative as a game day appetizer. 

I would still need to catch a lucky break... I would need the opponents' bitter goalkeeper hating his teammates' guts and volunteering to notify me which side will he be diving to in order to increase my chances of scoring.

In other words, I need to have all the advantages Israel had in its 2006 war against Lebanon, and I would still lose... because frankly my football skills are just as bad as Israel's military tactics.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

An embarrassment to Propaganda

There's no denying that I am a fan of the art of Propaganda. This is probably why I feel that bad propaganda insults me on a personal level. Specially when you have all the available resources to produce kick-ass propaganda yet lay an egg.

Exhibit A is the constant dose of Franklin Lamb used by the Hezbollah propaganda machine to show that they have "western" backing. Way to cheapen a "holy" cause. With over 6 decades of history to prove the worthiness of your struggle, you settle for a kook.

Exhibit B is the Future Movement resorting to street banners to convey their message. With a multi-million dollar media empire which owns satellite television outlets, radios, newspapers, and magazines along with tens of hired pens disseminated throughout the international news making business; what could possibly prompt you to go such a primitive propaganda display? Maybe they feel threatened by the only other major player in the street banner arena, Kamal Shatila...


Friday, November 12, 2010

Daddy's Boy

It doesn't seem that there's a record of me writing about this lecture, but in my mind I was convinced I did. In any case... It was the first day of the World Cup this past summer, the world was still trying to figure out what that noise coming out from the TV was, and 3 million tourists were conspiring against Fadi Abboud by booking trips to Lebanon only to cancel in the very last minute.
Charbel Nahas, minister of missed calls, was giving a lecture at Al Madina theater about the Lebanese economy. I would say around 50 people were in attendance, but you can get a more accurate number from the state "intelligence" apparatus that sent this photographer who was there to capture a a mug shot for every single person in attendance.

Without naming anyone or throwing out any accusations a la libanaise, Nahas gave an intelligent comprehensive look at the Lebanese economy over the years: how enough cash inflow has kept it afloat, what happens when the lifeline dries up a bit, how the massive amounts of cash are consumed, etc... He also went on to talk about how things work in the cabinet, and how hard it is to get something on the agenda, and that the major thing he was hoping to accomplish in the budget war was to get all the expenditures accounted for on paper something you'd think is a given. Well it isn't. A lot of official spending of public money is done off the books, and we're not talking about all the unofficial spending.

During Q&A, I was tempted to ask about the average IQ in the room when the cabinet is in session, since I have my doubts that the comprehension capacity of some ministers including the prime one can handle economic theory. Unfortunately I didn't get my answer then as the microphone never reached me.

I did get my answer my yesterday when the Prime Minister broke into the "my daddy can kick your daddy's ass" rap against Nahas. The Hariri court chorus took over from there, and boy oh boy was I mistaken. Silly me expecting them to understand Economics, how about we start with playground rhetoric... Maybe throw in a few Yo Momma jokes. Eventually the kids will grow up. 

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Don't Worry, be Crappy

I am not worried that we're on the eve of the long promised Armageddon-esque national unity cabinet meeting; it's probably over-hyped. I'm not worried about the speeding traps around our highways; au contraire I really hope they outlast the short lived red light cameras experiment. I'm not worried about the sweeping republican victory in the U.S. mid-term elections and what that might bring our way; it's not like change was sweeping Washington. I'm not worried about the alarming drought indicators and the whole water security issue that suddenly became fashionable this week; I probably won't live to see it. I'm not worried about a power vacuum, although I do need a vacuum cleaner for my apartment. 

I am not worried about Hassan Nasrallah's speech on Thursday, or about the three thousand counter speeches on Friday. I'm not worried that the Resistance is more worried about chauvinistic pride than it is about clear acts of spying. I'm not worried about the truth. This whole rhetoric is beyond passé

I am not worried about the rising gas prices since most of my commuting is on foot. I'm not worried about the rising price of bread because frankly I should cut down on carbs. 

I am not worried about the stockpiling of weapons, since I'm not naive to think that ever stops. I'm not worried about a certain $60 billion purchase of weapons, although I do wonder what will be the return on investment when it's sold as scrap metal.

There is this one thing though that has me a bit uneasy. The recent increase in security measures on May Ziadeh street in Clemenceau scare the crap out of me. If Walid Jumblat is worried, I worry.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Se le gazon total

I'm all for more green spaces in the city, even if the "sodwalk" is the way to do it...
I guess it's time to hang up the mocassins and dust off the long retired cleats.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Intolerant bigots, but honest

Age between 30 and 39 - Check
Lives in Beirut - Check
Lebanese - Check
Speaks English - Check
Driver's License - Check
Maronite - Damn it!! ... So close

Here's the listing on eWaseet.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Eih fi Amal

The Fayrouz CD is finally out, it's probably the final one in her long career. The title of the CD translates to "Yes, There is hope"... well that's not exactly accurate. The "Yes" used is Lebanese slang for "Yes" that could mean different things depending on the tone in which it's used.  So the Album title, depending on how you read it, could be a definitive and hopeful "Yep, There is Hope" or a cynically hopeless "Yeah, There's Hope". 

"Hope" is a recurring theme for Ziad Bin Fayrouz. "Hope" also featured prominently in the title of his last play many, many years ago. Of course it's always an ambiguous hope, but it's hope nonetheless. 

Personally, I'm not a big fan of the "Yep, There is hope" school. It's an interpretation that creates barriers for hope. My preference of hope is limitless; Hope that can only come from hopelessness. 

Beautiful, huh? Well, don't get your hopes up... because there is always hope.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The bottomless pit

This country is redefining my understanding of  what an abyss might look like. Just when you think that the political rhetoric on television, for example, has hit rock bottom, a new generation of pundits takes to the airwaves to drop the collective national IQ a notch lower. This national unity government can boast that they've doubled an already high road fatality rate. Suicide rates and abuse among enslaved domestic workers are alarming, but that's just a smear campaign by human rights groups according to former aspiring president Boutros Harb. "Heritage sites" are being preserved... in pictures. Beirut municipal stadium will finally reopen to the public... as a parking garage. After all, we've learned friendly parking disputes can be deadly.

The ruling "opposition" is happy with  the fact that their rivals/partners are led by an ideal foe, His Excellency Wiley E. Coyote. What they don't know is that they are sinking down to his level. Check that, they are at his level. Idiocy is contagious. The latest Wall Street Journal article on Beirut has Yasser Arafat hanging out at a pub that opened 2 decades after he was removed from Beirut. Why not have Jesus turning water into wine at Skybar while you're at it? The "guide" that was quoted in the article is none other than the son of former finance minister, Indiana Jones. I wonder if he's the person who tipped off his dad about that treasure in Rashaya. 

Not everything is in free fall though. Prices are up.  

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Bug's Life

Aesop's tale about the ant and the grasshopper is a short, simple fable about conflicting personalities. Long story short, or in this case short story even shorter, one of them mocks the other for a period of time and then ends up out in the cold. Moral of the story: natural selection favors long term planning over flavor of the day.

That doesn't make the ant a better insect or a role model. They can be really pesky sons of bugs, but they will always outlast the here today, gone tomorrow grasshopper.

I think this story would make good television, someone should think about adapting it to the screen.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Friday, September 17, 2010

Censorship Schmucks

Steve Carell probably had his funniest role since "Little Miss Sunshine", but the Lebanese state had to interfere in the enjoyment of the film. There were a couple of scenes that were obscenely cut from the movie which opened yesterday in Beirut. It turns out that depicting Jesus and his apostles as a dead rodents for a small paying audience is a threat to national security. This at the same time that live rats continue to be streamed daily right into everyone's living room free of charge.

Speaking of censorship, Ayam Beirut Al Cinema'iya kicked off. It will feature the signing of "The One Man Village" DVD, which had 5 minutes chopped off by Lebanese authorities. It's merely a circumcision compared with other castration jobs by the authorities. I'm not sure how much of "Nahla" will be shown on Sunday as previously aired versions of the film had up to 45 minutes cut out by censors. Also censors removed 75 minutes out of  De Gaulle Eid's 75 minute long documentary,"What Happened?". Yet national security still eludes us..go figure.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Monday, September 06, 2010

Do you believe in magic?

Last week after the Burj Abi Haydar bash, it was reported that the warring allies found a man with 2 shoulders to cry on in Damascus.

Then yesterday, as reported in Al Akhbar, the same man met with a head of one of the local quasi-spy agencies and with a snap of a finger calmed the tense political scene. This story can be corroborated by the sudden change in the SMS dispatches and a certain interview in today's edition of Asharq Al-Awsat.

The man's a magician.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Real bloggers

It was always embarrassing to attend Arab bloggers' conferences as a "Lebanese" blogger. Everyone else had real battle scars. Until a recent hubbub by Michel Suleiman about the prestige of the "Lebanese" Presidency, authorities here had no ideas what blogs were. So we really had nothing to contribute to discussions of activists who really put their neck on the line facing Arab tyrants.
Ali Abdulemam, from Bahrain, is now 2 up on me.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Beirut: a Tree-free zone

Does anyone remember the carnival-like atmosphere post-Doha where political rivals took to the streets of Beirut hand in hand to remove flags and posters that belonged to the various warring factions? Beirut was then declared a politics-free zone. It still is pretty much just that, except for all the Amal movement flags and Nabih Berri posters that replaced all the other colors. But hey...that's the closest the city will ever get to being green.

Unpaid Ad

"Yen'ad Aleik" is a genuine, energetic and fun performance at Beirut's cutest stage. It's a zeitgeisty love story about loving the little things and leaving little things.

Ramadan spirit has other venues charging $30 bucks for you to hear washed up Electrolux Air Conditioners roar over attempts at music; meanwhile, for $10 bucks you can watch Yara Abou Haidar and Wahid Al Ajami sweat their butts off on stage. I mean that literally, so avoid the front rows because you will get splashed. Plus the show is in 3D and you don't have to pay extra or wear those silly heavy glasses.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Miracle healing is one thing...

... but Father Daniel taking a shit on medicine at the Doctors' syndicate is just too good to pass.

Word on the street is that the opening act will be the extra borojo infomercial healer.

I'm so gonna be there, I'm taking with me a neck pain and a truck-full of psychological issues.

See you there.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Parking Ticket

The latest episode in the ongoing Lebanese civil war, which despite the legend did not start in 1975 and did not magically end in 1990, was attributed to an argument over a parking space.

A spokesperson for one for the parties involved called it an isolated incident over something silly. Well it is, but this country is "something silly" away from becoming just a silly footnote in history. The poster pictured above appeared on Beiruti walls before the Burj Abi Haydar incident.Whoever posted it either has psychic powers or the laws of averages make it a safe bet to bring up the topic of Lebanese in-fighting at any time without fearing it will be untimely. Lebanese in-fighting shocks no one... except the Lebanese that is.

There are many, many factors that have Lebanon at a constant simmer. One of them is the "silly" parking. You see, there's a field of study called urban planning. Believe it or not, some urban planners make money by offering urban planning services. It turns out people live more happily if they knew they could find a parking spot within a couple of kilometers of their home. They would be happier if they know that there is a reliable public transport system that will get them home. But that's really asking too much of incompetent political leadership. The last brilliant idea to come out of state institutions to address the parking problem in Beirut was to build car parks in place of the last remaining human parks in town. I'm no urban planner, but I'm pretty sure parks are also part of what makes people's lives in cities more bearable.

I'm no outlaw either, but I know people who know people that can get you out of a parking ticket. Though I'm thinking an RPG launcher is a much more effective tool to achieve that, plus you won't owe anyone any favors. Hmmm...

Monday, August 23, 2010

In the Red

"Fouad Siniora is a Red Line".-Saad Hariri this past weekend

Rafiq Hariri is also a Red Line. It's true he's been dead for over five years now but he has not ceased to be a red line and will continue to be one for the foreseeable future. That future is basically as long as the Special Tribunal for Lebanon keeps running its tab.

Saad Hariri is a Red Line too. He doesn't want to brag about himself, but he's along the same red line that started with his father and passed right through Siniora into his care.

I'm surprised that a politician that prides himself on following an infallible economic plan is being so frank, but I'm not complaining. His honesty is quite commendable. Even though if you really look at it, there just isn't any other way to put it.

When your finances yield $50 billion in debt.. that's one very Red bottom line.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Month of Tolerance

MTV Arabia, a joint venture between MTV and Sheikh Mo's Dubai Holding, decided to observe Ramadan by refraining from airing vulgar Music videos and sticking to its more wholesome reality shows.

Daddy's Girls is one of these shows.

During one of the episodes I overheard an obscene amount of script being bleeped out. So I inquired with a subject matter expert, my sister, about the Ramadan spirit on display. She said she doesn't think they are saying any bad words since they are talking about a nice "bleeping" boy. Having watched the episode she thought the most logical choice for the bleeped out word is "Jewish".

Sure enough a small internet search confirmed that the "Girls" were talking about a nice jewish boy.

But I guess blatant anti-Semitism is OK if it comes from "moderates" who are tolerant of Israel.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Yesterday, Minister of Defense Elias El-Murr had a press conference to address a very urgent issue. His performance was indirectly questioned in a newspaper article written by Hassan Olleik and published in Al Akhbar. While answering questions he mentioned the famous MIG 29s that the Russians allegedly gave as a gift to Lebanon and were supposed to be patrolling the skies by now.

By El-Murr's logic, the MIGs were too expensive to operate so Lebanon asked for the gift to be replaced with cheaper and easier to operate helicopters. Now I'm not sure if those ever made it to Beirut, but that's not the issue. The defense strategy and military logic of the minister sees it is appropriate to cut corners and equip the army with what's cheaper rather than what is necessary. Why stop at helicopters, I hear tricycles are even easier to operate. Seriously though, wouldn't it have been beautiful had El-Murr uttered these words as Minister of Finance? All that lady ever says is tax.

El-Murr was offended by Olleik's article and felt he was wronged. So he applied the same logic. Why opt for the lengthy, complicated, and expensive legal defense, when you can go for the easier and cheaper tactic of bullying.

What can you say? The man is consistent.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Are you an Israeli spy?

People over here are overly nosey. Widespread plastic surgery facilities can only take care of the physical aspect of this trait. Therefore, curiosity continues to kill the... well you know who.

Remember that barrage of questions that you answered this sweet looking old lady when you first moved into the neighborhood? Well your answers have become common knowledge in the neighborhood, because she told her neighbor who in turn told the grocer. The grocer wrote down your info in his accounts receivables file, but then gave up on you after he saw that you're a sucker that will pay five fold for the same fruits from the "organic" grocer down the street. Your data have now become parsley wrapping. After the tabbouleh is made, your confessions end up in the bottom of a birdcage which houses a parrot which keeps repeating the newly acquired gossip until it's old news.

Now combine that with the love of bragging which happens to be the other strong trait around here, and you end up with an environment that's not very conducive to keeping secrets.

So don't try to be some smart ass super secret agent, you will be caught. If you want to be an Israeli tool, do it openly and join the... well you know who.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Man, the half man, and the Two Dozen Man

Security breaches at Beirut International Airport will not stop the influx of regional heads of royal courts. Latest reports say that they will be treated to lunch at some place in Baabda known for its hospitality towards money and power. However, the quality of the lunch experience can not be corroborated as the chef there is not too fond of critique.

That's not all, if rumors are true tomorrow's show is nothing but the under-card before the heavyweights take the ring.

Now I understand that men always have the urge to mark their territory and I'm sure there is some scientific explanation for that. But I wish they did it like dogs do, because then all we'd have to deal with is just a little stench of pee. Instead what we get is ... well... Lebanon.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Monday, July 26, 2010

كانت حكاية

In a creative process, the creator often starts with a rough idea. That idea sounds good so it's put through the development process that may result in creative work, or as in most cases it ends up being junk. In this country, junk does not take the usual junk route but is rather piled on top of other junk in a very public display of, well, junk.

Back to the creative process; one of the stages in the early life of an idea is testing it out loud. The creator often needs to say the idea out loud, let it bounce off a wall and see how it sounds. Some ideas only sound great in your head and those should be kept there. Now a lifeless wall has good idea bouncing qualities, but it doesn't hurt if the wall happens to have a pulse.

Bouncing the ideas of a genius creator is a very enriching experience. You can learn a lot just listening in on a person like, let's say, Assi Al Rahbani at work. The problem starts when you believe that the ideas bouncing off of you are actually yours.

The rest is history, or in this case, attempts at rewriting history.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Nurturing Environment

Hassan Nasrallah made a prime time TV appearance last night in what was dubbed "The Press Conference 22-7-2010".

In order to rationalize their timid response (so far), Al Mustaqbal headlined that "Nasrallah toned down his speech." In the article they also insinuate that Nasrallah is jealous that Hariri and Damascus are all lovey dovey again. Back to The News Conference though, since I don't report to the same bosses of Al Mustaqbal's editorial team I can say that this was one of Nasrallah's most threating messages when it comes to internal politics. The "tone" was higher than December 1st, 2006 but not quite May 7th, 2008.

Here we need to remember that after both of these threats "National Unity" prevailed, so those hoping for major changes should not get their hopes up. I do want to stop at one point that Nasrallah was asked about. When talking about Israeli agents he mentioned a "nurturing environment" that encourages that sort of behavior.

The "nurturing environment" that encourages people to sell, well just about anything, for a wad of cash is not a security issue that threatens the balance of powers in the resistance fight against occupation. It is a deeply rooted economic and cultural phenomenon that started plaguing the region way before 2005. Even though Rafiq Hariri played a major role in mainstreaming this nouveau riche petrolaire culture, the roots of this irresponsible opportunist dependent passive behavior go back way before the springing 90's.

So yes there is a "nurturing environment" in Lebanon that encourages treason. It also encourages jealousy, hypocrisy, egotism, laziness, ignorance, division, racism and intolerance in all its forms.

In this environment, everyone is to blame.

Tourist season (Pre-Israeli Apartheid)

(Hat tip Hilal)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

So basically, Israel has been listening in on every phone call in Lebanon for the past 15 years and still had no clue what to hit during the 2006 war. Really though, who would want to listen in on Lebanese phone calls? The Israelis walked straight into a trap there. It is scientifically proven that listening in on a Lebanese phone conversations causes ear canal damage, nausea, and suicidal tendencies which tend to lead to death. Exposure to a 60 morning conversation between two Lebanese jagals sharing hair styling tips can cause more damage to the Merkava shields than a trip up and down Wadi Al Hujair.

Then there are the accused spies.

Have you ever interviewed Lebanese candidates for a job?

Can you imagine all the bullshit they fed the Mossad recruiter during their first encounter at that cafe in Prague?

"Can I tap into the network? Come on man, it's not brain surgery. And even if it is, if you look closely on my CV you will see that I've actually performed a few of those when I was 15... page 7 right between my second moonwalk and my dunk on Shaquille O'Neal."

"Hassan Nasrallah? Have I eavesdropped on him? Just yesterday I listened in on a phone call from his wife. She was telling him not to forget to pick up the groceries. He's staying in a village near Baalbeck."

... and two tables down you could hear:

"An Iron dome? Sure I can build you one, pay now and you'll have it up and running by the end of the year."

Monkey see, Monkey do

Gorillaz performed at a sold out concert at Byblos Festival last night. One might question why rock stars would forgo many of the rock star perks by hiding behind animated characters, but all in all I would say they're faring well.

Gorillaz were also one of many artists to cancel shows in apartheid Israel. They did it in the wake of the flotilla massacre committed by the Israeli military. While that Israeli crime got plenty of deserved attention, what has gone forgotten is that the flotilla was carrying aid supplies and headed to still besieged Gaza.

Israeli killings did not stop on the aid flotilla, neither have their raids.

On moral grounds, a complete boycott of Apartheid Israel has a strong case.

On the "cool thing to do" front however, a comprehensive boycott movement has yet to find solid grounds. Even in places where Israeli aggression has continually wreaked terror and claimed lives, you find some self proclaimed activists having a hard time skipping on a 20 ounce mug of ripoffino in order to send a Boycott Apartheid message.

I use boycotting a coffee shop as an example since it is one of the easiest things to do in Beirut. Boycott one coffee shop and still have about 7000 other places where you can overpay for coffee. Heck I boycott cafes because I don't like the hand rest on one of their chairs and I never run out of a caffeine fix.

How do you turn a moral cause into the cool thing to do?

Maybe if more Gorillaz do it, the monkeys will follow.

Monday, July 19, 2010

If you look closely...

There used to be a dumpster on this street corner... It might be under the pile, but I'm positive it's no longer there.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Another attempt to get it up

Now is a good time to resume posting in this blog. All indications are that something major is going to happen soon in the region and I don't want to jump back in the game without warming up first. As a matter of fact, at my age I'll be risking tearing or dislocating something if don't gradually ease back into action. Heck, I'm already out of breath since this is already twice or thrice as long as the longest tweet I've ever had.

There are many major events taking place that will shape the region for the coming years: Nuclear technology in a country that still stones people to death, fake anger and empty threats by a country whose citizens were murdered by Israel, the death of a tyrant and Israel's strongest Arab friend, and the opening of a Louis Vuitton shop in a mall in Beirut.

Saad Hariri actually made a brief trip to Beirut for that last event. By the way, I know a lot of people still can't believe it, but Saad Hariri is the Prime Minister of a good chunk of Beirut.

Of course, the opening of this accessories shop fades in comparison to the opening last month of the newest Karkhaneh in the famous Zaytouneh district, where the whole roster of Lebanese dignitaries lined up to welcome the biggest murdoch of Arabia.

Zaytouneh historians reminisce that in its prime the highest VVIP rate in the district was 15LL. Even if you adjust that for inflation and the balloon exchange rate, these 15LL that used to get you the works in the early seventies aren't enough to tip the Valet today at what should more aptly be called the One Season.

Friday, June 04, 2010


يا اللّي مفكر إنّو الدنيا مسكرة بوجّك وقافلة

عدوّك نــهـــزّ كيانو بشـويـّـة ناشـطين وقافلة

فليـــش بـعــدك قاعــد، يــلّا قـــوم أوقاف ليه

كـم هزّة عصا وبتشوفـوا كيف بيحـلّ عـن ربـّـنـا

يحدث الآن

الرابعة فجراً في حي بيروتي "ذو طابع تراثي"

الشرطي رقم 1:"رجاع رجاع الطريق مسكر، في حريق. دخلك معك شي طفايه بهل جيب تعيرنا اياها؟"

الشرطي رقم 2:"دق للاطفائيه عل 120 مدري ال-125."

الشرطي رقم 1:"ما معي يونيتس، دق إنت."

الشرطي رقم 2:"ال-120 ما بدّا يونيتس يا حمار."

Thursday, June 03, 2010

ألف مبطوحة

حاولت إنقاذها، لكن وصلت متأخّراً
ولمّا حاولت أن أعطيها تنفّس إصطناعي، إتّهمت بقلّة الحياء
فما العمل؟

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

و بيت ميجانا رد عإبن بيروت

جبرانك كان باين إبن عالم مش بن زنى

وعـودو بـأكـبـر مـوازيـن العالم بـِنـْـزِنـا

إجا وزير بحكومة صار يحمي بـنـزيـنـا

عـَونـو جـايي من الله بـس وين عونـِـنــا

بيت عتابا بالمناسبة

كرمالنا وكرمال شـوفيرية السـرفيـس والتاكـسي

بشغـلَــك وشـغلِــك بكرة لا تـتَّـكِّــس ولا تتَّـكْسـي

غلا البنزين هـَـلــك جسمي وبطّـل معي تَأكسـيـه

لإنّو لمّا يتّفقوا الزعما علينا بيشلحونا حتّى التياب

Monday, April 12, 2010

35 years later: The war is alive and kicking

In commemoration of what most parties involved agreed to as being the day that start of the civil war, today's nationally unified politicians will stage a football game between teams made up of mostly out of shape middle aged men who also double as ministers, members of parliament, war criminals, money launderers, drug pushers, and your run of the mill attention whores. The teams will be dressed in red and white and the match will naturally be refereed by a cedar tree.

Beautiful. What can do more to bring people together than a football game just as the country and the region embark on World cup season, a season where flags of nations from around the world, except for this region, will be hoisted; and people will cheer wildly for countries whose embassies they'd hope to enter one day.

But here's the kicker.

In order to preserve national unity, the Lebanese national unity football game will take place at an empty stadium.

You just can't make these kind of things up.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

حصل منذ لحظات

المشهد - صباح يوم ممطر في شارع الحمراء

سيدة مقعدة في كرسي متحرك: النويري؟

سائق السرفيس: تاكسي...

السيدة المقعدة: لا ليش تاكسي... سرفيس... بس عالنويري...

السائق: شو بدّك إيّاني إنزل وشيل وعتــّلـّك هالكرسي ببلاش...

السيدة: الله يسامحك....

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

More (or less) than a cool ass name

Ok, I'll revive this blog for a shameless plug.
Shankaboot is out.

It is being billed as the first Arabic Web Drama. Although, personally I would've taken a different marketing approach. Being first gives you a carte blanche to claim all the superlatives so why stop at First?
It's the Best damn Arabic Web drama out there.
It's the most watched Arabic Web Drama out on the world wide web.
It's the smartest, funniest, most action packed Arabic web drama in the cyber world.
Of course this works both ways, as it is also the absolute worst Arabic Web Drama on the market today.

Before I go any further, there needs to be a disclaimer here. I worked on this project as I was one of the writers on the team that developed the original script. So I might be a little biased for this masterful work of modern visual storytelling.

But, then again I was fired off the project so I might actually hold a grudge against the producers of this trashy piece of junkaboot.

Clearly, my conflicting emotions prevent me from providing an objective review. So, check it out and judge for yourselves.

Here's the First Episode...

Monday, January 18, 2010

A Beautiful Man

Rupert Murdoch is a beautiful man in Assafir.

Again since the link is broken , I'll go ahead and post the unedited article.

"رجلٌ جميلٌ"

جمال غصن

"للأسف، أعتقد أنه من المستحيل أن تسيطر على كل الإعلام. بالطبع، إلاّ إذا كنت روبرت موردوك . إنّه رجل جميل." الكلمات هذه لشخصية كرتونية في "السمبسونز" تتّصف بالعوارض النفسية التي تعرف مجتمعة بالثالوث القاتم وهي النرجسية والمكيافيلية والسيكوباتية أو الإضطراب العقلي. هكذا يتحسر السيد بيرنز اللذي يمقته جميع أهالي سبرينغفيلد لجشعه الذي لا يرحم على أنه لم ولن يصل إلى مستوى موردوك ويحسده على قدرته الاحتكارية في سوق الإعلام. طبعاً يسجّل هنا لموردوك أن هذا الكلام الساخر يبثّ على شبكة فوكس وهي احدى الشبكات المملوكة من مجموعة نيوزكورب التي يرأسها ويملك حصة الأسد فيها موردوك نفسه. فتقبُّل القليل من النقد من برنامج أثبت نجاحه الشعبي والأهم من ذلك نجاحه المادي على مدى عقدين من الزمن لا يتنافى قطعاً مع الإيديولوجية اليمينية المتطرفة التي تروج لها فوكس نيوز، أشهر قنوات موردوك الإخبارية. يجدر الذكر أن إسم موردوك اسكتلندي الأصل وأن لفظ موردوخ بالخاء بدلا من الكاف يعود إلى جذور الكلمة النورسية، غير أن طريقة التهجئة العربية للإسم لا يخلو في بعض الأحيان من قدرٍ من الخباثة، إذ أنه يراد الإيحاء بأن لموردوك خلفية عرقية مختلفة عن ما هي وكأن عرق الرجل يزيد أو ينتقص من جماله.

إختار موردوك دخول السوق العربية للتلفزة من باب الإستثمار بما هو موجود على الأرض أو بالأحرى في الفضاء، واستغل الأزمة المالية العالمية التي أثرت على السيولة النقدية لأمير روتانا لينقذ الشركة في محنتها بضخ مبلغ يعطيه فيها حصة الخُمس والأرضية الجاهزة لإطلاق مشاريع مشتركة تجلب الثعلب إلى بيوت العرب. ويبدو للوهلة الأولى أن التزاوج بين الشريكين الجديدين أمر طبيعي جدّاً بل يُستغرب كيف لم تتم الشراكة من قبل إذ ان كل رجل منهما أجمل من الآخر وفقاً لمعيار "مستر بيرنز" للجمال.

تطرح الشراكة بين العملاقين الإعلاميين تساؤلات حول تأثير العلاقة الجديدة على العمليات القائمة وما قد تنجبه من بدع صورية على شاشات عوّدت المشاهدين على ثقافة البدعة. وما هي ارتدادات هذا الحدث على السوق المحلية وبالأخص على المؤسسة اللبنانية للإرسال التي تربطها علاقة مالية بهذه الصفقة. فال"ال بي سي" لا تزال تتربّع على عرش التلفزة اللبنانية رغم الخضات التي حصلت لها في السنوات القليلة الماضية. فقد تداركت الإدارة الإنحدار السريع في الحقبة الجعجعية التي مرّت بها المحطة في أيام الثورة لتحافظ على نوعية مهنية وتنوعية غائبة إلى حد كبير في القنوات المنافسة. هناك تحفظات كثيرة على أداء ال"ال بي سي" لكن عندما تكون المنافسة هي عبارة عن أبواق حزبية غير مستترة يصبح إستسخاف المشاهدين نعمة مقارنة بإستغبائهم، فتبقى الجرعات المفرطة من شربل خليل أسهل هضماّ من "الفتّيحة" البرتقالية على سبيل المثال. تشكل حال السوق هذه أرضية خصبة لثقافة نيوزكورب ومن المتوقع أن تزيد المسافة بين ال"ال بي سي" ومطارديها إذا ما طبقت بعد المعايير الفوكسية التي غالبا ما تتكل على إبهار المشاهد بأحدث تقنيات الصورة. فالصورة الجميلة تضفي مصداقية هوليوودية للمضمون، وعندما تغيب المنافسة تختفي الحاجة أصلاً إلى مضمون. هنا يكمن جمال الإحتكار وهكذا يصبح روبرت موردوك حقّاً "رجلٌ جميلٌ".