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.