Friday, December 30, 2011

'Tis the Season to be... Horrified?

For the longest time Christmas, to me, felt like Valentines for singles.  Why?  It's not important.  Lately though, I've moved away from this grumpy sentiment to more jolly-ness and ho-ho-ho's.  Why?  It's not important either.

What's important is that Christmas comes around once a year, every year, as is the tradition, only to remind us, that more churches will be blown apart in some parts of the world, more people will refuse to say Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it, and more will be killed for that thing called faith.

But of course that is not why I am jolly.

A friend argued the other day that he doesn't believe in religion.  As in, he doesn't believe they need to exist because apparently, their existance is what is making the world a horrid place to live in.  If no religion existed, he believes, people would live in peace and harmony forever AND EVER after.

True? I wouldn't know. Religion has existed since time immemorial in some form or another.  Plus, people manage to find something to squabble over anyway.  If not religion, it's politics.  If not politics, it's economics.  If it's not economics, it's gender roles, if it's not gender roles, it's cuisines! Yes, cuisines.  Some of us argue over the concept of Lebanese cuisine and whether this "cuisine" is actually a cuisine and how dare them Lebanese sloths claim something is Lebanese when it's clearly a descedent of some Greek, Turkish, Arab or Jewish dish.  Plus, why are Lebanese acting all exclusive about it? It's Arabic food isn't it??


Anyway, so we don't actually blow each other to pieces (as much as we'd like to) over cuisines. Fair enough. But what is it about religion truely that makes us lose our minds the way we do?  And then there are those faithful ones who blame the people and not religion itself for being the culprits.  You know, the whole a- knife-is-not-a-knife-it-depends-on-how-you-use-it metaphor.  To peel an orange, or a person's skin?

ouch. where did that image come from.

And then somehow I found myself in the middle of a conversation about passports.  About whether I would do away with my Lebanese passport if I was forced to in order to keep my other "western" passport.  I immediately found myself saying yes! I would! I would give it up in a blink!

And a minute later, of course, the guilt set in.  I never thought I'd say that.  Never thought I'd give away my very own homeland "identity" for another. After all the good things that my homeland has provided me with, as a citizen with "rights" and "long-term goals", the best one was the airline to leave.  But we all know it's not that simple.

And then I woke up this morning and read this (about stoning an iranian woman but then changing the punishment to hanging):

Mohammad Javad Larijani, secretary-general of the Iranian High Council for Human Rights, argued in December that stoning should not be classified as a method of execution but rather a method of punishment which is actually more "lenient" because half of the people survive, the U.N. quoted him as saying.

Ok, so I'm not Iranian, but as long as they survive, right? I mean who wants to be hanged if they have the option of survival after being stoned (almost) to death? "Good quality living," that's what I say.  And thank goodness I work in advertising or else I wouldn't have been able to come up with that snappy line, huh?


Sweet America, on the other hand, took in Yemeni Mr. Saleh for medical treatment. Don't it make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside?  Such noble moves.

I have no idea what I'm trying to say in this note and perhaps you've already noticed.  So I'll try to wrap up.

We have a long way to go before we get back to living under the laws of the jungle where all things "savage" and "offensive" were nothing but harmonious and natural and sure as heck makes more sense than whatever it is we like to call our civilized living.

The cherry on top:  In Texas, a man dressed in a Santa Claus suit apparently shot six relatives and himself on Christmas.


Monday, November 14, 2011

O is for OSHO

I think I'll start blogging about my journey with Osho.

Who the hell is Osho?   Good question.  I've been reading his books for almost two years now and I remember being HORRIFIED when I first began.  A good friend lent me "The God Conspiracy."  That was the beginning and, I thought back then, the end.  A few pages into it and I was done. Thank you very much.  I was done because I wasn't ready.  I wasn't ready to have everything I ever believed in or thought I believed in shot down and contradicted one paragraph at a time.  And I thought I was "open minded!"  The irony of that "belief" still cracks me up.

Osho made me very uncomfortable because that's what he wanted to do, make every single belief system seem outrageous. It's also exhausting to read his books, not because they are hard to decipher, on the contrary they are very plain and simple, but because sometimes you just want to sit there and believe, and defend your beliefs because you believe in them so very much, because it's that much easier not to keep questioning.

It's exhausting to keep questioning, and doubting, and contradicting.  But it's also divine.  And a must.  Simply the science and art of the inner.

My ultimate question though is the following:  Why can't it ALWAYS be Autumn in Dubai? 

Not relevant?  Why not??

Ok, so I've read a few books after "The God Conspiracy," and have yet to go back to it.  I will.

I'm now reading "freedom- The Courage to Be Yourself."   Notice the "f" in freedom is not capitalized.   hmmmmm??????????   It's a wonderful third eye opener.  And I'll be sharing my wonder with you soon.

So here we are. Beginning in the middle.  Jump. 

Friday, September 30, 2011

Tosbe7oon 3ala watan

So anyway, all up in arms about sexuality around these places.  sek-sho-ality?  What on earth!  Yes, the divine concept that has brought us forth into existence to begin with. Thank you.

Ahmar bil khat el 3areed (Thick Red Line)- funny once translated- a controversial Lebanese talk show that makes our mothers (and fathers) squirm in horror, for its courageous topics, and even more courageous, but very sober faced, talk show host, malek maktabi.   This week's theme was targeting teenagers and those younger souls that have no more innocence left in them, according to the latest polls in Lebanon.  Sex apparently has begun at the tender age of 8.  No details provided. Several warnings and threats later, the show was broadcast and I was very amused. 

And horrified.  Not because it's a subject no one should ever discuss, ha! but because there were parents who insisted that their teenage kids should not know, would not care (that's the funniest), and WILL be FORBIDDEN from knowing the story of the birds and the bees up until they are knocking on marriage's door.  Mama, take this gun from me, I really (want to but) can not use it anymore. Dot dot dot.

Maktabi dealt with a lot of hell before the episode was broadcast, and right now he's probably dealing with a little more, the poor bespectacled soul.

I was full of mixed feelings while watching.  There were the awesome inquisitive kids, boys and girls, some awesome parents, some deeply moronic parents, a not very humorous Gynecologist, and a twelve year old girl (or was she eleven?  Or nine? I can't remember now) who was supposed to get married soon. Religion be damned.  She was very "well informed" says her spooky but proud father of five girls.   Not sure what to make of his rather discomforting persistence upon knowledge but I'd rather not think about it one bit. His daughter is a child for hell's sake!

What I want to inquire about, very politely indeed is, WHAT'S THE BIG FAT DEAL?  About sexuality I mean. I'm not trying to flaunt my (geographically unacceptable) liberal thoughts in anyone's face, but come on, for how long are we going to keep our heads stuck in the desert sands?   The world is moving at such a speed and to such elevated levels (not always but sometimes), that we cannot keep thinking we're all high and mighty with our "values" and our "morals" and our "proprieties" and our "gender roles" and our sanctimonious battles in the name of what's "holy" and "scared" and "untouchable."

She's eleven for crap's sake.  Well, as long as she can wash dishes and set the table straight, right?  I am green with nausea.

The problem that was very clear throughout the episode was that those who were against the "enlightenment" feared that this sort of knowledge will promote, instead of put the breaks on, the said activity.  What they cannot see  (which baffles me because weren't these large children, teenagers at one point in their sorry lives?), what they cannot fathom is that sticking a candle in the face of their confused but very hormone-driven adolescent might actually have the desired effect of abstinence and/or responsibility! Just mention private parts falling off due to contracted disease and voila!  a job well done.

ok, I joke.  But seriously, for how long will this sort of stupidity last in our "holier-than-thou" mentality? Things like ignorance is bliss, or what you don't know cannot hurt you ladee da cannot apply here, can it?   When you don't know about TV and you're a woman or a house cat in the 1950's, yes ignorance might be bliss.  You just don't know what you're missing.  No genitals will fall off from this gap in information.  When you don't know your girlfriend is cheating on you, some might say ignorance is bliss, but I beg to differ. Not for loyalty or honesty or any of that nonsense.  It's for what's hygienic that the poor boyfriend might want to know.  On a completely non-sentimental level. So no, ignorance is not bliss, not in this day and age, where the internet is a raging flow of images and false learning.

Sexuality aside, what about perspectives?   Finally, the frowning Gyno decided to utter a word or two about that towards the end of the episode, highlighting the idea that not only is sex education a MUST, regardless of religion and morality, there's the notion of how the man views the woman and vice versa, on a different level, when the mind and the heart might want to play a role or two.

How does the man view the woman?   We all know. And guess what? The woman views him the same way.  OMG.  She has desires?  No way!!  ok, enough melodrama.  If we don't know how to view each other beyond the physical, how do we expect to move beyond the physical in everything we do?  Something about the spirit and the mind.  hmmmm... the spirit and the mind.  Minus metaphysical dogma PLEASE.  Maybe that's not relevant in some communities.  A child!  What would a child know about respecting her body and mind and spirit if all she's been born to do in her wretched little life is grow up, get her period and then get hitched to some idiot who's either too young, like her, to know any better, and will with time and further misogyny, bring home a myriad of STD's  or too old and silly to know any better too, and will, with more time and even further silliness, bring home a myriad of STD's, or some domestic violence while he's at it. 

Perhaps I'm being offensive. Perhaps I don't care that I'm being offensive.

So you want to be like the West?!  is the sharp response of course.  No.  I don't want to be like anybody.  I just want to be the best version of myself.  Imagine I am a society.  As a society, I would like to gather around the camp fire, think about what I've collected from all the exposure I've gotten over the years, wars, travels, and the Mediterranean, and put it all under a heavy magnifying glass and try to improve upon it. Not throw it over the cliff if it feels mildly unfamiliar, and be all "Eastern cliche" and categorical about it.

Thank goodness for souls like Marcel Khalife and Nadine Labaki who try to find the diamond in the rubbish.  Once they find it, they try to brush it clean.  Our problem is that we want to either throw the rubbish, diamond and all, or expose only the rubbish, loud and clear, without looking for the jewels. 

Malek Maktabi was trying to shed some light, not only on our physical being-ness, but also on the roles we play in each others' lives and the lives of our children, who are raised in a completely different time and space, whether we like it or not.  Okay, I'm 33, I'm not that old.  If the mother won't teach her son to respect his body, mind and spirit, and that of his partner, I see little hope for anything in this sad little place of broken electricity and minefields.  

This eleven-year old will probably raise men and women of the same caliber of progressiveness. Clap clap clap.  Much, muchhh, to look forward to. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Head, Shoulders, Knees and Totes

I'm stuck in Beirut with a tissue box up my nose. Up my left nostril to be exact.  Not a whole tissue box but it might as well be.  I'm not supposed to be here.  I'm supposed to be back where my "real" life takes place.  This, here, is a figment.  Of someone else' real life.

Not mine, no.  I don't even get the red, white and green idea anymore.  I remember in fourth grade we were told, during Art class, that the white represented the snow that falls upon the majestic mountains of Lebanon, the red signifies the blood of the martyrs sprayed upon the white, and the green, oh the green was none other than the magnificent cedar tree of course.  Which usually lived high up on the mountains, and FOR WHICH the blood of the "martyrs" was spilled.

I look around me later, yes it's been a while since fourth grade, so many years later I look around me and find that the whole damn thing was pointless. The mountains are quickly becoming barren, there's hardly any snow in winter, there are a couple of cedars left, and the blood continues.

But I'm stuck here with a tissue box up my nostril because I'm ill and I shouldn't fly.  You know who else is ill?  Every single body.

Yes.  Everyone.  I don't want to complain about the people who live here, how rude, or obnoxious, or corrupt they are.  Minus my friends and loved ones of course. That's getting old.  I'll just complain about our parents.  Yes, our parents if I may.

May I?

I don't get them.  I've been sitting around with a few pairs of parents lately, you see, I didn't have much to do but sit around and listen to adults talk about, well, here it comes: politics.  That's what happens when you're sick and stuck at home.  You also drink a lot of caffeine and then take panadol night (cold and flu) and sleep the hell out of it all.

So anyway, parents.  Those awesome individuals who gave so much of their time, energy, finances and youth to raise us ungrateful personalities.  We won't get into that right now.  The point is, they've given up so much so that we follow (or lead) a better life path, right?  Yet!  Yet, they sit around and follow up on so and so's annual memorial for the millionth year, and watch it on television, and talk about it, and stick their heads out the balcony so as not to miss a single tear drop.  They pick out the faces they recognize in the crowds gathered to give their "condolences," they check out the tailleur and the hair do, the daughter and the son.  And they give excuses for the offspring who is/are unable to take over the leadership.  The poor thing is still young.  The poor thing lived outside all his life, he doesn't know better.  The poor thing is not as involved in politics as was his father.

The poor thing is soooo not a poor thing, first of all, is what I want to say.  Second of all, if the "poor" thing can't handle it, get out.  and frankly the "poor" thing doesn't need to be around to take over anything to begin with.  There are other individuals in the nation.

Nation?  Who said anything about a nation?

So when everyone is done crying over spilled milk, and I laugh a little, everyone looks at me very very disapprovingly.  So you're with the other party huh? Their expressions are hard and accusing.

umm, no?  I'm not with anybody.

A brief moment of relief arrives before they find something else to scratch at.  So why aren't you with them? You just want to oppose!

umm, no?  I'm just not impressed with the lack of initiative, I say.  I say the dead guy might have had a good idea for about five minutes but he's been dead for so long I can't even remember, over 20 years! and since then, what has anyone done for the nation?

That n-word again.

Oh a lot, a lot.  We wouldn't be here if it weren't for them. We would be extinct.

Like the species that we are.  Extinct.  And I think about all the other things that are extinct because of people like them in power.

Many parents don't see that so many are living abroad because of what's extinct, because of people like those still in power.  I want to complain about the parents who still don't see it.  Who get offended if we crack a joke about Catholics and pedophilia.  How dare you say all Catholics are pedophiles?!

umm,  I didn't!

And what the eff is up with those Longchamp totes?  Seriously what is up!  EVERYWHERE.  You can't be Lebanese without one it seems. It's hysterical!   And very very VERY boring.  If you're reading this, and your Longchamp is snuggled by your side, well I guess I should apologize a little.

But really?

And just like the Longchamp totes spreading like a virus, making everyone sick with imitation, and dis-originality, our parents are sick with their own distorted memory of what happened in the last 30 years, hanging on to what's widely (i.e. neighborly and socially)  acceptable, and "in."

They can't seem to find a better bag.  They just don't want to find another brand.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Birthdays and Ordinary Ones

(July/Aug. 2011)

I left my favorite song playing in the car when I left. 


The time has come for the dancing girls to begin their fasting.  Here, things take too long to happen.

God: a weary obstacle.

The time has come for the drinking boys to begin.

Here, things take too long to happen.  I close my curtains and cook a heavy lunch.  The gardener outside my window, a disappearing image.  I boil more coffee for breakfast.

London burns and Libya burns and Egypt is thrown behind bars.   And the same old man wakes up in the morning like nothing ever happens and wears a suit and tie.  The same suit and tie.  The same morning.  His beaten wife asleep in the next room. 


Jesus was thirty three when everything began.  And the bleeding continues since then. 

Sometimes, she said to me, you find yourself married to the same man you left behind, in the car where your favorite song was playing.  All over again.

The two have nothing to do with each other, except the rising between their legs. Always the rising.

And the beaten wife gives birth to children.

Eventually the children, no longer children.  Some of them have some of their own.  Always the rising between their legs.

The man gets up and wears his suit and tie. A country on his mind. 
Sometimes a city.

And I leave
the song playing in the car.  No children to claim.

None to ruin.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Leysen and registration

 (not) an imaginary setting.  (not) an imaginary experience.


"Leysen bleez."

You hand over the license.  The driver's license.  You want to pay the traffic tickets.  You need to go back to the OTHER CITY, to finally get the registration done.  But they force you to come back.  Somehow there are tickets that MUST be paid here before the other violations are paid.  So you're back to where you began.

You don't have enough cash on you.  So you go home, get the cash, come back.  Beaming.  You pay. 

Then you go to the OTHER CITY a couple of hours away, and you are ready to get the registration done.

"No, you cannot do it here, before you pay the violation found on your driver leysen."

So you react-naturally- with, "ARE you kidding me?!  So what do you suggest I do now?  Can I pay the violation found on my driver's leysen here and now and move right along?"

"No, you cannot pay it here because this was found to have been charged in the OTHER CITY."

So.  You drive to the other city.  The one you were at 2 days back.  You march right in.  The money is ready.

The lady at counter 5 says, "There doesn't seem to be a problem here.  Are you sure you have a violation on your leysen?"

"Ummm, YES.  The OTHER CITY insisted I come back here and do this here.  PLEASE kindly check again."

You are slowly fuming by now. 

"What's your leysen number?"

"It's on the card. That's in your hand."  You are now grinding your teeth.

Some more fumbling.  Some further inquiries.  She disappears somewhere.  Comes back.  Slowly tap tap tap on the keyboard.  Really deep focus.

"Ah, yes.  Here it is.  Yes you owe this much.  Please go to counter 8 to pay it."

"Umm.. okay. Can you please check if I have to pay any other violations? I really don't want to keep driving back and forth for the same thing, if I could only do this once and for all, and you know the OTHER CITY is not so close as you know."

"I cannot help you with the OTHER CITY.  I only show the ONE CITY."

You walk over to counter 8.  The dude is talking on the phone.  He closes reluctantly but not quickly enough.  The money is shamelessly dangling from your fingers. Please let this be it.  Please please please.  You still have to drive again to the OTHER CITY and do the registration.

"I cannot help you with this.  You have to pay this in the other building, not here."

You want to scream and tear your hair out.  You want to run around the building.  You can't believe this.  So what do you do when this happens? 

You smile.

And then you ask a question.  THE question.  "So... is the building open right now? Can I go now?"

And the answer of course. "No, it's closed now.  Come tomorrow at 8."

His phone rings, he picks up, and turns away.   The lady at counter 5 is yawning.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Beirut vs Dubai (or the country vs the other country)

Leb 1- You must not write a text message or bbm while driving, unless you are, in a way, wanting to commit quick suicide

Dubai 1- You most certainly CAN write a whole essay while driving, especially if you're on the right-ish lane and there's no police mister in sight

Leb 2- You must not talk about religion, sex and/or politics with a bunch of people who disagree with you

Leb 2.5- unless you're ready to be very angry, or to make someone very angry, and you must bear the consequence of either

Dubai 2- You must not talk about religion, sex and/or politics with a bunch of people. Full stop.

Dubai 2.5- unless your bag is packed and at the door.

Leb 3- You must not smoke while on AUB campus grounds

Dubai 3- You must not smoke while on AUB campus grounds, because there are no AUB campus grounds.

Dubai 3.5- and yes, this whole point was unnecessary to mention.

Leb 4- Picture this: the designated parking space is empty next to the CAFE, you can choose any spot, but NO, there's a bored man called the valet who simply MUST take your car and park it himself

Leb 4.5- and make you wait till you get your keys back when you want to leave, and then you pay for all this unnecessary situation.

Dubai 4- You find a space, you park, you pay at the machine.

Dubai 4.5- unless you're fancy, then you give the keys away because you can't be bothered, and you CHOOSE to do so.

Leb 5- You must NOT watch a TV CHANNEL that doesn't politically appeal to those in the same room, regardless of the program.  Even if it's something stupid and unfunny and unpolitical like the program "LOL."

Dubai 5- If you're Lebanese, point Leb 5 applies here too.

Leb 6- You must NOT believe that Lebanon is NOT a healthy society. You have the poor and the not so poor, and the rich, and the disgustingly rich, and somehow you're supposed to think that this is real and healthy because you naively believe that you're "exposed" to all of these. 

Dubai 6- You must NOT believe that the UAE is NOT a bubble society.  You have the poor and the not so poor, and the rich, and the disgustingly rich, and somehow you're supposed to think that this is bubble-like because you are not "exposed" to all of these. 

Dubai 6.5- if you simply look around you a little, trust me, you will be very "exposed." And very heart-broken.

Leb 6.25- I guess what I'm trying to say is that Lebanon is THE bubble society and on so many levels. 

Leb 6.5- Because once there's an old WOMAN who could be anyone's grandmother or old aunt found on the streets begging for money, then there is something very very very unhealthy, and very very very unacceptable, going on.

Leb 6.75- And if that's not a bubble society, then I don't know what is.

Saturday, July 9, 2011


Try writing a poem
While sitting at your desk,
Headset like a pilot,
No music flows though,
You’re just pretending,

With four guys in the same space,
Gentle guys yet,
You really don’t wanna hear
About what’s her face again,
Or the way she walks in the hallway,
Hips swaying like she means it,
Like she knows they watch:
Hunters by heart, brothers by mind.

Try writing when there’s lunch and gardening and missing
Winters on your mind, stilettos and that Sudanese
Woman, her sobs still pushing against your chest,
Punished with god knows how many slashes, for wearing pants for god’s sake!
Cops ogling like they’re getting off, a microscopic leader
Relentless because this, he says, is religion.

Try writing while surfing the net for jobs because you know
Yours is suddenly temporary, waiting on a king-
Dom’s mood swing or power
Nap. So you surf the net, but instead type
Angelou or Darwish and remember how long it’s been
Since you’ve written anything. So then you try
A poem but you fail, because your love life’s too perfect
A good friend once said, she said, when things are well
Down there it becomes difficult to write,
And she’s right.

Or when you know your co-worker’s mother won’t last,
She has cancer, he said quietly, and shook
His head. Well, not really, but I know he meant to.
When you know he doesn’t believe in god or anything
Beyond what can be felt with the hands what do you say,
In Arabic, about his dying mother?  God is in everything
When your tongue is Arabic.  Insha Allah, God willing, or forbid, or forgive,
May God heal or listen or help or show any sort of illumination.

You wonder about this idea, as old as waiting, and why we need it so much,
And where is it when Libya burns and burns under its own
Sort of god, the right amount of massacres and finger wagging
Qualifying for the title; no white beard necessary for the job.

Where is the merciful, when a mother suffers
Tumors or a nation or a people, he said
His mother is in chemo now, and he doesn’t look you in the eye, he fiddles
With his laptop, so you nod and look serious while your heart
Breaks at the way he tries to work, and by now you
Can almost touch his atheism, hard crystals forming
By the minute.

Try writing when you feel your words are just words, writ and read
For a night of poetry, for a book of poetry, for nods and applause
At this universal nuclear instant- a spiral movement towards loss-
But you’re still in the office,
Looking for words as close to explosive as divinity
And end up with what looks to you
Like god:
A teenage skinhead with pierced tongue, shoulders shrugging,
Legs staggering away.

Link to EDP website

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


"We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another."- Jonathan Swift

So there's a law already being drafted by activists and awesome people alike in Lebanon, to protect women from domestic violence but it's still under discussion in parliamentary debates.  I find that hilarious.  That it's still being debabted I mean.  What I don't find hilarious is the heavy offense some are taking over this law.  Specifically Dar el Fatwa.  Read more details here, the Daily Star article.

(Notice how no one decided to comment on the article in the DS.)   At least when I read it.

Motran George Khodr, bless his heart, wrote an article a couple of days ago, in Annahar, criticizing how Lebanon shall soon become a country divided between two parties in conflict, not based on political fronts or confessionalism as we know it, but on those who are WITH progressive domestic and social attitudes and those who are against them.  The former group is, thankfully, made up of all religious sects. Amen to that.

Now I'm no religious freak by any means, and feel a bit awkward discussing this, for the sole purpose of not wanting to offend any "body."  But when I read the article in the DS all courtesy went to the dogs. 

What's unbelievable is that some think that implementing the law would "break the family" or that it's "too western."  TOO WESTERN?!!  How is crying against beating a woman up too WESTERN?  

(In the U.S., the Violence Against Women Act was brought forth as part of the Crime Bill of 1994. Well, they took their time to get there now didn't they!)

What ticks me off even more about this MAJOR issue, is a Lebanese series I began watching (please don't tell anyone)- last night was episode one- called el hob el adeem (old love).  The girl left her husband because apparently he used to beat the crap out of her, out of love of course, and jealousy of course, because he "loved" her so much, and she still "loves" him, and can't forget him but is willing to marry another guy who is actually wonderful to her and not nearly as psychotic, but she can't tell her ex-crazy-husband because the guys are cousins and best friends, NEVERTHELESS, she can't get her ex-husband out of her mind, and he can't either.  Because- and here it comes- they LOVE each other. 

How does that work? Where love is accompanied by violence and humiliation and possessiveness and distrust and misogyny?

What makes me nauseous is not that I actually sat there and shared the plot with you guys, but that the notion of love is being used so loosly and so ignorantly, that we, the Lebanese overly-exposed-to-violence-in-and-out-of-the-home viewer, are supposed to somehow identify or be sympathetic towards the woman who still "loves" her ex-husband.   Hence, the name of the stupid show, el hob el adeem (old love).  Excuse me while I throw up a little.

honestly, wtf.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Clapping After Arrival

Hello clapping after arrival. Hello arrival. Hello not giving a shit about seat belt signs

in or out of a plane, and wanting to always get the bag out first,

while the hostess hollers from the other end of the aisle, sir, please,

sir close, sir fasten,

but sir turning so



Hello baggage claim and walking out to meet my mother. Hello summer blue sky healthy and detached. Hello cab driver honking and I, ignoring, and him, honking and stubbornly slowing down, and I walking on and stubbornly chatting. 

Hello honkinghonkinghonking. Hello traffic jams, Christmas lights, oh wait those are traffic lights. Hello not giving a hoot about those either. Hello idiots throwing crushed empty beer cans out the car window.  Hello smoking. 

Hello lunatic driving.  Hello lunatic road structures and bridges and exits. Hello inhaling exhaust fumes in long dark tunnels.  Hello speed and impatience and unsafe families.

Hello old dirty public buses.  Hello no bus stops around.

Hello breath-taking shades of green and blue during the day.  Hello glittering lights in the nightly distance.  Hello large statue of the Virgin Mary blessing this all at once.

Hello gorgeous stone houses and grandmothers dressed in black.  Hello Turkish coffee a million times a day.

Hello large gold crosses hanging against hairy chests and serious tattoos of Kalashnikovs carved across a teenager’s neck.

Hello lingerie billboards and lingerie billboards and more lingerie what? billboards.

Hello weddings and random late night plans and staying up way too late.  Hello trusting someone or something out there is watching over you.

Hello knefeh.  Hello long shouldered mountains and skinny winding roads to get there.  Hello almost heart attack or nervous breakdown to get to the very top.  Hello hazy green green summits.

Hello beach.

Hello old universities and over-sweetened Nescafe and broken down cab drivers who suddenly decide to park on the side that’s not really a side but a whole road lane and people behind him cussing and puffing and sticking their heads out the window because there’s no such thing as patience.  Or courtesy.

Or losing hope of renewal.

Hello foreign tourists who are just locals who know nothing about the way this whole thing works.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Made ya look!

Yep, that's science and technology for you, a terribly interesting subject! you couldn't wait to come over here and read all about it eyyy?

I just thought I'd share this moment with your eyes. Came across it this morning while doing my usual snooping for news, and voila!  right under "The Latest from Science and Technology," poor Hef was dumped (by his 22 year old fiance) at the alter!  He must be devastated and inconsolable, the poor old old old man. 

Did I mention he's old? 

And the 22 year old, what was she thinking?  She had "a change of heart" they write in the news. That's beyond.. I don't know what that's beyond.. but it's beyond something... very very funny.  And very very confusing.

After laughing long and hard about this for so many reasons, I HAVE to mention the following though:



"Hef, has championed sexual freedom and civil rights, published stories challenging McCarthyism and the Vietnam War, and backed gay causes and the legalization of marijuana." (LA Reuters)

hmmm......gotta give the old man some credit I guess(?) 

yep yep.

Oh, and the lunar eclipse that happened last night, yah, that was fundamental too. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Suddenly Cont'd

1-  the place is far too messed up to fix,

2-   defend?

4-  this won't be written in paragraphs or complete sentences that necessarily make sense or have a point

5-  so what, it's my blog, and 

6-  there are over 48,000 "likes" for the group "" on FB

6.5-  a website about beirut's nightlife/clubbing/eating scene (w jeen)

7- /they/we/you couldn't get 10,000 people to join an anti-confessionalism rally the other day(s) however many times /they/we/you tried

7.25-  or did /they/we/you?

7.5-  he's just not that into you! is the brutal message

8-  i think she needs to keep trying though. he obviously doesn't know what's good for him, right?

9-  "Water is something you cannot hold.  Like men.  I have tried.  Father, brother, lover, true friends, hungry ghosts and God, one by one all took themselves out of my hands."

-from Diving: Introduction to the Anthropology of Water by Anna Carson.

10-  like country. or homeland. or national. identity.

11-  recently sickened the most by the Dabke skit/flash mob at the Duty Free of Lebanon's Airport

11.5-  yes,

12-   far too much time has been wasted on. the fixing stuff.  the tv won't shut up.  it is physically incapable.  too many men in suits.  where are the women

13-  getting botox-ed

13.5- or dancing in flash mobs

14-  no wonder the nightlife is supremely active.  how else can /they/we/you cope?

15-  leave the suicide to the foreign domestic helpers

16-  .

Friday, June 10, 2011

Lebanon Would be Better: with Less Salt and Pepper (wink wink)

A couple of months back, a couple of boys (almost 20 yrs old, well they ARE young!) Karim Badra and Sherif Maktabi, decided upon a project where they tried to "make Lebanon better in the best way they can."

I came across this SUPER FANTASTIC idea of theirs in a couple of blogs I've been reading here's one and here's another,  and then I read about it in the Daily Star.

The dudes, bless their young hearts, decided they would make a sort of "huge suggestion box for Lebanon" which wasn't really a box at all but a spray painted line saying "Lebanon would be better" on a wall in Ras Beirut, under which they wrote “Lebanon would be better if I” in black spray paint 25 times and added below each heading an equal number of black lines, leaving a cup full of chalk near the wall.

Of course, any one passing by would be curious to write what he or she thinks is the way to improve Lebanon in his or her opinion.  How else can we arrive late everywhere?  But at least this time it's for a good cause, right?

Lebanon is known for its many varied and contradictory opinions.  We all know that, and somehow we seem to find that a lovable trait.  If only it didn't lead to wars, displacement, corruption, elitist attitudes, ethnocentric mentalities, dogmatic souls, and things of the sort.

Anyway.  Some people decided to take the initiative and remove the "I" from the "if I" and suggest a way Lebanon could be better.  Some took it seriously, and some didn't, and some came a couple of days later and scribbled all over the suggestions like the immature pissing dogs that they are.  Excuse my Arabic.

So to make a long and sad story, short and hopefully resuscitated, I would suggest that we start our own little wall over here.



O kay.


I will etfaddal awwal shee, and suggest my 2 cents.  or dirhams, or liras, or whatever.
In my humble thirty-two-year-old opinion, I believe Lebanon would be better if I politicians AND the PEOPLE (i.e. the public) actually understood the meaning of public service.

Shoo ya3ne? eh shoo ya3ne??

ya3ne, service OF the people.  Not the other way around like we've had it happening for generations. And all for personal benefits and re-"elections" of the same darn faces.  Politicians thinking the world owes them something!  "za3eem" oo kaza.  It's nauseating.

(Perhaps Camel milk will help?)

Abu el Khel (Gibran Khalil Gibran) said it about a zillion years ago, I'm not trying to invent the wheel, he said in the New Frontier  Are you a politician asking what your country can do for you or a zealous one asking what you can do for your country? If you are the first, then you are a parasite; if the second, then you are an oasis in a desert, and JFK took the credit for it of course, but being the Gibran-mentioned parasite seems appealing to most if not all of the Lebanese suits out there.


So what does yourself think?  And please refrain from mentioning unicorns, fairies, getting laid, more asians, burning Lebanon down and starting over.. These have all been said, so let's try to be a little original, and mature. Not in that sense buddy.  Mature, as in the opposite of immature. 

And this post is not written in chalk, so no one can erase or scribble over it. Ha!

(come to think of it, having unicorns wouldn't be such a bad idea after all.  Phallic symbolism aside, they're said to signify grace and healing.)

We could certainly do with a pinch of that.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Angry Elephants and Camel Milk

Ok so she wasn't banned after all. The hoohah was over nothing and Lady Gaga, who I guarantee was never affected by the charade to begin with, is back, long and strong. And blonde.

Ah my dear Lebanon, you scattered, clueless piece of land.

Meanwhile "wild elephants trample one person to death in a three-hour rampage in the southern Indian city of Mysore."

And I, at home, noisily sip on my filtered coffee, with camel milk and honey.  yes. You heard right. About the milk I mean.  Apparently it's the thing to do in Dubai.


Well then it SHOULD be the thing to do in Dubai. It is much lower in fat compared to cow's milk, high in natural vitamin C (5 X higher than cow's milk), high in potassium, it reduces cholesterol, boosts over all immunity, natural pro-biotic, and positive effect on Diabetes 2, and apparently good for impotence.  Like scary good.

Bet you didn't know that. 

And no you won't find camel milk in the organic store, the dude there kind of gave me a funny look when I asked.  You'll find it in Spinneys.

Spinneys should pay me for this ad. As should the dudes who sell the Camel milk brand, Camelicious,
(v. creative name huh?)

and so should Lady Gaga gddamit.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Don't be a drag, or Lebanese

I'm not getting what the big deal is really.  What's all this hoohah about Lady Gaga's new single "Judas"??

(check out the Judas clip here)

Lebanon, all holier than thou, decides to ban it on the radio or sell it in stores.   Because apparently the brilliant Sabah-lookalike is offending Jesus. She's banned "for being offensive to Christianity."

Ummm... how exactly is what I would like to know.  So she's in love with Judas.  The guy she's in love with is called Judas, so what?  It could've been Ali, John or Maximilian.  Ok, so his name isn't exactly Judas and she IS referring to the biblical J, but have the Lebanese "authorities" read the whole song lyrics?  If they have they would realize what the chick was hollering about.  She's simply admitting that she's attracted to liars and traitors, or anything sinful, because it happens to be very attractively sexy for some unfair reason, but ultimately Jesus is her virtue.  She literally says that, "Jesus is my virtue," like she's apologizing to JC for her sinful relationship with the other J.

What's wrong with that?  Also have they not seen the track "Alejandro?"  The video I mean.  All crosses and leather and S & M?  Is that cool with the "authorities?"  I, for one, really don't mind, but I find it hysterical that they've waited for a song like "Judas" to go nuts over.  

FUUUUUUURTHERMORE, has anyone paid attention to her "Born This Way" track?  It's all about rejoicing in yourself, and accepting your body and the way you are, and that  phrase "I'm beautiful in my way, cause God makes no mistakes."  Yah, and she reiterates the capital H-I-M.  Guess who that is?!

Nothing?  No bells ringing in the churches of righteousness? If anything, the dudes who DON'T believe in God and the afterlife should be up in arms about Gaga's consistent biblical references.  They should be like, enough already sister, we get it, you're truly and quintessentially a nun, but you choose to dress up as a prostitute (or as a meat wearing weirdo).  We GET IT.  And we still love you.

PLUS, she even refers to Lebanon in the track! Finally! A celebrity who knows there are countries in the world that exceed the US, France or Italy (the cliche of New York, Paris, Milan). She says "Whether you're broke or evergreen/ you're black, white, beige, chola descent/ You're Lebanese, you're orient"  etcetera etcetera etcetera.   We must send her big sweaty hugs from across the shores!

Lebanon, my dearest home, is a feisty old place and she takes her time to come around.  I don't think the track is really the issue, I think Lebanon, forgive me please, is just a bit uncomfortable with the idea that there is in fact a blonde

who is not in fact dumb. 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Names and Tags

His name is Mohammed and they want him to change it.  Consequently, he decided to sue their butts.

Did you hear about that one? He's working at the New York Waldorf-Astoria so apparently Mohammed is a very scary name for the very delicate W-A clientele.  He represents the T-word.  They wouldn't be able to finish their caviar salad if they'd known his name was Mohammed, right?  Of course


Mohammed has been working as a waiter at the Fox-News-behaving hotel since 1984 and is disgruntled because he was given a name tag that had "edgar" written on it.  I wonder about two things when I read this:

1)  Why is he STILL a waiter since 1984, and 2)  Edgar, seriously??  Like Edgar Allen Poe?  Have you READ his poems and stories! If that's not terrorism right there I don't know what is.

Moroccan-born Mohammed has been working under the name John for the longest time before they decided Edgar would be more appropriate.  I wonder why they bothered to change the name.  Maybe there's a deadline on being a fake John.

Surely there's a deadline on being a fake anything.  The media, though, hasn't recognized that yet.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Pass Words and Things for the Memory

Sick of it. Sicksicksick of it. This whole password business.  How many passwords is one supposed to memorize in a given lifetime?  And they, whoever they are, people who use passwords apparently, suggest to have only one.  A hacker's dream dontyathink?!

There are about 700 million social media networks to join.  Something close to that number I AM SURE. I am also very irritated right now because each time I try to log into a damn social media venue I've (forced myself to) joined I find myself having already forgotten the damn password.

Am I missing something?  How does one remain on top of it? Ok, I'm gonna stop talking in the third or fourth person.  How do I stay on top of this?

And while we're discussing overwhelming situations, how does one listen to Jose Gonzalez without feeling like suicide is the only way to get over the feeling his sad sad voice brings of a world quietly collapsing?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Dubai Episode(s)

I once murdered a bird. Without meaning to of course. This crime took place last summer. No I was not hunting thankyouverymuch. The poor soul was trying to fly from one side of the road to the other, it's actually from one tree to the, well, some other tree somewhere across the highway... It was august and inhumanely blistering hot, as it usually is in the deserts of the earth, and I was leaving the office to go back home.  An hour or so away, mind you.  (This Dubai resident worked in Abu Dhabi once upon a time you see.)

I could see the bird ahead of me, as it tried to gain momentum and height, and I was gaining momentum, along with a dumb sort of belief that the little thing would actually be able to fly over my passing vehicle just in time to escape what happened next.  Of course that dream was never realized and Tweety noisily bashed into the side of my car with a loud and unbearable thud. Into its quiet and unbearable death.  Naturally I was traumatized the whole way back home.  I was inconsolable for a good while after and wasn't carpooling that particular day so there was no shoulder to weep on so to speak.  I was ready to drive my guilty self to the police station, announce my misfortune and willingly suffer the punishment I deserved.

Speaking of the police, I was stopped a couple of days ago, thinking it was about the bird I killed a summer back and my moment has finally come to pay the price!  Ok, not really.  I thought the dude saw me talking on the phone (I was) and was going to give me a few black points along with a hefty ticket to pay. He didn't.  He just saw me driving too slowly and nervously on a road that was causing the people behind to honk and wring their wrists, while they angrily passed me by.  Thing is I was lost, and I was on the phone with a very dependable individual who was giving me directions but I was too frightened from the confusion to drive properly.  The bored police gentleman told me I was being a hazard to the road and that he needed to see my license and papers and kindly (and foolishly) suggested I CALL someone to give me directions the next time I'm in this pickle.  He did of course also suggest to park on the side of the road. I said OF COURSE you are absolutely right sir! Calling someone never occurred to me and I SHALL do that pronto, please excuse my irresponsible driving and thank GOD no one was hurt or injured from my recklessness.  What a thought! Calling someone for directions! Thank you so very much sir.

I nodded quite a few times while he spit the pumpkin seed shells he was eating, looked around him a couple of times, and decided my cleavage wasn't exposed enough to linger on and stare at any longer and so he let me on my way, after explaining ever so firmly where I should be headed as the building I was looking for was merely a right turn away.


I suppose integrity is not my strongest quality when it comes to guilt and confession, as I had once thought.

(Kindly do NOT feel free to agree with me on this).

Surely I'm not PROUD of my misdemeanors and tiny murders, they do keep me up at night, but isn't mental suffering worse than any tangible punishment?


Fine. I'm not sure I'm ever going to be able to get used to this non-flying birds syndrome.  I'm still trying to get over last summer, and it almost happened again this morning, while I was driving to a random coffee shop (i.e. my pseudo office) to work on some freelance thingamajiggees.  Obviously I'm not working, I'm writing this instead. At home, it's impossible to work.  Who works from home truly? There's so much going on even in the quietest and most bland of homes.

(Ah, we are dangerously getting too used to this notion.)

Birds are supposed to be able to fly, that's what they do if nothing else, right?  Sadly it's not their habitat. Yet they are brought in swarms from their true homes to expatriate themselves here and suffer the alienation.

They crash into other expatriates, unexpectedly, not knowing, unprepared, and these collisions continue to happen day after day after day, our attempts at flight never ceasing, the damages inevitable.


 A Brad-Pitt look-a-like just walked by.