Sunday, May 31, 2009

Parliament Elections 2009 #4

I just LOVE this cartoon, better known in Lebanon as caricature.

It is Sunday morning here in Amrika and as usual, I'm reading all my newspapers and blogs with the regular morning espresso (minus the habitual cigarette, as I stopped a month ago) and I came across this hilarious cartoon by Armand Homsi from Annahar daily.

So, two Lebanese, presumably husband and wife are sitting down watching TV, most likely the news. TV announces the discovery of 3 cases of swine flu at Beirut's airport. That prompted the guy to say: we were expecting electors, but we got "mrashahin", which in Arabic translates both into people running for elections, or people with the flu. I think it's genius. I love it.

Obviously a play on words there, but also a clear reference to the fact that candidates and parties are flying people in to come vote in the elections (although no evidence has surfaced as of yet implicating anyone, I know, I know, plenty of reports). However, this has actually created a real concern for Lebanese officials. No it's not what you think, they are not worried about corruption and vote buying or vote rigging. They are actually concerned with the possibility that a lot of the voters that will be coming in to vote might actually be exposed to the virus and thus carry the risk of infecting other people in Lebanon, possibly triggering an endemic situation. Especially so since North American countries who have been so far the hardest hit with this virus (US, Canada, Mexico) have huge numbers of Lebanese immigrants.

So, could we possibly be on the verge of a Swine Flu (eh, I mean Mexican Flu) endemic/pandemic situation??

I think not, but remains to be seen.


Parliament Elections 2009 #3

Continuing on the theme of elections.

Another classic video from Kalam El Nass and made more so memorable by our lovely and ever so eloquent Lebanese politicians.

Khitab (speech) Market

It starts off with the whole Fares Boueiz and Nimatallah Abi Nasr debacle. Both running for the Maronite seat in Kisrwan. As you might remember, Aoun may or may not have promised Boueiz to be included on his list in Kisrwan, but may or may not have reneged on that promise. This prompted Boueiz to say that he was glad not to have entered the "cage of chicks" in Kisrwan, referring to Aoun's candidates. This in turn prompted a back and forth debacle between Abi Nasr and Boueiz, each accusing the other of being a different kind of bird, chicks and peacocks and so forth.

It's nice to see that people are running on useful platforms.

Then Michel El Murr calls Aoun's people "jlabbit" mostly translating as "little ones" but in a derogatory manner.

Ah, the joys of the Arabic language.

Off to the other Michel, calling his opponents "bsaynet", which technically translates into "cats" but probably meant "pussies".

Then back to the first Micho, with an online, on-air, live Kiss Okhta, no translation needed, nuff said there!

And then Geagea ever so eloquently as well compares his opponents to frogs that are inflating themselves (pompous type of inflating) and that they will soon explode!

BOOM BOOM, we all know how much we all love explosions!

Back to Micho, threatening to cut people's tongues and hands off, if they disagreed with him that is. I mean, non non non, he would not just do it for fun. C'est sauvage comme ca. La2 la2 la2, only when they disagree with him. Oh, and he finishes it all off by saying that he will just step on the small ones and smash them like ants. Only if they disagreed with him as well.
Il est gentil ce type. 3adatan byil3ab mnee7 ma3 el 2akhareen, bass ma t2arbo sawbo.

Nice to see that every candidate in Lebanon has a platform they are running on and that they actually use their time in effectively promoting these programs.

You have to admit though that their use of the Arabic language is impeccable and their theatrical performances are classic. Not to mention similes, oxymorons, paradoxes, and so on and so forth.


Saturday, May 30, 2009

WOW, April already??!!

It must be April fool's day in Lebanon.

The idea itself is just laughable, laudable, but laughable.


above link:

Friday, May 29, 2009

Syrian Virus

I recently received this email (you know those Arabs, they just love that forward button) and I thought I would share. Ok, you've probably seen something very similar, but I thought it was a good one.

Been a lot of political buzz around the blog lately. For now, I shall peacefully and patiently observe. :)

Sorry if I offend. I promise I'll put up one making fun of Lebanese soon enough. (Although with our politics, do I really need to?)

But considering we have as many readers in Syria as we do in Monaco, I think I'll be ok.



Dear receiver
You hav just receivd a Syrian virus
Since we are not so technologically advanced in Syria
I am a manual virus you hav to helb me becos i can't do everything by myself
3reft shlon?
'bleas delete all the files on your hard disk by
Yourself and send this mail to everyone you know'
Thank you very much for helbing me khayyo
3ala 3eni walla

Syrian toilet sign. Nothing to do with the joke above, I just found it hilarious.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Lebanese Syrian Relations 3

After years and years of not recognizing Lebanon as a sovereign state but finally appointing an ambassador and stalling in terms of sending him to Beirut to actually do his duties, Syria has finally ordered its' ambassador to go to Beirut and start his job.

He crossed the Syrio-Lebanese border yesterday headed towards Beirut.

Timing anyone??

IS there any hidden agenda in the timing?
I personally would like to think not. Sometimes I get the feeling that the Syrians do these kinds of things just to fuel their esoteric fires more and more. Kinda adds to the whole dark enigma state type of thing.

And since this IS the middle east, it follows then that there is a conspiracy theory behind everything. It just remains to be seen what that theory is.

Is he coming to interfere with the elections?
Is he so sure of the results (that they are going to be favorable towards march 8th) that he feels comfortable coming before and not after?
Does he feel that he is going to be right at home with the new parliament that is going to emerge that he feels comfy to come already?
Is the pressure mounting on Syria by the Americans and the Europeans?

And so on and so forth . . .

Of course, the regular normal explanation would be that he was just recently appointed and is just now able to take on the duties of the office to which he was assigned.

But that is too boring, and so not middle east.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Parliament Elections 2009 #2

Reiterating a previous position I've taken on this blog, it is with despair and dismay that I continue to follow the parliamentary elections in Lebanon.

This blog post will touch on the subject of women in Lebanese politics, or more accurately, lack of women in Lebanese politics.
And since it is election season in Lebanon, let's start with the parliament.

Currently there are only 6 women in the parliament, out of a total of 128 MPs.
That is barely 5%, not even.

Strida Geagea
Bahiya Hariri
Gilbertte Zwein
Solange Gemayel
Ghinwa Galoul
Nayla Mouawad

There are actually more men with the first name of Mohammad (9 I believe) than there are women in parliament.

And with elections coming up, only 12 candidates are women, and they are not expected to win. Maybe just a handful, 4-6, might actually make it. Heck, even if they all win, that's still not 10%, far below what it should be!

Along the lines of this post, watch the following Al Jazeera video that talks about the subject.
A ridiculous claim by none other than Paul Salem from the Carnegie Institute attributes this lack of women in Lebanese politics to their "lifestyle" and "occupation with driving nice cars, having good jobs and having a good time" rather than getting busy with politics. To add insult to injury, the reporter in the clip calls him an "expert".

Ya, ok.
Sure thing buddy.
I'll make sure to solicit his opinion next time I need an "expert" to pontificate on the subject.

No woman has ever come close to being nominated prime minister in Lebanon.
As far as I know, we've only had a few female ministers. The most we've ever had in one cabinet was a whopping two!
As far as the presidency is concerned, I can't recall anyone other than Nayla Mouawad expressing concern and intent to become president, and she wasn't even close to being considered a serious candidate by anyone.

We need more women in politics. Lebanon severely lacks behind when it comes to that issue.


Lebanese Voyeur?

Can somebody please please please have him arrested???!!
Such a sicko!


Who is Lebanon?

There is this video produced by some student group at NDU in Lebanon dealing with the identity of Lebanon.

Now, I am personally confused.

The video starts with asking the question: who is Lebanon?
Followed by the following answers: Saad El Hariri, Michel Aoun, Samir Geagea, Nabih Berri, Sleiman Frengieh, Amine Gemayel and Walid Jumblatt.


Then comes the second question: Is it the words of its' leaders?
Followed by a bunch of little sentences from various leaders.

Double OKAY!?!?!?!

Then the following question: or is it their actions?
Followed by a bunch of politicians saying "yes".

Triple OKAY!?!?!?!

Oh, and the best question was left for the end: June 7th?
Followed by no answer.

End of Video

Can someone please explain this to me?

Elections getting weirder and weirder.


Baalbeck International Festival

Baalbeck International Festival's program has just been announced!

You can find the original program at their official website here.
And you can find LBC's video about the program here.

While they have a nice line-up of stars coming to perform, it is a bit heavy on the classics or classical side.
A ballet troupe, a cellist, a pianist (who is super cute btw), Caracalla dance troupe, Jazz and Latin Salsa night and an opera at the end of the program.

But not singers! and no Arab representation except for Caracalla Dance Theater. I guess I'm just melancholic for the days Fairuz used to sing there!

Nihna wil 2amar jiran!


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Parliament Elections 2009 #1

Everybody in Lebanon is breathing parliamentary elections these days. Even people outside of Lebanon are breathing Lebanese elections, more so the non-Lebanese than the Lebanese.

And since that is the case, we here at the BabaGannouj et La Zaytouni blog will be increasingly posting more and more posts regarding the parliamentary elections. Now bare with me, I understand that most of you are probably fed up with parliamentary elections already, but we are Lebanese after all and we can't let this one slip by. Now mind you that most of our coverage will focus on the negative and all the screwed up things that come with discussing anything that comes out of Lebanon. Naturally.

Here goes the first installement:

Kalam EL Nass, which actually happens to be one of my favorite TV shows, that runs on the Lebanese channel LBCI, is actually coming on air almost daily now with a new kick, Parlement 2009. Basically, they have two opposing candidates running against each other in the same district square off in the same episode. And believe me, it'a a HUGE headache. The episode between Sami Gemayel and Ibrahim Kanaan, both running for the Maronite seat in the Metn district, was a screaming match.

But this post is actually about someone else, but along the same lines.

Someone at LBC thought it was an ingenious idea to put together a bunch of guys, each representing a particular party, and have them discuss May 7th event of last year. Now while this is normally and usually a noble cause, and we here at this blog do not in any way scorn any attempts at discussions especially in Lebanon, it was completely disheartening to actually watch that video.

Here's the link for you enjoyment, you be the judge:

Basically, these people have no opinion of their own. It was annoying to watch. They are repeating almost "mot at mot" what their leaders/parties say on a daily basis. Not a single one of them "strayed" from set policy, even the vocabulary used was almost exactly the same. Equally disturbing to watch was the extreme and dangerous divide between these people. I had hopes for the younger generation. I thought that we were a bit better than that.
I don't know about you, but the more and more I watch these elections, the more and more I lose hope that we are ever gonna get out of this "cycle of shit" that Lebanon has been living in for years.

And no, I did not base all that on just this video. But it's a small example.


Arabic Sound Bite n° 3 - A Little Armenian Spice

My newest musical discovery is Guy Manoukian, a Lebanese musician of Armenian descent.

His music has no words (well, let me be more precise, he doesn't do any singing), just a fusion of Arabic, Armenian, Greek beats, both modern and old.

Sarab al Urdun is very nice, as is Norits. If I've succeeded in making you fall in love with him (he's handsome, isn't he) you can watch an interview with him in English here. He's also got a video with Wyclef Jean which you can watch on his website.

And while we're on the Armenian track, why not read this New York Times article about the influence of the Armenian vote in Lebanon. Apparently they hold a swing vote, and apparently, they're siding with Hezbollah. I'm staying neutral on this one guys, but if you're interested in reading the article, go for it.


Monday, May 25, 2009

"And a little child shall lead them" - Isaiah 11:6

The LebaneseInnerCircle blogged about a new LBC TV Show called "Kilna bil Hayy" or "All of Us in the Neighborhood" which should have aired a couple of days ago and is now being rerun.

The 13-part series was created by an NGO called Search for Common Ground and the project is funded by Denmark’s Rockwool Foundation, and is based off of a similar program that had aired in Macedonia.

The show takes place around the interactions between the children living in a building that has, like most typical Beiruti buildings, an amalgamation of people living in it that identify by such terms as: Armenians, Christians, Druze, Shiites, Sunnis, Palestinians.

To watch a video of a theme song for the show, click here. I particularly like the moves of the overly excited girl in the striped purple shirt, who seems pretty convinced that she's a superstar.

I have to say, I've been wanting a show like this to come out for a very, very, very long time. I'm firmly a believer that what you are taught when you are young and how you are raised plays an enourmous role in who you are when you re an adult. (If you're taught growing up to hate, you will most likely hate your whole life, and if you are taught to be tolerant, you will be tolerant your whole life.) I don't think it's naive to think that something as banal as a TV show could have such an important influence.

So I personally recommend you forward this post to all your friends who have little kids and access to LBC and get them put this show on for their children. It'll make them more tolerant and improve their Arabic.

God knows they watch enough crap anyway.


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Li2mi Zgheeri (A Little Taste...) n°6

American singer Katy Perry in Lebanese designer Georges Chakra. A little flashy for my own taste, but then again, I'm not a celebrity. Cute dress though, I like the mix of beading and chiffon, and surprisingly not too over the top despite the materials used.

Yet another " little 'white' dress" from G.C. ...


Friday, May 22, 2009

Byblos Summer Festival Program Up

Byblos Summer Festival is now up!

Keane is coming! And YAS sounds cool, i'll try to listen to some of their stuff.

Interesting that it's a much more westernized program than Beiteddine Festival...


Who murdered Suzanne Tamim?

Apparently, the Egyptian billionaire did it with a knife in the Dubai Luxury apartment. (Anyway ever play Clue?)

Surprisingly, the Egyptian court found billionaire Hisham Talaat Moustafa guilty of paying $2million to Muhsin Sukkari to murder Tamim, and as a result both have been sentenced to death by hanging.

Seems as if both will appeal the decision, so I wonder if they will get off after all.

The case was very high profile because of obviously, the celebrity of the people involved, and it was thought that Moustafa would get off because of the corrupt "justice" system. ($$$) But maybe not? (This judge better watch his back, he may wake up and find a dead horse in his bed....[Godfather, anyone?])

Watch the video, it adds to the whole "soap-opera" aura of this entire story.

Moustafa wanted Tamim dead for dumping him for an Iraqi kick-boxing champion she met in London.

Someone doesn't take rejection well...


"Zurooni, kuli sanna marra"

Guess who's in Lebanon?

Apparently the first for a sitting US VP.

16 days till election day...


Monday, May 18, 2009

Lebanon gets Artsy

You may have started to hear a little buzz around a Lebanese band called "Mashrou3 Leila" or "Mashrou' Leila."

I actually first stumbled onto them after watching Episode #2 of the "Flying Kebab" series.

Ok, hold on, first things first. Let's give credit where credit is due. I first heard about Flying Kebab after reading The Lebanese Inner Circle's post on it.

Flying Kebab is a film project by three Brazilians. It is a series of short episodes, the first of which takes place in Brazil. In it, the lead character Fernando, or Nando, finds out that he has received some kind of an inheritance in Lebanon, and leaves to go collect it, without really knowing what he is getting or where he is going.

The second episode, titled "The Things I do For You Babe," takes place entirely in Lebanon.

The episode opens up with a really beautiful sequence of shots from Lebanon, all being played to the sound of a song called "Raksit Leila" by Mashrou3 Leila, which is how I discovered the band.

In terms of Flying Kebab, I really like the plot so far, it will be interesting to see where it goes. I'm really enjoying the great shots that they have of Lebanon, plus the funny "only-in-Lebanon" things that take place that you'll only understand if you've been there (i.e. cursing Palestinian taxi driver, etc.) but the acting could be better for sure...

Now back to "Mashrou3 Leila." Check out their MySpace page and listen to their songs. They really are amazing, again, something huge is that you DO NOT HEAR LEBANESE/ARABIC MUSIC LIKE THIS. Is it an absolute reinvention which is modeled off of more underground, Westernized music rather than your traditional mainstream Middle Eastern pop music.

"Chem el Yasmine" is my personal favorite.

( SIDE NOTE: Guys, if you are reading this, you need to PLEASE sell your album online/sell it on Itunes (which is actually very simple for anyone to do) because I lovelovelove you songs and need them on my ipod! Also, can we get a website for the band or at least update your MySpace and make some more info available to the fans? Maybe a Facebook Fanpage (instead of just the group) where you put info about upcoming concerts? Not trying to mainstream you guys, just want access to your music! <3<3 )

Then when you're done with that, check out these pictures. They are the photos of Fernando Borges, that actor in Flying Kebab, who also happens to be an amazing photographer. He has some really good shots of Lebanon, and I mean really good shots, as well as shots of Mashrou3 Leila from a concert they had recently.

Ok, so that was quite a bit, to summarize:

1) Watch the 1st two episodes of "Flying Kebab"

2) Listen to Mashrou3 Leila's songs that are available for free on their MySpace

3) Check out Fernando's Flickr pics of Lebanon

Let me guys know what you think!


My favorite of Fernando's pics from his Flickr:

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Domestic violence to weather the economic storm???!!

Does anybody else find this completely ridiculous and retarded?

This Saudi judge proposes that it is OK for a man to slap his wife if she overspends.


. . . and then he goes on to yada yada something about how it's the woman's fault a man hits her, because you know, she provokes him and stuff. Yeah, same way a raped woman asks for it because she was wearing a mini skirt.


Infallible logic there!


Beiteddine Summer Festival Announced

The Beiteddine 2009 Festival program has just been announced!

Particular favs:

Jad ElMaleh
Charles Aznavour (I swear, I thought he was dead)
Kazem el Saher
Marcel Khalifé
and Hanine y son Cubano who I saw like 6 years ago in Byblos, most amazing voice and such an interesting mix of Arabic and Cuban music. I absolutely LOVE them.

In fact, go here and listen to one of her songs called "3la Baali" or "On my mind."

Her voice is, as someone on Youtube comments, "like honey", and their music is so unique, two completely different types of music that mesh so perfectly. If you don't own a lot of CDs, I recommend heading to Virgin in Beirut and picking this one up; the other songs on the CD are just as wonderful.

Byblos Festival still hasn't been announced yet...


Oh why not, check out "Alby wa Mouftahu"

God, I really forgot about how much I love them

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Li2mi Zgheeri (A Little Taste...) n°5

Evan Rachel Wood in Elie Saab

One of my absolute favorites. Elegant and angelic.


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Nostalgia - Roudani Ila Biladi

Roudani Ila Biladi

Shil7ou zanbakin ana, iksirnee 3ala thara biladi

Brings tears to my eyes every time!


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Sexual attitudes shifting??? I think not!

I'm sure some of you have already seen the following video (Youtube Link) which has been making rounds around the internet. The movie is talking about shifting sexual attitudes in Lebanon and they show a varying amount of "material" that points in the direction of how the Lebanese are becoming more and more supportive of differing sexual opinions.

I personally do not think we are making HUGE progress on the issue. Just because two lesbians meet at a bar in Gemayze, during ladies night mind you, does not mean the Lebanese are open and comfortable with homosexuality.

By browsing the Wikipedia page on LGBT issues in Lebanon, I was surprised and shocked to find out that lesbians are not penalized the same way as gays, because their offense does not include "penetration" ????!!!! Talk about inequality reversed. Although it is not entirely unheard of in Lebanon to be arrested as a lesbian, but you have to be caught in the act.

I don't see major shifts in sexual attitudes in the story of a man who got beaten the shit out of just for looking or acting different.

If we are so OK with it, then why does the mere mention of any homosexual issue send the government on a frenzy public media campaign denying and denying and denying.

And if we are so OK with it, then shouldn't we recognize the great work of HELEM on our own land rather than let others recognize their great work in a different country, heck even a different continent!

And since the government is so cool with this, then why did they arrest and put on trial a man who refused to give away the names of people involved in maintaining a gay website, and also put on trial another man who publicized the government's decision to prosecute the first man!

Now, I admit and agree that there is some progress and the homosexuals and their supporters are allowed to sometimes vent or protest, not without the watchful eye of the state mind you, (notice the number of police in that video).

Now, I understand that things take time, and progress as well as change are not always easy, but do not try to convince this homo that allowing 50-100 people to gather in Ashrafiyeh is a sign of shifting sexual attitudes.


Arabic Sound Bite n° 2

I haven't been able to watch LBC and thus follow the Arabic Music hits, so maybe everyone already knows this and I'm just out of the loop, but a guaranteed hit for the summer is Fadi Andraos' song "Falasteen wa Lubnaan" (Palestine and Lebanon).

Watch it here:

I think he looks kind of sexy with his excessive beard in this video. In a hobo-esque kind of way

For those of you that remember, Fadi won the hearts of Arabic women everywhere when he was on Star Academy 3 in 2005. Me? Personally, I thought he was arrogant and narcissistic, with his little shaved line in his eyebrow. (Anyone remember that?)

Witness old, line-through-the-eyebrow, full-of-himself, Fadi. I like to think he's since become more humble.

But then I slowly began to like him, first with Bi 2albi Dalli (Stay in my heart), Hayda Mish Ana (This is not me) and finally, Falasteen wa Lubaan. (Wow, the titles sound a lot better in Arabic don't they?) The songs really do keep getting better and better.

Also, you have to give him credit for successfully bringing rock into Arabic Music, definitely a first.

Anyway, back to the song. It's really moving I think (provided it is a pop-rock song) because it speaks of his own life, and that he is originially Palestinian but born and raised in Lebanon.
I particularly like the lines: "Falasteen, ya gir7hee ana" and "Lebnaan, shu b7ibuk ana....wa kirmaaluk bmout ana." I'm not even going to bother translating those because it will completely ruin them.

Sorry, I'm a sap.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The 18th Sect We Don't Talk About

This post from the Lebanese Inner Circle reminded me of one of my previous posts on the Jews in Lebanon.

Apparently, the Minister of the Interior, Ziad Baroud, submitted a proposal to be discussed by the cabinet on Apr. 28 that proposed "the Cabinet amend the legislation that currently labels Lebanese Jews as 'Israélite' to 'Jewish Lebanese'."

Currently, Lebanese Jews are identified as Israelites on their IDs (I thought this was taken off post-Taif along with everyone's religion??) and on electoral lists.
According to the Daily Star:

Baroud's proposal asked the Cabinet to adopt a draft law to differentiate between a sect "whose rights are legal and protected by the Constitution and between the subjects of an occupying entity."

I think it would be worth going back to my previous post and looking at the NowLebanon article I link to that interviews a Jewish woman named Liza living in Lebanon and how she has been struggling her whole life to be considered Lebanese. Might help to get a better perspective of what this legislation, if it is put into effect (how likely this is I have no idea) would mean.

Also, I love how in Lebanon we like to show off and say "we are so diverse, we have 18 different religious sects that all live together in this one tiny nation," except no one likes to say that that Jews are absolutely unaccepted and probably have to hide their religion or face prosecution. Yey diversity!!

So finally, someone is taking a step forward and is doing something to get rid of this ignorant notion that all Jews are Israelis.

Now to tackle women's and gay rights...


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Li2mi Zgheeri (A Little Taste...) n°4

The once tacky Lebanese designer Georges Chakra is reinventing himself, as seen with the recent popularity of his short white dresses. I remember when I used to see his fashions in Arabic magazines and it was the tackiest thing you had ever seen with ridiculous mixtures of bright colors, feathers and such....but he seems to be doing much better for himself nowadays.

Carrie Underwood, American singer

Mischa Barton, American Actress

Carrie Underwood

Seems someone I had previously written off may be someone to follow.


Monday, May 4, 2009

Continuing the Chain(of thought)- Smoking

To continue on Baba's line of thought, I was on a bus trip to Barcelona recently organized by a French university. On the way to Barca we took one hour breaks every 2 hours so that all the students could smoke. On the way back, we stopped off in Spain near the French border not so that we could buy dinner (mind you it was 8pm and we wouldnt be stopping again for another 2.5 hours) but so that everyone could buy cigarettes which are cheaper in Spain than in France. I kid you not. Sorry, but coming from the USA this is absolutely ridiculous.

It made me wonder about the rest of the world, and Lebanon in particular. We are a small country, but I am proud to say we hold many acheivements, records and prizes. Sadly, amongst those are the following:

World Female Smoking Percentage
World Male Smoking Percentage

Yes, that's right. Lebanese women hold the world record with 57.1% of them smoking. Lebanese men, on the otherhand, come in 6th, with 61% of them smoking.

Can this possibly be true??? More than half of all women and men in Lebanon smoke?? What happened? How did it get so bad?? Is anything being done about it?


PS: I'll have everyone know that BG recently quick smoking for several months before, sadly and much to my disappointment, picking it up again

Smoke . . . or DIE???

So the normal adage goes: stop smoking or keep smoking and risk dying.

But the Chinese have a new twist to that.

To stimulate the local economy, Chinese in Gong'an county have to smoke 230,000 locally produced cigarettes or risk being fined or punished (and we all know punishment in China can't be all that pleasant).

I just can't get my head to wrap around this one!! I'm surprised it hasn't gotten more media attention, or hasn't incurred the wrath of left liberals yet!



Sunday, May 3, 2009


I lay in bed trying to sleep
Everything around me is calm and peaceful
Ideas cross my mind
Like cars on a highway
Going as fast as shooting stars go
So fast that they are hard to interpret
Or maybe because there are a lot of them
But nonetheless, they are too hard to ignore
And every once in a while
I catch a glimpse of one
A slow moving one
I feel so lucky to catch it in flight
But then again not so lucky
Because only the burdened ones
Are the ones that move slowly
And suddenly it’s not calm and peaceful anymore
And I sure don’t feel lucky either
Many twists and turns follow
I continue to tumble in bed
Perhaps in a lame attempt
To shake these ideas off of me
Many twists and turns follow
Many twists and turns follow


Friday, May 1, 2009

Israel . . . wiped off the map.

Is it just me, or does Israel tend to overplay every hand it gets?
I mean for fuck's sake, why is everything a big deal with these people?
Some things are just innocent mistakes or are what they are. Not everything is anti-semitic!