Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Beirut The Band

3 Signs the Beirut Indie Band is definitely up and coming:
-Getting many more alerts with Google concerning the band than previous months.
-Averaging out an as of yet 0.8 to 1 ratio of Beirut the Band vs. Beirut The Lebanese City in Google Alerts.
-Having 1,930,000 results for Beirut the Band vs. 1,590,000 for the City.
And so time to acknowledge the one and only band that pops up in my Inbox everyday, with the oldest article I can recall:
Beirut: The Band
How a 20-year-old blogosphere star is dealing with massive hype, brutal flops, and a suddenly awkward name.By Rachel Syme Published Aug 6, 2006, New York Magazine

And What does Wikipedia have to say?
Beirut was initially the solo musical project of 23-year-old Santa Fe native Zachary Francis Condon, which later evolved into a band led by Condon. Their first performances were in May 2006, to support the release of their debut album, Gulag Orkestar. The music combines elements of Eastern European and folk with Western pop music. [...] In December 2008, Capitu, a TV Globo miniseries based on Machado de Assis' Dom Casmurro used "Elephant Gun" as its theme, making the band popular in Brazil.
On February 6 2009 Beirut made their debut television performance in the United States on Late Show with David Letterman, performing "A Sunday Smile".
(Yes it seems they're making it big!)

A Little Exercise in Randomness and Fate

What started as a little exercise in tempting fate into telling me something interesting today ended up in a 3 hours non stop rummaging into randomness posted online. So maybe fate is trying to tell me something interesting, or maybe One has to look for that "something interesting" and One will find it. Isnt that the age old question?... Or maybe One should stop procrastinating and start studying for that pharmacology exam in a few days.

--My Album Cover: Merely A Select Few, By The Allentown Cardinals.

What I discovered on the way:
--I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong.
Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970)
--It was a book to kill time for those who like it better dead.
Dame Rose Macaulay (1881 - 1958)
--A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure.
Segal's Law

What Else?
--Switchback has the power to manipulate the last ten seconds of her personal timeline: she can replace herself with a younger version while retaining the memories of her older self. This time-shift is obvious to observers, as it also physically moves her body.

This ability has allowed her to escape telepathic possession by the Shadow King, by shifting herself through time as soon as he attempted to control her.
Source: Switchback Comics Character, Wikipedia

To Do This: (And Waste 3 Hours)
1 - Go to Wikipedia Hit Random: The first random Wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.
2 - Go to Random quotations: The last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.
3 - Go to Flickr and click on Explore the last seven days: The third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.
4 - Use Photoshop or similar to put it all together.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Of Bitters and Digestifs

Herzlich Willkommen Bei Underberg!
Sind sie schon volljahrig?

Recommended Digestif
after a hearty meal.

--For Best Results when pouring, hold the Underberg bottle at an angle.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

High Cheese Content

And a Whole Lot Of Love to my own R.P.G!
I love you guys!
You made my day!

Friday, February 13, 2009

What Would Jesus Do?

The First Civil Marriage Ceremony
took place in Lebanon, yesterday, in Gemmayzeh, thereby, kicking off St. Valentine's celebrations with a strong message: Yes to civil weddings in Lebanon! (Ok it was a mock wedding in a bar, but still).
Another ceremony will take place on Sunday Feb 15th.

On another note, you can now remove your religious affiliation from your id cards as indicated by Ziad Baroud, the new interior minister. (And you can go on this website to check if your name appears correctly on the voting list for the 2009 elections).
To sum up. Is this country moving forward? Could it be?!

Thursday, February 12, 2009


-learning that in medicine, the Sister Mary Joseph nodule or node, also called Sister Mary Joseph sign, refers to a palpable nodule bulging into the umbilicus as a result of metastasis of a malignant cancer in the pelvis or abdomen.

-singing sister mary in the elevator and the attending physician turning to me and saying "wow you're musical/oddly vocal today"

-learning that A.'s cancer will not be cured/contained by conventional therapy.

-feeling helpless again.

-debating whether I should tell A. Whether he will accept it coming from me. Whether it will make a difference for him to know or not.

-getting stuck behind a sukleen/garbage truck from 8 to 8.20 pm in the middle of Hamra.

-ending my day early.

Sister Mary, By Joe Dolan

Sister Mary,can you tell me,is there any use?
Sister Mary,I've been praying what else can I do?
She's been gone seems so long,I want to have her home
Sister Mary reassure me help me to go on
Tell me don't try to spare me pain
Will she be coming home again
Sister, I feel so afraid.
All my life I cared so much for her
All my life is nothing if I'm left without her
Tell me why I just can't let her go...Sister I feel so afraid
Monsieur Thompson, there she's sleeping the doctor's here today
There seems to be no change in her that's all he had to say
But late last night she spoke to me she said she loves me so
Monsieur Thompson, don't you worry she'll soon be well I know
Tell me don't try to spare me pain will she...
Monsieur Thompson, I am sorry please don't cry... don't cry please don't cry

Monday, February 09, 2009

And Why is The Show About Nothing?

On a lighter note, the title explains how Life can be just that: A Show About Nothing. That statement does have a potential metaphysical aspect to it, but this blogger picked it up from a Seinfeld Episode, mentioned in the very first post:
--So, what have you guys come up with?
-I think I can sum up the show for you with one word: nothing.
-What does that mean?
-The show is about nothing!

And so one can talk and talk, however, in the end, the show can be just about nothing!

Dum Spiro, Spero.

And so why The Purple Rose Of Beirut?
Maybe because Life IS a fantasy. And not always a good one.
Maybe because she likes to believe she can LIVE her dreams.
Maybe because Woody Allen has showed her time and time again that he can explain Life in his own neurotic way.
Maybe because she too travels into movies and acts them out even on a small scale.
Maybe because she can see how relationships can be turned upside down.
Maybe because the story is not only about love but more about Life, about believing and dreaming and escaping...
Maybe because what they call denial, she calls behavioral therapy.
Maybe because at the risk of sounding disconnected, she does believe the stars align. And even if they don't, at one point satisfaction comes in different packages.
Maybe because even when saying that, she sees the discrepancy but still strongly believes in it. Because what a harsh world it would be if one didn't.
Yes, she chooses to believe. And she assumes all responsibilities of, one day, falling off her high held illusions with no one to catch her. And everyone to point and say "I told you so!"
But she has seen life, she has seen misery, in all its glory. And Maybe that is exactly what drove her to believe in the Purple Rose of Beirut. Her own purple rose. To escape war, to escape financial insecurity, to escape illness, to escape heartache, to escape separation and distance from those dearly beloved. And mostly to accept it all. In her own way. And to be grateful.
The topic of "The Purple Rose of Cairo" might have been used and abused over and again, but the way it is depicted in that particular movie shows how life and its meaning will always carry a double edge sword: Yes she can believe in her dreams, but she should expect that even if things do turn out the way she wanted them to,(which she still believes they do eventually), she might find out that, somewhere along the way, this is not what she wanted anymore...

"--Cecilia: I just met a wonderful new man. He's fictional but you can't have everything.
--Tom Baxter: I'm sorry. It's written into my character to do it, so I do it
--Henry: No! No! Don't turn the projector off! No! No! It gets black and we disappear!
--Larry: I want to go too! I wanna be free! I want out!
Mr. Hirsch's Lawyer: I'm warning you, that's Communist talk."

Of Religious Holidays

Today. All day. A glass of wine, a slowly burning cigarette, me and Blossom Dearie. Ah, la Belle Indifference!

Philip Rizk or Freedom of Speech

Philip Rizk is a journalist, activist, and blogger who has been detained by the Egyptian police without any charges since Friday Feb 6th. The latest update was that the police ransacked Rizk's family residence on Monday Feb 9th looking for evidence that might incriminate Philip in any way. Rizk has been active about the Gaza siege and war, and his abduction followed a demonstration in solidarity with the Palestinian people in Gaza on Feb 6th. Check updates here, or through facebook.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

On the AUH Menu Tonight

And here is a new low: A physician abusing his power position tonight in the Emergency Room at the appraised American University Hospital in Beirut. S. went in seeking medical attention after a car crash that left her with neck pain, and came out feeling molested and abused. One attending physician who wasn't even in charge of her case, decided (mind you after all the appropriate tests were done) to do a full check up on her, in a very unprofessional manner. I stayed in the room and watched him conduct his physical exam, putting his stethoscope in places where he wouldn't be hearing anything instrumental. And now looking back, maybe we should have said something, but even as medical students, you still feel the white coat effect. You wonder maybe it IS procedures and protocol. And then you rethink it in your head, and you realize no it's not! This was nothing more than a degenerate pervert taking advantage of any situation to feel the lowest of gratifications. And you wonder how much more of this will we be seeing in the hospital and how you can never let it get to you, rather (and at the risk of sounding as a man-bashing feminist) you should stay on your guards and be on the offense against any potential sticky situation. Just in case. Just to put the likes of this guy in their rightful place. And here you have it, the lowest yet, taking advantage of the white coat to touch a patient inappropriately.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Of Acquired Tastes

--Peach Plum Pear. (Joanna Newsom)
Or Pumpernickel?
(Pumpernickel Nutrition Facts/Slice-->)

Friday, February 06, 2009

Blind Item.

The worst kind of attention is the one intentionally given, only to stroke the bestower's ego.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Life Swap

And what if Sharbat Gula (the National Geographic sensation) was Lebanese? What if she was actually Sana Chalhoub, a survivor of the Qana massacre? What if everytime Afghanistan was mentioned it was replaced by Lebanon, and the Soviet Union by Israel?
[...]“She’s had a hard life,” said McCurry. “So many here share her story.” Consider the numbers. Twenty-three years of war, 1.5 million killed, 3.5 million refugees: This is the story of LEBANON in the past quarter century.
Now, consider this photograph of a young girl with sea green eyes. Her eyes challenge ours. Most of all, they disturb. We cannot turn away.“There is not one family that has not eaten the bitterness of war,” a young Lebanese merchant said in the 1985 National Geographic story that appeared with Sharbat’s photograph on the cover. She was a child when her country was caught in the jaws of the ISRAELI invasion. A carpet of destruction smothered countless villages like hers. She was perhaps six when Israel bombing killed her parents. By day the sky bled terror. At night the dead were buried. And always, the sound of planes, stabbing her with dread. “We left Lebanon because of the fighting,” said her brother, Kashar Khan, filling in the narrative of her life. He is a straight line of a man with a raptor face and piercing eyes. “The Israelis were everywhere. They were killing people. We had no choice.”
[...]“You never knew when the planes would come,” he recalled. “We hid in caves.”
The journey that began with the loss of their parents and a trek across mountains by foot ended in a refugee camp tent living with strangers.
[...]It is the ongoing tragedy of Lebanon. Invasion. Resistance. Invasion. Will it ever end? “Each change of government brings hope,” said Yusufzai. “Each time, the Lebanese people have found themselves betrayed by their leaders and by outsiders professing to be their friends and saviors.”

-Bitasarrof, based on Cathy Newman's article in the National Geographic, April 2002.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Make Your Own Quote

make your own luck
make your own dream
make your own day
make your own story
make your own love
make your own legend
make your own fairytale
make your own bed
make your own future
make your own child
make your own opinion
make your own taste
make your own superhero
make your own art
make your own background
make your own character
make your own music
make your own beat
make your own drum
make your own inspiration

Disciplining Drivers One At a Time

Have you ever wondered what the AFP (Agence France-Presse) thinks of Lebanese traffic? Wonder no more!
The French Traffic Police is apparently taking Beirut by storm! Waving and flailing hands at unruly motorists. How far do the Lebanese go in trusting other countrymen more than their own? (Hence the failed political system). Is it as far as taking orders from the French police over the good ol' darak? How true is that latter statement anyways? Isn't it known that Lebanese people tend to find each other and aggregate once abroad, to keep a sense of community?
Anyone who could teach the Lebanese road ethics is good enough for this blogger though! Fellow countryman or not. For our drivers are so stubborn, so disobedient, so holier-than-thou, 'tis more than a stressful adventure to go out there every day, braving traffic and horns.
Check out the article where [Dominique Szymczak, a police brigadier from Paris's 13th arrondissement] takes his Lebanese colleague into the middle of a busy intersection to demonstrate how traffic control is carried out Paris-style.


--The Ballad of Sacco e Vanzetti
Here's to you Nicola and Bart
Rest forever here in our hearts
The last and final moment is yours
That agony is your triumph!