Monday, December 24, 2012

The Huge Dispute with Ziad Rahbani

Ziad Rahbani had a concert on the 20th, 21st and the 22nd of December in Event Hill Dbayeh.
I attended the first day, and actually it was a good jazzy show.
A couple of things were a bit annoying but we, or at least I, understand some of those.

The concert was scheduled to start at 9h00 pm, but it started at 10h50!
The 20th was a very very rainy day, parking was a nightmare, and everyone was late. So somehow people expected a delay, but i can say, not that much. Ziad apologized at the end of the concert.
Things went totally wrong, when they did the same delay on Saturday, when there weren't any excuses for that, and a huge dispute went on between Ziad and some of the attendees.
You can check that in the YouTube video below:
I'm not saying they have the right to do that, but somehow I agree that someone should have pointed that out. It was pretty impressive how he stayed calm, but waiting for everyone to come for 1 hr 20 mins isn't that justifying argument.

A couple of articles were read between the songs, one was criticizing Amine and Samy Gemayel, another one justifying Michel Aoun's alliance, and another describing how God doesn't answer people's prayers.
I disagree with most of his articles, but again, It's Ziad.

Three 30 seconds sketches were also performed by three artists. Those guys were part of Ziad's old plays (Nazl El Sourour...). The jokes were either not funny or déjà vus. It is probably because of Facebook.

What made the concert beautiful was the amazing music Ziad played with 10 other musicians, and the nice artists who sang. There was English and Portuguese songs, with some of his known songs now and then, but he barely included his voice in one or two songs.

All in all, the concert was good, but you can expect more from Ziad Rahbani.

Oh and Merry Christmas! Have a great one! :D

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Beirut Scary Drive

While driving to work a couple of days ago, a super black tinted BMW with a 4 numbers plate (of course!) passed by, driving insanely in traffic. So I thought:
What if that car  just exploded next to me?
What if that driver was another Wissam El Hassan (may his soul rest in peace)?
What if I was one of the other 9 persons that died in the latest explosion in Ashrafieh?
How can we still drive to Beirut everyday just like nothing happened or might happen?
Is it all about receiving that salary at the end of the month to keep on surviving?
Is it what our life in Lebanon should be about?
Did we become emotionless zombies?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Moral Economy

I was thinking about blogging the same thing, when ToomExtra had the job done!

And this doesn't stop here, this continues when this same guy (mentioned in ToomExtra's post), after finding an 800$ job and while eating a 12,000 LBP tuna sandwich in a casual diner, thinks about getting married!
You'll get a shock when knowing that a "regular" wedding in Lebanon costs nowadays between 30,000$ and 50,000$!
A wedding dinner costs around 30,000$ if you have some acquaintances! And if you do the same reservation without saying that it's for a wedding, it will cost you 10,000$!
"Monsieur, if you want a plexiglass dance floor, it will cost you an extra 4$ per person" knowing that both wood and  plexiglass dance floors are in the same freaking basement.
I know a couple of girls who do their Hair, manicure, pedicure and make-up for 50,000 LL just because they didn't mention that they are getting married, or else it will cost them around 1,000$ for the same "shit"!

The prices will stay high as long as all these restaurants / hotels / hair stylists are fully booked, and those F&B suppliers overloaded.

Anyways, like ToomExtra said, something has to change, as long as we're going with the flow, nothing will.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Lebanese Minimum Charge

(I'm back. My last post was back in May, I won't say I didn't have time, i did, but had no mood! hope you still remember me!)
Ever heard of a minimum charge rule elsewhere in the world?
If so, although I never did, we have some very unique standards here in Lebanon.
This happened a couple of weeks ago, but it usually has the same template whenever reserving in almost any restaurant/pub/lounge/night-club in Lebanon:

Them: Sir, each reservation that exceeds 15 persons has to be enrolled in a 35$ formula that includes shared cheese platters and salads (of course in tiny portions) or a 30$ minimum charge.
We require a down payment 48 hours before the reservation and an exact number of attendees a couple of hours before.
Me: What if I reserve twice for 14 persons using two different names?
Them: Hein?!

On a later stage, they informed us that they might reserve a couple of tables in our corner for other clients depending on the number of attendees.
The ridiculous thing is that this happened with a new local lounge in town, and when I went there for the first time, a week before my expected reservation, it was hardly 50% full.
It is not a very well-known fully booked place that can put any boundaries and still be over crowded (I can understand SKYBAR doing that) and it seems it will never be!

My point of view:
Shouldn't they encourage people to come and discover the place before putting some conditions?
Shouldn't they consider that this potential client might bring in 30 others, and that their feedback should be a good marketing tool?! (= more exposure = more clients = more money)
Even if you trained well your bartenders, and mixed some good cocktails, people won't know about it unless they come and enjoy their night. I can develop the best iPhone application ever, but without marketing, especially with a fresh portfolio, my app is worth nothing.

On the other side, Lebanon is suffering one of its worst summer seasons since ever! Protests, electricity cuts, internet issues, phone network issues, lawlessness, tourism failure, high cost of living, weapons, drugs… Instead of making things easier for themselves and for those who can still buy a drink, they double the restrictions!
This country is going down. Prove me wrong.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Boycott Tannoura Maxi

Tannoura Maxi تَنّورَة ماكسي

"A priest dreaming of having sex with a young lady in a church?!
Sex scenes on bell sounds?!
Ladies trying to seduce the priest during a mass inside the church?!
During war, the Christian community was busy getting drunk and enjoying harlotry..."

I heard lots of complaints about Tannoura Maxi, but I thought they were exaggerating; it seems they are not.
The director Mr. Joe Bou Eid (Director of the movie) said that they showed the movie script to a couple of priests for approval before production.
But it is also true that they didn’t put every single detail in that script.
So, there is a big difference between a priest dreaming about being with a lady, and dreaming of wild sex with her inside the church!

In his defense, Mr. Bou Eid declared that the movie reflects the true story of his father, who was a deacon (شدياق) when he fell in love with his mother.
But, in the movie, the claimed deacon wears a priest outfit (Which should not happen), and they call him “Father” (أبونا).
For those who don’t know, deacons can get married, but once declared priests, the laws of the church don't accept their marriage anymore.
To break the boringness of his father’s love story, he decided to put all this disrespectful scenes all over the movie.

Something has to change; people should wake up, because this has gone beyond “Freedom”.
Should it always be about war and religion? Should we always abuse every little space of liberty?
If we really want to change the Lebanese cinema producers' mentality, we need to tell them that this is not the only type of movies that sells in Lebanon.
And to do that, we should boycott that movie, and that’s what I’m going to do.
Watch the trailer below carefully and let me know what you think.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Lebanese Respect

I’ve always noticed how Lebanese act differently when it comes to art… And I hate it!
In the past couple of months, I watched Fairouz, Julia Boutros, and Georges Khabbaz’s play, and I couldn’t but mention this rude behavior.
In Concerts
Julia Boutros, for example, was accompanied by the City of Prague Philharmonic orchestra composed of more than 100 musicians. And I, honestly, attended that event to watch the orchestra performing.
While Julia was singing, people were listening, but when it comes to music, people keep on screaming and shouting in a way that you don’t hear the whole orchestra!
Teib enno common! These are one of the most famous/professional musical groups in the world! It took them a lot of time to prepare each and every piece of music and distribute it carefully, so we don’t listen to them!
Why can’t we listen to them the same way we listen to Julia?
And what annoys me the most is when people start applauding before the end of the song! We seriously have some respect issues! The endings were magnificent btw!
Same thing happened in Fairouz’s concert.
In Theaters
When it comes to a play, as soon as the performance ends, and just before the curtain call, people stand up and start leaving the theater!
And of course, even those sitting in front rows! How rude is that?!
You watched the whole show, and you just can’t wait to see the actors say thank you?!
Is ‘showing some respect’ too much to ask?!
Do you agree or you think I’m exaggerating?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Monday Moaning: SyriaTel?!

When reaching ineligible areas, you might expect losing your phone's network coverage.
But MTC touch always surprises you with the following text message:

Welcome to Syria. Enjoy roaming with the following 
operators: MTN: Sending SMS 0.5 USD/SMS.
Syriatel: Sending SMS 0.5 USD/SMS.
For assistance, dial             +961 3 800113      
mtc touch wishes you a pleasant stay!

I got three embedded moans today:
  1. My first moan is obvious!
  2. How the hell SyriaTel antennas cover cities along the border more than our local operators?!
  3. If anyone tried calling you, they won't be able to reach you of course.
  4. Why do they send you that welcoming message (Sender: MTC Touch, and not SyriaTel) when your phone changes to SyriaTel's network, but they don't welcome you back when transferring to their network again??!!
I'm pretty sure Alfa has the same issue too.

P.S. You might get this message in some eligible areas too! (For example: Dahr El Baydar)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

1950s Lebanese Mafioso

A couple of days ago, I was watching Serpico, a 1973 (true story) movie starring Al Pacino.
Unlike other cops, Frank Serpico was a police officer who didn’t accept any kind of bribes. In fact, he was the first one to fight the organized bribe collection.
At some point, a police chief tells him (Frank Serpico) “This could be the biggest thing...since the Harry Gross case.”
And since I love searching for these stuff, I looked online for Harry Gross, and I found two New York Times articles:
Harry Gross was a bookmaker convicted in running multimillion-dollar gambling operations, involving hundreds of corrupted policemen, some of them were convicted, and others resigned or dismissed.
He was also convicted in some drug operations, and beating his wife’s grandfather to death!

Why am I sharing this?
If you read the second article (Harry Gross is suicide; Bookmaker in ’51 Case) you can’t but notice that this historical/hysterical guy had a Lebanese partner called Najib Daoud!

And this is how we roll… since ever!