Friday, 26 February 2010

Monkey goes to rehab

Now the question is, is there a smoking section at the zoo?
MOSCOW (Reuters) - A Russian chimpanzee has been sent to rehab by zookeepers to cure the smoking and beer-drinking habits he has picked up, a popular daily reported on Friday.

An ex-performer, Zhora became aggressive at his circus and was transferred to a zoo in the southern Russian city of Rostov, where he fathered several baby chimps, learned to draw with markers and picked up his two vices.

"The beer and cigarettes were ruining him. He would pester passers-by for booze," the Komsomolskaya Pravda paper said.

It added he has now been transferred to the city of Kazan, about 800 km (500 miles) east of
Moscow, for rehabilitation treatment.

Story from: Reuteurs

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Yuppie Activist Throwback

A lovely lady told me to revisit some of my favourite Yuppie posts so she can read through them without having to browse all day through my archives. I've already counted down before here so these are going to be ones I haven't thrown back to (I would really click on that post there are some great throwbacks). It was difficult to only pick eight of a few of my favourites, and here they are (from June to October):

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Happy birthday, happy birthday

2010 means I turn one year older. Usually, every year, a week before my birthday, I start listening The Cranberries. I have no idea why. Maybe because everybody else is doing it, so why can't we? Ha. Any way, in celebration of this (accomplishment?), some friends got me presents. Awesome ones. Every year on my birthday, someone ends up getting me a book I already have. This is not a bad thing. On the contrary, it means they are thinking exactly like I think. Note: if you're thinking of getting me a book (which is a wonderful idea), you've been warned that there's a huge chance I already have it, because I have lots and lots of books. So many, in fact, that I cannot house all of them in my condo.
These came from very far away.

Old Fairuz vinyl with a wonderful message on the back, prayer beads (masbaha) from very far away, Joe Sacco's latest, and a Nino Simone collection.

One of the biggest gifts I received this year was having my party hosted by a dear friend in her apartment. To you, and everyone else who attended or was there in spirit, thank you times one million.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Guide to being [really] Arab: Ginos

In my quest to find things that make me ashamed of my heritage, I stumble upon Massari. Baby boy is from my hometown and Mr. Money is the representation of [almost] every Lebanese boy in Ottawa. I thought Massari ended about the same time my heart left green eyed Lebanon but I guess I was wrong. Far from the days of driving up to the Heron community centre in his Oldsmobile, Massari seems to be doing okay for himself. I did, after all, meet his supposed stylist at a so called fashion show I had the unfortunate "luxury" of covering back in September.

In Sari's latest video, he takes Axel F's beat and gino's it up - so the gino's can dance to it at da club. Despite the tune being catchy, you still can't help but look at this video and be like "God, Sari, you're totally one of those Arab guys that dates white girls for years, promises them things (roosh il massari 3aleki rash*) and then when your mama finds you a nice girl from the jnoob, you ditch white girl. Ya shabab**, what are we going to do with you? The girls in your videos are the easy ones you claim to care about but don't, you just use them for B-O-O-T-A-Y because the Arab girl makes you promise things before she gives you anything, then proceeds to remind you not to tell anyone what happened if anything did actually happen. You know what, maybe a girl from the jnoob will be good for you, you might learn a few Arabic words from her, then you'll have minor cred in the community.Yalla habibi. In other news, not sure if you saw the video for "Hot Girl" by one of Massari's old singing partners Belly.

Belly is also from my hometown. Our mothers are quite good friends. My mom does his mom's taxes. Belly, unlike Massari, is not totally ginoed up. He's another type of Arab boy you should probably stay away from: the ones who grow their hair into a gigantic afro, smoke pot in the house all day thinking up rhymes and might be doing a Business Administration diploma at the local community college.

Someone disabled embedding because they are lame:

But, I must admit, this guy is 100 times worse than Massari.

*=buy you the finest things

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

New work

My latest article for FEN Magazine with Arab type designer Nadine Chahine is now live. Read it here:

the pick-up

He opens the door and comes outside. He's wearing dark sunglasses but there's no sun, it's gloomy outside.
"Smokers are all here," he says.
"Where else are they supposed to smoke?" She responds.
"You work in this building?" He asks her.
He opens the door and leans on it. Half his body is outside, while the rest is in the warmth of the building.
"What do you do?" He asks.
"I work at an agency," she responds.
"Will you have coffee with me sometime?"
She smiles. "No, sorry."
"Why not?" He asks.
"Because I don't have coffee with strangers."

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Don't spare the change

"How much is your hot chocolate?" She asks.
"$2.89 with tax," he responds.
She counts her money.
"Ahh, I don't have enough! Thanks anyway."
I pull myself into the conversation, "Hold on, how much do you have?"
"No no that's fine." She's hesitating, her body is moving closer to me yet backing away.
"No seriously, c'mon, I offered, it's just a few dollars, cents," I respond.
She observes me. Maybe my face isn't friendly enough. "It's okay, no don't worry, thanks though."
"Alright," I tell her.
She rushes out.

This reminded me of the kids at the store, that's why I offered. They were always short change and the sadness that filled their eyes when they came up to the counter and were missing $0.10 or something was almost heartbreaking. Most owners and employees won't bother taking it out of their own pocket to put a smile on that kid's face, they're too selfish. At his store, my dad always let the kids have their candy, no matter how much they were short. They loved him for it, and they never did it purposely because he trusted them, and they trusted him. After seeing the excitement they get from getting away with the candy, it's worth it, no matter how many times you do it. This small act will make you smile no matter what mood you're in.

I offered, I don't want anything in return. If you're short $0.25, $0.50, $1.00 it's not a big deal. I'm trying to help you, because that's what humans should do, help each other. But I guess adults, unlike kids, panic when another commits a nice gesture, we're not used to it.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

the cigarette bum

"Excuse me, do you..."
She cuts him off, "I don't have a cigarette, sorry."
"How did you know I was going to ask you for one?" He asks.
"Why else would you talk to me? Why do people talk to each other in this country unless they want something?" She responds.
"I don't know, I could've wanted to ask you for the time or something. It's crazy how you knew!"
She pulls up her sleeves and says, "I'm not wearing a watch. And you look like you've got plenty of time."
"But I'm talking to you right now aren't I?"
"Yes, but only because you initially wanted something from me, and now you want to know the reasoning behind my theory," she says.
"It's kind of sad that's the only reason people talk to each other," he says.
"It is. But it's the nature of life here, individualism, what I want."
In the distance, his friend yells out, "Pedro, let's go!"
"Yeah hang on a second!" He yells back.
He looks back at her and says, "I'm sorry, you know."
"Don't be. It's okay. Everyone's used to it by now. Have a goodnight."

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

As a child, I knew when someone loved me from the way they would say my name. You can sense the difference. I knew that my name was safe in their mouth.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

The funniest thing happened

Without even following Salam Fayyad, he starts following me on Twitter. Too bad it's not the real Salam Fayyad. Now if only Hosni and Dahlan would follow suit...

Thursday, 4 February 2010

PanArabism Hip-Hop record

I managed to get my hands on the hottest hip-hop record of '10. It has yet to hit the shelves. Leaders from across the Arab world, in a strange act of unity, got together and recorded an LP. Here are the lyrics off their first track "This is how we do it" (not to be mistaken for Montell Jordan's track). Now I can't post the actual track, but trust me, it's good. Just try and envision the beat correctly while reading these lyrics.*

Hey yo, I'm like 5'7" but I'm a King
Amman's the new Beirut, it's got a nice ring
It's the sound of money...
Rania is my honey, and she likes 'em chubby
My pictures are all over the country, oh you think that's funny?
We're all about the media, the social one that is
The other one's all blocked unless its pro King, ya dig?
We have a lack of water, but I swim in gold
The West Bank and Gaza? haha that's been sold!
I got a peace treaty with Israel,
and I like having security from the land of Ishmael
We're a place that benefits off your miseries, it's how our country booms
So if your country's in doom, come here we got room
My white Napoleon jackets are not a complex
This is Abdullah and you can call me your Highness!

Yalla, aiwa, wahad, two!
Those are the arab words I know
I used to live in France...
you know?
And I'm not talking about Beirut
Boots are Gucci, jacket Versace, shirt Chanel...
Que Beirut est belle!
I walk around Verdun like I own the place
Hide your baby mamas the ladies love my face
I take Arabic classes and even though I can't speak, The money can, freak
My eyebrows are so big it's a sign of power
Embarrassing Lebanon, hour after hour
Or so they say, but they all haters
Siding with Syria? You all traitors!
Abdullah don't you dare compare Amman to Beirut
The only think charming about it is your wife, she's damn cute
Massaging your mind with my smooth lyrics
And reviving civil war fears like a Phoenix

I'm from a place where the flag is green
Some people think I look a like drag queen
My bodyguards are all women cause I trust them more
And if you call one a whore, your ass will be on the floor
Purple is my colour cause purple is regal
And if you cross the green book, the punishment is lethal
Across the nation, no consultation, just discrimination
I got land all over the place
Even in NYC you be seein' my face
Many figures who come to Libya disappear
Hey, how do you think I make a living, that's my career!
Everywhere I go my clothes be show stoppin'
Make room, Gaddafi is the Green Goblin.

Hariri, you just stole Jon B's line
And how can I be sure you won't steal mine?
I'm here to represent...the UAE
Y'all know who I be
We rich rich money money ain't got shit on me
Building useless buildings and islands too
Abu Dhabi thanks for the bailout, I owe you
Oops! we already did with the Burj Khalifa
But if i ever I need ya, ba tisil fika
My dishdasheh drags on the floor,
But I'm loaded I got millions more
7 star hotels? baby I own one!
Indian workers? Baby I got tons!
When it comes to citizenship it's only for locals
The visibility of our policies can only be seen with bifocals
Half the workers here have crummy wages
Giving a good face to the Middle East in the newspaperssss
Hey Jordan ana kaman on Twitta
So what's with ya?
My salary? Too many figaaaass
I sweat money but it won't go to my neighbours
You know why? Cause we're proud collaborators!

Shoo lakan? Leave room for the one from Damascus
Don't mistake me for Homsi!
Ana moo Homsi!
Elongating words like it's nobody's business
We're Syrians okay? Our dialect is like a fitness...
Regime, I pronounce it JEEM aiight Hosni?
Mashakel Masr, moo na2esni!
Al-Assad, that means lion
Syrians are the best cooks, we ain't lyin'
Minorities in power? Long live Alawis
Ana moo nawari, inta il badawi!
I like to parade my wife cause she's educated
Don't you find my behaviour is so sedated?
I got cute kids and I'm not afraid to show it
Bashar is on the scene just in case you didn't know it
Copped that line from Vanilla Ice
Step back, I own the mic, call me Syrian Spice...

Hey hey hey Abu Mazen represent the PA
Dahlan by my side, what settlement did we sign on today?
Humiliating my people all the time
Can't accept a lost election, nor can I rhyme
One state, two state, what's my perception?
I don't know, they ask way too many questions
People mock me they think I'm Khalili
I'm from Safed, ana Galilee!
Hamas, they won democratically
And there's one thing to know about me, it's that I'm a collaborator G
I'm not a leader and I suck a lot
Big Pun RIP, first record I bought
Can't accept that the glory days are long gone
So pass the arak and let Hosni finish the song

Step back and watch an 83 year old master take the mic
Psyche! The US gives me money and drinks with spike
Got all the religious heads on the payroll
Tantawi, release the fatwa alright bro?
If you speak ill of me, find yourself in prison
Muahahaha, that's right I'm a bonafide villain!
I spend money on protection while my country rots
Don't climb the pyramids, you will get shot!
I run the Egyptian entertainment scene and I run your life
I'm so powerful I can steal Bashar's wife
I'm so evil I'll watch you die while eating a plate of koshary
Then I'll go out and have drinks with Adel Imam and Tamer Hosni
80 million all at my command
And they'll do whatever I demand
cause I'm Hosni, ma bikhoosni!

*Yes I obviously made this up, there's no record, fun isn't it?