Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Why smart people are often depressed

Excerpts from the article shared by wineofwisdom in his comment on "Why stupid people are often happy":

"Both perspectives, pessimism and existentialism, wouldn't necessarily see depression as a malady existing in a person's head. A pessimist and existentialist might, in fact, agree that the world itself is screwed up, that social norms are themselves pathological, that feelings of despair, anxiety, loss, and pointlessness may be typical in people who are exceptionally intelligent and observant."

"Philosophers such as John Stuart Mill, William James, and Friedrich Nietzsche suffered the worst throes of depression. A host of other artists and writers suffered the same fate, including Edgar Allen Poe, William Blake, Mark Twain, Wolfgang Mozart, Charles Dickens, Vincent Van Gogh, T.S. Eliot, Ernest Hemingway, and Sylvia Plath."

Why stupid people are often happy

Take this guy for example.

Lebanese chauvinism

The new ad by Audi Bank.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My share in the CBC report turmoil

A little bit of background first: When the Hariri investigation began, it seemed to me like some sort of an action detective movie that is worth following up if only for the adrenaline stuff, after I have devoured as a child almost every single book by Agatha Christie, that seemed very logical. I started highlighting paragraphs in the successive reports coming out of the investigation, and underlining a few lines here and there, and having long group chats and fantasies of possible scenarios and so on and so forth. Then 24 came in... the series... and it stole the thunder... the investigation got hotter but I suddenly found myself highlighting lines that seemed of greater concern to me. So if you ask me what I highlighted in the CBC reports you will get this:
To date, the UN inquiry has reportedly spent in the range of $200 million ...The tribunal currently has an annual budget in excess of $40 million...Hezbollah's website claimed the documents cited by the CBC were "purchased from UN sources."...In fact, the documents came from sources close to the investigation... "We paid for our hotel rooms, we paid for our air fare, we paid for our meals, but the information that was in those reports was given to us by sources who were offended at the handling of the investigation, or the mishandling of the investigation," said the CBC's Neil Macdonald, who broke the story..."It was given freely and out of a sense of outrage, and that's that," he said.
Apart from that: Some remote control device bearing Saudi-Syrian fingerprints will soon put an end to the movie and ask everyone to go to bed... that is if they find they still have one.
One more thing, the report might be fishy and very fictitious but I sense that there is something true about Wissam el Hassam having lied to the investigators, not necessarily because he is involved, it could be that he was planning to meet his mistress on Valentines days and indeed requested a day off and then spent the day on the phone planning the date.

Gemayzeh: A secret affair

I have some special connection to Gemayzeh, some sort of a love hate relationship. Let me be frank, I am not going to tell you that I hate Gemayzeh at night because it is too fake and too snobbish, although it is. I do like Gemayzeh on a Sunday morning and better on a Saturday when I can enjoy a Fasulia plate from "Le Chef". Gemayzeh in the day is my love in the open, in the legal if you wish. Saturday night is a different story. Gemayzeh can then be hated for its loud and clumsy Valet Parking people, for the traffic, for what it represents as a fake replica of a small French avenue, for you can be microwaved in one of its bars where the bar is most likely taller than you. For that and many other reasons, yes it can be hated. But it can also be an enjoyable experience. Apart from the wine effect (or whatever you choose), I enjoy watching the street on a Saturday night. For some reason, you feel the rush, everyone is rushing for one reason or another, they are always running late, walking fast, as if running from someone -of course Valet Parking people are running all the time, where do they park all those cars by the way? why can they find parking spaces and we cannot?- They are all rushing to get to a place where they can sit and wonder if maybe they shouldn't have gone somewhere else. In a country where everything is slow, it is amazing to see this place where everything moves fast, except the cars maybe, but who cares, just leave it with the Valet and run. Everyone is looking at everyone. Some looking for familiar faces others avoiding them. You remember that this place might not be the same anymore in few years, or maybe a few months if they keep buying the old houses at this rate. You remember and you hate it again. You want to be part of this mixture of lost souls in the darkness of Beirut and you want to tell yourself that you are not, that you do not belong and that you are there only to watch. But you keep coming back, you keep loving it, and you keep denying it. That's it. My love for Gemayzeh is something more like a secret affair.

The so called Independence Day

Since everyone is blogging about the so called Lebanon's "independence day", which turns out to be a celebration of the Lebanese army, although no matter how I turn it in my head I don't see the connection, at least not in Lebanon, and although to my recollection there is a special day for the Lebanese army. Anyway, if you care to know my own feeling during this "special" day here it is: nothing, nothing at all. I didn't even watch TV today to avoid stumbling upon some of the patriotic songs that our lame TVs and singers compete to air. And I didn't care to say anything about it but I saw that our so called independence has invaded the blogsphere and google I hear. So all I am going to say is this: One day, and it was midday, as I was walking the few meters from my car to my home, in a not very busy street, I pass across a Lebanese soldier in a corner, obviously bored to death. I would usually be thinking in such a situation if I maybe should greet him or at least nod, but would most probably just pass through quietly. But then he whistled and said something like "where to sugar?!".. the kind of sleazy comments girls always hear in the streets of Beirut but from the Lebanese army, that is not supposed to be very common -maybe from internal security forces, some would now fancy to comment-. Of course I did nothing. I even had a justification for him. But I did think that if anyone attacked me now, would I rush to him for help? that's the kind of insecurity we live in and that's the kind of things that come to my mind in the so called "Independence Day" to say the least. Bear with me if I don't get all the enthusiasm.

Monday, November 15, 2010

I feel better now...

I know someone who represents everything I hate, everything. So this is how this person might describe herself with pride: I hate Palestinians. They don't dress well. I hate the poor. They smell. I hate Muslims. They don't behave. I hate maids. They are stupid. I hate Arabs. They are retarded... On top, this person is unprincipled, obnoxious in every sense, stupid, lame... add to this a look that if my grandfather sees would describe as "constantly smelling shit". I am not the type who would care or give a damn about people like that, but I hate that I have to greet her with my fake smile because hardly words come out of my mouth to say anything lest I speak my mind.

Different outfit... same core

I know, the blog now gives you the feeling that the winter collection is out!

I like smart ads

Friday, November 12, 2010

Meet the stupid Obama

While taking questions from reporters at the G20 summit, Obama looks at an Asian reporter who raised his hand and says "I will now take questions from the Korean press". The reporter stands up and says "...I am Chinese".

P.S. I didn't watch it myself, but again a trusted source.
P.S. 2: BBC is running this particular segment. I just watched it.

Taxi wisdom... for real

My husband was in a Taxi in Beirut and as he was paying the driver, he finds out that he has no small money and asks the driver if he has any change. The driver tells him that he will pay him the change once the rest of the passengers pay. There were another Lebanese guy and a foreign maid in the car. Here, the Lebanese guy pays right away to help solve the problem while the maid says in broken Lebanese: I pay when I arrive because I am "sawda" (black). The driver here says: so what if you are black? it's not like I am going to steal your money or throw you in the middle of the road!! "Yes, you will," she says, "they all do that... they take the money and say get out... because I am sawda." The driver replies "but you are my relative... look at my color... do you see me blond with blue eyes?." She pays. He asks her: do they really do this to you?. "All the time," she says. He drives her right to her destination and says "may God be with you".

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Taxi wisdom

A British guy who lived in France for a while had the following conversation in a Beirut "service" (Taxi):

Cab driver in English with a strong Lebanese accent: Why are you crying? (The guy just looked upset)
British guy (trying to speak slowly): Because I had a rough fight with my girlfriend.... she wants "la liberté".
Cab driver: Did you hit her?
British guy: non... non... jamais
Cab driver switching to French: Moi.. Je frappe ma femme chaque jour. Ici, la liberté, il n'ya pas... femme aller. Il y'a beaucoup. Allez... Toz.

True story from a trusted source sitting in the back seat.

On the edge

I sit there watching TV... or that's what you would assume. I am in fact just watching the reflection of my hand holding the remote control device for the past half an hour in the shadowy spots of the screen. I was watching the news but the news ended some time ago. What was it about? how different from yesterday? or last year? or the last century? war and peace. The formula that enslaves us but the words that we dare not name. I was thinking: everyone is afraid of war but peace frightens me to death. I know how to cope with war but I have no clue how to function in peace. You are maybe more at risk in wars but less alert in peace. The worst of all is living on the edge of either of the two. You don't dare to grab your weapon lest you are misunderstood or leave it behind lest you are shot in the back. You are that PC that someone had given a zillion instructions in no time each undoing the previous one and then redoing it until it lost track of what it is supposed to be doing. Confusion creates dysfunction. Between that and war, I definitely choose war. Just grab a hatchet and smash the PC and the TV to pieces and watch it fall apart, a reflection of your own soul.


Lebanese parents, mine included, desperately try to keep their children close. They try all sorts of manipulations. They know your weaknesses and they take advantage. You play the fool. You play the game. My mother's technique: She cooks my favourite food. It works.

Another small confession

Speaking of memory, having a selective memory is annoying but can be fun too. I can watch a movie and then forget all about it and then I can watch it one more time and enjoy it all over again. The fun part is that my husband who has a very strong memory watches me in amazement cry over the same scenes and wonder what will happen next and laugh my ass off at a joke that I heard not long ago. Okay, I am exaggerating a little bit here, or not.

My selective memory

I have a selective memory; no matter how I force myself to remember something I am sure I know, I know I will fail; I had never saved it in the first place. I don't remember the names of many of the people who work with me, who have been working with me for some time, I just don't care to remember their names. I can make an effort but why bother, if it mattered it would have stuck. Again, why would I? Unlike them, I live in the margin. I will never be part of their world and they will never enjoy the life on the margin.

On the margin

I have this constant feeling that I live on the margin. I do have a whole life but it's one on the margin. The margin space is huge and a whole population inhabits it. Sometimes, the feeling is so intense that I feel that I live on the margin of the margin or that I have become the margin itself, that space where you scribble missing notes, sketch down shapes of your boredom, or leave neatly blank. There, you only contemplate the solid paragraphs, the letters perfectly straightened from top and below, sometimes justified, other times aligned right or left, you know that you will never be a word in their bulky world, or even a comma, anyway you never fancy to be. You cross your arms and watch. Power is them, you know that, because they stick together and you roam astray. You dream of the day when you turn or be turned into an eraser. Then you will have all the space there for you alone, you can invade them and expand the margin, but you are convinced that all you can ever hope for is for them to allow you to keep that small space you enjoy. There on the margin, you can be a sticky note, a red mark, or a stain, but for sure one that stands out.