10 Things Lebanon Hasn’t Discovered Yet (Or Ever?) As NASA Reveals 7 New Habitable Planets

thom_astro_2017-feb-08

At a time when everyone and their mother is still talking about the irrelevant Marine Le Pen and the headscarf that could have been, NASA unveiled the single most important news of the year so far – even trumping Trump – with their discovery of 7 habitable planets in a solar system 30 light years away.

So as NASA leads the world onto new universe frontiers, and inspired by a tweet from Adeela, I decided to come up with a short list of how stuck this country is:

1. An electoral law:

To quote Titanic: “It has been 84 years….” Maybe it hasn’t been that long but it sure feels like it. Parliament has extended its mandate TWO times because they couldn’t agree on an electoral law to replace the current one and even though elections should be held towards the end of May, they still have not come up with one and by the looks of it they will never do so. Bl 3arabe, ma fi at3as men hek.

2. 24/7 electricity:

At a time when almost every modern country in the world provides its people with the basic requirement of 24/7 connectivity to the grid, Lebanon not only has failed to do so, but the situation is getting worse as the demand for power increases while the supply stagnates. What’s worse is that our current Secretary of Energy decided the reason we don’t have electricity 24/7 is the presence of Syrian refugees, because logic? Bref, te3tir. 

3. Internet that is fast enough to stream NASA’s live video without buffering:

At a time when Canada has declared 25Mbps internet and up is a human right, the average speed of Lebanese internet is still 1/25 that much and it doesn’t look like it’s going to improve anytime soon. It’s so ironic that our internet is so slow that most of us couldn’t even stream the NASA live video announcing their astonishing discovery without buffering.

4. Continuous running water all year long:

It was only recently, and by recently I mean December, that we stopped needing to buy water for our apartment in Beirut. We have more water supplies than almost any other Middle Eastern or North African country and yet we still have water shortages because of our severe inability to use that resource. Even Israel – with its recurrent droughts – has found a solution to water shortages. Not us, though.

5. A modern public transportation system:

“Service” cars and buses that are so random and disorganized they’d run you over to get to their next customer is not a modern public transportation system. If only they knew how much traffic they’d cut off by devising and enforcing a system people would want to take and use instead of their cars. Just have a look around you when you’re stuck in traffic: thousands of cars with one person each.

6. A secular political system:

If you’re sick of being told what you can’t or can do in governance because of your religion, clap your hands!

7. Politicians whose pride and ego aren’t as fragile as the status quo they love:

Over the past few weeks, American senators and congressman are being humiliated by their constituents at town hall events across their states and congressional districts as they get bombarded with one question after the next about their policies, to the point where Trump called them “paid protesters.” Bless him, he’s so Lebanese.  You will never ever see that here. Not only that, but when some of our politicians’ pride is hurt, they send their thugs to wreck havoc. The latest example is barely a week old.

8. A solution to the trash crisis:

Costa brava, airports with seagulls, trash on the streets, the need to recycle. Do we need to keep repeating this? Sigh.

9. The fascination and complete adoration of some Lebanese for far-right politicians in other countries:

I know most of our politicians would be considered right-wing. Even our socialist party is right-wing. But with Facebook pages for Trump’s Lebanese friends and a new Facebook page for Le Pen’s Lebanese friends, as well as utter adoration of some parts of our society to these politicians, and many more, I guess we’re taking it to a whole new level. What can you expect though from a people who love Hitler and still paint swastikas on buildings?  

10. More green spaces in our cities:

Just look at that picture of Beirut from space and let’s play a game of “find a green space other than AUB and Horsh Beirut.” You probably can’t, because for Lebanese urban jungles that make them money are more important than them being able to breathe.

Bonus: A solution to Gebran Bassil’s aspirations:

#StopGebran2017. Make it happen!

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Breaking Down Haifa Wehbe’s Brilliant “Breathing You In”

Haifa Wehbe dropped an English song. Such breaking news! It’s such big news in fact that it reached me all the way in the United States while I purposefully ignored anything and everything Lebanese (sorry, not sorry).

So I sat down and decided to breathe in – for lack of better word – that outstanding piece of art, the kind that will surely break the Taylor-Swift-saturated-American-pop-scene and make sure they remember that Lebanon is the country that created music, the English language, techno beats, Interstellar travel and the idea behind the movie Gravity.

I figured I’d break down the video into its components, because why the hell not? Serves for more entertaining news that bitching about the political situation or the sudden mass worry about this odd phenomenon called drunk driving. Yes, I got that too. Sigh.

So I loaded the video in 1080p (HA!) and here we go:

Haifa Wehbe Breathing You In - 1

 

Who the hell are Mostafa Sorour and Tarik Freitken? And what is World Music?

Haifa Wehbe Breathing You In - 2

Who the hell is Casper and why do we care?

Haifa Wehbe Breathing You In - 3

And NASA! Do you think they’d sue for using their logo? What does Haifa Wehbe have to do with NASA? Why are we in space? Why are there astronauts? 

Haifa Wehbe Breathing You In - 4

How did we go from space to a barn. Isn’t this haram?

Haifa Wehbe Breathing You In - 5

 *puppy eyes.*

Haifa Wehbe Breathing You In - 6

“Is pressing this much against that wooden pole enough to make my boobs look bigger while I “sing?”

Haifa Wehbe Breathing You In - 7

That “take me as I am” line sure comes in handy at this point, doesn’t it? *moans.*

Haifa Wehbe Breathing You In - 9

Wait! How are we dancing in the desert now? Is there a checklist for exotic videos we are going through? Space, check. Desert, check. Strip club next? 

Haifa Wehbe Breathing You In - 10

 

Fastest wardrobe change ever? I guess they figured the previous one wasn’t skin-revealing enough?

Haifa Wehbe Breathing You In - 11

Oh look we’re in space now. I can’t keep track. And why is Haifa not wearing a space suit? Is it because it doesn’t show enough skin? 

Haifa Wehbe Breathing You In - 13

Back to the desert. It’ll be hard to tell foreigners that Lebanon doesn’t have deserts after this. My life is ruined. 

Haifa Wehbe Breathing You In - 14

Is she dancing? What is she doing? 

Haifa Wehbe Breathing You In - 15

Is he finally taking her as she is in the barn? Kinky? No. Lebanese don’t do that. *shakes head.*

Haifa Wehbe Breathing You In - 16

When you’re bored, just swim in space. Right? Let Haifa come to you and save you. 

Haifa Wehbe Breathing You In - 17

And then get surrounded by men touching you in green and flowery fields. 

Haifa Wehbe Breathing You In - 18

She wasn’t satisfied, so she went solo. *wink.*

Haifa Wehbe Breathing You In - 19

Barely-there clothing! Break the Arab internet and Western stereotypes, Haifa! She hasn’t looked better though. Damn.

Haifa Wehbe Breathing You In - 20

I can’t wait to read all the Arab tabloids talking about how she highlighted her pubic area with this. 

Haifa Wehbe Breathing You In - 21

I don’t get the purpose of this interlude. 

Haifa Wehbe Breathing You In - 22

Or why this guy is still flying in space.

Haifa Wehbe Breathing You In - 23

I bet she’s trying to recreate that infamous venus picture, right? Bring her a fig leave now.

Haifa Wehbe Breathing You In - 24

Aww. Haifa cries! 

Haifa Wehbe Breathing You In - 25

He came…. alive.

Haifa Wehbe Breathing You In - 26Who is this guy again?

Oh wait, there was a song among that video? So then I went and listened to it again in an attempt to get the lyrics. What kind of brilliance, people? It’s like an American sexually-charged song, but without intercourse. Because this is Arabia and there’s no way anyone can sing about sex here. Get your minds out of the gutters! Only a Lebanese superstar can pull off sex in such a sex-less way.

Love me now,

Love me past the end of the time,

Turn me up,

Find my frequency,

You’re breathing me,

Take me as I am,

Give me a sign,

Show me that our love is one

Is it me or are these lyrics so expressive and ground-breaking? Never has any composer written such wonderful phrases in song before. Bring me their names now!

Cause I’m just breathing, breathing you in

You get me started when you begin

Just breathing you in

Just breathing you in

Just breathing you in

Just breathing you in

Just breathing you in, in, in, in, in

Just breathing you in

Just breathing you in

Just breathing you in

Just breathing you in, in, in, in, in

Breathing you in, in, in, in

Breathing you in, in, in, in

Breathing you in, in, in, in

Breathing you in, in, in, in

Breathing you in, in, in, in

Breathing you in, in, in, in

Breathing you in, in, in, in

What a chorus! What kind of brilliance? What kind of tempo? One sentence repeated sixteen times. I can’t even.

Loud and clear I hear you,

I feel no one when I’m with you,

I feel closer when we’re far,

We are weightless, care-free love

Weightless, care-free, close when far… these are just new ideas introduced to the English language that should be trademarked. Get on it. Don’t let Taylor Swift be the only one trademarking her lyrics especially when you’ve got this.sick.beat. going on.

Cause I’m just breathing, breathing you in

You get me started when you begin

Just breathing you in

Just breathing you in

Just breathing you in

Just breathing you in

Just breathing you in, in, in, in, in

Cause I’m just breathing, breathing you in

You get me started when you begin

Just breathing you in

Just breathing you in

Just breathing you in

Just breathing you

Just breathing you in, in, in, in, in

Just breathing you in,

Just breathing you in,

I feel you breathing,

Breathing you in, in, in, in

Breathing you in, in, in, in

Breathing you in, in, in, in

Breathing you in, in, in, in

Breathing you in, in, in, in

Breathing you in, in, in, in

Breathing you in, in, in, in

I’m breathing you in, in, in, in.

That same sentence repeated 21 times. Is there a record here we should be aware of? And seriously, how beautiful are these lyrics? Only in Lebanon. Going back to Edward Maya days all the way in 2015? Bring back these beats, Haifa.

I wonder, were the lyricists writing this getting goosebumps with each pen stroke? I sure was. I bet they felt like geniuses with every line they wrote down and every comparison they added. Damn. How innovative of them.

I’m worried though. All that breathing – desert dust, air dust, other kinds of dust – can be life threatening. Did Haifa get tuberculosis?

You’ll have to wait to blast this out of your 1980s BMW 320. It won’t be available on iTunes before April 21st. Bummer. I really wanted to show those New Yorkers what our artists can pull off and let them breath it in, in, in, in, in.

Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 12.57.59 AM

I suppose it says enough when a song like this will probably end up being played on Lebanese radio instead of offerings by Lebanese artists who have been trying to make it for years, such as Postcards or The Wanton Bishops. Don’t let people convince you this is worthwhile, or that the “good beat” makes up for the fact that this is trash.

Lebanese stars should stop wasting their money on trying to make it internationally especially when they’re buying horrible songs that were probably written by someone with basic comprehension of the English language, masquerading it as “in” with some fancy beats and sultry delivery.

No, just no.

 

Transfomers: Dark Of The Moon – Review

It’s not hidden from anyone that I really enjoyed the first two Transformers movies. So when the news that a third one was being prepared surfaced, I was both excited and cautious. After all, the other previous movies were a sight to see, a true cinematic experience in everything bombastic so I was positive this one would be at least as visually satisfying. But there was no Megan Fox in it and how far can you stretch a story about aliens and robots that turn into cars and vice versa without stretching it too far?

Transformers: Dark Of The Moon is probably my favorite movie of 2011 so far. If Thor had ignited this year’s summer movie season, Transformers 3 is burning and torching the field left and right, up and down. And then down. And then up. Just for good measure.

Shia LaBeouf returns as quirky Sam Witwicky, the guy always at the wrong place and time when it comes to this alien species of Autobots and Decepticons. He’s all grown up now, freshly graduated, and searching for a job. Megan Fox dumped him and he replaced her with an even hotter girlfriend named Carly, portrayed by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, a newcomer British actress. Carly has a job, working for her shady employer, played by Patrick Dempsey, who is more on the McDreary side than the McDreamy side here. And let’s just say, Sam Witwicky has got some kick ass luck when it comes to hooking the undeniable hotties of the world.

But the story of the movie starts decades before Sam was even born and builds on the conspiracy theories revolved around man’s landing on the moon. In the early 1960s, an Autobot spacecraft crashed on the dark side of moon. It was discovered soon after by the humans, launching the space race between the US and USSR. In 1969, Neil Armstrong lands on the moon. He utters his famous words and then everyone loses contact with him. That is everyone except 35 people in a locked NASA room. They investigate the spacecraft and return back home. Soon enough though, missions to the moon are canceled and all of the info is buried in Sector 7.

But the Autobots discover a fragment of that spaceship in Chernobyl and set out to recapture their long lost leader from the wreckage. But the Decepticons are more deceptive this time. They have infiltrated the human rankings like they’ve never before. They have allies in the least excepted of places and their plan is devilishly well-woven.

Transformers 3 is such a gloriously visual movie that you are transfixed from moment one and left as such well into the credits. Granted, I love the Paramore song so that’s why I stayed, but still. It’s a two hour and a half movie that leaves you staring at the screen for most of that duration. We can talk forever about those visual effects. Absolutely stunning. Glass-shattering, robots transforming, things exploding, people flying and frying… everything was so meticulously done with the utmost consideration for detail. The creators of this movie knew their strong suit would be the visuals and they did well by excelling in that regard.

Speaking of the duration, the storyline around the 1969 landing and the spaceship on the dark side of the moon could have definitely been cut down by about ten minutes, shortening the movie by a little amount. But I’m not complaining, I loved every minute of it.

The storyline is drastically different from the first two in the sense that you don’t need to have watched the first two movies to understand what this one is about. It starts off from scratch, serving at some sort of reboot for a franchise that some felt was sagging with its previous outing. I still do not get, however, how mankind is still oblivious to the fact that such alien species roam around us. Haven’t they effectively almost destroyed a bunch of capital cities in the previous movies? And why does Sam have to be leading a crappy life (girlfriend aside) whenever each movie starts? The character actually wonders if the government should give him a job, right at the beginning of the movie. And I have to agree. The storyline could use some tweaking for continuity and logic but it works for what it is.

On the acting side, you can say that most of the actors and actresses in the movie are, in biological terminology, linker sequences. How so? they help bring the movie together but their overall role is somewhat useless. Or if you don’t want to be harsh, you can question its use or think it is somewhat in the eye of the beholder so to speak. Is there much use for Shia and the new hottie Rosie in this movie? You might say they serve as some sort of catalyst. But that’s pretty much it. Even if you take them out, you’d still be left for a very solid movie. They just add to it. After all, one of the opening scenes has Rosie strutting around in underwear. Just saying.

Overall, Transformers 3 is an awesome addition to the franchise that carries it. It is a highly, highly (yes, twice for emphasis) movie that allows you to sink right in. It is huge in the sense that it submerges you with its grand sounds that accompany the eye-popping visual effects. Michael Bay presents a movie that is much better than the previous Transformers movie, although I still stand by Revenge of the Fallen being a good movie as it was. Some great actors were featured in very minute roles, such as John Malkovich in about five minutes of screen time as Sam’s employer and legend astronaut Buzz Aldrin has a cameo at one point. He was one of the original astronauts who landed on the moon. At the end of the day, Transformers 3 is a movie that you know you’re going to watch because of its metal-crunching and awesome action sequences. You do not expect to go there for some heavy mental stimulation. And for what it’s worth, it delivers brilliantly.