Who Needs Cedars Anyway? Alf Malyoun Mabrouk Gebran Tawk

Mabrouk former deputee Gebran Tawk, even if a little early. I’m crossing my fingers you’d become a jeddo soon – if you’re not already one. Sorry, I’m not that well-versed in the Tawk family tree.  But I’m willing to learn.

I get you. I really, really do. You love your son. I love your son too – we are all brothers and sisters of this one fine mighty (maybe not) nation. Ok, Cliche season is over now. If it were me, I’d want my precious offspring to have the most kick ass Lebanese wedding that many won’t be invited to, a wedding that would befit their stature and mine (if I had any).

I heard you’ve invited about 3000 people to the wedding in question. You know what they say, go all out or go home. The festivities will last three days as well. Now isn’t that just beautiful. Speaking of which, I’m still waiting on my invite, fellow Northener and all. I want to be part of the fun too.

Your son’s wedding is so important, I heard, that it has triumphed over our national symbol. I jokingly said a few times that we only have one Cedar tree left, the one on our flag. Well, you’ve out-rooted that one as well. Who needs those pesky trees anyway? They don’t serve any function. They don’t hold fruits or anything eatable. Their ecological impact, given their rarity in this country, is minimal. They are just old. We hate old – we want new and new comes with fancy weddings to make head spins.

I want you to extend my gratitude to the Maronite church as well. I have been so busy trying to keep up with their constant rambling about the need to preserve the land, our presence, Christ in our heart, the Lord in our beings w heik that it totally slipped my mind that even someone in your grandeur would require some approval – in this case theirs – to turn part of our Cedar Forest into your son’s marital complex.

I also really hope this marital complex becomes available for future wedding celebrations. You can call it Cedars Wedding Club. A little tacky, sure. But can you imagine the amount of money it would bring in? Is that way the municipality of Bcharreh is allowing this? I would if I were them.

Quick question before I go, will you hold the fireworks show inside the main forest? I heard the reflection off those trees serves as a magnificent backdrop to your son’s first kiss.

– – – – – – –

The area adjacent to the main Cedar Forest in Bcharreh, part of the reforestation efforts that have been ongoing for years now,  is being allegedly leveled off by former MP Gebran Tawk in order to create a space for his son’s wedding, end of August.

The forest in question is on the UNESCO list of world heritage sites. According to this article, Lebanon, the country of the Cedars, has about 2000 hectares of trees left. Turkey has 400,000. I guess we couldn’t care less.

I’m guessing the silence of Sethrida Geagea and Elie Kairouz, the region’s current MPs, is because they are invited to the wedding too.

Pictures courtesy of LBC and L’orient le Jour:

Update: The government has stopped all works. 

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Lebanese Newlywed’s First Dance… To Gangnam Style

This is awesome and they actually did the dance well! Congrats to the newlywed and thank you for the wedding reception entertainment. I’m sure your guests were more than pleased.

Now if all weddings could be this creative, perhaps I’d like to attend them more often. W 3a2bel l 3eyzin 😛

Bridesmaids – Movie Review

Where do I start?

Over 90% in positive reviews according to Rotten Tomatoes, written by those responsible for the hilarious Saturday Night Live skits and brought to the screen by those that gave us Knocked Up and The 40 Year Old Virgin. Mix these together and you get a pretty high expectation level for Bridesmaids. Some had even called it the comedy of the year, a possible “Hangover”-esque comedy with women in power.

I don’t want to sound anti-feminist but Bridesmaids fails miserably.

Annie (Kristen Wiig) and Liliane (Maya Rudolph) have been best friends since they were little girls. When Liliane gets engaged, she chooses Annie to be her maid of honor. And then they meet the other bridesmaids: a neurotic woman named Helen (Rose Byrn), a newlywed Becca (Ellie Kemper), a tomboy-ish Megan (Melissa McCarthy) and a frustrated mother and wife named Rita (Wendy McLendon-Covey).

Naturally, the bridesmaids won’t get along well as conflict between Helen, who wants to be Liliane’s best friend, and Annie soon arises. And this is the movie’s catalyst (or lack thereof): how the characters interact.

Starting off with a sex scene and going into the monotonous life of a woman and her best friend, the movie sets itself as a chick-flick from the get-go. And it doesn’t really try to stray from that connotation until about the 45th minute. And that’s a lot of baggage for a movie to try to get rid off with one scene that involves a dress fitting gone seriously wrong after some Brazilian food poisoning.

Yes, you will laugh your ass off at that scene and start hoping that the movie has picked up but you will be severely disappointed.

And what do you know, single Annie soon enough meets her own prince charming in the form of a police officer who pulls her over because he thought she was driving under the influence of alcohol. Rhodes (Chris O’Dowd) soon embarks on a troubled relationship with Annie that doesn’t really unfold and is left as a side story more in the realms of cliche than of a true relationship.

Bridesmaids is a terribly slow movie as well. The plot lingers on so many irrelevant points that it doesn’t feel like moving at all. And mind you, I had no idea this was a two hour movie. It’s almost longer than Harry Potter. No comedy is supposed to take this long to unfold, especially one with so little jokes and so many useless dialogue.

The acting in Bridesmaids is pretentious as well. Not only is it agonizing to watch at times, but it’s also as rickety as the joints of a creaky table. Some have called Kristen Wiig’s performance a breakthrough. Excuse me, but have we watched the same movie? She’s not even the character that delivers the good jokes in the movie, it’s tomboy-ish Megan. And Helen, the movie’s “villain” is so marinated in everything cliche about the perfectionist wedding planner than seeing her on screen initiates your gag reflex.

Let me put it this way, Bridesmaids was so bad that a friend who watched the movie with me and who hates anything in the fantasy genre wished she had watched Harry Potter instead. And I was mortified that I had actually suggested we’d watch such a movie. I’m pretty sure a third screening of Harry would have been much more enjoyable than seeing a bunch of women make a joke of themselves by vomiting, cracking jokes about blowjobs, diarrhea and getting wasted on airplanes.

Let me try to grade this. 3/10

The Hangover 2 – Movie Review

Have you seen The Hangover? Odds are you have. Did you like it? Odds are you did. After all, it is a witty comedy aimed at an audience above the age of where thinking that sneaking a drink by you parents is the coolest thing to do.

And naturally, The Hangover was a hit at the box office, grossing more than $280 million, which meant that, in the business world of movies today, a sequel is meant to be.

Is the sequel as good as the first one? Definitely not. Is it an enjoyable movie? In some ways yes, in other ways no. Will you enjoy it? It depends.

Take Vegas out of the equation and insert Bangkok, take out the regular prostitute and insert a transsexual, take out the tiger and insert the monkey and keep the amount of f-words used the same and you get the Hangover 2.

Is it a funny movie? Yes. After all, seeing a guy realize that he slept with a “girl who has a penis” is funny – and the jokes that come out of that are spot-on as well. But overall, while watching The Hangover 2, you feel that you’ve seen all of this before – even if you don’t really remember the details of the first one. They keep on reminding you of them, actually.

One of the guys is getting married to a Thai-American girl whose dad wants to have a traditional Thai wedding. There, they have one last celebratory shindig with the bride’s brother. They wake up the next day at a hotel, far away from the resort they’re having the wedding at, not knowing how they got there. The groom has his face tattooed. One of them has his head shaven and, most importantly, the bride’s brother is missing while his cut finger is with them in the room. And they don’t remember anything of what happened the night before.

Then it becomes your turn to fill in the blanks from The Hangover – even up till the final scene (hint: it’s exactly the same as the first movie). The movie features the same actors and actresses as the first one in exactly the same attitude they had in the first movie as well.

So yeah, I did not really fancy The Hangover 2. When it comes to sequels, if the only thing you’re going to offer an audience is an exact rehash of the original movie, just don’t do it – for the sake of the franchise’s name. After all, the only thing The Hangover 2 is offering is a very bad rep for the first movie, which everyone liked. I hope they don’t have a third one in the making since part 2 is making a lot of money as well.

Wedding Madness

I am not a person who likes weddings. They’re usually crowded, involve lots of social etiquette (which is not something I’m usually good at) and, now that I’m over 20, they serve the double purpose of entertaining some invitees and letting them bombard you with the “good luck” wishes of you tying the knot soon, to which you always smile and say: “thank you”, knowing deep down that it will be a while before I do so.

And fittingly, I have a summer of weddings coming up, the most important of which is that of my aunt, taking place in June. Call it the calm before the storm, but these might be the last couple of weeks of “calmness” I will get. Come end of May, my family members will start trickling from different parts of the globe, some of whom I haven’t seen in over seventeen years.

Add to that the fact that my aunt is turning quite OCD about all the preparations, and you’re in for some “fun” times. Let me put it this way: her theme is that of gemstones and sweets. She asked me to come up with sentences that encompass that theme for the forty tables at her reception and trust me, it gets quite hard including the words “love” and “sweet” with a gemstone such as idocrase (I don’t know what that is as well, if it’s any consolation).

However, I am actually excited about all of this. It’ll be the first time ever that my whole family is brought together. The part I’m the most excited about? the family portrait my grandparents will take with all their children on my aunt’s wedding day.

I’m also preparing something for my aunt as my way of a gift. After all, I don’t work (and it will be some time before I do that) and I know my presence is the best gift (humble, I know) but I think something tangible would be nice as well. So I’m thinking of doing a heartfelt slideshow for the wedding involving this song:

I’m thinking of having pictures of my aunt with my grandparents at different stages of her growing up play with the first verse and the same concept for her fiance during the chorus. Then for the second verse, I would include pictures of the both of them on their wedding day. Any suggestions?

And a couple of weeks after my aunt’s wedding is my best friend’s wedding. However, unlike Julia Roberts, I don’t want to ruin it for her. She was just telling me about the massive preparations she’s going through and it’s mentally draining. I guess being a guy, this is all too much for me to comprehend. The idea of a wedding to me is: you and her, get together with parents and people you want to be there, go to church and say “I do”. My best friend then cuts my monologue saying: “but I’m a girl… I love this. My day should be the best day there is”

And I think that’s why weddings become a jumble of madness. Because those getting married (especially the women) want to make it the best wedding there is that they simply forget about the most essential thing: to have a good time on the wedding day and hope for a long and healthy marriage – not just one day where you impress those you invite, most of which will find ways to criticize, regardless of how spectacular your wedding is.

I think I will in my aunt and best friend’s wedding.