"Humor is a funny way of being serious"
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Copyright© 2001-2010, Renato Obeid
"Top blog/Renato Obeid's World/Today's pick: This rambling weblog is worth reading not so much for its satirical posts but more for its insight into the minutiae of life in Lebanon, including the etiquette of road accidents and how to hire a taxi.”
-Jane Perrone, The Guardian
Thursday, November 27, 2003
GEORGIA ON MY MIND
Last weekend's main international news development was the surprisingly quick and efficient (practically movie-length) peaceful toppling of Georgian President Edaurd Shevadnaze after protestors invaded the country's parliament in Tblisi.
Those developments vaguely resembled the much more dramatic scenes of the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the reunification of Germany, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the downfall of communist regimes across Eastern Europe but on a much smaller scale - Perestrokia Lite.
They don't make 'em like they used to anymore - just like Gulf War Two was but a mere shadow of the original, Perestrokia Two was close but no cigar.
The Sadam Hussein News Agency (Al-Arabiya TV) has had its Baghdad offices closed.
The Osama bin Laden News Agency (Al Jazeera TV) was not affected by the Governing Council decree.
Sunday, November 23, 2003
Voters in Switzerland have narrowly approved proposals to allow closer international military co-operation by the Swiss army.
Traditionaly, the Swiss army has concentrated on making knives.
That the next Nobel Peace Prize should go to a slut or sluts in general.
Sluts have done more for the cause of world peace and happiness than all the previous recipients combined!*
*This sounded so much funnier when I was drunk but, I don't care, I'm sticking with it!
I have self-censored an adjunct to that that read "besides, a slut hasn't won it for -- years"
For the complete uncensored version of that please refer to The Hole In The Wall pub (Beirut Lebanon) last night.
LOBBYING FOR 2004 PEACE PRIZE BEGINS
(5.00pm Thursday 27th November)
Several women have objected to this entry - "sexist", "stereotypical", "cheap", "offensive to women" blah,blah,blah.
I think that theyre just upset that I didnt nominate them directly,specificaly and exclusively.
Sorry babes, but your'e just going to have to share the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize.
And you can start earning it now!
So stop your blabbering and get busy - "a little less conversation, a little more action".
Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Royal Commission to determine “who let the dogs out?”
Know what I hate?
I hate it when you don’t know what a word means, you look it up in a dictionary and you STILL don’t know what it means!
Although I tend to blame that on the dictionary – dictionary failure.
SMOKER HIT BY BUS
-“You Could Get Hit By a Bus Tomorrow” theorem finally proven
-Widow glad he hadn’t given up smoking
The “You Could Get Hit By a Bus Tomorrow” Theorem (used to justify smoking) is the main reason why I smoke.
As I understand it, either you smoke or you get hit by a bus and I’d much rather smoke!
A recent study warns that Australia risks becoming a “technological backwater”.
The report says that there has been an exodus of Australian technological workers overseas – including some eighty mathematicians who have departed over the past seven years.
According to my calculations that’s about twenty-five a year
But my question is do we really miss those mathematicians, do we really need them?
Who needs them?
A girl I know showed me this yuppie natural toothpaste she brought because she believes that regular toothpaste causes breast cancer.
I said to her “you must be using it wrong, its toothpaste not titspaste”.
Tuesday, November 18, 2003
PRINCE CHARLES WELCOMES AMERICA'S KING GEORGE II AT HEATHROW AIRPORT
- heir to Windsor throne meets heir to Bush throne at start of state visit
Friday, November 14, 2003
SEND IN THE CLOWNS
Testing new medicines on animals just isn't working.
I propose we test medicines in development on clowns.
Clowns are VERY FUNNY,have a great sense of humour and don't seem too concerned with their personal safety and wellbeing (clowns are always tripping over banana peels - that's pretty careless isn't it?) so why don't they use that negligence to help society rather than just hitting each other in the face with cream pies?
They can also be useful in testing make up - clowns are very silly and wear lots of make up!
Tuesday, November 11, 2003
This Ramadan when I go to iftars (the meal at sundown breaking the all day fast during the Muslim holy month) I urge my hosts to serve the meal quickly – “come on, come on, hurry up, I haven’t eaten for at least an hour, I’m starving!”
An hour being the transit time – it takes roughly an hour to get to the predominately Muslim cities of Beirut and Tripoli*(where I’ve been attending these iftars) from the Christian heartland here.
I recall the wonderful hostess who invited my father and I to an iftar (my mother was already staying at her house – she tends to spend a lot of time with her family during Ramadan understandably) who was fretting that the meal wouldn’t be ready in time for the firing of the cannon which marks the breaking of the fast – saying she’d be so embarrassed in front of my father and I.
Her brother jokingly and logically said “youre worried about them, what about us? – They’ve come from home where they’ve had lunch, we’ve been fasting all day!”
Last Thursday I went to another wonderful iftar at that wonderful lady’s house – she had insisted I attend, even saying that the whole iftar was especially for me.
I jokingly told her that this was not the time for us (Christians).
Lebanon is a multi-confessional country.
The state officially recognizes nineteen different religious sects (including Judaism).
LEBANON: NINETEEN FLAVOURS – TRY ‘EM ALL!
Other sects (outside the nineteen) are, off course, tolerated and respected but not officially recognized by the state – i.e. if the state is at a party and sees one or more of those unrecognised sects it will pretend not to see them, look away or something.
But if pressed, if one of those sects approaches them and says something like “hi, its me Buddhism!” the state will say, “Hey, sorry I didn’t recognize you!”
Even some of the religions that are recognized by the state aren’t that recognized by the populace.
During the height of the Lebanese Civil War, my Syrian Protestant godfather**, caught in traffic in Beirut when the fighting flared up, was stopped by a Muslim militiaman who put a gun to his head and asked him whether he was Muslim or Christian.
He replied Protestant and the gunman just dismissed him (he was obviously gunning for Maronites)You can just imagine him saying “who’s got time for you people? Can’t you see that we’re busy here? Now do something useful and go get me a Maronite!”
A Muslim relative of mine was asking me if I was going to visit him on the Eid (Eid el Fitr- literally “the celebration of breaking the fast” - at the culmination of the month of Ramadan is the major Muslim holy day) and I replied, jokingly, “you mean Eid el Miled?”(literally meaning “the celebration of the birth” – i.e. Christmas).
He said “no, I’ll visit you at Christmas.”
A wonderful example of coexistence and pluralism in what Pope John Paul 2nd says is “a message not a country”.
*Being from a multi-confesional background I find that I can easily flit between the two environments and faiths and find I need very little preparation when I go from a Christian area to a Muslim area.
Except I have to bear in mind and remind myself of a major cultural difference which I coach myself in and try to memorize all the way to Tripoli (Beirut being a lot more progresive,modern and wordly) - "kiss the men and shake hands with the women; kiss the men and shake hands with the women right?; ok, remember, kiss the men and shake hands with the women; thats kiss the men and shake hands with the women, men - kiss them, women - shake their hands, men=kiss, women = handshake,got it?"
***I was a heathen for the first seven or so years of my life.
How a Maronite came to be baptized at the age of seven with a Syrian Protestant godfather is something you’ll have to ask my parents.
I was a deprived child.
My friend Ronnie had already been baptized twice by that age.
His Orthodox mother spirited him off to an Orthodox church and had him baptized while his Maronite father was overseas.
When his father came back and found out, he righted the wrong by having him baptized again as a Maronite.
Talk about The Two Ronnies!
There was no religious tug of war between my parents – my siblings and I didn’t even know that our mother was a Muslim until we were in our early teens although her brainwashing us with Nasserism and the Palestinian cause should have rang alarm bells.
When my sister was preparing for her First Communion she asked mum what kind of dress she wore for her First Communion and mum answered ‘’like your dress’’.
We’re not to blame – even grown adults can’t spot the heathen so easily.
A friend of a friend visiting us en route to a visit to Harisa about ten years ago asked me if I knew what time the Our Lady of Lebanon sanctuary in Harisa was open till.
I didn’t know and she suggested that maybe my mother would know.
I suggested that she didn’t count on that.
My friend Tonino jokes that no Catholics would accept to be my Godparents.
It’s all jokes of course.
I can joke about my Godparents because I don’t have Godparents, I have second parents which is what my Godparents are to me.
Besides, my Godfather is ancestrally Lebanese Maronite.
His family moved to Syria from Lebanon after a village dispute and converted to Protestantism because Protestant missionaries developed their deprived and neglected village in Syria.
So originally they were Protestants of convenience and then it just stuck.
I think that it is simplistic to say that all Lebanon's discord is due to religion but yet I think that it is also simplistic to say that this discord is not due to religion.
The first myth about the Lebanese civil war is that it was about religion; the second myth about the Lebanese civil war is that it wasn’t about religion.
Sunday, November 02, 2003
The American Consulate in Baghdad has issued a travel warning advising Americans not to travel to Iraq.
Why is Iraq such a dangerous place?
Iraq is such a dangerous place because that advisory is seven months too late - because seven months ago hundreds of thousands of Americans TRAVELLED to Iraq, invaded and occupied it!
If only the Americans had of issued that same warning seven months ago, then Iraq and the rest of the world (even the Americans) wouldn’t be in this dire situation where they need to (most ironically I say) issue travel advisories to their citizens – warning them not to visit an Iraq that is so dangerous due to the very actions of American “visitors”.
Nonetheless, better late than never – why don’t they head their own advice and fuck off!
It must be noted that I am not anti-American.
I’m just not enamoured of some of their actions.
I would even say that I am pro-American – pro-Thomas Jefferson’s America (a very different place from what it is today).