"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
Monday, August 30, 2004
"No more years! No more years!"
The Republican National Convention begins in New York City today.
Sunday, August 29, 2004
The 28th Olympiad wound down in Athens today
A ten medal tally has made Athens 2004 the most succesful games for the Arabs since the 1972 Munich games.
Friday, August 27, 2004
SINCE WHEN DO TIM TAMS COME IN FINGERS?!?
- Vladivostok was fine! Thanks for asking!*
Reading the Australian newspapers on the internet, I notice that we now have a (shadow) Minister for Homeland Security.
Since when did we ever have a Minister for Homeland Security?!?
Since when did we ever have a "Homeland"?!?
Since when did Australia become a "Homeland"?!?
This is as American as you can get.
Australians are as patriotic as the next country (which is, alphabetically speaking, Austria) but I have never in my entire life heard Australians refer to Australia as a "Homeland" – " 'Stralia" is about the extent of it.
Is not a rose a rose by any other name?
It's just not in our nature, our patriotism is understated – it's not grandiose and egomaniacal like the Americans.
*There was a very amusing ad on Australian TV a couple of years ago, where a not very intelligent man has just returned from Vladivostok, still dressed in his furs, to find his girlfriend and another man feeding each other Tim Tam Fingers in a very friendly way.
Rather than noticing and being upset about his girlfriend cheating on him the silly man seems only to notice and be upset about the fact that Tim Tams now come in fingers.
Thursday, August 26, 2004
GET ON THE LOVE TRAIN
A peace procession some twelve kilometers long and growing is now en route to the Iraqi city of Najaf, led by Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani who called on Iraqi's to converge on the central Iraq city to try and end the siege in the Imam Ali Mosque.
Is this the Iraqi Woodstock?
Wednesday, August 25, 2004
The International Olympic committee has weighed into the controversy over the George W Bush campaign using the games in their election advertising.
They don't want any political exploitation of the games because they're too busy financially exploiting them.
Apparently even the term "Olympics" or "Olympic" is copyrighted and jealously protected by the IOC so I have to be really careful how I use it.
Let's just say that the International Opilmyc Committee sucks.
The Bush bunch aired television ads featuring images of Iraqi and Afghan Olympians to campaign for another four years of their Oilympics – their mad sprint to monopolize the world's oil resources thru neocolonialization.
The renatoobeidsworld editorial board has announced that we will not be calling the result of the US Presidential election ahead of the actual official announcement of the result.
This brings us in line with other media outlets that were chastened by the 2000 debacle that saw American television networks declare both candidates winners respectively before some polling stations had even closed.
Whilst renatoobeidsworld wasn’t around then, we made a similar blunder in calling the 2001 Iraqi plebiscite on President Saddam Hussein's rule.
In a thrillingly close contest, we called that the no vote had prevailed whereas the yes vote ultimately won with one hundred percent support.
Tuesday, August 24, 2004
The Scream, Edvard Munch (1893)
Copyright: Whoever Stole It.
SCREAMSAVER: MY COPY OF THE SCREAM (ABOVE), SAFELY SAVED ON MY COMPUTER, HAS SOARED IN VALUE SINCE THE THEFT OF THE ORIGINAL - I WON'T PART WITH IT FOR LESS THAN A MILLION DOLLARS.
Edvard Munch's famous painting The Scream and other works were stolen from the Munch Museum in Oslo Norway (Sunday) by armed men - the second time a version of one of art's most iconic paintings has been stolen in a decade
Another version was stolen and recovered in 1994.
DISCLAIMER:I am not an art expert - I don't know a lot about art but I know wot I like (especially them old paintings wots got birds with big bristols* in them).
*Bristol cities in full - cockney rhyming slang for a woman's jugs (to give them their proper anatomical name)
"A few days ago, residents of Corniche Mazraa, a hot canyon of traffic in west Beirut, were astonished to see thousands of sheets of paper descending on them from a light aircraft, carpeting the road and pavements and apartment blocks in a snow of pictures of a green forest.
They were even more surprised to read the text on the back. Supported by the Lebanese Environment Ministry, each sheet of paper urged the people "not to throw litter on the ground"."
- Robert Fisk, The Independant, 07 July 2002
Monday, August 23, 2004
I apologize for the infrequent postings but it's not my fault that there's so much porn on the internet.
P.S:I didn't ask to be born,you're not the boss of me!
There ought to be less porn on the internet!
I can’t keep up with it all!
Friday, August 20, 2004
THE QUITE ATHENIAN
- the quietest games ever
Trust the Greeks to host an apathetic Olympics.
Or "apatheia" I should say!
Unmask the word "apathy", a la Scooby Doo, and what do you have?
"Apatheia" – the Greek root of the word – the Greeks invented it!
As a member of the NSA (Non-Sporting Australian) minority I'm not complaining though.
Why is it that the only patriotic Greeks are found outside of Greece?
Or, for that matter that the only patriotic anybody are found outside of their country.
I can't' remember the last time I meet a genuinely patriotic Lebanese and I'm in Lebanon!
Sunday, August 15, 2004
Here comes the story of the Hurricane
FLORIDA WOMAN GLAD SHE DIDN'T PUT THE WASHING OUT
- 145mph winds leave thirteen dead and billions of dollars damage
- Hurricane Charley worst to hit US East Coast in twelve years
Friday, August 13, 2004
The opening ceremony of the 28th Olympiad is now underway.
I've never seen so many tablecloths in all my life! - why can't they wear normal clothes like everybody else?(How do you think you're ever going to get a job looking like that Benin?).
(I know what you're thinking, but it's not Friday 13th in the Orthodox calendar, it's actually 26th August*)
The Olympic Games return home today as the 28th Olympiad begins in Athens Greece (Melbourne on the Mediterranean).
The Games began when naked men (Nike hadn't been invented yet) competed in a tournament dedicated to the Ancient Greek god Zeus in 776 BC (Before Clothes).
This is the third time the Greeks have had the Olympics in the modern era - Athens 1896, Melbourne 1956 and Athens 2004.
*The Greeks, like the rest of their Orthodox brethren, are Still Thinking About The Fall Of Rome - the schism that began with the fall of Rome and the subsequent division of the Roman Empire into Eastern (Orthodox) and Western (Catholic) parts is still an issue for them.
E.g. compare the cold press ganged reception given to the Pope when he visited Greece (a Christian country) in 2001 compared to the warm reception he received in Muslim Syria just before that.
When you hear press or police reports of somebody "surprising an intruder in their home", you get to thinking – who's really "surprised" here, the intruder (who has planned to break into somebody's home and is cognizant of the fact that they may turn up) or the person who has discovered a stranger in their home? ("I'm so surprised, an intruder in my home but, hey, I'm not as surprised as you must be!").
BEWARE OF IMITATIONS
- counterfeit canines
My cousin Omar, like his brother and sister, quite frequently gets ten out of ten on English tests but he's also doing well in "Australian" too – he's picked up (via osmosis – I don’t actually set out to teach him) a couple of Australian words from me.
Most recently, he surprised me with the word "mongrel".
Seeing he knows the word already, I thought I'd properly define it for him.
Starting with the primary meaning of the word, I told him that a mongrel was a dog of mixed breed, not of pure-bred pedigree.
"A fake dog?" he asked.
I explained to him that there's no such thing as a fake dog – all dogs are real (except Scooby Doo) but some are pure-bred whilst others are mixed breed.I also gave him the secondary (pertinent definition) – in Australian slang, a mongrel is a mean detestable person.
Not all Omar’s slang is perfect though – he says ‘’dig’’ instead of ‘’dick’’ (I didn’t teach him either of them).
My brother Guy also did his bit to propagate Australian slang.
When my cousin Hala was visiting him in Melbourne in 1997 he jokingly told her that his friend Justin was a ‘’c**t’’ (insults are often a term of endearment in Australia).
When she met Justin she said ‘’hello Justin, pleased to meet you. I hear that you’re a ‘’c**t’’ (not knowing what it meant).
Not surprisingly Justin the c**t was gobsmacked.
Serves him right for being a c**t.
Thursday, August 12, 2004
IT'S ENOUGH TO KEEP YOU AWAKE AT NIGHT!
''For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong''
- H.L. Mencken
My suggestion to countries that have a shortage of doctors (e.g. the Philippines) is that the best way to create doctors instantly is to tell people that you're an insomniac – people will become instant doctors and give you all sorts of useless advice*.
The most useless advice would have to be "try not to think about anything".
This I usually (BUT NOT EXCLUSIVELY) associate with people who don't think a lot but are occasionally ambushed by thought when they're off guard and they can't fight and resist it as they usually do during the day, i.e. when they're lying down in bed.
It's not that I can't' sleep because I think - I'm not some plebe unable to sleep at night because I'm thinking of petty personal matters - it's just that it's hard to shut down any working machinery (an active mind) instantly, particularly something that's been working all day.
This type of person wants to banish thought, that's probably why, when they occasionally think, they're kept awake because they're so disturbed and upset by this new, scary and unfamiliar phenomenon.
And this type of person have all got their own stories of so-called insomnia – the richest I've heard is some plebe who recently empathized with me, saying that he had it the other day and it was terrible!
He usually goes to sleep at 2.00am and he couldn’t get to sleep until 4.00am!
That's two whole hours of "insomnia"!
That's not insomnia!
Keep you're filthy hands of my insomnia!
I pray for that kind of "insomnia"!
My record, at least that I remember, is thirteen unlucky hours spent trying to get to sleep!
Real insomniacs don't talk about it (lest it might hear them).
Real insomniacs respect it and keep quite about it - the other day somebody asked me how my insomnia was going and all I said was "it's going great" (which it is, I now classify myself as a professional insomniac and am going to start putting it on my business cards).
If anything, I can't sleep because I'm too busy worrying about the fact that there are stupid people like him in this world!
The most clichéd, boring and specious advice is the old stay-awake-for-twenty-four-hours advice.
It sounds good in theory but amongst its many drawbacks is that you risk becoming overtired and not being able to sleep because you’re overtired.
Besides, sometimes it takes me twelve hours to get to sleep which means that I often pass the twenty four hour mark anyway.
And if you’re going to have an insomnia episode you certainly don’t want to start it at the twenty four hour mark but prefer to end it at the twenty four hour mark.
I used to try this method sometimes but more as a break from the insomnia and trying to sleep not as some magic cure.
And, even if it does work sometimes, it’s only for a limited time and is not a permanent cure.
It might set you right for a while only because you’re so tired and have a sleep deficit but it’s not going to last for ever.
*I am in no way referring to the useful scientifically founded advice that concerned family and friends offer, which I am very grateful for, but advice like that I recently got from a materialistic bourgeois neighbor who said that I should have more things in my bedroom because, according to him, the dearth of "stuff" in my minimalist bedroom was what was keeping me awake at night.
Tuesday, August 10, 2004
The Summer Of The Patriarch
THE BUTLER DID IT
The latest act in the Richard Milhous Butler one-man show has ended with his resignation as Governor of Tasmania (thirty years to the very day after Richard Milhous Nixon resigned).
As UNSCOM head, Richard Butler took what was meant to be a neutral diplomatic job and made it personal - operating outside his remit and engaging in petty indulgent personal vendettas to the extent that it ended up being Butler versus Saddam.
He appears to of done the same thing in Tasmania, sans Saddam off course.
Batten down the hatches in Hobart - the last time this undiplomatic diplomat left a city in a huff* (Baghdad 1999) bombs were the inevitable consequence of his inability to stick to the script.
*More like half then huff - a half million dollar (the equivalent in AUD of 453,000USD to be exact but I'm rounding off) termination payment.
CONGRATULATIONS - YOU'VE JUST SAVED 100,000 AUD!
Mr Butler is trying to flog his story to the media for one hundred thousand Australian dollars but you've just read it here for free.
Monday, August 09, 2004
THE DOVES OF WAR
- hawkish Secretary of State wanted
I don’t get it.
US Secretary of State Colin Powell is still referred to as a dove even though he was the advance man and is now the maintenance man for two wars (Afghanistan and Iraq)!
Two wars! (Correct at time of publication, check current news sources for updates).
That's a dove?
How many wars do you have to be involved in before you lose your dove classification?
What's with the misnomer Homer?
Why do the media still insist on calling him a dove?
Is it because he's such a genuinely nice guy?, which he appears to be - though he might appear a lot nicer on the podium at the State Department, when seen from the press section, then in (so to speak) a fighter jet seen from the ground of some destroyed village.
Or is it because of positive discrimination? – The press can't reconcile "Republican" let alone "hawkish Republican" with "African-American" and insist on miscasting him according to their stereotypes.
Or is it all relative? – That even Genghis Khan as Secretary of State would look like a dove when compared to the right-of-Genghis Khan Bush cabinet.
Well, Colin POW! (Batman graphics please) ain't no Prince, but this is what it sounds like when doves cry (war).
Secretary Powell is a decent, accomplished man and, like all men, shouldn’t be defined according to his race, religion etc (which I'm certainly not doing) but he shouldn’t be categorized according to it either (which is just as discriminatory).
Tuesday, August 03, 2004
PRESIDENT BUSH RAISES SECURITY LEVEL
- reveals new intelligence has been discovered that indicates terrorists plan to attack the World Trade Centre
- denies opponent's allegations that new alert is politically motivated manipulation of old intelligence
OFF THE RACK
- chiropractor wanted
To those of us who are always on the computer, this miracle of modern technology is merely a contemporary form of the medieval torture rack – the effect on ones body is practically the same.
With the announcement that the Greek authorities are to build a fence around the Israeli athlete's accommodation (at their request) at the Athens Olympic village, the Israeli quarters are set to look more like a national pavilion at a world fair then a place for athletes to doss down in.
Just like the Chinese build a version of their Great Wall at their pavilions, the Israeli's will come to Athens with a version of their infamous fence/Grating Wall.
Regards the fence in Israel, I'm all in favor of it – I think that it should be pulled back a bit though, until it encompasses the whole of Israel and the Palestinian territories, whereby the two sides should be left to sort it out amongst themselves (sparing the rest of the world).
Monday, August 02, 2004
I WENT TO THE DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION AND ALL I GOT WAS THIS STUPID SONG*
- day five of the "you can feel it all over" crisis
Four days after the end of the very conventional Democratic National Convention in Boston, I still can't get Stevie Wonder's Sir Duke (of "you can feel it all over" fame) out of my head.
Is this a world record?
*I didn’t actually went to the convention per se but neither did man went to the moon, so now we're even.
As the countdown to the opening ceremony of the Athens Olympics begins (only eleven days away), my sources in Beijing inform me that the countdown to Beijing 2008 has already begun.
Military and police personal stormed the houses of scores of political dissidents in the Chinese capital in the early hours of the morning, administering them cautionary warning Chinese burns* ("next time it's death by Chinese burn!").
China regularly cracks down on known dissidents ahead of its hosting of international events or visits in an attempt to stifle and suppress embarrassing protests under the international spotlight.
The 1983 UN Playground Convention, which China doesnt recognize, banned Chinese burns but the practice is still widespread there as well as in Chinese restaurants all over the world.
Chinese authorities have denied the crackdown and denied Amnesty International allegations that confessions are tickled out of prisoners in Chinese jails.
I don't recognize the convention either – I'm trying to import Chinese burns to Lebanon by administering them to my little cousins who will, hopefully, administer them to other children, who will hopefully administer them to other children ad infinitum.
*To those who didn’t have the benefit of attending an Australian primary school, a Chinese burn is when both hands are placed, side by side, on the victim's forearm and are then twisted in opposing directions in a wringing motion (don't try this at home!)
Note : Chinese burns are not to be confused with Scotish Burns - Scotland's national bard, Robert Burns, who, most famously, wrote the words of the song that has become synonymous with New Year's Eve ( Abba's Happy New Year ).