Adonis Diaries

Archive for the ‘auto-biography’ Category

Mar Sassine is depicted in pictures as a long white bearded angry specimen, holding a broad sharp sword, slaying a “heretic infidel”. An early version of Christian Daeshis?

Posted on September 3, 2018

Mon cher Ado,( Part 9)

Autrefois, à Mar Sassine, (Saint Sassine church) les femmes occupaient les rangées de gauche et les hommes ceux de droite. Aujourd’hui on se mélange , tout est embrouillé .

Le dimanche et les jours de fête , tout le monde était joliment habillé . Les femmes et les jeunes filles étaient chapeautées ou bien se couvraient la tête avec de belles écharpes .

Les hommes quant à eux ils devaient se décoiffer dès qu’ils franchissaient le porche de l’église . La plupart étaient costumés avec des chemises blanches. Certains d’entre eux s’habillaient encore à l’ancienne avec une chemise blanche sans col , et un serwal (sherwal), et un fez indispensable (tarboush) qui les rehaussait de quelques centimètres et leur donnait l’air vainqueurs .

J’ai toujours en mémoire quelques uns de la génération de mon grand-père qui n’arrivaient pas à se débarrasser de leurs habits folkloriques .

Le temps s’est chargé de les retirer , les uns après les autres , du tableau de mon enfance .

A l’église, ma grand-mère , Farfoura, et ses copines , Olga Boudalha et Marie Farah , occupaient les premiers rangs de gauche . La messe finie, et après avoir offert leurs prières à Mar Sessine afin qu’il intercède pour elles auprès de Dieu qui devrait exaucer leurs vœux , elles se retrouvaient chez l’une ou l’autre pour siroter un de ces bons café qu’elle savaient si bien préparer à feu doux .

Marie Farah était d’une gentillesse à nulle autre pareille ! Quand j’arrivais parfois chez elle pour voir mon copain Charlot, elle m’accueillait avec son sourire Angélique et tenait toujours à m’ offrir une douceur qu’elle avait préparée et qu’elle gardait dans une boîte au fond du buffet .

Tout cela est du passé, même la maison a changé de look , ce n’est plus la belle maison de mon enfance avec son jardin fleuri et le néflier qui nous accueillait à bras ouvert quand il était chargé de ses fruits succulents .
………….
Il faut savoir que l’église de Mar Sassine est celle de la famille Bejjani, car chaque famille dans notre village à son église , de la sorte qu’on a à Beit-Chabab 16 églises .

Les branches de notre famille sont nombreuses : il y a les Boudebs , les Farah, les Bou-Hanna, les Gebraiel , les Jabr , les Tohme , (les Bouhatab?) et d’autres encore …

A l’église, tout en écoutant la messe, nous observions les jeunes filles aussi belles les unes que les autres!

De ma vie , mon cher Ado, je n’ai rencontré d’aussi belles ! (Miopia might have set in, or definitely I was indifferent then).

Serait ce le fait de l’adolescence ? Ne tarde pas à me rassurer que je ne divague pas ? (Que sais-je? Peut-etre les deux?)

Ce qui m’impressionnait au cours de la messe, c’était lorsque bouna Liés  (Elias), le père de celui qui officie aujourd’hui , car bouna Liés , l’ancien , était marié et avait plus de 10 enfants . (Elias I, Elias II, Elias III…?)

Et bien c’était lorsqu’il entonnait ses prières avec sa voix de ténor , une voix filtrée par barbe blanche qui lui couvrait toute la poitrine et même une partie du ventre , alors que Fares Boudebs faisait la quête avec son panier à la main, précédé de son ventre qu’il avait développé aux cours de ses années passées en Afrique .

Aujourd’hui , c’est son neveu , Josèphe Boudebs qui se charge de faire la quête , à croire que cette charge est allouée aux Boudebs , demain ce sera un des enfants de ma tante Rose qui a eu la belle idée d’épouser un jeune homme de la famille Boudebs. J’attends de voir qui sera le suivant?

Ça m’étonne que Said se charge de cette besogne , encore moins Jean-Pierre , il est donc fort probable que ce sera Farouk ! (Or the wife of one of them?)

(Probablement ce sera une fille des Boudebs? Ca vaudra le sacrifice pour agrandir la quete pour les expenses récente de l’amélioration de l’église. Bernard Gsoub a contribué’ à l’embellissement).

Note: Aunt Marie Farah was the sister of my grandfather Tanios (Antony). Her husband was an elected Mokhtar, someone who knows all the citizens in his quarter and signs on many official transactions. Marie would prohibit her husband to pocket his money dues on the transactions I submitted to him.

Should my personal experience be generalized?

Is lack of taste for luxury sufficient an enough factor to draw conclusion for lacking artistic evaluation?

Since a child and throughout my upbringing I didn’t receive any weekly stipend, and never asked for one. I just relied on Christmas and Easter occasions to get the ritual cash gifts.

It was my responsibility to arrange that whatever cash I received to stretch an entire year.

Though my parents were very well off compared to my relatives, I felt poor to indulge on luxury consumer goods.

Actually, I don’t recall having noticed any change in the clothing of the students or whatever could now be considered peer pressures in resembling to one another.

I relied on my mother fashion style (a great fashionable seamster) to select my clothing, shoes, corrective eye glasses… As long as they fit, and were functional then there were no problems.

I never was invited to participate in the selection of my gifts and outfits.

I think even my younger sister did Not set a trend to pressure my mother and father to re-evaluate their behavior toward the “rights'”of their children to have a small say in what they purchase for them.

I wonder if the new generations accept Not to participate in their appreciation of the gifts.

I have been wondering why my appreciation of artistic creativity is to be desired?

Is it lack of appreciation and discrimination on the quality and luxury of consumer products, or simply my lack of interest in observing changes around me?

Kind of basically lacking social integration and association?

An introvert type who loved to read novels as soon he came home from school?

Anyway, it Not sufficient to lack luxury initiation in order to lack artistic appreciation, and vice versa. Though it is necessary for talented evaluators.

How am I doing in Music? Introspection on my Initiation to music

Posted on January 27, 2009

I was living in Lebanon since 1981, after a stint of 4 years in the US for higher education and a year in Africa. And I had a job that I could Not stand and had no idea what were my functions. Sort of “Are you feeling redundant?” kind of impression.

It was during that period that I tried to learn musical instruments that I was never initiated to in my upbringing. Thus, I purchased an accordion and a classical guitar, but gave up quickly.

I enrolled for music lessons on Saturday mornings at the University of Kaslik, but had no musical ears or talent in that art. And I bitterly learned that it was too late for me to acquire any musical skills.

I recall vividly that the class of “solfege” got very excited as my turns approached for reciting musical codes.  The laughter started before I started and it grew to a deafening crescendo.  The next room music teachers used to immediately come in and join the merry.

I didn’t believe the students were serious: I was damned sure that my voice was correct since my ears were telling a different story. I was 100% sure that my “silent” recitations were perfect.

At long last I had to fake that my voice was not suitable and started preempting laughter. Well I simply agree, there is no coordination between my brains specialized in music and my ears.

Voice performances in my head were valid when Not vocalized. 

Actually, I envy the kids who vocalize songs without understanding a word of the lyrics. Sang lyrics do Not match my comprehension of the written lyrics. Though I do Not mind dancing to the rhythms.

My musical instruments didn’t go to waste; they are used by my young nieces, occasionally. They have more potentials than I. Two of them nieces advanced in their instruments beautifully.

I enrolled in aerobics because it was the fashion; I was trying to catch up with any activity that I was denied as a kid, and trying to discover any innate skills that I could develop as a hobby.

I was to discover no genuine artistic or physical skills and blamed it on age.

I had many trips to the sky resort of Faraya; I had a second-hand Peugeot 404.

I purchased all the snow skiing equipments and outfits.  Most of these trips I took alone during weekdays when I lost my job.

The weekend trips I drove with Rose, a neighbor. I was doing my best, as taught in my initial training, but Rose intimidated me with her performance

I enjoyed swimming in the sea and covered heated swimming pools.  My best months for beaches were from mid-September to mid-November: the kids are in schools, the sand and sea water are cleaner, and I am practically “master of the location”.

How deep listening to music is an Art form? Even if you can’t understand the lyrics, as usual?

Listening to an album from start to finish? As if all the songs must be connected to deliver a story?

Many times, I just share articles to readers who might have different interests and tastes.

By RANDALL ROBERTS STAFF WRITER of Los Angeles Times. MARCH 17, 2020

What’s your favorite album? When was the last time you actually listened to it from start to finish? With intention, like you were watching a movie or reading a novel?

Clear your schedule for the next 3 hours. (Is that a new Yoga technique?)

Choose three full albums, whether from your collection or your streaming service of choice.

Put them in an ordered queue as though you were programming a triple feature (series?)

Because:

1) Musicians spend years making their albums. They struggle over syllables, melodies, bridges and rhythms with the same intensity with which you compare notes on the “Forensic Files” reboot, loot corpses in “Fortnite” or pound Cabernet during pandemics.

(L-R)- Photographs of Paul Simon, Nina Simone, Kacey Musgraves, and Sly Stone in a quadriptych to illustrate "38 life-affirming albums to get you though self-quarantine." Credit (L-R): Jim Dyson/Getty Images; Getty Images; Michael Nagle/For The Times; Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times

MUSIC35 life-affirming albums to help get you through self-quarantine, according to music experts

But most of us are “half-assed” (Meaning disinterested?) when it comes to listening to albums. We put on artists’ work while we’re scrolling through Twitter, disinfecting door knobs, obsessively washing our hands or romancing lovers permitted within our COVID-free zones.

We rip our favorite tracks from their natural long-player habitat, drop them into playlists and forget the other songs, despite their being sequenced to be heard in order.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

There was a time when listeners treated the mere existence of recorded sound as a miracle. A wonder, a kind of time travel. Priests warned of early wax cylinders being tools of the devil. Vintage images from the space age show couples seated around their high-fidelity systems as if being warmed by a fireplace.

The late experimental composer and teacher Pauline Oliveros coined the phrase “deep listening” for just this practice. Defining it as a kind of “Radical attentiveness: I differentiate to hear and to listen. To hear is the physical means that enables perception. To listen is to give attention to what is perceived both acoustically and psychologically.”

A Stravinsky ballet caused a riot. The least you can do is commit to deeply listening to three full albums.

Visitors listen to music at the Los Angeles Public Library in this undated photo.

(Yalla) go dig a ditch in your backyard, put your phone in a Ziplock bag and bury it. Get comfortable on the couch, centered in the sweet spot between the speakers. No stereo system? Put on your headphones (pro-tip: Audio-Technica has become the recording studio standard) or earbuds, or lock yourself in a closet with your best bluetooth speaker. Whatever works.

Stoners will probably tell you to consume an edible an hour prior. Scotch is wonderful. (LSD is illegal.) None of it is necessary. Mindfulness is essential. Light a candle or not. Doesn’t matter, but dimmed light will change the environment for the better. (I would suggest total darkness: cosy in a tomb)

Don’t turn the volume up to 11. Set it at 8.5 and then make a pact with the voices in your head to shut the front door.

The point is to listen with your ears in the same way you read with your eyes, to absorb the flavor as you would velveteen swig of Cabernet washing over your taste buds.https://www.youtube.com/embed/3zUDcdH3OI4?feature=oembed

In 2006, the Staten Island rapper Ghostface Killah, best known as a founding member of Wu-Tang Clan, issued his fifth studio album. It’s about wine’s evil cousin, cocaine. Called “Fishscale,” the album is an hourlong, Tarantino-style action-adventure film, and one of three albums I programmed for a recent night with music.

A conceptually linked, drug-slinging series of vivid, F-bomb-dropping narratives set in the Wu-Tang cinematic universe, “Fishscale” stars Ghostface under his Tony Starks pseudonym.

Unlike the rapper’s previous albums, though, for this one he stepped away from Wu-Tang producer RZA in favor of productions by legends including J Dilla, MF Doom and Pete Rock. The move broadens the landscape.

Gmac Cash - "Coronavirus" video

MUSICPandemic pop: At home and around the world, dark-humored new songs about coronavirus go viral

Snobs will tell you that you’ll need a belt-drive turntable connected to a tube amp driving a pair of Klipsch speakers, and that the only way to truly appreciate something like “Fishscale” is to listen to the Japanese vinyl pressing or something. That’s not the point here.

Straight talk: Compact discs from the 1990s and ‘00s sound fantastic. And in a blind test you likely wouldn’t be able to distinguish between a 320k Spotify stream and a 2006 pressing of “Fishscale.”

As a writer, Ghostface is unparalleled. His love of wordplay, his urgent delivery and frantic phrasing move across bars with the singsong freedom of five-minute John Coltrane solos.

After a cuss-heavy intro, “Fishscale” commences with “Shakey Dog,” a cinematic punch akin to a car chase opening an action movie. We’re with Starks on the way to a robbery. He’s in the backseat eating fish and dipping French fries into ketchup. He drops tartar sauce on his shoe, a portent that the advancing plot might not go as planned. By the end of the song, nearly a dozen people are dead and a bullet has grazed our hero’s ear.

Across “Fishscale,” the rapper’s verses are dense with wordplay and references: cheeba weed brownies, “Sanford and Son,” fried plantains and rice, centipede stab wounds, Pyrex scholars and extract oil cut from Cuban plants.

He raps of professors at war and terry-cloth Guess shorts; of a lover, whose “voice was a slow jam, full length white mink,” who seduced him in a room scored by Barry White slow jams and with cigarette smoke that “floated when it left her throat — spelled ‘Honey’.”

As with every work of art, “Fishscale” is a portal, in its case into a space dense with action, urgency and invective. Yes, you are still sitting on the couch, but you’re also wandering in isolation through the fabric of someone else’s musical universe.

If “Fishscale” is a thriller, Aimee Mann’s 2017 album, “Mental Illness,” is an expert series of vignettes whose characters are dealing with isolation and social distancing, even if it’s not due to COVID-19. “Mental Illness” is about as far removed from “Fishscale” as “Twin Peaks” is from the “Fast & Furious” franchise.https://www.youtube.com/embed/fhThS-PJOFE?feature=oembed

The Los Angeles-based Mann is one of the city’s most eloquent songwriters, and for this insular record producer Paul Bryan and she convey a sense of gentle effortlessness. Strum-propelled waltzes augmented with subtle string arrangements (“Stuck in the Past”) ease into songs about abyss-leaning narrators. “Three thousand miles to sit in a room with a vanishing groom,” she sings on “You Never Loved Me,” a song about someone who gets ghosted after traveling to meet a fiancé.

And then there’s “Patient Zero.” A song written long before sheltering in place became standard, its opening verse reads like a portent: “They served you champagne like a hero / When you landed someone carried your bag / From here on out you’re patient zero / Smelling ether as they hand you the rag.”

Turn the volume up to 9 as Bryan’s arrangement builds. Measure by measure, he and Mann add texture: a gentle tambourine, plucked-string accents, a precisely placed kick-drum. Organized noise, made by experts in their field and recorded when the virus lay dormant in some god-forsaken bat’s innards, but resonating anew.

“Life is good / You look around and think / I’m in the right neighborhood,” Mann sings as she seizes the narrative. “But honey you just moved in,” she adds, as if predicting catastrophe. “Life is grand — and wouldn’t you like to have it go as planned?”

If it had gone as planned, you wouldn’t be reading this right now. But we are stuck inside. We don’t know for how long. There are no sports. You have been scrolling through the Netflix page for an hour now.

Give up. Let go. Things may be falling apart, but there’s still music.

On their epic 2011 double CD, “RE: ECM,” the experimental electronic producers Ricardo Villalobos and Max Loderbauer were given the keys to the vault of the lauded jazz and contemporary classical label ECM Records.https://www.youtube.com/embed/_mKa98J3HlY?feature=oembed

Onetime home to artists including Arvo Pärt, Keith Jarrett, Meredith Monk, Jan Garbarek and dozens more, ECM possesses a catalog of master recordings that contains millions of musical tones: rhythms, wails, bass hums, snare snaps, cymbal sizzles and synthetic boops and warbles.

Villalobos and Loderbauer built an abstract masterpiece from these measures. A haunting, minimal tapestry of acoustically created tones and voices that the pair then electronically recontextualized, each of the work’s 17 pieces draws from specific ECM works.

Rensenada,” for example, uses as source material jazz multi-instrumentalist and Miles Davis collaborator Bennie Maupin’s classic 1974 album “The Jewel in the Lotus.” Among the players on the recording: Herbie Hancock on electric piano, bassist Buster Williams and a trio of percussionists including Billy Hart.

“Rekondakion’s” source material is a sacred chorale by Estonian composer Pärt. Inhabiting it at full volume can be an overwhelming experience. Pärt composed the piece for the 750th anniversary of the Cologne Cathedral, but to hear it reworked by Villalobos and Loderbauer — to absorb it minus distraction, moment by measureless moment — is to be transported to a place immune to anything nature can throw at us.

How complex is Your life experience?

Why well to do people cannot help but judging and belittling people life experiences?

How many of you experienced a few of these events in their life?

Visited the sinks of small restaurants serving Mexican food? And hand washed and cleaned dishes soiled with all kind of cheese and fat?

Cleaned restrooms and toilets? Vacuumed 4 floors of libraries and collected the trash?

Mopped and shined wood parkets?

Had to wake up at 4 am for years to work on 4 minimum wage jobs in order to pay the tuition for graduate courses?

Was awaken at 2 am by the manager to observe the dead bodies of 4 night guards, killed with machetes to rob the safebox of the manager?

Who suffered from malaria in Nigeria and was taken to an Egyptian doctor, living alone in a shanty house, deep in the forest?

Who slept hungry?

Who rented a space to sleep in guesthouses and had to vacate early morning?

Who cared for years for his bedridden elderly parents (both of them in their 90’s)? And had to wake up twice at night, go down stairs to switch the interruptor for the private electricity provider in response to the sound of the air ventilator machine?

Who rented rooms in basements?

Who lived with elderly people because their children “feared” to leave them alone in the house?

Who managed a retirement community in a 9-story building, hopped with them in a van to visit sites in the city, take picture of them, interview them for the monthly gazette to promote this lousy private institution? And witness several clients commit suicide by throwing themselves from windows?

Who boarded the slowest Amtrak train of the 70’s that made you feel you’ll never reach destination.

Who got on a Greyhound bus for 3 days and nights to cross from one state to another, just to attend a convention?

Who was awaken at midnight in a hotel room by your advisor to say “you are snoring”

Who tried all kinds of jobs, just to discover a single job that he would consider worth a life endeavor, a passion that will make him wake up happy and excited to go to work, and miserably failed to find and settle on this job/passion?

Who was 2 hours away from certain death when he got typhoid fever in Africa at the age of 5, and had to re-learn how to walk after a month in the cold chamber?

Who lived alone for 20 years in a foreign land, no relatives around, and had to fend for his survival everyday?

Who had to learn to place 50 cold calls every morning to strangers in order to fulfil the requirement of a real estates company?

Who walked every single street in an entire county and knock on every house to distribute promoting leaflets?

Who attended every conceivable university courses, math, chemistry, physics, engineering (industrial and human factors), psychology, econometrics, economy, accounting, higher education… All the probability graduate courses, experimental designs applied by different fields and their statistical analyses packages and interpretation of results, running experiments with subjects, designing ATM interface that never changed through the decades…

Who took Artificial Intelligence course in the late 90’s, the kind of “If…then” queries from experts in their fields, and neutral network created by psychologists?

How many international exams and tests, national and syndicate exams and tests, language proficiency exams and tests, including driving exams (oral and written) in every state you settle in? (Obviously rules and laws of driving do Not change that dramatically, but governments need fresh money. I did all of them in 3 languages (French, English and Arabic) and stopped counting long time ago. Multiple choice exams ae no brainer if you know the order of dimension in every engineering field. Without preparation, I managed to pass, and that was good enough.

Teaching at universities with 60 students per class. Students Not there to learn anything, but to secure a certificate for attending a university. Heavily copy/pasted internet homeworks to depress you.

At universities that don’t believe in subscribing to peer-reviewed scientific papers, and I had to write my own course material and distribute the chapter one session at a time. Great exercise for me to relearn and offer what the class could assimilate. And testing and exams requirement to my chagrin, since only a couple students per class cared to learn and appreciated the material.

Never settling in one location for more than a couple years. Carrying barely a couple of suitcases and leaving behind all my possessions. I even gave away for free 2 cars because I could Not afford the repairs.

I read the original books of the famous and known authors of every state I settled in, and read in 3 languages whatever book I could get my hands on and was available. And translated many passages to spread the “learning” of different social fabrics.

I have been reading since the age of 13, and started with French books, then Arabic and finally books in English. Though I can write proficiently in 3 languages, I got used to writing in English.

I have been maintaining a blog (about ten thousand article/posts so far) of what means to me and is worth communicating.

I survived so far and don’t miss the belongings that I left behind.

What of the millions upon millions of refugees?

Fleeing war-torn countries. Walking, for days, with toddlers and children. Hoping to stumble on a UN facility. Sheltering under a makeshift tent, if available, in the snow, pouring rain, scorching sun. Encampment burned by the locals.

Camps closed and transferring again, to nowhere. To the unknown, wishing to live one more day, the whole family intact. Drown in the sea, dying from curable diseases for lack of medical treatment. Hungry most of the time, thirsty all the time.

Tear-gassed, beaten, harassed, maltreated, chased away like dirty dogs, regardless of level of education and many spoken languages.

How am I spending my confinement?

Note: I am glad that I posted this article on April 26, 2020 to remind myself how I behaved then to the new emerging situation.

Since then, and in the last 2 months, I undertook to focus on “refurbishing” my home after decades of negligence, as my parents were seriously ill Painting all the house, ceiling, walls, doors, window.., repairing doors, windows… remodeling the previous “interior design“, adding my own “touch” of what makes me more comfortable and more inclined to think, work, “produce”…

Kind of trying to refresh whatever “passions” I might have bottled up since childhood and snatching my “rights” to have my own corner in the “space

That would be since last week of February.

Our building is of 3 floors and a ground floor (now split in two for my married nephews). My parents, as most parents in Lebanon and the Near East, think of keeping all their children in one location in the future. Bad idea since it barely works to keep any sense of harmony among adults.

On January 31st, my mother passed away after one week in intensive care and my aunt also passed away 2 weeks later, in coma and in the ICU. 

Sort of most elderly over 90 have no longer any chance to survive any ICU, and that was before the Covid-19 pandemics was revealed.

We order online products from the nearest supermarket. Since I sold my car many years ago, and refrained from borrowing any car, my nephew used to ask me what he could buy me when he drives away. That lasted 2 weeks, and then everyone forgot about me.

The delivered bags are left outside the main building door until each one get out and alcohol spray the external bags and then the inner bags and eventually the inner-inner bags…

We ran out of potable water that we fill our 10 L gallons plastic containers from a running source in the town of Beit Chabab.

My brother-in-law insisted that I join him to help him fill 20 of these gallons.

He is a retired officer from the army, and I guess he receives detailed procedure on how to disinfect everything.

Consequently, Victor spays alcohol around the floor of the water source and I have to carry the filled gallon straight to the car trunk without letting them touch the ground…

A couple of youth came by and washed their faces after jogging, and the disinfection had to restart from scratch.

Before entering the car, I had to stretch my feet outside so that alcohol is sprayed on my shoes.

The funny part is that I had to spray the 4 tires, on the ground that kids play in the parking lot. Go figure.

My sister came from London on the last airplane before closing the airport and she stayed 2 weeks in total confinement on the rooftop.

After her confinement was over, my sister cleaned up her apartment for an entire week, for hours each day ,until she got backache, and then moved down to my apartment to totally clear up all the accumulated junk that my parents, her daughters and herself stored for over 50 years.

Actually, I had cleared up for an entire month loads of junks after mother had a hip surgery 2 years ago.

Although I had hired a helper to clear pathways among the junks on all balconies and in the dining room in order to be able “travel” around, I ended up with a hernia and had to submit to a surgery a few months later.

Yes, I cleared junks just to make pathways in order to move around in the house and the balconies.

I could do that because my brother-in-law (who is responsible for most of the junks and who refrain from throwing out any useless “object”), was oversea visiting one of his daughters.

The worst part is that he goes ramage in the bags on the curve and we end up with many bags in the garden, on the rooftop and on the stairs leading to the rooftop.

The funny part that highly exacerbate me is when he asks me about a junk part that he “needs” and I have to repeat: “Man, you denied me the joy of stepping out into my garden. Go dig deeper into your trash of junks”. An open air warehouse of junks.

You have no idea what people accumulate in their lifetime, objects that they never used and still believe they might get around to using them.

In the USA, they throw Yard Sales in summer time. We didn’t even got this idea to start with, even once in a lifetime.

Right now, we have 40 extra large bags of fine clothes that have barely been used once, and increasing by the days, with the decision to dispose of them later on, one way or another.

My sister and I reserved my parents sleeping room to “store” these bags.

These bags are deposited on one of the beds and waiting for us to figure out how to dispose of them. Nobody care to pick up clothes, retrieve them and distribute them for the time being, (but conditions will quickly change after the massive atomic explosion in the Port of Beirut).

Actually, my brother-in-law has rented a large warehouse to “sell clothes” after he retired and is still spending more money on this failing “business” than on his family, cars and raising chicken…

He turned out to be just one of those sick persons who hoard stuff and never let go off, Not even selling them. Actually, when a buyer shows up, he raises the price so high so that he doesn’t has to relinquish the object.

Yes, there is this old honda car of 1980 that has been parked for years and nobody is willing to drive it anymore. And yet, this person refuses to sell it and is still occasionally spending money on repairing it.

Our garden has turned into an open “warehouse” of total junks and debris and this person wouldn’t let us clear the garden to make any good use of it.

Besides the extra large bags of great clothes, we gathered 70 extra large bags of good clothes to be left on the curb for the municipality to take as waste. My sister considers to be shameful to give away these 70 bags.

Since the municipality will Not load in its Friday truck that quantity of bags, we have to deposit on the curve about 6 bags a week. Do the math for how long we need to dispose of these bags.

I spread this joke that my nephews need to take videos of the newly cleared and re-designed house.

The joke was that my comfort style will return the house to its original status, after all this revamping and I will clutter the house according to my style of “comfort zones”

My sister got furious and declared that she will not set foot again. The next day, my sister was back to “finish her job

What of people who refuse to wear great fashionable clothes on the ground they look Not “A la Mode” and prefer to buy expensive new clothes that are way beneath the quality and beauty of the older-kinds of clothes?

In the meanwhile, my project is to re-edit and update my old articles, verging on the 9,500 posts, on my blog, and recollecting the wonderful trekking and adventures that I joined my nephews and nieces around Lebanon.

Yes, I created a sub-category “Travel/Adventure” for that task.

Note: The first generation relatives opened a net group to share their confinement conditions. A couple days later 3 people “left” and now barely 4 people continue to post “Bonjour/Good morning”. I prefer to post “Mar7aba/Saba7 el Khair” when I wake up in the morning.

Stories during my high school period

How Einstein mathematically suggested his famous equation E=MC2?

In my year of Matheleme (Terminal, last year of high-school), the physic teacher, an old Friar, tall and still robust, solved on the blackboard the double integration for the classical equation of movement. Instead of just integrating for Space as the only variable, Einstein integrated also Time as a second variable.

I covered two large pages on my notebook for the entire integration. The teacher was also very convincing on resolving the constant C to be the speed of light.

It was an eye-opening session of how mathematics can predict phenomenon Not yet subjected to experimentation. I had lost my notebook and feels angry. Anyone who can share with me these integrations, this person will make my day.

In university, the course that I loved most was Nuclear physics because we used the straightforward Einstein/Relativity equation for conservation of energy and momentum of the particles. Nothing to it and no graphs as in classical tedious resolution…

For years, we resolved the classical equations for energy and momentum that drove me to the wall and stabbed every fiber of my patience.

In class of 7eme (Certificat), I was relocated from the boarding school in Beit-Chabab to a French catholic school in Furn el Chebbak.

I had completely forgotten my French during the last 6 years and had to start all over. By the end of the year I was doing better than the French students in their language.

I remember that my late aunt Therese spent 2 hours to make me memorize 2 sentences of “Bayard, le chevalier sans peur et sans reproche…” Thérèse invested countless hours exercising me on French dictation.

Therese lived with us for 3 years before she got married and she is the one who initiated me to read books.

She bought for me the pink collection then the green collection and I ended up reading big volumes for Stendhal, Victor Hugo, Dumas (father and son)…

As soon I came home, I started reading for hours: No one complained as long as quietness was maintained.

One teacher,  Anselm, was a sadistic person (et il louchait) and used to hit students on their hands with a ruler and make them kneel in a corner. on pebbles

Once my hands got blue and he got scared shit: he never again attempted to touch me. I used to wake up at 4 am, go to school and walk the yard for hours to revise my lessons.

Once I walked to school at 3 am and got very tired walking the yard.

In the 6eme, the French teacher paid my parents a visit to ask them Not to help me in my French essays.

He was flabbergasted when he realized that my parents could barely write in French. I remember that the essay I submitted was on our feeling for returning to school.

My essay covered 5 pages, and I wrote it in one setting, and it was excellent. Also, this booklets was misplaced to my chagrin.

Short attention span and serving silver bullet solutions that cure diseases? Who should we blame?

Is It  the culture that pushes for readily packaged success stories?

Mirvat El-Sibai posted on FB. August 28, 2016 

When i was doing my PhD i used to start my day in lab around 10 a.m. and on many days stay till 3 or 4 in the morning with a couple of hours break during the day..

i routinely sat on the microscope 8 hours straight throughout the night till I developed a permanent slouch.. and still couldn’t wait to go home to analyze the data..

If I came home early it was to catch up on some papers or to prepare a presentation write a paper or my thesis etc..

We used to work weekend, holidays, and we were always in the business of learning and never questioned our advisors and were happy to pay our dues..

Our students today ask for more grades even if they don’t deserve it and i find that lack of self worth very troubling..

it is a sweep under the rug mentality that aims for cheap lazy results

Students today learn a technique and produce a figure and start asking about publications..

They teach a lab and start asking about a permanent position..

They read a paper and start questioning models..

Ambition is great but humility and patience are paramount to actual learning, particularly in science..

I don’t blame it all on our students though..

It is the culture that pushes for readily packaged success stories and quick short attention span, serving silver bullet solutions that cure diseases..

It is also social media

Note 1: For reasons, Not all of them fully justifiable, the medical students undergo harsh schedule and procedure that punish the students more than other fields of study. For example, focusing on a microscope for hours on would turn me blind. And this habit of waking up earlier than birds, as if everyone of them is going to opt to become a surgeon.

Note 2: I suffered immensely during my PhD program, particularly how to pay the tuition and trying to circumvent a few rules by auditing courses.

You may read my uneasiness in my Autobiography category “Not of a famous person”.

In my teaching experience in Lebanon I was very disappointed: I had to invent and change my teaching methods, even during a semester, to excite and give incentives for university students to study, read and do meaningful research. You may discover my methods in my Human Factors in Engineering category on wordpress.com

Note 3: Social platforms may contribute to laziness in students Not motivated in the first place. But these platforms are wonderful resources for reflective minds. This trend of copy/pasting “research papers” that are Not even peer-reviewed, pressured me to demand that all submitted homework be handwritten. Kind at least they had to read something.

What this blog is About?

Updated “About” (August 2 /2020)

I started this blog on September 17, 2008.

This blog is about: “Who I was, what I did, what did I think, how did I grew…”

This blog is about: “Who I am, what I am doing, how I think, what are my positions, politically, economically, fairness and equitability in political systems”

I dabbed in all kinds of jobs, you name it, from the “lowest” in order to pay my fees and lodging for studies in universities, to the higher kinds of jobs. Apparently, none of the jobs gave me this feeling that “This is what I want to do for the rest of my life”: I could Not discover any kind of retaining passions to last in any professional job.

The total number of articles published so far has reached 9,300 posts and the total number of hits has crossed two million views and the average daily hits is over 600 per day. The number of steady followers increased to 550

You have choices among 45 categories to navigate around, included my autobiography and edited as new facts and memories surge.  I added the sub-category “Travel/Excursion

I got a new life of publishing what I had  expressed in years of writing for myself.  I now have to consider my target audience of readers who patronize my blog:  There is a dividing line between writing and publishing, because responsibility to others comes in publishing.

Recently, I added a new category “Daydream Projects“:  Just imagine this gigantic brainstorm networking sessions if a small fraction of mankind decides to publish their daydreaming projects with plenty of details. Wouldn’t daydreaming be considered a very productive endeavors?

I also added the categories “Time for Outrage” and Pets

I post on average of 10 articles per week (articles of mine, links from various social platforms after editing and adding my comments). I figured out that every new post generates around 100 hits within a year, and keeps increasing fast.

You may enjoy the category poems (poems of mine, and translated poems from Arabic and French into English). I had posted my autobiography, two novels, short stories, and plenty of detailed book reviews.

I feel blessed confronted with many obstacles:  I was for a long time penniless but  kept publishing, and was associated with the most abject financial condition I have experienced… I am graced of feeling the same zest in publishing almost everyday.

I do read and write every day in three languages English, French, and Arabic.  I read books, small and large, old and current, classical and common, biased and “balanced”. And spend 3 hours per day reading and taking notes in Libraries

I read dailies and their editorials. I read magazines, serious ones and tabloids. I used to keep up to date with the weekly French “Courrier International“, bi-weekly, and monthly issues, including  the French monthly “Le Monde Diplomatique“, “Science et Vie”…when they were available.

I uncover nuggets in almost all my readings and then report my notes and comments after elaboration, analysis, and exercising my individual reflection.

Lately, I have been publishing my notes and comments on Facebook and Twitter under the title Tidbits.

The category “Diary” contains the articles I wrote before I got into blogging in 2008.

Recently a few friends decided to post their memories on FB and I shared them on my blog under the title “Mon cher Ado”

My posts are No cut and paste gimmicks, and they lack pictures unless provided by a link, images and videos: I don’t have the tools for recommended visual inputs, and I have no patience for navigating the net.

Whatever I receive, I edit it, comment on it and highlight the main points.

I understand that the task of publishing carries responsibility to the general public and I have to do my due diligence in reading a lot, reflecting, and exposing various views and perspectives before extending my current convictions.

I have been writing for my own pleasure for years, such as short poems, diaries, and got into introspection in order to get in touch with my emotions and my models on life, universe, and a sustainable earth within my history growth context.  WordPress.com made it easy to taking the drastic plunge into communicating with the public.

It is a daily communion that starts by receiving comments before offering opinions, and do reply to developed opinions and comments.

I am reminded that life exercises its cyclical rights and I wish your ebbing period would not last longer than necessary, and that it would not affect your optimism.

I wish that you have a support system to remind you that life is wonderful, it is beautiful, and it is exciting.  There is a tomorrow but surely not better than today, since you are still alive!

I realized that publishing electronically is not considered by many political institutions as serious matter, since many do not navigate fast communication mediums on a wide scale yet; as if people still read hard copy manuscripts or dailies!

If you are interested in reading biographies of people “Not famous” or “Not glamorous”, then you may also enjoy reading my auto-biography titled “Introspection of a confused man”.

Anyway, most of my categories that are Not related to politics, history, religions, sciences, engineering, health, or book reviews are about myself.

It appears that my Book Reviews category is the most favored so far; closely trailed by political articles, social articles, sex/seduction categories, and religious topics.

I earned a PhD degree in Industrial/Human Factors/ system design engineering. That was in 1990 from the USA  and a couple of Masters in Physics and Operation Research, but I refused to practice until recently when I decided to teach in universities and had this lovely opportunity to write over 50 engineering articles published in the category “Professional articles“, “Human Factors in Engineering” and lately in the category “Engineering/research”.

I realized that I love best to read and disseminate what I write, and wordpress.com was the ideal platform to initiate people to publishing and expressing their opinions without any kinds of censorship.

I wish the publishers of articles and bloggers to keep in mind the dividing line between writing for comprehending and reflecting on their own positions and feelings, and just publishing.

I read and write daily, a lot, and hit libraries and follow up on news and editorials and feel serious on disseminating what I read.  I even summarize controversial books and offer my opinions ; yes, I love to be controversial, otherwise I might just rot.

A sample of a translated poem:

Your blue sea eyes

On the deck of your blue eyes is raining

Audible vibrating lights.

On the port of your blue eyes,

From a tiny open window,

A view of faraway birds swarming,

Searching for yet undiscovered islands.

On the deck of your blue eyes

Summer snow is falling.

I am a kid jumping over rocks

Deeply inhaling the sea wind

And then returns like a weary bird.

On the port of your blue eyes

I dream of oceans and navigation.

If I were a seafarer

If anyone lent me a boat

I would surely ease up my boat closer

To your blue sea eyes

Every sundown.

Note 1: This poem is an abridged free translation from Arabic of the famous late Syrian poet Nizar Kabbani.

Note 2: You may reach me on adonisbouh@gmail.com

Doing the job right, even in Real Estates business

have I been doing what Realtors don’t do?

I dabbed for 5 years in the real estates business from 1995-2000). Although I had a PhD in Industrial/Ergonomics in engineering, I was Not able to find a job in any university or company due to my lack of resident status.

I had posted about 6 poems/songs related to Realtors and clients in my category “Poems Mine“.

While gathering the letters that I had sent to my parents I discovered a double pages on how I do business in that field. The letter is Not dated or sent to anyone specifically. I decided to post it anyway because the way I functioned  in this job meant a lot to me.

“I am doing what Realtors don’t do.

Once I get a Listing, which means a seller of his property asks me to market it in order to find a buyer for his property, I try to host open houses as frequently as I can.

An open house means that anyone passing by can enters and check the property. Everyone is welcomed to see the property during a specified span of time, on weekdays or weekends.

Realtors in general refrain from scheduling open houses because they consider this task a total waste of their time,  unless asked by the owner.

Realtors give all kinds of excuses and reasons why it is Not worth holding open houses.

I think Realtors are short-sighted on that account because they refuse to consider the many advantages to having an open house.

Here are a few advantages and benefits from frequent open houses:

  1. Sellers see that are doing your due diligence. If the house does Not sell within a specific period, they drop the price without me asking them. Usually, the sellers reduce the price below what I would have suggested. The lower the price, the quicker a property is sold. Frequent turnover is what generate profit.
  2. The quicker you sell, the more listing you obtain from a neighboring owner. Sellers hire Realtors who “perform”
  3. When I open houses, I canvass the neighborhood: I invite the neighbors to come and evaluate and compare what is being sold with their own properties.
  4. Eventually, a few owners had in mind to sell their properties and they call on me for an interview because they got to see and know me.
  5. During open houses, I use the property as my temporary office: I do my calls, mail letters to expired properties and answer my voice mails (That was before iPhone and sophisticated internet facilities). It is a very productive time from the crowded office.
  6. I do real estates in its most basic and essential forms: prospecting for listings and meeting buyers face to face.
  7. During open houses, many buyers who don’t like the property, I manage to to show them other choices on the market. I can show them any house listed for sale.
  8. Bottom line, open houses are my best tool to personally meet sellers and buyers

Once I have a listing, I make sure that all owners, within half a mile radius, know that I am a dedicated Realtors, who work hard and Not just Plant the Sign “For sale”

It is really Not a hard work because I do what I like to do: walk the streets, mail personalized letters, and meet people.

Many times, when I do not feel like walking, I can always read a book, write letters and poems during my open houses. I am the boss in a beautiful house.

It took me many years to rediscover the wheel of every techniques, but that is the only way to find the system that works best for me, and a system that I love applying consistently and without useless stress.

Realtors drop from the business in drove because it takes time, money and patience to make it in a competitive sphere where relatives and acquaintances play a good part in suggesting a Realtor.

I didn’t have any relative, family or support system to back me up during the harshest and hardest of years, but I knew this is a good business to become your own boss with steady income once you break in.

My clients are from everywhere, every race and every language. Being able to converse and write in 3 languages is a big advantage. Lebanese were Not my best clients for references and I soon desisted asking for their business.

Note 1: With the advent of internet technology, a sellers who is willing to show his property personally, does Not require a third party intermediary. All he does is to pst his property with all the details, pictures and videos of his property and wait to respond to calls.

Note 2: May read one of those songs https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2020/05/31/i-made-dreams-real-for-others-mine-has-to-wait/

 

A trove of letters and wish cards accumulated for 50 years: Great documents for re-editing my autobiography

As mother passed away in January 2020, before the advent of Covid-19, though many elder parents died from acute pneumonia, in coma and in IUC, I started sorting out accumulated objects, clothes, papers, documents, letters that I sent and received, wishing cards…

I have been retrieving and sorting out hundreds upon hundreds of letters that my parents saved in the last 50 years.

It felt a chores and I thought of dumping everything into the waste bin.

In many cultures, people just gather everything and set up a bonfire.

After the initial feeling of a chore from perusing letters before dropping them in the waste been, I discovered that there are many interesting information and news that I totally forgot that I wrote about for my parents, sister and relatives… and what they wrote to me.

And then it dawn on me that these are actual documents, excellent to re-edit my autobiography that I posted 10 years ago “Not glamorous person”

Surprises, surprises.

Names that I totally forgot, names that I am unable to put a face on them, sort of these people will have to show me pictures of younger periods and recount to me details of events and locations we met and shared for me to recollect…

Surprises, surprises

Locations, so many places that I had visited and had no recollection of being there or with whom I visited.

Surprises, surprises

So many suggestions I told them and that they never acted upon

Surprises, surprises

Frequent transfer of money, mostly with people visiting my home country Lebanon, and checks… though I was mostly broke most of the periods and barely surviving. I remembered two transfers of money, but never in such a frequency. If I knew my parents were totally broke…I would have sent far more transfers and in higher amounts

I learned later on that mother had to sell all her jewelry in order for father to pay the “taxes” for the many militias parties during our 15 years of civil war., in order for their home Not to be occupied or rented…

Surprises, surprises

So many fictitious plans and projects that I had to create just to fill a letter and give the illusion that I am able to sustain myself and high on hope for my future.

No surprise:

3 dozens of letters sent by a new couple who got a daughter, first child, just described how she was growing, especially her teeth, her illnesses, her charm and cleverness…and the valises of gifts sent to the little kid for every event, religious or Not, and minute details of the gifts…

Before I started publishing in wordpress.com I kept a diary of everyday events, trips, even the recurring routine activities…and filled many dozen of booknotes.

I blackened thousands of pages of articles and notes before I typed them on my computer. Restructuring the thoughts and re-editing, especially while walk returning home from the private library. Mother convinced herself that I had a part-time job at the library and didn’t resume her complaints.

Actually my first hard computer was assembled by my nephew William from scratch, every element of it. This computer served me well for 4 years.

And then I purchased a laptop that I could carry with me in my backpack and started typing directly and saving dozens of draft articles.

I had decided Not to overwhelm my readers with more than 2 articles a day, and I ended up with a hundred draft article, most of them ready to be published.

Yes, gold suggestions they failed to act upon.

I told my father to exchange his Lebanese pounds to British Sterling in 1980. He didn’t listen to me. a few years later, Lebanon pound (Lira) was devalued to almost nothing and my parents found themselves totally broke.

I told my parents to get out of Lebanon and re-start their life in Africa where they made their fortune and spent the best of their happy years. Mother would have jumped on this new adventure, but my sister was expecting her first child and mother had to remain. I guess father was no longer ready for any adventure without mother to support him and guide him. They missed 40 years for a new life and died totally broke.

I was touring Africa and Lebanese were still making “easy money”. A bakery for producing just bread generated a fortune for almost Not working personally.

A fact that is recurring in Lebanon: Any one who decides to settle back home inevitably goes into a coma of lethargy and imagination and end up wasting all his wealth.

Only the militia/mafia “leaders” and their assistants made fortunes by highway robbing the State budget and running and controlling the public institutions

Note: I say: Any childhood changes (locations, schools…) is a path life changing. Too many of these child a-changing leave you stuck in a maze.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

May 2021
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