Cool Gift Idea

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Picture taken from PureNostalgia

PureNostalgia compiled over 2000 pictures of Lebanon in the 60s and 70s and put them in a book. I think the book would be a pretty cool gift for parents who lived in that golden era as it brings back a lot of nice memories.

The Old Zaitunay Bay

What’s happening between Champville and Sagesse?

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Sagesse – Sporting 2002 finale fight: The recent fights we’ve re witnessing in Lebanese Basketball have been happening for years

To be honest, I didn’t follow up closely what happened during the Champville and Sagesse game few days back but from what I’ve read, Sagesse brought more fans that it was allowed to, a lot of rules got violated, the whole game was a total mess and should not have taken place. Both teams got penalized, including Champville’s Coach Ghassan Sarkis and as a result of this fight, Champville’s president resigned from the federation.

I’ve repeated on several occasions the real cause behind these problems in the Lebanese Basketball League and obviously no one wants to listen but I have a question to ask here:

– Who’s the genius that decided to limit the number of Sagesse players and fans combined to 38 in an away game? Are you seriously asking a team as popular as Sagesse to restrict its number of fans to 10 or 15? What sort of logic is that?

- سنداً لاحكام المادة 210 التي تجيز للجنة الادارية اتخاذ اي عقوبة تراها مناسبة ، حيث ان نادي الحكمة خالف تعاميم الاتحاد وتجاوز عدد جمهوره 400 شخص في المباراة المذكورة بالرغم من ان العدد المحدد هو 38 بما فيهم اللاعبين والجمهور مما خلق جواً من البلبلة والفوضى وخسّر أفضلية جمهور للنادي المضيف، قرّرت اللجنة الادارية توقيف جمهور نادي الحكمة في اول مباراتين على ارضه.

Lebanese George Eid on the first Arabic MMA Reality Show “Al Batal”

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Georges Eid is the only Lebanese competing and wants to bring the title home. Let’s wish him luck!

Al Batal is a unique concept for Arabic TV that will promote Arab fighters around the region and internationally as MMA becomes increasingly popular. The show will first showcase 14 of the finest amateur welterweight Arab MMA fighters that ADFC team had chosen from different organizations.

Al Batal will start airing on Fox Movies, Fox Sports and FX this April. The shooting is currently taking place in Abu Dhabi, UAE. It’s gonna be legendary. Wait for it! [Source]

Kidnapping is big business in Lebanon

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It looks like we’ve moved officially from stealing cars to kidnapping people as it’s more profitable. The big question is though who’s providing the political cover for these gangs?

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Ibrahim’s relatives are rich and powerful. But the young Lebanese taxi driver was reluctant to go into the family business when he found himself struggling to make ends meet. His family is one of the country’s largest Shiite clans, and their business is kidnapping.

“Of course I don’t want to do this,” Ibrahim said of his new part-time job driving for his cousins, both professional kidnappers. “But [the victims] are never harmed and I have to feed my family.”

Kidnapping for ransom is one of the few forms of economic activity to flourish here as the civil war in neighboring Syria cripples the tourism industry and erodes the authority of the state.

Last week a 12-year-old boy became the latest victim.

In broad daylight gunmen snatched the child, the son of a prominent businessman, as he waited for a ride to school in an upscale Beirut neighborhood. He was released five days later, after the family paid a reported ransom of $250,000. Dozens of Lebanese businessmen have been taken and held for ransom over the past year. [Link]

My Nominations for The Social Media Awards

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The Social Media Awards are happening for the first time in Lebanon and I thought it would be fun to share my nominations for the various categories listed. Before that, here’s how the selection process will occur:

Stage 1: Online Nominations
Members of the online community nominate candidates for different categories via our website Users can nominate themselves, friends or an organization on business based on the criteria of each category. Their submission is accompanied by relevant material such as Facebook links, Twitter accounts, blogs and other platforms to support their candidates.

Stage 2: Judges Selection
Based on the nominations received, our team of experienced and celebrity judges from different backgrounds will be narrowing down the nominations in each category to seven (7) nominees within two weeks of closure of nominations. The whole process will be carried out in pure transparency and an announcement event will be held for the press and online community.

Stage 3: Final Vote
Members of the online community are asked to vote for their preference in each category over a period of one month. During this period, nominees will be able to campaign for obtaining votes.

Stage 4: Awards Ceremony
An awards ceremony will be held for over 750 invitees from digital agencies, VIPs and online influencers with entertainment, key guest appearances, and VIP guests bringing Oscar-like award glamour to social media. [SMABeirut]

I took a look at the judges’ list and the ones they chose are more than qualified for this job, with 1 or 2 exceptions which I will not name. One thing that I would have done differently is narrow down the nominations to 4, as I think 7 is too much.

Anyway back to the nominations, here it goes:

Best Blog of the Year
Beirut Spring: I’ve always been astounded by the insights Mustapha provides on the Lebanese society and Lebanon in general despite being abroad. He is concise, convincing, methodical and is among the very few bloggers that I agree with almost always. Oh and he never misses a chance to throw in a new term in every post and make me look for it online.

Best News Blog
Hummus Nation – The good thing about Hummus Nation is that his news are always reliable because he makes them up.

Best Lifestyle Blog
L’armoire De Lana – Lana has been pulling an impressive job ever since she launched her fashion blog. She’s posting daily, tweeting all day long, uploading pictures all the time. She’s doing it right and she totally deserves it.

Best Technology Blog
Tech-Ticker – A website founded by a group of Lebanese Technology enthusiasts covering the latest tech news and reviewing the most recent tech products.

Best Personal Blog
Gino’s Blog – Gino is truly commited to his blog and it shows through his posts. His views on certain topics are as far as they come from the conservative “Lebanese” thinking yet he manages to convince his readers most of the time. Neuromarketing at its best.

Most Engaging Media Personality
Magazine: RagMag’s Editor in Chief Fida Chaaban.
She devotes a lot of times to social media and interacting with readers and that’s not something easy to pull. In fact I don’t think I know any other media personality as devoted as her.

Best Performer
Nemr Abou Nassar: He was funnier when he started and I didn’t like his latest shows but he’s doing a great job online and deserves that award. The problem is here very few performers in Lebanon are active online to begin with.

Best Vocal Artist (Non-Arabic)
Tania Kassis

Most Creative Instagram Account

Most Viral YouTube Video
I would have loved to say Buzz but it turned out to be a copycat from an old US commercial. I’ll go with LebaneseBrew’s Try Something Brave.

Most Engaging Tweep

Most Engaging Celebrity on Twitter
Celebrities in Lebanon have no idea how to use Twitter.

Most Engaging Media Personality on Twitter
TV/Journalist: Shada Omar.
Despite having almost 100,000 followers on Twitter, Shada dedicates time to almost everyone that interacts with her and is always interesting to talk to.

Most Engaging Diplomat on Twitter
HMA Tom Fletcher – If you wanna know why, read [this].

Best Business on Twitter

Best Organization/NGO on Twitter
Donne Sang Compter

Best Pub/Bar
February30 and The Angry Monkey. The Angry Monkey’s last tweetup was the best I’ve been to in months and the place was packed. Bravo Jessy!

Best Restaurant, Café or Bakery
Roadster Diner and Zaatar W Zeit.

Best Hotel
Phoenicia Beirut.

Best Commercial District Account

Best NGO/Community
Donner Sang Compter

Best Startup

Skiing in Beirut: Picture by NatGeo

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Picture taken from Gino via NatGeo

I was tagged in this picture earlier today by a friend of mine and I didn’t know what was the big deal behind it until I read some of the comments and the controversy it caused. Honestly I don’t see what’s so offensive or disrespectful about it, even if there was an army-related event up there, as we are among the very few countries in the world where you find army men on the roads and at the entrance of churches, mosques, restaurants, pubs, banks and others. We had an official who would deploy the army everywhere he goes even if it’s for a swim or tan.

On the other hand, there is one thing that I found annoying:
– You’d expect the National Geographic people to know the difference between Beirut and Lebanon. Kfardebian is not in Beirut for all I know.

CNN: Did Phoenicians beat Columbus by 2000 years?

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Picture taken from CNN

Christopher Columbus has long been the poster boy Renaissance explorer who found fame and fortune by sailing from the Old World to the New. But more than five centuries later, a British adventurer plans to show that the New World could have been reached by another seafaring nation 2,000 years before Columbus. Former Royal Navy officer Philip Beale hopes to sail a replica Phoenician boat 10,000 kilometers across the Atlantic in an ambitious voyage that could challenge maritime history.

By completing the journey, Beale aims to demonstrate that the Phoenicians — the ancient Mediterranean civilization that prospered from 1500BC to 300BC — had the capability to sail to the U.S.; a theory disputed by historians. “It is one of the greatest voyages of mankind and if anyone could have done it [before Columbus], it was the Phoenicians,” said Beale.

Here’s Karl’s interpretation of the story::