My Top Two Superbowl 2013 Commercials

So after my colleague was shocked that all I saw yesterday was the commercials and the show, I thought I should focus on sharing what was really important on TV yesterday. 


Presenting my top two commercials that aired during Beyonce’s concert last night, also known as the Superplate? Superspoon? I dunno something with crockery. 


The always hilarious Amy Poehler killed it in the Best Buy ad. My favorite quotes:


“Can I use a dongle with this? Does it make you uncomfortable when I use the word Dongle?”


“What’s the cloud? Where is the cloud? Are we in the cloud now?”

Best Buy – Asking Amy: Official 2013 Best Buy Game Day Commercial

The Oreo ad made me laugh too; the Library whisper fight of Cream Versus Cookie was epic.


 OREO – Whisper Fight




But what is more real than a song?

“Stop filling your head with such fanciful delusions and songs of love and heroes and light and color and happiness. That is not real life. Life is not pink and yellow and a cool breeze on a warm summer day. Love is fleeting. Life is grey; full of disappointments, broken promises and broken dreams. And it never gets better. Before you know it, it’s over.”

“But what is more real than a song?”


The Top 10 Reasons Why it Wouldn’t be so Bad if the World Ended on December 21, 2012

With the public panic about the alleged end of the world on December 21, 2012 prophesied in a Maya Angelou book or something, I thought I would reassure the masses. Maybe it won’t be such a bad thing if the world ended in two weeks.

So here they are; my Top Ten reasons why it wouldn’t be so bad if the world ended on December 21, 2012:

1. End of global warming (cause you know, no more globe)

2. End of world hunger

3. No more war

4. No more Mitt Romney  Richard MourdokTodd Aiken and the rest of the Republican gang

5. No more Dubstep

6. No more Justin Bieber

7. No more Snooki Honey BooBoo , Kardashians

8. No more Pitbull saying random things that don’t make sense

9. No more YOLO

10.No more hipsters

So there you have it. See you on the other side. The hipsters song is stuck in my head.

 

Racism in Beirut Airport – Lebanese People Stop Talking

I am sure many of you heard about the recent racist incident that took place in Beirut Airport, as witnessed by Abed Shaheen. An employee of the Middle East Airlines ground staff at the gate announced on the airport loud speaker “Filipino people stop talking” directing her ignorant filth at a group of Filipino travellers [full story].

After hearing this, Mr. Shaheen confronted the MEA employee about her racist behavior and was completely brushed off. This compelled him to share the incident on Facebook where the story got the media attention needed to bring awareness to this issue. In the BBC Arabia interview below with Abed Shaheen, Public Works Minister Ghazi Al Aridi stated that strict actions will be taken, including termination of the offensive employee.

Terminating that individual is not enough. I sincerely hope the following actions will be taken:

1. The ignorant and racist MEA employee sends a personal apology to each and every Filipino person she offended, then gets fired.

2. The Airlines and MEA Ground Staff should be held accountable and plan a training strategy for all staff members on respect and good customer service, since clearly this concept doesn’t exist in their corporate culture.

3. As a further apology to the humiliation the Filipino travellers endured as a result of the actions of the MEA staff member, the airlines should award all these travellers free First Class tickets to the destination of their choice.

This incident is just the tip of the iceberg  of the blatant racism and ignorance towards other people in Lebanon. I am sick and tired of Lebanese people saying, “We are Lebanese, we are superior, we are the best, we are better than them [whoever they may be]” because it is bullshit.

It is time the awareness of people evolves by introducing tolerance and respect training programs in schools, universities and organizations. It is time the laws change to protect migrant workers in Lebanon. It is time we stop saying we are better, and start acting like it.

Dinner Theater

“Everything is fine!” she exclaimed. The words rolled so easily off her tongue. It took years to master the up-tempo inflections and the easy smile at the end.

Even she herself believed it, only for a moment. Once the moment had passed, the glaring truth spewed up like sewage in a clear water lake. Everything was not fine. Far from it.

What If?

What if everything we were told were lies?

What if bad things only happened to bad people?

What if we lived forever?

What if everyone was happy, healthy and in love?

What if everything had a happy ending?

What if there was no suffering?

What if the earth wasn’t suffering?

What if we all got what we wished for?

What if we all tried to change the world?

What if we all had someone to love who loved us in return forever?

What if you we did what we loved instead of what we were supposed to do?

What if we weren’t afraid?

My Montreal Biking Experience

I love biking. Nothing beats a leisurely bike ride in the mountains on a nice spring day. Since I love biking, I was excited to learn that Montreal was such a bike friendly city. After all, I have seen the different bike paths, the bixi stations where you can rent a bike for the day, and young and old biking to school, work, or the grocery store. After months of searching, I found a good refurbished bike for a good price. New bikes can cost anywhere from $250 to $800 depending on the brand. I found this to be way too expensive, since in Kuwait or Lebanon you can get a good bike (new) for about $100. I have also heard many stories of thick bike locks being sawn off and expensive bikes being stolen in broad daylight.
So I decided to bike to work today and try biking as a mode of transportation as opposed to an activity you do on the weekend. I would be outside getting some exercise instead of being in a crowded metro. Google Maps assured me that it would be a 15 minute bike ride to the office. I set off with my helmet, backpack and headphones on, expecting an awesome ride.
First, there were no bike paths on my street so I had to stay on the right and avoid being run over by cars and going over pot holes. Then it started raining, heavily, with wind blowing rain in my face. I may or may not have swallowed a bug. It felt like biking through a car wash. By the time I got halfway through, I was completely drenched and freezing, my legs were on fire, and my butt was sore.  At one point I felt like I was in military boot camp, with the drill sergeant yelling in my ear, keep going soldier, keep going.
The ride back was much better. I found the street with a bike path and it wasn’t raining. Even though the experience wasn’t as fun as I hoped, it was still a nice way to get around. I just hope the weather cooperates.

Montreal Students Protest Tuition Hikes

Yesterday, over 200,000 students demonstrated against the proposed tuition hikes in Montreal. The proposed tuition hike would increase annual tuition fees by $325 according to CBC News.

Coming from Lebanon and having watched the Arab Spring, it was unusual for me to see a protest that didn’t arise from a few bombs, a dictator or an assassination, but I digress.

I fully support the students’ right to peacefully protest something they oppose.  However, I don’t feel that a $325 increase in annual tuition fees warrants a city wide protest. Quebec still has one of  the lowest university tuition fees in Canada. Students seem to forget that if the tuition fees paid by Quebec students are not increased, the universities will just keep increasing international student fees.

For example, a Quebec undergraduate student in the University of Montreal will pay about $72.26 per credit, while an international undergraduate student pays between  $485.39 to $639.97 per credit. That is a difference of over 500%. If international student tuition fees continue to increase, many international students will choose to pursue their higher education elsewhere.

The tuition fees subsidization may also give the provincial government justification to increase taxes, without having to prove that the tax revenue went to supporting university education programs.

Yes taxes will continue to increase and yes, universities may continue to spend their revenue on shiny new buildings without spending on the actual programs. But keeping the Quebec students’ tuition fees at the level they are while increasing international students’ tuition fees is not the answer. I do believe higher education should be a right for every individual, but the right shouldn’t be awarded to one group of students and not another.

What do you think about the Montreal Student Protests and why?

All You Need is Love: Benetton’s Provocative UNHATE Campaign


We see it everywhere. From political leaders fighting on the news to kids fighting in the school playgrounds, we cannot deny that there is hatred and intolerance in the world. This global hatred is the reason behind Benetton’s shocking UNHATE campaign which launched worldwide yesterday.
To spread their message of “UNHATE,” Benetton published images of world leaders kissing in Milan, Paris, Tel Aviv and New York, coupled with an UNHATE film. Using the image of a kiss between mortal enemies, Benetton invites people to embrace tolerance and acceptance, to UNHATE:

“What does UNHATE mean? UN-hate. Stop hating, if you were hating. Unhate is a message that invites us to consider that hate and love are not as far away from each other as we think. Actually, the two opposing sentiments are often in a delicate and unstable balance. Our campaign promotes a shift in the balance: don’t hate, Unhate” The Benetton UNHATE Foundation

The campaign has already spread like wildfire across newspapers, TV stations and social media websites. The Vatican has already announced that it “will take legal action against the Benetton clothing company to prevent the publication of an ad featuring a fake photo montage of Pope Benedict XVI kissing a top Egyptian imam on the lips.” (Source: Yahoo News Canada)

While the campaign is definitely provocative and conveys a universal message of tolerance, the question is, has Benetton gone too far? Or are we as a modern society so desensitized that we need such shocking images to bring the message across? The public’s reaction over the next few days will determine the results. The fact that the campaign got people thinking about tolerance is in and of itself a measure of success.

For more UNHATE information: http://unhate.benetton.com/

Zombies Take Over Montreal

If there’s one thing I learned during my first few weeks in Montreal is that this city takes Halloween very seriously. There are pumpkins and Halloween costume displays on every street and more Halloween events than you know what to do with.

Yesterday, I was surrounded by the living dead in the Plateau Mont-Royal area, who were all walking together in the annual Montreal Zombie Walk. The Zombie Walk is a day when the good people of Montreal dress up like zombies and walk around the streets moaning and groaning for human flesh for some ghoulish Halloween fun.

According to Wikipedia, the first recorded Zombie Walk took place in Sacremento California on August 19, 2001 as a promotion for an annual midnight film festival. It was held again the following year, and has since become a global annual tradition with Zombie Walks happening in several cities around the world.

Zombies and humans alike had a great time walking around the city and getting into the Halloween spirit. Below are some of the pictures I took of the Canadian zombies.

Happy Halloween!

Created with flickr slideshow.