26 October 2006

New Baby Blog

We've finally gone and done it! It's official! A baby still in the womb now has a blog! You've heard of Ibn Bint Jbeil, and now there's Bint Bint Jbeil! Yes, my daughter now has a blog. It's freaky, yes, but before you acccuse us of extreme virtual-cyber-pre-natal-parenting, it's just my wife and my writings and pictures about the baby, who's about to come.

Also as an added bonus game, what else do you see in the photoshoped womb ultrasound? It's kind of like looking at clouds and seeing things. I swear all I did was enhance and posterize the color; did not add anything!

Check her out: http://bintbintjbeil.blogspot.com/

25 October 2006

Al-Mamnou3at - by The Great Sheikh Imam

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The great Sheikh Imam - - was neither a sheikh nor an imam in the traditional sense of the word.

Although he studied Quranic recitation at an early age, he came to be known for his magnificent Classical Arabic musical composition and as a rebellious folk singer; He also rejuvinated, modernized and developed the Classical Arabic musical tradition.

Ironically, you may ask hundreds of thousands of people in the Arab World about him and they would not know him - and that is because in the Middle East, free-minded literary and artistic giants are suppressed and imprisoned instead of heralded as an example of national achievement; and that is exactly Sheikh Imam's story, along with his artistic collaborator, the great colloquial poet Ahmad Fouad Najm.

Sheikh Imam's hundreds of socially/politically critical songs stand at the apex of Arab musical evolution. These songs championed the poor, the disposessed, the peasants and the powerless, pointed the finger at the corrupt and power-hungry, and celebrated everything from the Sun's life-giving rays to birds that bring in the new morning. Imam the musician and Najm the poet are both giants, each in his own right; but instead of being recognized for their creative genius and effort, they spent years in and out of prison.

They were frowned upon by consecutive Egyptian governments to such an extent that their recordings could only take place in people's homes or in small live concerts, never having the chance to properly record their repertoire in a studio setting in the light of day, with a few exeptions, such as on visits to Beirut. From the "technical quality" of the audio recordings, you can tell the humble setting in which they are made.

[[ Photo above: Sheikh Imam in red tie; Tawfiq Zayyad (notable Palestinian poet, author of "Unadeekom") sitting at his left arm, Ahmad Fouad Najm sitting at left arm of Zayyad. ]]

Sheikh Imam would simply sit and sing with Najm and other friends, recording his work on simple portable cassettes, and these would be secretly copied from person to person throughout Egypt and smuggled out to other Arab countries. About the only Arab country where one could freely listen to them was Lebanon. This is STILL the case! But there is something beautiful about the sound of these folky "sha3bi" recordings, anyway, that the governments couldn't supress.

Sheikh Imam is the musical predecessor of such notables as Marcel Khalife, Ahmad Kaabour, and Ziad Rahbani; he is also the direct musical successor of Sayed Darwish (1920's).

Below are Ahmad Fouad Najm's words set to music by Sheikh Imam in the song posted above.
I will post more Sheikh Imam in the future.

ممنوع من السفر ..
ممنوع من الغنا ..
ممنوع من الكلام ..
ممنوع م الاشتياق ..
ممنوع م الاستياء ..
ممنوع م الابتسام ..
وكل يوم ف حبك ..
تزيد الممنوعات ..
وكل يوم باحبك ..
أكتر من اللى فات ..
حبيبتى يا سفينة ..
متشوقة وسجينة ..
مخبر ف كل عقدة ..
عسكر ف كل مينا ..
يمنعني لو أغير ..
عليكي أو أطير ..
إليكي واستجير ..
بحضنك أو أنام ..
ف حجرك الوسيع ..
وقلبك الربيع ..
أعود كما الرضيع ..
بحرقة الفطام ..
حبيبتى يا مدينة ..
متزوقة وحزينة ..
ف كل حارة حسرة ..
وف كل قصر زينة ..
ممنوع من إني أصبح ..
بعشقك أو أبات ..
ممنوع من المناقشة ..
ممنوع من السكات ..
وكل يوم فى حبك ..
تزيد الممنوعات ..
وكل يوم بحبك ..
أكتر من اللي فات ..

22 October 2006

Glorious Eid Al-Fitr

Glorious Eid
to you and your loved ones.

(Click for larger image)

I created this design after reviewing the lessons provided by artist and calligraphist Mamoun Sakkal on his website, and doing a lot of practice exercises first. His consice and informative explanations on correct calligraphy are great. check it out:
Mamoun Sakkal Website


14 October 2006

Pink Cookie

My wife is pregnant and due to deliver at the beginning of November.

She had a dream last May, where a very famous person, who shall remain unnamed here, approached her and gave her a cookie with pink frosting on it.

We did not know what to make of this dream at the time, although we kinda figured that the baby would be a girl (yes this is deeply and disturbingly sexist on our part,) but also that the giving of the pink cookie was a sign of something to come.

When the Sixth War took place this last July-August, We all watched as Izrael pummelled Lebanon with infinite amounts of technology and death, without achieving anything but destruction of civilian lives, and getting a good old fashioned whoopin by the Lebanese.

we decided to name the baby Waad وعد, which means Promise.

My wife sort of remembers that the cookie in her dream might have been similar to cookies number three and four above, the ones with sprinkles. you can kinda connect the sprinkles, like dots.