Arabic Alphabets Animation


My talented husband spent so much time creating this beautifully orchestrated stop motion animation using play dough … Please watch, share and enjoy 🙂

–Rasha Nasser Khalil

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Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance (Review)


FotorCreated I was discussing the movie “Birdman” with my cousin the other day, and we have come up with several different possible endings or interpretations of the movie in its entirety.

However, since we’re both happy people, “it runs in the family”, we tried to look at it from a positive angle.

From this point on, this post contains massive spoiler alert. If you still haven’t seen the movie, I suggest you stop reading until you have seen it. Then again, I suggest you read this, and give me your thoughts on our perspective.

The most important part is the reference made about superheroes in the movie, not only verbally but also visually; this appeared towards the end of the movie “on stage”.

When watching the movie Birdman, one has to draw a parallel between the Character of Riggan together with Birdman, and the real life Character Michael Keaton together with Batman.

Aside from that, you will notice Edward Norton who has played Hulk, Naomi Watts played alongside “King Kong” and Emma Stone played alongside “Spider-man”. All three have managed to succeed in real life.  When it comes to Michael Keaton or even “Riggan” the character in the movie, both of them have once been greater than life, and have almost sunk to the lowest low to an extent that they were almost forgotten. Birdman and Batman, both are birds and both have grossed millions in the theatres, but both Riggan and Michael were harshly critiqued for their superhero roles.

Since we have established that to a large extent, that both Michael Keaton and Riggan are to a great extent a reflection of one another, and since we do not have a clear idea of the ending of the movie, as to when the window of the hospital was left open.  Did he jump? Did he die? What was really meant by that?

So this is where the optimism comes into play, by looking at the success of Michael Keaton today not as a superhero but as an actor, especially after his role in Birdman, and by monitoring the look of Riggan’s daughter  “Sam” slowly staring up towards the sky, I could only deduce the ending of Birdman’s Riggan to be in parallel to that of the real life Michael Keaton. He is back on the map, he is slowly emerging  as an actor after he has proven himself to be a success outside of his suit.

–Raghid Khalil

Love … at a Glance


She loves him … but… he loves another.

Typical, is the word that first comes to your mind. It’s always the case. When will women learn that no good can come from a man?

He has a heart of stone, that is to say, if he has one in the first place. She, on the other hand, is so loving and caring. He rationalizes each step she takes, and she feels every action he makes. She gives him her undivided attention and surrenders her love. What does he do instead?

Words start flying out easily when describing the harshness of men. His cold-blooded nature, his indifference, and hard-heartedness are some of his general attributes.

But when it comes to women, we find ourselves very careful with our choice of words. No matter how cruel we tend to be with our description, we still manage to throw in a couple of motherly and angelic words.  Even when she is remote, she is concerned. Even when she is harsh, she conveys compassion.

This is how it has always been, and most probably will remain for centuries to come. Unfortunately none of us will be alive by then to confirm or challenge those accusations. The earlier we accept them, the earlier women can formulate ways to protect themselves from the one they love.

Women have always been the victim and like I stated before:

She loves him no more, but without a doubt he has been wrongfully accused that he loves another.

Raghid Khalil

The New Seven Wonders of the World


Many of you have seen some form of notification either by email, or on the news about the new 7 wonders of the world. We are just a few days away from selecting the seven new ones. Believe it or not your vote counts.

Here’s a percentage perspective on the matter.

A country as tiny as Lebanon, who has 4 million in populations ( the 2008 consensus is 4,242,000 ) can only hope to have its Jeita Grotto selected among the winners. Why? Well let’s do the math. Assuming that 100% percent of the Lebanese people vote for this truly amazing wonder, and only 15% of the Canadians vote for the “bay of Fundy” which looks no better than the “Raouche Rock” that also happens to be in Lebanon. In that case the “bay of fundy” will advance into the list with  no real merit, but simply because of the percentage in respect to the high population which is at around 30 million (the 2011 consensus put the population of Canada at 34,636,000 ) .

If India dedicates only 1% of its 1.2 billion people ( the 2011 consensus marked the Indian population at 1 ,210,193,422)  to vote for “Sundarbans”; their 1% (12 million) voters are still three times larger than the entire Lebanese population. Where is the fairness in this?

To add salt to injury, there is another giant market anxiously waiting to vote for “Yushan”, in case you haven’t guessed it yet, it’s China  who is still holding the title in population size. (2010 consensus ranked them as number 1 with a population of 1,339,724,852).

Solution:

I suggest to have what we call a curve, or matching votes; meaning every vote from Lebanon counts as 7.5 Canadian vote , 302.5 Indian or 334.9 Chinese  votes. Look at the numbers, does anyone doubt that “Sundarbans”  from India and Bengladesh won’t make it to the list, or Yushan for that matter?

For the theorists:

Some might argue that each person gets to nominate 7 locations, which could tilt the odds. Still that doesn’t make sense, because you still have all the Indians unanimously selecting “Saundarbans” and spreading their remaining 6 votes across the 28 other nominees, and of course  their main opponent China with a population of more than one billion doing the same.

Dead Sea ?

To top it all, you have three countries Jordan, Palestine and Israel whether at peace or war, voting for one dying sea, the “Dead Sea”. Why? Simply because each one is claiming it to be their own wonder. I can’t see what wonder it has, eventually with the global warming we will have several “Dying Seas”, just be patient and every country will have one.

Uniqueness:

How about nominating a wonder that is unique to one country!

Look at the Amazon for instance. It extends over seven countries (Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, Venezuela). It is  magnificent, there is no doubt about it, but when people decide to have an amazonian experience, which country will they choose as their destination? Is it well maintained across all seven countries? Is it easily accessible? Those are the things that matter to me. I believe in a one to many “relationship” only in the case of a country having several wonders on its territory, but not when one wonder extends over several different countries.

There isn’t much decisions to be made here, I am sure each country has its own wonders. What we are looking for is objectivity. Do the right thing, Vote Jeitta. I am not trying to show favoritism here, I am simply trying to shed some light on a hidden jewel. The Jeita Grotto, is truly a wonder. It has survived wars over the years and still has managed to fascinate millions of people. What is even more fascinating about it is that just like the “Pyramids” it still holds a few secrets that keep on getting discovered even as we are voting.

To all the people out there, one thing you need to know about the Lebanese people; they are caring and more importantly they love to share. This is their legacy. If Jeita doesn’t make it among the top seven wonders, it will be another disappointment to the world but not the Lebanese. They have it, they have seen it and they have enjoyed its mysteries. Now it’s your turn.

Follow this link to  Vote:

http://www.new7wonders.com/archives/wonder/jeita-grotto

Pictures From top to Bottom (Jeita Grotto, Bay of Fundy, Raouche Rock, Sundarbans, Yushan, Dead Sea, Amazon and Jeitta Grotto).

Images can be found at  this link:

http://www.new7wonders.com/28-finalists

Raghid Khalil