Poll of the Week: Will You Be Clubbing in Ramadan? (Muslim and Non-Muslim) + Last Week’s Results 81% of Readers Want Clean Public Beaches

So, the Muslim Holy Month of Ramadan is upon us and even though I don’t like the idea of religion deciding how you behave, versus your own good nature, I cannot deny that Ramadan does influence my life in this multi-religious tiny nation. There are some plus sides though for me, for example I get to take advantage of the cheap, massive iftar offers in many restaurants. However, there are also tough downsides most notably of which is a drop in clubbing attendance and frequency for either devout reasons, or to spend time with family.

So, I was wondering how many actually won’t be clubbing and how many will, amongst both Muslims and non-Muslims.

Last Week’s Results

It’s a shame only 10.2% of those who responded knew that ALL beaches are free. Technically and legally, they are. But sometimes, establishments encroach on the beach itself and force you to pay to get in. This is the problem the Green Party is trying to tackle, and which I will handle in detail later on this week. So, if you go to Edde Sands, it’s Edde you’re paying for, not the Sands. You can simply walk on to the clean, risk-free sand and spend your day, you just can’t go into the resort and use their facilities without paying. And whoever tells you otherwise, just flick them the finger ;)

Horrible Bosses Review

This movie was absolutely hilarious! It’s been quite a while since a real laugh-out-loud, snort-fest movie. Perhaps the closes thing was the first Hangover movie, which was a bit different than the usual Adam-Sandlerish comedy.

I mean, look at the cast! Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx, and those are just the secondary roles! The main roles are played by Jason Bateman and two virtually unknown actors Charlie Day and Jason Seudeikis.

Aniston, Spacey and Farrel are the 3 horrible bosses and Bateman, Day and Sedeikis are the employees that decide it’s time to kill their bosses. The simpleton, geeky trio seek the help of Motherfucker Jones (Jamie Foxx) and things get extremely complicated from there.

The twists and quirks are absolutely hilarious. It’s also loads of fun seeing heavyweights like Spacey and Aniston and Farrel, go all the way. Spacey is a complete, murderous psychopath. Aniston is a masochistic maneater, she even says “slap my face with your cock.” Will Farrell is a cokehead that keeps sleeping around with two Asian transvestites. The new guys are also comedy geniuses.

I don’t wanna go into the storyline, for I’d ruin it for you guys! But, remember me when Motherfucker Jones explains how he got that first name ;)

IMDB Rating: 7.5/10
My and Mika’s Rating:
 9/10

BLACKLISTED: Bob’s Diner Citymall

Most of you might not know this, but several restaurants that offer free soft drink refills, offer them in draft form or in a can. To give a few examples, Zaatar w Zeit, Roadster Diner and Deek Duke all offer both types for the same price.

One time, we decided to go to Bob’s Diner. When ordering, I asked the waiter, three times, if they offered can refills. I made it very clear that instead of a draft coke, I wanted one in a can, and asked if its refills would be free. I was assured it was. I drank 3 Pepsi cans that day. Then, the bill came, and lo and behold, the price of the Pepsi cans exceed that of my meal. Furious, I politely questioned the waiter about it. Nothing happened.

Furious, I filled in a comment card expressing my deep displeasure. A few seconds later, the “manager” comes marching along, my comment card in his hand, and rudely asked “What’s the problem?” (shu el mishkle) After explaining, he responded “That’s it?” (bass heik?).

First and foremost, the incompetent manager actually read the comment card on the spot, instead of forwarding it as-is to his higher-ups. Second, he was rude. Third, he made me pay for a mistake they had done. That, compared to customer service elsewhere and in similar establishments, makes Bob’s Diner the first Blacklisted restaurant on the Gino’s Blog Blacklist.

Fingers: 3/5 since I shouldn’t have expected more

Introducing the Blog’s Blacklist

I love trying stuff and love reviewing them for you guys even more. I’m often criticized for being too nice, for leaving out the bad stuff or softening the edges. I completely agree, I do that. If I go somewhere and hate it, I don’t write about it versus portray the negativity. However, that’s not fair and I feel I have an obligation to be frank about my bad experiences, for perhaps my humble opinion or advice, might save you the trouble I had to go through.

I hereby introduce you all to the Gino’s Blog Blacklist. The Blacklist is a whole new category which will include all the restaurants, pubs, clubs and other venues/events/organizers/brands/companies and virtually everything else that in my opinion is at fault, mistreated its customers or grievously insulted or disappointed me.

For someone or someplace to get on the Blacklist, it’ll have to be a cardinal sin. The Blacklist listing isn’t final though, for if the concerned party changes (which I sincerely doubt) I might consider dropping them off the list.

I know this might seem somewhat arrogant of me, but I am merely stating my opinion and making a case for it. You can agree, or disagree. I guess the real purpose behind this list is for you to get an idea before venturing to that somewhere or something and perhaps running through the same problems I had to tolerate. It’ll also allow me to return the favor to the concerned party *evil grin*

I hope you like the ambigram I borrowed off a VoIP abusing website! The first entry on the Blacklist will be on Saturday!

The Weekly Leaks: No, the Watefront City isn’t that Silly 10-Star Hotel Concept

La Marina Joseph Khoury is a 1 million square meter reclaimed piece of land a few kilometers North of Beirut. The marina saw completion back in 1997 and till this day, almost all the reclaimed lots lie empty, awaiting the magnificent project that was supposedly envisioned before dumping the boulders into the sea.

Today, La Marina is a cesspool of decadent behavior. Illegal racing, cheap alcohol and plenty of smokable materials (legitimate or otherwise) are now the standard. So much so that when someone is teasing another, “Let’s go to the marina with some Effes” has become a popular comeback line.

The Maronite Church has tried over the past few years to try and develop the lots, creating a friendly business atmosphere for the hordes of Christian Maronite Lebanese families that flock to emigrate from the uncertain prospects in Lebanon and their dwindling influence in terms of demographics, politics and economics. These plans seem to have failed, or at least put on hold, as the massive Kuwaiti holding company, Majid el Futtaym, has teamed up with Joseph Khoury’s group to create what Lebanon needs most (I’m being sarcastic) super-luxurious towers and retail outlets!

The Waterfront City will comprise 7 residential towers and a retail/resto/cafe area. The impression that the full 1 million square meters will be utilized is a false one, and the 7 buildings will stretch along the Eastern side of the La Marina exclusive yacht club area. I am not really a fan of these massive, Dubai-ish projects, especially the kind most of us here in Lebanon will never be able to pay for. Also, after ABC Dbaye’s expansion is complete, and Le Mall Dbayeh opens its doors, I sincerely doubt an even more expensive retail area across the street will really pick up.

Then again, a properly planned area is rare in Lebanon, and for once, urban planning is actually being made prior to building a city area. The infrastructure is already in place, with roads and foundations already prepped for building. Also, the liquidity seems to be there and Lebanon continues to be a prime real-estate spot for the region, so why not fill in those gaping holes off the coast of Dbayeh?

When the ads started spamming my browser, I thought “could it be that silly 10-star hotel concept?!” and the answer to that, so far, is NO! This concept was supposed to be built off Dubai’s cost, until Annahar Newspaper in 2008 reported it would be built in fron of La Marina for a total cost of 3.6 billion USD (when it was estimated it would cost 500 million USD in Dubai… I guess the price is 7 times more expensive so they can bribe all the politicians in Lebanon so they’d shut up about how stupid and eco-UNfriendly this project would be).

I sincerely doubt “planet Earth’s biggest hotel” is going to be built off the coast of Dbayeh, but then again, you never know. However, construction was supposed to begin in the summer of 2009, it’s almost 2012 and all we can see is sewage-infected waters off the coast of La Marina.

So, start saving up if you wanna own the horizon! And I’ll definitely be following the development of this new “city” with you guys over the coming months and years (hopefully =P).

Le Manitou by Clan SJS: Affordable Food, Wholesome Atmosphere and To Top It All Off a Noble Cause

Many of you might know I am a proud member of the Saint Joseph School Cornet Chehwan Scouts Group. The 450-strong 45-year-old group is one of Lebanon’s most prominent and most active volunteer organizations. Each year, Clan and Caravelles SJS organize a charitable project that touches hundreds of lives from across Lebanon. This year’s project is the 5th edition of the Colonie summer camp for severely underprivileged children.

The colonie brings together over 100 children from all across the country. The children welcomed to the 15-day summer camp often experience indoor plumbing and other luxuries you and me take for granted, for the first time with the clan and caravelles members. This heart-wrenching experience though, has several major goals and benefits. At the top of that list is making sure the kids have as much fun as humanly possible. Two, ensure they’re exposed to as much wholesome activities and programs as possible. And three, transform the volunteers working with the children, ultimately putting life in perspective

Scouts though, is of course a non-profit volunteer organization. And a massive project like the Colonie needs plenty of financial and logistical support. One amazing way of fundraising is through the Manitou restaurant. The scouts-run restaurant has been serving food for decades now and many of its volunteers are now food and beverage magnates. Most prominent of which is of course Chef Anthony Maalouf, CEO of the Casper and Gambini’s empire. Roadster Diner, Deek Duke and Shtrumpf also comprise ex-Manitou staff in their executive positions.

The Manitou is run by the Clan and Caravelles, who take turns doing shifts daily from 5:30 PM till Midnight all throughout the summer. The meals available include a selection of burgers, sandwiches and pizzas. The prices are also very affordable, with the signature Manitou Burger (beef patty, ham, cheese) costing only 5000LBP. Apart from the insanely cheap prices, the atmosphere is far from what most of us are used to. Smoking, arguilehs, and alcohol are forbidden. Cursing and ill-mannered behavior is heavily frowned-upon. That, together with the fun-loving, volunteering spirit creates a wholesome, family atmosphere that you wouldn’t expect to find in a restaurant.

Here, I would like to take the chance to thank the Cornet Chehwan municipality for generously offering the Manitou’s current venue, which relocated back from Rabieh’s Botanical Garden, to its original venue at the center of Cornet Chehwan. The new venue offers a wider menu, larger capacity and loads of amenities and of course a BABYFOOT table (Fussball).

Le Manitou also organizes theme nights, such as Karaoke Night and Family Night, keeping things interesting and fun whilst you don’t go broke, but help fund the 2011 Colonie. So, I invite you all to come visit the Manitou and challenge us to a Babyfoot match! Follow Le Manitou on Facebook to stay up to date with special events and new additions to the menu. And if you would like to know more about the 2011 Colonie, make sure you like our page and find out how you can help.

Vedict: A wholesome, unadulterated restaurant for a good cause

Price: 10000-12000 LBP should be more than enough for dinner for two with coke

Atmosphere: Upbeat, livened up by theme nights and the fussball table

Music: On theme nights

Staff: Scouts! They do it out of love =)

Location: Cornet Chehwan, 7 minutes from Antelias highway.

Zeid Was Arrested for “Defaming” Our Fearless Leader, So Here’s The Video That Got Him Arrested!

Those of you who read my blog regularly, know I am a somewhat vocal critic of our current President of the Republic Michel Suleiman. Fortunately, it seems my blog has slipped the athorities’ radar for I have yet to do some jail time for “defaming the president”. Recall the fuel crisis post and the freedom of speech in Lebanon one. There’s a third one, but I’ll allow you to dig for it yourselves, for liability purposes.

It is disgusting and gut-wrenching to know that in Lebanon, where we pride ourselves on our freedom of speech and expression, that one man is above the law. It breaks my heart and makes my face curl up into the sewage-smelling-face when I hear of news that someone has been thrown behind bars for “defamation.” Thank you Big Brother!

In my opinion, it’s time we keep military-raised people OUT of our political lives. Michel Suleiman might’ve not created that law, but he could try not endorsing or enforcing it. I mean come on, why the hell did they spend the time, money and manpower to imprison Zeid Hamdan for a song Zeid and the Wings produced 18 months ago?! Seriously? What’s next? Anti-Sex Leagues? Enforcing the archaic law that women may not wear a two-piece swimsuit (notice how Miss Lebanon’s “beauties” always wear a one-piece suit)?

What’s worse, is we’re expected to trust, respect and revere our security forces. No thanks, I’ll pass on that till the day no one gets locked up for something they’ve said about a president. I mean, how insecure can you get?! And why don’t the politicians that diss the big boss get thrown behind bars?

Anyway, Zeid has since been released and in celebration of this, here’s the video and song our Fearless Leader doesn’t want you seeing.

Poll of the Week: Public Beaches Anyone? + Last Week’s Results: White Beirut is the Clear Winner

It’s summer, and after establishing which clubs are our favorite, it’s time to check out where we’re spending our days! I mentioned the first few that came to my mind, PLEASE add yours! =D

Also, the issue of public versus private beaches is a major issue in Lebanon. That’s because public beaches are virtually toxic cesspools of garbage and sewage and private beaches’ entrance fees are simply absurd. I’ll be delving into this issue more in depth next week, after the Green Party’s public beaches initiative this weekend.

Till then though, remember, the actual beach and sand, is free for all! No one can barr you from going there. It’s just the restaurants/spas/pools etc. you have to pay to get in to! So, why not park close by and access the clean, safe sand free of charge like it’s meant to be, and is across the world!

What is your favorite Summer Club?

The below is based on 723 votes. I won’t comment further, I’ll allow you guys to draw your conclusions =P