Posts Tagged ‘Lebanon’


Lebanese rock music fans have another thing to look forward to this July, after it had been announced earlier that the legendary Scorpions will be performing two concerts in Byblos, as part of their farewell tour. Well, just last week, NRJ, one of the leading English-oriented radio stations in the country, announced that the widely successful American rock/post-grunge band 30 Seconds to Mars would take the very same stage 10 days later.

After initially being skeptical of this announcement-because let’s face it,  I was just a tad disappointed when the band played at Yas Island in early March and not here- I finally believed the news when the band took to their Twitter account and official page. And honestly, I could not be any happier although I have only been a fan of theirs since the release of Hurricane at the end of 2010.

Is there anything this guy can't do? (Image via echelonattack)

So in preparation for this exciting event, I took to Youtube to watch the Closer to the Edge video, which was directed by Bartholomew Cubbins (J. Leto himself) and features clips from their Into the Wild tour, and make some predictions to what we can expect from Jared, Shannon, and Tomo in July.

  1. It is going to be LOUD: You’re going to say this is a definite Duh! moment because they are after all, a rock band. But no one does loud the way this group does. J. Leto is known for his yelling, reminding this blogger of Steven Tyler at some instances, and his brother S. Leto uses some pretty heavy equipment to generate all those drum beats we hear on the album. Don’t forget to factor in the audience singing, which brings me to the next point.
    Cover of

    This is War Album Cover (Via Amazon.com)

  2. The audience will sing A LOT: It’s a trademark of any 30STM concerts to have the audience chant along with their tracks. On This is War, almost all the tracks have exterior vocals provided by your average fan, thanks to the many Summits the band held while making the album. This leaves  a lot of room for you to go crazy and sing at the top of your lungs. Just a word of advice: come prepared by knowing the album by heart so you can contribute to making the biggest impression. I, for one, cannot wait to sing along to Hurricane and This is War.
  3. It’s going to be BRIGHT: A fundamental element of any concert is the lighting  and one of the many things 30STM happen to do in their concerts is shine bright lights on the audience. Bring your sunglasses because for once it’s going to be okay to wear sunglasses at night. Another brightness factor: Glo-Sticks!
  4. You’re going to be breathless: It’s definitely one of those concerts where you don’t want to be sitting down. Cheering, clapping, singing, and jumping around are all expected. So are stunts, if you’re crazy enough to do them. Who knows, you might be featured in one of their videos (See 2:17 in the video to know what I’m taking about)
  5. They’re Great Live: We’ve all heard the tale of shelving out all the money you had saved up for months to go to a concert only to end up completely disappointed because the music isn’t up to par. Well, that’s not the case with this group. J. Leto certainly has the vocal skills to be able to power through a concert, but even if he does fall short, he can definitely depend on Shannon and Tomo, who are known for their mastery of their instruments. For an example on that, just listen to the epic drumming on Night of the Hunter.
    Shannon Leto live with 30 Seconds to Mars at T...

    Shannon Leto, one of the fastest and most epic drummers on the scene today.(Image via Wikipedia)

  6. Hurricane will probably be played acoustic: And it’s 10 times more chilling than the original- oh and they play the 1.0 version, not the one with Kanye.
  7. It might be a theme night: On the same day the official announcement was made, there was a post on their site describing all the possible themes they could adopt. Which one would you want to see happening for the Byblos concert?
  8. Some lucky audience members might get a chance to go on-stage: This is a tradition of theirs for the Closer to the Edge performance, so if you’re a huge fan, start wishing upon stars from today. You might just end up sharing a stage with three of the hottest men in the world of rock.
  9. Jared’s hair color/style are definitely going to be out there! The guy had a pink Mohawk for the longest time and his fashion instincts only rival those of Lady Gaga, so he’s definitely not going to come on stage in a regular t-shirt and jeans-although that would be great as well. Prepare yourselves for some crazy colors and the possibility of some shirtless-ness .
  10. Despite everything I said above, expect the unexpected Though they sort of have set-format, you really can’t predict what they’re going to do because they will end up shattering those into a tiny million pieces.

Whatever 30 Seconds to Mars have in store for the Lebanese audience,  it’s going to be a concert for the ages in a historic city.


Tom and I started TnT in June 2010 to find a mutual space to vent out everything we were feeling and experiencing as two 20-somethings living and studying in Beirut.

Vista de la ciudad de Beirut, Líbano.

Beirut, We love you. But our blog was not doing you any justice. (Image via Wikipedia)

We loved posting almost everyday, especially because there’s so much going on and so much space to talk. We also brought our passions into the picture and ended up with TnT: A Blog About Life and Everything in Between.

Our initial approach to the blog sometimes felt off, especially that the Lebanese blogosphere has so many incredible people putting their thoughts together, so eloquently if I must add. To be honest, we felt that we could’t compete with the attention that all the others could get because maybe our approach wasn’t as authentic as it should be.

There was one thing, however, that seemed to be working perfectly for us: talking about the things we love. For me, that love has always been music, and for Tom, it’s always been basketball.

We stopped blogging for a while because we got so caught up in finishing our undergraduate studies. What happened during that hiatus really surprised us. Though we had stopped publishing anything new, we were still averaging a lot of views per day, and most of those views were coming to the articles we had written about music and sports.

So Tom and I sat and discussed everything. Initially, I resisted because I was trying to establish a separate blog with more flexibility than WordPress. The more I thought about it, though, I realized that even if we got zero visitors, I’d still be happy because I was getting my opinion there and sharing a blog with someone I deeply respect and admire. Tom agreed and we set upon reviving the blog, shortening the name to TnT: Tom and Tal and adding a whole new tag line.  We also changed the design and add bios-(Mine can be found here)

We’re still 20-somethings living and studying in Beirut, but this time around, we’re focusing on the things we know and love-and we’re sure others do too.

And even if we don’t end up being a nationally renowned blog, all that matters is that we’re having fun writing and sharing.


American University of Beirut

That They May Have Life and Have It More Abundantly

After spending the best two years of my life at the American Univeristy of Beirut, majoring in Environmental Health and being involved in so many extracirculars, I will be graduating in June- something I’m having a lot of mixed feelings about. I recently wrote an Op-Ed for Outlook, AUB‘s Official Student Newspaper about my experiences and this post is based on that piece. I’m certain that in the coming months, I’ll have more to add as my undergraduate years come to a close. Here they are in no particular order.

You will:

  • Overnight on projects that will only count for 10% of your final grade
  • study at Jafet, no matter how much you try to resist the idea.
  • Take some classes that are going to very interesting. Others will just make you wonder what the hell you’re doing there.
  • Drink coffee, chew gum, text, BBM, and fall asleep sitting up in class.
  • Pronounce Bathish in the most American accent only to find out its Lebanese.
  • Join some clubs even if they don’t appeal to your interests.
  • Go to events just because there’s a reception afterwards.
  • Run from upper to lower campus under the pouring rain, carrying two bags, an ineffective umbrella, and wearing the wrong shoes for the season.
  • Take advice from random strangers and dispense it on others.
  • Make friends that you will never see anymore.
  • Meet people in the weirdest of ways.
  • Have trouble with registration. (more…)

As a follow-up to my post, A Tale of Two Cities, I have decided to put together a list of things I’ve learned from all the time I’ve spent in Jeddah. I was supposed to publish this post earlier but then decided that since I’m going back to Beirut in a matter of days, now would be the perfect time. I hope you enjoy reading this list as much as I have putting it together. Here it goes!

Al Baik

Al Baik's Logo

  1. Food, no matter where you get it from, is always great tasting. I’m most partial to Al-Baik, a broasted chicken chain that is deeply associated with Jeddah AND is incredibly delicious.
  1. Wearing the Abayya is not as bad as it sounds. First, you wouldn’t feel like an outsider. Second, you can wear one that’s colorful so you don’t have to worry about conformity. Third, since it covers all your clothes, you don’t have to dress to the nines every time you go out.
  2. Sleeping when the sun comes up is perfectly normal even when you have work in a matter of hours. Day and night have been truly redefined.
  3. Arabic is not the official language, contrary to popular belief. Asian expats don’t speak Arabic, Arab expats have a difficult time understanding different dialects and the locals will only speak in their distinct dialect.
  4. The sheer organization of taxis in this country makes me actually miss the chaos that is Lebanese “service”s.
  5. We’re in the second decade of the 3rd millennium and women still don’t drive, and things don’t seem to be looking up. (more…)

It’s this time of the FIBA World Cup, where 16 of the 24 teams advance to the Round of 16 to play knockouts, while the other 8 teams return back to their respective countries, wondering where did they go wrong, why didn’t they advance, and what do they need to do to make it to the next level.

This has been the same story for the Lebanese national team over the past 8 years. In three participations in basketball’s version of the World Cup, Lebanon has always been knocked out early from the tournament, always finishing in the bottom two of its group. You can always understand their performance in the 2002 World Cup in Indianapolis, where they lost all three games to Puerto Rico, Brazil and Turkey. Back then, it was their first performance ever on the world stage and there was a lack of experience in addition to that the other three teams were better than them. In Japan 2006, the Lebanese team made a huge improvement, despite how bad its basketball league was getting, and beat Venezuela in its first game of the tourney, giving the Lebanese hope of climbing the ladder to the Round of 16 as it needed one more win, preferably Nigeria to take its place. It lost to Argentina and Serbia, and then played France, a national team that has 4 players in the NBA (and I’m not counting Tony Parker since he was absent for the game). Lebanon beat France by a point, easily being the upset of the tournament, and suddenly making our national team looking one of the best after that historical performance. Yet that win in a way was useless, since Lebanon still needed to beat Nigeria in order to qualify, and if it wins, it will not only advance, but take a surprisingly second position in the group. Yet the lack of energy showed in the Lebanese team as they played the Nigerians, where Lebanon was trailing throughout the game by 10 points and could have always came back into the game, yet didn’t have the focus to do so, and since they lost their games in bunches of points, their point differential didn’t help and got them out of the first round again. Despite all that, Team Lebanon gave an impression that its next time would be memorable one and will finally get us to play knockouts for once with the big guys.

Well, 2010 in Turkey came, and for the third straight time, yes, Lebanon got KO’d from the first round AGAIN.

Why?

The Lebanese team was frustrated by the way it performed, and it showed clearly on their faces

Lebanon started off this edition of the World Cup in style by beating Canada. The game went well for the Lebanese team, who managed to turn a mid-3rd quarter deficit of 9 points into a 10 point win behind Fadi El Khatib’s magical performance, 31 points and 8 rebounds. After I watched that game, I personally thought Lebanon was going to defeat anyone it’d play, since  El Khatib and Rony Fahed were shooting the lights out of the ball, they looked so unstoppable, although the rest of the team didn’t perform as well, something that should have been taken into consideration because in its next game vs. France, it was obvious how bad things were. When El Khatib and Fahed struggled, no one was there to pick up for them. OK, Jackson Vroman had 19 points, but who else was there to score the points? Everyone saw how ex-NBA player Matt Freije knocked down three 3 pointers in the first 5 minutes, but no one cared to see that Freije shot 36% vs. Canada and 33% vs. France. Eventually, Lebanon were unable to repeat the upset, and lost by 27 points. Lebanon got a bye day after that, and prepared for the big game vs. New Zealand, a game that all Lebanese fans expected to win and would be more than enough to get Lebanon through (Finally!) to the second round. Well, think again. New Zealand were firing on all cylinders, jumping to a 32-16 lead at the end of the first quarter and only to improve after that to win by as much as 32 points. Things only went downhill for Lebanon, including a loss to world champs Spain. Funny to mention, Lebanon were actually UP when Jackson Vroman blocked Marc Gasol’s shot, only to get a foul and a technical to give him 4 fouls after that in the second quarter, giving Lebanon another loss, this time by 34 points. Now I am not saying Lebanon was going to win, but seriously, when Marc Gasol scores 21 more points after Vroman is out in less than 10 minutes, you got to give Vroman credit. The last game vs. Lithuanua was a game for Lebanon to save face, and try not lose by 27+ points this time. Guess what, Lebanon were very close again, and another dubious call on, yes, Vroman that pulled him out of the game gave the Lithuanians a break. Yet the game didn’t end in a twenty something deficit, and the Lebanese at a point could have came back into the game, but were unable to score, and eventually broke down in the end and lost by 18 points, putting them out AGAIN early in the tournament.

Let me tell you a few things:

1. When you are supposed to have “star” players, they should perform at a “star” level. This is Matt Freije’s stats in the World Cup:

vs. Canada: 12 points on 4 for 11 shooting (4 for 7 on 3-pointers)

vs. France: 11 points on 4 for12 shooting (3 for 8 on 3-pointers)

vs. New Zealand: 4 points on 1 for 7 shooting (0 for 3 on 3-pointers)

vs. Spain: 0 points on 0 for 3 shooting (0 for 1 on 3-pointers)

vs. Lithuania: DNP (Surprise!)

Seriously, were you expecting him to play vs. Lithuania? The best shooting game he had was  36% and in that game he failed to make a basket inside the 3 point line? Are you kidding me? This is your “star” player?

2. Ever heard of an assist-turnover ratio? Well, when your assists are double or triple your turnovers, that means your team is in good shape. Take a look at this:

vs. Canada: 10 assists to 10 TOs

vs. France: 11 assists to 17 TOs

vs. New Zealand: 10 assists to 21 TOs

vs. Spain: 5 assists to 20 TOs

vs. Lithuania: 17 assists to 16 TOs

That is just STINKING bad, especially that Spain game. FIVE ASSISTS? No one told them about passing the ball? The Lithuania game was good, which explained why they were hanging in till almost the end.

3. Bench production:

vs. Canada: 7 points

vs. France: 9 points

vs. New Zealand: 24 points

vs. Spain: 11 points

vs. Lithuania: 24 points

Usually, the bench should have AT LEAST 30-35 points so you can say that you have an effective bench. Basically there was Jean Abdel Nour, Ali Mahmoud and Ali Fakhreddine who were efficient off the bench, but that was about it. I mean, Eric Gordon was scoring these numbers ALONE off the bench for the US every night.

Players to praise: Fadi El Khatib, Jackson Vroman (despite temper issues that screwed him in three of four losses), Rony Fahed, Jean Abdel Nour, Ali Fakhreddine

Players that disappointed: Matt Freije

The rest should have played more, especially Ghaleb Reda, where I’ll never understand him only playing in trash time where he can be much better.

Overall, Lebanon’s national team for basketball had a tough draw, playing three of the top teams in the world and two mediocre teams. Yet after seeing those Spain and France suffer in group play while Lithuania proved to be a top tier, one would think Lebanon actually had a chance to beat those teams and New Zealand and make it to the second round. Yet these issues should be looked into before making plans to make the 2012 Olympics in London and the 2014 FIBA World Championships.

Despite all that, we are proud of our Lebanese national team. Go Lebanon!

No matter what, the Lebanese fans are always behind their team


The final day of the group play in the FIBA World Cup took place in style, with only three teams, Lithuania, hosts Turkey, and USA, advancing undefeated to the Round of 16. Argentina, perfect in its first 4 games, shockingly lost to Serbia 84-82, yet earned an extra day of rest in the process. Luis Scola led the way with 32 points, becoming the all-time leader in scoring for Argentina, who led by 13 early in the game but couldn’t hold onto it. Serbia wins Group A and will face Croatia in the Eighth Finals, while Argentina is set to play Brazil, who beat Croatia later in the day 92-74.

Lebanon had slight hopes in qualifying to the second round by defeating Lithuania big and having New Zealand lose big as well. As usual, Lebanon started tough with Fadi El Khatib knocking down his shots and managing to keep the score tied at 16 by the end of the first quarter. The second quarter began with Lithuania managing to break out, until a point where Lithuania was up 30-25, that the Lebanon-Spain scenario came back into play, with a questionable foul being called on Lebanon, that led to Jackson Vroman picking an unsportsman lite foul, leading to a six point play for Lithuania that sort of made the game difficult for the Lebanese to come back. Yet despite it all, Rony Fahed scored 13 of 19 points in the first half to keep Lebanon trailing by 7 by the end of the first half. The third quarter was something similar to the second quarter, with Lebanon being unable to contain the Lithuanians scoring, giving Lithuania a 13 point lead. Yet the 4th quarter started, and by 3 minutes of play, the score was 4-0 for Lebanon, who had in one play six chances, but were only able to score one point of them, giving in to Lithuania’s Gecevicuis’s 16 points and eventually winning the game 84-66 to take a perfect record to the Round of 16 and play China, while Lebanon, despite Jackson Vroman’s 15 points, will once again head back to Beirut wondering how can they improve themselves to advance past the first round after three unsuccessful tries. It is to be noted that starter Matt Freije, Ghaleb Reda, Elie Stephan and Rodrigue Akl did not play this game. On the other hand, New Zealand beat France 82-70 to face Russia, while France will play Group C winners Turkey.

Team USA had a relatively easy game and beat Tunisia 92-57 behind Eric Gordon’s 21 points off the bench, despite having it tough in the first half where the Americans were unable to hold a good lead more than a minute or 2. The Americans will play Angola in the second round.

Other Results:

Angola 55 – 76 Australia,  Jordan 73 – 91 Germany,  Slovenia 65 – 60 Iran,  

Puerto Rico 79 – Ivory Coast,  Greece 69 – 73 Russia,  Turkey 87 – China 40

 Spain 89 – Canada 67

Round of 16 Schedule

Saturday September 4:

6:00 PM:  Serbia vs. Croatia

9:00 PM:  Spain vs. Greece

Sunday September 5

6:00 PM:  Slovenia vs. Australia

9:00 PM: Turkey vs. France

Monday September 6

6:00 PM: USA vs. Angola

9:00 PM: Russia vs. New Zealand

Tuesday September 7:

6:00 PM: Lithuana vs. China

9:00 PM: Argentina vs. Brazil

 


The 5th day of round robin play in the basketball’s version of the World Cup continued with the great teams making themselves stand out from the rest. Argentina, Lithuania, hosts Turkey, and the USA are expected to top each of their groups, while teams like Canada, Jordan, Tunisia and the Ivory Coast are expected to come out at the bottom.

Team Lebanon played 2006 world champs Spain yesterday in Izmir, and as the game started, the Lebanese team was playing as if they had different players from those that played against France and New Zealand, where behind Jackson Vroman’s play, they managed to come on top in the first quarter by a point. Yet the second quarter started, and the fouls started piling up for the Lebanese, where the calls became so crazy to a point that Vroman blocked Marc Gasol’s shot, and got called a foul and a technical to give him 4 fouls when the game was still mid second quarter. Having been forced to sit out Vroman, Lebanon coach Tab Baldwin had no one else to play defense on the Spanish center, where Gasol managed to score 21 points after only scoring a mere 4, creating problems for the Lebanese team and once again, killing them in the game to give Spain a 91-57 win and improve its chances in qualifying after suffering two surprising setbacks against Lithuania and France. It is to note that the ENTIRE Lebanese team had FIVE assists and TWENTY turnovers. Jackson Vroman led Lebanon with 22 points,  9 rebounds and 2 assists while Marc Gasol had 25 for Spain. Lebanon’s chances for qualifying are very low after New Zealand beat Canada, giving it one more win than Lebanon and making the Lebanese’s last game against Lithuania a must win and for New Zealand to lose by a huge point differential. It would also need a major improvement from its star players Matt Freije, who was scoreless in the loss and Fadi El Khatib, who only had 10 points.

In Group A, perfect Argentina tried to run away from winless Jordan, but managed to do so in the fourth quarter  by winning 88-79. In Group B,  Team USA rolled over Iran in style with an 88-51 win. Group C saw a difficult clash between Turkey and Puerto Rico that saw Turkey rally from behind in the third quarter after a slow start to win its group by defeating the Puerto Ricans 79-77. Group D saw a clash between perfect teams Lithuania and France, where the former team dominated in a 33-12 run that won the Lithuanians the game 69-55.

Other scores:

Serbia 94 – 79 Australia

Angola 92 – 88 Germany

Croatia 84 – 64 Tunisia

Brazil 77 – 80 Slovenia

China 80 – 89 Russia

Ivory Coast 60 – 97 Greece

Canada 61 – 71 New Zealand