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MAGAZINE JANUARY 2012

FG1000

PARK51 SACHIKO KODAMA JAMAL AWAR

RESTORE

RENEW DETOX

DRAWING YOU IN PULLING YOU AWAY PUSHING YOU FORWARD

FENG SHUI

MAGNET THERAPY THE MAGNETIC ISSUE

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Publisher Gina Gabriel El-Fady Editor in Chief Fida Z Chaaban Creative Lead Odette Kahwagi Managing Director Georges Yarack

Photograhers Christian Harb Odette Kahwagi Jason Zamora Teddy Habib Samy Harb Selected images Shutterstock

Webmaster Youmna Chagoury

Contributors Lara Ariss Liliane Assaf Stephanie Aoun Jonathan Cainer Amal Chaaban Youmna Chagoury Rabih Feghali Alice Hlidkova Sarah Hourany Matthew Hussey Maria-Elena Kassab Imogen Kimber Chris Lambert Sabina LLewellyn-Davies Maha Majzoub J.E.N. Nour Obaji Jacques Tchabarian Adam Volk Media Representative publishing & media representative

Stylist Jony Matta Public Relations Coordinator Lea El-Alam Marketing Advisor Daniella Tayar Admnisitrative Coordinator Teddy Younes

Nada G. Farha Managing Director Jdeideh Chalet Suisse St 444 Center 3rd floor Tel: 01 87 16 63 Ext 103 nfarha@pinkodsal.com RAGMAG Alex Gabriel Building Rue Colomn de Sahel Sahel Alma, Keserwan Tel: 09 916 222 / 09 913 777 lea.elalam@ragmaglive.com

Printed by Raidy Printing Group

RAGMAG is a division of Raycon s.a.l. Copyright RAGMAG 2011 All Rights Reserved.

Distributor Lebanese Distributor Company Hamra, Axa Middle East bldg. Tel: 01 368 007

w w w . r a g m a g l i v e . c o m

@ragmaglebanon ragmag Opinions expressed are based solely on personal opinion and expericence, not reflective in any way of RAGMAG, a division of Raycon s.a.l.

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EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES COPYCAT REAL LIFE RUNWAY POLAR OPPOSITES OUR FASHION SHOOT

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OUT + ABOUT VIVACIOUS VENUE RAGMAG PARTIES AT E CAFE

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MAGNETIC

APPEAL SACHIKO

KODAMA SETS THE LAWS OF ATTRACTION

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CULTURE CLASH OPPOSING POLES DO GROUND ZERO + PARK51 FIT? JAMAL AWAR’S MAGNETIC MODESTY THE MOVIE BLACK GOLD MAGNETIC MANTRA THE FG1000 FAMILIES STAY TOGETHER COMPASS INCONSISTENCIES DAMAGE TO THE GULF OF MEXICO LAWS OF ATTRACTION THE MAGNETIC ART OF SACHIKO KODAMA DEMAGNETIZING DEBT HAYDA LEBNEN

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FML ATTRACTING VICTORY CAPOEIRA REPELS DEFEAT

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THE FINAL FRONTIER MAGNETIC MOON ROCKS SCIENCE THE MAGNETIC MYSTIQUE OF ANONYMOUS TECH

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SEE, SPEAK + HEAR NO EVIL SOUND CHECK MUSIC READ’EM + WEEP BOOKS WATCH OUT FILM PLAY NICE GAMES WORLD VISION BLOGS

TAKE ME WITH YOU 130 MAGNETIC MONTREAL TRAVEL BRAINFOOD 138 QUIZZ. DINGBAT. CROSSWORD. SUDOKU.


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RESTORE +RENEW

DETOX MISSIONS

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RESTORE + RENEW CHRONICLE CAFFEINE-FREE 5 DAYS ESSAY BLACKBERRY-FREE 2 DAYS DIARY NICOTINE-FREE 10 DAYS PHOTO ESSAY ALCOHOL-FREE 10 DAYS EDITOR’S OPINION WHEN YOU CAN’T RESIST OUR EDITOR PARTICIPATES IN MASS HYSTERIA MON AMOUR, MON AMI RELATIONSHIPS IN 2012 RESTORE YOUR OUTLOOK VIA ECONOMICS FOR HIM RESTORE + RENEW GETTING YOUR DIET UP TO SNUFF MIND, BODY + SOUL THERAPY WITH MAGNETS TRUE OR FALSE? MAGNETIC DRAINING FIELDS MATTHEW HUSSEY HELP ME NOUR + RABIH ADVICE USING MAGNETIC FIELDS FENG SHUI IN LEBANON MIRROR MIRROR REFLEXOLOGY’S MAGNETIC POLES ZA ZEN SPA REVIEW ATTRACTING INTENSITY CHOPARD’S NOBLE CEDAR HIDDEN AGENDA DIOR HAS IT DIRECTIONAL DIVA MUFE

EAT, DRINK + BE MERRY 130 RESTAURANT REVIEW ST. ELMO’S 132 FLAVORFUL MAGNETISM CHEF THOR DRAWS YOU IN 134 BRUNCH BESTS BY LARA RECIPES 142 MAGNETIC MARTINIS CHARBEL KAYAL

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publisher’s letter

It is a worldwide tradition at the end of the holiday season to make promises to change some of our vices for the better. We all have things that affect our everyday life and us at RM are of course no different. What we have chosen to do though is to cleanse ourselves in public from what we feel we are mostly attached to, for a fresh start and a healthier lifestyle. I can only speak for myself, I experienced ups and downs and sometimes it was tough. A big thank you to all of our followers on Twitter who have made the experience fun and challenging. Read, laugh and find out if we managed to free ourselves for RM. Keep talking to us on Twitter and find out what other crazy ideas we might come up with. Talk to me @GinaGabriel1 I would like to thank Gaucho, Za Zen spa and Emi Music Arabia for their contribution to our January Reader Reward. It is always interesting to see our fans compete for the prizes. We love the reader reward section at RM, we feel honored to have them. Please keep on sending us your thoughts on what you like and don’t like to publisher@ragmaglive.com The best of luck in 2012.

Gina Gabriel El-Fady

Publisher

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SUBSCRIBE TO SPECIAL SUBSCRIPTION OFFER PER ISSUE 10,000 LBP 6 ISSUES 50,000 LBP 12 ISSUES 100,000 LBP Contact us by phone or email to arrange your subscription subscriptions@ragmaglive.com Lea El-Alam 09 916 222 / 09 913 777 RAGMAG Alex Gabriel Building, Rue Colomn de Sahel Sahel Alma, Keserwan

w w w . r a g m a g l i v e . c o m ON OUR COVER PHOTOGRAPHY ODETTE KAHWAGI STYLIST JONY MATTA MODELS Mila Lips Agency | Fadi Nammoura Mila is dressed by Karine Tawil Fadi is dressed by Versace

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@RAGMAGLebanon RAGMAGMagazine


editor’s letter

MAGNETIC BECAUSE RAGMAG IS BENT ON RESTORING + RENEWING OURSELVES We hope you all had a great holiday season! We got great feedback for our December Golden Gates issue and we were very engaged this month on Twitter and Facebook! One of our goals is commitment to our readers: This is why we hope you continue to test us by tweeting our way and definitely commenting on our fan page. We especially enjoy the pictures you send us of your copies or when the mag turns up in unlikely places. Keep them coming! We’re kind of glad to get back to business as usual here at RAGMAG because we were excited to be one of the only magazines to do a January issue. In honour of 2012, we decided to do something that every magazine talks about but rarely puts into practise. Rather than telling you to kick your addictions and lecturing you on the ills of your personal shortcomings, we attacked our own. It is my habit to tell my writers to write about what they know or else it is not believable and generally, it is not well written. What good is writing about resolutions and self-improvement if we don’t even have first-hand experience? I’ve read a million articles that tell you how to break your bad habits but I’ve seen very few that actually position the writer as the habit breaker. I thought to myself so many times that these writers should practise what they preach. Instead of being all talk no action, we chose a few of our core team and had them get restored + renewed via detox missions. Our Restore + Renew section is a special January-only

occurrence. It has replaced a few of our regular sections but they’ll be back next issue. Gina Gabriel, our Publisher, went smoke-free for 10 days to get the nicotine out of her system. Youmna Chagoury, our Webmaster and Contributor, went caffeine-free for 5 and that included tea and soft drinks. Our Creative Lead Odette Kahwagi, to whom we owe the entire artistic direction of the magazine (including photography), stopped drinking for 10 days. And of course, my personal lead-by-example fiasco meant I had to do something- so I went offline for 2 full days: No BlackBerry and it was absolutely hideous. Check out the Restore + Renew section and watch us try to practise what everyone else just talks about. Don’t just follow me on Twitter, talk to me on Twitter @fidachaaban Write to me at letterstotheeditor@ragmaglive.com Follow the magazine on Twitter for news, updates, and contests @RAGMAGLebanon and join us on Facebook at facebook.com/RAGMAGMagazine For those of you who have missed an issue here or there, you can download the PDFs or read them online at issuu.com/RAGMAG Fida Z Chaaban | Editor in Chief

WE WERE THERE TO WATCH HADY BEYDOUN’S LATEST MURAL COME TO LIFE IN HAMRA AT BIG SHOT PUB. THE TUPAC + BIGGIE ARTWORK IS 4 METERS BY 4 METERS AND TOOK 14 STRAIGHT HOURS TO COMPLETE. THE MAGNETIC ISSUE

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FOR OUR DECEMBER ISSUE WE CONTINUED TO TALK TO YOU VIA OUR SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS- TWITTER AND FACEBOOK. WE THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR COMMENTS AND PARTICIPATION AND HOPE YOU CONTINUE TO INTERACT WITH US ONLINE.

JOIN US ON FACEBOOK AND SCRIBBLE ON OUR WALL TO WIN, WRITE TO US LETTERSTOTHEEDITOR@RAGMAGLIVE.COM OR TWEET US ON TWITTER @RAGMAGLEBANON!

IF YOU’RE BRAVE ENOUGH TO TAKE A PIC WITH YOUR FAVORITE ISSUE OF RAGMAG, SEND IT OUR WAY VIA SOCIAL MEDIA OR EMAIL! HAPPY NEW YEAR, SPEND 2012 WITH RAGMAGIT’S YOUR MAGAZINE! RAGMAG reserves the right to edit for clarity and content

LOVE YOUR FACE

You know what we love even more than letters? PICTURES OF YOU + YOUR RAGMAG COPIES! RAGMAG reader Sarrrahhh Masriiiiiiiii, you’re our big fave this issue! We love your fun shot- You’re curled up with us and if we get your message right, you’re a slave for shoes! Sarah, you’ve got not just one copy in your pic, you’ve got three. We couldn’t have done it better ourselves and since you’re camera-tastic, we want you to enter our Gaucho contest. Pay attention to the rules, we’re looking forward to your entry.

Congratulations to three RAGMAG readers! RAGMAG loves reader interaction so we paired up with L’Occitane and ran a print contest in last month’s issue. We posted the teasers for the L’Occitane rewards on our Facebook page and Twitter a few days beforehand then when it went to print, we waited for the emails to roll in. Due to the high response count, we decided to randomly choose the winners as opposed to the first three emails to account for delivery discrepancies in Lebanon. We did this fair and square so we wouldn’t exclude anyone. Congratulations to three RAGMAG L’Occitane loving readers Aya Halabi, Rania Ghadban and Hiba Chagoury!

ONLINE ESCAPADES

EMI Music Arabia gave 5 of our readers the DVD of Adele’s “Live at The Royal Albert Hall”. It’s also available on Blu Ray and features the full 90 minute performance plus behind the scenes footage shots. The package also contains an exclusive live CD of the entire show. For the first time, fans will be able to hear all of Adele’s hits and best loved songs on one CD plus her stunning covers of Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me” and the Steeldrivers “If It Hadn’t Been For Love”. Our 5 winners Marie Nakhle, George Zamroud, Iman Imad, Tania Awada and Lara Zok played with us on Facebook and Twitter. Follow @EMIMusicArabia to keep up to date with the music scene!

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letters to the editor

KEEPS YOU COMING BACK AGAIN + AGAIN

BEIRUT’S MAGNETIC MEALS! We have been big Gaucho fans since day one! We quickly got addicted to their sumptuous morsels of meat and ceviche and their stellar wine selection after attending an invitation-only masterclass. Since January’s issue really hit home with addictions, we’re sharing our guilty pleasure with you! Get hooked on Gaucho like we did by attending a masterclass for you and 5 of your guests! They’ll be serving you a private tasting of their choicest cuts and smooth wines!

TIME TRAVEL

We’re Gaucho cocktail fans, too! If you haven’t gone there for a drink or two in their chill lounge, you’re missing out bigtime! They got us with their vintageinspired cocktail menu that echoes the golden days of Buenos Aires from the sexy 30s to the mind-blowing 60s. Still

one of the coolest capitals in the world, the heyday of Argentina inspired the hospitality business worldwide. Head to Gaucho and try RAGMAG’s cocktail craves… The cool Cariño with passion fruit and strawberry and the citrus sensation Pommelina are at the top of our list.

WIN YOUR MASTERCLASS YOU OUGHTA BE IN PICTURES, BABY! Do you want to take 5 friends and attend a private Gaucho masterclass? Then listen up! We want to see your love for RAGMAG in a visual format. This is how you can win 1) Get your hands on back issues of RAGMAG if you don’t already have them.

2) Make like Sarah Masri (opposite page) and create a cool concept using copies of RAGMAG. 3) Do your own mini photo shoot. 4) Email it in to letterstotheeditor@ragmaglive.com 5) Cross your fingers.

We will select the coolest pic and the winner will be kicking it at Gaucho with 5 of their besties. Come on, get your cameras out and let’s see what you can do! Both professional and amateur shutterbugs are welcome to enter!

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editor’s opinion

THE WAY WE WERE GROUPTHINK,

MASS HYSTERIA +

THE LESSONS WE SHOULD LEARN FROM THOSE BEFORE US

I

t’s a bit of cliché to be nostalgic at the end of the year. I almost get teary listening to Auld Lang Syne (yes, I’m listening to it as I write this). Our January 2011 “Old Vs New” issue was partly inspired by Auld Lang Syne, but we resisted the urge to jump head first into that theme because it is overused and underappreciated. Like Auld Lang Syne, another enduring song, Greensleeves, is played during the holiday season both in instrumental and lyrical forms. While both of these historic pieces are used to generate feeling and a yearning for days of old, they aren’t much used for manipulation purposes by official bodies. I have often talked via my op-ed about the power of symbolism and the savvy wielding of that power to hypnotize a populace. It is a somewhat common thing to use iconography and music to sway things in your favor. Look no further than governments for the clever use of song and image to get your patriotic hearts beating. This New Year, my op-ed is about revisiting

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some of the campaigns that permeated the public consciousness and are now nostalgic relics of times past. Propaganda is usually considered to be a bad thing. Maybe I can change your views on that- if you keep reading.

CROWD CONTROL “Keep Calm And Carry On” is one of three posters that was issued by the British government to encourage resolve and a stiff upper lip in anticipation of the difficulty British citizens (then British subjects) would experience in the Second World War. The first two posters had similar wartime jargon: The first advised, “Freedom Is In Peril. Defend It With All Your Might” and the second counseled that “Your Courage, Your Cheerfulness, Your Resolution Will Bring Us Victory”. (Note: I have kept the original capitalizations of the slogans as presented at the time of original issue.) The point of this movement

was straightforward: Be strong in the face of adversity and don’t dishearten those around you by being a Debbie Downer. The poster was unearthed in 2000, found in an unlikely bookstore by the owners, who then began distributing it on request. Soon a craze for the nostalgic and poignant message overtook London and spread like wildfire. In a tongue in cheek Economist 2010 article, a nod was given to the “Keep Calm” generation. “Bagehot” began his piece by saying that if you are to “visit any British office[…] you stand a good chance of seeing a postcard, mug or other trinket bearing the message ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’, beneath the crown of King George VI. There is little mystery about the craze for this bracing injunction—crafted by the Ministry of Information on the eve of war in 1939. It taps directly into the country’s mythic image of itself: unshowily brave and just a little stiff, brewing tea as the bombs fall.”


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editor’s opinion

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It is easy to see why this message perseveres. Haven’t you ever rallied your staff or colleagues? Or given a motivational speech to a buddy who’s down and out? I have and I do, all the time. Keep Calm And Carry On isn’t the message of my generation, hell my parents weren’t even born then. It is however an enduring sign of a stoic bravery that everyone should revisit.

OUT OF THE CLOSET

“Loose Lips Sink Ships” was another popular WWII poster but this one is originally American. It basically means that confiding secrets and sharing information can land you in hot water. It originated with the idea that idle chatter about a ship’s direction could potentially be overheard by the enemy via covert agents and the like. Discretion was deemed a very important part of the war effort and

good citizens weren’t expected to be forthcoming with information that could potentially compromise their country’s aims. I’ve always had a fondness for the slogan and I was recently pleasantly surprised to see a reproduction of the poster at St. Elmo’s (Zaitunay Bay). It seemed that I was meant to share it this issue as an Associated Press article about Hexagon, an old covert operation, came to my attention a few days before my deadline. In the telling piece, the now declassified mission has been called “the most successful space spy satellite program of the Cold War era. From 1971 to 1986 a total of 20 satellites were launched, each containing 60 miles of film and sophisticated cameras that orbited the earth snapping vast, panoramic photographs of the Soviet Union, China and other potential foes.” The article has comments from former Hexagon operatives and their families that give insight as to what kind of secrecy was put into practice: “We were born into the World War II generation.

We all knew the slogan ‘loose lips sink ships,’” said Linda Bronico. Bronico is a wife of on one Hexagon’s surviving operatives who was told by her husband that he was “building test consoles and cables” by way of explanation. I do believe that “Loose Lips Sink Ships”. I try to keep idle chatter to a minimum and I think that is one of the principal reasons that I don’t have a Facebook account. It’s just too much information about too many people. I don’t think my contact list needs to know that Gina likes my t-shirt and that Odette is waiting on my article. No matter how droll and harmless you might think this sort of conversational banter is, it is bound to one day come back and bite you in the ass. In today’s super-transparent world, we are almost compelled to discuss everything, exposing our dirty laundry to mere acquaintances, talking over our problems with perfect strangers. Next time you are kicking yourself for saying too much too often, think about this poster and the generation it influenced. It was a different time, and maybe in some respects, a better one. So here is my salute to 2012. Here’s to a generation that six decades ago thought before they spoke and was strong (and calm) in the face of pending disaster. It’s okay to be nostalgic once in a while I guess, especially when we could stand to learn a thing or two

IN TODAY’S SUPERTRANSPARENT WORLD, WE ARE ALMOST COMPELLED TO DISCUSS EVERYTHING, EXPOSING OUR DIRTY LAUNDRY TO MERE ACQUAINTANCES, TALKING OVER OUR PROBLEMS WITH PERFECT STRANGERS THE MAGNETIC ISSUE

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cultureclash LEFT + OPPOSITE PAGE: PARK51 MANIFESTATIONS BELOW, RIGHT: NEW YORK MAYOR BLOOMBERG

OPPOSING SOCIETAL POLES TWO ENDS OF THE SPECTRUM

GROUND ZERO’S CONTROVERSIAL NEIGHBOR PARK51 BY ALICE HLIDKOVA

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ast year in June, the American media was flooded with political commentary of the Supreme Court upholding a federal law that makes it illegal to give “material support” to foreign terrorist organizations. As the nation debated free speech verses national security, two Americans on their way to Somalia with intentions to join the Islamic extremist group Al Shabab, which aims to kill American troops, were arrested at the Kennedy International Airport in New York. New Yorkers, fearing for their safety, shook several weeks later when major news networks dropped a meteorite headline: “Ground Zero Mosque,” a proposed Muslim community center with a prayer space that morphed into a controversy about September 11th. Many residents were confused by its mission with some neighbors outraged by its close proximity to the site of the terrorist attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center and families of the victims.

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By August, more than 20,000 people signed an online petition against the project, and unsuccessfully lobbied the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission to give the location landmark status, which would have delayed construction. The Commission signaled a green light for the project in a unanimous vote and Mayor Bloomberg celebrated the occasion with a speech on Governor’s Island, with Manhattan’s towering skyscrapers in the backdrop. “Let us not forget that Muslims were among those murdered on 9/11 and that our Muslim neighbors grieved with us as New Yorkers and as Americans. We would betray our values—and play into our enemies’ hands—if we were to treat Muslims differently than anyone else,” the Jewish billionaire told his suspicious audience. He praised religious tolerance over tears and shortly after his speech, an army of several thousand Facebook users showed their support, with a quarter million more defending their opposition.

“WE WOULD BETRAY OUR VALUES - AND PLAY INTO OUR ENEMIES’ HANDS - IF WE WERE TO TREAT MUSLIMS DIFFERENTLY THAN ANYONE ELSE”


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RIGHT: LOCATION OF THE PROPOSED MOSQUE NEAR GROUND ZERO IN LOWER MANHATTAN BELOW: AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR MUSLIM ADVANCEMENT WEBSITE

OFFICIALLY CALLED, “PARK51,” THE SUFI MUSLIM COMMUNITY CENTER IS A CHARITABLE ORGANIZATION WITH NO POLITICAL AGENDA Officially called, “Park51,” the Sufi Muslim community center is a charitable organization with no political agenda. The Islamic institution is exempt from taxes, holds its own fundraising initiatives and under New York Law, submits an annual financial report to the Attorney General. It holds a postal address of 45-51 Park Place, two blocks north of the World Trade Center Site, in a neighborhood filled with convenient shops and mom-andpop restaurants. Pedestrians around Ground Zero can’t see the thirteen floors of glass, concrete and steel, complete with an Islamic “prayer room” that fills two floors, of what used to be retailer Burlington Coat Factory. Two female Muslim receptionists on the ground floor

collect fees for the spacious exhibition hall and donations from attendants for expansion efforts. A Caucasian security guard looks on, and guards the desk when the two women excuse themselves to join up to eight hundred Muslims for prayer. The rest of the building is under construction. Chief proponents of the project is a married couple—he from Kuwait, she from Kashmir. Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, after his graduation from Columbia University, served as prayer leader of a mosque located twelve blocks from Ground Zero. For nearly thirty years the Imam published and lectured on Islam and its issues. He founded the American Society for Muslim Advancement with his wife, Daisy Khan to support cultural and

religious harmony through interfaith/ intrafaith education and dialogue. Both, committed to moderation and tolerance, denounce terrorism and the 9/11 attacks. Khan, whose South Tower office filled the 106th floor, meets with individuals from different faith groups to advocate for religious co-existence and dispel misconceptions of Islam, tweeting, “Terrorists are fading and most Muslims are relieved at their demise.” Real estate developer Sharif El-Gamal leased 47-51 Park Place from Con Edison, the utility provider that owns half the space. El-Gamal serves as CEO and Chairman of Soho Properties, which built the institution modeled after the Jewish Community Center on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, where he lives. The New York native originally planned to build luxury condominiums, but was convinced by the Imam’s idea for a community center and prayer hall that could serve thousands of Muslims working and living in the financial district. Both men managed the property and oversaw its daily operations, until Imam Feisal’s replacement earlier this year.

“TERRORISTS ARE FADING AND MOST MUSLIMS ARE RELIEVED AT THEIR DEMISE” 18 RAGMAG | JANUARY 2012


cultureclash

El-Gamal takes a business and pragmatic approach on Park51, remarking, “I can’t say this often enough. We work in Lower Manhattan, we care about Lower Manhattan and we’re here to provide services to Lower Manhattan.” And on its grand opening this year, in September, he gave his support in front of an enthusiastic crowd that gathered to listen to an orchestra playing Middle Eastern instruments. Photographer Danny Goldfield from Brooklyn became Park51’s first exhibitor. He displayed a wall photo exhibit of New York children of different ethnicities. The Jewish artist was inspired by the story of Rana Sodhi, a Sikh who emigrated from India and settled in Arizona. His brother was killed in a retaliatory hate crime days after 9/11. Goldfield was pleased with community participation and openness towards his exhibition. Luckily, no one threatened a bomb, dropped an unattended package, or provoked police into interrupting the event.

El-Gamal regrets excluding relatives of 9/11 victims, first responders and others, from the project. In an interview for the Associated Press on opening day, he told reporters: “We didn’t understand that we had a responsibility to discuss our private project with family members that lost loved ones,” and they didn’t “really connect” with community leaders. The mistake cost him his partnership with the Iman, who later told The Huffington Post of their visionary differences of incorporating the community.

week later noted that 52 percent of Americans believed Muslims should be able to build a mosque in the country, as other religious groups have the right to build their own houses of worship.

From design to execution, nationwide controversy surrounded the project. Polls showed that the majority of Americans, New York State residents, and New York City residents opposed the project. But a Fox News national poll taken August 10–11, 2010 found that 61 percent felt that the project developers had a right to build it a majority of Democrats (63–32 percent), Republicans (57–36 percent), and Independents (69–29 percent). The Economist/YouGov poll taken a

By the grand opening, national discussions about Islam had become so fragmented, controversial and polarized that Congressmen worried about homeland security. The Counter Intelligence Agency (CIA), equipped with the Patriot Act which gives law enforcement agencies permission to search phone, email, medical, financial, and other records, continued targeting homegrown extremist groups as hate crimes against Muslims intensified.

Counterterrorism analysts responded to the controversy by calling Park51 a “recruitment opportunity” for radical Islamist groups. Newsweek interviewed a Taliban member who drew parallels of the opposition to increased support Taliban causes, thrilled by the American favor.

DANNY GOLDFIELD

JEWISH PHOTOGRAPHER DANNY GOLDFIELD FROM BROOKLYN BECAME PARK51’S FIRST EXHIBITOR. HE DISPLAYED A WALL PHOTO EXHIBIT OF NEW YORK CHILDREN OF DIFFERENT ETHNICITIES ABOVE: DANNY GOLDFIELD, PARK51’S FIRST EXHIBITOR LEFT: DANNY GOLDFIELD PHOTOGRAPHY

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THE DIVERSE SPECTRUM OF RESISTANCE HASN’T DETERRED PARK51 FROM EDUCATING THE PUBLIC ABOUT ISLAM AND ITS CULTURE, FROM ERECTING ITS STATE-OF-THE-ART RECREATIONAL FACILITIES FOR THE RELIGIOUS AND NON-RELIGIOUS 20 RAGMAG | JANUARY 2012


cultureclash

LEFT: PARK51 COMMUNITY CENTER ACTIVITIES AND EXHIBITIONS, COURTESY OF WWW.PARK51.ORG BELOW, LEFT TO RIGHT: PARK51 NEIGHBORHOOD, GROUND ZERO MOSQUE PROTESTERS

THE REPUBLICAN PARTY AND ITS ANTI-ISLAM CAMPAIGNS FUELED MOST OF THE OPPOSITION. PALIN SUPPORTERS EXPRESSED CONCERN FOR ISLAMIC TRIUMPHALISM THAT WOULD EVENTUALLY “DESTROY OUR CIVILIZATION”

The Republican Party and its AntiIslam campaigns fueled most of the opposition. Former Presidential Campaigner Sarah Palin famously tweeted, “Peaceful New Yorkers, pls refute the Ground Zero mosque plan if you believe catastrophic pain caused @Twin Towers site is too raw, too real.” Palin supporters expressed concern for Islamic triumphalism that would eventually destroy our civilization. New York Republicans, former Governor George Pataki and former Mayor Rudy Guiliani, expressed their disapproval; Guliani couldn’t imagine a mosque erected at Pearl Harbor.

worship and places of worship of all other religions also built near Ground Zero,” as quoted in Wikipedia. Muslim Neoconservative journalist Stephen Schwartz opposed Imam Feisal’s activities he called “radical,” claiming they were inconsistent with the Sufi philosophy. A Muslim professional group in the Phoenix Valley of Arizona protested its location, whereupon America declared war on its Muslim citizens. Some Muslim Canadian Congress members, university scholars and relatives of 9/11 victims shared similar sentiment, campaigning against its offensive and insensible prospects.

Muslims shared criticism. Ahmadiyya Muslim Community argued that Ground Zero doesn’t suit mosques, and its Head Mirza Masroor Ahmad stated, “If a mosque is built at the proposed site, then the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community would like to see churches, synagogues, Hindu places of

The diverse spectrum of resistance hasn’t deterred Park51 from educating the public about Islam and its culture, from erecting its state-ofthe-art recreational facilities for the religious and non-religious, whom will enjoy playing basketball, swimming, reading, dining, cooking and attending

performances. El-Gamal’s company plans to build classrooms for Arabic and English language instruction, and office space for servicing domestic violence victims, immigrants, senior citizens, and the homeless. The long overdue memorial and quiet reflection room will commemorate the victims of the September 11 attacks. Inspired by Islamic values and Muslim heritage, Park51 will weave the MuslimAmerican identity into the multicultural fabric of the United States. It will not only test Muslim freedom of expression and tackle Islamophobia, but also question citizens’ support for the group’s self-determination—post-9/11. In a letter Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch posted on the organization’s website, he summoned religious followers to unite in common faith, writing, “This is our task: to climb the ladder to heaven; to rise above the forces of brutality weighing us down and to imagine a better world.”

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JAMAL AWAR’S

MAGNETIC MODESTY BLACK GOLD ON THE BIG SCREEN BY IMOGEN KIMBER

ACTING NORMAL

The young Lebanese actor Jamal Awar has a modest demeanour. At the Lebanese premier of “Black Gold” – the multimillion dollar Hollywood movie Awar just acted in – he graciously received a round of applause from the cinema audience only to swiftly duck into his seat. It was fitting that the last few words that Awar said to me as we chatted after the film were, “I don’t want to be famous, I don’t want a star on the Hollywood boulevard, all I want is to pay the rent and to act.” Out of context Awar’s remark may seem a little false considering the aforementioned taking part in the multimillion dollar movie, but I believe him. ABOVE: LEBANESE ACTOR JAMAL ANWAR RIGHT: STILL SHOT FROM THE MOVIE BLACK GOLD WITH ANTONIO BANDERAS

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A FAMILY SET

Black Gold is the latest film from the renowned French Director Jean-Jacques Arnaud (Seven Years in Tibet, Enemy at the Gate). The epic stars Antonio Banderas and Mark Strong as an Emir and Sultan respectively battling it out in the Sahara, first over land and then over oil. Tahar Rahim plays the son fighting for his father and his love, played by Frida Pinto.


cultureclash

“THE ATMOSPHERE WAS BRILLIANT, IT WAS A FAMILY [...] WE WERE TRAPPED IN A DESERT AND CIVILIZATION WAS FAR AWAY FROM US SO WE HAD TO GET ALONG” It is big budget, with big names and on location so considering Awar’s gentle temperament it seems he was very lucky with his first experience in such a film. “The atmosphere was brilliant, it was a family,” he said, “We were trapped in a desert and civilization was far away from us so we had to get along.” As Awar describes the casting process it is apparent that the family feeling that illuminated the set stemmed from the Director. Arnaud handpicked all of the cast members, including Awar. It would seem Arnaud highly values people he can get along with as Awar described the audition as more of a friendly chat hitting upon topics such as famine in India and ancient Chinese phrases rather than a scrutinising interview. “He was like a father to all of us, he was the main figure that guides people,” Awar said.

From the cast members, Awar had great praise for lead actor Mark Strong explaining that “there were 75 actors, he was number three and I was 29, he could have snubbed me off but he didn’t,” said Awar, painting Strong as a kind man with plenty of wisdom to share. It certainly isn’t always this way, as Awar is well aware, “Actors always stay in their own world, in this movie everyone was so friendly, we were one big team.” Awar didn’t see any celebrity style behaviour from Antonio Banderas either, “He was very friendly and always offered to pay [when we were out to dinner]. [...]He comes from Malaga [Spain] but believed he had Arabs roots,” said Awar. His seemingly genuine words also extended to Frida Pinto who he described as “[...] so humble, she is such a lady in all the meaning of the word, very cultured and knowledgeable...”

BELOW: BLACK GOLD CAST LEFT TO RIGHT: JAMAL AWAR, MARK STRONG, FRIDA PINTO, TAHAR RAHIM, ANTONIO BANDERAS

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WHILE IT WAS OBVIOUS THAT THE PRODUCTION VALUE WAS HIGH AND THE CINEMATOGRAPHY WAS IMPRESSIVE, THE FLOW OF THE STORY SEEMED LOST AND THE STEREOTYPING OF ARABS WAS DISAPPOINTING

ABOVE, LEFT: DIRECTOR JEAN-JACQUES ARNAUD (LEFT) AND ACTOR ANTONIO BANDERAS ON THE SET OF BLACK GOLD BELOW, LEFT AND RIGHT: LEBANESE ACTOR JAMAL AWAR

UNFORTUNATELY FOR AWAR THE EXPERIENCE MIGHT NOT HAVE TURNED OUT AS HOPED. WHILE HE HAD A NAMED ROLE AND CONSIDERABLE HOURS ON TAPE HIS PART LARGELY SEEMS TO HAVE ENDED UP ON THE EDITING ROOM FLOOR

IN THE WINGS

Unfortunately for Awar, despite his positive report on the experience it might not have turned out as hoped. While he had a named role and considerable hours on tape his part largely seems to have ended up on the editing room floor, as they say. In fact as a viewer it felt while it was obvious that the production value was high and the cinematography was impressive, the flow of the story seemed lost and the stereotyping of Arabs was disappointing. Sadly for Awar, this means he doesn’t get quite the level of exposure that the film might have brought him. It will be interesting to see what Awar does next. He has a curious combination of being clearminded, confident and focussed whilst also being modest in his manner and ambitions. Landing a part in this film was a massive jump from his previous work. Despite being encouraged by his friends and family he was dubious to even audition as he didn’t want to face rejection which might dent his confidence in the art he enjoys. Awar even decided not to study acting because of a nagging feeling from his practical side: “I wanted to go into

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acting but I wasn’t sure it would be ok. My family told me you were made to do this. [But] it doesn’t work this way. So I need something that feeds the heart and something that pays the rent.” Talented and focussed Awar will be an interesting one to watch on both the Lebanese screen and abroad. The only tip he gave me was that he was considering studying in London, hopefully his talent will win out against his endearing modesty and we will see him in the West End very shortly


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cultureclash LEFT: BARRY HOPE BELOW: JOE GHANEM WITH HIS FATHER SAMIR GHANEM (MAYOR OF FALOUGHA) AND HIS SPONSOR H.E. SHEIKH FAISAL AL QASEMI AND HIS SON SHEIKH KHALED

MAGNETIC

MANTRA THE FAMILY THAT PLAYS TOGETHER STAYS TOGETHER BY FIDA CHAABAN

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he Dubai Autodrome is a big place. I wander around looking for Barry Hope, owner and operator of GulfSport Racing, basically a race car driving school based in the United Arab Emirates. I quickly check the board to see if the Formula Gulf 1000 (FG1000 is owned and promoted by GulfSport Racing) is good to go and see that the race is slightly delayed. Drivers in the FG1000 compete in 16 races over an 8 event run that take place at both the YAS Marina Circuit on YAS Island and the Dubai Autodrome. The races began in October of last year with the overall winner awarded a scholarship to compete in the UK’s Formula Renault Barc.

“FOR EVERY GUY THAT RACES, IT TAKES ABOUT 20 PEOPLE TO SUPPORT HIM. JOE HAS A SPONSOR IN H.E. SHEIKH FAISAL BIN KHALID AL QASIMI WHO HAS GENERATED SUPPORT FOR HIM” 26 RAGMAG | JANUARY 2012

I’m here to see both Barry and his student, Joe Ghanem. If the name Ghanem sounds familiar in the context of racing, it’s because Joe is the son of Lebanese Rally champ Samir Ghanem. I arrive at the GulfSport Racing tent and find both Joe and his father speaking to a group of supporters. “If your family supports you and you get really good, sky is the limit,” says Barry gesturing to the Ghanems. “This is a family sport and we’re a family business. Motor racing built a relationship that endures with our kids and it starts when the kids 8, 10, 12 even,” says Barry continuing on about the integration of

family and competitive sports. Barry initially moved to the Middle East in 1977, first in Dubai and Bahrain, then back to Dubai with FG1000. The average age of FG1000 contenders is 20 with most falling between 18 and 22. “For every guy that races, it takes about 20 people to support him. Joe has a sponsor in H.E. Sheikh Faisal Bin Khalid Al Qasimi who has generated support for him. To give you an idea, the Cadet Championships in the UK cost about $150,000 per year,” and he means per participant. “At this level, the [FG1000] championship was $55,000, the cheapest in the world.”


AS A YOUNG RACER, JOE GHANEM ATTRACTED SPONSORS LIKE RED BULL AND HE HAS DRIVEN AND COMPETED IN NUMEROUS COUNTRIES “When they get to this level, there are very few [competitors] left,” but this is just the tip of the iceberg. “The whole process of racing is quite well-defined. It’s black and white and it’s not for wimps. Each ladder is approximately 2 years and you need a minimum of 10 years. Racing every weekend for 14 years is like doing 2 PhDs,” says Hope attempting to illustrate the level of dedication and resources it will take for Joe or any of his other students to get further. “These guys are the best in the region but no one is supporting them,” says Hope referring to the lack of sponsorship. Gender distribution sees about 30 to 40 percent of females before the age of 16 and “after that

female participation usually drops off. You get to this level and there are very few left,” he says gesturing to FG1000 competitor Natasha Seatter, the only female in the running. “Generally F1 is physically tough for women, the cars are basically inverted airplanes. It’s an aerodynamic car and instead of trying to take off it’s going down. The difficulty is changing gear,” explaining that the cars have an approximate top speed of 230 kilometers per hour. The family ties in racing extends to Natasha as well: She is also accompanied by her parents who, according to Hope, try as much as possible to watch her compete despite living outside of the UAE.

“THE WHOLE PROCESS OF RACING IS QUITE WELL-DEFINED. IT’S BLACK AND WHITE AND IT’S NOT FOR WIMPS. EACH LADDER IS APPROXIMATELY 2 YEARS AND YOU NEED A MINIMUM OF 10 YEARS. RACING EVERY WEEKEND FOR 14 YEARS IS LIKE DOING 2 PHDS”

As for Joe, he began quite young with Samir’s full support. As a young racer, he attracted sponsors like Red Bull and he has driven and competed in numerous countries on a slew of different circuits. “My adrenaline rush gets me going. I was focused on racing ever since I was a kid. I love it and I’ll never stop,” he says pulling on his suit. His father waits patiently as I listen to Joe list his numerous rallies and accolades. Despite all this, Joe isn’t above mentioning his shortcomings as well. Samir waits at a respectful distance as I interview Joe but gestures discreetly that it’s time for him to hit the track. Joe thanks me graciously as he heads toward his car and Samir does the same. Racing in the FG1000 is a family sportjust ask Samir and Joe Ghanem. Like father, like son

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PHOTO CREDIT GERALD HERBERT AP

COMPASS INCONSISTENCIES DAMAGE TO MARINE LIFE IN THE GULF OF MEXICO DIFFICULT TO PINPOINT BY ALICE HLIDKOVA + ERIC JOSEPH REITMEYER

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school of dolphins circle a strange beast as it cuts through multiple layers of blue. Sinking deeper into the Gulf of Mexico, sharks begin to gather and follow curiously in its wake. The vessel continues its descent through bands of turquoise and grayish blue, a twilight zone some eight hundred feet deep. The sharks soon abandon chase, their shiny eyes set on the tiny silver fish bolting through the ribbons of scarce light. The vessel is now alone in a dark underworld, and finally comes to rest in layers of mud fifteen hundred feet below the surface, where it will study the coral reefs on the sea floor.

Called the Deepworker, the submersible vessel is used to explore the underwater world of The Gulf of Mexico. Its cramped compact size and lightweight construction allows a single person to explore at great depths, up to two thousand feet deep. But international campaigning organization, Greenpeace, had another idea when they sponsored multiple underwater cruises last October. They combined two single unit vessels to create a “two-headed beast,” says Sandra Brooke, Coral Conservation Director at the Marine Conservation Biology Institute.

Brooke and a fellow scientist took turns diving with their pilot to sample the Viosca Knoll area, less than forty kilometers northeast of the Deepwater Horizon well. Two months after the tragic spill that leaked close to five million barrels of oil into the sea, the team set out to study the damage, cramped in a space smaller than a restaurant bathroom and the length of a motorcycle. Using the vessel’s manipulator arms they clawed at the surface, lifting and dispensing objects into containers before capping it with a lid. “We didn’t see any lethal affects—obvious damages,” says Brooke who has been studying the well-developed coral reefs for numbers of years. As coral covered in goo becomes the unlikely scenario, Brooke argues that the sub-lethal affects on reproduction have yet to be revealed.

TWO MONTHS AFTER THE TRAGIC SPILL THAT LEAKED CLOSE TO FIVE MILLION BARRELS OF OIL INTO THE SEA, THE TEAM SET OUT TO STUDY THE DAMAGE 28 RAGMAG | JANUARY 2012


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Traveling to the coral reefs takes only twenty minutes, but navigating through Lophelia pertusa - the name of the reef - is a two-hour long journey. Crabbing closer to the reefs, crabs and worms dodge the small beast that soon finds mounds of rubble interrupting its course. Soon tiny rock formations, dressed with sponges and corals, open its curtains to the coral proper. As lava from the species of cold water coral lands on the rocks, they branch out like frizzed strands of hair, tangled into one another. As they form colonies, the animals resemble crusting cauliflower vegetables. At its nucleus, a “matrix of dead colonies,” says Brooke, produces an ecosystem for other fish. “The dead part is natural.” Unlike many other coral systems around the world, including Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, Lophelia is young, aged only a few hundred years compared to thousands. They are scattered, and stretch for only a few miles, so the reef is more difficult to locate. “We don’t know where all the reefs are,” says Brooke, who couldn’t believe what little visible damage the spill caused.

“IF WE DESTROY IT WE CAN DESTROY A CURE WE ARE UNAWARE OF”. OUR CIVILIZATION HAS YET TO UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF AQUATIC BIODIVERSITY AND ITS MANY SPECIES LURKING IN CORAL HOTSPOTS. THIS TIME WE “DODGED BULLETS WITH THE OIL SPILL” The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement supervise the activities of the oil and gas industry, imposing strict regulations as to where they can drill. They are required to keep their distance from the coral, and forbidden to drill on top of them. Because of their strict guidelines, Brooke says that no immediate threat to the coral has presented itself. Compared to other reef blankets, chronic damage for coral and other ecosystems are low-risk, with the exception of a few coral patches, less than ten miles from the Horizon well. In nearby northeast region of the Atlantic Ocean, threats of overfishing are plausible, but luckily in the Gulf, fish are plentiful.

The marine organisms support fish species, potentially used for food consumption. Scientists conducting biomedical research extract chemicals from these fish to determine its medical potential in curing illnesses. “If we destroy it we can destroy a cure we are unaware of,” contests Brook, a natural advocate for biodiversity. Our civilization has yet to understand the importance of aquatic biodiversity and its many species lurking in coral hotspots. This time we “dodged bullets with the oil spill” says Brooke, voicing her concerns for ocean acidification threatening pallets of ecosystems. Back down on the sea floor the beast thrusts forward, maneuvering around coral crowns, snapping images and tracking living organisms, exploring the kingdoms of life via its beams of light

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MAGNETIC APPEAL SACHIKO

KODAMA SETS THE LAWS OF ATTRACTION BY MAHA MAJZOUB

“IN MY WORK, THE SPIKES UNDER THE MAGNETIC FIELD PRODUCE ORGANIC FORMS. SENSORY TECHNOLOGY AND COMPUTERS ARE USED TO TRANSFORM THE SHAPE OF THE FLUID ACCORDING TO ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATION”

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our initial reaction is to look at it, and gaze and gaze at it for what will seem like hours on end. It appears to be a fluidic sculpture that just won’t stop moving or pulsating. Next, you attempt to put two and two together. Your chances of grasping what exactly you’re staring squarely at are pretty slim. At this point, you’re hard pressed to ask, “What in God’s name is going on?” – you and whoever else sees for the first time a ferrofluid installation by Japanese physicist-turned-artist Sachiko Kodama. And the sight doesn’t get any less fascinating the second, third, or kazillionth time around.

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Kodama is the prima donna of ferrofluid sculptures, which she first introduced in raw format to bemused and confused audiences in Eastern Asia a little over a decade ago. She has been exploring since then both the art and science of ferrofluid, as it sways with the shape of magnetic waves. Her terminatoresque, blackish, spiky, liquid structures, which dance restlessly before your incredulous eyes, are not as complicated in composition or mechanism as you might think. At play here is simply ferrofluid and electromagnets. The two make love choreographically and move synthetically to music, as controlled by the artist.

ABOVE: PROTRUDE, FLOW (2001) BELOW: ARTIST SACHIKO KODAMA


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“THE JAPANESE CONCEPT OF MITATE, RELATING TO MIMICKING NATURAL PHENOMENA, IS A USEFUL METHOD IN TRYING TO UNDERSTAND THE OCCURRENCE OF NATURAL SHAPES” It wasn’t Kodama who invented ferrofluid, a slippery substance that comes into being by dissolving nanoscale ferromagnetic particles in a solvent, the likes of water or oil. Credit for that must go to NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, which in the late 1960s created the material, which now swims in electronic devices, AV equipment, and other industrial applications. However, it was Kodama who devised a real object that transforms freely and flexibly when other elements are introduced, thus embarking on a new class of fluid art forms that can adopt shapes interactively. But she’s not exactly keeping mum about the process. Her favorite part of the work is to document her toils in video compositions she makes with Yasushi Miyajima of the Sony Computer Science Laboratories usually to a backdrop of chilling music by Tetsuhide Hidaka.

She has also penned numerous articles about the artistic innovation as well as its progression over the years. In the catalogue of the 2009 edition of Device Art, a triennial international exhibition on the art of devices and robotics, Kodama says her ferrofluid sculptures aim “to create dynamic art forms and figures whose shape, surface structure, and color change dynamically, reflecting the echoes of environmental music, light, and human communication.” “Ferrofluids,” she goes on, “form spikes along magnetic field lines when the magnetic surface force exceeds the stabilizing effects of the fluid weight and surface tension. In my work, the spikes under the magnetic field produce organic forms. Sensory technology and computers are used to transform the shape of the fluid according to environmental information.”

BELOW: MORPHO TOWER (2006)

LIQUID ARCHITECTURE Kodama constantly turns to the environment and life in all its forms for inspiration. “The breathing rhythm in living things is an excellent metaphor for a texture that dynamically changes according to time. The continuously changing weather conditions of the Earth are also important motifs,” the 41-year-old artist states. Having grown up in the southernmost part of Japan, which is brimming over with tropical organisms and edged by the sea, Kodama is happy to bring part of her childhood to her artistic experimentation and share it with the world. “My Little Sea”, the title of her exposition in Seoul in November, says a lot about her relationship with water and fluidity. “As a female artist, I feel that liquid is a metaphor for the woman. The material is soft, flexible, passive, beautiful, and strong,” she says. LEFT: PROTRUDE, FLOW (2001)

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CLOCKWISE FROM RIGHT: PULSAR (2008), PULSATE - EAR ON THE WALL (2007)

Kodama brings the ocean, tornadoes, and lightning to bounce gorgeously and grotesquely in “Morpho Towers: Two Standing Spirals”, a two ferrofluid sculpture installation which she revealed to the public in 2006. The spiral towers stand on a large plate holding ferrofluid. When the music starts, the magnetic field around the tower is strengthened. Spikes of ferrofluid are formed at the bottom of the plate and move up, trembling and rotating around the edge of the iron spiral. “The Japanese concept of mitate, relating to mimicking natural phenomena, is a useful method in trying to understand the occurrence of natural shapes,” reads a detailed description on her Website.

The technique in “Morpho Towers” involves the use of an extended sculpted iron core and one electromagnet. Her first project, “Protrude, Flow”, on which she collaborated with long time art partner Minako Takeno five years earlier, enlisted the help of six electromagnets. The cluster of electromagnets could have affected people’s viewing of the moving liquid – although that didn’t make the installation any less spellbinding. But shortly afterwards, Kodama would switch indefinitely to a single electromagnet backed by an extended iron core that can be molded into the shapes of choice, making it possible for the ferrofluid to cover the sculpted surface of the threedimensional iron shape.

“APPLYING TECHNOLOGY TO ART TO MAKE ONE ‘PERFECT’ PIECE IS DIFFICULT. I HAVE TO WORK WITH MECHANICAL AND LOGICAL TECHNOLOGY, YET MY WORK NEEDS TO BE FINISHED IN A VERY DELICATE, ESTHETIC WAY”

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After “Morpho Towers”, Kodama and Takeno upped their game with an ingenious approach that equally engaged both young and adult viewers. “Pulsate – Ear on the Wall” is set in a white room, where a table, chair, and a little ear hang on the walls. The lighting of the room wraps down from the ceiling and onto the vertical wall. The off-centered placements of the furniture evoke another surreal space, defying the laws of physics. So when people speak to the ear, the ferrofluid in the dish is provoked and spiked up.


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“THE BREATHING RHYTHM IN LIVING THINGS IS AN EXCELLENT METAPHOR FOR A TEXTURE THAT DYNAMICALLY CHANGES ACCORDING TO TIME.”

BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL Since then, Kodama’s practice has gone from strength to strength, continuing to join forces with local artists and approaching most ventures as ongoing projects. This formula applies to “Pulsar”, Kodama’s personal favorite artwork to date, which she has yet to complete. It is a small iron sculpture in the form of a headless human body that stands in a slowly undulating pool of black liquid. A brass tube is positioned above the neck from which ferrofluid pours down. A magnetic force protrudes the ferrofluid into a flower-like shape with many spikes. The spikes make up the petals of this flower. When the magnetic force is gradually weakened, the petals fall down according to the contour of the metallic body. The decelerating speed of the ferrofluid and magnetic force are controlled to create a dynamic textural change that mimics the grainy surface of moss or goose bumps on human skin.

“Pulsar” only survived for a week in 2008 where it was shown at the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, its life cut short by a technical difficulty that Kodama hopes to overcome. “I have to finish this work before I die,” she stresses, arguing, “Applying technology to art to make one ‘perfect’ piece is difficult. I have to work with mechanical and logical technology, yet my work needs to be finished in a very delicate, esthetic way.” Working with magnets comes with its share of challenges, Kodama adds. “The shape of the electromagnet and the strength of its magnetic field offer some technical limits, which casts some limits on my designs.” When she is not trying to overcome such obstacles, Kodama is either beguiling audiences with her sculptures in solo or group shows in Eastern Asia and in recent years the U.S. and Spain, or lecturing at the University of Electro-Communication in Tokyo in her

ABOVE: EQUILIBRIUM POINT (2004) LEFT AND UPPER RIGHT: MORPHO TOWER (2006)

capacity as associate professor. She holds a PhD in Art from the University of Tsukuba. Though art and literature were enticing fields for Kodama from an early age, she found herself profoundly interested in science as well, first setting her eye on a career in physics before making the shift to fine arts in 1993. Her work always brings the best of both worlds to the table, which is probably why it magnetically appeals to art aficionados and science buffs alike. “Art could be more dynamic and rich than it is today,” says Kodama, whom we have a feeling will continue to set new rules for attraction, unabated by any laws, physics or otherwise. Kodama is currently exhibiting her latest colorful “Morpho Tower” sculptures at Input/Output Gellery, Hong Kong. The show continues until February 19 WWW.SACHIKOKODAMA.COM WWW.GALLERY-SAKAMAKI.NET THE MAGNETIC ISSUE

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the final frontier

MAGNETIC

MOON ON THE ROCKS STIRRED NOT SHAKEN BY J.E.N.

‘PEOPLE HAVE BEEN SCRATCHING THEIR HEADS FOR 40 YEARS, EVER SINCE APOLLO’

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cientists have been baffled by the moon’s magnetic field for years and now the mystery seems to have been solved. The Apollo 11 mission in 1969 brought back around 23 kg of lunar rocks and soil. Back then scientists discovered that some of the rocks and soil were magnetized. Since the moon doesn’t have a magnetic field, this surprising find got them thinking. The hypotheses started to boom. Some believed that asteroid impacts in the past had caused daylong surges of magnetism but this was refuted in 2009 upon closer examination: The low level of magnetism had to have been formed by the slow cooling effect only a steady magnetic force can create. If this was the case, then the Moon used to have a magnetic field like the Earth in the past. But this hypothesis also has its shortcomings. Planetary scientist Christina Dwyer from the University of California, Santa Cruz, explains: “If the Earth were Moon-size, it wouldn’t have a magnetic field.” Since the Moon is clearly smaller than the Earth, then something is still amiss. In fact temperature differences on the Moon couldn’t be a potent force to drive the magnetic dynamo.

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Two new studies attempt to posit a more viable theory. Published in Nature, they both basically claim that the Moon ‘stirred’ up its own magnetic field. How? If the Moon’s outer core was or still is molten and the Moon’s mantle rotates against the outer core, then the switching motion from clockwise to counterclockwise would create magnetism. But what could have caused this in the first place? Dr. Dwyer’s research team thinks the Earth is the reason. In other words the bigger Earth’s pull on the much smaller Moon torqued the mantle against the core. As Dwyer explains, “This is a very different way of powering a dynamo that involves physical stirring, like stirring a bowl with a giant spoon… The moon, like the earth, has a solid mantel made of rock and a liquid outer core.” The other study, lead by Michael Le Bars from the Research Institute for Out-ofEquilibrium Phenomena in Marseille, France, and others has another juicy theory to explain this. Irregular asteroid collisions could have spun the mantle for 10,000 years at a time. RIGHT: A SPECIAL ENVIRONMENTAL SAMPLE CONTAINER WITH ENCLOSED LUNAR ROCK SAMPLES. APOLLO 12 PHOTOGRAPH AS12-49-7278

These new studies will most probably provide scientists with more convincing answers to the mystery of the magnetic rock samples brought back by the Apollo all those years ago. To date the scientific world was confused about what could possibly produce the needed liquid motion of iron inside the moon. “People have been scratching their heads for 40 years, ever since Apollo,” comments Dwyer. Now the light has appeared and a definitive answer is within reach


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WHO SHOULD JOIN? Business people with a limited budget for marketing, people in the marketing departments of small and large companies, people planning to enter the field of marketing. The fee will be 275,000 LBP and registration dates are January 9 to February 6.

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the final frontier

AN

ANONYMOUS

FORCE BY J.E.N.

THE MAGNETIC MYSTIQUE OF THE FACELESS ARMY

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e are Anonymous, we are legion, we do not forgive, we do not forget, expect us” (anonops). Anonymous may be anonymous but it stands out in the crowd. A hactivist (activist hackers) group, Anonymous has been around since 2003. With origins on the imageboard 4chan, the movement has gained momentum and is now spread throughout the internet. Its main aim is to promote freedom of speech and internet freedom. They protest against censorship and attempts to block the dissemination of information, music and the like on the internet. They enjoy the world of possibilities the internet provides and the opportunity to be and do things not possible in the real world. They have several Twitter accounts and news portals such as www.anonops.blogspot.com

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To date Anonymous has been behind several hack attacks and even played a role in the Arab Spring, attacking government websites as a show of support for protestors in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. Some factions within the group also support the Occupy Movement. Over the past 2 years they have been rather active, launching several “operations” such as Operation Payback and Avenge Assange (the group supports Wikileaks as it embodies internet freedom and freedom of speech). Not everything they say they will do happens (the Facebook attack slated to happen on the 5th of November never transpired), but then again since Anonymous is a leaderless group, it’s hard to separate fact from fiction at times.

The fine line is blurred and the group has been accused of several attacks such as taking down the Federal Appeals Court in San Francisco, senate.gov servers, HB Gary and many others. Anonymous took responsibility for some of these attacks, but has denied others including the attack on the Playstation Network which cost Sony $150 million dollars in damages. Sony claims they received a note stating the attack was carried out by Anonymous, however, Anonymous stands firm that they were not behind this cyber attack since this sort of hacking doesn’t further their goals.


BOTTOM OF PAGE: ANONYMOUS “OCCUPY” PROTEST IN LISBON, OCTOBER 15 PHOTO CREDIT: LUIS BRAS

MANY OF US HAVE COME FACE-TO-FACE WITH ANONYMOUS BUT HAVEN’T REALIZED IT When Anonymous first appeared on the scene, it was seen as a group of “cyberpranksters” who just wanted to play around. Today, the view is different. The hacking, political stances and their acts to date make it clear that the group wants global change and transparency. While the press states that members are aged between 16 to 35 years old, Anonymous claims that it encompasses a much wider age demographic.

WHILE MEMBERS HAVE NO NAMES AND NO FACES, THE GROUP CAN BE EASILY RECOGNIZED A MILE AWAY

Many of us have come face-to-face with Anonymous but haven’t realized it. While members have no names and no faces, the group can be easily recognized a mile away. Their symbol is the Guy Fawkes mask from V for Vendetta. Members wear them in public at times and the image is used on all websites and social media accounts associated with the group. This is also why the 5th of November holds special meaning for the group since it’s the day Guy Fawkes tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament in London back in 1605: “Remember remember the 5th of November/ Gunpowder, treason and plot/ I see no reason why gunpowder, treason/ Should ever be forgot…” Only to Anonymous, Guy Fawkes is not a traitor, but rather a hero who tried to fight against an unjust system.

Anonymous is a growing force, but it isn’t above the law. Legal action has been taken against the group on several occasions. Dutch, British, Australian, Spanish, Turkish and other international arrests have taken place and warrants have been issued in the USA. This all leaves us with questions about who Anonymous really are. Are they “freedom fighters” or “cyber-terrorists”?

THE MEDICAL FIELD USES GOLD IN SEVERAL WAYS AND CAN TREAT A FEW MEDICAL PROBLEMS THE MAGNETIC ISSUE

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MAGNETIC FACTS Star Sign

Metallica’s most recent tour was called the World Magnetic Tour and continued for 3 full years. It was meant to promote their most recent album, Death Magnetic, released in September 2008. The band recently hit up Abu Dhabi for Flash’s Formula 1 series, where the viral Twitter hashtag #baselmeetsmetallica got one lucky fan backstage to meet them. Death Magnetic is the band’s 9th album and was produced by big shot Rick Rubin.

-272°C The temperature, just above Absolute Zero (-273 °C), that keeps the wires “cold enough to halt nearly all atomic action making superconductivity possible” of the world’s strongest magnet. 22ft high and 25 tonnes in weight, the hybrid magnet is at the Florida’s National High Magnetic Field Laboratory. It produces a field of 45 T (tesla) and can sustain this field for hours. By contrast, a “strong fridge magnet generates a field of .01 T”. The “largest and highest-powered magnet laboratory” in the world is open for visitors. Find out more here www.magnet.fsu.edu

Bad to the Bone Marvel Comics character Magneto is the villain extraordinaire in the X-Men series, including films where he was played by Sir Ian McKellen. Magneto made his debut in 1963 with the other main characters of the X-Men. Magneto’s complicated character background makes several historical references such as Auschwitz. His early life as a German-Jew who survives Nazi Germany and immigrates to Poland brings about his descent into villainous behavior. Magneto’s powers flared up due to the loss of his daughter, Anya. 38 RAGMAG | JANUARY 2012


Real Deal? Magnetic Field Therapy (MFT) and Pulsed Magnetic Field Therapy (PMFT) are alternative medicine techniques. MFT uses “lines of force” to get the healing process going especially in cases of musculoskeletal injuries. PMFT sends an electric current through a wire coil producing frequencies from “1 to 60 Hz” without any thermal tissue result. Find out more about holistic health’s disputed magnet therapy in our Mind, Body + Soul section this issue.

Transformers Ferromagnetic materials are materials that can be magnetized. “Iron, nickel, cobalt, some alloys of rare earth metals, and some naturally occurring minerals such as lodestone” are all considered ferromagnetic. Also called ferrimagnetic, these materials are strongly attracted to magnets and are considered to be the best to actually become magnets. A permanent magnet is considered a magnetized object that creates its own magnetic field.

2.6 million The age of fossilized skulls used in a study about “chick magnets”. One of the authors of the study, Eleanor Weston, a paleontologist at the Natural History Museum in London, was quoted on livescience.com saying, “We have found the distance between the lip and brow was probably immensely important to what made us attractive in the past, as it does now.” A shorter upper face area, or “bulldog face” seems to be one of the deciding factors of male attractiveness.

Roll Call

A chick magnet is a colloquial term for a guy who manages to attract tons of women. The same study mentioned above lists the following stars as “most to least masculine according to facial dimensions: Will Smith, Peter Andre, Justin Timberlake, Thierry Henry, Brad Pitt, David Beckham, Johnny Depp and Kanye West.” The more masculine a face, the more it is considered attractive by their analysis. Now you know what makes Brad such a chick magnet.

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RESTORE +RENEW

DETOX MISSIONS

We’re all about encouraging a healthy lifestyle and even trying to put into practise what we preach. We also know a thing or two about vices and guilty pleasures. We considered doing the usual New Year’s resolutions and talking to our readers about some of the regular stuff that kicking bad habits involves. We also thought about how much we enjoy our bad habits. All of this led to our Restore + Renew Detox Missions. We could go on and on about telling YOU to get sober, quit smoking, stop drinking coffee and finally, break that BlackBerry addiction, but we didn’t. Instead, WE got sober, stopped smoking, quit coffee and turned off the BlackBerry. If we can do it, so can you. Now flip the page to find out what sort of torture you’re in for, and if our staff decided to fall off the wagon after their assignments were over. Happy New Year, RAGMAG readers. Here’s to a healthy 2012, for some (but not all) of you!

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RESTORE +RENEW

DETOX MISSION

SMOKE-FREE FOR 10 DAYS

BY GOOD GINA BY BAD GINA BY GINA GABRIEL EL-FADY

I KNEW IT WAS A BAD HABIT BUT I ALWAYS FOUND A REASON NOT TO QUIT. YEAR AFTER YEAR I HAVE PUT ‘QUITTING SMOKING’ AT THE TOP OF MY NEW YEAR RESOLUTION LIST, BUT IT NEVER WORKED FOR MORE THAN A COUPLE OF MONTHS

I

have been nagging myself for months to give up smoking. It’s been something I have been thinking of for a while but I needed the incentive which finally came on the 4th of December through a BlackBerry message from Fida asking me if I would consider giving up smoking for 10 days for RAGMAG. Anyone who smokes would have crapped themselves at such a commitment, but not me. I didn’t feel it was such a big deal to me. I couldn’t even be faithful to a specific brand. Trust me, I have tried them all and I have tried to form a relationship with each and every cigarette brand out there.

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You see, I have very much convinced myself and everyone around me that I am a social smoker and that I do not have an addictive personality. Growing up, I was what you would call an antismoker. I used to huff and puff at everyone who would dare to light up anywhere within my vicinity. That lasted until my first year of university, where smoking became trendy, but mostly it was used as a substitute for appetite suppressants. Yep, in those days, if you needed to lose a couple of pounds then taking up smoking was the norm.

So without revealing my true age, it’s a long time in smoking years. To those who are mumbling to themselves and wondering if I was aware of all the deadly diseases that go hand in hand with smoking- it’s simple: Yes I did. I knew it was a bad habit but I always found a reason not to quit. Year after year I have put ‘quitting smoking’ at the top of my New Year resolution list, but as expected from such a promise, it never worked for more than a couple of months. So who knows maybe now I will be kicking the habit as part of the RAGMAG staff detox missions for 2012.


RESTORE +RENEW It is important to note that I am really not your conventional smoker. I do not smoke first thing in the morning. In fact if I am not pissed off before 12pm I do not feel the urge to smoke. I do not find it a necessity to smoke the minute I finish eating and what others find funny is that my cigarette and my daily dose of caffeine are not joined at the hip. Am I weird? I think I am. Am I addicted? Not sure. Will I succeed at going cold turkey for the next 10 days? Well let’s wait and see but I think it’s a definite yes. December 6 Day 1 1:00 pm I am feeling great. Thank you Fida for making me do this. It’s not as bad as I expected. 8:00 pm I am a bit anxious. I didn’t really want to start my detox today. I have an event to go to. Smoking gives me something to do whilst nodding and having tedious conversations. 10:00 pm I am not liking Fida very much. Why couldn’t she have waited 1 extra day for me to start. She’s sitting next to me enjoying her drink with a fag and here I am suffering. Definitely not liking Fida! Editor’s Note “Fag” is a British colloquialism for cigarette and I had no idea she was making this journal entry as we sat side by side at the event.

I WOKE UP TO MORE HATRED. I AM CRYING FOR HATING.

I AM FEELING VERY EMOTIONAL. I AM GOING BACK TO SLEEP. OH HANG ON, I NEED TO EAT AND THEN SLEEP

December 7 Day 2 1:00 pm Ok! Today, excuse me if I am not waking up with a smile plastered on my face. I am feeling a bit edgy watching everyone at the office light up. Youmna is in a bad mood too, she is not allowed any coffee, but she can smoke! What the hell is Youmna moaning about? She can smoke. 8:00 pm I am feeling on top of the world, and I am feeling healthy. I deserve a good pat on the back for surviving day two. I don’t feel so bad after all. Tomorrow I can tell everyone that I have quit. I am so proud of myself. I haven’t needed a cheat, and I’m allowed three. I can’t stop eating; all I have done today is eat. What a contradiction. December 8 Day 3 1:00 pm

Ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh I hate you Fida. I hate everyone. I hate myself. I hate RAGMAG. I don’t feel like being in the office and I don’t feel like smiling and making small talk. 5:00 pm I need chocolate, and I need sleep. What a combination!

5:15 pm I had my chocolate and I am going to sleep. 10:00pm I woke up to more hatred. I am crying for hating. I am feeling very emotional. I am going back to sleep. Oh hang on, I need to eat and then sleep. Note to self- Buy appetite suppressants

December 9 Day 4 1:00 pm I am not feeling good. I need to research the symptoms for quitting smoking. Surely depression is not part of quitting! I have a sore throat. That’s all I need now, the flu! I really need a cigarette, but I am adamant that I am not going to use any of my cheats. I need to go to the pharmacy to buy something to make me stop eating. I am practically living in the fridge. Need something, what though!! Note to selfIndecisive 6:00 pm “Mummy, wake up. Mummy, you’re sleeping all the time, wake up.” I woke up to my daughter’s voice and all I want to do is to physically remove her from my room and go back to sleep. Not happening and soon the talking will turn into crying. I can’t handle that. 7:30 pm Overwhelmed with emotions. I can’t stop crying. SOBBING is a better word. I don’t like anyone. I am sick, I am hungry, I am depressed, I am sleepy, I am moody, I am filled with self-pity.

December 10 Day 5 10:00 am I finally bought the appetite suppressant. I have done this before and from what I remember the side effects are pretty harsh and drastic, but I definitely need them because at this rate I am going to be having another problem.

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RESTORE +RENEW CHEATING AGAIN. CHEAT NUMBER 3. NOT DOING VERY GOOD. I AM NOT ENJOYING THE CIGARETTE December 11 Day 6 8:00 am Taking the tablet. Let’s hope it controls my appetite without adding to my symptoms. 9:00 am Mind is foggy and I’m feeling very hyper. I definitely need to speak to the pharmacist. 11:30 pm Enjoyed a lovely meal with Fida and had my first cheat. Not sure why I had to have that cigarette. I could have done without it. Not feeling very good. December 12 Day 7 8:00 pm Picture of me holding a

10:00 am I didn’t sleep very well, one

cigarette. A harmless act thinking that it would make me feel disgust. Nope it did not. Instead I sent it to Fida, hoping that she would free me from my agony. Researched the withdrawal symptoms for smoking and the ones that I have experienced are: Anger, irritability, inability to concentrate, fatigue, chest tightness, sore throat, coughing, nausea, headaches and cravings. I am day 5 and I have experienced nearly all of the symptoms. I really feel like calling the whole thing off. In fact I have tried but Fida is not allowing me a way out. Best thing to do is to go sleep.

of the side effects of taking appetite suppressants. 12:00 pm Some bad news at work. Feeling uptight and angry. Need a fag and can’t stop myself. Cheat number 2 is making me feel angry at myself and guilty. 2:00 pm Cheating again. Cheat number 3. Not doing very good. I am not enjoying the cigarette. I felt the need for a cigarette and can’t find any. I suppose one of Daniella’s will do the job. It doesn’t feel very good and I put it out after 2 puffs. Fida said that 2 puffs would be considered a cheat.

10:00 pm Thank God the day is over. Such a stressful day. Need to go bed and can’t stop thinking of having a cigarette.

This is where my diary ends. Unfortunately for me days 8, 9, and 10 have been very similar. I had the good intentions to drag the SmokeFree Detox for RAGMAG into what is supposed to be a smoke-free environment. I have been Good Gina for the majority, Bad Gina prevailed and decided that enough was enough and there is no harm in having a couple of puffs each night. I, RAGMAG’s Publisher Gina Gabriel El-Fady, am guilty as charged for enjoying a few puffs in the evening with a glass of red wine. I would like to apologize to Fida, Odette, and Youmna for not having selfcontrol however I have enjoyed the experience to the best of my ability. I do think that real life and the stress of a hectic job overtook me. I felt guilty and now that the truth is out I am so relived. If you are reading this, please note that I do not encourage smoking and I am very aware that smoking kills. I am still adamant and hope to quit smoking in the near future

I HAVE BEEN GOOD GINA FOR THE MAJORITY, BAD GINA PREVAILED AND DECIDED THAT ENOUGH WAS ENOUGH AND THERE IS NO HARM IN HAVING A COUPLE OF PUFFS EACH NIGHT

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RESTORE +RENEW

DETOX MISSION

BLACKBERRY-FREE FOR 10 5 3 OKAY 2 DAYS BY FIDA CHAABAN

T

his is a love story. A story about a true, undying commitment. A story about my BlackBerry. Matthew 19:6 “They are no more two, but one flesh. What God has joined together, let not man put asunder,” or woman or RAMAG staff. Or whoever. Anyway, for my Renew + Restore Detox Mission, I could have chosen cigarettes or coffee but I went with the thing I truly love most- my beautiful CrackBerry. I am never without it. Ever. I’d sooner break things off with my significant other than disengage myself from my BB (sorry babe!). I am not kidding you. It’s a running joke at RAGMAG that I love my BB like no other entity on this planet. A little bit of background for those of you who do not know me: About a year ago, my sister (a traitor

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who supported my BlackBerry-Free mission) sent around a YouTube video of Jerry Seinfeld mocking BlackBerry users in an email chain dedicated to me. I found it funny because she was (and is) right. I was guilty as charged of all of Seinfeld’s hilarious descriptions! I do the “Slow Head Down” move, my “pupils don’t focus”, I do constantly “hold it in [my] hand because this is what BlackBerry commands [me] to do” and finally I do “listen to what you’re saying and compare it to what’s on the BlackBerry- [and analyze] which is really more interesting here to me?” For the record, what’s on the BlackBerry is more interesting to me- 99 percent of the time. Note: We’ve posted this video on our Facebook page for interested parties and here in the layout you’ll find a still image of the video.


RESTORE +RENEW When Alfa couldn’t fix my BlackBerry service (nothing surprising there #Ontornet #Fail) my Twitter feed was all about begging the people at Research in Motion (RIM) to help. And they did. All the way from Canada! I gave RIM my PIN in a Direct Twitter Message and they reprogrammed my BlackBerry remote- it was one of the most amazing things that ever happened to me. My BlackBerry and I have a long and complex relationship that even crosses oceans and time. I know I am waxing poetic but I assure you this doesn’t do my attachment justice.

OH YES, I WAS ROLLING IN THE AISLES AT THE THOUGHT. BY ROLLING IN THE AISLES I MEAN MILD HYSTERIA AND APPREHENSION. I ALSO MEAN SCARED AND PANICKY

I WAS GUILTY AS CHARGED OF ALL OF SEINFELD’S HILARIOUS DESCRIPTIONS! I DO THE “SLOW HEAD DOWN” MOVE, MY “PUPILS DON’T FOCUS”, I DO CONSTANTLY “HOLD IT IN [MY] HAND BECAUSE THIS IS WHAT BLACKBERRY COMMANDS [ME] TO DO”

Our Webmaster Youmna Chagoury and our Publisher Gina Gabriel thought it would be hysterically funny to have me BlackBerry-Free. Oh yes, I was rolling in the aisles at the thought. By rolling in the aisles I mean mild hysteria and apprehension. I also mean scared and panicky. Not only does my Blackberry facilitate the issues of RAGMAG that you read every month, it is also the sole reason that I’m sane. It enables me to be efficient and address every problem -large or small- in real time from anywhere on earth. If you are not a BlackBerry user with a high pressure job, you cannot fathom the enormity of this. But I digress, moving right along… So what happened? I reduced the number of days for my detox assignment for several reasons including separation anxiety and fear of missing our January print deadline.

I talked the evil duo down from ten days to two. Then I tried to back out completely. This led Youmna (who evidently doesn’t have enough work to do- I’ll soon fix that) to start a Twitter campaign with Gina’s backing. So I was forced into it by our staff and even our readers. I could not back out. It seemed that everyone was tired of my BlackBerry addiction, even people who had never laid eyes on me. Maybe they were tired of CrackBerry addicts in general and I was their chance for payback. There is a scientific basis for my turmoil- I was able to find studies and articles galore. One such study was reported by Forbes: David Vance and Nada Kakabadse (Rutgers-Camden University and University of Northampton) said that one-third of BlackBerry users display addition symptoms that are “similar to alcoholics”.

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RESTORE +RENEW I NEARLY JUMPED OUT OF MY SKIN THE FIRST DAY SINCE EVERYONE WHO NORMALLY MESSAGES ME ON BBM BEGAN CALLING ME Are you sick of my whining? It’s a walk in the park compared to my screaming and snapping at everyone who thought this was funny. I nearly jumped out of my skin the first day since EVERYONE who normally messages me on BBM began calling me. Both of my phones would not stop ringing! I was literally chained to my laptop so that I was able to receive emails but the kicker is I have 9 accounts. Try checking 9 email accounts simultaneously- it is hell. My BlackBerry pulls all those emails for me without logging in and without any prompt whatsoever. So the inevitable happened- I fell behind and I got even

more stressed out than normal. I didn’t get a ton of emails until my service was restored- ON MONDAY (because constantly checking 9 accounts is not possible). I rarely tweeted since I had no access mobile access to Twitter. I will never do this ever again. I am akin to Pavlov’s salivating dogs when I see that beautiful red light flash. I am behaviourally conditioned to respond to my BB no matter what. The trademarked phrase “Brevity with BlackBerry” is my mantra as much as Ohm. For the rest of the time that I continue to be RAGMAG’s Editor, I will be “On the move with BlackBerry”. And I like it that way

CRACKBERRY ADDICTION BY NUMBERS 3502 The number of documents on my

computer that include the word BlackBerry. No joke. This is quite possibly because I mention the word in at least 5 out of 10 articles I write or edit. Yes, I did the math.

48 The number of hours I was BlackBerry-

Free. That it 2880 minutes of inefficiency and I mean that.

67 The number of text messages I sent

before a full hour of my BlackBerry-Free nightmare had elapsed. Yes, over a text per minute.

30 The number of phone calls that I

4 The number of BlackBerrys I own. 3 are active, 1 is a spare. Of the actives BBs, 2 are Lebanese, 1 is Canadian. ∞ The incalculable number of times I

thought about seriously maiming and/or killing Youmna Chagoury and Gina Gabriel. (And other voters such as Lebanese Twitter stars @BeirutDriveBy and @HadyBeydoun)

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PHOTO CREDIT ALI900 | DEVIANTART.COM

received in one hour out of the 48 due to people not being able to reach me on my BlackBerry.


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RESTORE +RENEW

DETOX MISSION

CAFFEINE-FREE FOR 5 DAYS BY YOUMNA CHAGOURY

SHE TRICKED ME INTO IT, ASKING ME BY EMAIL WHAT I COULDN’T LIVE WITHOUT FOR A FEW DAYS, BEFORE I KNEW WHAT IT WAS ALL ABOUT I ALMOST FELL ASLEEP WHILE DRIVING AND NOW THAT I’M WRITING THIS, I’M SEEING THE WORDS “MISSION” AND “ABORT” DANCING ON THE SCREEN

I

love coffee. The thing is, I’m not a heavy coffee drinker, but my whole day revolves around my 2 daily cups of coffee and milk. They regulate my routine: 1 cup in the morning, 1 in the afternoon. If I don’t have the morning one, I can’t focus on my work. If I don’t have the afternoon one, I end up falling asleep at 7pm. So with all the magnanimity Fida is capable of, once she knew how much I enjoyed it, she decided to have me detox my body: 5 caffeine-FREE days. Readers you should know that she tricked me into it, asking me by email what I couldn’t live without for a few days, BEFORE I knew what it was all about.

I SIMPLY COULDN’T WAKE UP. NOT JUST IN THE MORNING; I COULDN’T WAKE UP ALL DAY.

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Day 1 Today was the worst day of my life. I simply couldn’t wake up. Not just in the morning; I couldn’t wake up ALL DAY. I didn’t tweet, I barely wrote- I was “metfiyyeh” all day. I can’t even describe the headaches. I almost fell asleep while driving and now that I’m writing this, I’m seeing the words “mission” and “abort” dancing on the screen. Day 2 I cheated today. No one but my cousin Rouba knew. For my morning coffee, hidden in the RAGMAG office kitchen, I added ¼ spoon of real coffee to my decaf. Look where the detox got me: Lying and cheating! I don’t think that small amount of coffee did anything to revive my body though. I just wanted to go back to bed, all day. This is the first time I have a headache for two successive days.


RESTORE +RENEW Day 3 I was finally able to tweet about my misery. #TeamYoumna was of great support while Fida just kept laughing. I tweeted “it is not getting any better” but actually it is. Less sleepiness, less headaches, but a little bit of irritation. Not that I snapped at people, but I wasn’t as tolerant (and happy!) as I usually am. I considered having a cup of tea this afternoon, forgetting it also has caffeine in it. I ended up boiling ginger roots- it did not help. Day 4 Today, I discovered that was I was feeling was listed on a website kindly shared for me on Twitter. With the headaches, sleepiness and irritability, I also experienced muscle stiffness, although I’ve been exercising for 2 months now, flu-like symptoms and nausea. I remember thinking, “Fo2 hayda kello, I’m getting sick!? FML”. The only thing I can think of now: Tomorrow is my last day.

Day 5 Today I almost got to drink coffee. Editor Fida thought yesterday was my last day, but Publisher Gina, who’s doing a nicotine detox, made sure she corrected her. I thought she had my back, since we were both experiencing bad withdrawal symptoms from our respective addictive substances. Maybe because liberation is so close, today was the hardest. I even almost had a Diet Coke, my other caffeinated guilty pleasure. Day 6 It’s 11am and I’m having my third cup of coffee while writing this and wearing a big fat smile. At the end of the 5 caffeine-free days, truth be told, I was okay. But coffee makes me happy and doesn’t do me any harm. The 2 things this detox taught me: 1. Keep drinking coffee for the rest of your life. 2. Never answer Fida’s questions without knowing the reason she’s asking you

I CONSIDERED HAVING A CUP OF TEA THIS AFTERNOON, FORGETTING IT ALSO HAS CAFFEINE IN IT. I ENDED UP BOILING GINGER ROOTS- IT DID NOT HELP CAFFEINE WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS courtesy of EnergyFriend.com

Headache Sleepiness Irritability Lethargy Constipation Depression Muscle Pain/Stiffness Lack of concentration Flu-like symptoms Nausea

CAFFEINE OVERDOSE SYMPTOMS

by MedlinePlus, the US National Institutes of Health website www.nlm.nih.gov

Breathing trouble Confusion Convulsions Diarrhea Fever and hallucinations Increased thirst Rapid heartbeat Vomiting

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RESTORE +RENEW

DAY 3

DETOX MISSION

ALCOHOL-FREE FOR 10 DAYS PHOTOGRAPHY ESSAY BY ODETTE KAHWAGI MAKEUP BY ELIE ESTEPHAN FROM INSTITUTE HALA AJAM MODEL MILA OF LIPS AGENCY

For Odette’s Detox Mission she had to go alcohol-free for 10 days. Not an easy assignment especially during the holiday season. RAGMAG’s Creative Lead is an images person not a words person, so we asked her for a photo essay that best represented her mood and composure during the 10 day stint. What you see here is Odette’s shoot after the assignment, capturing a model in various states of disarray representing herself through the course of the detox. We aren’t exactly alcoholics but we do enjoy cocktails when we’re working on RAGMAG - not gonna lie to you.

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DAY 5

RESTORE +RENEW

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RESTORE +RENEW

DAY 8

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DAY 10

RESTORE +RENEW

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MAGNETS DOES THIS ALTERNATIVE TREATMENT WORK? BY ELODIE BARAKAT

HEADACHES, DEPRESSION, INSOMNIA, RHEUMATISM, FRACTURES... WHAT IF IT WAS ALL ABOUT MAGNETIC FIELDS? GET POLARIZED

Magnet therapy has been used throughout the ages. According to historians, it was used in ancient Greece to ease arthritis pain. In the Middle Ages it was used against poisoning, infections and even baldness. During the American Civil War, healers believed magnets could even treat blindness. All of these theories were based on conjecture that the respective illnesses were caused by electromagnetic imbalances. They

weren’t far from Chinese medicine beliefs, mainly based on energy balances, a practise that also uses magnets along with acupuncture, herbal medicine, and other holistic treatments. Despite centuries of practise, evidence of efficacy is minimal. Magnet therapy, like many other alternative medicines, arouses a lot of scepticism in the conventional medical camp and its case is hard to defend since its functions remain a mystery.

According to the main hypothesis (none of them proven thus far), electromagnetic fields can stimulate cells, activate the circulatory system enhancing cell oxygenation and nutrient delivery, curb pain signals between nerves and brain or act directly on the iron naturally occurring in the body.

FIELD OF DREAMS

Today, magnotherapy is a huge business. Mostly used on chronic conditions such as back pain, arthritis, rheumatism, diabetes, stress, insomnia, recurring headaches and much more, it is also used to accelerate or enhance healing after undergoing heavy surgery or experiencing a fracture.

ACCORDING TO THE MAIN HYPOTHESIS, ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELDS CAN STIMULATE CELLS, ACTIVATE THE CIRCULATORY SYSTEM ENHANCING CELL OXYGENATION AND NUTRIENT DELIVERY, CURB PAIN SIGNALS BETWEEN NERVES AND BRAIN 56 RAGMAG | JANUARY 2012


mind, body + soul

ELECTRIC DEVICES, JEWELLERY, CLOTHING, INSOLES, PILLOWS... MAGNETS ARE SOLD IN ALL PRICE RANGES, SHAPES AND SIZES WITH DIFFERENT INTENSITIES. THEY’RE USED ON ACUPUNCTURE POINTS OR DIRECTLY ON THE AREA EXPERIENCING PAIN Currently 3 different magnetic techniques are used • Pulsed magnets. The device is wired for electric conductivity. • Static or permanent magnets. Basically the same type you put on your fridge. • Transcranial magnetic stimulation. Used to improve symptoms of depression. Electric devices, jewellery, clothing, insoles, pillows... Magnets are sold in all price ranges, shapes and sizes with different intensities. They’re used on acupuncture points or directly on the area experiencing pain. Sometimes used by osteopaths, acupuncturists or other specialists, it’s mostly an

individual alternative since specialists in magnotherapy are hard to find. But does it really work? Most of the studies in the past 30 years were done using pulsed magnets. The findings are rather positive but none of the documentation explains how and why electromagnetic fields actually work on the body. The American National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine does not deny the possible effects of magnets and even admits it might work on pain but points out that “many studies were not high-quality because they included a small number of participants, were too short, and/or were poorly designed”. The lack of scientific background leads sceptics to call the positive results

merely a placebo effect and blame the big business it generates. But is it really possible that a therapy used for centuries is 100 percent quackery? If you are considering magnotherapy, discuss it with your doctor especially during pregnancy or if you have circulatory troubles. Avoid magnetic therapy altogether if you have a pacemaker

FIRM TERM

WEATHERVANE

HEAL DEAL

MAP QUEST

Do not confused magnet therapy with magnetic healers. Magnet therapy uses magnets. Magnetic healers use what is termed ‘animal magnetism’ believed to be a magnetic fluid circulating in all living bodies. Magnetic healers (also called mesmerism) supposedly channel this fluid and use it to heal.

Sensitivity to climatic variations is linked to the earth’s magnetic field.

Franz Anton Mesmer

Spanish tennis player Raphaël Nadal reportedly uses magnet therapy to ease pain and speed recovery when he is injured.

The earth’s magnetic field also influences the orientation of birds.

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MAGNETIC DRAINING FIELD

HANDLING ENERGY VAMPIRES BY MATTHEW HUSSEY

Have you ever noticed how some friends and family members always leave you feeling stressed or unmotivated every time you get together? Whether it be our closest neighbor or a new work colleague, we all have someone in our life who seems to be sucking the life out of us. These are the people who have a nasty habit of criticizing every attempt we make to better ourselves, or who disapprove of our ambitions, or who simply smother us with their negativity. You might argue that there is a straightforward answer to this: “Who cares? Just ignore them and carry on!” Unfortunately, ignorance isn’t always bliss, and recent studies have shown that it is extremely difficult to remain impervious to the opinions and criticisms of our immediate peer group. In fact, psychologists have increasingly found that the people closest to you are highly capable of affecting your success at work, how much you overeat, how much you drink, and even how positively you feel about your life. We gradually become whatever we surround ourselves with. But surely the answer can’t be to immediately cut ourselves off from anyone who doesn’t conform to our high standards? Of course not. If we followed that principle with every challenging person in life, we would never grow as people at all. We would simply be sticking our fingers in our ears and pretending that they don’t exist.

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mind, body + soul

See, I truly believe that managing people is the definitive life skill. There is nothing more important. But unfortunately, there is no single blueprint that will enable us to deal with every personality type. We have to learn a different approach for different kinds of challenges. The people who suck the life out of us manifest themselves in three different forms, so let’s look at strategies for each one.

OVERFLOWING NEGATIVITY

1.

These are the people who make us feel depressed. Perhaps those who complain about their relationships constantly or those who constantly voice their cynical opinions about other people and the world. Perhaps they just always seem to have bad news. Problem Solving Try and break their negative patterns. As soon as they start speaking about their problems and how miserable they are, try asking them about the things they really want to do with their life. Turn the conversation to something you are both excited about. The trick is not to allow them to indulge in their usual negative behaviors. All we can control is our own reaction, so it’s up to us to be the example. Instead of complaining to them about their behavior, tell them how much you love it when they are positive. You can say “You know what, I know you’re in a bad place right at this moment, but I really love being around you when you’re that fun, positive person.” Remind them of a time when you both collapsed in uncontrollable laughterthe more you adopt this persona, the more they are going to want to be that positive person around you.

THERE IS NO SINGLE BLUEPRINT THAT WILL ENABLE US TO DEAL WITH EVERY PERSONALITY TYPE. WE HAVE TO LEARN A DIFFERENT APPROACH FOR DIFFERENT KINDS OF CHALLENGES

2. CONSTANT CRITICS There are some members of your peer group who will criticize you no matter what you do. Any success or happiness you enjoy will be immediately diminished as they try to knock you off your pedestal, and bring down your self-esteem. Problem Solving First of all, remember that this behavior is only borne out of fear. No matter what we do in life, we will always be criticized by somebody. The sooner we get over this fact, the sooner we can be happy and forget about it. One good way to throw such people off is to take the focus off of yourself. Ask them about their goals and ambitions; compliment them on their successes. It might seem difficult to do at first, but often people are only crying out for attention. 3. GOAL DISAPPROVERS We’ve all had that experience when we order a salad and a friend gives us a quizzical look, usually followed by “You don’t need to lose weight. That’s stupid, you’re fine as you are.” Our attempts to try new things will be met with skepticism and even anger. Problem Solving Some friends resist our attempts to change because they are afraid of losing us, or because they feel like our attempts to improve ourselves reflect negatively on them. The best route to not over-explain yourself and your actions. So, if you want to quit smoking and your smoker friends ask you why, just tell them that you feel better and healthier without it, instead of going on a long rant about how disgusting you find smokers now!

Remember, it’s not the worst thing in the world for the people we love to disapprove of some of the things we do. Disagreement is part of being in human relationships! And the best relationships are better off for it

RAGMAG brings you the best in selfimprovement. Matthew Hussey is one of the leading talents in behavioral change and success. As a Life Strategist he has founded two coaching companies working with thousands of individuals across the globe to show them ways of making dramatic shifts in their lives. Matthew’s success has been built on finding out what people want, and showing them how to make it happen in the shortest time possible. He is currently a weekly columnist for Now magazine, providing expert advice on dating and relationship issues for female readers. In addition, his coaching has been featured in the London Metro, Evening Standard, The Sun, The Independent, Men’s Health, Glamour magazine, Cosmopolitan, and Elle magazine. A highly sought after public speaker and executive coach, Matthew has consulted companies including Accenture, Virgin, Morgan Stanley, Weil & Gotshal, and CB Richard Ellis, as well as over 5000 individuals and organizations ranging from directors of FTSE 100 Companies, Universities, international investment funds, artists, and royalty.

For more information on Matthew Hussey´s worldwide coaching programmes visit www.matthewhussey.com today.

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mind, body + soul TO ASK A QUESTION send your problems to helpmenour@ragmaglive.com

TO JOIN THE READER RESPONSE PANEL and give feedback to women across Lebanon, send your name, age, and email address to helpmenour@ragmaglive.com subject line: Interactive Panel We will contact you if you are chosen to participate.

help me

NOUR+RABIH BY NOUR OBAJI + RABIH FEGHALI

AT 3 MONTHS, YOU SHOULD NOT BE LOOKING TO MEET MOMMY, YOU SHOULD IN FACT BE FIGURING OUT IF IT IS GOOD TO GO ANY FURTHER I’ve been dating a guy seriously for 3 months and his mother is in town for a few days. Should I feel bad that I’m not going to meet her? I know she knows about me but no invitation to meet her has come forward. Is it too soon? Or is this a sign that I’m not a factor? Amal, 36

“Sorry, I could have sworn you said 3 months. At 3 months, you should not be looking to meet mommy, you should in fact be figuring out if it is good to go any further. Meeting his mother at this point when everything is fresh and new could lure you into thinking he is Mr. Right when really, he is Mr. Right Now. 3 months is absolutely too soon.” Aida, 22

“3 months is not a very large amount of time. Actually, it’s nothing. I don’t think it’s a sign that you’re not a factor, maybe she’s just like that- if you guys are not engaged, she doesn’t need to meet you. What you could do, if you have a different point of view on the matter, is ask to meet her. Tell your boyfriend you’d like to, and see what his reaction is. You should be more concerned with him maybe not wanting you to meet her, than with her not asking to meet you.” Liliane, 31

“Generally, you shouldn’t worry much, it’s still relatively a new relationship and some people like to take more time than others to introduce their partners to their family. However, take this chance to assess your relationship, if it’s not that passionate and great as a 3 month old relationship should be, maybe you should take a hint.”

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Michelle, 27

“Mother-in-laws are crazy, you don’t need to meet her. Call and visit your own mom she is worth it.”

Nour’s Vote Nour has been in this position before. Nour wasn’t altogether comfortable with the whole meet the parents thing. Nour also kind of felt as though an invitation should have come forward but then in hindsight was grateful for the extra time to acclimate herself to the idea and the relationship. No one can advise you on your relationship timeline but I think it is safe to say that 3 months is not cause for concern. 6 months is still okay but when you’re heading at 9 months to a year, if you have not been acknowledged by his family, that’s when I think a conversation is in order. P.S. I chose to include the crazy mother-in-law comment because I thought it was funny- even Nour has to have a laugh sometime!

NO ONE CAN ADVISE YOU ON YOUR RELATIONSHIP TIMELINE BUT I THINK IT IS SAFE TO SAY THAT 3 MONTHS IS NOT CAUSE FOR CONCERN


IF YOU HAVEN’T YET FOUND YOUR “HOME” BEING CLOSE TO YOUR LOVED ONE – THEN YOU SHOULD JUST GO BACK TO THE US

Rabih’s Vote

Christianne, 21

Why are you complaining? There is no need to involve the parental units just yet. You’re going to meet that demon sooner or later – so just enjoy spending time with him for now. Get to know each other well, and try to understand who and how she is before you meet her. This way if/ when the day comes, you’ll be ready for the attack. P.S. there is no such thing as “dating seriously for 3 months”, the word “seriously” doesn’t kick in until after the 6 month mark.

“Think about you, men aren’t reliable - if moving to the US makes you happy then you gotta move. If he loves you enough he will make it work or follow.”

I have been living in Lebanon for 3.5 years now and I want to go home to the States. The problem is my boyfriend lives here as well and we are serious about one another. He says he won’t be returning to the US for at least 2 years and I don’t know what to do. I’m in a depression because I’m homesick and I’m starting to think I have to choose between my relationship and boyfriend that I love and my home! What advice do you have for me?

Alexa, 33

“Try going back for a few months, if you can’t live without him you’ll come back eventually.” Lara, 25

“You do have to choose… Unless he will go with you or wants to find a way to make it work. What makes you say he is serious about you again?”

Nour’s Vote I would move. Full stop. If your partner isn’t assessing your needs and taking them into consideration then he is not acting like a partner. In a relationship, everyone has to make some concessions. You didn’t give details as to why your partner is adamant about staying in Lebanon. Be it work, family or other reasons, he surely knows you are unhappy and therefore as your partner,

should take steps to help you help yourself. Your relationship is not set in stone and maybe this is the first indicator that it may very well not be right for you. Location, location, location! Also, can I just add that Rabih is rubbing me the wrong way this issue? Once you read his response, I expect you’ll all agree. Not cool!

Rabih’s Vote They say “home is where the heart is”. If you haven’t yet found your “home” being close to your loved one – then you should just go back to the US. There are too many women in Lebanon anyway, we can do with one less diva.

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GUY’S QUESTION Editor’s Note Since more men are starting to send in questions, we are now going to let the Interactive Panel voice their opinions as well. Guys, keep sending in your questions- we love to hear from you!

I’m in a long distance relationship and bored to death. It’s awesome when she is around but when she’s gone I spend a lot of time around women (and to be honest they’re not girls I would date -they’re great to kill time with) but I’ve gotten myself into trouble a few times with that already. I’m starting to hate this long distance thing and I don’t want to break up with her but come on, seeing each once a month is not enough. I want to date other people but just for fun at least to pass time when she’s not around. How do I tell her this without making it into a huge deal or damaging the relationship? I DO love my girlfriend, I’m just bored and sexually not satisfied when she’s not around. (Don’t kill me for asking this, ladies! Guys, you know what I’m saying?!)

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Imogen, 29

Jasmina, 32

“You don’t sound very believable. In fact it sounds like you want to have your cake and eat it too as you know very well it will indeed damage the relationship. If you want to have an open relationship then admit it and tell her, but don’t complain when she also starts dating to ‘fill in the time’. If you care so much, then how about finding ways to focus more on each other not more on other people?”

“How would you feel if she went out with other guys to pass time? If you’re cool with that, then you might want to suggest that you both have an open relationship until you both live in the same city. If you don’t feel comfortable with the idea of her being with other men, then you have no right to expect her to accept your being with other women.”

Ceem, 29

HOW WOULD YOU FEEL IF SHE WENT OUT WITH OTHER GUYS TO PASS TIME? IF YOU’RE COOL WITH THAT, THEN YOU MIGHT WANT TO SUGGEST THAT YOU BOTH HAVE AN OPEN RELATIONSHIP UNTIL YOU BOTH LIVE IN THE SAME CITY

“It would be easy to rag on you for what are in fact very valid feelings so I am not going to. Long distance relationships test the mettle of even the truest of loves so feeling the way you do is perfectly normal. While I certainly don’t question that it is normal, I do question just how deeply you love her if you have ‘gotten yourself into trouble’ and use the terminology ‘bored to death’. My advice is to really examine if this girl is the one for you. If you do that, and she is, perhaps one of you should consider relocating. If that is not an option, it may be time to break up because cheating on her or even broaching the subject of seeing other people is sure to cause bitterness and hard feelings. No one likes to share and you need to ask yourself if would you share her?”


mind, body + soul

IN THE REAL WORLD THINGS DON’T ALWAYS HAVE A HAPPY ENDING. IF YOU WANT TO PLAY WITH FIRE, YOU WILL PROBABLY GET BURNED. IT’S THE RISK YOU HAVE TO TAKE IF YOU WANT TO END THE CAT AND MOUSE CYCLE

Rabih’s Vote I feel your pain dude. But let me tell you something, you don’t love her enough. Because if you did, you wouldn’t be asking this question. My opinion is to just tell her how you feel. You’d be surprised, she may be OK with it (some women are OK with it as long as they don’t hear or find out about it). If she unleashes her fury when you discuss it with her, just let go and let her be. There is no need to drag that poor soul into a relationship – you’re just not ready yet

TO ASK A QUESTION send your problems to helpmenour@ragmaglive.com

TO JOIN THE READER RESPONSE PANEL and give feedback to women across Lebanon, send your name, age, and email address to helpmenour@ragmaglive.com subject line: Interactive Panel We will contact you if you are chosen to participate.

Lil, 31

“It’s understandable to miss her and feel like you want more when she’s not around but sadly, things aren’t that simple. Put yourself in her shoes, if she told you she wants to sleep around because you’re far, how would you feel? If it’s not working out for you that way, you could either call it quits or work harder on your relationship. Try cyber s-e-x?”

Nour’s Vote Nour thinks this question is very valid. Reason being is that Nour herself gets bored in long distance relationships. It has to be something really special to hold Nour’s attention. In your case, it is not out of sight, out of mind, but rather in sight in mind. If you talk to her about this, I think it is akin to facing the dragon so to speak. She is not going to be Holly Golightly to your Paul Varjak and you won’t be having Breakfast at Tiffany’s. In the real world things don’t always have a happy ending. If you want to play with fire, you will probably get burned. It’s the risk you have to take if you want to end the cat and mouse cycle. Otherwise, hands off and keep the junk in the pants. Don’t stray and find another way to alleviate your boredom. As for not being sexually satisfied, perhaps you could attempt to see one another more frequently and make it clear that your current sporadic sex life is not meeting your needs. Rabih has a totally different take on this, not that this should surprise all the readers at homewe so rarely agree anyway!

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RELATIONSHIPS IN 2012 BY MARIA FRANGIEH

A RELATIONSHIP IS AN INTERACTION BETWEEN TWO OR MORE PEOPLE OVER A PERIOD OF TIME, INVOLVING INCENTIVES AND FUTURE OUTCOMES. ECONOMICS ON THE OTHER HAND, IS THE STUDY OF RESOURCE ALLOCATION, DISTRIBUTION AND CONSUMPTION; OF CAPITAL AND INVESTMENT; AND OF MANAGEMENT OF THE FACTORS OF PRODUCTION. THE ECONOMICS OF RELATIONSHIPS IS INSPIRED BY THE WORK OF RONALD COASE AND FRIEDRICH HAYEK, APPLYING THE TOOLS

64 RAGMAG | JANUARY 2012

OF ECONOMISTS TO VARIABLES, SUCH AS SUPPLY AND DEMAND, OPPORTUNITY COST AND OTHER VARIABLES TRADITIONALLY STUDIED BY SOCIOLOGISTS. ECONOMIC CONCEPTS STATED FROM A THEORETICAL POINT OF VIEW LOOK FAR FROM PRACTICAL BUT IN THIS ARTICLE YOU’LL SEE OTHERWISE. RAGMAG IS APPLYING TIME TESTED ECONOMICS TO RELATIONSHIPS BECAUSE IN THIS DAY AND AGE- THINGS THAT MAKE YOUR HEART GO BOOM ARE COMPLICATED!


mon amour, mon ami

WHEN YOU WEIGH YOUR OPPORTUNITY COST, HOW DOES YOUR RELATIONSHIP MEASURE UP?

OPPORTUNITY COST

Friedrich von Wieser was the first to talk about opportunity cost concept in his book, Theorie der gesellschaftlichen Wirtschaft, in 1914. An opportunity cost exists when the society forgoes the opportunity of getting the next best thing. Let’s assume you are currently in a romantic relationship, yes a romantic relationship has an opportunity cost! In this case the opportunity cost is everything you forgo when you are in a relationship: Going out with friends, spending time with your family, exercising, engaging in hobbies, going out with a better person and the like. There’s also another face

to opportunity cost: The money you spend dating that person that could be spent elsewhere, a lower telephone bill, and the list goes on. However, since you are in a relationship, you have found that it is more beneficial, and have preferred the benefits of being in a relationship over the other things you are forgoing. When you weigh your opportunity cost, how does your relationship measure up? If spending time with your significant other makes you lament the lost friendship time, you are saying the opportunity cost of this relationship is high and perhaps, not worth the emotional investment!

FRIEDRICH VON WIESER

IF SPENDING TIME WITH YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER MAKES YOU LAMENT THE LOST FRIENDSHIP TIME, YOU ARE SAYING THE OPPORTUNITY COST OF THIS RELATIONSHIP IS HIGH AND PERHAPS, NOT WORTH THE EMOTIONAL INVESTMENT!

SUPPLY + DEMAND A demand is how much you as a consumer would like from a product or service. Supply is how much the economy offers of whatever you are demanding. In relationship economics, supply and demand play an important role. In simple terms, many have commented on the ratio of guys to girls in Lebanon. If a guy is considering going out with a girl, he has a choice of at least 7 available girls (if this statistic is correct). The supply of guys on the Lebanese market is scarce and the demand of guys in Lebanon is high. This is one of the reasons so many women are single and so many men refuse to commit. Last issue, we had an essay entitled, “Golden Boys: Where Have All the Good Men Gone?”, and the reader feedback was enormous.

THE SUPPLY OF GUYS ON THE LEBANESE MARKET IS SCARCE AND THE DEMAND OF GUYS IN LEBANON IS HIGH

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mon amour, mon ami

SUPPLY IS HIGH AND DEMAND IS LOW SO YOU CAN BE A SUBPAR INDIVIDUAL AND STILL SCORE A GREAT DATE! It seems that women in Lebanon are facing an acute supply problem as a result of many things – like poor employment opportunities forcing men to go abroad for work (brain drain), sectarian thinking and plain old boring men. The male case (men, listen up) works to your advantage. If you are a man in Lebanon, you are literally surrounded by women and can have your pick of the litter, so to speak. This means supply is high and demand is low so you can be a subpar individual and still score a great date! As funny as this may sound, it creates havoc, which leads us to our next point.

PARETO EFFICIENCY The Italian economist, Vilfredo Pareto, used the concept of economic efficiency and income distribution in his studies. A situation is Pareto efficient when the situation of one person cannot be improved unless the situation of another is made worse. Pareto efficient situations allow an efficient allocation of resources within the economy where everyone will be happy and satisfied. Now how does this fit relationships, you ask? Well think about it. You and your buddies go to a bar. Your buddy Mohammed is talking to 2

VILFREDO PARETO

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girls (and he likes them both) and Tarek is interested in the girl across the bar. Pareto efficiency here means everyone gets the dates they want, Mohammed gets the 2 girls and Tarek gets the girl across the bar. It is not Pareto efficient if you end up with Tarek’s girl and Tarek ends up with one of Mohammed’s girls. Just because everyone’s got someone, doesn’t mean it works as it should! This too is the case in Lebanon, Pareto efficiency and supply and demand are inexorably linked- you get proof all the time by watching the dating disasters you and others are experiencing. Now that you know how to apply these tested economic theories to your relationships, how does your dating game measure up? By doing your cost benefit analysis, determining if it is Pareto efficient and finally, analyzing why you are dating that loser in the context of supply and demand, make 2012 your relationship year. Use your skills to find the right partner- not the available one

USE YOUR SKILLS TO FIND THE RIGHT PARTNER- NOT THE AVAILABLE ONE


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cultureclash

HAYDA LEBNEN’s

DEMAGNETIZING

DEBT FOR 2012 BY SARAH HOURANY

B

y the end of 2011 foreign experts gave up on the possibility of helping families across Europe and the U.S. with their budgets. Nothing seemed to help! Couples registered their revenues, expenses and the difference between (savings), numerous conferences were held on efficient money management, and thousands of books were printed on ways to minimize spending. They left no financial technique unused yet, the result was still the same: Increasing household debt ratios! Why? They are simply not Lebanese. Lebanese don’t need financial experts, books or conferences to manage their finances well. Lebanese don’t change their lifestyle to maintain a balanced budget. Lebanese don’t worry, even when money gets tight.

68 RAGMAG | JANUARY 2012

So to the people of the world RAGMAG suggests you forget everything the financial experts have taught you and stick to Hayda Lebnen’s 7 simple tips for a well-balanced budget this year and every year. 1. Escape Bills Punctually

This is not a typo. Yes, it says “escape” not “pay”. There are many people who’ll knock on your door every month asking you to pay: Fetourit el bineye, kahraba, moteur, dish, internet... So if you can drive at least two of these guys crazy, that would actually reduce your expenses by at least 100,000L.L. This includes asking him to come gher marra, and then asking him to come gher marra when he comes gher marra, until he swears that he’ll not come near your flat ever again: HAPPY ENDING!

SO IF YOU CAN DRIVE AT LEAST TWO OF THESE GUYS CRAZY, THAT WOULD ACTUALLY REDUCE YOUR EXPENSES BY AT LEAST 100,000L.L. THIS INCLUDES ASKING HIM TO COME GHER MARRA


2. Get Energy Smart

We are not asking you, la samah 2alla, to go green, turning off unnecessary lights or to go get a solar panel! Akid la2, go ahead, use as much electricity as you want: Dawir l ACs, mache el ghessele wel necheffe, cha3chi3 l bet, dawir kel el TVs wel radios, kwi tyebak w tyeb ashabak….This is all, surely, after ma twa2if se3it el kahraba!

B) Halla2 if you usually buy one of those prepaid recharge cards, use another popular technique to reduce expenses by going for daily techrij as opposed to amount techrij. Get a $50 transfer from the card seller extending your deadline to recharge for another 30 days then send him back the $49, keeping only $1 on your line (costing a total of 2,000L.L for the whole operation). Don’t worry, this is more than enough for you to take advantage of technique 3A (Mastering missed calls). For best results ask the people you are miss-calling to call you back on your home number (which you use ta tetla2a mech ta totlob akid). They’ll feel more comfortable talking longer and also they will have a sense of accomplishment as they’re contributing to the increase of your la2la2a utility levels with their kindness.

IF YOU NEED SOMEONE DO 5 MISSED CALLS IN A ROW: WHEN HE CHECKS THE FIRST, HE WILL THINK YOU DIALED HIM BY MISTAKE

3. Reduce Your Phone Bill

This is a 2 technique measure that requires discipline. A) Even if you have the newest and trendiest phone, there’s absolutely no need to rack up your bill. Wa2ella lachou el missed call? If you need someone do 5 missed calls in a row: When he checks the first, he will think you dialed him by mistake. When he notices the second, he’ll conclude that you have a connection problem. By the third he’ll get pissed and say, “Iza 3eyezne yde2ele.” But when he sees the last two, he’ll definitely think that something very bad has happened to you. At that moment, he’ll automatically call you back! With this simple technique, you can save $1. Repeat this a few times on a daily basis will help you reduce your phone bill by $50 a month. Smart, no?

4. Cut Back on Extras

Parking in Lebanon is like diamonds: Rare and expensive. If you live in Beirut, you understand this better than anyone. What we suggest in this case is building your own territory 3a tari2 that does not have one of these annoying parking meters. Place a chair, a sellom or a nice potted plant in the middle of a 5 meter stretch of stolen space. This forbids people from parking there. Chrayit are the ultimate way to draw your spot limits, as long as you decorate them during Christmas. If, however, you are one of the unlucky people surrounded by parking meters, here’s a quick tip: At 4pm when parking along the street becomes free send a group of friends ta yehjoz one of these spaces by standing, sleeping or sitting with an arguile smack in the middle. Choose friends with 3adalat and high communication and analytical skills as they will have to explain to every driver trying to find a parking spot what the hell they are doing there. Eventually, you’ll save a whopping 100,000L.L per month. Note: This is minus the tips you may or may not have to give to your parking pals.

EVEN IF YOU HAVE THE NEWEST AND TRENDIEST PHONE, THERE’S ABSOLUTELY NO NEED TO RACK UP YOUR BILL. WA2ELLA LACHOU EL MISSED CALL?

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cultureclash

BANADOURA MEN 3AND SAMIRA, HOMMOS MIN 3AND RANIA, 2ANNINIT PEPSI MIN 3AMMO KARIM WILL CONTRIBUTE TO REDUCING YOUR FOOD AND BEVERAGE EXPENSES SIGNIFICANTLY

5. Reduce Car Costs

7. Save on Maintenance + Repairs

We’re not exactly telling you to spend your Saturday nights at home, even to replace your 4X4 with a small economical car or to take a bus to work. Fachar. We are just implying that there are a lot of excuses that can be easily used to make your friends pick you up. Some particularly useful ones include: “Ma bsou2 3a Beirut”, “Ma bsou2 bel leil”, “Ma bsou2 bel chames” ,“Fi sot bil siyara”, “3ayne 3am tuja3ne”, “Rasse 3am byouja3ne”. In addition, iza se2abit that you have to drive over 1 minute to make a U-turn on a daily basis, 2awwe 2albak w take the zaroub 3aks el ser. There’s a 50 percent probability that you’ll end up in an accident, but there’s a 100 percent probability that you will be saving anywhere up to 150,000L.L by the end of the month!

To save on maintenance and repairs in the long run, you must become friends with all of the following: El sangare, el kahrabje and el torrach. Making them your closest friends will give you the privilege of saying money-saving statements like, “Msa7a bi hal da2en”, “Kermele bi 2adde?”, “Machineh” and those listed in number 1.

6. Lower Food + Beverage Expenses

Banadoura men 3and Samira, hommos min 3and Rania, 2anninit Pepsi min 3ammo Karim will contribute to reducing your food and beverage expenses significantly. Pay attention as this will work only if you diversify the neighbors you borrow from (don’t borrow from the same person two times in a row unless you make note of it). You must succeed in convincing them (each and every time), that you really did forget to buy the item when you were at the supermarket. Acting classes can help with this.

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Don’t worry. You won’t be called stingy or penny-pinching in Lebanon. Iza chi you’ll be labeled “chatir” (as opposed to “hmar” if you don’t follow the previously listed recommendations). Of course, we could have listed tips such as don’t valet your car or khafifile botox, but true Lebanese would never do that. La hal sene wala aya sene, ma hayda Lebnen ya 3ayneh!

MAKING THEM (EL KAHRABJE, EL SANGARE AND EL TORRACH) YOUR CLOSEST FRIENDS WILL GIVE YOU THE PRIVILEGE OF SAYING MONEYSAVING STATEMENTS LIKE, “MSA7A BI HAL DA2EN”, “KERMELE BI 2ADDE?”, “MACHINEH”


Welcome to our youngest branch in Hazmieh

eyedigits.com

Citymall - Kaslik - Hamra - Verdun Le Mall(Sin el Fil) - ABC(Ashrafieh) ABC(Dbayeh) - Jal el Dib - Jbeil Mzaar(Kfardebian) - Downtown

* Soon in Zaitunay Bay

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ATTRACTING

VICTORY VIA CAPOEIRA OPPOSING FORCES AT PLAY BY SARAH HOURANY

CAPOEIRA IS A 400 YEAR-OLD BRAZILIAN MARTIAL ART THAT WAS ORIGINALLY CREATED BY SLAVES BROUGHT TO BRAZIL FROM AFRICA DURING THE PORTUGUESE COLONIAL PERIOD

I

had completely forgotten that it would be my turn again for FML until Fida reminded me in one of her replies to my January pitches that D-day was coming up fast, “By the way you are January FML. You are doing Capoeira – if you don’t know what that is, look it up”. I didn’t know what Capoeira was- I’d never even heard of it. Thanks to Google, I learned that Capoeira is a “Brazilian art form that combines elements of martial arts, sports, and music”. This definition left me intrigued but watching several Capoeira YouTube videos, did the opposite! With all the acrobatic moves I saw the Capoeiristas doing, I realized that Fida chose the wrong person to go and I was a bit reluctant.

“YOU ARE DOING CAPOEIRA – IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT THAT IS, LOOK IT UP”

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Editor’s Note I chose Sarah because she is all sweetness and soft edges. After attending a Friday night session and seeing Capoeira for myself I decided Sarah was definitely the RAGMAG staffer for this. What better way to toughen her up a bit?

Excitement and hesitation worked in opposite directions from the day of the email notifications to the actual FML appointment date. When D-day arrived, the two forces cancelled each other out and I found myself indifferent and standing in front of the Capoeira studio. Lucky me, the instructor Cavalo was friendly and hospitable and more importantly, he didn’t seem like he would make me jump in the air or like he would kick my face in as a part of the training. He also didn’t seem to be the type of person who would be bothered by the endless questions that a Capoeira-newbie would ask.

Editor’s Note Sarah, I wanted him to make you jump in the air and kick at you. That was the whole point of assigning you this FML. But yes, he is very nice and hospitable.

He explains that Capoeira is a 400 year-old Brazilian martial art that was originally created by slaves brought to Brazil from Africa (during the Portuguese colonial period). Using music and dancing, they disguised their martial arts techniques so they could escape notice of the colonial forces. Therefore, we can safely venture a guess that Capoeira emerged victorious in the battle of two opposite forces: Slavery and freedom. Capoeira was classified illegal in Brazil after the abolition of the slave trade which is why Capoeiristas had pseudonyms, helping to keep their identities from the police. Cavalo (my instructor) is a pseudonym for Rami Eid. Cavalo,


FML [f*ck my life]

according to his Capoeirista Master, when he originally joined the trainings had long hair and ate a lot, just like a horse (Cavalo). When Capoeira was legalized, Capoeira masters began teaching it all around the world and it is an increasingly popular sport gaining ground in Lebanon. The complex and fascinating Capoeira history, centered around fighting oppression and injustice, is perhaps what makes Cavalo so passionate about it, “Capoeira is the only reason that makes me stay in Lebanon,” he asserts.

After spending years abroad where he discovered Capoeira, Cavalo returned home to lead the Lebanese branch of the Capoeira Malês group. Besides giving courses in his studio, he has volunteered to teach underprivileged kids the best of the Capoeira. “Capoeira is a lifestyle,” he adds. “What’s really cool about it is that it combines four major elements: the music, the culture, the theatre and the martial arts. Plus, it raises your spatial awareness, improves your flexibility, multitasking skills, coordination and balance. It enhances

your musical talents and your presence on stage. In addition, it helps you carry your body-weight easily, keeps you in shape and of course it is good for the soul and spirit,” explains Cavalo.

PHOTOGRAPHY JASON ZAMORA

WHEN CAPOEIRA WAS LEGALIZED, CAPOEIRA MASTERS BEGAN TEACHING IT ALL AROUND THE WORLD AND IT IS AN INCREASINGLY POPULAR SPORT GAINING GROUND IN LEBANON THE MAGNETIC ISSUE

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FML [f*ck my life]

THE NEXT STEP WAS LEARNING THE CADEIRA POSITION. AS ITS NAME SUGGESTS (PORTUGUESE FOR CHAIR), IT’S THE POSITION WHEN YOU SQUARE YOUR LEGS AND SIT AS LOW AS YOU CAN, EXTENDING ONE ARM AND PLACING THE OTHER IN A DEFENSIVE POSITION

Moving to the practical side of Capoeira, I had to learn first how to play and depict a rhythm. Cavalo picks up his Berimbau, the main instrument in Capoeira, consisting of a gourd resonator and one single string, and starts striking it by a stick. What I’m supposed to do is follow the rhythm and set the beat using the Atabaque, another important instrument in Capoeira, which looks like a tall wooden drum. After few attempts, we synchronize the rhythms. Editor’s Note I didn’t know Cavalo was going to give you a history lesson, teach you to play the instruments AND coach you. Thanks, Cavalo!

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The next step was learning the Cadeira position. As its name suggests (Portuguese for chair), it’s the position when you square your legs and sit as low as you can, extending one arm and placing the other in a defensive position. Cadeira is considered the basis of the Ginga, one of the fundamental movements in Capoeira. Starting from the Cadeira position, you move one foot backwards then return to the base, repeatedly. The idea behind the Ginga is to be in constant motion to avoid being an easy target. After practicing it few times in front of the mirror, we tried it face to face. The Capoeiristas are totally right: It is the best way to mislead the attacker.

COCORINHA, THE DEFENSIVE MOVE, CAN BE PICKED UP EASILY: IF YOU EVER EXPECT A KICK IN THE FACE, GET DOWN INTO A SQUATTING POSITION, PLACING ONE HAND ON THE FLOOR TO MAINTAIN BALANCE AND THE OTHER ON YOUR FACE PROTECTING IT FROM THE KICK


“CAPOEIRA IS ABOUT CHALLENGING YOURSELF. I WAS IMPRESSED BY SEEING A VIDEO OF A BOY WHO HAD NO LEGS PRACTICING CAPOEIRA” Two important techniques were left for me to learn: Basic attacking and defensive movements. A) Cocorinha, the defensive move, can be picked up easily: If you ever expect a kick in the face, get down into a squatting position, placing one hand on the floor to maintain balance and the other on your face protecting it from the kick. B) Meia Lua de Frente (half-moon), a

powerful Capoeira kick, was a bit hard for me compared to Cocorinha. This move is done by drawing a halfcircle/ half-moon with your kicking leg that moves from the outside to the centerline while your arms move in

the opposite direction to balance the movement of the leg. Cavalo had to suffer a bit with me here since I carried my leg to be able to kick! I shout in pain and I suffer failed attempt after failed attempt until I finally manage to do it! Editor’s Note You carried your leg? What does that even mean LOL. I can picture you hoisting one leg up with your arm and trying to keep your balance. As for the pain- was it from the stretching or from the cavorting?

this story, I realize that I have no right to complain about the tiring workout or about the annoying “to3dil” after this training session. Once again, between surrender and challenge, Capoeira is victorious Editor’s Note Good to hear otherwise I would have sent you back for another session.

“Capoeira is about challenging yourself. I was impressed by seeing a video of a boy who had no legs practicing Capoeira,” Cavalo says. After hearing

Capoeira Malês Studio Beirut, Lebanon 70/454104 www.lebanoncapoeira.com THE MAGNETIC ISSUE 75 Capoeira Malês Lebanon


for him

MEN RENEW YOUR DIET+ RESTORE YOUR COMMITMENT TO YOUR HEALTH BY RANDA CHLALA FOR KENZA

WHEN YOU PRACTICE MINDFUL EATING, YOU PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR BODY’S SUBTLE AND NATURAL CUES, SPECIFICALLY THE ONES THAT SAY “FEED ME” AND “THAT’S ENOUGH”

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our food and physical activity choices affect your health — how you feel today, tomorrow, and in the future. Choose a change that you can make today and move toward a healthier you. After years of research starting in traditional ways of eating leading up to the diet craze in the early 90s, the healthy man of today is obsessed with eating natural and balanced food that is equaled out by a reasonable amount of activities and exercise. An adult male’s main health concerns are heart disease, blood pressure, diabetes, and more gender-based concerns like infertility and prostate health. The answer is natural eating and “mindful” eating. Mindfulness means being fully aware within the present moment. When you practice mindful eating, you pay attention to your body’s subtle and natural cues, specifically the ones that say “feed me” and “that’s enough”. It’s appealing because it’s a mindset as opposed to a meal plan. Unlike a diet, there’s no self-denial, no measuring or weighing your food.

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BACK TO BASICS

Give brown rice a try, even in stuffing vegetables like squash and eggplant or vine leaves. Buckwheat bread, rolled oats for breakfast and cooked bulgur wheat or whole wheat spaghetti. Make at least half your grains whole wheat. Buy fresh seasonal vegetables and stock up on frozen vegetables for steaming. Pick up prewashed bags of salad greens and add baby carrots or cherry tomatoes for a salad in minutes. Keep fruit available on the kitchen counter and your office fridge and try to have some 2-3 times daily. Keeping a bag of dried fruit in your desk is an easy way out for those feeding binges, especially that snacking on fresh and dried fruit will make you less hungry and help control sweet cravings. It’s best to eat fresh fruit early in the morning or between meals. Eat nuts and beans as they are excellent sources of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Mix some dried nuts with the bag of fruits like dried almond, unsalted peanuts, walnuts, or pecan nuts. Or add these nuts to your salads when eating vegetarian meals.


Chose low-fat dairy products. If you don’t or can’t drink milk, choose fortified soy milk or rice milk. Lean meats or chicken are good but varying your protein choices by adding fish, poultry, eggs, beans, nuts, and seeds into your diet is preferred. Twice a week replace your meat and chicken with a meal of beans or lentils and add nuts to you salads. Chose the healthy plant oils (olive, sunflower, soybean) over butter and ghee. Look out for hydrogenated vegetable oil in diet butter, chocolate and snacks as they are considered a causal factor of high cholesterol.

TWICE A WEEK REPLACE YOUR MEAT AND CHICKEN WITH A MEAL OF BEANS OR LENTILS AND ADD NUTS TO YOU SALADS POWER UP

Today’s protein craze and grilled food diets drive people to eat a lot of red meat and chicken which is the main factor in high cholesterol, high triglycerides and later on, inflamed joints. Men should consume one gram of protein per 1 kg of body weight. Trying whole eggs or egg whites and fresh Baladi cheese (unsalted non-commercial) is a great source of protein. Tuna canned in water, protein bars with less than 6g carbs or 5g fat and builder shakes (soy milk, egg white, rolled oats, fruit, peanut butter and flaxseed) are great. Sound

old standbys? Lentils and peanut butter. Keep in mind that your body does need a certain amount of carbohydrates, which is the main source of energy for working muscles and other bodily functions. Therefore, you shouldn’t try to eliminate carbs completely, especially if you work out. It is a question of balance: If you are eating natural and healthy 60 percent of the time, your body will build the mechanisms to deal with stress, disease, pollutants, and artificial ingredients

LOOK OUT FOR HYDROGENATED VEGETABLE OIL IN DIET BUTTER, CHOCOLATE AND SNACKS AS THEY ARE CONSIDERED A CAUSAL FACTOR OF HIGH CHOLESTEROL GETTING SEMI-VEGETARIAN IS EASY! Have only 4 meals weekly that include meat, fish or chicken and skip the frying pan! • Olive oil • Eggs • Fruit (in lieu of a heavier breakfast) • Salads at every meal • White cheeses • Yogurt and labneh • Whole wheat bread • 50 Percent of the time use wholegrain rice or pasta • Beans 3-4 times per week

TIPS FOR A HEALTHIER YOU

EASY ORGANICS

• Vary your vegetables

• Farm eggs • Sea salt (creates a good blood medium for your nutrients) • peanut butter • sesame, flaxseed or shia seeds • eggs • rice, soy, oat milk • laban or labneh are optional • rolled oats • granola

• Focus on fruit • Go lean with protein and nuts • Get your calcium rich foods • Find your balance between food and physical activity • Enjoy your favorite food in smaller portions • Drink plenty of water

• Include walnuts, pine nuts, or unsalted peanuts in your snacks and salads • Homemade desserts, jams and dark chocolate • Try these veggie easy dips: Yogurt & Pesto, Yogurt with Tahini & Balsamic vinegar, Mustard or Mustard & Labneh

Your Own Personal Kenza Goodness KENZA NATURAL BAKERY Boutique opening soon 03/904805 kenza@kenzafood.com www.kenzafood.blogspot.com facebook.com/groups/KENZAfood KENZA PRIVATE CATERING Randa Chlala | Nutrition Management www.kenzafood.com THE MAGNETIC ISSUE 77 03/904805


mind, body + soul

USING MAGNETIC FIELDS FENG SHUI COMES TO LEBANON BY SABINA LLEWELLYN-DAVIES

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ooming deadlines, honking taxis, wailing police sirens, stifling traffic… you’re fed up and can’t wait to get home for some peace and quiet. But, even at home you still have this feeling of restlessness and discontent. Many of us just accept such discontent as a fact of life, but maybe it’s time to take our lives to the next level to improve relationships, careers and health. “Many of us can make positive changes with feng shui,” says Aoun Abi Aoun, a certified consultant and trainer awarded from the Feng Shui of the Present Time in Geneva, an International Federation.

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Feng shui dates back about 8,000 years and originates from the Chinese philosophy to bring balance between the yin and yang and live in harmony with the earth and the universe. Feng Shui of the Present Time is a continuity of the classical feng shui movement but actualized to our modern life in total relation with the energies of the earth and the universe in the present moment. One of best ways to live in the present moment is to connect with nature and its elements. “It all started with my love for nature, which I have had since childhood, supported by a quest for understanding myself and the creation,”

says Aoun. “Feng shui is a way of being … it’s about discovering our true self and how to express that in daily life. For me, feng shui was a natural pass to join art, science and energetic in a sacred way that brings more beauty and harmony to life; and what could be better than sharing it with other people.” When and where we were born, even the time and the hour, will determine a big part of our life, our identity. Other influences also affect us such as heritage, education, society because part of our identity is related to the expression of the earth. “At our birth, at a specific time and location, the expression of the elements and energies of the earth were imprinted in our identity,” says Aoun. The impact of the energies emitted from the center of the earth on our life affects us in many ways. Known as “tellurology”, Feng Shui of the Present Time is based on an aspect of this science, tellurology of the habitat.


Aoun organizes feng shui courses on a regular basis. The next one will take place at the Robert Mouawad Private Museum in Beirut during the last two weekends of January 2012. He also gives private consultations during which he checks a person’s telluric theme, a mapping to determine current state and potential. The personalized application is based on a study of the chromosome (telluric theme) of the concerned person and a study of the place of living (with its environment) so that feng shui can bring what is missing in terms of elements, and moderate the excess of the other elements.

‘FENG SHUI WAS A NATURAL PASS TO JOIN ART, SCIENCE AND ENERGETIC IN A SACRED WAY THAT BRINGS MORE BEAUTY AND HARMONY TO LIFE’

ABOVE: AOUN ABI AOUN, CERTIFIED FENG SHUI CONSULTANT AND TRAINER

The elements of the present time are: Fire, Air/Metal, Water, Earth, and Ether/ Wood. Each element has specific qualities that nourish us and our environment positively or negatively depending on its expression and its relation with the other elements. The qualities are represented with symbolic mystic animals (eagle, lion, dolphin, bull, flying dragon). “Bringing the 5 elements in a harmonious way to a specific place will activate the kundalini axe which is the 6th element that links the earth with the universe. This action will put the weft of this place completely in light and in protection,” says Aoun. What about the energy of magnetic fields? “If your house is located in a magnetic field it will have a negative effect on your life,” he says. Harmony between the elements should be applied to our home, office, even the garden, to bring the utmost benefit of

each element with the support of the balance between the yin and yang energies. Each space within the house should be in the right direction with the support of the right colors, light, plants, furniture, and material. “Feng Shui of the Present Time can be used to harmonize an existing house, or a house/building in construction. It can also be used to select the right land and design the right plan for the building,” says Aoun.

‘IF YOUR HOUSE IS LOCATED IN A MAGNETIC FIELD IT WILL HAVE A NEGATIVE EFFECT ON YOUR LIFE’

Aoun notices a huge difference in wellbeing of clients when he asks them to get rid of clutter; maybe a shelf full of books that they have no intention of reading or a closet full of unworn clothes. The mess disrupts the flow of space and dumping items may result in renewed vigor for life. This is time to try and sort yourself out, perhaps beginning with one of Aoun’s Feng Shui of the Present Time seminars

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OPPOSING FORCES AT ZA ZEN THE MAGNETIC POLES OF REFLEXOLOGY BY YOUMNA CHAGOURY

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t was a pleasure knowing I would review the Za Zen Spa for our January issue, for my first experience in their Feet First section had provided me with a blissful feeling and relaxed muscles. I wanted to try something a little bit different this month, something that had some kind of holistic feel. Amongst the Za Zen treatments, I quickly found my therapy: Reflexology. According to Devaki Berkson, author of The Foot Book, reflexology is based on the premise that our organs have corresponding reflex points on other parts of the body, some of the sensitive points being those on the feet. When a reflex point is stimulated, it works to balance and normalize not just the corresponding organ itself but also all functional relationships of that organ.

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I was really looking forward to the treatment, for a very specific reason: I had been on a caffeine detox for 5 days, which was causing me different withdrawal symptoms like headaches and muscle stiffness, and I actually wanted to see if reflexology alleviated pain and other miseries.

I WANTED TO TRY SOMETHING A LITTLE BIT DIFFERENT THIS MONTH, SOMETHING THAT HAD SOME KIND OF HOLISTIC FEEL


PHOTOGRAPHY JASON ZAMORA

AS SOON AS I ENTER THE FEET FIRST SECTION, I AM ALREADY RELAXED. THE ESSENTIAL OILS, THE CANDLES, THE QUIET TAKE ME EXACTLY WHERE I WANT TO BE: AWAY FROM THE CITY As I enter the spa I am welcomed by the smiling receptionist and asked to wait a few minutes for my treatment room to be ready. As soon as I enter the Feet First section, I am already relaxed. The essential oils, the candles, the quiet take me exactly where I want to be: away from the city. My room has dimmed lighting and I notice a big reflexology chart hanging on one of the walls. I am asked to remove my shoes and soak my feet in the marble sunken foot bath. My therapist pours some peppermint oil with mineral bath salts from the Dead Sea and let my feet rest for a few minutes before she dries them with a towel and starts the massage.

MY THERAPIST POURS SOME PEPPERMINT OIL WITH MINERAL BATH SALTS FROM THE DEAD SEA AND LET MY FEET REST FOR A FEW MINUTES BEFORE SHE DRIES THEM WITH A TOWEL AND STARTS THE MASSAGE

Using a peppermint cream, she begins at the centre of my right foot sole, pressing it for a few seconds and then massaging around it for a few more. Little by little, while massaging with pressure techniques, she makes her way to my toes and goes about pressing them one by one, starting with the little toe. She squeezes them between her fingers, and to be honest, that was not the most relaxing sensation; not that it was ticklish per se, but it was just not such a comfortable moment. She returns to the centre of the sole, and all the way back to my ankle. I can feel her pressing several points around it, but her pressure is soft and she’s using both hands, so I can’t really focus on which parts she is massaging. She finishes the first foot with small punches on the treated area – the sole of my foot – going up my calves and down my foot several times. I believe this very specific technique is meant to reactivate the natural blood circulation in my foot.

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USING BOTH HER THUMBS THEN BOTH HER WRISTS, SHE PRESSURES SEVERAL SYMMETRICAL POINTS UP MY CALF, AND ENDS UP WITH THE NOW USUAL PUNCHES ON THE TREATED AREA The therapist reiterates the exact same process with my left foot, and I see she works in perfect symmetry: she does EXACTLY what she did with the first foot, for the exact amount of time with the exact same pressure. After she’s done with the foot sole, she moves to the upper part of my foot, massaging her way via the outside and inside parts of my foot, pressuring a few points on her way up. She starts at the centre of my ankle, and as I’m waiting for her to start going down, she takes her hands off, puts a towel on my foot and leg. Using both her thumbs then both her wrists, she pressures several symmetrical points up my calf, and ends up with the now usual punches on the treated area.

RAGMAG’S ZA ZEN FAVES

• MOROCCAN RASSOUL BODY WRAP Ingredients like iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium make it a boost of energy for your body. Immediate anti-fatigue effect! • SPECIFIQUES CONTOUR DES YEUX EYE THERAPY If you’ve partied too hard this holiday, this one’s for you. Using the Biologique Recherche Specifiques eye cream, rich in elastin and marine polyunsaturated fatty acids, the treatment improves the elasticity of the skin, hydrates and tones the eye contour. Bonus Reduces dark circles and puffy eyes. 82 RAGMAG | JANUARY 2012

My treatment ends with a foot stretching: Holding my ankle, she grasps the toes and stretches both my feet. Not only am I completely relaxed, but you want to know what the fun part is? The flu-like symptoms were gone half an hour later – the toes are linked to my sinuses! Plus my headache was melting away during the massage and my muscle stiffness disappeared a few hours after the treatment!

THE FLU-LIKE SYMPTOMS WERE GONE HALF AN HOUR LATER – THE TOES ARE LINKED TO MY SINUSES!

LOVING ZA ZEN’S • Tranquillity. The Feet First section of the Spa is a must try, whatever treatment you chose to have. • Authenticity and professionalism. You can FEEL that the therapists really know what they’re doing • Holidays Special Packages! When most Spas and services companies in Lebanon raise their prices before Christmas, Za Zen offers a few hours of real good pampering for Him and for Her without leaving you penniless.


WIN THIS!

REFLEXOLOGY AT ZA ZEN FOR 3 ZEN-CURIOUS READERS The zen denizens at Za Zen are going to welcome 3 RAGMAG readers to experience their reflexology treatment. If you’re zencurious, you’re going to compete for this relaxing polarized treatment by following these instructions. How do you win? Send us via email the following phrase, “I’m zen-curious and I wanna hit up that spa RAGMAG!” at letterstotheeditor@ragmaglive.com P.S. You can’t compete if you’ve won a reader reward in the last 6 months, tsk tsk! But we still want you to tell your friends to try for it! Sharing is caring, especially when it comes to reader rewards XOXOX

Za Zen Wellness Center Genesis Health Club, Verdun Street 01/812213 | 01/812212 za.zenwellnesscenter@hotmail.com Za Zen Wellness Center

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INTENSITY CHOPARD LAUNCHES NOBLE CEDAR FOR 2012’S MAGNETIC MEN

If you weren’t following the latest and greatest in fragrances last season, chances are you missed Chopard’s first offering in their Noble line, Noble Vetiver. This year, they’ve released Noble Cedar for men and we can’t think of fragrance better suited to the well-groomed chaps of Lebanon.

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Take a page out of chick magnet Andres Valencoso’s book- the Spanish model is the face of their new campaign- and pick this woodsy scent up quick. Chopard’s history in haute horlogerie was the inspiration behind Suzanne Dalton’s bottle design and we think it’s extremely fitting. Truly noble!


www.phoeniciabeirut.com

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Abstract arts buffs will be rushing to Christian Dior counters worldwide for their latest collaborative effort. If you’re a big Dior cosmetic fan, move over for their slew of new clientele sure to be drawn in by the limited edition collection by none other than Anselm Reyle. The renowned German artist, famous for his larger than life canvases and sculpture, has lent his design-savvy eye to Dior for this season’s makeup must-have! The camouflage-patterned eyeshadow collection in shiny and matte and the exciting nail lacquer range is your January shocker. If we had to pick a favorite of the bunch, it would be Reyle’s Ultra-Violet! Wear it out + about with flare since it’s RAGMAG’s star selection. We’re in rapture when art meets prestige product. What could be better? LEFT: ANSELM REYLE UNTITLED, 2006 MIXED MEDIA ON CANVAS, ACRYLIC GLASS © ANSELM REYLE

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Tired of your look? Not packing enough punch because you’re battling the January-blues? MAKE UP FOR EVER has your solution in their newest limited edition collection: Wild & Chic. If you’re a wild child inside and (sometimes) out, you’re going to want this latest range of eyeshadows, eyeliners and finally glosses. If you can’t pick up the whole shebang, opt for the MUFE Lab Shine kit with 4 shades. The Lab Shine glosses of Light Beige, Fresh Pink, Electric Rose, and Ruby Red cover all your bases from mod to glam. Wanna make us your new best friend since we’re the ones giving you all the info? Then grab us the Aqua Cream waterproof and crease-free shades Anthracite and Taupe. We’ve sent you in the right direction, now go!

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MIX N’ MATCH

REAL RUNWAY YVES SAINT LAURENT FW 2011/2012

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RAGMAG SHOWS YOU HOW TO REPLICATE THAT RUNWAY TREND! SEE OUR TAKES ON HOW TO MAKE THE READY TO WEAR, ACTUALLY WEARABLE STYLED BY STEPHANIE AOUN

HUGO BOSS SS 2012


Zara men’s outerwear collection hat 35000 LBP

Key to My Heart Piaget ring

BURBERRY

PRE-FALL 2012/2013

Locked Up Solid Tiffany Locks bangles

Zara men’s outerwear collection scarf 55000 LBP

EMILIO PUCCI FW 2011/2012

Playing Outside Panelled winter coat with external pockets Zara 199000 LBP

In the Trenches Olive green coat for men, available at Zara 329000 LBP

Fingerprint

Staple Piece Basic cardigan for men Zara 135000 LBP

Hot Stepper

Zara 99000 LBP

Hugo Boss men’s reinforced toe ankle boots

Show Your Spots Louboutin stiletto booties

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HELMUT LANG

PRE-FALL 2012/2013

Tip of the Iceberg Montblanc Collection Princesse Grace de Monaco bracelet

BLACK Edgy mono-sleeve design paired with the hint of red of the belt. Available at Zara

In a Stitch

Little black dress with detailed cuts and flattering neckline Bershka 59000 LBP

Montblanc Collection Princesse Grace de Monaco earrings

I’m on Your Side Mono-sleeve cocktail dress available at Zara

Sidewinder DKNY side striped legging

Perrelet Diamond Flower Prestige watch

In a Flash

Pink heeled black pumps Zara 75000 LBP

Metal Maiden Hugo Boss handbag

Achilles Heel Hugo Boss stiletto ankle strap sandals

Out the Door Black boots, Zara 279000 LBP

SPECIAL MENTION We like Moe Khadra’s new jewellery line for men called Huwa.

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JASON WU PRE-FALL 2012/2013

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GUCCI FW 2011/2012

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Icicles

Montblanc Riviera Collection long earrings

Piaget Possession bracelet

BOTTEGA VENETA SS 2012

ROBERTO CAVALLI SS 2012

Sparkle Face

What Time is it Mr. Wolf? Piaget Limelight Dancing Light pavĂŠ model

Tiffany Soleste diamond ring

Lights Out Sequined neutral top available at Zara 65000 LBP

Send Me Roses

Notte by Marchesa rosette-embellised organza dress

Miu Miu two-toned suede sandals

Red Valentino tiered tulle skirt Glitter encrusted heels available at Zara 159000 LBP

Cheque Please!

Montblanc Collection Princesse Grace de Monaco calligraphy pen

Carry All

Hugo Boss wristlet

Shake Your Pompoms Bershka 99000 LBP

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Photography by ODETTE KAHWAGI Styled by JONY MATTA Lighting ALEXANDRA KAHWAGI Makeup by ELIE ESTEPHAN from institute HALA AJAM | Hair by ROGER GABRIEL Models MILA OF LIPS AGENCY | FADI NAMMOURA

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HANDBAG STYLIST’S OWN

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SWEATER STYLIST’S OWN

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new + now

MODEL MOMENT Italian jewellery designer, Roberto Coin, has once again signed on with advocate, filmmaker and model, Christy Turlington Burns, to be the face for the third time in the upcoming advertising campaign. The latest campaign will feature jewellery from the Primavera, the new Bollicine, Cento Diamonds, Fantasia, Animalier and Ipanema collections. Turlington Burns is no stranger to the fashion world. Gracing the covers of over 1,000 top publications, from Vogue to Time, Turlington Burns has not only been a leader in the fashion industry as one of the most highly sought after models, but she is also an avid pioneer of women’s rights. “I’m delighted to join Roberto Coin once again this season,” says Turlington Burns. “This campaign beautifully illustrates the range

of the Roberto Coin Collection.” Turlington Burns is involved in various charitable organizations, most notably as the founder of her own charitable organization, Every Mother Counts, whose mission focuses on the increased awareness, education and support for maternal and child health. Turlington Burns is also a spokesperson for (PRODUCT) RED and serves as CARE’s Advocate for Maternal Health. The campaign was shot by acclaimed British fashion photographer, Craig McDean, whose past credits in the fashion industry include advertising campaigns for Gucci, Giorgio Armani, Emporio Armani, Oscar de la Renta, Yves Saint Laurent, Calvin Klein, and Estee Lauder; editorial fashion spreads in magazines such as W and Vogue; and countless celebrity portraits.

Minotti has accomplished in the region and said that the key to success of the brand is in its ability to perfectly embody the true Made in Italy quality to which the Lebanese have fervent loyalty. Conveniently situated in the upscale Achrafieh district, the store is the first Minotti mono brand outlet in Lebanon. The two-storey gallery, covering

700 square meters is set in an ivory building and connected by a landmark staircase. The showroom, fitted with concrete floors and elaborate wood panels, create the appropriate setting for the presentation of the “Minotti Design Identity” and “Senza Tempo” collections both by Rodolfo Dordoni.

NEW NEIGHBORS The new Minotti monobrand store launched a new location at the heart of Achrafieh. Mrs. Wafaa Sleiman, the First Lady of Lebanon was in attendance alongside the luxury furniture brand owners, Mr. Renato Minotti, his son Mr. Alessandro Minotti , and M-Group’s Managing Partner, Mrs. Christelle Martinos. Mr. Renato Minotti, owner of Minotti together with Mr. Alessandro, said: “Lebanese are known for their refined taste and particularly in interior design and furniture. We are very pleased to see our stand-alone store in Lebanon, where it will cater to the Italian modern design enthusiasts in the country. Minotti has established a good presence around the region in the form of monobrand showrooms and we are seeing a positive feedback across all markets.” Mr. Alessandro Minotti expressed satisfaction over the achievements that

new + now

COMMUNITY CARING Himaya, a Lebanese NGO working against child abuse, hosted a successful fundraising event on Wednesday November 23, 2011 at Music Hall, Starco Center. Himaya turned to Leo Burnett to create an awareness campaign that would help break the silence and encourage victims and witnesses to begin reporting the abuse. The public’s receptive response to this campaign made it evident that all mediums used to communicate this unsettling message succeeded in capturing the grim nature of a subject few dared to speak of until today. With the support 114 RAGMAG | JANUARY 2012

of the sponsors including Bank Audi, Banque Libano-Francaise, Araco Ready Mix Concrete, B.B. Energy, Nissan, Bank of Beirut, Booz and Co., Café Super Brasil, CCC, Fransa Invest Bank, ITG, LibanPost, and Transmed, Himaya was able promote a comprehensive approach for the protection of the innocence in danger. Himaya would like to extend a special thanks to Arcenciel, Fondation Ousseimi, Saad & Trad S.A.L., Jean et Michel Elefteriades, Leo Burnett Beirut, Intaj – The Production House, Nicolas Audi Catering, Stree, Diffa, Exotica, all Media partners, Malek Maktabi, Tania Mehanna and all tombola contributors.


CANVAS COLLABORATION Jean Marc Nahas and Johnny Farah have united to create a unique capsule collection launched at the Johnny Farah boutique in Saifi Village. More than 200 guests attended to watch Jean Marc unveil the canvas he had been working on in the boutique over the previous five days. The collection is comprised of nineteen completely individual bags in four styles. The unsold pieces remained on show in the Saifi Village boutique until the end of December. The event was the first in a series of artist collaborations and its success bodes well for future collections. Additional designers

in the series will be announced individually in advance of each launch. Jean Marc was born in Beirut in 1963 and he studied at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-arts (ENSBA) in Paris. Since then he has exhibited internationally, showing in Montreal, Paris, Dubai, Kuwait, London and Brussels.Since its opening in 1975, the Johnny Farah label has continued to provide quality pieces in the JF signature style. His pieces have been a global success, selling in Lebanon, Dubai, Paris, the USA and Japan.

WALK THIS WAY On December 6th, the country witnessed a ground-breaking new era for the JOHNNIE WALKER® Brand when the team revealed the new ambassador for the “Walk with Giants” campaign. Diageo in collaboration with its trusted media partner Leo Burnett Beirut held an exclusive event at Mandaloun Mar Mikhael to reveal the new giant, Nadine Labaki. Nadine herself was present to receive the distinguished honour in front of a large crowd of friends, guests and media. The JOHNNIE WALKER® Brand has always

epitomized ambition, determination, and progress, continuously encouraging people to excel in their respective fields. However this year, the essence of the concept was slightly altered to create a movement that would inspire Lebanon to have one voice. Change can only be achieved by a strong and united community that collectively believes in progress. Follow Nadine’s story at www.keepwalkinglebanon.com and tell us how you would Keep Lebanon Walking.

GOING ONCE, GOING TWICE Ets. Antoine Massoud s.a.l has mesmerized industry experts and single malt whisky lovers once more, this time scooping an exalted event paying tribute to single malt whisky by unveiling “The Malt Gallery”. More than 100 industry experts and a considerable crowd of tier one media and whisky lovers gathered at the “Marc Hashem Gallery” to nose their way through seven single malt whiskies. Guests were invited on a journey touring Scotland and tasted representative regional malts: Acnocand Balblair of the Highlands, Macallan of Speyside, Auchentoshan of the Lowlands, Laphroaig andBowmoreof Islay and Orkney of Highland Park.

The event was marked by an auction of rare and exceptional bottles of Single Malt Whiskiescharacterized by the distillery of production. The Closed Distilleries collection: Littlemill 1991, Rosebank 1990 and Kawasaki 1981; All hand numbered limited edition collection offering Single Cask, Cask Strength, rare and exceptional whiskies. Ets. Antoine Massoud collaborated with “Jouzour Loubnan” by committing to planting 500 trees as part of their forestation program; highlighting the importance of the landscape into Malt Whisky production.

The Macallan Master of Photography 20 years Sherry cask: a 2011 limited edition of 1,000 bottles of the Macallan Sherry Oak 20 years old, each with a specially commissioned unique label by Scottish photographer Albert Watson and a unique set of 10 portfolio prints. The Macallan 55 years Lalique Decanter Collection: One of the finest collaborations of all time celebrated in a 55 year-old Sherry Oak Macallan presented in a Lalique bottle. This limited edition of only 420 Decanters release represents an historic alliance of artistry and craftsmanship. THE MAGNETIC ISSUE

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out + about

RAGMAG’S HOLIDAY BASH AT RAGMAG got out + about and as festive as you please at the always enchanting é Café in Sursock. Our entire team had a great time eating, drinking and being merry with é Café’s lux menu of fine wines (Lebanese vin star Ksara was on our libation list of course) and a 5 course meal. If you haven’t tried their Filet de boeuf or Pave de saumon, we can guarantee heading there for one of these mains is certain to please your palate. In the mood for a group of sharing starters? We

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had Salade de fromage de chèvre chaud, Ceviche de poissons frais, Carpaccio de loup de mer and finally Salade endives et roquefort and loved every morsel. Terrific service is always an é Café staple- their team, led by Roland Sayah were absolutely wonderful and counselled a number of our staff on the merits of each dish. We’re looking forward to next year’s big holiday bash with é Café- Gina any chance you want to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your RAGMAG staffers? Cheers, everyone!


PHOTOGRAPHY JASON ZAMORA

Get Vivacious on Your Own Time É Café Sursock 198 Sursock, Achrafieh, Beirut 01/333240 THE MAGNETIC ISSUE 117 Écafé Sursock


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take me with you

THE DICHOTOMIES

OF MAGNETIC

MONTREAL BY ALICE HLIDKOVA

As sunrays slip through maple leaves the rooster refuses to cock. Mantled to one of three spiraled iron staircases inside a stoned courtyard, the stuffed bird adds an unusual decoration to Old Montreal. This nexus of stoned Victorian buildings with their lovely Art Nouveau chandeliers, draw many French-speakers and Canada’s neighbors to its old historic district. Central Rue St. Paul, sets stage for disputing accounts of French and Canadian cuisines. Tourists soak brie crepes in maple syrup, or Escargot— cooked land snails, French style—in Bechamel sauce. Americans draw fewer comparisons and instead, devour hamburgers and hot dogs. Thankfully, an offering of “French” fries, topped with gravy and a French cheese varietal, satisfy all- the Quebec specialty of Poutine.

There is more to be said about the second largest French-speaking city after Paris than its food palette. Located in the Canadian province of Quebec, Montreal preserves medieval relics of Europe and vertical sprawl of most North American cities. The architectural and cultural contrasts are strikingly present, along the Saint Lawrence River shoreline of Old Montreal. Connecting the Great Lakes famously known for the Niagara Falls, with the Atlantic Ocean, St Lawrence is mapped with large clusters of ancient, early-tomid-twentieth century grain elevators. The industrial monsters rise above most city sky scrapers, stealing prime urban space. Yet city officials have no plans in demolishing its national heritage, only honoring its vital transshipment port for grain, sugar, oil, and machinery.

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CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: MCGILL UNIVERSITY, NOTRE DAME BASILICA, STREET OF OLD MONTREAL

IN “NEW” MONTREAL, MODERNITY INTERRUPTS TRADITION. A STEEPING CATHEDRAL ALONG DOWNTOWN’S RUE SHERBROOKE CREEPS WITH A RED TINTED ROOF! IN CLOSE PROXIMITY, THE MONTREAL MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS RESEMBLES ANY OTHER CONTEMPORARY MUSEUM: POLISHED STONE, SHARP ANGELS, TALL GLASS The riverfront unveils another monster: Habitat 67. Designed by Israeli architect Moshie Saifdie for the 1967 World Expo, the housing complex is horrendous. Its concrete cubed condominiums look like Eastern European thick-shelled residences. Most definitely, Soviet communists would grade a high score for such concrete slabs. But don’t let the beasts ruin city splendors, sprinkled with beautiful stonework. Prime example: The Notre Dame Basilica in the old historic district. Buried in its crypt lies an Irish-American architect who designed the church with its famous golden-starred ceiling. The basilica’s gothic appeal drums down spirits, whereas an evening light show uplifts them. City spirits once attracted John Lennon and Yoko Ono to the Queen Elizabeth Hotel. During their bed-in recording of “Give Peace a Chance” in 1969, flares sparked among the two, followed by a heated loveaffair.

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In “new” Montreal, modernity interrupts tradition. A steeping cathedral along downtown’s Rue Sherbrooke creeps with a red tinted roof! In close proximity, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts resembles any other contemporary museum: polished stone, sharp angels, tall glass. During my visit, French fashion designer Jean Paul Gauthier is exhibiting his neoteric collections. Across the street however, McGill University—structural copy of a notorious British academy or castle— grips its traditional roots. Similarly, Concordia University anchors its rituals, inviting former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri to attend this year’s graduation ceremony.

Frequently, a Bohemian breeze blows through the city spreading a culture receptive to creative thinkers in search of good education and low rent. Thanks to French, Dutch and Irish builders of old warehouse such as those found in NYC, Boston and Berlin, innovators and designers make reservations to create. Performers sing at countless, highly acclaimed outdoor festivals. These include: Jazz, International Fireworks, Montreal Beer, Just for Laughs, and Les FrancoFolies de Montréal. The apex of art and music venues, Place des Arts, fills most of downtown’s concert and theater halls throughout the summer where Fairouz herself performed in 2005.


TOP TO BOTTOM: HABITAT 67, MONTREAL GLOBAL VIEW, OLD MONTREAL STREET, MONTREAL HIGH LIGHTS FESTIVAL 2006

take me with you

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take me with you

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OPPOSITE PAGE, TOP TO BOTTOM: MOUNT ROYAL, CASINO DE MONTREAL

TOP TO BOTTOM: MONTREAL JACQUES CARTIER PLACE, THE BIODOME OLYMPIC STADIUM

Bold with experience and armed with a permissive creativity, these folks congregate at Mount Royal. The city’s mountain and park designed by NYC Central Park architect Frederic Law Olmsted, is a playground for ball throwers, African drum musicians and residential acrobats. Few head in direction of Casino de Montréal not to gamble, but dance to electronic music. Open-air festival Piknik Electronik hosts live shows on Sundays; BYOB— slang for “bring your own beer”—is encouraged.

More importantly, Montreal progresses in science, technology and innovation. McGill’s Neuroscience Institute funds leading research on how our brain works. Non-profit Society for Arts and Technology (SAT) brings together digital technologies experts with diverse artistic and scientific disciplines, some of whom are rushing to develop new windmill farms across Canada. The Montreal Biodome, what looks like an alien spaceship launch pad built for the 1976 Summer Olympics, houses four ecological zones for tourism and

study. Additionally, a city-wide bicycle lending program called “Bixi,” rents bikes free of charge. Rental stations are conveniently located in four hundred popular destinations. Injected with all sorts of developments, old and new city sections are dichotomous, laid-back, uncommon. Intervention is of harmonious scale—an ad-hoc vernacular approach to which Montreal upkeeps, prideful of its urban poetic fabric. Paying homage to early settlers; Inuit Indians, woodland caribou hunters and fur traders; Europeans, cod fisherman and whale hunters (rooster poachers are exempt), French Canadians today are prideful, adroit, precocious

INJECTED WITH ALL SORTS OF DEVELOPMENTS, OLD AND NEW CITY SECTIONS ARE DICHOTOMOUS, LAIDBACK, UNCOMMON

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see, speak, +hear no evil

CHECK BY JACQUES TCHABARIAN

Lioness: Hidden Treasures AMY WINEHOUSE When Amy Winehouse passed away in July of this year, fans and the music industry alike were stricken with grief for the loss of such a luminary talent at the tender (and seemingly cursed) age of 27. This meant that a posthumous album was bound to surface sooner or later within 6 months, as is usually the case when something like this happens in the music world. Lioness, as posthumous albums go, is a good reminder of why we loved this tattooed, brawl-minded and soul-voiced songstress, regardless of her many mishaps (her chaotic live performances being top of the list).To get things straight, this is not

a new Winehouse album; what you will find here is a collection of live, new and unreleased tracks, including a cover of Antonio Carlos Jobim’s famous “Girl From Ipanema”. Mark Ronson, her usual partner in crime, has little input on the album this time around, but his contributions on some of the tracks like the gorgeous “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” are palpable thanks to his excellent arrangements. Overall, this is a must for her diehard fans and a better collection in comparison to most posthumous albums in general. Something that even she would be pleased with, I hope.

El Camino THE BLACK KEYS Who will ever be able to stop The Black Keys? Apparently no one and nothing. The Akron, Ohio duo keeps coming up with records of pure adrenalintinged layers of Alternative/Blues, and there is no exception here, on this seventh studio album. How they keep their sound fresh while sticking to their roots is a mystery only a handful of dedicated bands have mastered.The cover of the album couldn’t be more suited for what it holds.Basically this is pure music made for the open road, riding on a highway in an El Camino (not the car on the cover) while

churning out dirty blues of the best kind. Each track is a pleasure to listen to and you can feel that the band had a blast making this album. Handclaps, backing vocal girls, footstomps and other cheesy organs go down smooth with the sleazy guitar riffs. “Gold on the Ceiling”, “Hell of a Season” and opener “Lonely Boy” are prime examples of songs that are out there to give you a shot of zestful enjoyment. Worth noting: The entire album can be played from one end to the other over and over again (I’ve been doing it for the past week) without tiring of it. It’s just that damn good.

Undun THE ROOTS

Concept albums in the Rap/Hip Hop industry are not common, but The Roots opted to tell the story of a fictional character (Redford Stephens) that comes to terms with his mortality on their latest album. The music is slower then what we’re used to with some tracks coming across as dark and cold.This is obvious right from the start as the album begins with the sound of an EKG flat line. This isn’t to say that the whole album is tonally morbid; a mixture of Funk in “Kool On”, some Soul in “Make My” and especially the gentle keyboards and percussions in “Sleep” give the listener insight into the different aspects of Mr.

Stephens’s life. Although the vocal duties are handled by The Root’s main man, Black Thought, some of the songs see the contributions of Bilal and Aaron Earl Livingston while other MC contributions include a wide range of the Hip Hop community such as Dice Raw and Phonte. Musically, the band has worked hard production wise and the songs deliver the messages they’re trying to convey with great ease due to the use of different instruments to that effect. Nothing is more obvious of that fact then in “I Remember”, where the cleverly layered strings set the mood. Strong, very strong album indeed.

Hats Off To The Bull CHEVELLE Nothing brings me more joy then a band overcoming critics along the years and shining in the music scene. When Chevelle emerged a decade ago in the Alternative world, they were pushed aside by critics as another Helmet and Tool clone. The band has used these influences to find their own place -refining their sound with each release- ultimately creating a new sub-genre with a wide audience of hardcore fans. Latest album “Hats Off to the Bull” is not too far ahead from their last release, but the quality of songs presented here is more than satisfactory. The

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album,recorded during and after an extensive world tour, has heavy sound and beefed-up guitars. The band is in full control of the songs, meaning that all of the album can be played live since there are no weakling compositions detected anywhere.The best moments here are “Face to the Floor”, title track “Hats Off to the Bull” and “Clones”, which chronologically speaking are the opener, the middle and the closer of the album. The rest in between provides a strong arch that holds everything in its rightful place. Helmet and Tool should proud of such an achievement.


and

Apocalypse 2012

Lawrence E. Joseph

weep read’em BY AMAL CHAABAN

Why you should read this book

People have been predicting the end of time since the beginning of time

Hot on the heels of last year’s rapture predictions come the 2012 warnings. To be fair, the warnings regarding the 2012 apocalypse have been around a lot longer, since the Mayan age to be exact. Lawrence E. Joseph takes a sometimes humorous look at the new end of times craze of 2012 in his book. Using interviews, science and even Shamans, Joseph digs through the mountains of material surrounding why the Maya ended their calendar on 21/12/2012 with a special focus on the activities of the sun. Using information from NASA and various other world

agencies, he tracks the behaviour of the sun and the developing sunspots. In interviews with scientists of all disciplines, he draws the lines connecting the dots between solar flares and the extreme weather we have seen in the last few years, not the least of which being devastating hurricane Katrina and several earthquakes. To add even more joy to the mix; he discusses the massive amount of volcanic activity that is long overdue to occur according to prior gathered data. This is a great read for those attempting to make sense of the lore surrounding 2012.

When She Woke Why you should read this book

Hillary Jordan

This is what happens when religion and state mix

When Hannah Payne woke, she found herself dyed red from a process called Chroming. In her world, criminals are chromed certain colours according to crimes. Her crime? Murder (read: abortion). Hannah is a resident of the United States of America in the not too far future. There are no indications in this book that it is a futuristic dystopia, in fact, Jordan takes great pains to emphasize how present-day this book is. In Hannah’s U.S., abortion is murder, the ultra-right religious wings have taken over most world governments and women are meant to know their “place”. When she refuses to name her

abortionist and the man who impregnated her, an automatic 10 years is added to her sentence.The twist? Her religious leader is her lover. Jordan sends us all on a journey with Hannah through a reality that is both alien and scarily familiar. As Hannah moves to escape to Quebec, Canada and have her chroming reversed, she encounters many different trials but comes away with a knowledge far superior than what she had before. When She Woke is a novel that made my blood run cold because it is entirely plausible in today’s world with the rise of rightwing governments everywhere.

Never Let Me Go Why you should read this book

Kazuo Ishiguro

Miraculous science can come with a very high price

Imagine a reality where you can have an immediate donor, have your family cured of cancer or get a blood transfusion with little fuss. In Never Let Me Go, we are introduced to a school called Hailsham where children are bred for a very special purpose: They’re cloned carbon copies of people presumed to be going on with their lives. Their assigned task in life? Organ donation to prolong the lifetime of their originals. Hailsham’s children are isolated and know very little about what goes on outside of their bubble. They receive exceptional education, good nutrition and have the companionship of their peers, until they are

sent to donate an organ and subsequently expire. It is these things that make this book so thought provoking, raising the question of medical ethics by demonstrating that even clones created for the specific purpose of organ donation are human. Penned in 90’s, far ahead of a time when cloning was a possibility, it has since been made into a feature length film by the same name that starred Keira Knightley. As with other authors who tackle somewhat offbeat subjects, Mr. Ishiguro’s characters are loveable and as they begin to fade off one by one, the reader’s heart breaks just a little for each.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Why you should read this book

Rebecca Skloot

Without HeLa cells, many modern medicines would not exist

When Henrietta Lacks checked into John Hopkins in 1951to get cervical cancer treatment, she could never have dreamed of the far reaching results. Like patients before her, doctors scraped some cells for a petrie dish in an attempt to grow them. The difference was that instead of dying, the cells multiplied...and continue to do so until the present day. Henrietta Lacks’ cells are the root of many modern medicines including the vaccine for Polio. What is enraging and astonishing about this case is that these cells were taken without her knowledge,

distributed without her permission and her surviving family has never seen a dime in royalties for medicines and vaccines developed using her cells. In fact, the original source of HeLa cells was virtually unknown until Ms. Skloot began to research and write this book. In this day and age, when you check into a hospital for treatment, you are asked to sign all manner of release forms (basically giving the hospital permission to do what they will with your biological waste). This book is a warning of what can happen when you do so. Readers take heed. THE MAGNETIC ISSUE

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watchout BY ADAM VOLK

Release dates based on amazon.co.uk

Super 8 | DVD & Blu-ray | 112 mins Joel Courtney, Elle Fanning, Kyle Chandler Release Date: December 12 If you were a child of the 80s, chances are you grew up watching films like The Goonies and E.T. – stories of plucky kids taking on otherworldly forces despite neighbourhood bullies and nagging parents. Director J.J. Abrams seeks to tap into this nerdflavoured nostalgia with Super 8, a film which is such an homage to early Spielberg films that Spielberg himself just thought “f**k it!” and decided to produce the thing. The film follows a group of teenagers living in small town Ohio during the late 1970s. When not

dealing with the usual litany of prepubescent problems, the group of friends is out creating their own low budget creature features with their trusty 8mm camera. But when a military train derails on the outskirts of their sleepy town, it unleashes a mysterious force that runs amok and before long the kids finds themselves in the midst of their very own monster movie. While the script stumbles a few times, overall the film is highly watchable, with Super 8 hitting all the right notes as both a coming of age drama and an 80s-inspired sci-fi spectacle.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy | DVD & Blu-ray

| 127 mins

Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy Release Date: January 30

When most of us think of British spies, the first thing that probably comes to mind is either James Bond or Austin Powers. Yet the novels - and subsequent film adaptations - of writer and former secret agent John le Carré, offer a real-world glimpse into the seedy underbelly of British intelligence, a realm where bespectacled Oxford-educated plutocrats plan covert assassinations and trade informants like Whist cards over high tea and crumpets. Such is the world of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. Based on the classic le Carré

Boardwalk Empire: Season 1 | DVD & Blu-ray

novel of the same name, the film is set in early 1970s London and follows the exploits of former spy master George Smiley (played by Gary Oldman) who is pulled out of early retirement in order to track down a Soviet mole within the upper echelon of the British Secret Service. Smartly told and slickly shot by Swedish director Tomas Alfredson, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is a taught Cold War thriller that proves that the only thing more frightening than British dental hygiene is the shadowy and unforgiving reach of MI6.

| 12 episodes

Steve Buscemi, Michael Pitt, Kelly Macdonald Release Date: January 9

Forget Tony Soprano. In the world of 1920s Atlantic City, mobster-turned-politician-turned-bootlegger Nucky Thompson reigns supreme. Played to perfection by Steve Buscemi, Nucky also happens to be the central protagonist of Boardwalk Empire, the HBO crime drama created by Terence Winter and nudged into existence with a little help from Martin Scorsese. Set during the height of American prohibition, the series chronicles the rise of a new class of elite criminals who carved out small fortunes

with a blend of homicide and hooch. The show, however, follows a wide cast of characters, from showgirls to crooked cops, to militant government agents, to widowed house wives and even the exploits of a young Al Capone. Smartly told, with solid performances and razorblade sharp dialogue, Boardwalk Empire breathes new life into the world of old school American gangsters. Brutal, bold and beautifully told, the end result is a television crime drama that offers up a satisfyingly distilled shot of betrayal, bullets and booze.

Drive | DVD & Blu-ray

| 100 mins Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston Release Date: January 30 In a world of Fast and Furious car crashes and mindless Michael Bay-style explosions, Drive proves that even in Hollywood, sometimes less really is more. The film follows a badass known only as The Driver (played by Ryan Gosling), who works as a criminal wheelman by night and a movie stunt driver by day. But when The Driver falls in love with his beautiful next door neighbour (played by Carey Mulligan) he finds his isolated world turned upside down. Easily one of the best films of 2011, Drive blends explosive violence with some of the sharpest hardboiled

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dialogue this side of Humphrey Bogart. Under the impeccable direction of Nicolas Winding Refn, the film also looks gorgeous with both the action sequences and the subtle character moments told with both finesse and style. Drive also includes one of the best original soundtracks of the year from composer Cliff Martinez and a bevy of European indie electronic artists. The end result is a film that has the look of a Michael Mann action-thriller and the soul of European art house cinema.


see, speak, +hear no evil

playNICE BY ADAM VOLK

Star Wars: The Old Republic

Publisher Electronic Arts/LucasArts | Developer BioWare Platforms Pc When it comes to the various substrata of geekdom, there are few things more devoted than Star Wars fanboys. Which is why Jedi wannabes the world over have been polishing their plastic lightsabers and waiting with bated breath for the release of Star Wars: The Old Republic. Developed by Canadian game studio Bioware, The Old Republic isn’t your typical foray into a galaxy far, far away. Instead, it’s a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (or MMORPG in geek-speak), meaning millions of gamers around the

world can play (for a monthly fee) in a persistent and ever-changing virtual world. Think of The Old Republic as World of Warcraft with Wookies, with players able to create their own online persona and choose a race, class and upgradable abilities before taking on various quests. If the game sounds big, that’s because it is, offering literally an endless amount of gameplay and customization. The end result is a Star Wars gaming experience so epic, it’s almost enough to make fanboys forget about Jar Jar Binks.

Mario Kart 7

Publisher Nintendo | Developer Retro Studios/Nintendo EAD Platforms Nintendo 3DS If you’ve ever been cut off in traffic and wanted to whip a red turtle shell at the driver, chances are you’re a lifelong Mario Kart fan. The popular racing series has been around for almost 20 years and appeared on virtually every major Nintendo game console. The latest entry in the popular franchise is now available for the Nintendo 3DS, offering up a handheld dose of fast-paced racing action in glorious 3D. In terms of gameplay, Mario Kart 7 follows the same basic formula as its predecessors, offering

a variety of vehicles, characters and race modes to choose from. A multiplayer option also allows gamers to challenge up to 8 players online or locally and there’s also the inclusion of new characters, items and special abilities. Visually, the game has been given some minor improvements while the 3D adds a unique level of depth and interactivity to the action. If the idea of hurling a giant banana peel at a cartoon ape riding a motorcycle sounds even remotely appealing, chances are you’ll dig Mario Kart 7.

Infinity Blade II

Publisher Apple | Developer Chair Entertainment/Epic Games | Platforms iOS (iPhone 4S/iPad) In the past few years the popularity of iPhone and iPad games has exploded, with titles like Angry Birds and Plants vs. Zombies becoming smash hits among both hardcore gamers and casual users alike. One title you might not have heard about, however, is Infinity Blade. Released in 2010, the game proved that a game can look as fantastic on an iPhone as almost anything you’ll find on a console. Now the sequel has launched for iOS and the good news is that it looks and plays as great as its predecessor.

Infinity Blade II offers up another dose of hack n’ slash RPG action, letting players explore a world of dark magic and deadly monsters. The game forgoes joystick control, instead letting players interact with the environment and engage in combat by using the touch screen. Where Infinity Blade II truly shines, however, is in its visuals. Using the Unreal 3 engine the environments, characters and particle effects are simply jaw-dropping. The end result is a game that’s so addictive and visually stunning, you may never want to play Angry Birds again.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Publisher Nintendo | Developer Monolith Soft/Nintendo EAD Platforms Nintendo Wii Since the Legend of Zelda first appeared on the Nintendo in 1986, the popular series has spawned a slew of sequels and sold more than 62 million copies worldwide. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is the latest entry in the franchise. This outing finds players in control of an incarnation of the hero Link, who is living in a mystical realm above the clouds known as Skyloft. Of course, Link must soon set out to save the beautiful Princess Zelda from the clutches of evil demons. In terms of gameplay, Skyward Sword makes use of the Wii MotionPlus

peripheral to handle combat, navigate the game world and access equipment. Swordplay is particularly satisfying, with players feeling as though they’re behind every swing and block against the game’s legions of enemies. It’s a sprawling and action-packed fantasy adventure that will appeal to both long-time fans and newcomers to the series. After almost 25 years Princess Zelda might not be getting any better at avoiding being kidnapped, but Skyward Sword proves that her legendary game series continues to get better with age.

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WORLDVISION BY LILIANE ASSAF

RAGMAG IS PLEASED TO GIVE THE ONLINE COMMUNITY SOME MUCH DESERVED PRINT SPACE. THIS IS THE SEVENTH INSTALLMENT IN A PERMANENT COLUMN DEVOTED TO BLOG REVIEWS. IN ADDITION, EACH ISSUE LILIANE WILL CHOOSE HER FAVORITE POST FROM THE CUBE, A LEBANESE BLOG DEVOTED TO BOOK REVIEWS. WE HAVE (AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE) KEPT THE POST VERBATIM ONLY MAKING THE NECESSARY EDITS.

FOR THE JANUARY MAGNETIC ISSUE, WE ASKED LEBANON’S BLOG AGGREGATOR LILIANE ASSAF, TO CHOOSE THE 3 BLOGGERS IN LEBANON WHOSE POSTS KEPT PEOPLE HOOKED. GET CLICKING, PEOPLE!

When Fida asks me to pick bloggers following a certain theme, I’m able to immediately rattle off the ones that fit. This time it was quite hard to pick 3 addictive blogs. I must say, there are so many! I’ve chosen 3 of the top bloggers who are most certainly addictive- love ‘em or hate ‘em you keep going back. Continue to check my column every issue because the blogosphere is booming and there are so many bloggers out there covering a slew of topics! Enjoy and have a great 2012.

BLOG TITLE BLOGGER LANGUAGE URL TWITTER

Gino’s Blog Giovanni (Gino) Raidy English www.ginosblog.com GinoRaidy

Gino’s blog is addictive indeed. It intoxicates the reader with the various news and information he shares on a daily basis. If you’re an addict to clubbing, dining and entertainment, you will be drawn to his blog by the algebraic law “transitivity”. Gino is a biology graduate, yet he knows all the ins and outs of the town when it comes to what’s hot and what’s not, and what he calls “The Weekly Leaks”. If you are an early adopter when it comes to trying out new places, Gino is your ultimate goto source. For useful reviews, black lists and weekly polls, make sure you check Gino’s URL and you’re guaranteed to be on top of the game. What makes things even more amazing is how accessible Gino is. And even better than that? The awesome prizes he gives away on his blog. If I must label Gino, I would say he is a brand of his own, with the blog, the Facebook page (5000 plus fans) and the crazy and outgoing personality. Gino’s blog is addictive so be careful when you click that URL, because once you check it, you can’t go back to the way things were before.

BLOG TITLE BLOGGER LANGUAGE URL TWITTER

Ivy Says Ivy English www.ivysays.com @IvySays

Ivy, the anonymous blogger, has established a strong reputation about herself. First and foremost because she is anonymous and second? Because she is quite blunt, frank and opinionated. Ivy is pretty daring and even of you don’t quite agree with her point of views and opinions, you can’t help but feel strongly about the issues she brings to the table. “Ivy Says” is a blog full of gossip material, obsession du jour, tips and tricks for dating in Lebanon, crazy stories here and there, reviews and latest trends in fashion. If this is not addictive, I don’t know what is. Ivy has created a person which lured her readers into wanting to know more about her personally, her love life, the love life of her friends, weird and sassy dating stories and sometimes getting into clashes when it comes to defending women “in her own way”. But once again, you don’t have to agree with her to enjoy reading her work.

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see, speak, + hear no evil BLOG TITLE BLOGGER LANGUAGE URL TWITTER

Blog Baladi Najib, Chahe and Mark English www.blogbaladi.com @LeNajib

From the name you alone can gather how “Baladi” and country oriented this blog is. Sometimes you need an archive of what’s happening in Lebanon- a timeline archive of news, telecom, politics, ad, videos, happenings, restaurants, what’s hot and what’s not… basically almost everything that’s going on in Lebanon but with a twist and comments. Blog Baladi is one of the most popular blogs in Lebanon for a few reasons: It’s down to earth, with short straight to the point posts, and has several daily posts. It’s like a people-to-people newspaper. It’s surely addictive, because you find content there that you don’t find anywhere else and in addition it reports the things no one else sees or notices. For sure many Lebanese expats feel closer to home when they read it. It’s a Baladi addiction.

LILIANE’S CHOICE

BEST CUBE REVIEW www.thecubelb.com Reviewer Hala Moubarak Twitter @HalaMoubarak Book “L’ombre du vent” by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

“Parcequ’il y a des livres qui vous appellent sans quevous ne cherchez à comprendre pourquoi… Parceque l’auteur vous est inconnu, et que la couverture ne veut pas dire grand chose, mais celivre vous supplie de le prendre telqu’il est pour vous emporter loin de tout, loin de votre personne et de votre quotidien. Parceque le jour où vous vous y attendez le moins, une nouvelle découverte vient vous réveiller jusque dans vos tripes… J’étaisdansunelibraire à la recherche d’un cadeau, et j’en suis sortie avec une échappatoire qui durera plusieursjours…

Le souffle coupé, les mains tremblantes, et les joues en feu… C’est sans savoir ce qui m’attendait, que je pris le premier roman de Carlos Ruiz Zafón, ne sachant rien de cet écrivain espagnol, de son monde, de ses mots… Et dés les premières pages, l’imagination surréaliste ne fit que me clouer dans mon lit pour dévorer les aventures d’un Daniel, qui se rend avec son père aux « cimetières des livres oubliés », pour adopter, voire même sauver un livre, et en prendre soin tout le long de sa vie.”

www.lebanonaggregator.com Lebanon Aggregator @LebAgg

THE MAGNETIC ISSUE

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eat, drink + be merry

MAGNETIC

ATMOSPHERE ST. ELMO’S SHOWS YOU THEIR MUSSELS BY YOUMNA CHAGOURY

L

ocated at Zaitunay Bay, St. Elmo’s is Beirut’s new (and only) English brasserie. Owing its name to St. Erasmus of Formiae, the patron saint of sailors, St. Elmo’s Brasserie is a seaside restaurant and the setting reflects it. The semicircle bar of the coffee/cocktail area, with its suspended glasses, the wooden swordfish welcoming clients above the restroom door, the sailboat model and the cake display bar make the place kitschy, cozy, and really cool. As for the dining room, the marine theme continues with striped white and blue cushions and white walls. Tables and chairs are mismatched throughout both rooms: Different colors and shapes, and made of various materials like metal, wicker and wood. A simple rosemary branch in an aluminum flower pot adorns your table, along with a jar filled with sand. The restaurant’s cutlery fits the theme, with its rope-like contours, and a few vintage items, like a typewriter and an oil lamp sit on high shelves, overlooking the coffee area.

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The friendly atmosphere is the first thing to strike you as you’re seated. I expected yet another uptight Beiruti restaurant, where one could not appear without high heels and a perfect blowout. Well, St. Elmo’s is nothing like that. Waiters wear White Tip Converse shoes and joke with the customers, owner and conceptual developer of the restaurant Joey Ghazal takes a few minutes to recommend the house specialties, and even customers strike up conversation with their neighbors! As for the food, I don’t even know where to start. New England Clam Chowder and Bloody Mary Mussels, the Mac & Cheese, and (a must-serve for every single English brasserie out there), the fish and chips- everything is divine. It comes with one fish fillet, but what a fillet! 7cm thick, perfectly seasoned, very well cooked and crispy. You couldn’t ask for more. For a shared entrée or a lighter main, I recommend the American Tartar. It was the best raw meat I’ve ever had. St. Elmo’s Brasserie dared to revisit this classic French

dish by adding barbecue sauce to the seasoning, replacing the raw egg yolk with a soft boiled egg and the cherry on top – literally– crispy onion rings. End your meal with one of the house specialty desserts, the fried Mars bar, or with a slice of the daily cakes. If you’re in luck, you’ll get a piece of their “Birthday Cake”. Oh. My. God The +

+ The specialty drinks – really tasty Bloody Mary’s in all its forms: With oyster or with beef, or just a regular vodka + tomato juice + seasoning, served in what looks like a pickle jar with a handle. + It is refreshing to find such a simple and authentic place in Beirut, where fresh food and great service don’t rhyme with formal dress code and mindblowing prices. + The postcards by Lebanese artist Alfred Tarazi. The mixed media paintings/postcards hanging on St. Elmo’s walls are proof that the Lebanese art scene is still alive. +The intended puns in their menu will crack you up. “Show me your mussels” and “Ask your fish for the waiter of the day : )”

The –

- Apart from a few salads, their dishes are rich and don’t really fit into a diet plan. Again, St. Elmo’s does it like no other. Diet at home, feast there. St. Elmo’s Seaside Brasserie Zaitunay Bay 01/367356 | 71/712244 www.stelmosbrasserie.com St. Elmo’s Seaside Brasserie


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PHOTOGRAPHY LEILA ROUMANI


CHEF THOR DRAWS DINERS TO THE WICKED KITCHEN BY SABINA LLEWELLYN-DAVIES

DUTCH CHEF THORWALD VOSS HAS COOKED UP AN ILLUSTRIOUS REPUTATION AS AN INNOVATIVE CHEF AND FOUNDER OF THE RENOWNED SUPPER CLUB. APART FROM BEING A GREAT COOK, THOR IS ALSO A TALENTED ARTIST WHO HAS NOW MADE LEBANON HIS HOME.

A

ccording to Anne, his wife to be, Chef Thor is not your average chef. “He has been called the Food Wizard and the Notorious Chef … his food is wicked.” He arrived in Lebanon just a couple of months ago to start up his project HOME where he cooks for up to twelve diners. Now, there are chefs a plenty in Lebanon, but Chef Thor is the founder of the notorious Supper Club. I’d heard about him ages ago from a Dutch friend living in Beirut and I was dying to meet the man in question. And, to taste his Small Bites that critics drool over.

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I made my way up to the village of Aitate in the Chouf region to his kitchen atelier. When I arrived he was in the middle of cooking supper for eight while humming to Chrissie Hynde. His table’s centerpiece was a bowl laden with local greens: rocket, coriander, watercress, dandelion…“I collected these from the fields this morning.” For starters, he offered his famous Small Bites, well known in the Netherlands. “They are vegetarian balls which come in different flavors,” explains Anne. “Try.” I take a bite and am treated to a warm oozing concoction with intense flavors. “Mmmmm…what is this?” “Guess,” says Chef Thor. I first taste spinach, cheese, then mango and ginger...delicious and so different. His range of Small Bites are sold all over the world and have names like Popeye, Torri Jappi and Baladin. “Right now 300 boxes of Small Bites are on the way to Dubai,” he says.

“HE HAS BEEN CALLED THE FOOD WIZARD AND THE NOTORIOUS CHEF… HIS FOOD IS WICKED” His family relocated from the Netherlands to the UK when he was young and at the tender age of nine he was already cooking at school, soon realizing his vocation. Since then he has been cooking all over the world including “Hong Kong, Indonesia, New York, Paris and Jamaica, to Gambia and Barcelona.” And, of course, Amsterdam where he founded the famous Supper Club.


eat, drink + be merry

Supper Club started off as a travelling restaurant and soon became a hub for art, music, food, and live performances. Chef Thor took his culinary art everywhere, to clubs, open fields, tents, castles, until he found a permanent space in Amsterdam. It was the place to be for celebrities and artists alike. “It was a combination of a restaurant, club, and an art venue and the founding venue of an expanding family of supper clubs in other countries. The five-course menu was always a surprise,” says Thor who counted David Bowie, Vivienne Westwood and Jean Paul Gaultier among his guests. When Supper Club was sold off in 1999, Thor left for Nepal, from where he traveled to different countries until he ended up in Gambia, opening the kitchen in the top-notch N’gala Lodge. In parallel, he opened a diner for the

underprivileged. His concept was to “spoil the rich, spoil the poor.” So, how did he end up in Lebanon? “I am here for Anne, I am going to marry her in February. But, I have also developed a new concept called The Wicked Kitchen… a combination of all kinds of haute cuisine snackfood, combined as a full dinner that takes one whole evening,” says Thor.

paints and bakes bread, every day a different variety. “Yesterday I made black lentil bread, the day before tahine bread, today naan bread, made out of yogurt. I always paint and cook together.” Anne comments that his clock runs faster than that of anyone else. “He manages to pack in 48 hours into a 24 hour day!”

Although perhaps best known for his food Chef Thor is a man of many talents, he is a gifted artist and his paintings will soon be on show in Beirut. He also caters for select events and, if you ask him nicely, he may even come to your home to cook you supper. And, he has fallen for Lebanon big time. “I love it here, I could stay forever!” His day begins bright and early, walking Luna, Anne’s dog, picking herbs from the fields, then he

So, what’s on the menu after the Small Bites? “Anything you would never think about,” says Thor. The surprises of the evening included a delicious array of curries and chutneys served in tiny cups usually reserved for Arabic coffee, followed by sweet balls, dates spiced with orange and spices, then a concoction of red cabbage and mascarpone dipped in dark chocolate. Words cannot describe Chef Thor’s bites, you will just have to try them yourself at the Wicked Kitchen

CHEF THOR TOOK HIS CULINARY ART EVERYWHERE, TO CLUBS, OPEN FIELDS, TENTS, CASTLES, UNTIL HE FOUND A PERMANENT SPACE IN AMSTERDAM

The Wicked Kitchen 03/265761 THE MAGNETIC ISSUE 133 iwannahavefood@gmail.com


eat, drink + be merry

BY LARA ARISS EACH EDITION OF RAGMAG, LARA ARISS WILL PRESENT A MEAL IN SEVERAL COURSES THAT YOU CAN TRY AT HOME. LARA IS A LEBANESE EXPAT TRAINED AT LE CORDON BLEU IN LONDON, ENGLAND. For more great ideas, check her out on the web http://www.mylara.me @laraariss bylara

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SCRAMBLED EGGS + SAUSAGES

PREPARATION TIME 10 MINUTES COOKING TIME 20 MINUTES SERVES 6 LEVEL EASY

This recipe is creamy and decadent, delicious for Sunday brunch. To achieve scrambled egg perfection cook your eggs over a low heat, stirring gently and constantly, because the slower the egg mixture is cooking the creamer the outcome. INGREDIENTS •375 grams sausages, sliced thickly •12 eggs •270 ml cream •3 tablespoons fresh chives, coarsely chopped •15 grams butter •Salt and ground black pepper to taste

TO SERVE •6 slices toast •6 avocados

METHOD • In a heated oiled medium frying pan, cook the sausages, in batches, until browned on both sides; cover to keep warm. • In a medium bowl, lightly whisk eggs and then whisk in cream and half of the chives, season with salt and pepper.

• Over low heat, melt butter in a medium frying pan over a low heat, pour in the egg mixture. Stirgently and constantly, until egg mixture just begins to set. • Divide the scrambled eggs onto six plates, sprinkled with remaining chives, and chorizo on toast and sliced avocado on the side.

GREEK SALAD PREPARATION TIME 25 MINUTES SERVES 6 LEVEL EASY

A nice fresh salad that goes well with Scrambled Eggs + Sausages for brunch or Grilled Chicken with Coriander + Chilli for lunch. INGREDIENTS •375 grams tomatoes cut into wedges •260 grams cucumbers, halved lengthways and sliced •200 grams red peppers, diced into 2 cm pieces •200 grams green pepper, diced into 2 cm pieces •170 grams red onion, sliced thinly •40 grams seeded black olives •200 grams feta cheese •2 teaspoons oregano •60 ml olive oil •2 tablespoons vinegar

METHOD Place all the ingredients in a bowl, sprinkle the olive and vinegar on top and toss gently to combine. THE MAGNETIC ISSUE

135


eat, drink + be merry

GRILLED CHICKEN WITH CORIANDER + CHILLI

For a milder chilli flavour reduce the number of chillies. Similarly if you want a hotter coriander and chilli paste just increase the quantity of chillies. INGREDIENTS FOR CHICKEN •8 Chicken thigh culets

INGREDIENTS FOR THE CORIANDER + CHILLI PASTE •2 teaspoons coriander seeds •4 fresh red chillies, coarsely chopped •1 teaspoon ground cumin •2 cloves •2 cardamom pods •1 teaspoon ground cinnamon •¼ teaspoons turmeric •20 grams fresh lemon grass •300 grams onions, coarsely chopped •4 garlic cloves •80 ml lime juice •2 tablespoons peanut oil •Salt and ground pepper to taste

METHOD • To make the coriander and chilli paste, blend all the ingredients in a blender until the mixture forms a smooth paste. • Pierce the chicken thighs all over with a sharp knife. • Combine the chicken with the paste in a large bowl and rub the paste into the cuts. Cover and refrigerate overnight. • Cook the chicken, covered, in an oiled, heated pan for 5 minutes. • Uncover and continue to cook, turning occasionally for about 30 minutes until cooked.

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PREPARATION TIME 10 MINUTES COOKING TIME 30 MINUTES SERVES 6 LEVEL EASY


CRANBERRY MUFFINS WITH ORANGE GLAZE

PREPARATION TIME 20 MINUTES COOKING TIME 20 MINUTES MAKES 24 LEVEL EASY

A sweet light dessert for afternoon tea or with your coffee in the morning. INGREDIENTS FOR THE SYRUP •55 grams caster sugar •35 grams dried cranberries •2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest •125 grams fresh orange juice

INGREDIENTS FOR THE SPONGE •125 grams softened butter •2 eggs •225 grams self-rising flour •80 ml milk •2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest •110 grams caster sugar

METHOD • Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. • Grease a 12-hole muffin tin. • For the syrup: Stir sugar, cranberries,

zest and juice in a small saucepan over low heat – do not boil, until sugar dissolves. Once the sugar has dissolves higher the heat and brings the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside for about 30 minutes. Strain the mixture, reserve the cranberries and syrup aside.

• For the sponge: Using an electric mixer, beat the butter, zest and sugar in a medium bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs – one at a time, continue beating after each addition. • Stir in cranberries, flour and milk. • Divide the mixture among the tin holes. • Bake for 15 minutes. • Turn the cake over a cooling rack and brush the hot tops with the reserved syrup.

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quizz ROUND #1

ROUND #2

History + Geography

ROUND #3

One Liners

1. What title was given to the leader of the Knight Templars?

1. So before they come to break down the door.

2. Which country is listed as having the highest CO2 emission?

2. Hither page and stand by me, if thou knowst it telling.

3. The Turtle was the first submarine to be used in war. In which war was it?

3. The man with foolish grin is keeping perfectly still. 4. I went to the doctor and guess what he told me.

4. What is the largest landlocked country in the world?

5. Those were such happy times and not so long ago.

5. How much fuel did the first American nuclear powered submarine, called Nautilus, use in her first then years of service?

6. I’m sitting here in my boring room, it’s just another rainy sunday afternoon.

6. What invention, by Colonel Jacob Schick, changed the face of mankind?

ROUND #4

Brain Teasers

Books, Films & Stuff

1. What animal keeps the best time?

1. Which country reached the 1974 and 1978 football world cup finals 2. What relationship is your father’s sister’s and lost both times? sister-in-law to you? 2. In which film did Tom Hanks play 3. how do you make seven even? “Master of the Universe”? 4. A man and his son had an accident 3. Which Star Treck character plays and the man died. The son was rushed trombone? into surgery. The doctor walked in and said “I can’t operate on this boy, he’s my 4. Which poem deals with the events son”. Who’s the doctor? of the Trojan War? 5. A butcher is 1.9 meters tall but what does he weigh?

5. Which actor, beside Christian Bale, has played Batman twice?

6. Jack’s mom has four children; North, East and South. What is the 4th called?

6. What’s the name of the American author who created Tarzan?

7. Wonder how you manage to make ends meet.

7. I am tall when i’m sitting but short when 7. What’s the name of the rabbit in i’m standing. What am I? Bambi?

7. Which steam ship did not heed the Titanic’s SOS call in 1912?

8. Long time ago in Bethlehem so Holy Bible says.

8. How far can a bear walk into a wood?

8. Which planets rings were photographed by Voyager 1?

9. Jesus loves you more than you will know.

9. In which city is the HQ of the International Criminal Court?

10. Are you hanging out your stocking on the wall?

10. Which country’s flag has a large star at the top left with an arc of 4 smaller stars to its right on a red background?

9. Two sentries were on duty. One faced North and the other faced South. Suddenly one of them said to the other, “Why are you smiling?” How did he know that his companion was smiling? 10. 2 mothers and 2 daughters went fishing. Each caught a fish but when they counted, there were only 3 fish.

8. Which actress starred with Jane Russell in “Gentlemen Prefer Blonds”? 9. Which famous men’s magazine publisher made a short appearance in Beverley Hills Cop II? 10. “The quality of mercy is not strained, it dropeth as the gentle rain from Heaven”. These are words from which famous Shakespearean play?

dingbats wear FRILLY

IS IT SEXY?

RO AD TRAVELLING? COLT BERETTA BERINGER GLOCK

P R I C E

IS HE THE BEST?

IT’S A GOOD DEAL!

SAUCER U P

A JOIN IN THE ROAD?

E Y E S

THE BEST WAY TO SEE IS LIKE THIS

BLU E PLEASANT CCU

Q 1rst

A RUDE FILM?

A FRIENDLY GREETING

DON’T WAIT LONG IF YOU’RE HERE.

ROUND#1 1. Grand Master 2. USA 3. American War of Independence 4. Kazakhstan 5. 5Kg 6. Electric Razor 7. SS Californian 8. Saturn 9.The Hague 10. China ROUND#2 1. Delilah 2. Good King Wenceslas 3. Fool on the Hill 4. Nothing Compares To You 5. Yesterday Once More 6. Yellow Lemon Tree 7. Lady Madonna 8. Mary’s Boy Child 9. Mrs. Robinson 10. Merry Christmas Everybody ROUND#3 1. Watch dog 2. Your mother 3. Delete the S 4. His mother 5. Meat 6. Jack 7. A dog 8. Halfway, and then he’s walking out 9. They’re facing each other 10. A grandmother, a mother and a daughter ROUND#4 1. Holland 2. Bonfire 3. Will Riker 4. The Iliad 5. Michael Keaton 6. Edgar Rice Burroughs 7. Thumper 8. Marilyn Monroe 9. Hugh Hefner 10. Merchant of Venice FRILLY UNDERWEAR - THE PRICE IS RIGHT - BLUE MOVIE ON THE OPEN ROAD - T-JUNCTION - NICE TO SEE YOU TOP GUN - EYES WIDE OPEN - FIRST IN THE QUEUE

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brainfood

crosswords 1

2

3 4

8

5

9

6

7

10

11

12

13 16

14

15

17

18

24

21

25

22

23

DOWN

26

27

28

30

31

29

32

33

34

36

1. Lit. 2. Bigger than a violin. 3. It never goes bad. 4. A place to cook bread? 5. Had an operation. 6. A bunch of cows? 9. Acts stealthily. 11. Cannot be approached! 14. Can be measured from East or West. 15. It’s not a lie. 18. Stop eating. 19. Can describe a storm. 20. Cheating on your partner. 21. My name or a measure of light? 23. Being careful. 25. Singing well together. 28. Another word for clavus. 31. Excessively loud. 32. A law. 35. One type of engine. 39. Cover. 41. Family. 44. Having black or dark brown skin (debated). 45. Chew. 46. Loses its leaves. 47. Lambs are said to do this. 48. A nun’s headwear? 49. Easy to notice. 52. Not full. 56. The art of ringing bells. 57. Used in fighting. 58. A savory condiment? 59. Does not flow easily. 60. Leave. 62. Is she a witch? 66. Make into layers. 67. An early semi conductor. 69. Added to a book at the end? 70. Scared of the dead? 74. A waterfall’s flow rate. 75. A fool? 76. A gathering of Girl and Boy scouts.

35

37 38

39

40

41

42

43

44

45

46

47

50

48

49

51

53

52

54 55

56

57 58 61

62

59

60

63 64

65

66

67

68

69

71 73

74

70

72

75 76 77 78

79

80

81 82

83

ACROSS

2. Confirm. 7. Extremely wicked. 8. A type of Egyptian monument? 10. Barren. 12. Lasts indefinitely. 13. An electric heater part. 16. A position in ballet. 17. Locked. 22. Carrying out a task. 24. Revolve around a fixed point.

sudoku

26. Handcuffs. 27. Very fussy. 29. They decide your guilt. 30. A river or a car? 33. Part of a car engine. 34. King of the fairies. 36. It’s hard work? 37. A French butterfly? 38. Female dog. 40. Put into code.

5

6 6 9

5 6 7 2 3 7 8 1 2 1 9 8 3 1 7 8 1 8 7 4 6 1 2 3 3 9 1 6 7 2 5 8 4 9 7 8 5

4 6 9 7 1 2 8 4 3 5 2 1 6 3 5 9 7 8

7 5 8 5 4 6 9 9 7 4 3 3 2 1 1 2 6

8 9 5 4 2 3 7 1 6 8 3 6 1 5 4 2 9 7

9 2 3 6 4 7 2 5 8 4 1 9 5 1 7 8 6 3

1 8 7 1 6 5 5 2 4 3 9 7 2 9 8 6 3 4

5 4 6 2 9 1 4 8 2 6 8 5 7 7 3 1 9

2 7 1 5 8 6 3 3 9 5 7 2 9 8 6 4 4 1

63. It turns your curry yellow. 64. Part of an orange? 65. A paper size. 68. A card game. 71. A celestial body? 72. A horse’s seat? 73. An early computer? 77. A big piano? 78. Mansourieh is one of these. 79. Working.

42. English French fries? 43. A movement against Semitism. 50. Part of the brewing process. 51. Makes lovely designs when

turned.

53. A rough pub? 54. Not as many. 55. Beneath. 57. A toast to someone’s health. 61. A door piece not a preserve.

EASY

2 3

4

84

3 3 4 9 7 8 9 7 1 1 6 4 8 6 2 5 2 5

2 9 1 7

5 6 7 2 6

4 5

9

4

6 9 1 8 4 3

2

3 9

9 8 3 8 2

7 3

2 8 5 1 4 6 7 9 3

9 7 4 5 3 2 6 1 6

1 4 2 3 5 9 8 7 6

8 5 6 2 7 1 4 3 9

3 9 7 6 8 4 5 2 1

7 1 8 4 2 3 9 6 5

4 2 3 9 6 5 1 8 7

5 6 9 8 1 7 3 4 2

2

1 3 5 9 9 7

6 2

6 1 2 9 3 8 4 5 6 7

9 8 1 6 3 8 5 2 7 1 4 9

1

5

1

5 7 6 3 1 7 9 8 2 5 4

9 7 8

4

5 4 7 9 6 1 3 2 8

2 6 5 8 7 3 4 9 1

3 4 7 1 2 9 6 8 5 3

9 8 3 4 1 5 2 7 6

7 9 2 1 4 8 6 3 5

8 5 6 7 3 2 9 1 4

3 1 4 6 5 9 7 8 2

80. He loved Esmeralda. 81. A mild red pepper seasoning. 82. Men’s wide breeches. 83. Inform. 84. Don’t walk in a straight line.

ACROSS 2. VERIFY - 7. NEFARIOUS - 8. OBELISK - 10. INFERTILE 12. PERENNIAL - 13. ELEMENT - 16. ARABESQUE 17. HASPED - 22. PROCESSING - 24. GYRATE 26. MANACLES - 27. FASTIDIOUS - 29. JURY - 30. YUKON 33. GEARS - 34. OBERON - 36. EXERTION - 37. PAPILLON 38. BITCH - 40. ENCRYPT - 42. CHIPS - 43. ZIONISM 50. FERMENTING - 51. KALEIDOSCOPE - 53. BOOZER 54. LESS - 55. UNDER - 57. WASSAIL - 61. JAMB 63. TUMERIC - 64. ZEST - 65. FOOLSCAP - 68. CANASTA 71. QUASAR - 72. SADDLE - 73. ABACUS - 77. GRAND 78. MUNICIPALITY - 79. FUNCTIONING - 80. QUASIMODO 81. PAPRIKA - 82. PANTALOONS - 83. TELL - 84. ZIGZAG

20

DOWN 1. IGNITED - 2. VIOLA - 3. HONEY - 4. BAKERY 5. UNDERWENT - 6. HERD - 9. SURREPTITIOUS 11. INACCESSIBLE - 14. LONGITUDE - 15. TRUTH 18. FAST - 19. TURBULENT - 20. INFIDELITY - 21. LAMBERT 23. WARY - 25. HARMONIOUS - 28. CORN - 31. DEAFENING 32. AXIOM - 35. RECIPROCATING - 39. BLANKET - 41. KIN 44. NEGROID - 45. MASTICATE - 46. DECIDUOUS 47. GAMBOL - 48. WIMPLE - 49. CONSPICUOUS 52. EMPTY - 56. CAMPANOLOGY - 57. WEAPONS 58. RELISH - 59. VISCOUS - 60. DEPART 62. ENCHANTRESS - 66. LAMINATE - 67. TRANSISTOR 69. ADDENDUM - 70. NECROPHOBIA - 74. CASCADE 75. SIMPLETON - 76. JAMBOREE

19

THE MAGNETIC ISSUE

139


astro

Zodiac forecasts FROM JONATHAN CAINER

January.2012

ANOTHER NEW YEAR, ANOTHER HOGMANAY, ANOTHER HOOTENANNY. YET THE WORLD IS ANXIOUS. WE HAVE ALL HEARD ABOUT 2012. IT BRINGS THE END OF THE MAYAN CALENDAR AND, DEPENDING ON WHICH GLOOM-LADEN WEBSITE YOU VISIT, IT THREATENS US WITH ALL KINDS OF TROUBLE. JUST IN CASE YOU ARE WONDERING HOW SERIOUSLY TO TAKE ALL OF THIS, LET ME SET YOUR MIND AT REST. SOLAR FLARES WON’T RENDER US EXTINCT, STRANGE BROWN DWARF STARS WON’T TILT THE EARTH ON ITS ORBIT, THE END IS NOT NIGH AND EVEN THE DREADED RECESSION WILL SLOWLY LOOSEN ITS GRIP AS THE YEAR GOES BY.

TO PURCHASE A FULL PERSONAL CHART READING BASED ON YOUR EXACT DATE, PLACE AND TIME OF BIRTH OR TO HEAR JONATHAN’S WEEKLY SPOKEN FORECAST FOR YOUR SIGN VISIT WWW.CAINER.COM MEL GIBSON

JANIS JOPLIN

AQUARIUS

January 21 - February 19

‘Everything must go! The store is closing down/relocating/changing hands. Prices have never been lower.’ Etc. Usually, on closer inspection, such sales tend to be disappointing. The stock has been reduced because it is not really worth having. Items of true quality always hold their price. People will pay top dollar for what they really want. Remember that, please, as you make your resolutions for 2012. You can vanquish whatever once defeated you. You can attain much to which you have long aspired. Don’t undervalue what you are truly worth. FOR YOUR DAILY FORECAST AND MORE FROM JONATHAN, VISIT WWW.CAINER.COM

CAPRICORN December 22 - January 20

Do you really want to build a stairway to the stars? Then you had better dig a very deep foundation. The higher the construction, the more crucial a solid base becomes. Intention is wonderful. Ambition is excellent. But there must also, always, be preparation - and plenty of it. Now I know I am not telling you anything new. This is the speech you usually give to other people. Yet, right now, you are becoming uncharacteristically excitable. This brand new, exceptionally special year is firing your imagination. Rightly so. The changes start this month. FOR YOUR DAILY FORECAST AND MORE FROM JONATHAN, VISIT WWW.CAINER.COM

PISCES

February 20 - March 20 ‘Should old acquaintance be forgot?’ With the words of the great Scottish poet ringing in our ears, we enter a year with a reputation. If only a tiny fraction of the dreadful things that some folk expect from 2012 ever come to pass, what will we do? But that just goes to show how easily we can unnerve ourselves. None of those disasters will occur. Just as none of the problems in your own life, even the ones that keep you awake at night, are as serious as they seem. There is only one resolution you need to make. It involves freeing yourself from fear. FOR YOUR DAILY FORECAST AND MORE FROM JONATHAN, VISIT WWW.CAINER.COM

140 RAGMAG | JANUARY 2012


March 21 - April 20

April 21 - May 21

TAURUS

GEMINI

It is a new year. And you feel more than ready for a new start? Your desire to explore new worlds may not be practical, but it is extremely healthy. Translate it, if you can, into an intellectual journey. Throw yourself into an absorbing subject. Failing this, take an emotional trip (though take care how you reach out into fresh territory in this realm.) The more you embrace the new, the more you will come to appreciate that the old is not worthless or hopeless. It merely needs to be seen from a fresh perspective - one that you are about to attain.

‘You shall go to the ball!’ So said the famous fairy godmother. Why is she famous? Because she only ever said it once. If pumpkins got changed into coaches every day of the week, it would be quite unremarkable and we’d never tell our children tales about it. Still, if it can happen once upon a time... why can’t it happen twice? Anyway, you don’t really need quite such an enormous miracle to set you off on the right foot for 2012. Just a bit of better luck. That’s not such a tall order. If you do your bit, the universe will help with the rest.

When we grow tired of travelling, we imagine the destination and that thought keeps us going. We need to use tricks like that because some journeys take so long that, by the time we get to wherever we are going, it is time to turn around and go home again. It helps a lot if we like the look of the road and we believe in the plan. Yet we must not be so attached to the idea of what we are trying to do, that we fail to recognise a short-cut when one suddenly looms up before us. 2012 begins by showing you an easier way to reach a goal.

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ARIES

CANCER

LEO

May 22 - June 22

VIRGO

June 23 - July 23

July 24 - August 23

August 24 - September 23

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LIBRA

SCORPIO

October 24 - November 22

November 23 - December 21

Still sitting in the same room? Still thinking about the same situations? Still eating the same kind of food? Still getting phone calls from the same folk? Still wrestling with the same problem? Still up against the same challenge? Still looking forward to the same bright ray of hope on the horizon? Well, enjoy all that consistency and familiarity while it lasts. 2012 may, so far, seem similar to 2011 - but, really, the year has only just begun. You will soon have to start getting used to a lot of positive change. Things really are about to get significantly different.

The difference between theory and practice is substantial; the two are related, but only distantly. Think of a map. Now think of an actual street. You are not really in much danger of mistaking one for the other. Sometimes, when we spend a long time within the realm of the imagination we forget what reality feels like. We think that the illusion is the actuality - until we wake up with a bit of a shock. As we step over the threshold into a brand new year, you are making such an adjustment now. But your reality is far better than your fantasy.

Tomorrow, they tell us, never comes. Hah! That proves how little they know. Look! It has arrived. You are living in it. Just compare things in 2012 to the way they were in 2011. You can’t see much by way of a difference yet? Don’t worry, you soon will. The future is here. All it wants is for you to recognise it. It is waiting for a little respect and recognition. Which is interesting because that’s what you seem to be waiting for, too. This new year, offers you all that you could ever wish for tomorrow to bring to you - if you approach it in the right way.

FOR YOUR DAILY FORECAST AND MORE FROM JONATHAN, VISIT WWW.CAINER.COM

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FOR YOUR DAILY FORECAST AND MORE FROM JONATHAN, VISIT WWW.CAINER.COM

You and I may love novelty but we are very much creatures of habit. Innovation excites us, but we treasure tradition. We value independence, yet we crave commitment. Still, if we were not all a mass of contradiction, life would be terribly dull. Does what you are doing now make a lot of sense? Well, whoever said that life was supposed to make sense? Life must always have room for fun and spontaneity, if it is to have meaning. Allow yourself that freedom and claim your entitlement to happiness as you now enter this brand new year.

September 24 - October 23

Once you get settled in to 2012, you will start to feel that your life is never going to be quite the same again. Don’t be too intimidated by that idea. To a great extent, the change has already occurred. It is what you have been living through over the past few weeks and months. A drama is culminating. A process is nearing completion. It’s not that anything new is about to happen; it’s more that something old is about to decisively end. That’s nothing to fear. You are going through a process of transformation that can only have a positive outcome.

Things always get a bit intense around this time of year. Your mood begins to alter and your mind gets made up. Suddenly you feel ready to fix whatever you have been previously putting up with patiently. You are no longer willing to be backed into a corner or trapped by awkward circumstances. You may not make much of a fuss, but in your own sweet way you start to move the goalposts and rewrite the rulebooks. Some years you make a few small adjustments. Other years you reach life-changing choices. This year brings really big change. It starts now.

SAGITTARIUS

THE MAGNETIC ISSUE

141


eat, drink + be merry

MIXING MAGNETIC MARTINIS CHARBEL KAYAL, VOTED LEBANON’S

BEST BARTENDER, MIXES ATTRACTIVE COCKTAILS IN ALL COLORS AND FLAVORS BY SABINA LLEWELLYN-DAVIES

PHOTOGRAPHY TEDDY HABIB

W

alk into Cascade, the lobby lounge at Beirut’s legendary Phoenicia InterContinental hotel, pass the lounging hotel guests, and head straight for the bar. Or, wait a minute… just grab a cozy seat and relax, as the bartender himself will come to you. “Being a bartender is all about communication,” says Charbel Kayal, the resident bartender at Cascade and winner of the Gold Medal at the HORECA Lebanese Bartender Competition last April. And, what better way to let patrons get to know your cocktails than to mix them right in front of their eyes. So, Kayal came up with the idea of a martini trolley which he rolls up to guests to mix whatever their heart desires, be it a stiff Martini or a sweet Bellini. Relaxed, polite, and self-assured, always dressed in a smart black suit, this expert mixer fits right into the scene of the recently revamped lounge bar: Pristine, elegant and cool to the max. Kayal seems old school despite being so young, just twenty-two years of age. Born in Beirut, he had his sights set on a career in hospitality from an early age. And he has been a hospitality

142 RAGMAG | JANUARY 2012

management student at the Al Kafaat technical school for four years now, working in parallel at the Phoenicia hotel. “I’m not going to waste your time talking about me... it’s my cocktails’ job to speak for me …here’s to you, me and RAGMAG!” says Kayal and gets mixing on his martini trolley. So many goodies are on it…spirits, mixes, juices, strawberries, pineapple, tea….tea? “I am going to make you an Igloo, my specialty cocktail, the one that won me the Gold Medal at HORECA. One of the secret ingredients is chamomile tea.” Some pouring and shaking take place and in a flash he is done and pours the mix into a martini glass. “This is for you,” he says as he serves up the cool concoction with an elegant flourish. His favorite fruit for mixing are lime and passion fruit and he has a fondness for everything sour. So, what is the most memorable request for a mix he ever received? “A Canadian lady was here a while ago and she told me to mix her whatever I wished. She had blue eyes so I made her a blue colored cocktail with Curaçao …she was really impressed. I still remember her name, it was Bana,” he says wistfully.

And, where does he see himself ten years down the road? “Where do I see myself…I would like to have my own place, a small classic bar maybe, but I know I still have long way to go.” Well, for now, just keep on mixing those mixes from your divine martini trolley, Mr. Bartender of The Year

THE IGLOO BY CHARBEL KAYAL

•3cl Galliano •2cl vodka •2cl vanilla •2cl chamomile tea •1cl pineapple juice •1cl simple syrup Mix and garnish using a crystal ice ball with vanilla foam and a special nitrogen treat.


THE MAGNETIC ISSUE

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144 RAGMAG | JANUARY 2012


RAGMAG Magnetic Issue | JAN 2012 | Issue #20