What Really Matters?

Just under two years ago, I was in Paris with my wife.  How the umr bi yigri. We visited the Arab Institute and bought some things there, and admired the view from its terrace.  Then we crossed the Seine, and went up to the Place des Vosges, between the 3rd and 4th Arrondissement.

I saw an apartment for rent, and I thought to myself, yes, it would be nice to, again, live in Paris one day, before I became too old to do so, and my wife agreed.

She loves Paris, for her own reasons:  mine is not only that the famed Egyptian writer Albert Cossery resided nearby for so long (I of course also went to visit the Hôtel La Louisiane in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, but alas there is nothing left of his romantic writer’s garret: it has been converted into some multi room living space), but because a sophisticated cultural notion of Arabness thrives in Paris, as you can see from the pic I have used as the header image to this post.

Compared to the wasteland of Florida, or the active suppression going on in New York, the notion of Egyptian and Lebanese and North African history and scholarship is alive and respected in Paris.

There are many serious problems, unfortunately, with the Jihadis in France:  I would not rule out — if I were King of France — permanent expulsion or long term incarceration of those who advocate radicalized violence.

I support the idea of a laïque republic, which America, for example, is most definitely not, and thus do not think mass prayers in public spaces are appropriate; burkinis, ugly to look at as they are, I could care less about; and I personally feel sorry for young women who adopt the hijab.

Bearded unpleasantness aside, not far from the Institute is a wonderful Beiruti restaurant where I would love to have dinner again one day.

At the risk of sounding like Captain Obvious, there’s no resemblance to a life lived in Paris, compared to say, Florida:  it is as if they inhabit different worlds.  Perhaps some of the 9.9 per cent “aristocracy” who dominate the Treasure Coast, where I live, are vaguely aware of the Paris I know.  Perhaps they, too, recognize that the world would be a far better place free of religious superstitions.

But most of the gap-toothed locals who live here in trailer parks and attend Sunday services, well, all they truly  care about — other than being assured that God and country are on their side — is finding another way to believe in the latest mensonges spewed by their venomous savior, the toxic Abydocomist-in-Chief.

I hope Macron (who is now rightfully paying a heavy political price for his right-wing policies as well as humiliating France on his recent White House visit) is eventually replaced by a full-throated Gauchiste. Why not? After all, this year in Cannes, it’s almost 1968 again.

I hope, too, Western Europe (absent the deeply misguided English, who may still wake up before it is too late — though I doubt it:  the Brexit die is cast, and the Brits are lurching on a path that reminds me of a blind drunk person trying to stagger home) succeeds in realigning itself globally post-America, which it can longer rely upon nor agree with on most things that matter.

Should that happen, Western Europe would be a far better place to live in, for sure, compared to being subjected to Americana Collapsa.

I published a post yesterday about a novel called The Book of Khalid.

As usual, there was no commentary, and barely any views.  I do not know why I continue to write posts in this blog, if the subjects I am interested in writing about are of little consequence to the average WP surfer. Maybe, and I say this unsneeringly, that their interest, or lack thereof, is hardly the point why I continue to add entries to this blog.

Now wading through The Book of Khalid is a hard slog.  If you don’t believe me, here are my random notes that are just from the Preface (titled Al-Fatihah, which is modeled after sura Al Fatha, of course, or the opening verses of the Koran):





el shami – is that the band was called sam the sham?







AL FATHAH (intro)


the structure forming the entrance to a temple.


A scarf, usually of thin muslin, wound round the crown of a sun helmet or hat and originally fastened so that the ends hung down at the back to shade the neck.


Late 19th century; earliest use found in Rosa Caroline Praed (1851–1935), novelist.


dona dulcinea

Dulcinea del Toboso



Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin was a Russian revolutionary anarchist and founder of collectivist anarchism. He is considered among the most influential figures of anarchism and one of the principal founders of the social anarchist tradition.Wikipedia


scrip (or chit in India) is any substitute for legal tender. It is often a form of credit. Scrips have been created for payment of employees under truck systems, and for use in local commerce at times when regular currency was unavailable, for example in remote coal townsmilitary bases, ships on long voyages, or occupied countries in wartime. Besides company scrip, other forms of scrip include land scrip, voucherstoken coins such as subway tokens, IOUs, arcade tokens and tickets, and points on some credit cards.

Scrips have gained historical importance and become a subject of study in numismatics and exonumia due to their wide variety and recurring use. Scrip behaves similarly to a currency, and as such can be used to study monetary economics.


Ernst Heinrich Philipp August Haeckel (German: [ˈhɛkəl]; 16 February 1834 – 9 August 1919) was a German biologist, naturalist, philosopher, physician, professor, marine biologist, and artist who discovered, described and named thousands of new species, mapped a genealogical tree relating all life forms, and coined many …


a mixture of oil and balsam, consecrated and used for anointing at baptism and in other rites of Catholic, Orthodox, and Anglican Churches


a form of Jannah


pale-faced intellectualities of Cairo flock”

diachronic shift

sartor resartus



universal vagrant




So as you can see, he goes all over the place, as I am doing, in this post  I must admit, the book’s not only heavy going, but tedious.  I was bored stiff in fact, but kept going, because I am interested in understanding the structure of the novel, taking in the observations Rihani makes of life in lower Manhattan in the early part of the 20th Century, and reading about the tense developments that apparently take place later on the book — where I see parallels to what I am contemplating with the “Gouna novel.”

In other news, not much going on here:  I look forward to the arrival of a Lavender plant that I intend to place in a large argile pot that I brought down with me from my former house in Greenwich.

But mostly what I am about these days is reading — a lot — widely and deep.  I won’t bore you with the details, but I find this is what keeps me going, other than SUP paddling, losing weight, and exercising.  All that physical stuff is only to allow the brain to survive ad long as possible in its encasement, such as it is nowadays.  All I need is for that last to, er, last long enough to support my current ambitions.

So in that regard, it matters not if few of even no American readers of this blog are interested (or not) in novels such as The Book of Khalid, or who Al Shanfara was (and why exactly he’s a fascinating poet), or whether American War by Omar el Akkad is now part of my summer Reading List.

I mean no disrespect by that, truly, but instead of being glued to the telly every night watching Chris Hayes and Rachel and Lawrence, you — especially if you are an Arab-American, and are remotely interested in your cultural origins — might (or might not!) want try wading into Al Shanfara some, and you might get what I mean quicker than a takeout stop at Jimmy Mac:  after all the L poem is less than 100 verses long.

Or, you can fester about Muller this and Trump that and Jerusalem the other thing and continue to have affrangis dictate the conversation inside your head.

Not that that’s any of me nittin’.

leaving america

The SUP Warrior

Car in Lot.JPG

Today was grey and cloudy but I was like totally ready to embrace my new life as a righteous Stand Up Paddle (SUP) board warrior.

Unfortunately I started out waxing the underside of the board by mistake, so I reckon I’m not quite there yet.

Burt Reynolds Park was empty — except for a few boats being let into the water — when I got there around 7:30am. I had a nice paddle along the Loxahatchee River where I ended near the 400 foot wide inlet by the famous Jupiter lighthouse.

It was quite easy getting there at high tide, but coming back, I had to fight the current and boat swells all the way.  I always thought the Intercoastal Waterway current flowed down from the north, but I swear I was fighting a strong current on the way back to the Park, which is due south.

Floating dock

For instance, it took me less than half an hour to get to the Jupiter Lighthouse museum, where a friend took pictures of me in the water (I will post these as soon as he emails them to me).

But I needed an hour to get back to the primitive SUP “ramp” (just a clearing in the mangrove stand is all that was) where I had started out admiring the pelicans who stood aloof on the pier posts and paid little attention to me.

SUP primitive ramp

When you are paddling alone, you do tend to look around quite a bit, for alligators in particular, and moccasin snakes and of course the bull shark that swim around here.

You can get the jitters after a while.

This is where The Warrior Mindset thing began to set in.

Lox canal.JPG

SUP boarding can be seem relaxing, but if you’re paddling around a place like the Jupiter Inlet, you’re in a large and often dangerous body of water that has plenty of  marine life.

Anything can happen.

At some point — if you are paddling alone — you do have to decide if you are going to suck it in, or just paddle back swiftly to safety, throw in the towel, and call it a day.

By the way, I’m not sure if the board I have is ideal for standing up.  A SUP guy who was at the slip called it a little “thin,” and wished me luck getting the hang of it.

I’ll be needing it, SUP Warrior or not.


leaving america


The Conquering Hero

Finally, I got to take my Hawaiian Pro Designs Alii II 11.6 ft. SUP crossover board out to the Intercoastal Waterway. Longboards present a rare opportunity for geezers like myself to have a second bite at feeling young. Alii means “warrior”in Hawaiian.

Weather was gorgeous. Car rack held the board down solid all the way there through heavy traffic and a moderate wind.  The veneer of this longboard (designed by the late Donald Takayama) drew raves at the strip of beach where I launched; the board itself was made using Surftech tuflite technology.  You cannot get this board anymore, particularly one in this good a shape: it’s therefore now  a collectible that may be worth thousands of dollars.

I saw osprey nesting nearby on a densely-vegetated spoil island, and dolphins put on a display as they were feeding in a shallow lagoon by the wooden  pier that leads to the northern strip of Jupiter Island.  About halfway across, I sensed shark, so I turned back. There are bulls that come here to give birth to their babies who hide in the mangroves.  A guy on the beach told me that last week they fished out a 4-foot hammerhead right along the shoreline.

The water is brackish, which I am never comfortable with.  Attacks by shark on the Intercoastal are extremely rare:  you’re more likely to get tipped over by a manatee, who do it for fun, apparently.

One day I might gather the courage to go all the way across, but I am not big on paddling in shark-infested waters.  Too bad, as the north side of this long, barrier island  is empty and almost completely wild.

SUP paddling done correctly — not just using your arms, but bending your knees and putting your core torso muscles into it also — is one of the most complete exercises you can engage in, and is almost guaranteed to get rid of the belly fat and moob situation over time.

alii II

Think I will go to Jupiter Inlet this weekend, weather permitting.  Though it is known for bull shark, the water there is far clearer, and there are more people around. There is something to be said for safety in numbers.  Burt Reynolds Parks has convenient ramps onto a canal that is protected for the current, so that’s as good a place as any.

I plan to go around there early in the morning, before the parking lot gets crowded.  There’s going to be a spell of crappy weather starting Saturday night, so I may as well take advantage of the last nice day for a while.

leaving america