Tuesday 26 March 2013


If, on the other hand, you prefer your tourism more traditional (see last post), then I shall, on this occasion, humor you:

Beirut - you can fry on the beach with snowy mountains behind you.

On the Green Line

This tower block recently won the Pritzker award, the Nobel prize of architecture

Social tourism + teaching

Wow, they do love a doctoral 'degree' here. I have found myself swamped with offers of teaching jobs. I have been busier than I can remember, which is why I have neglected this blog. And I was out of action for a week following a miserable hernia operation.

As a result of teaching, I’ve actually been earning money, which goes against the grain a bit. But I went on a bender this weekend, so at least it’s all been well spent.
At the age of sixty, I have finally realised what I am. I am a tourist. But not a tourist of tedious landscapes and pompous buildings. No, I am a social tourist. A tourist of people. Like an anthropologist, I guess, but without the academic restraints (or qualifications).
But isn’t that what’s really fun about banging a broad, abroad? You get to smell different smells (rose water, seriously), see whether Arab chicks shave their cunts (yes), and hear whether they invoke the name of Allah in ecstasy (no, but then she was a hooker). The moment of issue is enjoyable too, of course, but you don’t in fact need anyone else for that. It’s the social tourism that does it for me.
From the social tourist’s perspective, teaching is great too. You get to see different parts of society from up close.
I’ve been substitute teaching at an expensive American private school here. And my God the kids are spoilt. I’ve been teaching 17 year olds in grade 11. Some of the boys are already going to seed; a few are getting on for my size – I’m almost proud of them. The girls, on the other hand, smooch around in sweat pants and fur lined boots (in balmy Beirut, why?) and do their best to drive the boys to distraction.
Now, I like teen porn as much as the next man, and I thought that might be a problem. But I have learnt something: the truth is that you only have to spend 10 seconds in the company of a teenage girl for all those fantasies to be instantly deflated. Teenage girls are children, really, just children, even if an oversight of evolution has erroneously granted them fertile loins and tits.
Anyone who knows me will readily attest to the fact that I am not a tolerant man. But I must say that I have come to pity paedophiles. I am proud of my libido, more so than ever these days, and I applaud myself for every slow tumescence; after all, it is life. As a great man once told me, ‘Wood is King’. But what about the poor fucker for whom that energy is directed, through no choice of his own, towards children, or animals? What can he do? Spend his life resisting it? Repressing it? Or give in to it? He’s fucked on every level. It’s a true Gordian knot, and the only effective blade will be the one that castrates him.
But back to the rich kids. I’ve been teaching ‘Theory of Knowledge’. I was looking forward to it because, basically, I don’t think anyone really knows anything. I mean, most people don’t even know the content of their own minds, let alone anything outside of them. This is a convenient belief for me to hold, since it means that the only consistent way for me to teach is to show that I don’t know anything.
Since the hernia op, I’ve also been on a very pleasant prescription painkiller called Tramadol. An hour or two after topping up, I find myself in a lucid, free-flowing state of articulate  loquacity. I was looking forward to riding that wave in class, and to firing a broadside or two at a number of shibboleths, such as the belief that the Newtonian-Cartesian paradigm can provide an accurate description of the fundamental nature of reality.
I went into the classroom ready to blow a few young minds, so it was a bit of a shock when I found myself confronted with nothing but the raised lids of Mac laptops, with the students – even the porkers – practically invisible behind them. 
I asked them to close their laptops, but they said they had to take notes. That might have been true, though I’m pretty sure most of them were sending round photos of their privates – ‘sexting’, I think it’s called. In their position, I certainly would have been.
If you have never lectured to a roomful of computers, you can have no idea how depressing it is. It’s not so much the suspicion that no one is listening, but rather the fact that it’s impossible to make eye contact. I might as well have been a robot, or a voice recording.
Even with the tramadol kicking in, I pretty soon started to bore myself. So I insisted that everyone close their laptops. There was a lot of grumbling, but after repeated entreaties, they eventually humored me. At another time, in another place, I would certainly have bashed a few thick heads together.
I finally resumed, but after just a few minutes I noticed that most of the class were staring at each other’s groins. Was this real live sexting, in the material world (in so far as it exists at all)? For a moment I felt like congratulating them, until I noticed that they now all had their Apple iphones on their laps. But I didn’t have the energy to go another round.
At the end of the class, they all thanked me politely as they filed out.
I saw them cross the yard to the road outside the school. A long line of gleaming black Range Rovers awaited them. Drivers got out to open doors. I spotted a Filipino maid in the back of one Range Rover, balancing an oversize Domino’s pizza box. Observing all this from my classroom window, I was actually quite impressed by how well they had behaved in class.
I’ve also been teaching Syrian refugees and Palestinians from the camps, but that’ll have to wait until next time.

Sunday 24 February 2013

Two things

I should not go online. I should not read the news. It always puts me in a bad mood.

Today I encounter this, on the respectable BBC website: 'Author Tom Wolfe asks whether Miami is all about sex'?

What kind of a bullshit question is that? What a vapid generalisation. Go to a nightclub, go to a stripclub, and yes, people will be into sex. Go to an old people's home or a hospital and, guess what, people have other stuff to worry about.

But Tom Wolfe, he's a real author. He does the legwork. As the article states, 'So as part of his research for the book Tom Wolfe decided to visit a strip club to see for himself what went on.'

Wow. How amazing. What commitment to the cause. I wonder what he saw? Maybe a few naked chicks? Some latina pussy? Good on you Tom, thanks for enlightening us.

The guy's a fraud anyway. Bonfire of the Vanities was a page-turner, at least, but I am Charlotte Simmons? Has anyone managed to finish it? It's an unreadable string of facile cliches. It's embarrassing. Authors should not be allowed to write when they get senile, far less get published. Let him wear his pretentious white suit. Let him visit a strip club in Miami and try to animate his cobweb-covered cock if he has to. But don't let him dribble his impotent observations over the reading public.

Tom Wolfe: pretentious senile cock

His interviewer is utterly sycophantic. In case you have food poisoning and you really have to purge, here's the link - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-radio-and-tv-21521744

Secondly, the Oscars are coming up. I love the Oscars. I love the fact that all the biggest assholes are gathered in the same place at the same time. You know they must be assholes, otherwise they would have declined the invitation. There's a pleasing neatness to it.

The thing is, I don't actually hate films. Occasionally, rarely, a good one comes along. What I hate are famous people, and all the bullshit they bring with them. Imagine if actors were debarred from acting once the public started to recognise them. Films would have to star practically unknown actors, or non-actors. There would be no 'star-studded' Oscars, no mutually-masturbatory awards ceremonies, no bullshit. Films would be successful based on the quality of the acting and the writing. Beautiful actors and actresses would cease to provide the images upon which ordinary unhappy people project their miserable fantasies.

 Oscars: famous cocksuckers

There'd be a lot less money in filmmaking too. Budgets would be much smaller, and people would be drawn to the industry in order to make good films, rather than get rich.

It would be fucking awesome.

Thursday 21 February 2013

Piss torius

Oscar Pistorius. Did he mean to kill his girlfriend? Did he not? I don't know, and I don't much care.

The man is a double amputee. Fate has dealt him a harsh hand, but he has a will of iron. Good for him. But still, he should only have been allowed to compete in the paralympics. Why? Because he is disabled. And who knows, maybe his 'blades' confer advantages over able-bodied athletes. If not now, then surely soon.


Sunday 10 February 2013


I’ve been sucking up to rich Lebanese so they invite me out for drinks. They’re big on hospitality, so it’s an easy ruse. They like to show off the smartest places – the hotels and a few chichi bars. That’s fine by me – booze is booze – but what I hate in these places are the huge flatscreen TVs endlessly showing fashion tv.
Fashion is utter bullshit. Why can’t people see that? The catwalk models are only hot if you like the idea of fucking a stony-faced giraffe. And those ridiculous men with their stupid cheekbones and constant pouting – a little bit of me dies every time I see them. Because I am human, and so are they, and a little of their ignominy is also mine. The absurd clothes they wear! Do they feel as ridiculous as they look? Probably not, but they should.
So what are models actually good at? Well, their features are pleasingly arranged, for which they can claim no responsibility. And they are good at... wait for it... walking! Yes, the way they walk. Now I'm not belittling walking, if you have had a leg amputated, or you're fighting your way back from a stroke or a spinal injury. But an ostentatious strut, for a normal healthy human, wow, what an achievement.

Fashion. Just the word makes me sick. Why does anyone give a shit? It’s too depressing.
Thank god for Thoreau and the lucidity he cultivated beside Walden pond:
‘On the whole, I think it cannot be maintained that dressing has in this or any country risen to the dignity of an art.’
‘We worship not the Graces, nor the Parcae, but Fashion. She spins and weaves and cuts with full authority. The head monkey at Paris puts on a traveller’s cap, and all the monkeys in America do the same.’
Thank you Henry David, you were a man (even sans sauce).
Oh, I hear some mealy-mouthed whining: But fashion is self-expression, you say?
It is expression of the very poorest sort, in the most limited of media. And most people, most of the time, wear stuff made by other people. By the head monkey at Paris, in fact. A fine form of self-expression that is. 
No, fashion is vanity. Nothing but vanity. And that’s ok too (when I've had a few drinks), but let's not pretend otherwise.

Thursday 7 February 2013

Land of the Free

America is the land of the free. The Middle East is repressive, restrictive, fundamentalist and fun free. Right? Right.
I know that Lebanon is not representative of the rest of the Middle East, but still, that’s bullshit.
In America, you are not allowed on a public beach after dark. Try it, the cops will arrest you. It’s a fucking joke. Surely that’s a basic human right? To occupy a few feet of public land – well, more than a few in my case - irrespective of the position of the sun relative to earth. I think you can even do that in North Korea.
Nor are you allowed to drink in public places, which is extremely inconvenient and just means that everyone has to use paper bags. And risk getting arrested.
Also, in America, you are not allowed to cross the road when you want, because that’s jaywalking. You can be arrested for a repeat offence, even when there are no cars coming.
You can’t be arrested for not constantly wanting more stuff, but people look at you like you’re a freak - which is fine by me - if you tell them you don’t give a shit. Or if you are NOT constantly worried about your neighbour being richer and more successful than you are.
Also, you can’t make the empirically valid point that Chinese-Americans are better at math, without someone turning round and telling you you’re a racist. 

In fact, something similar happened to me today. I was with the school counselor at the American school here, where I do some substitute teaching. He’s called Dave, from California, and he's a smug bastard because he has a hot Lebanese wife. We were outside, walking along a busy road. I watched two cars narrowly avoid a collision.  I said: ‘Jeez, Arab drivers!’
It's really great to watch - Arabs go nuts as soon as they’re behind the wheel.
Dave looked at me with disdain and said, ‘You can’t say things like that. That’s a microaggression.’
‘A what?’
‘A microaggression. An subtle insult, although you may not have intended it.’
‘But just look,’ I said, indicating the mayhem on the road with a generous sweep of my arm.
Dave ignored me. He said, ‘Have you not read Dr. Wing Sue’s paper? Racial microaggressions are the everyday insults sent to people of color by well-intentioned white people who are unaware of the hidden messages they’re sending out.’
At that moment, we were walking past one of the derelict buildings whose front had a gaping hole in it where it had been hit by an Israeli shell in 2006.
‘Maybe microaggressions have microimportance,’ I said. ‘What about macroaggressions?’
Dave ignored me. ‘I’ll email you Dr. Sue’s paper. You should really read it,’ he said.
Sometimes my memory serves me well. This was one of those occasions. ‘Yeah,’ I said, ‘Have you read Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations? No? Oh, you really should. He says:
Take away thy opinion, and then is taken away the complaint ‘I have been harmed’. Take away the complaint ‘I have been harmed’, and the harm is taken away.'
Dave wasn't so smug after that, but I was. Ha!
I digress.
Freedom. It’s not to be found in America, that’s for sure. But it is here, at least in the little things.
You can light up in any taxi. In fact, you will often be offered a cigarette by the driver as soon as you get in.
There are no rules on the road. Not always a good thing, but it is a form of freedom. People nonchalantly drive the wrong way up a one way street. Traffic lights are suggestions, not commands.
If you want to go out to get smashed on a Sunday or a Monday night, you can. There'll be plenty of others doing the same.
Marcus Aurelius would have been happier here. So long as people see that you do not intend to cause offence, you can say pretty much what you want, and they will not get offended.
Well, that’s been my experience so far. I feel more freedom here. But Aurelius, that wise old dog, also said: 'The universe is transformation: life is opinion.’ And I may well change my opinion, if I get banged up for exposing myself in public, or for some other peccadillo.

Monday 4 February 2013


During my six month bender in Dubai, I was so completely off the grid that a journalist friend from my time in Kathmandu thought I had died. He wrote the following piece about me:


I feel I have led a life of drunkenness and self-indulgence, but that article makes me feel quite proud.

There can't be many people who have had the pleasure of reading their own obituaries. If I had any personal wealth, this could have been a handy tax dodge. But as a young man I vowed never to make any serious contribution to society, and far less to the economy. As a result, my own death is of no earthly use to me.

Sunday 3 February 2013


I'm an alcoholic. A couple of years ago I went to rehab. It was more expensive than boozing and I was soon broke.

So I went to Gaza, where I knew wouldn't be able to get a drink. But I needed a job. No one in their right mind would want to employ me, so before I left the US I changed my first name to 'Doctor'. Yes, it was that easy. Then I breezed into a job for a mental health agency in Gaza City. Talk about the blind leading the blind.

I wrote about it in my previous blog -


But life without booze was too miserable. I fell off the wagon, landing hard. First I went to Dubai, where I sponged off some rich friends and spent my time propping up the hotel bars.

I couldn't stay in Dubai. The cost of living there is prohibitive. A hooker won't look at you for less than $200 ($100 if you buy a bottle). It's a joke.

So now I am in Beirut. Chicks are hot and booze is plentiful, and I intend to make the most of both. 'Doctor' Shusinski has even got himself a job teaching English. There will be some jaded young Lebanese kids in this city by the time I'm done, I promise you.

If you want to read about it but are too lazy to check this blog, go to the bottom of the page and click on 'Posts (Atom)' - then you can get my posts delivered as emails directly into your inbox. Or just enter your email address in the box and click 'submit'.

Why I moved to Beirut.

This is the reason why.