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image Just before sunset yesterday, I heard a spurt of gunfire. I said to my wife, “Someone must have seen the moon.” This did not make sense to her at first, but indeed it was true. A shoo window in Hamra.

image Stenciled graffiti in Hamra. I might not have noticed it had I not recited the phrase to Japanese lunch companions upon the serving of pepperocinis not two days ago. Odd how one chance encounter brings forth many manifestations. The cosmic subconciousness calls.

image Making one’s own rules. Where some might be so taken by the illusions of Western concepts of conduct as to see guidance as to local customs regarding parking of cars,  recommendations as to the direction of vehicular traffic, or even prohibitions communicated by local authorities, the Lebanese are clear-sighted and free to not notice the sign, and if noticed, to recognize it as blur of color made meaningful only by personal interpretation. Making one’s own rules is, of course, not limited to traffic: the approach applies to any situation in which rules are conceivable.

image image image image image image image image Eye-level, but one might not notice it: a mere hole-in-the-wall. It looks to drain a trench, and in heavy rains it probably gushes. Meanwhile, it serves the local cat community as a passage between International College and American University of Beirut. Paw prints indicate increasing usage since the university opened a nearby door between campus and the secret stairs.

image imageFinally, the Isstar Wares Sandcrawler of Jawa Policy and Interstellar Affairs is fully operational. That means that the doors open and close and that the lights come on and off. No one has seen anyone working inside, but what do we know of Jawas, policy studies, or intersteelar affairs? I hardly ever get off-planet, and when I do, I stay in our solar system.

image A potter at Jisr Al-Qadi, taken on print film by my wife in 1992 with a Nikon F3 and. 50 mm F1.4. We were touring through the Chouf just after New Year’s. I saw a similar photo in an old National Geographic article, I think it was “Lebanon, Little Bible Land in the Crossfire of History,” 01 February 1970, but I cannot find my copy. He was noticeably younger.

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image image image image Some shadows are thick; some are thin. Some are heavy; some are light. Some are dark; some are bright. Some flow fast; some flow slowly. Some are even nocturnal.

image image A cultivar of Allium ampeloprasum. Important and valued in many dishes, yet seldom appreciated as the primary ingredient. Try them braised: Place lengths in a lidded pan with a knob of butter, some lemon juice, and a splash of water, white wine, or stock. Simmer over a very low flame covered until tender, between 20 to 40 minutes. Check with a toothpick or bite. Uncover, remove the leeks to a serving platter, reduce the juices over moderate flame, and pour over the leeks. serve hot, cold, or ambient.

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