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Archive for May, 2009

C.S Sagesse (Hekmeh): A childhood memory of Lebanon

C.S. Sagesse Lebanon LogoWe all pass by phases or experiences in our life that get carved into our memory, and tend to stay with us most of our lives. One of such experiences for me is the Lebanese C.S. Sagesse (Club Sportif La Sagesse) club, also known as Hekmeh, which I played football (soccer) with during my adolescent years. I have played with them for almost two years when I was around 15 years old, but the sweet memories of this short period of time still linger in my head.

For a Lebanese, I don’t think Sagesse needs an introduction. For an outsider, it is a Lebanese sporting club based in Beirut which takes part in football and basketball. Hekmeh is arabic for “Wisdom”. C.S. Sagesse was founded in 1943, under the patronage of the late father Boulos Kik, supported by his excellency late Mgr. Jean Maroun. The club started as a football team, then in 1992 basketball became part of it. The basketball team is more popular than the football team. In football, the team competes in the Lebanese Premier League. The team usually plays their home matches in Fouad Shehab Stadium which can hold up to 5,000 supporters. In basketball, it is known to be the Lebanese Club that had won the most in championships such as 8 Lebanese Leagues, 3 Lebanese Cups, 2 Arab Clubs, and 3 Asian Cups.

The picture below was shot in Ain Saadeh at the time I used to play with them. There used to be our training field, and it was actually one of the best football fields in the country, and only 5 min away from where I lived. I still wonder why they didn’t make it an official football stadium. In the middle of the picture (in dark green) you can see the legendary Emile Rustom. For those of you who do not know him, he is a prominent Lebanese football coach and manager. He was the head coach of Sagesse until 2005, when he joined Lebanon’s national team. He is currently the coach of the Lebanese National Football Team. Emile Rustom is the father of Paul Rustom, a rising star and current football player of the team Nijmeh. Paul used to train and play with us, but he does not appear in the picture.

Can you spot me in the picture? (Click on it to enlarge)

C.S. Sagesse Lebanon football (soccer) team picture

C.S. Sagesse Lebanon football (soccer) team picture

Charlie Adams: the autism cause behind Yanni’s drummer

Earlier this month I attended Yanni’s concert here in Montreal, and got the opportunity to meet Yanni’s drummer Charlie Adams after the concert. As a drummer, I have always admired Adams since the days of ‘Yanni At The Acropolis’ when he used to - and still do - fascinate me with his drum solos. I had the honour to get his autograph (shown below), so I thought of introducing him here since apart of being an amazing drummer, he has a wonderful personality, and is an avid activist on the autism cause due to the sickness of his two sons.

Charlie Adams is an American drummer, percussionist, drum engineer, composer, music producer, and film producer. He has been Yanni’s drum lead for over 20 years and their CDs have gone platinum and double platinum. In Minnesota, Adams formed the rock band Chameleon and developed his own record label, Platinum Records. He met Yanni when the latter was hired on as Chameleon’s keyboardist. After some time Yanni headed to Los Angeles to pursue movie soundtrack work. Adams soon followed and collaborated with Yanni as movie consultant, writing the drum and percussion parts and doing all the research with his movie library, which consists of over 4,000 titles.

When not on tour with Yanni, Charlie lives in Nashville with his wife, Andrea and their four children. He owns a 24-track digital recording studio, Adams Apple Studio, where he records and teaches drum lessons. In 2004 he partnered with the Autism Society of America (ASA) to increase autism awareness, and produced an autobiographical video about his career and family, focusing on his two sons with autism. Autism is a brain development disorder characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior.

For more information on Charlie Adams, visit www.CharlieAdams.org .
For more information on the Autism Society of America (ASA), Click Here.

Charlie Adams (Yanni's Drummer) autograph

Charlie Adams (Yanni's Drummer) autograph

How does male contraceptive injection work?

Birth control has long been for women only, but soon there will be a new form of birth control for men other than condoms and vasectomy. A new research, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, could revolutionize contraception. It found that an injection for men appears to be just as effective at preventing pregnancy as the birth control pill.

The contraceptive is a form of testosterone that is injected into the buttocks once a month. It works by temporarily blocking sperm production. Chinese researchers injected 1,045 healthy Chinese men aged 20 to 45 years with a 500 mg of testosterone undecanoate in oil, once a month for 24 months. All of the study participants had had at least one child and all their female partners, aged 18 and 38 years, also had normal reproductive function. They found the contraceptive was almost 99 per cent effective, with a failure rate of only 1.1 per 100 men.

More about this in the video below with Dr. Rhonda Low from CTV:

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Resumes with English names more likely to get interviews in Canada

A new study published on May 20th by Metropolis B.C. has found that Canadians with English names have a greater chance of landing a job than those with Chinese, Indian or Pakistani names. In fact, after sending out thousands of resumés, the study found those with an English name like Jill Wilson and John Martin received 40 per cent more interview callbacks than the identical resumés with names like Sana Khan or Lei Li.

Philip Oreopoulos, an economics professor at the University of B.C, and his team of five research assistants composed 6,000 resumés to represent applicants with English or non-English names and sent them to 2,000 different job postings offered by Canadian employers in the Greater Toronto Area, between May and October last year. He found that resumés with foreign names could only improve their chances of getting a job if they had Canadian or British work experience. In fact, callbacks nearly doubled with the addition of just one previous job in Canada. Another interesting finding was that, Chinese resumes that had English first names increased the chances of getting a callback.

More about this in the video below by CTV:

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Acupuncture helps relieve back pain

A new and large study has found that acupuncture, and even simulated acupuncture using toothpicks, appears to relieve symptoms of chronic low back pain better than the standard treatment. The study was funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) and was published in last week’s issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

The study which was done on 683 adults aged 18 to 70 with chronic lower back pain, found that 60 per cent of participants who received any one of three types of acupuncture - customized, standard and simulated acupuncture - reported they had improved function after eight weeks of treatment. That compares to just 39 per cent of those who received standard care of their choice, which could include a doctor’s visit, chiropractic treatment or massage. A follow-up one year later showed 59 per cent to 65 per cent of those in the acupuncture groups were still experiencing improvement, compared with 50 per cent of those in the usual-care group.

The fact that the simulated acupuncture had the same effect as the real acupuncture raises questions about how acupuncture works to relieve pain, the authors note.

More about this in the video below with Dr. Rhonda Low from CTV:

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Canada’s first same-day breast cancer diagnosis

Canada’s biggest cancer hospital announced that it expanded a clinic that can offer what no other hospital in this country can: same-day breast cancer diagnosis. The rapid diagnostic breast clinic at Toronto’s Princess Margaret Hospital will be able to provide a patient a diagnosis in a matter of hours instead of the more typical five-week wait.

Patients also receive an immediate treatment plan based on their diagnosis, which explains their treatment options: surgery, radiation and/or chemotherapy. Women in Canada typically wait weeks for a diagnosis after finding a suspicious lump in their breast. But at Princess Margaret, almost 500 patients have quietly been undergoing rapid testing at the clinic as part of a pilot project that began in the fall of 2006.

More about this in the video below by CTV:

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Ribavirin: the antiviral drug becomes promising cancer-fighter

A commonly used antiviral drug that’s already used to fight hepatitis C and HIV could also be used to treat 30% of cancer types, according to a new study conducted on patients in Canada.

Doctors in Montreal tested the antiviral drug Ribavirin on 11 patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), who had undergone several other treatments that had previously failed. Nine of the patients saw their conditions improve within a matter of months, with one achieving complete remission and two achieving partial remission, all with few side effects. The results are published online in the journal, Blood.

The researchers, led by Dr. Katherine Borden, at the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC) of the Université de Montréal, say that ribavirin works by suppressing activity of the eIF4E gene, which becomes overactive in 30 per cent of cancer types and overproduces a protein that helps turn cells cancerous.

More about this in the video below by CTV:

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Breakthrough in how to treat insomnia

Persistent insomnia affects about 10% of adults, and the resulting fatigue can significantly impair how someone functions during the day. If left untreated, chronic insomnia may also increase the risk for major depression and hypertension. But now Quebec researchers have found that combining therapy and medication may help people with insomnia to sleep more soundly.

Charles Morin - a clinical psychologist at Laval University in Quebec City - and his colleagues reported that a psychological treatment called cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) helped people with insomnia in the long term. They published their study in Wednesday’s issue of JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study included 160 adults who were randomly assigned to receive CBT alone or CBT plus the drug zolpidem for six weeks, followed by six months of therapy. After six weeks, Morin said that what the results showed is that it’s best to discontinue the medication and keep people in therapy with CBT. The therapy teaches people not to worry obsessively about their insomnia, since going to bed worried tends to perpetuate sleeplessness. According to Dr. Rhonda Low, stress is the most common problem that is stopping Canadians from sleeping well so relaxation therapy and meditation are other types of CBT.

More about this in the video below by Dr. Rhonda Low from CTV:

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Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes): an alternative for smokers ?

My first and only experience with e-cigarettes was last year because I was very curious in this small device when I first saw it with my friend Joumana. For those of you who do not know, an electronic cigarette (or “e-cigarette”) is an alternative to smoked tobacco products, such as cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. It is a battery-powered device that provides inhaled doses of nicotine by delivering a vaporized propylene glycol/nicotine solution. In addition to nicotine delivery, this vapor also provides a flavor and physical sensation similar to that of inhaled tobacco smoke, while no tobacco, smoke, or combustion is actually involved in its operation.

When I tried the e-cigarette last year, I thought it was cool in the beginning, but turned out to be a hassle in the end. It didn’t give quite the feeling of smoking, and it wasn’t practical at all since I needed a couple of spare batteries for my night out. I am not sure how well they improved these devices, but I recently heard they are becoming more and more popular, and a wide variety of them exists now in the market.

The video below by the Daily Planet talks more on e-cigarettes and their risks:

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Bixi Montreal: Canada’s first public bike system

I’ve been seeing this everywhere in downtown Montreal, so I thought of posting something about it. Bixi is Montreal’s public bicycle sharing system. The $15-million Bixi program was officially launched last Tuesday at city hall, where Mayor Gérald Tremblay took the first ride. It’s the first of its kind to be launched in Canada.

Bixi is a portmanteau word of bicycle and taxi created by Michel Gourdeau. It was conceived and fabricated in Montreal. 3,000 bikes are available for short-term rental from the 300 stations located in Montreal’s downtown core. The bikes, which cost $2,000 apiece, are made of aluminum and are theft-proof, according to their designers. The bikes are very innovative. They contain a GPS chip, and if rented and not returned, they will slow down, and the brakes will lock automatically.

The stations are installed progressively in the spring, starting at the beginning of May, depending on weather conditions. Stations are kept in service until the end of November before being removed from the streets during harsh winter months. Cyclists can subscribe to the service at a cost of $78 for a year, $28 for a month or $5 for a day. The first 30 minutes of each rental are free.

More on the Bixi program in the video below by CTV:

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The nostalgic Bonjus bag by Lebanon’s Sarah’s Bag

Not a single Lebanese have not seen, heard of, or tasted the three-sided pyramid juice Bonjus. This exquisite beverage has become part of the Lebanese culture, and will likely to stay for the many generations to come. But guess what, now not only you can drink it, but also you can wear it! Sarah’s Bag has added a new nostalgic item to its astonishing and fabulous collection of bags: the Bonjus bag.

I have previously introduced Sarah’s Bag in my other post (Sarah’s Bag: Lebanon’s fashionable bags and accessories), but this post is dedicated specifically to this bag since I believe it is an impressive piece of work. Who could have imagined that one day girls would be wearing a Bonjus bag?! In an article published by the daily L’Orient-Le Jour, Sarah’s Bag affirmed that its bag does not contain any liquid, is not explosible, does not come with a straw, but on the other side, it can last for a period more than just a childhood.

If I were a girl, I would have definitely bought this bag.

Bonjus Bag by Sarah's Bag

Bonjus Bag by Sarah's Bag

Lebanese DJs Gunther & Stamina to play in Montreal club Karma on May 29th 2009

This post is an exclusive scoop.

If you’re Lebanese and a raver, then you have definitely heard of Gunther & Stamina. They are two brilliant Lebanese DJs who are famous for their long sets (sometimes up to eight hours) every Saturday at b018, Beirut, Lebanon where they hold a residency every week Thursday, Friday & Saturday as main act. And guess what? They are coming to Montreal on May 29th 2009 to play in club Karma!

Gunther teamed up with Stamina (Elias Merheb) in 2005, and since then they became well known in the Lebanese rave scene. Their long sets are blended with the latest underground music from ambient minimal to deep House, progressive, tribal, tech-house and techno. They hold as well a week-end star residency on MixFM, the official number one station in the middle-east, every Friday from 20:00 till 21:00 (Underground sessions is the name of the show).

Update (May 29th 2009): Quoting unconfirmed sources, the Canadian visa was given late to Gunther & Stamina and the show has been postponed to a later notice.

Contact Address of Karma Club:
4467 boulevard Saint-Laurent
Montréal, QC H2W 1Z8, Canada
(514) 658-5761

Gunther & Stamina - taken from their facebook page

Gunther & Stamina - taken from their facebook page