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Archive for January, 2009|Monthly archive page

Fun Facts for Fun.

In Uncategorized on January 30, 2009 at 4:36 am

My sister-in-law always sends me some cool stuff like this YouTube video loaded with fun facts that are simultaneously quite disturbing. I learned one in eight couples married last year met online and that the radio took 38 years to reach a market of 50 million versus the Internet, which took 4 years. Wowser! I always find such trivia pretty useful for cocktail party prattles and the likes. Any who, take a gander. Pretty cool stuff but also a tad scary cuz it means many of us will fall by the wayside if we’re computer illiterate, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Hey, it’s the way of the world. – MJ

Diaries of love won, lost & won again: A countdown to Valentine’s Day. No. 1

In Haiti, Personal, Relationships on January 21, 2009 at 5:27 pm

 

Gregory, my first boyfriend

I never talk about Gregory.  Until now, he’s been a part of my private self. I have a lot of things tucked away in that innermost part of me. I imagine the good and bad memories kept to myself are disorderly stacked on one another – a heap of confusion buried deep inside that only I can decipher. But memories of Gregory, I’d like to think, are neatly folded in a special corner in my heart underneath a soft stream of warm sun rays. I’d have it no other way. 

I was 10 when I met Gregory. He was in my sixth-grade class at a public school in Brooklyn’s East New York neighborhood. He was Haitian American just like me. He loved to smile just like me. He had lots of jokes just like me. Gregory was zany and zealous with an infectious laugh. His dark brown eyes sparkled when he smiled and dimples simultaneously sank into his creamed-colored skin.

Made. Me. Melt.

He was cuteeeee, cool; not arrogant, and he wanted to be my boyfriend. 

At the tender age of 10, I wasn’t allowed to date or even posses innocent feelings of love. My elders would reluctantly lift that ban when I turned 18. But until then, I was to ogle only my books or face the possibility of being sent to live under the tutelage of some no-nonsense relative in Haiti.

It was the first time that I outright defied my parents thou-shall-not-look-at-boys rule. I’m glad I did. Gregory and I spent a total of one school day as a couple. That spring day, during recess, we hung out close to the school’s fenced perimeter, taking in the view of its massive concrete courtyard. We could see our classmates chasing one another, playing double-dutch, and hear faint prattles in between gurgles of laughter.

We were shy about our relationship. Gregory played with my fingertips with one hand and bounced a blue handball with the other. I just smiled at him and sometimes clumsily threw my girly come hither look in the opposite direction at no one or nothing in particular. I was a shy kid brand spanking new to the concept of having a boyfriend.

Several days later, I was to become acquainted to the reality of death. Gregory’s death.

As many deaths are, it was sudden; and as all deaths are, tragic.

That warm day before Gregory died, I distinctly recall the nervous laughs we shared in the courtyard followed by love notes exchanged during class. He kissed me on the cheek when school dismissed. His kiss was soft, gentle. He walked toward the B12 bus stop looking confident. His dirty navy blue backpack bobbing to the movement of his bouncy steps.

My heart, virtually in unison to Gregory’s fading footsteps, went pitter-patter; my stomach felt slightly queasy from the realization that we were an item.  My first boyfriend. 

I promised to call him that evening but dozed off earlier than my usual 8:30 curfew. I learned the next day that at about the time I had gone to bed, Gregory’s younger brother had set fire to the apartment where he and three brothers lived. His mother had been doing a night shift at work and the babysitter supervising in her absent was paying the next door neighbor a quick visit when the tragedy unfolded.

The apartment quickly filled with smoke, suffocating one of Gregory’s three brothers. He, my first boyfriend, my childhood sweetheart, endured third degree burns to 70 percent of his body. 

I have a scar on my right hand from a first-degree burn received when I was four. My brothers had also been playing with fire. At 10, I was able to compute that a third degree burn to 70 percent of ones body equaled a slim chance of survival. 

Gregory lived for two days after the calamitous incident. His mother loss three of her four sons. The surviving sibling would receive a series of skin grafts.

The news rocked my school where they all attended. 

I was devastated. Crushed. My 10-year-old heart forever altered, irreparable. 

The evening after the school principal broke the news to my sixth-grade class, I sobbed in my room for what felt like hours. The world felt so bleak and I thought how unfair it was that God could allow me to feel happy one day and empty the next. 

I never forgot Gregory. I learned a lot from his death, the most important being that life is short and love is sweet. It’s best to always cherish every minute spent with that special person because at any given moment, it’ll be your last moment together. Make it memorable.- MJ

Diaries of love won, lost & won again: A countdown to Valentine’s Day.

In Relationships on January 21, 2009 at 3:54 pm

 

I didn’t mean to check the calendar for what I think is the worst holiday ever but I couldn’t help myself. It was on my mind.

I counted some 25 days or so until Valentine Day’s.

Sigh.

Boo.

Thumbs down.

I hate Valentine’s Day.  It’s a crappy holiday that makes people – whether you’re in a relationship or not – feel crappy. Couples – because I’ve been part of such a unit before – feel pressure to up their lovey-dovey antics even if they’re not in the mood. You know like say when there are unaddressed issues weighing down your lovey-dovey creativeness and you’re brooding and  just not in the mood to pretend that things are OK because in actuality they aren’t. And then effing Valentine’s Day arrives and you’re like, holy cow, I’ve got to put this aside and show force some love because that’s what I’m expected to do on this day and if I don’t, I’ll be blamed for ruining Valentine’s Day and I’m not trying to bear that one. 

For singles, the pressure is no less. You’re single. People look at you sympathetically, not realizing that in so many ways, you carry the prize. Heck, you may not even realize it yourself so you moan and whine and wonder what’s that girl or guy have that I don’t? Why can’t I find someone to cuddle with on Valentine’s Day? Fug. I’m not knocking companionship but let’s be honest here, many of us have no clue how to be individuals nonetheless share ourselves with others. Often, the end result is a convoluted relationship suffused with too many senseless arguments, or frustrations, or neglect, or an willingness to listen, or forgive, or move on, or have heart-to-heart talks even if the subject matter is painful, or exponentially grow up, or do simple things to show you care like check in on someone if they’ve abruptly left the room and are uncharacteristically in solitude for more than 10 minutes in another part of the house. Yeah, like checking in to see if that suddenly absent person is indeed OK and not just surfing the Internet elsewhere due to a sporadic urge to get on the World Wide Web by way of dashing out the room…it speaks volumes. 

But enough with all of that. Here’s the skinny. I plan to post lovey-dovey and not so lovey-dovey entries about love to commemorate this kooky holiday that I think is a whole lot of dog poop. Most of it will be personal in one form or another. 

I’ll write this lovey-dovey stuff because I wholeheartedly believe that love is a gift from God that we dumb humans often misuse, you know like by say installing a holiday meant to convince people that they should hold their breath until culprit holiday arrives then partake in consumerism in order to show love to the economy their loved ones. – MJ

Much to do about the dress

In Fashion, Michelle Obama, Politics on January 21, 2009 at 1:59 am

Hmm…what would I wear if my hubby were being sworn in as president of the most powerful country in the world. Dunno. Which is why I could care less that Michelle’s Isabel Toledo number received mixed reviews. Some have said that the gems were a bit much and the dress – tres Jackie O, methinks – is overdone as well. As I said, dunno what I’d don if I or my hubby were being sworn in as the 44th president but whatever I chose to wear, best believe it’d be over the top, overdone, sparkly, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. I mean given the historic/memorable factor thingy, could you blame me? 

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And then there was this number for the inaugural ball or balls, 10 in total. Here’s a pic of the Obamas during their first dance. I’m on the prowl for more pictures, preferably of Michelle and her much-anticipated ball gown designed by 26-year-old Jason Wu, a former student of Project Runway fashion guru, Tim Gunn.

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The Inauguration Report from BK

In Humor, Personal, Politics on January 20, 2009 at 3:10 pm
USA Today        USA Today

 

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10:07 am

Wow. It’s exactly 10:07 a.m. Crazy. In a little less than two hours Barack Obama will be sworn as the 44th president of the United States of America . My palms are sweaty. I’m emotional. One of my closest friends called me a short while ago. She was in tears. She couldn’t believe that she was at work while this historical event is unfolding. I’m in my mother’s bedroom, taking it all in on television, I told her. I suppose it’s not about the what ifs, or should of, or could of. I suppose it’s about taking it all in no matter where you are. It’s about recognizing that something awesome is happening. What. A. Feeling.

10:12 a.m

Watching the Today Show. Caribbean folks always have to represent and of course in Chocolate City, they are representing strong. Saw a Haitian flag (go Haiti!) in the crowd. Not sure who the reporter was but this reporter was interviewing a person of West Indian descent, who was talking a mixed CD he made with lots of Bob Marley tunes. He said something positive the inauguration though I can’t recall what exactly that was. I was too fixated on the Haitian flag fluttering in the background.

10:20

No disrespect. I collect shot glasses. I need to buy a shot glass with Barack Obama’s face emblazoned on it. Random thought for sure.

10: 21

This sucks. Why am I not in D.C.? I had lodging options and also a free magazine party to attend on Sunday. Sigh. WTF? My D.C. pals will never let me forget this major faux pas. I mean I’m broke but even that’s no excuse. I read reports of unemployed people with mouths to feed who have traveled from as far as Texas to D.C. to experience this once in a lifetime moment. Be back in a few. Going to dunk my head in the toilet cause I’m feeling like an ass right now.

12:44 p.m.

Wow. Shivers. Great speech. I never sang the national anthem with so much passion. Loved the Rev. Joseph E. Lowery’s benediction. Goose bumps. Hair standing. Wow!

1:00 p.m.

Preparing to head out. Need a celebratory lunch. Feeling very festive. Feeling proud to be an American. Woo hoo! Throwing one of my several Obama tees. Palm still sweating. What a feeling. Wow! 

1:19 p.m.

Let’s get involved. President Barack Obama has called on all of us to do our part. We have to our part and choose hope over fear. Ready to do your part? Go here to learn more.

6:02 p.m.

Watching the inauguration parade on CNN. Can’t wait to see what Michelle O wears to the inaugural ball.

10:01 p.m. Decided that I like Michelle’s dress. It’s fresh, flirty and young but not in a weird way that plays against her age. Mm…Barack sure can move those hips. Oh, but wait…where was I?

12 a.m. The Barack fest has come to an end. I literally watched on MSNBC this beautiful couple attend 6 balls. I’m fatigued. Heading to bed. Gotta wake up bright and fresh for a new day under a new president. What. A. Feeling.- MJ

Taken by Associated Press

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President Barack H. Obama’s inauguration speech.

My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land – a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America – they will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted – for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things – some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions – that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act – not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions – who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them – that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works – whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account – to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day – because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control – and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart – not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort – even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus – and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West – know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment – a moment that will define a generation – it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends – hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism – these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility – a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence – the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed – why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America’s birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

“Let it be told to the future world…that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive…that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it].”

America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

Inauguration Live On Hulu

In Politics on January 19, 2009 at 3:38 pm

We figured you’d appreciate not having to miss one second of the 44th presidential inauguration while you check in to the read the latest Labay post. Courtesy of Hulu.com, here’s a live steam of the ceremony.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Inauguration Live On Hulu“, posted with vodpod

Notoriously faking it.

In Caribbean American interest, Caribbean interest, Entertainment on January 16, 2009 at 6:53 pm

A friend and I plan to check out “Notorious”, the biopic about rapper Biggie Smalls this evening.

I’m not sure why I’m paying some serious theater money to see this flick as I’ve yet to see the movies that I really wanna see like that Brad Pitt “Benjamin Button” flick. I mean it’s not like the acting will be stellar in “Notorious” save for Derek Luke, whom I love. I hear he nails Diddy’s one-of-a-kind a la Bad Boy dance moves.

It don’t matter what you tried to do. You couldn’t destroy me!

I’m still here! I’m still strong!

Remember those fame lines from “Antoine Fisher”?

Moving along, so part of my lukewarm attitude about the BIG movie has to do with Angela Bassett starring as Voletta Wallace. It’s the accent thing or lack there of that’s got me wondering what gives?

Could the casting crew not find an actress who could consistently speak with a Jamaican accent? I get the whole you-need-major-stars-to-carry-these-sort-of-movies Hollywood mumbo jumbo but can we get them to act, accent and all? That grates me. I mean REALLY.

I hear Bassett uses a faux Jamaican accent from time to time in the movie but that’s not good enough especially when Mama Biggie Smalls always spoke with an accent the numerous times I’ve seen on her  interviewed on the telly. I mean an accent isn’t tucked away for special occasions. It’s part of her everyday speech just like my pronouncing New York well  New Yawk. Can’t help it. I’m from New Yawk, SON!

But enough about the MJ. Back to one of  my many pet peeves. I simply don’t get why No. 1, West Indian actors and actresses are not cast for these roles. And No. 2, why don’t actors try really, REALLY, really hard to master faking a Caribbean accent. When I pay to see a movie, I want to be convinced, not distracted by an actor’s poor attempt to speak with an accent. And why the hell is it so hard for American actors to achieve this??? What effing gives, huh? Sheese.

And speaking of, why is Missy Elliott doing U.S. Reggae complete with detectable bogus accent? Fuck!!! She has gone too far. I’m covering my ears. I can’t hear you, Missy. I don’t want to hear you, Missy. Stop it! You’re giving me a headache! It’s not like Missy has to put on an accent as a) she’s not auditioning for a role and, b) she’s a friggin producer/singer/rapper who has yet to have a role in a movie to be also called an actress. And if she has had role on the Big Screen, I simply don’t care. Like I said, I’m covering my ears. I want her and all the other culprits to put a cork in it.

A Caribbean accent is not meant to be toyed with. It should be skillfully handled so that it comes off sounding tres authentic, not gibberish. And if someone knowingly speaks with an accent in real life, I expect for one of my favorite (and ahem, Oscar-nominated) actresses to attack the accent full force. No excuses. – MJ

Several hours after later…

I’ve returned from seeing the movie “Notorious.” It. Was. Well. Worth. The. $12.50. My. Friend. Spent. I’ll have to repay her. Good story telling. Great scene transitions. Ignore movie reviews written by or potentially written by someone who can’t name five rap songs by the Notorious.  Aside from being a foodie and bonafide movie snob, I’m a lover of Hip Hop, the culture and its music. Follow your heart and check out the “Notorious.” You won’t be disappointed.

I’m off to eat a whiting sandwich and most likely pay homage to the man who put the East back on the map. Y’all know who I’m talking about and if you don’t know, now you knowwwwwwwwwww!

P.S. Mrs. Bassett spoke not one lick of anything remotely Jamaican or West Indian. Even some white boys hanging outside the theater were discussing her Black American twang.

But as Voletta Wallace has said to Lil’ Kim, who I hear is pissed about her portrayal and wanted an Asian (!!!) to play her, this movie is about Biggie so I’ll drop it.

Rant No. 151: Neverland ain’t part of the West Indies.

In Caribbean American interest, Caribbean interest on January 16, 2009 at 1:53 pm

Had an interesting conversation with a pal recently. It was somewhat lopsided as I was the one doing most of the talking but I’ll peg it as a convo nonetheless. We were discussing the plight of young Caribbean and Caribbean Americans in major cities like New York. OK, let me be honest. I was expounding on the unnecessary evils that plague this group: drugs, guns, and a gaggle of out-of-wedlock babies wedged in between. Sure, there has always been wayward individuals among blacks, among whites, and among the palm tree-hugging West Indians.

Of course, everyone’s journey isn’t the same and NO ONE is perfect. Often, it takes walking a crooked line or two to get on a straighter path. I get that. Oprah gets that. Sheese, many of us get that. But when did these perverse behaviors overtake aspirations Caribbeans have longed been lauded for? There use to be a time when Caribbean parents reared American children and their boatload of just comes to become la creme de la creme among black society. We use to be model emigrants at least in the black diaspora. It ain’t quite so anymore, anecdotally speaking that is. Education and other aspirations have taken a back seat to negative behaviors that further harm already troubled black communities.

The pressure’s off. 

Those kids have now morphed into adults with childlike minds. The maturation process has slowed. Someone pressed the snooze button. These oversized kiddies don’t want to leave Neverland. They’ve put a pause on reaching higher grounds. 

In the words of Marvin Gaye with a slight MJ twist, what’s effing going on?

I long for the days when it wasn’t all about gunshots, pretty faces, unwed parents, and the latest sexually laden Reggae tunes. Morality has unraveled. The bar has been lowered. We’ve become lackadaisical. That’s the norm today. Bummer.

What happened to the good old days when normalcy was equated with pushing hard to be the best? – MJ

Turn Back Da Clock

In Family, Personal on January 4, 2009 at 12:07 am

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Ever ponder questions like, “Why the hell did I grow up?” or “Why couldn’t I remain a kid for the rest of my life”? Perhaps the latter is a stretch. But maybe you’ve wished you stayed a kid a little longer.

Maybe you’ve yearn for super powers to slow time and push back adult things like going to work each morning, riding crowded buses and trains, or hopping in your car and navigating traffic-jammed streets.

As a kid, the streets were still busy, but from the vantage point of a child, the view was different then. It was fun – an adventure. The responsibilities were humdrum, lacking the trepidation connected to adult duties. As a little one, your biggest responsibilities included getting your homework done, cleaning your room and/or feeding the dog. To think that those task seemed monumental then. Remember when a weekly $20 allowance felt like a lot of money? 

You’d spend it on candy, toys, comic books and still have enough left for Chinese food. Yeah man, those were the good old days. Grown-up world, back to you now. I’m off to work! Peace. – MP.

 


Caribbean Christmas. Oh, the memories!

In Caribbean interest, Grenada on January 2, 2009 at 5:18 am

I was sitting one day pondering Christmas in my homeland Grenada. The more I thought about it, the more I missed spending Christmas there. It’s reason No. 202 why I miss the island. There are memories of cleaning every part of the house, sanding and applying new coats of stain to wood furniture, putting up new curtains and fresh sheets on the beds.

I remember waking up Christmas mornings to the smell of fried ham and freshly squeezed cow or goat milk with homemade bread. One of the most exciting times for me was unwrapping gifts followed by playtime with family and neighborhood friends.

And of course, there was the Christmas dinner – a smorgasbord of more ham, macaroni pie, rice and peas, salad, vegetables, sorrel, and ginger beer made from scratch or fresh fruit juice.

Oh, and how dare I forget the homemade cakes like the proverbial black cake. I remember toward the end of the holiday, we’d go from house to house, sampling cakes and other desserts prepared by nearby relatives and friends.

If my memory serves me correct, those were the days when I had my first sips of strong drinks, if you know what I mean. LOL. Man oh man, those were some fun times. I miss them dearly. – MP