Sunday, September 27, 2015

Lessons Learnt from the Princess who wanted a Princess Yo-yo!

This is a post dedicated to my daughter and some of the things she has taught me as well as allowed me to remember and rediscover. For a few years before her birth I was in a state of some kind of depression and doldrums, a funk as it were, overwhelmed with failures. The failure of having not produced any literary master piece as yet, not getting any where with poetry, no where with art, no comic book produced, no documentary, no cartoon, no animation, no car, no major tech infusion, hobbling on a pitch patch income, fumbling from PC to PC and laptop to laptop. Yeah there may have been some successes... as small as they seemed in my eye, and probably in the grand picture of Jamaican super start success hypes. Yeah I was the first Jamaican Blogger, and probably the first or longest running Jamaican blogger, but what is the value and who cares?

Sure The Montegonian did a lovely stint in the Western Mirror which I believe changed the dynamic of Column writing in Western Jamaica and imbued western Journalism with more confidence and vigor. Sure I would hear my ideas in articles popping up in Mobay's Chamber of Commerce on the mouths of other people with no credit to me, which is not a problem to me, as long as it makes this city better. Yeah but in the age of so many hot writers erupting everyday from Jamaica on the world stage, what is it worth when the world stage and so many platform seem closed to me and the less financially endowed. Sure I have been championing and been an early pioneer using Linux and Open Source in Montego Bay and Western Jamaica on PC's, Laptops and Desktops, but what is that worth in a country that worships at the alter of Microsoft and Windows, yet not knowing Linux holds up their tech world on Android phones and slavishly carrying the tech world on servers everywhere. What is it worth when you champion your community and any social cause worth the activism, only to be neglected by NGO's because we aren't PR material or the poster child for the worst community or we just don't have enough dead bodies on our streets, to have media focus on Kingston and the colourful personalities that catch their eye and fancy, and this happens no matter how conscious the media agency seems or pretends to be. What is it worth to be another unsung hero... to fight the black struggles in the best ways you know how and to have so little verbal reward or any kind of accolade and close to no meal ticket. What was it worth to be vanguard and forerunner, when every forerunner only holds the lead to be in a lonely place and relegated to pariah.

What was I to do... worn thin and wounded in spirit?

Enter my Daughter... life in abundance, come to reinvigorate me and teach me new lessons on life and to remember the lessons and ideas I forgot long ago.

Lesson 1. Simple things can keep us happy: The Princess Yo-Yo 101

~Now this lesson I learned last December. I am not a Christmas believer nor do I believe a Christ was born on Dec 25. However Nativity, Christmas Carols, Trade Winds those tings make me redolent, and is a season I cherished as a child for the bells, the x-mas plays, cool chilly breezes, the yards smelling of paint, fresh cut lawns, pretty silver moons, astronomy with my father under clear skies, being filled with the sense that the world was slowing down for reasons such as love, family and in-gatherings of family and extensions of family. A season that as child wished would never end. So it is that spirit I try to hang onto and recapture for my daughter. A feeling and emotion about the season, not necessarily connected to trees, or lights, or presents, but connected with the presence of special people. So when she became swept up with the season last year and she requested a present, Super Daddy has to answer the call. Now, for a few days I twisted my brain to find a nice present and thought it maybe it'd be something costly. Would it be a tablet, a Nabi, a electronic gadget of some sort, surely not clothes... After not thinking of anything, I asked her what she wanted. "A Princess Yo-Yo!" 

WHAT! A princess yo-yo... hmmm it seemed a unique and odd request and one that maybe would stump me. For this was a request at the crux of roads... Yo-yoes are for boys, I hadn't imagined that the 21st century girl could be a Tom Boy Princess... another strange anomaly. HMMMMM HMMMM HMMMM... so specialized, it sounds like that may stretch my imagination, where in Mobay was I gonna find a princess yo-yo... if one even existed. And how much would this cost now... please let it not be over $2000, as mi just nuh have it, fi maths more than that. HMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm I was confounded. Being the presumption ass, I assumed that such wonders as a possibly expensive and specialized toy like a princess yo-yo had to be located at Fontana or MegaMart or some such location... of I went... wasting gas to traverse from Paradise to Mobay's likkle farrin... out by Fairview! Only to not find the prized princess yo-yo there. After giving the issue some more brain power... I came up with Sangster's Book Store... so off to Harbour Street to park again and foot it to Sangster's. After scouring Sangster's seeing an varied assortment of $1000 odd Yo-yoes, I was heartened somewhat, but I hadn't found the Princess Yo-yo yet. Fine fine... lemme walk the town in one last hope to see what's up, only to realize hmmmm Henderson's in renovating... lemme check it out... as I enter it immediately greets me, a $435.00 pink Princess Yo-yo! My word... that's it $435.00 bet she just uses it once and discards it... I've seen kids do it a thousand times right.

3 Months later in March I was still de-tangling yo-yo chords and explaining an assortment of tricks. Hence I had learned that she really did ask for what she wanted, was happy when she got it, and really tried to learn to use it and understand it. Hmmm much more than I had given her credit for. So my daughter reminds me of the Sizzla song now... "Simplicity we use to survive, many find it difficult cause them ignorant and dumb." The hold incident too reminded me of a time when I was young, it was a Sunday, and as my mother and grand mother sat reading the papers, I didn't realize my granny had stopped reading the newspaper and was watching me swing on the grill at the door, and when I realized she was, she looked at me and said, "A see seh yuh come fi mek yuh owna sun shine." It was a while before i understood what she meant, but Kyrha's made me re-learn that idea.

Lesson 2. Everyone has their own mind: On White Folk and Other Philosophy- death, afterlife god mother nature

Now when it comes to life and learning as it pertains to youth, my belief is that, I ought not hold much back, and if I do, it is only in the interest of keeping things simple. I won't lie or make up fairy tales. Lies, myth and fairy tales I believe hinder a child's development, and denies them the chance to intuit deeper levels of knowledge and understanding. Fairy tales hinder humanity's collective gainful comprehension of the universe.

However explaining gravity, why we fall, robots, machines, sleep, imagination, digestion, the eye, even sex and how she came here, seems so so so much simpler when one contends with explaining GOD, JESUS, HEAVEN, MOTHER NATURE, AFTER LIFE, SLAVERY AND RACISM among other metaphysical and social mysteries.

Most amazing of all though is that this little  year old processes my thoughts and what I tell her and she doesn't just imbibe it and says it is so because Daddy's says so... she challenges ideas in her mind. I'll soon explain.

My doctrines on life are a scientific approach to questions, in social spiritual matters in my Ras Tafari I employ Marcus Garveys's fiery Afrocentrism and pan-africanism tempered by Haile Selassie's cerebral modus operandi and diplomacy. So when I have to touch on touchy issues of Race and slavery I as advised by listening to Martin Luther King Jr's treatise on his little daughter and fun town, which I listen to often via Youtube.

So when Africa comes up and how or why we are Africans and how we came to be in Jamaica, I didn't shy away from explaining the horror of slavery and the evils wrought on us by white Europeans. As MLK Jr suggested I tried not to be bitter. I think I may have been a little. Anyway... it so happens one day white Christian folk visit her school, when I pick her up, she immediately comes to me and says guess what Daddy... You know I think you are wrong about white people... not all white people are bad... I met some good ones at school today... I couldn't contain the laughter... this child retained the race conversations and had borne it in mind and challenged my information with her experiences... I was truly impressed. There is no brain washing this one. Anyway... after she repeats her point and says "is true enuh Daddy, is true!" I say to her don't worry we'll discuss this again when you are older, and hopefully then you'll see my point more clearly.

Lesson 3. What Father is and means: Pickney Proverbs & Prov 15 vs 5

So on becoming a father I have had to examine my experiences being fathered, what I liked, what I want to improve upon from my father. But I have also had to examine the role I have played to people I have semi- or part-time fathered. If mentoring is important, the power of the role... what power has been invested in father.

More difficult to examine has been how Jamaica deals with father and how harshly we are critiqued and derided by society, even as our stats improve and some stats are coming in to indicate women have to some extent aided in undermining Jamaican Masculinity... the Jacket phenomenon, the bleaching, the long hair and expenses, the gimmi mentality, relentless challenge to male authority, the belief in the better-ness of white notions and displays and examples of masculinity.

I've also had to open up to my daughters notions of father, dada, papa... the fixer of things, the knower of things, her companion encyclopedia and philosopher, the backdrop against which she bounces ideas and deciphers reality. The daughter who believes father is there for super/supra natural protections. To examine what this young femininity means to man, what really is the role of man, what do I teacher her of masculinity, what do I do with her Tom Boyism... her Princessism... how do I prepare for the future with a truly helpful vision that equips her for all that may come, how do I also prepare her for launch as my first emissary and arrow shot and cast into the future, my messenger and ambassador to the future? How? How do I combine organic ideology, african spirituality, technology, post modern philosophy, ecological livity, humanism and not this transhuman future of black widows, Iron men and people with electric hearts and dreams of electric sheep, visions and ultrons??? How do I sow Marcus Garvey into everyday existence and merge the ethics of Haile Selassie?

Most of all I have had to examine everyone who has played some sort of mentor or fatherly role... my Father, grand Father, older friends, elders, sages and all... I have had to even consider if I am comfortable with God being a father... should it maybe not be better that it be ISIS and not some nondescript holy ghost, and what social ethos would only give us a God father, and no mother or reduce her to a ghost... and find some way to sire sons (the sons of god came down and took of themselves wives of the daughters of men) without women, to make man give birth to the first woman!

In many ways my daughter more than anyone has taught me about Father, through the gift of fatherhood.

Lesson 4. Live!

I don't know another soul that gives meaning to the words Verve and Vivacious and Effervescent!

From the moment I met this girl in a tummy kicking, I couldn't have met her before that, I am not privy to the woman's early knowing that her body is inhabited and her womb is occupied. Yep! I met her with a kick and the information that she constantly moved to the noise of children and voices on the outside world! And as I sat by the womb waiting night by night... I had a sense of knowing that this was someone full of spunk...

It would come as no surprise then that some of her favourite songs are "This Girl is on Fire" and  Katy Perry's "Roar"... She ravages through cartoons and her favourites change often... there was the Avatar "Ang" phase, then Korra... the Doc McStuffins, Cat in the Hat, Peppa Pig, My Little Pony, Strawberry Shortcake, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, now much to my chagrin it's Monster High and Sabrina the Teenage Witch!

But that I think is a crucial lesson she has taught me... sometimes I spend too much time being cerebral and thinking about things and there consequences rather than just doing... and that is her thing... impulsive impetus... just do it.. live, with a sense of absolute fearlessness at that. So if she can do it... why can't I! She also brought home this Garvey quote..

Fear is a state of nervousness fit for children and not men. When man fears a creature like himself he offends God, in whose image and likeness he is created. Man being created equal fears not man but God. To fear is to lose control of one's nerves; one's will, to flutter, like a dying fowl, losing consciousness, yet alive.
(Marcus Garvey)

Imagine a 5 year old teaching I N I bout fearlessness!

Lesson 5. Serendipity Sanguinity and Telepathic Connection

When I was a little boy, sitting int back of cars in the rain, I'd look at the wipers and imagine they were two children chasing each other or fighting, throwing water at each other. It's just one of those little thoughts your child mind produces and you forget as you get older. I was blown away one evening whilst driving home in the rain, she says "Mommy and Daddy! Yuh know those two wipers look like two children fighting and throwing water at each other, two rude children... dem rude enuh! Don't dem look like dat Mommy?"

I had to give the car a 1 minute stop and let the years come back... then let the strange feeling of synchronism and time-loop or -warp sink in and settle and explain it to her and her Mommy why I had paused.

I think this is a lesson on the metaphysics of things, the unknown and unexplained, a sense that their are greater psycho-spiritual things going on, we are more than we know... paranormal, in search of... STRANGE BUT TRUE...

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Top 6 Jamaican Television Series

As I continue my foray into the current blogging trend of publishing and posting all kinds of lists of wonderful Jamaican gems etc. After months of inactivity a day with two posts. WOOOOOO! Say hurray! I did a list of Jamaican movies a few years back and now I noticed you've got quite a few on the market... but I haven't noticed any blogs that touch on Jamaican Television series... So being the nuff person I am, I have to try and see if I can do it first, and maybe set a trend, and see people's lists with stuff I missed or forgot. But here is my list of TOP 6 Jamaican TV series:

Oliver at Large:
In the 80's when I entered the world... Oliver truly was LARGE... to me he was Jamaica's first larger than life celebrity! Oliver Samuels uncovered fame on the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation's television series Oliver At Large, created by producer Calvin Butler and playwright Aston Cooke. In this series, Samuels played his alter ego Olivius Adams, aka Oliver. The series featured sketches from Oliver's exploits, often with his sidekick, Maffi. Several spin-off theatre pieces have been created for the Oliver character, including Large Abroad, Oliver's Posse (1999), Oliver and Pinocchio (2001), and Oliver and the Genie (2002).

Lime Tree Lane:
This JA Sitcom as it were, introduced me to a nuanced inspection of Jamaican community life... especially at time I couldn't do road so intensel. Lime Tree Lane was an original comedy series which aired on JBC (later @televisionjam) in 1988 until 1997 was Jamaican TV’s first soap opera. Are you too young to remember the series? Here’s a clip!

Titus in Town:
This great situation comedy to me was hilarious and a direct result of the successes of Oliver at Large. The 1980s Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation television series Titus in Town saw local actor Glen Campbell rise to spectacular heights in the world of Caribbean acting and theatre.Titus in Town

Another situation comedy spinoff - Claffy better known as MAFFIE in Oliver-at-Large was Oliver Samuel's foil and side kick for years and as is the trend in Television, he goes on to try his hand at his own series and so CLAFFY was born!

Ity & Fancy Cat:
This is currently the hottest comedy act in the Caribbean! Revolutionary & relevant in its substance, pioneering & playful in form as well as style... This bit of modern art is high in entertainment value. A Half our Comedy Skit akin to In Living Colour and Saturday Night Live, Ity and Fancy Cat that will “mek u laaf till u wata come a yuh eye". Ity & Fancy

Royal Palm Estate / The Blackburns:
This was the show that during my high school years introduced me to ideas of what high society Jamaica maybe like, and I never could break the cognitive link between Sonny T, and the real life Tommy T, Sonny Tavares and Tom Tavares, Tivoli, and even that Damian Marley song, "Things just ain't the same for gangsters." Royal Palm Estate  was broadcast 1994 from CVM TV in Jamaica and around the Caribbean. After 15 years, the producer has shifted the story-line to address the concerns of the younger Blackburn family in an evolving society. “The Blackburns” looks at the social dynamics of a family that exists in large part due to the legacy of the patriarch, the plantocracy, the remnants of slavery – Ted Blackburn and the plantation state.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The 7 Health Benefits of JACKFRUIT!

Since I haven't blogged in awhile I thought I'd just jump on the latest Jamaican and Caribbean  blogging fads, cool lists and the health benefits of under examined Jamaican foods. Yippeee... I picked Jackfruit, because I hate it and how it smells and I haven't seen it in the blogosphere yet. But I always wondered if i did eat it though, wow it would be a whopper food solution... its just so hugemungous...

So before I jump into the list here is the usual summary and breakdown I'll swipe from Wikipedia or a composite of authorities:

The jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus), also known as jack tree, jakfruit, or sometimes simply jack or jak[6] is a species of tree in the mulberry and fig family (Moraceae).
It is native to parts of South and Southeast Asia, and is believed to have originated in the southwestern rain forests of India, in present-day GoaKerala, coastal Karnataka, andMaharashtra.[7] The jackfruit tree is well suited to tropical lowlands, and its fruit is the largest tree-borne fruit,[8] reaching as much as 35 kg (80 lb) in weight, 90 cm (35 in) in length, and 50 cm (20 in) in diameter.[9]The jackfruit tree is a widely cultivated and popular food item in throughout the tropical regions of the world. Jackfruit is the national fruit of Bangladesh, by name Kanthal (কাঁঠাল) in Bengali language.[10] The Jackfruit tree can produce about 100 to 200 fruits in a year. The Jackfruit is the largest tree-borne fruit in the world. Its weight can range from from 10 lbs to over 100 lbs.

Jackfruit is a one of a kind tropical fruits, recognized for its unique shape, size, and fruity flavor which is akin to Wrigley's Juicy Fruit gone wild... its massive bulb can be spot from a distance. The fruit is smell sweetie-sweetie, and much like an over ripe breadfruit in taste. It shares a fragrant commonality with other tropical fruits such as durian, banana etc., But suprising most of all is its health benefits. It is rich in energy, dietary fiber, minerals, and vitamins and free from saturated fats or cholesterol, making it one of the healthy late summer  early autumn natural foods to dive into! So here is the  list:

  1. Energy Booster: 100 g of edible jackfruit bulbs provide 95 calories. It's made of soft, easily digestible fleshy bulbs made up of simple sugars like fructose and sucrose that when eaten replenishes energy and revitalizes the body instantly.
  2. Dietary Fiber: It's a good bulk laxative. The fiber content helps protect the colon mucous membrane by binding to and eliminating cancer-causing chemicals from the colon.
  3. Vitamin-A:  Vitamin A is required for maintaining eyes as well as the integrity of mucusa and skin. Consumption of natural fruits rich in vitamin-A, and carotenes has been found to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
  4. B-complex group of vitamins: Forget about the RedBull... this fruit... it contains very good amounts of vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), niacin, riboflavin, and folic acid. It is rare that a fruit is rich in B-complex vitamins
  5. Vitamin-C: Consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful free radicals.
  6. Minerals: It's a good source of potassium, magnesium, manganese, and iron. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure.
  7. Protein: Jackfruit seeds are rich in protein. In general, the seeds are gathered from the ripe fruit, sun-dried then roasted. Boiled jackfruit seeds are also edible. Often compared to Brazil nuts, they are quite commonly used in curry in the Indian state of Kerala.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

In Defense of Chronixx: Obama may really be a Waste Man!

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in the moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
Martin Luther King Jr. 1963
Chronixx's now famous post!

The press is supposed to be the "Guardian of the Republic" and the "Pillar of the Democracy," the press is the only industry explicitly referenced in the U.S. constitution. How is then, that the press and media in Jamaica and abroad seem so spineless in critiquing President Obama? Have they abdicated their role in giving voice to the voiceless and airing the VOX POPULI... Chronixx's comments echo a sentiment that cuts across a broad spectrum of Jamaicans, such as myself and various communities who are unwilling to look the other way simply because Mr. Obama is a black president. Such criticism of Obama is not unique to Jamaica and Jamaicans, but black academics and intellects everywhere. 

All this while in America itself under the Obama administration the plight of Black Americans has worsened:  A recent interview on MSNBC’s “Meet the Press,” NAACP CEO and president, Ben Jealous, told the show’s host that black Americans “are doing far worse” than when President Obama first took office. “The country’s back to pretty much where it was when this president started,” Jealous told show host David Gregory. “White people in this country are doing a bit better. Black people are doing far worse.”  Dr. Julianne Malveaux of Your Black World recently wrote that the Obama Administration needs to speak out more about existing racial disparities and persistent problems in black unemployment.

The Black Diaspora has seen the US elect thousands of African American local and state officials and re-elect the first black president. But Obama seems to have proven just a symbol, symbolic and nothing more. Nothing real, nothing substantial, nothing progressive as it pertains to the plight of blacks.

The media is slow and unwilling to note that our black leaders are dithering. Floundering. Flailing... failing and falling even. Symbolism supersedes the fact that black leadership has few or no victories to boast for the seventies, the eighties, the nineties or the new century, apart from their own illustrious careers. 

Obama seems a symbol used to nullify and quiet the analytic black mind and voice. "Nigger shut up we got a black president now!" 

Who in Jamaica or the media is willing to look past the fact that he is JUST a black president and willing to examine the fact that the black role model president conducts weekly “Terror Tuesday” meetings in the White House basement at which he dispatches drones to murder and special forces to kidnap and torture in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and across the African continent. It matters not at all that the Department of Justice prosecutes whistle blowers instead of war criminals, or that black military officials and diplomats like Susan Rice are up to their armpits in African blood. Mr. President highlighted the fact that our government meets behind our backs, in secret and signs agreements we don't know about, but what of his secret meetings.

The black political class at home and abroad is utterly self-interested. It cannot begin to mobilize black communities to demand higher wages, a massive jobs program to relieve unemployment, a new paradigm of urban economic development that isn't just moving poor people out of neighborhoods and richer ones in. It seems our egotistical black intelligentsia can't begin to make these things happen because foisting itself and its own advancement off as “representing” the black oppressed masses is the beginning and the end of who they are and what they do. They are not truly about the black diaspora and its plight, they do not truly care to ease the existential condition of his brothers, neighbours and friends.

For them, the election and and re-election of Barack Obama is the end of black history. The be all and end all of our history. Addressing black unemployment, pervasive economic injustice, opposing the neo-liberal,capitalist, globalist, transnational agenda of privatization and austerity put forth not just by the black president, but by an entire layer of black thinkers are, in their language not pragmatic or “realistic.”

President Obama denied our request to exonerate Marcus Garvey, he is more willing to lobby for homosexuals and their agenda, than the plight of black people. He neglects Africa, send troops instead of Doctors like Cuba did to combat Ebola in Africa... Netanyahu just disrespected him in his own country, I see no reason to rejoice nor genuflect at his arrival. He allowed and sanctioned the murder of Qaddafi the last defender of Africa, friend of Nelson Mandela, after inviting him to the U.S. and defending him in the face of public disapproval, he without congressional approval and with the help of Sarkozy and Nato murdered Qaddafi. In-spite of winning a Nobel peace prize... he has yet to close GITMO. I as a descendant of a UNIA member from the days of Marcus Garvey... a Jamaican who saw the havoc that is democrats neo-liberal agenda in the 90's, as a black man who sees today's social stagnation of the black race and our position as last economically, cannot support this man who says he is America's president!

 I support Chronixx in saying what he said. Sometimes, in order to follow our moral compass and/or our hearts, we have to make unpopular decisions or stand up for what we believe in. To those who would see Chronixx muzzled, I quote Neal Boortz: "Free speech is meant to protect unpopular speech. Popular speech, by definition, needs no protection."

And I close with a quote from President JFK to Mr. Obama, to our government and to the media:

Without debate, without criticism, no Administration and no country can succeed--and no republic can survive. That is why the Athenian lawmaker Solon decreed it a crime for any citizen to shrink from controversy. And that is why our press was protected by the First Amendment-- the only business in America specifically protected by the Constitution- -not primarily to amuse and entertain, not to emphasize the trivial and the sentimental, not to simply "give the public what it wants"--but to inform, to arouse, to reflect, to state our dangers and our opportunities, to indicate our crises and our choices, to lead, mold, educate and sometimes even anger public opinion.