Saturday, December 31, 2005

Auld Lang Syng

Well not going to overwhelm you with nuh lotta long talk today, I've done that enough over the past year. Just a quick shout to say happy new year to all of my friends in blogland and to all of my blog readers wherever you may be.

I wish you all the best for 2006.

2005 was a mixed bag for me but at least I'm alive at the end (well 15 hrs more to go so cross your fingers). Started off a bit rough ended a bit rough was a bit rough in the middle too lol.

Not making any resolutions for 2006, just going to see how the year treats me. No big plans or goals although life will be changed (hopefully for the better) when the yout arrive in February or March. Should be interesting.

Anyway Tomorrow is 2006 lets hope for a better year for everyone the world over and less pain and strife and natural disasters and violence than 2005. Take care everyone.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Bang Bang!

Bang bang, he shot me down
Bang bang, I hit the ground
Bang bang, that awful sound
Bang bang, my baby shot me down.

Nancy Sinatra - Bang Bang

Yet again sadly I've got to blog about the violence in the T-dot. Sigh!

2005 instead of being the year of the Rooster should have been named the year of the gun up here because there has been no let up in the murders and the gunshots even as the holiday season is upon us. Gunman no celebrate either Christmas or Kwanzaa it seems.

On Monday afternoon seven persons, all seemingly innocent bystanders were shot up on the main Toronto thoroughfare of Yonge street in the midst of busy Christmas bank holiday shopping. Kinda scary.

Not sure what to say about all the violence except that its rather shocking although not really if you catch my drift. Its shocking that its happening but its not really shocking because of the mentality of the youth these days and the seeming ease with which guns are available for criminals.

Today I'm reading about police detectives claiming that by this incident Toronto has lost its innocence. What the hell are they talking about? We lost our innocence years ago when that British lady got shot and paralyzed at Caribana, we lost our innocence prior to that little kid in Etobicoke getting mistakenly shot in a drive by this summer, we lost our innocence before a bus driver was shot on his route while doing his job and lost his eye a few months ago and we sure as hell had lost our innocence before gunmen shot down a youth on the steps of a church about a month ago all here in Toronto.

Oh wait a minute the violence is happening in broad daylight in the midst of downtown now not constrained to so called ghetto borders or to ghetto victims. Gunshot nuh have name on it, innocents get caught in the crossfire. There is War on the Streets!

Dudes all year long it was gunshots in the streets and no one was taking it seriously. Oh sure we had our "black leaders" meet with the Mayor and the Prime Minister and such but did that solve anything?

Actually lets step back a minute. First up who are these black leaders and what is their claim to fame? In my opinion they hold as much clout as I do in being able to solve any crime situation cause the gunman aren't listening to any old fogies rattle off rhetoric in front of a camera. Give us a break! Who elected you to speak for black folk anyway and do you have the power to go to the criminals and gunmen and get them to stop the shooting? If you don't then stop trying to get photo ops to make it seem like you actually have clout while lulling the naive into a false sense of security thinking that progress is actually being made.

Do religious leaders have the clout. Sorry not to disparage religion seeing as I myself am a believer but the days of religious leaders actually holding sway in black politics is at an end if it ever got started in Canada. Aint no Jesse Jacksons or Al Sharptons up here and even Jesse and Al are caricatures in my opinion. All bark and the only bite they have is soundbites. The people that need to be reached to stop the violence have ignored any religion or religious leaders from long time gwan.

Nope no real leaders around here besides the thugs and the gangstas and maybe that's one of the real issues that we should be dealing with in order to come to grips with this violence.

Then we had the stupid politicians bitching about the rapper 50 cents coming into the country. 50 cents is a millionaire now he aint shooting no one. Dudes a movie star, got his own shoes, his own video games, his own drink, his own clothing line etc, he's a business.... man! But if you look closely the word G-unit does have the word Gun in it so maybe he is subconsciously telling the youth to shoot up the place along with what he's saying in his more overt rhymes.

But seriously causing a ruckus about his entering the country and his giving a concert does nothing to solve the situation of gun violence. If you want to blame his music well alright then I probably couldn't argue against that being one of the factors on impressionable youth although you'd have to name quite a few other media and entertainment influences including Hollywood's penchant for shoot em up blockbuster movies and the marketing of extremely violent video games to teenagers as well. Plus after you ban 50 from entering the country are you going to ban his music? And as someone pointed out to me a while back why would you ban 50 cents from entering Toronto now when we graciously hosted him to film his piece of crap movie Get Rich or Die Trying earlier this year. Isn't that a tad bit hypocritical? We'll gladly have you in Toronto to film your gangsta movie but don't come back to hold a concert to play your gangsta music. Explain to me that logic. Oh wait a minute the City makes money off the film industry a lot more than it makes off some lousy one off concert.

Pure lip service a gwan when dealing with this gun violence issue. Politicians playing politician football and 'mekkin mock sport' with this issue because they don't have a clue how to go about solving it.

Neither do I come to think of it so maybe I shouldn't be so harsh. I really don't have a solution. What I will say is that its nothing as simple as black leaders meeting with politicians or banning 50 cents and it will not be simple period.

So where's the solution? I guess 'We got to put our heads together and stop the violence'. Plans must be put into place on both a short term and long term scale. Mentalities need to be changed, perceptions need to be changed, opportunities need to be created, guns need to be eradicated, positive role models need to be found, communities need to be embraced, stereotyped need to be dealt with and security has to be enforced. Remember two things. One we have to stop the younger ones from following in the footsteps of their elder peers who are criminals or this crime cycle continues indefinitely and two all the youth aren't bad in fact its probably just a very small portion who are doing this stuff.

Not that either of those two things really help when someone is mourning the loss of a innocent loved one who gets caught in a shootout.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


Happy Kwanzaa!

That was the greeting I received from someone (not black) the other day when I wished them merry Christmas. I was taken a back a bit actually. Actually I felt rather insulted like I should run up on them, grab them by the collar and say so ya think just cause I black I don't celebrate Christmas? What da?

Anyway I probably sound somewhat ignorant here and de wife say I should be glad that people know about Kwanzaa but I really don't see it that way. If they think that Kwanzaa replaces Christmas or just because I'm black I have to celebrate Kwanzaa then I think they still got a lot to learn.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comNow before I continue let me get one thing straight, I really don't deal with no Kwanzaa business. I have no tradition to celebrating it and its not like I'm looking for extra celebrations to add to my life unless they come complete with added holidays. Yea hook a brother up with those 7 days of Kwanzaa as vacation days and I man will be waxing poetically on Ujoma, Kujichagulia, Imani and all that and jumping and waving like its Caribana in December but otherwise for me its Kwanzaa Swanzaa.

Ok I wont disparage the 'holiday' although lets be clear about something just because I'm black does not mean I need to celebrate this does it? Its like saying just because I'm black I got to like Lil Jon's music or whatever stupid ass stereotypes people believe about us. Yeaaah! OK! What!

Yes I'll agree that the seven principles associated with Kwanzaa ( Unity, Self Determination, Responsibility, Cooperative Economics, Purpose, Creativity, Faith) are strong principles and the holiday can actually serve a purpose as a reminder to us but still I aint celebrating no Kwanzaa. The colors may be the red, the black and the green (with a key you sissy!) but still I aint celebrating no Kwanzaa. The greetings may be 'Habari Gani' but I aint celebrating no Kwanzaa and I damn sure aint giving up Christmas for no Kwanzaa.

Its not a religious holiday, its not a National Holiday (and if it was it would be an American National holiday and I man aint American), its not an actual African holiday although the roots are African and although it seems to be getting bigger and bigger in the islands (Yes I actually went to a Kwanzaa celebration in Barbados my last time) its still a relatively new thing there.

I mean nobody never ever offer me no Kwanzaa ham, nor no Kwanzaa black cake nor no Kwanzaa Sorrel and wunnah want me to celebrate? Chupse ya mekkin sport!

Yes I'm being a bit facetious here but no I am not trying to sway anyone one way or the other about Kwanzaa just stating the facts about myself and that I don't currently celebrate this holiday. So if ya see me on the road you can just wish me merry Christmas or happy holidays and keep the Kwanzaa business to yourself.


Sunday, December 18, 2005

Remix - ol time Christmas

Did this one last year (when I had like 5 regular readers) and thought I'd sort of remix it and offer it up again. Its a long post (even by my standards) so tek ya time and read it and in case I don't blog again before Christmas all the best and Enjoy the Holidays.

de de do do doo doo doo

I took the role of lead singer
Parang soca in Arima
Fans heard of my parang band so thousands flocked the grandstand
Ne-ville Cook was the mc
When he intro-duced me
People jumping like carnival
To my rendition of serenal??

Alpacata alpacata
Who no rampu no paratha
Maria Maria Maria!
Me choroson
From Port o Spain to Faisabad everybody know Jdid mad
Maria Maria Maria
Me choroson

Was listening to the calypsonian Crazy sing some parang yesterday (I still cant decipher those words even though I've heard this song a million times) trying to get myself into the real Christmas spirit. Didn't work lol. Might be too late for me but give me the old time parang, a Christmas ham cutter and

"a gallon a rum, a gallon a rum, all I want is a gallon a rum
..........ya bringing ya family ta eat me out
and then in January cant even buy a stoute".

Image hosted by Photobucket.comSo my selector rewind cause, ol time Christmas come back again if not for real at least in my memories. For me it was all about the music, the food and the Christmas program at the Church.

Christmas back then to me was more that the one day. As a child there was so much anticipation of the actual Christmas day that sometimes when it arrived it was a bit anticlimactic.

But leading up to that actual day. Oh wow! Fun and excitement cann dun!

In Barbados, once Independence day was finished and December 1st hit, bram! Christmas music would be pounding down non-stop on our local stations; CBC, VOB and Reddifusion. Big tunes like this spouge one:

wha ya gonna gi me fa Christmas I need something from you
give me something for Christmas boy and I'll give you something too

and this one in parang

Hurray hurray hurrah!
Hurrah hurrah dey say!
Our savior was born today
It was through his light
While a shepherds (plight)??
for they just couldn’t believe dere eyes
And when he come a man
Ya kno dem non-christian, get tagetha an pound nails in he hand
And on the third day he rose again
So ya see he shed his blood fa we!

You just couldn't resist the Christmas fever with sweet music like that. It definitely put you in the proper frame of mind for the season. It was an eccletic mix, reggae, soca, gospel, parang, spouge, r n b every music under the sun. From Felic Navidad (Prospero ano y Felicidad) to Good King Wensalas. Big tune dat! Merrymen, Draytons Two, Singing Francine, Nat King Cole, Crazy, Michael Jackson, Jacob Killa Milla artists of all genres. Music coming from every radio in the neighborhood, transistor, radiogram, stereo, every store speaker downtown, everywhere. Just total immersion in Christmas music.

Around neighborhood in Barbados everybody was busy painting both the inside and outside of their house and putting up new curtains, making the place look pretty, pretty, pretty just trying to get things looking special for that one day. Moving the furniture around and choosing some nice bright colors for the inside and outside walls. All like now, I would have paint in my hair, on my hands, on my skin and be trying to use the turpentine to wipe it off but just ending up with my skin looking dry and ashy and smelling of turpentine. Boy I do so much painting as a yout helping my father that I was a painting pro before I reach 12.

Verandas and outside walls being painted in bright colors as everyone tries to out do their neighbor in the painting arena. If one man gone yellow another one gone blue or green with brown trim or cream with aqua marine trim or something so. Every color under the sun and everybody turn superstar painter like dem middle name is Picasso.

Santa Clause, do you ever come to the ghetto (ghettoe-oo!)
Santa Clause, do you ever wonder why we suffer so
Santa Clause, When will you come to the ghetto (ghettoe-oo!)
Santa Clause, we would love to see how those reindeers go.
We aint gonna fuss,
We aint gonna fight,
But where are the presents that you brought for us.

The curtains made from fabric that you bought down by Swan Street or Kirpilani or from Miss Ram or that you 'truss' from the "coolie man" in the Suzuki van (that rhymes) who would then have hell to get certain folks to pay. When January came, anytime there was a knock on the door or window you would see certain houses get real real quiet instantaneously and their inhabitants peeping from behind the said same curtains they "truss" to see if it was the coolie man coming for his money.

Sorry boss, all the money dash way on Christmas and they cant afford to pay even a little installment. So Coolie man standing up in the hot sun with the van motor running, looking screw screw and every passerby he asking 'wait you see mistress so n so dat live hayso? You know wha part she gone?" And everybody just responding in the negative cause them know too well that Miss so n so hiding behind the curtains but they wont say so cause well when is them turn to truss from the coolie man they going do the said same thing. So poor coolie man can only stand and knock and get agitated and then go along about his business and check back the next week when the whole scenario played out one more time.

But don't feel too bad for him ya kno! Yes boy fa now they had the coolie man fooled but in the long run they still paid him and he still made his extravagant profit so that by next year no more Suzuki van but he had a little small store in Swan Street all bought and paid for from those little ends of cloth he had sold that Christmas. Cause you could only run from the coolie man so long before ya had to pay him because people would get 'fraid that he put the steel donkey pun them doah!

And lets not talk about the curtain fabric. All sort of designs, all sort of bright pretty pretty cloth which the women would sit with at night in the weeks before Christmas and slowly turn into curtains for the windows and doors. They either worked by hand, with a needle and thimble, getting the youngsters with sharper eyesight to thread the needle as the night got darker or using one of those old time clunky heavy duty Springer sewing machines. Is serious iron them things made out of boy! Solid solid solid and well made to last a lifetime.

Of course in making the curtain they had to match the colors of the house or sometimes the house colors would be chosen after the curtain colors. I aint sure which one led and which followed but you couldn't have a new paint job without new matching curtains cause that would look like ya aint got no style or no money and no one wanted anyone to believe either one of those.

Even if the curtains were finished a week or two before Christmas you would wait till Christmas eve or a day or two before Christmas to get up on the chair and put them up. So Christmas eve all you would hear is the rapping of hammers hitting nail heads, pounding out a distinctive Christmas melody as those new curtains went up at every house. It was a Christmas tradition cause those curtains had to look bright and new for the Christmas morning.

(baron version)
Mumma mumma
Would you like to join your sonnie
I am over here happy in this cold cold country
Darling for this Christmas
I hope everything is happy
come and join the chorus cause we will be having a party

Meanwhile the fruit for the Great Cake was steeping in rum, brandy, and wine since long time gone in September or even before that. Cherries, Raisins, Currents, mixed peel, that you had to help grind up in one of those old fashion hand mixers with the handle that you turned, all seeping up the alcohol. I tell ya, If ya eat two pieces of that cake when it dun, ya best not be driving anywhere lest the policeman ketch ya..............Matter a fact ya eat two pieces of that cake ya gine sleep cause that thing potent after all the fruit absorb all that liquor.

Dem church sisters may not touch a drop of alcohol but give them pieca great cake and I guarantee that their blood alcohol level on par with the fella that been hitting the bottle up by the corner rum shop since morning. This cake serious ya know! If it was North America a yout would have to show ID to get pieca cake.

And that cake taste real nice. Almost as nice as the ham when you cut off three slice and eat wid two sodabix or put it in a fresh salt bread and add a lil pepper sauce. Something bout a Christmas hamcutter that just taste better than any other sandwich in the world back then.

Everything nice, nice and in abundance. Nice n Nuff!

Sing we Noel, Calypso Noel
Sing we Noel, sing sing sing sing
Sing we Noel, calypso Noel
sing we Noel sing

A few days before Christmas my mom would give me a whole heap of green peas to shell. See me sitting at the dining room table feet dangling, bag of peas bigger than young Jdid. On one side two big bags full of pea husks, worms and and the occasional pea chink, the discards from the process and on the other side about a half a tray of fresh green peas. It would take a good hour or two to finish all that shelling even when I wasn't taking regular breaks to play with the big fat cream colored or green worms that came out of some of the pea shells. By the time I was finished the job after my mother had warned me about 6 times not to eat my handiwork my hands would smell of peas and chinks and my finger nails would be all green but there was enough peas in the tray to make our Christmas peas and rice dish cause Christmas in Barbados just wasn't Christmas without rice and peas using fresh green peas.

Yea true you could go down Cheapside market and get a few pints of already shelled green peas but it was so much cheaper to just get me to do all the hard work especially since we had two pea trees in the back yard.

Church bells ring a ling
Angels sing a ling
Happy Birthday Jesus
Snowflakes ding a ling
Sleighbells jing a ling
Happy Birthday Jesus
All year long we wait
just to celebrate this Christmas morn

Anyway about a day or two before Christmas suddenly ya nostrils perk up like when the dog smell his dinner on the way. I talking bout them pot starvers (mongrels) we used to own dat was real dogs not these poor great North American pretenders that cant even chew two chicken bones without getting sick. Is Kibbles and Bits fa them if ya please! No leftovers! Wha up ta last week I was telling the wife dat back when I was growing up we din need no recycling green bin for leftovers, we had a natural recycling device. He did name Rover or Spot or Blackie or Brownie or sometimes he was just de Dog. But nowadays dogs get posh and only eating brand name, store bought food. What a ting! Chupse!

Anyway I digress. Selector bring back some music to set the mood.

I've got that old feeling
that seems to fill the air
Its Christmas in my Caribbean land
and though there's no snow or sleigh bells to be heard
this feelings oh so grand!
now soon the bells will be ringing
choirs singing in good cheer
and old forgotten friends are brought to mind
oh tell me of this feeling
why cant this Christmas feeling exist amongst all people through the year (oh yea!)

I going wake up real merry
bake me jug and me turkey........

Not much Christmas lights when I was growing up. Too expensive to buy plus electricity was also expensive. Just one or two houses did the big light extravaganza that we have today. Instead to make the place look presentable ya would sweep up the front yard after ya finish paint, dig up the grass (none of that lawn business) maybe put down some marl or small stone out front and combined with the poinsettia and the snow on the mountain flowers blooming the place would still be looking real colorful still.

Now as I was saying before I digressed about two nights before Christmas your nostrils would light up from the scents wafting in over the breeze. It started the first night with sweet bread, Great cake and pudding and continued into the second night with the meats; delicious ham, succulent pork, turkey, chicken with the gizzards as stuffing. Heavenly scents! Everyone in the neighborhood baking at the same time and had started a day or two before Christmas because the ovens are small and ya baking enough to feed two armies so it took some time to get the job done.

Why we baking so much? You play you aint know that when Christmas day and bank holiday come round people gine be visiting and you have to have food to serve them. How it gine look bright Christmas somebody stop by and you cant even offer them two slices of sweet bread or pudding or if they is a good friend a slice of great cake. And all ya hearing;

So Santa Clause is in town
He comes but once a year
So ya vex because he came around
To visit me my dear

But Maizie in all in this heat

Wine up under the Christmas tree
Maizie I am vex because
ya making movements wid Santa clause

Maizie where is the Reindeer
Maizie I aint see no sleigh
If he have no reindeer no sleigh?
He came on BWIA

And of course as a child you don't want regular dinner those days when you start smelling those scents because you're hoping for a first slice of cake or meat that night and you staying up late dreaming of hot sweet bread. You eyes light up when the first sweet bread or piece of meat emerged from the oven and you might try to sneak off a lil taste when your mother wasn't looking but you had to be careful that she aint catch you and pelt some liks in your backside cause you know full well that the food is for Christmas and afterwards and the baking being done is as much for the guests as for the family.

Ah yes dreams of sweet bread and great cake washed down with a cold soft drink from the 2 or 3 cases that got bought from the drinks truck when it was up the street earlier that week by the village shop. A few weeks before ya had to go out in the yard, collect up all the empty drinks bottles to make sure you had a full case. Then wash out all the insects and cobwebs from those bottles cause you couldn't go and give the drinks man no nasty bottles ya kno! It wun look propa!

Then you had to make sure you knew what day the drinks trucks came to the village shop. The Banks truck came on Tuesday and the Ju-C truck Thursday so all Tuesday and Thursday ya trying ta keep a look out for the truck or if ya smart and ya on good terms with the shopkeeper (Meaning ya aint owe him no money) ya tell the shopkeeper ta give ya a call when the truck reach. Tiger Malt and Plus, Sprite, Ju-C, Bim and Frutee in all sorts of flavors from Red (Kola Champagne) to Yellow (Pineapple) and Banana and even Sorrel Flavored although the sorrel flavored ones aint taste as sweet as the real thing. You would tell the drinks man to mek sure he doan gi ya nuh stale drinks either cause if you open a drink and it flat ya gine be real vex. But those drinks had to last into January so you couldn't start drinking too early although if nobody looking you might sneak way one and even sneak a lil Falurnum in the drink to spice it up. :-)

But ya din have ta do dat too often cause first ya frighten ya get ketch and secondly ya had sorrel.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comAnother task for me as a youngster was to get the fresh sorrel and cut off the fruit (is fruit or is leaves?) from the seed so that it could be dried and prepared into that delicious Christmas drink. Another tedious task where the discarded portions, the big seed in the sorrel fruit, were more than the actual usable pieces, the petals which were steeped in hot water to prepare the delicious potion, and this time there were no fun worms to play with like with the peas. But the ends justified the means because the sorrel drink with a stick of clove in it was the most refreshing thing Christmas offered me as a youngster (except for the mix up sweet drink/beer/falurnum concoction that my dad did every Christmas which would knock me out for hours after Christmas dinner).

Drink a rum an a punch a crema
Drink a rum
Is Christmas morning
Drink a rum and a punch a crema
mama drink if ya drinkin

Christmas eve night everything in full gear. The cakes mostly done bake unless ya run outta gas and you weren't smart enuff to have a spare bottle in the house. I mean you know is nuff nuff baking to do so ya shoulda been prepared. Don't blame me looka try and run down by the gas station and buy a new bottle...if all aint sell out yet.

Its all the scent of meat baking that you sniffing in the air. And the sky bright with stars and outside chilly, by West Indian standards, but you still pushing ya nose through the jalousie (jealousie) window or sitting down on the step with the rest of kids indulging the sense of smell and being overcome by that feeling of Christmas. "boy you Mrs Browne like she baking a nice peica pork cross deyso." "You smell that ham that Miss Clarke baking? you that thing smell so good it got my mout watering real bad then!" "Ha ha, you smell dat? Wuhloss somebody sweet breads like dem burning." "Chupse dat cud only be Mavis wun cause you know she cann cook, wha even she husband say so."

The air smelling sweet, the stars looking brighter, the air just feeling sort of tingly on ya body. You can taste the excitement or is that smell it.

You cant wait for the Christmas morning.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comOne Christmas eve casually I was walking down the street
One Christmas eve casually I was walking down the street
I was attracted by the voice of a lil boy
as he strolled along the street no shoes on his feet
as he walked he continued to repeat

Listen Mama I want you to tell Santa Clause
To bring a trumpet and a consantina for me
I'm so lonely and have no children close by me
ma you don't kno how happy your son would be

Merry Christmas everyone.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Christmas Rush

Image hosted by Photobucket.comWell a brother attempted some Christmas shopping this afternoon and lets just say that whew was it was tiring. I came home and had a soft drink (pop, soda) and I swear it was like the sweetest thing I've ever tasted in my life. I literally felt like I was in one of those soda commercials. Ah refreshing!

Good thing I've only got like 2 or 3 gifts to pick up because if I had to shop for any more persons I may have had a severe case of fatigue right about now.

Anyway after observing the proceedings this afternoon and with nothing better to do while standing in line at the cash for 1/2 hr (woulda swear I was in a government office in the Caribbean) I came up with a couple of laws (10 so far) about this whole Christmas shopping phenomena which I shall share. (feel free to add) Oh I should add that most of these laws only relate to shopping in Toronto but probably hold for other places as well.

(1) 95% of persons wait until the last minute to shop.

(2) Aside from Christmas Eve and after 5 on a weekday the week before Christmas, the weekend before Christmas is the worst time in the year to shop. Especially if you wait till late in the afternoon or evening to go to the mall.

(3) Even with the best laid plans it usually takes much longer to find what you are looking for because everything is a mess in the malls.

(4) Women shop in packs usually accompanied by hordes of children.

(5) Hordes of children are in veritably unruly (today's blog word is in veritably by the way) because they are bored with being in the mall or they want their mothers to buy them the entire mall.

(6) At the cash register never choose the line which appears shortest. Its usually the slowest and most people recognize that which is why they are all in the longer line. Its just because you (read me) are a bit slow that you haven't realized this yet.

(7) If you do happen to choose the shortest line and it is the slowest as it will be don't by any means switch lines thinking that you can cheat fate because any line you switch to will immediately slow down.

(8) People will hold up cash lines for the most trivial of stuff. They will spend 200 dollars on one item but then argue about whether a pair of socks is actually retailing for 2.29 or 1.99.

(9) The saddest persons at the mall are men who are shopping with their significant others. Either you are going to spend way more time in the mall than you want to or you are going to spend way more money than you first intended. Luckily I shopped alone.

(10) Anything you buy before Christmas will again inveritably by at least 40% cheaper on Boxing day.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

65 hundred dollar question

Ok quick post on the run. Christmas is in the air. I haven't been into the malls yet but I've heard that they are quite the sight these days. To tell you the truth I'm not much in a Christmas mood yet and not sure I'll be in one this year.

The good news is that next Wednesday is my last day of work for two weeks. Hallelujah! A brother be running on pure adrenalin for the last couple of weeks and the wife takes lots of pleasure in laughing at me as I fall asleep in the couch at 930 every night. So lets recap that wake at 530 get to work before 8 leave around 6 get home after 7 which leaves possibly 2 hrs to watch TV, blog, relax etc no wonder a brother is tired.

Anyway we haven't put up any lights or anything yet but others in the neighborhood have gone to great lengths to "beautify" their properties. But when is it going overboard with the lights?

When we lived downtown there was this one strange house close by which had a million lights and decorations. Actually on the whole that entire house was a bit out of the ordinary. We nicknamed it the Ginger Bread house. The regular brick or aluminum siding had been covered by a cork/wood like substance which along with other decorations causing it to look year round like the fabled house from the Hansel and Grethel story. Never did see who lived there though but I'm thinking wicked witch perhaps lol.

Well up here there is one house I've seen quite close by which has literally thousands of lights. Its actually quite beautiful from a certain point of view but still.

Was talking to a neighbor the other day (no not the one whose poodle hates my guts and always rushes at me for some unknown reason) and he knows the persons at that house and said that they told him they spent over 6500 dollars on lights this year. $6500 in lights! Wow I wonder what they spend in gifts and since they obviously have money to burn whether they could see their way to hooking a brother up with a loan.

Monday, December 12, 2005


Image hosted by Photobucket.comBeen following the Stanley Tookie Williams story this evening. In case you don't know what I'm talking about its the story of a man on death row who is about to be executed at midnight California time tonight.

Williams is in jail for the alleged murder of 4 persons back in 1979, murders which he has repeated denied committing but for which he was sentenced to death back in 1981. His lawyers have filed motions and asked for clemency from Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger all to no avail up to this point. Would you expect clemency from a Governor better known as the Terminator? Alrighty then!

Williams is also purported to be the founder of the notorious Crips gang in LA, something which haunts his past and may be a factor weighing into the repeated denial of clemency.

Was arguing the point with someone who said that if he was indeed the founder of the Crips street gang he deserves to be executed since so many innocents have been killed by this notorious group but my argument was if that's the case and a man is judged not on the actual crimes he was being charged with but on other crimes then many a politician would deserve the death penalty for their ignoble deeds.

Tookie's is an interesting story because in jail he has become an outspoken critic of gangs, has written numerous anti-gang books aimed at kids and was actually nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Surely here is a rehabilitated man. Still his opponents harp on the fact that he has never apologized for committing the murders. Tookie's claim is that since he didn't commit the murders he has nothing to apologize for. A weaker man would probably just apologize and gain clemency but Tookie seems to be sticking to his guns (so to speak). Got to respect that somehow.

Now I'm not here to debate the right and wrong of the situation as I'm sure everyone has their own belief. His lawyers claim he was set up and that the witnesses were frauds, the prosecution claims he is a cold blooded murderer and deserves to die for his deeds. The debate will rage on up till the injections are delivered into his body and even after his, what I now believe to be inevitable, death tonight.

No that's not what I'm here to discuss. My issue was with what I just saw on CNN. As you know CNN has to give you 24 -7 coverage of every even remotely interesting news item delving into every nook and cranny of any aspect of the individuals involved and this news story is no different. Interviews with Jessie Jackson, recorded comments from the governor, statements from Tookie's lawyers etc etc but what really grabbed my attention was this.

CNN interviewed a former death row inmate (cant remember the name) who was wrongfully accused of murder and spent a decade on death row. He continually protested his innocence (just like Tookie) and in 1995 he was exonerated proving that sometimes the justice system can be indeed wrong. You would think someone like this would know that sometimes the system can make mistakes but yet this former inmate was absolutely adamant that Tookie deserved the death penalty even if he did apologize for the murders. He claims that the proof against Tookie is irrefutable and he deserves to die. Wait a second they don't put you on death row unless the evidence is irrefutable do they? So wasn't it irrefutable in your case yet somehow they proved that it was wrong and you managed to escape with your life?

Imagine that. Your ass got lucky and got a reprieve but yet you cant have the same compassion for someone possibly in a similar situation. Here is someone who should realize that everything isn't always black and white in justice and sometimes you get caught up in the grey but yet he was so confident in Tookie's guilt. Absolutely amazing!

Anyway Tookie I'm writing this like you're already gone because I honestly don't expect any last minute reprieve. God go with you and forgive you for any sins you have committed.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Bin hiding

Did I tell you guys that I saw Osama at my supermarket the other day? Serious thing ya kno!

De wife was away and I was meandering my way through the supermarket buying all sorts of foolishness that I didn't need to when this fella come in the front door that made me do a double take. Osama is that you? Ya bin hiding in Scarborough?

Ok yea it wasn't really Osama but seriously if I was going to go by the "all people of other races look the same" theory that certain people seem to be fond on I would swear that it was him.

The face was a bit different and he wasn't as tall as the real Osama but that's where the differences ended. Y'all must have seen that silent video they play on CNN over and over with Bin Laden up in the mountains in Afghanistan or someplace so where his face look bushy bushy with a big salt and pepperish beard. He is wearing a certain style of turban wrapped around his head with a green army jacket over his traditional garb? Y'all seen that right? Well the fella in the supermarket did look just just like that.

Oh yea I'm being stereotypical you say. Always picking on the Muslim people y'all say. First I was telling wunnah about hijabs gone wild now I'm saying that all the Muslim men look like Bin Laden. Cuhdear!

But I wasn't the only person in the supermarket that had to do a double take cause everyone in the checkout line turn around with the same look I had thinking to themselves wait no that cant be Bin Laden. Seriously if any CIA agents used to shop in my supermarket that man would be skin out on the floor all like now. Blam! Shots would have rung out. Cause if ya just saw him from the side you would swear that it was Bin Laden.

I mean even I was there thinking wait them got a reward for Bin Laden? Looka let me go and lik he down with this shopping cart cause a brother could use some big money.

I also wanted to follow him around though to see what a Bin Laden clone would buy in a supermarket. I got this theory that the man was on a pork run, I wish I had followed him with a camera.

Sunday, December 04, 2005


I'm tired. Respect to all the folk who gave me greetings and to all those who came out for my birthday gathering. I felt the love. And yo what's with all y'all giving me alcohol? Not that I didn't appreciate the punch a creme, the rum punch, the wine and the bacardi black but are y'all trying to say a brother's a lush or something (but my words don't be slurrin, I never lose my balance)? I'm just playing man.

Anyway I realized I need to just ramble today cause I haven't actually sat at this computer and typed for a while and I got to keep the skills up.

I just wrote like 2 paragraphs on my writing and some stuff about being older and potential and failure and all that jazz but blah blah blah I don't feel like sharing so if a man cant get introspective when he rambles I'll retreat back into an old familiar spot.

Sports. Didn't get a chance to say big up to the TnT warriors for making World Cup 2006 in Germany. Also big up to Brian Lara for reaching his milestone as cricket's leading run getter. I'll be totally honest I'm not a big Lara fan but he's got the stats to show that he's great so I can give him his props. Too bad the whole International cricket team sucks. What is it with me and backing losers.

Speaking of losers. The C-raptors won back to backs (playing twice in two nights) for the first time since 2000. That's amazing considering they went into the back to back with a record of 1 and 14 or 15. Must say that although its not the best team it was refreshing to see them win. I find it hilarious when the reporters call Mo Pete a veteran though. Yea he's been around 4 or 5 years but still. Oh and I still think Sam Mitchell is a questionable coach though. Friday's win was made inspite of his antics in my opinion.

Its election time in Canada as our minority Liberal government was brought down. I don't usually chat politics but some things are funny here. (1) Why is it that every conservative leader in this country has like the slickest hair and no facial expression. They all remind me of Odo from DS9. Its like the Dominion trying to take over.
(2)isn't it funny that Paul Martin after kicking up fuss behind the scenes to get rid of Chretien couldn't even hold his government intact for a full year. The dude wanted to be PM from long time gwan and he got his wish but its just not working out as he wanted.
(3) what's with the NDP voting against the Liberals? Dumb move by Jack Layton. Jack your party historically sucks and you were in a position of strength in Parliament for the first time in years. You could have gotten some of your agenda through. You wont win any more seats this election in fact you are likely to win less, should have stuck it out and made deals with the Liberals because if the Tories win there is no way your agenda and theirs can work together.

Anyway enough rambling I'm gone.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Dereliction of Duty

Yes I've been noticeably absent the last couple of weeks so I apologize. Just when I was getting the hang of this blogging thing work has reared its ugly head and just taken over my life. Serious times like Gypian say.

Anyway I still have a bunch of stuff to say and I'll try to be a bit better starting next week.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comAnd tomorrow actually in under an hour its my Birthday. Where all my Sagittarius people at? Man a brother is getting old but I'm still looking young (occasionally) lol.

Actually its kind of funny cause I'm starting to get to that stage where its kind of weird to say how old you are. Its not really that I am ashamed of my age or anything. I've worked all my life to get here but its mainly because most of my friends are younger than I am and I'm still trying to look cool.

You know in your 20s if anyone asks how old you are you are quick out the gate with 21 or 27 or 29 or whatever but you hit those thirties and when someone asks your age you are purposely vague like I'm in my early thirties or I'm in my mid thirties never giving an exact number, thinking they don't need to actually know my age and never giving any specifics.

And no one ever gets my age right, on one hand some folks think I'm like 35 or 37 which is a few years older than I actually am (being purposely vague see) and on the other hand some people still think I'm 27 (meaning they clearing aren't seeing the ridiculous amount of grey hair a man my age has) which is either a good thing or a bad thing because either I look 27 or they are saying that at the age I'm at I should be farther ahead in life.

I know some of you folk will probably be like fa real you're thirty something lol. Yep.

But yea birthdays always make a brother look back at what he's accomplished and where he is in life and for the most part its a bit depressing but lately I've tried not to depress myself by being too over analytical. At least I have my health, well except for that back thing oh and the niggle in the hip oh and the foot thing. Ok well maybe I don't have my health.

But what can I say I've lived to see another year. Not everyone can say that so to God I give thanks.

Wont over indulge in the self analysis and introspection here but I'm just going to go enjoy my birthday and thank God I'm another year older. 10 minutes to go before the birthday begins.

Oh and again like last year I still aint see Halle Berry for my birthday.
See you guys with some posts next week.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Independence Day

Cant forget to big up Barbados and all the bajan crew on its 39th Independence day.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Subway Stories

Ok before you guys begin to think I'm on hiatus or sick or something let me jot down a few lines (although truth is I am a bit under the weather today).

Got a few subway/transit stories for you so here goes with the first one.

It was a dark and stormy night, this evening on my way home. How ya mean it cant be night when its evening? A who telling the story not me? Ya see how dark the place duz get at 4 o clock? Man these days by 7 o clock is like midnight outside. I reached Kennedy station, surprisingly without dropping into the deep subway slumber I am accustomed to, around 7 o clock only to find that as usual the Scarborough RT had broken down. Worthless piece of crap I mumble to myself as I stood there waiting for my bus to arrive watching the mad scramble down the stars from the RT platform. I don't usually take the RT but when it breaks down it usually means a massive influx of slightly dazed and lost persons searching for another way home which usually means the replacement buses they run in its place or any other bus that comes into the bus bay including mine. Chaos and pandemonium as passengers shout at overworked bus drivers and each other. Nerves are on edge and tempers flare because everyone wants to just go home after a long hard day on the hustle at work. So Kennedy is not the place you want to be and definitely not on a cold damp day like today but hey what's a brother to do.? Damn TTC cant live with it cant live without it.

I'm waiting silently, watching the drama unfold while keeping an eye out for my bus as I stand close to the bus bay doors waiting for its arrival. I'm in my own world as usual, although the ever present music is absent, just trying to keep warm while keeping up my mean mugging. What am I mean mugging for well even if it wasn't tired cold and potentially coming down with a bug I'd do it just because its Kennedy station and a brothers gotta look hard like he's ready to throw down at the drop of a dime when he steps into that spot. Aint no happy go lucky dudes up here, we stays grimy son! WHAT! What you haven't noticed that everyone looks hard at Kennedy station? I noticed that last year when I got here and I've already perfected my Ice Cube scowl since moving to these parts. Its all about survival of the fittest, adapt or be ghost. Word!

Lol, ok its not that hard but hey everyone mean mugs man I aint lying. Maybe its cause we out in the boondocks and the trip from downtown takes so long that by the time you reach Kennedy brothers just got issues and it shows on your face. ha ha.

Still, Its cold and rainy tonight. The temperature is in the double digits which is good cause two days ago we were in the negative double digits but as I said a brother be sick so I'm still a bit cold tonight. I'd usually stand outside on the platform but I cant deal with the cold air so I'll chill inside until the bus comes. What that does mean is I'll get on the bus but probably way after the mass of humanity has taken all the seats and most of the standing room.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comThe bus arrives, I spot it early and I'm out on the platform in a dash. Nowhere to run to though as the crowd rolls thicker than Wu Tang on stage. Doggone it! The bus is filling up quickly, if I don't get on I've got to wait about 15 minutes for another one. Its never this crazy at 7 o clock oh right RT breakdown. damn!

I manage to get on and get a standing spot close to the door. For once the standing room is packed because usually dudes just stand at the front door and refuse to move back into the bus. Its like everybody feels they be Rosa Parks or some ish. Move to the back of the bus you clowns! Plus what's truly annoying is that two bus stops later it usually empties out. Lazy ass Torontonians its only a 5 minute walk let people who are going further get into the bus nuh man.

Barely made my way into the bus and I'm almost standing level with the driver. We are at crush capacity, think sardines or slaves on the middle passage. I try to squeeze further into the bus but as I mentioned last paragraph those folk who stand at the front have me boxed in. They wont go further in and I cant squeeze past them.

The driver complains that's he's not moving until some folk get out. Easy for him to say that we've been waiting for this bus for a while now no one wants to get out. No one past the white line he says. Damn I'm on the white line! Two folk nearer to the door get off and I'm still on the white line. I aint moving. Anyway I guess the two who left were enough to get the show on the road when this last minute cat jumps on and tries to somehow get past me onto the bus. He's trying to crawl past me using a non-existent space. Its not working so my man starts elbowing me like Alonzo Morning boxing out in the paint. What da? I somehow manage to turn around and glare down on him like I could kick your ass little man. Damn that patented Ice Cube scowl comes in handy. No words exchanged but that was that no more elbows. Thank you Cube, you the man even though you fell off and went Hollywood. Still I swear one of these days I'm going to have to throw two box in someone on the bus.

Anyway we set off. Its raining "bucket a drop" as my bajan people would say. As predicted at stop number 2 the bus loses about 8 passengers. I'm buffeted from the left and right as they attempt to blow past me out of the bus. I can only small up myself when a woman coming from the right and a fella from the left. I don't know what wunnah expect me to do.

The trip continues. People get off and some get on but at least I've got some breathing room now and we are less packed than before. I've moved down somewhat into the bus as space became available. My stop is coming up but I'm stuck behind some tall dude with a knapsack taking up the entire corridor and some chick on a cell phone who although she's like 5 foot 2 decides that her feet must stretch out across the walkway. I gine tell ya this as God is my witness if she doan try an move them two big ugly hooves she got deyso I gine mek it my business ta mash she corns on purpose on my way out. Ya think I lie? Chupse! Looka how she gine skin out she feet into the corridor ta throw down people. I serious though some of these young people aint got no damn sense at all ya kno!

Anyway I say excuse me, she moves her feet but I still have to push my way past knapsack boy to get off the bus but at least my transit trip is over for the day ..........until tomorrow. Damn!

(I still have like three more subway stories but this went overtime)

ps: Got the chance to link with two of Toronto's finest bloggers this weekend. Madamoiselles Solitaire and Starfoxx. I must say it was totally my pleasure to make both your acquaintances and you guys seem like alot of fun to hang with. Star I know I'll see you around Scarberia, we gotta link again. And to my likkle sistren Soli all the best on your Journey out west, Toronto will miss you but we know you are off to do big things. Stay grounded, stay focused and stay vigilant. Glad I got the chance to meet you before you took off. Don't worry about a thing, God got ya back and he will protect you on your journey and in your new home. Knock em dead sis . One love.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

My Uzi weighs a tonne

I got so much trouble on my mind

My wife summed it up quite accurately last Saturday night when she said its not been good to be a black person in Toronto this past week.

True enough the acts of this past week have left many of us with a heavy heart and grieving for our youth. First we had the arrest of 16 or 17 black teenage students, all between the age of 15 and 17, at a local high school all suspected of assaulting a 16 year old girl. This case has some serious racial overtones as the accused are all black and the victim white. While the police say they have video of the assaults I'm sure many will question exactly what went on as most of the accused are athletes, the girl waited over a year to report the case, her peers don't seem to believe her and well just the whole racial overtones will cause all sorts of doubts and issues to be addressed with regards to this case. I'm taking no sides here, until I see the evidence. If the accused did the deeds they are accused of my thoughts go out to the victim and her family and I say punish the criminals with the full extent of the law. If they are innocent I grieve for the stress and image tarnishing they have had to absorb. I just hope that justice is actually done in this case

when the slugs penetrate you feel a burning sensation
getting closer to God in a tight situation

Then we had a shooting of a teenager on the doorsteps of a local church at a funeral which ironically was for his best friend who was also a shooting victim. That was probably the last straw for a lot of people. That the church, a sacred sanctuary, a place of peace was defiled in such a manner has really captured the attention of all here. and made a lot of folk mad as hell.

Its like jungle sometimes it makes me wonder how I keep from going under.

Sunday in between my mammoth leaf job I had the opportunity to watch the underground DVD that's been floating around Toronto (I'm not calling it by name) showing some of the hoods and what's "real" in the streets.

John Wayne couldn't understand the reign of the tech

Let me tell you this. I've always been lead to believe that 'real bad man naa tell people dem bad' so I'm a bit skeptical about some of the claims these kids are making in this video. Plus there is a clear absence of some of the more well known rougher neighborhoods in this video so some of it may be just kids talking just to get a rep but yo the guns in the video are real enough son. Real! I'm talking pump shotties, semi autos, tech nines and other burners in abundance. Plus the attitude while it may be boosted by some additional street bravado for the cameras seems to tell me that these kids just don't give a .....

(On another note I've heard that since this dvd a whole bunch of the dudes in it have been arrested. They may talk a lot of yang about snitching and informer this an that but that video was probably like Christmas come early for the policemen.)

Which led me to another of my thoughts and I've had this for other places I've lived but never before for Toronto.

There really are different Torontos. There are some distinct realities in Toronto and all are true realities. My reality does not conform to that of these kids any more than my reality conforms to that of say a movie star or an NBA player. Yet all are true realities kind of like DC alternate universes occupying the same space and time (unlike 2 mcs) . Which is why these kids can go around shooting and retaliating and acting a fool. Its not normal in my reality thank God but that's their reality and its the norm for them. The problems of their reality have been around for a long time its just that now realities are colliding, worlds are about to implode and people in my world are noticing and are now quite obviously worried. Sad but true.

Totin techs for reps, smokin blunts in the project
hallways, shootin dice all day

If these kids in the video are any indication of the majority of kids in these neighborhoods I'm predicting we're going to be seeing that Paris type ish happen here soon. Why? These kids really don't have any hopes. Their dreams of getting out of the hood revolve around drugs, basketball and hip hop. Every other dude in the dvd was trying to freestyle. Its like Biggie said 'either ya slanging crack rock or ya got a wicked jumpshot'.

While some of them might be fronting like they are hard I truly believe that a lot of these kids really are a wild ass, ready to die, nothing to lose bunch. Life aint worth a dime. Its really scary because when someone has nothing to lose they are the most dangerous of beasts and one must expect the unexpected.

Limited education, limited social and community services to keep idle hands busy, lack of positive role models, over crowded stigmatized environment, lack of legitimate employment avenues or a drive to pursue them, a quest to get rich or die trying by any means necessary and easy access to high caliber weapons have led to this reality. Its a second class have-not reality. Its inhabitants match those in mine in that we are all trying to make a living, and get some money but where we diverge is that they go about these tasks by illegal means simply because some don't have the skills to acquire what they want by legal means.

I believe the children are the future

Now before I finish I just need to say that my goal here isn't to paint entire areas with one brush. There are good and bad folks in all areas, all worlds, all realities and there are probably a good number of positive black youth out there in these areas trying to do their daily grind and go about making their mark legally. The problem is that we have an abundance of youth with no hope, with access to guns and with no compunction about using them. It will only get worse before it gets better. Things done changed.

Winter's Here

Image hosted by Photobucket.comWe had our first snowfall on Friday so that was a sure sign that its time to break out the long johns, the toque, the boots and the winter clothing. You've heard of tupac well from November to April Jdid changes his name to twopants cause I aint leaving home without some sort of long johns or something to keep my legs warm.

Oh well at least Friday's snow wasn't the type that stuck to the ground like this picture shows but I know its only a matter of time.

Today I'm tired. Worked yesterday and then raked 11 bags full of leaves from out front. Yea I know I complained about raking last week but this week was ridiculous. My back hurts and I'm starting the week even more tired than I finished the last one.

Got some stuff to blog about but its late so I'm keeping this post simple and wishing everyone a great week ahead. More snow predicted this week in the t-dot but a so it go. Have fun.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Music - Prodigal Prodigy

I from where **** pull your card, and argue all day about
Who's the best MC's, Biggie, Jay-Z, and Nas

Where I'm from - Jay Z

So another musical Friday. Today I'm going to talk about the who's the best debate minus Biggie. That's right y'all Nas vs Jay Z. And before I start I got to say that this blog was inspired by a post I read over at MizJJ a few weeks back when Nas and Jay had just reconciled their differences.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comSo lets all sit back and think about the Jay Z vs Nas thing. Not that I'm trying to start a new beef after the old one has been settled but sometimes it definitely seems like its not clear which cat is the best; the Brooklyn born Jay Z or the Queens raised Nas. I was supposed to do a bit of research on this but time hasn't permitted it so I'm going to just drop it freestyle off the dome today. Oh and this post isn't meant to be definitive or to solve the issue its just some thoughts on the issue.

I'm letting it be known from jump that I'm biased in this debate because I've been a Nas fan from the start. From his cameo Live at the Barbeque followed by his stint "waving automatic guns at nuns" with Mc Serch I thought Nas was an mc who lived up to the hype on his debut. Not many mcs can say this.

Illmatic was a classic, not only that but anytime you're talking top 10 hip hop albums ever Illmatic has got to be in that list along with BDP's Criminal Minded and PE's It takes a Nation of Million to hold us back. The other cats can fight for the other 7 spots and note I'm not rating these albums in any order or as being the top 3 I'm just saying no way you find 10 other other albums to knock them completely completely out the top 10.

To cut to the chase Nas is and has always been undeniably talented but compared to Jay Z, Nas has never been as focused. The clear inheritor of Rakim's throne, one of the big problems with Nas was that he started on the top. Illmatic was an undeniable classic! This 'likkle' baby faced yout just dropped a bonified classic straight out the box. New York state of Mind, One Love, The World is yours, Life's a .... since "that buck that bought a bottle could have struck the lotto" while he was 'drinking moets with medusa' on Halftime. The brother just took it to the top from the word GO. And of course anything he has done since has had to suffer to live up to that comparison.

Its like a kid whose big brother is a high school superstar be it in an academic or athletic arena. When that kid comes along and starts performing in the same field that big bro got acclaim in he's always compared. Look at Marcus Vick , Mike Vick's younger brother. Well so it is with It was written and all the other albums that Nas has dropped after the big brother Illmatic. They have all been solid maybe even great albums for the most part except that Nastradamus debacle but compared to Illmatic they have all paled.

Somewhere along his career it seems clear that Nas lost focus but as a young man growing up with the acclaim and the rewards that he started to garner that was bound to happen. He went from Nasty to Nas to Esco and just seemed to be trying to unsuccessfully grab the flavor of the day in order to make it big. It didn't work.

Still he seems to have rebounded quite well and his last few albums have been solid efforts. Mind you I think Street Disciple was sort of a failure not because of its lyrical content but because it was a double album. I guess that something the big three of Biggie, Nas and Jay Z have in common none of them have been able to successfully pull off a double album. Don't give me any chat about Life after Death because that could have easily been a lot better if they had made it a single lp. I guess in hip hop bigger isn't always better.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comOnto that man Jay Z though. I think Jay's claim is that he stayed focused throughout his career. He started out at an older age than Nas did so maybe that helped but with Jay Z I think we saw him get better and better no lapsing as he went from album to album.

Again in all honesty though there are quite a few Jay Z albums I do not like that much. I almost gave up on the brother after In my Lifetime Vol I. Volume II was something that I threw in my cart as I bought the Aquemeni album just because since I said to myself the brother makes good singles but never carries an entire album (plus at that time I was rocking the Black Star lp 24-7 so Jay and Outkast took a back seat).

Sorry I didn't think that much of Reasonable Doubt to be honest. I know its considered a classic now but it just didn't move me considering the era in which it dropped. As much as he had a few good singles I just didn't like the way the albums Reasonable Doubt and Vol I were put together. Yea Where I'm from, Who you wid, and Dead Presidents were all dope singles from the first two lps but still, I'm looking at overall product and to me I just wasn't feeling Jay.

Volume II changed that for me but I've still had an on off relationship with the Jigga man.

Izzo has never been the great to me that he has been to many. Probably because I pride lyrical skills above all. Dude had skills but still I got the impression that he was toying with the fans giving us just enough to walk that line where he could appeal to all audiences at once. That's the talent of Jay Z, he was able to reach the masses and still get some critical acclaim. I guess that's why 'he's business, man, not a businessman' as he knew how to work the crowd but as a lover of just pure lyrical skills I felt a bit betrayed by Jay. Like he was holding back cause he thought his work would suffer if he didn't dumb it down. Which actually may be a smart move business wise but artistically annoys me.

I didn't care much for Volume III, I loved Dynasty, I disliked the Blueprints 1 and 2 but the Black album was my joint. His lyrics here were top notch and he really made me feel the emotion of that album. Jay worked the game quite successfully for his entire career which is something he has up on Nas plus this retirement business going out on the top of his game was a great move. (Now will he come back or not I have no idea)

As another thought on the Jay thing I think Jay also had the benefit of timing. As I said previously maybe that's why I wasn't feeling Reasonable Doubt back in the day. It was good but the product back then was so good it wasn't stand out. But as time went on the rap product's quality decreased in general while Jay got better. Hip hop needed a savior in the wake of a lackluster Nas and a dead Tupac and Biggie. Question to ponder. Would Jay have made it this big were Tupac and Biggie alive? If you say yes take into consideration the ego and big personalities of pac and big and get back to me.

So in conclusion (since I've gone on and on and on) I think Nas is the better lyricist. Is he the better mc? Jay Z definitely moved a bigger crowd and since m.c could stand for mic controller or move the crowd who gets the pick? As Guru said 'the question remains'. Remember I said I wasn't trying to solve that riddle.

I think Nas was the prodigy, the kid with all the talent in the world but did he live up to his potential? No. (Oh don't get me started on potential I despise that word.) Considering his debut lp he really hasn't given the world what we expected of him although his career has been better than the average mc. He lost his way like a prodigal son, making him a prodigal prodigy perhaps (Check the ill alliteration son! What!) but he came back and his career isn't over so lets see where this rap thing takes him. Jay on the other hand was the smarter dude, the hustler, the businessman more than a journeyman in terms of skills but yet not seemingly the natural that Nas was so he put in work. Overtime even to get his status up there. Now he's President of Def Jam and 'got the flyest girl in the game wearing his chain'. What more can I say!! Both of them are successes in their own right. Both of them are top notch mcs. Nas brought the poetical lyrics, Jay Z moved the masses though yet somehow didn't completely pander. Quite the skill.

So you choose Jay or Nas? I like them both and I've got to think this though a bit more.


Monday, November 14, 2005

Confessions Part ?

I actually don't know how to put this in writing or if I should be exposing this on the net so bear with me while I ramble.

Well my wife's been gone for a few weeks now. Off on business and vacation and I've been left here all by my lonely. Toronto's an awfully big city when you are all alone. Cold and somewhat frightening.

Well you know how it goes when a guy's girl aint around and he's all on his own with time on his hands and nothing to do. Temptation is always around the corner. Yep good ol temptation its always there just lurking, waiting to strike, or more like just biding the time to find an opening to slide right in and take a spot when your vulnerability's down. Especially when you are a guy.

Well with the wife away temptation caught up to me this week. Sigh! So many women so little time.

I really cant explain it but take my word for it, it just kind of happened. What can I say? It wasn't like I planned for it to happen or anything, it just plain did. Temptation got the best of me.

Yea ok I didn't put up much of a fight to the idea so I'll take the blame. Not that I was trying to shift the blame its just that I'm trying to say what I have to say without making things too difficult.

And sadly this is not the first time that I've given in to temptation. Yea what can I say almost everytime my wife goes away and those temptations come around I give in. Yea I'm weak I guess but cant I be forgiven I'm only human. I'm only a man. I just cant say no to those beautiful women. All they have to do is open their mouths and speak the simplest words to me and I'm caught up. It is my one weakness and I've known this for a long time.

Especially M. What a woman! I've known M since before I met my wife. We had a thing going on, well more than a thing that makes it seem frivolous and casual. Words cant even describe it. I'm telling you it was something deep. It was real love. Even during my courtship phase with my wife, M was always there in the background of my life waiting till my wife wasn't around to just show up. She soothed me on so many occasions, she brought me joy, when I was stressed or tired. Somehow I just couldn't let go of her during this courtship, she became an addiction. Even if I was hanging out with my soon to be wife at night whenever she left I'd have to somehow find M just to hear her sweet voice before I went to bed.

My wife sort of knew about M but she didn't realize that anything was going on or if she did she assumed it was just a passing phase and it would soon be gone. M never drew attention to herself so we were able to continue our relationship without anyone knowing. I kept it on the hush (I would use the word downlow but that got all sorts of different connotations nowadays and I man doan play that). Sure M and my wife met and actually got along quite well. But while M knew all about my wife, my wife was oblivious to my relationship with M besides the fact that she was an acquaintance. She didn't realize that she was in fact sharing me with M.

Oh boy things could get complicated.

When we married that was it for me and M. I saw her occasionally but it just wasn't the same as my wife wasn't too fond of that. Even though she didn't know the extent of my relationship with M she put her foot down and said no more M. You don't need anyone else but me. But the truth be told, I really missed M and any chance I had and my wife wasn't around for a couple of days I'd fall back into the same old habits and M would somehow end up with me back in the bedroom.

Yea I know our bedroom oh man that just makes things worse doesn't it. Maybe I shouldn't have mentioned that but it was so good what M did for me on those nights when I would otherwise be lonely. She was a voice to listen to and a shoulder to cry on. I honestly loved M. Over and over I'd fall asleep comforted by her presence.

And no I didn't see M when the wife was around if that makes it any better although I'm sure it doesn't. Somehow I was always able to resist her charms when the wife was around. Strange isn't it? Does that make things better or worse I'm not sure or does it even matter.

Well as the years went by things changed. I still see M occasionally but as I said things change. I've gotten over her and I'm just not feeling her as much as I was 7 or 8 years ago when my appetite for her was insatiable.

But that doesn't mean I'm not giving into temptation any more. Nope on the contrary I'm messing with not one but two new girls now. Younger chicks too. Lets call them K and T. I've only met them recently and I cant profess to love them the same way I loved M but when the wife is away they get the job done ...if ya know what I mean wink wink! I've been alternating between the two. I don't feel like I have anything emotionally invested in either and I'm not sure I can keep up with these young girls cause most times in two twos I duz be sleeping. They now warming up and I man duz be getting ready to catch a serious snooze. Then again I not as young as I used ta be and I cant be expected to keep up with these young yams but what can I say a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do.

Ok that was the wrong thing to say. It makes me seem like a punk. I'm a little ashamed though which I guess is why I'm confessing. Don't get me wrong I'm not apologizing just confessing. I'm not sorry for anything that I did or that I'm doing? Why should I? I don't think I've done anything wrong! Things happen I told you. When the cat's away the mice will play isn't that what they say and like I said earlier Toronto can be a pretty cold and lonely place by oneself.

What!! Don't you dare judge me until you've walked in my shoes.

Sigh but like I said temptation just got the best of me. Its an addiction I just cant help myself. Oh well could be worse, I could be messing with a white girl. Sorry!

Oh yea and shhh dont tell my wife.

Ok now did you guys figure out I was actually talking the fact that when the wife is away I listen to music at night in bed or y'all thought I was talking about something else? Wait wunnah think if it was something else I would confess juss so on the internet? I know I aint got no common sense but I aint mad? M = Mary J Blige and T and K are Toya Alexis and Keisha Cole whose respective albums I've been listening to lately. Don't ask me to name any of their songs though cause by track two I'm out like a light. Did y'all catch the Real Love, My life and Bring me Joy hints I dropped in there? Oh wait, I feel all y'all did think I was talking about something else ya know :-). Shame on you for besmirching my good reputation. lol

Could have done this blog a bit better with some xtra time though but oh well, I'm tired, its past my bedtime and it doesn't have to be perfect. Anyway I gone to listen to some more music and go to sleep. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 13, 2005


Image hosted by Photobucket.com4 hrs of raking and I've only done the backyard. I am so tired and my back is aching. This North American thing naa mek it ya know.

First its the waste-of-time grass that keeps you going all summer and then its the useless, non-fruit bearing, trees shedding leaves that kills your back in the fall. I've about had it up to here with mother nature in this country! I'm serious. I'm close to the edge. I'm about to go Texas chain saw massacre on my backyard any day soon.

Damn useless trees! I mean doggone it all if I'm going to have to rake leaves till the cows come home at least give me a golden apple, a mango even a few ackees (guineeps) or something for all my hard work.

Instead I got trees that just produce leaves. What good is that to me? Man cannot live by leaves alone. It aint even to say it is leaves that I could use to boil pieca bush tea like Cerasee or Wonde-wirl or something so and its not like the tree got a bark that I can boil up and drink like mauby. Chupse!

Wonderful just wonderful! But see wunnah, wunnah trees an grass that laughing at me and got me working so hard when my weekend come, wunnah wait deyso cause wunnah aint know that there is a bag of cement just calling my name. A bag of cement just begging me to mix it like my name was DJ X. So alright go ahead and feel wunnah got big man ta mek joke off of. As Rupee say 'enjoy yaself in the mas cause ya neva know it might be ya last' and as the old people say 'Day duz run till night ketch it!'

I'm going to bed now and hopefully I wont be in too much pain in the morning.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Music Fridays

My humps my humps my lovely lady lumps?
Black Eye Peas latest single My humps

Image hosted by Photobucket.comWell as a West Indian I am a born pea-ologist. I know about all sorts of peas; peas and rice, rice and peas, stew peas, split peas, pigeon peas, green peas, dry peas and of course the black eyed peas.

So today's musical blog I'm going to tackle the Black Eyed Peas, the group, not the ones that go well in a plate of rice with some stew chicken or with pieca pig tail on the side. lol

Now I remember back in 98 when this group first started making waves. I personally wasn't feeling them that much as I saw them as trying to be a poor man's version of the Legendary Roots crew doing the live instrument thing. One of my sistren, who dislikes hip hop with a passion, actually thought they were kind of cool though so it made me sit up and take notice as to who these guys were because with the praise coming from her either they weren't rap at all or they were really really good.

Well turns out they were neither in my opinion, they just fell somewhere in between. It was a three man squad lead by producer rapper Will.I.Am and featuring and Taboo (And don't ask me which one is Taboo and which one is Apl cause I really don't think anyone cares). They dropped their first album Behind the Front featuring lots of live instruments which was/is kind of uncommon for hip hop. Interesting I thought! The single Joints and Jams was kind of catchy as was Karma.

Ok well maybe they can improve the rapping and be somebody I thought. They got potential. Enter Bridging the gap their second album. A slight improvement or a slight lapse depending on how you look at it. To be honest again, I must have listened to that joint like twice maybe before it got shelved. I think it was better produced than their debut but it definitely didn't move me.

apparently it didn't move many other folk either because brothers probably didn't even go wood with the record sales.

Suddenly its 2003! Guess who's bizack? Black Eyed Peas in the hisoouse! Wait a second that looks like them but.... there is a girl in the group singing? What! Fergie?? Isn't that that chick that does the weight watchers ads that was married to British royalty? No another Fergie! Oh! What? Huh!

Still, Hey Mama with the latin tinged flavor is kicking like a Shaw Brothers film. Lets get retarded morphes into lets get it started and is playing in NBA adds and dudes are rapping not only with Janet's strip accomplice Justin but are on the Superbowl half time show. Say word!

Oh man they stepped it up a notch. They brought their A game, they left their nines at home and brought their skillz to the battle. Their rapping must have improved!

Emphatic NO!

Actually they have gotten worse.

I could appreciate the first two albums. It was uncompromised hip hop. Not the greatest mind you but they were sticking to their vision, doing their own thing. But I guess reality, bills and baby mommas must have stepped in because in order to stick around the game homeboys sold out like seasons tickets to the Toronto Maple Leafs! Ok well maybe sellout is a harsh word to use but lets say that there has been a conspicuous dumbing down of their music. Can anyone recite a Black Eyed Peas lyric from the last two albums that's not part of a chorus? Lets see "Lets get it started in here" no, umm "hey momma its that beat to make you move momma get on the floor and" and definitely not "my humps my humps my lovely lady lumps" sung as Fergie suggestively feels herself up in the video.

Sigh! Actually I could deal with Get it started, the hey mama and even don't Phunk with my Heart a rip off of Lisa Lisa's I wonder if I take you home that they did for the first single for this years Monkey Business album but My humps? Are you kidding me! Come on if you want to sing about your feminine lady parts could you not do it in a better way or at least a somewhat more adult way which is not to say swear or use vulgarity but humps and lady lumps just sounds like nursery rhyme talk. That's what passes for a song these days? Come on now. Those lyrics are making me long for the intellectually deep days of yore when the Spice girls ruled the airwaves. Maybe I'll have to dissect the metaphysical meaning of the Pussy Cat dolls 'don't Cha'. sigh!

And no I'm not blaming Fergie for ruining the group. She's eye candy who can sing a bit and who was apparently added to the roster by the record company and chosen over another candidate based on looks. Hey don't hate her cause she was born pretty.

My issue is dumbing down your music to sell. Yea I know everyone has a price and everyone does it and maybe one day (soon dammit soon, I'm waiting for the call now, if I'm not home leave a message) someone will offer me something to sell out for. But if you needed to dumb things down couldn't you have scaled it down a tad and not all the way down like you have now? Or better yet not dumb it down at all. Yea I know that's naive thinking on my part. Yet can I not hope for someone out there with some artistic integrity? And while I'm at it can I not also require my entertainment to be more than just catchy hooks. Lyrics somebody want lyrics? Yes me I want lyrics. I want to be moved by music, I want to say whoa that's deep son, that made me think, that spoke to me. But I'm not going to get that from My humps my humps. Sigh oh well one can hope!

The faith in me shall set me free (reflections)

Image hosted by Photobucket.comSpeaking of which. I know the Mad bull and B.Art had a few pieces a while back on the man Jah Cure but I must say that his song True Reflections is one big bomb tune. I still think he's guilty and needs to just do his jail time like a man. I cant give you special treatment or believe you more than joe average because you are a celebrity but still not only is Reflections a great tune but the bredren has a very haunting voice that tugs away deep in you. Serious ting!

Anyway until next weeks Musical Friday, I'm out. Have a great weekend guys.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

one of those days

Quick Tirade. TTC(subways) had a minor delay this morning on my way in. JUst wonderful. That means I got to b pushed and buffeted by all of those I am so late for work folk on the platform at St George Station.

Actually I usually just take one train to work but recently I'm working at another office which is in the core so I've got to transfer at St George and go to the heart of downtown. And being the observant fellow that I am do you know what I've realized. The business suited folk on the south bound train are the most obnoxious, unmannerly pushy, annoying as all hell people on the subway system. Joe Average on the Bloor line is a hell of a lot more better behaved.

This morning there was this short dude who was pushing and pushing his whole body into me. I was tempted to drop som bows on his ass. Dammit the train just arrived and folks need to get off first. pushing me into a crowded train where folks are trying to come out doesnt help.

So great start to the morning and now I'm here my computer isnt working. Son of a !

Have a great day folk. I miss you guys.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Common and Ordinary People

So in my last post I kinda hinted (I think) that I have a couple of half finished blogs. Well if that wasn't clear yea I have like a million half finished blogs that haven't seen the light of day. Some that I thought had great potential others that sucked, some which just I decided need to be put in another forum or format other than a blog. A so it go.

Anyway at some point I plan on doing a Chappell thing and just airing a few of the ones that didn't get posted so maybe I'll start today.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comSaturday night I had the pleasure of checking out Autumn Leaves on Steel which was a steelpan soloist show held here in the T dot. All of the performers were truly amazing but the best was the special guest performer Ken 'Professor' Philmore. Yo the bredren was wicked on the tenor pan! He played hits like Michael Jackson's Rock with you, Earth Wind and Fire's Fantasy and recent soca hits like Soul on Fire and First experience by KMC. Trust me, the man really gave an outstanding performance making that tenor pan really talk.

Another song he performed was Ordinary People by John Legend which led in my mind directly to a tie in to this previously unreleased blog (from June sometime).

Ok Now Jdid focus man, focus.

Now in the same frame of mind that I gave you all Two words I bring to you Common and Ordinary People. Same frame of mind? What's he talking about? I teaching wunnah some more bajan (Barbadian) slang. LOL. Why? Simply just felt like it.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comNow I don't know if all of you folk are music buffs like me but if you are you may have noticed that two of the hotter names out there in the r'nb and hip hop world are the singer John Legend and the rapper Common.

Both appeared on the cover of last month's (that being May or June not sure) Vibe Magazine, along with rapper/producer Kanye West who produced most of both men's albums: Common's Be and John Legend's Get Lifted.

Oh as an aside Bajan calypsonian Rupee is also featured in that issue of Vibe talking about roast' breadfruit and flying fish a true bajan dish as opposed to this whole issue with Rhianna and her Calalloo (I tell wunnah already Bajans don't deal wid no callaloo). (Aside: See told y'all I had mentioned Rhianna in a blog before.) Still bajan folk making big moves it seem so not to be left out I thought I'd help the cause by introducing some more bajan slang. Yes the whole world soon will be speaking bajan when I take over the Universe (breaks into evil villain laugh, then starts choking and coughing.)

Ah em! Onto business.

John Legend has a popular song called Ordinary people which is about drama in the lives of the average man/woman I think. To tell you the truth I've never really listened to the words just the part of the chorus that says something about taking it slow.

Then a few weeks back (um June I think) when Common's album dropped and we were all discussing whether it was actually a classic or not I thought about his name Common and also for some reason linked it to John Legend's song ordinary people. Why? Well because these words Common and Ordinary have an alternative (from the mainstream) but similar definition in the local bajan vocabulary and I was thinking if either Common or John Legend were bajan Common wouldn't have that name and John Legend wouldn't have a song called Ordinary People. So let me school y'all on these words bajan style.

Now Common in the bajan venacular is used to represent someone acting vulgar or someone without class. (Actually I lied this definition is also in the regular English dictionary its just not widely used) I'm guessing its that strong bajan British link acting up again because we all know about Brits and their class issues and 'commoners' and their House of 'Commons' those not of noble birth I believe.

Anyhow let me give you an example of the word in use in bajan ' Wait! Dat is miss Browne daughter cross deyso? Wuhloss wha yesterday she was out hayso cussing and behaving suh common dat I had ta say ta myself she mek she mudda roll ova in she grave.'

Common in this sense being used to denote behavior not at all becoming of a proper young lady.

Common is also used alot with the word class; as in common class behavior, again not what one with any sort of proper upbringing or 'brouhtupsy' would indulge in. Or as some would say carrying on 'like a bank holiday beer'. Right bajan sistren?

Ordinary also bears the same treatment in Bajan. Ordinary can be used to describe again something not fitting in with a certain class, standing or bearing. Causing a scene by acting in a belligerent way to draw attention via your language or your actions can be denoted as behaving ordinary opposed to acting extraordinary hmmm. Again seems to be an issue involving class structure (inherited from the Brits) as various forms of indecent actions can be described as ordinary behavior. Actions which would be deemed as shameful are seen as ordinary.

So that was a big long winded way to say that all in all common and ordinary mean about the same thing in the bajan venacular. So lets me give you an example of both words in use "I doan understand why dat common class fella cross deyso behaving so ordinary doah." See how both words fit hand in glove.

Ok so here is where I lost focus and the blog fell apart and I wont try to patch it up, I've gone on long enough so I'll just stop here and you can meditate on Common and Ordinary to go along with the other bajan words I've thought you; Ruff Dry, Obzocky and Backtofront. lol.