Thursday, September 30, 2004

Beautiful Struggle

"If lyrics sold, then truth be told
lyrically, I'd be
Talib Kweli "

Jay Z - Moment of Clarity - The Black Album

If truth be told, I've been a fan of Talib Kweli since he rapped "Still more blacks is dying, kids aint living they trying, how to make a slave by Willie Lynch is still applying" on the Black Star album back in 1998. He's since gone on to record three solo albums; Train of Thought, Quality and the just released Beautiful Struggle.

Not your average rapper Kweli has become quite well known as an intelligent lyricist and gained some mainstream attention for the 2002 single "Get By" which dealt with the everyday struggle of life (A favorite topic of mine). Now how many rappers can the words intelligent lyrics be applied too? Still thinking ? If you said Nellie, Mase of Fabulous or Master P you are truly indeed beyond my help. The actual answer currently would be not many ....Especially the guys who gain the majority of the press from the mainstream.

I also got to give the brother respect for being a part owner of a book store in Brooklyn. Wow a rapper who owns a book store, unheard of. Sometimes I wonder how many rappers can actually read a book so to see this young man owning a bookstore instead of 10 Mercedes benzes and a million pieces of flashy crass jewelry is actually quite novel....Well quite novel if you're not into the underground.

That said, Beautiful Struggle is a very nice album. I'm loathe to apply the title classic because the beats while hot just don't strike me on the first two listens as actual classic. I'll give it 4 mics out of 5. I'll admit though I haven't actually listened to the whole thing yet but given I've heard 11 of 13 songs at least twice and am currently working on track 12 and 13 I've got to give the brother props for a beautifully put together album.

Standout tracks include the Pharell produced Broken Glass which tells the age old story of a country girl whose dreams die in the city, Black Girl featuring Jean Grae (currently the only female mc not trying to show skin to sell records), We got the Beat with its old school planet rock feel and the opening track Going Hard.

Again truth be told, aside from "Get By" I really wasn't feeling his last album Quality. Maybe it had something to do with the crass commercialism of his first single Blame it on the DJ but I never got into the album as I should. This album has definitely redeemed him in my eyes.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004


Ok my wife says last blog was too long so I'll make this one longer.

Now I used to read quite a bit so to save some cash I've actually subscribed to some magazines; sports, politics, music etc. Now why is it that the only magazine subscriptions I've had issues with are the ones from the magazines that deal with black issues or cater mainly to us black folks? I'm not calling any names but last year I had a subscription to one magazine and they definitely had issues with delivering my subscription. At one point I received three copies of one issue, I received other issues late and I'm pretty sure even after complaining I didn't get my full 12 month subscription. So I said forget them and if I need to buy an issue I'll just get it off the newsstand.

Fast forward to this year. Did I learn my lesson? Nope!

There was one magazine I've been reading for about the last 12 years but never saw any deals on subscriptions offered that didn't require me calling them long distance in the US until a few months back. So when I saw this offer I jumped at the chance and signed up almost immediately. Great! What happens a month later? Website shut down. hmmmm. What happens next? Well I receive a copy of the magazine. Only thing its the one that's been on the shelves for at least three months. Then I don't receive anything for months. In fact I plain forgot I had the subscription.

Then I got another copy about a month ago. Again it turns out to be an old issue with this copy being about from maybe June and I had already seen it three months earlier so what's the point. Anyway I got the contact number and finally got a chance and called this morning during normal business hours. Would you believe the phone just rang and rang and I just cant get through to these punks. Its really frustrating cause I paid my good money and I'm getting terrible service. I would complain if I could find a way to complain. Chupse!

Now I could blame black folks but just because the magazine deals with black issues doesn't mean its owned or run by black folks right. Still its pretty sad that they are giving me this general perception that would stop me from actually subscribing to another black magazine. Its either a conspiracy or we need to get our ish together. Either way I'm not happy about the perception.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004


"These are my confessions
Man I'm thrown and I don't know what to do
I guess I gotta give you part 2 of my confessions
If I'm gonna tell it then I gotta tell it all............... "

Usher - My Confessions

Yesterday I think I cheated on my wife. I didn't mean to and it happened so fast I'm not sure how it happened. To me it seemed as if one minute I was sitting in class listening to the teacher and the next minute I was on the floor with this strange woman I had only met moments ago on top of me grabbing my face, my chest, my hips, my legs. Then somehow I found the roles reversed and she was under me and I was trying not to get tangled in underwires and the like. Then suddenly like that it was all over and a sense of relief mixed with panic washed over me. What had I done for one, two not so pleasurable moments? Could I look my wife in the face ever again? I always say you never know what's going to happen but the speed with which this event occurred boggled even my mind. I feel so cheap, so used, I need a shower. I didn't even get the woman's name. How will I ever live with myself again?

Now since I'm in a confessing mood today let me confess again. For those who don't know I'm not a very touchy feely person. I really actually have issues with people touching me. If I allow you to willingly touch me or hug me up that means that I like you real real bad so I can count on one hand the number of people who I let willingly touch me.

That said the last two days I was at a First Aid course. I'm supposed to be learning about slings and punctures and head wounds and CPR and bandages and all of that. Now going into the class I assumed that there would be a fair amount of hands on exercises. Mind you I thought that these hands on exercises would be on life-like dummies. Little did I know that I was the dummy for expecting dummies and I was going to be the life-like dummy...If you catch my drift. Lawd ave mercy!

So we are learning CPR and we have to pair up. Lucky me now I end up teamed up with this woman I don't know from Eve. Next thing I know I'm on the floor pretending that I'm unconscious, and actually wishing I was, as she has her hands all over my face checking my breathing. Then her hands are on my chest searching around trying to find the spot to give me CPR while I shudder silently. Stranger touching me maybe its all a dream. Well at least we didn't do the mouth to mouth resuscitation but I still feel so violated. I had to lay there really still and think happy thoughts. Go to my happy place and hope that it would all end soon and pretend that it wasn't happening. La la la, let me sing my song;

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm
woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a
of my favorite things .......................

When the dog bites
when the
bee stings
When I'm feeling sad
I simply remember my
favorite things and
then I don't feel so bad

Then next thing I know I must have blanked out because when I came to, the roles were reversed and I'm now supposed to perform CPR on this woman. See me now trying to find the spot to put the pressure on her chest without touching anything sensitive. Lawd ave mercy! How do I explain this to the wife now? "No dear, its not what it sounds like, I wasn't trying to touch anything so I was actually looking for the Xiphoid Process. Its the truth as God be my witness". So there I am feeling the ribcage and trying to find this Xiphoid Process point while sweating profusely. They said it's located directly between the nipples but at that point I really didn't want to hear nothing about nobody nipples or anything of the sort.

I think they should have taught us about dealing with trauma victims before they taught CPR because I think I was going into shock. My hands were really nervous, I was feeling cold and nobody didn't even throw a blanket over me to keep me warm. I was getting disoriented but I was sitting on the floor so at least if I fainted I wouldn't have far to fall. Anyway thank God I was able to find this Xiphoid Process spot and the only thing I touch was the middle part at the bottom of her bra. It was an accident I tell you, I didn't mean to! Well actually since we confessing I'll admit it was deliberate on my part because the spot to give the CPR was right under there so I didn't have no choice. Its not like I liked it so don't look at me that way I already feel bad enough about the whole thing.

So now I feel like I cheat on my wife after touching and being touched up by this strange woman. I just feel so,so dirty!

Anyway, I don't have anything more to say because just talking about this is giving me more trauma. Ok now take long deep breathes and sit down. Someone call 911 for me.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Not really a fan

But I was wearing the jersey so I guess that made it seem like I was a fan.

I'm talking about Manchester United here. Yesterday I was walking around downtown wearing my new Manchester United shirt. Now to paraphase Paul Keens Douglas 'now who tell me do dat!' Everywhere I go people coming up to me asking me about their score versus Hotspurs yesterday (1-0 in case you really must know.) The thing is I'm not really a Manchester United fan. Growing up when I really paid attention to British football (soccer for you North Americans) I was at first a Tottenham Hotspurs fan when they had players like Ardilles and then a Liverpool fan because of players like John Barnes.

Being a Manchester United fan isn't that bad mind you. They are the New York Yankees of world soccer. A world renown franchise who have been able to have the best and most talented players play for them. Oh and in case you know nothing about football at all, all you need to know is that Posh Spice's husband David Beckham played for them for many years.

Man U has been winning championships galore for the past decade but they just are not my team. Up to today where I no longer follow football with the fevor of my youth I'd say I'm still more concerned with how Liverpool does than Manchester so yesterday's experience was interesting.

First I went into a bookstore and this guy came up to me and asked me who won the game this morning. Now Cricket was on my mind (see last post) so I was thinking he was talking about West Indies who had just lost Dwayne Bravo's wicket and were struggling just before I left home so I almost get vex because I thought he was trying to rub in the fact that my team appeared headed for serious defeat. Then I realize he was talking about Man U so I just said I hadn't seen the game. Had to make him think I actually knew what he was talking about.

Then it happened again when I was in the CD place. I begin to think the shirt was attracting new friends or something of the sort. Finally I was on my way through the mall and some old guy came up to me smiling and actually gave me a pat on my back and said your team pulled one off today against the Spurs. Quick thinker that I am I was like "yea that's great" and gave him the thumbs up. Meanwhile I'm like how do I tell this man I'm not a fan of Man U.

Oh well at least its a sport I can appreciate so I dont feel too bad but it teach me a lesson about sports gear.

So now the question remains since I now have the jersey do I need to become a fan of the team?

Saturday, September 25, 2004

West Indies win!

The ICC tournament. Yeahhh!!! Its the first major win for West Indies cricket in many a year. In fact our first win in a major one day tournament since 1979. Mind you we were undisputed rulers of International cricket until 1995 and had our finest hours in the 80s and early 90s but somehow even then the big one day tournaments escaped us as our team always found a way to lose at the end.

Now after the last ten years in the wilderness, losing series after series, reaching the depths of despair some would say rock bottom, after testing the faith of even the most die hard fan we managed to win this tournament. I guess its true what they say about every dog having his day.

congratulations to the entire team. Since this is my blog though I'm going to single out fellow bajan, Courtney Browne, for praise. Probably the most hated man in West Indies cricket for his dropped catch off Steve Waugh in 1995, having spent the last 5 years in the cricket wilderness, a man who had been written off as being good at the regional level but no good at the international level, Courtney Browne was there at the end guiding this team to a win. The stone which the builders reject has become the cornerstone, at least for this victory. Could this be redemption?

With the score at 158-8 , all appeared lost but Browne and fellow bajan player Ian Bradshaw stood firm and somehow through luck, skill and probably alot of prayer were able to see West Indies through to a victory. What a victory this must have been for a team who a few weeks ago left England after being whitewashed 4-0. Here they now return to England ,the scene of one of the poorest performances ever by a West Indies squad, to give us this victory and show that like a phoenix maybe we too can rise from the ashes. Vindication? Maybe not just yet but it sure beats losing.

Mind you I must now state that we can celebrate today, go wild if you must it was a great victory, but we cannot let this victory change our overall view of West Indies cricket overnight. The West Indies team is wildly inconsistent, inexperienced and badly guided and trained. The right mechanisms still need to be put in place to ensure further success and consistency. The 47s and 94s all out, the whitewashes, the poor bowling and batting performances that have become so much a part and parcel of West Indies cricket cannot simply be ignored because of one day where everything clicked or more correctly where we got lucky and won. What this day does is give us hope but let our overall view not be completely swayed to believe that all is well simply due to this win. Success does not come overnight, much work is to be done.

That said, victory is sweet. Congrats to the team. The West Indian people have been through so much in the past few weeks with storms and hurricanes devastating some of our island states that we deserve some bit of good news to give us hope for the future. They say cricket is life in the West Indies so hopefully this win will raise the spirits of the people. Thank you once again West Indies cricket.

P.S: Doan feel I aint gine cuss wunnah bad if wunnah continue embarrassing me in test cricket doah.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Haiti I'm sorry

Haiti I'm sorry
We misunderstood you
But one day we'll turn our head
and look inside you
Haiti I'm sorry
Haiti I'm sorry
but one day we'll turn our heads
restore your glory

David Rudder 1988

Nothing's really changed since David Rudder uttered those words about Haiti 16 years ago. If anything then things may have gotten worse. 1200 plus dead in flooding due to Hurricane Jeanne, another 2500 missing. Food scarce, dead bodies in the streets, illnesses starting, clean water unavailable. All this coming in a few months after the overthrow of Jean Bertrand Aristide the President of the country.

Prior to this we had many years of unrest , prior to this we had the strangulation of the country under Baby and Papa Doc Duvalier. This country just cant seem to catch a break.

Lets recap for those keeping score

* 1791-1803 Revolution, Rebellion. Toussainte L'overture leads the country to independence. Its been all downhill ever since.
* 1807-1820 Civil War
* 1838 France makes Haiti pay 150 million Francs in exchange for recognizing Haitian independence. Can you imagine what that would be in today's money? No wonder the place is so poor.
* 1915 US invasion
* 1934 US withdraws
* 1957 Dr Francoise Duvalier aka 'Papa Doc' wins a dubious election to become President
* 1964 Papa Doc declares himself President for life and forms his terror squad the Tonton Macoutes. His regime saw the killing and exiling of thousands.
* 1971 Papa Doc dies and his son Jean Claude aka 'Baby Doc' takes over the President for Life title.
* 1986 After 15 years of murders, exiling his enemies, robbing the country blind and a regime which saw the start of the boat people leaving for Florida, Baby Doc is forced to flee the country to France. Should have been the start of something good for the Haitian People but alas nothing has really changed.
* 1986-2004 Nothing really changes besides the regimes who change many many times. Still no light at the end of the tunnel for Haiti.
* 2004 President Aristide forced into exile, Hurricane Jeanne hits.

Some folk just cant catch a break.

Haiti I'm sorry.

Fast and Furious

Not talking about the movie. I'm talking about folks who have difficulty walking and who are given motorized scooters/walkers. Now I know this may sound harsh as these people are incapacitated and we should feel some of their pain or at least have some pity for them but I just cant stand the way these folks drive their motorized walkers across the sidewalks. They are for the most part irresponsible. They drive at speeds too fast for the sidewalk and pedestrians are often forced to hop out of their way as they barrel down the pavement.

If a bicyclist was on the sidewalk dashing around at those speeds there would be a lot of cursing and anger but because these guys are in motorized walkers and we feel some emotion towards them they get away with this crime. Its only a matter of time till they cause a serious accident on the sidewalk as one pedestrian leaps out of the way but the pedestrian behind him doesn't have enough time and is knocked down.

Another issue in my urban scape which annoys me is something I have only begun to notice recently. Parents of toddlers and babies walking around with their children while smoking. You are pushing the stroller or holding the baby with one arm while the other holds a cigarette which you puff at intervals. Should this young child be subjected to the second hand smoke which causes cancer in grown folk? Are you a good parent by smoking that close to your child ? I think not!

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Congrats Chip and Kim

Now can a brother borrow a dollar?

Yes I'm talking about the Amazing Race again. Its finally over and Chip and Kim won the million dollar prize. Man am I happy for them. You should have seen the range of emotion displayed in yesterday's televised race; extreme fear, rage, total elation, sadness, hey and that was only me imagine what was going on with those guys.

To tell the truth I've been a Chip and Kim fan from day one, loved the bowling moms and the dude whose leg got injured and his daughter too but I couldn't stand Merna and Charla, Colin and Christie and near the end Brandon and Nicole royally annoyed me.

The thing was honestly Colin and Christie were the most competitive and strongest team over the entire competition. They had an unbelievable drive but Colin's attitude was just too much and he should have gotten his butt thrown in jail in Tanzania. Brandon and Nicole were ok but their use of God and religion whenever it was convenient to play to the TV was rather annoying and then Nicole just got downright annoying with her mocking of Chip on the rope climb and her crying on the bike ride in Calgary. Plus she basically admitted that Brandon was carrying her in the race but she still wanted to win the money.

Actually that was my pet peeve during this years race. Teams were not very evenly balanced. Each team appeared to have one person who did 75-80% of the work while the other just watched, cheered or shouted obscenities. I'd say the twins were the most balanced team and that's probably because they were identical twins and on any given night Ii couldn't tell which one was actually doing which tasks. Could have been the same one every task for all I know.

And why did Chip and Kim deserve to win you ask me? Well besides the fact that I aint going to hate on a brother from Compton they really pulled it together in the stretch. They had a very laisse faire attitude most of the series and were helping other teams at their own expense, refused to use the yield on the twins a few weeks ago and made interesting alliances with teams but then something snapped about two series back. I think it was that act of being close to being eliminated because they didn't use the yield on the twins that made them snap out of the jolly good fellow routine and pull out their Scarface 'Come say hi to the badguy' mentality or maybe they decided to take a page from another former Compton resident Eazy E (R.I.P) and just get Ruthless. (For you non-hip hop readers Eazy E's record label was called Ruthless records so I was trying to be witty. Bombed miserably.)

Anyway whatever it is that happened Chip and Kim morphed from a gentle loving Dr David Bruce Banner (as opposed to Bruce 'Like a Pimp' Banner) like personality into a new angry Incredible Hulk ('Hulk smash puny humans ')type team that took them to the win. They used a yield, they lied, they hid information. Whoa, what a dramatic change but I guess you got to do what you got to do in order to get the win.

Oh well that's it for me and the reality TV genre until next year.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

So long to the summer of pink

Summer officially ends today or tomorrow or sometime this week. Pardon my ignorance for not knowing the exact hour so lets go with soon. Ok summer will end soon, (There happy now?) although some will argue that we really didn't have a summer but that's debatable. It was a rather cool period here in Toronto. After some early heat teased us in May, before summer officially started, I was hoodwinked into thinking we could actually have a warm sunny summer but alas as June came and the rains descended and July came and they continued I was forced to realize that it would be one of those summers.

Now don't get me wrong it wasn't all bad. We had some very nice days including the beginning of July when I got the chance to play some cricket (played badly but played nonetheless) and occasionally we had sunshine and warmth as the summer wore down but in general this summer gets a C to C- on my grading system with comments of "tried but much room for improvement."

So summer didn't really live up to my expectations. What made it worse also was that the fashionistas declared 2004 the summer of pink. Pink! Come on now! Everywhere you go pink is the dominant color amongst female fashion. I am so not happy about that. Why didn't they just choose orange pinstripes instead. My wife asked me what pink ever did to me. She is obviously a fan of this pale red wannabe but I will not be swayed by this pathetic color.

Pink has overwhelmed my city. Pink tops, pink skirts, pink bags, pink accessories its enough to drive a guy crazy. I never knew there were so many shades of pink until this year. Father forgive me my sins and send us a liferaft as we drown in a sea of pink. Its just outrageous, outlandish, out of umm descriptive words that start with out so lets just say its way too much.

And there seems to be no letting up. Looks like its going to be a pink fall season as well. I was watching TV the other day and saw them showing pink raincoats and pink leather jackets. If I don't end up running amok through this blanket of pink by winter it will be a miracle.

So who are these fashionistas that randomly decide what's hot and what's not in a certain year I wonder.......and why did they reject my magnificent proposal to go with purple polkadots. I'm trying to bring it back to the old school like Kwame. Don't hate! Personally, I think there is a secret cabal of fashion representatives whose clandestine motive it is to make us all wear silly colors and styles to suit their dastardly devious, downright, dirty, devilish plans. Sort of like those dudes in Zoolander

I must now come up with a plan to combat the rampant epidemic-like spread of this pink menace before it drives me insane or worse yet I too catch the pink bug.......I think its like pink eye but it hurts more.

Monday, September 20, 2004


That's my weight right now in lbs. Its the smallest I've been in about 3 years. Now before everyone says whoa that's huge just remember I'm at least 6'1" so its actually not alot of weight. Actually some people say I'm slim but just remember the Olympic 100m champ Justin Gatlin was only 184 and he was listed at my height and wasn't in bad shape. I'm usually closer to 190lbs when I'm working out on a consistent basis and playing sports but this year due to numerous injuries (when you get older you have to actually warm up) I've been unable to consistently do the exercise that I wanted and thankfully unlike most people I didn't blow up and gain more weight I actually lost weight.

So hey no complaints but I'm back in the gym again. Got myself a whole weight training program going and aiming to get back to the 185-187 range again. Not sure if I want to go over 190 but I just want to make a few muscles bigger, get rid of some fat, get a bit of definition here and there and get a bit stronger.

I'm not going on any fancy diets or eating regimes, not taking any new fangled fat reducing or muscle building supplements. Just trying to eat sensibly and do some weight work and cardio.

I started yesterday and man am I in pain this morning.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Lest we forget

Its still crazy over there. This may be repetitive but just because the 15 minutes of news coverage is almost finished doesn't mean that the people of Grenada aren't still struggling to cope with the effects of Ivan. A couple of hours of wind and rain have destroyed years and years of life. Read Here.

The aftermath and effects of a disaster last a long time but for those who are not directly affected all we just see are the highlights. We are most aware when the disaster is happening or immediately afterwards when the press gives full play to what has happened. Numbers are rattled off on screen about lives lost and damage done in millions or billions. We watch and listen and emphatize and then the news shifts to another trouble spot in the world and we forget about the first story. Too bad those affected cant just switch channels or move on to the next story. They have to deal with their disaster 24-7.

They don't have time to discuss figures on how many billions it would take to rebuild their country. They are concerned with getting the basics for survival; shelter, food, water.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Le Gout des Jeune Filles

And that's all the French you'll ever see in one of my blogs. j' ne sais quoi? n'est pas? Pardon? oui! voulez vous couchez avec moi c'est soir? sacre blu! si senorita! Whoops wrong language.

Ok excusez moi enough of that. Le Gout des Jeune Filles (literally translated the taste of young women) is a film at the Toronto International Film Festival which I had the pleasure of viewing last night. It also goes by the name On the Verge of a Fever. It was written by a Haitian writer, Dany Laferriere, who either lives or used to live in Quebec. Its the coming of age story of a young boy in 1971 set on the weekend that Papa Doc Duvalier died and his son Baby Doc assumed his mantle as President for life in Haiti. Now coming of age stories are basically stories about important events that transformed one from a child to an adult but in Hollywood its basically slang for "what led me to have sex for the first time". Is lie I lie? Well at least in this story it was all very well done.

The main character Fanfan is a timid 15 year old boy infatuated by four older girls who live across the street as the mistresses of some major Tonton Macoute figure. He ends up going out with a friend the night after Duvalier dies, gets into a bit of trouble and cannot go home so he is forced to hide out at the girls residence.

This movie was well done. It showed that life under a dictatorship while harsh was not without its moments. The common rhetoric is that a life would be very dull and weary as you are squeezed in the fist of a tyrant, his oppressive boot on your head limiting your freedoms and thoughts (terrible metaphors how can his boot be on your head while he squeezes you in his fist duhh!). Not so in this movie. While the Tonton Macoutes, Duvalier's band of crazed paramilitaries, are rightly portrayed as the villains and thugs they are always ready to shoot, kill and maim without significant provocation, this movie shows a man in the street not overly depressed by the goings on around him but very lively and in some cases quite defiant of his oppressors. This movie portrays people living under an oppressive regime as not simply living in fear and cowering in corners but actually trying to live life; going to the beach, dancing, drinking, singing, enjoying themselves.

Also the ladies in the movie are very beautiful. I must admit the most beautiful woman I ever saw was a Haitian living in Montreal back in 1992 and the 4 young ladies who are the stars in this movie while not as beautiful as the one I saw then are extremely attractive and are also from Quebec. Coincidence hmmm maybe not! Ok everyone road trip to Quebec.

Even before the movie started I saw these ladies walk down past us in the movie aisle without knowing who they were and thought "Wow!". Then to see them onscreen all I can say is "Impressive!" . Oh (picking tongue up from floor) did I mention they can act too?

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Dear Sports mag

Vince wants out. Out of Toronto that is. Read it here. What happened to players staying with one team for their entire career and helping to build up that team? What happened to being a leader?

Mind you this comes after the Raptors bended over backwards to accommodate the ungrateful S.O.B. If the Toronto team is not competitive as he complains its mainly because of him. They handled him with kid's gloves, coddled him and give him everything he desired. What did he do in return? Not much in the last couple of years that's for sure.

We signed players, overpaid players actually in order to appease him and keep him happy. Now this is how he repays us.

And to make things worse he is saying he wants to play for another team in the East so he can be close to his family. All I can say is he is lucky I am not the General Manager because I would trade him so far he would be playing in China. Or I wouldn't trade him, make him play out the last four years of his 10 plus million dollars a year in Toronto. Let him sit and pout if he wish but it wouldn't help his career any.

At least if we trade him I hope we don't trade him just for the sake of it. At least make sure that we get a couple of decent players in return for him and are not fleeced in the market while making his dreams come through.

Its unbelievable how pro athletes are now holding franchises for ransom. I understand them wanting to see the franchise give them a chance to win and in no way do I sympathize with the rich owners but the players need to show some respect to the fans who support them and buy their memorabilia and make them into heros and icons.

I hope we trade Vince Carter to the worst team in the league and the rest of his career is filled with losing and injury.

Yours sincerely
disgruntled Fan

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Where were you during the Olympics?

"Canada is the best country for sports, athletics everything!"

This quote from an animated woman who had just finished watching Canada beat Finland in the World Cup of Hockey finals last night in Toronto. In my opinion she obviously had a few too many.

Best in Hockey? Yes. Best in any other sport especially athletics, umm clearly not even close. Are our memories that short that the shameful parade of failed Canadian athletes at the Athens Olympics has been already wiped from our collective memories? Two words. Perdita Felicien. Ok nuff said. Of course up here in Toronto only Hockey counts so any win in Hockey is treated as if the world has stopped and we are the greatest country in the world which actually was a quote for another obviously delusional possibly inebriated person on the streets.

So all of Canada plus three guys in Northern Alaska and two in lower Mongolia celebrate with an unabashed fervor while the rest of the world goes "huh what hockey tournament?" before going on with life as if never disturbed.

Of course what is any sports celebration in recent history without a little rowdy behavior? Happy and apparently rather lawless fans engaged in vandalism and other disorderly behavior; jumping on cabs, overturning cars and fighting with police. Remember when that sort of thing only happened with soccer hooligans in Britain? Well its been exported all over the world now. Most recent sporting successes in North America; NBA championships, NFL, World Series wins have been greeted by pandemonium in the streets as fans get carried away by the excitement of the triumph. Or are they really getting carried away? Is this a heat of the moment response or a planned reaction to sporting events in this day and age? Does each city have its own instigators who cant wait for a big win so that they can get away with this sort of action?

Anyway, so far even though police were injured, the media coverage of this event is being downplayed. It wasn't that serious just a few yahoos acting a fool is the accepted wisdom. No comments about the negative side of crazy hockey fans running amok on our cities streets or about not having any more hockey tournaments in Toronto because it attracts the wrong sort. Meanwhile if it was some random person getting shot in Pickering on Caribana Saturday, billions of miles away from the actual Caribana parade on the Lakeshore, the news would be jam-packed with media commentators and regular citizens calling for an end to this event as it obviously attracts dangerous types and somehow promotes violence. Aint that nice?.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Dreaming on

Another night another dream.

This one didn't seem to have me in it though. It started with a man and a woman swimming in a lake far away from land but still close enough that you can see naturally wooded shores. They are headed east, not sure why but then they stop, unsure as to where there are actually going and searching to see if there is anything else in the water besides themselves. I think they may have seen canoes but I'm not sure.

After this stop they continue and they swim along still going east and then head inland towards shore. I'd like to give you a good description of these folk but there isn't much to tell. They are barefooted, in dirty brown, khaki-ish rags with wide eyed looks and there skin is slightly tanned or they just need some soap to rid themselves of a tremendous accumulation of dirt.

On shore they run through the woods. Its a deciduous forest with lots of pine and fir like tress meaning they must be somewhere in North America. Looks like there is a dirty village or shanty town located in the midst of this forest and they are running on its outskirts trying to avoid some mysterious presence or soldiers or something of the sort. I catch a glance of who they are avoiding but I forgot what they look like.

So through the bush and undergrowth they go trying to be as silent as possible avoiding the main paths of this village. Then they are in the open and they are now on a cart or sled of some kind except it doesn't seem to be propelled by animal power so I have no idea how it works. Its traveling down this well worn sandy path and there is another guy controlling it. He's a bit more covered in mud that the two previous people. How he is controlling the vehicle I don't know but they are trying to reach somewhere in the woods before another vehicle which almost looks like a motorcycle without wheels, sort of like those things from the forest scene with the Ewoks in Return of the Jedi, catches them. No ewoks here thankfully.

Anyway they reach the location the were aiming for and the guy on the motorcycle contraption who was following our main characters disappears. The driver of the vehicle they were in is pointing them to a big muddy hole in the ground. I think there was a brief appearance by a black man in rags who tells them a story about going through the hole. The two main characters say what's the big deal and the guy who was driving them says that only two people should go through this hole at once. All-right-e-then!

So through the hole Alice and her companions go into Wonderland. So much for only two going at once because all three go through. They end up in a path between short trees, sort of like vineyards with grapes but only the path is winding. Suddenly the female and the driver of the vehicle disappear and only the other guy is left. I'm not sure what he does next but he somehow ends up back at the shanty town which now has at least one concrete building some sort of pub or meeting place. Its architecture reminds me of those old buildings you see in movies about the old west and Mexico featuring John Wayne and Clint Eastwood remembering the Alamo or whatever else.

He goes into the building, blends with the natives and starts going up the stairs. Then he wipes his hands on the concrete banister. It becomes apparent to myself and the other folk in the room that he doesn't belong. Something about his genetic material being different. Don't ask me how we all know. Anyway they chase him up to the roof and he hops off and runs away.

Then strange search parties are formed by some shadowy figure with animals or half men half dog like creatures to go chase after him. They surround him and I wake up.

Sunday, September 12, 2004


The faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident.

Actually I'm talking about the 2001 movie starring John Cusack and Kate Beckinsdale. Not sure if anyone is familiar with it but I'll break it down for you. John Cusack runs into Kate Beckinsdale at a department store, they hit it off but she believes in fate so she wont give him her name or digits. She does this crazy thing about if they are meant to be together then fate will decide things. She donates a book with her name and number in it to a used bookstore and she gets John to write his name on a 5 dollar bill which she then uses and gets rid of. The thought is if they are supposed to be together then they will find the items and the info written on them.

Anyway there is a bit more but it fast forwards to a few years later where both of the characters are thinking about each other but engaged to other people. They decide they are settling and decide to search for each other and of course there are some of the usual hijinks in this search, and the near misses as they come within a hairs length of each other without realizing and then the Hollywood ending.

Now I actually like the movie (curse you evil feminine side), it actually showed a bit of imagination at points although the ending was obviously totally predictable.

What I find interesting about these movies and these fictional Hollywood endings is that the bit players stories are never told. What happens to that fiancee that did nothing wrong but was dumped because the main character decided to go after their " soulmate"? Soulmate now there is a word I despise with all my being. What exactly is a soulmate? I chalk it up to a word that some persons mainly women use way too loosely to convince themselves that some guy is the only man for them, also known as "the one" like Neo in the matrix.

But I digress. What happens to those left behind by the Hollywood spotlight? Remember when films had these little text messages at the end where they would tie up loose ends: Jimmy gets over the divorce and goes on to win the lottery. "ha ha , how ya like me now, I'm rich beetch!" or Sonia fell into a deep depression after the breakup and because a drug addict who overdosed 2 years after this story or after doing 5 years in prison Charles was released on parole and became a bodyguard for Michael Jackson. Well they don't do that much anymore so you are always left wondering as to what happens to the bit players. They usually do nothing wrong its just they don't have enough star power to get the lead role so they get shafted.

And while you are supposed to feel happy that the lead roles found their soulmates are you not supposed to feel some pity for the poor supporting characters? Most times they do nothing wrong or we only see the story from the stars perspective where they make the supporting character look bad. They almost never show you the emotional distress that the supporting character incurs. Their mental breakdowns, their emotional instability, their jumping into bad relationships on the rebound or turning to alcohol or drugs for an emotional crutch to ease the pain. We are supposed to believe that they shook off the break up and moved on because they realized that the star needed to find his/her soulmate and they were in the way.

Too bad real life aint like that or maybe its good that real life isn't like that. I haven't decided yet.

Hol on let me answer me cellular


Figured I'd write about something trivial to take my mind off Ivan. I got a new cellphone yesterday. Whoopee! Now I need to put this all into context.

First off I used to be sort of a techie but I wouldn't say I'm a big technophile at the moment. I'm still the dude who is writing addresses in the little black book while everyone pulls out the Palm Pilots and iPods. I'm not sure where it all changed for me but I think it occurred somewhere around the time I was working for someone who was very anti-technology and convinced me that technology is great but one should really be all about the fundamentals. I'm not totally in agreement with that philosophy but I think it somehow rubbed off on me and I now stand somewhere between technophobe and prehistoric man. Well not really but I'm not keen to spend money on random new bits of technology just for the sake of it.

My wife bought a cellphone a few years ago for work only to have her workplace give her a cellphone a few months later and since she was locked into years of those terrible contract terms I said I'd take it off her hands and use it. So for 3 plus years I've had her cellphone and I barely used it until lately. It was just something to have just in case of emergency. I didn't even change her message on the voice mail.

Now 3 years in cellphone life is like 50 years in regular life. I pull out my 3 year old phone and folks look at me like I have one of those old brick like phones that Don Johnson and Phillip Michael Thomas had on Miami Vice in the 80s.

Anyway my wife finally said my old phone was not "befitting of someone of my standing". I'm not sure what that really means but that was the final straw and so the old phone had to go. Sigh! I think she's going to make a move on getting me to wear something other than jeans to work pretty soon too but I'm not budging.

So now I have a new phone. Its lightweight, it vibrates, its got a colored screen, I can download ring tones and I can actually hear it when it rings.

Now if I can only figure out how to change my phone not answered message.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Storm storm storm!

That's the only thing that's really been on my mind this week. Or should I say Hurricane, Hurricane. Hurricane. Since last Sunday when I heard that this thing was heading towards Barbados I've become really familiar with the Hurricane tracking sites and the Weather Network site. Thank God for the internet though because regular media coverage of Ivan has been terrible in my opinion. Well maybe not terrible but they definitely weren't answering the questions that I wanted answered.

So from Sunday I've been checking the 3 hourly updates on Ivan. Watched as it sideswiped Barbados on Tuesday morning and felt a bit of relief as the damage wasn't that great and everyone I knew checked in saying they were ok. That sense of relief turned to dread though as Tobago and St Vincent got sideswiped and Grenada got wrecked. I mean what feeling are you supposed to have as you watch a destructive force of nature hit island after island.

How are you supposed to feel when 80,000 people are homeless, an economy destroyed and resources are scarce?

Then I figured ok looks like this thing is out to sea for a bit and what happens? It hooks toward Jamaica. So I'm still here one week later looking at internet reports on damage and first hand accounts from persons there waiting to hear if everyone's family is ok. This sucks.

For me its painful because although myself or family haven't suffered any loss directly in this storm I still feel the pain of close friends from other islands dealing with worry about relatives either before or after the hurricane hits. Folks from Grenada searching for loved ones and friends from Jamaica wondering if Gilbert a category 3 hurricane did so much damage in the 1980s how much more damage will this category 4 or 5 do if it hits the island directly.

I hope next week is a better one for the Caribbean.

Oh today is the anniversary of 9/11. Rest in peace to those who died but for now, no disrespect, but my thoughts are more with the living dealing with hurricane Ivan.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Civilized Behavior

Well its back to school week here in Toronto which means that the summer is over. It also means that I feel just a bit older as I see all of the new University students everywhere. Is it my imagination or was I ever that young? I know definitely I wasn't that small when I started University.

Anyway, I see all the frosh (freshmen) running around doing their orientation/initiation routines. Scavenger hunts, tours of campus, and other activities to supposedly instill them with camaraderie and all that other crap. I remember when I was a frosh so many moons ago. Imagine first time I leave Barbados and I'm living in residence all by my lonesome. It was quite the transition. I noticed first off the bat that most University events were centered around beer. Not really my thing actually. Then there was this whole motif running through the initiations of instilling fear in you and respect for the upperclassmen. I don't do well when people try to force or push me. I tend to push back so I wasn't really fond of that either and I skipped most of the res events.

My faculties events were almost as bad. Running around campus chanting, getting into fights with other groups over silly stuff, painting arms purple (it took a few days to get that off too and I swore I had ruined one of my best pairs of stone wash jeans. Am I sounding dated ?) .I wondered what the hell had I gotten myself into with this university stuff. I also wondered what happened to civilized behavior. I mean this is Canada , a first world country and they are supposed to be civilized right? What's with all the rituals and that stuff? And these jokers would have the nerve to say they are more civilized than me. Well where I'm from we never had any of this craziness happening over school. Come on now!

Anyway its calmed down a bit these days. The focus on alcohol has lessened since most frosh are now younger and under the drinking age. Also the universities saw that some of the initiation stuff was scaring the frosh and in a few cases a bit dangerous so they have also cut back on that. However the purple arm thing has become a purple body thing. Saw a whole class full of purple dipped kids two days ago. Saw a few today, still slightly purple. I guess no one told them how long it takes to get that stuff off.

Poor Grenada

Grenada was devastated by Hurricane Ivan. It just brushed Barbados and we had 235 homes damaged and one life lost but it hit Grenada head on. 9 out of 10 houses suffered damage or were completely destroyed. I mean even the Prime minister's house was destroyed and he's currently living on a British naval ship in the port. The scenery has been totally denuded of tress , the nutmeg plantations where Grenada grows one if not its main export are destroyed. The jails got damaged and all of the prisioners are loose.

No running water, no electricity, with 9 of 10 homes damaged probably alot of people with no shelter. This is a really serious crisis.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

The worst is over

For Barbados at least. Reports indicate over 175 houses damaged and one casualty so far. We didnt get a direct hit, praise god ,because if we had many homes would probably have been reduced to so much matchboxes in the wind. Folks seem ok the last time I spoke to them but I'll check in later tonight.

Lots of trees uprooted and the sea is flooding into the road in certain areas. St Phillip and St Lucy, the south east and the North of the isand seem to have taken the worst of it.

Tobago took a good beating from Ivan too. Now its on to Grenada and St Vincent. I've been reading that the Grenadine islands are taking a pounding so far and its going to last a while. I hope too much damage isnt done though.

You really cant do anything where nature is involved besides pray for the best though.

The waiting is over

Ivan is hitting Barbados as we speak. The warning for Barbados was downgraded from hurricane warning to storm warning as it appears that the bulk of the system will pass to the south of Barbados. Its going to pass alot closer to Tobago so they are still under a storm warning.

It still looks like Barbados will get a fair share of rains and high winds. Called home a half hour ago and the winds were just picking up, now I"m hearing that the power is out in some districts and a few trees are down.

Last night VOB was playing a pan version of Celine Dion's Titanic song while giving coverage of the preparation for the storm. Now I don't know about anyone else but when I'm facing a natural disaster the Titanic is the last thing I really want to be thinking about. It screams abandon ship all hope is lost. Not the ideal motivation strategy when you are dealing with something as daunting as a hurricane. Besides that song sucks big time.

Hope that we don't get too much damage done in Barbados. We are flat and prone to flooding. Any significant rain can lead to some serious problems and lest not forget the high winds. Anyway I pray that all will be well. I hope that Ivan doesn't make any turn up the island chain either. Good luck to St Lucia and St Vincent later on in the day.

Monday, September 06, 2004


Just called home looks like everyone in Barbados is preparing for Hurricane Ivan. Got me a bit worried I must say. I don't think Barbados has been hit by an actual hurricane since 1955 way before my birth so there probably is a bit of underpreparedness in the island. I'm hoping (and praying) it doesn't hit or if it does it doesn't hit directly, or if it does hit directly the damage will not be as bad as it could be.

Sometime your luck runs out and this could be the big one for Barbados though. We've been missed by alot of the crazy ones in the past two decades, David, Gilbert, and many others that wrecked havoc in other islands. But every dog has his day I guess so this one could be it.

I cant change the weather so all I can do is say a prayer and hope for the best.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Arrogance and Ignorance

Let me tell you all the facts. First I don't like Kobe Bryant. Never have, probably never will. Maybe it was his skipping high school to go straight to the pros bypassing a college education. Naa that's not it. Maybe its because he is a Laker and I have disliked that franchise from 'when me was a likkle yout'. Maybe its his arrogance and selfishness on the court. Maybe its his ego getting in the way of his continuing his successful partnership with Shaq. Maybe its all of the above and more but whatever it is I just don't like the man.

Ok that out of the way here is the next fact. I don't know anything more about what happened between Kobe and the woman in Colorado than the rest of the public. I could surmise on what happen and I may somewhere along the line here but I don't have the facts because I wasn't there.

Now everybody and their mama know by now that the case was thrown out just as the jury was being selected, about a year after the incident, after much money was spent by the state to bring this to trial.

Then Kobe issue this statement:
"Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual, I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did. ............... I now understand how she feels that she did not consent to the encounter"

What the hell does this mean? Sounds like an admission of guilt to me. Absolutely silly statement. Maybe this statement was part of the agreement he reached with the girl and her lawyers to drop the case but still that statement just screams guilt.

Now I know that some people are like I should be glad that Kobe got off free because he is a black man like me. Alright he is a black man and I am a black man but that may be where the similarities end. Do I have to believe that he is innocent regardless of the evidence to the contrary because he is black? He is rich and maybe the girl set him up that is possible too so maybe I'm glad that if he is innocent he wasn't railroaded like many other black men out there but Kobe has the money to insure that he can buy justice. Most of us black men cant do that. If most of us black men issued a statement like the one he did our butts would be locked up.

Ok that is as close to defending him as I will get and you can tell that's not really close. So let me go on the offensive. Kobe Bryant let his arrogance and indeed his ignorance get him into this situation. These black athletes live their sheltered, pampered lives then they get in trouble and all us black men are supposed to jump in line once this race card is flashed. Utter nonsense. Like Mc Lyte said "I'm just not having it".

To tell you the truth they almost had me though. The knee jerk reaction is to jump into line but this time forget it.

Anyway I started this two days ago and was supposed to continue but now I think this issue was silly so I done wid dat. doan mind me.

Friday, September 03, 2004


How do I say goodbye to what we had?

The good times that made us laugh

Outweigh the bad.

I thought we'd get to see forever

But forever's gone away

It's so hard to say goodbye to yesterday.

Ok maybe I'll share something real today. I've still got a blog on Kobe to finish but that can wait.

I know they say the older you get the more familiar you get with death. I'm beginning to see the truth in that every day. I mean I always noticed as years went by my parents spent more and more time at funerals and still do but in the past year I've also noticed that I now know a lot of people who are dying.

Its not my acquaintances and friends who are dying out yet but all around me I've been faced with friends and family who have been losing their own friends and family on a regular basis. It started sometime late last year and this year it hasn't let up. In fact just a few minutes ago I found out that a friend lost his dad just yesterday and last week another friend lost a mother. Friends have been losing parents, grandparents and other family on a regular basis around me. Even my wife has lost a few family members this year.

So far I'm unscathed but all this death around me and watching my friends deal with its effects I'm forced to wonder when it will be my turn next. Is that morbid? So what deal with it! Its not something I dwell on a lot but with my parents being far away in Barbados every time I get a phone call early in the morning I expect to hear the worst.

Sorry I guess that's just the way I think. I know they have to die sometime, I hope its not soon but at the same time maybe I''m trying to mentally prepare myself for that loss. Not that its going to be any easier but maybe who knows.

Also everyone deals with their sadness and loss in a different way. Its definitely not an easy thing to do. I always wonder whether my condolences, no matter how heart felt, are really helping that person to cope since I can only begin to scratch the surface of their emotion. I wonder how they view my condolences? Do they see them as being useful or in their state is it just so much background static that they would rather not deal with.

That said I'm sure when a loved one dies no one wants to be alone or feel alone so lets hope that we can all support our friends and loved ones when they lose someone close to them because sooner or later its going to happen to either them or you ....unless you yourself die first.

And I'll take with me the memories

To be my sunshine after the rain

It's so hard to say goodbye to yesterday

Rest in Peace to all the recently and dearly departed.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Bag Lady

Yesterday, on my way to work, I saw an Asian bag lady. Why is this noteworthy? Well because in all my years in this country I had never ever seen one Asian bag lady before. I've seen white bag ladies, black bag ladies etc but never Asian.

Not that I've never seen Asian bums and drunks and beggars sprawled out on the street. I've seen plenty of them but they were all male. Never seen a female. So yesterday when I saw this woman rummaging in the garbage and her big shopping cart full of bags parked on the sidewalk I had to do a double take.

Made me wonder why I've never seen one before. Spoke to someone about it and they ,like me, initially thought that maybe it has to do with the Asian community being more tight knit and taking care of their own more but then that wouldn't explain the Asian bums and beggars I've seen around so I need another hypothesis.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Things gone ta de dogs

Dogs, dogs, dogs, dogs! Everywhere you turn in Toronto in the past few days dogs have been part of the conversation.

Why you ask? Well there were two attacks involving pitbulls here last week here.

The first incident involved a pitbull attacking another dog which tried to run away and was hit by a car. This led the owner to spend quite a bit of money in medical expenses on the injured dog. This owner was rather upset and wants the pitbull's owner to pay some of the medical expenses incurred but the pit bull owner says most of the dog's injuries were inflicted by the car so he and his dog are not to blame.

The second and more serious incident involved a guy who was taking care of his neighbour's pitbulls for the weekend. He took them for a walk and they attacked him from behind for no apparent reason. Anyway some persons in the vicinity attempted to pry the dogs off him but to no avail and so the police had to come in and shoot both dogs utilizing a total of 16 bullets to completely stop them.

This has started a whole dialogue on the safety of this particular breed of dog with City and Provincial officials saying they may look into the banning of the breed.

Everyone seems to have an opinion on this matter. Lots of folks think they are dangerous, indeed vicious dogs who should be banned from the province while some including some vets and pet owners believe that most pit bulls are harmless, kind gentle, loyal creatures and that what has happened is that these two occurrences were either anomalies or the result of the owners raising the dogs to be vicious. Regardless of the stance one takes on this issue it seems like everytime I turn on the news there is some dog expert, dog owner or dog walker speaking either for or against the issue.

Well I have no real info on pitbulls to be swayed one way or the other but its still an interesting debate. I never had a pitbull but my family had dogs when I was growing up so I know that some dogs are just mean and some dogs are gentle. Its just like people everyone is different.

Now my question is if the decision is made to ban the dogs how does one determine that the dog is a pitbull? I mean it may or it may not be quite obvious with the pure breed ones but are we also going to include dogs with 1/2 pitbull, 1/8 pitbull, 1/16 pitbull? Do dog owners have to go pull out a record to prove that their dog is not a pitbull and has no pitbull ancestry up to 4 generations back? Will pit bulls be forced to try to "pass" as other breeds to avoid the ban just like how light skinned blacks would try to "pass" as white folk back in the old days to get out of the discrimination against them?

I can just imagine some fellow with a dog that's clearly a pit bull from head to toe but he's trying to pass it off telling people its not really a pit bull, "it may look like a pit bull but is really just a big boned poodle."