Archive for February, 2007


As far back as I can remember I had one desire that transcended every other: I always wanted to be a human being.

Things worked out fairly well, to a point.

But there was this constant, nagging knowledge that I wasn’t quite making it.

After a while I stopped fighting, gave up the ghost. It became obvious that I was never going to be like my peers; my Dad or my Mom; my sister; my cousins; my uncles; my kids…

They always told me that there was this line, the crossing of which would take me to a whole other place, where nothing I had learned in my life — on the ‘right’ side of the line — would apply.

Of course, the first thing I did was cross it. I tried it once, then twice, then again…

After a while I was crossing that line every day.

I still do.

Because, you know what?

They were right, bless them.

Advertisements

I stumbled upon these words of wisdom from the fingertips of my good friend Mike E over at the Open Container Speedway:

‘If you want to understand why the end of the world is about to happen you really must watch Fox News. Make note of who advertises. Never buy their product again. And remember: For roughly 25% to a third of Americans what you see there is Truth. A mere market share. By no means a majority. But a brutally sizable & well-connected ignoramus mob.’

Read the full thing here.

For news you won’t find on Fox and CNN click here.

A comment on gun crime in the UK

Below is a comment by Ms Vaughan, which I received in response to my Gun crime in the UK post (11/09/06). I decided to publish it here because of its current relevance.

22 February 2007, 12:31:43 | Ms Vaughan
I am a Connexions Personal Adviser working in South London and I come into contact with young people everyday.

In light of the recent shootings in the Black community involving young people, I feel that it is now time for us to offer practical ways to tackle the problems and move forward.

I believe that everyone in our community should be coming together now. I think that they need to be shown that they can overcome all things with only a little determination, confidence in oneself and nurturing from family and school.

I am pleased to share with you a web site that promotes this and will be of interest to everyone in our community: http://www.school-info4u.com

A particular demand exists for a web site that delivers clear and specific advice to parents and carers who are raising African-Caribbean children.

School-info4u.com has the leverage to make a difference.

This free resource aims to tackle many of the problems that are causing these young people to ‘go off track’. This might be in relation to various issues, ranging from school exclusion, gang culture etc.

I guess most people might find it deeply uncomfortable talking about what’s really going on with the state of our youth. But as long as we choose complacency over awareness, we can’t change the status quo. In fact, the problems will likely grow in magnitude until people are finally forced to open their eyes and deal with the consequences. As is the case now!

The sooner each one of us decides that we do want to know, and that we are willing to invite others to open their eyes too, the more easily we will be able to turn this situation around. I guess that this won’t happen overnight, but I retain optimism…a flicker of hope in these difficult times! 

For me it’s all about trying to do my little bit to try and transform our community…’ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach’.

I believe that any small thing that one person can do to help another will make all the difference and I feel as though I am doing this with the School-info4u.com project.

Take a look at http://www.school-info4u.com

Kindest regards

Ms Vaughan

In dimly lit rooms faceless men and women sit hunched over keyboards, fingers tapping wildly but silently on their keys, unaware of their thoughts or the processes of their writings. They seek answers to questions that torture timelessly, striving to expel them from their minds and get them out of their mental cells and into the world. There are sensations — something in their fingers like presences or prospects of the cold — but there are no ideas. 

And beyond their rooms there are other rooms in which people lie still as corpses but conscious, as if under a strange and all-pervasive governance, a principality of heel-click on sidewalk and sodium streetlight. A dark miasma seeps into their rooms through loose window pains and broken transoms, a hideously expanding ectoplasm, which they inhale deep down into their lungs as they wait to be written.

Writers are alchemists and they are chosen not manufactured. Chosen by whom? you ask. God? I don’t believe in God, so that’s out. What is there to believe in? Something bigger than ourselves? What could be bigger than a self? What could be bigger than ‘I’? Other men like me, perhaps? Only I’ve never met any.

Writers are chosen. Chosen by what they write. Curses are cast in soiled paper wraps, hexes are hurled through space via satellite and through wires and eventually are rendered in words. Spiritual beauty is to be found in anger. For rage moves like an erotic impulse towards the experience of time suspended; rage can expand the moment so that the whole of life becomes potentially one enormous and eternal present, like a piece of writing.

On 21 February 1965, Black Nationalist leader Malcolm X was assassinated.

The following is a short film by Liam Donovon featuring a recording of The Ballot or the Bullet speech, set to music by the film’s director.Malcolm X was born in Omaha in 1925 as Malcolm Little. His father, a Baptist minister, was an outspoken follower of Marcus Garvey, the Black Nationalist leader of the 1920s.

The family moved to Lansing, Michigan, and when Malcolm was six years old his father was murdered after receiving death threats from the Ku Klux Klan. Malcolm’s mother suffered a nervous breakdown and he and his eight siblings were taken into care by the welfare department.

He was sent first to a foster home and then to a reform school. After the eighth grade, he moved to Boston, Massachusetts, where he worked at various jobs, eventually becoming involved in criminal activity. In 1946 he received a prison sentence for burglary.

Inside he became interested in the teachings of Elijah Muhammad, the leader of the Black Muslims, also known as The Nation of Islam. He subsequently spent his time in prison educating himself and learning more about the Black Muslims, who advocated racial separation.

On his release in 1952, he joined a Black Muslim temple in Detroit and changed his surname from Little to X, symbolically replacing the name derived from the heritage of slavery to represent the unknown name of his African ancestors.

By the early 1960s, the Nation of Islam had become well known and Malcolm was their most prominent spokesperson. In 1963, however, he was suspended from the organisation for his remark that the assassination of John F. Kennedy was like “the chickens coming home to roost”. In the following year, he broke with the Nation of Islam altogether and formed a secular black nationalist group, the Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU).

In 1964 Malcolm made a hajj (pilgrimage) to the Islamic holy city of Mecca. As a result of this trip and other travels to Africa and Europe he adopted the Arabic name El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz and renounced his previous teaching that all whites are evil. 

He was assassinated by three Black Muslim members while addressing an OAAU rally in New York. 

Here’s an interesting question: isn’t religion a bit like pornography?

P.Z. Myers has ten good reasons for answering that question in the affirmative:

it has been practiced for all of human history in all cultures;

it exploits perfectly natural, even commendable, impulses;

its virtues are debatable, its proponents fanatical;

people love it but can’t give a rational reason for it;

it objectifies and degrades women even when it worships them;

you want to wash up after shaking hands with any of its leaders;

the costumes are outrageous, the performances silly, the plots unbelievable;

there’s nothing wrong with enjoying it but it’s nothing to be proud of; 

it is not a sound basis for public policy, government, or international relations;

its stars are totally fake.

Professor Myers is a Secular Materialist and he’s welcome at my table any time.

Visit his blog.

Fun with Yiddish #1: Kibitzer

A very wise man once told me: ‘You know, boychik, this world is full of kibitzers. All you can do is out-kibitz them.’

You don’t know what the Yiddish kibitzer means? I’ll tell you.

The word itself is derived from the German name for a bird, the kiebitz, a lapwing or peewit. These birds are by reputation noisy and inquisitive and are known, colloquially, as Kibitzer.

However, in German, the verb kiebitzen means to spy over the shoulder of a card player.

So, a kibitzer is someone who kibitzes — that is, gives unsolicited advice or suggestions, in particular as a bystander/observer at a game; a ‘buttinski’; someone who’s always sticking his two cents into the affairs of others; a josher, a teaser, a flatterer; someone who patronisingly humours someone else along; a wise-guy who offers easy advice but doesn’t participate in the action; a second guesser; a… pain in the ass.

Literary criticism is something I used to do at college. Some people do it for a job: they’re all kibitzers; critics are kibitzers. Political commentators are mostly kibitzers; a minority of people who post comments on blogs are kibitzers.

My mother is a great kibitzer. In the car with my father she would always be back-seat driving. You know: ‘Watch out for the cyclist’, ‘There’s a red light coming up’, ‘You’re driving too fast’… She was once the subject of an article in our local paper because she took and failed her driving test fourteen times.

There are many kibitzers who frequent my local bar.

Recently, a Jewish friend of mine comes in. He tells me he’s won the lottery. All six numbers plus the bonus ball. The prize is in millions. This kibitzer overhears our conversation and asks my friend how he chose his numbers.

‘Well,’ he says, ‘5 is my grandson’s age. 64 is from the first two digits of my telephone number. 46 is the year I was born. 3 the number of years I’ve been divorced. 15 is my house number and 21 the age I’ll never be again.’

‘And the bonus ball?’

’63,’ the winner tells him, ‘it came to me in a dream. I dreamed I was in a theatre and on the stage was a chorus of sevens — eight dancers, each with the number 7 printed on the back of her costume. So I chose 63.’

‘But eight times seven is 56, not 63!’ cries the kibitzer.

‘So I’ve never been any good with numbers,’ chortles the millionaire. ‘Hey, bartender, get the mathematician a drink.’

What a kibitzer.

In the name of the father? This is War. In the name of the son? This is murder. In the name of the Holy Ghost? This is iniquity. In the name of democracy? This is a lie.

They have created a wasteland in our name and called it Democracy. Dare we look on their our victims?

“Iniquity, committed in this world, produces not fruit immediately, but, like the earth, in due season, and advancing by little and little, it eradicates the man who committed it. …justice, being destroyed, will destroy; being preserved, will preserve; it must never therefore be violated.” Manu 1200 bc

This video should only be viewed by a mature audience. I suspect that it will very soon become ‘no longer available’.

What did I tell you?

%d bloggers like this: