Tuesday, May 26, 2009

What is wrong with American Idol voters ?

Firstly, I don't have a TV so I never know what is hot in TV land or not. But I heard about the brouhaha over this year's upset on American Idol. I wasn't so moved about it until I saw a small clip of Adam Lambert's performance with KISS and I was immediately intrigued.

Speculation is rife on why he lost and most people think that Conservative and Middle America were not comfortable with his supposed homosexuality.

I am middle of the road person on the issue of homosexuality, but should someone's sexuality ever be reason to deny the acknowledgement of their talent ?
This guy has to be the most talented Idol contestant ever and to think that people wouldn't vote for him because he appears gay is insane. Come on America, give credit where credit is due.

This makes me feel like joining those Prop 8 opponents and getting real active. This is seriously stupid. My heart broke for this guy.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Soldier in Pink Boxers

Regardless of your politics this picture is sure to move you. The image moved me quite deeply and I am yet to fully figure out why. I think it has to do with the fact that the soldier in the boxers looks very childlike even in his posture. There is an innocence to him. He looks like he might as well be at a sleep over playing games with his buddies. Only that this is real and it takes one determined enemy to take life out of him.
Many of us do indeed forget the role American troops play in our lives.

If you live or have lived in America you owe a lot of gratitude to those that are fighting America's wars. Pictures like this are a good reminder.

In this May 11, 2009 file photo, soldiers from the U.S. Army First Battalion, 26th Infantry take defensive positions at firebase Restrepo after receiving fire from Taliban positions in the Korengal Valley of Afghanistan's Kunar Province. Spc. Zachery Boyd of Fort Worth, Texas, far left was wearing "I love NY" boxer shorts after rushing from his sleeping quarters to join his fellow platoon members. From far right is Spc. Cecil Montgomery of Many, La. and Jordan Custer of Spokan, Wash, center. Defense Secretary Robert Gates says American soldiers have more than their military might and training on their side in the war in Afghanistan. Some have pink underwear. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder, FILE)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

What's with White Kenyans?

Ok, I don't know if these kids are white Kenyans but from the Tusker T shirt, I am guessing they are or some British Kids that have got African accents down. They call themselves two white wogs. This stuff seems funny for now but God forbid if this stuff catches traction. These could be the next Borat.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Has Zuma vindicated himself?

I believe that a better future for Africa is heavily dependent on its women. Amazingly many African leaders know this and some take drastic steps to make it so that women get the education they need.

In Uganda for example the is a woman's Parliamentary seat for every district. There is a Ministry dedicated to women. You will find women in all areas of public life. And all this has happened without as much a significant struggle by the women's movement. Its become the norm for girls to beat boys in national exams. This year was the exception, the boys beat the girls and there was alot of concern that women were losing the ground they had gained thus far. The only affirmative action program they have is gender based. To enter a University girls are given extra 1.5 points to enhance their chances to entrance. The argument is that girls carry alot of domsestic burdens as they grow up and are at a disadvantage while boys have alot more freedom as children. This proposal was initally met with insignificant protest but its been in place for over 20 years. The results of which are seen in the women professionals who are nation builders of today. So there is no interest whatsoever in undoing affirmative action.

There are schools springing up at a terrific rate in the East African region, most of these are being run by women. If these women that have had little support from their governments and elsewhere can spearhead development, what are they capable of if they are given equal opportunities as the men?

In Rwanda's post genocide era, women dominate public service, partly due to the lack of enough male professionals and also a culture that upholds women as key to development.
Africa with its grim realities can only be saved by its women. We have seen what Africa's men are capable of, and its not pretty. Thankfully they seem to realize that there is no future without the empowerment of women. The latest to join this type of thinking is S.Africa's new president, that I am not a fan of, Jacob Zuma.
He has made 42% of his cabinet women. To me that is promising. Could this idiot actually save South Africa?

Friday, May 8, 2009

Is this the black JK Rowling?

'I didn't know I was writing a novel' -Helen Oyeyemi

I was as usual listening to Women's hour on the BBC and Helen Oyeyemi got on and was being interviewed. It did not occur to me until the end of the interview that this woman was black let alone Nigerian. From the little I have read, her genre is not too far from JK Rowlings even in its potential as the next Harry Potter Series. We will wait and see, But so far she seems to be hitting the right notes with critics. I am not to much of a fiction or fantasy reader but its good to see Nigeria maintain their title as Africa's literary giants.

By Anita Sethi

Helen Oyeyemi wrote her first book in seven weeks while studying for her A-levels. By the time she got her results, she had signed a two-book, £400,000 deal. Anita Sethi meets her
oundaries are forever melting away in the unstable world of The Icarus Girl, 20-year-old Helen Oyeyemi's debut novel. Rooms widen and contract, floors cave in, walls "tilt sickeningly" as the protagonist, eight-year-old Jessamy, gets carried away by uncontrollable flights of fancy.

Now a second-year undergraduate reading social and political sciences at Corpus Christ College, Cambridge, Oyeyemi wrote the novel in seven giddy months while studying for her A-levels in a south London comprehensive. She sent the first 20 pages to agent Robin Wade who phoned her the next day, and in a tale fast becoming urban myth, Oyeyemi signed a two-book deal with Bloomsbury for a reported £400,000 (the figure is exaggerated, insists the publisher) on the day of her A-level results.

"It was a crazy, crazy time," she says over a steak sandwich and coffee in a Soho restaurant. "I was just barrelling along writing it and I wasn't really aware that I was writing a first novel. I didn't really understand what was happening. I still don't.

"It was so much fun, though. It's great when the story comes to you so easily and strongly." Her parents still haven't read the book. "I really hope they won't. I'd just be really weirded out." What do they think of her rapid success? "I don't really talk about it with them."

The story of the precocious, mentally unstable daughter of a Nigerian mother and English father, The Icarus Girl is a moving study of alienation. While holidaying in Nigeria, Jess befriends TillyTilly, a ghost (or just an imaginary friend?) who follows her to England. At first a blessing to the intensely lonely Jess, TillyTilly becomes increasingly destructive. It emerges that Jess had a twin who died at birth; in Yoruba culture, twins inhabit three worlds, the bush (a "wilderness of the mind"), the normal world and the spirit world. "The bush is a world that doesn't have the same rules and the same structure as our world," explains Oyeyemi, "and TillyTilly comes right from that world. As a kid I was scared of everything you could be scared of - ghosts, aliens, the IRA. I didn't differentiate between these different fears and the threat of TillyTilly is that she can't really be categorised."

Jess is so disturbed that her own name sounds "strange, wobbly, misinformed" to her, as she struggles to categorise not only TillyTilly but her own self. Jess's behaviour is in turn feared by her mother. Growing up in Nigerian culture, says Oyeyemi, can be "really, really oppressive. It's like something almost tugging on your coat-tails saying, 'Hey, remember you're Nigerian,' and I think that's what TillyTilly is to Jess. But you know if Jess just left it a bit, she would realise that it's OK to be Nigerian and English at the same time."

Born in Nigeria in 1984, Oyeyemi emigrated to London with her family when she was four. As a child in Lewisham, she remembers never quite finding herself represented in the books she was reading. "You can read a lot of books and the main characters are white people - especially in the classics - and after a while you forget that you're not white, almost, because it's this big pervasive culture. And then you find books like Yoruba Girl Dancing [by Simi Bedford] and you think: it's just as interesting to be Nigerian in England as it is to be white in England."

Oyeyemi is self-assured and very witty, but she says it has been a struggle to gain such confidence, "I was a real mess at school. I got a bit of a reputation for being the weird girl, the girl who'd go silent randomly and just kind of write down replies to people's questions in a book." During secondary school, she slid into depression. "I'm not entirely sure why it hit me ... just feeling really, really uncomfortable in my own skin and not wanting to communicate and just shutting down. Which is what Jess is doing at eight."

She touches obliquely on the response of her family: "In Nigeria, the problems are so much more immediate and more real, like you're not getting any electricity or any water, you actually have to struggle, and stuff. [So they think]: it's fine over here, what's your problem? And so there was just this kind of blank silence thing between us about it."

She took an overdose at 15. While off school recovering, she spent the month "reading and reading and reading, so that was kinda useful". Reluctant to take medication, she also found visits to her psychologist unhelpful: "There wasn't really very much to say, because I find it very difficult to say what's going on most of the time." It was a family holiday to Nigeria that finally set her on the road to recovery.

At Cambridge, she says, she has found a group of close friends, but adds: "One of the reasons why I might be finding it difficult to gel with my year is because I do get a bit surly and a bit inward. I think that's why, in a way, since I have no life skills, writing is a really cool thing for me to do, because I can be by myself and I don't have to kind of verbalise things. I'm terrible at verbalising things; that's exactly what it is." The core theme of The Icarus Girl is loneliness, she says. But "I've always felt happy in my own company. It's only when I get around other people that things get sticky.

"I think, basically, what I'm good for is reading - a lot.". And writing? "I think I'll always be more of a reader than a writer, definitely. There are sooo many books in the world I haven't read, sometimes I feel as if they're all piled on top of my head weighing me down and saying, hurry up." She adores magic realism. "I love taking things out of context and playing with them and chopping up rules."

She was imagining things, she says, even before she was reading things, and speaks of the sanctuary and terror of imagination. Growing up, her sister, to whom she is very close, and Chimmy - an imaginary friend - were her "chief psychics". "I can't remember when [Chimmy] first bowled on to the scene. He died when I was eight, he got run over," she says matter-of-factly. "Chimmy really straightened me out because I was such a naughty kid."

On the other hand, "I had, sort of, this weird twilight-zone made out of a pastiche of things I'd seen on TV and any horrors that I could imagine ... every now and then a new fear gets added to my repertoire." At the moment it's white-noise phenomenon [messages from dead people supposedly embedded in recordings of empty rooms]. "I don't ever want to hear a ghost, I think I'd actually just die."

Despite her impressive success so far, Oyeyemi doesn't see writing as a full-time career, thinking it would be weird not to do a "proper job". As for being categorised, as a young, non-white woman, with writers such as Zadie Smith and Monica Ali, she says this is "inevitable but lazy". She tells of how, at books parties, people ask her if she is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the Nigerian author of Purple Hibiscus.

Next month Oyeyemi will have two plays published by Methuen as Juniper's Whitening; she is also working on her second novel, about Cuban mythology. It's quite a leap from The Icarus Girl, she says. "I think I'm done with loneliness. Jess's world is about this narrow," she says, enclosing a millimetre of air between her fingers, "it's a really oppressive atmosphere, but with the second novel I'm just like ... phew ... breathing - and it feels good."

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Is Kenya the next Zimbabwe ?

Thomas Cholmondeley

Kenya has its fair share of White settlers. I have always wondered how stability prevailed in Kenya under those circumstances given the history of how the land was taken. Kenya's post election violence was rooted in issues of land created by the British. Now this British Aristocrat managed to kill a local poacher for tress passing on his land. Previously he had shot someone else. He has now been convicted for manslaughter.
In my own country, I personally would shoot a poacher on my land and many would understand and I would most likely get off scott free.

However this guy forgot his history and skin color. Being a descendant of those that grabbed African land is enough to have the locals hate you no matter how many good deeds you do for the community. Africans like their white people in Churches, convents and schools, not owning their land, well at least where I am from. But I get the feeling Kenyans are the same way. Now to go a head and start shooting them and actually killing them for 'tress passing' on 'your' land is asking for trouble. And this guy definitely dug himself into a huge hole. At this point only Obama can save him. But a possible consideration would be to forfeit the land. It can never be yours again after this.

Here is a BBC story on the case.

A white Kenyan aristocrat has been cleared of murder but found guilty of the manslaughter of a black poacher on his family's estate in 2006.

A judge ruled Thomas Cholmondeley did not show "malice aforethought" in the shooting of Robert Njoya in May 2006.

The case, involving the descendant of one of Kenya's first British settlers, has attracted huge media attention.

In 2005 Cholmondeley admitted shooting a Maasai ranger, but the case was dropped owing to insufficient evidence.

That decision provoked outrage and mass protests among the Maasai community.


The courtroom in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, was packed with lawyers, reporters, cameramen, and family and friends of Thomas Cholmondeley, the BBC's Adam Mynott in court said.

Profile of a Kenyan aristocrat
Shock and relief in Nairobi court
There were gasps of surprise as High Court Justice Muga Apondi gave his ruling after reading out a 320-page verdict on the case, although the defendant himself remained impassive.

"I find as a fact that it was the accused who had shot the deceased resulting in his death," the judge said.

"In view of the above analysis I hereby find which I do, that the accused did not have any malice aforethought to kill the deceased."

The Eton-educated 40-year-old, who has spent the last three years in jail, is due to be sentenced next week. He faces a maximum term of life imprisonment.

"I'm amazed - dumbstruck actually," said Cholmondeley's defence lawyer. "We will appeal. There is no doubt about that."

Surprise outcome

The incident took place in a remote corner of Cholmondeley's sprawling family farm in the Rift Valley region, acquired by his great-grandfather, the third Baron Delamere.

Cholmondeley told police at the time that Mr Njoya was with three companions and a pack of dogs, and he suspected them of hunting a gazelle.

He said he had shot at the dogs, killing two of them. Mr Njoya was hit by a bullet and died on the way to hospital.

Cholmondeley's defence had argued that the fatal shot may have been fired from a weapon carried by his friend, but this was rejected as an "afterthought" by the judge.

The judge's verdict is contrary to the non-binding not guilty verdict found by a panel of lay assessors - who do a similar job to juries in Kenya - in March.

The outcome will surprise some who followed the case closely, our correspondent says.

But it will please those Kenyans who believe Thomas Cholmondeley should have been prosecuted over the shooting of Maasai ranger Samson Ole Sisina in 2005.

Cholmondeley, a divorced father of two, had admitted the earlier shooting, but said he acted in self-defence mistaking the warden for an armed robber.

The latest trial has stirred up lingering animosity against some in the white farming community, who are accused of living on large areas of land, illegally grabbed early last century, our correspondent says.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Australian councillor, Hajnal Ban, has legs broken to become taller. WTH!

And all along I have been giving Black women a hard time for wearing Weaves. How insecure do you have to be to get your legs broken son you can grow taller?

Hajnal Ban, who said she didn't want to be remembered as the 'girl who got her legs lengthened'

An Australian politician has gone to extraordinary lengths to be taken seriously by her peers: she has had her legs broken and stretched to become 3in (8cm) taller.

“A lot of young females have insecurities about their weight or their nose; mine was my height,” said Hajnal Ban, 31, a councillor with Logan City council in Queensland.

After nine months of excruciating pain, the councillor became a “normal” 5ft 4in.

Ms Ban was taunted at school and feared that her height would damage her credibility as she entered the legal profession and later went into local politics.

So she went to the Ilizarov orthopaedic clinic in Kurgan, Russia, and paid surgeons A$40,000 (£19,000) to break both her legs in four places and stretch them slowly for 1mm every day for nine months. Eventually she grew from 154cm (just under 5ft 1in) to 162cm.

“From the time I flew to Russia to the time I was able to wear high heels again was about a year in total, but at least nine months of that was excruciatingly painful,” she said. “You see sports people going in who need that extra height, and models . . . it’s a well-kept secret.”

Ms Ban, who was born in Israel and is of Hungarian origin, has lived in Australia since she was a child. She ran unsuccessfully for the conservative National Party during the federal election in 2007 and has been a local councillor for three years.

She had the surgery when she was a 23-year-old barrister but Australian media only latched on to her medical history this week. Ms Ban told The Times that she did not want to be remembered as “the girl who got her legs lengthened”.

“I want people to take me seriously and to be known for the work I do as a politician in my local community,” she said.

Ms Ban said that despite the success of her surgery she would not recommend it for anyone else because it was “not everyone’s cup of tea”.

“I have absolutely no regrets. It was a decision I made in consultation with my family. I was prepared, I did my research and I’m very lucky because the results are good,” she said.

“But as much as it worked for me . . . it is not something I would necessarily promote or endorse. I would never recommend anyone for leg lengthening or liposuction or any other surgery. People have to take it up individually.”

Ms Ban said that she would not rule out further cosmetic enhancements. “I haven’t made a decision on whether I will in the future or not. I know I’ll get wrinkles and put on weight, and I’ll even shrink as I get older, so we’ll see what happens,” she said. “But I’m not fixated on self-image.”