Monday, October 3, 2022

Thank you Val Demings

Val Demings deserves a special award!

For the benefit of those who don’t know her, she is the person challenging Republican Marco Rubio for a senate seat in Florida.

To tell the truth, as I am new to Florida, I had never heard about her until I started to see her ads for the senate seat on tv. However, I now know she is a former chief at the Orlando Police Department and the elected Representative for the Florida's 10th congressional district in the US Congress since 2016.

In my book, the special award she deserves is for exposing Republican men, a few brain-washed females and conservative members of the Supreme court, for supporting violent criminals while trying to victimize further, their female victims.

 In one of her television ads, Ms. Demings, as a former police officer, reminds the naïve that rape and incest are criminal offences

And I might add, extremely violent offences.

For in their rush to persecute women and children who are violated by these violent offenders and will no doubt suffer mental trauma for years to come,  the Republicans regularly paper over these criminal acts and show no disapproval of them!

For centuries, the debate about nurture versus nature has been topical with no side winning. However, wouldn’t most children born of violence be doomed to themselves perpetuate violence? Is it therefore surprising that statistics show that violence in the USA is increasing exponentially.

I say no surprise, as children naturally carry a lot of the traits inherited from their parents.  While no comprehensive study has ever been done, I suspect that a high percentage of the persons conceived via rape or incest, end up as purveyors themselves. Especially with  powerful voice like the GOP treating these violent acts as nothing. 

For in their rush to take away control of our bodies from us, that’s exactly what they are implying. In fact, one even gets the impression that they think violent rapists and incestuous men are saints and their victims, sinners.

Thank you Val Demings for clarifying the matter so succinctly.

Ignore the facts at your peril!

 

 

 

 

 


N.D.T.C.

The NDTC performance was superb, and in fact they seem to have soared to new heights. 
The costumes were attractive and super-creative, the choreography magnificent, the music well-chosen and the energy contagious.


For the benefit of those not up to date on Jamaican culture, the NDTC (National Dance Theatre Company) is a real Jamaican institution, having been formed in 1962, the same year we became an independent nation.

 It was founded by the late Professor Rex Nettleford and late renowned dancer Eddy Thomas, and their excellence has earned them international acclaim over the past six decades.

South-Miami-Dade Cultural Center

Congratulations to the Louise Bennett-Coverley Heritage Council which brought them back to Florida after the terrible hiatus caused by the awful covid. This was part of the Council’s fund-raising thrust to provide scholarships to the Edna Manley College of Visual and Performing Arts, which plays a critical role in preserving and disseminating Jamaican culture. 

Joan, Camille and Carol, drove an hour and half one way, to attend the performance

This performance was so highly anticipated, that the tickets for the performance in nearby Miramar, were sold out with the blink of an eye. So, my friends and I had to travel almost an hour and a half down to South Miami-Dade Cultural Center in Cutler Bay, to take it in.

But the performance was more than worth the long trip.

       
Rita in wheel chair. At extreme right, Colin Smith, President of Louise Bennett-Coverly Heritage Council and beside him, Donisha.

A welcome surprise too was the honoring of the Marley matriarch, Rita. She was accompanied by her accomplished granddaughter Donisha Prendergast, who is an actress, model, dancer and poet. 

She expressed her thanks to the Louise Bennett-Coverley Council on behalf of the Marley family.


 

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Overreaction?

 Am I getting too old or just unable to get accustomed to the American way?

Hopefully it's the latter😊.

I have spent 99% of my life in places that are on hurricane paths and each year we prepare the best we can and wait it out. 

I have observed for some years now though, that ever since we in Jamaica started getting regular hurricane updates from the USA, a whole lot of additional and unecessary stress is added to our lives every year, as these natural occurrences occur or threaten to.


For when you look at the dramatic manner in which US television weather people bring you updates on hurricanes, it as if every one of us is going to be totally eradicated when each one forms!

Seriously, for when we never had those dramatic up-dates with pictures showing the bands swallowing us all all, the stress level was just not as terrible.

Think of it, aren’t earthquakes also natural occurrences? Because they cannot be predicted, when they happen, we mourn, pick up the pieces where we can and move on.

No additional unnecessary stress. 

That is great, for as the experts will tell you, stress is the root of all evil.

While in Jamaica, my most costly hurricane loss never came from the winds nor from ignoring warnings that the weather people would have you believe would blow you to hell and back.

It was hurricane Gustav in 2008. Not a category 5 like Gilbert in 1988. 

Gustav was barely a category 1 hurricane and it never came with much drama, but lots of water. It wasn’t even the water coming directly from the from the system which caused my misery, but a set of circumstances that one could never have imagined or prepared for.

My backyard was on the Sandy Gully, a major waterway in Kingston. But it had what was previously thought to be, an invincible gully wall.

Well Gustav by itself wasn’t the problem. My misery came from the water in the gully which was transporting a small section of a brick house, which crashed into my ‘invincible’ wall. For, unfortunately my backyard was on a corner, so the force of the water loaded with bricks tore into my retaining wall and made a large hole. Long story short, my backyard flooded to within two or three inches of the back of the house! I lived for weeks being unable to go outside for when the water had receded, my backyard had a 30-foot drop.

I am by no means suggesting that one should not take practical precautions where able, but there are so many things one can’t prevent or prepare for, so stirring up panic is of no use. 

Anyway, as  American weather people are no doubt in search of ratings, over dramatization is not too much in their my book!

I remember when Mrs. Thatcher was prime minister of England, a storm created some damage in London, but the weather people had not seen it coming, so she ordered that they all be fired!😊

Is that what American weather people are over-reacting to? You tell me.

Then there are the politicians.

We all know Florida is very flat so prone to flooding, but really, urging all who live in the path of the hurricane to evacuate has got to be too damn extreme.

For example, for days before Ian even became a category 4 hurricane and while it was hundreds of miles away from Florida, the governor was on tv urging the 2.5 millions in its orbit to evacuate. Naturally, sections of west and north western Florida ended up having traffic jams for miles.

Luckily, it was only a small proportion of those in its path who had obeyed his call!

I could not help wondering, if everyone did, where would they find safe havens? In the past, I have even heard of people evacuating, going further north only to have the hurricane bypssing where they fled from and hitting the place they had run off to!

Yes, I understand that politicians and weather people don’t want to be accused of not doing enough to protect people, but is creating mass panic the way to go? Or is it better to give practical advice, educate the population, provide things like sand bags, and create shelters where necessary?

Giving practical information on necessities that one will need, like food, cleaning supplies etc. would certainly be a better option than having panic-stricken shoppers cleaning out supermarkets to buy things they will never need. This is now part of the annual madness and it has taken hold in Jamaica too.

Having experience is really valuable I guess, as I have never rushed out to buy stuff for hurricanes. So when category 5 Gilbert hit us in Jamaica and left us without electricity for up to three months, we still survived, Yes, it was difficult and very inconvenient at times, but in my book, that beats the annual  stress and unnecessary expense of buying tons of stuff you will never need!

Each year as I watch the dramatic rituals, I often get the impression that many of these modern-day  politicians and some US weather reporters, are the type of people who would love to be able to go into crowded theaters and shout fire. Smh.

UPDATE. Ian made landfall mainly in Ft. Myers and it’s environs and my heart goes out to those affected. But that area was never targeted by the weather people. Instead it was Orlando and Tampa residents who were being urged to evacuate!

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

College? Not for me

 A few years ago, speaking to a young American, I was shocked when he declared that he was sorry he had gone to college. When I asked him why, he explained that he had wasted four years of his life getting a degree, cum laude too, only to find that the job market for graduates was no good. He told me that all around he heard of the thousands of young people who did not graduate with anything but were making huge sums of money on things like gaming and You Tube.

Interestingly, he did not mention criminal activity though.

I was a bit puzzled as where I come from, Jamaica, higher education had long been considered the route to upward mobility, including financial success.

I guess I am out of step though for I am only realizing that the type of youth that I knew who hungered for higher education, now seem obsolete, especially among young men.

It came home starkly when I was advised recently that two well-advertised scholarships valued at $2.4 million, to our own University of the West Indies, was commanding little interest.

These scholarships were being sponsored by Violet Edwards, a Jamaican, who is one of five people in the world that got a university degree while in their 90’s. (Joan, my views: Reflections on aging (joan-myviews.blogspot.com)

Even then I didn’t want to believe there was a serious trend until a friend sent me this recent news item from TVJ. (https://youtu.be/Y9WiSxpcc7I.)

 In the news clip, you see and hear Minister of Agriculture Pernell Charles Jr, bemoaning the fact that there are dozens of scholarships available for which there are no takers.

And to think that for years I have been living under the illusion that just enough scholarships are available for poor students! 😞                                                                    I really shouldn’t be surprised you know but I am genuinely dismayed.

I say I shouldn’t be surprised, for I have known for years that Jamaica is a country where crime definitely pays. 

So if you can get rich quickly and easily through crime, why study?

Even when our criminals are as high profile as Dudus was, the law does not touch them as our security force is super corrupt.

One of the homes alledgedly owned by Dudus

And, there are so many easy ways to make money and openly enjoy the flashy lifestyle in Jamaica without ever being deterred (unless the Americans step in), that those who don’t choose that route could be considered either cowardly or stupid!

Among the easy ways the youth see people making lots of money and living large without studying are; scamming, extortion, drugs, religion and politics.

On the other hand, most who choose the long tedious route involving years of study, after graduation, they end up in jobs which don’t even give them the ability to pay rent in relatively safe neighborhoods, if they don’t get the opportunity to migrate.

Of course, there are exceptions to this general trend, but clearly not enough to give most young people the impetus to pursue the straight and narrow.

Till we tackle this drift, college and higher education will continue to be unattractive to many in the younger generation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 








Monday, September 26, 2022

Mt. Alvernia moving up

Mt. Alvernia located in the second city, is not a school I had heard much about. In fact, I have passed their sign on occasion when visiting Montego Bay, but had no idea it was a rather large (1500 students) all-girls high school and sister school to the fairly well-known Immaculate High School in Kingston.

I only got to learn a little about them recently on being invited to a fundraising function at the Hilton hotel at Sawgrass in Sunrise, Florida, by an alumnus and her sister.

Josephine Marshall, former tennis great at Mt. Alvernia

This was the first time since the Covid epidemic struck, that the Central Florida Alumni Association had gathered. The turnout was great, considering the inclement weather and their enthusiasm was contagious. 

Janice (l) and sister Josie (right)

This Central Florida Association has certainly been a dynamic behind the scenes organization, according to the reports.

In recent times, they have clearly raised a mountain of funds, so have worked wonders for the school. The things I learnt that impressed me were not the usual providing of equipment, or buying a bus, but they have actually financed the establishment of an Electrical Installation program, a fully qualified gym and to top it all, the solarization of the entire school!

Maybe I am out of the loop, for I have never heard of an electrical installation division in an all-girls school. Further this solarization of the entire school is revolutionary, and will certainly save the school millions annuallyCan’t figure why other schools have not trod a similar path, considering we in Jamaica have an over-abundance of sun! 

And no doubt, as a result of the great assistance they receive from past students, this previously low-keyed school was last year in the top five in terms of CSEC and Cape exams.

Impressive too is the fact that they were also in the top eleven in terms of medals  won at Champs, although it was revealed that they have no athletic training grounds at the school!

As I listened to various spokespersons outlining the achievements there, I really had to wonder how come I had heard so little about that institution. I am deaf maybe!😉

The fund-raising event was in general, quite enjoyable with the hilarious Mistress of Ceremonies even changing into her school uniform at one point.

The MC was hilarious 

 The entertainment was impressive too as it was a musical performance by the Duggan family. I must say I was over-awed by the performance of the mom although they revealed that it was the youngest member who is a recording artist.

That Dougan Family of singers are really on top of their game.




                                              Memories





 


Monday, September 19, 2022

Common-Wealth!

I have given this title to the blog since it is clear that we are the common people and they, the royalty, control the wealth!

The Commonwealth, established in 1949, is deemed to be a political association of independent countries which were former colonies of the British empire. 

Up to September 2022, the head of the commonwealth was Queen Elizabeth 11.

There are around fifty-six countries currently involved. Interestingly, many of these countries, especially in Africa, were savagely exploited during the reign of the British. And in addition to all their natural resources and artifacts being looted, their people were kidnapped, taken overseas and worked to death as slaves, so Britain could build its country on free labour.

The British Empire was the largest of its kind in history, once controlling about a quarter of all the land on Earth. Britain began colonizing the world back in the 16th century, but when Queen Elizabeth 11 took the throne, only around 70 colonies still existed overseas.


Today Britain still maintains total control of the following countries; Anguilla, Bermuda, British Indian Ocean Territory, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, the Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, the Pitcairn Islands, St Helena and its Dependencies, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands and the Turks & Caicos Islands.

However, while a number of other countries have supposedly declared their independence from Britain, they decided not to pursue republican status but instead keep the Queen as their head of State. 

This is strictly ceremonial as the monarchy does not interfere in the day-to-day affairs of those countries. Interestingly though, although the British monarch is their head of state, most citizens of these countries need to obtain visas to travel to Britain!

The countries outside of the UK include Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Australia, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Solomon Islands, and Tuvalu.

They along with many that opted for their own head of state, became members of the Commonwealth of which Queen Elizabeth was head up to her death in September 2022.

However, over the years many citizens and some leaders in countries including Australia and Jamaica, have been expressing disquiet at maintaining the British Monarchy as their head. Some citizens have also angrily pointed to the racist and savage past of the British which got rich by stealing the resources of its protectorates while torturing, raping and enslaving their people.

They have been not only demanding an apology from the Monarchy but also calling for reparations and even the return of stolen artifacts.

These demands have been ignored by the British Monarchy.

Now that the elaborate funeral of the queen is over, the big question is not only whether most of the countries that have retained the monarchy as their head will continue to so, but will Charles 111 be accepted as leader of the Commonwealth and can he even keep it intact?

For if for no other reason, Charles was confirmed by his son Harry and daughter-in law Megan as being a racist. Now he confirmed it in the news clip recorded by CNN.

This shocking clip nearly broke Twitter, for it clearly shows Charles bypassing/snubbing a black man who tried to greet him as he made his way down the line of mourners who had gathered to say goodbye to the Queen.

An interesting Twitter post can be viewed at ;

https://twitter.com/mrcyprians/status/1571832970918432769?s=12&t=tXI9P4V_C8z0BRcDCqQV3w. (Nb. On the 20th September, it was pointed out that this Twitter post was removed. However I checked and it's still there. You have to copy the entire thing and paste. The video is also available on You Tube at; https://youtu.be/FcNkXMtYhUk )

Yes, Queen Elizabeth 11 commanded international love and respect because she was a gracious monarch and had been reigning long before most of the people on this planet were born.

She was therefore accepted although the establishment she represented had been so reprehensible.

However, I am prepared to bet that Charles 111 just cannot cross it! (as we say in Ja!)

Wait for some interesting developments.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Kick the dog!

 

I have noted some pathetic attempts in various media to validate Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. This unprovoked war has led to the murders of thousands of civilians in Ukraine including women and children plus serious instability worldwide.

Apart from creeping international inflation caused by the disruption and increases in oil prices, the war has also had serious repercussions in poor, drought ridden countries, where starvation is now rampant. They had previously been able to buy basic foods such as wheat and corn from fertile Ukraine, but the disruptions caused by the war, have driven up the prices of these products where they are available.

If it wasn’t so serious, it would be hilarious to see and listen to the excuses by the apologists whose reasoning seems steeped in nothing but the ‘kick the dog’ philosophy!

For those who are not familiar, the kick the dog reaction is most often used by cowards. For when one cannot confront the real source of their displeasure or hurt, they find the weakest thing to abuse and take out their anger.

Often this is a harmless dog lying around at home!

This philosophy shines clearly throughout the writings and reasoning of most who have come out in support of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

The latest attempt at justification was written by one Maxim Artemyev, a so-called journalist at the state-run media empire in Russia called RT. His piece published on 9th September, is entitled “The West took advantage of Russian weakness in the 1990s and is unable to understand the trauma it unleashed.”

It begins “A series of articles published in the Washington Post in August about the events leading up to Russia’s military offensive in Ukraine, and its first stage of operation, raise a significant question. “How realistically and objectively do people in the West perceive the situation?

In putting forward his justification for the illegal invasion of Ukraine, Artemyev spouts a series of injuries/indignities he claims Russia suffered since 1985-1991, when Mikhail Gorbachev pulled the USSR out of the arms race and ended the Cold War.

In the long diatribe which wreaks with self-pity (as a Russian), he itemizes the various indignities, financial and reputational losses Russia has suffered since 1985. While doing so, he pointed an accusing finger at many in the west and NATO but reading it through carefully, I could find nowhere that the Ukrainians were the villains.

Clearly by his own admission, Ukraine is just the dog!

And he knows that too, since he places the blame squarely where it should fall, writing; “The collapse of historical Russia was the result of Gorbachev’s remarkably weak leadership and Yeltsin’s personal ambition, as the latter tried to consolidate power even if only over a smaller state.”

So, Mr. Artemyev, if the Russian empire disintegrated as a result of poor leadership in Russia, how does that justify the murder of thousands next door?

Maybe this article was intended to be a salve for those Russian readers who wondered why their brothers and sisters in Ukraine were being murdered by Russian soldiers and not for an international audience.

What is clear though is that Russia had expected the dog to run away whimpering, but instead, it is biting back!

So, the carnage and war crimes continue.