Archive for February, 2009
A black man may be guiding us but some things are still very much the same. The sad truth is one cannot run away from being young and black in a major city like Chicago.
It has taken long enough but for the first time since I arrived in the land of milk, honey and cookies, I had my first direct encounter with profiling two nights ago.
I had just left the newsroom at about 10.30 p.m. and was walking to the train station on Adams and Wabash streets because all the red line trains heading northbound had been rerouted.
Here I am freezing my valuables off, my hands in my coat pocket, school bag on my back, head trying to stay warm in my hat, and walking as briskly as I could. A cop in his comfortable looking ride is driving behind me slowly. He eventually pulls up beside me and asks me to take my hands out of my pocket.
Motherlanders, I wish I could have insulted him to his face but I just pulled my hands out and insulted him in my local dialect.
My people, I am suffering in this land oh!!! The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Ok, ok, I know I am acting more hysterical than I should be. After all, it could have been worse. He could have popped one in my *** like they did to this guy in San Fran and I would be getting my wish of a flight home but in very different circumstances.
I am sure there are people who have been profiled and had it much worse but this opened my eyes even more. Whatcha gonna do people?
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Oh how I miss you guys so. The last 24 hours have been somewhat different. I have been feeling some tingling sensations in my chest. But before you freak out I am not getting a heart attack or anything. From time to time, I miss you guys and home sooooo much that I get nostalgic, the memories start to flood into the membrane and the blood pumps into the ventricles at a more rapid pace and before you know it I am spending money I don’t have to buy a phone card so I can speak to someone, anyone from home. So it goes when your life, in the form of loved ones, is scattered into so many pieces all over the world. But don’t weep for me. In my brooding I did some digging and I found some joy.
Her name is Asa, a Nigerian singer I heard about a few weeks back but never bothered to download. She is good and I urge you to check her out. And not because she is one of you as in a fellow motherlander but because she is indeed really soulful. She is reggae, hip hop, neo-soul, afro beats, afro rock (ok I may just have made that one up but you get the picture) and I am sure much more. Oh, actually, when he sings in Yoruba I see bits of Angelique Kidjo.
On a side note is there a Naija artist these days who doesn’t cite Fela or King Sunny Ade as an inspiration? Either it has become cliche or these men are just that great. In the case of Asa, I choose the latter.
So my three personal favorites on the album are “Jailer,” “Fire on the Mountain (It reminds me of some song we used to sing in primary school),” and “No one knows.” Oh and I also like “Bibanke” and, and… Ok, so I love the whole album.
Any thoughts on her music?Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 16 so far )
I am back and I know you are wondering how come I am writing so soon. Unusual, ain’t it? Well, it’s because you guys seemed so excited to have heard from me recently I thought I would spoil you. I listen to you the masses and seeing that you have flooded my comments section expressing your desire for more, here you go.
I did a story today on the struggles of comic book stores in this economy. I know, I know. It seems like every story these days from Fui TV has some variation of the phrase “In these tough times…(fill in the blank for type of store or activity) is struggling.” Well, dudes if it weren’t so tough our President wouldn’t be jetsetting all over the country in his spiffy ride and giving we the people money like it is printed in his backyard. Yesterday $790 billion stimulus. Today, $75 billion foreclosure rescue. Tomorrow, saving the world package. Estimate- priceless.
After so much money does anyone even pause and think about how much money is being printed? Ok, I digress. Actually, let me redigress. Motherlanders, I know you hear of all this money and ask yourselves how can I get some bailout? Well, I will send some to you in remittances so no fears.
But speaking of our superhero President, I saw him today. Of all places I saw him in the comic book store. I walk in and there he is chilling with Spiderman. I thought to myself he better have his spidey senses finely tuned because as far as I can tell, the stuff is not going to stop hitting the proverbial fan soon. Ok, I know I am sounding pessimistic today. Trust me, that will all change after I receive my tax credit or is it a tax cut?
Whatevs. Here’s where I sign off. Oh, before I leave I hope you gleaned from my rambling that comic book stores are indeed struggling. The Obama covered spiderman copy may have helped sales some but sheesh give the man a break. Who said saving the world was easy? Spiderman, spiderman, friendly neighborhood spiderman. He can’t win all the time now can he?
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How goes it out there? Hot and humid I presume. Well, I am here to report that things are not quite the same here in coldville. After record 40 degree – 50 degree weather over the last week, week and a half, the Chicago gods have pulled the plug. Oh and yes motherlanders that is in fahrenheit just in case you thought perhaps I was talking about a heatwave.
First, there was some snow last week friday. Now, I know some of you smart and curious folk have already accessed your internet and seen that it is still about 40 degrees and you’re thinking I am an alarmist. Stop your noise and look at the seven-day forecast. Out here we can’t afford to live in the moment. We look ahead to the drudgery. I know you’re saying to yourselves, well why bother looking if you know misery is just around the corner. I say to you, don’t be ignorant.
Don’t you know we have to know how many layers we are going to wear?!!! And whether to put on the sneakers or those ugly , expensive but very essential boots? And many more things but why bore you? You’re probably in a rush to go sailing or surfing or sunbathing or some such French activity.
All I can say is do you. Until the next time, au revoir.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
So last week Thursday, I did a story on this guy who owns a harmonica customizing company. His name is Brad Harrison and he seems like an amazing guy. He was certainly an amazing interview. I don’t even know where to start because if I met a guy like him every week I do a story, my job and life would be so much more enjoyable and easy. He made carrying my awkward camera bag and equipment more than worthwhile.
Why, you ask? Like, what is so special about him you mean?
So, in 1995 I think it was, he basically was at a bar when he saw a musician playing a harmonica. He became so fascinated (as I was mind you when he was playing the instrument in his office) that he went out and bought one. He said he practiced daily. He went on to meet a man, who he describes as his mentor, Joe Filisko, who he describes as a guru. Filisko taught him many things about the harmonica including showing him the harmonica’s intestines and bowels and basically describing in intimate detail how it functions.
As if he wasn’t hooked already, he too all the knowledge and started finding out more about the instrument. Dudes, you should see this guy work. I even asked him whether anyone has accused him of being a mad scientist. He laughed and said yes.
Anyways, he eventually got contracted to work for Suzuki to do some work on their harmonicas. Oh by the way, who knew Suzuki made harmonicas? He continued to invent other ways of improving the harmonicas performance. In his mind, he wanted to give the instrument waaayyyyy more range. Anyways, thanks to his invention, they do. Suzuki, recognizing a good thing when they see one even offered him a large sum of money to sell his invention and work for them.
After much anguish, he said no. He wanted to create jobs in Illinois. He says he has a six month wait list for customized harmonicas and is planning on expanding his factory in Rockford. He will be releasing his own line of harmonicas later this summer. The first one out of Harrison Custom Harmonicas is “B-Radical.”Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 5 so far )
I am sure you were expecting a riff on peach cobbler and so on. I didn’t realize y’all had become foodies. I tell you there is a term in this country for everyone. Foodie, Liberal, Conservative, Greenie (ok, I think I just made that up but you get my drift). Oh and how I digress as always.
Anyways, this week it was back to the future. Sort of.
I had an interesting story for my broadcast class that was inspired by a Wall Street Journal article on the resurgence of cobblers. You know, those people who put the craft in shoe repairs. Basically, I wanted to find out whether people were trying to save more by using shoe repair services. I met a gentleman who is originally from Mexico City and he was gracious with his time. Ricardo Tovar has been in the U.S. since 1991 and he is a cobbler. He learned the craft from his father who learned from his father and so on. As he put it, there is no real school to learn how to become a cobbler and therefore for the most part you learn it from tradition.
Amazingly he also makes shoes. He told us of someone who came to him to order shoes and a bag made of alligator skin. Imagine that, shoes made with alligator skin. They can’t have been PETA members.
Until next time.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 3 so far )