Category Archives: General Info

What’s News!

What an incredible year. I will be happy to see the end of December…… it cannot get here fast enough. Without doubt, the choice of Donald Trump to the Presidency of the United States will be the highlight of the insanity that 2016 has been. Along with the Russians hacking of the United States election; the proliferation of fakes news pervading the internet in general, and Facebook the vehicle for false and misleading stories. What is truth and what is fiction.

In 2016, United States is more divided than ever, and more like the late 1890s and beyond, when lynching was part of an informal system of white supremacy. A time of political suppression of Blacks by white, who blame the Blacks for their economic hardships, and loss of social and political privileges. Now, there are more groups to marginalize and the perpetuation of murdering Black men and women, not by vigilante mobs, but by white law enforcement officers, seem to be the goal of intimidation.

It was a tough year for Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. Kim has not been the same since robbers tied her up and lifted $10 million of jewelry. Yeezy been recently released from the hospital for an alleged mental breakdown, that kind of stress could drive anyone to the mad house, but his circle of friends speculate that Kim is driving him crazy and he should run while he can. Kim just love them and leaves them…this looks like a Rap.

Unmarried and pregnant Pastor Desiree Allen of the First Corinthian Baptist Church of New York, has a lot of explaining to do. MS Allen is expecting twins with her finance Tony Elder on January 16, 2017. MS Allen has broken every tenet of the Christian faith but insist on remaining in a leadership role by refusing to step down and seek God’s guidance. MS Allen failed miserably to be a leader of the flock when she has no clue about the birds and bees. She claims to have had sex off and on since she was fifteen and never been pregnant. What about not having sex while preaching from the pulpit about fornication and adultery. MS Allen can hardly be a role model for the young ladies who attend her church, as in, ‘do as I say, not as I do’.

This is a case of blatant chutzpah and hypocrisy at the highest level. I must say; however, she’s got balls. I guess it is up to the church to throw her a decent wedding, thank goodness, she would not be officiating.

Hot and Bewildered in Bim!

Happy to be on my annual sojourn to the land of my birth, a journey that usually coincides with the music driven, and alcohol fueled Crop Over Festival. This year, I scheduled my visit around the celebration of Barbados 50th Anniversary of Independence being held during the month of November, ending on the 30th, and I will extend my stay to enjoy a Bajan Xmas with family and friends, a spectacle so remarkable to believe which I have not experienced in over 40 years. But I am not holding my breath, with the influence of American pop culture, some true Barbadian traditions have slowly been disappearing.

Barbados has undergone some tremendous changes: both positive and negative. The impact of the global financial meltdown still resonates throughout all sectors of the economy. The lack of a diverse economy and the inevitable switch from agricultural base revenue to tourist industry dependency, has led to stagnant growth and an unpredictable economy. Despite the harsh reality of perceivable economic chaos, there are now more cars and vehicular traffic traveling daily on an infrastructure that seems incapable to accommodate the heavy traffic. But debt laden citizens are not necessarily a measure of economic prosperity.

Maybe, due to climate change, Barbados seem to be hotter than ever. The heat is overwhelming, and the humidity is suffocating that even after a torrential downpour the temperature remains the same; whether walking in the rain or to avoid it by taking shelter, you would still be drenched in sweat either way. Complaints about the terrible heat are not only expressed by returning nationals and tourists but from Barbadians who accustomed to the intense hot climate all their lives.

One change that is long overdue is to eliminate the long wait for service, more often at a government institution, but also at private business enterprises. It is just as equally frustrating for visitors, who accustomed to a quick computerized environment, and residents alike, who waste hours standing in line to conduct simple business transactions. This is my second year of spending a couple of hours to get a Visitor’s Registration Certificate from the licensing authority of the Ministry of Transport and Works, which allows a person to drive locally on a current Driver’s License of another country. The customer service representatives basically issue a hand-written document although there is access to a computer and a printer. In the age of modern technology, this process of a ‘pen and paper’ transaction is obsolete and time-consuming.

My experience at a prominent banking establishment was similar. Luckily, I was not trying to get service, but the bank’s customer service people seem to relish the horde of unhappy people moving at a snail’s pace in their direction, knowing that only they can decide the outcome of their very unpleasant time waiting in line. Ironically, the waiters-on-line were captivated by a rapt discussion between a Christian and an obviously well-informed Atheist about waiting for Judgement Day. I am sure they were not going to wait that long. But how long does it take to cash a check, make a deposit or check a balance account? As a former teller in my youth, it doesn’t take that long and in my day, I had to verify the signature of the drawer of the check. Trying to get some foreign exchange service is another story.

Understanding the Barbados telephone communicative system operations would make Sir Alexander tinkle in his grave. Until recently LIME, (used to be Cable and Wireless Communications, is an acronym for ‘Landline, Internet, Mobile, Entertainment’), had a monopoly on the phone carrier service, but as of May 2016, the brand name changed to FLOW. Digicel is now FLOW’s largest mobile competitor but lacks enough fixed line voice and data ability to compete adequately. Navigating through the pricing plan and fees is beyond my comprehension. But get used to the phrase ‘Top Up’ which means to replenish the funds on a prepaid phone before it runs out. Calling landline to landline is free; mobile to mobile with the same provider (FLOW or Digicel) is free, but when calling a FLOW landline from with a Digicel cellular # or vice versa, however, that is when due diligence is required to decide which prefix (as in 42, 23, or 82, etc.) is related to a landline or cellular, and which belongs to FLOW or Digicel, without this knowledge, the charges could be exorbitantly pricey. Using WhatsApp would solve these calling problems.

Change is always good, but changes to improve customer service experience is a win, win situation.

Hate and Mental Instability

My reaction to the Orlando, Florida massacre is typical, of which I count myself among a set of reasonable, well-adjusted human beings that find this unsociable behavior outrageous, shocking, insufferable and repulsive. The two most intense of human emotions – love and hate – are intimately linked within the human brain, according to biological scientific study, are the same nervous circuits in the brain responsible for romantic love. These findings could explain why both hate and romantic love can result in similar acts of extreme behavior – although love and hate appears to be polar opposites.

If one examined the massacres of the last 20 years in US, the perpetrators had serious mental health problems such as: schizophrenia, Asperger syndrome, and other mental illnesses characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction and non-verbal communication. A logical conclusion is that people are more likely to commit mass executions if they are mentally disturbed, an inevitably link between mental illness, mass shooting and gun violence.

Most of us harbor a resentment or dislike for a person who may have committed a wrong against us, but we certainly would not entertain a compulsion to kill them. Hate can be an all-consuming passion, like fanaticism or an addiction to some irrational enthusiasms or beliefs, especially in religion and politics.

The Orlando killer apparently had a serious conflict, or jihad (personal struggle) as a Muslim and a closeted homosexual; a bad combination which naturally can fester deep-seated hatred for oneself and the community one despised.

I do not expect any decrease in mass killings along as a proliferation of guns and mentally deficient individuals exist; politicians loyal to the NRA and the scientific community inability to fully understand the complexity of the brain. Or we can live similar to our closest extant relative, the Bonobo who form deep social bonds and is an authority on conflict resolution.

Outraged!

George Zimmerman, the man who murdered unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, has elevated his status to the worst human being on the planet. Mr Zimmerman announced an auction on the murder weapon, the 9 mm pistol on Thursday, bidding begins at $5,000, but decided rather suddenly to cancel the sale, in good conscience. The lowlife claimed that the gun… ‘is a piece of American History’. The only historical fact is that Zimmerman is a mentally unstable white man and a racist that should have never been allowed to own a gun. Mr Zimmerman has never apologized to the Martin family and now trying to profit from the tragedy is beyond common decency.

Zimmerman beat the second-degree murder and manslaughter charges due to an inept prosecutorial team and a defense team who employed all the tricks of the trade to free a man that they now regret defending since his later run-ins with the law and domestic violence tendencies. This travesty motivated the Black Lives Matter and other civil rights movements to address the inequities and injustices of the judicial system, which disproportionately distress the Black community.

Just as outrageous is the Republican Party establishment sycophants kissing the ring and licking the boot of Donald J Trump, in their willingness to sacrifice their principles and convictions for personal gain or to stop Hilary at all costs. It is really entertaining to watch these representatives grovel for a piece of Trump’s coattail. Beginning with the Governor of New Jersey who seem stricken with Stockholm syndrome now that he is a hostage of the Trump phenomenon. Only the Bush family; Mitt Romney, Lindsay Graham and Paul Ryan, with his ‘wait and see attitude’ are the ones with any integrity. Trump is an immature, petulant, narcissist who continues to flip-flop his way to the Republican Presidential nomination, however, there are not many difference between the policies of the Republican Party and D Trump: that the wealthy are the engines of the economy; and the tax system that benefits the most affluent will have long-term benefits for the middle and lower class, otherwise known as ‘strickle down or voodoo economics’, which is a failure since it was introduce during the Reagan administration. So do not expect The Donald releasing his tax returns anytime soon, less the 99% discover how the 1% cheat on the taxes. Call it Conservative Unification.

At least, there is a break from the rhetoric that Obama is responsible for taking the country in the wrong direction, or we have to take our country back – which is euphemism for the outrage for a Black man in the White House. The country is no worse off than when Obama took over in 2008, an economy that was hemorrhaging jobs and heading for a financial meltdown. The country survived Richard Nixon and Watergate; the Vietnam War; the Bush tax cuts and a civil war. The country is just fine.

America is a country of contradictions. Americans are delusional, prudish religious nuts- especially when compared to the rest of world, (except where Sharia Law is practiced), according to the Pew Research Center. In an article by Kali Holloway, Alternet, asked the question, ‘How do you reconcile a country that glamorize violence but is squeamish about sex; conflate Christianity and consumerism; says it values liberty yet made human rights violations a founding principle?

A 2006 Guttmacher Institute survey found that 95 percent of Americans have had premarital sex. Just over 60 percent of American teenagers have had sex by age 19, while another 2011 study found that even 80 percent of unmarried evangelicals age 18 to 29 had indulged in fornication. The outrage is pouring government dollars in abstinence programs when it would be more effective to offer young people the skills and information to be safe when they become sexually active, as in useful sexual health education, instead of lessons in sexual repression. The U. S. maintains the highest teen pregnancy rate among all wealthy countries.

Do not follow the doctrine of Bristol Palin – do as I say but not as I do.

Cricket, Lovely Cricket!

West Indian cricket fans from across the Caribbean and around the globe celebrated both the – ICC Women’s World T20 and the Men’s World T20 – victories in spectacular fashion. It is a welcome resurgence for West Indian cricket in 2016, with the Under-19 team also winning the 50-over World Cup in February. It should not go unnoticed that two Barbadians were responsible for both team successes; Hayley Matthews, player of the match in the women’s contest against Australia, and Carlos Brathwaite hitting 4 sixes off four balls to help lift the trophy versus England.

What is not of high quality and not worth watching is Dwayne “DJ” Bravo’s music video “Champion”, which has gone viral and seemingly the official anthem to the glory of West Indian cricket. This 2.45 mins dance music video, if you can call it dance, with choreography similar to the movement of a sasquatch or bigfoot, would have certainly been relegated to the list of worst music videos, if not for its lack of lyrical creativity, but for the scarcity of Afro-Caribbean women rather than the women of European persuasion throughout the video.

The Caribbean people, despite a shared common ancestry, is divided along racial, cultural, language, religion and region with distinctive singular identities. Cricket and other sports seem is the only connection to an all-embracing homogeneous society. The region is always in conflict holding fast to fiercely national ideals as distinctly Jamaicans, Barbadians, Vincentians, Guyanese, etc., rather than one people.

Hopefully, revival of West Indian lovely cricket will foster good relations among the islands; what the Federation, Carifta and Caricom seem unable to do.

Now I Am Sixty-Four

Many of you are familiar with the Beatles’ song, “When I am sixty-four”, a song about growing old and not particularly needed when you have reached that ripe old, and you are going senile and bald. In the song, the partners are growing old together, but the gentleman is a sympathetic figure, wishing he would not be cast aside as an old relic, who has outlived his usefulness, mainly to do menial task of fixing worn out things and pulling weeds in the garden.

You know you have reached sixty-four, when you have to spend a little more time in the bathroom to make sure you have emptied your bladder completely to avoid an embarrassing wet spot down your pants leg, and you soon discover that is better to sit on the toilet seat because your aim is not as accurate as it used to be, and it eliminates putting the seat back to its original position.

At sixty-four, your virility has waned somewhat, so you spend more time in the bedroom – sleeping or watching TV. Ready Freddy or the Energizer bunny has become I am not ready. Conserving energy is your priority, like OPEC cutting back on oil not to flood the world market. Saving it for absolutely when necessary.

The athleticism as a younger man – playing cricket, soccer, and basketball, any sport with a ball – scaling an obstacle in a single bound, is now reduced to the speed of molasses flowing up a hill. Once you had the sight of a hawk, nothing could escape your eagle eyes; a ‘T’ not crossed, or an ‘I” not dotted, now you need six or seven pair of reading glasses strategically placed at every nook and cranny. Fine printed documents are a senior’s worst nightmare, devised by lawyers, real estate agents and Ponzi schemes to swindle the aged and sight-impaired.

Your children do not call any more, telephone conversations are gone with the days of Ma Bell. They are far too busy to be bother with your snail-paced lifestyle. Texting and social media are the only forms of communicating with these wonderful young adults, if you are not technological savvy, you only hear from them, the old-fashioned way, by word of mouth. If you are lucky to have grandchildren, enjoy this time when you will be worshipped and adored. Time flies by very quickly.

You would think that reaching the mature old age of sixty-four, most people would seek your wisdom and knowledge, like an old vintage car that appreciates in value as it gets older, no, the aged is heading for the junk heap of forgotten memories.

I am approaching this new milestone with the knowledge that I have lived longer than I am ever going to live in the future. A sober fact that everyone has to face, but I am overjoyed that I have been more fortunate than most, and continue to live a very productive life filled with curiosity, passion and enthusiasm. And all parts still function as intended.

Survival

Welcome to 2016. Last year is in the rear-view mirror, just another milestone of recorded history for historians and pundits to contemplate the merits of what have been and what could have been, for posterity. Life goes on and on in chaos, despite the bright events that herald the arrival of a new year with some radiance of hope for the future.

For most, it will be the protracted dangers of the same from the previous year. There will be hardly any significant changes to the struggles, the chaos, death and destruction sweeping the world; refugees will still flee their homes in search of a war-free and peace existence; bombs will continue to fall on suspected or alleged terrorist; and dictators will rule their citizens with iron fists. Economic stagnation will still haunt the countries they rule.

The liberties, we have so long taken for granted, are now compromised and threatened, not by foreign enemies, but by homegrown domestic radicals, extremists and fanatics. Panic, anxiety, and terror. Caution and awareness have become a way of life.

Despite the advances of science and technology, the human condition of man’s inhumanity to man remains ageless, static and unchanging. Darwin’s theory of survival of the fittest through natural selection, suggest that those eliminated in the struggle for existence are the weak and the unfit, however, more often than not the healthy and the fit are unnaturally targeted for eradication.

With exceeding swiftness, what normally took centuries, is now accomplished within years. The representation of death now resembles a citizen with a badge; the policy to protect and serve now becomes to ‘kill on sight’, or a mentally disturbed person with a gun.