Buckeye and Me

Sitting on your back porch at 1am after a 12 hour drive from the midwest, you can easily mistake the faint howling of cars on the Long Island Expressway for something a little less inviting. I just returned from a fun but exhausting weekend of driving hours on end, family reunions, and old friends. At 4:30pm this afternoon I drove past the highest point on I-80 (this side of the Mississippi River) and it all went downhill from there.

And where was my camera? I have no idea where that thing is, but I missed a great photo opportunity. Exit 273 in Pennsylvania on I-80 is identified by a large green sign, with your typical mile marker at the bottom, with the text reading:









Exit 273
White Haven
Freeland

Dripping with irony….What were they thinking?

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My Soundtrack….

My life is a movie, and this will be the soundtrack:


Opening Credits:
When You Were Young – The Killers

Waking Up:
Dos Gardenias – Buena Vista Social Club

Falling In Love:
Running Memory – Evening

Fight Scene:
Pressed Rat & Warthog – Cream

Breaking Up:
Los Ejes De Mi Carreta – La Zurda

Making-up:
Rest Assured – Eric B. & Rakim

Secret Love:
Feel Like Makin’ Love – Marlena Shaw

Life’s Okay:
Our Lips Are Sealed – The Fun Boy Three

Heartbreak:
Ex Girl To Next Girl – Gang Starr

Mental Breakdown:
I’m Free – The Who (TOMMY)

Driving:
When The Earth Moves Again – Jefferson Airplane

Flashbacks:
The Wonderful Cross – Holland Davis

Happy Dance:
Everyday People – Pearl Jam

Regretting:
Oh My Golly! – Pixies

Long Night Alone:
The Beta Band Rap – Beta Band

Final Battle:
Tonight – Loveless

Death Scene:
King of Carrot Flowers Part 2 & 3 – Neutral Milk Hotel

Funeral:
After Goodbye – Meena Dimian

Ending Credits:
One of These Days – Pink Floyd

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Dreaming of the Dead

“I don’t want your pity – I just want to remember who I was before this”. This is one of the final statements made by one of five actors who blessed the stage at the Cultural Project: 45 Bleeker Theater, last night in the East Village [GP:EV]. For 2 hours, I left New York again, for a breif visit to the African Continent, but this time, further south… to the Republic of South Africa, but not in 2006, but over a decade ago, during the tyrrany of Apartheid. Amajuba: Like Doves We Rise, written and directed by Edinburgh’s Yael Farber, is the story of 5 South Africans who have grown up in Apartheid, and their lives broken and rebuilt by the tragedies they’ve faced. Through dialogue, dance, song, symbolism and at-times heart-wrenching narritive, their stories are proclaimed with such strength, defiance, and passion…

And what I didn’t know, but only discovered afterwards… The actors were the people they were playing. This wasn’t acting. They were telling their OWN true life stories. I had felt as if I’d seen more into these people than I have ever looked upon another human being. I’ve never seen such vulnerability, and to know that they have to relive their past, but then be healed from it, day in and day out… it’s an amazing privilege…. I was given a message of hope for myself, and while although few of us can say we’ve experienced what a life under Apartheid is like, many of us have suffered greatly in this world. Pain is pain, and healing is healing.

For two hours, the audience of about 100 was held captive under a spell, and remained entranced for the duration of the performance. Light, color, props, beautiful harmonies, noise, pain, sweat, LOTS of sweat…. and soul. That’s what I experienced last night.

I want to urge everyone to see this show. Last night was the beginning of a week of previews and opening night is in a week. You can buy tickets at Ticketmaster. Please contact me if you want a discount code, so you can get $25.00 tickets: http://www.ticketmaster.com/artist/1037571

I was given hope. I thought of my boys out in Kibera, and I hope that one day, they will be able to face the past, and then wash it away, and rise. Rise.

“My past is a broken country – but I am not”

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sad end to a great career?

My only complaint about how Zidane handled himself is the fact that he put his team at risk by getting that red card. Though 2 things:

1) Head-butt or not, Zidane is a soccer great, and always will be.
2) For him to have done something like that, whatever Materazzi told him MUST have been pretty bad, to illicit such a reaction.

is it an excuse for what he did? not really – he should have taken the fight after the match… maybe bash his head into a locker afterwards, or something.

at any rate, here it is. I think more people are talking about this than the fact that Italy won the most prestiged athletic award in the world (in my humble opinion.)

FORZZA ITALIA!

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THE BLINDS!

Dont’ Close Your Blinds…


...well… maybe you can close SOME of them.

Before I continue, I just want to let you know a few things. When I hear that someone goes overseas to fight a war for this country, when people with lives of their own sacrifice everything to serve in the armed forces… I’m filled with pride, and honor… i have loved ones OF MY OWN in the armed forces and it honors me that people will give up their own lives for the sake of something greater… what concerns me, is the agendas of the leaders who take advantage of the selflessness of the great american people, for a less than noble purpose. In 20 years, and hopefully sooner, the truth will come out about this war, but now, NO ONE, not people here, not family members of soldiers, and not even the soldiers themselves, really knows what’s really happening, but until then… this is not about the war per say, or whether we should or shouldn’t be there, but more about the propaganda that people dish out.

The following is another version of the myspace bulletin that’s floating around… I got a little creative, and felt the son had a little bit more exploring to do.

Part I (the original) is here:

http://www.katrina.com/hurricanekatrina/proudtobeanamerican.htm

Part II (below)

Later that night, when my husband and I were about to sleep, our son knocked on our door.

“Dad…”

“Yes, son?”

“What about the house down the street?”

“The house down the street?”

“Yes, Daddy. I see the children of all those houses killing each other. Many of them are really sick and dying! Daddy, what about them?”

“Son, who told you to open the blinds on that side of the house?”

“Well daddy, you told me NOT to shut the blinds, so I opened all of them.”

“Son, those blinds have been shut for a reason. No one opens the blinds on that side of the house. There are too many bad things happening on that side of the neighborhood.”

“But daddy, they are people too, aren’t they? They need help too, right? Just like you said before, we can’t turn our back on evil….”

He lead him to the window overlooking the east..

“Look! I see SO MANY people. Dead in the streets. Blood everywhere. BLOOD! Daddy it’s worse than Sadaam’s house! Daddy look!! I’m SCARED!!”

The son starts crying uncontrollabley and my husband quickly put the TV on and turned it to the current running reality show on MTV, until our son stopped crying, as the antics of Real World vs. Road Rules calmed his troubled heart.

“Are you ok, son?”

“Yes daddy… but I still feel bad about what I saw outside that window.”

“Yes son, but we’re only ONE country… the most powerful and influential, yes… but we can’t possibly help EVERYONE.”

“I know daddy, but, maybe we can do something?”

“Well look, they’re poor. What do you think poor people need, son?”

“Money?”

“Good answer, my boy. Money. Poor people need it. So send them money!”

“But daddy, look! I gave them money, and their parents took it, and the children are still sick and dying, and fighting, and KILLING each other.”

“Son… you did your part, but you don’t have to worry about them…. look at how far away their houses are.”

“Yeah, but.. but.. Daddy! What if they came to our door like Sadaam did, and wanna hurt you and Mommy?”

My husband let out a little chuckle, but contained it well as he replied, “Look how poor they are, son. They don’t even have cars. Do you think they will come ALL the way to our door and try to fight our family?”

“No, daddy. They don’t even have cars!”

“That’s right, my son. And remember when they die, they’ll be with Jesus! Do you think they would be happy living with Jesus in heaven with the angels, or would they rather be alive in their house with their corrupt millitary dictator parents.”

“They’re happier with Jesus?”

“Exactly, because Jesus loves them, but don’t forget, Jesus loves you better because you stand for things like capitalism and democracy.”

“I don’t understand…” said the son, confused, as he ate his animal crackers.

“It’s not important son”, said my husband, with a proud look in his eye, as a salty tear ran down his sun-cracked skin. “I think you’ve learned an important lesson, and now I think it’s time for bed!”

“Wait, daddy, I have a question.”

“Yes, son?”

“What happens if we did stop Sadaam from hurting his family, and we get rid of him… who is going to be their new daddy?”

My husband and I looked at each other for a second, and thought for a moment about what a house would look like without parents, without people who love and care for their children, to look out for their best interest and not take advantage of them or their belongings.

“I guess…. we could put them up for adoption?”

“OK, Daddy, I’m ready for bed now.”

WARNING: Send this to your myspace friends in the next 10 minutes or the person you were meant to fall in love with will become a porn star and your uncontrollable jealousy of their fast and hedonistic lifestyle will drive you to a life of celibacy where you will be doomed to lead Wednesday Night Bingo at the local church down the street. And your cat’s hair will fall off, too.

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Foot vs. Mouth and Brains vs. Testicles

Hey everyone – - – its Thursday afternoon and another week is coming to a close, but as this week draws to it’s fateful end, we come ever so close to the World Cup Finals! I have to say it’s been real… So once every four years, the jock side of me comes out, because, f-it! i love soccer. What can I say? It’s a simple game, with simple rules, demanding tremendous skill and it’s universal.

But man – when Argentina went down, my heart broke… i’m a sensitive guy, you know?

Anyway it’s been a pretty cool time here in Boston, being here for 4th of July and just working, in particular. The drive up was a particularly boring and uneventful, except for the wierd run-in I had with a tree-hugger who insisted on breast feeding her child barefoot under a tree behind a McDonalds. Which pretty much means her breast-milk was filled with the nutrients of a Big Mac she had just minutes earlier. But she was one with nature, and that’s what counts.

July 4th, I’m sitting under a tree at sunset, nursing my copy of the Hobbit, as I read about Bilbo’s rescuing of his friends from the giant spiders, when I couldn’t help but notice a woman next to me, who looked particularly East African. Yes many of you could say that it’s my longing to be back in the motherland that has caused me to see such things in a perfect stranger, but everything from her face, hair, style, body type, mannerisms… The more time I spent staring at her, in the way a creepy stranger would, the more I was convinced, and I would regret it forever if I did not approach her and make that Swahili connection.

I approached her in a fearful yet respectful manner; one could say, with “awe and reverence”, for this beautiful queen before me.

“Excuse me, sorry to bother you, and happy 4th of July, but I was just wondering if you were from East African descent.”

Silence.

I would later find out that this silence was just her way of calming herself down from the rage she may have wanted to impart upon me.

“You have some very distinct East African features, and I was wondering if you were of East African descent.”

She glared at me for about 3 seconds when she finally spoke in a thick southern American accent…

“I’m from Boston.”

At this point I could have left the conversation, but somehow I was determined, to keep going.

“Well, I can see that you’re from Boston, being here part of the celebration, but I just wondered if you were from East African descent.. maybe your family… you..”

“We’re southerners.. we’re from Virginia, Georgia, Mississippi…..”

With each mention of each state, she exhaled and flared the nostrils a bit… I clearly had offended her. I thanked her for her time and walked away.

And then I thought about it… how is that an offense? East Africans, whom I spent much time with, are among the most beautiful people in the world. Apparently she didn’t have such a high regard for them, or she wouldn’t have been so offended? Or maybe it was something else that I just couldn’t understand.

I look back at my own experience in New York, and the fact that most people think I’m of Latin descent, in particular, Puerto Rican. I simply let them know that I’m Egyptian, but that’s about it. I find Puerto Rican people to be beautiful and I always take it as a compliment….

Who knows what spot I had stepped on unwhittingly, but at any rate, I am able to move on with my life, and I hope she can too ;)

I will now leave you with an interesting article about bats from:

NOBEL INTENT

Larger brains, smaller testicles?
posted by Rian J. Stockbower

Analysis of 334 species of bat has turned up some interesting findings:
in species with promiscuous females, males had evolved larger testicles
but relatively small brains. In species where the females were were
monogamous, the males had smaller testicles, but larger brains. These
results are contrary to what was expected. It was predicted that in
species with promiscuous females, the males would need larger brains to
avoid being cuckolded.

Instead, it seems as though ability to produce larger quantities of
sperm is more key to a bat’s ability to pass on genetic information
than its being smarter than its fellows. The larger brain size in the
species with monogamous females is also unexpected, leading the Scott
Pitnick’s team to believe that

“Perhaps monogamy is more neurologically demanding.”

I know a few people who would agree…

Other measurements of the bats and their activities showed
extraordinary variability in testicular:body mass ratio. In the 334
species studied, the range was between 0.12% and 8.4%(!) of the bats’
mass—a range greater than any other (known) mammalian order. The reason
for this could be is that bats are relatively unique in the world of
mammals:

“Bats really exist on an energy knife-edge: they are
small with a large surface area, and they need to fly around,
particularly during the mating season.”

In all mammals, brain tissue and sperm cells both require a lot of
metabolic energy to grow and maintain. Bats, it seems, cannot have both.


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