23 December 2008

it's been a minute....

it's been a minute since i posted in here.

i've just been so busy with my business and dealing with stupid people that i just haven't had time to blog.

i think i'm going to do a post a day in 2009, but that doesn't start for 9 more days, so....

i'm in lesotho right now. it was torture getting here because i had to take the bus [long story -- it has to do with people not paying me in a timely manner]. 16 hours of blah-ness. but i made it in one piece, even though my cellphone didn't. fortunately it was a R200 vodacom cellphone.

i have to get a new sim card when i get back to cape town, but that shouldn't be too much hassle, so. bah. i think i will just email them now, and deal with it when i get back.

anyway... i've been in seven countries this year. it's been a while since i've been in that many countries in the same calendar year, and i don't think i will swing that in 2009 -- but i probably will in 2010, although i will not have stamps for all of them (i will be in schengenland), but i guess i will just have to mark them on my passport or something.

countries that have stamped my passport in 2008:

united states
united kingdom
south africa

yup, that 48-page passport a few years back was a very good idea.

ooh, lookie, i get to fill in that hole in south africa from the map on two posts back. [that's lesotho]. i suppose i should go to botswana in march, as i now have that country surrounded as well. that said, there's no cheap hotels there -- this one is cheap, by my wallet standards, but it's quite posh in reality. R400 a night -- my spot in namibia was also R400 a night but was nowhere near this nice. and it certainly didn't have unlimited internet access. [i cannot stress how happy i am about that part.]

06 October 2008

worldwide travels

these are the countries that i've been to...

i think i will make this a permanent top post, and just update below. you know, i really need to get a job that will let me float around the planet, because let me tell you, doing all of this on your own dime does in fact get expensive.

i have included three places that i have been under the age of 16; but all of the others have been after i left my first high school. rolling stone, not gathering moss, i suppose.

i'll update this when necessary.

you cannot be serious

so, i made the mistake of watching parts of the vice-presidential debate on a day that i actually had work to do.

i followed that mistake up by going to the alumni website of my high school and looking on the political fora.

for people reading this, i went to high school in central pennsylvania. i currently live in south africa. there may be a causal link between the two.

before i watched the bits and pieces [ok, the first 20 minutes or so] of the vice-presidential debate, i watched the saturday night live mockery of it. and yes, gwen ifill should not have been the moderator for the very reasons that snl pointed out. [that said, she also references colin powell in her book, but really. come on?]

i really didn't think that palin had done the things that her doppelganger had implied on SNL. but then i watched some clips from david letterman, who, if you haven't heard, is on some serious bitch shit after mccain stood him for when he "suspended" his campaign. that was the first sign of "are you serious?"

and then i saw parts of the debate, the real actual live debate, and spent most of the rest of the day in the fetal position. someone tell me why this election is so close. oh, right, he's a sekrit muslim ayrab nigger. because, you know, that's what it is. anyone who tells you differently is LYING.

i can't understand the american public's desire to have a president "just like them" um, no. i want my president to be ten times smarter than *me* [this requires effort.] i want him to be able to get by in at least four of the six official languages of the united nations so he can sit down and have a chat with various leaders, man to man without even interpreters in the room. i want him to be able to find the most capable people and line them up for cabinet positions.

now, with the above paragraph, note that i didn't say "for what kind of policies". if you want good, or evil, that's irrelevant. just give me COMPETENT. or, put another way, with the bush presidency, you still had to respect cheney's gangsta. but palin? um, no. not going to happen.

i just had a nice long talk with my favorite aunt [and i've got 8 of them that are still living, so i can pick and choose] and she doesn't want to vote for obama either, for many of the same reasons that i don't. [the short version, this is 1976 all over again.] she's going to vote. she lives in delaware, too, which is allegedly solidly blue due to the whole joe biden thing.

it's funny -- while she told me to make sure that i voted, she also said that furriners have no place telling americans how to vote [yup, she said furriners, just like that]. "all of their people are living here, and you don't see us running and diving and swimming to live there." she says this with zero trace of irony, in a mixture of english and spanish. i was amused, but i got her point.

it's a shame that condi was NSA during the first bush term. she would have been by far the better veep candidate for mccain -- or she would have run her own self. i'd have voted for condi. srsly. she'd have to explain why she didn't finish the course of invisalign, though.

i'm just tired -- and something else that is tiring me is the mouthbreathing contingent on the alumni website for my high school. ok ok ok, maybe mouthbreathers is too strong.

just dealing with them is reminding me of the unwillingness -- not inability, although i'm sure there's a lot of that there, too, but sheer unwillingness -- to critically think about this election. now, as some of you know, i've picked apart both obama and mccain on a few websites, but since the freepers from my highschool only choose to pick on obama, that leaves me with just mccain to pick on.

and, of course, i become accused of being biased and want to vote for him because i'm black. um, no. sorry, it's *because* i'm black i don't want to vote for obama. and because you're not black, you don't understand why. [my aunt, in less than a minute "i don't want to vote for obama because they're going to blame this man for everything and we'll never get a black president that can do things." my aunt doesn't really read in english and has thus not seen any blog posts i have written, yet has basically said something i have felt for a while now. hm.]

it's 4am. i need to sleep. i just can't beleive this shit. ugh.

04 October 2008

"working class" white people.

one of the things that i actually like about working class white people worldwide is that because, for some reason or other, everything doesn't go the way that it's supposed to go for white people that you see on teevee [hell, even roseanne won the lottery eventually], they tend not to hold their tongues and often say what they really feel. [not unlike black folks. hm.]

on the web community of people from my first high school, there are people who continue to insist that they are not against obama because he's black, and there is almost no one against obama because of his race.

we'll pretend that the many, many miles of newsprint in both liberal and conservative newspapers that have completely debunked that idea do not already exist.

but video is far more powerful than any bit of newsprint or cleaned up television interview.

check this out:

sadly, she seems reasonably well informed and seems to know shit that most of the rest of us don't know. maybe the black helicopters landed in her town and told everybody stuff or something.

03 October 2008

le vieux, c'est le nouveau.

what's old is new.

i dunno where that title came from; i've just been thinking about random things lately.

something random that just popped into my head is that how much i really miss my old passport.

the picture in that passport broke the ice with customs and immigration agents around the world, because i stopped sporting a curly fro about two weeks after i had the photo taken. since then, i've either been bald or plaited or balding. but passport photos stick with you for ten years, and whenever i travelled... people just stared. and giggled.

and then they let me in their country. [i actually ended up going on a date with the guy who stamped me in the weekend i arrived in johannesburg in november 2001.]

however, the antepenultimate time i used this passport almost turned out to be a disaster. i popped to the dominican republic for a few days, as you do, because i wanted to be out of dc for memorial day weekend. that's "black gay pride" weekend, for those that don't know. now, i'm extremely proud to be black, and can't imagine myself to be anything but gay [even though i can say with some certainty that i've been with more women than most of the "straight" men reading this], but at the risk of sounding homophobic [and to be honest, i don't particularly care if i sound homophobic, but still], i'm not a big fan of large numbers of feminine and effeminate men in one place. sorry. that's just not me. so during the estrogen invasion, i normally leave town.

so, like i said, i popped down to santo domingo for a few days to just chill. i get to passport control and the lady says, "lo dudo" which means "i can't believe this mofo is trying to come into the country on some doctored shit" of course, she lets me in, doesn't say anything to me, and i go off to my hotel. she was asking me all types of fucked-up questions, too. i knew my hotel had a bit of a reputation for being where rich westerners picked up young locals, but it was cheap, so that's why i was staying there. instead of writing the name of the hotel down to get out of her disapproving gaze, i had written down the street address of the apartment building across the street and said i was going to visit some friends from high school. saying [$HOTELNAME] would have been saying "i'm coming down to the island to have some hot sex with lots of random bredrins" -- which is what i was there to do, but this heifer didn't need to know it.

anyway, a few days later, i go to leave the rep dom, and i get pulled over and taken into a small room, where my mother, race, and family are being insulted, but in spanish -- dominican spanish -- and my spidey sense says that i should pretend that i don't understand them. then the guy says to me in english that there was an issue that they thought my passport was fake. i already knew this, but i turned into super gringo. but it was a really bad time to show that i could speak a little bit of spanish.

i guess it would have been good if i spoke spanish like a gringo or a gallego instead of, well, with a clearly caribbean lilt. i would still be in jail today if i had done the latter.

but yeah, i'm glad for the digital passports. i'm not feeling the rfid ones, though [mine isn't, but my mother's new one is.]

still catchin up; responding to racial foolishness...

i have had a really rough week. work on top of work on top of work. i think i might end up solving many of my financial woes due to a) the world's refusal to let the dollar fail [much in the same vein that the US congress is not going to let GM fail ] and b) the political shenanigans here in south africa. when i got to this place nearly 4 years ago, the exchange rate was flirting with R5.85 to the dollar. when i bought my house 2 years ago, it was roughly R6.25 to the dollar. at the moment, as in, as i've started this missive, it's 8.5 to the dollar. this means that selling my house is a bad idea at the moment, but it also means that i should be able to pay my mortgage. with my breakup, it's been hard to do over the past 12 months or so.

a lot of time i spend "working" i'm actually looking at a lot of other blogs, and making comment on various issues around the world as well as those pertaining to both south africa, and latin america. in fly brother's blog, i came across an answer in ernest's post that was so spectacularly full of fail i just sat and stared. i mean, this man was just full of the dumb if he believes what he has written. and if he really does believe what he has written then i can pretty much outline his family history without guessing all that hard. this guy, while a "black englishman" [which, by the way, in these parts is one of the greatest insults you can hurl at someone] has basically drank somebody's line that britain is all one good multi-culti kum-ba-ya. [or, if you like, hillary clinton's lambasting of obama's cheeriness -- i heard that obama himself was cracking up over that.]

it was a short response, but it was so full of fail that i just can't let it go. perhaps it's because, being a dark-skinned black person who actually likes to be around dark-skinned black people that i've gotten into a lot of SHIT while living in europe. since i'm harping on this dude's britishness, i'll talk about the UK. so, the first time i live there by myself, which is in the early 90s for about 8 months or so -- i went back for nearly 3 years later on -- i had just gotten out of uni, and a few weeks after i'd gotten there, i had a hot zambian boyfriend [who is still there and for some reason now sounds more english than the queen], and two really cool mates [one black and kenyan-born, french-raised british citizen, and the other a black nigeria born and raised british citizen] who ended up dating each other. i lived in a trendy flat that was practically in zone 1* at age 22. imagine. hell, all of us were 22 at the time. now we're all middle aged. blah.

so we're heading back to my krib from stoke newington where chukwu lived, we get pulled over by the entrance to the rotherhithe tunnel. chuki's tax disc had expired. the police took that moment to try to cause DRAMA. chuki and sanj were just sitting there, taking it. mwangi was in the country on fake papers so he wasn't saying shit. i was like, "blah, i had to put up with this shit in france and i have to do it here, too? um, no." i said to the officer in my best american accent, which is an effort when i've been drinking: "please don't tell me this is going to be another black boys on mopeds incident. because that would just not be cool" they turn paler than i thought possible [white people in the british isles are so translucent that even their halfies come out damn near white] get a *good* look at my passport and let us all go. i was furious. i hate having to go nuclear, but i only save it for the police.

[and believe it, my black ass did this like a champ in brazil, despite not needing subtitles to watch either cidade de deus or gabriela, cravo e canela. i *only* spoke to the police in english in brazil, even if they couldn't understand me. fuckers are still shooting brothers for sport. but this is about england, so i'll save that rant for later.]

anyhow, back to "i'm a black englishman". lolwut. now, okay, i know people who refer to themselves as such, but not in to the degree of pomposity that is so naked in his response. i mean, if he had said something analogous to the reason that why mark lewis-francis chose not to run for jamaica in the olympics [before he got injured], i could understand that. but there was none of that. [mark lews-francis is, like another one of my exes, from wolverhampton. jamaican while in the uk, british while outside of it. hm. i have another story to tell...]

i would have been willing to let "paul" off the hook, had he not continued with the stupidity. to wit:

Furthermore, the thought that hailing a taxi on a London street would be easier if I asked a white female companion to do it would be easier, seems preposterous to me. Maybe this says a great deal about the difference between African Americans and black British.

say what? you're kidding, right? my body cannot begin to contain the lolwuttery and general state of fail that you are presenting to me.

and, honestly this:

I just assume I will be charged more because I'm a European.

is "i speak spanish like a gallego." that is what it says to me. s00? ernie? folaji? que opinan? i mean, if you were a new yorker of colombian parentage or, as e-money did, faked the san andres funk, your accent would probably be much, much different. shit, you still could *fake* it. really. "my mother is colombian but my father is gallego," or the other way around. so yeah, it's a fair assumption to make. but, to be honest, and i hope you are really thinking about it -- because your whole demeanor in your post is totally giving off the "i'm a european, and i'm in a third world country; i'm better than them." it reminds me of this "brother" that i had to school when i was on holiday in gambia.

i could be wrong. but, like i said, your choice of words? i don't think i am.

i mean, either you're in denial or you were, how should i put this, not really raised around black folks in england -- which is fine, but like i said, i'm guessing the latter. from from what your response is giving me.

i mean, i've had more than a small number of incidents in england, france and spain over my black ass being in the "wrong" place or going to the "wrong" neighborhood. [i actually gave up my french passport, partially in protest. BIG MISTAKE, but anyway.]

but, the post that ernesto writes that inspired all of this? i can relate to it -- while living in england. in most of the jobs i had while i lived in the uk [or france. or south africa. or holland.], i was the only black male, if not the only black person, who was working in the building that was not CLEANING it. and in my first job there, there were just no other non-white "staff" -- now there were non-white faculty, and there's a reason that people called my place of employment "School of Patel" but negroes on the payroll? it was just me. hell, even when i worked in washington, dc, i was one of only two black males at my law firm that wasn't working in the mail room when i started -- and depending on the kind of day i was having, i would either politely or impolitely tell some dumb white person that, well, just because i'm in the mail room filling out a slip for some copies to be made does not mean that i work in the mail room. the mailroom guys ended up barring me from the place, for fear i would end up fired. people were wondering, especially in washington, why i would be so willingly underemployed for my education level. [the answer: legal secretaries with 10 yeas of experience at big law firms get paid more than college professors throughout the dc metro. i don't seek status; just show me the money.]

but, overall i was okay with workplace or academic situations of being the "only one", considering that for most of my life, i'd almost always been the only black male in my academic classes: a notable exception was my chemistry class in tenth grade, which had this guy in it -- but he was the only other black male in that any of my academic classes in three of my four years of high school, and he was the only black male in his graduating year who was college preparatory. university? no other black people in any of my non-gym classes until i was a SENIOR. but i grew up in a world [ie related to] of a lot of accomplished black people; seeing them when i got home for vacations or reunions was just as normal as not seeing another black face in my classes. [the first time in my life when i *didn't* have a black primary care physician was when i moved to cape town 4 years ago. go fig.]

so i'm not saying it's just a UK thing or a latin america thing. i'm kinda used to there being no other black people around in the intellectual circles that i ran in -- but my social circles more than made up for the lack of color. [which is where i think pablo -- or his parents -- has dropped the ball.]

oh, and to the people whose blogs i've been peeping lately... welcome. i'm not normally this militant. i'm usually worse. lol.

anyway. i think i'll stop there -- there is some work i want to crank out before i go to bed.

*thames tunnel mills. in the attached photo, that is the building on the right. second to right is the mayflower pub, which, as its name implies, is the original mooring for the mayflower. yes, that mayflower.

30 September 2008

a few things...

i haven't posted in here for a couple of weeks, because i've been pretty busy with life.

and also, sarah palin is so full of fail that i cannot believe that saturday night live isn't even bothering to *invent* things for tina fey to say; they are just using her own words.

i really despise katie couric, but i was actually feeling sorry for her -- because the look of "i can't believe this heifer might be our next vice president" that was all over her face was just priceless.


also, i went to namibia. i had a great time, even though i got robbed. [i'm a big dude. in order to rob me, you need to be either a) more than one person, b) armed, or c) both. there were three of them, and i got dragged for 50 meters by a car, ending up with some serious road rash, so i'm calling that (c). ... but it's cool. i'm okay.]

while i was in namibia, they kicked out mbeki and brought in motlanthe. the nice thing about this is that he will stop wearing street clothes when they interview him on television. south african politicians are about the worst television political guests in the world, showing up on teevee wearing the first thing in their closet [ie almost never a suit] and not even bothering to comb their hair half the time.

sadly, this is a reflection of the south african people at large. ugh.

i have a lot of work to do, but i promise to update on thursday when i have a free moment.

12 September 2008

only in america

so my friend fly-brother has, in his 9/11 post, written about the growth of the passive nationalism that he has been feeling since moving to colombia.

in his post, he lists the best things about america. i can see some of them, and others... i'm a bit nonplussed. i'm almost certain that it's almost entirely due to having been raised differently than him. [this isn't any kind of value judgment, but we come from very different places and have much different experiences -- some of which, of course, could only have happened in america.]

i think, however, my parents, in particular my father, (and to a lesser extent the guy my mother *should* have married afterwards, but didn't) would have more in common with what he wrote than i would. i don't know. what i do know is that there are some things that i'm just not feeling that he's really into. southern culture is at the top of the list. i love grits, but that's about as southern as i get, and am completely unapologetic about it. people who know my paternal family history might find this really strange, as henry harris -- the first black basketball player at both auburn and the sec -- is related to me via my father's side. my american bits are *really* yankee, or more correctly, midwest. [i'm one of those people who put the midwest as starting at the susquehanna river and not the ohio state line.] i spoke dutchified english long before i spoke afrikaans on a regular basis. in fact, having dutchified english as, essentially, a language of instruction high school made afrikaans so easy to learn. [but then again, i did go to a dutch-speaking crèche and école maternelle as well.]

but, again, his post. let me think about all of this.

i don't even know what my top 10 things i appreciate about the states would be... that would require some more thought. but let's see how i fare with his top ten:

10) we're in agreement. but i've lived in europe, so i've gotten used to all of these things. that said, while living there, it's hard to find black magazines with a long lifespan, and they are more plentiful in britain than in france. everywhere else in europe [and most of latin america] they're conspicuously absent.

9) healthy lifestyle trumps healthy foods any day of the week, which a big reason why the dutch are taller than the americans. it's not the diet, that's for damn sure. it's also a reason that south africans are so short; collectively speaking, they don't eat healthily nor do they live healthily. if i'm the paragon of health in my community, something is really, really wrong.

8) see, again. london. paris. amsterdam. been there, done that. i'm really jaded about a lot of cultural stuff because, well, i've seen it everywhere. it's like working two blocks away from the white house for five years and only going to have lunch in the park outside of it when your parents are in town. [guilty of that, too.]

7) i'll concede this point, even though they do not have enough of the kinds of movies i like. love jones [points for mentioning it, ernest], the best man, brown sugar, waiting to exhale, soul food.... i was raised force-fed the "american" [read: whitewashed movies with mainly white casts that really don't speak to me] movie lines. and you know, they are generally well made. but give me movies that speak to a black boy from a established and accomplished family. [disclaimer: i didn't get to know my father's people until fairly late in life due to a really messy split up. generally, in my blog, when i say "my family" i mean my mother's people unless i explicitly state otherwise] but it's true -- rarely have i seen a movie with accomplished black people not doing some tragic mess that was not made in america. the "not-tragic mess" rules out nollywood. i know nollywood so well that all i need to do is see the director's name, and i know exactly how the movie is going to go, without even having read a review. sometimes it'll be english. other very rarely from either france or francophone africa. south africa is starting to step up to the plate, but like i say, i'll concede this point.

6) to have all of this in one country, yes, i'll concede this as well. but brazil does it as well, and for many of the same reasons. south africa is a world in one country and much of what i have seen is just awe-inspiring. but america gets the nudge because of its sheer enormity and for no other reason.

5) this is where i lose because, well, while there's some southern culture that i've done, most of which relates to food -- i'll take my knockwurst/boerewors/mofongo eatin ass... elsewhere. throughout much of my adolescence, i was constantly mocked for not being an "american" black, but i love my multi-culti caribbean/african/european upbringing that just *happened* to occur somewhere in pennsylvania. that said, these are still my people -- but for reasons beyond my control, and which i'll name later, i didn't have those experiences. unlike many black americans who weren't raised "black" because they had assimilationist parents, i don't feel that i've missed that much. [of course, it's because my parents were not assimilationist. they were pro-black in places where being pro-black was just Not Done, and that is a different kettle of fish.]

4) this really is splitting hairs, as only two countries have more people than the united states [that would be china and india]. put the european union [or even schengenland] together as whole, and you have a landmass of roughly the same size with the same number of "truly international cities" ditto for the not-amazon parts of south america. i gotta only give him 5 marks out of ten on that one.

3) this is where we agree 100%. but that success is up and down and just eww. my family tree got burned down in a few spots because of people's jealousy, which can best be summed up like this [apologies to those who have heard this one before]. i'm a dark-skinned, fourth-generation unversity graduate. worldwide, this is definitely an only in america thing. in america, it's really pretty rare, especially since my neither generations two nor three needed the g.i. bill for their university educations [which was good, because the federal government generally refused to let eligible veterans go to school on the g.i. bill. but even in "black america" this is... astounding. look at the halls of "black" unversities before the 1960s, and people who look like me are the exception, not the rule. it's no accident that the first "black" people at the flagship southern universities were uniformly dark. [or they passed, and therefore don't count.]

something ernest also touches on is just the sad state of black folks in latin america. ugh. i mean, it's depressing. there is no way in hell i could raise children there. just... none. i've had more than my share of trouble being in neighborhoods and schools throughout latin america which matched my wallet, but not my skin color.

that said, one of the main reason that i'm as multi-culti as i am is because the period from 1850 to 1950 was really hard for my family not just from white folks, but from people who are, in semi-polite conversation, referred to as "light-skinndedededed". hell, even longer than 1950, but going into it would shine an unsavory light into the reputations of more than a few shiny organizations which glorify "black" america. [psst, links members out there: when you're debating offering membership to someone, make sure the maid can't hear you. maids tend to talk amongst each other, you know?]

the white man had more than a little bit of help of running various ancestors of mine out of a certain major northern city as well as a few minor southern ones. and i'll leave it at that.

but the underlying characteristic is that they were able to do all of this in the first place and that's pretty much an only in america thing. so there you go.

2) agreed. but it's rapidly depending on where you are that you can have blatantly anti-american sentiment. if there's anything saying "osama rocks" along with the "buck fush" then you're going to cuba. and i don't mean for a leisurely stroll along the malecon.

1) i'm of two minds about this. i grew up in a stubbornly non-anglophone household, which were non-anglophone for the very reason why you have english at the top of the list. [my parents went to university in the states. they spoke english.] it was either univision or tv5 or radio-canada in the house, all the time, because the outside world was all english, in many of the places we lived; most of my education was, in fact, in english.

but when your favorite person in the world doesn't speak the language and is proud of you but doesn't really understand the big words on the fancy paper... it tends not to matter. titi's happiest 100th birthday present was a videotape of a fat, pimply, 13 year old boy with big glasses getting 6th place in the regional spelling bee [i'm not mad at having gotten sixth place, since our regional winner won the national spelling bee that year], she was so happy that her betinho was on television that she watched it over, and over and over again before she died -- even though she barely understood any of it.

but this is also the very reason i'm keeping the boy that i'll soon be raising again in afrikaans-language schools. so that his grandmother will be able to read and see, and most importantly, UNDERSTAND all of his achievements. one of the reasons that my afrikaans is as good as it is is because i want to be able to talk to her. i want to be able to let her know from my own mouth that i'm looking after him as if he was my own, just as her husband did for her daughter [the boy's mother].

but the very fact i ended up growing up so multi-culti was the shit that happened to us during jim crow.

and the particular shit, and the level of shit... could only happen in america.

i guess i need to just shut up and concede this point, too. i mean, for the past 20 years, just the way shit just keeps happening to me, people keep saying i could write a book. if i wanted the main character to be black, and have a life close to mine, what would be the most credible language to do it in? i mean, even though i grew up speaking french and spanish and portuguese [and one of the turning moments in the life of not only me, but of 20 other black boys and girls happened in a school in puerto rico, not the united states] -- it would only make sense if the following sentence started the whole thing:

"tropical storm agnes not only brought flooding throughout much of the eastern seaboard; it was also the stork that helped usher in the arrival of a bouncing baby boy."

[that said, i think my novel might have him being born during camille. we wouldn't want it *too* autobiographical, would we?]

10 September 2008

as usual, a white woman might mean that black man misses out. for once, this isn't of his own doing.

so, the palin poll bounce. wtf, over?

john mccain has been taken out of the presidency equation. i don't think that was his intent, but that's going to be the reality.

it really goes to show that when it comes out to "inexperience" a white woman really does usually get a bigger benefit of the doubt than a black man. ok, this election isn't for 60 or so more days, but for a bounce to be *this big* means entirely what i've just said.

so let's say that the election goes the way of the current poll numbers. what will it mean? mccain wins, and then dies in office, and we have president palin. this will all but ensure that hillary clinton will walk away from her senate seat and run for the presidency. depending on who is governor, they may make a special dispensation for her to get her seat back should she lose. now, the period from 2008 to 2012 is one where things will get much, much worse before they get better. the democrats would mitigate palin economic [huh?] and foreign [lulz] policy somewhat, but palin would still get to stack the supreme court. lovely.

2012 leads to a clinton/obama ticket [like she would pick anyone else], versus palin/watts. ha ha ha. [just kidding]. who wins? hillary, who will be able to undo all of the damage except the supreme court. shame. hilary serves a term or two, and we have president obama. finally.

the dollar will make a bit of a comeback [which means i could stay here, but the rand is in huge trouble in 2009, so i'll be fine anyway], but the rest of the fallout from the subprime crises, including the take over of freddie mac and fannie mae, as well as a few caucasian conflicts, will have the united states in some hot mess. i also see nawlins getting a direct hit in the next term, and we'll see how THAT is handled.

but palin v clinton will be a true sign that the united states will have slid into the theocratic mayhem of bangladesh, which have two women running for president, neither of whom got there because of their political skill, but both of them having arrived there due to either a husband or an old man. amazing.

i wonder what mccain/palin supreme court interference is going to look like.

any ideas? (and "we'll never know because obama is going to win" is not a valid response.)

limpopo lulz

politicians on this side are just full of the lulz today.

there was a big demonstration in durban about the upcoming trial of jacob zuma, which led to great big fights with the police, and the attendant running street battles. lovely. there were also threats by some very senior people in the anc in kwa-zulu natal [this includes durban] that there would be serious civil unrest if he cannot be the next president due to these pesky corruption charges hanging over his head.


also, they still haven't figured out the talks in zimbabwe yet. as a result of this, mugabe has said he's going to form a cabinet unilaterally. tsvangirai has said "better no deal than a crap deal".

in serious lulz news, zimbabwe de facto dollarized today. this wouldn't be particularly lulz-worthy except not six weeks ago, gideon gono, the head of the reserve bank of zimbabwe, said that "dollarisation is not a position we have taken. we are not in that situation yet. report all such persons to the nearest police station." he said that on the day they announced they were going to lop off 10 zeros from the currency. 2 of those zeros are already back. in six weeks. gotta love hyperinflation.

the hyperinflation is a reason why i'm going to namibia next week and not zimbabwe. it would be nice to be able to use the ATM, you know?

in gideon's announcement of de facto dollarisation, he said that it was, in part, so that "enhance our preparations for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa." now, this is not without precedent; zimbabwe and south africa co-hosted the cricket world cup in 2003.

am so glad i'm going to namibia. it means i need to set things up all over again, but at least i can get myself sorted more easily. and can travel much, much lighter than i would otherwise have to.

i've got the popcorn going for both sides of the limpopo, that's for sure.

08 September 2008

fallout over zapiro cartoon

it seems that there are a lot of bloggers that are upset about that aforementioned political cartoon.

now, while it breaches the bounds of good taste, metaphorically it is not incorrect. but, like noticing that someone has farted at an upscale dinner party, people are getting bent out of shape about it.

i do wonder sometimes about some of these people who are taking exception to the cartoon -- are they saying similar things when they're at home? just as there is a direct relationship between education and/or income with computer/internet access from home in this country, there is a parabolic relationship between education and support for the ANC. it's parabolic because most of the poor, for lack of a better phrase [and this sounds *really* tasteless, but...], they don't know any better. this is because the government has such a hold on the media, although it pretends not to, that it's the anc's message that gets to the poor and not anyone else's. plus, there the fact that the anc is the party of liberation for apartheid.

[of course the anc didn't do THAT by themselves either, but it's really doubtful that this part of the message has trickled down that far either. most people who have never left south africa don't even know the extent that the sanctions and boycotts of south african goods had on the end of apartheid, even the rich ones. so to think that the poor would be privy to such information, given the very real digital divide here, is a bit of a stretch. ]

it's a parabolic relationship because the high end of society has to at least pay lip service to the anc [even if they live in very reliably non-anc parliament constituencies] if they want to keep sucking from the government teat in the form of preferred contracts and the like.

as more people become educated, support for the anc will erode. this, by the way, is the real cause of the economic meltdown in zimbabwe, not the "seizure of white farms" [which is by far the better media-friendly story].

i wonder if that will happen here -- the cynic in me says that this is a major reason that service delivery, especially in education, is such crap in the eastern cape: should the people become educated, they could see how badly the anc and its crony hangers-on are ripping off the place.

oh well. on verra

zuma, again.

so, the anc and the alliance partners are upset at jonathan shapiro.

most south africans don't know who that is by name, but he makes political cartoons under the moniker "zapiro", which a lot of people do.

while he's loudly cheered the good things about this place, he has also loudly mocked what's wrong with this place.

yesterday's photo is a loud mockery of what's wrong with this place.

but before the photo, the backstory:

the heir apparent to the presidency of south africa, jacob zuma, has beaten a rape charge, but is awaiting trial on corruption charges [some of which have his financial advisor currently sitting in "jail". i say "jail" instead of jail because he is in a hospital due to severe high blood pressure and not actually in jail.]

zuma consistently says that he wants a speedy trial, which is his right, but has been throwing all kinds of roadblocks into what, exactly, can be used as evidence in his trial. this is also his right, but it goes against the whole "wanting a speedy trial" bit. in addition, the clock is ticking. if he can hold on without having gone to trial until april, it's very likely that he will do a chirac -- that is, have legislation passed against holding a trial against a currently serving president.


in addition, there are calls now that there be a political solution to this problem. um, hello, it's a criminal case, why should there be a political solution? "because it was politically motivated," his supporters say. um, and? even if it were, let them go to court. plain and simple.

with all this is mind, here is the cartoon over which the ANC is fuming:

i'll admit, when i saw this in the paper yesterday, i was like "wow. someone's going to get angry over that." which is exactly what happened.

the shower on top of zuma's head is there because during the rape trial -- zuma had unprotected sex with a woman who he knew to be hiv-positive -- he said that after the sex he "took a shower to wash off the aids". [we won't even begin to go into THAT lapse of judgment, but i do think he should cough up with a blood test. i mean, he's got 17 kids by 8 different women, he needs to be seriously checked out.]


the earlier post about why i don't want obama to win this election?

judith warner has said basically the same thing with regard to palin (viz women).

at least i know it isn't just me.


so, on the 19th, i'm going to namibia for five days.

little border jumping thing. i was going to go to zimbabwe and stay for 8 days, but once i got to zim i would have had to have dealt with the whole buying things at black market prices while at the same time dealing with using ATMs at the official exchange rate... which is a non-starter.

so, nambia, where the namibian dollar and the south african rand are one and the same [in fact, the rand is legal tender in namibia]. no problems. no having to stuff a week's worth of supplies in my suitcase and hoping my bag is under weight. this, actually, is quite nice. i should, in fact, be able to get away with just my carry on bag and a garment bag.

maybe i'll pop down to the coast to see walvis bay, but i'll be more than content just to putz around windhoek. when my money is right, i will do more local tourism. but my countries visited map will get a nice big red hit.

besides, maybe i could scope out some places to live for people fleeing extradition -- there's no extradition from namibia to the united states [which is one of the reasons that wesley snipes did his last movie there].

06 September 2008


it seems that they are hiding palin from the press.

how the hell do you get named vice presidential nominee and then not "be available" to do the sunday talk shows? sorry lady, you have to come out and play. if you think the media are so big and bad, then maybe you need to go back to alaska and stay there.

meanwhile, king mswati iii of swaziland had his 40-40 celebrations today. his 40th birthday and 40 years of independence. look up swaziland almost anywhere and tell me what exactly is he supposed to be celebrating again?

mugabe showed up at the festivities. greeted like a rockstar, so you know this couldn't be good.

that said, ian khama was there, too.

the latest news from the whole zuma charade is that they want the anc, the npa and the government to come to a political solution to this, so zuma still gets to be president.

this, of course, will mean i should still get to be able to live here due to the pressure the overall lack of confidence in the government will put on the rand, but ewww.


i've had a few stabs at full-time parenthood, but never by myself except for 6 months of last year. i'm not going to go into it at length right now, but it is a very high possibility that my ex's 15 year old son may live with me full time fairly soon.

i'm completely okay with this, as i didn't want him to leave my house in the first place. but i had no say in the matter.

as was mentioned in someone else's locked lj post, it's around 10 or so people i know that are in this situation.

this is the boy's house, as far as i'm concerned. if i get hit by a bus, he gets it, along with my brother's kids, so it's cool.

05 September 2008

complications, or why i hope mccain, paul or barr win this election.

the hell you say?

you're black, fiscal conservative, social moderate, and you don't want the chance for a liberal black man to be president?

well, that's exactly why.

for the reasons why, i want to quote two sources, which pretty much sum up my feelings on the whole matter.

one is from an unlikely source, and i'll start with that one.

for those who don't know, mumia abu jamal is on death row in pennsylvania, where he's been for the last couple of decades for having shot a policeman. he's all but confessed to the crime, yet somehow he evades execution.

anyway, i read something he said about obama getting the nomination and it has stuck with me.... here's the most pertinent part:

It is a measure of how dire is the hour that they’ve passed the keys to the kingdom to a Black man.

As in many American cities, Black mayors were let in when the treasuries were almost barren, and tax bases were almost at rock-bottom.

With the nation’s manufacturing base also a thing of history, amidst the socioeconomic wreckage of globalization, with foreign affairs in shambles, the rulers reach for a pretty, brown face to front for the Empire.

this has just stuck with me. i mean deep inside and won't come out and lingers and threatens to consume me. because he's right. with the exception of charlotte and denver, every major city that has had a black mayor got its first black mayor when, as mumia points out, the city was in really bad shape. does anyone remember new york in the dinkins years, philadelphia when goode got to be mayor, los angeles when bradley made it, or chicago when washington became mayor? even dallas was in real bad shape when ron kirk got the nod.

america is befok.

of course, that the polls numbers are even this close means that this election is all about race. at least the good people of the commonwealth of pennsylvania [where high taxes helped pay for my very expensive education] were man and woman enough to say "i don't think i can vote for a black man." of course, the still-strong, granular, ingrained racism that i have personally encountered as recently as 2003 [the last time i was forced to go there to pay lipservice to the lady that gave birth to me] is the reason that i am glad that i have gotten the hell out of that place.

...and this brings me to the second quote.

a lot of people have been teasing, laughing, talking about "bring the pain" by chris rock. the presidential bits they talked about during the primary "ooh, a black president" and led to the tossed salad man and all that.

but that's not the part of bring the pain that worries me about an obama presidency.

this is the part (yes, it's from ni**as versus black people):

i got two jobs, can't you get one? i would give you one of mine, but then you'll fuck up and get laid off and then they won't hire another ni**a for 20 years.

this presidency, this election coming up. it's a poisoned chalice. whoever wins will be a one-term president. it's the 1976 election all over again. do you honestly think there will be another black man in our lifetime that would get this close to the presidency? no. because as the way things are looking globally right now, it is going to get worse before it gets better. i'm bankrupting myself staying *out* of the united states because i don't want to be stuck *in* it when the shit really hits the fan.

let me have a chance to have a black president during a time of feast instead of a time of famine, and perhaps i might feel differently. but, honestly, that isn't going to happen. okay, it *might* happen. but it definitely won't ever happen if obama wins this election, because it's about to get much, much worse, and he will be blamed for not being able to fix george bush's mess.

to be honest, i think the republican national committee thinks that this is a lost cause. or rather, they thought so before mccain picked palin. palin might just make this thing winnable for mccain. if she does, and has the mantle of incumbency in 4 years' time, hillary will have to make a choice: hold the seat or run for president. hopefully by that time the united states will not be in the place of another wannabe theocracy where two women ran for president against each other. (that would be bangladesh, for those keeping score.)

i'm out.

let me know what you think about this....

03 September 2008

south african elections

i live in south africa now, hence the name of this blog.

next year, the anc are headed to another constitution-proof victory, providing that they avoid implosion in the western cape and kwazulu-natal.

i live in the western cape, which at the moment is only "run" by the anc, as they have a parliamentary majority in the province by virtue of having absorbed the new national party. [that would be the successor party to the national party, ie the party of apartheid]

more specifically, i live in cape town, which is currently run by the same coalition [read: everybody but the anc] that will probably take over the province in next year's elections.

the anc have never won a majority in the western cape at the ballot box, and it's unlikely that they will do so next year. south africa has descended from "rainbow nation" into "race-based politics" and the anc within the province has splintered into two factions. the "black" faction, and the "everyone [read: coloured]" faction. the latter has just lost a rather acrimonious power struggle in the province, leading to the dismissal of the premier.

it's interesting, this -- the replacement premier is not the head of the anc in the province, but the former finance minister. i say this is interesting, because there is a very real probability that the head of the nationwide anc may end up in court and imprisoned before the elections. of course, he's using procedural delays to drag it out and then do a chirac, but one of the things his supporters have been saying is that since he is the head of the anc, he should be president of the republic.

um, if they can't do it in the western cape, why should they do it for the nation? that's all i want to know.

this is the second outline, i guess, of the elections that i'm "following"; the first is of the u.s. elections.

i'll also be talking about a lot of other stuff as time goes on.

sarah palin, also titled: i miss tim russert

um, the hell?

there has been so much on this chick in the last three days, but apparently the "vetters" didn't do a good enough job. apparently she was vetted, but i didn't know about that until after i wrote the following in a closed community in response to some serious flaming:

palin. ugh. i don't pity her, but i am a bit peeved about her for several reasons. firstly, she goes back to work 3 days after having a baby with down's syndrome? um, no. you might call it going negative, but i call that bad judgment. THREE DAYS? she's not picking tea in assam with her pay linked to how much she harvested. second, troopergate. full of fail. even if she didn't make the phone calls herself, she had to have known about them. c'mon, honestly. thirdly, alaska independence party. [that's today's "what's new about palin"] somewhere in this. and fourthly, the whole flying around on planes while about to give birth, etc, etc. and finally, that her teenage daughter is knocked up.

all of those things have happened in the last three years.

and knowing that all of these things are going on in her life, should she even have accepted this nod? um, no. sometimes the desire to be "the first" apparently drowns out everything else. hint: if you want to be "the first" anything, or even run for politics, make sure you have NO dirty laundry. it will be found. CONFESS EVERYTHING UP FRONT BEFORE SOMEONE ELSE HAS A CHANCE TO OUT YOU. that mccain picked palin on the friday before a 3-day weekend with a hurricane bearing down on the gulf coast... it's even worse than bush picking john bolton as a recess appointment to be the ambassador to the united nations under similar congressional conditions. if you have to sneak something in, you really shouldn't be doing it.

but back to palin. she should have DECLINED. full stop. she can still decline tomorrow, and i hope she will. that said, if she does not, can you really trust a candidate to be near the red button who, three years ago, was mayor of a town smaller than hershey? just... no.

being the candidate in this day and age means the press gets free rein on your family. it does. this means that your bizness becomes the nation's business, and if you want your family to have privacy you walk away. many presidents have had hot, torrid affairs while in office. both FDR and his wife had girlfriends on the side while he was president, and the media knew about it, but kept their mouths shut. these days, in the age of the 24-hour news cycle, you don't get the luxury. if palin is too naive to understand this, then, sorry, stay in alaska.

i highly doubt that if a 16 year old sasha obama said she was knocked up, james dobson would be coming to her rescue. hypocrisy to the max.

this woman should not be anywhere NEAR the oval office, shouldn't have even been nominated. which leads me to the republican party in general and john mccain in particular.

WHO THE HECK VETTED THIS WOMAN? the answer: nobody. john mccain just called her and picked her because, if the print rumors are to be believed, he was just mad that he couldn't have lieberman as his runningmate and didn't want to go with huckabee or pawlenty, who were the choices of the RNC.

now, what does this say about mccain? impetuous, ill-tempered, doesn't think things through. if this is the kind of decision-making that he'll make just for a runningmate, do you *really* want this guy near the "red button"?

this man is 72 years old. on paper, he's old enough to be my grandfather. he should be a choosing a runningmate on the very real probability that he will fall over dead while he is in office, not to score points or out of petulance.

john mccain, by the way, is another reason that children of candidates are even fair game. y'all do remember the following joke that he said ten years ago, right?

"why is chelsea clinton so ugly? becuase janet reno is her father."

and the republican party itself went after his family in 2000 when he ran against bush for the nomination. [man, they said all types of mess about bridget, which is one of the reasons mccain doesn't want to be in the same room with bush. to be honest, i don't blame him one bit.]

but now, suddenly, his runningmate's teenage daughter is pregnant and the same people who talked so much smack about bridget are saying, "blah blah blah private matter blah blah blah" um, no. it's not that kind of party.

the only reason that it's even staying tame for now is not because the republican party is saying "calm down" but because barack "remember, my mother was 18 when i was born" obama is taking the VERY high road on this.

[note: i *don't* want to vote for this guy. however, you have to admit he is far more decent than his opponent, who, as you will recall, not only called his wife a c*nt, but does so in public, with cameras rolling. bwuh?]

speaking of running mate choices, obama is aware of the very real possibility that he may not make it out of these four years in office. who does he pick to run with him? someone who has run for president twice before and who considers himself up for the job. logic.

i really can't believe that i have had to explain this all out. but i feel better for having done so.

am i "negative"? no. i present what is put out in front of me.

you know the saddest thing about this election? tim russert is not around. [and, one of the signs of incredulity *within the republican national committee* is that palin HAD NEVER BEEN ON MEET THE PRESS]

first post

well, i tried to have a politics blog on livejournal, but it's not interested in letting me have it. [i can't post there; it's not feeling any of my browsers]

for the time being i'll post about me and my issues and stuff, as well as politics and travel.

all the sex drugs will go back to livejournal, when it sorts itself out.

the politics and travel will stay here.

tonite, i'll add a lot about the politics bit before i go to bed; the past five days or so have been interesting, to say the least.