Monthly Archives: December 2005

2006 A.D. ¡ HAPPY NEW YEAR !

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outside my window

2005 is certainly one for the record books, I’m glad and sad to see it go.

I wish you all the best in the NEW YEAR, good luck.

Congrats to all the babies born this year, good job. (Malik a.k.a Lil’ Big Daddy, and Ja’nae).

Mike and Maile and Kaili…get ready!!!

Congrats to all of the new marriages (Mom & Steve, Matt & Erika)

Good luck to all the lotto players (Dad)

Creative people…SAY THE WORD,MAKE IT GOOD

Old people, stick around.

Young people, prove that youth is not wasted on you.

Women and Men be nice and good to each other.

Continued prayers and blessings to all of us, especially those touched by the hurricanes in the southern U.S., and the tsunami in south Asia, the earthquakes in central Asia and central Amercia.

Protection.

Stay strong.

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Mad Hot Ballroom 30 December 05

O.k., so maybe the secret agenda of my blog is that I want to save the world.
If there were time to do it one soul at a time, I’d have lunch with all of you.

Instead, I’ll share my weltanschauung with you, and as much insight as I can each time (before I have to rap it up and hop in the dream machine with my lady).

(to my grandmother: Aurelia, I actually learned the word “weltanschauung” in my very short tenure at Central State University…where I lost most of my faith in higher education. I learned it from a book I actually stole from the library, “Arthur Schopenhauer’s: The Pessimist Handbook”

for the record, I eventually found western philosophy too hostile and cynical and currently oppose it with a rugged but folksy optimism)

*back to Mad Hot Ballroom*

First let me say this:
¡¡¡Teachers need to get paid some real goddamn money!!!
¡¡¡Children also need the arts to go with their propaganda…I mean EDUCATION!!!

Oh yeah,

¡¡¡ESPECIALLY CHILDREN OF COLOR IN THESE UNITED STATES!!!

*so yeah, back to Mad Hot Ballroom*

So, I’m watching this movie. Which takes place in N.Y.C., and the gist of it is that:

“6,000 kids, 60 schools, 10 weeks, 1 dream”

link:

http://www.paramountclassics.com/madhot/

Okay, in short…this movie is was awesome.

You get to see children inspired. Yes they’re competing…but the trophy and the title of winner are really insignifigant in the big picture of what is being facillitated.

I think of my friend Wes, who uses Capoeira to build bridges between Palestinian and Israeli children.

(link: http://www.wu-wien.ac.at/usr/h96b/h9650297/cap-basics.html )

(Seeds of Peace link: http://www.seedsofpeace.org/site/PageServer )

Movement as an artform, movement to enlighten spirit in the flesh, movement to inform oneself and others.

I have not yet seen the movie Rize, but it’s on the list.

Yes, I too am over entertained, but I dare to find meaning in everything I watch or listen to.
In my opnion this is how you build and maintain a culture.

When you watch “Mad Hot Ballroom”, recognize that you are watching a revolutinary statement.

The story centers mainly on a school in Manhattan who’s students are predominately Latino/Black, and according to the film 97% of the students in the school live below the poverty line.

The students engage in various styles of dance (meringue, tango, swing, among others) and you can literally see them growing little tiny buds of rationale (win or lose).

I mean, yeah…it’s a movie. The kids don’t just float off to heaven and live happily everafter once the credits roll, but it makes you wonder how much more needs to be applied…just to achieve that little bit that it takes to connect with youngsters.

Will I sign up to teach children anything?

Maybe… I should.

Every kid deserves a fair amount of guidance and good teachers.

¡¡¡RENT THIS MOVIE!!!

¡¡¡SAVE THE WORLD!!!

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James Weldon Johnson’s Life and Career 29 December 05

by Herman Beavers

Portriat by Weinold Reiss

Songwriter, poet, novelist, journalist, critic, and autobiographer. James Weldon Johnson, much like his contemporary W. E. B. Du Bois, was a man who bridged several historical and literary trends. Born in 1871, during the optimism of the Reconstruction period, in Jacksonville, Florida, Johnson was imbued with an eclectic set of talents. Over the course of his sixty-seven years, Johnson was the first African American admitted to the Florida bar since the end of Reconstruction; the co-composer (with his brother John Rosamond) of ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing,’ the song that would later become known as the Negro National Anthem; field secretary in the NAACP; journalist; publisher; diplomat; educator; translator; librettist; anthologist; and English professor; in addition to being a well-known poet and novelist and one of the prime movers of the Harlem Renaissance.

As the first son of James Johnson and the former Helen Louise Dillet, James Weldon inherited his forebears’ combination of industrious energy and public-mindedness, as demonstrated by his maternal grandfathers long life in public service in the Bahamas, where he served in the House of Assembly for thirty years. James, Sr., spent many years as the headwaiter of the St. James Hotel in Jacksonville, Florida, where he had moved the family after his sponge fishing and dray businesses were ruined by a hurricane that hit the Bahamas in 1866. James, Jr., was born and educated in Jacksonville, first by his mother, who taught for many years in the public schools, and later by James C. Walter, the well-educated but stern principal of the Stanton School. Graduating at the age of sixteen, Johnson enrolled in Atlanta University, from which be graduated in 1894. After graduation, Johnson, though only twenty-three, returned to the Stanton School to become its principal.

In 1895, Johnson founded the Daily American, a newspaper devoted to reporting on issues pertinent to the black community. Though the paper only lasted a year (with Johnson doing most of the work himself for eight of those months) before it succumbed to financial hardship, it addressed racial injustice and, in keeping with Johnson’s upbringing, asserted a self-help philosophy that echoed Booker T. Washington. Of the demise of the paper he wrote in his autobiography, Along This Way, “The failure of the Daily American was my first taste of defeat in public life. . . .” However the effort was not a total failure, for both Washington and his main rival, W. E. B. Du Bois, became aware of Johnson through his journalistic efforts, leading to opportunities in later years.

Turning to the study of law, Johnson studied with a young, white lawyer named Thomas A. Ledwith. But despite the fact that he built up a successful law practice in Jacksonville, Johnson soon tired of the law (his practice had been conducted concurrently with his duties as principal of the Stanton School). When his brother returned to Jacksonville after graduating from the New England Conservatory of Music in 1897, James’s poems provided the lyrics for Rosamond’s early songs. By the end of the decade, both brothers were in New York, providing compositions to Broadway musicals. There they met Bob Cole, whom Johnson described as a man of such immense talent that he could “write a play, stage it, and play a part.”

The brothers split their time between Jacksonville and New York for a number of years before settling in New York for good. However, their greatest composition, the one for which they are best known, was written for a Stanton School celebration of Lincoln’s birthday. “Lift Every Voice and Sing” was a song that, as Johnson put it, the brothers let pass out of [their] minds,” after it had been published.

But the song’s importance grew from the students, who remembered it and taught it to other students throughout the South, until some twenty years later it was adopted by the NAACP as the “Negro National Hymn.”

It was this kind of creativity under duress, coupled with his connections in the political sphere, that characterized Johnson’s life as an artist and activist. Indeed, between the years 1914 and 1931, his desire to explore the limits of both worlds led him to seek a more thorough synthesis of his public and artistic sensibilities. The study of literature, which Johnson began around 1904 under the tutelage of the critic and novelist Brander Matthews, who was then teaching at Columbia University, caused Johnson to withdraw from the Cole/Johnson partnership to pursue a life as a writer. However, this creative impulse coincided with his decision in 1906 to serve as United States consul to Venezuela, a post that Washington’s political connections with the Roosevelt administration helped to secure.

During the three years he held this post, Johnson completed his only novel, The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man, which he published anonymously in 1912. Though many read the novel as a sociological document, its true value lies in the manner in which it recasts the “tragic mulatto” story within the context of Du Bois’s metaphor of the veil. The novel sparked renewed interest when Johnson announced in 1927 that he had authored the book as fiction. Indeed, so great was the public propensity to equate the novel’s hero with Johnson himself that Johnson felt obliged to write his autobiography, which appeared in 1933 under the title Along This Way.

He had, by this time, established himself as an important figure in the Harlem Renaissance. From his post as field secretary of the NAACP, Johnson was a witness to the changes taking place in the artistic sphere. As a prominent voice in the literary debates of the day, Johnson undertook the task of editing The Book of American Negro Poetry (1922), The Book of American Negro Spirituals (1925), The Second Book of American Negro Spirituals (1926), and writing his survey of African American cultural contributions to the New York artistic scene in Black Manhattan (1930). His own career as a poet reached its culmination in God’s Trombones, Seven Negro Sermons in Verse, published in 1927. Though not noted for playing the role of polemicist, through each of these literary enterprises Johnson worked to refute biased commentary from white critics while prodding African American writers toward a more ambitious vision of literary endeavor. It was Johnson’s great hope that the contributions of younger writers would do for African Americans, “what [John Millington] Synge did for the Irish,” namely utilizing folk materials to “express the racial spirit [of African Americans] from within, rather than [through] symbols from without. . . .” Hence Johnson’s attempt to discredit Negro dialect, a literary convention characterized by misspellings and malapropisms, which in Johnson’s view was capable of conveying only pathos or humor. Though writers like Zora Neale Hurston and Sterling A. Brown would challenge this viewpoint, Johnson’s point must be understood within the context of his life as a public figure.

With the arrival of the 1930s, Johnson had seen the NAACP’s membership rolls and political influence increase, though the latter failed to produce tangible legislative and social reform in Washington. Retiring to a life as Professor of Creative Literature and Writing at Fisk University, Johnson lectured widely on the topics of racial advancement and civil rights, while completing Negro Americans, What Now? (1934), a book that argued for the merits of racial integration and cooperation, and his last major verse collection, Saint Peter Relates an Incident: Selected Poems (1934). Though he died in a tragic automobile accident while vacationing in Maine in June of 1938, Johnson continues to be remembered for his unflappable integrity and his devotion to human service.

See: James Weldon Johnson, Along This Way, 1933; rpt. 1968. Eugene Levy, James Weldon Johnson, 1973. Robert E. Fleming, ed., James Weldon Johnson and Arna Bontemps: A Reference Guide, 1978. Carolyn Wedin Sylvander, “Johnson, James Weldon,” in Encyclopedia of World Literature in the Twentieth Century, vol. 2, ed. Leonard S. Klein, 1982, pp. 517-518. Robert E. Fleming, James Weldon Johnson, 1987. Joseph T. Skerritt, “James Weldon Johnson,” in African American Writers, eds. Lea Baechler, A. Walton Litz, and Valerie Smith, 1991, pp. 219-233.

From The Oxford Companion to African American Literature. Copyright © Oxford University Press.

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Nikola Tesla 28 December 05

As we say in “the Super Black World of…”©, “real recognizes real”

This player card that I have stuck to my forehead belongs to a man who should be recognized world wide…but isn’t. I don’t know how much education I would need (many people I ask have no idea who Tesla was beyond, “didn’t he do something with radio”) to truly learn about this man’s work, but for some reason his contribution to the world is hidden in plain sight (“things that make you go hmmm?” © C&C Music Factory).

So what…what is there to know of this Tesla guy, you ask?
Well here’s a list of some of his inventions:

* The polyphase induction motor
* The hydroelectric generator
* Radio
* X-Rays
* Vacuum tubes
* Fluorescent lights
* Microwaves
* Radar
* AC power (both 2-phase and 3-phase)
* Broadcast power
* The rotary engine

For those of you still in, “yeah so” mode, please leave this page…you’re troubled and hopeless there are plenty of other places for you in cyberspace…PICK A SPOT, DON’T COME BACK IN HERE.

Anyways, from the a/c current allowing you to read this info, to x-rays and wireless technology Tesla was experimenting with, discovering, patenting, selling or being robbed of these technologies at the turn of the 20th Century.

Simply put the man had a vision…electricity would be the connection between the past and the present. Bringing a new spin to the familiar “Let there be light”, Tesla realized that he could power remote spaces wirelessly using the earth as a conductor.

Telsa also realized that his inventions would be explored and utilized first and foremost as weapons before they would be used as tools of humanitarian aid, increasing the quality of life.

Tesla made a lot of men rich (Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse among them), and died destitute!!!!

I recognize Nikola Tesla as a genius, chewed up and spit out.

I for one cannot even begin to understand the scope of knowledge and science that this man worked in, but I can appreciate his aspirations, his contributions to all of humanity, and I overstand his victimization in a society that seemingly puts human rights behind property rights.

Do yourself a favor, do your own research on Nikola Tesla…make his name a part of your small talk as well as a part of your own dreams and aspirations.

Nikola, thank you for bringing divine light to “the Super Black World of…” ©

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The Fire Next Time 27 December 05

Life is like a high stakes game of “UNO”©. While you study your hand…strategerizing a way to utilize 2 skips, 1 reverse, and a few oddball cards, someone is sticking it to you with one “draw 4 Wild” card after another. The object of the game is to focus, play your cards out, and stall your adversaries.

Sometimes we are our own adversaries, pulling the “draw 4 Wild” card on ourselves.

I’m looking forward to being a tad more creative in the new year, swinging it around like a big stick (my creativity).

I still can’t figure out how to add a decent full length song link to this blog (reverse, skip, draw 2), but when I do you’ll be in hear with your lunch and dinner on the daily.

Yes…I be done seen bout everything, til I seen an elephant fly

So, I’m jaded.
A challenge is nigh.

I’m going to stop biting my nails too.

No longer am I afraid of sucess…nope.

I’ve got a few draw 4 wild cards stashed away.

“UNO” ©“draw 4 Wild”

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Home, home on the range…This little light of mine… 27 December 05

Where the dear and the antelope play.

¡ACTIVATE!

Welcome aboard readers. I don’t know what this blog is going to be about. I never intended to have a blog. It seems that blogs are all about recording information you’d normally share intimately via a phone conversation or an e-mail.

So…consider this my new cyber home. A place where you can come and “check me out”, and all of my inert ideas and fantasies, also in the ones that are born with vitality and grow into a full grown life of their own.

I consider this my bulletin board to you, the folks that find me here…on my cybersoapbox…pontificating the significance or insignifigance of anything from nutella to quantum physics.

You should just be commited to the idea of enjoying, or constructively figuring out why you don’t enjoy this humble little corner of the vast and irrelevant cyber galaxy.

Welcome

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