December 31, 2011
What an incredible bit of video editing and also a reminder of how much my knowledge has expanded because of my wonderful friends on G+ these past few months. This is not my New Year’s message but this video is a great opportunity to pause and reflect on what a remarkable year of triumph, tragedy and a celebration of the human spirit 2011 was.
March 3, 2011
In TED’s first talk of 2011, Al Jazeera’s director-general shares his view on the uprisings sweeping the region.
October 31, 2010
If you want to get angry about extreme stupidity this is the interview to watch. Worse than terrorism is it? Gaining ground? Spreading like wildfire? Really? Via www.towleroad.com
October 9, 2008
It has been a while since my last entry but trust me when I say the title for this entry was not hard to choose. I sit here typing this entry on my iMac as my trusty Tinkerbell has had a serious incident and will have to undergo emergency heart surgery in the next few days. It seems her hard drive has finally bitten the dust and though I probably haven’t lost too much since I tend to backup frequently and .mac or .me or whatever the hell it is called now will resynchronise all my contacts and email accounts once I get her back up and running but it is still a traumatic time. I take Tinkerbell ( my 12” powerbook) everywhere so I have lost all interest in the internet since she went into a coma. Honestly, I have not logged on to MSN, uploaded a blog or even checked my favourite RSS feeds. Bless her incapacitated 12” soul but she is my primary machine and is in use all the time in our newsroom too.
As I writer this I am not unaware of the turmoil afflicting world financial markets and as I look at the web I see that it is now down over 10% a troubling development in an already upsetting week. Markets are tanking the world over and yet I am still seeing TV analysts asking if we are on the verge of a global recession. I believe the answer is a very definite yes and having lived through quite a few I know it will last a few years. The markets falling is, of course, a symptom of a slight panic on the part of investors but it is a state of panic in the face of some piss poor economic results being seen from a number of countries around the world. Ireland, long the economic tiger of Europe, is now in recession and the economic tiger of Asia – Singapore – has just joined it with GDP down over 6% for a second quarter. We are in for a very bumpy ride and I see large job losses and a general tightening of belts in our future. It will certainly get worse before it gets better and anyone expecting a turnaround soon is a few nuggets short of a happy meal. We are in for a trying time as markets readjust and the economy finds new firm ground to stand on. Funny how we never learn a lesson from past mistakes as it always comes down to easy credit. Read a bit on the Great Depression and the similarities become rather disconcerting.
In other personal news I have been afflicted with a sort of technological blight in the last two weeks. It started with my Mondeo not functioning properly and a missing mechanic who had to set some things right. It moved on to my beloved Samsung D900 being unable to charge owing to a poorly designed charger port which is now in a repair shop and don’t even let me get started on that fiasco but it still leaves me without my 2000 contacts easily accessible ( they were mirrored on my laptop but she is not able to help me either). Then, while trying to resuscitate Tinkerbell I started feeling a bit warm in my living room and realised my groovy electronic fan had conked out. I think I need a voodoo doctor to stop me before I kill more tech.
Just watched “Life on Mars” the new series on ABC. I like the weird premise of a police officer being transported back to 1973 but in the midst of my new technology snafu it has made me even more depressed. Watching the character getting used to everything in the world of 1973 I realised that, though I was not quite a teenager yet, I remembered the music, the cars, the references, Richard Nixon, 8 tracks and even the bad hairstyles. Suddenly my memories make me dated – a virtual dinosaur in the modern world. I should have seen this coming when chatting with one of our 20-something IT people not too long ago I casually mentioned that I remembered how annoying using punch cards for input was and he looked at me like I fell from space. He had never heard of punch cards and card readers and told me that he never knew I was that old. I guess i am.
September 19, 2008
In pondering the recent devastation visited on the Caribbean and the city of Galveston in Texas by Hurricane Ike I thought of that wonderful song by Glen Campbell. Without discussing any of the dates the first two record albums I ever got as a child were Galveston and Go Moog. The latter was famous for only the song Popcorn which was pretty amazing at the time since it was done entirely by an early synthesizer but Glen Campbell’s song still sticks in my mind today. There was something really haunting about it even with the rather bizarre line “I clean my gun” – only in the US of A I guess. And even then it is slightly less bizarre than Glen Campbell’s drunk driving police photo.
The retrospection also led me to think about my interviews on the station. Today I had Winston Dookeran the leader of the COP which was a first as he has never been on the programme before. A conspicuous holdout in the pantheon of guests. Then I thought about it and it dawned on me that I have literally interviewed hundreds of guests so far. It is startling when I think about it as I literally have hundreds of hours of interviews under my belt for one station never mind the thousands of hours for my career. I am pretty sure there isn’t a person of significance in this country I haven’t interviewed. That is an odd statistic to deal with but I guess it is reality and so I must. I am actually very grateful I have had the chance to talk to some of the most interesting people in the country. It isn’t always easy but I am happy I do what I do. Strike that..I am very happy.
Life is a weird thing but I can honestly say that I have chosen a career that makes me happy. I may not be rich but I look forward to every single day and can honestly say if I died today I would only wish I had done more interviews.
September 14, 2008
The title of this entry is also the name of one of my favourite songs from one of my favourite singers Ella Andall. It was written by David Rudder who I have written about before and who is pretty much a musical god in my eyes so that alone says a lot about Ella given David chose to write it for her. If you try and find her music online you will be pretty limited because Ella, like so many things about these islands, is an undiscovered talent. She has a voice that can move the heavens and has frequently led me to feel the hairs on the back of my neck rise to attention. I don’t know why talents like Ella Andall are not celebrated around the planet it may be bad marketing or even a lack of interest on her part but I am just happy I have heard her voice…I am better for it.
The extraordinary picture I used in this entry is of a waterspout that formed in the Gulf of Paria today and snapped by my pal Peter Sheppard. Grabbing a shot like that requires luck, good timing and a perfect location. Peter is an artist and photographer so he had the perfect foundation and living up on Ft. George hill was a perfect situation. Happily he emailed the shots to me earlier today and along with other viewer submitted shots and footage we were able to put the fascinating event in the news. Speaking of which there is no greater stress than having the power go for over an hour at 4pm with a generator that does not power the newsroom or the editing suites is a recipe for stress. We pulled it off but I still have a tension headache and I thank the heavens for efficient reporters and an incredible team of editors made up of Neil and Shiraz.
I must say Alton Brown’s Feasting on Waves was mildly less interesting than last week. He is sticking with smaller islands such as Saba and St. Marteen which obviously do not represent the Caribbean. At least he touched on mauby which is one of my favourite beverages. Mauby is bitter but it is truly amazing I recommend everyone try it on a hot day and tell me what they think.
I only noticed today that my first blog entry was on September 5th, 2007 so I am actually late in observing the 1st anniversary of this blog. I never thought I would keep it up for an entire year but amazingly it has survived. I realized that I remember blogging about my Fodor’s trips and now that I am faced with the assignments coming in again it dawned on me that it must have been a year. I will soon be faced with running around T&T, Bonaire ( yay!), Curacao and Aruba again and I am happy for it. Better still I am redoing the Focus Aruba book again after a few years hiatus so that means I will be in Aruba for a bit longer and I can hang out with my pals at the Aruba Tourism Authority and Susan at Bucuti..even better. I am happy I have done this blog and I am completely amazed by the thousands of entries that have been read. I vaguely remember saying in my first entry that I hoped to make the occasional update – who knew? All I can say is that anyone is thinking about blogging they really should. It is a great way of venting and, in my case, killing time in between editing or writing.
Bring down the power of blogs I say!
September 13, 2008
Didn’t have a chance to blog yesterday but we an interesting day at the station with not one but two Olympic medalists popping in to say hi. Richard “Torpedo” Thompson, fresh from his medal winning performances at the 2008 Olympics came in accompanied by Ato Boldon who has 4 Olympic medals to his credit.
I am not the biggest sports fan but it was still very cool to have the two of them in the same place at the same time and naturally, Kodak Z612 in hand , we took a few pictures of the event. Despite the fact we all work in television it doesn’t stop us from indulging in moments of starry-eyed sucking up. Interestingly, Richard is from Cascade where I live. It amazes me that an country that has a relatively tiny population of 1.3 million and land area that is smaller than many metropolitan areas in the Northern Hemisphere seems to have such a large number of world famous people. I mean we have two winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature ( though we share Walcott with St. Lucia) and , as of 2008, a goodly number of Olympic medalists.
Other than that the PM managed to amaze absolutely no one by winning a vote of no confidence in Parliament. Given his party has a majority and the history of those who have crossed him is not a pretty one thus preventing any possibility of internal revolt I suspect the Opposition was just trying to give vent to their views. They managed to do that in the marathon 12 hour sitting of Parliament but it also allowed the ruling party to indulge in quite a few hours of self-aggrandizement themselves. The whole thing took place against a ridiculous backdrop of thousands of government day workers wearing government red t-shirts chanting their support for the ruling PNM in Woodford Square right next to the Red House. Apparently, according to the Mayor of Port of Spain permission had been granted for the square to be used for an “arts and crafts display”. With the dozens of public buses ferrying the throngs in and giant screens showing the Parliament Channel live it honestly didn’t look like any handicraft show I have ever seen.
The end result of all this – nothing gained and nothing lost by either side. In other words it was a typical day in T&T politics.
August 24, 2008
I am the first to confess I am not the biggest sports fan on the planet. I am not even the biggest sports fan in my office. Truth be told i fail to see the point of musclebound fools running around a field/court/track while chasing a ball/shuttlecock/nothing whatsoever. To me the only reasons for running swiftly would involve fleeing from a knife-wielding maniac or getting tickets for the Backstreet Boys version of La Boheme. Nonetheless, I usually make a little time every few years to watch the Olympics and pretend the world has actually come together even for such a spurious reason as sport. This Olympics has been something of a letdown and only partly because the local rights were obtained by TV 6 which carried a bad signal from NBC and dreadful commentary from a CMC team that must have been plucked from a remedial broadcast school somewhere.
More than that, though, I have come to realize that despite all the smoke and mirrors of the Opening Ceremony and the pretense that sports is somehow aloof from the realities of life the games are something of a shameful event. Here we had an Olympics held in a country that has a dreadful record of human rights and we are all supposed to pretend that things are hunky dory. I cannot and will not forget the number of dissidents China has locked up, its treatment of the Tibet issue and its shameless contempt for international law as witnessed by its collaboration with the authorities in Sudan. Patting them on the back and saying “what a well coordinated show” hardly serves any useful purpose. Even beyond that the Beijing Olympics lacked anything resembling the exuberance of previous games. The danger of hosting the games in a totalitarian state is that the fun factor is excised and all you are left with is a display of pyrotechnic efficiency. Can’t blame the Chinese completely though, they are just being themselves it is the IOC that is to blame for ignoring the obvious and pretending all is great while heading back to Zurich or wherever with their lucre jingling in their pockets
As a Caribbean native I am happy the region has won so many medals especially given our small population but i find it hard to cheer too much for Jamaica. Firstly, logic tells me that other people running fast is no reflection on me so it doesn’t make an iota of difference how fast they run as my running will stay the same. The concept of a nation celebrating because a sports team has achieved something will never click in my brain. Is it supposed to mean that if Jamaica or ..i dunno..Sweden had a national run-off Jamaica would win? I doubt it. Even if they did what difference would it make in the scheme of things? I am also aware that Jamaica’s dismal record of human rights especially when it comes to gay people is hardly worth celebrating. Like China I am not willing to get all starry eyed because they won a sprint or two and forget the reality of what a percentage of their population has to face every day. It was only a couple of years ago that they won this unenviable title.
Yes, it is nice to stop and think about the nebulous notion of a brotherhood of man but in my book it should never be at the expense of reality. I am, however, willing to entertain the idea that i am just out of step with 99.9% of humanity.
July 29, 2008
On a recent drive I happened upon the pictured specimen of the cannabis sativa plant. It was a wee little fledgling but I have never seen one before and I was amazed at how pretty it is. Frankly, they should legalize the thing just for those beautiful serrated leaves. Sad to know that it will probably be weeded out and tossed in the garbage lest the long hand of the law reach out to touch the person on whose property it apparently decided to spontaneously populate.
I have always felt the battle against weed/cannabis/ganja was a foolish one. I personally hate the smell of it when it is burned but anything that can be grown easily is not a good candidate for eradication especially when so many people are keen on using it. I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to figure out that alcohol and cigarettes probably kill more people and have far worse long term effects. It is human nature to want to escape which explains nicely why virtually every culture has developed alcohol at some point.
I only tried weed once when I was much younger but it didn’t really appeal to me. Maybe I am just too much of an elitist and think that a Pernod and water has far more cachet but I defend the right of others to get tipsy in whatever way they choose. Also, it should be noted, marijuana has quite a few medical benefits while Pernod only serves to prime me for early diabetes. I say legalize the thing and let’s just learn to deal with people with red eyes munching Pringles ( remember they are not crisps) and sporting silly t-shirts.
News was great today and despite having to read news when I really didn’t want to I ended the day at 8:30pm quite satisfied. Every day lately I have been noticing what an amazing group of news people I have working with me. They are all totally unique and yet we work really well together and have fun doing it?
The personal life continues to shine so I shall reserve comment on that except to say that there is a lovely Trinidad expression “to put goat mouth on something”. It basically means to jinx something by talking about it . So if you say your career is going really well and then you get fired you can say you put goat mouth on yourself. I am not a superstitious sort but one never knows. It brings to mind the famous atheists prayer….Oh God, if there is a God. Save my soul if I have a soul ( attributed to Ernest Renan) . I believe that pretty well says it all. And thanks to Bun for the advice to speak in generalities.