Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Liars, All of Them!

I cannot stop laughing about this.
My cousin just tagged me about this website: www.myheritage.com, which has this face recognition software that pairs you with a celebrity whom you resemble. So far, every black woman she (my cousin) knows looks like Gabrielle Union, but that's neither here nor there. I am calling for a boycott of this website of LIES!! Ok, so it calls for large pictures that are forward-facing and straightfaced, so as to more easily facilitate the comparison process. I put in my first picture (me with my messy 'fro, freshly showered, no smile but a quirky mischievous twinkle in my eye) and it said that I look like a whole bunch of Asian chicks, Tyra Banks, Naomi Campbell, Natalie Imbruglia and, of course, Gabrielle Union.

The next picture I put in was taken in 2002, soon after I first shaved off my hair in South Africa. Again, no smile, but the twinkle is also gone. The software started off saying that I look like Tyra Banks (again). I thought that was promising. But the next celebrity I resembled was COOLIO! I was too shocked to be angry, so I decided to laugh instead. I'm still laughing. Ok, fine, so I look like Coolio. It shouldn't get any worse, right? WRONG! Next picture, someone else fairly good-looking, can't even remember who. Then, DONATELLA VERSACE (that hideous plastic clown)! Then DIANA ROSS (post-op and in her sixties)! As in, gosh, wouldn't it have been better for someone to just tell me that this was an awful picture?! And here I thought I was pulling mad dudes with the sexiness of my lowcut...apparently, they were just attracted to the freak that lies under my skin!
But then it said that I look like Gabrielle Union again, so fair enough. Y'all check it out; it's hilarious!

Why is Black Bad?

On Thanksgiving Eve, my friend Ndidi called me up to invite me to Black Friday. I have never succumbed to consumer-ism, which is a great feat to have accomplished seeing as I live in the Great Land of (Senseless, Rampant, Uncontrollable) Consumer-ism, but she deceived me. I know this now. I mentioned that my brokeness this year transcended all previous levels of brokeness in my life and that I would not be spending a dime, therefore I would not be going. Then she flippantly mentioned that they were selling Motorola Razrs for $19.99, which was her way of telling me that I would go down as the biggest fool in history if I passed up on using my credit card to take advantage of this gargantuan sale. In my heart of hearts, I knew it was too good to be true. But it only takes a split second for the "me too, I want" spirit to take a hold of you, and Ndidi was so excited about the whole thing. Before I knew it, she had sent me a good ten lists of items on sale in ten different stores, and I was perusing them, wondering what would be worth going further into debt for. I told myself that I was only going to Black Friday because my dear friend wanted me to go. After all, she had called me "dear" when she asked me to go with her. It would be a special time for us to bond. Hindsight is 20/20. I cannot believe I agreed to follow her to what can only be described as absolute craze.

After an eventful Thanksgiving, I finally got to bed around midnight. Actually, I got to couch at midnight, knowing that if I fell asleep in a bed, I would not be able to wake up at 4 to get ready for Ndidi's arrival. This my friend, punctual even in the wee hours of the morning, drove up to the crib at 4:20 on the dot. I was already downstairs waiting for her, and off we zoomed to Circuit City, where our cheap Razrs awaited us. What I saw as we pulled into the parking lot will be forever imbedded in my mind. First of all, it's 4:30 in the morning - a morning following a holiday that is designed to take people out by overeating - but the lot looked as busy as it would have looked on a Saturday afternoon. Second of all, it's cold. I mean, it's North Carolina, fair enough, but it's still November. It's cold. And there is a line of people that's four people deep, and long. Long, long, long, long, long. It took Ndidi and I almost 4 minutes to walk to the end of this ridiculous line, the whole time marveling at how many people are standing there waiting for the doors to open and wondering if we can really expect to get inside, talk less of buy anything.

We amused ourselves thoroughly at the back of the line, though it was only the back for about 10 seconds; people were still pulling in to line up even as we stepped into our place. First, we speculated about sprinting to the front of the line as soon as the doors were opened, and bursting through the doors before anyone knew what was going on. I anticipated a fight, though, and pointed out that it was unfortunate that I was wearing a hoodie and she was wearing a scarf, because we would almost certainly be dragged back by those two items and pummeled/trampled by the incoming crowd. Scratch that idea. Then I marveled about how great this country was and how people were obediently, quietly standing in line unlike the savages we deal with in Nigeria. Then Ndidi asked a great question: what would Nigerians do if this was Nigeria? I gave the following options:

1) They would have broken the doors down by now (it was 4:47, which is close enough to 5am so the sale could start early).

2) Nobody would even have arrived, because the sales people themselves would have looked their oga square in the eye and asked him whether he was feeling all right to ask them to come to work before daybreak. Ergo, the 5am sale would have started at 7. Or maybe even 9am, if some people wanted to attend early mass.

3) There would most certainly not be a line. Rather, a crowd would have gathered where everyone was wearing the sharpest, most dangerous shoes they could find so as to kick the hell out of anyone who dared to enter the shop before them.

4) On the off-chance that the Nigerians could form an orderly line and the sale did start promptly at 5am, some rich Money-Miss-Road from Aba named Johnny Too-Much would have hired a number of area boys with whips to clear the line at precisely 4:59, at which time he would calmly step out of his Pathfinder to stroll leisurely into the store to purchase his goods. This would inevitably put everyone else in a bad humor and they would subsequently take out their frustrations on each other once they did enter the store.

This killed about 10 minutes for me and Ndidi, at which point we realized that the good folks at Circuit City were about to open the doors. The line rumbled with anticipation. We began to stamp out feet expectantly, eager to walk through those doors, hoping that we would be let into the store at all. It was then that we noticed a fairly large number of people migrating to the front of the line from the parking lot, people who had stayed in the warmth of their cars (taken much-needed naps as well, no doubt) until the last possible minute and were about to pull a Johnny Too-Much, sans thugs. These were the people that awakened the Nigerian in us, because Ndidi and I decided then and there that we were not going to be taken for fools. We cut the line. At first, we were hesitant. We just sort of stood there with the other hesistant would-be cutters, waiting for someone else to make the first move and cut. That way, if there was going to be any resistance from the others who had probably been in line since 3am, we could just find our way back to last place and count our blessings (and losses, cuz there were a good forty or fifty people in line behind us when we chose to cut). When Someone Else did saunter into Circuit City without trouble, Ndidi linked arms with me and we calmly entered the store. Line cut, no problem. Now the shopping could begin.

I won't bore you with the details. It was basically a corral and we were a herd of animals, product-hungry animals. We were shopping shoulder-to-shoulder with strangers, who were pushing and shoving and yelling. I was hot as hell because I was still wearing all my warm layers, but I couldn't de-layer because we just didn't have the time; there were windows of opportunity to get our stuff that would be missed. We eliminated the possibility of buying the Razrs as soon as we walked in the store, by the way, because of course the price was accompanied by a 2-year contract with Verizon, which we weren't going to sign. When Verizon offers Rollover, we'll talk. So we looked for Ndidi's stuff: digital camera and Season One of Grey's Anatomy ($8.99). Looking for a suitable camera was hell (more lines in the store, too many rednecks with their ghastly cigarette breath in my face), G's Anat was $19.99 - we decided to check out Target.

We drove the quarter-mile to Target's lot, which was already full to bursting. The time was 5:52. When I saw another one of those terrible lines, I realized that Target wasn't opening 'til 6am. Ndidi had already begun to plot our strategy for cutting the line. Like convicted felons with 2 strikes staring a life sentence in the face, we were already frantically chanting the phrase, "We're not going to the end of the line, we're not going to the end of the line!" What most people don't know about Ndidi is that she is fiercely competitive and she hates to lose. Beneath that sweet, genteel exterior lies a monster akin to The Incredible Hulk. I remember one night, years ago, we were playing Taboo, boys against girls. It was me, Ndidi and Crystal against Walter, Roland and Patrik. We huddled, presumably to develop the best plan of action, but Ndidi began by first calling us "motherfuckers" (this was before she got saved, people - allow her) and telling us that if we made her lose, we were going to die. Suffice it to say, we won. Anyway, it was this same monstrous being that showed its face at Target. Her face set hard, her eyes sharpened like daggers, a shadow crossed over her and rested, and she plotted. I mentioned the fact that there were shopping carts dotting the entryway, with ropes strung between them, defining the line as well as keeping out the line jumpers, but she seemed oblivious to the sound of my voice. "Ndidi," I said, "Target has their shit together, man. And the people in line look aggressive." And they did. Some people were already shadowboxing, and everyone looked ready to charge. I heard the person at the front of the line say they had been there since 4am. It was not looking good for us. But Ndidi was a woman possessed and she did not care. As for me, hunger wan nearly carry me. All I knew was that I didn't have the strength to fight anybody in that line - and the Target shoppers were ready to throw 'bows, from what I saw.

Ndi dragged me to the front of line, where four security officials stood, ready to counter any chaos that might ensue. The head security announced to the crowd forming at the head of the line that we would not be let in until the line had passed through the doors. Clearly, he had not met Ndidi. She was breathing deeply now. "Come on!" she ordered me, and dragged me further down the line. Like I said, those Target shoppers weren't taking any mess that morning. People were holding up the ropes as they walked by, to ensure that nobody would hop over and cut the line in front of them. I looked into the red eyes of one of them as he walked past, glaring at us, and knew in my heart that we would not meet success in this line. Ndidi whispered her latest strategy to me: "When the security guard looks away, we're going to hop over the rope and go, ok?" I laughed, partly because I thought she was joking and partly because I thought she was crazy. "Ok, Ndi." So we watched the guard carefully.

Actually, I was watching the guard and the rope, cuz it would have been awfully embarrassing to try and hop over a rope that was too high because someone was holding it up. I also didn't think the guard would look away, given the number of us just waiting at that part of the line. But he did! With excitement, I looked round at Ndidi to say, "Let's go!" But Ndidi was not there. Literally before I blinked, this girl had hopped over that rope with all the grace and agility of Michael Flatley and his dancers and the only thing my eyes witnessed for sure was her pink peacoat disappearing into the store with the wave of shoppers. Her speed not only shocked me, but impressed my co-loiterers, who literally applauded her nimble dexterity. It was clear to me that I had to quickly attempt the same before the guard caught on to what was happening. I awaited my chance. Again, the man looked away, and I quickly jumped over the rope into the line.

Alas, it was ill-fated timing. As my feet landed on the concrete sidewalk, I felt the hard claw of a middle-aged white woman - small in stature, but with a crazed look in her eyes, which peered out under the edge of a badly-tied scarf - on my arm. She grabbed me from behind her shopping cart - a feat which I still find amazing - turned me around and tried to push me out of the line, yelling, "You need to get to the back of the line," over and over. Why me, Holy Father, I thought as I tried to appear nonchalant lest the guard recognize me and yank me out of the line himself. I remember feebly saying something like, "My friend is already in there," then getting on my phone to call Ndidi (for what specific reason, I'm still not sure), while trying to walk faster to get out of reach of this crazy woman so the guard would think she was talking to someone else. As I was trying to call her, Ndidi called me, yelling, "My friend, where are you?! Will you get inside this store, I already have a cart, let's go!"

This happened in a space of 5 seconds, but it felt like a lifetime. The tiny amount of energy I had left in me was burned up by the burst of adrenaline brought on by that hag outside, and I was so relieved to see Ndidi that I ran a little so as to get closer to her sooner. Of course, it was madness inside that store as well, and between running around trying to get our gear (we finally found Grey's Anatomy for $8.98 - yay, Target!) and getting rammed repeatedly by someone's cart (I was concentrating so hard on taking care of myself that I didn't even realize that the bitch was ramming me until it was too late), I could not wait to leave the store and get back in bed. Ndi got everything she wanted and more, and I learned a valuable lesson: when an event is named Black and it's not Black like Black Tie, turn on your heels and flee in the opposite direction!

As we walked out into the crisp dawn, the sun painting the horizon deep pink and yellow, my dear friend said to me, "That was great! We should make this a yearly tradition!" I knew then that she was lost, and nothing I could do or say would save her from herself. It was then that I realized that I was not the only person she had asked to accompany her on this rigamarole, but I was the only person that had foolishly agreed. I was too weary to say anything except, "You and who should make what a yearly tradition?" And that was the last either of us said about Black Friday. It will never happen again.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Say Maybe to Drugs

Here's something interesting I've learned lately: everyone is doing drugs. Apparently, I've been living a sheltered life, walking around jolly and oblivious to the fact that there is a pervasive underworld full of people who are constantly high on one drug or another, and it is spreading. Crystal meth, marijuana, mushrooms, LSD, ecstasy, cocaine, Valium, crack, alcohol - everyone is doing something and just because I choose to remain cooped up in my apartment 6 days out of 7, I am fully ignorant of just how many people are going to ruin their lives this year because of addiction and/or mistakes. Now, given that I do spend the majority of my time hanging out with my more laidback self, it shocks me that I am meeting more and more people who do drugs. The sheer odds of my meeting that many people means that there must be millions out there, and apparently they're always looking for fresh meat, more people to drag into their dark despair - cuz it ain't fun getting high all by yourself. Ergo, I feel the need to share an experience or two of mine, just for the general education of the virgin public. Just so you know what to expect.

I remember the first time I really got high. I mean, there was the Christmas party at my little sister's foster brother's house in London, but that was just an introduction. They were passing round a spliff at this party before dinner. Everyone smokes spliffs in London; it's just the done thing. I'm just a Nigerian girl (fairly extraordinary, yes, but simple nonetheless), who is a firm believer in moderation and not going down the slippery slope; I turned down the j's first couple of rounds. But when I saw my darling sister puffing on that thin white roll of weed and tobacco, I asked myself whether I was really living life by being so prudish. I decided I wasn’t. On the next round, I took three puffs, and promptly fell asleep. When I woke up 20 minutes later, everyone was laughing at me, but I felt somewhat validated. I had smoked weed - or so I thought - and nothing had happened to me. I resolved then and there to make weed smoking a firm and fixed part of my intoxication menu, which up until this point only included various kinds of alcohol and the occasional cigarette.

I came back to the U.S. and began shopping for a dealer. I hate that I have to use such language, like it was a covert operation in the middle of the night, but this is America. Anyway, so I began to look out for people who looked like they might smoke tweeds, that I might drink from their fountain of wisdom in the acquisition of such dark goods. It was harder than I thought. But as it turns out, I was pleasantly surprised by the discovery that many of the people I hung out with daily were frequent worshippers at the altar of Mary Jane and I didn’t have to look far, or for long. One day, GT told me that he had gotten a shipment of “the good stuff” and asked me if I was ready for the ride of my life. Strangely and stupidly confident after my one brush with drugs, I laughed at his insinuation that I wasn’t ready, got in my car and went to his apartment to “show him how it was done”.

When he opened the Ziploc bag of reefer, I was struck by the sharp, tangy smell of the leaves. It smelled strong. GT noticed my brief hesitation, perhaps even glimpsed the shadow of anxiety that had passed over my face, and laughed at me. I resumed my false bravado attitude, but now I was slightly worried. This “good stuff” didn’t look like any kind of weed I had ever seen before. It was green and had a sparkly quality, almost like it had been sprinkled with stardust. There weren’t just leaves either – there were buds and twigs, and everything seemed extremely fresh. Prior to this, I had only seen shriveled up, dead-looking weed. Certainly nothing that looked like it might grow roots in my lungs and spring to life through my mouth. Inwardly, I started to shake.

GT rolled the j, and politely offered me the first puff. I inhaled – and immediately went into a coughing fit. My throat felt like it was on fire, like the veins and arteries had disintegrated, sending the blood spewing directly from my heart into my esophagus. I thought the pain was never going to end. By the time I recovered, GT had taken the joint out of my hand – to protect it, no doubt – and was sitting on his bed, smoking and laughingly asking about my health. To further rub in my embarrassment, he offered me the joint again. I glared at him, then went to the bathroom down the hall. As I sat on the toilet, I thought to myself how annoying it was that I had to go through all that without even the satisfaction of a high. I still wasn’t sure what constituted a high, but whatever I was feeling, which was nothing, wasn’t it. I dabbed at myself with some tissue, pulled up my pants, and went over to the sink.

As I looked down at my soapy hands, I noticed that the suds looked shinier than usual. I also noticed that I thought I was looking at myself washing my hands from a distance. I blinked. Everything went back to normal. Weird, I thought, and rinsed the soap from my hands. I could still taste the blood in my mouth, so when I noticed the mouthwash by the sink, I thought I’d have a gargle, try to chase the memory of my fall from grace with the minty freshness of Listerine. I reached for the bottle, opened the cap. The green liquid splashed into the small black cap. I threw it back in my mouth, and sloshed it around violently. Rinsed the cap. Screwed it back on the bottle. It was then that I began to realize that I was very aware of every detail of all my actions. I could account for what each finger was doing as I opened and closed the Listerine bottle. Everything was going in slow motion; raising my eyes to the mirror took three seconds instead of the usual fraction of one. Looking in the mirror, the kulutempa I thought I would see was no longer there. Instead, kulutempa was slowly moving out of this girl, prepared to float behind her and watch her from a few feet away. I could literally feel myself drifting out of my mind and body, into a state of oblivion, an unknown place I had never been before. I could only assume that this is what dying felt like. Suddenly, I was overtaken with fear. I had to get back to the room and ask GT what was going on before I ceased to be part of myself. I flung open the bathroom door and started down the dark, unlit hallway. But not before I turned off the bathroom light, essentially plunging myself into instant, impenetrable darkness.

I’m going to have to admit something about myself that few people know: I’m scared of the dark. I haven’t slept alone without a night light for over two years, and before that I had only managed to sleep alone in the dark for about a year. Something about the dark of night terrifies me. This is not a good character trait to have when you are high, prone to paranoia even when you’re sober – which can only get worse when you have smoked igbo – and are lost in a pitch-black hallway. Unfortunately, I was in this state of panic and frantically searching for GT’s bedroom doorknob, vainly fighting screams, when I chose to leave my body. I blacked out. When I came to, I was huddled and shaking on one end of GT’s futon, he was sitting on his bed peering across at me worriedly and asking me if I was ok – for real, this time. His muscular form came to me slowly, through a black haze that never fully cleared the whole time I was high.

That was the longest night of my life. I remember being very worried that I had broken an infinite number of sins by embarking on this weedy journey, and grew increasingly concerned that I would die a horrible death very soon. Within minutes, to be exact. Flashbacks of all the times in church when people were called to the altar to re-dedicate their lives to God and I declined, putting it off for another Sunday, came to my mind and I felt so distraught. I started rocking back and forth, asking God to forgive me for my stupidity, to have mercy and give me another chance to make my life right before He sent me to the fiery pits of hell. GT, long gone at this point, started telling me to just calm down so the paranoia could pass and so I could get to enjoying my high. I think I was ruining his. However, in that short phrase, he had introduced me to the idea that this feeling would not last forever and that I would not live and die like this. There would be an end to my suffering, and I would live a full life afterwards. All I wanted to know was when it would be. So I asked him.

“What time is it?”

“It’s 1:30.”

“Ok.” I waited for a very long time before I spoke again, and then I tried to make small talk. Unfortunately, all I could say was:

“What time is it?”



Another long pause.

“What time is it?”

“1:31. Now it’s 1:32.”


We did this for hours. When GT gets high, apparently he has the patience of Jesus. There he was, laid out on his bed, watching the TV, chilling. Meanwhile, kulutempa is there on the futon, fidgeting and twitching, unable to think of anything except her impending death and the time. I tried to watch TV, but he said the light and waves would probably make my high worse. I had no choice but to believe him; I couldn’t even process what the hell he was talking about. So while I feared everything, I also became obsessed with keeping my eyes from even glancing in the general direction of the TV as I waited for my trip to end. I eventually fell asleep on the futon and woke up at 6 to the sound of birds chirping outside and the misty blue of dawn slipping through the slats of the blinds. I touched my body - to make sure it was all there - went to that eerie bathroom again to check the redness of my eyes, then got the hell out of there. I don’t even think I said bye to GT. I had come to know that igbo pass igbo. All I knew was I would never smoke weed again.

A few months later, I was high on the train in London, on my way home after visiting my sister’s then boyfriend, who was kind enough to offer me trees, the way an Italian offers his visitor red wine. When I became paranoid about a number of men raping me on my walk home, I decided that it was finally, finally time to stop smoking that stuff. I had never gotten used to the unbearable dry mouth, anyway. There is one effect that I will miss terribly, but I’ll leave that unspoken. Man, that was hard to give up. But I digress. I don’t really have a point, but I will say this: weed will get you high, and it might soften life’s edges, but more often than not, it will overly sharpen your senses and make you paranoid as hell. Sometimes it’s worth it, sometimes not. Either way, my decision to say “maybe” to drugs has meant that at least now my “no” has the weight of experience behind it. Which will totally save me from the desperate clawing of miserable druggies looking to drag me down into their despair. Think about it.

Next topic: Black Friday in America and Ndidi the Undercover Artful Dodger. Watch this space.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Naija Film Blueprint

A friend of mine wrote and sent this to me over a year ago, and I still think it's one of the funniest things I've ever read. I'm sort of down-in-the-dumps these days and have been looking for a pick-me-up. Turns out, this was it. So for any other avid Nigerian movie fans who might be mourning the advent of winter, I present - on behalf of "Marrow" - the blueprint for making the well-rounded Nigerian movie:

My wife and I are keen watchers of Nigerian films and are always tickled by the inescapable similarities that seem to spring up in virtually every other movie. So here is your very own blueprint to making a Naija film. Follow these golden rules and you too can tap in to an estimated £120 million industry.

1.It is unthinkable that your protagonist goes through this film without some kind of family intervention. Even if he is currently without a family, he has either lost them at an early age or will magically acquire a new one during the course of the film. If I'm watching a movie with Russell Crowe in it, I am not concerned about his relationship with his mother nor do I particularly care if he is regularly sending money to his brother in the village. Too much information!

2.When a character is deported/returns from America, he will immediately adopt an incomprehensible dialect This dialect is unique to Nigerian films and contains a disproportionate number of Rs , every other sentence ends in 'men' and affords a liberal use of expletives. This clearly means you have been to America. The character will also be decked up in a variety of tank tops or equally skimpy outfits. There is obviously not enough cloth in Yankee to make complete outfits.

3.Every polygamous family is doomed. Stepmothers in particular are to be avoided of you want to survive in a Naija film. The minute you hear stepm.... fade, just fade. She will kill your ass.

4. Jazz, Jazz and more jazz. If in doubt, the obligatory 'Baba Alawo' scene will answer many plot holes and keep our movie ticking along. Jazz is also an invaluable tool in explaining any irrational behaviour. Oh that madman? Na jazz. Oh he started beating his wife? Na jazz. Impregnated his sister's cousin's youngest daughter? Jazz, Jazz Jazz. For mental disorders in Hollywood, read Jazz in Nollywood.

5.No matter how rich or succesful a character is, their office must not exceed 12 X 9 ft in dimension. The decor is something straigth out of Carpenter's monthly with square edges everywhere. During the course of the movie, that same office will also double up as the bank manager's office, baba alawo's shrine any indeed any other interior location you can think of.

6. Stella Damascus Aboderin must cry in any movie she is cast in. If you do not include this in her contract, then you are wasting the woman's talents and you might as well cast someone else.
7. Similarly Ramsey Noah must have facial hair in all his films. No Ramsey I don't care if it makes you look fine, the part requires you to be a Tibetan Monk godammit!

8. Every flashback must be in either black and white or sepia, preferably with a dream like effect. Without this we are obviously too dumb to differentiate past events with current ones.

9. No one ever loses or gains any weight in Naija films. 20 years later abi?...abeg just pour small powder for my head. My diet is exactly the same and I have not succumbed to middle age spread. I now have six kids but not the waistline to show for it.

10. Do NOT under any circumstance try and incorporate special effects of any kind. They will fail miserably. If you want to make a movie about a man who flies or shoots thunderbolts from the tips of his fingers, think again or move to Hollywood. Don't forget to close the door behind you.

11. And finally whatever you do, NEVER NEVER cast Nigerian children in your film. Child actors are notoriously bad but Nigerian child actors deliver lines in a manner that makes you just want to slap them and curse their parents. (Dore, remember "Mommy, (n)why. does. Duddy. 'ate. os?" LOL!!)

Friday, November 10, 2006

Dane Buying Ugandans for Art

I know that all I seem to be talking about these days is Africans, but the world seems to be running mad and I can't help it! Plus, these days, I'm increasingly inundated with news about that continent - I think this is God's way of telling me that I must not stay in this country when I'm finished with school. But that's a topic for another blog. This blog is talking about a strange breed of neocolonialism that's boldly underlined with an unfettered desire for one Danish man's massive ego to be stroked. And the sad thing is that hunger and poverty have clearly numbed the senses and pride of these Ugandans, who don't seem to see anything wrong with what they are doing (or so the Dane would have us believe).

I take God beg you, read that press release (in the hyperlink) and then go on to check out the pictures on his website: www.hornsleth.com. What is this world coming to, holy Father??

Remember Saro-Wiwa today, everybody

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Where Did We Go?

Nigeria is no longer the most corrupt nation in the world; Haiti is, according to Transparency International. Actually, Nigeria isn't even in the top 10. On one hand, this is interesting news for obvious reasons - it means there are countries that are even more corrupt than ours. On the other hand, if there are countries more corrupt than ours - a whole 10, we know for certain - then what on earth does that say about this world of ours? Scary thought. And what does it say about the people who are doing the measuring? Did these countries just suddenly become more corrupt in the past couple of years? Or did people just decide to take more notice after they became bored with the usual scapegoats?

I'm interested to see what will become of the Haitians in world media following this release. And as an aside: the French and the Italians have been linked to global mass corruption, being cited as the two countries that pay the most bribes in developing nations. Funny how they aren't considered one of the top 10.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

My Silpas Too Fine!

Ok, I had to steal this from my friend Katja S.'s page. I've been visualizing this picture for hours, and it still has me in stitches. Apparently, corruption in Nigeria has prompted some very personal - and borderline ridiculous - responses. This picture was allegedly taken outside a mosque:

I say "allegedly" because a friend of mine refuses to believe that anyone would stoop so low as to padlock their slippers and feels that this is a doctored picture. I, on the other hand, am completely unsurprised by this action (though immensely delighted) and totally see the sense in using a giant padlock to secure your property outside a house of worship. After all, robbers are no longer afraid of God, so what's to stop them from tiefing your load outside His house, even when the penalty of that particular God for stealing is the loss of your tiefing hand? Notice the dirt-outlined toeprints and the indented, cracked heels. This person uses his slippers religiously (no pun intended); why should he not want to protect them?

You know you're all wishing you thought of this first.

Monday, November 06, 2006

This is Lagos?


This is one of the most annoying things I've ever seen or heard (and given the rate of my annoyance, that's saying a lot). This woman is mad and ignorant, even more so because of her lack of understanding despite the fact that she seems to be so well-traveled. I'm not naive enough to say that everything she said was a lie; after all, she managed to capture A truth (one, singular truth) from A perspective (one, singular perspective). To turn around and blanket an entire nation, even an entire city, with this one truth and one perspective is irresponsible and appalling. And annoying. Maybe the people were obstructing your photography because they don't appreciate a random white woman coming and taking pictures all willy-nilly without permission.

That being said, Nigeria and her people need to wake the hell up. That these people can still find living situations like this to focus on in our very wealthy nation is a disgrace. That these people still have the opportunity to speak ignorantly and derogatorily and that we don't have a sufficient rebuttal is a disgrace. Thus rubbish heaps are older than some of us, and they're still sitting there. Does nobody care??

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Short Gist: Oga Landlord Strikes Again

See trouble o! My landlord has promoted himself from part-time stalker to petty thief. Last week, he brought plumber to install heat in my bathroom. I left them in the apartment and went to class. I came back, didn't notice anything out of order. Next morning, getting ready to take my shower, I couldn't find my shower cap. I thought maybe they moved it somewhere. Turned my bathroom and bedroom upside down looking for it - nada. Figured the plumber ripped it and threw it away or something, but the least he could have done was tell me, right? No matter. I bought a new shower cap. Life went on.

Yesterday, Oga Landlord brought electrician to fix some problems my neighbors and I have been having. We were in the living room most of the time, but they had to go through my bedroom once to get to the basement (it's an interesting layout). Didn't take more than a minute, I didn't leave the living room because I didn't think I had to. They did their work, they left. At midnight, I was getting ready for bed - and I couldn't find my headtie. Again, ransacking the bedroom, living room, kitchen and bathroom to find it, including garbage cans in case I was just mad enough during the day to throw away my favorite 10-year-old headtie. Again, nada. All I could think about was the email he had sent me just moments before telling me how attractive African women are to him and why he just loves them so much - they're so smart, and beautiful, with great family values and most of them are virgins until they get married (I don't know where he got that gist from sha, but whatever).

This isn't like the time I ate oatmeal and forgot that I put the bowl in the sink, so I thought someone broke in - to eat my food...how retarded was that?? Anyway, this isn't like that. The man is taking my shit. He's probably sniffing on my headtie right now, wanking to the sweet smell of my perfumed oil that is now permanently embedded in the thing. WHY WOULD HE TAKE MY SCARF??? I stole that scarf from my Gubsie years ago; it means a lot to me. I'm so irritated, and now very paranoid. I slept with a chair against my front door last night. Even though the chair has wheels and won't do shit if there is ever an intrusion. Suffice it to say, it didn't make me feel safer. I hope I'm wrong and the scarf just turns up somewhere I didn't think to look...like behind the ceiling tiles. So annoyed.