Monday, July 28, 2008

Celebrating Me..

It's my birthday and as of today, I'm officially not 31 anymore as I was yesterday. There. I said it. I was going to sob about that, but I've decided not to. So today, I'm making a conscious decision to embrace and love myself and make a conserted effort to forge ahead like as though the challenges of yesterday did not exist. So I have come up with a list of birthday resolutions as well as 'slightly-past' mid year re-resolutions. I think that publishing this will force me to make an effort to accomplish those things. So here goes ( and this is by no means exhaustive)..
  • Love me more

  • Fear not, mull not, just do it

  • Get back into the gym and stop being afraid of passing out at first try

  • Tidy up on securing funding for projects

  • Get back to working on my book before the idea and concept shrivels up in my mind

  • Work harder on my friendships - call more, email more and not rely soley on facebook for primary interaction! (pathetic almost)

  • Finish ALL uncompleted personal tasks and projects and I mean like yesterday!

  • Get on those advanced french classes I've been trying to take for past 2 years

  • Investigate photography classes and up my 'amateur' photography game

  • Investigate TBS franchise opportunity for West Africa

  • Alter my sometimes attitude to life: be more solutions oriented!

  • Get Olori website up up up!

My optimism runneth over. I'm also going to learn to celebrate myself. How hard can that be? Happy Birthday to Me! It is Saymama's celebration week. Check back shortly for daily postings in lieu of this for the next one week.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Timi's Letter to Obama

This is a letter that my budding "ata wewe" political activist of a brother wrote to Barack Obama. A saucy if not interesting read. I have often told him to forward his thoughts to me as I think they were worthy of publishing. Let's discuss.

My Problem with Barack

By Timi Odulate

I was born in Washington DC to Nigerian parents. I am a Philadelphia, PA resident, and I graduated from Temple University with a double in Computer Science & Political Science with a minor in French. I drove 2 and a half hours from Washington to Philadelphia to vote for Barack in the PA primary due to the fact that I’m still a Pennsylvania resident, after telling my boss that I was taking part of my day off to assert my constitutional right to vote.
I also braved the commute because it was one of the most motivated periods of my life. I was intrigued, zealously so, by somebody who had adopted the right views and positions about the path that this country was long overdue for, despite the paradoxically suicidal path elected officials had assumed, and their willingness to continue bleeding the country until it was dead. I was captivated by someone who wasn’t afraid to change the fate of this country. The citizenry, prior to Barack’s emergence on the national scene, were comparable to a dying person refusing a blood transfusion. How else could you explain the re-election of our current president and the world’s subsequent declaration that Americans were stupid, embodied in a UK paper’s headlines on Thursday November 4, 2004, The Daily Mirror, “How can 59,054,087 people be so Dumb?” Americans made this decision with the knowledge that the basis for war, weapons of mass destruction (now affectionately known as WMDs) was manufactured and thus non-existent.
It was frustrating that what was common sense to the rest of the other 50 million or so voting electorate was apparently rocket science to the remainder of that said electorate. The Republican Party, and George Bush, until recently, were immensely averse at using issues to polarize the electorate and using dirty tricks to smother their opponent. An excursion into the annals of political science will reveal that that concept has been historically utilized for a considerable amount of time, and it tends to benefit Republicans more than Democrats because Democrats will usually respond negatively to dirty tricks by their candidate as opposed to the same by a Republican candidate and his supporters. Gay marriage, weakness on our national defense, and a charge that the Democratic candidate was wayward, shamelessly convinced the rest of the nation into voting for a weaker candidate thus plunging the country into deeper economic mediocrity whilst lowering our moral standing with the international community.
I never understood why such a number of people allowed themselves to be confused or polarized by the aforementioned tricks. I supported Barack because he spoke the truth from the beginning. I firmly believe his stark increase in popularity was due to the fact that the truth never goes away and can only be discovered. He spoke against the war. He said we didn’t properly assess the consequences and that was true. He said we rushed into it and that was also true. We were told by Republicans, including McCain that the oil would pay for the war. Huh? The long-held Democratic view that Bush’s tax cuts were only benefitting the wealthy and were ruining the economy and middle class is being proven more and more every day. The weakening of the US dollar against all other major currencies and its contributing effect on oil prices has put the majority of the country in an immensely compromising situation. Did anybody notice that America is being bought up by the world? All part and parcel of the status quo. I just can’t remember when it’s been this bad. When the first Bush was in power, we had a bad economy but our standing in the world was above par, and the economy wasn’t as bad as it is today. When are we going to fully realize the extent to which this country has been mismanaged? When gas is $6 a gallon next summer?
What’s hurtful about Obama is my belief that his incredible success has gone to his head, of late, and is clouding his judgment. There’s no doubt about it. Do all politicians, including McCain, do it, and as a matter of fact, do it more? Yes. But Barack is supposed to be different. On issues such as FISA and whether or not the telecommunications companies should receive immunity for unlawfully aiding the government in eavesdropping, his position clearly shifted. He categorically labeled it as illegal and unjust. His position now, indicating that he’s for that immunity, is clearly different from the one he adopted before. Who’s he trying to fool? Barack also previously stated that he would fully utilize diplomacy and talk to states America considers hostile. Not only is that a great position that had been adopted by respected former presidents such as Kennedy and Roosevelt, it is also common sense. It saves lives, resources- both military and monetary- and aggravation. Anybody can be talked to, and wars aren’t as great as they’re built up to be. His position on that obviously changed to a more confrontational one, especially on the Iranian front. He’s shifted his position on guns when he didn’t have to. Bill Clinton was anti-gun throughout his eight years in office. Lastly, but certainly not least, not by any means, was his statement regarding Iraq stating he would be opening to refining his position. Sometimes I wonder who’s being paid to sanction these statements and positions in light of the fact that they’re silly and just don’t add up. He beat Hillary on Iraq. Why would he even try to appear to be open to modifying his position on Iraq, for political purposes?
The Republican Party did erroneously label Barack as a leftist. By leftist, what they really meant was that he was on the other side of their positions which all appear to be wrong by the way. Politicians and political pundits alike have blurred the line of left and right. Left and right would normally be associated with mostly conservative and liberal principles that the Republican and Democratic Party have identified themselves with, like abortion, small government versus big government, taxes, social programs, gay rights, and the like. They are now being used, in the context of what’s being discussed today, outside of the core principles. If McCain and the Republicans say drill offshore for oil and the Democrats say don’t drill, that is not a traditionally conservative or liberal position. When McCain said American forces could stay in Iraq a hundred years if needed and the Democrats said hell no, that had nothing to do with conservatism or liberalism. It’s policy, not left or right, nor conservatism or liberalism. And some of it is just common sense. Barack’s Obama sudden, yes conspicuously sudden, adoption of a whole bunch of issues championed by Republicans was stupid. It doesn’t make sense to start abandoning your positions that were slated to usher in change so you can be more appealing to people who either will be open to you or not. Those hard right Republicans who aren’t being affected by the economy aren’t going to vote for him. To give an air of being open to modify his position on Iraq, something that’s been proving him right every day, is as big a blunder as anybody could ever make. Thankfully, it either hasn’t been fully noticed, or the electorate realizes he’s twice as good candidate to deal with what ails America as McCain. In playing sports, I remember being told, and seeing, that you don’t change a strategy if it’s working. If you’re beating a team, you don’t drastically adopt a new tactic. You keep at it. He opened up double-digit leads over McCain in several polls just so he could shoot himself in the foot? Talk about being self-destructive.
Now, I don’t think McCain or Hillary, or anybody would have fared any better. Hillary had her own huge gaffes when she outright lied about sniper fire and called it a misspeak, my favorite word of 2008. McCain’s a huge flip-flopper, if there ever was one. Barack was supposed to be different though and didn’t have any reason to start acting weird.
I still like and support Obama. I know he’ll be a great president. I’m just worried about a few silly things he’s done. I’m not as enthusiastic or as zealous as I once was. I don’t feel the need to massively abandon my job as myself and three hundred fellow employees once did to vote for him. Maybe when Election Day dawns, I’ll further see how enormously flawed McCain is and how he really is an extension of failed policies, and find a way to vote for Obama.
By the way, if Republicans want a small government, why don’t they refrain from running for office? Government would be a lot smaller without them in Congress, the Senate, and most notable the White House.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Momma - A Celebration In Life

My mother turned 60 on the 29th of June 2008. I was insistent with my siblings and my father that we had to mark this particular occassion. I was intent on making her feel special not just to us but to others and making her feel loved. My mother on the surface, is very cool, calm and collected. But at her depth, she is a true diva. And I must tell you, the sleeping diva in her blossomed to no end on this day. I had arranged for a makeup artist to come doll her up in the morning and for my photographer friend Mubarak to bring in his best for a photo session with her as the primary focus before heading out to church. The weeks leading up to this event were grueling to say the least, but I think it turned out beautifully and it was well worth it. Objective achieved. Momma felt like a queen bee all day and she thoroughly enjoyed herself with her nearest and dearest. Pink is her favorite color so we themed the event to revolve around that. She looked gorgeous.
I believe that celebrating those that mean the most to us is something that we dream of doing, but sometimes we don't actually get around to breathing life into it. All my life I have wanted to celebrate my mother in a big way, but it was never convenient, especially financially. Then I realized earlier this year that if - God Forbid - anything happens to a member of our familiy, especially if it's at a permissible age, we, especially in our pan-Nigerian culture, would throw in the works. From aso-ebi to caterers to feed the so-called mourners and sympathizers, to expensive press releases and the like. So I decided, along with my siblings that even though it is not particularly financially convenient to celebrate mom this year, we must find a way to do so anyhow. This is a woman that has spent the better part of her life in sacrifice to us and our well being; a woman that has endured so much for our sakes. This birthday was simply an excuse to celebrate her in so many ways and to show that in her life and while she is here, we are grateful to God for her and the pillar she has been to us and more. And so the plotting and the planning began and voila! We certainly couldn't have done it alone and I'm so thankful to all those that contributed over and beyond and helped to make it happen. It was trully a beautiful day. One to remember for many years to come.
Happy Birthday Momma.