Showing posts from February, 2014

Wolf of Wall Street: Can Money Really Change People?

I got a chance to watch The Wolf of Wall Street on Sunday.  I read some of the reviews and I was expecting a much different movie than what I saw on the screen.  The one positive was the fact that the main character landed a dream job on Wall Street, lost it, and reclaimed a major piece of the American Pie on his was to fame and fortune.  I just have a hard time understanding the blatant drug use depicted in the movie.
Almost every victory was celebrated with a major snort or drink.  I wonder what happened when Wall Street was rescued by the federal government.  Subdued partying?

In one of the opening scenes, the character played by Matthew McConaughey takes Mr. Belfort to lunch to show him the ropes.  Even though it is during his first week, the long time broker orders enough martinis for a Friday night party.  Also, as is a constant them throughout the movie, snorts cocaine right at the lunch table.  I was floored because the $3,000 suits and the $500.00 lunches are supposed to be …

Unrest in the Ukraine: Will the U.S. Get Involved?

I was reading about the unrest in the Ukraine that resulted in the eventual overthrow of President Viktor F. Yanukovych by the Parliament.  A couple of years ago the toppling of Dictators in the Arab spring riveted the attention of the world on Africa and some Middle Eastern countries.  The biggest ally of the United States, Egypt, lost its leader after weeks of protests in Tahir Square.  In this situation, there seems to be a latent tug of war between the United States and Russia for the eventual influence over the direction that this country takes.

One of the images that will remain as events unfold in this country is the awe that regular citizens are feeling as they walk the grounds of the former presidential palace.  Mr. Yanukovych is a leader who prides himself on his relationship with Russia.  At the heart of the protests were people's desire to align themselves with the European Union.  The following excerpt from Wikipedia indicates that the President was outwardly Russian…

The Beatles Did Not Tolerate Racial Intolerance in 1960's America: Interesting!

I learned a few things about the Beatles while reading an article written by Larry Kane in the Philadelphia Inquirer on Sunday, February 9th, 2014.  The United States was recently celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Beatles performing on the Ed Sullivan show.  The initial reactions to the group were mixed in the United States.  The group would proceed to become one of the most famous rock groups in the history of the country.  Some of their top hits included Tomorrow Never Knows, Getting Better, all My Loving and Hello Goodbye.  I was more fascinated by a decision they made with regards to performing at the Gator Bowl in 1964 than with all of their hits..

The foundation for the Beatles success was based on a musical form called the Merseybeat.  It was a pop and rock genre that developed in the United Kingdom in the early 1960's.  It was a fusion of rock and roll, doo-wop, skiffle and R & B.  The origins of skiffle are attributed to African Americans in the United States. …

Angelique Kidjo: A Musician Who is a World Treasure

I visit the Free Library to explore all that the world has to offer in terms of Literature and Music.  I have been partial to James Patterson, Eric Jerome Dickey, Walter Moseley and David Baldacci.  Dianne McKinney-Whetstone had me enthralled with her Philadelphia based novels also.  I then visit the music section to check on the Library's vast selection of CD's.  I can range from Nina Simone to Katy Perry, from Salsa to Rhythm & Blues.  I borrowed a CD that was a collaboration between Jackie Wright and the Roots and was floored by the versatility of the musicians.  Little did I know that when I borrowed a CD entitled Djin, Djin a few years ago that I would want to explore a contemporary power house musician.

Angelique Kpasseloko Hinto Hounishou Kandjo Manta Zogbin Kidjo is a musician who was born in Benin in 1961.  Her musical range includes Afropop, Carribean zouk, Congolese rumba, jazz, gospel and Latin.  Some of her musical influences include James Brown, Bella Bellow…

If Hillary Clinton is the Democratic Nominee in 2016, We Will Struggle to Win

I admire Hillary Clinton as a woman of strength, power and intellect.  Her biography reads like a Made in America success story.  She was the 67th Secretary of State of the United States.  She was a United States Senator in New York from 2001 until 2009.  She was the First Lady of the United States from 1993 until 2001.  She was the First Lady of Arkansas from 1983 until 1992.  She is a Yale Law School graduate and was the first female chair of the Legal Services Corporation and the first female partner of the Rose Law firm.

As a Presidential candidate in 2008, Mrs. Clinton won more primaries than any other female candidate in American history.  She was riding a wave of public support during this time.  Unfortunately, she lost a narrow election to President Barak Obama.  She and her husband are said to keep a list of people who supported Obama instead of her campaign.  He subsequently appointed her to be his Secretary of State.  She resigned from this post after an amazing run of 31 …

The Visit from President Francois Hollande of France is Cause for Research

I was impressed with the first visit of a foreign dignitary during President Obama's second term.  I am quite sure that security regarding the guest list was tight.  It was revealed during an official visit in his first term that a couple was there solely to boost their reality show hopes.  Mary J. Blige and her husband made the list.  Cicely Tyson was also there.  Thelma Golden, the Director of the Studio Museum in Harlem, was seated next to the President.  These were a few of the almost 350 guests that were present for this important visit.
The menu featured American Caviar, Quail Eggs, Winter Garden salad with honey from the White House Bee Hive, Dry-aged Rib Eye Beef with Braised Chard and Hawaiian Chocolate Malted Ganache with Vanilla Ice Cream and Tangerines.  That sounds scrumptious.

President Francois Hollande was elected in 2012.  He has a dual role that also includes being the Co-Prince of Andorra.  He was the Mayor of Tulle from 2001 - 2008.  Tulle is a commune and cap…

12 Years a Slave: My Review

I finally got a chance to see this movie yesterday.  I watched it by myself because my Family didn't want to relive the horrors of slavery on a Sunday afternoon.  I thought that Django was more brutal in terms of the depiction of slavery on the screen.  It was a fight scene between two slaves in a parlor that made me realize how powerless individuals are that have been enslaved by someone who owns them.  At this point in my life, it is much less of an issue with former slave owners.  There were slave purchasers of color in this movie.  !n 2014, it is the realization of the economic advantage that slavery allowed to the ruling class at the time.

It is not clear to me how the main character, Solomon Northup, got caught by fugitive slave catchers.  He was offered an opportunity to play music at an event in Washington, DC.  He left his family with two gentlemen who seemed to be forthcoming and honest.  Ho was enjoying a fabulous dinner in Washington and drinking wine.  Either his win…

2014 CADCA Conference Reflects Work to be Done on Drug Abuse Prevention

The Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America held a week long Leadership Forum in National Harbor, MD this week.  I attended this conference as a representative of the South Philadelphia Prevention Coalition.  I stayed at the Gaylord National Hotel with attendees from all over the country.  Many of the coalitions are pursuing a prevention grant from the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA).  I attended some really empowering workshops while I was there.  We will be submitting an application for prevention by the March 24th, 2014 deadline.

Growing up in South Philadelphia, I was exposed to the dangers of drugs and alcohol at an early age.  There were bars and drug dealers at strategic locations.  I did not become aware of them until I was about fourteen years of age.  I am glad that I was involved in sports because idle time is truly the workshop of the devil.  In high school, many of our parties included a quart of Colt 45 and a bag of the herbal essence.  …

Tyler Doohan: Rest In Peace

I was awestruck by a recent event that occurred in upstate New York.  Tyler Doohan was an eight year old boy who had a beautiful smile.  A fire was ravaging the trailer home that he lived in with his Family.  He is credited with saving at least six lives.  He lost his life trying to save his disabled uncle.  I would have to place him at Hero status for his selfless actions.  What young person would be as fearless as he was in saving lives and protecting his family?   I don't think there would be many.

Tyler was unable to save his grandfather, Lewis Beach, or his uncle, Steven Smith.  It must have been a horrible fire and it certainly had devastating consequences.  I know how cold it can be in these parts.  We used to travel to Buffalo to visit my Mother in Law Vera B. Keith.  We rarely made the trip in the winter though.  I am quite sure his classmates will miss him.  I know I would have been totally impressed with a classmate as brave as Tyler was.  I would have thought long and…

My Super Bowl Pick: Seattle Seahawks

I feel a lot better about watching Super Bowls now that I got over the heartbreak of the Eagles losing to the Patriots down in Jacksonville in Super Bowl 39 in 2005.  We were on a magical ride after beating the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship game.  I was in a major funk after that loss.  We had some of the best football parties ever leading up to the Game.  We partied at Rick and Robin Manigault's, Mona and Donnell's, James Marshall's, Rab's, Gerry's, Chuck and Melody's and wherever else would accommodate at least 40 people.

The two Super Bowls I enjoyed after that were the Giants wins over the Patriots.  I think that Tom Brady was handed a few Super Bowl wins early in his career.  The egregious injustice was the tuck rule win over the Raiders in the playoffs.  He clearly fumbled the ball in a snowy game.  The Patriots got the ball back and won on a field goal.  Eli Manning might not be considered to be as good as Peyton but he has two Super Bowl ring…