Monthly Archives: October 2010

DON CARD THE PHOTOGRAPHER


Don Card fell in love with photography 60 years ago.  At 11 he would buy from the drug stores of Pittsburg the all-in-one developing kit for his negatives. His work life was in the biggest photo labs of New York and Miami. 

He used his craft in retouching, burning, dodging, exposing then printing colour or black & white  photos providing quality and professionalism to the biggest celebrity photographers of the time. The skilled one, in these days, had a fame and he was one of them. He was a master printer.

His work has no signature, but without knowing you saw it on magazines, posters , murals attached to the world-famous brand and names.

Also, he is a portrait photographer and exposed in the French West Indies, where he lived for a while, and the US.

Please, take time and look at a few of his portraits.  Some taken over 30 years ago and manufactured, the old fashion way,  by hand.  

The slide show are pictures taken of photos so the contrast is dark and I apologize for that.

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OBAMA IS IN TROUBLE


The phone rings, my mother pick up the phone.
She listens without saying anything.
Who is this?
She put her index finger across her lips to keep me quiet.… That’s Obama! She replies.
That’s nice she received a “personal” recorded call from the president of the USA.
After 3 minutes she hangs up and tells me that he wants her to vote in the forthcoming public officials’ election. Also, she received a postcard from her president, addressed to Dear… with the last paragraph;
” You made the difference in 2008. You put away any cynicism and raised your voice and cast a vote for change.
I ask you to do it again.
Sincerely,
President Barack Obama”

Wow! The PR companies are making millions. My mother is a democrat, a Obama supporter and she will vote. My step-father is the same. 
In this house, Obama will get 2 votes.
Are they voting for Obama because he is a democrat? No!
Are they voting for Obama because he is black? Yes!

Do they listen and watch the political shows? Yes and they are confused about the democrats and republicans speeches. They no longer see what set these two parties apart. Their only understanding is that Obama is in trouble.
Their inner souls say save him!

I have difficulties in understanding this logic. The logic that Barrack Hussein Obama as president of the USA must give favors to black America because of his race. I am color blind when it comes to politic, all I care is about growth. Growth in the economy, jobs, opportunities… 

I judge politicians by tangible positive growth performances. Everyone wants to see growth in their wallet, tables, jobs, community, cities and country. It makes everyone happy and less grouchy.

“My name is Barrack Hussein Obama and I am a true African-American.” Well, everyone agrees, and his skin color is the only common ground he has with black Americans.
He was not raised in a family suffering from post slavery syndrome, his childhood religious knowledge is outside the pews of black Baptist churches and his education is from some of the most selective Universities of America.

America ethnic majority voted him in as a protest against the Bush Administration and on the strength of his charisma, oratory skills, messages of hope and changes. So did black America but with the added relief of reaching the goal of recognition on their race equality struggle.

Barrack Obama, the elected president of the most powerful nation on earth, is by proxy the flag carrier of the black minority and he must make them proud in order for them to reach the ultimate goal of recognition.

In mid-term of his four years presidency, the economy is fatigued and the fizzles of the American dream is somehow flat. Race relations are uneasy and Obama’s popularity polls point down.
The most affected by a recessing economy, providing few opportunities and jobs, are the one at the lower end of the tipping scale.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistic the ethnic majority recorded a fairly stable unemployment rate for 2010 while the rate for blacks has the highest increases. I checked it and I am baffled.
Minorities are feeling the recession with more home foreclosures, longer welfare queues and less financial stability.

A black woman said during a town meeting with Barrack Obama “I’m an American veteran, and I’m one of your middle class Americans. And quite frankly, I’m exhausted, exhausted of defending you, defending your administration, defending the mantle of change that I voted for. And deeply disappointed with where we are right now.”
She scolded him in the same manner she would scold her child bringing home a bad report card.
Obama’s bad notes frayed her mantle of the historical recognition her race is longing for.
But, politic is a jungle were poor absorb punches and the rich pinches.

Well, the answers are that we are in America. Obama does not favor a tribe over another. He is not my president but our president. However, let’s be factual. The global financial crisis did not come with a stroke of a magic wand the day of his election, nor the Guantanamo prisoners and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. These problems are inheritances from the previous government.

Politic is an opportunistic business where the job of the opposition is to taunt, deepen the wound of stumbles and criticize normal demeanor as weakness. Unfortunately, with Obama any faults are added fingers of reproaches poking at the black community.

So, here we are and patience is thin, especially when coping with life struggles. It is excruciating when you are black, poor and further stigmatize by an ethnic majority telling you “Your president cannot perform!” He is no longer “our” president but “your” president.

America is obliged to wait another two years to know their fate and for blacks to grade the success or failure of recognition. Anything in beween is politic as usual.
Yes, it is precarious but in the meantime all Americans are floating on the same platform.

Barrack Hussein Obama must be judged on his performance and, at this moment, it is disastrous for the poor who are mostly black but politic is a game of collateral damages. It is sad but poor are always at the wrong end of any collateral damage.

Personally, I do not think Obama represents blacks. His culture belongs to the majority, the educated white upper class. His color is absolutely irrelevant, I consider it a metaphor.

Patrick-Bernard

SUPERMARKET HEAVEN


I love anything related with food, from the perfect cuts of meat, spices, cookbooks, utensils, recipes anything to which you can attach the word epicurean.

My first stop is a large supermarket with lines of multicolored fresh produces. I see white asparagus, perfectly round red tomatoes, arrays of cheeses from the world, packaged food of ingredients I forgot existed, shelves of wine with names from magazines and trays of sea food with clams, mussels, scallops and prawns.

I reach an aisle with frozen products on each side.  The doors open to treasures of cheese cake, microwave boxes of exotic dishes and biting of things making your invitation a success.
I hear a familiar voice, look up, that’s my mother.
I see her at the end of my treasure aisle, she breaks my intimacy and shouts “let’s go, I am done.” Her hands gestures “hurry up!”

No! That can’t be, so soon. I live in a country where these things do not exist. I make everything from scratch; I cannot buy jars with the perfect blend of spices. I make the bland of spices.
I want to stay, I want to dream, I need more time to live my moment.
My mother is intransigent; she does not connect to my osmosis plea.

I get in her car and she decides to go to a Mexican supermarket. My heart is still in the frozen food section but who knows… I know Mexican food but “nunca en mi vida” been to a Mexican supermarket.
A Mexican supermarket in Durham, North Carolina, pfft!
So far from Mexico, that’s a joke!

On the right inside of the sliding door, I see a section of large trays with chocolate-brown shrivel up things inside.  I get up close and cannot believe.  The trays are full of different type of adorable chilies; guajillos, chile secos, pasillachiles, mulatos, habanero, poblano, serano and jalapeno.
I know a few but the others are from pictures in cooking books, they are here, breathing in front of me and I even hold some in my hands.
The top of my head and the skin on my face itch, I sweat from the dishes my thoughts are eating with these chilies.

The dry bean section is an assortment of small red, white, gray with lines or black pebbles. I have not seen or tasted black beans in 15 years. I love black beans.
Where is the rice? I want to explore the rice section.

I feel a tap on my shoulder, turn around and meet my mother’s eyes. She cannot read my look with a ‘Please, can I stay a bit longer!”. Without a word she nods her head towards the exit and starts walking.

What is going on! She is heading to a third supermarket. My mother is torturing me; she makes me love then divorce without my consent.  I decide to act blasé by not venturing too much inside this supermarket. I stay by the entrance and let her do her errant.  My feelings are tired.

No! Is that sushi?
A man and a woman inside a small island are preparing sushi and sashimi take away. The outside of the island has shelves full of bite size edible fish art displayed in trays. The sushi man looks at me with a smile. I smile back with a nod of approval. 

Within less than five minutes, I see my mother, Speedy Gonzalez, at the checking out counter. I signal that I will be waiting by her car.
I keep quiet all the way back to her house.

Patrick-Bernard

A RAINBOW TRIBE AT THE AIRPORT


Josephine Baker

It is 5 am and left Nairobi, Kenya, about 10 hours ago and to satisfy my nicotine craving I stand outside the departure of Charles de Gaulle airport, waiting to check in on my next flight to Durham, North Carolina.

The air is cool, like trained soldiers the taxis stop at the curb to let out passengers.
I can hear a bus stop nearby. It talks! Letting me know the schedule and the direction of its next bus. I am here for a few cigarettes, maybe next time I will take a ride.

A black taxi stops and let out a white couple and their children a girl and a boy of about 8 and 13 years old.
A little girl of about 5, with oriental features, bounces out of the vehicle too. The mother unfolds a carriage and scoop up the last child from inside the taxi, a black baby not older than 2 and a contrast to the rest of the family.

The husband pays the cab driver.  The wife sees me and smiles, her eyes tell me “we can all bond”, the baby stares my direction with a “mommy, that man resembles me” look. She proceeds pushing the carriage, husband, luggage and other children in tow, inside the terminal.

I have seen many white singles, couples or families in Nairobi with adopted black children. Their sight from the local population provokes either love or hate reactions.
I admire such people, blindly going against culture, stereotype, deciding to be human, caring, loving and worldly. 

It is the fad among stars to adopt children of various ethnicities, a chic and trendy thing to do.  That’s the way we look at it, forgetting the role played by the heart.

Paris in the 30’s belonged to Josephine Baker, the black American musical artist who gained famed, singing and dancing nude, in the famous entertaining places of the capital.  Also, from France, she heavily got involved in the US civil rights movements of the 50’s.  She had two loves, as she sung, her country and Paris

Josephine Baker and her children

Josephine Baker’s stories are of rags to riches, abuse to love, unknown to fame.  Her grandparents were free slaves; life took her to France and, herself childless, adopted 12 children of eclectic races and origins.
Her rainbow tribe as she called her family was from France, Korea, Japan, Columbia, Finland, Israel, Algeria, Ivory Coast, Morocco and Venezuela. She heart for her children, even when her fortune dwindled down.

A feeling within me lingers, an uncomfortable feeling that our world is not better.  I am on my way to America and wonder if the moral white majority would leave unnoticed or create a row about a black childless couple adopting a white child.

I know that some Africans have cried out loud to the “injustice” of taking an African child from its roots.
I do not seem or may not want to understand. I cannot see the morality when a child’s priority is a home.

I have a friend in Kenya. He is Swiss, white like snow, and has a mentally challenged son black as charcoal.  His son calls him daddy and daddy refers to him as “my son”.

That’s divine. 

Patrick-Bernard

I EARNED MY ROOTS!


 
Scars of a whipped slave (April 2, 1863, Baton...
I earned my stay!

I like the blog AfroSpear. Correction, I like the thinking and writing of Asabagna a member of AfroSpear.

Also, I appreciate, while reading, when my emotions go what! hrrr! hmm! Or ok!

That’s what happened when I posted “To the Black on Black Racist“.

Then,  on “The field Negro” I stumbled on a post titled “Tribal intellectualism?”  Of course, I couldn’t help giving my 2 cents.

I am European in culture and lived on the three sides of the divide, Europe, America and Africa. Now, look at me!
“You black.”
“That’s right!”

I am mystified by the struggle of blacks, not from the African continent, striving for recognition and their search for identity.
I am mystified by the non acceptance of being what they are and acquiring misplaced psychological complexes about their origins.

I am European and a citizen of France. It is the same for my parents, grandparents, great grand-parents and, skipping few steps, my ancestors the survivors of the greatest holocaust of all time.
My ancestors gave me my West Indians roots, my nice skin colour which bronzes even on cloudy days and a confident brash attitude which is outside the African continent.
I repeat; my ancestors gave me my West Indians roots.

Blacks, through slavery, formed new countries, societies, cultural identities and new shade of races in North, Central, South America, the West Indies and a few other exotic places.
The world is an unequal diversity and not everyone share the same ideas.
That’s life and so what!

You have doubt, you want reassurance then listen … the world emulates our Blues, Jazz, Zouk, Latin Music, Reggae and Samba.
Let’s get up from our chair and move our feet too. The dance steps belong to no one else but us!

I don’t argue with bigots or race haters.  They malign while licking their fingers on our Cajun style dishes or our codfish and ackee, lechon asado, tostones, corn bread, lambi with djondjon rice, arroz con pollo, feijoada, and the like.
Ignorant people have to eat too!

We are Jamaican, Trinidadian, American, Martiniquais, Barbadian, Brazilian, Columbian, Dominican, Panamanian, Cuban and we have more than 30 countries with our influence in that part of our world.
Isn’t enough recognition?  

Africa made ephemeris wealth on the flesh and sweat of our ancestors which they sold into slavery.
Africa sold our ancestor to cut sugar canes and now we drink its rum.
Africa sold our ancestors to pick the cotton fields.  Now, we design the clothes from that cotton.
We are as a group more educated, more artsy, wealthier, brainier, avant-garde with many more adjectives than Africa will ever catch-up with.
So what is the problem?

I have a name which I carry due to the enslavement of my ancestors. It is mine, I have earned it.
Former masters, I gave you fame but thanks for the name. Our journey started as unequal.  Lo and behold! Even unwillingly, I am your partner!

The world is a place of inequalities and I will not bow down to anyone oppressing me with my minority.
I have a place and will fight any misgiving you have about the colour of my skin and its misrepresentations.  It is a grace, a remembrance of the triumphs of my enslaved ancestors.
I am here to stay!

When you speak of Africa, do not look at me, I do not want their stereotype to splatter on my being.  I am not the martyr of their corruptions and own shortcomings.  I have my country and my culture to look after.

You think of Africa as the motherland.  Go, see for yourself and notice that it does not move.
Africa has always remained a standstill from the time it was the cradle of humanity, a kingdom of spears, a colony and independent.
My ancestors moved and shake the world. They went from the cradle of humanity, chased out with spears, broke the chains of slavery and gained liberty.
Do you have another name for freedom?  

Africa calls “come back, come back to mama Africa. Give to mama Africa”.
I don’t understand their languages.  My tongue moves to English, Spanish, French, Dutch, Portuguese and few others which my culture created.”
I am not going back; I don’t want to be Africa’s house Negro.
I will not give either. I will not give back the sweat and flesh of my ancestors.
I am European, from the West Indies, and quite happy about my diversity!

Patrick-Bernard

SLIP OF THE TONGUE – FRENCH STYLE


Rachida Dati on 23 april 2007.

Rachida Dati

According to Freud, in Wikipedia, a lapsus or slip of the tongue is a missed deed that hides an unconscious desire.
It is plausible and wonders if that’s recently the case with French politicians.

Brice Hortefeux, the Interior Minister, used the word “genital print” instead of genetic print.
Hortefeux is lapsus happy.In Mali, for their 50 years of independence, he called on President Sékou Touré.
Mali was offended; Sékou Touré who died in March 1984 was a tyrant who killed thousands of people under his regime.
Their president’s name is Amadou Toumani Touré. The real Sékou Touré is still laughing in his grave.

Luc Chatel, in an interview, explained his difficulties as Prime Minister.  All Prime Minister have problems.
However, Luc Chatel is the French Minister for Education.
At least he noticed, made the correction, then continued with his portfolio on education.

The lapsus which is the topic of all Paris conversation is from Rachida Dati, former Justice Minister, who stated that “some are requesting a rate of return of 20% with an almost non-existent fellatio.”  Of course, her mind was about inflation but her mouth is into fellatio.
Libidinous, yes but things happen!
That’s France, the country of French kisses and ménage à trois.
During Sarkozy campaign she said “Sarkozy wishes to be the boss… euh…the president of France”.
It was revealing, with so many strikes in his hands, and trust that Sarkozy realized that French cannot be bossed.

One of my favorite is from Deputy Robert-André Vivien during a discussion on a forthcoming pornographic law.
He invited his colleague to “harden their sex” instead of hardening their text (proposal).
I understand, it could have been Viagra’s side effect.

Recently, Bernard Accoyer, president of the National Assembly, welcomed the president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the European Council, with a loud « Mevlüt Ceausescu ».
The man is Turk, his name is Mevlüt Cavusoglu.
Ceausescu, first name Nicolae, is a former Romanian Dictator. He was executed, together with his wife, on Christmas day.

Anyway, good advice, do not travel to France now; rampant demonstrations, transports and fuel is scarce and some schools are closed due to the chaos.
For tourism it may stress you as much as the politicians.

I was there, in Paris, during the massive demonstrations which paralyzed France in May 1968.  I enjoyed not going to school, watching barricades, people throwing cobble stones at policemen and policemen running after demonstrators.
Then my grand mother ordered me to stay home. It was nice, for the first time I spend weeks watching TV without any restrictions.

Patrick-Bernard

BOYCOTT GUERLAIN


BOYCOTT GUERLAIN

I love perfume and strange enough, very long time ago, one of my favorite was Vetiver by Guerlain. I am sure you know Habit Rouge, Chamade and Aqua Allegoria Angelique Lillas all from Guerlain and developed by Jean-Paul Guerlain a descendant of the founder of the famous perfume house Guerlain.

Now, I trust you heard what Jean-Paul Guerlain said, on 15 October, talking about his Samsara perfume on the television network France 2.
You don’t know?
Here it is;

“Pour une fois, je me suis mis à travailler comme un nègre. Je ne sais pas si les nègres ont toujours tellement travaillé, mais enfin…”
“For once, I started working like a nigger. I do not know if niggers have always worked so hard, but finally …”

The moron with an educated nose whose knowledge never reached the brain used the word Nigger in a negative and pejorative way. I cannot financially reward stupidity and bigotry.

Suddenly, I have developed an instant dislike for anything Guerlain and will boycott all their products. I will make sure that all my friends and acquaintances do the same.

Two French organizations are bringing a law suit regarding Jean-Paul Guerlain’s racial slur; “SOS Racisme” an organization against racism and “Le Cran” a black association.

For me Guerlain no more!

Patrick-Bernard