Tag Archives: life



Mohamed Bouazizi

Time magazine is channeling its views of the world. The knowledgeable behind the magazine are telling you about the 100 most influential people in the world.

Some will read the list and sight in relief and thanks Time magazine to have facilitated their thinking process.
I don’t recognize myself in the list; it does not represent my world, my ideas and where the world is heading to.
So I compiled my list.  Of course, it is not exhaustive but it does represent what I consider the most influential and important people in the world.

YOU collectively are the most important people in the world.  Foremost, YOU give importance to the 100 people listed in Time magazine.
Your judgment is not always right but it provides a broad platform of your like, dislike and how you foresee the world according to your values.
Collectively YOU can be dangerous and prone to cognitive dissonance.

The last workers of the Dai-Aichi plant in Japan.  The workers are dying for ethic, honor and to complete a job which they adamantly feel responsible for.
The second the nuclear plant was damaged was their start of their long slow and painful death by nuclear contamination.
Surely, an award-winning photographer and reporter will document their slow and painful death.
The documentary will be in Black and White, it is a media providing a stronger impact and eye-catching in book form on a coffee table.

RuPaul the drag queen has given worldwide recognition to people marginalized by phobic misconception of what human beings are.
RuPaul provokes smiles on a “chante you stay” or tears on “sachay away” and never leaves one hanging without exulting feelings.
Each contestant reminds you that you can forge ahead against adversity.  Sorry, Yara Sofia, a contestant in Drag race, says it better – “echa palante”.

Mohamed Bouazizi, the vegetables vendor, whose self-immolation started the Jasmine revolution in Tunisia.  The revolution is spreading in the Arab world and changing the concept of the global master servant relationship.
Bouazizi died with thoughts of not coming back to his hell and unwillingly left a legacy shattering the inequalities of the Arab world.

The local beggar, destitute, street boy or whoever wanting money from YOU in the street.
Individually they remind the mass how the majority of the world lives. Yes, there is more poor than rich in the world.  More people whose life is at the brink of a disaster than we can imagine.
There drama and dilemma make goods 6 o’clock news and special report. It always happens in places with exotic names but never home.
Then our bleeding hearts sends money to alleviate suffering, then we build a wall at the border so they don’t come in.

Also, one of the most influential people in the world is the one you love the most, the person who gives you a rainbow of emotions. The one you cannot live without, the person making life easy, the person providing harmony and Zen in the mayhem of life.
The person whose only request you have is to be there.




In front of the Veteran Administration Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, I see a white van unloading a man in a wheelchair.

He has two helpers, a nurse and a man carrying an oxygen tank.  The front of his wheelchair is full of electronic gadgets and sensors. The back, between the wheels, has a monitor with tubes neatly tied to one side. His wheelchair is his portable mean to live on the go. 

He is a young, good-looking, clean-cut Black man in his late twenties or early thirties and his skinny frail body does not show muscle mass under his clothes.

He does not wear shoes, why should he?

He is a quadriplegic moving his wheelchair with the help of a joystick under his chin. He has a tracheotomy tube, for him to breathe, cut in the center of his neck.

He smiles at his helpers but he does not utter a word.

The only noticeable working part of his body is his face. A face hung on a head with a bobbing weak neck holding a strong chin steering the wheelchair. His lips stretch a large glowing smile for being outside.

His face and his brain are the only things giving him an existence. Maybe he was smiling with his thoughts, memories of before and now.

Everyone, I mean everyone who goes to the VA was at one time fit and healthy. They got disabled for a flag, a territory, political ideas, and lots of because.

His lips were smiling and I am glad he never saw me looking at him. If our eyes had met,   I am sure I would have smiled back but I would fear for him to construe my smile as a sign of anything to ruin his day. His being shatters  me and makes me insecure.

He does not need my thoughts, his are bigger than mine. I feel but he senses feelings and I cannot allow him to make mistakes.

I cannot comprehend people liking songs for which they never take time to listen and understand the words.  They are pseudo intellectual tourists thinking that seeing the Tour Eiffel or the Empire State Building is to know France or the USA. Sheeps liking because others like.

After, the man disappeared in the entrance of the hospital a song came to mind. Imagine by John Lennon. The lyrics are a statement to our human kind. We listen to the song but have lost the know how to materialize what we should and can imagine.

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for…



Dennis Rodman

Image via Wikipedia

The Detroit Pistons are retiring Denis Rodman No.10, where he spent 7 seasons out of his 14.

I am a not a sport fan but I do remember Denis Rodman. He was more than a basketball player.

Actually, I did watch a few of his games on TV. Not for the game  of basketball, besides putting a ball in a hoop I don’t even know the rule of the game, but because he was playing. Funny hair styles, tattoos and antics were his persona and somehow I liked his underdog attitude.

However, I know that Dennis Rodman played basketball for 14 seasons.
The average person does not play, they work and the time spent working is calculated in years.
Then they don’t retire your overalls, your tools, or your punch cards. Once you are gone they throw it away or pass it on to someone else.

Actors have roles or parts which they act for a play, movie or series. Series are counted in seasons not years.
Friends, the series, did not last ten years but ten seasons.  The actors had characters or roles to play. They didn’t work but played.
The Actors’ union is called guild. Because calling it union is not glamorous and has less star appeal.
Then you cannot play with a union, you have to work with them. Also, you cannot play in an assembly line.  You still have to work.

Soldiers have a different status. They go on tours to places with exotic names. I knew someone who did two tours in Vietnam. He did not retire.  He got an honorable discharge together with a full disability benefit.
Contracts in the army do not expire, they discharge you. My friend did not receive a pension but a disability benefit. I did not know that it was a benefit to be disabled.
His nickname was June bug and he was born in a small coal mining town in West Virginia. He was a gunner on rescue choppers and he did not play the part. That was his work.
No awards, no Oscars but actors can get one by playing the role of a June Bug in Vietnam then look for another real-life role to play while the real June Bug waits his turn to see a doctor at the Veteran Administration.  

Big executive, the one in Wall Street ripping off people, don’t get bonus they receive compensation awards when they get added responsibilities. The government helps them when they run into trouble.

The policemen or firemen that will come to their house and risk their lives in time of trouble get medals or colorful stickers for their lapels.
They normally don’t receive compensation but salary raise arduously fought by their unions. They don’t play and spend seasons doing their duties. No, they work hard for many years then retire.

I never heard a  police officer having his weapon retired after playing 20 seasons in the police force. No, they take the weapon away.
Policemen are usually removed when they violate under stress brought on by self-righteous idiots, hoodlums or criminals, their terms of employment serving the public.

The government does not bail them out. The police are not a big firm with a glamorous name in a financial district.

Then for the governments and the politicians I still wait for the headlines from the COMMON PEOPLE newspapers that would put a smile on my face:

“This Government has violated our terms and conditions and has been removed.”



Sometimes it is easy to forecast a person behavior in certain circumstances. In this situation I am absolutely puzzled. Well,  I have to make you believe that I am.

It is time for me to go and acquaint again with family. Before leaving I picked up a few documents in my safe.  Also, my wife looked for some things which she needed to remove.
Time to go to the airport, the safe is open and I leave the key on and tell her to lock it when she is done.

I come back two months later on Christmas Eve. Take one day to unwind, sleep and catch up with my jet lag.

Go to the safe, notice the door ajar, the key still on the lock and inside the bright red jewelry pouch is gone. Worry a little and wait for my wife to come in the evening.
Out of curiosity, in the TV room, I notice that a DVD movie which I had on top of the VCR is not there. Interesting, but after two months it must be in some other places.  So let me wait for the wife when she comes.
I go back in the bedroom, look under the mattress and see things which I have never seen before.  Let me wait for that wife, I am sure there is a plausible explanation for these occurrences.

I open the door with a broad smile which I let down right away and tell her
“The safe was left open and the jewelry is gone.”
“Oh, the safe was opened.” She answers with her action-then-forget look.
“You mean that in two months you never noticed the open safe and the key attached to a big brown key chain on it.”
“You know I never look there.”
“And where is the movie which I left on top of the VCR?”
“I don’t know.”
“How could you not know, you go in that room everyday to watch TV.”
“Yes, I have seen it but I do know where it is.”
“No one comes to this house except the hous- help. Sometimes, I leave the key for her when I travel.”
“Ok, but then when you come home you never noticed anything missing, rearranged or out of place.”
I get a how-dare-you-asking-me-such-question stare.
“And what is that stuff under the mattress.  I threw it away, check  … it is still in the dust bin now.”
She does not look into to the bin, total lack of interest, and has no idea how it got there.
“Who do you think took the jewelry bag?” I ask
“No one comes here except the hous- girl, then my sisters and my mother spent a couple of days, then my friends came to visit me and no one else.” All in one sentence with an expression of – why are you bothering me with a red jewelry bag.
“In two months you never noticed anything odd in this house. I don’t understand, I am here for one day and can see all these things but you can’t. If it is the house-help then we should call the police.”
“Things do not work like that here. We can only call a police officer that we know or bribe one.” (The police are corrupt, third world style here!)
“I don’t care, call the police and since she may be the one I don’t want to see her in the house. She is not coming in as long as I am here.”

My wife is brooding about me wanting to call the police and requesting the house-help to go because it is so difficult to get another one as she says.

She makes a couple of phone calls in a language which I do not understand. Leaves the house and goes see a friend in the neighborhood. Comes back and tells me that she will see what she can do.

Soon it will be almost a month now. The house-help is still here and she must stay until a police officer’s friend set up a trap (the word used). I was slightly demonized to suspect that any members of her family could do that. I never received an answer about the DVD movie and she never bother to look for it. The items under the mattress are no longer news and I will not ask again, I hate twilight zone answers.

I am left with my pinky ring.  That’s the only piece of jewelry which I travelled with. Together we may travel again soon.

Strange … the house-help eats her cookies. She noticed right away, it did not take her two months to found out.

Lately, she tells me that she needs moral support. I am buying crutches.





The New Year will have new crops for spring and probably more crap from the politicians. Let’s see how inventive they will be for 2011.

It is time to return all that you borrowed.  In my case you have until 31st December midnight to get your things back.  Pass the deadline; I will consider your items mine.

I probably will not show up anywhere, unless I am invited, as I don’t want your presence to bring me bad luck. Anyway, if you insist remember that I like to drink red wine. Better, I am willing to bring my bottle so I don’t have to wind you up at your cost.

Anyway, bear in mind that New Year’s resolutions do not work.  So don’t suffer by not smoking, drinking or eating pass the stroke of midnight.  You will be a miserable bloke annoying the ones wanting to have a good time.

The only resolution I will accept is for you to stop sending chain letters. I do not feel guilty by not forwarding them to 5, 10 or 20 of my friends or deleting them as spasms. Actually my friends are grown up and I wish for them to stay as such.

Before I forget, a toast and happy New Year to WikiLeaks Julian Assange he brought to the world the gifts that Santa has not been able to ho ho ho from the time he put on his red silly suit.

My prediction for the New Year is that I will receive phone calls from the people who never gave a shit about me the whole year. I don’t feel bad as the feeling is mutual with the exception that I will not call you.

My phone will SMS non stop from people I hardly know.  Don’t insist it will be a waste of your money as my phone, as usual, will be on selective mode.  It selects the sms that deserve to be read.

Please, wherever you are don’t start crying because the old year is gone.  It was not so good anyway and drama queen tears just irritate me and make champagne taste bitter. So don’t spoil the fun.

I wish to all my good friends a divorce so I don’t have to hear about their bad relationship in 2011, a solid prenuptial agreement if they wish to jump from the good life to marriage.  Also, children if it is for love and not decoration, a need to keep up with the Jones or a pension scheme for old age.

My resolutions,  that I can keep for the New Year,  is to eat the food and drink the wine that I like, not listen to advice from people always asking me for advice,  get a haircut only once a month, listen to music at the volume I want since I’ve got headphone, tell it like it is, not go to these mega weddings where they serve self-service food,  no funerals this year since the people I like will live on, not excuse myself again for calling my father’s ex-wife by his late girl friend’s name, help more my homeless friend whose seems to be getting crazier and be nastier to people who are rude to me.

The resolutions I wish but are a pipe dream and will never happen is for a Tsunami to hit a meeting of the head of states of the African Union, for poachers to get unicorned by rhinos, to have a gay albino as president of Uganda, for some politicians to keep their drugs and give me my social booze back after hours, Sarkozy to have a role in the new version of Snow White and the seven dwarfs and for Obama to stop embarrassing me.

“Happy New Year”
Now, let’s toast, kiss kiss and no problem if you don’t like champagne.
“Give me your glass!”



It is 6pm and, again, it is snowing on Paris. The snow flakes are thick and melt as soon as they hit the pavement. I cross the street and the wind hits my chest like a heart attack and yet I have on a thick sweater covered by a leather jacket. My face no longer exists, I know it is there but I cannot feel it to the touch. My finger tips have a life of their own, they tingle.
No, I am not crying, that’s the look I have when I meet the cold. I just find it difficult to smile.

I head to the drug store for my brother.  He tried, he did his best to hold it for the past two days but this morning he woke up with a fever. The cold is pernicious and anchored his body to the stage that only medicine can free him. He already acquired cold habits; he blows his nose in tissues, coughs with a deep cavernous sound and pronounces words with mainly the consonant B and some distorted vowels.
“I hab a bold.”
“And you do, I can tell.”  

Though, while walking, my head rings from his words when I was about to leave the house. “Id woub be bood to eat oysters.  It is bull of bitamin and bood for bold.”
“I didn’t know oysters have good vitamins to fight cold but I know that we shouldn’t go out this evening if you’re sick.”

Yesterday, my brother’s friends ask us to join them this evening to eat oysters. My brother doesn’t like oysters he looooves them.
I am not too sure of the reason for my brother to get well so quick. I think it is foremost to eat oysters this evening. He wants to feel better for the moment, eat oysters and then go back to bed to cure his left over cold.
“Is it raining?”
“No! It’s snowing.”
“Yes! And could I have some Actifed and some Fervex.”
“Is it for a child or an adult?”
“Adult, please.”

I am back home and give the magic potion together with a spoon, water and a glass to my brother who is now in bed.  Don’t be confused, Fervex comes in powder form and drunk with water. The spoon is to twirl the Fervex powder with the water in a glass so it dissolves uniformly.  Don’t feel bad, I did not know about Fervex until my brother asks for it.

Anyway, it is 7:30pm and my brother has taken a shower.  He has a robe on and from the bathroom’s door looks at me in the kitchen. “We are leabing in hab an hour.”

The car is covered with a layer of three inches snow, the tires water-sky on slush and lucky, Paris is almost deserted on a Saturday night.

“La Criée” is a nice restaurant, they have more than one with the same name, and their specialty is sea food.  My brother’s friends Pascal, Alain, José and Jean-Paul are seated at the back waiting for us. I introduce myself and we carry on a nice conversation.

We order four plates of oysters and two others something else as a starter.  Before the food is served my brother excuse himself to go to the restroom.

The oysters are on the table served on a bed of crushed ices and designed half lemons and under the large plate stand; special sauces, two types of bread and butter.

These slimy odd-looking mollusks are eaten live from their shells.
I take one, squeeze a dash of lemon and with a small fork remove it from its nacre housing and put it in my mouth then swallow a sip of the lemony sea water from its shell.  No, I will not tell you if I chewed the oyster or not but that stuff is good.

We finish our oysters and my brother comes back from his emergency. He eats the first one and complains;
“Dib you libe your oysters.”
 “Oooh yes!” was the reply in unison.
“Hmm, ok …. Dib you finb dem kinb of bat?”
“Oooh no, not fat at all!” Then he eats his last one and takes back his sick look.

The lad is so sick that he does not order anything else and seats quietly the evening.
The rest of us follow-up with a main course and I select moule marinière and we drink a fantastic crisp and light German white wine.

I really hope that my brother enjoyed his oysters as much as I enjoyed my evening.  My brother wants to go home.  The lad is really sick.



Using an orange zester to zest an orange.

Yum, yum and yummy

It is 2pm and just woke up. I don’t remember the last time I have done that.  I feel disoriented and my brain needs an instant dose of strong coffee to function. Jet lag, the cold and the new environment which I have thrown myself in at my brother’s place, before my next destination, are not the only reason of the slow thinking process. Yesterday evening I took part in a small gathering given by my brother and its partner.

The dining room table was lit with a row of candles, the various lampshades provided soft colored lights and the bottles of wines, alcohol, champagne, beers, liquors, fruit juices, sodas, glasses and ashtrays were laid on the indoor terrace.
My brother selected some light techno Grace Jones’ music while his partner placed some snacks in colorful bowls.

Actually, his partner did the cooking; cream of corail lentils with carrot juice and cumin and, for main course, medley of sea fish in Emmental cheese sauce.  Two simple dishes with fancy names that make your taste buds purr with delight.

The invitation was for 7:30pm and five guests except one came in time.  The sixth, the drama queen, requires lots of attention and being last  gives her an opportunity to make a grandiose entrance in front of a complete audience.
Angela arrives ½ hour late, bubbly, chicly dressed with accessories to match, a beautiful smile on a gorgeous face “I am here” and she kiss-kiss everyone with movie star warmth. 

The guests are a comfortable variety of shades, educations and backgrounds with two things in common the French language and culture. It is nice to see an eclectic group enjoying themselves under a common flags.

One of the guests, a chef, brought a fruit salad of oranges, figs, grapes and different raisins in vanilla and orange zest syrup. Pascal serves it with bananas flambé and ice cream, It is yum, yum and yummy and that’s when you realize that food is an important ingredient to congeniality.

The conversation goes from intellectual serious to sublime ridiculous and everyone partakes. My brother mentions Kiki and Mahmud, some friends which he really appreciated during his vacation in Kenya. Another provides a riot of laughter about all the business possibilities you can dream of using a cat. The teacher pours with nonchalance his dysfunctional life which he discusses with his therapist. The drama queen speaks about her being at the right place at the right time in thrilling situations and the doctor provides professional advice to one with a painful hernia. My brother is over teased about the lack of love he gives to a plant which provided him with ten years of pleasure. The chef exposes the difficulties and charms of running a restaurant and Pascal attends to all the friends’ needs.

The guests move from topic to topic as a group.  No one is left and it went on, non-stop, until 4am.

The toast was four bottles of champagne, kiss-kiss and the drama queen gives me a kiss-kiss-kiss-kiss before their ride home.