However you may have arrived here, this is the old Not Not Silly Newsroom.

It's a long story -- hardly worth going into here -- but after this place was declared a Brownfield Site, we abandoned it for the NEW! IMPROVED!! Not Now Silly Newsroom.

Feel free to stay and read what you came here to read, but when it's time to leave go to the new place by clicking HERE.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Unpacking My Detroit ► Part 5.1 ► The 1943 Riot

Late last month I wrote about Detroit's three major riots, one of them being the 1943 Riot. I am currently reading an amazing book that adds a bit more context to that riot. "The Warmth of Other Suns; The Epic Story of America's Great Migration" by Isabel Wilkerson won the Pulitzer Prize in History, as well as many other prizes and awards. They are all well-deserved. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to understand the pressures Black folks felt in the south and how moving north didn't necessarily make them first class citizens.

Wilkerson tells this sweeping story by following the lives of 3 people: Ida Mae Brandon Gladney from Chickasaw County, Mississippi; Robert Joseph Persing Foster, from Monroe, Louisiana; and George Swanson Starling, late of Wildwood, Florida.

George Starling, married too early out of spite, found himself picking citrus fruit (and many other odd jobs) in order to save up enough money to send his wife to hair dressing school and finish his education at a university in Tallahassee. He dropped out due to finances, but always planned to return. However, during World War Two he heard they were hiring in Detroit. Against his wife's wishes he moved north by himself to help assemble B-29 bombers in what was being called The Arsenal of Democracy; when the entire car industry was turned over to defeating Hitler and Japan. Wilkerson picks up his story:

Nostalgia Ain't What It Used To Be ► Ronald Reagan Cracks A Joke

President Ronald Reagan and his Vice President
Dateline August 11, 1984 - Ronald Reagan, famed for his highly-tuned sense of humour, made a funny while doing audio levels for a radio broadcast. Get ready to LOL.

Oh! Stop!! My!!! Sides!!!!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Watergate ► The End of the End

Dateline August 8, 1974 - President Richard Milhous Nixon tenders his resignation, effective noon the following day, and becomes the first -- and so far only -- President of the United States to resign in disgrace. This was the culmination of events that began on June 17, 1972 when police arrested 5 men for Breaking & Entering into the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Hotel. At the time White House Press Secretary Ron Zeigler dismissed it as a "third rate burglary." While it might have been "third rate," it was the third rate burglary that brought down a president. The story didn't get much traction until August 1st, when Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein wrote their first story for the Washington Post. From that moment on the drip, drip, drip of stories in the Post and other newspapers isolated President Nixon. Once it was proven that Nixon participated in the Watergate cover-up, it was all over for his presidency.

There are so many ironies in this story, but here are just three:

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Stan Freberg ► Nostalgia Ain't What It Used To Be

Dateline August 7, 1926 - Born Stanley Victor Freberg in a manger in a hospital in Pasadena, California, the newborn "Stan" (as his Baptist minister father improbably nicknamed him) waited a few years as he planned and schemed and schemed and planned. Once he was ready to unleash himself on the world, nothing could hold him back from parodying everything under the sun to become of of 'Merka's favourite (unknown) humourists. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Big Up, Jamaica!!! Happy 50th!!!

Let's face facts: Jamaica is probably the closest Christopher Columbus ever came to what was later called the United States of 'Merka, the country he is alleged to have 'discovered.' And, when he landed in Jamaica in 1494, there were already people there. The Arawak and Taino peoples, who had originated in South America, had been on the island by as much as 2,500 - 5,000 years by then. By the time of Columbus' arrival there were over 200 villages, but he claimed the island in the name of Spain anyway. The British, led by the same William Penn who founded the 'Merkin province of Pennsylvania, forced the Spanish out in 1655, with slavery and sugar becoming the main exports, until the British abolished slavery in 1807. Then it was just sugar. Still needing a workforce, they imported Indian and Chinese workers as indentured servants. This is one of the reasons Jamaican population is such a multicultural mix and reflects its national motto: "Out of many, one people." It's also why so many Jamaican dishes use curry and other hot spices.

Skipping ahead a hundred and fifty years: On this date in 1962, after 4 years of being a province in the Federation of the West Indies, gained full independence and adopted its national anthem.

However, it's not the music of the National Anthem that has spread Jamaica's reputation around the world: It's Reggae music. According to the WikiWackyWoo:
Many other internationally known artists were born in Jamaica including Millie Small, Lee "Scratch" Perry, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Big Youth, Jimmy Cliff, Dennis Brown, Desmond Dekker, Beres Hammond, Beenie Man, Shaggy, Grace Jones, Shabba Ranks, Super Cat, Buju Banton, Sean Paul, I Wayne, Bounty Killer and many others. Band artist groups that came from Jamaica include Black Uhuru, Third World Band, Inner Circle, Chalice Reggae Band, Culture, Fab Five and Morgan Heritage. The genre jungle emerged from London's Jamaican diaspora. The birth of hip-hop in New York City, New York also owed much to the city's Jamaican community.
Chris Blackwell
I had the pleasure of working for Island Records Canada when it was still an independent company run by Chris Blackwell. Blackwell is one of my heroes. He didn't create Reggae, but he took it global starting with Millie Small. Blackwell discovered the 15-year old singer and produced her single "My Boy Lollipop," which sold over 7 million records worldwide. Then he signed Bob Marley and many other Reggae artists; launching many careers (and not just Reggae artists) onto the international stage. I met Blackwell once, on the same day I met Bob Marley, yet they were not together, nor were they even in the same country. It's a long, complicated story that I keep promising to write and, maybe, one day I will.

Usain Bolt, the fastest man on earth, is a fitting
symbol for How Jamaica Conquered The World
I was also honoured to be interviewed for my (very small) part in "How Jamaica Conquered the World," a terrific series of podcasts which documents Jamaica's outsized influence, when compared to the small footprint of the small island nation of just 4,244 square miles, smaller than Connecticut, the 48th largest state.

However, let's face it: It's the music and ganja for which Jamaica is known. Since I can't push any ganja through my computer, I am reduced to just sharing a small sampling of the music. Here's a Jamaican Jukebox so you can celebrate along with Jamaicans all around the world as they proudly wave the flag on their half-century anniversary.