Friday, June 29, 2007

Procastination as an evil

I subscribed to Bloglines so that I can be getting updates when my favourite bloggers update their blogs. In the last two weeks or so, I haven't been reading a lot of the updates, and now I just noticed that I have 137 unread blog posts. How the hell did I allow it to pile up like this?

Well, I don't have anything lined up for Saturday, so I would have to read all of them then. Chxta has truly murdered sleep...

Thursday, June 28, 2007

What I want for next season

For the last few days I've been kinda multitasking, sleep during the morning, tour guide in the afternoon, applicant and researcher in the evening, and football fan at night. As I type this, I am watching Paraguay square up to Colombia in this year's Copa America, and I want to see Argentina take USA apart later on. The bets are on whether that would actually happen given that Mexico took Brazil apart yesterday.I ran into this article, so I guess I should also express my wishes for next season because I don't agree with him on some of his points...

The mercato has been good thus far, but I believe there are still some missing elements. I am certain that Camo and Neddy would continue playing next season with us. Taking that into account Ranieri already has a pretty decent side to choose from.

Looking at Ranieri, he has set the foundation for Valencia and Chelsea to become the great teams they are today. Granted he did not win any major championships with them he certainly created the backbone of those teams. He signed or developed for Valencia: Mendieta, Angulo, Albelda, Canizares and Claudio Lopez. As for Chelsea his influence and good taste in transfers developed players like Lampard, Gallas, Terry, Joe Cole, Makelele and Scott Parker. Needless to say many of these players today are stars and both those teams have a very respectable name in Europe. Ranieri has so far signed Almiron, Tiago and Iaquinta. Salihamidzic and Grygera were signed by the board during DD's reign. These players have already made a name for themselves and I am sure Ranieri will help them develop into even further as players.

As for young players Claudio Ranieri is an expert at helping them make their transition from potential to product. We already have players such as Giorgio Chiellini who is already a solid left back and is one to watch, Claudio Marchisio, the great Raffaelle Palladino, Marco Marchionni who I believe could be a great player, Cristian Molinaro, Nocerino and Criscito (the next Cannavaro). I am not too happy to see Giovinco go, but o well...

With all these names it is easy to believe that at least 2 or 3 of the young players will be mega-stars complementing our already great stars. With Trez's decision to stay, our forward line will include Alex, Trez, Iaquinta, Zala and Palladino (our next Zlatan, except that he is loyal). This is a four and a half star forward line and I don't think anyone can argue with that. Our midfield will have Neddy, Tiago, Almiron, Camo, Salihamidzic and Marchionni as the offensive players, while behind them we have Zannetti, Gianichedda and Marchisio who are all very good. If there is still money left I would personally buy a more creative central attacking midfielder, I hear that Deco is deemed surplus to requirements at Barca...

If there isn’t any money then bring back Kapo as a wildcard for those tight games we will surely have. I don’t know if you have seen him play at Levante this season but he has been great and has been the main attacking threat against teams like Real Madrid, Valencia and Atletico Madrid. I worry that those weak ass English teams (Fulham and Birmingham) are casting lecherous glances in his direction...

Anyway, the part that worries me the most is the defence. When we were in the Serie B wilderness, there were never any certain guarantees. We desperately need an excellent defender. The first choice of most Juventini would certainly be Gabriel Milito of Zaragoza. I am almost confident he will sign but if not Juve would have to find someone who can play the part of leading our defence like Cannavaro did. I can’t see Barzagli running the defence by himself but could be very good next to Grygera. I rate Barzagli very highly, but I don’t think he can run things just yet. On the left flank I would initially consider Chiellini for a starting role but Molinaro is supposedly an excellent player. Down the right flank we have Zebina, our vice-captain Birindelli who is pushing retirement (successfully) and Salihamidzic has also played this role at Bayern very well. Buffon is always the best guarantee for a goalkeeper in the world and the only trouble with that is that I keep having memories of his injury back in 2005.

The only worry is who will be in front of him leading our defence, cross your fingers for Milito.

With all this said I would recommend the next formation (if Milito does come):


For the games when we have to be defensive we could very well put in Birindelli for Zebina because of Zebina's propensity to get that red mist, Giannicheda or Zannetti for either Almiron or Tiago. But be certain that we do have very good defensive subs.

For when we have to attack we could have a three man attack and push Salihamidzic up front. Or put in Nedved for Palladino in the final minutes (face it Nedved is not getting younger and although I’ve never seen him tired there is always a first time), same applies to Del Piero, personally, I'd leave him on the bench more often now, and use him more as an impact player. Bring in Marchionni for Camoranesi on the right wing during games, and slowly groom him as a solid replacement for Camo.

What we need next year is for our players to understand each other, be motivated and know that we only expect a Champions League spot. From there anything can happen.

Oh, we also need for Trezeguet and Camoranesi to stop bitching about their tough lives on their poor salaries. We will need good luck regarding injuries and we will need our players to be very motivated specially the young ones and Ranieri should do a fine job at that.

Personally, I would be more than happy for us to just qualify for the Champion's League. Don’t get me wrong I believe Juve can achieve any top four finish, but like I said earlier, there are still missing points, points which I am sure will come eventually. So any one of those top four spots is a good spot and I am confident next year we will be Serie A challengers (this year we will be a very big threat) and return Inter’s self esteem to the lowest level possible.

Again, I'd be too happy if we finish the season above Inter. FORZA JUVE!!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

A lack of stamina

Back in April 2004 the government of Uncle Sege increased the price of petrol in Naija by 70%. Outraged, Labour called a strike, and we all dutifully stayed indoors, for a while. You see, for the first time since Oloibiri in 1956, the oil actually stopped flowing from the Niger Delta, and it was because of that strike.

Obasanjo decided to play a bit of hardball, but such was the effect of that strike on Nigeria's oil earnings that the comments coming from Abuja at least according to Channels TV which I was permanently tuned to at the time, were that the government was seriously contemplating a complete reversal of the price increase. By the third day however, the strike had lost its bearings, and the Nigerian public began to clamour for the end of the strike. Personally, I was pissed off.

Of course with that kind of clamour, and the fact that after a few scapegoats a lot of the Labour 'leaders' either scampered for cover, or allowed themselves to be settled, the strike was more or less broken, and the government got away with a 35% price increase which was what they wanted anyway. It is imperative to note at this point that as at April this year (three years after the events of 2004) fuel prices in Naija have gradually gone up 120% on those pre April 2004 levels. What an effective force our Labour movement is.

Or is the problem Labour?

Why did that strike loose its bearings? Before the strike began, organised Labour had embarked on a campaign to sensitise the Nigerian public on the need to stockpile provisions for the 'mother of all strikes'. Sadly, this campaign apparently fell on deaf ears (or do I say block heads), and I remember seeing one woman crying on Channels after three days of strike. Her exact words, 'Adams we have had enough, the strike is not affecting Obasanjo, it is affecting the common man. Let us go back to work.' Nonsense.

Earlier in the weak, Labour began another strike in Naija to force the government to retract the increase made by Rtd. Gen. Obasanjo just before he vacated the office. Like the 2004 strike, it was meant to be total. Like the 2004 strike, people were told to prepare to dig in. Like the 2004 strike, the government decided to play hardball, for crying out loud, President Yar'Adua has not even commented on the strike till date. Unlike the 2004 strike, oil didn't stop flowing. Like the 2004 strike, this one has failed. Like that 2004 strike, this one has also lasted exactly four days.

About two hours ago, the strike was called off because the government promised to freeze fuel prices for a year. All good, on Monday everyone would go to work happy, then what happens in a year?

I don't want to speculate, but I can assure you that fuel prices would go up, and would keep going up. We simply lack the kind of staying power that was shown by the Ukrainians during their Orange Revolution. For Okoro's sake those guys stayed out in the bleeding sub zero temperatures for two months until they got their way. I can assure you that such a thing would never happen in today's Nigeria where people have to attend to the more important business of filling their stomachs, so it would always work like this: government feels the need to raise more money so government would raise prices by 200%. Labour would come out and make some noise, get us going for a while, then declare a strike. Government would hold out, then appear to give concessions, but in effect prices have still gone up by the 100% they wanted anyway, so everyone is happy. Fuel in Lagos currently goes for N70/litre (official) I was told. I make bold to say here that by the middle of 2009 it would be going for N140/litre (official), and we would be buying.

Enough said, no need getting worked up.

Release Uwazuruike

Anyone who is interested knows that I'm no fan of MASSOB, and God knows that I think that their cause is one for sentimental fools, but fair is fair, and the time has come to point out that since Asari Dokubo (who is an infinitely worse character than Uwazuruike) was released, then it is only right to release Uwazuruike. After all, one person advocates secession, but by peaceful means, while the other took up arms. The one who took up arms is today tasting the air of freedom...

Anyway, as usual, I'd like to look inwards in order to apportion blame, and I would repeat here the comment I made on Aba Boy's blog:

Simple really: a house divided against itself will not stand, and that is our problem as a group within the Nigerian framework.

Have ndi Igbo come out with one strong voice to demand the release of Uwazuruike in the same way as the Ijaw demanded a release (even if by bail) of Dokubo as a precursor for any form of negotiation?

As for Adams, it is quite a different legal reason he was put in nga. The others were arrested for treason, he was arrested, then released for disturbing the peace...

Juve watch

Juve's mercato for the season thus far:

IN: Molinaro (D, Siena), Grygera (D, Ajax), Criscito (D, Genoa), Nocerino (M, Piacenza), Salihamidzic (M, Bayern Munich), Tacchinardi (M, Villarreal); Miccoli (A, Benfica), Iaquinta (A, Udinese), Gastaldello (D, Siena), Almiron (M, Empoli), Tiago (M, Lyon)
OUT: Balzaretti (D, Fiorentina), Kovac (D, Borussia Dortmund), Tudor (d, Hajduk Split); Bojinov (A, Fiorentina)

Microsoft was distributing Ubuntu

This is too funny not to show you. Microsoft has a site for downloads of various software products, not just their own. It's called Windows Marketplace. Yesterday, for a brief shining moment, you and 10,000 or so other people could and did download Ubuntu Linux from a link on that page -- thank you, Google Cache -- which sent viewers to CNET for the download.

According to that page, Ubuntu is perfect:

Note: This is the desktop version of Ubuntu. Ubuntu is a community developed operating system that is perfect for laptops, desktops, and servers. Whether you use it at home, at school or at work Ubuntu contains all the applications you'll ever need, from word processing and e-mail applications, to Web server software and programming tools. Ubuntu is and always will be free of charge. You do not pay any licensing fees. You can download, use and share Ubuntu with your friends, family, school or business for absolutely nothing.Version 7.04, named "Feisty Fawn," adds the Ubuntu Studio, a multimedia editing and production suite, to the distribution.

Heaven only knows that's true, simply perfect for laptops, desktops and servers. The part Microsoft got wrong is it says the license is "Free" and "No limitations". Actually, the GPL does set some limitations, like what you are responsible to do if you redistribute.

So you know I'm not making it up and because Microsoft already removed the page and I know that even in Google cache it isn't long for this world:

And here's the part about no limitations:

Sourced from Slashdot


Just got this in my email. Methinks it is nice...

You are Everything To Somebody
Right now at this very minute-----------


is very proud of you


is thinking of you
cares about you
misses you


wants to talk to you
wants to be with you
hopes you aren't in trouble


is thankful for the support you have
wants to hold your hand


hopes everything turns out all right
wants you to be happy


wants you to find them


is celebrating your successes
wants to give you a gift
think you ARE a gift
hopes you are not too cold, or too hot
wants to hug you


loves you
wants to lavish you with small gifts
admires your strength


is thinking of you and smiling


wants to be your shoulder to cry on
wants to go out with you and have a lot of fun


thinks the world of you
wants to protect you
would do anything for you
wants to be forgiven
is grateful for your forgiveness


wants to laugh with you about old times


remembers you and wishes you were there


needs to know that your love is unconditional


values your advice
wants to tell you how much they care
wants to stay up watching old movies with


wants to share their dreams with you


wants to hold you in their arms
wants YOU to hold them in your arms
treasures your spirit


wishes they could STOP time because of


can't wait to see you
wishes that things didn't have to change


loves you for who you are


loves the way you make them feel
wants to be with you
hears a song that reminds them of you
wants you to know they are there for you
is glad that you're their friend
wants to be your friend
stayed up all night thinking about you


is alive because of you


is wishing that you would notice them
wants to get to know you better


believes that you are their soul mate


wants to be near you
misses your guidance and advice


values your guidance and advice


has faith in you


trusts you
needs you to send them this letter


needs your support
needs you to have faith in them
needs you to let them be your friend


will cry when they read this


send this to
0-1 people, your life will be short and terrible

1-5 people you will meet someone special
5-10 people you will meet your soul mate
10-15 people you will be happy

15-20 people you will marry and be happy
20 or more you will marry that one special person
in your life
( also send it back to the person that sent it to u (that is if u care ) !! )

Friday, June 22, 2007

Results out

2As 1C. You guessed it, programming spoiled my results. Nothing spoil sha. Now on to the dissertation, and let's get it over with.

Hanging out with Jeremy and a few other peeps this evening. Have spent the last two days getting to know London better. Spent yesterday rolling round Central London. Today East London...

Meanwhile spare a thought for Osamuyiwa who died on a deportation flight from Spain.

Juve watch

Juve comes to England August 4 to play Sunderland. Yours sincerely would be there. Two signings today: Tiago and Almiron. Iaquinta hopped on board yesterday.

I'm outta here.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A day in my life

0615: Wake up, turn on the radio. Steve Allen is bashing Victoria Beckham again, doesn't this fellow let up? No problem sha, his mouth may be made of soda, but it is always interesting listening to him. Spend some minutes laughing as he lays into those idiots in the Big Brother House.

0622: Forgot to say my prayers again. Damn! Mutter something quick and turn on the computer.

0624: Get really annoyed by all the anonymous comments on my last blog post. Can't these buggers at least let me know who they are? And what is with this attitude of using that term 'self hating' each time someone says something they don't agree with? What a way to start the day!

0625: Briefly turn off anonymous commenting in the settings page of the damned blog. Then see Kulutempa's response. Pours ice water on my brain in a manner of speaking (she lives up to her name a lot). Turn anonymous commenting back on. Everyone has a right to air his views. One of the problems with our country has been that tendency to stifle opposing views. Make I no join them...

0629: Look at that email again. Interview I attended last week, they gave me the finger yesterday. So sad, I wanted that job. Easy to say that life goes on, hard to let go of the fact that I wanted the job. As Boso and Kulutempa told me not too long ago, be prepared to take a serious confidence battering in the job hunt process. I have other interviews lined up, but truth is if I had gotten that one, I'd have given the rest of them the finger...

0630: Delete the damned mail, I don't need anything causing me depression, I have enough on my mind already...

0631: Crawl back into bed. Nothing lined up for today, so I might as well catch up on some sleep. Who knows, the accumulated sleep might come in useful when I do start working.

0710: Listen to the early part of Nick Ferrari At Breakfast. He's talking about the rising rate of abortion in England and Wales. Finally drift off into sleep and dream of how much of a better place Nigeria would have been if there had been 140 million abortions...

1115: Wake up. Loud rap music is drifting up from downstairs somewhere. I almost puke. Not a nice start to the day. O God! I had actually started the day before. Bound off the bed and check the download status of the movie I'm trying to steal. 78%. Good. Maybe I'll be watching it by this evening. Try to log on to check my results. Damned thing isn't out yet. Check my emails. Nothing much, anonymous has said something again. I try to ignore it. Go downstairs and to tell the kids playing the rap to bottle it. They look at me as if I'm mad, and continue playing their music. I go back upstairs cursing. If only this were Naija...

1123: I check my Nigerian news, read this article about Yoruba leaders alleging marginalisation by Yar'Adua. Self serving bastards. Why can't they sort out people like Adedibu. This marginalisation crap is what every group in Nigeria resorts to when things aren't going their way. Instead of thinking of how to chose the very best people for a job, we are thinking of quotas. Stop. Chxta you promised yourself not to get angry over Naija issues. Just ignore them. Think about something else.

1127: Obafemi Martins was almost assasinated at VGC last night. Picked that one off my news reader which is set to scour the farthest reaches of the net for the word 'Nigeria'. I should reset that thing to something more mundane before I get hypertension at my young age. It seems to bring only bad news. I look at the pictures again, and wonder why they only shot at the passenger's side. The Lagosian in me says that they should bring in his friend for questioning when the guy recovers. The more logical side of me is outraged that the security situation is such that things like this have become routine. We only heard of this because it was a high profile footballer. But why didn't any Nigerian media outlet report this travesty?

1130: I start applying for jobs again. I think I've applied for close to 200 now. After last Tuesday's interview, I was so sure I'd nail that job that I actually stopped applying. Will not make that mistake again.

1131: One of the companies I applied to mail me back almost immediately saying that since I am not an EU citizen, blah, blah, blah... I am beginning to seriously get tempted to follow the advice of some 'well meaning Nigerians' and remove every reference to my homeland from my CV. Do I bend or break? Or do I just look for an oil company job back home and forget about practising IT..?

1157: Damn! I had forgotten that James O'Brien's show was running. I can't help but wonder what foul mouthed commentary I've missed. That man's humour is so divine. Have to pay so I can download the podcasts. Or is there a way to hack the site? It runs on IIS, so it has to have some vulnerabilities. I'll look into that later...

1202: I print off some application forms and fill them. Would have to go and post the rubbish. These guys had better come good. Walk to the post office, chat with the guy at the counter, send the forms, then decide to stop at the church to pray. It's funny how we remember the Almighty One when we are in need. 'Lord God, I've not been idle since 2003. Land me a job, I beg of you.' The church doors are locked. I guess I'll have to come back later. But why are the doors locked? That is so cold. Back home the church was always open.

1245: I return home just in time to catch the Euro News bulletin. Same diet of crap. 'Civil war' in Gaza, Russia doing something, France and Spain agreeing to something... I change to Discovery Civilization and spend the next hour watching World War I In Colour. Curses be on any man who wishes war for another. AMEN!

1400: Crawl back into bed. Can't sleep. Spend the next few hours catching up on news, blogs, forums (they appear so boring nowadays), and chatting with some friends online. Finally notice that Oria has updated his blog. The yeye boy is an excellent writer, but the lack of articles on a steady basis has killed whatever market he had. Would be an uphill task getting him back to the limelight. Akin has an interesting take on the Failed States Report, and declares that Sudan really is worse than Iraq. Personally I still feel that isn't right, but I'm feeling too lazy to put up an argument, or even read what he wrote as a matter of fact. I just skim through. Nkem is back in the blogosphere. The strike has gone ahead in Naija (stop reading Naija news)! Paris Hilton once slept with Jack Osborne (that's more like it, air headed news).

1532: Phone call. Someone has read my CV and wants to interview me. We have a chat. He seems impressed. Books me for a face to face interview on the 4th of July. I hope the interviewers are American that day. So we can celebrate together, and I can tell them how much I love their country...

1700: Holland vs England, European Under 21 Championships. Entertaining game that is eventually settled in Holland's favour by a rather lengthy penalty shoot out. So sad to see the looks on the England faces after the game. Well, some you win, some you lose. I can't believe that I actually supported England in a football match! The devil must be on vacation...

2030: Go out for a rather lengthy walk. Return home, put on my Rosetta Stone to continue my German lessons. Find motivation rather difficult. Call U, we talk. Then I decide to write this rather silly post...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Kaduna Bus Map

Pity that it took a white guy staying in Kaduna to come up with this. Is something wrong with us?

Monday, June 18, 2007

Ubuntu Linux validates as genuine Windows

Another crack in the Windows Genuine Advantage wall. A user at managed to validate an Ubuntu installation as a genuine copy of Microsoft Windows and get to the download page of Windows Defender, using IE4Linux and Wine. (Here is an OGG video of the process.) Along with the advancement of LiveCD technology, this could spell the end of Microsoft's control over who gets their updates.


Thanks Fred.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

World Population, problem or not?

I just reread Elliott Joseph's write-up on world population, and want to share it with you. What do you think?

It is widely known that the current human population numbers about 6.5bn, and widely reported that this might be too many. It is reasonably widely known that the population continues to increase: latest UN estimates put the number at 9.2bn by 2050, by which time population growth is expected to have levelled off (as it has done already throughout the developed world). Again, this is an inconceivably large number, and so people might be inclined to think it somehow problematic.

Putting it into perspective, however, our planet is also an inconceivably large place. Imagine that you, and everyone else currently alive in the world, had agreed to meet for a friendly spot of lunch in the open air. Every man, woman and child is given a picnic blanket one square meter in size to sit on during the meal. How much space would the picnic take up?

The answer is counter-intuitive. If we all had a square meter of space there would be one million of us per square kilometre. The assorted picnic blankets required would therefore cover an area of 6,500 square kilometres. In other words, the whole human race would fit into the county of Devon with room to spare.

So there really aren't that many of us after all - though one square metre wouldn't be enough to live in. So how much living space could reasonably accommodate the whole world?

The population density of central London, according to 2001 census data, was about 11,500 per square kilometre. (People are able to live quite comfortably in Camden, Kensington or Westminster, so this seems a perfectly reasonable basis for answering the question.) Dividing this density into the total human population of about 6,500m gives a required living space of 565,000 square kilometres - comfortably smaller than the combined area of France and Belgium.

Hmm. So far from being overpopulated, if you could arrange comfortable living space for the whole of humanity in the north-west corner of Europe alone, the Earth begins to seem very empty indeed. Though of course, it takes a lot of land to support the population. But about how much?

Even on a generous, sustainable and self-supporting figure for population density, we have no cause for concern. Turning again to France, a country which has been a net food exporter for 40 years, population density is 111 per square kilometre based on the figures here. (In fact, that's about average for the EU. Britain's population density is well over twice that.) To support the total human population would thus require 58.5m square kilometres of land - a big number at last! But if you look here you will see that we would all fit into Russia, North America, China, Mongolia and Brazil. In other words, Europe, India, Australasia, Africa, Japan, the Pacific Rim and most of South America could be emptied and we would have easily enough space. In fact, well over half of the world's total land area excluding Greenland and the poles would still be up for grabs, plenty enough to accommodate the projected population increase which so worries the doomsayers.

Why, then, do people worry so much about population size? Perhaps it's some deep psychological fear of reproduction. But whatever it is, it's not logic, so don't believe it.

When silence is not at all golden

Synchronicity is the feeling of two or more events occurring in a meaningful manner at or around the same time, but are normally unrelated with each other, and are inexplicable to the person experiencing them. These occurrences in most cases give rise to a feeling of design by a higher order that something big is indeed about to happen. The concept was first postulated by Carl Jung, and was used to great effect by the Nazis, leading to allegations which the man (he was Swiss) never successfully shook off for the rest of his life.

Personally, Chxta first heard about the concept when Chxta read Jack Higgins's The Eagle Has Landed. According to the book (excellent work of fiction by the way), when the Nazi's successfully sprung Mussolini from arrest, Hitler suggested to Canaris that they dispatch a commando force to kidnap Churchill. Canaris thought it was a bad joke, but nevertheless assigned a member of his staff, Radl to do a feasibility study. Then synchronicity reared its head, and it turned out that an insignificant German agent in some backwater village in Suffolk had provided a dispatch the day before stating that Churchill would be passing through that very village a week from then. 'At any other time, this information would be utterly useless,' says Radl to his assistant Karl, 'but at this time, just after the F├╝hrer's request, it is utterly vital.'

That is the concept of synchronicity.

Why has Chxta gone through this round? Well only two days ago, Chxta talked about Chxta's little cousin who got his head broken at school, and has so far refused to speak up against the perpetrator. Chxta finds it instructive that this incident happened on the exact day that Chxta and Chxta's uncle were speaking about the black community's tendency to protect its criminals by refusing to speak with the appropriate law enforcement authorities. Make no mistakes about it, back in Naija, one can understand to some extent the refusal to cooperate with the police given that the Nigeria Police Force is corrupt from top to bottom. In this part of the world however, you are more likely to get justice from the police without having to settle some constable to do his job, hence Chxta can't understand why members of the community refuse to 'rat', thus providing a blanket for criminals to hide and continue perpetrating their nefarious activities.

Well, this strange concept of loyalty has reared its head in another place, the internet forum Naija Ryders.

Now, in Chxta's normal mode, Chxta likes to keep the internet internet, and real life real life. That means essentially that until Naija Ryders, Chxta has not set out to purposely meet people Chxta met on an internet forum in real life (exception being C0dec). However, NR changed all that, and Chxta has met quite a few other members in real life, some of whom Chxta finds extremely agreeable.

On Friday, one of the more agreeable members called Chxta, and it was apparent to Chxta that the girl was distressed. The reason is this: there is another member of that forum whom has been stalking her online. It began in another forum, and according to her, she got him banned there. Then it continued on NR. Fair enough it is the internet, so no worries, especially given that the same fellow treats some other female members in much the same way. Hey, for Chxta it was all part of the fun of being in a social forum (my first subject inspecific forum).

What became worrying however, was that this guy, who happens to be based in Naija began to take his behaviour to another level. He began to stalk the girl in real life. According to her, he obtained her phone number by posing as someone else, he obtained her family home address in Lagos from her website, and visited her family home without her permission. Then he began to text her and call her at odd hours. Some other female members of the forum had earlier complained about the same thing but were shouted down with phrases such as, 'You must have encouraged him'.

Things reached a head when Chxta tried to talk to the fellow in question in private. Unfortunately, the guy not only rebuffed Chxta's efforts, but actually went ahead to publish the details of his private conversation with Chxta. Was he trying to ridicule Chxta? In any event, Chxta's response was to open a new thread detailing all that had happened.

That thread got a large response, but eventually got locked (rightly) and deleted (unfortunately). Why was it rightly locked, and unfortunately deleted?

It was rightly locked in Chxta's opinion because a lot of people came into the thread and began to trivialise the issue on ground. Some making disparaging comments such as 'she must have encouraged him', 'she wants him,' etc. For the sake of clarity, even if a girl gives a prospective toaster the green light initially, when she says STOP, he ought to stop. We should also know when to draw the line between a joke and a serious issue, and invasion of privacy is no joking matter.

It was unfortunately deleted because such things have to be kept as a record. We can be so typically stupid when it comes to such issues. There are certain things that should not be buried in the hope that they would simply disappear. No, they should be kept there exposed for all to see so that they will not come back. Sweeping stuff under a carpet has never in history worked as a solution to the problem. Such things would eventually resurface, and would be more entrenched by then.

Let Chxta make one thing clear here. Chxta has sisters, and were it Chxta's sister that was at the receiving end of this kind of behaviour from some idiot, Chxta would make sure he gets arrested (in the UK), or gets beaten to near death or death itself (in Naija). That is what a lot of the guys who have made light of this issue have refused to think of. What if it were your sister? Then later we would wonder why girls get raped in Naija and refuse to even admit that a crime took place.

In any event, one of the things that has made Chxta so sad in this issue, is the silence of certain people who should know better, and who would have been in a position to clear this thing once and for all. In legal terms there is a maxim that says qui tacet consentit, it means silence gives consent. As is in the case of Chxta's cousin refusing to speak to the police, as is in the case of people who should know better in this issue refusing to speak, as is in the case of rape victims in countries like Naija refusing to report such crimes, their rather deafening silence has given consent to the actions of the perpetrator, AND IT WILL HAPPEN AGAIN.

Juve watch

Vincenzo Morabito, a FIFA agent has claimed that DD is responsible for a bit of dress room disharmony in Turin. Trez and Camo are openly dissing board and club at the moment, and Morabito says DD still calls them to instigate them. This is a serious allegation that would need to be cleared up ASAP by DD. More as it becomes available.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Basketmouth lands in soup

The problem with Guardian links is that they expire after 24 hours, but for those who read this between now and 1159 Lagos time, this is the link to the story below...

What he thought was a harmless joke told in far away Austria is now giving ace comedian Bright Okpocha popularly known as Basket Mouth, some sleepless nights.

The Nigerian comic had late last month in front of a capacity crowd in Austria reportedly said 'jokingly' that he does not like Austrians because they are racists. The crowd made up of Nigerians and their Austrian counterparts were said to be aghast with the way Basket Mouth toyed with a sensitive word such as racism, and in a host country. This development nearly tore the hall into two but frayed nerves according to a report by a Nigerian newspaper (not The Guardian), was calmed by the organisers. I Go Die, another Nigerian comedian on the Austrian show bill had to exercise extreme caution and 'redeemed' the image of the country with his fine performance according to the newspaper report.

Basket Mouth while confirming the incident said the news report was blown out of proportion and his alleged racist accusation of Austrians was exaggerated. He will however not confirm whether he actually called Austrians racists. The comedian is among the best in the country at present and his predicament brings to the fore the reckless manner comics in the laughter trade deliver their jokes to entertain members of the audience. They tend to get carried away and say things they ordinarily do not mean quite oblivious of the impact they may have on the recipient(s). It used to be a norm (it still is) for comics to make some audience members butt for their jokes. In Nigeria, both comedy show goers and comedians have some form of unwritten agreement not to take anything that transpires, personal! Perhaps Basket Mouth thought he was in Nigeria when he allegedly made that controversial assertion.

Nigerians, many believe are people with plenty sense of humour and as such, a joke that may get a foreigner angry, an average Nigerian would wave away. Basket Mouth forgot to put on his thinking cap in Austria, he would have learnt from the experience of fellow comic Tee A whose attempt to 'joke' with one of his foreign audience member at his maiden edition of his Tee A Live & Naked at the Shell Hall of the MUSON Centre, Lagos; nearly turned sour. Many were shocked when the fellow obviously from the Middle East became violent because of a widely perceived harmless joke. Basket Mouth was there, that was when he was learning the act from Tee A. He had always got away with jibes at Caucasian audience members at his shows who he sometimes asked if they had travel visas to Nigeria. The recipients always laugh it off and of course, the crowd enjoys the joke. Virtually all comedians are guilty of delivering reckless jokes. Perhaps the person that will go down in history as the most yabbed person in Nigeria is former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. These young men in the comedy world momentarily forget that he was the ruler of the country and take jibes at him that are sometimes personal. It got to a point that the State Security Service, SSS, had to step in to curb the embarrassing trend in May, last year, days before the Abuja edition of the biggest comedy fiesta in the country, Nite of a Thousand Laughs. The SSS invited Opa Williams, organiser of the event to its Lagos office where he was given strict instructions to tell the comedians on the Abuja show bill, to lay off any joke on 'Baba' as Obasanjo is often referred to, or face the consequence of immediate arrest right there on stage. This order nearly disrupted the Abuja show because all the comedians on the bill had plans to 'blast' Obasanjo before Abuja audience. So, it became a great task to rework their jokes to suit the SSS directive. Comedian Ayo Makun who is also called A Y, expressed his frustration at the time. "This development does not favour people like us at all because most of my jokes on multimedia screen is about Baba, they are not offensive jokes but now the SSS are saying no jokes about him. I had to change all my jokes and it costs me money because I went back to the studio," he lamented.

So many people have complained about the way comedians 'insult' their audience in the name of jokes. I Go Die may have saved the day in Austria, but this same comic is notorious for taking swipes at people during shows. The SSS in the meeting with Opa Williams specifically named I Go Die, Basket Mouth among others.

The present Delta State governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan when he was Secretary to the immediate past government of Chief James Ibori, took it upon himself to begin a campaign to stop comedians from using people of the oil city of Warri, Delta State as butts for the jokes. Comedians are fond of telling jokes about anything bad, which they say, originates from Warri. It is only in Warri that one cannot walk past Enerhen Junction (a popular area in the city) without losing his mobile phone; it is only in Warri that little kids run to where heavy machine gun fire is coming from among others. Uduaghan was so worried at the time despite the fact that he was a major supporter of comedy shows such as Made In Warri, A Y Live @ MUSON among others.

Opa Williams, the man who started the comedy revolution in the country is equally not comfortable with the abusive trend the whole thing had turned into. "Stand up comedy is not about abusing people, I have always told comedians on the bill of any of my shows but most of them would not listen. One can make people laugh without resorting to abuse and the idea of denigrating a particular ethnic group like Warri is one thing that should give right thinking people a whole lot of concern."

Perhaps, other comics would learn from the lessons of Basket Mouth in Austria and exercise caution whenever they on stage.
Brilliant as they are, our stand-ups need to get in tune with the sentiments of the communities in which they are performing. I also object to them targeting the vulnerable such as the physically and mentally disabled, the speech impaired, even the mixed race. I once saw Basketmouth set up and then hit on a mixed race girl calling her 'confused', simply because of her racial make-up.

I always also felt that their disrespect for Nigerian womanhood was out of order. Many Nigerian women find this offensive, but are quite powerless to do anything about it.

The ethnic jokes are also very common, especially the Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa and Warri stereotypes. But as long as the major ethnic groups are all fair game, nothing spoil. At least we are beginning to reach a stage where we can laugh at ourselves and our own stereotypes. Personally I think it is a sign of a growing confidence and maturity. The younger generation seem to take it even better than the older ones.

But women unfortunately can't fight back, and I do believe we should respect our women more. Mothers and wives are sacred.

Presidents are human too

Enough said.

Friday, June 15, 2007

When silence is not so golden

A few days ago, I had an appointment that took me out of London. My uncle decided to drop me at the train station on his way to work, so of course I hopped in. In trying to avoid the serious case of traffic that occurred along the Streatham High Road that morning, we passed through an estate behind the Brixton Tube Station, Sommer Leyton Estate. For the first time in months I saw as many potholes on a given stretch of road (there's a pothole somewhere in Hendon, but it's only one on the road) as there are on Nnobi Road in Surulere. There were that many, and the ride reminded me of that trip between Nkpor and Obosi (okay, I'm exaggerating here...).

In any event, one thing I noticed (and I hate this fact) was that most of the people I saw swaying around that neighbourhood were black. My initial reaction was that the neighbourhood was abandoned because it is more or less a predominantly black neighbourhood, and I voiced that concern to my uncle. His response however, was more to the contrary. According to him, when things such as the roads or the plumbing go wrong in a white dominated neighbourhood, the estate managers would get absolutely no rest as a result of the complaints from the residents. Same way, when there is a rise in crime, the police would get no rest. But if it is a predominantly black neighbourhood, the reaction of the residents would be...silence. He went further to explain that estate managers, police, and social services in this part of the world are not actually as driven around the workplace as we make them out to be in our part of the world. His contention (and that estate serves as an example), is that they don't just walk around looking for problems to fix. However, when they are alerted to something, they get of their arses, and do their jobs. He would know you see, he is an estate manager.

In any event, eventually we got to the station from where I was to depart, I went to Maidenhead, did what I went there for, and returned to London that evening to hear some rather disturbing news. My cousin (he's 14) had been taken to hospital from school because some bugger broke his head. It wasn't a fight, it was an attack! The reason for the attack is irrelevant from my point of view, what matters to is this: young man gets attacked by someone who was in his class back in the day, the perpetrator is someone who had previously been in a detention home, the perpetrator is of African (not Nigerian thank God) parentage, the police came over to the school and arrested the boy (he attacked someone else that day as well).

The guy was released the next day because he already had a solicitor who advised him not to speak to the police (try that at Area F, Ikeja), so given that he has a right to remain silent, and my cousin was under intensive care in a hospital (he had to have an operation to save his eye), the police couldn't detain the young man longer than a specified period. He was released.

The next day, I didn't have anywhere to go, so I was at home, and guess who called? The perpetrator's aunt. She spoke to my cousin (the senior sis of the victim) because the parents weren't home. What did she call for? To apologise for her nephew's behaviour, and then to convince my people not to press charges because that is not how we do things back home. Bollocks.

I think this is part of the problem with the black community in the diaspora. We hear of shootings every now and then in areas like Brixton, and when the police come over to ask for witnesses, zip. There is this culture of silence that they think is cool, but in actuality helps no one. People like the perpetrator of this assault on my little cousin walk free thinking that they are invincible because no one would tell the police what actually happened. Take the Damilola Taylor case as an example. It took the police three years to get a satisfactory lead because of this stonewall. Same thing seems to be manifesting in the Michael Dosunmu case. No one seems to realise that the more you keep quiet, the more these jits would feel like they can do anything.

But then again, it is probably true that that is the way we do it back home, because even in Naija I can count off the top of my head so many occasions where something terrible happened, and no one bothered to talk. Instead we attempt to settle it ourselves. Some would say it is a family matter (thanks Obj).

In any event, my uncle and aunt want to do the right thing (in my opinion at least) and speak with the police. However, there is a little problem, their son. You see out here he has 'rights', and they can't force him to talk to the police. At the moment he's saying crap like 'I don't want to be a rat,' and 'We will get him ourselves'. Bollocks. Back home, a few strokes of a properly peppered koboko would sort him out. Out here, speaking to the police is his prerogative, and if he refuses to cooperate, there is nothing the parents can do, so the cycle would continue, as well as those potholes in Brixton...

Naija politricks

So the game of musical chairs in Anambra state continues and Peter Obi is named as the not so new governor. While on paper this appears good because once again it kinda asserts the independence of the judiciary, I can't help but wonder how long it would take for the State House to find a reason to impeach him...

Asari Dokubo has been 'released' to the Niger Delta public on health grounds. Hmm, Paris Hilton in Naija? There are various ways to look at this, there are those who think that the government is giving in to terrorists, and there are others who think that this is the only way out.

I must sound a note of caution here however, this 'release' would only be worth it only if the situation in the Niger Delta improves markedly. There is a slight problem on my part with how it was done because it gives the impression that the executive can still tamper with the Judiciary to get what it wants especially since the Supreme Court had denied a similar request not a few days ago.

We must also take note that he is out on bail under an order not to participate in politics which is odd since tampering down the violent activity over there - which he is expected to do - is by definition political activity. However while I would still look at the likes of Dokubo askance, I would hope for the best. A lot of the 'militants' have made his release a condition for them to stop their brigandage, the ball is definitely in their court now.