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Category Archives: Reviews

Taken 2

 

Liam Neeson: Taken 2

I glanced at my watch. Only 20 minutes before the movie begins. Am I going to get there on time with weekend traffic already beginning to form? What if I do not get there in time, do I have a backup plan? Is it better to postpone this till tomorrow? These and more queries raced across my mind as I got into I-495 on my way to the movie theatre. I had been waiting for the movie Taken 2 for about a month now, and goodness knows I did not want to be late.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I have a particular odd thing about me when it comes to watching movies. It is that I want to be seated down comfortably BEFORE the movie begins. Any regular movie enthusiast knows that there is usually that 15 minutes of previews for movies that are coming out later in the year AFTER which the movie one comes to watch starts to show. I am such that if I missed these previews and then let’s say the real movie has proceeded by as little as only 2 minutes, I cannot watch that movie for that allotted time—I’ll simply go and get a refund or get tickets for the next scheduled show! I don’t know why that is, but that’s how I am wired. So, you can tell that I was flying like hounds out of hell as I raced towards the theatre. Weird?  If yes, then I am guilty.

At any rate, I got there just in the nick of time. I hastily pulled into the parking lot, made a wide sweeping arc and came to rest in my parking spot; then I jumped out of the car and was bounding straight into the theatre because I needed to be seated BEFORE the previews begin. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see two women parked in their SUV staring at me in utter disbelief as they leisurely rolled up their windows. They must be wondering whether I had forgotten something in the theatre judging by the way I was hurrying along.

Luckily for me, I did not have to wait long to buy my ticket. Oh yeah, that reminds me—I think I have to sign up with Fandango in order to get my tickets in advance. It does not make any sense that up till now I’ve not done so. In no time at all I found myself slithering to the back of a packed movie theatre.  I found a good seat at the back of the theatre but I have to say that it didn’t make sense that so many people had already come out to see this movie at this time. What in the world were they trying to prove? What was their business out here this early on the weekend? Seriously, isn’t this why there are Saturdays—so that all these over-expectant people can come out in the evening of a Saturday and thus not wreck my Friday movie watching experience? Somehow they must not have gotten that memo.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have the pleasure to announce to you that this movie, Taken 2 was good. Before you decide to see this movie however, do yourself a favor and see the first installment if you’ve not already done so. At this point, I am tempted to break down the movie but I know you would not like me to ruin the experience for you before you got the chance to see it, right?

Liam Neeson may be 60 years old but in this action-packed flick, he was dealing out justice and exacting vengeance with all the grit of a young, daring swashbuckler. This was better than the first installment—a feat that is rarely seen these days. I think I’ll hunt down more movies from him in the past now. Go and see the movie—you might just like it!

 

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Gangnam Style

You’ve already heard this song called Gangnam Style by a South Korean named PSY. If you have not, seriously, in what corner of the world are you? 🙂 So, this is the song ( I think) that has the most views ever on Youtube–276,998,929 and still rising! At first, I started wondering what so was special about the song but as I listened to it, and saw parodies and flash-mobs performing the song, I realized that the song had a more global appeal than I had previously imagined.

Isn’t it amazing how YouTube (and the Internet of course) has revolutionized our world and made it seem smaller? One lucky chap in one corner of the world puts a video on YouTube and instantly becomes a global celebrity! Keep your dreams and hopes alive people–you never know how you’ll get that lucky break!

Here are other imitations for your viewing pleasure:

Birthday Cake….

Birthday Cake

You may have heard it said that birthdays are just nature’s way of telling us to eat more cake. I don’t know how true this saying is, and frankly I don’t care about cakes or birthdays. But on my birthday this year, as strange as this might sound to you, someone surprised me with a personal cake for my birthday. This year is the second year in a row that I’ve had my birthday celebrated in the company of friends and family. I am not usually one for big mushy moments, so l sometimes find myself wondering why my friends and family are always secretly organizing these overly sentimental get-togethers and putting me smack dab at the receiving end of suspiciously warm and elaborate well-wishes. At any rate, the event was a rousing success and it helped remind me once more the invaluableness of genuine friends and a loving family.

As for that cake, it did not have an amazing evening I am sorry to say. Hungry souls devoured the cake no sooner than I had dropped the knife with which I cut the cake. All’s fair in a gathering of hungry but emotional birthday well-wishers, and they did justice to the cake and the food that were prepared on that day. If I am alive to see another birthday, I hope I can have some much needed peace and quiet. You know what? I think I’ll just skip town when the time comes. Why? There is a limited number of times I want to see close friends and family get misty-eyed and cheerful at the same time.  What about you? How did you celebrate your birthday?

End Of A Glorious Season

After what must have seemed to some like an interminable span of time, the second season of the Godfather’s General Knowledge Trivia (GFGKT) game has now officially come to an end. It was a very memorable and powerful season for me personally, and I know that it was for you too. Over the course of 10 different episodes, our amazing Bunibuni contestants jostled fiercely for a spot on the leaderboard of Bunibuni’s distinguished intellectual giants—and that did not fail to come with its fair share of high and low moments. At any rate, I want to use this medium to express my deepest appreciation and regard for these sharp minds who have participated in these grueling mental games. My hope is that at the end of it all (when you cast your mind back over the entire season), you would have genuine cause to say that the questions asked were challenging and that you learned or took home a thing or two.

Season 2 was very different from the pilot season.

First, the grading was different. For those who were around in season 1, you might remember that we used a winner-takes-all formula. The first person to answer a question correctly walked away with all the possible 5 points for that round. As a result, we had an unsettling situation where many people knew the answers to questions, but could never get on the leaderboard because they just weren’t that fast in typing. It was also doubly frustrating when you consider that the time interval between the first 3 correct answers could in some cases literally be milliseconds! It did not seem fair to me that people would struggle to type in a correct answer and lose out simply because a faster typist got to the screen a hair-raising millisecond first.

To that effect, I tweaked the grading scheme for Season 2 games. I began to accept the first three correct answers to hit the screen:

  • first person got the full 5 points;
  • the 2nd person gets 4 points if his or her answer immediately followed the first person’s answer  OR 3 points if there is any incorrect answer before the 2nd correct answer gets to the screen;
  • 3 points if the 3rd answer immediately followed the 2nd person who got 4 points OR 2 points if the third person’s answer came immediately after the 2nd person gets three points OR 1 point if the third person’s answer came after an incorrect answer follows the 3 points earned by the 2nd person.

This may sound complicated and perhaps unfathomable to some, but do not worry, I have done it often enough times that it is second nature to me now, and I take due diligence to honestly and accurately give each contestant the point(s) he or she has worked hard for. At this juncture, if you are a new participant, you can always go here to read the basic rules of the game to see how we play.

The second thing that was different about season 2 was the increased number of participants who came out week after week. At first I had my doubts about the level of interest that Bunibuni members would show for this game. Let’s face it—there are a number of things that people might as well be doing rather than spend the 2.5- 3 hours it takes for us to get through an episode. Besides, not too many people are eager to sit in an adrenaline-packed atmosphere slugging through hours of rigorous mental activity against other equally highly-motivated competitors. Far too many people would fold like cheap suits under that sort of pressure. It was therefore amazing to observe that more people actively participated in season 2 as is reflected by all the names which found their way to the leaderboard. Of course, not everyone who participated found a way to get on the score sheet which is why we must sincerely congratulate anyone who made it to the board at all. It is a testimony to the mental brawn in glaring supercharged display evident at any one of these trivia games. If you missed this season due to one circumstance or the other, do not fail to be part of Season 3; I can guarantee that you will find it richly rewarding.

I am sure that one can find other things that made Season 2 stand out but one more thing that readily comes to mind was the way with which we mixed in the highly entertaining Spelling game with regular trivia. I know that most people preferred the spelling games because they were somewhat easier and more entertaining so it was utterly unfair for them to amass points from the Spelling Game which previously counted for nothing. In order for people to pool their Spelling Game points towards their grand total, I incorporated the Spelling Game into the trivia. It has worked out well. I am sure as we go on in future seasons there will be other tweaks and changes so that this trivia game will continue to achieve the stated purpose of providing a multifaceted intellectually stimulating experience.

Season 2 had a lot of memorable characters. I shall first of all doff my hats to the top 10 people. These ladies and gentlemen were certainly the crème de la crème. I am of course talking about titans like the abrasive Vicker, the patient Ninja, the competitive Molade, the missing-in-action Fringe, the hilarious Bruno, the completely-vanished Olabisi, the hardworking Camila/Jennifer, the peacefully adorable Princess Juubs, the tactically clever Gem, and the deceptively-named but keenly astute polyamorist Nitwit/Tintin. These are truly high-bar setters; in season 3, I’d be curious to see if new players might break into the ranks of the top 10.

I shall not forget to mention people like Siarani, Haryour, Balotelli, Timberlake, President Joe, Saganity, HoneyChocolate and Mikkey for their easy-going, laughter-inducing quips and contributions. These guys helped to ease the fierce competitive tension in the room and I am frankly grateful for all their contributions. In the same vein, I must also personally remember and thank Honeybee for blessing the trivia with her unique brand of humor. I can’t tell you how many times I found myself laughing at the way she was giggling and laughing while she interacted with the questions. She was an absolute delight on the microphone during the Spelling Games as she made me laugh so many times when she would point out how bizarre and off-the-mark some of the answers were. Her attitude and disposition towards the game is the best—she was always chuckling and enjoying herself in sharp contrast to some people (you know yourselves) who were, in a number of instances, almost ready to come to blows. I wish everyone would adopt her comportment during these games when they realize that while we want to compete fervently, this is still intended to be a fun exercise and not a blood-sport.

Finally, on behalf of this our beloved website, and as a means of encouraging participation, I wish to sincerely thank the top three contestants and to remind us once again that as the winners of this season’s GFGKT they have respectively won $500, $350 and $150. They totally deserved it and I hope no one begrudges them the fruits of their diligence and labor. In any case, this should provide some motivation for others to strive to do better than they did this season.

Even though we’ve just come to the end of Season 2, and Season 3 seems very far away, I’ll urge you not to rest on your oars or disappear completely. Here’s the cliffhanger: ever before we officially get to the beginning of Season 3, I may periodically drop announcements in the chatroom or on the Facebook discussion group for an impromptu pre-season Spelling Game or Trivia. It is therefore in your best interest to not disappear completely. This is because even though we’d have only 10 episodes in Season 3, these random pre-Season games will definitely count. The reason for this is simple: we wouldn’t want a situation where people disappear altogether at the end of the season hoping to swoop in during the beginning of a season to compete against the people who have faithfully continued to come to the site in the intervening months. Therefore, be on the look-out for random Facebook notifications about impending Spelling Games or Trivia. Talk to your friends about this; invite them to come and play. You might not know what surprises may lie ahead!

I wish you the very best with your academic work or your professional career till the beginning of Season 3. As usual there will be prizes to be won! Adios!

P.S If you have any comments, questions, suggestions or concerns, please use the comment box below to bring it to my attention.

Introducing Spotify

Check out this song from P-Square

What do you think of this song?

A Few Irritating Things

By nature, I am the sort of person that deeply respects people’s personal space; one that likes for people to live their lives how they see fit—provided that such choices on their part do not in principle disrupt or needlessly interfere with mine. In many aspects, I am somewhat introverted: albeit public speaking or social interactions have never been a problem of mine. As a matter of fact, in social settings, I can freely interact and have as much fun as the next guy. I say these things beforehand because I am about to list a few things that I do not particularly care for; things which may, if interpreted wrongly, be fodder for some muddleheaded simplistic misrepresentation of my character or disposition.

You can call these things my pet peeves or whatever names you fancy—and I guarantee you that as often as I remember more of these things, I’ll add to this list. I am also willing to bet that you may find some points on which you and I are in agreement. Now, if after reading this, you are convinced that these annoying things are completely baseless and without merit, or that I am due for some psychiatric evaluation, do yourself a favor—take a long walk off a short pier. Got it? Good! Now that all the self-righteous turd-buckets have left this page, feel free to enjoy, or not enjoy: I didn’t ask you to read this anyway, did I? Of course I didn’t—you are reading at your own risk. There, I have given you fair warning.

Inane Generalizations: When people generalize, they usually extrapolate an observation or experience or deduction far beyond its necessary reach. This is without question, an example of fallacious or erroneous thinking. All too often many people employ inane generalizations in either written or oral conversations because they are deceptively easy leaps that people make without bothering to investigate their far-reaching conclusions. For example, suppose you are talking to some lady who might have been heartbroken because of the infidelity of her husband or boyfriend. So she narrates how that jerk used and abused her until she finally broke it off. Let’s also say that this woman has also previously dated or married four guys before the last one and indeed it turned out that all these guys were likewise men of dishonorable character. It is deceptively easy and common to hear such women decide never to date or marry again for the foreseeable future. Do you want to know the common reason adduced to explain their reticence? Because: Men are dishonest, dishonorable, lying pigs.  Now, do you notice here that this woman has condemned practically all men (or if you like most men) based on her previous experience with 5 men? How is her interaction with 5 or 10, or 50 men enough to qualitatively or morally analyze all the men or most of the men out there? Suppose, she decides to play a numbers game and thus asserts that all her female friends, and most of the women she had interacted with, or read about, have expressed the same sentiment? Suppose she argues for instance that she has about 100 unique examples to buttress her argument? Does that therefore imply that most or all men deserve her withering condescension and blame? The answer is clearly NO. The fact is that there are still millions upon millions of decent and respectable men who she had never interacted with and would never ever get to interact with in the first place. Her generalization is unfounded and thus unnecessary.

The alarming thing is that there are very many examples of this if you bother to listen attentively to many people. I am not talking about those cases where a person generalizing might just be trying to rile people up or get people to discuss a matter. I am talking of all those cases where people substitute generalizations for sound arguments and argue strenuously that these generalizations are indeed not only observable but demonstrably true. For example: “Americans are generally dumb and overweight yokels”,  “Nigerians are scammers”,  “Women who marry rich men are simply gold-diggers”, “Black people are generally lazy” ,  “Most Muslims are terrorists or terrorist-sympathizers” etc. Many seem to think that by merely narrating a few cases of some negative experience, they have adequately erected a foundation upon which to cast blanket or generalized blame. In all these, the culprit is taking the actions or observations about a few and tarring the whole with it. This works in the reverse as well namely to positively assess or praise a whole based on the actions of a few. It goes without saying that the better thing to do is to judge things on their own individual merits or demerits; and if for any reason one wants to characterize a whole, one should take special care to adequately qualify such extrapolations.

B) Driving slowly on the speed lane: For my readers who are not in the United States, let me explain this first. Most of the standard US highways (expressway, freeway, whatever you call it) have about 3 or more lanes. American roads are built such that they are all interconnected—especially by ramps located on the right. Therefore, for the most part, when people want to exit a highway to get on to other secondary roads they would get to the extreme right lane and then take the approaching exit ramp. Therefore, it is not surprising for cars on the extreme right lane of major highways to proceed at a relatively slower pace; nor indeed is it surprising for slower or older drivers to be on this slower lane. Conversely, the extreme left lane is considered the ‘speed lane’. This is because people on this lane have quite a distance to drive before they get to their respective exits.  Because of this, people on this lane tend to proceed at a relatively faster pace than people on all the other adjacent lanes. It is even illegal for big trucks and trailers to get on this extreme right lane. No matter how fast a truck or trailer driver is (and at night with fewer drivers on the road, these truck drivers really go fast), he is required by law to not enter this ‘speed lane’.

 Therefore, I consider it the height of rudeness and incivility for slow drivers (drivers that are so slow that tortoises would give them a run for their money) to get on the speed lane and back it up for miles. The more annoying part of it is that when you tap your horn gently behind these creeping wastes of skin, signaling your request for them to move over to the next relatively slower lane, you are merely making the matter worse. They’ll respond by reducing their speed even further forcing you to pass them on the other lane. Of course if you are in a police vehicle, these lumbering meatheads will quickly get out of your way. This hypocrisy gets my goat every time. It is just inexcusable. While on the highway, if you insist on driving like you are terrified of the accelerator, have the common decency to move your trudging automobile to the slower side of the road. You may have all day to slither along to your final destination, but the rest of us don’t have that kind of time. Personally, I would suggest that you get yourself a driver or sit your slow-driving hind parts at home and spare us all the grief.

 C) Small  items with Credit Cards: Have you ever come across these bozos that run into a convenience store to grab one piece of chewing gum and then have to hold up the line fumbling in their pockets for loose change? From a customer point of view, I absolutely hate that. I feel that you should have your money ready at hand to pay for whatever single, less-than-$5 item you want to buy. I can understand if you have a trolley-full of consumer items and in the general disorder of trying to get every item accounted for, you took some time to retrieve the money tucked into some corner of your purse or hand bag as the cashier continues to ring you up. That is understandable. Also, I can understand that you might not have as much cash as you might have thought you needed and so you may have to dig inside your wallet or purse to find your credit/debit card to pay for big ticket item/items. What I have failed to understand are these inbreds who walk into a convenience store with the sole aim of buying a 99-cents item (or for that matter anything less than 5 bucks) approaching the cashier to pay for them with credit/debit cards and/or possibly holding up the line in the process! From a retailer’s point of view, it doesn’t even make that much sense to have to constantly pay a fraction of a customer’s deferred costs so that they can skip on out with some gummyworms or some fresh-breath mints! If you want to pop in for a stick of candy, or a pack of gum, or one miserable doughnut, get some cash to pay for it even if it means using an ATM machine. Let’s not all stand in line waiting for some bank to approve your miserable purchase! It is even worse when the bank declines the card. Now, this rotund doughnut-craving retard will waste more of my time arguing with the cashier and demanding that the card be swiped an indefinite number of times in the vain hope that the purchase would be made. If you are one of such people, let me tell you what every other person in line behind you is possibly thinking: You are a laughable ninny and the sooner you bundled yourself out of the store, the sooner you would stop your embarrassment and the better for us all!

D) Talking or texting in movie theatres: There is a group of people that deserve to beaten over the head with a bag of hammers. This is putting it mildly.  They are these simpletons who think that the best time to call or text the acquaintances in their miserable existence are precisely when they are in a movie theatre watching a movie! These people really deserve to have a hot smoldering piece of iron forced up their rectums. Why, in the name of all that is sacred, can these urchins NOT resist the urge to disrupt others’ movie-going experience? What is absolutely so important that you cannot respond to or text back after the movie? If it was so important, why can you not do the courteous thing and walk out of the theatre to pick your call? It doesn’t even help matters when these miscreants are loud and obnoxious: as if daring anyone within earshot to cast a disapproving glance their way or worse to politely ask them to refrain! It is either that these numbskulls do not realize that the LED lights from their mobile devices disturb or interfere with the desirable completely dark background of the movie theatre, or they probably think that with the theatre’s acoustic surround sound, other people would not hear them cackling away on their phones! And lest I forget, talking in theatres is not limited to phone discussions. I shall not forget the jumpy and noisy folks who talk about the movie whilst watching the movie! Look here mongrel, this is not your living room. As you can see, you are in a public space and you should try as much as lies within you to live up to the acceptable bounds of decorum. If you are in your room, feel free to howl your head off as you watch a movie, but since you are not there, please allow us to hear and digest the movie without your unnecessary verbal ticks—in other words, please shut your pie-hole, turn off the bloody cellphone and allow us to get through this hour-and-a-half movie in peace!

(To be continued)

P.S—Feel free to add your own pet peeves in the comments section.

Plasas: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

After 12 Café African and Carribean Carryout

I was talking to a Sierra Leonean friend of mine recently and somewhere along the discussion I remarked that I had never tasted a Sierra Leonean dish. Judging by her reaction, it was as if I had said something that was completely incredible. How was it possible that I had some Sierra Leonean (Salone) friends and never got to try one of their dishes? On different occasions she had mentioned that she cooked something called plasas—and I think at this point I really wanted to know what plasas looked and tasted like.

So she started to describe this Salone dish called plasas in a tone of voice that suggested it was something I would really love to try. Now, if you know anything about me, you know that I absolutely love a challenge—and I’ll try any dish at least once to see what it might taste like. I might pass out afterwards, but it will never be said that I was presented with a properly cooked traditional African dish and I simply refused to taste it.

Now, her attempt to describe this dish was not a success at all. She ended up confusing me. It was probably the excitement of wanting to win me over to some Salone cuisine, but somehow in the process of describing what plasas were she had mentioned potato leaf, cassava leaf, bitter leaf, pepper soup, boil soup, peanut butter soup, rice and stew, okro, fufu, tola and a lot of other things. My eyes began to cloud over; it was just a lot of information. As she explained, she said that plasas was just a mixture of leaves with creatures!  I immediately began to cringe. I had that uncomfortable feeling one might have when confronted with a disgusting sight. What sort of unsightly little vegetation-ingesting little creatures like caterpillars or grubs might have actually made their way into the pot? At that point, unsure of how to describe this without confusing me any further, she simply began to look for an online picture to show me just what the dish was like.

While she searched, I took the opportunity to deride Salone cuisine. How indeed could people eat sugary or sweetened akara balls? How is it possible for someone to drink garri with salt instead of sugar? And on what planet, do people eat rice with groundnut paste? Yes, I told her quite plainly that in my estimation, and judging by some of the things they ate regularly, Sierra Leoneans had a weird palate. Now, if you are a Sierra Leonean reading this, resist the temptation to swear at me under your breath or to simply close the page. I was only kidding, okay? Don’t get your undies in a twist already. My heckling only served to get her to poke fun at Nigerian cuisine which sort of amused me greatly.

At long last, she found a picture and triumphantly showed it to me. It was as though in her mind she was saying. “Get a load of this yummy goodness and see if you are not simply blown away!” Well, to be quite frank, the picture I was shown was indistinguishable from the byproducts of a child with a severe case of the runs. One look at that fecal lookalike was all I needed to decide not to ever try plasas at all.  But if you recall, I love a good challenge. So, I asked her to find me a Sierra Leonean restaurant or food carry-out place so that I could go there and at least try something. Perhaps, the picture was not doing justice to this particular dish or she might simply have obtained a less presentable picture of what could in fact be a gorgeous dish.

Soon she was able to locate a restaurant here. It was called After 12 Café African and Carribean Carryout. She furnished me with the address of this place, and all that was left was for me to man up, go to this place, and order something.  What’s the worst that could possibly happen if I did not like the dish? In the worst case scenario, I’ll just fling the obscenity (if it was truly horrendous) into the trash, and thenceforth remember not to eat anything that I was not familiar with should I ever find myself in a Sierra Leonean’s house.

So when I was good and ready, I actually went down there like I had determined to do.

Main Menu Board

It was a very small restaurant—if indeed the place could be called a restaurant. It was more like a tiny office space restructured to look like a place of business; I imagined it has a makeshift kitchen sitting in the back of a front counter sealed off by bullet-proof glass; all around the little room, you could see different Salone-related articles on display. Indeed, it was just a carryout; a little Salone carryout. To say the least, I was a little disappointed. In hindsight, it was probably a good thing that I didn’t bring someone along with me on this first attempt. You can imagine how crushed they would have been if I had left all the comparatively bigger and nicer dining places to come to this little makeshift carryout place.  I kept wondering if I should just turn around and leave. At any rate, I comforted myself with the thought that I came there on a first-case, experimental basis and that being the case, only the quality of the food should count—not  the interior décor, nor the ambience, nor indeed the professionalism of waiters/waitresses as the case may be.

The Side Menu Board

After looking around for what must have seemed like an eternity, I walked up to the man behind the bullet-proof glass panes and ordered my extra spicy potato leaf plasas with white rice and meat. I paid for the food and left promptly. I definitely would not eat at the lonely table they had sitting dejectedly in the corner—certainly not when other people who sauntered into the place could order their food, stand around looking at me, get their orders and roll right out. I went home and settled down to try this Salone dish. I must go through this ordeal; the die had been cast.

Potato Leaf Plasas

I tasted the first scoop.  I remembered immediately that I had eaten something like this before from a Liberian friend of mine. I won’t trouble you further with many words at this point—the long and short of it all is that I absolutely loved the plasas and thus devoured the food hungrily. I’ll definitely go back there again to try other dishes.

Thor

Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Odin (Anthony Hopkins) in the movie THOR

Last weekend, I went to see the movie Thor. After hearing or reading people talking about another sensational movie from Marvel comics, I figured that it wouldn’t hurt to check out this movie. It was in 3-D, so as you can imagine, I already prepared my mind for what promises to be a grand visual and auditory experience.

Suffice it to say that after seeing the movie, I can’t remember why I thought this movie would be spectacular. It really was just an overhyped CGI baby—as a matter of fact, if anyone is used to watching movies from Marvel comics on superheroes, they’d be hard-pressed to reconcile this movie Thor with their distinct expectations.

Without any apologies, I don’t think it deserved to be on 3-D. The movie was big on computer generated imagery, but not much about it required it to be in 3-D. There would not be much of a difference if this was rendered in 2-D. It would just be like any other old-fashioned CGI-dominated sci-fi set in some fictive realm in outer space.  To be blunt, that’s all this movie really is—a cheesy, overly fictionalized, computer graphics-generated harum scarum set in some unknown realm of space.

Apparently, they just took the Norse myths of old, and worked out a story. It is the story of how Thor, the son of Odin, king of the Asatru pantheon, rebelled against his father’s methods and was subsequently cast out of Asgard. Thinking his father to be weak, old and ineffective, Thor took it upon himself to go with a few of his friends to Jotunheim to fight the Frost Giants. There he quickly discovers that bravery can only lead you so far without wisdom and cunning. Luckily for him, his father Odin arrives just in time to save the Asgardian warriors from certain annihilation down in Jotunheim. Thor gets banished to earth where he learns the necessary lessons in humility, circumspection and sacrifice. Afterwards he is restored to his former estate.

That is the movie in a nutshell.  You’ll have to watch the movie to see the details. I am not quite telling you to see this movie or not to see it.  You’ll have to make that decision yourself. If you love sci-fi then there is a good chance you’ll like this movie. For the rest of us who thoroughly enjoyed movies like the Xmen series, the Spiderman series, Iron Man 1&2, Incredible Hulk, Batman and other quality Superhero movies, I can say this movie did not meet to the mark; it left much to be desired. It just reminded me of that hopeless movie Watchmen—and we all know what a colossal flop that was. I hope the upcoming Superhero epic called Captain America is way better than this.

What are your thoughts on the movie? Did you like it? If yes (and I suspect most people would say YES), what about this movie really tickled your fancy or made it such that you would recommend this movie to anyone? Other than the CG-imagery, was there much about this movie that suggested the rugged, human superhero to you?

Review: Sam Harris vs William Lane Craig

 

Sam Harris

I just finished watching a debate held at the University of Notre Dame between Sam Harris and William Lane Craig on the topic “Is Good From God?” The audio and video of this debate can be located further down on this page in the comment section. I’ll encourage you to watch or listen to it as objectively as you possibly can.

First of all, I have to commend Sam Harris for actually agreeing to a debate on an issue like this. He is one of the four horsemen of Atheism in the world, and as such, his views on the issue of morality, is predictably going to carry some weight.

As we have seen, Dawkins has refused to debate Craig despite a flood of requests for him to do so. After all, as the chief apostle of Atheism in the world, you would think that he shouldn’t feel any qualms about an honest discussion on the God-issues he regularly inveighs against. What is he so terrified about that he consistently shuns a debate with Craig? If he is so sure and correct about his beliefs, and he wants to expose the pathetic ‘ignorance’ or unreasonableness of Theism, then he shouldn’t mind a discussion/debate with one of Theism’s strongest apologists.

Dennett has also interacted with Craig—Dennett is also a philosopher like Craig.  But as we have seen in that exchange, and with other debates involving Dennett, he is practically useless at formal debates. As a matter of fact, he is so inept at it that you can practically feel his embarrassment when he is trounced by the opposite side.

What about Hitchens? Hitchens is probably the most oratorical of the New Atheists, but he came to the debate with Craig very unprepared; unprepared to deal with the arguments that Craig laid out and sometimes, even unprepared to have his own positions logically and critically examined. As a result he was also defeated in that debate.

 

William Lane Craig

Now, I have to point out that the rightness or wrongness of a worldview is not predicated on how poorly or how magnificently someone performs in a debate. But you have to marvel at the unjustified arrogance of the New Atheists when their best spokespersons are regularly confounded in debates against the side they deem to be populated by unsophisticated ‘faith heads’ and possibly delusional or psychopathic people.

Back to this debate with Sam Harris—I have to say that Sam Harris actually carried himself well. His task in this debate seemed to be to establish that science has a say in any discussion on Morality. He wanted to show that “the good” is just anything that tends to increase or maximize creaturely survival and comfort; and that “the bad” is anything that tends to decrease the chances of creaturely survival and comfort. His debate was liberally sprinkled with strong moral declarations. There wasn’t any doubt that he clearly apprehended a realm of objective moral values. On the existence of clear and objective moral values, he seemed to be pretty much in agreement with Craig. The only difference was that he could not provide a basis or foundation for these moral values that he eloquently espoused.

Craig, as he was wont to do, agreed with Harris’ moral indignation at some things that happen in the world.  However, Craig’s burden in this debate was to show that objective moral values were properly grounded in God. In other words, the debate was not about whether Atheists could be moral, or whether they can live and act morally.  Craig already concedes that indeed Atheists can and do live moral lives. The debate also was not on Moral Epistemology (which is how we come to know morals). It was on Moral Ontology—the existence in the real world of moral imperatives. Craig would argue that on an atheist worldview, there is no anchor or foundation for morality and as such, nothing on atheism makes morality binding on us. His argument seems to be that you need a transcendental anchor (in God) for the moral imperatives that force themselves on us.

Frankly, there was nothing new in this debate. If you’ve ever watched Atheists and Theists debate publicly and openly on the issue of Morality, you’ll find that the same issues are talked about ad nauseam. In fact, at this stage, it appears that the two sides are set in their ways and cannot be persuaded by the other no matter how well their viewpoints are articulated.

Nwa Baby

There is a popular Igbo Nigerian song on YouTube by Flavour N’Abania. It is called Nwa Baby. Anybody who has been listening to the increasingly amazing dance-worthy beats that are now emerging from Nigeria on a constant basis would not fail to have heard this particular song. Now, a lot of what Flavor and his friends were saying on the track were in the Igbo language, and while that has not stopped a lot of non-Igbo listeners from appreciating the song, I felt compelled to give a full translation of this song to English for the benefit of those who might be wondering exactly what was being said.

In this fairly detailed translation that you are about to read, I’ll attempt to translate the lyrics of this song as they should be understood in the best context—it is not just going to be a shoddy, simple, word-for-word translation. I’ll try as much as I can (granted that I am not Flavour himself who can improve on this), to explain what the song is saying.

The words of the song will be rendered in bold font after which I’ll give an underlined direct translation where necessary. Then, in brackets, I’ll explain it in detail.

Don’t you wish someone would do the same for all those other songs you are inconspicuously drawn to even though you know not the meaning of the words?

Flavour – Nwababy


(MC announces and introduces Flavor N’abania): Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you the rave of the moment: FLAVOUR N’ABANIA!!

(applause as music begins in presumably a party scene)

(1st voice) Alcohol

(2nd voice) look, look, wait, mba—alhohol {the second voice on the track is suggesting a more fanciful frat-boy, beer-parlor or college lingo when he objects to the word ‘alcohol’ and substitutes ‘alhohol’}

(3rd voice says jokingly) Olingo…Olingo gbukwe ghu =freebies—perish with freebies! {this voice playfully chides the 2nd voice for wanting freebies as buddies would normally do when they are in a group}

Flavour picks up here, addressing some gorgeous babe in this party scene that caught his eye…

(7 times) Nwababy…nye m ife gi = Baby girl…give me that which you have {Here, Flavour drops a masterful pun—a masterful play on words by using the term “nye m ife gi” which indicates he wants something from the girl he is addressing but the phrase is safe enough as to be understood in a multitude of contexts. He could be asking for her attention, for a dance with her, for her smile, for her beauty, etc. As the song progresses, it becomes gradually clear that he wants her body; he wants to make love to her}

Nwababy..nye m ife gi. Okwa n’abania = Baby girl.. give me that which you have. This very night.

I don hammer no be small, now it’s time to chop money {I have hit the jackpot/I have made it big/I am rich now and so now it is the time to spend some money}

Somebody say “N’abania, na-atakwanu ife umu nwanyi a” {Will someone holler “Tonight, ladies you can eat anything you want”. Flavour is trying to make it rain at the party obviously, so he is indicating that the ladies present can eat and drink at his expense}

See dem girls dem plenty = I see a lot of girls here {since this party scene is probably crawling with a lot of college-type babes of the Nigerian variety,  of which many have the reputation of trading sexual favors for money, good grades, elite company etc, Flavour wastes no time teasing out this fact. In a most playful and complimentary fashion, he acknowledges the fact that the girl he is addressing is a hustler of some sort}

Waka Waka baby…oh yeah {this suggests that the girl is always walking from one guy’s house to the other}

Wuru wuru baby….oh yeah {this suggest that the girl is tricky or crafty}

I go tell my mama…oh yeah =I’ll tell my mother

I go tell my papa..oh yeah = I’ll tell my father

And I go tell am say:you be waka waka baby..oh yeah =I’ll tell ‘em that you are a walkabout babe or a streetwalker

You be wuru wuru baby…oh yeah =I’ll tell ‘em you are a tricky or crafty babe

Corner corner baby…oh yeah; Sango sango baby..oh yeah; Para rara baby..oh yeah {“Corner corner baby” expresses the fact that the girl in question is always found in dimly lit corners and alleys. This highly suggests that the girl might be a call-girl. Here, and as you will see in the rest of the song, Flavour employs a lot of onomatopoeia; he says words which individually have no meaning save to express a heightened degree of excitement brought about by this party babe to whom his words are directed}

Oh baby sawa lee..sawa sawa sawa lee (2ce)… ASHAWO {the word “sawa’ or ‘sawam’ indicates the act of walking, or movement of the feet as in a dance. Here, Flavor is indicating that the girl in question is light-footed—walking around easily from place to place or of nimble gait. He concludes that she may be a call-girl with the word Ashawo}

Kpomkpotom kpomkpom; kporokotom kpomkpom; ikpomkpotom kpomkpom; kporokotom kpomkpom; kpakolokpa kpakolokpa kpakolokpa kpomkpom; ojarikpoko, ukwu nwa baby, achukurege kpomkpom {Here Flavour goes off the chain. Not finding words to adequately convey the height of his excitement, he lapses into a series of onomatopoeic renditions designed to communicate the supposed elegance of a seductively dressed temptress of a woman. These sounds are supposed to communicate the rippling movements of the girl’s body as she walks or perhaps dances—breasts bobbing up and down; her buttocks jiggling as she walked or danced; the movement of her thighs; the swaying of her hips in movement etc}

Ashawo Awosha Awosha Ashawo Ashawo Awosha kpomkpom {the word Ashawo means call-girl or an escort. To differentiate a call-girl from a prostitute or a whore (akwuna), a call girl’s client makes an appointment usually by telephone. They (call-girls) are not usually randomly picked from street corners like prostitutes. A call-girl may be gainfully employed or may be in school, and then renders her sexual services discreetly to her clients in exchange for money or some other material incentives. Here, Flavour twists the word Ashawo around artistically by saying Awosha. The effect was to remove some of the negative sting or punch from the word}

Eh—Eh—Eh—Eh—Eh—Eh kpomkpom {Yes—Yes—Yes—Yes—Yes—Yes. Clearly, if the girl he was addressing his song to was dancing or walking, Flavour appreciates the spectacle in front of him. He recognizes the silky sophistication of this Babygirl (Nwababy) even though he likens her charm to that of a call-girl’s.

And the baby sawa lele eh..sawa sawa sawa lee (2ce)…ASHAWO = And this baby is light-footed or nimble with her gait(2ce) as to be regarded a CALL-GIRL.

Flavor addresses his fans, the general audience and his colleagues at this point…

To all my fans in the house n’abania = To all my fans in the house this night…

(dropping names): Flavour Shelters, Alamieyeseigha, Zubby, Akwei Soldier, Ogbuefi Nnanyelugo, (O gini di=Oh, what the hell), Ma Holla, Beauty  I na-eli eli (Beauty, I see you wining and dining), Nze na Swiss (You, my titled influential man in Switzerland—an affectionate way of saying that his friend is so rich he has a Swiss account), Omaliyo, Honorable Prince Sunny Nwogbo, Sir Vic Obiekwe, Sisko Dogado….

(7 times): Nwababy…nye m ife gi = Babygirl…give me that which you have.

Na soso waka I come dey go; Anywhere I go a na-ata ife {I have been going to a lot of places recently; anywhere I go, people are feasting/partying/wining and dining}

All my guys where una dey?; From here to Salon Hotel {My Pals, where are you guys? From here to Salon Hotel}

[scroll up to see the hook]

Di anyi imakwa ebe a tunyere m? = Yo dude, do you know where I was just dispatched to?

(In closing and with Flavour making another sexual remark)

Ala di n’udi n’udi….ala, ala di n’udi n’udi…ala (2ce) = Breasts come in different varieties

Ala ma mma, were aka gi jide ya..ala =when you see perky breasts, reach out and touch them

Ala ma mma, were onu gi michaa ya ..ala = when you see succulent breasts, go ahead and suck them.

 

The End.

I hope that translation helped you on some level.

By the way, if Flavour N’abania ever gets to see this modest attempt at sharing  this great song of his with many non-Igbo speakers, and feels compelled to correct my translation of his work, the revised one from Flavor will be accepted wholeheartedly and with all humility – after all, who better than the genius himself can say in his own words what exactly he was trying to communicate?

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