Saturday, March 18, 2023

I'm still standin' after all this time...

I logged back into my Blogger account today and realised it has been over a decade since I last posted here...๐Ÿ˜ฑ๐Ÿ˜ฑ๐Ÿ˜ฑ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

I was actually surprised I could still log into the account, apparently Blogger now uses Google authentication and it was able to link my gmail account and authenticate me without having to reset anything or identify myself. Impressive as it is, I know Google owns Blogger but I still found it strange and spooky..And Yes, I've become very paranoid in my old age ๐Ÿ˜

But I digress..

It's hard to believe that so much time has passed. 

Back in 2011 I was full of excitement and ideas. I wrote about everything from my personal experiences to my thoughts on current events, and I loved every minute of it. 

I thought I needed a short break so I could concentrate on my job, family and other responsibilities that left me with little time or energy to write. Unfortunately, that break ended up lasting much longer than I had intended. Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months, and before I knew it, years had gone by without a single post on this blog.

So why am I writing this now, after all these years? Well, to be honest, it's because I've been feeling a pull towards writing again and a very close friend also stumbled on the blog some months ago and reminded me of some of the things I wrote about..

It made me realise that I missed the creative outlet that this blog provided. 

Anyway I am back here and in the immortal words of Reginald Kenneth Dwight (aka Elton John) - ''I'm still standin' yeah yeah yeah.."


Thursday, May 12, 2011

An Excellent EU Joke

European paradise:
You are invited to an official lunch. You are welcomed by an Englishman. Food is prepared by a Frenchman and an Italian puts you in the mood and everything is organised by a German.

European hell:
You are invited to an official lunch. You are welcomed by a Frenchman. Food is prepared by an Englishman, German puts you in the mood but, don't worry, everything is organised by an Italian.

That joke was proposed by a Belgian as the Official European Joke, the joke that every single European pupil should learn at school. The Joke will improve the relationship between the nations as well as promote our self humour and our culture.

The European Council met in order to make a decision. Should the joke be the Official European Joke or not?
The British representative announced, with a very serious face and without moving his jaw, that the joke was absolutely hilarious.

The French one protested because France was depicted in a bad way in the joke. He explained that a joke cannot be funny if it is against France.
Poland also protested because they were not depicted in the joke.

Luxembourg asked who would hold the copyright on the joke. The Swedish representative didn't say a word, but looked at everyone with a twisted smile.

Denmark asked where the explicit sexual reference was. If it is a joke, there should be one, shouldn't there?

Holland didn't get the joke, while Portugal didn't understand what a "joke" was. Was it a new concept?

Spain explained that the joke is funny only if you know that the lunch was at 13h, which is normally breakfast time.

Greece complained that they were not aware of that lunch, that they missed an occasion to have some free food, that they were always forgotten.

Romania then asked what a "lunch" was.

Lithuania et Latvia complained that their translations were inverted, which is unacceptable even if it happens all the time.

Slovenia told them that its own translation was completely forgotten and that they do not make a fuss.

Slovakia announced that, unless the joke was about a little duck and a plumber, there was a mistake in their translation.

The British representative said that the duck and plumber story seemed very funny too.

Hungary had not finished reading the 120 pages of its own translation yet .

Then, the Belgian representative asked if the Belgian who proposed the joke was a Dutch speaking or a French speaking Belgian. Because, in one case, he would of course support a compatriot but, in the other case, he would have to refuse it, regardless of the quality of the joke.

To close the meeting, the German representative announced that it was nice to have the debate here in Brussels but that, now, they all had to make the train to Strasbourg in order to take a decision. He asked that someone to wake up the Italian, so as not to miss the train, so they can come back to Brussels and announce the decision to the press before the end of the day .

"What decision?" asked the Irish representative.

And they all agreed it was time for some coffee.

You've got to love Belgium..

Taxis block Brussels airport after police shooting
Taxis blocked off Brussels airport for several hours after an unlicensed driver was grazed by a police bullet during a chase, local media report.

Cabs were parked across the A201 motorway from late on Tuesday until 0500 (0300 GMT) on Wednesday as rumours spread that the driver had been killed.But his injury was minor and he was released from hospital into custody.

A policeman had reportedly opened fire to stop the taxi as it drove away with him clinging to the bonnet.

The policeman who fired was also detained as investigators and prosecutors in Brussels carried out investigations, Belgium's Le Soir newspaper reports.

Pepper spray
Police were making routine checks for unlicensed taxis when they signalled the driver to stop around 1900 on Tuesday, according to another newspaper, La Derniere Heure.

Far from stopping, the 28-year-old driver accelerated, prompting a policeman to jump on the bonnet.
After being carried along for 2km (1.2 miles), he fired at least once into the dash-board, forcing the driver to stop.
A brawl reportedly followed in which the policeman fired another shot, grazing the driver's shoulder.

Some 200 drivers joined the protest which followed and a second driver was arrested as he tried to "avenge" his colleague.

At 0230, police wielding truncheons and using pepper spray tried to clear the motorway but the stand-off only ended after negotiations involving a trade union representative.
La Derniere Heure notes that unlicensed taxi drivers have been a problem at the airport for years.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Celebrating Yoruba Heroes (OJ Ekemode)

Someone (and i don't know who) said a hero is by definition an ordinary person who does extraordinary things. The Yorubas of west Africa are a remarkable ethnic group whose history has been shaped by many known and unknown heroes.

Here is one of those heroes...Orlando Julius Aremu Olusanya Ekemode (OJ Ekemode)

"I started Afro Beat in 1960.....The first name of my band was The Globetrotters; we were globe trotting with our style of music. When people asked us for our kind of music, we just said it was Afro Beat because we could not start to mention all the genre of music fused. That's how Afro beat originated. It was not from Fela."

"I wrote songs over there [America] that won awards. An example is Going Back To My Roots. I wrote that song with Lamont Dozier. I was the first African to record with African American musicians in a native language. I played drums and other instruments in the music and helped him in arranging the songs.
That album won a Grammy but unfortunately, he did not live up to expectations. I was not acknowledged. I was duped! I am glad that I sang my part of the song in Yoruba. If I had done it in English, it would have been very easy for him to deny. He made it sound as if it was not the song (Back To My Roots) that won him the Grammy. A group in the UK, Odyssey, remixed the song and it was at number five on the Bill Board charts for several months. The song is one of the classics of our time."

Fondly called O.J, his real name is Orlando Julius Aremu Olusanya Ekemode. Born in Ikole-Ekiti, the indigene of Ilesha, Osun State, is the fourth child of Professor Gabriel Ekemode.
His foray into music began as a lad in primary school when he joined the Mambo Dance Band. However, his dad's sudden death the year he finished secondary school put-paid to his academic dreams. Before his career picked up, he played with the likes of J. Oyeshiku, Cotey Necoy and Julius Araba and finally took up apprenticeship with Ademola Haastrup
And today, with a career spanning over 60 years, Orlando has definitely carved a niche for himself.

In this interview with National LIFE, the multi-instrumentalist and singer opened up on how he was robbed of a Grammy Award for popular hit, Back To My Roots. He also opened up on his relationship with late Afro beat legend, Fela Anikulapo Kuti and reaffirmed his claim that he and not Fela founded Afro beat.

Read the full interview here

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Things that make you go WTF (in Brussels)

Bilingual Hell
Brussels is a fascinating place. Even though it claims to be the 'capital of Europe', it's not exactly a visitor friendly place unless you speak French and Dutch. One of my biggest pet peeves is the way streets names are displayed. Brussels is officially bilingual, which means street names are displayed in French and Flemish (Dutch), but sometimes only the Flemish name is displayed and so you can imagine a scenario where you're looking for a street with a French name like "Rue de la Loi" but the sign displayed is "Weestraat" (which is the Flemish name for the same street). How the hell are you supposed to connect the two?

Customer Service???
qu'est-ce que c'est? (what is that?) is the rude response (if you're lucky to get one) you are likely to get from most customer service staff around here. Initially I thought it was just me, but almost everyone complains about the same thing. From the airline check in staff to the supermarket check out staff, they all have one thing in common, they are not there to serve you - the customer, so don't bother them.

Brussels Estate Agents
The devil is truly a Brussels estate agent, if you can help it, avoid dealing with this particular specie while staying in Brussels. They are rude and unprofessional and they think they are doing you a big favour if they respond to your emails or return your calls. Since Brussels is the "capital of Europe", and accommodation is in short supply, the estate agent is truly king around here.

Zebra Crossings
"A zebra crossing typically gives extra rights of way to pedestrians". A shocking surprise awaits anyone gullible enough to believe that statement in Brussels. I have learnt that you cross the road at your own peril, if you assume the driver will stop. The only way to cross is when the approaching vehicle has come to a complete stop and the driver beckons to you to step on the zebra crossing.

The best thing about the Brussels Metro is that you can ride it for free most of the time (unless your station has ticket barriers installed LOL). It runs well most of the time but be prepared for unexpected or unannounced closures (due to strikes or when the metro drivers are having a really bad day). This has happened to me twice, luckily Brussels is a fairly small and compact city and I had my GPS to guide me to my destination.

d'enregistrement, Registreren
Meaning Registration, now this is a big deal in Brussels (actually in Belgium too). How can you be a proper police state if you don't know everything about everyone living in your country?
This is serious business and failure to notify the local authority (communale) of your presence could lead to serious consequences (or so I heard).

Health and Safety Nightmare
I have a new found respect for the health and safety authorities in the UK. Here in Brussels some of the things wey my eye don see while flat it loose and exposed electrical wiring or the sixth floor flat with French doors which opened into a balcony with only a low flimsy barrier stopping you from plunging to the street below....I have definitely seen scary things in this town.

Loose Uneven pavements
I was walking down a side street in Porte de Namur the other day and I swear for one second I thought I was in Lagos driving down a road peppered with potholes, which was strange because I was walking not driving. I ended up doing a very strange walk which could easily pass for break dancing and MJ's moonwalk combined. There are some parts of this city where you need to have shock absorbers just to walk on the pavements.

The Tax rate
In November 2009, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development confirmed once again that Belgium has one of the highest tax burdens in Europe. It amounts to – including social security – 57.3% for a single earner. This compares to an average 44.5% in Europe.
I think this statement speaks for itself....

Shop Closing Times
Most of the shops close by 6pm every day. It is very strange indeed...I haven't spent the weekend here yet, but I heard shops do not open on Sunday WTF?

Friday, January 28, 2011

un homme Ijebu ร  Bruxelles

an ijebu man in Brussels

So here I am working as a freelance consultant in the capital of Europe. It's cold, miserable and wet, at least the weather is no different from the UK...Luckily I'm only here for 4 1/2 days a week and get to return to the UK every weekend courtesy of that monopolistic cash grabbing entity called Eurostar.

But Thank God for Eurostar, if London wasn't less than 2 hours away, there's no way I'll have worked here. I've often told Mrs Ijebuman that the only place I'll be packing my things to when I leave the UK is Naija.
Now with the current state of play in Naija, the chances of that happening are a bit remote at the moment unless I decide to go into politics, but considering my extreme uncompromising views, a total abhorrence of what passes as religion in Naija and an unwillingness to prostitute myself to some fat bellied political Godfather (forgive the rant).....lets just say there's more chance of a free and fair election in April than me going into Naija politics.

But I digress, Brussels is quite interesting, there are a lot of things I have noticed in the last couple of days, so expect a lot more rants oops sorry blog postings about Brussels.
My peeps are here too, there's a small professional expat group of Naijas from the UK working in various international organisations dotted all over Brussels. I guess with the current recession in the UK and the current state of Naija, continental Europe is now the new frontier for UK based Naijas.

Been So Long....again

Back in 2009, it was supposed to be a short break from blogging but it turned out to be a two year break...So if you're one of the few people who read my blog please check back from time to time, I can't promise much at this stage but I hope this is a permanent return to blogging.

The last 2 years flew by so quickly and a lot of stuff has gone down...I don't even know where to start...Naija…phew..don't even get me started, my BP is just getting back to normal, after all that Yar'Adua shit last year, but as in everything Naija we lost one hopeless politician (aka Babs go slow, Yawn'Adua) and gained another one, Badluck (Good luck for him, Bad luck for Nigeria).

In the last 2 years, my location too has changed, home was still London but I spent a lot of time in other parts of the UK. A few weeks ago I took another big leap by accepting a role to work on a project outside the UK....which brings me to my second post 'un homme Ijebu ร  Bruxelles' (an ijebu man in Brussels)

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Been So Long....

Ok so i took a "short" break from blogging at the end of last year and it turned out to be an extended break : - ). I'm not promising that i'm back to blogging full time but i will try not to stay away for too long. I might have been away from my blog but i still lurk around some of my favourite blogs - chxta, Akin, naijablog, nigerian curiousity et al, kudos to you guys for hanging in there unlike me lol..

I just returned from a trip to Naija (that’s a topic for another blog post), and one of the things i noticed while i was there is how much religion has completely taken hold of our way of life. 
It's not even funny anymore, the way things are going in Naija, another couple of decades and our traditional culture and way of life will have been completely swallowed up by the current madness parading itself as "religion". From the resident electoral commissioner in Ekiti state to our Information minister, no Nigerian is immune to this 'madness'. 
It has got to the level where people have started changing their traditional names to more "religious friendly names" (e.g Fayemi to Oluwayemi). 
Rant over..

Anyway on a lighter note, this dropped into my mail box the other day, enjoy.. (thanks to whoever compiled it)

Top ten Nigerian "Pentecostal" sayings

10. "We must pray and fast" (In Yoruba, "e kun fun aduaa").
Commonly used in times of tribulation such as Police/EFCC cases, looking for a husband or applying for a UK or US visa.

9. "This is my year of breakthrough" A new year's eve special. 
The ready-made lazy man's annual prayer whether or not he has put in an honest day's work the year before, and a popular headline at most money spinning end-of-year religious crusades.

8. "I thank God for your life"
Usually an acknowledgement or appreciation of a benefactor but you scratch your head to find a real meaning to this one. People just drop it anyhow, eg. "I saw Pastor Kososhi drive past me in his Hummer yesterday on Allen Avenue", Reply: "Oh, I thank God for his life".

7. "...but he's a Man of God"As in the old 'over-the-hill' 
Brother Jero Pastor who doesn't know how to toast women but secretly lusts after your wife/girlfriend in church. These are the "close your eyes, let us pray" guys who's always around to help or advice, waiting and hoping to take advantage of any misfortune to console his way into your woman's life.

6. "J.E.S.U.S."
Now very popular at Christian weddings across Nigeria as the newly-wed couple cut their cake. This has taken over from the evergreen "3,2,1...". Speaking of weddings, some wack MCs now blackmail the wedding guests by saying "If you want to live to see the new year, let me see your hands up", thus punishing them for not laughing at his dry jokes. Fear has become our God.

5. "I bind you..." (AKA "Holy Ghost Fire! Fire!! Fire!!!")
As in, put a curse on you, or threaten you with the wrath of God if you're deemed to be disturbing them for whatever reason. For example, against jobless guys who are proposing marriage, or the Landlord who has come to collect the rent after 8 months!

4. "The Devil is a liar!"
Often used right after surviving a ghastly auto accident, general misfortune, tripping over your children's toys or mistakenly dripping pepper soup on your favourite pink T.M. Lewin shirt!

3. "In the name of Jesus..."
Also abbreviated on Facebook as "IJN" or for maximum effect "in the MIGHTY name of Jesus!". Favourite end-of-sentence soundbite for most Prosperity Pastors on television.

2. "To God be the glory"
The last line of 99.9% of Nollywood films, and fast rising closing remarks at government / corporate seminars (usually just before they share the 'gbemu' in Ghana-must-go bags)

1. "It is well"
Self explanatory enough. Classic soundbite even if it is VERY OBVIOUS that it is not well.

And don't forget "It is not my portion" and "No weapon fashioned against me shall prosper"

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

I'll Be Back

I know I've been away for a while, there's just been loads of stuff happening offline, but in the words of Arnie, i'll be back (very soon).

N.B and a special thanks to the Anonymous idiot posting spam on the comment pages of my blog while i was away, i felt so special knowing i had so many comments on my blog...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

You gotta laugh..

The political party everyone loves to hate, the British Nationalist Party (BNP) had its entire membership list published online.

According to the Times
"There was panic at the centre of the British National Party tonight after it emerged that its entire membership list had been published on the internet.The names, addresses and telephone numbers of more than 10,000 current and former members were published on a specially created web page.

Along with the names and personal details, the professions of many of the members have been made public including teachers, scientists, a government employee and at least one serving police officer.

One police woman on the list, whose entry included a note asking for discretion, faces potential dismissal since officers are proscribed from joining the right-wing political party."

For those who don't know about the BNP, it's a bit like the Ku Klux Klan without the lynching : - )

I for one am pleased that the membership of the BNP is now in the public domain, I guess a lot of people will be changing phone numbers and addresses, who knows this might actually kick start the moribund housing market.
The web page has now been removed but if you're curious like me, then pop over to Wikileaks and have a peek and yes i searched to find out if anyone on my street was a member : - )

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Re: Saving Africa's Witch Children

The greatest tragedy facing Nigeria today is our indifference to the abuse of the most vulnerable members of our society - children. We can all play our part by supporting Stepping Stones Nigeria 'to carry out enlightenment and advocacy projects throughout the region, so that a long-term solution to the child 'witch' crisis may be found'.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Evil that Preachers do

The 'Extremely Evil' Helen Ukpabio

In some of the poorest parts of Nigeria, where evangelical religious fervour is combined with a belief in sorcery and black magic, many thousands of children are being blamed for catastrophes, death and famine - and branded witches by powerful pastors. These children are then abandoned, tortured, starved and murdered - all in the name of Jesus Christ.

Influential preachers from the more extreme churches brand the children witches or wizards and exploit their desperate parents by charging them exorbitant amounts of money in return for exorcising the spirits.
The film features extraordinary access to some of the preachers who openly discuss their work. One preacher who calls himself 'The Bishop,' says he has made a fortune by carrying out 'deliverances' on children. He admits having killed 110 people in the past. Dispatches films him as he administers a mixture of pure alcohol, a substance known as 'African mercury' and his own blood to one child accused of witchcraft.


Saturday, November 08, 2008

Back to Reality..

Ok that's it, my Obama moment has been bought back to reality, i thought it was a joke but then i saw the article, "Obama's election and the needed change, by Obasanjo"

Aaagh!!! do our leaders have no shame, it's bad enough that the president of Kenya declared a holiday for Obama for winning a free and fair election in America, an election which he could never have won as a Luo man in Kenya. It's not yet a year since Kibaki plunged his country into ethnic violence for refusing to step down after "losing" an election to another Luo man. The selective amnesia (or is it denial) of African leaders boggles the mind.
No wonder the whole continent is trapped in a vortex of endless political violence and ethnic strife.

But i digress, According to Obasanjo,
"Obama represents an ability to move from realms of dream to reality. He represents Hope for the global minorities who are being or feel oppressed by the majority."

"Part of his hopes and dreams is to facilitate the emergence of a post racial America. I believe embedded in that will be a pointer for divided countries to create the needed golden bridges across traditional divides and gaps of tribal bigotry, ethnic chauvinism, religious allegiance and other primordial considerations. It is a signal to us that we can gradually begin the movement towards an Africa that accepts everyone for what and who he or she is."

"People should be seen, accepted, judged and placed for what they are and what God has endowed them with. Those who preach the sermon of superiority of Intelligence Quotient or simple intellect based on colour, race, tribe or language must start to review and indeed change their sermon."

So Obasanjo likes beta thing (as my peeps will say in pidgin), yet at no time in the many years he ruled Nigeria did he bring about the political renewal that our nation desperately needs. During his 8 year rule, he encouraged and promoted the likes of Adedibu and Chris Uba, people who were prepared to use violence and intimidation to "win" elections.

Obama's victory in America could be compared to the June 12 election when Nigerians of different ethnic and religious background voted for MKO Abiola in a free and fair election that has yet to be repeated in Naija. Obj was among the powerful minority that supported the annulment of that election, in the heat of the June 12 crises, he had gone to South Africa to announce that "Abiola is not the messiah we seek". I'm sure many Americans (especially of the redneck variety) will say Obama is not the messiah they seek, but he won the election and thats all that matters.

It's a shame that the irony of it all is lost on Obasanjo or whoever he employed to write this piece of garbage. I'm not a religious person, but i surely hope there's a God out there, that will strike the likes of Obasanjo, Kibaki, Mugabe and the other despotic African leaders that have denied their people political freedom and yet want to associate with the historical victory of Obama.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Young, Gifted and Black

"Young, Gifted and Black, We must begin to tell our young, There's a world waiting for you, This is a quest that's just begun..."

Yesterday's historical event bought back memories of one of my father's favourite songs "Young, Gifted and Black". It was recorded by Bob & Marcia and reached number 5 in the UK charts in 1970. (The song was originally recorded by Nina Simone)

It's a song that has inspired me over the years and with Obama overcoming all the odds to become the US President, I feel this song captures the essence of this moment.

To be young, gifted and black,
Oh what a lovely precious dream
To be young, gifted and black,
Open your heart to what I mean

In the whole world you know
There are billion boys and girls
Who are young, gifted and black,
And that's a fact!

Young, gifted and black
We must begin to tell our young
There's a world waiting for you
This is a quest thats just begun

When you feel really low
Yeah, there's a great truth you should know
When youre young, gifted and black
Your souls intact

Young, gifted and black
How I long to know the truth
There are times when I look back
And I am haunted by my youth

Oh but my joy of today
Is that we can all be proud to say
To be young, gifted and black
Is where its at

(1969) Nina Simone, Weldon Irvine jr

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

There's a Black Family at 1600 Pennsylvania..

The Obama's New Residence

"No army can stop an idea whose time has come.” - Victor Hugo

Monday, November 03, 2008

One down, one more to go...

People in the UK will understand what i mean, Lewis Hamilton became the youngest (and only black) Formula 1 champion in history yesterday, the one more to go is of course the US elections tomorrow, where if all goes according to the opinion polls, Barack Obama will become the next US president.

Now, i was very late to the Obama party, i never thought he stood a chance.. but hey, i'm now a believer and i apologise to my fellow blogger Omoluwabi OkeBadan for my cynical responses to his many posts on Obama (you were right all along, my Brother)

People sit back and enjoy the show, history is about to be made.

It's time...