Wednesday, December 24, 2008

My Itinerary

Those of you who know me by now are aware of how I've been going on and on about my proposed Xmas trip to Lagos, abi? Well finally, here's my itinerary as dutifully drawn up by Woomie O! and scheduled by Esquire:


Dec 24th - Arrival: Oshodi, Lagos. ETA: 3pm via Easy Transport Service. To be received at Park by T. Banky, XsN, Rayo & Woomie. No male bloggers permitted to be present.

Evening - Visits to each of the above-mentioned females’ homes to assess the eligibility of their sisters and gauge the net worth of their respective Popsies just in case… To be chauffeured by Charizard in a black Toyota Corolla.

Night - Fatigued. Sleep over at Esquire's house after dinner. Will use XtraCool to make free night calls to each other from different rooms in the same house. Network will be bad as usual.

Dec 25th - Morn: Picked up by Inyamu for breakfast at Marcopolo then a quick trip to Venni Vicci for a spa treatment.

Noon - Visit to a Motherless Babies' Home for a Christmas Lunch accompanied by LG and FBA with a band of well-dressed but poorly-behaved park touts. LG will wear her white koi-koi shoe, play ten-ten with the kids and fight with them over sweets. All the kids' presents to be donated by Fashola and NURTW.

Evening - Presentation of Xmas gifts to me by Seye ( a new job in ICT, free browsing / web-hosting services for 5 years and a brand-new Acer Aspire laptop), XsN ( a Vic Secret bra as a keepsake / good luck charm and a promise of "better things to come"), Laspapi (a bike ride down the full length of 3rd Mainland Bridge with helmet & full Robocop protection gear), Standtall (a pair of kittens - which I'll apologetically decline - and an invitation to march at the 2009 World Women Rights Parade) and Afronuts (an Apple iPhone, digital camera and iPod).

Other gifts will include those from Woomie (Eko Dialogue and a month's supply of tickets to Terra Kulture - which I’ll convert to cash), Buttercup (an engagement ring plus a passport/visa to do a Masters in S.A.), Charizard (brand new wardrobe & a year’s supply of Bvlgari - no suits, ties or cufflinks, please), Badderchic (a cryptic invitation to “spend time”), FBA (3 bottles of paraga with roots, 4 fat joints & a half-smoked pack of B & H), Esquire (all the correct Naija CDs of 2008, a few wack ones & a 2GB microSD memory card) and last but not least LG (2 big bags of kuli kuli, a calabash of fura de nunu & an expired hamper). If I forgot you, kindly suggest and bring your own gifts.

Dec 26th - Morning movie @ Silverbird, evening movie @ Ozone. Chauffeured by Charizard and sponsored by Rayo. Chaperoned by Buttercup & Woomie, both wearing thongs.

Noon - Poetry recitals @ Terra Kulture sponsored by Aloofar (who will only speak in monosyllables) accompanied by Laspapi (who will beg for my autograph)

Evening - Dinner @ Rayo’s served by her 2 sisters who will fight to out-do each other. All three shall laugh at each and every one of my jokes and even some non-jokes. All 3 will burst into tears when it’s time for me to leave. Soundtrack for the evening - D’Banj’s “Suddenly”.

Dec 27th - Trip to Iya Basira’s with FBA. Peppersoup and beer of all shades & sizes to grace the table. FBA will instigate a fight while LG will add all the “aproko” and “pepper”. All 3 of us will seize a chance in the chaos to flee without paying. Panting seriously afterwards, FBA will offer me Sikirat to “relass” (relax)...

Dec 28th - Orange Awards pre-event with Afronuts. Will be chauffeured around Lasgidi’s red light districts in his red Nissan during evening time snapping pixes for our respective photo-blogs. Chaperoned by his wife & Standtall so we don’t “go too far”.

Dec 29th - Will use Badderchic’s “Invitation to spend time” Xmas present to spend a whole day and a whole night with her. What we’ll “discuss” will be none of your business…

Dec 30th - A day of complete and total rest. Sleep in preparation for Watchnight tomorrow. Person body no be firewood abeg!

Dec 31st - Watchnight Service @ any Bible-believing church nearby. Praise & Worship to be led by LG & special guest invitees, Rita and 30+. Seye on the instruments. After midnight will sneak into a Moslem Service with Esquire just in case the rapture occurs at either place first.

Jan 1st - New Year Dinner @ Standtalls’ for all Bloggers. Will watch her cats suspiciously for any hanky-panky.

Jan 2nd - Another rest day to nurse the resultant constipation. Video-conferencing with the She-Hulk, Vera Ezimora. ICT equipment to be supplied by Nysteria.

Jan 3rd - Writers Anonymous with XsN and Rayo seated on either side of me. Will pretend to be bored and “fall asleep” on XsN’s “pillows”. Rayo will giggle throughout an Erotic recital by Jaguda.

Jan 4th - Departure. Escorted to MMA by all the above-mentioned bloggers crying profusely. Will shed a tear or two too as I gratefully accept a 1st Class flight ticket from Laspapi. After they leave, will explain to the pretty counter girl that there’s no airport at Osogbo, my final destination. Will sell the ticket on the black market at a discount, take Easy Transport back and pocket the change.

Jan 5th - Back to my boring life and thankless job. Will demand for owed salary & a pay rise from the Boss who’ll promise the former and reject the latter.

Evening - Will go to the XtraSlowww café to send a collective Thank You note to all those wonderful Lagosian bloggers using the Acer Aspire.

Night - Begin drawing up another itinerary for Easter hols. Abuja bloggers, watch out! Na your turn!

PS: Oya, awon Bloggers, start looking for your names and plan accordingly.

Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year!

The END.
To God Be The Glory.

PPS: I’m about to introduce a new feature on my blog called “My Life’s Soundtracks” where I feature the lyrics of songs I’m feeling like MAD for at the moment. It’s actually meant to be a future feature on Esquire’s other blog which is still under construction so I’ll have to set the ball rolling here in the meantime.
Proposed Launch Date: January 1st, 2009.

Friday, December 19, 2008

I Wish, I Wish, I Wish…

Written In A Moment Of Dignified Insanity

“…and they lived happily ever after”

Those six words encompass what I call “The Greatest Fraud of Fiction.” Those words have turned round to haunt many a heartbroken man or woman who as little boy or girl happened to have read them literally without realizing the author was very, very tipsy when he penned those lines.

The words that are most probably rank closest to them in Fiction Fraud ratings would actually be the words: “I grant you 3 wishes!”

Now, what would I wish for if I had just 3 wishes?

Well, simple. The first wish, of course, would be to have an unlimited number of wishes. Then maybe a duplex of my own (maintenance-free of course) complete with a cute wife with a killer figure that matches her intellect and a few Einstein kids running around their own Neverland-type ranch playing with their friends. Then an Apple iPhone or maybe the very best of the Nokia E-series, PlayStation 3 alongside a PSP and 365 games for each console (for me not the kids), several Apple iPods each one coloured to match my moods and my own super-ultra-high-tech Home Theatre system dutifully installed in my own home theatre. Also, the wish to
give and also get the very best out of Life, love and lovemaking, 26th century laptops, fitting my entire music, photo and video collection on my phone’s 1 GB SD card, finally making it to Heaven when I die… the wish list would be endless.

So apart from becoming the CEO of Nemesis Corp and losing my virginity to either Funmi Iyanda or Stella Damasus-Aboderin (I still can’t decide which of them would be the wilder sex vixen), here’s a slightly random post about wishing I wrote during one of my moments of dignified insanity.

I Wish…

I wish I could ride a bike. No, not the 750 cc kind. I mean a bicycle. Surprised? I can’t drive either! It’s amazing that in this 21st century, there exists a full-grown adult who cannot ride. As a matter of fact, I wish I could ride anything: a boat, canoe, kayak, yacht, ATV, SUV, witch’s broom, anything. Growing up under the massive shelter of my parents who provided just too much of the sheltering for my own good denied me of this one pleasure. Like Richard Gere said in the movie Pretty Woman: “My very first car
was a limousine”

Well, not exactly. We were way too poorer than that. Our first car was LA 9745 A. That was actually the license plate registration of my father’s Peugeot 504 saloon car. I don’t know how old the car was; I was born and saw that car. We kids always tried to think of a befitting nickname for it but nothing fit better than the name: LA 9745 A.

It might sound harsh to say this but my father loved that car more than all of us combined. Till it was sold off as scrap to those Mile 1 mgbuka men, the most we boys were allowed to do was wash it. Woe betide you if you did as much as turn the steering wheel (which would promptly lock unless you had the car keys to free it). Of course by the time I entered SS1, LA 9745 A had made way for the Suzuki “bread” bus my father had started riding then. Whenever I see those toy buses being used now for transport in Osun State, I smile. My father must have been the very first Nigerian to drive the bread bus.

SS1/2 was my time of rebellion. All my contemporaries were sprouting beards and test-driving (and crashing) their fathers’ vehicles and I wouldn’t be left out. Once when my father, The Senior traveled, I took the ignition to KD (the first two letters of the bread bus’ plates) and started her up just like I’d been warming her engine for some years now. Frowning hard to recall what The Senior did when he took out the vehicle, I engaged the gear. I didn’t crash.

After several tries the best I could do was to reverse KD in a straight line and then take her back to the former packed position. Very soon I tired of the exercise and jumped down from the vehicle, ignoring the neighbours’ looks as I went indoors. I knew they’d report me to The Senior when he returned. They didn’t disappoint me, those ass-kissers.

The Senior’s reaction was puzzling though. He walked round the car while I washed it the next morning inspecting every bumper and taillight and when he was satisfied that there wasn’t a scratch on KD, he turned around and went back to his shaving ritual. Immediately, I began scratching my head in exactly the same spot I’d been earlier expecting a scalp-splitting blow from his belt head.

His silence should have been my passport to painting the town red behind the wheels of KD but I then overheard him say to one of his friends who asked him why his kids weren’t driving yet: “My children have refused to learn with this my bus. They say their friends will laugh at them when they see them.”

It was partially the truth (especially the laughing part) but the lie in the statement stung me. We were practically dying to learn, if for nothing to at least crash that car. He just wouldn’t release the keys. In those days, part of my rebellious tactics involved proving my father’s lies to be true. We all refused to learn with the bus. Or any vehicle of his for that matter.

So many years later, I wish I could ride. Maybe a bicycle first, then a motorbike, then a car, then a plane? I don’t know.

I wish I were rich. We were poor. Broke ass poor. We did eat three times a day but sometimes it was equivalent to one meal split three ways. I don’t know why we were because it wasn’t like there wasn’t any money available. It just wasn’t readily at hand.

I know my parents weren’t rich but that didn’t mean we had to wear the same clothes year in year out while The Senior changed his wardrobe countless times, did it? Ironing those clothes was once my job for a very long time. As I felt those rich fabrics I wondered why mom didn’t stand up to challenge him when we had to go out as a family and only he had something appropriate to wear. And even after a while the family never went out together anyway. We just couldn’t. Even if we wanted to, our 3 year-old clothes got tired of us wearing them and decided to go on strike springing leaks in every seam. The Senior just had to have his though. After all a good-looking head of the house makes up for the other rag-wearing parts of the body, doesn’t he?

I wish I could leave the Ghosts of Fashions Past far behind but even when I have the money to buy clothes, I never do. My shoes get worn out yet I am paralyzed by the fear that my money will soon run out and I’ll be broke ass poor again. Or that I may end up like The Senior with his countless rows of shoes which I had to polish in the mornings before I dragged my cut sandals along the tarmac as I walked to school. I wish I could go out and spend, spend, spend, knowing that tomorrow when I wake up there’ll still be more to spend. Not just for me but for my future kids.

I wish I could be more human. It still puzzles my mom till now. “All of us went through the same family-in-trouble times,” she says to me, “why then does it seem to have affected you more?” I retort and tell her I inherited my over-sensitivity from her. Only both of us seem to feel wounds so deeply to our hearts than all the others. Every single minuscule hurt makes our heart bleed and we then seal up the gaping holes in our slow-healing hearts with stone. Mom turned to prayer a long time ago and it worked wonders for her. Me, I just turned into a hard-nosed cynic stuck full of principles and unbreakable rules. A stout disbeliever in the human nature. Just one big mistake and I delete your name from my phonebook forever. And I NEVER look back.

I wish I could laugh again. Once upon a time, my problem was that people didn’t take me too seriously because every sentence I made was constructed in such a way as to make people laugh. I had my different styles of laughter than could at least trigger a smile from a broken or grieving heart. If only those people could see me now. My inner motto used to be “Joy to the world”. Nowadays I wish my motto could be “Joy to my inner world”. The kind of humour I create nowadays is usually the sarcastic kind. What happened to those days laced with peals of laughter when I would roll on the floor in stitches? What happened to when I could so easily smile in a picture? What happened to the days of taking pictures?

I wish I could love again. Once was an incurable romantic. Now an incurable realist. I know there is no such thing as love but still I miss the unconditional nature of it all. The total lack of restraint when rolling on a newly-made bed sweaty from work and with your shoes still on clutching in your arms the one you love. Drinking in her perspiration, filling your nostrils with her unwashed hair and both of you kissing without brushing your teeth. The trust, the certainty, the belief that when she says we’ll see by 8 pm, she actually means 7:45 pm.

Knowing that you could take a bullet shot for someone you never knew from birth, someone tied to you not by an umbilical cord but by love and faith almost akin to the type that moves mountains. Risking that ride on a motorcycle driven by a mad okada man in the raging wind and rain just to see her, for the touch of her hands, the sound of her voice. And when you stand shivering in her doorway, the first words that come out of her mouth are: “You shouldn’t have! Look at the storm outside. What if you killed yourself?”

It sounds over-clichéd but you say it anyway: “Babe, you know I’d die for you…”

And feeling her heartbeat as she lies cuddled in your arms while the rains beat madly on the rooftops and the angry winds howl all around you. You sense God’s presence, you think you can hear His voice saying: And I looked down on both of you. And I saw it was good…

I wish I could get help. I can’t help it. I listen to other people’s problems and make them my own. Willingly I offer advice but no one seems to realize that I also need someone to talk to. My sister, like the Psychologist she is, does try to help once in a while. I jokingly tell her I would never take advice from anyone whose job description starts with “Psycho”!

Money, cars, fame and fortune, the legacy of a good name, super-intelligent kids who live on to become great parents to their own kids and take care of their wellbeing at every step, and most of all happiness; the kind of things The Senior never gave us.

I wish for all of these.

But most importantly, I wish to be human again. I wish for love.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Re-Introducing The Phoneparazzi

Foreword: Shortly after creating a photo-blog called “The Phoneparazzi”, I happened to later lose interest and even contemplated deleting it. Imagine my surprise when upon going through my first post again, I discovered certain people had previously left comments on it for me! So here I find myself heralding its launch and re-posting what was originally meant to be the foreword to that blog…

Blog - Real Life - The Gist

Saturday 22nd March, 2008: I was the cyber-fresh author of this blog. I had a vision and I was beginning to see MN as a long-time legacy I’d be pursuing to re-educate the Nigerian media on what I feel is wrong with the system. There was plenty to be done and I had lots of time to spare.

Then around 5pm on that fateful Saturday evening, my state of urgency changed. Cruising down the Benin-Asaba expressway with my elder bro at the wheel, relishing the fact that we had conquered the madness that was long-distance travel and anticipating the welcome we’d receive upon arrival, we lost our attention for just a few seconds. 20 minutes was all that was left of the time between us and home.

By the time 20 minutes were over we were still tied up with our seat belts to a car that had veered off the road, flipped once turning 360 degrees through the air and traveled an immeasurable distance without control to land upright in a ditch.

The loud grinding noises, the blackness, the sudden upside down / downside up feeling, the shattering glass, “missiles” flying through the air, the feeling of being carried along in a vehicle knowing there was absolutely nothing we could do… these are remembrances I’ll take with me to the grave. But that was not to be the day.

To the utter amazement of everyone we calmly opened the car doors and walked out. We survived the ghastly car crash with just scratches and a few bruises but the car? I didn’t know a car could go to pieces so quickly. I used to slightly detest that VW Passat car at first when my brother bought it but somehow I know GOD - and that car - saved us. And yes, seat belts sure do work too.

Oddly enough, if the accident didn’t kill us, the sympathizers would just as well have finished the job. The average Nigerian sadly, knows nothing of Rescue 101. Only the shouts of people forcing me to sit down on the road as someone upended a bottle of water on my head was enough to give me the high blood pressure I didn’t have in the first place.

I am very much aware that in every disaster scene there exists the other kind of “sympathizer”, the one who with no conscience whatsoever, steals your scattered belongings. Instead of doing the normal thing, jumping up and down and shouting “PRAI - PRAI - PRAI - PRAISE DA LORD!!!” my attention was caught by the other group of people who were helping us gather our widely dispersed luggage. I can’t start imagining how I must have looked covered in dust and a bit of blood, scrambling about looking for the portable DVD player that made up the centerpiece of my bro’s customized out-of-this-world automobile entertainment system before a sympathizer would “recover” it for me.

When the inventory was eventually taken the only casualties of that accident were the car and my Samsung SGH-C230 phone. Now, I really loved that phone but maybe someone on that crash scene loved it more than me. I don’t know. Before using (and losing) that phone I had previously used a Sony Ericsson T100, a Sagem My-X7 that mysteriously died after just 2 days and a Nokia 1110.

None of the phones I’ve ever used in my life have been classy phones but my C230 was my world. Due to its SMS - copying capabilities, I had archived cherished text messages from my very first phone line, crazy-sexy-cool MMSes, some treasured ringtones and anything else that could fit into its limited memory space. Best of all, I loved it’s radio and I didn’t mind its lack of a camera one bit.

After the jubilation of survival, the loss of that phone hit me pretty hard. The Good Lord, however apart from saving my neck from the Casualty Ward decided He wasn’t done with me yet. Since that fateful day in March, I have been offered a Motorola C975, a Sagem My 501C, a Nokia 6020 and a Samsung SGH-E250 by friends and siblings. All free! I have given away my original N1110 and the Moto and Sagem have issues so now I’m sticking to my 6020 and SGH-E250. They’re still not classy phones but both of them do come equipped with cameras and connectivity. (Of course, I’m still wishing for my dream Nokia E- / N-series, SE Walkman, Apple iPhone or Blackberry and Christmas is around the corner so please, don’t say I didn’t ask!)

I’ve always loved photography but those two camera phones unleash the paparazzi in me. A camera phone is a wonderful thing; it can go where even a camera can’t go. And I can’t help but to blog about these places. But I won’t say much about it here when there’s a brand new place somewhere else to do so.

Here’s re-introducing my formerly-new, temporarily-rested blog: The Phoneparazzi, where I’m hoping to present to you my mostly unconventional views on Life as seen through the eyes of not just my camera phones but other cameras as well.

I hope you like it!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Hen-llo Part 2 & Some Random Ish

***Long personal post alert*** (Heck! ALL my posts are long anyway…)

For some time I’ve been blogging about serious issues so I’ve decided to let my hair down and give you guys some Random Ish I’ve been wanting to gist about for a while now. If you happen not to like the gist, well, take solace in the fact that I’m officially insane anyways…

Good bye November
November, I admit was a very rough month. Within the course of those past 30 days I believed in myself, lost faith and re-believed in myself countless times. I can’t recall anymore if I should be called the Prodigal Son or Forgiving Father or both at once.
In November too I have sacked and re-employed myself numerous times to recall. Several copies of my continuously-rewritten and hurriedly-re-edited resignation letter (with the dates altered) say as much. I fear that by the time I hand in the REAL resignation letter, the boss might actually take a good look at it, let out one of those his deep-throated laughs and order me to Ile-Ife to monitor our equipment there. To add insult to injury he will then proceed to fold it into a paper plane and toss it out of the window where it will hit me on the head as I rush to do his bidding swearing once again that I’ll resign next month.
Boy, was I glad when November came to an inglorious exit! December is already shaping up to be a great month and some of the reasons I said so include some of the gist below.

BlogSpeak Part 2
Remember I swore before that I wouldn’t be calling up any bloggers after Chari’s dissing, abi? Well the threat seems to have worked: now they’re the ones calling me! First, Woomie’s been calling me most weekends beginning from the last in November, me and Esquire have been taking full advantage of Xtra Cool’s free calls and by the time December 1st rolled by, guess who called me up than the lovely Rayo herself! Saying I’m still flabberwhelmed and overgasted is like re-polishing that well worn cliché.
I especially like talking with Rayo cause her brilliance comes through in her gist (what else did you think I was going to say, dirty-minded people!) and just like Esquire the convo flows as unobstructed as the Osun-Gbodofon River. Best of all I only do manage to get tongue-tied once in a long while unlike when I talk with ... (fill in the gap).
Interestingly she was the one who actually scouted for my number and not vice versa which made me feel really, really special, I tell ya! Some people say Lagos gals are too forward and stuff but if such forwardness means I get calls from chicks like her, then who the hell am I to complain? Take my number jo!!!

As A Result Of Which…
…I’m seriously nursing plans to hit Lasgidi this Xmas! Visiting the Centre of Excellence is nothing new but this will be the first time I’ll be spending my hols in the city almost all my Ibo brothers are planning to flee from.
Of course I’ve already got my itinerary drawn up and I’m fully booked till next Christmas but I’m very willing to squeeze out space to meet any blogger who’s willing to take me to any one of the following places / events: Writers’ Anonymous, Terra Kulture, Silverbird Cinema / Ozone, any Iya Basira or similar-themed Shayo joint (where I must witness at least one broken-bottle fight after which we’ll then flee without paying), the Bra Beach (yeah, you read that right) or any Beach for that matter, any upbeat night club (where I’ll sit down all night because I can’t dance and I must get my very first taste of Moet, Hennessy or Chardonnay), a really deep and moving Religious experience (preferably Catholic), British Council’s WAPI, a strip club (I’ll “mistakenly” forget my glasses beforehand) and last but not least, your house (where your mum must be nice, your dad must be absent and only your beautiful single sisters must be introduced to me). And all outings must be all-expense paid by the host/hostess of course!
There! I’m done… Let me start packing my two shirts, two trousers and one shoe.

Airtime Plus
Just when some people were saying I lambaste the NTA too much, I happened to run into my kindred sister last week doing almost the same kind of job I do here but on a newspaper.
Saw Onoshe Nwabuike’s Airtime Plus byline in The Punch Newspapers in a piece tagged “From Mumbai To Jos” where she painted the laughable scenario of CNN trying to get film footage and news reportage of the Jos Mayhem from Nigeria’s local TV stations.
Loved the whole read but I’ll admit the opening statements instantly got my attention. Onoshe, while trying to describe NTA’s perceived “neutrality” on national issues at stake wrote, and I quote:

“NTA whose corporate logo should be the ostrich, would carry on as if nothing was the matter…”

Wow! And to think you people say I’m harsh, ehn? I’m still ROTF picturing how the new design of NTA’s corporate logo would look like with that ostrich positioned somewhere in the middle.

M. I. A. Bloggers?
Does anyone remember Venom… er sorry, my mistake… Serum? I tire jo. After the long chit-chat we just started I was very surprised that homegal seems to have gone AWOL! Been swinging by her blog every time I go online and the “gossip” on it is going so stale that shame don begin to the catch me because of my huge blog presence there. If anyone knows her, abeg tell her that has offered to refund all her browsing money so that they can sell her URL to another person quick quick. (And Esquire, since you were her biggest fan, kindly deliver the message).
Then there’s good old Jo Isreal who came up with her original idea of us rating Naija songs via her “Rate It with Jo” blog. Novel concept, slow response and now Jo seems to have packed her bags. Why do all these great ideas (like The Nollywood Critique) die so suddenly?
What is it sef? At least Carlang warned us in his 42nd post before going AWOL and the dude was so smart to cover his backside in case he never blogs again (he's back again!) unlike another new blogger called RUKKY. Girlfriend wrote what I’ll describe as the best first post I’ve read ever ( 45 other commentators currently agree with me) only for her to disappear soon after I started picking interest. I’ve even gone as far as to include her in my personal ashawo list (a.k.a. the blog crush). Ahn ahn RUKKY, na so our love wan start?
So Serum. Jo, and RUKKY, you pipu better return before Christmas or I’ll start leaving nasty remarks in your comments oh! AlooFar sef don teach me one better method to make people return from their “by force” leave.
Oya, First Warning…

I’ve got a Blog crush!
Ok, I lie. It’s blog crushessssssssss actually. What do guys blog? Simple: We know Blogville is that one wonderful place where you get to meet all these fine-fine ladies with razor-sharp intellect. Think we’re fools? Nah! So kindly permit me to indulge in my fantasies abeg. But seriously, how come so many Naija female bloggers are so fine? Is Ty Bello doing all your profile shots or are you gals stealing people’s pictures off Facebook? These damsels are really getting my temperature rising through absolutely no fault of theirs and I’m lusting big time! (I really need deliverance).
Anyway unlike so many people, I do crush and tell so I’m very much tempted to spill the beans on my detailed Ashawo list soon. But first of all, with my tongue fully sticking out, let me introduce you people to the babe who’s currently occupying the Number 5 spot…

Ladyguide, How Far?
Nobody - least of all, her - knows of this but I’m leaking the secret now. There’s one very special blogger called LG and I dey trip for the chick any time I visit her blog but my dilemma is this: For starters I’m beginning to wonder if this love (abi na lust) isn’t misplaced since I never see her face even by “mistake”. Second her profile picture is a white elephant which makes me wonder if this our “project” won’t turn out like the proverbial white elephant typical of Rural Road and Water Schemes dotted all over the place. Thirdly, and to make matters worse she calls me “egbon” meaning she’s supposed to be my younger sister, abi? LG, abeg why call me egbon instead of something more “chewing-gummy” like sweetheart, sugardrops, honeypie or cupcakes? The “incest” undertones to the whole thing don dey bother me oh…
Anyway, abura, I don “kola” you now abi? Expect the zobo later!

Something’s Cooking
My pipu, as darling LG (I’m still tripping) would say, something dey fire wey I don dey cook small-small and I’m about to open the cover and let you guys get a sniff. What am I talk about? I’m talking of my own style of Blog Awards for the movers and shakers of blogville this year which I have conservatively tagged “The MN Recommends Awards 2008."
There’s definitely not going to be an award ceremony of any sort and I’m not going to be giving out any plaques (where the money?) but I’ve been working very hard to compile a list of blogs / bloggers mainly of Naija origin who have made my 2008 very special and whose blogs I’d recommend anytime, any day. (Why of Naija origin? Because Naija bloggers are the BEST! The only foreign bloggers who are good have some inherited Naija blood from us inside them)
Of course it’s not a novel concept but I’m trying to make the MNR awards much different from lots of blog awards floating out there which you’ll agree are more or less like chain letters with each nominated “recipient” nominating in turn 5, 6 or 7 of his or her friends to spread on the award.
It’s been really hard work writing up the piece which I’m doing single-handedly by the way, and I’m still trying to design an appropriate logo for the “Awards” (Afronuts, Archiwiz, Black 007, Femi B, HELP!!!) but I’ll try to make it my very last post of 2008 so please stay tuned for the buffet. Of course I’m not taking it too seriously so in the meantime, feel free to drop comments about the craziest categories you can come up with and the bloggers who you think deserve to win in them though I cannot guarantee that they’ll make the final cut since time is very scarce nowadays.
And just in case I don’t make the schedule for the Awards post myself, I’ll just re-edit this post, delete this section and deny I ever said such a thing…

In the interim, despite the disarray of my ramblings I have actually enjoyed writing this unlike some of my heavy posts of late. Let’s do this some other time ok?

XOXO (Lady Koko, what does this mean by the way?)

PS: If you succeeded in reading up to here in one sitting you truly deserve a kiss. Here it is: MWWAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!! (Ladies only)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

F**k Mr. Feedjit!

Online - Diatribe

It is indeed rare for me to engage in this kind of diatribe but I just have to say it again:

F**k Mr. Feedjit!

For sometime now I’ve been secretly experimenting with a few minor makeovers to give this blog a new facelift but most of these free stuff just ain’t working. And it’s so exasperating ‘cause I’m paying N120 an hour at the Super-Slowwwww cyber café for the frustration when I can get aggravation free of charge just by stepping outside. Moreover it’ so, so annoying especially for someone like me who prides himself in being a PC nerd when technology starts to make a monkey out of you.

Well for those of you who think I’m speaking in tongues, Feedjit is an e-traffic / tracking tool for your blog or website that tells you and humanity in general the geographical (real world) locations of people who drop by to visit your virtual world. I cannot boast to know the full technicalities of the stuff but I think Feedjit uses your PC’s IP (that’s Internet Protocol) address to do this. Its intrusive, Big Brother / Conspiracy Theory dual function is another matter altogether.

If you’ve been doing your blog rounds religiously, then you are bound to have seen and been smoked out by Mr. Feedjit who then conceitedly proclaims for all to see: “Mushin, Lagos arrived from on” or stuff like that, Mushin being your current location. He takes prominent stand on several blogs like Inyamu’s Eldorado, Funmi I’s and so many others out there.

Mr. Feedjit admittedly does bring his own really cool factor to any blog he makes an appearance in but before you Bloggers out there who employ his services start feeling XtraCool (no endorsements intended) just because Mr. Feedjit says “Gravesend, Kent” has discovered your blog (finally, your first overseas blog hit!), just hold your horses! Mr. Feedjit can also be a BIG liar!

As the picture on the left says, Mr. Feedjit seems to think I’m in Abuja FCT, the capital city of Nigeria whereas I’m actually milessssss away down here in the Southwest (click on the picture to see a bigger view). So just in case you see Bangladesh, Turks and Caicos, Hawaii, Barbados, Sudan or Afghanistan on your blog’s Feedjit feed, please kill your rejoicing. The visitor might just be in good old “Egbedore, Osogbo”, “Fola-Agoro, Lagos”, “Abakaliki, Ebonyi” or “Emuoha, Rivers”.

But why all this ranting? Well, I’ve spent a whole lot of my cyber time and loads of money just begging Mr. Feedjit to grace (or disgrace) my blog with his presence to no avail. I mean, admit it: who doesn’t want to see “Iceland, Iceland arrived from on” on their Feedjit feed? (That statement alone gives you double bragging rights - one, the fact that someone all the way from Iceland thinks your blog is so cool enough to visit and two, actually went to the trouble of clicking your link on Funmi I’s blog!)

But Mr. Feedjit has chosen to ignore me and anytime I go through the entire process of trying to put him on my blog I see the same thing: NOTHING!

Click, click: Nothing!

Cut and Paste HTML: Nothing!

Log-in: Nothing!

Refresh: Nothing!

Log out: Nothing…

So Mr. Feedjit, f**K you!

I’m still going to keep on trying to put you on my blog. Whether you like it or not…

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

That We May Not Forget…

News - Public Opinion

(Dedicated to Esquire - who doesn’t know who Uzoma Okere is)

By this time a month ago, a young lady was physically assaulted on the streets of Lagos and had part of her clothing taken off by several Naval ratings who made up the convoy of a certain Rear Admiral. We all know the story, right? The panel set up to investigate the circumstances surrounding the assault on Uzoma Okere by Rear Admiral Harry Arogundade’s escort has submitted its findings to the Chief of Naval staff. Job well done.

Why then do I get the feeling that the usual trumpet calls, elephant parade and acrobatic performances by clowns that herald the arrival of a circus are trailing somewhere at a distance not too far behind that report? The fun fair it seems may actually be coming into town…

Now, first of all, I never usually do this. I never champion any cause especially in Nigeria because I know that based on the idiosyncrasies of the “Nigerian factor”, most causes are bound to fail.

Many causes in Nigeria turn out useless. The sequence is usually very predictable. Something “wrong” happens, someone cries out, a national uproar then ignites our primitive instincts for mob action, the Federal Government once in a while succumbs to our wishes, a panel is set up and weeks later a recommendation is submitted, it gets lost or the panel never finishes sitting.

The end result is the same: Nothing ever gets done.

Sometime later, the very same “wrong” occurs again and we pick up the monkey circus a few steps behind where we left it off last time.

The same thing I fear may be the case in the Uzoma Okere saga. Since the storm broke, I had decided not to get involved in this even till weeks later when I found out that the said lady was the daughter of the Sergeant-At-Arms of the National Assembly. (Don’t gawp at me. I live under a rock.) I heard of the gist first via Inyamu’s blog, proving once again that blogville has its uses.

That singular fact of her parentage seemed to answer a few questions that had run through my mind in the earlier weeks.

For one, I had always wondered what gave her the “liver” not to put her car on top of her head, hitch up her skirt and clear out of the road when the sirens were passing. (I do not seek to trivialize the issue at stake here, please. Most of us would have hoisted our cars if it was us).

I have watched the notorious video countless times (it makes me sick to the stomach each time) and correct me if I am wrong but I seemed to sense a bit of resistance in her demeanour when those Naval animals were manhandling her. I asked myself then: could it be that Uzoma was a lady who hates outrightly all forms of victimization or could it be that Daddy’s name was being put to the test there? I decided not to judge Uzoma. I wasn’t at the scene and so I can never tell truthfully what she said or did. What I do know is that NOTHING warrants the stripping of another human being in public.

Countless Nigerians have been harassed daily by the military but very few of them make the news. I have once seen an innocent bystander beaten to a pulp just for the simple crime of looking at a soldier in a “funny” way. I have seen a guy who was making calls at a phone stand stripped in public for no apparent reason. The para-military group involved later issued a statement that they had suspected him of being a “cult member” and wanted to find out if he had the markings on his body. The two victims in question had no fathers in the National Assembly or nearby bystanders with handycams to film the event.

I fear that despite the power of Daddy’s name or the media outcry, Uzoma’s case may just as well be swept under the rug of “distraction with other important national issues”. The nation is too concerned with the killer “My Pickin” mixture, the crisis in Jos and the reading of the national budget to care anymore. The attempts to thwart the course of justice through changes in the venue for sittings and the failure of certain witnesses and counsel to appear might just have been the opening acts in what may turn out to be a circus after all.

Rear Admiral Arogundade, the Flag Officer Commanding, Naval Logistics Command, Oghara and his six Naval ratings (whose names seem to have been conveniently withheld since) were supposedly requested to appear before a panel chaired by Rear Admiral Umosen who also happens to be an FOC. Was I the only one who saw something odd in this?

Over the past few weeks, my views of Uzoma and Harry Arogundade have changed drastically. It is now a case of one versus the other. The People’s Court is in full session and our cries of “Crucify him!” might even drown out the reading of the verdict itself or its implementation.

As someone pointed out to me recently, Uzoma is a very lucky person. Had she been anyone else, male or female, she would have been calmly beaten and possibly shot dead with her body later displayed in full public view on Newsline as being that of a robbery suspect. Maybe the next time we pick up stones or bottles or tyres to lynch that accused witch, kidnapper or robbery suspect on the streets of Lagos, Kaduna or Aba, we just might consider the fact that the “suspect” might actually be as blameless as Uzoma.

Despite running the risk of wrongly predicting the outcome of the panel’s report, I suspect Arogundade might end up getting a ridiculous punishment which he will never serve out anyway while his pack of dogs may suffer the full brunt of “the law” for literally enforcing Oga’s "figurative orders" just to appease we the mob. Will Rear Admiral Arogundade be made to resign? I still very much doubt it. Uzoma’s harassment may have very well been blamed on the notorious Unknown Soldier if not for the hard evidence. It now left solely for that panel to prove me wrong.

When all this hue and cry dies down, we will just as easily forget those certain individuals whose efforts in championing Uzoma’s cause while truly deserving of commendation have gone unrecognized. No-one will applaud the efforts of the cameraman who (with apparently shaky bravery) recorded the crucial video that captured a decisive moment in time and carved an everlasting cinematic niche in journalistic Nigeria. Who remembers Closecalls, the chap who put it up on CNN’s iReport? We are too busy joining the Petition group and sending Friend Requests to Uzoma on Facebook to care despite the fact that we would have shunned her Profile page before November 3.

The endeavors by bloggers like Inyamu and Funmi whose posts on the matter further exposed the can of worms that is public harassment and the taking of extra-judicial powers into their hands by the military will go unsung. Nobody seems to recollect anymore the pains suffered by a few people who dared to intervene.

But there is one moment in this saga which I will never forget. In the video posted on iReport, a certain young lady in a white blouse who appears somewhere in the middle of the camera footage openly questions the actions of those Naval rat(ing)s through her gesticulations and then tries to put Uzoma’s clothing back on even despite her weak struggles. She will go unnamed and subsequently become history.

Seeing those two young women caught up in the midst of it all gave me a hope in the New Nigeria. One that is not just content with the onlooker status but actually lends a hand to oppose that which is wrong. When I saw that soldier beat the bystander, I turned my face and walked away so that I wouldn’t be accused of the crime of “lookery”. And paraphrasing the words of Wole Soyinka, “The man dies in him who keeps silent in the face of tyranny…”

May we all someday be like that brave young woman.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

C. O. T. C. Part 4: DISARMED!

Picture this: You are the President of America. Suddenly out of nowhere, one jaga-jaga country like that (name withheld) which doesn’t even share a common boundary with yours suddenly lays claim to your land, stations ships in your waterways and infiltrates your airspace with dilapidated Biafran-type aircraft.

Quickly, like George W. Bush, you jam the airwaves with electronic noise, threaten a nuclear strike, roll out the Abrams, F-22s to F-1,000,000s, and even the SCUD missiles left over from Desert Storm and with your Marines leading and the UN following, you land on the battlefield to reclaim what’s duly yours. Your enemies however turn out to be a straggly group comprising mostly of WW I veterans, survivors of the Titanic and inmates of Bedlam all dressed up in purple lycra blouses and orange tights and being led by a dreadlocked General who goes by the name of Basketmouth.

After ROTFALYAO (ROTF and laughing your ass off), you tell this Comic Coalition to surrender but instead they advance even more with some of them even daring to caress your soldiers’ AK-47s with their garlicky breath. After several attempts at a stand-down which they steadily rebuff, your soldiers imploringly turn their eyes to you all waiting for your command to open fire and quickly end this nonsense.

With the ideas of September 11 now firmly rooted in your mind, you then decide to eradicate this potential Al Queda once and for all and finger poised on the detonator switch you close your eyes and count backward slowly from 10. Just as you reach 1, you open your eyes to see all your enemies turn round at Basketmouth’s command, jerk down their trousers and let rip with a very loud fart before abandoning their clothing to run off naked, therefore bringing the war to an inglorious end.

What would you do? Send your soldiers after them to wipe them out for fouling the air, depleting the ozone layer and wasting your time? Or do you just laugh it off, pack your armory back from the battlefield by sending it halfway around the world in the wrong direction and pay an unscheduled courtesy call to Yardie to teach him how to handle the Niger-Delta boys while looking for contracts so that Nigeria’s crude oil gets refined in you country?

Ok, I’m not so good at all this imagery business but it seems I might very soon abandon the act of blogging just to reply comments in detail instead. After reading Serum’s recent rejoinder to my rejoinder to her comments, I can’t help but feel like the G. W. Bush of the above scenario (whether Serum can be likened to General Basketmouth is left to your discretion).

First of all, I just got to find out that Mr. Anonymous Commentator is actually Ms. Anonymous Commentator who actually happens to be Ms. Serum (if her claim is to be believed). Seriously speaking, I leaned closer to disbelief at first when I saw this. For all I know, she could just be a new blogger on the block seeking to use such controversy as a subtle launch pad for her blog. She could be banking on the side-effects of negative publicity equivalent to the same way humans will most likely urinate on a “Do Not Urinate” sign.

I even once suspected Serum of being the alter ego of my best friend and blog-critic but fake or real, Serum is no fool. She first seeks to boost my ego by praising my blog (deservedly, I might add. How come no-one has ever put me on their bloglists, nominated me for an award or tagged me? You people sef!) She then gives her own ego a quick shine too before going into yet another defense of KH’s music.

In all honesty (my favourite expression) I am very tired of flogging the KH issue. All this talk with him being in the centre seems to be giving him some sort of popularity as Rayo rightly pointed out, which I never give to any subject I discuss or diss on the blog. Moreover, I happened to hear yet another of his singles recently where he very openly encourages people to make sure they get the Control Numbers from their magas. If KH doesn’t seem to condone 419 as Serum puts it, that song alone fully convinced me that I was very right in my earlier speculations.

Like Serum says (and TRAE implied earlier), music is entertainment and thus shouldn’t always be taken seriously. I agree to an extent. What I disagree about is the “not taken seriously” part. Movies might portray wife-battering, incest, homosexuality, racism, sedition, jazzing (Nollywood-style) or any out of a million perceived vices but the difference lies in the fact that music travels faster, hits harder, influences more and has far-reaching consequences than any movie can ever have.

We hear of nations going to war with battle-songs on their lips. I am yet to hear of the military teaching their combatants scenes from movies or of any nation for that matter going to war because of a movie. Even The Passion of Christ, The Da Vinci Code, Borat and 300 combined couldn’t achieve that feat. When we hear songs, we believe they mirror the true feelings of the songwriter at that particular moment. When we watch movies, even war and horror movies, there’s always a sense of disbelief that shrouds us. We know the actor never really died anyway.

Rowan Atkinson once spoofed the Queen of England when he head-butted her in one of his Mr. Bean sketches. Even the Queen must have laughed when she saw that. I doubt if she would have had much cause for mirth if any popular UK band had sang “F**k The Queen”.

Frankly, I am tired. I don’t know how better to explain the movie-music disparity in contrast to the opinions voiced by Serum and any other person in her league but I do know this:

Michael Jackson will always be popular even if he never speaks a word till he dies. My niece knows who Michael Jackson is.

She doesn’t know who Marlon Brando is.

I am yet to watch the Titanic for starting to end in one sitting.

I have listened to Yahoozee! from starting to end more than a million times.

Serum is not stupid. Maybe she’s just a little bit misled.

I finally rest my case.

PS: Even if this whole debate is useless, at least I achieved the following: 1) I posted regularly for a while. (2) I made Serum use better English. (3) I’ve found my match (in a friendly way, of course) and (4) I sincerely do like her sense of humour towards the end of her Rejoinder.

So, um… Serum, em…em... can we be friends?

PPS: No ass kissing still intended but I actually like the name Serum. It would be the kind of cool name I’d give to a character if I were writing the next part of the movie “Blade” or “The Matrix”. And Serum seems to complement my own code name: Nemesis.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Bits And Pieces 7: Music Videos vs. music videos, Football And Christmas…

So I decided to do another B & P so soon after the last one? Sue me!

Stepping to Sexy Music
You can hardly switch on the TV nowadays without catching Jordin Sparks’ “One Step At A Time” video. That’s one hell of a great song and the video sets it off beautifully. It just goes to show that you don’t need a country’s budget, countless locations or a massive crowd of extras to shoot a good video. Nigerian video directors need to dump the helicopter and Moet and start looking on incorporating street scenes in their works (not the dirty Lagos street scenes please. Or the ones where they show girls dancing on top of danfo buses…)

Also of note is Ne-Yo’s “Independent Woman” video which features Gabrielle Union as his boss (now, which man wouldn’t want to work under Gabrielle U?) and goes to prove what we’ve always known anyway: Ne-Yo is a great musician and songwriter, looks nice in suits and is a bit lacking in the height department. Gabrielle also still has her sexy witch looks which keep heads turning.

And speaking of sexy women, Nick Cannon must be the luckiest man (or boy) alive now. I mean how many of us get to marry the girl (sorry, woman) of our dreams? Caught Mrs. Cannon flaunting her heart-stopping curves on a recent music video that features T.I. and I was so intent making plans on how to assassinate Nick that I missed the title of the track.

Finally, spotted Madonna in a video from her “Confessions On The Dance Floor” album exercise-dancing seductively alongside some other male dancers in the background young enough (or is it old enough) to be her sons. At certain points in the video, now it’s rather hard to find the words to describe this but she figuratively has sex with music! Let your imagination fill in the rest…

Boy, does it feel good to be as old as she is and still make little boys lick their lips…

Music Videos vs. music videos
Still on the issue of music videos, I watched a lot of them on EATV, Channel 5 lately thanks to a recent trip to Bida, Niger State and a rogue cable subscription in the house I stayed in there.

Most of the EATV gist is in a language I don’t understand but they do show some cool foreign videos though the percentage is very low compared to those of East African origin. Of course, the mix wouldn’t be complete without showing Nigerian music videos and Sasha / Storm Records, the Mo’ Hits crew and P Square mostly rep Naija on the EA musical landscape. And boy! the Naija videos have got WAAAAY more class than the East African videos which still look like they are been shot with handy cams.

Out of several things I’ve noticed though, the East Africans have far less reservations when it comes to showing skin on TV unlike their West African counterparts and they do look cool like that. But without wanting to sound unduly patriotic when it comes to eye candy we all know the Naija babes still rule the competition though they seem to be taking a second spot compared to the South African chicks of mixed parentage.

To tell the truth, most of the East African entertainment programmes do look pretty wack (I can’t hear what they’re saying anyway) plus Zain Networks and another unknown telecom company called Tigo seem to sponsor everything in East Africa from talk shows to street shows to even the news. I’ll give it to the East Africans though; they do seem so proud of their languages and incorporate it as much as possible into their music.

If there’s one thing both types of videos have in common, it’s this: The massive copycatting of the foreign rap stars’ bling-bling Hip-Hop culture.

And the absence of men wearing briefs and dancing seductively…

Female Football & A Flight Of Fancy
Yardie can be a fine boy sometimes. Of course the 20 sacked Ministers, the staff of Channels TV and Jonathan Elendu are not going to agree with me but I almost kissed his forehead when he rescinded the earlier decision that would have stopped the country from hosting the Under-17 World Cup in 2009. That means I may finally be able to boast of watching a World Cup match on home soil having missed the opportunity in times gone past. Yardie’s change of heart aside, you can be sure almost nothing will be done until the last moments when we’ll gladly roll out our bright red (green) fire brigade trucks.

On the female angle, one of the benefits of watching cable TV is that you’re bound to find the odd channel broadcasting the odd tournament. I previously had absolutely no idea that the female Under-17 World Cup was holding in New Zealand last month until I caught the live broadcasts on Capital TV. The Nigerian female team really won my heart in one of their past matches by hanging on to a 2 - 2 draw even after going one man down (sorry, one woman down) against the Brazilian team when the ref harshly sent off goal-scorer Ebere Orji. The Samba girls though almost made them pay dearly for the lack of a finisher with their well-played free kicks.

Things did get very tense and a head-to-head collision had Nigeria playing with just 9 girls against Brazil’s 11 at one point but one relatively amusing aspect in the match was a Nigerian player who goes by the name “MacFancy”.

The Super Falcons on the other hand were hoping to steam-roll over all their other African competition in the ongoing African Women’s Championship, qualify for the female World Cup as usual and then fail woefully as has always been their due. How sad…

No More Miss Goody-Two-Shoes
Michelle Williams, usually the cool-headed, most reserved member of the defunct Destiny’s Child has finally decided that she’s not going to let only Beyonce and Ms. Kelly steal the spotlight when it comes to bringing sexy back!

Spotted the former Miss Goody-Goody proudly parading her stuff in a thigh-length killer dress and the occasional black cat suit in a musical video “We Break The Dawn” featuring rapper Flo-Rida. Girlfriend used to be so good before, it almost looked like a “sin” watching such a blood-pumping video and as you rightly guessed, “We Break The Dawn” ain’t Gospel music.

Bad sales in the religious genre of music most probably must have made Ms. W throw away the choir gown for a cat suit and raunchy dance steps and it will be interesting to see if she continues “back-sliding” or does the split personality thing and releases albums in both religious and secular genres. Or maybe she’s finally just discovered she’s “all-woman”.

After all, it’s actually quite annoying seeing Beyonce blatantly flaunting her curves on TV especially when you know you’re just as appropriately “blessed”. And Gospel music alone can’t pay for that daily gym workout or the cat suit for that matter…

MTN Also Delivers
First of all, this is not a paid advert. Secondly, I dislike endorsing companies especially the telecoms but I just have to hand it to MTN on this one. After my recent inability to carry out a credit transfer I was surprised to get the following text from + 234 803:

“We apologize for your recent difficulties with loading airtime. We will credit your account tonight with N60 airtime as a token for the inconvenience.”

Now, compared to all the inconveniences I’ve going through lately, 60 bucks ain’t squat but the fact they were true to their word and did send the token at night impressed me with their sincerity. (Moreover 60 bucks equals to 12 extra SMSes and can make all the difference between free or no night calls)

Glo, on the other hand, would never send such a text in the first instance. They aren’t so careless as to have airtime/ recharge issues and I’m beginning to suspect Glo recharge cards will sometimes load even when there’s no network signal!

Return Of The Queen
Before she was telling us to “Jebele, Jebele”. Now she wants us back and says “Jowo, Biko”. Women always seem to have a hard time making up their minds.

What am I talking about? Qween’s latest single “Jowo, Biko” (meaning “Please, Please” or “Abeg, Abeg” in the Yoruba and Igbo / Pidgin English tongues) is out and spinning on a radio close to you. I must admit, I never gave the Qween her due respect before now (maybe her dentition was partly to blame) but after dropping these two hot singles, I can’t wait to hear what the whole album will sound like.

Heard Qween in a phone interview with Ice on Grace 95.5 FM, Bida say she’s got not just one, but two albums ready but she’s having difficulties with the marketers. She also spilled the beans on her upcoming marriage when she returns to Nigeria (no mention of who Mr. Right is though) and the fact that she’s expecting a second baby too!

Qween absolutely kills you softly on this Cobhams-produced soulful track and she’s definitely going to go places with those silky seductive tones of hers. I’ve got just one piece of advice for the Afro wig-wearing musical sovereign though: Qween, jowo, biko, settle your issues quickly with the Alaba Market boys before the pirates lift your singles off the radio and launch your “albums” before you do. Ask 9ice what he suffered at their hands before the release of his “Gongo Aso” album.

Xmas Jingles
The yuletide’s around the nearest corner and once again the marketing gates are firmly open drowning us in the advertising avalanche which compels us to buy this and buy that at “half” (= same) price. As we rush into the shopping malls, the sounds of cash registers have now replaced the sound of Christmas bells and the reason for the season has been long forgotten.

Anyway, enough of the preaching. In a quirky sort of personal tradition, I always take mental note of when and where I hear my first Xmas jingle for the year and this year it was on Livingspring 104.5 FM, Osogbo on November 1st. Maybe the fact that I’ve been on the road since then is to blame but I’m yet to hear or see another one after that which is rather unprecedented in all my Xmas years.

Sales of bangers and the Harmattan weather have been rather slow too (especially in certain parts of the Southwest) and I hear the global economic crisis is partly to blame for that one! Anyway, wear appropriate clothing when it’s cold, have a hanky ready for the dust and stock up on cardigans, jackets, tea and essential balms before their prices increase. Or even better, just get a brand new, 24-hour, hug-inclined boyfriend.

Merry Xmas in advance people!


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Commenting on the Comments 3: Serum’s Re-rejoinder

Like the former Comment, I decided to dedicate a full post to this instead of neglecting it to the background.

Pardon me. In all honesty, I really don’t have anything better to do at the moment:

From Serum:


I have always been an avid fan of your blog. Your eloquent execution of the English language is the first thing that caught my attention. Your realistic but comical spin on situations occurring in Nigeria should qualify you for some type of an award. I never usually comment but today, something caught my attention. I was reading an unusually long post that was dedicated to a comment you received regarding Kelly Hansome. As I read I thought to myself, wow I wonder what in the world the poster could have said to result in such a respond from the postee (namely you). I read and read and I found myself feeling familiar with the subject matter. I couldn't believe it. It is almost incredible, but I found myself to be Ms. Anonymous. I have to say thanks for making my day by devoting a whole posting to me and 3 whole postings to me and my favorite singer, Kelly Hansome. I also have to say thank you to (of course) you. Your ranting & raving over my status as Anonymous has resulted in turning an avid reader into a blogger. I have found a new passion. You, dear friend, have met your match. In a friendly way of course. Now I can understand that this is YOUR blog. You are allowed to write whatever you want. I understand you HATE 419. I also understand that you appear to have above average intellectual ability. I am just confused to why you think that Kelly either participates in 419 or is glorifying it. Let us not forget that music is entertainment. Just like movies. Brad Pitt played a vampire in "Interview with a Vampire". Does that make him a vampire? Does that mean that he is screaming for Americans to go out and suck the blood out of unsuspecting humans? Does this mean that he is glorifying a satanic lifestyle. I shall let you PONDER these questions, while I continue to roam the internet before the credit I purchased to use the net run out!

PS: Rayo, I told you he / she would be back, didn’t I?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bits And Pieces 6: Yardie, SSS, The New President-Elect and S.S.

Foreword: A week ago, History was made. Still TV-less, a week later, I blog about it...

It Ain’t Safe No More
Apart from being the title of one of Busta Rhymes’ albums, this should also be the alert status of every single Blogger out there. It seems you could be even arrested nowadays for putting up a post on how to make proper "semo"! OK I kid…

Every government/regime in Nigeria seems to have their individually selective phobias. For Idiagbon, it was the fear of refuse dumps and indiscipline. For IBB it was the fear of telling the truth and Democracy. Abacha had a huge terror for international travel and a certain magazine called Tell. Ditto for OBJ who hated corporate attire and a young musician by the name of Eedris Abdulkareem for singing "Nigeria Jaga-jaga".

Yardie’s administration, it seems has the fear of intellectual expression. The detention and subsequent release of the Lansing-based Nigerian blogger, Jonathan Elendu by the SSS/EFCC should teach us not to think otherwise.

Inspired by my prophetic genes when I taunted the NBC in my last B & P by suggesting they take up seizing bloggers’ licenses as a new source of revenue, I had no idea their bigger Big Brother, the SSS would take it so seriously. First it was Channels TV, now it is blogging. The effort hasn’t really been wasted, at least now I know the definition of the word "sedition".

True to their nature of being a caring family, all of blogville came out in stout defense of one of their own writing various posts on the matter and a group was even formed on FB to protest J.E.’ s detention (I wonder what the group will do now he’s been released?) It does give one a warm feeling inside knowing you won’t be alone if you’re ever arrested! (And Aloofar, does Woomie make it to your list of potential detainees after this recent post of hers? By the way, I’m still trying to figure out how we can protest by going naked virtually).

A comedian once joked that unless you’ve been detained (and released) by the EFCC, you can’t call yourself a big man. The long and short of this gist is that despite the consequences of the trauma he endured in solitary confinement, Jonathan Elendu’s ordeal has not only brought Yardie’s true intentions into stark, painful light but actually made his blog more popular. In all honesty, I had never visited until after his arrest.

That visit has become an eye-opener.

I’m even safely contemplating a form of mild arrest by the EFCC (no SSS for me, thank you!)

So it’s finally over?

Much to my relief, the 24-month long political soap opera known as Obama-drama a.k.a. Obama-mania is finally drawing to an end. Now the husky-voiced, 2 ton-chested Madam of the Stock Exchange can deftly dodge the EFCC, loosen her custom-made bras and take a breather while we can now go back our daily tedium of insulting our leaders instead of picking one for the U.S. like the global busybodies we are.

Inasmuch as I refused to be caught in the plot of the drama or be drawn into the Lagos "carnival" that heralded his victory, it was fun catching peeks of the Election coverage on CNN especially a programme called "The Campaign Trail". I actually enjoyed the 01/11 edition which subtly poked fun on the "flawed" American voting system (Maurice Iwu ridiculously claims ours is better!)

I’m hoping that come 2011 the Nigerian media can copy from CNN’s balanced, detailed and mildly humourous reportage and we the people can focus on choosing better leaders (as opposed to tyrannical rulers) for ourselves instead of looking for unadvertised vacancies as international Campaign Managers.

It’s high time we realized that Obama shall not, will not, does not acknowledge our interference one bit. He is an American first and a Blackman second.

And when it comes to politics, as they say, no paddy for jungle!

Very TV-less…
I’m discarding the last shredded piece of my raggedy pride to do this: Blogville, I need a TV soonest! This TV-holics Anonymous withdrawal phase is slowly but surely driving me CRAZY!

I mean it’s one thing if I had absolutely no means to get one or maybe if all the PHCN poles had fallen in my area but to have two TVs within close reach and not being able to conscript any of them into active service has started depleting my brain cells.

The rats in my mom’s house have the one there all to themselves but the most annoying one is the big fully functional set which we leave abandoned in the office specifically for tutorials when the Boss wants to give us a lecture on CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) principles in relation with X-ray radiation and stuff like that or when we want to learn how to unsolder a component from a PCB (Engineering-speak). Very frustrating!

Well, I ain’t too proud to beg… If any of you out there has a spare TV to dash me, be it Black & White, a portable, CRT or even the latest LCD just holler at me and I’ll send my address sharpish. I’ll even buy Viju Milk for the delivery driver if need be.

And while I’m at it, can I beg for a DVD player too?

But Still Watching TV…
It’s amazing the distances I’ve traveled recently just to peek at the boob tube (that’s TV to the uninitiated, not a fashion accessory). Bida, Niger State was far enough as it got recently but the bravest feat so far was going to the common room of a girls’ secondary school hostel to watch "Super Story"! I can tell you one thing for sure: it was traumatic for me having to sit through the hour as 60 pairs of pubescent female eyes virtually tore me apart. I can’t imagine what must have been going through those teenage mind filled with crushes and ideas on the brain.

I bet it was also traumatic for the student I almost ran into bathing outside (why do females always bathe outside? It must be in their genes to never use the toilet / bathroom) so I’m not pulling that stunt again.

Worse, that particular episode of "Super Story" wasn’t even worth it.

Who the heck is Tolu Olukunga?
That’s the question that comes to my mind whenever I watch the current edition of Super Story titled "Nnenna: A Gift of Love". Fair-skinned Tolu plays the title role of Nnenna in the script, a ghost who seeks to save her kidnapped mom from the clutches of her evil uncle and avenge the deaths of her and her father at the hands of said uncle by exposing him.

In all sincerity, I’ve never seen Tolu act before but her characterization leaves a lot to be desired especially when she’s acting emotional (ghosts apparently aren’t supposed to be emotional - according to the script). Tolu as a ghost sucks and the scriptwriter occasionally seems to forget just what exactly her powers are. Nnenna for example, can easily spot the hiding place where her uncle stashes mom away but is totally oblivious when he removes her from there and later zooms past her with the poor woman tied up in his car trunk. And after wasting our time showing us the other ghosts in the "ghost village" teach her how to channel her emotions into interaction with the physical world, we never get to see her use such power anyway.

Another ridiculousity (pardon me) is the make-up artiste’s Michael Jackson-esque idea of smothering Gabriel Afolayan in very brown make-up making him appear more brown-skinned than usual. His different skin-colour tones are clearly visible at his upper arms and neckline whenever he wears a T-shirt. Just giving him a clean-shave was enough to bring out the boy in him. His over-acting makes up for the rest.

The entire script is sadly predictable if you’ve watched the movie "Ghost" in the past and the lack of special effects (relying heavily on the cut-and-edit camera techniques instead of the simplest superimposition) leaves the whole series feeling… well… un-ghostlike.

The increasing number of sponsors and lengthier periods of time-wasting in the script may have Mr. Adenuga smiling to the bank but will leave many of his ardent fans even more disappointed in his Super Story legacy. It is difficult throwing verbal javelins at a production company I very much look up to but I know WAP can do better than this. I mostly criticize them because I care.
I can’t wait to see Tolu play a better role in maybe another edition of S.S. and with more conviction too. Her limited wardrobe in "Nnenna" (ghosts also apparently wear just one set of clothes) also seems to have done her in and my sister - in a bout of typical female envy - accuses her of holding in her tummy.

But we all know there’s nothing that displeases a fine intelligent woman more than the presence of another fine intelligent woman!

Chari, do you happen to have her number? Help a bro, abeg!

PS: On A More Regular Schedule
Starting from just now, you can expect my B & P posts on a more regular monthly schedule. That way you can expect at least one MN post each month even if I’ve got nothing more sensible to talk about.

Remain posted…

Sunday, November 9, 2008


OK, so I’ve been officially dissed on another blog…

Last week I decided despite my personal financial market crisis (and against common sense, I might add) to call up certain bloggers so we could chew the rag, so to speak. Now I’m mildly regretting the decision.

First up on my list was Esquire. OK, honestly I didn’t actually call him - I flashed! And like the real homeboy he is, dude called me back so we could relate. Meennnn! The convo was so silky smooth you’d be forgiven if you thought we had been hommies for life. I mean like seriously, I’m looking forward to the next time we get to yarn if we ever do.

Next up on the list was Laide the Exschoolnerd. I must admit this one was kinda Herculean… I mean what exactly does one say to one of blogville’s flyest divas? After muttering a few lines I guess I wound up feeling star-struck and a wee bit intimidated, just like a Primary school pupil trying to chat up his class teacher. Or worse, just like trying to talk to the Pope about sex: where does one really start?

After a couple of attempts in which I once almost stupidly asked if the sun was still shining over there in Lagos, I had to give up. Suffice it to say I think we relate better digitally than over the phone so I’ll be switching back fulltime to the e-mail routine just like before.

The only highlight of our gist was when she said in her opinion, I don’t I dalk fuddy. And Laide sounds just Woomie; I could have sworn I was talking to the same person. Do all Lag girls sound alike or do you gals go for voice lesson to get rid of the H-factor?

Last but not least was Charizard. The banter went something like this:

MN: Hen-llo? Onluwa-Charizard! How you dey?

C: (in a Queen Elizabeth butler accent) I’m very fine thank you. Who’s speaking please?

MN: Na me now! Naughty Eyes…

C: OK and how are you doing this fine morning?

MN: (puzzled) Ah, ah? No be Charizard be this?

C: Yes, you do have the distinguished pleasure of speaking with Charizard.

MN: Which one you come dey blow Grammar like oyibo so?

C: I’m in a meeting at the moment and I’ll get back to you later.

MN: OK now, we go yarn later.

C: No wey-rey (still in that aristocratic butler accent)

Meeting ke? I was stunned as in: who put wey-rey like that for meeting? Little wonder there is a global financial crisis oh! And all the oyibo flows? Na wa! You bloggers continue surprising me. Before you know it, it will turn out that Rayo actually has a Hillary Clinton accent while Aloofar sounds just like Obama.

Next thing, as if the gist with Char-gizzard wasn’t enough, I visit the Fiery and Sweet blogspace only to see Char-boy ranting, missing several (female) bloggers and having a fun time hanging out with Wellsbaba. I look under the Misc section and what do I see? This!

I was in a meeting when Xavier called me during the week...chai...I won't lie mehn...even tho he had warned me on his blog in his "about me" post I still almost got lost when we yarned...Nna mehnn...that accent was silky as well matured red wine...I swear, I tot he was calling to tell me that my conteehnah has arrived atti the Portu...heheheeh...Xavi! no vex o

Like the Nigerian Police, let me list out the charges:

First offence: Putting me under the heading Miscellaneous and calling me Xavier.

Second offence: Praising my accent as being “silky as well matured red wine”.

Third offence: Just when my head was swelling that all the blog-chicks would be dying to call me up to hear my Barry White tones, he dashes all my hopes by referring to “conteehnah”

Fourth and final offence: Someone (can’t recall who now) then drops a comment: “LMAO @ Xavier”

So the verdict is in:

Woomie says I speak through my nose.
Laide says I don’t.
Esquire was too busy yarning to notice.
And Charizard dissed me.

Funny thing is, I’m supposed to be “angry” about this (according to truthmasta?) but I’m not maybe because honestly I realize that even when Char-Char disses you, the number and/or variety of your comments go up.

So, Chari, pop out the champagne! I’m not going to tear you a new a-hole.

But I won’t be spending my shinkili credit calling up any of you Bloggers out there to gist in the near future, no thank you!

“conteehnah has arrived atti the Portu” INDEED! (BIG thunderous, ear-splitting HISSSSSSSSS)

PS: Minor Updates in Progress
The comments concerning the mini-debate I put up on my last post have been interesting even though voting was poor. So as not to look as if I was just bad-mouthing Tustep and DJ Tee, I’ve decided to later update the original post in question with screenshots from the music video (so you can have the hard evidence so to speak).

The debate meanwhile still continues via the poll.

PPS: For those who have been wondering, I sent my Contributors on an all-expense paid sabbatical to any location of their choice, the only criteria being that the location must fall within Southwest Nigeria (no Obudu Cattle Ranch on the bill, sorry). Seems they enjoyed the break so much they’re yet to resume work!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Are NAIJA Music Videos Debasing Women?

Public Opinion

This is a question I’ve been asking myself a lot recently.

What actually triggered this discourse was an argument and a music video I caught recently thanks to a pirated 9ice VCD that proudly claimed to contain his Gongo Aso videos. Trust the pirates: the contents were radically different from the cover but that’s another issue for another day.

The argument actually started when a female declared that if she was a music star she’d shoot a music video that would have the guys all strutting around in briefs. Her reason? Guys shoot videos with scantily dressed female dancers in them shaking what their Mamas gave ‘em and reducing their bride price, so to speak. Her scantily-clothed males video concept would therefore turn the tables on men.

Fast forward to the music video on the “Gongo Aso” VCD I talked of earlier. The video in question titled “Call The Police” is from the (previously unknown to me) musician Tustep and features another (unknown) rapper who goes by the name Dagrin. The music video was directed by DJ Tee (again!) with the production efforts of Shayman (of Ko Won Je fame).

The song by itself is a club banger based loosely on the crunk rap style and its lyrics are kinda nice. According to the hook as sung by Tustep:

Pick up your phone make you call the Police / Say this girl she don thief my heart-y oh! / Oh! (x 3) / Where she carry am go? / Oh oh! / She must-o carry am come back!

And he goes on to sing about how the girl has stolen his heart thus making him “tempted to touch” and stuff like that. After the introductory scene by Shayman, we get to see Tustep on a sofa with his girl number one. Then after that, we fade to what looks like the VIP section of a club with about 10 girls in the background each doing her bit of dancing while Tustep addresses the one sitting down directly. But after this comes the controversial part. I’ve gone over the entire lyrics of the song and Tustep makes it apparent in the lyrics that he’s singing of one girl. So how come in the said video do we see two girls running their hands all over him in the bedroom scene?

Correct me if I’m wrong but I’m yet to see a Naija music video which (discreetly or openly) endorses a ménage a trois like this. I just wonder who - Director, artiste or Producer - was responsible for this particular Artistic Direction. (Congrats! At least now our music videos are stepping up! 50 Cent and Ludacris, it seems now reside in Lagos. Or wherever).

The video by itself is not too bad and will trip a guy’s imagination no end but will give women yet another chance to cry foul over their being debased. I’ve listened to several women shout against this form of abuse but it seems their positions are rather weakened by the members of their very same sex. And as one lady told me: if she refused to dance provocatively in a video, there would be 10 other ladies lining up to take her place.

As for me, I take the middle stand. Any woman / girl / lady who chooses to can appear nude in any music video she wants to as far as no one put a gun to her head to do it. But still that doesn’t mean the music video Directors and artistes should start pushing the envelope and blurring the lines between provocative dancing, x-rated scenes and freedom of speech.

I won’t lie: I like seeing skin and rump-shaking but that doesn’t mean every music video should start toeing that line! What’s happening to creativity, for crying out loud?

I’m running a poll about this just to know your views and please feel free to drop comments / e-mail. All views are welcome. But if you were to ask me, I don’t think every Nigerian apparently, is ready for sexually-suggestive videos. Well, people what do YOU think?

We love watching your videos but this rubbish has got to end.

DJ Tee, Tustep, and many others: Please, please take note…

Monday, October 27, 2008

Right Of Reply: Commenting On The Comments Part 2

Dear Anonymous Commentator,

It is with a huge dose of sarcasm and the eternal quest for objectivity that I have decided to handle this matter this way. Normally, being the blogmaster, I could have easily deleted your comments and no-one would have been any more the wiser except you and I. But maybe I deceive myself when I say I am objective. I may have to warn you however that my reply - in exact opposite of yours - will be long.

First, of all, Thank you for helping me stick to my decision not to turn off Comment Moderation in my blog. I’m sure you must have agonized for hours trying to choose the right words to convey your opinion and I’m sorry if good manners and Comment Moderation prevented you from publishing all the swear words you might have used in my blog without my permission. Once again, thanks for unwittingly demonstrating to less discrete Bloggers out there, the immense power of this little invention of Censorship.

Secondly, I usually don’t publish Anonymous comments on my blog. From experience, most of them are usually useless comments packed full of hidden links to spy ware, spam and advert sites none of which I endorse. Whenever I break this rule, you ought to know that either the said comment is apt, harmless, boosts my ego or makes a whole lot of sense. Your comment in this case, doesn’t fulfill any of these criteria but I’ll just make an exception all the same.

On the issue of Kelly Hansome’s (“hansome I repeat Hansome”, according to you - mixed upper and lowercases regardless) Maga Don Pay video, I guess I may have been a bit too harsh on that video. Sorry. Maybe we can safely blame that on my period. Like I said then and will always say, I love the song. I actually HATE the lyrics and subsequently, dislike the video.

I’m grateful for your enlightening me on the location for the video shoot. I’ve watched the said video twice and no where in it was it captioned “Shot in L.A.” so I guess my speculations that it was done in S.A. was a safe one. Honestly I do need to research more or call on people like you when I need such info. By the way, do L.A. chicks hear Pidgin English nowadays? Can they now lip-sync Kelly’s song? And I think S.A. is so much cheaper to shoot in. Remind me to ask P Square…

Since you seem so conversant on the Hansome family matters, I take it you must be very close to Kelly or any one of them so please tell him when you do see not to take my views too badly. So many people dislike Tupac’s “Hit ‘Em Up” even while admitting it is really a great song so maybe Mr. Kelly can take solace in that. And thanks for letting me know the family background too. Was the fact that they would be mistaken as being related to the Clifford Orji family partly responsible for their change of name?

You know, you are right on so many things! I was wrong on the spelling of the name and I admit I mistakenly thought the video was actually called “Mugu Don Pay” but there are several things on which you are horribly wrong. One, every one of us, yourself included, has a criminal mind. The only thing stopping most of us is after due consideration of the consequences. Second, I have never practiced 419 (you won’t believe me anyway, so why bother?) neither do I condone it in any way, the very reason I spoke out about this song in the first place. For you see, this song has everything to do with 419 (a.k.a. Advance Fee Fraud, Yahoo, Obtaining By Tricks, etc).

If you may not have grown or lived in Nigeria long (for example, if you are a refugee) then you must not have known that the phrase “mugu” or “maga” is mostly used to denote a person - usually expatriate - who has fallen prey to the trickery / dupery of an Advanced Fee Fraudster (also called a Yahoo boy in some quarters although this term may soon become trans-gender). Thus when the slang “Mugu / Maga don pay” is used, it actually means an unfortunate person has just fallen victim of the fraudster’s antics and lodged / transferred a huge amount of money (usually in dollars) as an advance payment into the fraudster’s accounts. And if you still don’t believe me, please ask the Nigerians who run your refugee camp. Or better yet, read Charizard’s “THE CHARI AND EXSCHOOLNERD SHOW

I’m taking a lot of pains (and boring most readers here) explaining this because like I said, you may be unfamiliar with these terms. I hope you are more enlightened now to see that your friend’s choice for a song title and hook was most inappropriate to say the least. The same applies for the places in the song’s lyrics where these terms were also used.

For you to then imply that the lyrics “Maga / Mugu don pay / Shout hallelujah” means “Praise God for the breakthrough in my musical career” as you put it is a collective insult to the entire crop of Nigerian audiophiles, song writers, performers and critics like us that actually do listen to music lyrics and not just nod our heads to the beat like you do. And I think you do owe us a very big sincere apology for rating our intellect so low.

You and I both agree on one thing though: we both like the song and I thoroughly enjoy the beat, tempo and flow. Permit me to suggest to your friend that if he’s doing a remix, he might just think of changing the lyrics to say, maybe: “Hard work don pay / Shout hallelujah” I’ve tried it out in the song and believe me, it works. I give the idea to him free of all copyright charges and I don’t even want the credit for the suggestion. I just hope you don’t plan on passing off the idea as yours!

I also agree with you too that censorship should be a personal thing except if you’re a kid who runs around the streets yelling “Maga Don Pay” at the top of your lungs (in which case your father then becomes the Censors Board). And have you noticed that songs with the most questionable lyrics are actually the easiest for kids to copy and sing? I recall a song called “Pickin” by D-Smart last year or so that had kids chorusing for bottles of Small Stout (an alcoholic beverage). But then, I don’t think you’d mind if your little son tells his mom to lick his lollipop, would you? Or asks the maid to take down her drawers ‘cause he wants to give her a real good banging all night, non-stop?

But what am I saying? This reply is getting too long probably because I have a weakness when it comes to brevity and I always write with passion. I also try to be very careful with my grammatical structure and syntax (unlike you), but I notice that like me, you too write with passion. I could easily spot 14 grammatical errors in the comment you sent me (the funniest was you spelling opinion as “opp ion”). Or maybe your cyber-timer ticket was running out and so you had no time to edit and had to beg the café attendant for a few extra minutes to log out properly. There’s no need to feel ashamed about that. I’ve also done it too.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this correspondence with you and I’m glad I could restrain myself from totally insulting you but please may I advice that next time you want to indulge in any sort of exchange with me or this blog, that you please get an ID? It could even be a pseudonym. So many fools like I said earlier happen to share the same “Anonymous” first name with you.
Opinions they say, are like body hairs. Everyone’s got them.

And he who has them a lot especially under the armpits is more likely to stink.

In case you haven’t noticed by the time you read this, I’m bored with replying you so I rest my case…

You are stupid.

PS: Ok, so I admit I’m just being petty but I’ve really wanted to hammer somebody like this in a long time but never got the opportunity!
And I’m still very much open to criticism please so keep hammering me too. I promise to take them seriously so I can keep on improving. Just don’t call me a 419er in them please (that’s what made me mad in the first place if not I’d have shunned the whole thing).
I HATE (hate I repeat Hate) 419.