Cappuccino Soul

Cappuccino Soul

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Celebrating in Every Part of the World

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Here's a message from my Brazilian friend M that I thought I'd share with readers. It shows how excited people from all over the world are about our new man in the White House. Long live Barack Obama! I've posted the text here uneditied, because I think the message is sweeter with the mistakes left in.

Hi Alicia, how is going?

How about Gigi?

How were your Christmas and new year?

I’m so glad that Obama Won and I felt happy in the inauguration day. So million people there to see the new president. In every heart: peace, hope, faith…the hope is the most stronger word that I think. Every part in the World was celebrating: Africans, Brazilians, Japanese, Americans, Indians, Chinese…everybody. People, who hope a change.

Congratulations!

Regards,

M

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Truly, Madly, Deeply: My Few Favorite TV Shows

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I really can identify with this post at Vuvee.com:

OK, I’ve had enough of the dire news on the TV, Radio, and Internet lately. The finger pointing and gloomy outlook just create more anxiety and fear.

I try to avoid watching TV, reading the paper and listening to the radio. Even better, I often use meditation CD’s or my mind machine (see earlier posts) to help me escape the constant barrage of bad news.


Like the writer at Vuvee.com, there are times when I simply cannot look at certain television stations. (Actually I gave up channels like BET, MTV, VHI, and all commercials that exploit women, and those that promote the slew of Viagra-like products, almost two years ago). Some of the noise, music, and disturbing images on those channels hurt my ears and my spirit. It's painful to watch the lunacy, exploitation, degradation and plain old bad taste that pervades the airwaves.

I've limited my TV watching to a few shows only. I love to watch The View, Monk, CSPAN, and The Directors (on the Reelz Channel). I love the idea of a few women getting together to give their two cents on hot topics or just gab about silly stuff. Monk is just a pure combination of good acting, good writing and quality producing. CSPAN seems to be everywhere, from the Presidential inauguration, to little bookstores across the country featuring authors of books about historical heroes and other fascinating subjects. The Directors is not only entertaining, but educational and inspiring. It's a treat to hear Directors like Anthony Minghella and Sydney Pollack talk about their lives and cinema creations just days, or sometimes even minutes after they've passed on.

Above: Photo of the late Anthony Minghella, director of Truly, Madly, Deeply, among other great films.

Editor's note: Anthony Minghella and Sydney Pollack have Oscar nominations as producers (Best Picture) for "The Reader" this year. What a sweet goodbye that would be to these two remarkable directors who both died while the film was in production.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Let's Paint the Whitehouse Black!

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Now that President Barack Obama is getting use to his new home (Washington, D.C.), I thought it would be a good time to introduce the Prez and others to the indigenous music of Chocolate City.

What is that indigenious D.C. music you ask? It's called Go Go and it owes its origins to African drumming and the African-influenced Latin percussion sounds.

Here's the sound in its raw form:



Here's a review of Chuck Brown's CD Live at the 9:30 Club that I wrote a few years ago. In the review, I talk a little about Go Go's origins.

All go-go music, a Washington D.C. percussion-driven creation with African and Latin flavors, makes you want to get up and dance. Part of the fun is that musicians include the audience in just about all of the songs -- go-go requires that the band talk to the crowd and that the crowd talk back. If this ingredient is missing, then it's not go-go.


Here's the Classic GoGo number, "Bustin' Loose" by the Godfather of GoGo, Chuck Brown!



Just in case you want to sample a little Go Go on your own, Go Go Crankin': Paint the White House Black would be a good place to start. Here's what's on that joint (as they used to say). You can't go wrong with this one y'all.

SIDE A:

1. Good To Go - Slim

2. Movin’ and Groovin’ - Redds and The Boys

3. Let’s Get Small - Trouble Funk

4. We Need Some Money - Chuck Brown and The Soul

5. Ooh La La La - E.U.

SIDE B:

1. Drop the Bomb - Trouble Funk

2. In the Mix - Slim

3. Somebody’s Ringing That Door Bell - E.U.

4. Say What? - Trouble Funk

5. Happy Feet - Mass Extension

Listen to the Northeast Groovers at a 1995 show in D.C.:



And here's a classic called "Pump Me Up" by Trouble Funk that I know many of you have heard, but probably didn't know was Go Go:

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Singing Praises: Elizabeth Alexander's Inaugural Poem

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If you know me, then you know that the highlight of Barack Obama's Presidential Inauguration was not only the orator's speech, but the poem that Elizabeth Alexander wrote specifically for the occasion. In case you missed it, I'm including a transcript of "Praise Song for the Day" below -- the poem deserves to be read more than once. This Yale Professor is saying some profound and wise things in this piece. I plan to read it often, to savor the meaning and bask in the golden horizon that's coming with Obama's leadership. Long live Barack Obama and his family. May God also bless Professor Alexander for sharing her gift with us.

Praise Song for the Day
by Elizabeth Alexander

Each day we go about our business, walking past each other, catching each others' eyes or not, about to speak or speaking. All about us is noise. All about us is noise and bramble, thorn and din, each one of our ancestors on our tongues. Someone is stitching up a hem, darning a hole in a uniform, patching a tire, repairing the things in need of repair.

Someone is trying to make music somewhere with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum with cello, boom box, harmonica, voice.

A woman and her son wait for the bus.

A farmer considers the changing sky; A teacher says, "Take out your pencils. Begin."

We encounter each other in words, words spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed; words to consider, reconsider.

We cross dirt roads and highways that mark the will of someone and then others who said, "I need to see what's on the other side; I know there's something better down the road."

We need to find a place where we are safe; We walk into that which we cannot yet see.

Say it plain, that many have died for this day. Sing the names of the dead who brought us here, who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges, picked the cotton and the lettuce, built brick by brick the glittering edifices they would then keep clean and work inside of.

Praise song for struggle; praise song for the day. Praise song for every hand-lettered sign; The figuring it out at kitchen tables.

Some live by "Love thy neighbor as thy self."

Others by first do no harm, or take no more than you need.

What if the mightiest word is love, love beyond marital, filial, national. Love that casts a widening pool of light. Love with no need to preempt grievance.

In today's sharp sparkle, this winter air, anything can be made, any sentence begun.

On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp -- praise song for walking forward in that light.


About Elizabeth Alexander (from her Web site):

Elizabeth Alexander is one of the most vital poets of her generation. She has published five books of poems: The Venus Hottentot (1990), Body of Life (1996), Antebellum Dream Book (2001), American Sublime (2005), which was one of three finalists for the Pulitzer Prize and was one of the American Library Association’s “Notable Books of the Year;” and, most recently, her first young adult collection (co-authored with Marilyn Nelson), Miss Crandall’s School for Young Ladies and Little Misses of Color (2008 Connecticut Book Award). Her two collections of essays are The Black Interior (2004) and Power and Possibility (2007), and her play, “Diva Studies,” was produced at the Yale School of Drama. She was born in New York City and raised in Washington, D.C.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Emblem of the Helping Hand

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I want to say thanks to Regina of Regina's Family Seasons for extending the Emblem of the Helping Hand to this blog.

Regina was given the Emblem of the Helping Hand award and she "Payed it Forward" to five blogs that she is lending a helping hand to. Cappuccino Soul was one of those blogs that she "payed it forward" to. Thanks Regina! You have been so supportive and inspirational to me. I admire your honesty, wisdom, and sense of joy that you put in your blog on a regular basis. Keep on keepin' on sister!

This is what Regina said about Cappuccino Soul:

I love this blog! It has a different range and focus but makes social justice and cultural perspectives very real!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

There He Goes Again: Great Bushisms

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You don't know whether to laugh or cry.

Rarely is the questioned asked: Is our children learning? — Florence, S.C., Jan. 11, 2000

Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.
— Washington, D.C., Aug. 5, 2004

I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family.
— Greater Nashua, N.H., Jan. 27, 2000

I hear there's rumors on the Internets that we're going to have a draft.
— second presidential debate, St. Louis, Mo., Oct. 8, 2004

I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully.
— Saginaw, Mich., Sept. 29, 2000

You work three jobs? … Uniquely American, isn't it? I mean, that is fantastic that you're doing that. (to a divorced mother of three) - Omaha, Nebraska

Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream.
— LaCrosse, Wis., Oct. 18, 2000

Too many good docs are getting out of the business. Too many OB-GYNs aren't able to practice their love with women all across this country.
— Poplar Bluff, Mo., Sept. 6, 2004

There's an old saying in Tennessee —- I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee —- that says, fool me once, shame on —- shame on you. Fool me —- you can't get fooled again.
— Nashville, Tenn., Sept. 17, 2002

They misunderestimated me.
— Bentonville, Ark., Nov. 6, 2000

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Fifty Things You Might Not Know About Barack Obama

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Leave it to a London newspaper, The Telegraph to come up with 50 cool facts about Barack Obama:

by Jon Swaine

• He collects Spider-Man and Conan the Barbarian comics

• He was known as "O'Bomber" at high school for his skill at basketball

• His name means "one who is blessed" in Swahili

• His favourite meal is wife Michelle's shrimp linguini

• He won a Grammy in 2006 for the audio version of his memoir, Dreams From My Father

• He is left-handed – the sixth post-war president to be left-handed

• He has read every Harry Potter book

• He owns a set of red boxing gloves autographed by Muhammad Ali

• He worked in a Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop as a teenager and now can't stand ice cream

• His favourite snacks are chocolate-peanut protein bars

• He ate dog meat, snake meat, and roasted grasshopper while living in Indonesia

• He can speak Spanish

• While on the campaign trail he refused to watch CNN and had sports channels on instead

• His favourite drink is black forest berry iced tea

• He promised Michelle he would quit smoking before running for president – he didn't

• He kept a pet ape called Tata while in Indonesia

• He can bench press an impressive 200lbs

• He was known as Barry until university when he asked to be addressed by his full name

• His favourite book is Moby-Dick by Herman Melville

• He visited Wokingham, Berks, in 1996 for the stag party of his half-sister's fiancĂ©, but left when a stripper arrived

• His desk in his Senate office once belonged to Robert Kennedy

• He and Michelle made $4.2 million (£2.7 million) last year, with much coming from sales of his books

• His favourite films are Casablanca and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

• He carries a tiny Madonna and child statue and a bracelet belonging to a soldier in Iraq for good luck

• He applied to appear in a black pin-up calendar while at Harvard but was rejected by the all-female committee.

• His favourite music includes Miles Davis, Bob Dylan, Bach and The Fugees

• He took Michelle to see the Spike Lee film Do The Right Thing on their first date

• He enjoys playing Scrabble and poker

• He doesn't drink coffee and rarely drinks alcohol

• He would have liked to have been an architect if he were not a politician

• As a teenager he took drugs including marijuana and cocaine

• His daughters' ambitions are to go to Yale before becoming an actress (Malia, 10) and to sing and dance (Sasha, 7)

• He hates the youth trend for trousers which sag beneath the backside

• He repaid his student loan only four years ago after signing his book deal

• His house in Chicago has four fire places

• Daughter Malia's godmother is Jesse Jackson's daughter Santita

• He says his worst habit is constantly checking his BlackBerry

• He uses an Apple Mac laptop

• He drives a Ford Escape Hybrid, having ditched his gas-guzzling Chrysler 300

• He wears $1,500 (£952) Hart Schaffner Marx suits

• He owns four identical pairs of black size 11 shoes

• He has his hair cut once a week by his Chicago barber, Zariff, who charges $21 (£13)

• His favourite fictional television programmes are Mash and The Wire

• He was given the code name "Renegade" by his Secret Service handlers

• He was nicknamed "Bar" by his late grandmother

• He plans to install a basketball court in the White House grounds

• His favourite artist is Pablo Picasso

• His speciality as a cook is chilli

• He has said many of his friends in Indonesia were "street urchins"

• He keeps on his desk a carving of a wooden hand holding an egg, a Kenyan symbol of the fragility of life

• His late father was a senior economist for the Kenyan government

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Brilliance of Monk

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A few weeks ago I found a hidden treasure on TV that I can't believe I've slept on this long. If you haven't seen the show "Monk" on the USA Network, then you're missing one of the smartest and most creative television series ever created. Tony Shalhoub plays detective Adrian Monk, an obsessive compulsive man who is a genius at solving crimes. With the help of his assistant, Natalie (Traylor Howard), Monk helps the police solve homicides and other crimes on the gritty streets of San Francisco. Monk is a strange character whose Obsessive Compulsive Disorder has a tendency to get in the way, which adds a huge dose of quirky humor to the series.

My eyes have been opened to the brilliance of "Monk," thanks to my Final Cut Pro editing teacher who provided us with clips from the show to use as editing practice. I am now a "Monk" fanatic and have taken to recording reruns (especially the Marathon shows) on my DVR. I'm definitely hooked and you would be too if you watch just one episode of this brilliant blend of comedy, drama, and psychoanalysis.

Check out a portion of the very first episode which ran during the summer of 2002. Ah, what a treat.

OPENING SCENE

An apartment is the first scene we ever witness the detective Adrian Monk doing his thing... He stands there like putting on a show for the attending cops, looking around the room of the murder victim – who is still lying on her stomach on the floor in a pool of blood – Nicole Vasques. He looks up and down trying to size up what he sees. The cops are breathless with anticipation, and there is tension in the air…when finally Mr. Monk at last speaks…

MONK: The stove…

COP: The stove. Over here. It's in the kitchen.

MONK: No, I mean my stove. I think I left it on.

SHARONA: It's okay. I, uh, checked it as we were leaving.

MONK: Are you sure? Did you turn the knob?

SHARONA: The stove. Yeah.

MONK: The little knob, though?

His attending nurse and friend, Sharona Fleming looks mildly embarrassed. A part of her wishes he could once forget the insignificant details for the more important ones at hand. But, she knows that will never happen.

SHARONA: I turned all the knobs. The stove is off, Adrian.

COP: Excuse me, sir, we believe it was a burglary gone sour. She walked in, she surprised him, he panicked…

MONK: No, no. This was no burglary

COP: It wasn't?

MONK: He tried to make it look like one, but this guy was cold as ice.

Now Sharona looks clearly impressed by how the others stand in awe of the detective. This is the man she wants everyone to see.

MONK: He wore her slippers to avoid leaving shoe prints - not something your neighborhood crackhead is prone to do…

Adrian becomes obsessed with a gooseneck lamp near the window, he begins pawing it continuously with his finger. The others seem confused by his actions.

SHARONA: Adrian. Adrian! [Claps Hands]

MONK: He was in here. He was waiting.

COP: Waiting for what?

MONK: You know, for her. He was here at least an hour. He was smoking. You can still smell it on the curtains.

(Adrian goes over and takes one of the curtains over the end of his pen to examine it.)

MONK: [ Sniffs ] Menthols. Salems. Possibly Newports.

COP: Maybe she was the smoker.

MONK: No. No, she was a Dutch Calvinist. They don't smoke. They consider their bodies to be a holy - a holy chalice of - sorry, I'm having trouble concentrating, because I think I smell gas.

(He runs back over to Sharona and is suddenly sucked back into his previous concerns. Sharona looks beside herself as she covers her mouth with her hand. She tries to remain calm. Adrian, on the other hand, is frantic.)

MONK: Did you hear the click? You gotta hear the click, not just feel the click. Hear it.

(Sharona looks at him straight in the eye and gives him a very clear look of anger. He caves at her indication that he’s crossed the line and goes back to his previous train of thought.)

MONK: Anyway, uh, after he killed Miss, uh –

The cop reads off his blotter.

COP: Nicole Vasques, 25.

MONK: Yeah, Miss Vasques, he - he hung around. He was, uh, looking for something.

COP: He was looking for what?

MONK: I don't know. He checked something on her computer. He could have erased

a file.

(Another cop shakes his head in disbelief, he’s quickly writing everything down.)

COP: Anything else?

MONK: Yes, he's tall.

(To Sharona) MONK: Because sometimes it goes out.

SHARONA: The pilot light is fine.

MONK: Do you remember the last time it almost went out?

SHARONA: Do you want me to drive back to the city and check?

MONK: No, no, no.

SHARONA: Is that what you're telling me to do?

MONK: Would you? Could you? Um - That would be great.

(Sharona gives a sign of disgust as she comes up to Adrian and pulls him aside. Putting her arm around his shoulders, she talks briefly to the cops waiting behind her.)

SHARONA: Oh, excuse me, gentlemen. Just one second, okay?

(One of the cops looks at the head cop in confusion, and whispers something to him.)

OTHER COP: Who is she?

COP: Just his nurse.

(Sharona is talking in confidence to Adrian, but her tone is clear.)

SHARONA: Forget about the damn stove, okay? You are on a job here. You're a private consultant.

MONK: I know, but I smelled it and I think –

SHARONA: You gotta shut up. The department thinks you're nuts. You're never gonna get reinstated, you're never gonna get hired again, and we are both gonna be unemployed. Do you understand the importance of what I am saying?

(He grimly nods and turns quiet as he listens to her. He seems like a disciplined little boy for a moment. So she turns gentle.)

SHARONA: Now, pull your twisted self together, concentrate and be brilliant.

(Adrian chuckles lightly at her praise, he’s beaming in pride as she smiles at him.)

SHARONA: You're brilliant!

(His stride is back as he turns to the cops once more and immediately goes back into detective mode.)

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Feeling Good! Thanks to God and Nina Simone

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I'm startin' the New Year right with a theme song that makes me wanna fly! Goodbye to the old and hello to the bright and shining newness that God is sending my way! Thank you Lord, I'm feeling good! If you click below to hear Nina Simone sing one of her signature songs, she'll spread some of the good feeling on you too!



If you can't view the Youtube clip, click here to listen to Nina sing "Feeling Good"

Feeling Good
(made popular by the grand Nina Simone)
Lyrics and music by Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse

Birds flying high you know how I feel
Sun in the sky you know how I feel
Reeds driftin on by you know how I feel

(refrain:)
It's a new dawn
It's a new day
It's a new life
For me
And I'm feeling good

Fish in the sea you know how I feel
River running free you know how I feel
Blossom in the tree you know how I feel

(refrain)

Dragonfly out in the sun you know what I mean, dont you know
Butterflies all havin fun you know what I mean
Sleep in peace when day is done
That's what I mean

And this old world is a new world
And a bold world
For me

Stars when you shine you know how I feel
Scent of the pine you know how I feel
Oh freedom is mine
And I know how I feel