Some Weighty Issues

The skinniest of my friends calls me this morning and informs me that she wants to lose 5 pounds by next weekend! I let out a whooping belly laugh. I begged for ringside seats to this event, because I don’t think her body will part with its last spare 5 pounds without a hell of a fight! But what do you say to an intelligent young woman who knows full well the formula for a healthy weight (portion control and regular exercise) but still opts for a fad diet? Her BMI probably warns that she’s underweight but her ears peak whenever there is news of a  faster, better, more convenient, technologically- advanced, celebrity- endorsed way to drop those LBs. Here are ten of the craziest diets she has tried or at the very least contemplated.

1)      The Three day diet (Starve three days, then pig out. Then do it all over again)

2)      The Cookie Diet (It’s nothing like Cookie Monster’s plan)

3)      God’s Diet (Eat nothing manmade. If it’s made by a woman does it count?)

4)      Blood Type Diet

5)      Grapefruit Diet (It’s been around forever!)

6)      Cabbage Soap Diet

7)      Juice Diet

8)      Gum Diet (Ouch, my jaw hurts   )

9)      Maple Syrup Diet (Helped Beyonce become a dream girl)

10)   Diet Coke Plus Diet

Thank God, she has never tried the Amputation Diet (Yes, this is a real diet!). This would warrant an intervention, not a fanciful blog entry.

Have you ever been so desperate that you gave some thought to any of those fad diets?

I Ponder These


Call me idle but I do wonder…

–   How did the people waaaay back then figure out which herbs etc were poisonous or not? How many had to die  first?

–   How does the world look through a man’s eyes?

–    Why do some buy at Courts in December what they can’t afford to pay in January?

 –   Are Taxi/Maxi/Bus drivers born or made?

–   Why do healthy foods taste so bland and highly calorific ones  so delightful?

–   We scold our kids for breaking their toys but we’ve been depleting the ozone layer.

–   Does it make sense for Fat Joe to lose weight?

–   What goes on in a baby’s mind when we are engaging in ‘baby talk’?

–  What it’s like to be a fly on the wall at a Phillip Morris strategy meeting.

– If you’re in the Peace Corp, shouldn’t you try to maintain the peace? WHY TRY to rock the boat??



Freedom Indeed!

Caribbean people never pass up a chance to fete and so the small crowd gathered on the city for the annual Emancipation Day celebrations, was telling. The festivities were slated to begin at 3 pm when the unforgiving sun was still perched high in the sky. Most patrons reacted to this by huddling in the dappled shade of the huge trees, a distance away from the crudely constructed stage.  Others proudly opened their parasols, as I imagined the ex-slaves had flourished their manumission papers, proclaiming: ‘No more hot sun! Slavery done!’  The rift between the Rastafarian and Baldhead camps, on that August afternoon, was as obvious as the disorganization onstage. The young ones alone seemed unfettered, as they cavorted on the well-manicured lawns of the city square.

The Rastafarians, the Vanguard of Emancipation (the epithet used by the Cultural Director, to the chagrin of the non-Rastafarians) were well represented.  Most were spiffed up in their colourful robes and had literally, though not figuratively, let their hair down.  Their attention belonged to the stage when the members of their fraternity began singing, chanting and drumming, supposedly in an effort to invoke the spirits of the ancestors.  A segment of their performance was devoted to Ethiopia during which the entire Rastafarian population raptured amid a cloud of smoke emanating from the chicken being barbecued outside the square.

Boredom and confusion were clearly etched into the faces of the Baldheads who failed to understand Ethiopia’s place in the festivities, or the drivel about the Rastafarians being the defenders of freedom.  That camp, in the name of retaliation or desecration, refused to give due regard to the performances so they chatted, laughed, ate and ambled around the square at that time. The Baldheads now carried new brands, emblazoned on their clothes not on their skin but their yokes and shackles, were ever-present, though intangible.  They felt as much a part of the struggle as any black person on that square.  “Just because I doh want to go back to Africa, doh make me a traitor,” a Baldhead dared to voice the sentiments of his group.  But in the Rastafarians’ eyes, he would never overstand and consequently be forever enslaved by the Babylon system.

As the sun was bowing out to the evening, the Rastafarians finished their presentation and made a swift exit, clutching on to their Ethiopian flags and their pride. The tension dissipated.  The remaining patrons moved closer to the stage in anticipation. Some amateur models were thrust onstage to display printed, tie-dyed and crocheted outfits, labelled designer African wear. But that was not what the crowd was waiting for. The wait came to an end when Calypsonians took to the stage with songs reminiscent of the tales of the griots of slavery days.  The crowd was coaxed into swaying, then dancing and singing along. A different kind of celebration of emancipation ensued. Yet the songs of freedom rang hollow. On emancipation day, when the focus should have been on the triumph over enslavement, divisiveness and intolerance had reigned.

When the show came to a close, the organizers proclaimed it a resounding success. Government ministers claimed that they had been impressed. But as the people headed home, most were merely grateful that August 1st was a day off from work.




Nowadays, it seems that behind every successful man is a sex scandal; and subsequently, a press conference where a supportive wife stands by quietly, holding her husband’s hand, while he tearfully apologizes for being caught.   Elliot Spitzer, Bill Clinton, Kobe Bryant, Kwame Kilpatrick and the likes, were lucky men to have their wives at their sides; and the viewership was happy for the opportunity to scrutinize the women who had been overshadowed by the high priced hooker, street walker, intern or coworker.  I don’t know if I could be that good wife, standing teary- eyed next to a guilty man while he reads his well-rehearsed speech. I would probably be at home, viewing the press conference – like everyone else — while my lawyer took notes. I would be packing either my husband’s stuff or mine and putting my plan B into action immediately, all the while mentally compiling my lessons learned file, for future reference.  I would be unable to control the tears, the pain, his actions, and public reaction but self-respect would be mine.

For the Love of animals

I am not an animal lover. You won’t find them in my arms, in my house, on my couch, in my car. I won’t kiss them, dress them, pet them, bathe them, call them my babies, rush home to ensure that they’re ok.  But don’t get me wrong, I am not cruel to animals either. With that established…. I saw an ad recently, requesting monthly gifts to care for animals—to give them good homes, medication, food, love.    The ad did remind me of the ones which requested the same for children and the disadvantaged in far-flung corners of the world, when I was growing up. I automatically thought that maybe we had eradicated poverty; that medication and medical attention had become accessible to all; that we had no homeless human beings to see about; that all the stomachs once swollen from malnutrition were now rounded with well balanced meals.

Animal lovers would obviously disagree with my perspective – and that’s ok, my aim is not consensus— but I can’t see myself taking from a hungry child’s mouth to feed an animal. I can’t see me choosing to shelter a dog when a mother and kids have nowhere to go. I can’t see myself, choosing to support animal rights over human rights.

But we do have to be grateful for a world of diversity – it creates the necessary balance on this earth.



4 responses »

  1. Am I an “animal lover?” Well let’s see…. ants – fairly neutral, roaches – must die NOW!, crickets, grashoppers, moths – you get 2 or three attempts at shooing you out before I reach for the spraycan. I hate horseracing, can’t stand zoos or circuses (circii? circusi?)

    However… I find it odd that an entire harbor can be shut down because of a misplaced dolphin, that baby seals are worth saving but baby Darfurians are not…

    So anyway… my dog died this morning. Four and a half year old German Shepherd. Healthy yesterday, dead this morning. The working theory is poisoned during the night.

    He was too big to be in your arms, was allowed to be in the house, with restrictions, which he knew – no dog in kitchen, no dog in livingroom, no dog in bedroom, no dog in bathroom, no dog on furniture, BUT dog anywhere else. He was not kissable… or if he was, I never thought so. He’d probably bite anyone who tried to dress him. It would irritate me greatly if someone would say to him “go to daddy” – I ain’t no dog’s daddy, dammit! As for the car… I confess to selective chauvinism; When I left him alone in the Mitsubishi, and returned to find that he had tried to chew his way out, my first thought was “Damn glad I’d never let you in the Bimmer.” At the same time, any car trip is immediately (sorry, was) followed by windex, water, and vacuum, since the thought of sitting in dog slobber grosses me out.

    I came by this dog by accident. Living in a land where crime seems to be a major concern, in a decent neighborhood, EVERYONE has multiple dogs. One of my clients needed to move one of their several because of a sibling rivalry issue, and offered him to me. ‘More useable than a burglar alarm’ was my thought. Besides, this was a significant client. I’d not had a dog (or pet) since I was about 12 and our “Trini Bad Dog” died. At that point I sorta resolved to stay away from relationships that I KNEW were bounded by lifespans shorter than my own.

    And then, Champ.

    Do I regret taking him in? No, though dog food isn’t cheap. On the rational side, there was a real comfort in the deep bark of a 75 lb Shepherd at 3 a.m. On the not so rational side, looking out a window and seeing him laying under a tree, or having him do his “informal alarm clock” routine at 6:45 or so every friggin’ morning(!) provided a place of contentment. His loyalty was complete and unquestioning, and he trusted me.

    I find the whole “if I feed my dog, I starve a child” argument specious: No one questions the purchase of a movie ticket, the choice to eat steak, rather than chicken feet. Saying that I would be “providing shelter” by letting someone run around in my yard instead of a dog, doesn’t quite work for me. I know that I’ve given much over the years – time, thought, cash, care, to taking care of people. I’ve written letters, written checks, marched, tutored. I’ve personally fed, and bought food for the needy. I’ve tried to live from the “there but for the grace” point of view, and so far it’s worked out well.

    Champ is dead. I cried this morning.

  2. I am sorry about your dog. The ‘specious argument’ you referred to however, is my opinion without condemnation of those who bear a different view.

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