Category: New York City

Gang Starr – Royalty

One of the meanest and the cleanest
And still I’m kind of feindish when I’m at this
Been doin this for eons peons best to catch this
vision of excellence precise rappin ability
Bout to make some dead presidents macking a million G
The money though, it’s got people actin funny yo
As soon as some niggaz get some light, they be like dummies yo

Gang Starr – RoyaltyBest Quality – YouTube.

Kreyol Ayisyen (Haitian Creole) Workshop This Saturday

Saturday, March 17, 2012 from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM (ET)

Park51 Community Center
51 Park Place
New York, NY 10007

Taught by Wynnie Lamour, this 3-hour workshop for advanced beginners will focus on the structure, sound and vocabulary of the language. Participants will also learn about Haitian culture through a brief introduction to music and art. The workshop will include class discussion, brief presentations and some tasty traditional Haitian treats.

Co-sponsored by An n Pale Kreyol, a Meetup Group organized by Patricia Philippe, interested participants can also sign up for the workshop at Membership for the year is $6 and includes exclusive access to other Haiti-related events.

via Kreyol Ayisyen (Haitian Creole) Workshop – Eventbrite.

Tea Cup

Every so often I stumble across an item that has now become emblematic of this transition from bachelor to baba. After I finished feeding Turtle Biscuit this morning I took a look at this teacup and my mind wandered back to its origin. When I first purchased it I was a bachelor in BK dreaming up a book called “Brooklyn Bedrooms.” This teacup was part of a tea set that was intended to give my bachelor pad some softer edges. Never did I think that one day these cups would be holding various smoothies and veggie purees created for Turtle Biscuit. Thinking back on it, I couldn’t help but smile at how much things have changed and how blessed I’ve been for these changes.


This post has been getting a lot of play online the last two days and I thought it was too good of a treat not to pass along.  Blogger Murk Avenue figured out the precise good day Ice Cube is singing about in his 1993 classic.  Click here to get the answer

And for those who forgot the song, here’s the video

What if the Secret to Success Is Failure? –

There’s a great piece in the NY Times about the need to strengthen a student’s capacity to overcome failure

The most critical missing piece, Randolph explained as we sat in his office last fall, is character — those essential traits of mind and habit that were drilled into him at boarding school in England and that also have deep roots in American history. “Whether it’s the pioneer in the Conestoga wagon or someone coming here in the 1920s from southern Italy, there was this idea in America that if you worked hard and you showed real grit, that you could be successful,” he said. “Strangely, we’ve now forgotten that. People who have an easy time of things, who get 800s on their SAT’s, I worry that those people get feedback that everything they’re doing is great. And I think as a result, we are actually setting them up for long-term failure. When that person suddenly has to face up to a difficult moment, then I think they’re screwed, to be honest. I don’t think they’ve grown the capacities to be able to handle that.”

via What if the Secret to Success Is Failure? –

Written by Comments Off on What if the Secret to Success Is Failure? – Posted in New York City

Home Alone: Wanna Lose Weight? Eat Like a Kid?

Children are often chided for the poor eating habits and we as adults often pile on to those habits our own idiosyncrasies.  How many parents spend their time trying to get kids to speed up while they’re eating?  In many ways this habit makes complete sense.  Children are often either too distracted or fidgety to eat at a grownup pace that it can be nerve wracking to make it through a meal with them as the spectre of the morning’s traffic, day’s list of chores, or the start time for their ___practice looms over your head. I’ve probably sprouted more gray hairs trying to usher Singing Biscuit through his breakfast before school than I have via any other activity in my life.

And don’t get me started on dinners.  Forget water torture, if you want to get a suspect to cooperate, make them sit through a stream of dinners with a seven year old.

Needless to say, my impression/approach to breaking bread with children has been in dire need of fine tuning.  So one day I made it my mission to change my approach to how I interact with Singing Biscuit at the table.  What I learned was that not only is the kid capable of completing a meal without me wanting to drown my self sorrows, but in fact, I had a lot to learn form the kid about how to eat properly.

One of the biggest mistakes that we as adults often make when serving children food is that we serve them on regular sized serving plates.  At one time this might’ve been okay, but most American plates are huge, they’re virtually indistinguishable from a car tire.  Salad plates are actually more attuned for a child’s visual and physical appetite.  You see, most children feel as bad about holding up the line at dinner as we do about them moving at a snail’s pace.  The sight of everyone else slushing through dinner as they pick away at their meal can be deflating.  Therefore, by serving a child on a smaller plate, s/he is likely to feel a greater sense of accomplishment as their food disappears from sight.

Smaller plates mean smaller servings.  A child should not be taught to throw away what they don’t want, instead, it’s better to get them accustomed to eating smaller portions.  If they’re able to fill up on the smaller portion then they’ll feel full and accomplished.  But once s/he gets into the habit of dumping whatever’s left from that heaping serving, then they risk conflating being full with discarding things just because they don’t like them.  It’s much easier to get a child to eat three pieces of broccoli than to let them discern how much they can or can’t eat of a much larger serving.

Family meals are great, but often children can’t wait to eat when everyone else is ready.  Instead of making Singing Biscuit wait until 7pm or 8pm when everyone else was ready. I’d serve him his dinner at 5or6pm.  To my surprise he was not only more deliberate with his eating, but he often asked for seconds.  It seemed that by making him wait until later in the evening he’d either eaten too many snacks by the time dinner was ready, or was too hungry to have any interest in food, much less any capacity to sit still at the table.

Without knowing it, as I worked on transforming Singing Biscuit’s eating regimen, I was also reworking mine.  Just as I was doing a better job of monitoring his portion sizes, I also paid greater attention to mine, and you know what—L learned that smaller plates were better suited for me as well.  In time I went from simply having his meals ready by 6pm and then chatting with him as he ate, to having my own meals ready by then and eating alongside him.  And with nothing else to rush off to, I was often able to sit back and enjoy my meal as he entertained me with a recanting of his day’s activities. Before I knew it, I had lost 30lbs and feeling healthier than I’ve felt in years.

Oh don’t get me wrong his flights of fancy in the mornings when we’re trying to get out the house still drive me up the wall, but the lessons that I have learned in creating a healthier food eco-system for him has made his antics tolerable–if not at times enjoyable.


What Happens to a New Years Resolution Deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?

I surely hope you know the rest of this poem and that I don’t need to provide a citation, but just in case, I’m clearly riffing off of Langston Hughes’ “A Raisin in the Sun.”  Hughes’ classic came to mind as I was reviewing my progress thus far and looking back to see which of this year’s resolutions had fallen by the wayside.  One resolution that hasn’t fared well was my conviction to reading two books a month.  After getting off to a flying start by reading three in January, it’s been downhill ever since.  In fact, those three may be the only three I have read thus far.  I’m about a quarter of the way through February’s selections and March’s selections haunt me from the edge of the bookshelf.  Rather than continuing on with this downward spiral, I’m hoping that by going public with this shortcoming, I’ll be reinvigorated to push through this malaise and follow through on this resolution….

Wish me luck….

In the meantime, check out some of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ encounters with Pride and Prejudice

Gene Jarrett Responds to Ken Warren

I was psyched to see Gene Jarrett’s response to Ken Warren in The Chronicle today.  As one of the few people who’ve likely read Warren’s What Was African American Literatue it was interesting to see Jarrett, a person who Warren to make his argument essentially argue against him.

In truth, I don’t hesitate to admit, that I am a bit conflicted.  I agree with Jarrett when he says:

African-American literature, that is to say, isn’t a static entity, frozen in the interregnum of Jim Crow, but rather an entity that has evolved from the dusk of the 18th century to the dawn of the 21st. Indeed, the literature lives on, even as the traditional black politics that helped elevate it to academic prominence may be coming to an end.

But at the same time, I found the sections on Jim Crow and its impact in the formation of African Literature to be the most convincing parts of Warren’s argument.

Where Warren’s text falters, thereby leaving itself open to the various critiques is that he doesn’t offer a suitable explanation for what is this thing we currently call African American literature.  I’m willing to entertain a new term for the constellation of writers that include Toni Morrison & Charles Johnson, with the caveat that this same term would not apply to writers such as Colson Whitehead and Paul Beatty.

I’m also likely open to Warren’s viewpoint because it’s usually the very first question that I ask students in my African American Literature courses. Most usually say it’s literature written by black writers.  But inevitably there’s one student who proclaims to not know what African American literature is, or that this definition is not suffice for her/him.  This question has taken on particular urgency with students in the last three years who were not of age during the cultural wars.  Therefore, identity like genre is something which they believe is open to hacking.


via African-American Literature Lives On, Even as Black Politics Expire – The Chronicle Review – The Chronicle of Higher Education.