art of war

July 23, 2009

I recently starting reading Sun Tzu’s Art of War. It seems to be an outstanding strategy on war and is quite advanced for a book written 2400 years ago. What I don’t understand is why people relate everyday life to war – war at work, war at home, war at school, war in normal relations. I don’t think that Sun Tzu ever expected it to be used in the way it is being used today. No wonder everyone is so prickly at work.


obama on drugs

July 21, 2009

I read recently that Obama is backing down on two key promises – importing generic drugs and lowering the time that big-pharma can hold patents – both very important in providing cheaper prescriptions to the poor. He may not have been able to do this due to the financial meltdown (as big-pharma stock is one of a few that is resilient), but I hope he uses these concessions to firm up other initiatives.

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Or if you are tired of sounding stupid, say something else (or shut up).


I recently watched the Guinea Masters at Habesha Lounge (which is a terrible venue for such impressive talent). The highlight for me was Takosaba and Bolokonondo – and Simbo danced and danced and danced.

These rhythms are very important to the Mande people from West Africa. Traditionally Dundunbas were played for the rites of passage of young men who proved their strength and bravery by standing up to increasingly harder blows from whips. The rite is now, for the most part, a series of prescribed movements and dance to mind-bending off-time rhythm. Truly beautiful to watch and hear.

jembe masters

July 13, 2009

If you were at Afrofest on Sunday, you probably heard Mohamed Diaby’s Manding Foli Kan Don on the small stage (!) on the north-west part of the park. They were so hot there was fire on the stage. Mohamed had a few guests with him from Guinea – Cobra, Mito, Simbo and Soumah. Even Amadou and Amara joined in for a rhythm.

These drummers are in Toronto this week for a Guinea-style performance on Friday July 17. Want to hear what the jembe is supposed to sound like? Catch ’em if you can.

Michael Jackson R.I.P.

July 11, 2009

Michael Jackson’s life has been a whirlwind from the beginning – from a little boy singing his heart out to a shy man overwhelmed and clinging to his childhood. With a life as rich as his, it’s hard to avoid controversy. Whether he did or did not assault children is difficult to know since you have to filter out all the opportunism.

I just hope that people can separate that he was different from the “norm” when they try to decide the story they believe. Whether (or not) he had tons of plastic surgery, liked being around children, slept in a hyperbaric chamber, had a pet chimp, lived in Neverland or was debt-ridden is irrelevant when dealing with child-abuse charges. People need to be objective when discussing allegations that can ruin a life.

impeach Obama :)

July 11, 2009

First he talked to the Muslim world. Then he killed a fly on national television. To top it all off he may or may not have glanced at a young woman while turning to help another down the stairs. What a bastard! Can’t wait for the public enquiry.