Building the American Dream….in China???

Very interesting article in the New York Times…a sign, perhaps, of things that will continue…

Building the American Dream…in China

Here’s a quote:

The new arrivals, though, come not by invitation or out of curiosity but because they need work. They are, as Michael Tunkey, head of the China office for the North American firm Cannon Design, says, “refugees from the economic crisis.”

CLICK TO READ Building the American Dream…in China (a New York Times Article)

People google the darndest things: “Why Don’t Jamaicans like frogs???”

As I’ve shared before, people do in fact Google the darndest things. Recently, someone found my blog when they googled (or more accurately, asked Jeeves) “Why don’t Jamaicans like frogs?”

Click to see I’m not making this up!

Ooooh! Ooooh! I can answer that one! Pick me! Pick me!

Thank you. Ahem.

Now then, the answer is simple. Frogs are disgusting.

As I think about all the various creatures one could encounter growing up in Jamaica, frogs probably rank highest in overall “revulsion factor.” The revulsion factor, in case you’re not aware, is comprised of three components: outdoors, low-dwelling & slimy.

The more of these criteria a particular creature meets, the greater the revulsion factor. So, based on the above, you can see that even rats and roaches don’t rank as high (or low) as frogs do. Rats are dry. Even lizards, of which I have a personal and unmitigated distaste, don’t rank as high (or low) as frogs. Lizards are tree and wall-dwellers.

Of course, if you’re a child growing up in the “country” as I did, then you’d only see frogs come out at night, and it’s a terrifying experience to have to use an outhouse in the late evening, and step on a low-dwelling, slimy, squishy frog. So, there’s also the fear factor too. That’s why Jamaicans don’t like frogs.

Now then, in case you’re wondering, and in anticipation of anyone asking: we also don’t like dogs. Okay, that may be a bit harsh, but for Jamaicans, dogs are outdoor animals. Dogs don’t belong in the house. Dogs don’t belong in your bed. Dogs don’t belong in your bathtub. Dogs don’t belong anywhere near your face. Period. This is how I was raised. So, imagine my absolute horror and trauma, when–as a child–upon arriving in the US and seeing television commercials and situation comedies with dogs in the house, in the bed, in the bathtub, and horror of horrors, licking people’s faces!!!! Egad! Sharing spit with a dog??? I won’t even drink from the same soda bottle as my best friend!! (Do you know where that tongue has been!!!???)

For Jamaicans, pets are functional. Jamaicans don’t buy food for pets. Dogs and cats earn our tolerance and their sustenance–table scraps, bones, and leftovers–by performing necessary tasks for the good of the household. Dogs bark at intruders. Cats catch mice. Got it? Good. Now you can stay. Outside.

If you have any Jamaican friends, you’ve no doubt observed that yes, Jamaicans will own fancy tail guppies and goldfish as pets, but even fish in an aquarium are not exempt from the JPFR (Jamaican Pet Functionality Requirement). Fish serve the function of beautifying the home. And even though we’ll buy food for them, we make that allowance because the food that fish require is not that expensive, and, last but not least, we don’t actually have to touch them. In other words, fish in a bowl are sort of like furniture. They are beautifying, observable, rearrangeable pets–the best type.

In any event, there’s your answer. Have a great day.

Isa Benn, director, writer, filmmaker…. and my cousin!

Here’s the latest in the series of passion-centered mavericks I’m featuring in the Communal Capitalism series referenced in an earlier post. My cousin, Isa Benn, in Toronto is a filmmaker! She’s posted a brief trailer of what she intends to be a five-part series….Here is the overview:

A brief, yet moving, glimpse of three young girls (Age: 5, 14, 17) and their trials and tribulations throughout one day. Eunice, Savannah and Asa set out to rent a bike, adding some happiness to what we witness as monotony, the absence of authority and poverty. Their euphoria is unexpectedly interrupted by the presence of strange males who rupture a beautiful and sound moment. The story ends with two girls, an apprehensive walk home and a moment of displacement. is another great “support my project” site that allows credible creative folks like Isa to seek your support to complete their projects….and is a great example of …what CNN called “communal capitalism,” [which] demonstrates that even in this difficult economy and with no clear profit potential, people are willing to invest in entities about which they care and in entities that they believe will have a positive impact on their community.”

She’s about 1/4 of the way there! It would mean a lot to me to be able to share her success story and the release of her film in a future post!

CHECK IT OUTmeet her team, read their individual stories and let’s get this film made so we can find out the true significance of the title!

Vote for Mitt Romney….Until the Real Thing Comes Along!

The Jamaican in China gets political!

It was the perfect storm. A dangerous combination. Too much time on my hands. The humor of the Rachel Maddow Show. The Republican campaign….and Mitt Romney. I couldn’t help it.

I’m watching the March 30th Rachel Maddow show segment entitled “Friends with Detriments” where she highlights the numerous dubious endorsements Mitt Romney has gotten from various Republican politicians.

Mitt’s friends in high places all seem to endorse him while at the same time, acknowledging quite publicly that Mitt’s not quite the candidate the party had hoped for. In other words, Rachel suggested, “He’s not the best, but vote for Mitt in the meantime….” and immediately, the lyrics “…until the real thing comes along” popped into my head!

Trust me, I fought it. I gave myself a thousand reasons NOT to do this. I’m not into politics. I’m just a humble author and writer. I’m just a non-political Jamaican enjoying my freedom traveling the world. The last thing I want to do is get involved in the political debate. Not to mention, I happen to like the Billie Holiday version of that song.

So many questions. How will this affect my brand? Should I do this under a secret identity? Will I forever ruin people’s association with this beautiful song? Should I use the Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin version instead?

Ultimately, my creativity (i.e. my ego) got the better of me. Quite honestly, I couldn’t be the only one who had the same thought last night. And quite frankly, I didn’t want someone else creating this and getting a million hits on Youtube. After all, Billie Holiday took time out of her busy afterlife to inspire me, and I’ve always dreamt of having a Youtube video go viral.

So, brand be damned. Pishaw to Political correctness! I must do this. All publicity is good publicity, anyway. Just spell my name right.

So, with appropriate and heartfelt apologies to the estate and memory of Billie Holiday, I present to you a campaign ad with my suggestion for Mitt Romney’s new election slogan: “Elect Mitt Romney. Until the Real Thing Comes Along.” Click below to watch it or or visit youtube directly by clicking here