Wednesday, December 13, 2006

In A New York Minute

Well, I'm back at work today. Couldn't hide my head in the sand longer than a day. Not that yesterday was completely blissful and ignorant but a girl can try, can't she?

Anyway, the bad news (and is there any other kind of news around here?) started pouring in the minute I got into the office.

First, my boss. He comes in, says Good Morning and then tells me that a bus full of kids was hijacked and the kiddies sequestered. Apparently, the kidnappers had warned the neighborhood that they would strike.

Then I hear from my mother that rumors are running wild about kids being kidnapped in every school in town. It seems that at least two little girls were taken from a Catholic school not too far from my house. That's not counting the kid they took last night from his own house.

The way my boss explains it, the kidnapping gangs wanted the major schools (most of them private catholic schools) to pay a "kidnapping fee" of $15, 000 USD each to insure that said schools wouldn't have to worry about any unfortunate incidents. Since the schools didn't know the rest.

According to the police, they are targeting grammar school kids between 4 and 9 years old. Vulnerable age, isn't it? I mean, if adults don't always survive the current kidnapping wave, how can children?

By 11h am, I need a break. Instead, I got the newspaper. The headlines : "Our kids are being taken while the Prime Minister "negociates" with the gangs", "The State Hospital smells like rotting corpses as the non-medical staff continues its strike" and "Cap Haitian jail overcrowded and unsanitary".

Well, so much of taking a breather. I don't know what Santa's going to bring since yesterday there was also a lot of violence and shooting in several parts of the country following the partial results of the municipal and local elections.

You see, somebody forgot to explain to the candidats that democratic elections mean the guy with the most votes gets the job, the car and the money, NOT the one with the most armed supporters.

For this very reason, the Electoral Council decided not to publish the election results for the capital. I think they're trying to let us enjoy the hollidays, whatever that means.

Except, the candidats don't care about us. They want their election results and they want them NOW!

Now, where did I put that bottle of rum, anyway?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Special Post : No Sturm or Drang...If I can help it

Today is my birthday so I thought "Why not spare them the ranting, raving, politicking etc.?" Why not indeed? So I google my bday to see what happened.

Well, let's just say it's a mixed bag. See for yourselves:

World History (and it ain't pretty)
1098 - First Crusade: Massacre of Ma'arrat al-Numan - Crusaders breach the town's walls and massacre about 20,000 inhabitants. After finding themselves with insufficient food, they resort to cannibalism (Yikes! No wonder I’m so bloodthirsty sometimes)
1642 : Abel Tasman discovers New Zealand
1799 : Napoléon Bonaparte is First Consul of France
1804 : Spain declares war on the United Kingdom
1870 : Joseph H. Rainey of South Carolina becomes the first black U.S. congressman.
1894 : Japan invades Korea
1897 : Belo Horizonte, the first planned city of Brazil, is inaugurated.
1901 : Guglielmo Marconi changes the world with a kite and some copper wire.
1915 : German Hugo Junkers flies the first all-metal plane.
1941 : World War II: Great Britain declares war on Bulgaria. Hungary and Romania declare war on the United States. India declares war on Japan. (Busy day, wouldn’t you say?)
1952 : First French supersonic flight, aboard a Mystère II. (cool name)
1963 : Jamhuri Day, Kenya gains its independence from the United Kingdom.
1964 : Prime Minister Jomo Kenyatta became the first President of the Republic of Kenya.
1979 : Pakistan President Zia-ul-Haq conferred Nishan-e-Imtiaz on Nobel laureate Dr Abdus Salam.
1979 : Rhodesia changes its name to Zimbabwe.
1999 : The Erika brakes in half and dumps ten thousand tons of oil on the northern French coasts
2000 : The US Supreme Court says it’s Dubiya in Florida (Oh, Joy !)
2001 : Caribbean leaders recognize the Caribbean Sea as a commun heritage (Big whoop)

Famous (and Almost) People Born Today
1773 : Robert Surcouf, French privateer
1791 : Marie Louise, archduchess of Austria, second wife of Napoléon Ier and Impress of France
1821 : Gustave Flaubert, French writer
1863 : Edvard Munch, Norwegian painter (yes, I’m keeping it simple)
1893 : Edward G. Robinson, American actor
1900 : Sammy Davis, Sr., American dancer
1903 : Yasujiro Ozu, Japanese filmmaker (who actually died on his bday in 1963, cool)
1908 : Manoel de Oliveira, Portugese filmmaker
1915 : Frank Sinatra, American singer
1923 : Bob Barker, American television game show host
1924 : Ed Koch, Mayor of New York City
1937 : Roberto Benzi, French orchestra director
1938 : Connie Francis, American singer
1940 : Dionne Warwick, American singer
1943 : Grover Washington, Jr., American saxophonist
1957 : Robert Lepage, Quebec playwright, actor and film director
1957 : Sheila E., American musician
1967 : Yuzo Koshiro, Japanese musician and composer
1970 : Jennifer Connelly, American actress
1972 : Kevin Parent, Quebec singer and songwriter
1975 : Mayim Bialik, American actress (Remember Blossom?)
1977: Yours truly
1978 : Jason Wallace, Scottish Porn Star (couldn’t resist that one)
2003 : Keiko, the orca who played Free Willy and the sequels

You' ll notice the number of artists born on this day (yes, I'm including the big mammal). No wonder I turned out this way...

Catholic Saints (yes, those too!)
It's Virgen de Guadalupe day in Mexico. She appeared to Juan Diego in 1531. Ten millions or more pilgrims will travel to her church. Ay mi madre!

But also today is Ste Jeanne de Chantal (née Jeanne-Françoise Frémyot)who founded the Order of the Visitation in France. She was a brainiac apparently and a disciple of St Francis of Sales. And, even cooler, she's the grandmother of Marie de Rabutin-Chantal, marquise de Sévigné, another writer. (It's a sign, I tell you! LOL)

Why do I add these two saints? Well, they were the only women associated with Dec 12th but, you' ll notice, they have/had clout and I like that.