Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Kool & the Gang guitarist dies at 57

The Associated Press, APonline
Friday, June 23, 2006

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LOS ANGELES (AP) - Claydes Charles Smith, a co-founder and lead guitarist of the group Kool & the Gang, has died. He was 57.

Smith died in Maplewood, N.J., on Tuesday after a long illness, publicist David Brokaw said Thursday. Brokaw did not know the cause of death.

“We’ve lost a member of our family, as well as an infinitely creative and gifted artist who was with the band from the very beginning,” band manager Tia Sinclair said in a statement.

Kool & the Gang grew from jazz roots in the 1960s to become one of the major groups of the 1970s, blending jazz, funk, R&B and pop. After a downturn, the group enjoyed a return to stardom in the ‘80s.

Smith, who was known as Charles Smith, wrote the hits “Joanna” and “Take My Heart,” and was a co-writer of others, including “Celebration,” “Hollywood Swinging” and “Jungle Boogie.”

Born on Sept. 6, 1948, in Jersey City, N.J., he was introduced to jazz guitar by his father in the early 1960s.

Later in that decade he was in a group of New Jersey jazz musicians, including Ronald Bell (later Khalis Bayyan), Robert “Kool” Bell, George Brown, Dennis Thomas and Robert “Spike” Mickens, who became Kool & the Gang. Other members would include lead singer James “JT” Taylor.

Illness forced Smith to stop touring with the group in January.

Smith is survived by his six children, Claydes A. Smith, Justin Smith, Aaron Corbin, August Williams, Uranus Guray and Tyteen Humes, and nine grandchildren.

Posted by loni on 06/27 at 12:54 PM in Blogging
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Dallas Austin held in Dubai on drug charges

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Grammy-winner Dallas Austin has produced pop music hits for more than a decade, two movies and the “ATL” theme song for the city of Atlanta.

Since mid-May, Austin has been jailed in the United Arab Emirates for allegedly possessing drugs, one of his lawyers and police in the emirate of Dubai confirmed Monday.

No news of the Atlanta-based producer’s May 19 arrest had circulated publicly before Friday, when a gossip column in New York took note of it. And details of the unfolding drama are murky — even to the nature of a possible court appearance today and another Sunday.

Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, who asked Austin to produce the “ATL” song as part of the city’s marketing campaign, said Monday, “I don’t know anything about it.” The offices of several members of the Georgia congressional delegation, including those of the state’s two U.S. senators, also said they knew nothing of Austin’s detainment abroad. And friends, colleagues and employees in Atlanta have either expressed surprise or denied the reports of Austin’s arrest since rumors about it began circulating Friday.

The 35-year-old Austin was reportedly arrested at Dubai International Airport on May 19 for allegedly possessing a banned drug, Bahraini lawyer Qays Hatem Al Zu’bi told the Associated Press and the Gulf News, a Dubai-based English-language newspaper. Dubai Public Prosecution sources also told Gulf News that Austin is charged with possessing drugs for personal use.

Austin’s Atlanta attorney, Joel A. Katz, declined to comment Monday. His New York publicist, Michelle Benson, would not comment when reached Friday, and has not responded to inquiries made since then.

News of Austin’s arrest began circulating Friday, when an item based on anonymous sources ran in the New York Daily News’ Daily Dish column. The item said Austin had gone to the tiny Persian Gulf country last month to attend supermodel Naomi Campbell’s three-day birthday party.

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Posted by loni on 06/27 at 12:49 PM in Blogging
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Saturday, June 24, 2006

If I were a criminal I would wait until 2008 to start stealing.

I guess that a lifetime of effects from Agent Orange and disrespect are only worth a year of credit monitoring.

That’s fair.*

WASHINGTON — As many as 17.5 million veterans whose personal information was stolen last month will receive a year’s worth of credit monitoring paid for by the government, Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson said Wednesday.

There’s no indication that the data have been misused, but the veterans deserve “peace of mind,” Nicholson said. “Free credit monitoring will help safeguard those who may be affected.”

Nicholson said the VA also will hire a company to study the stolen database and watch for broad patterns of misuse.

On May 3, thieves took a laptop computer and external hard drive that held as many as 26.5 million names, birthdates and, in about 17.5 million cases, Social Security numbers from a VA data analyst’s home. Besides former servicemembers, as many as 1.1 million active-duty troops and nearly 1.1 million National Guard and Reserve personnel may be affected.

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Posted by SPN on 06/24 at 09:26 AM in Justice / Injustice
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Friday, June 23, 2006

What is wrong with me?

When I took my strength test with the United Stated Marine Corps waaay back in ‘83, I was able to do nine pullups in a row.  A few months ago and many pounds since, I tested myself with pullups.  I was only able to do five pullups!  I am almost 70 pounds heavier than I was when I was 17 years old.  I’ve also not been as physically active as I had been in high school.

I’ve been doing pullups at least once or twice a week since that first devastating day a few months back and yesterday, I am proud to report, I did 13 pullups.  So, it looks like I am either getting stronger or I have better technique.

My highest number of pullups while in boot camp was 19.  The USMC physical fitness test gives the maximum score for 20 pullups, so I am happy that I was able to do 19.  Some of you might be disappointed with 19 pullups.  So what!

I’ll let you know if I ever make it to 20.

Oh yeah, I’ve been riding my bike to work too.  I want my weight to dip below 200 pounds this year.

Posted by SPN on 06/23 at 09:14 AM in Personal
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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Those crazy Koreans!  What will they think of next?

Check out the wildest group of break dancers this side of the solar system.  Pay special attention to the dancer’s control displayed at minute 3:02!


Posted by SPN on 06/22 at 11:38 AM in Art
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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

No one can test me!

I’m the most awesome fisherman.

Posted by SPN on 06/21 at 09:00 AM in Personal
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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

James Cameron, founder of America’s Black Holocaust Museum - dead at 92

The man was nearly lynched when he was about 16 years old by a group of other 16 year old boys. 

“They began to chant for me like a football player, ’We want Cameron, we want Cameron,” he recalled in a 2003 interview with The Associated Press. “ I could feel the blood in my body just freezing up.”

He witnessed two of his friends get beaten to death as he waited in jail for his turn to die.  The state of Indiana granted him a pardon and a public apology 62 years after his conviction.

Founder - Dr. James Cameron

James Cameron is founder of America’s Black Holocaust Museum and America’s only living survivor of a lynching. In August, 1930 when Cameron was 16 years old, he was falsely accused of participating in the murder of a young white man in Marion, Indiana.

As a result, Cameron witnessed a mob of 15,000 people beat and lynch his two friends.Miraculously, Cameron survived his severe beating and attempted lynching; however, he was immediately sentenced to four years in the state prison for accessory before the fact to manslaughter. Ironically, no one was ever accused, arrested or charged with the murder of Cameron’s teenage friends, nor for the beating Cameron suffered.

Because of this personal experience, Cameron dedicated his life to promoting civil rights, racial peace, unity and equality. His commitment is evident by his founding of three NAACP chapters in Indiana during the 1940s, and becoming the first president of the NAACP Madison County Branch in Anderson, Indiana.

Cameron also served as the Indiana State Director of Civil Liberties from 1942-1950. In this capacity Cameron reported to then Governor of Indiana , Henry Shricker on violations of the “equal accommodations” laws to end previously mandated segregation.

During his eight-year tenure, Cameron investigated over 25 incidents of civil rights infractions and faced many acts of violence and death threats for his work.

Repeated threats of violence against his family forced Cameron to relocate to his birth state of Wisconsin in the early 1950s. Cameron continued his work in civil rights by assisting in protests to end segregated housing in the City of Milwaukee.

During the 1960’s, Cameron participated in both marches on Washington; the first with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the second with Dr. King’s widow Coretta and the Reverend Jesse Jackson.

During the seventies Cameron published literally hundreds of articles and booklets detailing civil rights and occurrences of racial injustices.

In 1988, Cameron founded America’s Black Holocaust Museum to document racial injustices suffered by people of African heritage.

Fifteen years later, the Museum continues to grow in prominence and scope, however, of all his prized possessions, Cameron most cherishes a single letter received on February 3,1993, 62 years after his conviction. The letter grants a pardon and public apology from the State of Indiana.

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Posted by SPN on 06/20 at 10:44 AM in Racism / Prejudice
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Sunday, June 18, 2006

My Uncle Roy, Las Vegas, NV 2006

I don’t believe that I have ever taken a bad photo of my Uncle.  Or is it that he is just a fantastic subject?

Posted by SPN on 06/18 at 01:55 PM in Photography
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Saturday, June 17, 2006

Cement engine, Rufisque, Senegal 2006

The best I can tell is that this is some sort of equipment to haul other equipment around the cement factory.  The sky viewed from within the boundaries of the cement factory were as brown/grey as you see in this photo.  This was the dirtiest day I spent in Senegal.  We wore particle masks while visiting.  The place was hot from ovens drying/curing the ingredients.  The place was loud from the pulverizers cruching stone into dust.  The grand scale of the equipment made the place almost surreal.

Rufisque Senegal

Posted by SPN on 06/17 at 01:39 PM in PhotographySenegal
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Friday, June 16, 2006

Aminta Ndiaye, Rufisque, Senegal 2006

My host’s daughter turned three during my first weekend in their home.  This picture was taken a few days afterwards.  For some reason each day as soon as I took my camera out to clean it the family just appeared ready to be photographed.  Here she is showing her beautiful smile.  Her brother, Massuer, liked to be in pictures with his sister.  You can see his fist and arm entering from the left side of the frame.

During my first trip to Senegal in 1995, I was given the name Ousman Ndoye in memory of Ma’am Fatou Seck’s grandfather.  She named me herself.  On this trip I was reminded that I am fed and housed by the people named Ndiaye.  My name was subsequently changed to Ousman Ndiaye.  Sometimes I was called Ousman Ndoye Ndiaye.

Rufisque Senegal

Posted by SPN on 06/16 at 09:54 AM in PhotographySenegal
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