Welcome to This Black Sista’s Memorial Blog

•June 6, 2009 • Comments Off on Welcome to This Black Sista’s Memorial Blog

Hi there.

Some of you may have noticed that I have not entered any new articles for some time.  You’re right.  I’m no longer blogging, but I am still writing.  This time, it is fiction and essays for wider and more literary publication.  It may be that in the future, I will be starting a new blog touching on my professional writing, but not now.

I hope that you will continue to use this website as a guide to explain things that happened several years ago, during the time that I was blogging.  Things like New Orleans post-Katrina, black people, culture, gossip/public intellectualism, politics, Buddhism, journalism and ethics, looksism, cooking, fiction, history, womanism, writing, race, fashion, music and other topics of interest during this rather fractious time in American life and the life of the Republic.

Other than cleaning up this site occasionally, I won’t be blogging fulltime any more.  Good luck, and happy writing and blogging your own damn self.


LIVE STREAMING: Homegoing of Poet Amiri Baraka at the Newark Symphony Hall, New Jersey

•January 18, 2014 • Comments Off on LIVE STREAMING: Homegoing of Poet Amiri Baraka at the Newark Symphony Hall, New Jersey

Sorry that I am late with this.  I am not a coding wonder.  There is no guarantee that it will be repeated on a loop after the ceremony is over.   UPDATE (2:32 p.m. Central Time):  It IS being looped for several hours.  Danny Glover, actor and Woodie King, drama director and playwright, are officiating at the funeral.  I cannot vouch for the quality of the transmission.  It is what it is.

It started around 10 a.m. Eastern Time.  The end of Ras Baraka’s eulogy will mark the end of the ceremonies.  A lot of good jazz, good poetry, good oratory.  Cornel West, Michael Eric Dyson, Sonia Sanchez, Savion Glover, and Sister Souljah are just a few of the luminaries who are going to speak.

This is from the CPRMetro.org, a community, public access entity for New Jersey and part of New York.

Meanwhile, Back in Wisconsin: Busting Out of Jail The Hard Way – Nathan Middleton Wanted His Mother to Provide Explosives and a Car for His Jail Break

•December 20, 2013 • Comments Off on Meanwhile, Back in Wisconsin: Busting Out of Jail The Hard Way – Nathan Middleton Wanted His Mother to Provide Explosives and a Car for His Jail Break

I’ve been waiting and waiting for the proceedings from Nathan Middleton’s Monday court appearance to surface, but nothing came up the pike until yesterday.  It’s so incredible, it’s laughable.

The more Middleton tries to run away from culpability for the destruction of Aprina Paul’s body, if not outright murder, the worse it gets for him.  Investigation of the young woman’s remains continue.  However, he’s facing an additional three years on a possible 40-year-long combined jail sentence for attempting to bust out of the slam.  Again, Middleton had to follow and respond to the proceedings on video feed from jail, because the authorities are afraid that he will abscond from justice.  From Channel 3000:

According to a criminal complaint, Nathan Middleton, 29, wrote his mother a letter from Rock County Jail, where he’s been incarcerated since Nov. 20 in lieu of a $100,000 cash bond, asking her to help him break out. Officials said in the letter, Middleton asked his mother to “blow (the window) out with something that will blow a big hole in it for me to get out of it.”

“We have him plotting an escape, attempting, but we do not have any information that she did anything to assist him at this point,” Rock County District Attorney David O’Leary said.


In the afternoon on Dec. 2, a detective listening to a phone call from Middleton to his mother said Middleton referenced the letter, telling her “if you can’t do what’s in that letter I’m just going to end it,” according to the document.

He’s going to commit suicide?

Continue reading ‘Meanwhile, Back in Wisconsin: Busting Out of Jail The Hard Way – Nathan Middleton Wanted His Mother to Provide Explosives and a Car for His Jail Break’

Christmas Songs: “Oh, Tannenbaum,” José Carreras, Plácido Domingo, and Luciano Pavarotti, from “The Three Tenors Christmas” 1999

•December 20, 2013 • Comments Off on Christmas Songs: “Oh, Tannenbaum,” José Carreras, Plácido Domingo, and Luciano Pavarotti, from “The Three Tenors Christmas” 1999

I prefer Plácido Domingo because he’s handsomer and I like his voice, but Luciano Pavarotti was indeed the male operatic voice of the latter half of the last century.   José Carreras, the second of the two Spanish tenors, and situated in the middle, may be outgunned, but he’s enhanced by the experience.  He’s definitely not “the other guy,” as one Seinfeld episode put it.

How did The Three Tenors come together?  Mario Dradi, an Italian opera producer, suggested a fundraiser benefiting  José Carrera’s charity, and to welcome the singer back to performing after Carrera won his bout with leukemia.  The rest, as they say, is history.  The Three Tenors performed together on and off during the 1990s until 2003.  This performance was on December 23, 1999 in Vienna, Austria and was recorded as part of The Three Tenors Christmas video on Sony.

Cover of "The Three Tenors Christmas"

The Three Tenors in 1999 (Courtesy:  Wikipedia.com)

Oh Tannenbaum” or in English, “Oh, Christmas Tree” is from the German, with some lyrics attributed to composer and organist Franz Anschutz, and based on a 16th century Silesian folk song by Melchior Francke called “Ach Tannenbaum.”   Five years earlier, in 1819,  Joachim August Zarnack had composed a tragic love song based on “Ach Tannenbaum” as well.    Anschutz added two new verses and set his lyrics to a traditional folk melody, “Es lebe hoch der Zimmermannsgeselle  in 1824.

It was, of course, about a fir tree.  In the song, the fir tree is praised for its evergreen leaves which symbolize fidelity and devotion—in contrast to the inconstant young woman of the Zarnack folk song.  However, the song gradually became associated with Christmas and Christmas trees, thanks to Anschutz’s verses.  It crossed over to the United States with immigrants and American travelers and did not become popular in this country until the middle of the last century.

Continue reading ‘Christmas Songs: “Oh, Tannenbaum,” José Carreras, Plácido Domingo, and Luciano Pavarotti, from “The Three Tenors Christmas” 1999’

Nelson Mandela Memorialized With a Second Line Parade in New Orleans

•December 15, 2013 • Comments Off on Nelson Mandela Memorialized With a Second Line Parade in New Orleans

Hat tip to Joyce Ladner on Facebook for this link.

I don’t doubt that many native New Orleanians also joined the parade, which began around 2:00 p.m. Central Time.

Thousands of miles away, New Orleanians from South Africa held a second line from Jackson Square to Congo Square to celebrate the life of the man who transformed their country.

St. Claire Adriaan grew up under apartheid. He knows first-hand the difference Nelson Mandela made.

“Seeing the difference in terms of dignity being brought back, humanity being brought back into people’s lives because growing up as a person of color, going through what we have gone through was dehumanizing,” said Adriaan.

For Zandi Ndebele Sutton, Mandela was like family.

“My uncle who raised me up was in prison with Nelson Mandela for 15 years,” she said.

Sutton marched the streets as part of Mandela’s youth leadership in the 1980s. She was there when he was released from prison, and is close with Mandela’s grandchildren.

“In public he was different than he was in a social environment. Most people knew his kindness, his integrity, his dignity that he exuded every where he showed up, but he really, really enjoyed jokes,” said Sutton.

“He taught us to read the newspaper, morning and evening. In the evening when we get together when we met him, he wanted to know ‘What did you learn today? What’s going on in the world?’ Since then that stayed with me.”

Trumpeter James Andrews, the older brother of New Orleans’ own Trombone Shorty (and Treme musician),  led the procession through the streets of the French Quarter to the border of Treme, or Congo Square.  The more hardcore partiers and musicians probably decamped to the Andrews family-owned The Oop Poo Pah Doo Bar raise a few toasts.  Remember, this was a celebration of a man’s life as well.

Mourners wrote messages to honor Mandela when the second line ended in Congo Square. Throughout the week, people can also sign a book honoring Mandela at St. Katherine Drexel Prepatory School, formerly Xavier Prep, on Magazine Street. The book will later become part of Mandela’s archives in South Africa.

“It’s like the passing of a family member, you want to be a part of it,” said Keith Doley, honorary consul for the Republic of South Africa to Louisiana.

Those who took part in the second line say the most important way to honor Mandela’s life is to continue his legacy of making a difference for his community, and fighting for both equality and reconciliation.

That “Cartoon Scandal”: Episode 10, “A Door Marked Exit”

•December 13, 2013 • Comments Off on That “Cartoon Scandal”: Episode 10, “A Door Marked Exit”

THAT was some winter finale.

It’s also getting crazier and crazier in the D.C. of Scandal.

Of course, KevOnStage will continue to play it, including Eli/Rowan’s spirited takedown of Fitz, for laughs.  BTW, for those of you who are novices to the show, Fitz did not cry like a baby boy.  Instead, the president took it up one more notch in what is now his war with the head of B6-13.

For us Gladiators—and Senior Gladiators in my case—we cannot wait until February.  Until, we’ll be going on life support until that time.  Pray for us. Facebook Confused Smiley


Nathan Middleton Attempts Jail Break Days Before His Court Appearance on December 17

•December 13, 2013 • 1 Comment

Like I said, if Nathan Middleton was so innocent, he wouldn’t have burned the body of Aprina Paul.  And he wouldn’t have attempted a jail break, either.  He would be chilling and confident.  Instead, the closer he gets to his upcoming court appearance, he’s panicking about moving inexorably further and further into the criminal justice system.  And it’s probably, finally dawned on him that he’s in deep.  Not as deep as the shallow trench he built for Aprina Paul’s poor body, but wide enough and deep enough.

From GazettExtra:

Nathan Middleton, a town of Porter man accused of hiding and burning the body of a Dane County woman, was arrested Friday on suspicion of soliciting to escape from the Rock County Jail.

Rock County detectives began investigating Middleton’s escape plans last week after learning he was plotting to escape from jail, according to the Rock County Sheriff’s Office.

Middleton told inmates he wanted to escape, and he attempted to contact friends and relatives for help to escape, according to the sheriff’s office news release.

Dude, you ain’t going nowhere.

Security has since tightened at the Rock County Jail, especially since Middleton will appear in court on Monday afternoon, December 17.  Middleton was charged with two felonies for burning and destroying the body of Aprina Paul, 19, a young black woman that he had solicited for sex on Craigslist.  According to Middleton, Paul expired during the night beside him in bed after taking several drugs, but the authorities believe otherwise despite the lack of incriminating evidence.

Middleton was still in the slam as he has not bonded out.  Bail was set at $100,000, a reasonably high sum.  As I said before, his ass is probably not worth bonding out to his family and friends.  His father is already in the slam for a murder conviction.  So they certainly were not going to get themselves in trouble by assisting him in evading justice at the hands of authorities.

LIVE STREAMING: South Africa Says Goodbye to Nelson Mandela

•December 13, 2013 • Comments Off on LIVE STREAMING: South Africa Says Goodbye to Nelson Mandela

Beyond the talk about selfies and worse, about unvetted schizophrenics who hallucinate seeing angels beside President Obama but cannot perform sign language, this is what is real:

Some of you have noted that the links that I provided for the memorial service earlier this week for Nelson Mandela are still viable and active.  However, the next few days will mark the final goodbyes to the late president and freedom fighter, with activities moving from Pretoria to Qunu, the place where Mandela was born and raised.  I am providing the same links here just in case the former are shut down, and because this most recent post will be more readily seen and accessed.

And, you will receive a taste of South African news, politics and history and culture.  I have since learned that eNCA is a private, fairly independent news agency, while SABC, the public broadcasting arm, is best known as the network that most closely reflects the politics of the African National Congress, or the ANC.

Above, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela gives an interview about her former husband’s final moments for Independent Television News or ITN in Britain.

They may have been divorced, they may have been political rivals, but Nelson and Winnie Mandela still had a bond with her former husband, a bond reflected with this kiss between Winnie and  Graca Machel, his widow.  Some have called them Nelson's co-wives, and perhaps they were (Courtesy:

They may have been divorced, they may have been political rivals with vastly differing viewpoints, but Nelson Mandela and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela still had a bond beyond just children and grandchildren.  A bond reflected with this kiss between Winnie and Graca Machel, Nelson’s  widow.  Some have called them Nelson’s co-wives, and perhaps they were (Courtesy: dream hampton/Facebook)

What will happen this weekend?

Mandela’s body will be flown from an air force base in Pretoria on Saturday to South Africa’sEastern Cape province. This is where Mandela’s ancestral village of Qunu lies. The family farm there will be his final resting place.

Members of South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress, will bid Mandela farewell from the air force base. An honor guard from the South African National Defense Force will then take charge of his casket, which will be draped in the national flag.

On arrival at Mthatha Airport, the closest to Qunu, the casket will be placed on a gun carriage, while the national anthem is played and the honor guard presents arms and salutes. Mandela’s family will follow the carriage in cars.

Thousands of mourners are expected to line the streets from Mthatha Airport to watch as the military transports Mandela’s remains to the remote village where the former leader spent much of his childhood.

Along the way, the procession is expected to pause for prayers to allow ordinary South Africans to pay their respects.


Once at Mandela’s house in Qunu, the military will formally pass responsibility for his remains to his family.

The South African flag draped over the coffin will be replaced with a traditional Xhosa blanket, symbolizing the return of one of their own.

At dusk, ANC leaders, local chiefs and the men in Mandela’s family are expected to gather for a private night vigil, held according to the traditions of the Thembu community, his native clan, before a very public funeral the next day. Villagers may gather outside the house to pay their respects.

The celebrities and dignitaries in Qunu will include the likes of Oprah Winfrey, the Prince of Wales, and Bill and Hillary Clinton.

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