10 Things…

Here are ten things that I like or I don’t like or are just of interest at the moment.

01. There’s a really good film on Netflix called Gimme the Loot. It’s a nice little indie film set in New York City. And, of course, it is a coming of age film.

02. As you know Malaysia Airlines flight 370 is missing. It’s been missing for almost a week. No wreckage has been found as of Thursday night. Everybody seems to be guessing what happened, so here is my guess.

I think the plane suffered a slow loss of pressurization. Which would result in a slow loss of oxygen in the cabin. A very rapid loss of pressure in an airline cabin happens very quickly as the name implies. And since it happens very fast it’s very easy for people on board as well as the aircraft itself to sense that pressure was suddenly lost.

But, with a very slow loss of pressure, many times it is very hard to detect for both passengers and the aircraft. Which can lead to a situation where the passengers and crew are overcome by hypoxia and are unable to react by using oxygen masks.

In a situation like this if the plane was flying via the auto-pilot at cruise altitude it can continue flying itself until it runs out of fuel or collides with terrain such as a mountain.

Do you have any theories?

03.  Here’s a really nice song from a group called The Internet. It’s called “Dontcha”. Let me know if you like it.

04. This winter I was really jealous of all the snow most of the country got. Some people think the weather in Northern California is almost perfect. It never gets too hot or too cold. It doesn’t snow and it rarely rains. We get a bit of fog but most people think it adds to the beauty of the area.

For me, however, the weather here is torturous monotony. There’s no real summer nor a real winter. The weather here is a cross between spring and fall all year long except without the rain.

I crave contrast. How can you really appreciate winter without a summer? Or truly appreciate spring without winter?

I miss the coziness of winter and the brutality of summer. And the in-betweeness of spring and fall.

Does that make sense?

05. The WNBA season is right around the corner. And I can’t wait! This off-season while most WNBA players were in Europe making some extra bucks WNBA rookie Skylar Diggins was home in the States living the life of a movie starlet.

Sky made the rounds during the Awards season in L.A. and appeared in the infamous Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition.

Some people have been very critical of Skylar’s star status on and off the court. She had a very average rookie season and the naysayers have pounced. They’ve been calling her over-rated and that she is only a star because of her unquestionable beauty.

I think the naysayers are being unfairly harsh with her because of that beauty.  The vast majority of rookie athletes don’t come into the league and take it by storm. Most take 2 to 3 years to develop into the players they are expected to be. So, I look for Sky to be a bit better this season and really come into her own the following season.

Hopefully between now and then she won’t let the naysayers get her down. Go Sky!

07. I’m hooked on Plantain chips now. They are so good and you really can’t eat just one. Have you had them?

08.  If you haven’t checked it out, Dara has a great blog called Truly tafakari. You will find Lots of really relevant posts about all sorts of things there. Enjoy!

09.  If you remember I talked recently about trying tai chi. Well, I’m still at it. My mornings are much better because of it. Now I’m thinking of adding meditation to my day. I’ve been hearing a lot about it lately and how it can enhance your life in all sorts of ways.

Do any of you practice meditation? If so have you noticed any changes because of it such as better moods, etc.?

10. Lastly, I’ve had a crazy wanderlusty thought recently. That’s to buy one of those passes from Greyhound, pack a backpack and hit the road for a month.

You can buy a pass for unlimited travel for a month for about $400. At least that was the price last time I checked. And if I remember correctly you can travel between as many cities as you like for that month.

I’d love to pack a backpack and head to New Mexico and explore a few cities there. Then for some reason I’ve been wanting to go to Montana and maybe the Dakotas. After that I’d love to spend a few days in Chicago and then check out all of the urban farming in Detroit I’ve been hearing about.

What do you think? Sound like a fun idea or pure craziness? Would you ever do something like that?

Welp, those are a few things on my mind at the moment.
What do you think of my little musings?
What’s on your mind?


Photo(s) of the Day

AK rocked the 2013 Global Citizen Festival in New York’s Central Park this past Saturday along with Stevie Wonder and others. Here are a few photos of the always stunning Alicia.

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And, apparently, according to WordPress, this is my 100th post! How fitting that my 100th post would be a AK post! 😉

WTF Files: The rise and fall of “Carlos Danger”?

Former Congressman and current New York City Mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner and his wife Huma held the most a cringe worthy press conference ever yesterday. The conference was held because an online gossip site published texts that Weiner sent to at least one woman last summer.

Last summer? Yes, last summer after he had already resigned his Congressional seat during his initial sexting scandal. After that scandal his accomplished wife, Huma, who was an top aid to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, stood by her husband.

And, she stood by him again yesterday as Weiner fessed up to another case of sexting. Obviously Weiner has a problem. Honestly I didn’t think the first incident was a huge deal. Lots of married people push boundaries. But, now, after having lost his career once and more importantly putting his wife through so much, he did it again!

Also, this time Anthony Weiner used a special online moniker for his sexts. The name he used was, wait for it, “Carlos Danger“.

WTF indeed.

Yikes. Just when you think you know somebody. And, really, I guess that’s the point of this post. We really don’t know public figures. We know what they want us to know and what we find out on our own. Otherwise these people are total strangers.

And as for Weiner’s wife Huma. I felt bad for her after the first incident, not anymore. Fool the wife once shame on her husband, fool her twice, shame on her.

Do you think Weiner’s run for NYC Mayor is over now?

Or will New Yorkers overlook his actions again?

Why do you think Huma has been and is standing by Weiner?

Black History: Nina Mae McKinney

Nina Mae McKinney (June 13, 1912 – May 3, 1967) was an American actress who worked internationally in theatre, film and television after getting her start on Broadway and in Hollywood. Dubbed “The Black Garbo” in Europe, she was one of the first African-American film stars in the United States and was one of the first African Americans to appear on British television.

Nina Mae McKinney was born in 1912 in the small town of Lancaster, South Carolina, to Hal and Georgia McKinney. Her parents moved to New York for work during the Great Migration, and left their young daughter with her Aunt Carrie. McKinney ran errands and learned to ride a bike. Her first public performances involved stunts on bikes, where her passion for acting was clear. She acted in school plays in Lancaster and taught herself to dance.

McKinney left school at the age of 15, moving to New York to pursue acting, and was reunited with her parents. Her debut on Broadway was dancing in a chorus line of the hit musical Blackbirds of 1928. This show starred the famous singers/actors Bill “Bojangles” Robinson and Adelaide Hall. The musical opened at the Liberty Theater on May 9, 1928 and became one of the longest-running and most successful shows of its genre on Broadway,.

Her performance landed McKinney a leading role in a film. Looking for a star in his upcoming movie, Hallelujah!, the Hollywood film director King Vidor spotted McKinney in the chorus line in Blackbirds. He said, “Nina Mae McKinney was third from the right in the chorus. She was beautiful and talented and glowing with personality.” And that’s what rocketed her into the world of acting and Hollywood.

In Hallelujah (1929), McKinney was the first African-American actress to hold a principal role in a mainstream film; it had an African-American cast. Her beauty became an example of other women cast as objects of male desire.

Later, Vidor was nominated for Oscar for his directing of Hallelujah and McKinney was praised for her role. McKinney glowed in the movie, playing the “feckless Chick” to perfection. When asked about her performance, Vidor told audiences “Nina was full of life, full of expression, and just a joy to work with. Someone like her inspires a director.”

After Hallelujah!, McKinney signed a five-year contract with MGM – the first African-American performer to sign a long-term contract with a major studio – but the studio seemed reluctant to star her in feature films. Her most notable roles during this period were in films for other studios, including a leading role in Sanders of the River (1935), made in the UK, where she appeared with Paul Robeson. After MGM cut almost all her scenes in Reckless (1935), she left Hollywood for Europe. She acted and danced, appearing mostly in stage roles and cabaret.

McKinney returned to the United States in 1939 at the start of World War II, and married Jimmy Monroe, a jazz musician.

After the war she returned to Europe, living in Athens, Greece until 1960, when she returned to New York.

Time passed after McKinney’s starring role, and work was hard to come by because not many movies were interracial, and Hollywood was a difficult place for African American actors, actresses, directors, writers, and producers. Especially for African American women, breaking out into a major role was hard because there weren’t many choices for roles a woman of color could play. Even though she had the looks, Hollywood was afraid to make her into a glamorized like white actresses of the time. It was two years after Hallelujah that McKinney returned to the silver screen as a supporting actress in Safe in Hell, directed by William A. Wellman. In this movie, McKinney played the role of a waitress who befriends an escaped New Orleans hooker.

Because of the prevalence of racism not only in the entertainment industry but also throughout the United States in general, many African-American actors and actress escaped the United States for countries throughout Europe. In Europe McKinney was nicknamed the “Black Garbo,” because of her striking beauty more than resemblance to the Swedish actress, Greta Garbo.

McKinney was one such actress who went abroad for a little while. In December 1932, she went to Paris and appeared as a cabaret entertainer in nighttime hot spots or restaurants. One of these was called Chez Florence. Just a few months later, in February 1933, she starred in a show called Chocolate and Cream in the Leicester Square Theatre in London. She even went as far as Athens to pursue her career. After touring for a while, she returned to London in 1934 to appear in a British film titled Kentucky Minstrels, but was released in the United States as Life is Real. Yet again, she appeared in a groundbreaking film. But this time, it was one of the first British films to feature African American actors. Film Weekly said about McKinney, “Nina Mae McKinney, as the star of the final spectacular revue, is the best thing in the picture—and she, of course, has nothing to do with the ‘plot’.”

In the years following her role in Kentucky Minstrels, McKinney remained in England and worked on some more odd things. She also sang the popular song “Dinah” during Music Hall – a radio broadcast show.

Finally, she got another big break, and received a starring role in her first film in six years. In 1935, she appeared in Sanders of the River directed by Alexander Korda. McKinney and Robeson, her co-star, were told that this film would portray African Americans in a positive light, that was even one of the conditions that Robeson would be in the movie. But after it was re-edited without the knowledge of McKinney and Robeson, as well as the other African American actors, it highlighted the power of the British Empire around the world.

Things did turn around for McKinney, and she remained in London. In 1936 she was given her own television special on BBC for her singing. In 1937, she had a role in Ebony, alongside the African-American dancer Johnny Nit. Following that performance, she also made an appearance in Dark Laughter with the Jamaican trumpet player Leslie Thompson. McKinney was given rave reviews for her singing “Poppa Tree Top Tall” in a documentary in 1937. This is the only surviving record of her performances in British television pre-World War II. Once war broke out in Europe, she returned home to the United States.

After returning to the United States, McKinney starred in some “race films” intended for African-American audiences. These include Gang Smashers Gun Moll (1938) and The Devil’s Daughter (1939).

She took a break for some time, and then tried to make a comeback in Hollywood. She took roles in some smaller films, having to accept stereotypical roles of maids and whores. For example, in 1944 she appeared alongside Merle Oberon, playing a servant girl in the film Dark Waters.

McKinney spent her final year living in New York City. On May 3, 1967, she died of a heart attack at the age of 53.