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APART FROM one other person, who must remain nameless, because she is my editor-in-chief at Newsday, Judy Raymond, I’m the youngest Trinidadian person I know who does a cryptic crossword – and I’m going to be firetrucking 60 in June!
Most Trinis probably don’t even know what a cryptic crossword is. When they first appeared in English newspapers almost a century ago, crosswords were like the boring modern American version: you enter the word “dog” because the clue is, “Domestic family pet” and you know it ends in “-og” because you’ve already filled in, “Air mattress (4)” as “lilo” and “Lower human limb (3)” as “leg”.
Tomorrow you will find TGIF on bcpires.com and all subscribers will received their emailed copy.
In case you firetrucking care!
TO WRITE a brilliantly original newspaper column, you’ve got to copy the best ideas and, in 1999, I stole a great one from Robert Steinback, then of the Miami Herald, who, every January, wrote a predictions column.
Robert’s predictions were serious, because he lived in what we thought was the world’s leading liberal democracy (until November 2016, when Americans apparently voluntarily elected the kind of fraudulent, inbred, illiterate buffoon normally produced only by corrupt Third World dictatorships; in the third generation). In Walcott’s Limers’ Republic, though, where the audience usually has more talent than the show, I just couldn’t be entirely serious. Some of my predictions, then, are meant to make you laugh, while others would make anyone with any sense weep, the unending Trinidadian challenge being distinguishing fantasy from reality.
Since 2011, when I first thought of the skulls, I have stunned readers with the accuracy of my first prediction:
ANOTHER TRINIDADIAN YEAR drifts to its end, with the ship of state as likely to end up on the rocks as in the harbor, and that outcome a matter entirely of chance because the crew, before and behind the mast, cares more about raiding the cargo than docking the boat; and, if they calculate on the bridge that there will be more bounty to plunder via salvage than safety, all-man-Jack will pop the cork on the Cristal and cheerfully scupper the firetrucker. “Captain, the ship is sinking/ Captain, the seas are rough/ Sailor, hush, I drinking/ And the curry-duck is warm enough”.
You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows and you don’t need an international body to know your country is collapsing: our judiciary is falling apart openly (and behind closed doors); it’s easier (and cheaper) to buy cocaine outside of a Port of Spain bank than US dollars inside; children’s hospitals lie empty in Trinidad and cultural complexes in Tobago will never be filled by “conferencing” foreigners when locals are fighting over every seat on every rare plane; without a ferry bringing Trini-groceries, Tobagonians starve because they don’t plant pigeon peas anymore, but import lentils from Canada; and, in either T or T, any citizen, regardless of rank, can be murdered anytime, anywhere (especially Morvant-Laventille and Bacolet Gardens) and nothing at all will be done about it in 93 per cent of cases, because, in this pappy-show land, where nearly everything is a pappy-show, the police service is the biggest “make work” scheme…Read more
THE REST of the world, apart from a small group of Trini weirdos, heaved an almighty sigh of relief on Tuesday night: at least now there won’t be two 70-year-old jackasses in high office in the US; but half the adult population of Alabama wept because there were not enough God-fearing Christians who would kiss their Bible and vote for a gun-toting, slavery-approving, Muslim-hating accused child molester, so that he could go to Washington and protect the millions of unborn children who will, apparently, continue to be murdered even before they become zygotes.
It’s an enigma of modern life, this Republican moving of heaven and earth to save the unborn but not giving a flying firetruck about babies, once they’re actually out of the womb: the same so-called right-to-lifers who bomb abortion clinics to save fertilized eggs will die to preserve capital punishment; and gather cheerfully outside of prisons on execution nights in the existential version of the football stadium tailgate party.
Most satisfying, though, was the comeuppance to President Jackass. Molester (alleged) Moore’s campaign was taken straight from the Jackass’ manual and the narrow rejection of Moore meant a massive rejection of Trump, comb-over, robocall and all.Read more