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TGIF columns are in order by date from the most recent.

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Anthony Bourdain: Parts Uncut

TRINIDAD WENT WILD over the episode of CNN presenter Anthony Bourdain’s show, Parts Unknown, that revealed parts of Trinidad some of us would have preferred to have kept unknown – particularly the handful of Trini Syrian/Lebanese around Mario Sabga-Grey Goose’s dinner table with Bourdain for a Middle-Eastern meal in the West.

In three shameful minutes, two of the self-declared leaders of Trinidad’s Arab community scuttled and sank, with their loose lips, the entire Trini Syrian-Lebanese ship. The public reaction was so intense, the old Mario was forced to put down his Grey Goose-and-coconut water long enough to apologise for being drunk, rich and self-important – as if that description doesn’t apply perfectly to all of Trinidad’s ruling sector, regardless of ethnicity!

Indian and African Trinis felt deeply insulted by what fell from the lips of Super Mario and Peter Gorged-on-Power and it wasn’t the raw kibbie, but the raw sentiments.

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I Am Not Bill Maher’s Negro

IS IT JUST me or did the world seem to cram a couple of weeks’ worth of insanity into the last seven days? Last Friday, we woke to find British prime minister Theresa May’s snap election had turned into a bitch-slap election (thankfully) when we were still reeling from ex-CIA director Jim Comey’s testimony the day before to the US House Intelligence Committee!

If, anywhere else in the world, the head of the chief local intelligence agency said he was worried that the head of state might lie about their meetings, the USA would already have convened a meeting of the UN Security Council (except Trinidad, of course, where the prime minister can suggest the president is a liar, and vice versa, and it not matter more than whether ‘Cokes-in-glass-buttle tastes better than Cokes-in-plastic-one’).

But, far more important than the labelling of the Jackass-in-Chief as a paranoid liar – and no Republican challenged the characterization – was that Comey’s testimony contained enough evidence to lay a charge of obstruction of justice against the Dimwit-in-Chief.

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On a Wing-Collar & a Prayer

THE LAW ASSOCIATION of Trinidad & Tobago last week passed votes of no confidence in the Chief Justice, which might seem like maggots voting no confidence in their own dead rat.

And, yesterday, the United Kingdom had the chance to dump their own well-dressed and immaculately-coiffured rat yesterday by rejecting, as prime minister, the woman who bet her political future campaigning against any Brexit at all and then, when she somehow squeezed into the PM’s seat, did her best to get a hard one. How lucky all of us in the world would be today if, yesterday, Brits remembered there is more than one way to skin a cat.

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59 with a Bullet

TODAY IS my birthday and what have I got to show for myself after nearly six decades of this cosmic joke called life? Receding hairline, expanding waistline, infrequent byline, recurring punch line: seven times before (i.e., last year, in 2015, 2014, 2013 and at five-year intervals before that), in birthday columns respectively headlined, 58, 57, 56, 55, 50, 40 and 35 with a Bullet, I’ve repeated the same hairline/ waistline/ byline joke I first made in this column when I was 30 with a Bullet.

After turning 30 “in the papers” in 1988, I decided to limit birthday columns to five-year intervals and “significant” birthdays. In 2013, I realised every firetrucking birthday had become hugely significant: every one I have makes it more likely that I won’t be here for the next one. No Pires male has lived past the age of 62 in five generations; I’m watching my elder brother, who turns 60 in three weeks, like a canary in a coalmine.

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​Mother Firetrucker

SOMETIMES, YOU CAN ruin something by starting it off the wrong way. What would life in the English-speaking Caribbean be like today, e.g., if, 55 years ago, Trinidad & Tobago’s first prime minister had chosen to stay in the West Indian Federation after Jamaica’s exit? Those eight other, supposedly lesser, territories would have exercised far greater sense over the spending of the massive energy tax windfalls Trinidad & Tobago squandered (twice!). As the very clear-thinking (at least outside of the Integrity Commission) Eric St Cyr once told me, Trinidadian oil & gas money would have allowed all of us in the West Indies to escape Babylon forever.

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