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A Coup Called Covid

I have far too much respect for poetry to sully it myself but, somehow, writing this small homage to the people who died in the bloody, pointless 1990 coup attempt seems more bearable if it rhymes

THIRTY YEARS plus one/ (lagniappe – or "in the chamber"?)/ Have we learned one thing at all/ from five days of blood & siege & danger / As a country, as a nation, as a group of firetrucking jokers/ Who say that wicked Hoosay day changed a thing with power-brokers/

30 years (plus one, we doesn’t bother to remember)/ July 27 cyar hold an ember to 19th of November/ Opportunists seeking Michael-waves brought the people out (to loot)/ Fanned the flames to sack Queen Street and burn it down to boot/

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The Walking (Brain) Dead

FOR MY sins, it seems, I’m in London, because it feels much more like I’ve stumbled onto the set of the pilot episode of The Walking Dead, A&E’s great American zombie apocalypse TV series.

And the first thing they killed was firetrucking irony.

And it won’t rise again and stumble around, waving its mangled arms and dragging a rotting leg.

On Monday, with 50,000-plus new cases every day of the Boris (formerly known as the delta) variant rampaging, and with daily deaths rising rapidly towards 500, and at probably the worst point so far of the pandemic, statistically… the brain-dead Vote Leave Enoch Powell Homage Tory government of England (dragging Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland behind it, like so many dead legs) actually – and, no lie, deliberately – lifted all covid19 safety precautions.


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Break for the Border

WITH TRINIDAD & Tobago’s national borders set to open on Saturday 17 July (if there are no last-minute political brakes for the border-opening) foreign travel becomes relevant to us again.

At least technically.

But it’s been so very long since any of us flew anywhere, most of us have forgotten how to do it.

As Trinidad’s most sensitive newspaper writer, then – excluding everything I say about politicians, priests, pastors & pundits, of course – it is my patriotic duty to provide this blow-by-blow guideline to reentering the age of jet travel.

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At SEA with Covid

LAST THURSDAY, 18,000-odd 11-year-olds sat the Secondary Entrance Assessment, all hoping to pass for a “prestige school” which, in Trinidad, means one where the teachers are more worried about their students getting nine CXCs under their belt than their already having TEC Nines in their book-bags.

In sympathy with children whose educations may have ended before the Euros 2020 final even started, I began my own Senility Entrance Assessment exam last Friday, with the maths section of a Newsday practice test. Today I will wrestle with what we now call “language arts” because we’re too ashamed of how poorly we do “English”. I’ve shortened the questions considerably because SEA grammatical style is not particularly languaged-ly-artful.

Language Arts. Section I.

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At Covid SEA

YESTERDAY, 18,000-odd 11-year-olds sat the Secondary Entrance Assessment, all hoping to pass for a “prestige school” which, in Trinidad, means one where there are more drugs in the chemistry lab than the book bags of the form three students.

In sympathy, then, with children whose educations may have ended yesterday, before their lives have properly started, I begin my own Senility Entrance Assessment exam, with a Newsday practice test, maths today and, next Friday, “language arts”, the modern Trinidadian pidgin for what used to be called “English”. I’ve shortened the questions considerably because SEA grammatical style is not particularly languaged-ly-artful.

Mathematics. Section I.

Q1. Calculate the difference between 48 and 13? The SEA examiners are very unfair to make the first maths question a language arts one, too, when they could easily have written, 48 minus 13 is what? The children will feel real dunce to fail two sections of the SEA in one question, and the first one, to boot! Q3. If Brent’s two slices of pizza [constituted] one-sixth of the pizza, how many slices are there in total? The answer is J’Ouvert rum but I really can’t show you the working. Q6. A fan purchased for $150 is sold at a loss for $18. Calculate the selling price? Does this transmogrify from a one per cent into a 99 per cent question because they’ve got it the wrong way around and are buying at retail and selling at wholesale price?

Q8. Mother paid for a $21 box of cereal with a $10, $5 and $1 bill; calculate the value of the missing bill? It don’t matter what the value of missing bill is because them chirren at home will not touch a cheap $21 Trinidad cereal when look a $75 box of Cap’n Crunch right next to it. We wants both the Yankee dollar and the Yankee sugar levels. Q11. Calculate the length of a meeting that starts at 8:23am and ends at 9:16am? Well, I can calculate that it’s probably an OWTU meeting since no one else would start a meeting at 8.23 and not 8.15 or 8.30. Furthermore, if you’re starting meetings at such vaille-que-vaille times, you are probably insolvent in truth and can’t pay for Petrotrin. Everybody better buy electric cars. Q15. A six-cm square is cut into four smaller identical squares. Calculate the area of each small square? Why can’t I calculate the area of just one? They’re all firetrucking identical! Still, the answer is four nips of J’Ouvert rum.

Section II. Q 22. Sean had 16 25-cent coin pieces, 20 ten-cent coin pieces and 12 five-cent coin pieces. How much money does he have? However you count it, the answer is “not firetrucking much” but I’m more interested in why Sean couldn’t simply have all those coins; why did they have to be coin pieces? The brightest children would advise Sean to ask for whole coins. Q23. Luke, Asha and Colin shared 42 stickers equally. If Colin loses five stickers, calculate the number of stickers he has remaining? I suspect the examiner must have children named Luke, Asha and Colin because there is no reason for them to be named at all. “Three children shared…” would have worked just as well. In any event, the answer is no damn J’Ouvert rum for nobody, tell Fake Michael Jordan haul his mother coin pieces back to America. Also, the children should stop wasting their time with stickers and get into memes.

Q24. Coach Jones purchased two footballs and the received a discount on the second one. If each football costs $200 and Coach Jones paid $320 in total, express the discount as a percent of the selling price? Wha’m to you, Boy? Why you getting discount, Boy? I bet I make a video of you to send to Daddy for him to arrest your mother coin pieces. And Coach Jones will lose he wuk, too besides! Q 24. Luke and Wazim packed the same number of tins on a shelf in a grocery. Luke packed his tins in rows of six cans and Wazim, eight cans. Who packed the least number of rows? Explain your answer. Firetruck you, you explain your question! Suppose Luke was packing them little tins of channa and Wazim was packing them big tins of Milo? Eh? Eh?

Section III. Q 37. After picking 80 grapefruits, a farmer sold 14 heaps of four grapefruit each. If he shared the remaining fruit amongst three neighbours, what percent of grapefruit did each neighbour get? The key thing here is, before you park the van to take the grapefruit out, make bleddy sure it ent have no pot-bellied short men hanging around anywhere with a forklift. Q40. At a school bazaar, Marlon threw ten rings around different coloured bottles, green ones worth two points, blue ones worth three and red ones worth four points. If he got four points from two green bottles, nine points from blue bottles and ringed five red bottles, how many points did he score in total? Green bottles is a misprint, it was supposed to be “grease” bottles, and blue bottles must be for jab-jabs, which have more to do with Paramin than AstraZeneca, and red bottles have to-bound to-must be mud, ergo, the answer is a case of J’Ouvert rum.

That’s enough firetrucking maths. Next week we do artless language.

BC Pires is more likely to pass for THC than CIC

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