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

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​PNM Mouth Open, Tory Jump Out

TRINIS and ‘Bagonians love to say our country is an eclectic mix of cultures, ethnicities and religion – they tell me that almost every week, when they tell me what Trinidad and Tobago means to them for my Monday Newsday feature, Trini to the Bone – but, the truth is, politically, we have never been anything but English. We may still say “It makinghot”, the literal translation of the French or Spanish “Il fait chaud” or “Hace calor” – but our politics is purely English, and not even British.

Now, to find out what the English are like, you have to look first at the French. Unlike the Scots, the Welsh and the (artificially created Northern) Irish, who define themselves by their own terms, the English have always defined themselves as the opposite of the French.
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​ChatBCTT

EVERYONE’s talking about ChatGPT, the artificial intelligence website where robots write plausible imitations of anything from college essays through movie screenplays to government policy documents by scanning the internet at super-speed and pulling together sentences from similar documents.

But, this week, I discovered a website, www.ChatBCTT.ogorm, which not only samples writing from the worldwide web but also samples the personality of the person using the site before writing answers in the style of the person asking. If this sounds too farfetched to be true, that’s because it is. As with the Letters from the Editor columns I dive into occasionally to escape real world Hell, I can certify these exchanges are 100 per cent accurate because I made them up myself.
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​The Rats of Westmoorings

YOU CAN SMELL them, the rats of Westmoorings.

And I’m not talking about the “wan pah cent.”
Indeed, you use that loose Trini invitation-to-hate expression – “the one per cent” – at your own peril. (The expression arose in Trinidad when the late Anthony Bourdain came to Town to eat doubles and have dinner with an inebriated member of the ruling sector who, in his cups, confessed that the influence of his community was out of all proportion to its size, less than one per cent of the total population; it was seized upon by people who probably would be shocked to hear themselves described as “haters”.)
You may find that, through your using “the wan pah cent” to what you think is your advantage now, you may hear others use it against you down the road.
It’s a surprisingly versatile term, as Comrade Wes has pointed out.
And you may be shocked that people could use such a sweeping expression inviting such immediate hate with such carelessness towards the human beings involved.

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​From Naught to 7.0

ALL MY LIFE, music.

The Beatles sang Hey Jude in 1968 and the ten-year-old me cried with joy in the back seat of my father’s car: Na-na-na NANA-NA-NA Judy-Judy-Judy-Jude-Jude…
Who could make music like that outside a church?
The first time I heard Keith Richards make a guitar sound like a brass section in the stunning opening chords of (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction, I was converted to rock ’n’ roll for life. My sister, two years older than me, got the 45rpm single for passing her 11-Plus. So I was nine.
The first time I heard Carlos Santana’s Samba Pa Ti, in a 16th birthday house party, I wrapped my arms around myself in a corner (that old fake dancing-with-a-chick pose) so no one would see a hardback 15-year-old cry like a baby because a man was playing a guitar.
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