5 examples of how the languages we speak can affect the way we think

Originally posted on TED Blog:

languageEconomist Keith Chen starts today’s talk with an observation: to say, “This is my uncle,” in Chinese, you have no choice but to encode more information about said uncle. The language requires that you denote the side the uncle is on, whether he’s related by marriage or birth and, if it’s your father’s brother, whether he’s older or younger.

[ted_talkteaser id=1670] “All of this information is obligatory. Chinese doesn’t let me ignore it,” says Chen. “In fact, if I want to speak correctly, Chinese forces me to constantly think about it.”

This got Chen wondering: Is there a connection between language and how we think and behave? In particular, Chen wanted to know: does our language affect our economic decisions?

Chen designed a study — which he describes in detail in this blog post — to look at how language might affect individual’s ability to save for the future. According…

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Leo Oladimu’s Art

Beige Cover


      Since publishing his memoir, Beige, on AmazonLeo Oladimu has returned to his first creative love, drawing.  A gifted artist, he has now completed a new series of drawings titled, On Women. The complete series (numbers 1 – 17, colored pencil, 9×12) is currently for sale as individual drawings on eBay.


Artist’s Statement:

“Leo Oladimu has been in federal prison for 13 years behind what the government described as a racial terror conspiracy. He describes it as nonsense (the government’s and his own.) Oladimu draws women as a means of focusing his thoughts on something outside the Justice Department’s hate factories.”


     This item, #9 of 17

#9 Two Figures copyright



As un undergraduate I learned that a writer learns by writing, and by reading those writers whose voices speak to us from the past. To that end, I read all the great masters, and I learned much.

Edna StVincent Millay taught me many subtle ways to express emotion in verse, without drowning in adjectives. From Amy Lowell, however, I learned to combine prose with verse, producing a unique combination of freer rhyme schemes and unfettered rhythms.

In addition, Amy Lowell’s voice is clear, and her story simple, but the magic of her poem weaves an inescapable, complex emotional response in her reader. There is, however, another message in addition to the one of lost love, of a life ended too soon, and the grief of those who endure. It is the brief and subtle condemnation of a social system, where war is routinely played outside her private and protected, manicured garden.



Amy Lowell

I walk down the garden paths,
And all the daffodils
Are blowing, and the bright blue squills.   
I walk down the patterned garden paths   
In my stiff, brocaded gown.
With my powdered hair and jewelled fan,   
I too am a rare
Pattern. As I wander down
The garden paths.
My dress is richly figured,   
And the train
Makes a pink and silver stain   
On the gravel, and the thrift   
Of the borders.
Just a plate of current fashion,
Tripping by in high-heeled, ribboned shoes.
Not a softness anywhere about me,   
Only whale-bone and brocade.   
And I sink on a seat in the shade   
Of a lime tree. For my passion   
Wars against the stiff brocade.   
The daffodils and squills
Flutter in the breeze
As they please.
And I weep;
For the lime tree is in blossom
And one small flower has dropped upon my bosom.
And the splashing of waterdrops   
In the marble fountain
Comes down the garden paths.   
The dripping never stops.   
Underneath my stiffened gown
Is the softness of a woman bathing in a marble basin,
A basin in the midst of hedges grown
So thick, she cannot see her lover hiding,
But she guesses he is near,
And the sliding of the water
Seems the stroking of a dear
Hand upon her.
What is Summer in a fine brocaded gown!
I should like to see it lying in a heap upon the ground.   
All the pink and silver crumpled up on the ground.
I would be the pink and silver as I ran along the paths,   
And he would stumble after,
Bewildered by my laughter.
I should see the sun flashing from his sword-hilt and the buckles on his shoes.
I would choose
To lead him in a maze along the patterned paths,
A bright and laughing maze for my heavy-booted lover,   
Till he caught me in the shade,
And the buttons of his waistcoat bruised my body as he clasped me,
Aching, melting, unafraid.
With the shadows of the leaves and the sundrops,   
And the plopping of the waterdrops,
All about us in the open afternoon
I am very like to swoon
With the weight of this brocade,
For the sun sifts through the shade.
Underneath the fallen blossom
In my bosom,
Is a letter I have hid.
It was brought to me this morning by a rider from the Duke.   
“Madam, we regret to inform you that Lord Hartwell   
Died in action Thursday sen’night.”
As I read it in the white, morning sunlight,
The letters squirmed like snakes.
“Any answer, Madam,” said my footman.
“No,” l told him.
“See that the messenger takes some refreshment.
No, no answer.”
And I walked into the garden,
Up and down the patterned paths,
In my stiff, correct brocade.
The blue and yellow flowers stood up proudly in the sun,   
Each one.
I stood upright too,
Held rigid to the pattern
By the stiffness of my gown.   
Up and down I walked,   
Up and down.
In a month he would have been my husband.   
In a month, here, underneath this lime,   
We would have broke the pattern;
He for me, and I for him,
He as Colonel, I as Lady,
On this shady seat.
He had a whim
That sunlight carried blessing.
And I answered, “It shall be as you have said.”   
Now he is dead.
In Summer and in Winter I shall walk
Up and down
The patterned garden paths   
In my stiff, brocaded gown.   
The squills and daffodils
Will give place to pillared roses, and to asters, and to snow.   
I shall go
Up and down,
In my gown.
Gorgeously arrayed,
Boned and stayed.
And the softness of my body will be guarded from embrace   
By each button, hook, and lace.
For the man who should loose me is dead,
Fighting with the Duke in Flanders,
In a pattern called a war.
Christ! What are patterns for?



When A Poet Speaks…

There are poems that illuminate emotions, explain

the hereto unexplainable and recall tattered

memories, one more time…


“Time does not bring relief…”


Time does not bring relief; you all have lied

Who told me time would ease me of my pain!

I miss him in the weeping of the rain;

I want him at the shrinking of the tide;

The old snows melt from every mountain-side,

And last year’s leaves are smoke in every lane;

But last year’s bitter loving must remain

Heaped on my heart, and my old thoughts abide!

There are a hundred places where I fear

To go,–so with his memory they brim!

And entering with relief some quiet place

Where never fell his foot or shone his face

I say, “There is no memory of him here!”

And so stand stricken, so remembering him!


            — Edna St. Vincent Malay

Beige: An Unlikely Trip Through America’s Racial Obsession

After almost five years of writing, editing

and rewriting, Leo Oladimu candidly relates

the incredible story of his life. From the

beginning, this is a memoir like no

other. For starters, the original memoir is

handprinted entirely in pencil, a true

manuscript in every sense of the word. Why?

The answer to that question and others

is revealed in Leo’s own words:


Beige: An Unlikely Trip Through

America’s Racial Obsession [Kindle Edition.]



  “A half-Black punk rocker from DC

    with an IQ in the top 1% goes to prison in

    New York at 19 for a crime he didn’t

    commit. Eleven years later he gets out,

    and three months after that, is accused by

    the US government of leading a neo-Nazi

    terrorist plot to blow up a gathering of Jews

    at the New England Holocaust Memorial

    in Boston.

    Ten years later, he’s Black again.

   Impossible? Totally happened. Here’s how:

   Beige: An Unlikely Trip Through America’s

   Racial Obsession is my story, raw dog, no cut.

   There was a lot of hype surrounding my case

   in ’01, but even the media’s fun-house-mirror

   version of what went down with me still managed

  to strike a chord with a lot of people, particularly

  with other Multiracial folks like myself,

  leaving them with questions in their minds —

  Why? How? No secondhand account of

  Leo Felton has ever answered those questions,

  whether due to ideological dogmatism on the

  part of the writers or just due to the fact

  that the story is unique and that if you aren’t

  me you can’t truly explain how and why it happened.

  Whatever the case, the government and its press

  have never explained it.


  So I have.”

Gritty New York Novel


You Have The Right To
Remain Silent

— M. M. Mc Namara

 Fifteen year old Maureen Connelly catapults over rooftops in 1950’s New York City with her bad-boy boyfriend as they navigate their gritty, multi-ethnic, blue collar neighborhood. Looking back Maureen has a unique point of view and no misplaced nostalgia for the past or the good old days. The author’s compelling, original, opinionated voice drives the biting, first-person narrative in this smart, character-driven, debut novel.  It is so much more than a coming-of-age story.  Ethnicity, race, and the norms, mores and conventions of the fifties and sixties are an intricate part of the chronicle.  The matter-of-fact, hardboiled, irreverent delivery enhances the serious subject and many ironies.  The City of New York is an integral character in this vivid, harrowing tale.  Tough, provocative, intense, powerful, dark, complex, this is a story that opens a vein, gets close to the bone, and haunts you long after you read the last page.

The author who was born and raised in New York City lives on a small island in the Caribbean.

Taino Artesan

Reposted from the Lost Taino Tribe:

Daniel ‘Guayacan’ Silva Pagan de Bieke (Vieques), Boriken (Puerto Rico) comparta su historia y trabajo como un artesano Taino. (Video en Español)

Daniel ‘Guayacan’ Silva Pagan de Bieke (Vieques), Boriken (Puerto Rico) shares his story and work as a Taino artesan. (Video en Español)


Visit LOST TAINO TRIBE at: http://losttainotribe.ning.com/?xg_source=msg_mes_network

Taino Artesan

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 9,100 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.