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a little bit of this. a little bit of fact



Prince. Why do Blacks have such God-awful names?

Prince was really a rare phenomenon. He could sing, dance, write music, play instruments, produce albums and look great doing it: I don’t think we’ll see his like again.

But what an awful name.

Prince Rogers Nelson, named after his father Prince Rogers, changed his name to “Artist Formerly Known As Prince” and reverted back to Prince in 2000 when his contract with Warner Bros expired. His only sister Tyka Nelson has two sons called, wait for this, Sir and President.

What on earth is going on here?

African-Americans are obviously so detached from their native land to have to name their children Condom, Lebron, Shakishia or Loquishiar. While I understand ‘black American parents’ aren’t a monolith – there’s no excuse for a D’brickishaw, Barkevious or D’quell. Hang on, there’s even a “Vagina” (pronounced Vageena) or “Sexalean” and a “Fuhqueena” (pronounced ****eena).

Is this a cultural thing, a simple lack of education or low intelligence?

We all know using non-conventional naming to express uniqueness does a child no favours and garners them no acceptance in a difficult and competitive world. Only (the now disgraced) Bill Cosby appears to have believed in assimilation and once asked, “What is wrong with a civilised name that people can say or spell?” He went further by posing the question – (in a classroom) “who do you think a teacher is going to call on, a name that they can say or some other name that is pronounced differently than it is spelled?” What he is saying, in essence is, don’t separate yourself from others, be a part of the solution, not the problem.

Take Barack Obama, it’s a beautiful Kenyan name, while Michelle is a perfectly normal, socially acceptable, adopted Anglo-American name. Makes sense. What doesn’t make sense however, is Gwyneth Paltrow naming her daughter “Apple”. But that’s another story.

It gets worse. Research has proven, that job applicants with ‘black-sounding’ names are more likely to be rejected, regardless of qualifications. It’s the modern version of an old dynamic, best captured by Malcolm X’s joke. “You know what they call a black person who earns a Ph.D.? A nigger.”

I understand the oppressive ‘white’ social dynamic, but Blacks are doing themselves no favours with their ridiculous naming protocol. It just ensures they remain at the bottom of America’s racial caste system for longer.

Incidentally, Prince’s childhood name was Skipper.

The language of garbage men

Garbage Man

Air mail: Garbage thrown at the truck from windows above.

Bale the truck: Squeeze the movable wall near the cab end of the truck body against the blade that pushes the garbage into the truck body. It compacts the trash as tightly as possible and can allow an extra ton or so of trash to fit in the truck.

Banged: Disciplined. If you get banged, someone above you in the chain of command has filed a written complaint about you.

Blood money: Overtime for working snow once the novelty has been replaced by the relentlessness of too many hours and no days off.

Body bags: The big (120-gallon), long garbage bags that come from apartment buildings with compactors. They look as if they could hold a body. Also called sausage bags.

Bumper cars: Mechanical brooms.

Can man: How many workers are available to staff a particular need. Phrased as “What’s your can man for today?”

Coned: A litter basket that’s overloaded and overflowing, such that it resembles an ice cream cone.

Disco rice: Maggots.

Fruit wagon: Collection truck.

Gate work: Lifting garbage cans and garbage bags over the gates that stand between a home and the street.

Gold-chain garage: A garage with many workers of Italian heritage.

Hook: Someone within the bureaucracy, usually of higher rank, who can do you a favor or help you out of a jam. A person with good hooks has a lot of juice.

House of Pain: Nickname for the Bronx 7 garage, where the average weight on the day shift is sometimes as high as 20 tons.

Junior flip: New hire.

LODI: Line-of-duty injury. “He went LODI” means he is away from work because of an injury sustained on the job.

LUV truck: Light utility vehicle; a small pickup truck, also called a haulster.

M’on back man: The person who guides a driver while the driver is backing up a truck (short for “Come on back”).

Mongo/mungo: (N .) objects plucked/rescued from the trash; (v.) to take objects from the trash.

Nanny goat route: An especially hilly route on collection or recycling.

On the arm: Unpaid labor. For instance: “Are you being paid for this work?” “Hell, yes, I’d never do it on the arm!”

Picking up: Where you work. Someone working in Greenwich Village around the university would say, “I pick up N Y U .”

Rocket: A written complaint (as in a foreman telling a sanitation worker, “If you don’t clean your route today, I’ll give you a rocket”).

Ro-ro: Roll-on/roll-off truck, used for some kinds of containers.

Sitting bull: Back in the day when there were three men on a truck, the driver never got out and never helped load; he was called the sitting bull.

Stealing a street: Driving down a one-way street the wrong way.

Tiffany: A particularly neat and tidy job of collection or sweeping. “He did a real Tiffany on that stop.”

White elephant: Collection truck.

Courtesy: Robin Nagle, anthropologist-in-residence at New York City’s Department of Sanitation since 2006.

Benday Dots and the artist Roy Lichtenstein

Roy Lichtenstein

“Lichtenstein was more app than artist; the Frankel of one-trick ponies.”

Frankel, unbeaten in his fourteen race career and was the highest-rated racehorse in the world. Frankel’s record of nine successive Group 1 wins is unsurpassed and has been equalled only by the U.S.A. filly Zenyatta. Frankel’s performance in the 2000 Guineas has been described as “one of the greatest displays on a British racecourse”.

Benday Dots, a printing process named after illustrator and printer Benjamin Day, is similar to Pointillism.
Ben-Day dots were considered the hallmark of American artist Roy Lichtenstein, who enlarged and exaggerated them in many of his paintings. the man who reinvented modern art, the man who first decided to make paintings that looked like comic books.

The price of creativity


A woman asked Picasso to sketch something on a piece of paper.

He does, and says, “That will cost you $10,000.”

Astounded, she said “You took just five minutes to do the sketch,” she said.

Isn’t $10,000 a lot for five minutes work?

 And he responded, “The sketch may have taken me five minutes, but the learning took me 30 years.”

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