Driving to Work

Yea though I drive through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil…

In many developed countries the morning commute to work is a reasonably comfortable and event-free experience. Even when the traffic is heavy, the roads are good and people go about their business in an orderly fashion. But this is Jamaica... and my drive to work is a little different.

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Some Jamaican Books We'd Like to Read

stumpedThe summer is here and there’s nothing better than spending a long hot day lazing on the beach reading a good book. Here are a few of the books we wish were on our summer reading list:

Where the Tunnels Really Are – Christopher Coke

Spicing up your life with Colour - Elephant Man

Famous for Not Being Famous – LA Lewis

Outing the Fire – Capleton

Bangarang Made Easy – Bruce Golding

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Sure Signs That a State of Emergency Has Been Declared in Jamaica


You're watching the latest scenes from the fighting in Iraq on CNN when you realise that it’s not Iraq you're looking at.

2. If a gunman so much as sneezes in Tivoli, Red Hills Road or Mountain View Avenue you get a dozen messages about it on Blackberry, Twitter and Facebook.

3. The ONLY topic on the local nightly news is the State of Emergency.

4. BBC is showing scenes from "ground zero" of the conflict... and it looks a lot like your neighbour’s backyard.

5. You pass the time by counting the fascinating ways foreign newscasters have found to pronounce Dudus (Doo-dus, Dough-dus, etc).

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Ten signs your favourite Airline may be going out of business‏

Dozens of drug-sniffing dogs at the Ft. Lauderdale airport are already out of work.

2. Among the items included in the in-flight shopping brochure are cologne, perfume and “a used A320”.

3. The complementary blanket given to you is marked ‘Property of Sandals’.

4. The flight attendant asks the passengers if they can help “mek up the gas money”.

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TJL's Suggestions for How Real People Can Survive the Recession

Jamaicans are a people accustomed to hardship. But even for us, these are unusually difficult economic times. Every day more and more people lose their jobs at a time when taxes and prices are rising higher and the chances of finding a new job are becoming dramatically lower. In these troubled times it’s not enough for well-intentioned financial experts to encourage you to be “thrifty” and to “budget wisely”. When you’ve lost your job, and the mortgage, school fees and car payments are all overdue those tips simply don’t go far enough. “Tightening one’s belt” further is pointless when your belt is already tied around your spine. In desperate situations, truly resilient people instinctively know how to “tun yuh han mek fashion” and find creative ways to get by. That in mind, ThingsJamaicansLove.com has compiled a list of the ways Real People can survive the recession:

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One BIG Distraction


A female German tourist driving a rental vehicle was rear-ended by a truck in the Fern Gully today after eye witnesses said she brought her car to a sudden stop in the middle of the road.

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Seven Sure Signs that Jamaica is Suffering from a Severe Drought

droughtEvery available container in your house including cups, jugs, wash basins, buckets, pails, dutch pots, pans, “chimmys”, used Sprite Bottles, used cooking oil containers, baby bottles, the washing machine and the bathtub have been used to collect water.

2. You checked into an all-inclusive hotel over the long weekend; not for the food, drink and luxury accommodations but just so you could take a hot shower.

3. You’ve mastered the art of bathing twice and brushing your teeth three times a day with one 9 oz cup of water.

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The Fulsome Report: TJL's Suggestions for Widening the Tax Net to Tackle Jamaica's Fiscal Deficit

Recently the Gleaner published a Letter to the Editor where the writer suggested that Jamaica’s economic woes could be solved by money raised from taxing bad words. ThingsJamaicansLove.com thought this was an excellent idea and, as a way of doing our part to help Jamaica out of its economic problems, we've come up with some additional suggestions for things that could be added to the “tax net”. We’ve focused on things that Jamaicans do very frequently but which probably ought to be discouraged. Some of our ideas may sound outlandish but just remember that in the last tax package an attempt was made to tax salt and ground provisions... so nothing is sacred. Ever heard of the Matalon Report? We call this the Fulsome Report (You’ll see why below).

Bad Mind: As common as oxygen and found in every single area of Jamaican life, bad mind is present in every village, town and hamlet in Jamaica. It’s found amongst the rich, poor, educated, uneducated, PNP, JLP, NDM, Gully and Gaza alike. A tax on bad mind would be inherently equitable as it would have to be paid by almost everybody, regardless of background, class or status and would, no doubt, generate enormous revenues since there is such an abundance of it. It would also help to bring about social order since the more “bad-minded” a person is, the more bad-mind tax they would pay, and as such there would strong incentive not to be so damn evil. (Naturally, some people would go broke but that’s ok.) We suggest a fixed tax of $200 for every occurrence noted. (Never mind the low price. We expect to make up for it in volume)

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TJL's Official Guide to Jamaican Place Names

As many tourists (and some Jamaicans) have found, when one is travelling through Jamaica a regular road map is often not very helpful. In the same way many Jamaican persons are far better known by their nicknames than their official names, many places in Jamaica are better known by “nicknames” than the names actually found on a map. The following list of the “real” names of some places in Jamaica may come in handy the next time you get lost somewhere between Mocho and Gimme-me-Bit and a shifty-looking guy in dark glasses named Mongoose swears he’ll “ tek yuh exactly wish part yu waan go” if you will just follow him down this dimly-lit, unmarked, side road.

Country: Any place outside of Kingston. (As far as Kingstonians are concerned anyway). “Country” even includes the second city of Montego Bay. So, if a Kinsgtonian tells you they are going to the country for the weekend it’s best to get details. Going to “Country” can mean an overnight stay with Mama (Grandma) in Rock River, Clarendon or it can mean a weekend for two in a 5-star, all-inclusive resort in Ocho Rios.

Backto: Majesty Gardens, an economically deprived community near Three Miles in the parish of St. Andrew. In the song ‘Welcome to Jamrock’ Junior Gong states the glaringly obvious: “Sandals [Hotel] ah nuh Backto”. Thanks for the heads-up Gong.

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The Definitive Guide to Jamaican Table Manners

todays_menuAs any true gentleman/lady will tell you, good table manners are an essential part of fluid and enjoyable social interaction. What actually constitutes good table manners, however, will vary widely from place to place. In an effort to identify what is considered good dining etiquette in Jamaica, ThingsJamaicansLove.com recently conducted a month-long undercover study at dozens of Jamaican restaurants, eateries and cookshops. Having carefully analysed and collated the data collected we now present to you what we learnt about how one should conduct oneself when dining in Jamaica:

1. On entering the restaurant/cookshop loudly announce your presence by shouting “Serve here!”

2. Do not wait to be seated. Simply plop yourself down at the nearest available table.

3. Grill your waiter on the menu items and their accompaniments. E.g.“Is local goat or imported mutton? Mi only eat local rammy yuh know.”
“What yuh serve wid di tripe? Rice an peas? Plain rice? Food?
“ Is nuff food yuh get?”
“So I can get curry goat gravy wid di the fry chicken?”
“Is why yuh face screw up so? Yuh work inna restaurant, so mi know seh yuh nuh hungry.”

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Performance Enhancers for Women: An idea whose time has come?

cougar-lotion2In recent times thingsjamaicanslove.com has noticed an amazing rise in the number of health tonics/performance-enhancing drinks on the market. Traditional home-brewed potions like Roots, Irish Moss, Strong Back and Peanut Punch are quickly being replaced by modern mass-produced concoctions like Jagra, Power Wine, Mandingo and Magnum. But it appears that most of these products are made only for men. What about the women? Are we assuming (perhaps incorrectly) that women don’t occasionally need a little “extra help” in the boudoir?

Previously, when women complained about being “tired” and having “headaches” it was assumed (with a sigh of resignation) that they were simply making excuses because they were not “in the mood”. However, a recent study (commissioned by TJL, not yet released) shows that a staggering 71.37% of all women are frequently exhausted to the point where it significantly diminishes their libido! The percentage is even higher amongst single mothers and professional women. If this is the case, why aren’t there any performance enhancers for the Jamaican woman who needs a little “extra edge”?

Well, in the spirit of innovation and public service (for which thingsjamaicanslove.com is so well known), we’ve come up with some product ideas for performance enhancers specially designed for women that we think could fill this gap in the market. We’ve also provided some suggested taglines to help in the marketing effort:

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Bird Bush - Confessions of a Bush Widow

bangImagine it,groups of testosterone-pumping, shot-gun-toting, men; disappearing into the country side, weekends at a time; lost to the mosquito-infused, male-bonding ritual known as Bird Bush. My beloved husband, as it happens, is a member of one of these groups.

As a "transplant" who didn’t grow up in Jamaica but in England (the “Mother Country”), the ironic tradition of bird shooting is lost on me. Ironic because it’s a tradition courtesy of our colonial forefathers, a tradition whose Jamaican history stems back many centuries. In 1937, when Jamaica’s oldest gun club, PWD, was born, the tradition took on a mind all of its own. And now, this tradition has made its way into the heart of many Jamaican men, who wait in anticipation for the opening morning, and the start of another season.

Now, having recently witnessed the whole production myself (yes…I finally got the invite…woo hoo!), let me break it down for you:

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"Soon come" - What does it really mean?

I've noticed that there are certain phrases used by Jamaicans that are near-impossible to define with any precision. Such phrases are really only understood by Jamaicans who have had a lifetime of practical experience in their use.  “Soon come” is the perfect example. (The Trinidadian equivalent, by the way, is "Just now")  The phrase can be used in a variety of ways.  So, if the credit card company calls about an unpaid bill, your simply saying:  "Ah  soon come down dere wid the cheque.  I going to the bank right now" may give you another day or two to play with. (Depending on how often you've used "soon come" before, that is.)  If your irritated wife calls your cell phone at 1am while you're at the bar playing dominoes, a simple "Soon come baby. I jus’ about to give dem bwoy yah six-love" should give you at least another hour's grace. Why? Because, instead of giving a precise time you used the much more vague “soon come” which just means “I’ll be home long before you make a firm decision to divorce me”.  If, however, you had said “I will be home in twenty minutes” and then showed up an hour later you would certainly have been in serious trouble.

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All work and no play

There isn't a Jamaican alive who will refute the proverb "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy". In fact yardies have changed the saying to "Nuff play and little work makes Roy a happy boy".

Though Roy, a healthy Jamaican male, knows that he must go to work to pay either his JPS/Digicel/NWC or baby modda Sonia's hairdressing bills, the thought of work induces pain from his neck-back to his backside.  When Roy thinks of his job, he subconsciously recalls the plantation fields, and quite naturally aims to avoid working as much as possible.

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What the athletes at the World Championships were really thinking


It was certainly interesting to watch the interviews with the athletes at the recently–concluded World Championships. Live interviews give you a reasonable opportunity to get to know the person better. But one sometimes suspects that the athletes are being politically correct or are “sticking to the script” in their responses.  What if we could actually get into the heads of these elite athletes and hear their thoughts before and after a race?  Wouldn’t that be interesting?  As it turns out thingsjamaicanslove.com has obtained access to top-secret software that lets you do just that. (Don’t ask how. We know people that know people…) So, here are some of the things the athletes at the World Championships in Berlin were thinking:

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How to spot a Jamaican


It seems clear to me that Jamaicans are such a distinctive breed that one should be able to spot them anywhere.  Though we may resemble other persons of African descent, Jamaicans (Jamaicanus Cantankerous is the Latin name for the species) are easy to pick out if you know what to look for. But if you have a particular interest in Jamaicans and are finding it difficult to spot them outside of their “natural habitat” (Jamaica) here are a few pointers for spotting Jamaicans in the “wild”.

The first thing to do is to look for the obvious clues.  If you’re on a New York subway going out for a late-evening drink, it should be obvious that the Jamaican in the crowd is the young lady with the low cut blouse who has covered her entire chest, from cleavage to neck, with baby powder.

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The thingsjamaicanslove.com Guide to Human Anatomy

Jamaicans, being truly original people, will always find their own ways of doing things. This even includes finding new ways to describe body parts.  We’re sure that many a young doctor, fresh from medical school and spending their first few days at Kingston Public Hospital, has been puzzled by the names used by ordinary Jamaicans to describe their “bits and pieces”. So, in the spirit of public service (for which thingsjamaicanslove.com is so well-known), we now present our guide to human anatomy – Jamaican style.

(We apologise if persons find any of the references included herein to be vulgar.  Alas, the language of the Jamaican man-in-the-street is not always known for its subtlety. We’ve also included, in italics, medical terms for the relevant body part where that term is different from the ordinary English reference)

Aise: Ears. What your man used to fill with sweet lyrics when he was still courting you.

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Everton, Glenroy, Mavis... Certain names are found only in Jamaica

This one should be pretty obvious.  Have you ever met anyone other than a Jamaican whose name is Linval? No, of course you haven’t. For whatever reason, there are just some names which seem to be exclusively used by Jamaicans. In a way they are almost “indigenous” to Jamaica. So I’m not saying there isn’t some guy named Everton in China (Everton Chin-Fatt maybe?) but I guarantee you, Everton’s dad is originally from Jamaica.  And I’m not saying there isn’t some guy named Glenroy in Saudia Arabia (Glenroy bin Laden?) but I promise you his mom’s name is Marva and she originally hails from Clarendon. 

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What it means to be a Jamaican man - Part Second

Yes man, there’s more… As I explained in Part 1 of this article, being a Jamaican man is not an easy road. In that piece, I listed a few of the numerous and difficult requirements of Jamaican manhood, but there are still further aspects of Jamaican masculinity that must be mastered. If you think you’re man enough to handle it, here are a few more…

You must choose your hobbies carefully. Manly Jamaican men love manly Jamaican hobbies. We believe our spare time should only be spent in vigorous, testosterone-driven activities. Now, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy your hobbies, but a critical element in your choice of hobby is that it should demonstrate how capable and macho you are. Hunting, shooting and racing are therefore excellent choices, as are yachting and horse racing. Deep sea fishing, golf, and polo will also do nicely. Chess, backgammon and yoga, however, do not qualify.

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