Money Talks

Hello wonderful people. I really do hope you are doing okay, considering… In the last few months more people have been talking about the economy as if it is a living breathing malnourished ch…

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Money Talks

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Hello wonderful people.

I really do hope you are doing okay, considering… In the last few months more people have been talking about the economy as if it is a living breathing malnourished child whose wellbeing is our collecting concern. We don’t all know exactly what is wrong, but we must sha insert it into every conversation,  even if that conversation is with a total stranger. I especially avoid those ones; with the total strangers, I mean. You could be sitting in a taxi or standing in a queue and some very random guy will tap you on the shoulder and start off a conversation you are not even prepared for.

How do you see the state of the economy, he will shoot off as if you had just gotten to his house for brunch.

Oh and, trust Nigerians. Just as we don’t need your permission to start a conversation with you, throwing a question like that into the air is too tempting. Someone in that cab or on that queue will jump in the air and grab it before it ‘falls to the ground void.’  Since the election, the narrative has transformed considerably. More people are urging the government to feed this malnourished economy so that it can stand on its own.

Ah ahn! These people are just pursuing looted funds instead of taking care of the economy *remember to imagine a malnourished child*

Well, my father has always advocated farming as our way out of this jam so it looks like that’s what I will be telling my children. I might even take it further. One of them might be guided into farming. If a man has what to eat and some spare change on the side, he won’t have to worry much about the economy abi?

Anyway, back to those uncomfortable conversations. I have devised a few techniques to avoid them because quite frankly, I cannot come and go and kill myself.

  1. Wear earphones always. It doesn’t matter if they work or not, just wear them. I think that is the universal symbol of ‘leave me alone.’
  2. If you have no earphones, look intently into your phone while texting away. Try to come across as a doctor who is trying to text instructions for a surgery to a remote village in northern Cross River State. I really hope the mother and child make it.
  3. If your phone battery is too low for the trick above, then act like you don’t speak English, don’t speak at all or can’t hear.
  4. Considering that these people can smell your fear, know your weakness and will go on whether you join the conversation or not…join in just for fun…and let them do all the talking. It won’t kill you to talk about the economy.

I should probably say that talking is not enough. Grow that idea for a cheaper alternative. Feed your passion for self-sustenance. Don’t forget to take up farming to grow your own tomatoes.

Morning Runs

Running

Running

Everyone knows a go-getter. They are those people who shoot you an idea in the morning and while you are still trying to consider if it’s a good idea or not, you see them in the afternoon already doing what they said. These people are very enthusiastic about things, maybe a tad too enthusiastic. Bukky is like that.

You see, some weeks ago she mentioned that she wanted to start morning runs (apparently, keeping fit is important to her), and I retorted that I am seriously considering doing that too. I use that line a lot. I have been using it for 3 or so years. Unfortunately for me, Bukky is a go-getter. A couple of weeks after the discussion, she had already purchased running shoes and other gear. I was still seriously considering the issue.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not a slacker or anything like that. I actually enjoy exercising and all that, but years of a regular job have pushed all that to the back seat…actually, the boot. See what I did there? I blamed my job. Don’t judge me. For those who don’t get it, my job is a good source of excuses, and I like it.
Ememesi, we didn’t see you at the book launch. Ah, you know how it is. Working always. How was it?
Mesi, we have this meeting for…. Oh I wish I could make it. I’ll be at work.
Mesi so you can’t call me back after all this time? My dear, it’s work o.

You’d think that trick would work with go-getters? You are wrong. I dropped by her place on Sunday and we were casually watching The Voice when she commented on the running thing. You see, she had already been running for a few days and I responded with ‘Really? You should call me the next time you are going.’
I really thought she would forget and do her own thing like most people. I was wrong, again. Two days later, I was still wallowing in the lingering throes of early morning sleep like a man on a diet who had convinced himself that he needed another wrap of akpu. You know that kind of sleep where you are trying hard to push away every sound that’s trying to wake you up. I was doing quite well till someone started banging on my gate.
I stumbled out of bed and heard Bukkie’s voice.
Ogbeni!

The next few minutes were a blur, really. I opened door and gate and she got busy opening windows and blinds and talking me awake. I threw on some cargo shorts and a shirt and before I could say Usain Bolt, we were out the door and on our way.

I did a little stretching when we got to Jabi Lake, then off we went. You think exercising is easy. Wait till you do a few laps around that Jabi Lake place. Then follow it up with lap sprints for 20 minutes or so. Then sit ups. Finally, add some planking. Whoever started that planking business is not holy. I can tell you that. I was shaking like a kabu kabu whose driver was trying to push its 60 kmph speed limit.
It’s been two days since all that and I’m glad I went. I think I’ll pop by during the weekend and repeat it all, including the planking. I will plank on that park bench and shake in all my kabu kabu glory. All in all, I am grateful for having a go-getter around. If like me you have been planning to begin running or any kind of exercise, get a go-getter. They are great people.

Side note: if I ever declined a massage from you because I was too busy with work, I am sorry. I need that massage now…everything hurts.

Clique

I just discovered this post today and it stirred my love for poetry a bit. Beautiful poem, beautiful story.

DAMIWRITES

The end is closer than we think
It could all end faster than we can blink
Don’t be deceived by the devil’s wink
His seductive glance or methods so sleek

The earth we know is at its brink
Slippery slippery it’s almost an ice rink
Days are dark and nights dreary and bleak
Our futile efforts can’t fix this leak

Satan’s been there, done that – he is the father of tricks
Thinking you can party with him and still win, dude get out quick
God is not mean, He is not some sadistic freak
There’s a WAY of escape for the sick who will seek

Grace I tell you, grace more vast than the Pacific
The message of grace so true, it’s terrific
Works of the law are vain, they reek
Your righteousness is a rag – wow that’s tragic

Jesus SAVES… He is heaven’s PARAMEDIC
For Love

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My Chess Lessons…and What I Really Learned.

Just recently, I was reminded of the first time I came across chess. Uncle Charles patiently taught me the names of the different pieces and how they moved. It was fun, and I was exceptionally bad at it. I did improve after a while though and during that journey of self-redemption, I learned a few important lessons from the game and will like to share them with you. Oh and, there is no particular order to this: it’s a buffet kind of meal.

First off, learn to analyse the situation. This is more of a look before you leap thing. Any good chess player knows that there is often more than one move to make at any given point during the game. Considering that the game starts with 16 moving pieces per side, it takes great effort to plan every single move. However, it is necessary. You don’t win a chess game by moving a piece at random. Some of the best chess champions often have to think 4 or 5 moves ahead. Life also demands that. Before starting a business, taking a relationship to the next level, or changing jobs, think long and hard about it. I once heard Mike Murdock say that if you think twice about everything you did, you would probably be the smartest person in your family. Funny, but the truth is most people don’t consider their choices long enough.

Second lesson: the game of chess has six different kinds of pieces, and they all move differently. The key word here is different. If you want to get the best out of a pawn, you need to know how it moves. Same with a rook or a knight. I guess you have already seen where this train is headed. People are different. If you want to get the best out of people, learn what makes them tick, because we are all different. Shikena! Tom and Dick shouldn’t be treated like Harry and just because Juliet got your money and broke your heart doesn’t mean that all women want is your money. Learn to appreciate the different gifts of the people around you. That way, when you need a rook, you won’t summon a knight.

Next thing I learned, some you win, some you lose. You see, chess was designed in such a way that you had to lose some pieces. I am yet to see someone who won a game with all his pieces on the board. Sometimes, you have to give up a pawn or a bishop to defend your king. The queen is the most versatile piece on the board, but when it all comes down to the wire, even she can be sacrificed. The aim is to win the game, not to end with all your pieces. In the real world, you will also lose some folks. Some simmering relationships will someday wither and wilt. And then there are the ones you have to cut lose yourself. If you want to end well, you may have to send some folks packing. If you are familiar with the bible, this would be an Abraham and Lot situation.

chess

The last lesson I’ll share is probably the most profound for some people. Success isn’t achieved in one move. You need to do a series of things right. I don’t want to sound like a cliché, but not everything works in an instant. Some things take time. It amazes me how many people want it all so soon. Especially you people in my generation. The guys want to hammer the score of a lifetime within 3 years of leaving school; the ladies want a man that has 2 houses along with a yearly vacation to Dubai. Life is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Start somewhere, make the right moves and in good time you will get what you want. All this hustling mentality (sorry, Lagos people) is not helping our lives. There are too many young people with high blood pressure these days.
This does not however mean that you should pick a spot and wait for something to happen for you. Go out there and make a difference in the world. It may take a while but if you do it long enough, the fruits will come.

That’s it for my chess lessons. I had to keep a few tucked away *wink. Alright folks, thanks for stopping by. Go and play!

To Wear Or Not To Wear.

Everyone likes to look good, and most people reflect that in how much care they invest in choosing their clothes. Fashion being the slippery slope that it can sometimes be, has a twisted way of making things that were cool 15 months ago, totally uncool today. In the same way, what is acceptable at a dinner party may not be so acceptable in the office on Monday morning.

This post is not about trends or fads, you have The Style Network for that. I just want to establish a few things that are general rules of fashion-for the guys, and if you have more, you can add them in the comments section. Oh and ladies, feel free to share a few tips you think the brothers should adhere to, especially those ones who always insist on walking you to your car. Alrighty, leggo.

Number 1: Size does matter.
Whether you bought your shirt from some haute couture, high end boutique in Paris, who only cater to an exclusive clientele or you picked it from a duty free kiosk in Dubai; whether it’s Versace from Milan or Abasace from…wait for it…Aba, You don’t have to wear a shirt that is three sizes BIGGER just because it was expensive. Sometimes, you see some guys in a windy place and it looks like they are wearing a small parachute…not nice, bro. When you buy clothes, make them as close to your size as possible and if you have to buy something bigger, then employ the services of a good tailor to correct it.

Number 2: Rainbows and Zebras.
First off, when people say it’s a man’s world, they are most likely not talking about colour blocking. The ladies can get away with wearing colours that don’t match but guys aren’t that lucky. If you wear red pants and a yellow shirt, it probably won’t be your best look. Men look better in more coordinated colour schemes.
When it comes to patterns, less is more. Patterned pants are a no-no for the office or other corporate engagements. The patterns on your shirt must not be too bold, especially when you are wearing a tie on it. As a general rule, when wearing a patterned shirt, use a plain tie. It is a fashion faux pas when your tie and your shirt have two different and equally bold patterns. Kind of like pairing the Union Bank horse with First Bank’s elephant.

Number Three: Heels and Soles.
Men tend to have fewer shoes than women; all the more reason to take good care of the ones you’ve got. I often come across men who have invested time and money in every aspect of their fashion but ignore their shoes. Brothers, you can’t afford to do that. Clean and shine them as often as necessary. Dusty shoes don’t look good; only construction-site workers can get away with it.

It also helps to invest in a good pair of shoes; the kind you can wear to Aso Villa without wishing your trouser legs were longer. Then have another good pair for less flashy places. Avoid cheap shoes. There, I said it. You know, like the kind that you have to sew round. Or the ones that require a packet of nails and pins in different places. Or the kind that whenever the rainy season comes round, it squeaks Oga…oga, avoid water….avoid, abeg avoid water.
Don’t forget to air them outdoors every now and then, it helps to remove the dampness.

Number Four: Bits and Pieces.
Here, I’ll mention some of the smaller fashion blunder some guys still over look. Firstly, its wrong to wear your suit label on your sleeve. When I was younger, it was somehow cool to wear some exotic designer label on the sleeves of your suit, especially if it was Abasace. Well it’s not.

Secondly, if you are in a corporate environment, your shoes and belt should be of the same colour. Brown shoes with black belts or vice versa is not right.

Except you are a teenage wannabe rapper, please pull up your trousers. Sagging is still not as cool as some people make it seem. Keep your underwear under your clothes. Few things say ‘unserious’ as loudly as sagging trousers.

Endeavour to wear ironed clothes. Ironed clothes add class to your image. Spend some time ironing all your outdoor wear, but if you dislike ironing that much a trip to the laundryman will be money well spent.

Like I said, this article was just to introduce a few guidelines I try to follow and I hope it helped you. When it comes to fashion, what you wear is important. It is also important how you wear it. So go out there and change the world; and look good while you’re at it.
Oh and, don’t forget to add some comments if you have a few rules of your own.

Peace.

The Daughter That Wasn’t Mine.

Today, while attending to some issues on fashion, I was reminded of an episode that occurred a few months ago.
It was a Saturday afternoon with enough heat and sunlight to make a man lazy. I really wanted to stay indoors but I had to go see my tailor. Yours truly had just acquired a spanking new shirt that was somewhat flabby on the sides and needed to be cut to shape. So off to the tailor I went.

A few yards from the man’s shop, a little girl ran towards me and hugged me.
“Uncle has coooome,” she shrilled with her tiny voice.
That’s probably not a reason to worry, except, I didn’t know this girl. I did a quick scan of my recent memory and tried to locate even a fragment of recognition but nothing came up. Oh well, I shrugged it off. She was probably a kid that had seen me there before.

Her mother was sitting nearby, looking at me with disapproving eyes. So I did another quick scan, this time, of the surrounding shops and their customers. Nothing. No one was paying attention to this awkward situation of mine.
After nudging her off my slacks, I ducked into the tailor’s shop to go about my business. The next few minutes were spent cajoling the tailor to accept a fair price and with that done, I step out of the stifling shop into the warm sunlight.

“Uncle, my name is Nneka!”
This kid was determined. I could tell by the way she was yelling and of course, by her vice-like grip on my slacks…again. I frankly don’t remember exactly what her name was, but it was some Igbo name.
I chuckled silently and started a conversation with her, like every reasonable ‘Uncle’ would do. Maybe we could settle this like grownups.
“How are you, Nneka. That is such a nice name. What are you doing here?”
“We came to make our hair.”
She went ahead to introduce me to her younger sister who was crying under the torturous hands of the woman weaving her hair.
“Uncle, I am 5 years old and Chinwe is 2 years old.”
“She is still a baby that is why she is crying.”

I placated Chinwe and she stopped crying. She probably understood that the heat and her volume didn’t go well together. There is nothing like a reasonable 2-year-old.
“Uncle I am not a baby, I did not cry like Chinwe.”
In a couple of minutes, Nneka had told me of her address, her school’s name and her class. I replied with nods, oohs and aahs, and a rising laughter in my mind. This kid was really something.
“It was nice to meet you dear, but I really have to go now. Take care of Chinwe o, so that she won’t cry again, eh?”
“Daddy don’t gooooo!”

Wait, WHAT?!

“What did you…call me,” I stuttered.
“Daddy please now, please don’t go. Daddy pleeeeease.”
Are you kidding me right now? Daddy ke? Who is your Daddy? See this girl o.
Needless to say, I frantically looked around. This was beginning to look like a setup. Who on earth was trying to pin this kid on me? Was this some kind of Candid Camera moment? I half expected Ashton Kutcher to jump out and tell me I was getting punked.

By now, her pleas had risen by a few decibels and she was hugging my left leg. What had started as nervous chortles for me was now uncontrollable laughter.

Please Ashton Kutcher, come out and say something!
It took me a few minutes to convince her that Mommy was coming to pick them up later on. Mommy would come after Chinwe’s hair was done, but I had to go and do something else. She must have seen reason in what I said because she gently let go of me and waved a remorseful goodbye.

I was still laughing on my way home.

I haven’t seen her since then and I still don’t know her name but I’m glad I met that kid. These days, when I think of tailors and shirts, I remember that hot afternoon and the daughter that wasn’t mine.

Of Eating, and Growing.

 

 

Sitting alone in front of my laptop this evening, I was reminded of some salient truth I learnt some years ago.

You see, it was in a time when dragons still lived on the earth it was a few years ago when we had just gotten a new puppy. He was a grey Russian Shepherd with cropped ears.  At the risk of sounding mushy, I’d say he was cute and cuddly and everything a puppy is meant to be.

Since I was going to be around most of the time, I became his daddy (yes, I have been practising). Anyway, tonight’s lesson comes from an episode at the vet’s. I had taken the dog for some shots and was looking at some of the other dogs that had come in for attention too. There was this giant Russian Shepherd there and I got into a conversation with his owner.

“How old is your dog,” he asked.

“Oh, just three months,” I replied; “and yours?”

“Well, he will soon be two years old.”

“Woah! Just two? And he’s already so big!”

“Yes, they can grow really big. If you want them to grow, you have to feed them.”

And therein, lies the crux if the matter.

It doesn’t matter whether it is a puppy or an idea; a feeling, affection, or your mind. The same rule applies to everything. If you want it to grow, you have to feed it.

It is important that we feed your body, soul and spirit if we want to be healthy. Nothing grows without being fed. It is more or less a universal law.

Also, it is important to feed it the right food. No one successfully becomes a physician by studying engineering texts. You see, one must begin with the end in mind. If you desire a certain outcome, then your diet must reflect it. Keeping to a particular diet is not easy. Probably expensive too, if there is a Russian Shepherd involved. Conversely, stunted growth is not exactly fun either.  Malnutrition will cause sickness and an inability to withstand pressure of any kind.

So today, I ask you a simple question: what would you like to grow? A long conceived business idea, your self-esteem or your relationship with God. Whatever it is, you must start feeding it. Growth may not be drastic and immediate, and it may take a while to get the desired results. However, with the right diet, you will get there.

That’s it, folks. Until I decide to write about some other random thing, happy feeding. 

My Easter Story 3

Hello everyone. This is the final episode of my Easter story. Thank you for all the encouragement from everyone who followed the series. I hope you find your own meaning in the words. Happy Easter folks!
***
Full scale pandemonium had broken out. All the princes of darkness unfortunate enough to be on duty scurried to safety while urging their minions into harm’s way. How do you fight an enemy you can’t get close to? It seemed as if He was moving things and beings out His way by sheer thought.
Truth is, that’s what He was doing. The very light of his countenance disarmed the personal guard of the devil himself. A lowly deceiving being watched from a crevice as Rulers of Darkness bowed and lay flat before the prisoner.
***
Sensing the rumbling at the earth’s core, the man in the olive grove rose to his feet and half ran, half flew to the stone tomb. The regiment of demons guarding the grave had swelled into a multitude of warriors on this Resurrection morning. They too, had felt the rumbling for they were all uneasy. Gnarls and frantic hisses seemed to come from every one of the taloned beasts. Swords sliced carelessly in the air as two mighty angels descended on the tomb. The legion of Roman soldiers charged with guarding the tomb had become restless too. To them, something was happening around them, and it didn’t help that they couldn’t see or hear any of it.
***
On the altar of records, the Lamb burned with the fire of his eyes, every ordinance that worked against the saints. He regained the keys of death and Hades. The higher echelons of the Council of Darkness had abandoned the fight and were fleeing to earth. The devils’ quick flight was closely followed by the victorious Lamb. One thing still remained.
***
The scene at the tomb is thick with anxiety. Maton and Syracuse had rolled away the stone at the entrance of the tomb and stood where it once was. The Spirit of Elohim hung in the very air and filled the edgy demons with dread. Suddenly bursting through the tomb’s roof, Satan and his Council are shocked by what they see. He halts in his tracks and tries to weave a quick escape from Elohim. His efforts are futile and he falls limply to the ground, held in place by an Archangel.
The light of a thousand suns fills the small enclosure as the hill quakes in the presence of the Risen Lord. He walks to the door of the tomb; His head and his hairs as white as snow; and his eyes as a flame of fire.
Every demon in sight lay prostrate unable to take in the Glory that had been revealed in this quiet Jewish countryside, the Roman soldiers too. Reluctantly, the devil hands him the Right of Adam.
It is a public show. The devil has lost his power.
***
I rolled over in bed and stretched, all the while, smiling to myself. I’m really grateful that Easter happened: the Cross, the grave, and the Resurrection.

My Easter Story 2

In the late hours of the Passover evening, the sun cast its orange glow on this olive grove just outside the city walls. A man sits listlessly on the rich black soil, drawing circles on the ground with the tip of his sword. He had been sent into this place a couple of days earlier to cover the Lamb in strength. One whose name is Strength was broken under the sins of Adam’s sons. Before then, Elohim had spoken of his plan: he would save mankind by first making his Son to taste death. He would die, and then live again! Only Yahweh could understand these things.
Today is the second day since he died. He is probably in need of some more strength at this very moment. He sighs in exasperation and looks across the valley in to the quiet city.
“If only they knew whom they had killed,” he mutters to no one in particular.
***
The chains rattle again. The sentries at the door had tired of their mirth and grew more frustrated with every rattle. Why couldn’t he just be still?
“Be quiet!” shouts the one closest to the prisoner’s cell. He doesn’t trust this prisoner at all. He had always found a way to outsmart them since the beginning. Besides, there is the matter of that prophesy. Three days!
Rattle.
No, he couldn’t possibly escape from this part of Hades. Not with all the extra sentries on guard today.
Rattle. Rattle.
He turned just in time to see the chains fall off the prisoner’s wrists. The gates begin to open on their own accord. The chains on his legs fall off too.
“No,” he squeals out loud; with no trace of authority in his voice. And thus began the Manifestation of the Son of God.
***
John 1v5: and the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.