Sunday, June 11, 2017

At the NYC Ballet and its Ancillary Show

WASHINGTON – Last night, I found myself stuck between a ballet historian and a Lady Dame at the John F. Kennedy Center’s New York City Ballet (NYCB). Works by choreographers George Balanchine and Alexei Ratmansky were presented in an amazing three-piece show, while I was an unwilling participant in a show of ballet knowledge. An old geezer to my left, fashioned himself a ballet historian with a barrage of unsolicited information and a remarkable display of namedropping. Lady Dame to my right, dared to compete with the ballet pundit, but conceded when she discovered her mere American ballet knowledge was no match for the internationally knowledgeable ballet enthusiast.

At the end of the first piece, the Square Dance, the dancers relished in the audience’s applause—a mark of their approval for the spectacular performance. Then, the curtains fell. I could not wait to see the second piece (Odessa, combined with Tarantella) after the 1st intermission, while the Balanchine historian, apparently could not wait to flex his verbal ballet muscles. “Have you seen Odessa?” he started. Lady Dame puffed an irritable sigh and shrugged her shoulders, bumping my right arm ever so lightly in disapproval of the foretelling ballet maestro. “I saw the original in… blah, blah, blah...” director’s and classical composer’s names an all, he bragged. Admittedly, I found his knowledge admirable, amidst my desire to escape his intrusive pomposity, but his ridiculing of the first piece fueled my desire.

Brilliant! Simply the way I would describe the second piece. The old geezer stated no qualms to my description. The third piece, Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes, followed the 2nd intermission, at which time, I was not having it. I pardoned myself and slipped pass the old geezer. I needed a breath of fresh air, as well as a strategy to ignore him upon my return.

My timing was impeccable when the lights began to flicker—a signal for the audience to return to their seats—just as I entered the hallway to the cavernous Opera House. The old geezer was still seated and peering through the pages in the program’s booklet.  Lady Dame was standing, as if to avoid conversation with the old geezer in my absence.

Bravo! The third piece ended, and the Curtain Call was much to my delight as it was to the dancers. My evening of the NYCB and its ancillary show had ended. Perhaps I will take along a Ratmansky maestro to battle future Balanchin-ists while I enjoy the artistic brilliance of choreographers George Balanchine and Alexei Ratmansky in peace.

By Denrique Preudhomme
Copyright© 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

iDeclare the Truth

I have sworn to do, and stood firmly on two things (amidst my Type A list of many things): 1) Vote for the pretentious and obnoxious Donald Trump, if he were the last man on earth, who, I strongly doubt would survive among women—given his obvious sexism; and, 2) purchase no other smartphone than a BlackBerry. But, when an unexpected paradigm shift threatened the latter, I was forced to consider an option as unimaginable as the former.

My prolonged relationship with Blackberry has parlayed from the BlackBerry 1700, introduced in 2003, to the BlackBerry Q10, released in 2013. Blackberry phones were designed to concentrate on wireless communication (email, mobile telephone and text messaging), which has satisfied my wireless consumerism for over 10 years. So, the iDea of their competitors capturing my iNterest with devices designed to offer an array of entertainment, while iNadvertently creating a host of petty crimes, was as iMpossible as my voting for Donald Trump. But, in August 2013, when BlackBerry announced its intention to sell the company due to increasingly unfavorable financial position and competition in the mobile industry, I feared the worst.

On June 29, 2007, when the first generation of iPhone, designed and marketed by Apple, Inc. (Apple), was launched, I was among the cautiously optimistic, waiting for all of the technological glitches to present themselves and the remedies and upgrades to prevail. But, when iPhone’s remedies and upgrades quickly spiraled into a massive fanfare with billions in revenue (resulting in sales of approximately 700 million iPhones to-date, according to Apple’s CEO Tim Cook at a conference on March 9, 2016), I refused to contribute to an Apple wireless device monopoly. In fact, I was adamant, because I needed to maintain my wireless device, preferred and self-described name, BlackBerry Chic.

In November 2013, despite previously announcing intentions to sell the company, BlackBerry’s interim CEO John S. Chen released an open message saying “We are committed to reclaiming our success,” and I was extremely pleased. However, due to the popularity of the iPhones and similar devices, wireless companies were forced to discontinue sales of BlackBerry devices, causing me to ultimately reconsider and shamefully purchase an iPhone.

Yes. This BlackBerry Chic is now an iPhone consumer. A broken AC power port on my 22-month old BlackBerry Q10, along with wireless companies such as Sprint®, discontinuing sales of BlackBerry devices, has [with the support of statistical data, being, 80% of BlackBerry users are now iPhone users] lead me to become a part of the Apple monopoly. Therefore, the purpose of my message is to out myself before the 80%ers, and the otherwise 2007 fan-craved iPhone users spot me with my new iPhone and label me as a two-faced, contradicting wireless phone user. Frankly… aren’t we all?

Copyright© 2016 Denrique Preudhomme. All Rights Reserved.
Note: Research and data obtained from various reputable news source.


Thursday, September 3, 2015

Along the Jack the Ripper Trails

An utter fascination of mine, the mid-19th century mystery of Jack the Ripper, an unidentified serial killer believed to have committed London's most notorious unsolved murders. Ripper was believed to have committed the grotesque murders of five prostitutes in the then impoverished area of Whitechapel located in East London. The neighborhood was crime-filled and heavily populated by eastern European Jewish refugees, as well as Irish immigrants. A pub laden Commercial Street was an invitation for sex-workers, believed to be the main thoroughfare the victims traveled before their savagery deaths – presumed to have been committed by Jack the Ripper, also coined "the Whitechapel Murderer."

I began my journey at the Whitechapel Underground (Tube) station, traveling east along Whitechapel Road, a community densely populated by middle-eastern and muslin settlers with a host of landmarks, which includes the Royal London Hospital, East London Mosque and the London Ambassador College. An unassuming gentleman directed me to the heart of the Whitechapel murders, the epicenter of its history, a pub called the Ten Bells. A friendly bartender freely provided information on the murders, highlighting the connection between the Ten Bells and the notorious killings. I enjoyed a glass of white wine while I documented details.

Annie Chapman and Mary Jane Kelly, both Ripper's victims were said to have frequented the Ten Bells. It is believed to be the last place they were both seen before their gruesome deaths. A couple of murals depicting the mid-19th century eccentric dressed prostitutes draped the walls of the Ten Bells, a distinctive attraction for numerous curious onlookers who dipped in and out of the pub to take photos and selfies for memorabilia.

Later, I roamed the alleys where the canonical five were found dead. The experience was still quite daunting even after two centuries. Unburdened by my 3.2 pound camera hanging from my neck and my aching feet, I journeyed along my self-guided trails aided by a detailed map.

There are several Jack the Ripper nightly tours in Whitechapel for as little as £10. Most originate from the Aldgate and Liverpool Street Underground (Tube) station. However, there is a Free tour (donations only) at 8pm from the Tower Hill Underground (Tube) station. Just look for the tour guide with the orange umbrella when you exit the station. All tours take you to the murder locations of the canonical five, including the site where the first clue was discovered.

There are a number of fascinating things to see and do in London. If the Whitechapel murders happen to be one you fancy, an exhibit titled, Jack the Ripper and the East End will be on display at the Museum of London this Fall. Perhaps I may journey back to London for its historic unveiling. Until then...Cheers.

Copyright © 2015 Denrique Preudhomme. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Tactless Beggar

Riding a subway train early one morning when a drunken dude entered, "Hi everyone, I got hit by a drunk illegal immigrate who left me damaged, then, he left the country, go figure, so I’m asking for your contributions however small," he announced rapidly.

I wondered whether he was a tactless Republican running for office, in which case, he had a much better pitch than Donald Trump. 

A commiserating chap offered the imbecile some change, while I wondered whether to offer him a piece of my mind. I opted to allow his ignorance to precede him, and his bigotry to become a realization for his circumstances. 

I contend that his phantom "illegal immigrate" is in mighty better shape than he; though his ignorance allowed him to assume superiority, based on differences. 

Go with God, Mr. Speaker, and do not let those train doors hit you, as I am certain Metro does not give a rat's behind about you or your fictitious tale.

Copyright© 2015 Denrique Preudhomme. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

He, Undocumented and Deceased

WASHINGTON, DC -- Preaching, pacing, praying for recognition in a city where power or politics dictates a man’s existent. Alienated and undocumented without concern, unwanted and unmasked, yet unashamed. The irony, the U.S. Government seems to not care about "undocumented aliens" unless they are from foreign territories.

He braved his circumstances a little beyond three decades it would seem, but, the brutal winter – a winter of despair – masked his icy body and covered him with a blanket of death.

I did not know his name, or from whence he came. What I know is that he exuded a level of pride amidst his poverty, as he stood homeless below the NoMa metro train tracks.

Respectfully he preached, and often he waited in silence. Humbly, he accepted my support. I was unencumbered by his infrequent rants, but moved by his respect and lack of provocation. Now, I am extremely saddened by his death.

Copyright © 2015 Denrique Preudhomme. All Rights Reserved.

RIP. In memory of… Mr. He

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Holiday Image

Chivalry was at its best this morning when this teenaged looking young man tapped my handbag as I stood on the train. "Miss, would you like this seat?" he offered kindly, and I, extremely moved by his charm and gentle look—a look that contrasted his trendy urban attire and rugged exterior—obliged. It was distinctively the moment I felt the holiday spirit, despite the streaming sound of Josh Groban coming from my ipod. I marveled at the youngster's coy look each time we made eye contact, as he stood in his bad-boy apparel.

Perhaps, this youngster came from a stellar upbringing, a soldier of influence marching amidst his clique, a heart of compassion rebellious among his flock, an unassuming gentleman confused by his existence, an unmistakable messenger, a son, a brother, a human being who I might have inaccurately judged had he not offered me his seat.

Later, just before he departed the train, he flashed an impish smile and I returned a warm one.

How will you be judged this holiday season? For who you are? Or for who you are pretending to be?

Copyright 2014© Denrique Preudhomme. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Parking Ticket Blues

In a recent survey I conducted, I asked 100 people (50 men and 50 women) the following two questions:
Question 1) If a friend offers to give you a lift to and from an event and after the event discovers that he/she (the driver) received a parking ticket, would you:
(a)    Sympathize with your friend and offer to pay half of the ticket?
(b)    Sympathize with your friend and offer to pay all of the ticket?
(c)    Sympathize with your friend and not offer to pay any of the ticket?

Question 2) If you were the driver of the vehicle and the passenger (a friend) offers to pay half or all of the parking ticket, would you:
(a)    Thank him/her and accept the offer for half of the ticket?
(b)    Thank him/her and accept the offer for all of the ticket?
(c)    Thank him/her and decline the entire offer?

Here are my findings:
Question 1
60% of women vs. 46% of men said if they were a passenger and their friend (the driver) got a parking ticket they would offer to pay half of the ticket.

37% of men vs. 20% of women said they would offer to pay the full ticket.

20% of women felt, while they would sympathize with their friend over a parking ticket, they would not offer to pay any of the expense. 17% of men felt the same with one male citing that he would not sympathize with negligence, as it is a driver’s responsibility to be cognizant of parking rules and regulations.
A greater 54% of both men and women said they would offer to pay half of the ticket, 28% said they would offer to pay the full ticket, and 18% said they would not offer to pay any of the ticket.

Question 2
23% of men vs. 17% of women said if they were the driver of a vehicle who received a parking ticket after an event in which they offered to take a friend, they would accept their friend’s offer to pay half of the ticket (most men stated, only if the friend were male. If female, they would not accept any offer).

10% of women vs. 7% of men said they would accept an offer for the full cost of the ticket, while 73% of women vs. 70% of men said they would decline all offers.
An overwhelming 72% of both men and women said they would decline any offer to defray the cost of a parking ticket, 8% said they would accept a full offer, and 12% said they would accept an offer for only half of the ticket.  

Most Popular Combined Answers
35% of both men and women who said they would offer to pay half of the parking ticket, also said they would decline any offer made. 18% of both men and women who said they would not offer to pay any of the parking ticket, also said they would not accept any money offered. 17% of both men and women who said they would offer to pay the full cost of the parking ticket, also said they would not accept any money offered. 30% felt otherwise.

General Responses
Although explanations for answers were not required, most people cited that it is the driver’s responsibility to ensure that he/she parks according to parking rules and regulations; therefore, no one should have to contribute to his/her own negligence. However, others believed that in keeping with general etiquette, it is polite to sympathize and offer to pay for some or all of the parking ticket. In the same token—in keeping with general etiquette—most believed that while an offer would be a courteous gesture, they would not accept a single dollar for their own negligence. One male pointed out that due to his cultural norms and practice, his response could only be two things Q1. offer to pay the entire ticket, and Q2. decline the entire offer.

I purposely refrained from rendering any of my opinions in this statistical report, simply because I would rather leave the floor open to hear yours. Please feel free to share your thoughts/comments on my findings.

Thanks to those of you who participated in the survey!
Copyright © 2013 Denrique Preudhomme. All Rights Reserved.