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Jasmina Amena: The Brave Little Catcher In The Rye Succumbs

Jasmina With Rihanna

Jasmina With Rihanna


Today I learned of the death of J.D Salinger and Jasmina Amena. Salinger died of natural causes at the ripe old age of 91.

As I reflected on one I could not help but think of the other.

I dare say that most of the Febone1960.net Blog readers have read Salinger’s Catcher In The Rye. I know I read it in Junior High School at a time when it was thought to be improper reading for adolescents.

As I recall, the book’s lead character imagined himself as the sole guardian of numerous children running and playing in a huge rye field on the edge of a cliff. The character’s job was to catch the children if they wandered close to the brink, thus he was a “catcher in the rye”.

Jasmina Amena, a brave six-year-old from Greenwich Village whose fight against leukemia inspired support from thousands of people including myself and the President, died Wednesday night. See A Transplant For Jasmina

She was reportedly admitted to the hospital Monday and diagnosed with pneumonia of her lungs. Her condition rapidly deteriorated after that.

After being diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia last January, she inspired 7,000 volunteers to be tested during several bone marrow drives. She also received support from celebrities including Rihanna, Kelly Rowlands and NBA star Paul Pierce.

On my first thought, I wondered had we all been a catcher in the rye in an effort to keep her from falling off the cliff and if so had we failed at our mission?

You see in May, Jasmina found a near-perfect transplant and a biopsy in September revealed that her cancer had returned. By that point, Jasmina was also suffering from common complication in bone-marrow transplants in which the new cells attack the recipient’s body.

Jasmina With President Obama

Jasmina With President Obama

Though her health was failing, she continued to receive well-wishes from thousands, including President Barack Obama, who called her in November.

“The President was nothing but nice and extremely compassionate,” Thea Amena, Jasmine’s mother told The Daily News at the time. “He said he was glad to hear that she’s doing better.

In December, she met the President, a meeting arranged through the Make A Wish Foundation.

Further reflections made me remember that the character’s former high school English teacher told him that it is the stronger man who lives humbly, rather than dies nobly, for a cause. This destroys his notion of becoming a “catcher in the rye,” a godlike figure who symbolically saves children from “falling off a crazy cliff” and being exposed to the evils of adulthood.

We had not failed after all. Jasmina knew nothing but love from all of us who unselfishly reached out to her in her time of need.

If anything, maybe our little Jasmina was the catcher in the rye; her bravery being a reminder to all of us adults not to go off the deep end when we are exposed to the evils of adulthood. Who knows, maybe she was a source of strength for Rihanna.

Goodnight brave little catcher in the rye and may you Rest In Peace.

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    Posted 4 years, 7 months ago at 10:23 pm. Add a comment

    Pendergrass’ Funeral Program Puntuates The Final Goodbye To The R&B Legend

    Read
    Click To View Teddy Pendergrass Funeral Program

    Click To View Teddy Pendergrass Funeral Program

    A private family funeral for legendary R&B singer-songwriter Teddy Pendergrass was held Saturday morning with a public funeral immediately following.

    Soul singer Teddy Pendergrass’ funeral was the kind of soaring ceremony that punctuates the end of a larger-than-large life.

    A 200-member gospel choir jubilated with high-decibel exultation while a band and a sternum-vibrating organ roused the estimated 4,000 people who filled mammoth Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church on Cheltenham Avenue, the biggest African American church in Philadelphia.

    In turn, singers Melba Moore, Tyrese Gibson, Bunny Sigler, Gerald Austin, Lyfe Jennings, and Musiq performed songs by Pendergrass, a brawny, seductive baritone who leavened an incandescent sexuality with just enough sensitivity to stir arenas full of women and heat in any room where his music played.

    “He sounded like hot fudge on cherry vanilla ice cream with all the toppings,” remembered friend and neighbor Dyana Williams, a personality on WRNB-FM (107.9), in an interview last week. “He was delicious, an auditory and visual pleasure – the love man.”

    Pendergrass, 59, raised in North Philadelphia and a member of Enon, died Jan. 13 of a protracted illness that followed a diagnosis of colon cancer last year.

    Since a 1982 car accident on Lincoln Drive paralyzed him from the waist down, he had to use a wheelchair. But that restraint, preached Enon’s senior pastor, the Rev. Alyn E. Waller, could not encumber Pendergrass’ spirit and life force.

    “He kept on loving and smiling,” Waller enthused during a kinetic eulogy that had him jumping, gesturing, and singing. He added with relish that at one time, Pendergrass himself was a minister.

    Pendergrass is known for, among many other songs, “The Love I Lost,” “Bad Luck,” and “If You Don’t Know Me by Now,” all hits performed with Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes.

    Pendergrass started as a drummer with that ensemble before discarding his drumsticks and stepping out front with a microphone.

    Before yesterday’s ceremony, as his body lay in repose, Pendergrass’ fortified music pulsed through the red-carpeted sanctuary, a familiar voice greeting mourners who dabbed their eyes with clumps of tissues dispensed by white-gloved ushers.

    Giant screens flashed photos of the singer, who was a star of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff’s world-famous Philadelphia International Records.

    Gamble and Huff attended, as did former heavyweight champion Joe Frazier, former Phillies centerfielder Garry Maddox, actor Ben Vereen, and singer Stephanie Mills (who recorded 1980′s “Feel the Fire” with Pendergrass).

    Photo after photo depicted Pendergrass’ carefully crafted macho image – riding a horse, wearing cowboy hats, lying seductively on his side.

    “He was the first to show it’s good to be sexy and black,” said McKinley Horton, a piano player with Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes who sat in the audience. “He presented a certain kind of black manhood, with his dark beard and his big smile, that helped send out a strong R&B message.”

    Horton said men had envied Pendergrass, whom Melvin called “Rug” because of his thick hair.

    During the ceremony, Pendergrass’ manager, Daniel Markus, said his client “rode Gamble and Huff songs like Ben-Hur at Circus Maximus.” The image of a powerful man in full command of the muscular cadences of the distinctive Philly International sound drew smiles from the audience.

    WRNB’s Williams and Bill Jolly, Pendergrass’ music director, choked up as they spoke. Jolly had a hard time introducing a song that he and the band he led were going to do. It was one of the last that Pendergrass wrote, “I Am Who I Am.”

    “Please pray for us as we attempt to perform this,” he said shakily.

    In her talk, Williams said she and Pendergrass had been neighbors. Earlier in the week, she offered an amusingly mundane view of Pendergrass, who lived near her in Penn Valley.

    Apparently along with the power to smolder and sell records, Pendergrass also knew a great deal about snow removal.

    “He’d give me advice on which company to call to clear snow, and he helped me with ideas for landscaping,” Williams said, laughing.

    Saturday’s ceremony included statements from Pendergrass’ relatives, read by others.

    His mother, Ida, who sat in a white dress near the coffin, was quoted as saying Pendergrass was a “miracle” and “the joy of my life,” born to her after six miscarriages.

    Seated nearby was Pendergrass’ wife, Joan, described by Williams as an executive at the New Balance apparel and shoe company in Boston.

    In her statement, she exhorted her husband to “sleep tenderly.”

    Also on hand was U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah (D., Pa.), who said he brought condolences from the Obamas.

    After the funeral, mourners spoke with admiration of Pendergrass, whom they lauded as a fellow Philadelphian whose music enriched their lives.

    Along with the sensual soundtrack Pendergrass’ music provided, his choice to remain here allowed people to connect with him.

    “It’s important as a citizen of Philadelphia I come here to support my own,” said Kelly Morris, 47, a SEPTA train operator from West Philadelphia.

    “It’s right to be here today. A big part of my appreciation is that Teddy stayed in town, didn’t go out to the West Coast.”

    “Oh, he didn’t go Hollywood,” agreed Dave Thompson, 64, a Blackwood record producer who worked with Pendergrass. “He loved this town.”

    You can view Teddy Pendergrass’ funeral program by clicking the photo above or clicking the E Book pdf above the photo.

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      Posted 4 years, 7 months ago at 9:24 am. Add a comment

      Tyrese Gibson Pays Tribute To The Late Great Teddy Pendergrass On Lopez Tonight

      Teddy Pendergrass with wife Joan and Tyrese Gibson

      Teddy Pendergrass with wife Joan and Tyrese Gibson

      Tyrese Gibson made a stop at Lopez Tonight to promote his latest film entitled Legion which is due out tomorrow in theaters.

      The subject of Teddy Pendergrass arose during the conversation. Apparently Gibson and Pendergrass had become friends, while Gibson was doing research for a film on the life of Teddy Pendergrass. Gibson not only visited Pendergrass in Philadelphia, but also attended Pendergrass’ wedding to Joan. The three are pictured together on the left.

      The film according to Tyrese is still in the production stage.

      Gibson surprised Lopez and the Lopez tonight audience with a Pendergrass tune. You can see and hear the interview and song by clicking the video above.

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        Posted 4 years, 7 months ago at 7:49 am. Add a comment

        John Edwards: I Am Quinn’s Father

        Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

        John Edwards, the Democratic candidate for vice president in 2004 whose bid for the 2008 presidential nomination was cut short by an admitted sexual affair with a campaign videographer, admitted today that he was the father of the woman’s 2-year-old girl.

        No Schickady! Everyone knew this including his wife, Elizabeth who insisted in her interview with Oprah Winfrey , that he did not know because the child did not look like any of her other children. It is reported that the two are now separated.

        Edwards who has purchased a home for Hunter and baby Quinn in Charlotte, NC spends most of his time at his beach home. It is also reported that Edwards has been spending quality time with little Frances Quinn

        “I am Quinn’s father,” Edwards said in a statement to NBC News released this morning. “I will do everything in my power to provide her with the love and support she deserves.”

        Edwards’ who is under federal investigation as to whether his political action committee made improper payments to his mistress Rielle Hunter, the mother of little Quinn, did not make the admission in person. Instead, Harrison Hickman, an Edwards associate, spoke about the relationship during an interview aired this morning on NBC’s “Today.”

        “The senator wants to say first of all that he is the father of Quinn,” Hickman said. “Secondly, he wants people to know that he has provided for her and will continue to provide for her, as he should, both financially and emotionally.”

        This admission comes on the eve of an ABC “20/20″ program on Friday in which the man who had claimed to be Quinn’s father, former Edwards aide Andrew Young, is to speak about his book, “The Politician,” expected to reveal more details.

        Edwards, a former senator from North Carolina, admitted to an affair with videographer Rielle Hunter, 42, in between the 2004 and 2008 election cycles after tabloids uncovered their relationship. Hunter later give birth to Frances Quinn.

        “I have been able to spend time with her during the past year and trust that future efforts to show her the love and affection she deserves can be done privately and in peace,” Edwards said of the child in his statement today.

        “It was wrong for me ever to deny she was my daughter and hopefully one day, when she understands, she will forgive me,” his statement said. “To all those I have disappointed and hurt, these words will never be enough, but I am truly sorry.”

        Also see http://febone1960.net/febone_blog/?p=1521 and http://febone1960.net/febone_blog/?p=1505http://febone1960.net/febone_blog/?p=1505

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          Posted 4 years, 7 months ago at 7:10 am. Add a comment

          Did The Smoking Gun Go Far Enough Before Issuing It’s Story On Yele Haiti?

          Above Wyclef Jean and The President of Yele explains the issues brought up by The Smoking Gun. It appears that Yele is in a partnership with Wyclef Jean, and it is not Jean’s foundation.

          Now instead of Jean moving dead bodies of his fellow countrymen clearing a path for the distribution of food and water and medical supplies, he was in New York to address something that may have been cleared up by a telephone call.

          The media is suppose to keep the public aware of the good the bad and the ugly, but they must do so without malice.

          In a legal sense, “actual malice” has nothing to do with ill will or disliking someone and wishing them harm. Rather, the courts have defined “actual malice” in the defamation context as publishing a statement while either knowing that it is false; or acting with reckless disregard for the statement’s truth or falsity.

          It should be noted that the actual malice standard focuses on the defendant’s actual state of mind at the time of publication.

          The actual malice standard is not measured by what a reasonable person would have published or investigated prior to publication.

          Instead, it must be shown by clear and convincing evidence that the publisher actually knew the information was false or entertained serious doubts as to the truth of his publication. In making this determination, a court will look for evidence of the publisher’s state of mind at the time of publication and will likely examine the steps the publisher took in researching, editing, and fact checking the work. It is generally not sufficient, to merely show that the publisher didn’t like the subject of any alleged defamation, failed to contact the individual for comment, knew that the subject had denied the information, relied on a single biased source, or failed to correct the statement after publication.

          Although under this standard the Smoking Gun is without malice, it immorally placed a pause on a life saving mission for it’s failure to consider the circumstances in it’s totality. It reported in such a way to infer guilt. In this country we are told that we are presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of law. We don’t seem to hold to that principle, especially when something negative has been reported in the press.

          Appropriately named, the smoking gun is just that, a smoking gun. It does not take in account whether there exist a plausible reason such as self defense. Therefore we as readers must be careful in concluding that a homicide has occurred just because there is a smoking gun reported by a media source. We must take all the circumstances in it’s totality. The next question is how do we learn about the other factors if the press does not inform us. In the case of Wyclef Jean and Yele, they had the money to fight back.

          This fight was at a cost. Just think of all the good that the organization and Wyclef could have done during that time it took them to respond to the Smoking Gun. Just think of the possible lives that could have been saved had the Smoking Gun had taken a moral stance by going a few steps further in the name of mankind.

          To the Smoking Gun I say it shouldn’t always be about the bottom line. Such is impacted by the number of readers which sensation reporting generally produces. There is no doubt that the reporting of Yele’s tax filings created sensationalism.

          The publisher of the Smoking Gun will go home tonight to a comfortable home with all the amenities. The people in Haiti will not. They will continue to suffer physically and emotionally as a result of the devastating earthquake.

          Therefore in the future maybe we all should take the allegations made by the Smoking Gun with a grain of salt. If that’s the case, why should we interest ourselves with anything the Smoking Gun reports?

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            Posted 4 years, 8 months ago at 9:43 am. Add a comment