Tag Archive: USA


It’s a Rebirth

Hello my friends,

We have moved! This blog is now at http://corvedacosta.com

I am so excited about it. In a few days, all the readers will be redirected from this site (wordpress.com) to the official Corve DaCosta Blog at http://corvedacosta.com

Hope you will join me. See you there.

Could you do me a favor please? If I appear in your blog roll could you edit the link to say http://corvedacosta.com

That would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

The movie Extraordinary Measures is an inspirational movie about a father and his quest to find the right medication for his two children that are suffering from Pompe disease.

This is a genetic disease that affects children that disables the heart and muscles. Because of the underdevelopment of the muscles it leaves them confined to a wheelchair. Children with this disease normally die at around age nine, at that stage the organs enlarge. You can imagine the shock and the despair John Crowley (Brendan Fraser) and Aileen Crowley (Keri Russell) parents of the children feel when they are told their young children have less than a year to live.

The family leads a pretty normal life, a working dad, stay at home mom with three children to care for. The father, a leading corporate executive is faced with a dilemma; to stay at his job and enjoy the perks of promotions – increased benefits, meeting deadlines and to watch his kids die from a disease that will rob them of a future before they are teenagers or leave the job and find the cure.

Directed by Tom Vaughan, the movie’s cinematography is not only good but shows his experience. The scenes in the movie are amazing; they will grip you from the beginning to end. The characters all have personalities that make you connect more with them. The daughter Megan is full of personality, a typical 8 year old who desires a future. She likes pink and loves to play.

John Crowley (Brendan Fraser) decides to fight the battle with his kids and leaves the state to the University of Nebraska where he meets Dr. Stonehill (Harrison Ford). Dr. Robert Stonehill (Harrison Ford) is a scientist who has explored the area of Pompe and has developed what he thinks is the cure. Leaving his wife behind with the children, John Crowley meets with Dr. Stonehill after chasing him down in the wee hours of the morning from his university office to a bar. At the bar, a relationship develops between the two. It leads to a business relationship, with both men partnering to find a cure to help the children, Megan Crowley (Meredith Droeger) and Patrick Crowley (Diego Velazquez).

To make John Crowley’s dream a reality of not only benefiting his own children they meet with executives from drug manufacturers. With this new partnership there are other issues that arise which make the movie even more exciting to watch. Extraordinary Measures is a true story and is an adaptation of the novel The Cure by Geeta Anand.

The movie also explores at length the politics, tribalism, materialistic goals of drug companies. I understand this is a moral dilemma for them and the company executives from the drug company kept emphasizing the importance of objectivity. Because, dealing with drugs, medicines and treating people if you are caught up with the Utilitarian Principle (doing good for the greatest number of people) you may not have a successful company at the end of the day. Drug companies are in business to make a profit and not primarily to save patients at the end of the day.

In the movie John Crowley, the father of the children is caught up emotionally with finding a cure that there is a huge disagreement between him and the company executives. When the company had completed the process and it was time to test the medication, it caused a major conflict of interest. There was a conflict of interest because John Crowley had a vested interest in the company and he also had an interest in the success of the product. Of course he wanted his children to have the medication first. To solve the issue, he was fired from the company. It was sad to see him go but the drug company maintained their strict adherence to policy.

His children did receive the needed medication. The testing worked and they responded well. The movie ends on a good note. Extraordinary Measures will not have you crying but its emotional journey will have you supporting these parents that placed everything on the line – their relationship and jobs to fight for a cure to save their ailing children. You will be cheering on these parents.

I only wish that you will get a hold of this movie and see it. It is worth your time. I yearn for the will that I might have the same fervour and strength these parents had in their darkest moment. The strength to fight on till the desired end is attained.

This post is dedicated to a blogger and a friend of this site who revealed that he has cancer. All of us here wish him the very best and a speedy recovery. I trust that he will not only have the audacity of hope but the certainty of faith that he will get better. Read his updates on his blog. http://jammer5spolyrant.wordpress.com/

By Esperanza D.

Esperanza

A big thanks to Corve DaCosta who gave me the opportunity, through a blog contest, to be a guest blogger for a day.  I entered the contest with the hope of using it as a platform to creating just a little change, for the better, in this world.

As some of you may know from the HmmSweetSplendidWisdom blog I’m both a Social Work graduate student and a Social Justice activist.  Through my field practicum for school, I am working on HIV prevention and education, as well as HIV testing and counseling. I enjoy it a lot and plan on attending a conference this summer in New York that talks about issues surround HIV and women, in particular women of color.

I’m really excited about this, as my own passion is working with, and empowering women.  In addition, my interest in HIV prevention and education began when my uncle passed away from AIDS and I saw, firsthand, the stigma attached to it. I then knew that it wasn’t ok to treat others as anything less than equal.

Well, I came across a really needed website the other day I want to share with you. It’s called the “Pepsi Refresh Project” that gives $$ to grassroots projects led by real people and community members, like yourselves. Anyone is able to submit an idea that deals with giving back to the community in a way they find most productive or creative. In turn, it is posted online to be voted on by the public and the winner receives a lot of cash for their project. How cool is that? Here is the link if you wish to vote on current projects and find the sign up link to submit your own for the next round.http://www.refresheverything.com/index

What I plan to do is attend the HIV and Women Conference this summer and use my creative talents to come up with a great project proposal for the Pepsi Refresh Project. When this happens, I hope you will support my efforts through your vote. In turn, I hope you feel inspired to come up with a project of your own to submit to the site. Think about what communities or populations could use your support and where you feel your passion can make the most impact.

If you are new to this blog I have a deep, deep passion for Marketing and Advertising. I will forever appreciate this field and any business that really use the basic skills to advance their companies and their products. I appreciate it so much because it is the only thing I know.

Advertising has been a sore point for many people. The impact advertising may have on potential viewers is great. Creators of advertisements understand this fully and they will exploit the opportunity while being legal to persuade the consumer to purchase a product or to buy into a service. Consumers therefore have a responsibility to take these advertisements with a grain of salt. There is a line in advertising that ad creators try not to cross and this is being deceptive. I have an issue with adverts deceiving people, misleading them to the point where they consume the product and it does not perform the way it was intended to.

We live in the 21st century where everything has to look posh, awesome, appealing and appear to be the best. With demands from companies and an emphasis on profits to be made, pressures are placed on creative teams to create an advert that will rival the competitor. Not only to compete but also to make the advertisement so appealing those consumers will demand the product. Creating an advertisement should take time. Determining the image of the product, partnering that with the right talents, choosing the music, the lighting and the camera angles are all some of the factors which the creative team has to take note of. A whole slew of other considerations which make the final product appealing and persuading.

Can you imagine the thoughts that go in to advertise fashion and products for the face and hair? In developed markets like London, Europe and United States of America where the quality of advertising is high, it takes much effort to produce.

An advertisement in question in recent days is one produced by L’Oreal. The ad features Cheryl Cole (judge on X Factor, huge celebrity in the UK) who in the advertisement praises the product Elvive Full Restore 5 hair care line for making her chestnut “full of life, replenished with healthy shine”. The fact is Cheryl Cole’s chestnut was not entirely her real flowing hair. Should we be having an issue with advertisements like this?

C Cole

Beauty has come under scrutiny many times before and this will never be the last. I have an issue with people having an issue with this advertisement.  First and foremost females who wear extensions do not refer to their hair as fake especially when it blends in with their ‘real’ hair especially when their real hair accounts for much of what you actually see. Females can also confess that when commenting on a friend’s hairstyle they don’t say “Your wig looks good!” instead they say “your hair looks good.” This is in the context of wearing extensions coupled with your real hair. Now if your entire head of hair that I am seeing is from a plastic package then we can conclude that your hair is fake and you are indeed wearing a wig.

Personally I do not see anything wrong with the advertisement because an advert of that nature for it to be effective it has to have some form of fantasy (lies oops) to it. In the advertisement clearly not all of the talent’s hair is false and you would have only known that if you know what extensions look like and if you have worn them before or read it online. The celebrity in question has made extensions apart of her routine look so to say she has done this and it is deceiving to people is ridiculous.

I also have an issue with advertising critics who claim that adverts should be appealing to the normal person. Therefore, advertisements of this nature – fashion related will make ladies feel insecure and affect their self esteem. Rubbish! If an advertisement is going to make you feel bad, you felt bad long before you saw the advertisement. I will not buy the argument that advertisements should ever start using normal people to sell the products. If this worked more companies would have been doing it. Dove has started that trend – saw the features of Oprah but I do not like it. It contradicts the image and position of what the product has established. L’Oreal mentions in their ads ‘because you’re worth it.’ The marketing campaign works because they use celebrities who everyone seems to aspire to be. That image of everything looking right cannot be compromised. It is not by chance the make-up is always right. It is not by chance they are always smiling and telling you how wonderful the product makes them feel and look. It is all a strategy to make you walk to the retail store and purchase the product.

Stop complaining oh how she isn’t wearing her real hair. I must confess I know nothing about hair extensions and rightfully so. However, the first time I saw the advertisement I did not think about her extensions, I thought about the obvious she has great hair and any girl who uses the product will experience the same thing because they are worth it. When I buy facial products which I desperately need to look the way I do lol I don’t want to read or see that the product will make me look normal. I am looking for it to say it will give me clear skin and all those good things. So consumers gravitate to products which makes them look, feel better than they previously did – takes them to a higher level.

Stop again, did you see the advertisement. Really? Watch again and look at 0:21 seconds. At the bottom of the screen it says “styled with some natural hair extensions.” That is all the advertisement needed. Of course in that 30 second advertisement all you were looking at is her ‘real-hair’ and the outcome after using such a product. From an advertising, model-talent’s perspective that’s all that matters – you looked at her hair and wished you had it.

Click reply at the top of the post or Reply located at the right of the first comment to have your say.

How September 11 changed the world?

This piece is dedicated to all who lost their lives and who lost families, friends in the 9/11 attacks on the United States of America.

The entire world changed on this day, September 11, 2001. I was standing on what is called the ‘front page area’ of my school when I heard what happened on this sad day. I saw teachers running about to offices to view live coverage from New York and other parts of the USA that were attacked. Back then I heard the World Trade Centre was attacked and I remember wondering “What is that?”

afp20090911175608217

Today, our rights have been altered in some way, how governments handle events, economies shaken, diplomacy, security procedures, travel rules, etc have all changed because of the terrorists attacks on September 11, 2001.

I watched footages from the major networks who replayed the exact coverage as the events unfolded. What struck me was the moment President Bush was told by his aide that the country was being attacked. You saw a man that was shocked and scared but at the same time who had to hold his composure. He had to because as a leader but more so a President you do not want to be seen in a frantic mode that is not in control of the situation. I found that very interesting that even in a moment where you are being attacked certainly not in control he gave an image that was thoughtful, and composed.

Many in the western world were sad and saw it as unbelievable because no matter how independent your nation may be; we are in some ways affected by what happens in the United States of America. As people grieved thousands in Israel celebrated the loss of lives shouting “God is good.”

On September 11, 2001 for those who thought terrorism was not an immediate threat instantaneously saw the impact of this because it happened to the greatest nation in the world the mighty USA. President Bush’s presidential term was now aimed at this attack; finding the perpetrators. The 9/11 attacks dubbed Bush the war president as he was fervent in finding the attackers. This attack changed US politics as Bush’s approval ratings shot up to the highest in history plummeting to over 90%; but we all saw in times coming to the close of term, his numbers trended downwards.

Years later millions of people all around the world remember the events that took place on this day. We regret the passing of so many lives but we are even more cognisant of the fact that there are evil men and groups in our world whose aims are to kill and terrorise people. We must support efforts and wars that will bring to justice those who will kill us in a moment. How we fight wars that is another issue.

Growing up too slow or too fast!

My parents constantly reminds me of their childhood experiences reminiscing how wonderful, peaceful and meek it was. Many children played and some are still playing with dolls. There are many lessons however that can be learnt from playing with dolls. Technology has advanced tremendously. Dolls are not only soft baby-like toys they have taken on other roles. We have seen dolls talk, show emotions and respond to the children that use them. But are we ready for children to breastfeed these toys?

It is a sad day in our history when inventors can develop a doll that has the ability to respond to breastfeeding by small children. Nothing in the world can justify this kind of technology. The Spanish manufacturer Berjuan must pull this product from the market immediately and people especially parents must begin to stand up and make their voices heard. We cannot allow a profit making entity who does not care about the future of their own society misguide the rest of us. We must allow our children to enjoy their childhood. They are being robbed daily of their childhoods by what we allow them to watch on television, the music that is so widespread and degrading. We have robbed them of their innocence, abusing their bodies and now we want to teach them to act like adults. It is not right. I hope countries like globally will never accept this product in their markets. We blame so many other people and factors for how our children are behaving and when we see the real reason pointing back at us, we appear to be blind.

I do not have a problem with our children playing with dolls, I endorse it. I believe there are so many lessons that our young ones can learn by embracing a doll. They learn that they are not alone in this world and people need love and affection and they learn how to communicate; some even love teaching from playing with dolls. I do not believe young kids think of having sex when they play with dolls. They don’t. They think of being kind to others and ensuring the dolls are safe by protecting it.

What lessons do we really want our children to get? Do we want them to grow up fast and add to the myriad of problems the adults have caused? Can you imagine a young child breastfeeding a doll? That child’s psychology immediately changes and they begin to think and feel like they are adults. I do believe that these are some of the things we have forced on our kids and have caused us not able to really control them. I have worked with children on projects before and some feel they can speak and behave anyway in public disrespecting leaders and undermining those in charge. These kids who will play with ‘Bebe Gloton’ or ‘greedy baby’ will be affected in some way negatively. We have sexualised this world so much that young kids today are engaging more in sexual activities and we are divided on how to solve these problems which we created. We have forced them to act like adults in a child’s body and it confuses them so much.

There should be a ban on this product now. When will this cycle end? I can’t wait till a business develops a doll that will have sexual intercourse with the female doll. Would our eyes be opened then? Oh I hear the defence already….They need to know!

Have you ever been in an enclosed area and smell the fumes from someone smoking? Doesn’t it annoy you? It must be weird being annoyed by a smell. I am upset, agitated, and infuriated when I smell a smoker and the smoke from their activities. I cannot fathom why someone would smoke their way to their death beds. We have heard of the many side-effects and ramifications for smoking cigarettes. For crying out loud go far far away and kill yourself with the fumes. Why make the rest of the world suffer in your unhealthy agony? I cannot imagine what goes on in the lungs and inside the body as they inject those crazy chemicals in.

Obama the Savior

Obama the Savior

My heart goes out though to all of the many addicts to smoking. I really blame them for their conditions and addiction to cigarettes and wish that they would change their lifestyle to a healthier one. Many families are being separated by those family members who smoke for a lifetime and end up dying from complications. There are however, solutions and many alternatives smokers can make to live their lives better.

In America alone 46 million people light a cigar. We have heard many times of the disadvantages for smoking but the information does not move smokers to stop killing themselves silently. They are addicted and so drawn and warped into smoking that they cannot and sometimes find it hard to end a life addicted to its contents. One would think businesses would stop making cigarettes so harmful to the body. No. They are manufactured and marketed to entice the innocent. Many young people are becoming addicted to smoking and the trend must be stopped. How many young people should die because of this addictive substance? Worldwide between 80,000 and 100,000 kids will start smoking everyday. No public service announcement can save those kids. Parents should become involved in parenting once again and ensure that their young children are not being killed early.

I have not felt the urge to smoke, never. I wonder what would prompt someone to light a cigar then. Of course, we can blame society, the culture and all the other factors that motivate our actions. I think our culture has a lot to do with this nasty trend. In Jamaica and many other parts of the world it is acceptable if a teen smokes in public. He/She is seen as unique, special, cool, fun, exciting the list goes on. What if we had generated a culture where we speak out against killing our hearts and our bodies? The price we pay to provide health care to these lunatics who are walking dead bodies waiting to happen must end now.

Side Effects of Smoking Cigarettes

  • Tobacco contributes to many cancers.
  • Smoking causes heart disease.
  • Smoking causes fat deposits to narrow and block blood vessels which lead to heart attack.
  • Smoking is a slow way to die.
  • Smoking causes heart attacks and strokes.
  • Carbon monoxide robs your muscles, brain and body tissue of oxygen, making your whole body and especially your heart work harder. Over time, your airways swell up and let less air into your lungs.
  • Causes impotence in men.

The list goes on but I decided just to highlight those.

I want people to realize the dangers of smoking and their lives. We are having a heated discussion on health care reform in the US. The fact is people must take personal responsibility for their lives and take steps to live a healthy lifestyle. In 1998 alone, USA spent $72.7 billion on people with health care problems associated with smoking. We are in 2009 that cost would never be decreased but increased. We are setting up ourselves for a huge problem with heart issues and strokes hitting younger people if we create a culture where smoking is accepted. I agree when any government that comes down hard on smokers. They must be taxed to the point where they cannot afford the product. Then we will see this horrendous habit by millions changed.

Can someone tell Obama to make this a teachable moment? He is for crying out loud, spewing fumes into the White house on a regular basis. He must be confronted and a team used to stop his addiction to smoking. If he doesn’t……..Oh my God!

Beer Summit 2009

The President made some less than flattering comments on the Gates/Crowley controversy. Today, or a mere minutes ago the Beer Summit – Let’s talk moment ended. Obama wanted this matter to become a teachable moment. Did this summit achieve that? I am not positive the president achieved this but he achieved lots of bad PR and will not have ended how stupid this whole drama is.

Beer Summit Photo

Beer Summit Photo

I personally do not think that the president of the free world should have used a beer summit to solve this issue. If he had wanted this to become a teachable moment, does he really think sitting and drinking beers would achieve this? This man is so obsessed with being cool that he has taken it to the level where he looks rather un-cool.

The president should have invited these men to a discussion on race relations. That’s what he wanted. This action by the president would prompt millions of Americans to have a serious sit-down talk on this issue. Instead we are forced to see the leader of the free world get down drinking beers making him look immature. Sgt Crowley commented that the discussions were about the future. I am sorry sitting around beers on the brink of getting drunk is not having that teachable moment.

So the lesson from this is, when you have disagreements with people on this topic, could drinking beers the solution. I am no thrilled about how the president acted but this was not a happy moment. The Obama we know from the campaign who articulated a new message on race, I want that Obama back. I want to see Obama articulate and lead on this issue of race relations. Obama got one thing correct; his team changed it from a childish picnic table to a white table top surrounded with chair for four.

Today, July 30, 2009 is Cheesecake day.

Cheesecake

Cheesecake

If you have not had cheesecake, half of your life is gone. Today is dedicated to cheesecakes, oh how we love them. Whatever the type you like cheesecakes have brought families together and many special moments. There is something special about this wonderful and divine cake.

If you want to be my friend, let’s have an evening out and have cheesecake. Many people associate cheesecakes with gaining weight, breakouts on the face (zits), fat, calorie intake etc. All of this may be true but there is something very appealing about the presentation and aesthetic of a cheesecake.

They come in a variety of flavours and once you try one that you like. You will forever be having them as desserts.

My top five flavours are:

  1. White Chocolate
  2. Vanilla
  3. Cherry
  4. Blueberry
  5. Run and Raison

Sound off. What is your favourite flavour and what makes a cheesecake special to you?

One’s allegiance to their country must not be compromised. The moment a citizen has breached this rule and decides to run for public office it should become an issue. Most countries have strong rules and opinions on this matter. It is understandably why, pledging allegiance to your country shows love for your country and where your priorities are even when the going gets tough.

Recently in Jamaica politicians were under fire and still are because some pledged allegiance to different sovereign states. Both the ruling government and the opposition have been at war to oust members of the house who have citizenship in other countries. The courts have ruled on the matter and have issued that elections be held in the constituencies that are in question. I believe politicians must prove without a doubt their allegiance and documents proving that they are citizens of that country. This must be done even if the minority wants to know.

obama1There is a budding debate now going on in some quarters of the United States of America where citizens are crying fowl over the authenticity of Obama’s candidacy and him being president. Even if you think that the president is an American citizen which most people still believe why the president won’t provide full proof that he is. He has provided a document that any thief can provide as his birth certificate which doesn’t count. He has not provided the real birth certificate, that authentic document. Political pundits like Lou Dobbs are putting pressure on the issue. It just won’t go away.

Viewers of CNN are even lobbying for Lou Dobbs to leave the network. It’s an issue huge on most blogs. The President of CNN was reported saying that this birth certificate is a non-issue and it’s a dead story since the President released his fake birth certificate. That is appalling coming from a man who should be encouraging his team to research issues that are topical and are of importance. What is also amazing is that people who are against Obama seems to come under pressure when it is a real complaint. The media is so in love and in bed with Obama that they are not questioning this issue. The way they treated McCain on this matter for him to prove he was an American citizen is mind boggling. Can we have some balance here? That is why I also believe that people have a problem with the FOX Network. Because they push the button on issues and apologize to no one for their reporting. I can see why CNN has slipped.

Dobbs

Dobbs

The interesting thing is if Lou Dobbs leaves CNN I am sure FOX will gobble him up and he will have a huge contract providing real news keeping our politicians honest with the top network.

All I want Obama to do is to prove he is a USA citizen. Prove it with the real document. Let us see the seal, the doctor, and the document in its entirety. No make shift document will not work. With the media in bed Obama I am not sure how far this issue will go.