Space 2022: Invasion of the Cartoons

December 18, 2008 at 9:00 am 29 comments

I watched Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa for the nth time last night. I don’t know if it’s the voices of those comedians I adore (Chris Rock, Ben Stiller, David Shwimmer; in that order), all the jokes, or the fact that I have truly madly and deeply fallen in love with, and can’t get enough of, co-producer Tom McGrath’s character (Skipper, the Penguin) in the movie that captivated the abesheet heart.

But I watch it so much (twice an evening sometimes) that it’s become a dinner-preparation routine: I start chopping when they start ‘movin’. Afterwards, I go to the video shop next door to get one more movie for “tonight-after school”. The owner is a cute 20 something with a shaggy dread locks full of ideals & God-knows-what. He goes to my good friend Biruk’s video shop, Otherwise known as ‘Biruk Video’, which distributs most of the latest movies in Addis, only on Wednesday and stays open until those who asked for certain movies showed up. “Bolt” (another cartoon film) seem to be what’s left.

Now, Cartoons used to be a strictly children affair, when only Walt Disney made them and they were based on fairy tales. Enter the area of 3D animations, with Pixar as the forerunner, and the story of cartoons movies changed. Cartoons become as good, or even better, as the real life movies. And why not, when:

  • They appeal to both children and adults
  • You can sneak your agenda (Sacha Baron Cohen character’s dancing “I’m a lady, I’m a lady everyone, I’m a lady. Not really.. it’s me, King Julian! Which of you is attracted to me?” wearing fake breasts) without offending anybody with indecency
  • You need neither an in-built studio or an actual location to film it. And, most importantly,
  • When you can have cartoon characters do things for you neither real life animals nor actors & actresses, and sometimes stunt men, can’t. Or won’t (like bare their breasts, for example. A cartoon porn featuring Angelina Jolie wouldn’t just sell in millions but is likely to fulfil many a young man’s fantacy)

Which, naturally, would make one wonder: Would a day come in which Cartoons would replace real life actors? Kind of like machines taking over human’s jobs?!

This is a question that’s been weiging on my mind ever since I saw how the characters actually resemble the real-life actors doing their voice on “The Polar Express” and “Beowulf”. What is there to stop Hollywood movie-makers to yet improvise the motions, make the faces look more expressive and make cartoon films look & feel like the real deal?. The dough they would be saving, not to mention the creative challenge, would no doubt be tempting.

Now I know that’s what everybody believed e-businesses would do until that prophesy proved a no-no. But you gotta wonder, with animtors like Pixel around and the ever growing number of “D”s out there (IMAX 3D, Real D, standard 2D), if actors won’t become history in the not-so-distant future. Ex, as in New York Knicks!

~ Rotten Tomatoe Critiques’ take of Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
~ Somebody else’s Madagascar I’s favorite movies quotes.

Stupid Movies
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29 Comments Add your own

  • 1. sistu  |  December 18, 2008 at 6:57 pm

    Abesheet howdeedu (have you watched My Fair Lady, btw? my fav movie of all time)…

    well, cartoons. I used to try not to be a big fan of them (to be different from ppl newa). But you really can’t get away from them, right? it seems esp iyarejehu simeta, I am finding it hard to resist them. I still don’t watch them a lot but I can’t matatal them easily either. Haven’t watched either of the Madagascars but I think I will watch them tomorrow, thanks to you. One that I always liked tho is yeNemo (do cartoons get translated to amharic in Ethiopia? I hear Titanic was translated). and people used to tell me I remind them of Dory (esti firejign, ine Dory??)… btw, over at the other post..pls simen atatfee altho im always a sucker for ur compliments.

    about Angie, I have to say what I always say when ppl bring her up… she ain’t prettier than my sister (e). I don’t care! ppl can laugh all they like but she aint!.. I will offer my usual line.. ‘ihite indesua beemechat noro…’

  • 2. abesheet  |  December 19, 2008 at 7:03 am

    Lol, Sistu. I’m not Madagascar I’s biggest fan. So don’t blame me if you don’t like it. Madgascar II, however, man oh man! It’s like “yeZemed dimts” in the wilderness.

    I’d rather not get into the painful subject of Angelina Jolie. Except she’d have been more than beautiful, infact a Goddess, if she had any respect for herself or knows how to shut up when she’s outted. I also find the fact that she “manTelTel”s her lips every chance she got pretty gross. More importantly, though, I don’t think Angelina Jolie is emotionally capable of being a decent, let alone good, mother. Nobody expects her to be perfect. But a woman who uses kids to get and keep a man, takes pride in cutting herself up when depressed and having been a ‘kindergarten slut’, worst of all, a woman who french-kisses her brother while the world watches with terror, that woman is bad idea.

  • 3. Mazzi  |  December 19, 2008 at 2:03 pm

    Selam Abesheet,

    I have grown to be a big fan of animation in general, and computer animation like those done by Pixar have taken the art to new level. Feature length animation movies are probably becoming cheaper and easier to make with computer advances, and I am happier for it.

    ‘Finding Nemo’ by far remains my most favorite animation movie, and after buying a copy and watching it several times after its release, I eventually sent the tape home to my cousins, and I already miss it. My Mom keeps reminding me that satellite dish channels in Addis provide more children’s programs now a days, and I needn’t bother send animation movies to the youngens back home. If I had known that, I would not have parted with my ‘Nemo’ and ‘Dory’ so easily :-(.

    I would not be the least bit surprised if animated characters entirely replace real actors in feature length movies sometime in the near future. Much easier to manipulate than human beings. It will be interesting to watch.

    I hear Madagascar I is not as good as Madagascar II though I have not watched either. I hope I can follow the story in Madagascar II without having watched the first one incase the spirit moves me to rent the movie next time. I have heard/read many good things about the second one.

    Speaking of animation Abesheet, have you read about or experienced the online phenomenon called ‘Second Life’ ( where participants get to interact with other individuals online through 3-D animated characters they create themselves called ‘avatars’? It is quite popular among young Internet addicts, some of whom prefer to only interact online with others instead of meeting in person. The fun comes from being able to ‘create’ their own avatars and the cyber world they exist in with live interaction with other avatars. That is as close as it gets to replacing ONESELF! with an animated character while interacting with other people online before even waiting for our famous and favorite actors to be replaced with animated images of themselves in movies.


  • 4. Mazzi  |  December 19, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    P.S. Just came back after visiting a certain cyber ‘Bunna Bett’, which was quite a trip. But not for the reason one might think :-). Yesemonu bunna being offered was quite the interesting kind (as it often is actually). I am just glad it takes all kinds to fill this ever confusing world.

    But it is always good to also pay a visit to this ‘Tej Bett’ (even if it is way too early in the morning my time for Tej) for a bit of entertainment.

    As the song from the TV show Cheers goes……

    “Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got.
    Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot.

    Wouldn’t you like to get away?

    Sometimes you want to go

    Where everybody knows your name,
    and they’re always glad you came.
    You wanna be where you can see,
    our troubles are all the same
    You wanna be where everybody knows
    Your name……”

  • 5. abesheet  |  December 20, 2008 at 6:57 am

    (Very unedited comment)

    Mazziye yene Emebet,

    How have you been? I’ve missed your comments, and the way you put things into perspective, so much. And if it wasn’t for our darling lil sister sistu *pokes sistu*, I don’t know “min yiwetegn endeneber”.

    Anywho, we didn’t have an internet connection yesterday afternoon when you wrote the comments. So only read them from an internet cafe this morning (been online for 34 minutes and only two pages opened). So i can’t really give a detailed answer (sweetheart). However…

    I hear Madagascar I is not as good as Madagascar II though I have not watched either.

    You heard right. Liked the first one but it’s nothing like Espcape 2 Africa.

    I hope I can follow the story in Madagascar II without having watched the first one incase the spirit moves me to rent the movie next time.

    You certainly can. They actually give a recap kind of thing when the movie begins. Problem is, you will miss out on a few jokes (like Schwimmer’s character saying “You have Madagascar on the head” on Part II, referring to the fact that Alex the Lion was having nightmares on part I, making him wanna eat his Zebra, best, friend Marty). Etcetera. But it’s pretty funny as it is. But you gotta watch it atleast 5 times to get all the jokes. The characters being animals, and the fact that you recognize their voices, makes focusing hard the first time around. Reading the critiques’ comment on it has made me realize there were things i didn’t or couldn’t totally get as well. Like MotoMoto’s voice being an imitation of some funny show host in america, for example. Kind of like you never being able to understand and appreciate “Pulp Fiction” without knowing all the moves, hair styles, and music it was modeled after. And how you can never laugh on a spook movie unless you know the original work etcetera. In short there is definitely more to Escape 2 Africa than meets the eye. Take your time and you’ll see what i mean.

    Speaking of animation Abesheet, have you read about or experienced the online phenomenon called ‘Second Life’ ( where participants get to interact with other individuals online through 3-D animated characters they create themselves called ‘avatars’?

    Nope, but i will make sure I do on Monday. Have a sweet weekend girls. Boy, i gotta really be going before I found myself too broke to afford my mini-van fare.

  • 6. Mazzi  |  December 20, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    Selam Abesheet,

    Hope your weekend was all of that and a bag of chips. I bet it was sunny at least (Qinnat new :-)). I am nostalgic for the sun as I write this and notice the PILE of snow outside my window and my door :-(. I swear if left to my own instinct (that runs low on battery when the sun is missing in action); I would hibernate all winter long in my apt till spring time. Not a fan of winter and snow at all though when I was at home I used to fantasize what it would be like to live in a snowy place. “Be careful what you ask for”, used to say my Mother who is not a fan of cold climate either. After experiencing the brunt of the winter in January on this side during one of her visits, she said to me, “Huletegna lemdobish be-winter indatameCHign!!!!”

    Thank you for your recommendation of Madagascar 2 :-). It made my very snowy Friday evening worth staying in. I watched the movie online, and enjoyed it a lot. It is indeed a funny movie loaded with layers and layers of jokes. Though I have not watched the first one, I think I pretty much was on board on the story. To get the full effect of all the jokes as you said, however, I might also check out the first one before watching the second one again. And I do want to watch it again :-).

    As you can imagine, the online bootlegged version I watched had poor picture quality (yesirQot neger yihew aydel?), which compromised the movie a bit :-(. Original computer animated movies on DVD usually have clear and crisp images that I enjoy. So maybe next time, I will cough up my $4.79 (for a new release) at the local video store to rent the actual DVD assuming it is released :-). OK I admit I am cheap, and poor. Bad combination. The current economic conditioning and my dwindling finances have made me a terrible ‘santim QoTari.’ But I am sure it will be worth it.

    I am trying to think of which American talk show host the hippo dude character ‘Moto Moto’ is fashioned after. But you are right that the first time around, it is hard not to concentrate on the famous actors’ voices and focus on the animal characters. I have no doubt I will get more of the jokes the more I watch the movie.

    I am an ultimate fan of the movie “Pulp Fiction” by the way. I have watched that movie so many times both at home and retro movie theaters, but it amazes me how if someone who has not watched it asks me tell them the plot I would not be able to tell them in its entirely. That movie trips me every time I watch it, and I get something out of it every single time!! I marvel wondering how I did not get some concept the last time around. I sure love movies that keep surprising me every time I watch them because as a rule, unless a movie is that dynamic, I am done watching it after the first time. I am a sucker for great movies, and rented movies were my constant Qeleb when I was a teenager. You seem to be a big fan of movies as well :-).

    Thanks again for the movie recommendation, and I can’t wait to hear Sistu’s review of the movie if she ended up watching it as well. Thank you Sistu and Abesheet by the way for being voices of reason over at our friend’s Bunna Bett over his latest post. Frankly I was embarrassed about his views of the plight of AA’s in this country worse than if I was hearing the same views coming out of the mouth of White Americans. But like I said before, it takes all kinds to make our world as interesting as it is, so I shall just marvel, and leave it at that :-).


  • 7. abesheet  |  December 22, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    Enjoyed reading both your and sistu’s comment on that artcile in the said “Bunna Bet” Mazzi 🙂 . What a relief that was! I was sure somebody would accuse me of blubbering about things i don’t know, or politely ask me to “Ariffee tejen enditeta”. Especially as i sometimes feel the way the blogger does from all the “Nubian Princess” e-mails i receive. Seeing your comments gave me that feeling of validation Carrier Bradshaw always talks about.

  • 8. sistu  |  December 22, 2008 at 4:20 pm

    Hells yays, yilal yagere sew.. I most definitely watched Madagascar II on Friday. First movie I watched in a long, long time. I kept on coming across some line or another that I tell myself I would have to remember to share with you guys but there were so many such lines by the end of it that it was impossible to remember them all (or any, apparently).

    But I think the real angebgabi danger about the invasion of the cartoons* is that you (or at least I) start thinking about yeDimstochu balebet actors as animals (and not the animals as actors). Case in point: I don’t know how I will see Chris Rock as anything but a zebra from here onwards. And not even the zebra, but a zebra (His constant eroro about him being just an ordinary yemeda’hiya among hundreds has me really convinced). I am going to have to see a whole lot of Everybody Hates Chris-es before I re-associate him to the human race.

    I am feeling very ignorant about Pulp Fiction. I absolutely hated it when I watched it.. so much so that it has become my passing grade for other movies… is a movie better than pulp fiction or worse than it? I never expected it to enjoy any form of iwkina and the discovery that it enjoys some serious iwkina and the some was one of the biggest surprises of my life, had me questioning my level of understanding of things. But I watched it a very long time, maybe I would appreciate it better now. But hard to imagine considering how much i truly truly hated it back then.

    Oh the snow. The snow! I am not usually fond of weather conversations (again because of the scars of My Fair Lady… it had me convinced that the weather is yewerey likiskis, the cheapest of cheap conversations, something you are only allowed to turn to when you have been told you’ve got nothing else to say), but there have been so much snow this weekend-ish that it was all that occupied my mind, my mouth. And Madagascar did indeed prove to be a necessity at the end. Not the I like the sun either. I don’t. Or the wind. Hulu amareshinis keGebeya askerenat, what to do with moi minim mayamratin?

    *about the title: suffered from serious nightmares from Space 1999.

  • 9. Mazzi  |  December 23, 2008 at 1:59 am


    Kudos for Abesheet for recommending Madagascar II. It was indeed a lot of fun to watch, and I am sure I will enjoy it just as much the second time around.

    I enjoy reading your comments and appreciate your sense of humor. I laughed out loud when you said:

    “But I think the real angebgabi danger about the invasion of the cartoons* is that you (or at least I) start thinking about yeDimstochu balebet actors as animals (and not the animals as actors). Case in point: I don’t know how I will see Chris Rock as anything but a zebra from here onwards.” How so true!

    I really envy how you or the likes of Inem have clear and vivid memories of your younger days sefers back home. I marvel when you guys discuss fondly what made your respective sefers unique and special, and how it has shaped the adults that you are right now. I was totally a cliché Yebole Lij growing up, but one that had no freedom what so ever to explore even Yebole sefer itself let alone the rest of Addis. Outside of school, I was on lockdown year round in the house on account of being a girl while my brothers roamed the sefer and everything else Addis has to offer. Movies and books were my window to the rest of the world, and I did a lot of my growing into adult hood once I set foot in this country. My favorite part of the day growing up was waiting for my older brother to come home in the evenings from his endless adventures in and outside of his school both on week days and weekends and fantasizing what it would mean to have the freedom of movement he had that I did not.

    So when ever I read/hear about ye-Addis lijoch talking fondly about their respective sefers with such wonderful memories, I get kind of jealous because I left Ethiopia before I had a real chance of exploring Addis or many other parts of the country with the exception of my birth place Harar and strangely enough Asmara.

    As for Pulp Fiction, the first time I watched that movie, I absolutely hated it!!! I just did not get it at all, and even few other subsequent viewings generated the same feelings. Being a movie fanatic, I became a die hard fan of Independent Movie Festivals, and over the years, I have watched my fair share of weird, non-traditional, and sometimes confusing Independent movies. Most of them I chose to watch I liked, but others left me thinking, “What the hell was that all about?!” However, such non-mainstream movies opened my appetite for the unusual, and found my taste for movies changing and expanding. So one day, though Pulp Fiction is an unusual mainstream Hollywood movie, I amused myself and watched it again to see what the fuss is all about.

    The last time I watched it was in some neighboring atypical Mid Western small University town that has an old movie theater that shows retro movies at midnight. That time, I actually enjoyed watching it again on a big screen, and for the first time in God knows how many years, I could actually follow the story line and appreciate the acting! Then I said to myself, I must be getting old or have stayed in this country too long if maybe what it took for me to understand this movie is more life experience and understanding of the different eras of the previous decades in this country etc. Having said all this, though I felt I finally could follow the plot while watching it, I still can not tell you about it of the top of my head even if I tried. That part still amuses the heck out of me. Still I am glad to say I made amends with that movie after hating it for God knows how long :-).

    Forgive me Sistu for discussing the snow, as even I find weather discussions the lowest forms of conversations. However, I am one of those people terribly affected by the weather, and snow and ice really get on, under, and around my nerves! When the sturdiest of snow brushes can not even help in ridding my car from tons of snow before driving, and when it takes a shovel to even remove the pile of snow from the top of my car let alone from under it, then I stop and say, “WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING HERE?!?! PLEASE SOMEONE TELL ME!!” Hence my longing for the Sun which I love. I know in my heart I was built to live in sunny places wearing shorts, t-shirts, summer dresses, and open toe sandals all year round. So help me God.

    Big fan of Space 1999 by the way, though how amusing 1999 felt so so far away when they made that TV series. But one low budget space movie I watched at some hotel’s make shift movie theater in Asmara when I was maybe ten is one where space aliens with human shapes who lost their outer layer skins to radiation were secretly roaming this planet wrapped in bandages like mummies. While they were at it, they were kidnapping humans, skinning them, wearing the human’s skins and masquerading as earthlings once they acquired human skin. That concept gave me a night mare for days, and even had to sleep in the same room as my brothers for protection. How silly it all seems in retrospect!


    Your Tej has never tasted sweeter after drinking stale coffee over at certain Bunna Bett :-). Like I said in his Bunna Bett, critical mind yigdelegn!

    Have a great day.

  • 10. abesheet  |  December 23, 2008 at 5:53 am

    As you can imagine, the online bootlegged version I watched had poor picture quality (yesirQot neger yihew aydel?), which compromised the movie a bit :-(.

    Well, Mazziye. I thought i had the best copy in the world until i watched the MotoMoto video on youtube and realized my copy may have been pretty bad. I didn’t hear some of the jokes until the 10th time, i think. The “Damn you Darwin” part, the scene where the “Inflight Slave” explains how they should cover their terrified expressions from the other passengers in the event of a crush, the place about Engine 2 no longer being on fire and where my favorite favorite favorite Skipper says they’d go to the Atlantic city for their honeymoon or wherever the gold runs out, etcetera.

    I am feeling very ignorant about Pulp Fiction. I absolutely hated it when I watched it..

    I don’t know what my reaction of Pulp Fiction would have been be if I hadn’t completely fall in love with Tim Roth’s character on the first 5 minutes. That conversation killed me dead. Dead! Even if it didn’t, I think the uniqueness of the opening would have intrigued me. After that and even when i didn’t understand some of the later parts, i was sure it’s my fault and not theirs. So it proved to be. Which is why I have a soft spot for anything Miramax produces (and Tarantino directs). Rarely do they disappoint.

    Has any one of you watched “Brand Upon the Brain”? It’s a black and white movie with subtitles in place of conversation. And the kind of craziness that is likely to give you a headache and make the video shop guy discourage you from taking it. But once you watched it, you’d know it’s an experience nobody should miss out on.

    Regarding your comment on Chris Rock:
    Am i the only one who is suddenly realizing he is the only African American comedian worth respect, or are you guys feelin it too?

    Space 1999! Finally! 🙂 Thank you Sistuye for mentioning it. I was stupified (if “stupified” is the word i want) how nobody seems to mention it. Space 1999, Moon Lightening, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and ofcourse Ferdinand (now that is one scary clown) were the movies of my days. I don’t remember having a nightmare so much as earnestly wishing Maya and Tony become a couple, and argueing Madline Heath’s name, SiQolamet, is “Maddy” (them screaming “ebd malet eko new, endet ebd yilatal?”) and not Maggy with my eighth grade peers. Oh yeah.. i never understood how “Commander” was attracted to Ellen (was it?). I had to see hundreds of movies to realize she was hot.

    Speaking of Commander, was Space 1999 the high point of his career? Because none of his other movies so much as impressed me. Maybe i didn’t want him to be anybody else. Maybe he wasn’t so good an actor.

  • 11. Mazzi  |  December 23, 2008 at 9:16 am

    Selam Abesheet,

    “I thought i had the best copy in the world until i watched the MotoMoto video on youtube and realized my copy may have been pretty bad.”

    Original DVD copies of computer animated movies, especially watched on high definition large television or computer screens (or plasma TV’s) have superior picture and sound qualities to die for. So I enjoy watching original copies when ever possible though it is on my old fashion small screen TV :-(. I have told Santa about my wish to own a decent size plasma TV, but I don’t think he is listening. But of course when I was living on rented movies back at home, almost all of them were bootlegged copies of the originals, and it was rare to find really great picture quality on the tapes. So as much as you love Madagascar II, I wish you can watch the original DVD copy as well.

    I marvel how much detail you remember about movie plots, major and minor characters, actors’ names, director’s names, and picture companies that release some of your favorite movies. I suck at those things. But thanks to googles and wikipedia, I run to them every time when I want to find out who was in what movie etc….

    I have not watched “Brand Upon the Brain” so I can’t really say anything about it. Chris Rock is sure one of my favorite black comedians. But my most ultimate favorite sober and deep comedians OF ALL TIME is George Carlin (a white American) who recently passed away and took his deep and unique ability of combining social criticism with comedy with him. If ever you get a chance, do search him out in YouTube and check out some of his comedy routines. I will post some of my favorites below. (Major sirra masfecha :-)).

    I have a hard time being productive around the holidays, hence why I am spending so much time surfing the net instead of doing my work. So I will be good and do more work tomorrow to make up for lost time.

    Let me know what you thought of the above clips if you got a chance to check them out.


  • 12. Mazzi  |  December 23, 2008 at 9:40 am

    Oh what a trip down on memory lane…..

    Space 1999, Moon Lighting, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Ferdinand (huge fan!), and my ultimate American sit-com show from the 70’s I so very much loved… “The Mary Tyler Moor Show”. Did you ever watch that show? I think it came late in the evening on Saturday evenings or something on ETV.

    I still watch some of the episodes online for nostalgia sake. The “Mary Richards” character was my dream fictitious single female in her late twenties and early thirties with her own career, living on her own in a cool apartment, enjoying a pleasant social life in a big American city (Minniapolis, Minnesota), and navigating through her young adult life while trying to figure out how to spend the rest of her life. I can’t tell you how that TV show used to appeal to my very young female Ethiopian child self who so badly wanted her how own life, and live it the way she saw fit :-).

    Ah, Good times :-).

  • 13. abesheet  |  December 23, 2008 at 9:50 am

    No, am afraid not Mazzi. The only sitcom i remember from the Dergue times (or was that EPRDF?) is The Cosby show. Which i no longer find funny. I wonder why that happens. Why Tom and Jerry and Charlie Chaplin fell to impress after a certain age.

    Btw, your first comment was held for moderation because it has more than three links. When that happens or you don’t have an already Approved comment (same name and different e-mail address included) Akismet keeps it for the blogger to see before publishing. Awesome, innit?

    Will definitely read on George Carlin.

  • 14. Mazzi  |  December 23, 2008 at 10:16 am

    “….Why Tom and Jerry and Charlie Chaplin fell to impress after a certain age.”

    *blush* :-).

    Still a big fan of both shows! What does that say about me? :-).

    I love me some Charlie Chaplin (I check him out on YouTube sometimes), and once in a blue moon if I catch Tom and Jerry on a cartoon network on TV, I actually watch it! Alemadegg yilushal yihe neww.

    But proud to say that I am no longer a fan of The Cosby Show. Maybe I am not a total loss after all.

    It is cool that your blog has a way of moderating posts with more than three links so you, the blog owner, can decide whether to post it or not. That is indeed neat.

    Enjoy ‘searching’ George Carlin.


  • 15. sistu  |  December 23, 2008 at 10:35 am

    Mazzi– I couldn’t help being touched by how you disclosed your bole roots with kininet, especially with the acknowledgment of the cliches associated with Bole. and, OH Mazzi, now you make me regret* my earlier swipe at yeBole lijoch. (*almost) I generally try to keep my afilafE confined to my ikuya sefers, but that particular occasion called for [a sacred] Bole invocation. Forgive me, I will try to find a substitute that can serve as my sefer’s Bole for future purposes. Maybe megenagna. It was exotic enough for us, although ‘yeMegenagna lijoch’ doesn’t have quite the same bite. But we will make do (we were raised with that skill of making-do), fellow denbegnan kemaskeyem.

    On the subject of knowledge of/attachment to my sefer… Well ingideeh, while i can’t masgomjet and dazzle you with the type of adventures that Inem has been flaunting before us (yes Inem, yabeTe yifenda ingideeh), I was/am certainly very attached to my sefers. For me the number one means of acquaintance with street life came through uninterrupted years of yegir-guzo from home to school. And school to home. Held my head up high (i lie, it was akerkirE… i knew all the potholes intimately, i really did), and walked through the dagets and kulkulets of notorious ‘zero sidist’ kedget iske iwket, thereby becoming privy to street secrets that normally came through active participation. About 11+ years worth of walking, a daily ‘seferachinin inkagnat’ programming for me. Additionally, I was/still am/promise to continue to be very eager on werey. So, I kept my ears very wide open for any information source that could add to my knowledge of things around and about. It also helped that i came from a large family (definitely more than 3 kids) where the tales of the elders’ seferawi encounters are inherited down along with the clothes that get passed on.

    Asmara and Harar: two places that look like rikew yetesekelu dabowoch to me. Really, really hope to see both one day.

    I have only watched a few foreign movies in my lifetime. But if I were recommending, I would recommend The Lizard from Iran. Really enjoyed watching it. I think Pulp Fiction and I are probably irreconcilable. Betam new yetekakarnew. Space 1999 was an ETV sin, I think. It was pure torture. I was usually near-fainting stages during some of the Maya vs. some-space-monster scenes.

    Buna betu, police litera hula ichilalehu. What can I say, keAl Sarpton ayn yisewirew.

  • 16. sistu  |  December 23, 2008 at 10:59 am

    Just read the posts about the shows. Abehseet, I don’t seem to know the shows you or Mazzi mentioned. Kinda sad about it. and I think most of my terror about Space 99 came about because I didn’t understand much of the dialog and could only follow the physical action (which was usually outright scary that invariably haunted my dreams). BUT, i do remember the balina-mist timrets and like with you with the commander, I always wondered if Maya and Tony were an appropriate pair. I may not have understood all the English, but I sure understood the dynamics along those lines.

    The Cosby Show — wey minew? i watched it recently and happily discovered some humor in it so I guess I consider myself a fan now. Alas, Tom and Jerry have indeed started to fail to impress. But Mazzi, you make me want to reconsider, haven’t watched them since yelijoch gizey forced me to watch them, so maybe I will go back to them for a second look.

    Chris Rock, indeed proving to be 1 to respect. I think I might also extend that courtesy to Chris Tucker, but mostly because I have a soft spot for him for his Ethiopian visits. I like Martin Lawrence as a funny one, but won’t vouch for his respectability. Mawayawin man awkot, I only see him surfacing once in a while.

  • 17. Inem  |  December 23, 2008 at 11:37 am

    I guess, at least for me, it is really difficult to forget the visible/invisible scars that came from surviving inqifat, finkit, ikek, foket, hurt pride…while growing up in the muddy, behuala korekonch leTqom yetebodese asfalt kehoonew seferE. I wish I was, like situ and abehseet, blessed with the knack for aTafTo maqreb and the ability for imagery and deep perception of the surrounding nature to depict my life.
    YemqebaTrew eko, it is because I hope one day to read, yemitamenewen, yehiwotEn quntsil getseta (though I know there are more leza yalachew stories), in the novels to be written by these sistas or any present/future writer who may stumble in this blog and find it worthy of their word smithery.
    I am not much into cartoons, aladegebiN yihon? I tried to elnlighten myself with the classical disney characters just to have something to say to my nieces and nephew and ayn lalemquleChleCh in ignorance when I occasionally encounter yene Mazzin sefer lijoch. I have to admit I liked Shreck though and also I like the move trailer of MadagascarII I watched after reading this post. I liked pulp fiction right away, its one of my favorite movies.
    The invasion and its impact as abesheet put it is quite plausible. I hope and pray some abesha wiz/nerd would mold the heroine from Afewerk’s meskel flower instead. I take sistus proclamation abut her sister (though I never saw her beTam yaltemechew qumena) at face value and affirm that she is more beautiful than the over-rated pouty angie who reminds me of keneferuan Tal yemtaregew seble/fetle character from one of Bealu’s book.

  • 18. Mazzi  |  December 23, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    Selam Sistu,

    My roots indeed trace to Bole Sefer with all the cliché’s associated with it. But I am proud to say that I have never had that molqaqa Yebole Lijoch accent at any time in my life :-). I had a sober mother who would have maTafat me be-qarrya-Tiffi if I ever tried! After all, SHE was not Yebole Lij herself as she traces her roots far from that place, and never even wore her adopted ‘Yebole Sett’ persona with any ease. I am grateful for her constant reality checks in our lives growing up :-).

    But feel free to use Yebole Lijoch/Sefer as examples when it suits your stories as none of us hold notoriety over it, and especially if it provides a better bite to some of your stories :-).

    How wonderful you have vivid memories of your Sefer. I never roamed around my Sefer without being chaperoned by either my brothers or some adults in the family so I can’t claim to know the inns and outs of our Sefer. My older brother, on the hand, can draw a map of the Sefer from memory if he wants to. He sure was quite the explorer with a much better social life, and endless friends around the neighborhood and yeseferachin Qebbelle.

    The fondest memory I have of my Sefer is belonging to Bole Medhanialem Betekristiyan that was my mother’s second home. I grew up being part of that church though I have to say I did not enjoy being woken up at 5am on Sunday mornings in order to get ready and walk to the church for those legendary 6am church services that lasted for hours!

    When I was very young, Bole Medhanialem used to be a tiny Chika Bett Church with humble beginnings. I even know about the priest who claimed to have dreamt about a new church being built on that land where the church stands today. That was when land in that sefer was not as expensive as it is today, and there weren’t that many houses and shops as there are today.

    Anyways, this priest then organized a community fund raising for the initial building of the church. Then they built a humble church that could not even hold all its congregations; so often times most of us listened to the sermons outside on the grass as the Church gibbi was massive. Someone donated (as yesillet mels) loud speakers to be placed outside the church’s veranda for outside attendants to listen to the kidase inside.

    I grew up watching the church grow bigger and richer over the years in proportion to the growth of the relatively well off sefertegnoch moving into the neighborhood every time a new housing development was sprouting around Bole. I simply can’t believe the size and caliber of today’s Bole Medhanialem church as it was built to its current grandiose stature after I left. I still miss that church very much :-).

    Asmara and Harar are indeed wonderful places that I too would like to visit again. Some of my best childhood memories are visiting these places. Besides being my birth place, I love Harar for its old city charm, and Asmara for its whimsical nature, amazing architectures, and legendary café’s and ice cream places in those days. They are definitely worth visiting if you get the chance.

    Ato Al Sharpton sille Bunna Bettu werre yesemu letta, bunna qejiwin ayadirgegn :-). If you brew it (bunna), they will come (to drink and digest or spit out if not to taste). So one never knows :-).

    Oh well…..

  • 19. abesheet  |  December 23, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    I like Martin Lawrence as a funny one, but won’t vouch for his respectability.

    Emm.. for some reason, sistye, the only feeling Martin Lawrence ever produced in me is the feeling of irritation. I see him exactly the way I see YeDereje Ena Habten Qeld. Maybe because i prefer “nigigir lai yetemeserete Qeld” instead of “yeTegbar Qeld” which most of the time feels like an insult to my intelligence.

    I take sistus proclamation abut her sister (though I never saw her beTam yaltemechew qumena) at face value and affirm that she is more beautiful than the over-rated pouty angie who reminds me of keneferuan Tal yemtaregew seble/fetle character from one of Bealu’s book.

    I hate to sound I’m singing Sistu’s praise “BeGizewum YaleGizewum” 🙂 . But i couldn’t pass this up “ayto endalaye”. Well, I’ve seen (e), Inem dear. And she is gorgeous. As is sistu and the rest of her sisters. But it doesn’t stop there. They are all beautiful and intelligent. Which defied my expectation back then because this is how it went at our sefer: “pretty and dumb” or “smart and homely”.

  • 20. Mazzi  |  December 23, 2008 at 12:59 pm


    I actually enjoyed your descriptions of your own sefer and astedadeg (both the good and the bad), so you should be able to write your own memories while they are still fresh in your head incase you fancy writing a book someday.

    Every person has at least one book they have started in their head even if they never joined bi-errena wereqet to start actual writing. But if that is not your cup of tea, it might actually be wise to share it on Abesheet’s blog incase she or Sistu might incorporate your stories in their own books. They both have wonderful ways of paining such beautiful imagery in their writings. Always a pleasure to read.

    As for cartoons and animations, I am a hopeless case of an addict. I am almost embarrassed to admit that I have been a die hard follower of The Simpsons show on TV for as long as it has been running (going almost on two decades now!!); and watching re-runs of Family Guy cartoon on TV is my daily guilty pleasure.

    I enjoyed watching most of the classic Disney movies, and almost all the relatively newer computer animated movies by Disney, Pixar, and the like. My passion for cartoons, however, is not shared by many of my other African friends here, and in fact they often think I am wasting my time and maybe even a bit spoilt :-(. So I get amused when I find other adults, especially Africans, who also like animation movies :-).

    It is also great to meet another Pulp Fiction movie fan. I am just surprised that you liked it right away! For me, it took many years of reconsidering before we made amends.

    @ Sistu & Abesheet:

    You know, I have yet to find another Ethiopian around my age who remembers watching on ETV (around early 80’s maybe?) during the Menge erra that 70’s American sit-com TV show “The Mary Tyler Moor Show” that used to come once a week or so. Just don’t remember on what date though.

    If the show did not leave a lasting impression on me that I took with me when I crossed the oceans, I would have sworn that I made it up all in my head!! Then many many years ago, on the cable channel Nick @ Night here in the US, when they started running syndicated show of that series, I watched and followed it again like religion. Still one of my top favorite shows of all time :-). Thanks to the Internet, I can also watch it sometimes online if I choose to (

    The Cosby Show was not on ETV during the Menge erra, so I think it started after that. I loved that show for a very long time, but later on, I thought many aspects of its squeaky clean portrayal of family life and image was indeed too good to be true! At first, I liked it precisely for that reason, as my own family was far from being stable. Then I hated it for the same reason as well when I found myself gravitating to stories and movies that dealt with the kind of unstable family dynamics that I grew up in. Right now, I no longer care to watch it when it comes on TV.

    Sistu if you have the cartoon network channel on cable, trust me, it is worth revisiting Tom & Jerry cartoons. The show used to be on Saturday mornings some years back, but not sure if it is still the same. I still get a kick out of watching Tom & Jerry.

    Chris Tucker is such an animated actor/comedian, and he makes me laugh just thinking about him. His humor may not be deep, but I still like watching him. Can’t say the same for Martin Lawrence though. Everything about that guy rubs me the wrong way, and I can even go as far as saying that I can’t really stand him. Aygermim? But I think he does OK as he surfaces in major movies once in a while.

    It has been fun people, and I wish you all a great day/evening.

    Thank you Abesheet for generously sharing your Tej Bett :-).

  • 21. abesheet  |  December 23, 2008 at 1:22 pm

    But if that is not your cup of tea, it might actually be wise to share it on Abesheet’s blog incase she or Sistu might incorporate your stories in their own books.

    What an awesome idea, Mazzi. (Yes. Please. Always. Anybody.).

    I encourage everyone to blog. You can’t believe the things it makes you understand about yourself. If can’t be bothered, though, mail it to me at and I’ll make sure it goes on with your name. You don’t even have to be inspired to blog. I sometimes blog out of obligation. Because when you look for something Ethiopian online and you don’t find it, it makes you realize this is a little grateful gesture you can do for your culture/memories without having to move back home and dealing with all the beauracracy. Which is why I like that brother with the Bunna Bet 😉 although even he admits I’m his worst critique. You can’t believe how much guts it takes to voice your opinion the way he does and stand by it. He’s not perfect, true. But.. he’s atleast not copying stuff off the internet so he could keep his readers satisfied (which is always a tempting idea to me when i go to read a certain Journal and when some of my favorite posts seem to go unnoticed). So, we should atleast give him credit for that. And if you knew him the way I have come to in the last few months, you’d realizer there is more to him than what he writes on that blog. He really is a sweetheart (who could use a little humility perhaps 😉 ). I blame his look. And I blame the girls.

  • 22. sistu  |  December 23, 2008 at 7:02 pm

    Lol to all three. I think we are doing such good moral ginbata on each other that it might be hard on us to face reality once we look away from Abesheet’s house. Inem, I always find your modesty mildly amusing and extremely humbling, you seem to possess far greater knowledge/skill of things than you ever claim credit for (at least on these pages). i personally have already said that you keep me thoroughly entertained with ‘ikekina foket’-featuring writings, so don’t make me repeat myself. (show me one other place where i could have read about ikek and its source with such clarity). and thank you to all who allowed me to indulge in wild declarations about familial looks. especially those of who are doing so despite knowing better (“ayto idalaye”). you have made me properly ashamed for venturing into the subejct. aylemedegnim.

    Mazzi here is my early attempt to exercise the blessing you gave me to mefenChet with the ‘yeBole lij’ name calling: Only yeBole lij would have the geragerinet to grant such a blessing. If it were yesefere lijoch who were put in the line of fire like that, well.. Btw, I am probably not remembering the TV shows you mentioned because the good TV (without biZ-biZ) was a late addition to our household, before that yeTV neger was iskezeem.

    abesheet, I guess I may be pouncing a little too happily on the buna bet balebet (as u may have noticed ;)). i was probably just waiting for the opportunity to do it, u know my opinion on the whole subject anyways. but I think destaye wetolignal a little, so I will back off and go back to chewanet.

    Weredachubign iko about Martin Lawrence. I guess its the findata in me that liked his earlier movies and I tend to like anything that comes with his name. but i really feel you on what u r saying about yeTegbar keld. so well put.

  • 23. Mazzi  |  December 23, 2008 at 11:09 pm


    “I think we are doing such good moral ginbata on each other that it might be hard on us to face reality once we look away from Abesheet’s house.”

    Aydel? For now, Abesheet’s Bett is serving as the boxing ring corner where we go between fights to dust off ourselves, wipe down our bloody faces, spruce up with cold water, and when the bell rings, knock few times our boxing gloves, and jump right up to fights in ‘the real world.’ This is not to say fights are not allowed at Abesheet’s Bett (Aydel Abesheet? We have declared your bett a Tej Bett after all), but we like how her joint also has the boxing ring corners for recuperations if necessary :-). A Tej Bett with an in built boxing ring, now there’s an idea!

    As for Yebole Lijoch thing, geragerinetis beTam alebin, almost bordering on a bit of naiveté :-). Maybe it comes from being a wee bit sheltered (irasen iyagaleTku neww aydel?). But don’t worry, the harsh realities of immigrant/poor student life in America and a never ending series of back breaking minimum paying jobs (when they were/are available even) have given me all the crush course I needed to toughen up, and quite quickly at that! I had to defend for myself immediately upon arrival on this land on account of not having had a single relative to speak of already living in the US. “Tesasto enkwan America yegebba andd zemed enkwan endet aynorenim?!” till neber Enate bequchit when she reflected on how I had no zemed in America for many many years unlike many other Ethiopians already living here.

    I hit the ground running when I arrived I tell ya, and have not stopped since. After all the around the clock quTiTir, chaperoned limited out of the house activities, and ‘anything worth leaving the house is only school and church’ attitude for girls, my parents one qewTi qenn put me on a plane towards this direction, all on my own I might add while still in my teens, and said, “Go forth and multiply!” … In the land of milk and honey that is. On arrival however, no cows or bees in sight for my ration of milk and honey.

    Talk about being ill prepared for living on my own on this end with my sheltered self. And even now many many years later, ah this ‘land of plenty’, still remains illusive to poor disillusioned moi. I am not quite “the successful African be-America” as our friend at the Bunna Bett claims we all are, at least not in the way he meant it. But working hard I do, so by his logic, I should be competing with Bill Gates and Oprah’s wealth by now! Abiyotu legnam andd qenn mefendatu ayiqerim bemil tesfa ginn, yehew befiCHirCHir egnam eninoralen :-).


    You know for the longest time, I have been trying to figure out our Bunna Bett balebet. It is sweet of you to defend him, and he is a fellow blogger after all. I do respect anyone who runs a blog as I am very well aware of how much time, guts, consistency, and tenacity is needed to run a blog. Especially if most blog entries are based on personal experiences, opinions, and views as opposed to postings copied from other Interne sources.

    For all the memoTamoTign I do online, I so don’t have it in me to run a blog of my own at this point in my life, so I will give him that. And he does seem to enjoy the whole blogging thing, and good for him. I had never been inspired to leave a comment on his blog, however, till this little incident over the recent post. And that is because, in my opinion he sometimes lacks the kind of depth, insight, and sophistication I usually appreciate in writers in some of his posts. He can be quite bold, loud, arrogant and terribly black and white in his views and opinions in some of his posts and writings, but he sure is entitled to them!

    Oh! But Oh! Life is so so so so not lived in simple black and white but in many many fabulous shades of grey, and I am sure someday he might find that for himself. He reminds me of many many relatively new first generation immigrants from various places I have met who came looking for greener pastures on this side, and if upon their arrival they were lucky enough to have been met with relatively easier journey than others, then they start singing the “If I could do it, why can’t you?” mantra with quite the condescending attitude.

    If my crazy and unpredictable journey in my own little life has taught me anything, it is the imminent fact that sooner or later life has a way of humbling every single one of us and his number will come up some day. Till then, let him enjoy his righteous attitude (his blanket views on Abesha Setoch for eg., not to mention his latest blogs about AA’s), and he might taste a humble pie someday and actually like it :-).

    His response to those who politely opposed his one sided, and shallow, shallow (did I say shallow?) not to mention embarrassing views over his latest post about AA’s was….. and I quote….. “thanks for all the strangers who had the chance to vomit [TO VOMIT!!!] their anguish and disagreement with this post and even with (me).” And that includes yours truly’s Sistu & Moi :-). So do you wonder why I pity him? “Mts! Ayzoh yegna getta! Qoyito, qoyito, madeginna me-ott lehulum yemayqer neww. Bitniqennim, yanten yahil anizeqTim, be-ignoransachin irasachinin anawaridim, ende badge of courage niqetachinin kindachin layy anasrim. But do yo’thing yemat’gebban wondimachin” is my response to him :-). Actually, he did me a favor with his latest post. He so confirmed my spot on instinct and gut feelings about why I am not particularly crazy about his “Bunna Bett.” I have him figured out enough, and now I move on.

    What can I say … live and let live!

    “Gudd nesh alu yankober QiTel” for all the wonderful differences that makes us unique :-).


    P.S. Abesheet, I am going to start sending you my bills for all the slacking I do on line hanging out partly at your Tej Bett :-). Guilty pleasure…..

  • 24. Mazzi  |  December 23, 2008 at 11:15 pm

    “madeginna me-mott” I meant to say above… (not madeginna me-ott) 🙂

  • 25. Inem  |  December 23, 2008 at 11:50 pm

    MoralE qelal tegeneba indE? inem inde asrAand seat awradoro tejenene…dinqEm modesty. Hmmm one day, abesheet blog lai yeqesemkuten qulibiw kegeletseliN, i will try to pen more of the quntsilas, indeed when they are still fresh in my head. Otherwise I shall wait to reach the time when idmEyE yehuala marsh asgebto be memory lane siyabazneN. Have you ladies read “middle sex” by Jeffrey Eugenidis? be’ayatua character yederesew sidersibiN eyetayeN…
    I really enjoyed what the three of you wrote on bunabet (just justun kabol iske berekaw negerachihuliN) the humble me ijig kortobachihual
    The TV in our ruq gorebEt was often afflicted with black and white fenTaTa, the one in grum dinq shai bet on occasions featured only the premier league. it took a lot of qifela and welaj fugera to stay late to become “yeTefer baytewar” watching captain Kirk and spock and dream of the day we get teletransported to bolE. This happened in the club in Teyetbet, where some of the fathers fut ChiliTing meta birra. How I was glad to be a grown up to long the day Bruce and Cybil siChemaChemu lemayet. I watched moonlighting as religiously as I watched Northern exposure.
    Old habits don’t die easy indeed shulik biyE qimis Tejbet yelekefeN ahunim beyeTejbetu yazoreNal…me like a lot…hehehe well salnebarer leChar

  • 26. Ras X  |  December 24, 2008 at 7:19 am

    im all for the comedy animations. might start a collection even. As for the animations with more violence than comedy, not so much.

  • 27. abesheet  |  December 24, 2008 at 8:03 am

    Sistu and Mazzi: Thank you for seeing my point about the brother. He’s a sweetheart, really. He’s just a young sweetheart who need to see the world more.

    Inem, I always find your modesty mildly amusing and extremely humbling, you seem to possess far greater knowledge/skill of things than you ever claim credit for (at least on these pages).

    I’ve observed that and was going to comment on it only the other day, sistu. I don’t consider myself as a person who throws her weight about. Infact, my humility strikes me as a little too much sometimes (like an ill-fitting cloth). Still, compared to Inem, i might as well been the brother mentioned above.

    I wonder if you believe you genuinely don’t know much, Inem, or are trying to use it incase you have to defend yourself later 😉

    Well.. if you are serious about that, be”Pinnochio” (Walt Disney’s version) astawsegn. Have always been a fan of that one.

  • 28. Inem  |  December 24, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    Indeed I don’t know much, I have not lied so far and I have no intention of doing it in the future. I have betam wusun yehone information form here and there and it does not amount to much. At least I have lived a little while before I die blual Jim Reeves, and that is me. I dont want to pick preemptive jinijanka from Bush. I am sure you girls will notice my shortcomings before long, no need to defend myself later or now. I am all here, no less no more.

  • 29. abesheet  |  October 16, 2009 at 9:58 am

    Marge Simpson: Playboy’s latest bunny?!

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The blogger tries to think outside the box, or wonder why she sometimes can't.

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