Betty Boop is an indelible icon of the Jazz Age; jazz, which developed partly out of classical music, was created by African-American artists. In in Time magazine, responding to a peculiarly tone-deaf question from a reader who wanted to know what America would look like without black people, Ralph Ellison, the author of Invisible Man , argued that America would not, could not, be America without black people.
Silly as she can be, I love Betty Boop. In her way, after all, Betty Boop — with her confident sexuality, her innocence and experience, her contradictions, her interweaving racial history — is a symbol of America. I want to believe in an America where we can acknowledge our fraught racial pasts and still influence each other to create beautiful, disquieting art, no matter who we may be — a world where we never forget our phantoms, but learn from them, all the same. The next time she sings, we should listen not just for Kane, but for the ghost behind her, who should never have been a ghost in the first place.
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From the Frying Pan into the Fire: The Story of Ocean Basket
Log in or link your magazine subscription. Account Profile. Sign Out. Tags: cut homepage lede top story betty boop baby esther fame esther jones. Most Viewed Stories. There is currently a truce between the two nations. Composed of six provinces, T'u Lung is everything Shou Lung could become but is not. The provinces are ruled by hereditary nobles who pay as little attention to the T'u Emperor as they can get away with although the real power rests with Empress Dowager Wai Locunni Eio. Taxes go unpaid, free men are enslaved, and criminals left free.
The government is corrupt on all levels, though in some rare districts a local magistrate may be somewhat honest and honorable. Poverty runs rampant throughout the nation. Unless forced to unite by some outside force in the past this has most often been an invading Shou army the nobles of T'u Lung fight incessantly among themselves.
Many of the cities and towns are now in ruins, even those which have not been abandoned have many ruined buildings within their town limits. On the other hand, the nation's corrupt, ineffective government allows neogi , Chainmen, and pirate raids unheard of access.
Only the random presence of powerful wu jen or shamans in some of the smaller villages appear as potential dangers to raiders. Many monks, temples and religious orders of the Way were persecuted in Shou Lung and they fled to the mountains. The temple militias of sohei and monks that fled there formed an alliance against the Shou and founded the nation of Tabot.
The Shou attempted invasions well into the early Kai Dynasty but had little success due to the Crystalline Warriors of Ji that protected Tabot. Centuries later, the nobles of Tabot were overthrown by a six-year-old boy called the High Lord of Oceans, and established Tabot's current theocratic government in which the clergy of the Way holds most political power in the mountainous nation. The barbarians of the Horse-Plain have tried countless times to invade their neighbors, the Shou and T'u Lung, and have been successful on a few accounts, but their victories were often short lived.
Recently though, Tuigan tribes successfully breeched the Dragonwall and devastated many of the northwestern provinces of the Shou Empire. The Horde tribes were eventually driven out and the Shou and T'u have been focusing most of their military prowess towards defending against further invasions. The name Northern Wastes often misleads people. It is, in fact, a very diverse and interesting part of Kara-Tur.
It is the land of the Snow Demon and permafrost. More is known of its southern regions than of the northern regions. Often the southern lands are called Ama Basin in honor of the great river flowing through them. There is also a large massif called Koryaz Mountains and plenty of swamps and forests.
There are several native tribes such as the Issacortae , Pazruki , and the Wu-Haltai. They differ from each other in culture and custom. The Issacorte is a closely-knit tribe, while at the same time the Wu-Haltai rarely sign alliances and remain fairly isolated. This land is home to many immigrants hailing from the Plain of Horses and elsewhere. Many smaller, less developed tribes, like the Korobokuru , call the Northern Wastes their home.
These tribes tend to be at the lowest level of development, often using stone or bronze tools and weapons. Since most of the peoples of the Northern Wastes have no written language, there is little to no written history on them. Malatra is a land predominantly covered in jungle south of T'u Lung. Three nation states claim parts of these lands which are quite different from each other and from the rest of Kara-Tur despite being descended from the same stock.
They are Purang , Laothan and the Kuong Kingdom. Territorial boundaries in these lands are largely irrelevant and many hapless adventurers and merchants have met their deaths exploring the wild rainforests. In the dense jungles, swamps and misty mountains, terrible creatures and native wild tribes that do not know the meaning of mercy can be found. In these lands, even experienced locals do not go far from the towns and cities, and none are aware of what is happening in the heart of these wild lands - which are protected by ancient and powerful magic as well as nigh-impassable terrain and dinosaurs.
The land of Kozakura was inhabited by the humans and Korobokuru a Far Eastern race of Dwarves and full of beautiful mountains, thick forests and sparkling seas. The majority of the inhabitants live on the main island of Shinkoku, but there are nearly a thousand islands surrounding it. Because Korobokkuru living in the Empire were often treated as lower class citizens while the memories of subjugation from the humans during the formation of the Empire was still fresh in the Korobokkuru's memories, many of the Korobokuru lived along the coasts, and in the inaccessible central mountains far from human settlements.
Powerful samurai ruled the land, and in theory their power devolved from the Kozakuran Emperor of the Jade Throne. For many years the position of Emperor had been a purely ceremonial office, however, and the real political power rested in the hands of the Shogun, the military commander and dictator of the nation. The nation is currently in the midst of a Byzantine civil war between various feudal factions and has not had much contact with outsiders. The official Kozakuran state religion is known as the faith of the Eight Million Gods, which involved worship of a host of animistic nature deities and spirits including a sun goddess and the Emperor of Kozakura himself, who was believed to have descended from a divine ancestry related to the sun goddess.
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There was also another popular religion called the Way of Enlightenment, which was a variation of the Shou Path of Enlightenment that was brought to Kozakura by Shou missionaries. The Kozakuran variation of this faith's name also serves as an insult to the other rival Shou religion to the Path of Enlightenment, which is known colloquially in Shou Lung as "The Way".
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The main criminal organization are called the Yakuza. Emperor Kochi first claimed the island of Wa and started his empire when the Sacred Wand and the Moonlight Arrow, the emblems of the Imperial office, were given to him by the Spirit of Wa. The Empire of Wa was the first imperial state to be established in Kara-Tur, according to Waan tradition. The island nation of Wa has much in common with Kozakura culturally, despite or perhaps because of the two nations' traditional rivalry, but was mostly inhabited by non-human races such as the Hengeyokai.
The Hengeyokai were humanoid spirit-animals who came in many forms such as rats, foxes, dogs and cats. Like Kozakura, Wa was composed of a series of islands clustered around a large central island, Tsukishima. Wa was particularly cursed by nature, as typhoons and earthquakes were not uncommon, and many of Wa's volcanoes were still active. Waan government is similar to that of Kozakura as well, as there is an Emperor whose position is largely ceremonial, and the real ruler of the nation is the Shogun, Matasuuri Nagahide.
Unlike Kozakura, however, the Shogunate of Wa is strong and vital, and in fact Wa is enjoying the longest period of peace of any nation in Kara-Tur. Peace has led to advancements in education and the arts, as well as a general increase in prosperity. The official religion of the country is a variation of the Shou Path of Enlightenment. A rigid caste-based social system ensures domestic tranquility, the distinct castes are strictly adhered to, travel is monitored by the Shogunate, and religion is regulated. The nation is rather xenophobic and contact with foreign elements is forbidden. Foreign vessels are only allowed to dock at the port of Akkaido.
Those who have adopted foreign customs and ways are oppressed, especially those who follow the recently imported Western deity, Chauntea , the Goddess of Agriculture. In fact, most officials will go out of their way to make life hard for foreigners while they stay in Wa. The nation's prosperity is limited to the nobility and the merchants, as the peasantry staggers under a dizzying array of obligations, rules, and taxes. Ironically, Wa had a good trade relationship with Shou Lung, whom the Waans were once at war with, and anyone from Wa was granted Shou citizenship if they could prove that they had Shou ancestry, since many Shou soldiers remained in Wa and intermarried with the locals after the Omi War.
Ronin and out of work bushi caused many problems in Wa since the Shogun's administrative reforms reduced the numbers of the nobility and soldiery to more reasonable levels. For Lazarides, the secret sauce was in the seafood — how fresh it was in this case, fresh and unfrozen , how it was prepared, filleted, cooked and finally presented.
If they got that right, the rest would follow. Without wine, desserts, a large menu and a big store, we needed to make sure our seafood was really, really great. It narrowed our focus and gave us a recipe we have maintained stores later. Once the Menlyn store was working and we had proven the formula, I hit the road. From the beginning we have aggressively chased success, not cash.
This has meant we have lost money along the way, but as long as I kept my eye on the ball, those losses worked out in our favour.
Chase the dream. The decision to franchise the brand was the result of one of those mistakes. At first, this worked well. The first businesses of a lot of young guys from our community were Ocean Baskets. This continued until we had around 50 stores, and then things started changing.
Many of our partners started selling their shares, moving into different fields. Instead of bringing in other partners, we hired store managers, and shrinkages and wastage skyrocketed.
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Something had to change. We sold all of our stores, including the crown jewels. We hand-picked the franchisees, starting with our existing partners and moving out from there.
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We needed people in-store who really cared about the business. It was an expensive lesson to learn, but because we kept our eye on the prize, which was to really grow the brand into an international name, it paid off. She has interviewed over entrepreneurs, senior executives, investors and subject matter experts over the course of a decade. She was the managing editor of the award-winning Entrepreneur magazine from June until January , its final print issue.
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