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Saco-Indonesia.com - Walaupun saat ini sudah sangat jarang sekali orang menggunakan compact disc atau CD, karena HDD eksternal, flashdisk dan juga layanan cloud lebih menawarkan kapasitas lebih dan kemudahan dibanding CD.

Akan tetapi, sebelum perangkat portable tersebut ada, banyak orang yang mengandalkan CD sebagai satu-satunya perangkat penyimpanan data. Pastinya, tidak sedikit orang pernah menyimpan data penting di dalam CD.

Namun, salah satu kelemahan CD adalah apabila sudah terjadi goresan di cakramnya, maka ketika akan dibaca kembali, terkadang data-data di dalam CD tidak dapat terbaca dengan sempurna.

Lantas bagaimana cara untuk dapat mendapatkan data lama di dalam sebuah CD yang sudah memiliki goresan dan tidak terbaca lagi?

Menurut tips yang ada di How Stuff Works, memang ada beberapa cara untuk melakukannya. Akan tetapi kali ini tips yang akan diberikan adalah dengan menggunakan pasta gigi.

Dipilihnya pasta gigi sebagai sarana untuk memperbaiki CD yang telah tergores karena di dalam sebuah pasta gigi terdapat bahan khusus yang mirip dengan bahan untuk pengecatan dan polesan.

Cara kerjanya adalah dengan meratakan pasta gigi di atas goresan yang ada dan gosok gel pasta gigi tersebut sesuai dengan arah putaran pertama.

Setelah itu, biarkan beberapa saat agar mengering. Kemudian, setelah kering, Anda dapat membasuh dan menghilangkan lapisan pasta gigi tersebut dengan air dan keringkan dengan kain yang lembut.

Memang cara ini tidak ada jaminan untuk 100 persen berhasil, namun setidaknya cara ini merupakan salah satu alternatif menarik untuk dapat diterapkan di rumah atau kantor.

 

Editor : Maulana Lee

Sumber : Merdeka.com

mengambil data lama di CD yang sudah tergores

Borussia Dortmund benar-benar melakukan persiapan terbiknya untuk melawan Real Madrid, Tim Jerman Itu tampil sangat memuaskan dengan mengalahkan Real Madrid 4-1.

Dortmund Menerima Kedatangan Madrid di Signal Iduna Park dengan tenang, Kamis (25/4/2013) dini hari WIB, Alhasil empat gol dilesatkan oleh Robert Lewandowski Pada menit kedelapan, 50, 55 serta penalty di menit ke-66. Sementara satu gol Madrid, diciptakan lewat Cristiano Ronaldo di menit ke-42.

Dengan kemenangan ini Dortmund memperbesar peluangnya melaju ke babak final. Pasukan Kuning-Hitam tinggal membutuhkan hasil seri atau seandainya kalah tak kebobolan lebih dari tiga gol tanpa balas saat bertandang ke markas Madrid, di Santiago Bernabeu, pada semifinal leg kedua, pekan depan.
 

Susunan Pemain
BORUSSIA DORTMUND
R Weidenfeller (Gk); M Hummels, Piszczek (Großkreutz 83′), N Subotić,  M Schmelzer, J Błaszczykowsi (Kehl 82′) , Bender,  Gündogan (Schieber 90+2′), M Reus, M Götze, Lewandowski

REAL MADRID
Diego López (Gk); Sergio Ramos, Pepe, Fábio Coentrão, Varane, Xabi Alonso (Kaka 80′), Modrić (Di Maria 68′), Özil, Khedira, Cristiano Ronaldo, Higuaín (Benzema 68′)

MADRID KALAH LAGI, DORTMUND MUNGKIN LOLOS!!

GEMASHAFAMARWA, JAKARTA — Momentum tahun baru ini juga berselaras dengan masa liburan sekolah. Tak heran, kata dia, peminat berumrah dalam satu rombongan keluarga juga meningkat. Walau tak mengantungi data detail berapa komposisi jumlah jamaah keluarga maupun perorangan namun ia sangat yakin momentum tahun baru dan liburan sekolah memberikan kontribusi yang besar terhadap peningkatan jamaah umrah pada musim ini.

Fuad Hasan Masyur, ketua umum Asosiasi Muslim Penyelenggara Haji dan Umroh Republik Indonesia (AMPHURI) meneropong dengan penuh keyakinan, hingga tahun depan animo masyarakat untuk pergi umrah akan bisa meningkat pesat. Ia memproyeksi akan ada peningkatan sekitar 30 persen untuk jamaah umrah pada 2014. ”Peningkatan itu tentunya sudah mulai terlihat mulai Desember ini,” kata dia, baru-baru ini.

Pendapat serupa juga diaminkan oleh Baluki Ahmad, ketua umum Himpunan Penyelenggara Umroh dan Haji (Himpuh). Ia yakin jumlah jamaah yang hendak umrah pada tahun ini akan lebih banyak dibandingkan dengan tahun lalu. ”Saya memperkirakan pada 2014 ini akan bisa mencapai 800 ribu jamaah,” katanya

Peningkatan jamaah umrah ini, kata Baluki, memang sudah mulai tampak sejak Desember ini. Bulan Desember tahun ini merupakan awal dari musim umrah 2014. Hingga awal tahun depan, kata Baluki, para pengelola travel umrah sudah mengalami kebanjiran calon jamaah. Ia memprediksi peningkatan terbesar kemungkinan terjadi sekitar Juni atau saat memasuki masa liburan sekolah. ”Tak ketinggalan juga pada bulan Ramadhan, jamaah umrah akan lebih banyak lagi,” katanya.

Dengan adanya momentum tahun baru ini, Baluki dan Fuad meyakini para pengelola travel umrah tentunya sudah menyiapkan strategi memikat agar perayaan pergantian tahun menjadi lebih bermakna. ”Ini akan menjadi perayaan tahun baru yang memberi warna bagi kehidupan jamaah. Ini adalah pengalaman yang jarang didapat, tentunya,” kata Baluki menegaskan.

Sumber : http://www.gemashafamarwa.com

Baca Artikel Lainnya :ARSITEKTUR PERTAMA DALAM SEJARAH ISLAM

JAMAAH UMROH DI TAHUN 2014 MENINGKAT

Sebelum kedatangan Islam, masyarakat Arab pra-lslam atau lebih dikenal dengan Arab Jahiliyah melakukan banyak penyelewengan terhadap ajaran-ajaran Nabi Ibrahim AS Dengan maksud menghindari bulan Muharram. Di bulan itu, mereka dilarang berperang.

Masyarakat Arab Jahiliyah melakukan modifikasi terhadap sistem penanggalan mereka. Mereka menggunakan penghitungan bulan dengan sistem penggeseran, sehingga bulan Dzulhijjah bergeser ke bulan Muharram, Muharram bergeser ke Safar, dan seterusnya. Dengan begitu, pelaksanaan ibadah haji berubah-ubah setiap tahun. Jika tahun ini haji dilaksanakan pada bulan Muharram atau mereka menyebutnya Safar Awal, misalnya, maka tahun berikutnya haji dilakukan pada bulan Safar atau mereka sebut Safar Tsani, demikian seterusnya.

Pada zaman Jahiliyah, jamaah haji terbagi menjadi dua kelas sosial, yaitu masyarakat non-pedagang dan masyarakat pedagang. Jamaah haji dari kalangan pedagang harus pergi meninggalkan kampung halaman mereka satu bulan atau lebih sebelum musim haji dimulai.

Hal itu ditujukan agar mereka dapat berdagang di Pasar Ukaz selama dua puluh hari. Dari sana, mereka pindah ke Pasar Majnah dan berjualan selama sepuluh hari. Setelah tampak hilal (bulan yang muncul pada setiap tanggai satu) bulan Dzulhijjah, Pasar Majnah ditutup dan mereka bergerak ke kawasan Dzul Majaz untuk berniaga. Di tempat tersebut mereka menetap selama 8 hari. Baru pada Hari Tarwiyah (8 Dzulhijjah) mereka pergi ke Arafah untuk melakukan wukuf.

Lain halnya dengan jamaah haji pedagang, mereka bertolak dari tempat tinggal mereka pada Hari Tarwiyah dan langsung melaksanakan wukuf. Sebagian dari mereka mengerjakan wukuf di Padang Arafah dan sebagian yang lain melakukannya di Namirah, yaitu sebuah daerah yang terletak di tapal batas Tanah Haram.

Sebelum malam, mereka beranjak menuju Muzdalifah. Baru keesokan harinya para jamaah haji non-pedagang itu bergerak menuju Mina. Dari Mina, mereka akan menuju ke Makkah untuk melaksanakan thawaf.

Sejumlah suku Arab pada masa Jahiliyah menetapkan suatu aturan bagi jamaah haji yang pertama kali melakukan ritual tersebut, yaitu menanggalkan seluruh pakaian yang mereka kenakan. Alasannya, pakaian tersebut tidak suci sehingga tidak pantas dikenakan dalam ritual haji. Itu sebabnya, para jamaah haji tersebut melakukan thawaf dengan telanjang bulat.

Namun demikian, aturan tersebut hanya berlaku bagi masyarakat kelas bawah. Orang-orang yang berasal dari kelas sosial menengah ke atas diperbolehkan mengenakan pakaian selama melakukan thawaf meski mereka juga baru pertama menunaikan haji. Akan tetapi, selesai melakukan thawaf pakaian tersebut harus dibuang dan tidak boleh digunakan lagi.

Dalam rangkaian kegiatan haji yang dilakukan oleh masyarakat Arab Jahiliyah, terdapat unsur-unsur tertentu yang menyerupai tuntunan haji yang diajarkan oleh Nabi Ibrahim AS dan Ismail AS. Ini menjadi bukti bahwa masyarakat Arab Jahiliyah sebenarnya masih mempertahankan sebagian ajaran Nabi Ibrahim AS.

Sumber : http://www.jurnalhaji.com

Baca Artikel Lainnya : MENUNDA BERANGKAT HAJI, HUKUMNYA?

ARAB JAHILIYAH BERHAJI?

Dimulai dari ketidakpuasan terhadap perusahaan-perusahaan jasa pengiriman barang antar pulau via laut yang pelayanannya monoton dan lambat pada waktu itu, memerlukan waktu hingga sebulan bahkan lebih untuk berkirim barang ke luar pulau, khususnya ke Indonesia bagian timur, maka kami berusaha mencari moda angkutan yang mampu melayani dengan cepat dan tepat waktu, dengan biaya yang terjangkau, guna memenuhi tenggat dan ketepatan waktu yang bisa diandalkan.

Usaha kami masih sangat kecil dimulai sekitar medio 1994, kami bekerja sama memakai kapal-kapal penumpang yang belum terlalu diketahui oleh pemakai jasa pada saat itu. Kapal-kapal ini melayani angkutan penumpang dan juga kargo dalam jumlah terbatas, mereka melayari dengan persinggahan dibanyak pelabuhan dan kota besar di Indonesia Timur dalam skedul waktu yang ketat dan dengan kecepatan kapal yang bisa menepati jadwal tetapnya.

Kapal-kapal ini adalah milik Negara yang semuanya di operasikan oleh PT. Pelayaran Nasional Indonesia (PT. PELNI), orang awam kini menyebut “kapal putih”. Saat ini sudah 12 tahun lebih kami bermitra usaha dangan PT.PELNI, mengangkut hampir semua kebutuhan bahan pokok, barang kering (dry cargo), maupun barang basah (frozen dan fresh chilled cargo). Bahkan sejak tahun 1998 kapal-kapal PT. PELNI sudah menambah kapal-kapal baru dengan fasilitas angkutan dalam satuan container 200 feet baik dry maupun frozen/reefers container. Variasi angkutan makin komplit sejak PT.PELNI memodifikasi KM.Dobonsolo menjadi kapal pertama berkemampuan “three in one” yang bisa mengangkut penumpang, cargo container, dan kendaraan roda dua dan roda empat.

Saat ini Alois Gemilang telah menjadi perusahaan jasa angkutan yang diandalkan konsumennya di hampir semua tujuan-tujuan penting di Indonesia Timur, sering kali juga menjadi andalan perusahaan-perusahaan milik Negara dan swasta yang mengirim barang dengan prioritas tinggi, contohnya: PT. PLN, PT,TELKOM, TELKOMSEL Tbk, Hypermart Group, PT. Wonokoyo, Walls, Campina dan masih banyak lagi.

Alois Gemilang mempunyai spesialis service untuk jasa pengiriman barang antar pulau.

JASA PENGIRIMAN BARANG KARGO EKSPEDISI MURAH ANTAR PULAU KAPAL ...

Ms. Crough played the youngest daughter on the hit ’70s sitcom starring David Cassidy and Shirley Jones.

Suzanne Crough, Actress in ‘The Partridge Family,’ Dies at 52

Ms. Meadows was the older sister of Audrey Meadows, who played Alice Kramden on “The Honeymooners.”

Jayne Meadows, Actress and Steve Allen’s Wife and Co-Star, Dies at 95

Though Robin and Joan Rolfs owned two rare talking dolls manufactured by Thomas Edison’s phonograph company in 1890, they did not dare play the wax cylinder records tucked inside each one.

The Rolfses, longtime collectors of Edison phonographs, knew that if they turned the cranks on the dolls’ backs, the steel phonograph needle might damage or destroy the grooves of the hollow, ring-shaped cylinder. And so for years, the dolls sat side by side inside a display cabinet, bearers of a message from the dawn of sound recording that nobody could hear.

In 1890, Edison’s dolls were a flop; production lasted only six weeks. Children found them difficult to operate and more scary than cuddly. The recordings inside, which featured snippets of nursery rhymes, wore out quickly.

Yet sound historians say the cylinders were the first entertainment records ever made, and the young girls hired to recite the rhymes were the world’s first recording artists.

Year after year, the Rolfses asked experts if there might be a safe way to play the recordings. Then a government laboratory developed a method to play fragile records without touching them.

Audio

The technique relies on a microscope to create images of the grooves in exquisite detail. A computer approximates — with great accuracy — the sounds that would have been created by a needle moving through those grooves.

In 2014, the technology was made available for the first time outside the laboratory.

“The fear all along is that we don’t want to damage these records. We don’t want to put a stylus on them,” said Jerry Fabris, the curator of the Thomas Edison Historical Park in West Orange, N.J. “Now we have the technology to play them safely.”

Last month, the Historical Park posted online three never-before-heard Edison doll recordings, including the two from the Rolfses’ collection. “There are probably more out there, and we’re hoping people will now get them digitized,” Mr. Fabris said.

The technology, which is known as Irene (Image, Reconstruct, Erase Noise, Etc.), was developed by the particle physicist Carl Haber and the engineer Earl Cornell at Lawrence Berkeley. Irene extracts sound from cylinder and disk records. It can also reconstruct audio from recordings so badly damaged they were deemed unplayable.

“We are now hearing sounds from history that I did not expect to hear in my lifetime,” Mr. Fabris said.

The Rolfses said they were not sure what to expect in August when they carefully packed their two Edison doll cylinders, still attached to their motors, and drove from their home in Hortonville, Wis., to the National Document Conservation Center in Andover, Mass. The center had recently acquired Irene technology.

Audio

Cylinders carry sound in a spiral groove cut by a phonograph recording needle that vibrates up and down, creating a surface made of tiny hills and valleys. In the Irene set-up, a microscope perched above the shaft takes thousands of high-resolution images of small sections of the grooves.

Stitched together, the images provide a topographic map of the cylinder’s surface, charting changes in depth as small as one five-hundredth the thickness of a human hair. Pitch, volume and timbre are all encoded in the hills and valleys and the speed at which the record is played.

At the conservation center, the preservation specialist Mason Vander Lugt attached one of the cylinders to the end of a rotating shaft. Huddled around a computer screen, the Rolfses first saw the wiggly waveform generated by Irene. Then came the digital audio. The words were at first indistinct, but as Mr. Lugt filtered out more of the noise, the rhyme became clearer.

“That was the Eureka moment,” Mr. Rolfs said.

In 1890, a girl in Edison’s laboratory had recited:

There was a little girl,

And she had a little curl

Audio

Right in the middle of her forehead.

When she was good,

She was very, very good.

But when she was bad, she was horrid.

Recently, the conservation center turned up another surprise.

In 2010, the Woody Guthrie Foundation received 18 oversize phonograph disks from an anonymous donor. No one knew if any of the dirt-stained recordings featured Guthrie, but Tiffany Colannino, then the foundation’s archivist, had stored them unplayed until she heard about Irene.

Last fall, the center extracted audio from one of the records, labeled “Jam Session 9” and emailed the digital file to Ms. Colannino.

“I was just sitting in my dining room, and the next thing I know, I’m hearing Woody,” she said. In between solo performances of “Ladies Auxiliary,” “Jesus Christ,” and “Dead or Alive,” Guthrie tells jokes, offers some back story, and makes the audience laugh. “It is quintessential Guthrie,” Ms. Colannino said.

The Rolfses’ dolls are back in the display cabinet in Wisconsin. But with audio stored on several computers, they now have a permanent voice.

Ghostly Voices From Thomas Edison’s Dolls Can Now Be Heard
Children playing last week in Sandtown-Winchester, the Baltimore neighborhood where Freddie Gray was raised. One young resident called it “a tough community.”
Todd Heisler/The New York Times

Children playing last week in Sandtown-Winchester, the Baltimore neighborhood where Freddie Gray was raised. One young resident called it “a tough community.”

Hard but Hopeful Home to ‘Lot of Freddies’

Hard but Hopeful Home to ‘Lot of Freddies’

THE WRITERS ASHLEY AND JAQUAVIS COLEMAN know the value of a good curtain-raiser. The couple have co-authored dozens of novels, and they like to start them with a bang: a headlong action sequence, a blast of violence or sex that rocks readers back on their heels. But the Colemans concede they would be hard-pressed to dream up anything more gripping than their own real-life opening scene.

In the summer of 2001, JaQuavis Coleman was a 16-year-old foster child in Flint, Mich., the former auto-manufacturing mecca that had devolved, in the wake of General Motors’ plant closures, into one of the country’s most dangerous cities, with a decimated economy and a violent crime rate more than three times the national average. When JaQuavis was 8, social services had removed him from his mother’s home. He spent years bouncing between foster families. At 16, JaQuavis was also a businessman: a crack dealer with a network of street-corner peddlers in his employ.

One day that summer, JaQuavis met a fellow dealer in a parking lot on Flint’s west side. He was there to make a bulk sale of a quarter-brick, or “nine-piece” — a nine-ounce parcel of cocaine, with a street value of about $11,000. In the middle of the transaction, JaQuavis heard the telltale chirp of a walkie-talkie. His customer, he now realized, was an undercover policeman. JaQuavis jumped into his car and spun out onto the road, with two unmarked police cars in pursuit. He didn’t want to get into a high-speed chase, so he whipped his car into a church parking lot and made a run for it, darting into an alleyway behind a row of small houses, where he tossed the quarter-brick into some bushes. When JaQuavis reached the small residential street on the other side of the houses, he was greeted by the police, who handcuffed him and went to search behind the houses where, they told him, they were certain he had ditched the drugs. JaQuavis had been dealing since he was 12, had amassed more than $100,000 and had never been arrested. Now, he thought: It’s over.

But when the police looked in the bushes, they couldn’t find any cocaine. They interrogated JaQuavis, who denied having ever possessed or sold drugs. They combed the backyard alley some more. After an hour of fruitless efforts, the police were forced to unlock the handcuffs and release their suspect.

JaQuavis was baffled by the turn of events until the next day, when he received a phone call. The previous afternoon, a 15-year-old girl had been sitting in her home on the west side of Flint when she heard sirens. She looked out of the window of her bedroom, and watched a young man throw a package in the bushes behind her house. She recognized him. He was a high school classmate — a handsome, charismatic boy whom she had admired from afar. The girl crept outside and grabbed the bundle, which she hid in her basement. “I have something that belongs to you,” Ashley Snell told JaQuavis Coleman when she reached him by phone. “You wanna come over here and pick it up?”

Photo
Three of the nearly 50 works of urban fiction published by the Colemans over the last decade, often featuring drug deals, violence, sex and a brash kind of feminism.Credit Marko Metzinger

In the Colemans’ first novel, “Dirty Money” (2005), they told a version of this story. The outline was the same: the drug deal gone bad, the dope chucked in the bushes, the fateful phone call. To the extent that the authors took poetic license, it was to tone down the meet-cute improbability of the true-life events. In “Dirty Money,” the girl, Anari, and the crack dealer, Maurice, circle each other warily for a year or so before coupling up. But the facts of Ashley and JaQuavis’s romance outstripped pulp fiction. They fell in love more or less at first sight, moved into their own apartment while still in high school and were married in 2008. “We were together from the day we met,” Ashley says. “I don’t think we’ve spent more than a week apart in total over the past 14 years.”

That partnership turned out to be creative and entrepreneurial as well as romantic. Over the past decade, the Colemans have published nearly 50 books, sometimes as solo writers, sometimes under pseudonyms, but usually as collaborators with a byline that has become a trusted brand: “Ashley & JaQuavis.” They are marquee stars of urban fiction, or street lit, a genre whose inner-city settings and lurid mix of crime, sex and sensationalism have earned it comparisons to gangsta rap. The emergence of street lit is one of the big stories in recent American publishing, a juggernaut that has generated huge sales by catering to a readership — young, black and, for the most part, female — that historically has been ill-served by the book business. But the genre is also widely maligned. Street lit is subject to a kind of triple snobbery: scorned by literati who look down on genre fiction generally, ignored by a white publishing establishment that remains largely indifferent to black books and disparaged by African-American intellectuals for poor writing, coarse values and trafficking in racial stereotypes.

But if a certain kind of cultural prestige is shut off to the Colemans, they have reaped other rewards. They’ve built a large and loyal fan base, which gobbles up the new Ashley & JaQuavis titles that arrive every few months. Many of those books are sold at street-corner stands and other off-the-grid venues in African-American neighborhoods, a literary gray market that doesn’t register a blip on best-seller tallies. Yet the Colemans’ most popular series now regularly crack the trade fiction best-seller lists of The New York Times and Publishers Weekly. For years, the pair had no literary agent; they sold hundreds of thousands of books without banking a penny in royalties. Still, they have earned millions of dollars, almost exclusively from cash-for-manuscript deals negotiated directly with independent publishing houses. In short, though little known outside of the world of urban fiction, the Colemans are one of America’s most successful literary couples, a distinction they’ve achieved, they insist, because of their work’s gritty authenticity and their devotion to a primal literary virtue: the power of the ripping yarn.

“When you read our books, you’re gonna realize: ‘Ashley & JaQuavis are storytellers,’ ” says Ashley. “Our tales will get your heart pounding.”

THE COLEMANS’ HOME BASE — the cottage from which they operate their cottage industry — is a spacious four-bedroom house in a genteel suburb about 35 miles north of downtown Detroit. The house is plush, but when I visited this past winter, it was sparsely appointed. The couple had just recently moved in, and had only had time to fully furnish the bedroom of their 4-year-old son, Quaye.

In conversation, Ashley and JaQuavis exude both modesty and bravado: gratitude for their good fortune and bootstrappers’ pride in having made their own luck. They talk a lot about their time in the trenches, the years they spent as a drug dealer and “ride-or-die girl” tandem. In Flint they learned to “grind hard.” Writing, they say, is merely a more elevated kind of grind.

“Instead of hitting the block like we used to, we hit the laptops,” says Ashley. “I know what every word is worth. So while I’m writing, I’m like: ‘Okay, there’s a hundred dollars. There’s a thousand dollars. There’s five thousand dollars.’ ”

They maintain a rigorous regimen. They each try to write 5,000 words per day, five days a week. The writers stagger their shifts: JaQuavis goes to bed at 7 p.m. and wakes up early, around 3 or 4 in the morning, to work while his wife and child sleep. Ashley writes during the day, often in libraries or at Starbucks.

They divide the labor in other ways. Chapters are divvied up more or less equally, with tasks assigned according to individual strengths. (JaQuavis typically handles character development. Ashley loves writing murder scenes.) The results are stitched together, with no editorial interference from one author in the other’s text. The real work, they contend, is the brainstorming. The Colemans spend weeks mapping out their plot-driven books — long conversations that turn into elaborate diagrams on dry-erase boards. “JaQuavis and I are so close, it makes the process real easy,” says Ashley. “Sometimes when I’m thinking of something, a plot point, he’ll say it out loud, and I’m like: ‘Wait — did I say that?’ ”

Their collaboration developed by accident, and on the fly. Both were bookish teenagers. Ashley read lots of Judy Blume and John Grisham; JaQuavis liked Shakespeare, Richard Wright and “Atlas Shrugged.” (Their first official date was at a Borders bookstore, where Ashley bought “The Coldest Winter Ever,” the Sister Souljah novel often credited with kick-starting the contemporary street-lit movement.) In 2003, Ashley, then 17, was forced to terminate an ectopic pregnancy. She was bedridden for three weeks, and to provide distraction and boost her spirits, JaQuavis challenged his girlfriend to a writing contest. “She just wasn’t talking. She was laying in bed. I said, ‘You know what? I bet you I could write a better book than you.’ My wife is real competitive. So I said, ‘Yo, all right, $500 bet.’ And I saw her eyes spark, like, ‘What?! You can’t write no better book than me!’ So I wrote about three chapters. She wrote about three chapters. Two days later, we switched.”

The result, hammered out in a few days, would become “Dirty Money.” Two years later, when Ashley and JaQuavis were students at Ferris State University in Western Michigan, they sold the manuscript to Urban Books, a street-lit imprint founded by the best-selling author Carl Weber. At the time, JaQuavis was still making his living selling drugs. When Ashley got the phone call informing her that their book had been bought, she assumed they’d hit it big, and flushed more than $10,000 worth of cocaine down the toilet. Their advance was a mere $4,000.

Photo
The roots of street lit, found in the midcentury detective novels of Chester Himes and the ‘60s and ‘70s “ghetto fiction” of Iceberg Slim and Donald Goines.Credit Marko Metzinger

Those advances would soon increase, eventually reaching five and six figures. The Colemans built their career, JaQuavis says, in a manner that made sense to him as a veteran dope peddler: by flooding the street with product. From the start, they were prolific, churning out books at a rate of four or five a year. Their novels made their way into stores; the now-defunct chain Waldenbooks, which had stores in urban areas typically bypassed by booksellers, was a major engine of the street-lit market. But Ashley and JaQuavis took advantage of distribution channels established by pioneering urban fiction authors such as Teri Woods and Vickie Stringer, and a network of street-corner tables, magazine stands, corner shops and bodegas. Like rappers who establish their bona fides with gray-market mixtapes, street-lit authors use this system to circumnavigate industry gatekeepers, bringing their work straight to the genre’s core readership. But urban fiction has other aficionados, in less likely places. “Our books are so popular in the prison system,” JaQuavis says. “We’re banned in certain penitentiaries. Inmates fight over the books — there are incidents, you know? I have loved ones in jail, and they’re like: ‘Yo, your books can’t come in here. It’s against the rules.’ ”

The appeal of the Colemans’ work is not hard to fathom. The books are formulaic and taut; they deliver the expected goods efficiently and exuberantly. The titles telegraph the contents: “Diary of a Street Diva,” “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang,” “Murderville.” The novels serve up a stream of explicit sex and violence in a slangy, tangy, profane voice. In Ashley & JaQuavis’s books people don’t get killed: they get “popped,” “laid out,” get their “cap twisted back.” The smut is constant, with emphasis on the earthy, sticky, olfactory particulars. Romance novel clichés — shuddering orgasms, heroic carnal feats, superlative sexual skill sets — are rendered in the Colemans’ punchy patois.

Subtlety, in other words, isn’t Ashley & JaQuavis’s forte. But their books do have a grainy specificity. In “The Cartel” (2008), the first novel in the Colemans’ best-selling saga of a Miami drug syndicate, they catch the sights and smells of a crack workshop in a housing project: the nostril-stinging scent of cocaine and baking soda bubbling on stovetops; the teams of women, stripped naked except for hospital masks so they can’t pilfer the merchandise, “cutting up the cooked coke on the round wood table.” The subject matter is dark, but the Colemans’ tone is not quite noir. Even in the grimmest scenes, the mood is high-spirited, with the writers palpably relishing the lewd and gory details: the bodies writhing in boudoirs and crumpling under volleys of bullets, the geysers of blood and other bodily fluids.

The luridness of street lit has made it a flashpoint, inciting controversy reminiscent of the hip-hop culture wars of the 1980s and ’90s. But the street-lit debate touches deeper historical roots, reviving decades-old arguments in black literary circles about the mandate to uplift the race and present wholesome images of African-Americans. In 1928, W. E. B. Du Bois slammed the “licentiousness” of “Home to Harlem,” Claude McKay’s rollicking novel of Harlem nightlife. McKay’s book, Du Bois wrote, “for the most part nauseates me, and after the dirtier parts of its filth I feel distinctly like taking a bath.” Similar sentiments have greeted 21st-century street lit. In a 2006 New York Times Op-Ed essay, the journalist and author Nick Chiles decried “the sexualization and degradation of black fiction.” African-American bookstores, Chiles complained, are “overrun with novels that . . . appeal exclusively to our most prurient natures — as if these nasty books were pairing off back in the stockrooms like little paperback rabbits and churning out even more graphic offspring that make Ralph Ellison books cringe into a dusty corner.”

Copulating paperbacks aside, it’s clear that the street-lit debate is about more than literature, touching on questions of paternalism versus populism, and on middle-class anxieties about the black underclass. “It’s part and parcel of black elites’ efforts to define not only a literary tradition, but a racial politics,” said Kinohi Nishikawa, an assistant professor of English and African-American Studies at Princeton University. “There has always been a sense that because African-Americans’ opportunities to represent themselves are so limited in the first place, any hint of criminality or salaciousness would necessarily be a knock on the entire racial politics. One of the pressing debates about African-American literature today is: If we can’t include writers like Ashley & JaQuavis, to what extent is the foundation of our thinking about black literature faulty? Is it just a literature for elites? Or can it be inclusive, bringing urban fiction under the purview of our umbrella term ‘African-American literature’?”

Defenders of street lit note that the genre has a pedigree: a tradition of black pulp fiction that stretches from Chester Himes, the midcentury author of hardboiled Harlem detective stories, to the 1960s and ’70s “ghetto fiction” of Iceberg Slim and Donald Goines, to the current wave of urban fiction authors. Others argue for street lit as a social good, noting that it attracts a large audience that might otherwise never read at all. Scholars like Nishikawa link street lit to recent studies showing increased reading among African-Americans. A 2014 Pew Research Center report found that a greater percentage of black Americans are book readers than whites or Latinos.

For their part, the Colemans place their work in the broader black literary tradition. “You have Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, James Baldwin — all of these traditional black writers, who wrote about the struggles of racism, injustice, inequality,” says Ashley. “We’re writing about the struggle as it happens now. It’s just a different struggle. I’m telling my story. I’m telling the struggle of a black girl from Flint, Michigan, who grew up on welfare.”

Photo
The Colemans in their new four-bedroom house in the northern suburbs of Detroit.Credit Courtesy of Ashley and JaQuavis Coleman

Perhaps there is a high-minded case to be made for street lit. But the virtues of Ashley & JaQuavis’s work are more basic. Their novels do lack literary polish. The writing is not graceful; there are passages of clunky exposition and sex scenes that induce guffaws and eye rolls. But the pleasure quotient is high. The books flaunt a garish brand of feminism, with women characters cast not just as vixens, but also as gangsters — cold-blooded killers, “murder mamas.” The stories are exceptionally well-plotted. “The Cartel” opens by introducing its hero, the crime boss Carter Diamond; on page 9, a gunshot spatters Diamond’s brain across the interior of a police cruiser. The book then flashes back seven years and begins to hurtle forward again — a bullet train, whizzing readers through shifting alliances, romantic entanglements and betrayals, kidnappings, shootouts with Haitian and Dominican gangsters, and a cliffhanger closing scene that leaves the novel’s heroine tied to a chair in a basement, gruesomely tortured to the edge of death. Ashley & JaQuavis’s books are not Ralph Ellison, certainly, but they build up quite a head of steam. They move.

The Colemans are moving themselves these days. They recently signed a deal with St. Martin’s Press, which will bring out the next installment in the “Cartel” series as well as new solo series by both writers. The St. Martin’s deal is both lucrative and legitimizing — a validation of Ashley and JaQuavis’s work by one of publishing’s most venerable houses. The Colemans’ ambitions have grown, as well. A recent trilogy, “Murderville,” tackles human trafficking and the blood-diamond industry in West Africa, with storylines that sweep from Sierra Leone to Mexico to Los Angeles. Increasingly, Ashley & JaQuavis are leaning on research — traveling to far-flung settings and hitting the books in the libraries — and spending less time mining their own rough-and-tumble past.

But Flint remains a source of inspiration. One evening not long ago, JaQuavis led me on a tour of his hometown: a popular roadside bar; the parking lot where he met the undercover cop for the ill-fated drug deal; Ashley’s old house, the site of his almost-arrest. He took me to a ramshackle vehicle repair shop on Flint’s west side, where he worked as a kid, washing cars. He showed me a bathroom at the rear of the garage, where, at age 12, he sneaked away to inspect the first “boulder” of crack that he ever sold. A spray-painted sign on the garage wall, which JaQuavis remembered from his time at the car wash, offered words of warning:

WHAT EVERY YOUNG MAN SHOULD KNOW
ABOUT USING A GUN:
MURDER . . . 30 Years
ARMED ROBBERY . . . 15 Years
ASSAULT . . . 15 Years
RAPE . . . 20 Years
POSSESSION . . . 5 Years
JACKING . . . 20 YEARS

“We still love Flint, Michigan,” JaQuavis says. “It’s so seedy, so treacherous. But there’s some heart in this city. This is where it all started, selling books out the box. In the days when we would get those little $40,000 advances, they’d send us a couple boxes of books for free. We would hit the streets to sell our books, right out of the car trunk. It was a hustle. It still is.”

One old neighborhood asset that the Colemans have not shaken off is swagger. “My wife is the best female writer in the game,” JaQuavis told me. “I believe I’m the best male writer in the game. I’m sleeping next to the best writer in the world. And she’s doing the same.”

 
From T Magazine: Street Lit’s Power Couple

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