Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Mind Blowin Volume 20

On Thursday this bloc will be a full year old. I have to say it's been very therapeutic. I can actually look back and examine exactly where my mind was during certain times through the year and it might scare the hell out of me. I have truly been twisted during the past 365 days but I think I handled it pretty good. No one got shot and I didn't overdose so it couldn't have been that bad.

I think today I had the funniest and most black thing to happen to me in a long time. I went to get gas at lunch time and was talking with the lady in front of me about the prices. We both noticed the look on the guys face at the third pump that only had enough to get two dollars of glass in his truck to get to work with. Realizing that I only was saving my extra 1.50 for a cup of coffee, I gave the brother my caffeine money and the young lady did what she could so the man could get enough to drive to work and back. Times are getting rough when black people are being their brother's keeper just to get two gallons of gas. I could almost hear the theme from Good Times playing in the background.

I need to document this so I have it on record for evidence. If my eyes keep getting worse, back continues to hurt and this carpal tunnel syndrome gets to the point where I can barely hold a fork in my hand to feed myself, I am going to sue Yahoo, Black Planet, Microsoft, and Blogger for finding a way to make it a necessity for me to log into a computer somewhere everyday of my life from now on. The internet is sucking the life out of my people skills. No wonder my charisma is getting weak. All I do is type what I have to say all day and rarely talk. Starting next week, I am going to just go hang out at the free clinics, libraries, and DMV and just strike up conversations with strangers all day to get some real conversation. All I need to do is come up with a username and an alias as I'm ready to go.

I hate naming names in the blog when I am about to make fun of somebody. Since I know this person probably will never see this I am going to write it anyway. This is dedicated to my homeboy Louis I saw yesterday for the first time in years. Now I love running into any old friends from my childhood and teenage years and I was happy to see Lou alive and kicking. However, if you are 30 years old and over your identity should be defined by something more recent than your 8th grade football team. As a matter of fact, the following things should give you pride and memories but not be your reason for living.

High School Bands
Flag Girl Teams
Fraternities if you have been out of college more than 10 years
Sororities if you have been out of college more than 10 years
Little League Football
4 H Club
Any group that was called a crew, posse, or mob back in the hood.

If you are still wearing a jacket, hat, or t-shirt for any of these groups and it's not a reunion, you need to re-evaluate your life and find out what's the problem.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Drugs, Apathy, Ignorance, Fear: The New Orleans Murder Problem

If you clicked on the link below or read the headline you know that my beloved city's murder rate is now ten times the national average. While almost every major city's murder rate is falling, ours is going back up. This does not surprise me at all. As I am writing this there are 200+ murders in the city to date. I don't have the accurate count because it probably just changed a few minutes ago. The fact that some researchers fired 700 rounds in the air and it wasn't reported doesn't surprise me either. If you live here and love it like I do, news like this can only depress you. If you are a young black male(the majority of the victims) it can depress you and scare you at the same time. Of course, I am not an expert at these kind of matters but just like I said about the school board, I can't do any worse. Here is what I think the problem is and the solution.
Drugs everywhere
I could be exaggerating but it would not be a hard to believe that a third of the people in this city are on some kind of illegal drug. Drugs have taken over almost every neighborhood in this city. Lots of users equals lots of dealers and lots of dealers equals lots of competition and that's when the violence starts. There are too many adult men in this city that depend on drugs as the way to make a living. Unfortunately, violence is a bi product of that trade and many do what they have to do to survive.
Nameless, Faceless Victims
One of the reasons why the murder rate goes up and it seems like no one notices is the fact that the news coverage of the victims is so passive that no one even realizes what happened. You have to tell the truth about everything in order to bring about change. My daddy always says that when you control the media, you control what everyone sees. Whenever there is a murder in this city that doesn't involve and elderly person, a white person, or a child, it is placed somewhere in the middle of the metro section of the paper or mentioned on the news in passing. Maybe, if we act like someone shot the president when the first murder happened and make that person's life have some meaning we would take notice before the count got overwhelming. Give those young brothers laying in the streets a face like the other victims and see if that changes everybody's outlook on it. They are people too and loved by somebody.
Hopelessness and Ignorance
It's pretty sad that in a country that's spending billions of dollars in Iraq, has school systems in it that are so poor and badly run that kids 9 and 10 years old are basically giving up on life and hitting the streets. These young men simply have nothing in their life that tells them there is hope beyond what's going on around the block. Yes, they are ignorant but they were not born that way. There are no daddies, no opportunities, no education and no self worth. When you have those going on, you will always have a group of people that just don't care. Why should they? In their minds, no one has ever cared about them anyway so killing a man is no big deal.
Doing the Crime but not the Time
There are allot of killers walking around the streets of New Orleans. Many people know who they killed and why. The problem is that while someone may call and report the person, no one will come and testify against them. There are two reasons for this. The first and main reason is that people are scared to testify and the police and DA's office has done a poor job of protecting witnesses. No one really wants their neighborhood to be dangerous and have killers walking the streets preying on everybody. At the same time, no one wants to put themselves or their family in danger so they make the safe decision for themselves and be quiet. I actually think that this wouldn't be as big of a problem if people in this city actually served the time for what they did. There's too many people let out on technicalities or back door deals to think it's worth the risk of testifying only to see the same guy walking up the street six months later because the police had the wrong date on the warrant papers or something minor like that. The second and less talked about reason is something that is totally our fault as a community. We are just too close sometimes to get the heart to turn in somebody. If you have been knowing Ms. Jones for 40 years, you won't be so quick to call the police on Ms. Jones crazy grandchildren as fast as you should. As much damage as they do, we simply don't have the heart to turn in certain people. (Did I just agree with Harry Lee?)
No one really cares
There has always been a carefree charm in New Orleans that draws people here. That same care free charm has manifested itself into apathy as it relates to crime. With all the murders in the last 15 years, I still don't think most people see it as a problem affecting them unless someone they know gets killed. Outside of friends and love ones, we are not really shaken by the news of another killing unless it's a child or the elderly. The reality of it is that in some cases people are happy the victim is dead because more than not they are usually responsible for allot of death and crime themselves.
Sometime else that bugs me is that I watch all these national news shows and read all these magazines and newspapers and I never see all these media hogging black leaders expressing any outrage for the state of a city that is one of if the most predominately black in the nation. I guess we don't have enough money or influence for Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson to come and find out why the school system and murder rate is as bad as they are. I figured out a long time ago that for better or worse the poor and working class of New Orleans is on their own. We got to get it all turned around on our own.

Coming Soon.............Part 2 The Solutions

N.O. murder rate is 10 times national average

WWLTV.com | News for New Orleans, Louisiana | Local News

I will speak my peace on this later.................

triplexgoldteeth.com- Spinning teeth page 1

The day I see someone with this in their mouth is the day I pack up and move to Japan. I will not want to be an African Amercian anymore. I mean the rims are bad enough. Why does being from the hood have to mean you are tacky? You know who they had in mind when they made this junk. The first time the commercial airs during 106 & Park it is all over. Kids all over America will be cutting up their lips and gums trying to make their teeth spin.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Cliff's Tripping

As I sit here looking out at the rain...............

  • Family is the most dangerous people when it comes to matters of the heart. Not only can they hurt you more, but you will let it happen over and over.
  • My only real regret in life is not going to Tuskegee when I really wanted to go. It bothers me still because the reason I didn't go was fear.
  • Nothing pisses me off more than someone or something not being what they have been portraying themselves to be.
  • The one thing I wish I could do that I probably never will is play the piano and a guitar. I have no musical ability whatsoever.
  • Life is easier to deal with when you realize that some people are so screwed up before your paths cross that it doesn't matter what you do. They will never be happy anyway.
  • It doesn't matter what I say or complain about. When it's all said and done, the only reason for me not fulfilling my potential is my laziness and fear of failure. Things would be different with more effort.
  • After you have a daughter, strippers in the club make you more sad than they do excited.
  • I know it was not good for me to drink everyday and I haven't been but honestly.......Crown Royal taste better than water.
  • We have created a culture of excuses that assures the next generation of our children will be totally comfortable with being failures and dependent on us to take care of them.
  • People are always talking about eating healthy. I went to the store and all the healthy food cost twice as much as the toxic, poison, and fattening stuff. Good health belongs to the rich. A mother of five working two jobs is not counting carbs when she goes to the store.
  • If I was a rapper, my name would be Big Cliff a.k.a The Black Super Hero.
  • If I had to choose one profession I think I would be a wrestler and my name would be The Hammer.
  • I can't figure out why I keep having these visions of being a child again. When I think about the past I realize that I didn't really like allot of other children as a child and can't stand most of them now.
  • Never tell a woman you love her just to get in her pants unless you are prepared to deal with her feelings afterward.
  • While I was out playing basketball and ran into someone from my past. I started thinking that as complicated life's journey is, the entire course of it can be changed by something as quick as one missed phone call or forgetting to make one. We spend allot of time thinking about the big decisions in life but the smaller events that we don't pay attention to can change everything.
  • No man should ever want a woman to love him just for him in his present form. Every man should want a woman that wants him to recognize his full potential for himself. Anything other than that outlook is a waste of his time and hers.
  • Woman pray all the time for the ideal man to come along. When he finally appears they have no idea what to do or how to handle it. They are just as scared of what true commitment means as men are. True commitment means letting go of your own world and creating a dual one with your partner. That is hard for everybody to do.
  • I have never cared if I was popular or not. I would much rather kick it with one real comrade than have a bunch of phony ass people around me.
  • It is real humbling to realize you are the least educated and least traveled person in your office at work.
  • I am ashamed that at 31 years old I have no idea what my credit score is at the moment.
  • If you really want to make sure that you will be happy with the person you meet tell them all the negative and aggravating things about you from the beginning and if they still hang around you have a chance.
  • If I had to make an apology to all the women I ever dated it would be an apology for all the promises I made to do something, later changing my mind but never letting them know I did.
  • Is it wrong that after 31 years I don't carry any guilt for anything I have ever done that might have upset somebody other than myself?
  • One of these days my people are going to realize that we have been glorifying and making heroes and sex symbols out of the wrong ideal. The truth of the matter is the weakest man in the world is the thug. The thug is the man that wasn't strong enough to pull himself up so he gave in and did the bidding of the enemy by killing and terrorizing his own people. They have infiltrated neighborhoods the klu klux klan never could have. We have labeled them soldiers when in reality they are just pawns in the big chess game of America used to manipulate and erase the image of the honest black man. The real strength is in the man that gets up everyday and goes to a job he doesn't want to go to. He takes shit off of men that are not his equal. He tries to keep his wife satisfied, his kids clothed and fed and all the time trying to find some dignity in a world where his image is being defined by some fool with his pants by his knees and platinum teeth. Try to that for 75 years without killing somebody and then we can discuss being a soldier.

What the hell do I know about anything anyway. I will keep the rest to myself.

Editorial: Up is Down, Black is White


At the bottom of this page is an editorial by Pizzo concerning the hip hop rating system. If you like the music then read this editorial. If you don't so what.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Mind Blowing Volume 19

These are the dog days of August and it's hot as hell. I picked the best time of the year to decide to get out, play basketball and start exercising again. Running around in the Summer doesn't feel the same as it did when I was in my teens. Back then I could run around all day and night and no realize it was 100 degrees outside. Now, after about 15 minutes I am ready to go get back in the car by the air conditioner. That's what happens when you eat and drink too much for ten years straight and then try to become 19 again. I am very encouraged by the fact I haven't had a heart attack or heat stroke yet. It should be even better in a few weeks once we go from 90 degree temperatures to 80 degree temperatures. One thing about not playing basketball all the time like I used to is the way your skills evaporate and take forever to come back. It's also depressing to have a bunch of guys that smell like a blunt factory run circles around you but that will change soon.

Staffing Agencies
Staffing agencies make me sick. I took a whole day off from work to go an interview for a position I thought would double my salary. I get there and that position doesn't exist. They gave me an hour interview and skill test just to add me to their roster of potential candidates. Staffing agencies rule the IT field in New Orleans to the point where you can barely find an opening without their help. It's just really frustrating to think I wore my fake gator shoes for nothing. I won't even talk about the fact that they want you to do all this extra stuff when you get there. They want you to change your resume, take tests, and coach you on interviews without even sending you to any. It's all enough to make me love this low paying, boring, dead end job that I have now. At least I know this check will be here all the time (I hope). Who cares if I only have 20.00 to spend after I take care of everything I need to. I hope I sound aggravated because I am.

How come Bush can't meet with that lady who son died in the war?
Whatever happens to his political career because of this is deserved. He could have just met with this lady in private a few weeks ago and eased her mind. Now he can't because it's a media event and she is camped outside his ranch holding up pictures of her son while he goes fishing. If he keeps this up there will be 100 mothers outside his ranch by the weekend. He's really in trouble if the black mothers show up because they will bring the grandmothers and aunts too. Could you imagine all those ladies outside the ranch in Crawford while George is inside BBQing. This is going to be interesting to watch.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Heat and Gas

I normally don't make daily random entries but today I have to talk about the heat outside and this enormous gas price. Did the Earth move closer to the Sun and nobody told me? It has to be 100 degrees outside. It's days like this that make me glad I took the time to get enough education and have enough luck to get an office job. I wish my dad didn't have to be out there and I hope he found him some indoor jobs for the rest of the month because this is ridiculous.

Speaking of ridiculous................

I am going to keep saying this until the right person searches the net and comes across this page. If our troops are going to die to bring freedom to the Middle East the least we can do is take us a few million barrels of oil a day and bring the price of gas down. Anything over $ 1.50 a gallon for gas is too much. This makes no sense. Everybody already thinks we are there for oil anyway so lets go ahead and take it. I need some gas and energy bill relief. It's a good thing I am trying to go clean and sober for awhile because there is no way I could support my bourbon habit and get to work at the same time.

Tuesday, August 9, 2005

R.I.P. John Johnson

Mind Blowin Volume 18

Rest in Peace to John H. Johnson. He was a man that had two magazines that never made you embarrassed to be black. He passed away at 87 years old and I hope his soul is at rest. Thanks for Ebony, Jet, and the Top 25 Countdown. He didn't do too bad for a man that started his company with five hundred dollars.

I am glad the shuttle landed safely without anything going wrong. What is going on at the space center here in New Orleans? How come they can't get this foam right? If you are working out there and read this I suggest you get your resume updated just in case. I saw a example of the plates and the foam that causes all the trouble on the Daily Show and there is no way I would ride that far on the strength of that stuff.

Why are all these federal agents searching William Jefferson's personal files and still have not told him why? The man has been a public servant for 20 plus years and they are treating him like a neighborhood dealer. I hate to say it like this but I bet you they wouldn't just show up at David Vitter's house and take a bunch of stuff from his office and cars. There is a double standard when it comes to how public officials in this country are treated and it is about color. Make no mistake about it, the first black president will have to be raised in a convent full of blind nuns and have no friends at all to make it four years without getting investigated. He also better be ready to explain every party, girlfriend, donation or sexual experience he has ever had in life at any giving time. Bill Clinton had a black man for a best friend and they didn't let him get away with anything. Imagine if the brother was actually sitting in the oval office.

There is another interesting thing I am noticing around this city. For many years now people from New Orleans have been moving to cities like Atlanta, Houston, and Dallas in search of good jobs and better opportunities. There just never seemed to be any positions or openings compensating them properly for their education and training. I have been employed by a non profit organization for a year now and I am the only one on my team that was actually born and raised here. When everyone was moving out, outsiders were moving in right under their noses and taking the jobs that they swore up and down were not here. Now the reasons for why the natives weren't able to be considered for these positions is beyond me but I just think it's a shame that so many people want to move back home close to their families and don't have a chance to even compete for the jobs they rightfully deserve. New Orleans is a city that is controlled by people that don't live here or wasn't born here. Like Sandra Hester said on TV, "it's the Erleans Plantation".

I am going to close this chapter out by saying that this is a city built on custom, history and tradition. I know the school board has problems but there is absolutely no way we should have ever let Booker T. Washington School become what it is now. They are basically making it a trade school. Booker T. and a few others should always be kept up and preserved. If we can't keep those schools alive, then we need to just restructure and rename all the schools because the history means nothing.

Saturday, August 6, 2005

The Uneducated Guide to Reforming New Orleans Schools

I know what you are thinking and you are right. I have never even taken a class in education. However, judging by the condition of the public school system at the moment, I can't do any worse than the educated people have. 73 schools in my beloved city are considered failing. When you add the 50 zillion dollar budget deficit, the only way I could be worse than them is to just hand out guns on the first day to get all the kids prepared for their future careers as criminals. New Orleans is a unique place. Anybody that comes in attempting to turn these schools around will have to take into account the special circumstances than contribute to the problems. With that in mind, here are my 10 rules designed to turn around the public schools system.

1. The superintendent job should be split into two separate positions: The job of straightening out the money and test scores of this city is just too much for one person to carry out. I say you make it two positions. The academic superintendent reports to the school board and the Financial Manager reports to the city's CFO. The school board and city officials can work out the budget along with the finance manager and superintendent so theirs no confusion over who has what to spend.
2. Any Contract over 50,000 dollars must be made public before and after it is awarded: This will stop all the hook ups being giving out that drained all the money in the first place.
3. All New Orleans teachers must be able to pass the Leap or Iowa test for the grade they are teaching by at least 90%: I know this sounds crazy but it makes sense to me. A fourth grade teacher should be able to pass the 4th grade leap test by 100%. If she can't, she needs a lower grade to teach.
4. Any child suspended for fighting more than three times in one year shall be out for the year and their parents will receive a citation and fine: Because fighting at school in this city is bigger than reading. Lack of parental involvement is even bigger than the fighting.
5. A portion of the budget must be set aside each year to rebuild any school over 20 years old: I bet you I could go to my old middle school and find some gravity I put there in 1987. Appearance and surroundings are related to self esteem.
6. A portion of the budget must be set aside each year to finance music, arts, and other extra curricular programs: Because these kids would be much more excited about going to school if there was something else to look forward to other than just sitting in that chair listening to the same person talk everyday.
7. All homework and test must be signed by a parent or guardian and no reports will be issued without a parent/teacher conference: If you do not show up to pick up the first two report cards you will receive a citation and fine for that. We have to get some parental involvement.
8. After 2nd grade, all kids shall be evaluated on their behavior and placed in classes accordingly: Every generation of kids growing up in New Orleans miss loads of material because their teacher is too busy chasing some fool back to his or her seat. It may be wrong but the clowns need to be separated and placed with specially trained and well paid teachers who can handle them.
9. There should be one hour of black history, current events and conflict resolution discussion every day : Our kids need to understand who they are now, where they came from, and how to get where they want to be. I child with no hope or understanding of himself feels no need to sit there and listen while you are trying to teach them things that won't matter. Self worth fuels human beings willingness to learn.
10. Citywide dress code: New Orleans is a very territorial city. Wars break out between two groups living as close as a block away from one another. Has anyone realized how easy it is for a group of people from one school to jump on people from another with those uniforms on. I say we go to one standard color for everybody or drop the uniforms all together. It was allot easier for me to get home with my T shirt and jeans since no one knew what school I went to.

Wednesday, August 3, 2005

Hand Pounds, Hugs, and Middle Fingers

Since I can't think of anything in my life worth writing about today. I want to give some hand pounds and hugs to some of my people.

A big hug to Tara because you always say I never mention your name or acknowledge you. I am putting you first.

A hug to Big G. because I am so proud of you for hitting rock bottom and working your way back to being a good man.

Hand pounds and hugs to Cedric for your promotion. I won't say anything else because you always make stupid comments when I say something nice.

A middle finger to the state of Louisiana who can't pay teachers enough and caused my big cousin to have to move to Texas just to feel good about her career choice.

A hug to my parents because whatever I do they got to get credit.

A middle finger to Harold for not getting up from your card game to help us last weekend. I would be worried about you reading this but you wouldn't know the first thing about turning on a computer..............I still love ya though...........Jackass.

A hand pound to Kevin for hooking me up with the job interview. I won't hold it against you that it was with the staffing agencies that I hate.

A middle finger to the New Orleans Hornets for not even trying to sign Joe Johnson.

A hand pound and hug to Neecha for creating a really nice blog. The hand pound is for the blog and the hug is because I want to think I inspired it.

A hand pound and hug to Data.

A middle finger to Fran for telling me funds were coming in for a pay increase and then not even talking to me about it. Don't make me quit because I don't want to.

A hug to Yolanda if she gets her album done and a middle finger if she keeps holding back and not singing the songs the way she wants to.

A middle finger to Terrell Owens for being on every damn sports show every single night. The best part about football will be the day you retire.

A middle finger to my body for not figuring out what's causing these headaches and fixing them.

A middle finger to me for still having drinks and coffee even though my head is bothering me.

A hug to all the people that keep trying to get me to go to the doctor to see what these headaches are about. I promise I will go soon.

A hug to David for trying to deal with all your adversity like a man and not doing anything crazy.

A hug to Michelle, Jennifer, Slick, and Walter.....I don't need a reason

Finally, a Big Middle Finger for my road dog who rides with me all weekend without paying for any gas. I take him everywhere with me but as soon as he gets a neighbor with some cool connections he can't call his boy to have any fun. This is why Brian needs to move back home from Atlanta.

Tuesday, August 2, 2005

Mind Blowing Volume 17

I have been trying to write this post for the last four days and I keep deleting everything and starting over. It is very strange for me not to really have a clear idea on my mind for that long. My brain usually locks into something and then it stays there until I do something to get it out. At least there is nothing serious on my brain that is taking more time off of my 100 year life expectancy.

  • Here's a special wish for all the astronauts to come home safe. Did you see the guy floating out there yesterday to pull the foam from the belly of the ship? That man has the biggest set in the world.
  • When is someone going to get in trouble for this post Iraq war preparation? More soldiers are dying now than ever.
  • 73 schools in the city of New Orleans are considered to be failing. If you give each one of those schools and average of 200 students, you get almost 15000 potential jobless and hopeless people for the next generation. We have got to do better than that.
  • A special shout out goes to the state legislature who can find money for everything but teachers' raises. This is why all of my cousins are moving to Texas.
  • Fellas, if you are going to wear your pants down by your knees, the least you can do is wear clean boxers.
  • If you are not in shape, do not play more than 15 minutes worth of basketball. I still can't walk.
  • It is easier to get out of paying the mafia than it is to get out of your wireless plan.
  • Is it just me or does every female singer under 25 that is not named Alicia Keyes or Fantasia sound just alike. Tierra, Ciara, Ashanti, Nivea......Who can tell the difference.
  • There is not allot of things you can do for a job that are worse than going to an interview at a staffing agency. They try too hard to make you fake.
  • I am not sure if this is going to come on again but even if you don't like sports find a copy of Monday's episode of Quite Frankly hosted by Steven A. Smith on ESPN. Allen Iverson was his guest. That was the most real and honest interview and athlete has ever given on TV in my opinion.
  • I think this last thought probably should be an entire post of it's own. Between blogs , instant messenger , chat rooms, clubs, and groups; the internet is now the place for the young black working middle class voice to be heard. There's just not allot of other avenues where our voices are heard. Most of the shows on TV are catered to the real ignorant or the real rich. There is not many avenues for us paycheck making young black people outside of the internet. It's too bad that there aren't too many clubs or social places in the city to go mingle with people or your mind state. As soon as a place opens the thugs find it and it's over.