Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Verbal Gumbo #2

Rest in Peace Coretta Scott King

It's a quite a statement when the Senate confirms a judge like Mr. Alito on the same day Mrs. King passes away. It's symbolic of the direction of this country.

What is Al Sharpton fighting the Boondocks for? The Dr. King episode did absolutely nothing to disrespect Martin Luther King. In fact it was a tribute to his legacy that someone would think that if he were here, one speech could stop some of this B.S. going on.

What Mr. Sharpton needs to be worried about is the way black radio is now poisoning our young sisters and brothers' minds. 9:00 AM in the morning is too early to hear "I'm In Love with a Stripper".

Or maybe Al can come down here and help some of these families rebuild their homes.

Props to Jesse Jackson for opening up an office in New Orleans to help the recovery. It's just too bad he put Cleo Fields in charge and wiped out all legitimacy. I saw Cleo stuffing that money in his tight jeans from Edwin Edwards and you can bet the minute he tries to say something they are going to pull that out of the archives.

Why is BET producing a show that profiles Lil Kim like she is a hero for her dumb ass going to jail?

Master P has set New Orleans reputation for having rhythm all the way back to when Louis Armstrong was an infant with his performance on Dancing with the Stars. The funniest thing is when he gets mad at the judges when they insult his routine. I just hope he doesn't go off on screen.

I have already gotten in trouble for this sentiment with my friend in Cincinnati, but Jamie Foxx's special was not that good and I don't really think he can sing all that great. I admire his acting talent, the way he carries himself and the he never embarrasses the race on TV but he is not supposed to be singing duets with Stevie Wonder.

I have been trying to figure out how to explain to people that are not from new Orleans what coming back to the city this week is like. I think I got it. ...........Think of a close love one. Now imagine that love one stabbing you in the chest and hitting your mama in the head with a brick. Now imagine going back to live with that person 4 months later just to get paid.

My confidence in the recovery is really low considering that I didn't vote for any of the four people directly connected to it (councilwoman, mayor, governor or president). At least one of my candidates could have won and gave me some hope.

Observation: Ever noticed how the people with the nastiest attitudes online that can't get along with anyone and complain about everybody they meet always seem to be logged on 24 hours a day?

If Terrence Howard wins an Oscar wins the Academy Award for playing a pimp, I will go to see Brokeback Mountain twice.

Day One

Well I am back in New Orleans working. I don't want to say too much yet since it's only been a day. I can honestly say that allot is different around this place. I have been here for one whole day and the only person I saw that I know is the fool I am staying with. Its just not a good place to be in my opinion. It's just not comfortable like it used to be. You know, before Katrina, New Orleans was a real comfortable spot for people that lived here. It might not have been that clean or that organized but it always felt like you were at your mama's house. Only people from New Orleans will understand what I am talking about. Now, it feels like a strange place that I don't really know. Maybe I should go on the Westbank and see how it is over there. I am staying downtown and it is not pleasing. If it wasn't for the job and the bills and the baby I would not be here. The week may get better as it goes along.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Words From a Friend

I wanted to share this piece that was written by my friend Jennifer now living in Memphis. I think she speaks for all of us.

Sometimes...i wonder...would it just have been better to stay and drown in my home than to have to deal with living in a cruel world.
One of my nieghbors this morning....made a comment to me, that rubbed me the wrong way. Well, she's been doing this for some time now, but i've managed to ignore her up until today. She has helped me with a few rides to places here (I ruined my car evacuating the city, so I have been carless in Memphis since i've been here up until yesterday), but while she's given me rides, she taken that opportunity to question me about what benefits i may or may not be getting from agencies and whatever else she feels she needs to know about my business. She's made statements to me about not wearing a coat...that i am going to get sick and what is my problem for doing that and so on. I never really responded, just blew it off with a smile....of course, this women never thought to herself maybe this woman lost her coat in her house...but u know that was too much like right for her to think that. She sees all my kids have coats...Memphis hasnt been all that kind in assisting us here, ....the city is a greedy one, and I personally believe that it has taken alot of things that were for evacuees and kept it for themselves...so i bought my kids coats. I have no problem with that because i am supposed to provide for my kids whether the govt gives me coats or not. The mother i've always been, i always do for my kids first, i come after that...whatever they need, they come first...I have always done without things for my kids to have what they need...I felt them having coats was more of a neccessity than me having one...so i didnt get me one...until a few weeks ago when i could afford to get one for myself....i've dressed in layers to keep myself warm in the interim.
This lady saw me this morning with a coat...and yeah its a nice one...the one i lost was nice, so why shouldnt i have a nice coat...was that the reason she had to say something? Is it jealousy? I would hope not...I dont desire envy...but I am also not going to short change myself for the sake of making others feel good for me to have less than what they have or what they expect for me to have. So...anyway, the lady says hello and i say hey....and as she is getting into her car she says...."Its about time u put on a coat" and gets in her car....
Folks, yeah, she pissed me off....I didnt get ignorant...but I felt I had to put her in her place, so i walked up to her car...and tapped on her window as she was heating it up....and she rolled it down and i said..."I want u to know that, the statement u made offended me...the reason i have not had a coat was because i lost mine in the flood water and i had to buy my kids coats first before i could get one for myself...that's why i am just now wearing a coat because i am just now able to get one"....she says "oh Im sorry baby..." I smiled, and walked away.
If anyone is reading this that is not from New Orleans ...i want u to understand something and I believe I speak for everyone on this....I dont care what the govt gives us, or how many new things we aquire...even if those things are better than what we had....there is something still missing in each and everyone of us. I guess we cannot expect for u to understand it...and understand why we continued to live in an economically difficient and crime ridden city. The culture of New Orleans is like no other....the substance of it, is unexplainable. I miss sitting outside with my neighbors on the porch just talking, ...shooting the sh*t....i miss the children playing up and down the street, riding bikes, ...and the ones that had bikes, knew the ones that didnt have them so they just let thier bikes sit...and said, well , what can we play that all of us can play....? I miss those kids going inside and getting telephone cords to jump rope....and playing catch with each other....and there was no happier moment for them...then just hanging...and that's just a little bit....of every dayum thing that we had as a whole that made us happy. It dont never have to make sense to anybody...but us. And if i could turn back the hands of time today...I'd take what i had over what i have now anyday...because i feel like my life was way more abundant than now (Im in tears as i write this).
So...please people....that arent directly affected by this...think before u speak...and understand, that life isnt as superficial as u think it is.
To mah Homies from the N.O.....Stay Up!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Where does strength come from? Are you born with it or is it something you can draw on when you really need it? I had some alone time last night. I was just up on the sofa drinking some tea and thinking about everything that has happened in the last year. I have lost my godfather, grandfather and grandmother in less than 12 months. I lost my home, car, dog,...You know all that stuff already. What has surprised me the most is that with the exception of a few bad days I have still been able to laugh, joke, dance and live my life the way I like to. It hasn't been easy but I have done it. I am actually surprised myself that I haven't went crazy and done something stupid. I have let way more trivial things in the past get me down more than all of this.

I am going to give credit to two things. The first thing is that I have been raised by a group of people that have always made me feel that I was equipped to handle mature things and really be a man. I have been blessed to have all my grandparents and elders live long enough during my life to actually show me and tell me that they are proud of who and what I am as a person. There is no way I could let them down by letting circumstances out of my control keep me from going forward. They all would want me to make sure that my kids had the same support to hold on to that I had for as long as I am allowed to give it to them. Strangely, I can actually hear them telling me that in my mind.

The other reason is that contrary to what allot of people think. I am much more spiritually conscious than I let on. I will be the first to admit that I am not a biblical scholar by any stretch. When I have a question about that I ask Yolanda. I am also not a big church guy, although Neecha is probably going to hurt me when she sees me for not going like she told me to. In spite of all of that, my personal relationship with God is pretty strong. I probably could use a little assistance with my understanding of certain things but never do I not recognize the power of prayer and blessings. I just apply mine to everyday action instead of a bunch of catchy phrases.

Monday, January 23, 2006

The True Thugs of New Orleans

The other night I had a conversation with a friend of mine about going home. He made the following comment, "Man, I just hope that those ignorant ass thugs that want to shoot everybody and smoke all that dope stay away. The city will be much better if they stay where they were evacuated to." He may have a point but what about the thugs that did much more damage than any little street kid with his pants hanging low ever did. What about the politicians that could have used all the grants and government contracts to make black owned businesses successful and grow the job market but in turn spread all the money around between their family and close friends? What about all the school board members and school system employees(not the teachers, you guys are great and it takes a dedicated person to stay in New Orleans to teach)who year after year misused, stole and lost millions of dollars that the school system could have used to make education better? They are responsible for allot of the thugs you see walking around hopeless. What about the New Orleans Levee Board who obviously never inspected one damn levee in the entire city. These people have the best appointed positions in the city and didn't do anything. More than a thousand people died in the city. That's more than any "thug" ever killed in a street battle. What about all the landlords who refused to fix or improve any of their property before the storm and haven't done a damn thing to get any of it ready for people to return? I won't even mention all the crooked policemen that were shopping in everyone's house when they left. So now the issue is who really deserves to come back. Who has really done the most damage to the hood? In my opinion, I would rather have the street soldiers than a bunch of fake ass leaders. At least in the streets I know who and who not to trust.

A New Morning

Last night I went to sleep expecting to have numerous dreams about my grandmother. I slept all night, didn't have one and I am not surprised. When a love one has been missing for as long as she had been, you start to grieve long before you get the news. I am kind of glad I know now so I can do what I need to do to get her things together. On this day after her death being confirmed I am allot more mad than I am sad. I am angry because here is a poor black woman in the south that had two children by the age of 16. All she did was work 6 days a week as a maid so she could buy her own house and get out of the project. She broke the cycle of unwed teenage mothers in her family by herself. Isn't that what America is all about? Isn't that the kind of story that we are supposed to praise? Surely, she didn't think she was ever going to have to swim out of 5 to 6 feet of water in her own damn house. Now she's gone, her home is destroyed and a committee wants to turn her neighborhood into a damn park. If that's not enough to make you want to hurt somebody I don't know what is. I am not going to hurt anybody though. She wouldn't like that kind of talk. I'm going to go clean out her house, see if I can find all of her insurance and legal documents, and make sure that all of her things are in order the same way they would have been under normal circumstances. After that, I am going to keep working on getting my life in order and making sure the family is straight because that would have been her main concern with me.

Now I am not alone in this scenario. There are more than 1300 confirmed deaths and another 1500 or more people that are still missing. I have posted articles right here to show that the reason we are going through this is because those walls were supposed to hold under the level of storm we had. The question is do we deserve anything other than a FEMA trailer and free hotel room for a couple of months. Surely the nation doesn't think that every person displaced by this storm wasn't living in a slum and thinks that this was a blessing. This thing was rough. It was horrible. It was devastating and destroyed families. Anybody that said this made their life better really wasn't living in the first place. More needs to be done to rebuild the lives of battered people.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

I love you Geraldine.....Rest in Peace.

Geraldine Louvier died on August 29 2005 due to floodwaters that covered her home when the levee broke in the Lower Ninth Ward. She is survived by her two daughters Geraldine and Bernadine as well as her 6 grandchildren. Thank you for everybody that gave me prayers and hope that she was alive. Rest in Peace Grandma.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Verbal Gumbo # 1

Where do I sign up for the bad levee design law suit?

Nothing puts material things into perspective more than seeing your home gutted.

Nothing puts life and love in perspective like going into your missing grandma's house to look for her body.

Nothing brings more confusion and hope at the same time as not finding it.

The state of Texas is blaming New Orleans people for every crime since Kennedy was assassinated.

Some friends want you to listen, and some are there to listen to you. If you know the difference none of your friends will aggravate you.

What is New Orleans going to do in 2007 when 100,000 black people come back home with or without housing?

This may sound crazy but here it goes. The one thing people from New Orleans have always felt is that we had cornered the market on ignorant Negroes. After living away from home, it's good to know that ignorant Negroes grow in all 50 states.

Homesickness is a horrible thing when you can't really go back.

With all the songs about black men seeing sisters as nothing but a piece of meat and all the news of athletes kicking their woman's ass, how about some love for Antonio Davis for going into the stands and protecting his queen last night.

If there is such a thing as pride in your community, how come the smartest people the hood produces usually leave and never come back?

As a matter of fact, we even praise all the people who make it out just for the fact that they made it out.

This needs to be said: I hate Paul Wall because I feel he is imitating the most negative aspects of our people and every rapper or fan that supports him is a coon. At least Eminem acts like a white boy that just happens to hang out with black dudes. Paul Wall is the Al Josen of the new millennium.

If Martin Luther King was here he would have a meeting with the Laffy Taffy Dudes....And Mike Jones....And Lil John...And hundreds of local artists who are far more worst than anything you see on BET.

Anybody that has more money in their mouth than what their house is worth needs their ass kicked.

A cultural war is brewing below the surface in the black community. The combatants will all be under the age of 40.

Where in the Hell is?
Ce Ce Penisten
That beautiful sister from the Thriller video
Sandra from the Cosby Show
Both Lionels from the Jeffersons

Age and time are a bitch. There is absolutely nothing I believed in at 21 that I feel the exact same way about at 31.........Except for Chaka Khan.

Chaka, if you are searching for your name one night and happen to pull this up on Google, please send me an email and change my life.

Does anyone else have a hard time listening to any NWA song with Eazy E rhyming about sex?

Where is the next Donny Hathaway, Luther, Marvin?

I'm not homophobic but Brokeback Mountain is a little too much for me.

Thank you Yolanda for helping me with the title.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Mind Blowing Volume 27

I went to New Orleans yesterday and I have to ask the question. Does anyone care about the neighborhoods where my people lived? The researchers have already proved that the levees failed because the assholes built them wrong. I just posted the article. The least they could do for the citizens of the city now is spend as much money as possible to make our lives as normal as possible and to compensate the families that lost love ones. It won't bring anyone back to life but it's the right thing to do. Hurricane Katrina did more to kill my patriotism, state and civil pride in one day then any other stupid thing over 31 years.

Mayor Nagin has lost his damn mind. The man needs a break. I got an issue with Ray Nagin saying God wants New Orleans to be a chocolate city when all the chocolate neighborhoods are rotting away. It might be a chocolate city but the vanilla side is pretty comfortable right now. Honestly, I don't have any illusions of a bunch of successful black people (except for Oprah, Kevin Garnett and Master P) putting together a whole bunch of money to help "chocolate" people rebuild their lives after the storm so we are going to need some "vanilla" help. Lots of them lost allot of shit too. I think Ray just is caught in the middle of a divided stressed out city. It's his own fault for appointing a commission full of rich people and letting them suggest that we can't rebuild and come home. He should have never let that commission present that to the public while everyone is still struggling.

I saw Shaq give a Kobe a hug last night and I was glad he became the bigger man and took that step. In this day and age when black men go to heaven for stepping on someone's shoes or because some young jackass wanted to try out his new gun, it's good that two role models can let go off something that didn't kill anyone. Even if it was symbolic and Shaq really wanted to kick his ass I thought it was great. Kobe is now emotionally free to score 50 points a night for the rest of the season and get the MVP I predicted.

I wish I was the head of the FCC for about a week. I would make it a mandate that every black person under the age of 50 watch a rerun of the Boondocks episode Sunday when Martin Luther King wakes up from his coma in 2001. The speech he gives at the end is so accurate and true. The only thing wrong with it is Aaron Magruder is a cartoonist and not Colin Powell or Condeleeza Rice saying this in real life. If the Boondocks was a show with real actors instead of a cartoon it never would have made it past the first three shows. America just ain't ready for Aaron to keep it as real as he does unless they can pretend it's make believe.

Man Let Us Down Not Nature

Expert: Post-Katrina flooding would have been less severe if levees held up

08:33 AM CST on Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Dave McNamara / WWL-TV News Reporter

If all of the levee systems in the Greater New Orleans area had performed the way they were supposed to, storm surge computer models have shown most of the city would have been spared catastrophic flooding in Hurricane Katrina, according to Dr. Hassan Mashrique, a researcher at the LSU Hurricane Center.

Mashrique analyzed Katrina's storm surge. He said even if the levees had not failed, Katrina still would have topped some levees and flooded parts of New Orleans, but the difference would have been dramatic – with fewer neighborhoods under and fewer fatalities.

"There would have been minor flooding, two to three feet, in the Lower Ninth Ward. Most of the Chalmette area would have been dry,” said Mashrique.

In Mashrique’s computer model—which displayed the depth of flooding if the levees held up during the storm—Lakeview would have remained dry, including much of Chalmette. Only areas south of Chef Highway in New Orleans would have been inundated with five to six feet of water.

Katrina flattened most of the 17-foot high hurricane protection levee along the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet, sending a massive surge toward St. Bernard Parish. The model shows that if the big levee had not collapsed, water would have spilled over the levee for only a short period of time.

“…But this would have been minimal for two to three hours. So in real time, by 10 or 11 o’clock, the overtopping would have stopped and people would have turned on pumps,” Mashrique said.

If the Ninth Ward Levee holds during Katrina, the LSU computer model shows water a foot or two higher than the floodwalls spilling into one neighborhood for a few hours. Unfortunately, the levee breaches were like a dam collapsing, and the flooding that resulted was catastrophic.

“All of a sudden you have a twenty foot wall of water, like a cannon of water, if the wall held, and it was a spilling over the wall, then it was a gradual creeping of water into your house," Mashrique said.

Mashrique said levees needed to be strong enough that they do not erode and collapse, and strong enough to absorb the energy of a rapidly moving storm surge.

“It's not a location issue. It's not a dangerous place issue. It's how engineers build their difference,” he said.

Mashrique said Katrina should be a wakeup call and not the standard for levee reconstruction. And these computer graphics show just how different it might have been, if the levees hadn't failed.

The LSU Computer models also showed that flooding from Katrina's storm surge would have been much worse if the hurricane track had passed over New Orleans.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

To Quote A King...More Than Just A Dream

Our nettlesome task is to discover how to organize our strength into compelling power."

If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the host of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well."

If a man hasn't discovered something he will die for, he isn't fit to live"

"Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed."

"Discrimination is a hellhound that gnaws at Negroes in every waking moment of their lives to remind them that the lie of their inferiority is accepted as truth in the society dominating them."

"A nation or civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on an installment plan."

"It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can keep him from lynching me, and I think that's pretty important."

"Fleecy locks and black complexion

Cannot forfeit nature’s claim.

Skin may differ, but affection

Dwells in black and white the same.

Were I so tall as to reach the pole

Or to grasp at the ocean at a span,

I must be measured by my soul

The mind is the standard of the man"

Another Car Shopping Story

Saturday morning I got up and saw an ad in the paper about a car I wanted to check out. I got dressed and drove over to the dealership in question. The lady that was handling the car selling duties was really nice and worked with me the best she could. After settling on a nice affordable car, I went inside of the office with her husband that we will call "Crazy White dude". While Crazy white dude was typing up my paperwork, a gentleman that we will call "Old black dude" walked in with his daughter. The following scene played out as I was sitting in between them.

CWD: Can I help you?
OBD: I am here to talk with you about my daughter's 400.00 deposit.
CWD: I think you need to just pay me for the car.
OBD: But we don't want to car.
CWD: Look man, pay me for the motherf@@#king car! I am tired of this Sh@#! OBD: Look, there is no need to be cursing us!

At this point Crazy White Dude proceeds to pull out a 9mm pistol and stick it in the face of Old Black Dude. Now folks, I have been on the scene of too many street fights, robberies, and turf wars in the Ninth Ward in my youth to come all the way to Jackson Mississippi and get caught up in a gun battle for 400.00. The old dude and his daughter took off across the street and so did I. The next hour after that was spent giving my account to the police. I felt obligated to do it. The old gentleman was just trying to talk to the man and got a gun in his face. If the situation would have been reversed, imagine how many police would have been around to take down the brother. What kind of man would I be if I stood there and still gave this man my money after he did something like that? Needless to say I still don't have a car. That kind of thing would have never happened in New Orleans. If you pull a gun on a family in the hometown, you better be ready to use it. If not, you had better call the police yourself for your own protection. I was just starting to like this place and was thinking about staying. Now I am ready to go back to New Orleans. I just need to find a car.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Bring Back New Orleans...Just Not My Neighborhood

The city of New Orleans' Bring Back New Orleans Committee presented it's rebuilding plan today. You can read about it here. I must say it was very interesting. A couple of things caught my eye. The first thing that caught my eye was my pre- storm neighborhood falling into the "Future Park development" dots on the slide that showed the city's proposed green space. That is not real encouraging for people in New Orleans East. It is now clear to me that the secret plan will be to hope that lots of homeowners are not contacted so they can have an excuse to turn my old living room into the eight hole of the new golf course. The secret society doesn't care about New Orleans East. They stopped caring once all their friends moved to the Northshore and sold out to Section 8. The second thing that caught my eye was the area of the Lower Ninth Ward where my grandparents lived is considered an "infill area". They will probably be bought out and that land given to some republican big wig developer in the state to build apartments for all the people of St. Bernard parish that have wanted to come back to New Orleans anyway but were scared of black people. The plan claims everyone will get pre Katrina market value for their homes but with the incompetence of the assessor's office in the city we will probably get screwed that way too. It's not hard to notice that the most affluent areas of New Orleans East as well as "Little Vietnam" were not included in the green space plan. I guess Cynthia Willard Lewis who is the worst councilwoman ever, saw fit to make sure her and her friends' houses could be rebuilt once the land grab starts. Shirley Chisholm must be rolling over in her grave at this example of a black woman in public office.
Honestly, I could be ok living in an older part of the city but that is not the issue. The issue is that 50 years ago when my grandfather was looking for a place to buy some land and build a house for his family, his options were limited due to segregation, Jim Crow and the racist land selling tactics of New Orleans that still go on today in disguise. He and a whole group of hard working black men bought land that was basically in a swamp and built their houses from scratch because they had no choice. This fact alone should make the black political sector of the city work to preserve that area. 50 years later these political negro pawns that have reached the mountain top have teamed with a bunch of secret society Rex and Comus parade float riders and said that all the families from that area are second class. The argument that it is unsafe goes out of the window if anyone in St. Bernard and Lower Plaquemines(who are basically in the Gulf of Mexico) have the opportunity to rebuild. Make no mistake, this is all about a city, state, and country having no concern for a group of old houses built by a bunch of proud black men. It's bad enough the national media has already portrayed the Lower Ninth Ward as the toilet of American neighborhoods, now my own city is doing it. You know I miss my grandfather. He would have been 90 years old today. In a strange way I am actually glad he got to die peacefully sleeping in his own bed on Benton and Miro St. If he would have stuck around and cheated death for one more year, he would have had to experience seeing his house destroyed, his family separated, and being told that he could never go home again like the last 50 years didn't matter. I guess everything does happen for a reason. I'm sorry both of my grandmothers have to go through it now if both of them are still here.
All the neighborhood planning will be completed and reported by May 20, 2006. It will be on this day that I decide if the city of New Orleans is still worth living in or if it's just a symbol of disenfranchised minorities that I don't want my kids falling in love with so the same thing can happen to them when they are older. The three generations before have lost enough already. First to nature, then to the 10% of the population that actually controls everything going on. It's times like this that I wish I had a radio or a TV show to go on and rant but the FCC dislikes cussing and proud, angry, intelligent black men who tell the truth so I would probably get kicked off the air five minutes into the show. Where is Jesse, Al and Farrakhan when you really need them? Looks like we are going up against an army with a handgun in this fight. I wish Johnny Cochran was still around. At least he had the balls to fight for the common brother. If anybody reads this and gets offended, that's good. Now you know how I have felt for the past 5 months.

Car Shopping in the Hood

I have to buy a second car before the end of the month to make my New Orleans voyage every week. My budget is tight so my options are kind of limited. That requires that I take my time and make sure that I am not buying a lemon. I don't want to be stuck on I-55. Since I am not from this area I have been doing more shopping through the paper and the internet (Yashakia I know you gave me the number to your friend at the dealership and I didn't call him so I probably deserved what I got). I was searching this morning in the paper and found the perfect car. A 1997 Chevy Lumina with only 24K miles on it. I immediately called the number to make sure the car was still available and was that it definitely was. I got up, got dressed and headed out to this black owned dealership in South Jackson. Even though I have had some bad experiences, it always feels good to deal with your own people. I especially liked the place because the owner told me his family was from New Orleans and was still in the Ninth Ward during the storm. The car was in perfect condition for it's age, it ran like a champ and was owned by and elderly disabled person so there were no ghetto accessories rigged up to it. I made the deal and headed to the bank to get the cash. It took about 30 minutes for me to get from the bank and back to the car lot. Here is the thing. When I got back to the lot another gentleman was there with paperwork and the rest of his money to buy the same damn car. It turns out that this guy had already put half on the car a few days ago and was waiting for the bank to give him the rest of the money. The old dude that answered the phone and told me the car was available hid and the owner that let me test drive the car (the New Orleans dude) was inexplicably absent at the time and didn't come back the whole time I was there with the Lower Ninth Ward in me coming out more and more minute by minute. I didn't hurt the old dude even though I felt like it. He offered me another car but I told him I couldn't give him all my money after that kind of business dealing going on. I still don't have a second car. My people sure know how to test your dedication. I will end this post with a question. Why do I always have so much trouble when I do business in the hood?

Monday, January 9, 2006

Doing what I have to

I sit here today getting ready for the next chapter of the life recovery process. In the next week or two I will be heading back to New Orleans to go to work. The option of working from home like I have been doing since September is ending and the powers that be want me to return to the office. I figured I would have to go back sooner or later. If my Kingsley House trailer doesn't come through soon, I will probably be staying with my best friend Cedric. That should be fun and create the black odd couple. I am happy and sad at the same time. I am happy because I want to be home in New Orleans to watch the conspiracy to destroy what is in my opinion the most afro centric culture in America while the people are not there. I want to say I was around when 100 years of history is treated like it's nothing. I also want to get back to some kind of normal working routine. Working in your pajamas was cool at first but I like interaction with other people when I am working so I am looking forward to that. On the other hand, I don't want to spend the time during the week away from my family. Over the last few months I have really started to like being a 24/7 dad. Before Katrina, I spent the few hours in the evening with my daughter and the rest of the day I was out doing my own thing. I like getting up in the morning and making breakfast, changing diapers, giving baths and all that stuff. I like it so much that even the thought of having free time in New Orleans to get things done isn't exciting me. I plan on going back to New Orleans so I want to keep it. I just hope the seperation anxiety doesn't cause me to quit the second day back and come back to Mississippi unemployed. Sometimes we do what we have to do and not what we want to.

Thursday, January 5, 2006

Mind Blowing Volume 27

Thoughts from a Sober Mind

When I first started out after high school I had a plan A and maybe a plan B if things didn't work out. I am now on plan M and surely will run out of alphabets. I guess I will go to Greek letters like they did for the hurricanes.

I wrote about my daddy yesterday and I have to say that the way I have been dealing with all this Katrina stuff without killing someone or going on a drinking binge is in direct relation to lesson number 2.

Conspiracy Theory: The government through FEMA is purposely giving people who have a job, want to return home or had homeowners insurance a hard time and treating everyone who we know never even thought about working a day in their life like kings and queens so we can start hating them too and turn into Republicans. I am not even trying to have them take care of me. I was just asking for a little help, not for you to take care of me FEMA.

The greatest form of birth control ever created is a two year old insomniac with a love of sweets. Trust me on this. The patch, shot, pill, or the diaphragm has absolutely nothing on a two year old. Not only will you not have a chance to make any more children, you won't get close enough to catch a cold.

I intentionally turned my daughter on to the Tom and Jerry cartoon because I figured that would be a way we could both enjoy cartoons. Now all I watch is Tom and Jerry and watching as an adult is quite different. How come a cat advocate group hasn't protested this show? Tom was a street cat. I can tell you from personal experience that street cats are ruthless. Jerry really shouldn't have made it past the first episode. My grandmother had a cat named Sabrina that killed everything in her path except for humans and she probably thought about that.

5 Questions I need help with:
1. As much bragging as he does, why haven't we heard about Baby(The Birdman) doing anything for Katrina victims?
2. Why don't any of those girls on Flavor Flav's new dating show look happy?
3. Why isn't there a Crown Royal flavored water?
4. What is the proper time after seeing a new movie trailer when you should look for the bootleg?
5. Why do young black people purposely misspell words to make them look cool?

Conspiracy Theory 2: I was watching a Boondocks rerun the other day and I have to figure that if George Bush is spying on Americans, one of them has to be R Kelly. Think about this. Michael Jackson went on trial for messing with little boys and black people dropped him like a bad habit. We tried to forget everything about Mike that happened after the Off The Wall album. On the other hand, R. Kelly has been seen on tape by half the population messing with a young girl, even peeing on one and we never stopped jamming to 12 Play. What the hell is in R. Kelly's music that made us forget? Bush needs to watch this dude. R Kelly might be working on a song that will put us in a trance like the Children of the Corn. Don't you think it's strange he calls himself the Pied Piper? Get on your job George and spy on R Kelly.

Wednesday, January 4, 2006

Daddy's Day

On this day in 1950, Clifton Joseph Harris Sr. was born to Walter and Mildred Harris. He is named after his great uncle Clifton Jones. After spending the first 24 years of his life as a football player, war veteran, loving husband, gentleman and a scholar, he received his greatest gift by his first son Clifton Joseph Harris III being born who would go on to further strengthen the legacy of the Harris man. After me, he would go on to have two more sons, Walter and Jerald, and two daughters, Michelle and Jennifer. He has shared the last 36 years of his life with his lovely wife Bernadine who will cut your throat if you even think about treating him wrong. He truly is a lucky man.

I have learned many things from my daddy during my life. With all this talk about dead beat fathers and the lack of the black man in the community, I can proudly say that these words do not apply to me. For the first 24 years of my life, whenever I woke up in the morning at my parents' house he was there. He was around when I didn't even want him to be. Out of all the things I learned from my daddy, the three things that helped me the most in my life are.

1. It is just as important for a black man to be able to use his brain in every situation as it is for him to use his brawn. There are times when you have to whip some ass. There are also other times when you have to think your way to a more permanent solution. Your mine must be as strong as your body. After I was 10 years old my dad never hit me again. The talking was much more lasting than the ass whippings.......All except for one that we won't discuss.

2. The strength of a man is measured in how well he handles all situations good and bad. You have to be able to shake things off and keep moving. His favorite quote to me in the midst of all my complaining has always been "If you can wake up from it the next day, it's not that bad".

3. I never had a ballgame, speech, part in a play, book report, skate mobile to make, or anything you can think of without being able to ask him for help and he didn't drop whatever it was he was doing to make sure I was straight. Even as a man with my own house and family, I could call anytime of the day or night and he would help out. The best example of this is when I was in high school and me and my friends would hang out until the bus stopped running. I would call my dad at 1 or 2 in the morning and he would get up, drive downtown, and bring everyone home even if they didn't live in our area. That's the kind of thing a good daddy does. It even affected all the guys riding with us.

Happy birthday Daddy, I hope the food is hot and the beer is cold. I won't be there this year but this will be the last one I miss as long as we are living. Here's to my mentor, role model, my guidance, my blueprint and most of all my friend. I am proud to carry your name.

Love from your son
Clifton Joseph Harris

Tuesday, January 3, 2006

Good, Bad and Balance

I remember one day me and my friend Lisa were having a discussion about Tupac. She couldn't understand how he could sound so inspired and happy one minute and so angry and hopeless the next. I really didn't have an answer for her at the time but now I do. Sometimes circumstances in your life can lead you to be so confused about everything that it makes you angry because you can't make sense of it. I am not comparing myself to Tupac. My problems and situations at the moment are much more drastic than his was at the time in my opinion. I am saying however that for the last two years I have experienced a range of emotions as wide as you can imagine. One month I was celebrating the birth of my daughter and the next month I was being laid off from my corporate job and wondering how I would feed her. I don't need to get into all the Katrina stuff again. Some mornings I wake up, make some coffee, go outside and look around and say to myself " today is going to be a great day". I play with my daughter, sing a few songs, and call and laugh with my people. The next day I wake up, pull the cover back over my head, don't talk to anyone and keep to myself so I don't get into any fights for any little thing. I never stay really up or down for a long time. There are questions to be answered. Am I bi-polar? Is someone drugging my food? Could I collect a check from this and not work again? All jokes aside, it really bothers me sometimes. I would like to be as even keeled as possible but that process is extremely difficult at the moment. Difficult as it is, there needs to be some balance. I refuse to be angry all the time and yet I also will not allow myself to pretend that everything that has taken place has a silver lining to it. I hate to be the one to break the bad news ladies and gentlemen but there has to be bad in the world. There are three kinds of people. The first kind is the person that is constantly angry and can never find good in anything. The second is a person that thinks every single event in the world, even tragedy, is some kind of wonderful blessing no matter how many horrible it seems. Everybody else is somewhere in the middle going up and down depending on their current situation. If you can manage to stay in the last category your whole life without a nervous breakdown then you were successful.

There are beautiful things and wonderful people in this world we live in. Everyday I take the time to take notice of as many as I can. It helps you get through the rough times. There are also some bad, horrible things and lowdown people. Everyday I take the time to notice them too because to deny that they exist is cheating life out of what it really is. Life is a mixture of good and bad events mixed with good and bad people. The only control we really have in this physical form is how we react to both of them. If there is someone out there reading this that has a problem or a situation that has them down, do not be afraid to admit you are down. Admitting it doesn't mean you have to stay there. It just means that you are willing to accept life for what it is and do something about it if you can. If you can't recognize the bad times, how can you ever enjoy the good ones?

Sunday, January 1, 2006

Blog outlook for 06....New Beginnings

Well '06 is here and it couldn't have come any sooner. I wish that just changing the calendar from one year to the next would solve all of life's problems but it doesn't work that way. As of January 1, 2006, I still haven't seen my family since August and September and my grandmother is still missing. I will not dwell on that too much in this blog anymore unless something real serious happens that warrants mentioning. Working through depression is a hard thing to do when you have allot of changes in your life. I am doing the best I can with it. I am not going to be so gloomy all the time. Maybe the way to move past certain things is to focus on some other things going on. I will try to do that and not be as angry as I really feel most of the time. I can't pretend that everything is great because it's not. I also can't act like the world is over either. What I am looking for this year is some balance between being totally pissed and feeling positive. With that being said, I would like to share a poem a good friend wrote for me that pretty much sums up how I feel inside. It's an original piece so give her credit if you happen to like it and share it. Thank You Margaret.

New Beginnings
by: Margaret Blair (written for Cliff at 12:25am, 1/1/06)

A symbol of life, fluency, progress,
our sustenance; for without it, we die...
a substance so vital, it bathed us
while yet in our mother's womb...
The very make up of our bodies,
it is a part of us
it cannot part from us...

A symbol of death, hardship, regression,
the enemy, the robber of dreams...
like a thief in the night, or rather,
like a very unwelcome visitor,
it came...
Came and overtook, overwhelmed,
with insurmountable force...

An invisible power that rests in your bosom,
that keeps your head above that which stole from you...
In your eyes it lives behind the mist,
and it pushes you, keeps you going,
moving, like the fierce current that betrayed you...
but the wind is shifting, the tide is changing,
the force is moving you into a new day.

Into new beginnings.