Thursday, November 29, 2007

Decisions to Make

This post isn’t directly about Sean Taylor. I decided to write it on the way home while listening to talk radio. I didn’t really want this kind of inspiration. I’m not going to write about the killing part. Nobody knows what happened yet. I want to talk about choices. I heard a few of Sean Taylor’s old friends and teammates talking about how he was trying to change but had a lot of negativity in his life because of his old environment. Someone even said he was frightened whenever he was in Miami.

As rough as New Orleans gets sometimes I am usually never scared. That‘s because my name doesn’t ring out in many circles. The reason for that is I made a conscious decision to not be popular. There are people who grew up blocks away from me that have no idea who I am. Me and my grandpa had a conversation one time about making decisions. He told me one time that if you make a decision and you think it’s right, all you have to do is live long enough and sooner or later what you did will make a lot of sense even to the people who didn‘t like it.

One day when I was 16 years old, a conversation started at my friend Donald’s house. There were about 7 guys out there. The subject was what we were all going to do in a few years when we were “grown“. I don’t want to play the high and mighty role so I have to say that I wasn’t the only one that had a real plan. The thing that opened my eyes was the passion and the spirit of some of my boys when they were talking about their plans to rob a dope house or how they wished a drug dealer would drop some of his product and they could find it to get their business started. Right at that moment it hit me. I had to get the hell from around there. I went inside that evening and never hung our around that corner again.

Now, don’t think I am about to say that I never talked to those guys again or how I moved away from the neighborhood and got all these smart intelligent friends. I have love for every one of those cats. When I see them it’s all good. The only difference between me and them was some intense parental involvement. I love the neighborhood. I just realized that day that I wasn’t trying to rob any drug dealers or find any dope. Some of those guys were going to be on that corner forever. They chose their path and I chose mine. I probably missed out an a few really fun parties and a few escapades with some shady young ladies but that’s ok. I’m having more fun now.

We have to start making decisions based on living well for a long time.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Prove Me Wrong Ms. Clarkson

I am trying my best not to be so negative about my city. There are a lot of good plans being announced these days. Plans around here are just like opinions. Everybody has one. Something that I can’t get on board with is Jackie Clarkson being on the city council again. I have been ranting and raving about Ms. Clarkson but I don’t know if I have done a good job of clarifying why.

Jackie Clarkson looks and acts just like my sixth grade English teacher. It’s probably her cousin or something. She’s got that same hairstyle she’s been wearing since the 60’s. She wears those DH Holmes outfits. She’s got that pompous way of talking in that New Orleans accent that implies she is always right and nothing you say makes any sense to her. It always feels like she is looking down on everyone. I can still remember my 6th grade teacher correcting the way I speak no matter how hard I tried to tone down my New Orleans accent even though her twang was worse than mine.

The point I am trying to make is that I have known people like Clarkson my entire life. She is back on the council with one goal and one goal only. That goal is to make sure that the class of people she hangs out with does not get any part of their good life disturbed. This was proven when she held up all the early trailer sites and altered the plans of thousands to save the fun of a few golfers. There were people who’s neighborhood’s were still in the dark and she wasn’t bothered at all. What makes everyone think she’s really worried about the homeless or affordable housing? New jobs don’t mean anything to this crowd either. Their kids have jobs set aside for them by the time they pass to the eight grade.

After Eddie Jordan resigned when I said he wouldn’t, my physic skills have taken a hit like Ms. Cleo. I am going to predict the next few years in city government. The French Quarter, Algiers and any non flooded neighborhood will be in good shape. All you people who are not making enough money to afford decent housing or want to sit around in public all day and not work, you better look out. Ms. Clarkson hates to see people sitting outside and she doesn’t care if you don’t have anywhere else to go. I just hope Arnold Fielkow is progressive enough to fight back the “ they can come back as long as it ain’t around me movement”. The vibe in the city is about to change. You know what the saddest part of all is? Cynthia -Willard Lewis is the exact same kind of person that Clarkson is. She’s just a few shades darker and we don’t want to admit that there is a high society of black people here too. Jackie’s crew is also less likely to steal from the government because they already own and control most business in the city anyway. I hope I am wrong again and things get better for the hood. We have already had too many years of the privileged passing around money to one another.

Monday, November 26, 2007

In Search Of Inspiration

I'm having major issues. I am in serious need of some inspiration. The news is just too damn depressing to want to write about. Jackie Clarkson got re-elected. The local media celebrated the majority white city council so much that as a black man I started to feel played. Former Councilman Oliver Thomas got sentenced to three years in prison because he didn't want to rat on anybody. He's either been listening to too much rap music or the political scene in New Orleans is just like the mafia. Nooses have been popping up all over the country and I just know one of these instances is going to lead to a scene that is going to make the Jena 6 case look like child's play. By the way, anyone who gets the beat down behind a noose deserves it. Who in the hell wants to talk about all this negative stuff? I need something to get me going.

I'm trying to stay out of the gentlemen's club because it's too close to Christmas and the iron in my blood is too low so I can't sell it to make up for the lost money. I was going to buy me some property today but when I went to the New Orleans Tax Sale website and noticed that 70% of the property was from the Lower Ninth Ward I got pissed and made some anonymous calls to city hall cussing out whoever answered the phone. I know the sale is legal in all but how about a little understanding of the situation. Isn't that like the city of New York sending someone who was parked in front of the World Trade Center a bill for an unpaid parking ticket? Maybe it's just me. It was too close to the third straight holiday without the Lower Nine in full bloom to see that junk.

I bought a book by Juan Williams that is so hard to read I feel confused when I try to get through a few pages. I even want to buy a Wii game but I have talked so much trash about men over 30 being obsessed with video games that my hypocrisy won't let me fully enjoy RAW vs. Smackdown 2008. You can actually stand up and do wrestling moves. If this would have been out when I was younger my entire teenage life would have been different. Every time the commercial comes on I get more and more drawn in. At least if the Saints were in first place I would feel a little energized. Well, at least my fried turkey didn’t burn and the doctor side my cholesterol was only borderline high. Nobody wants to hear about that junk.

If anybody out there has something to inspire me please let me know.

I got a little inspiration……………..Breez won a car. They should have given you some rims.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Free Barry Bonds!

I have understood white people being obsessed with O.J. Simpson. You have to wonder if he spent that much time around white people trying to be one how he doesn’t understand it. I never had a problem with it. I like to think realistically. If that would have been a famous white athlete that sliced up two black people we would have never stopped picketing his ass until he confessed. O.J. going to jail doesn’t bother me.

What am I bothered by is the public anger towards Barry Bonds. The sports media is obsessed with this man because he did the same thing hundreds of athletes have been doing but happened to be so talented that he smashed all the records. If you listen to sports talk radio during the day you would swear that Bobby Bonds helped plan 9/11. They act like Barry Bonds is a master chemist and invited the cream and the clear. They want him to do time in prison. They want asterisks by all of his records because he cheated even though there is no record of a positive test. The questions I have are this. Are the owners who made profit from all the games that Mark Maguire and Sammy Sosa were chest bumping and hugging Roger Maris’s family going to give that money back? What about these 45 year old pictures still throwing a baseball 90 miles per hour? Are we going to throw out every stat from 1990 until now? If the answer is yes to all of those questions then go ahead and curse Barry’s name. If not, you are all a bunch of hypocrites.

Barry’s main problem is that he doesn’t kiss the ass of mainstream media and they hate that especially when a black man does it. If treating the media with disrespect got you this kind of treatment then how did Bobby Knight coach so long? The only thing I wish Barry would have done for my enjoyment was to get to home run number 716 (passing Babe Ruth) and then retired five minutes later. That would have been awesome! I would have called in from work just to watch ESPN and see Mike Lupica have a heart attack.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Sitting On My Porch - Part II

I have been trying to think what to write about the last few days. I have read about 100 blog posts trying to be inspired. I’ll share those later. I had something in mind when I got home but that all went out the window. While I was in my bedroom getting my clothes ready for work tomorrow the phone rang. I was alerted that a car was slowly making it’s way up the street headed for our Nissan. Some kids jumped out of it while it was running when the police got behind them and the car kept rolling. If it wasn’t for the work of the good police officer that was able to slow it down it could have been a catastrophe. Thankfully it wasn’t wrecked. Have you ever tried to console a person when there car gets wrecked and it wasn’t their fault? It would have been a long night. While I was out there looking around to make sure the guys weren’t hiding in the back of my truck, the sight of that stolen car made me think about my dad. I thought about the night of my grandpa’s 88th birthday party when my jeep got stolen and me and my dad turned into the black Starsky and Hutch to go find it. How much street cred do you get for tracking down your own stolen car? If you have never drove through the Lower Ninth Ward after midnight with your daddy hunting down car thieves, you have missed something in life.

If anyone out there wants to see an example of friendship and the positive side of black men at it’s best I advise you to find out when Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel is coming on HBO again and check out the story on Ron Springs and Everson Walls. Any guy regardless of race who has a friend that they truly love should watch this story. If you want to see the worst in men watch I Love New York.

I heard on the Tom Joyner show this morning that there was a study done that showed black men’s wages over the last 30 years have went down and that our women are doing far better than we are. While I don’t dispute the accuracy of this report, I do have some questions.

How do these studies keep getting funded? Is there a bill signed into law that keeps money flowing in order to find more information to lower my self esteem?

Are they counting all the brothers that cut hair, make tattoos and cut grass? I know a cat who makes 100,000 a year doing piercing in his FEMA trailer. We might be able to close the gap with his information.

When sisters hear stuff like this does it make them feel good? If that’s true, shouldn’t they feel bad about feeling good ? We are proof divide and conquer works.

I have been hearing reports like this since I was a little boy that told me how I wasn’t going to live long, be healthy, have money or take care of my kids. Let this be an example of why when you meet most successful black men they are egotistical and arrogant assholes. They have to be to get through all of the low expectations society has for them.

I would like to ask the asshole that feels free to come to my desk and take stuff to use when I go home to at least have the decency to put everything back the way it was. I turned my fan on this morning and papers flew everywhere because someone took it, turned it on oscillating at their desk and then put it back on mine without changing it back. This is what happens when you don’t show your ignorant side at work and people get too comfortable. Tomorrow I am going to dumb my paper shredder bag all over the kitchen table if the person who keeps using it doesn’t change it.

I want to send a shot out to G and say sorry for missing the book signing. I was on vacation learning that it’s not a good idea to grow a Suge Knight beard when taking kids to a theme park. It just attracts strange attention especially when you dancing with little girls and singing the Winnie the Pooh song. I also learned I’m about 20 lbs away from the rollercoaster bars not fitting on me. I am going get the book this weekend.

Friday, November 9, 2007

I didn’t know Detective Thelonius Dukes personally. I know some good people who knew him personally. By all accounts he was a good brother . It’s a shame this man is gone after a random act of violence. He was shot trying to defend himself and his wife from a home invasion a few weeks ago and died yesterday. I want to send my condolences to Mr. Dukes and his family. The strangest thing about this whole story is the guy who was hanging out with our ex DA’s girlfriend is a suspect. Even by New Orleans standards some crazy stuff is going on. Stories like this one along with all the other senseless murders leave me in a state of confusion. The reason I am confused is the black community of New Orleans sometimes seems like one big ass ghetto. I spend too much money on bills to feel this unsafe. I know a lot of smart people with enough income to move to the suburbs and not be around this stuff all the time. We live in these neighborhoods within the city limits with limited resources, limited progress and unlimited threats from a criminal element. I shouldn’t need a pistol to walk to my truck after dark. I never get into a deep sleep because I am too busy listening for noises and watching the motion lights. I guess the thugs have me paranoid. When I lived outside of Jackson, Mississippi after Katrina I never felt like this at night.

We are the people who’s friends and family in other places call crazy. As a close friend of mine loves to say “Cliff, you need to represent the city from afar”. Times like these make it hard to disagree. My reply to that statement is always the same. What’s going to happen to the city if we all leave? Someone with good intentions has to stick around the inner city. On the other hand, how much of a cost do you have to pay for a dream that may never come true. For months after Katrina I campaigned for my parents to move back to the Lower Ninth Ward. That was being selfish. The truth of the matter is that when I ride up St. Claude Avenue to their house and think about the neighborhood they live in now, there is no way I could promote moving back to that area. You can't compare the two enviroments and hard working people should be able to go outside without looking over and around their shoulder. Maybe getting closer to me would be nice but I wouldn’t sleep if they moved back to the original spot. That makes me sad to admit. The strangest thing about our people is that element that has nothing is running away the only people that are willing to give their ass a chance. If the working and middle class black community leaves this city, the ghetto doesn’t stand a chance. They are just to ignorant to realize it. My spirit is running low. I’m ready to leave it all to the thugs and illegal immigrants. My next vacation is going to be a permanent one.

This is dedicated to Fatt who lost her brother and Tina who lost her son……and my boy Renaldo Cains who’s murder 14 years ago made me realize there was nothing cool in losing your life that young for no reason.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

This Is How It Happens

I just got back to town from vacation and it didn’t take long for something to piss me off. I would never condone hitting a woman. I am not really endorsing hitting one now. However, if anyone knows this little boy’s mama……….and his daddy for that matter, please feel free to whip their asses for me. It’s bad enough the boy was alone in the gas station with no shirt on. Neither one of his parents went down there to get the child. See, this is why police and district attorneys have nothing to do with crime. You take a sweet kid like this one and make his circumstances at home so rough that he is taking care of himself at the age of five. Then you give him a piss poor education and no guidance. Twelve years later when he is seventeen, he will be kicking in someone’s door or in a vacant building making a drug deal and everyone will make him a monster. He’s not a monster. The truth of the matter is that he never stood a chance of making it as a regular citizen. No one wants to do a damn thing about the future that he and many of these young brothers face. They just want to build billion dollar facilities to make his legal slavery as comfortable as possible until he gets stabbed on the recreation yard. Maybe his mama letting him wander into that service station might be the best thing that ever happened to him. Instead of wasting all that time worrying about Imus and Dog the Bounty Hunter, we need to figure out how to keep this stuff from happening. Where are the plans and the rally to stop this? Somebody call Bill Cosby. I’m going to the store and find out how to send this baby some clothes. I hope we can find out what happened to him since the Times Picayune put the kid on the last page of the Metro section in a small little box. If little Timmy from Metairie would have been lost and abandoned he would have had his own section in this morning's paper.