Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Sitting On My Porch For The Last Time in 2008


Before I say anything else I want to send a special shout out to Kevin Allman of The Gambit newspaper and the Blog of New Orleans.

For the first time since 2003, I finally had a year where the good things outweighed the parts that suck. I can honestly think of only a few things that legitimately ticked me off even though I fussed about way more than that. When you add it all up 2008 was not spectacular but it was far from bad. As far as the new year goes, I won’t be making any resolutions for 2009. After 34 years I have figured out that I am pretty much the same guy since the age of 15. Anything I come up with outside of my everyday habits and vice is just an empty promise. I also won’t be making any predictions. If there’s one thing the last few years have taught me it’s that you can’t predict anything. If someone would have told me my city would have been flooded, we would have this many people home with all the obstacles or that a black man would have won the presidency I would not have believed them. I decided to list a few things I would like to see in the New Year. Some of these are very serious. Some of them might be funny but I am serious about those too.

1. I would like to see a renaissance period for the regular everyday working black man. We have some serious issues in the community but the debate and focus is usually on the extremely gifted like Barack Obama or the successful thug like Lil Wayne. The top end is extremely difficult to reach and there’s danger at the bottom end. If things are going to change the focus has to be on the value of all the brothers in the middle. There are many of them out there. They just need some spotlight so these young boys don’t think 40 hours a week for average pay is a sucker’s life. Besides, if things are going to be fixed who better than the men living amongst the problem. They need to be empowered.
2. I would like to see one year of good health for everybody and no senseless violence so I don’t have to read stories like this one and get depressed.
3. I would like to see some conscious rapper like KRS One or Paris walk on stage at a Plies concert and punch him dead in the face starting the revolution against music that celebrates the denigration of black women. A bonus would be if all black disc jockeys ban together for a boycott of all R. Kelly material. I know he was acquitted but I saw that tape and he must have a secret identical twin with keys to his house.
4. I would like to see my good karma come back as fast as the bad karma does. Bad karma is swift and so precise you can usually name the exact thing you did to cause it. Good karma takes years to get off it’s ass and repay all the good deeds.
5. I would like to see my director block access to you tube at work because it’s killing work production. I really hope one of his new years resolutions is to start reading this stuff.
6. I would like to see the safety of young black girls be a higher priority.
7. I would like to see a group of sensible people with thick skin sit down and have an open forum on race relations in the New Orleans area.
8. I would like to see AT&T combine all those commercials where people not using their service can't get a signal for an important call on a CD and sell it. The featured spot has to be when Slate Sanchez doesn’t get the call about the new blast site and becomes the news.
9. I would like to see one member of my family move back home. If I can’t get a blood relative I will accept my friend Erica who I miss just like a family member.
10. I would like to see myself take advantage of some of the new acquaintances and opportunities to socialize and get off of my sofa and from in front the computer. I have things to do every week. I just don't do them.
11. I would like to see an email from Buffie the Body saying she reads my blog all the time, thinks I am totally gifted and would like to meet me the next time she’s in New Orleans to get my autograph. (I'm only kidding. Mama, please don’t Google that name.)
12. I would like to see the end of the word "pimp" to describe anything positive. I refuse to use this word because of what it means and it should have the same status as the n-word to me. People are way too comfortable with it.
13. I would like to see enough episodes of the Boondocks so it can come on ten times a day just like The Family Guy does.
14. I would like to see Deuce McAllister go to a team that will actually let him run the ball before he retires. If Sean Payton lets Deuce go and goes 8-8 again he should be fired.
15. I would like to see at least one medical facility in New Orleans open it’s door to the public. This situation is getting a little ridiculous. If we can open the Superdome for football in less than a year’s time then we can open one of those hospital buildings.
16. I would like to see black families come to the realization that they can’t live through Barack and Michelle Obama and expect that their situations will magically correct themselves. It’s good to be proud of them and maybe use them as a guideline if you need one but you have to put in your own work at home.
17. I would like to see Maze sing We Are One at the presidential inauguration. I know the program is set already but I have to wonder if there is any American with common sense that wouldn’t expect that after all these years black people dreamed about that day the inauguration would just be a little more ethnic this time around? Shouldn't a different look to certain events be expected?
18. I would like to see more new locally owned businesses in the neighborhoods around the city. I have officially given up on the big boys. I need to give a shout out to The Black Coffee Shop on Bayou Rd. They have the old school yellow cake you get when someone has a supper at their house.
19. I would like to see the Congressional Black Caucus let Joseph Cao in if he wants to work with them. He’s not black and he beat a long standing member of the caucus. However, he represents what could possibly be the most vulnerable predominantly black district in America and the Black Caucus should do anything they can to help him if they are a legitimate group whose purpose is to help the agenda of the people.
20. I would like to see Mayor Nagin get pissed off about something related to rebuilding/reconstruction and not just show that kind of passion when someone in the media says something about his one of his employees. (This one was given to me by my co-worker and loyal friend Lawanda. I got nothing but love for ya.)
21. I would like to see the great Lil Wayne have an awakening and use his popularity to try and stop some of this violence that’s going on with his generation in his home town. I'm not blaming the music for the problem but he could bring about some change. There's thousands of young brothers walking around here that look, act, and talk just like him.
22. I would like to see an official band on all reality shows on television except for The Biggest Loser (because it actually helps people) and anything on Discovery Channel networks. Speaking of the Discovery Channel, what in the hell happened to the Biker Build Off?
23. I would like to see a merger of all these social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and the like so the same people can stop sending me invites to join some new site even though everybody is going to end up with the same people on their friendslist. Can someone please explain to me the fascination with Facebook and why some of my co-workers can’t function unless they are logged into that site for all eight hours of the work day.
24. I would like to see the recession end without gas going up higher than 1.50 again. Economic trouble is never good for anyone but I am enjoying the days of making it to work and back with a few journeys in between all week for twenty bucks. It’s funny how no one is mentioning how six months of spending all your disposable money just to get enough gas to get to work might have something to do with sales being down during the holiday season. Those gas prices changed a lot of plans in 2008.
25. Finally, I would like to see the people of my city give themselves more credit for being here and further along than we should be based on the way this recovery process has gone. The problems with crime, rebuilding and politics are obvious but never lose site of your perseverance and the dues that have been paid to keep your city alive. Personally, I had a few reasons to never step foot in this place again but I did. Instead of spending all your time feeling substandard because we are who we are and we live where we live, ask yourself this question. How many people in other places could have suffered the pain and loss we did and still had a deep love for their heritage so great they would come back and fight for it under these circumstances? I know I am biased but no one has the tribal nature and pride of a New Orleans native. I have never had a friend or a family member ever say anything negative about being from this city. They love it. It’s just very hard to live here so they don't. We are going to have a mayoral election starting in 09, the candidate I am voting for has to be someone who has the same undying love that I have for this battered and bruised place and know how to express it. There is no other way to rally the troops. Somebody has to channel that energy and things will change. The first questions of every mayoral debate should be "What do you love about this city and why in the hell would you want that job?" Anyone that is too eager to run is either so passionate about the survival of this city they are willing to give up their sanity to lead it or really wants the chance to give their well connected friends access to contracts and money they didn't have access to when the old administration was in. In 2009 we have to pay close attention to what candidates fall into the first category or the second.

How could I forget to wish, hope and pray for no major hurricanes and evacuations. The relief of not having to lay in a hotel bed while you wait for the potential destruction of your life again always makes the year sweeter.

10 comments:

MaggieB said...

I truly enjoyed reading all your thoughts regarding the New Year.

Now I have to go back into my documents and rename one of my photos to something other than "Pimpin Ain't Easy"...(smile)

Will Scott said...

Cliff,

I love reading your stuff.

Love it.

And I'm available for #7 any time.

All the best to you and yours in the new year.

Will

Leigh C. said...

Amen on #9...for ALL native New Orleanians' families.

Happy New Year!

swiftone said...

Keep sitting on that porch, and writing. I too am available for #7. Amen on many of these! And the li'l sign in code makes me thing of a "heart cry" however the french expression is... so appropriate. Health, happiness to you and yours this year.

Red said...

Happy New Year Cliff. So glad to have connected with you this year. Your blog is just one of the many many many things I love about living in New Orleans. #25 is my favorite sentiment. And put me down for #7 as well.

Red

Kevin Allman said...

Cliff: a really Happy New Year to you too. If half the things on your list came to pass, 2009 would be an outstanding year.

Still want to hang out on your porch with you sometime soon.

E.J. said...

Wow. You put a lot of thought into this. It would've taken me all of 2008 to write this. LOL

Happy New Year, man. We made it through another one.

Mark Folse said...

As usual, Sitting On My Porch is full of so much crunchy goodness that reading it over a couple of times has got to be good for ya', right up there with peas and cabbage.

Happy New Year.

blackwomenblowthetrumpet.blogspot.com said...

Hello there! {waves}

I just wanted to stop in and bring "Happy New Year!!" greetings to you!

{raised glass of sparkling cider}

Here's to another year of great blogging!

Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!
Lisa

Deb said...

Hey Cliff!

Thought I'd return the visit now that I'm kinda caught up (school starts tomorrow, so I'm sure there'll be another lull at the blog soon)!

Pretty long list there guy!!! I hope you get every one of them. And if not, at least half! :-)

And that #7? You should make it happ'n Cap'n.

I did it - and it started out much like this when I wrote Op-ed pieces for a small, South FL newspaper. I just invited the city to join me via one of my columns and just like this, the emails started coming in at work until I was overwhelmed with them.

We met every other Sunday from 2001-2003 until I moved away and a few times when I moved back nearby! It was at once painful and curative, probably the most difficult, most rewarding, most enlightening thing I've ever done!

You've got a great following Cliff. "Carpe Diem" and make some "real change" happen. Is PISAB still operating there? You could probably get some ideas from them - and then go for it!

The only thing the President-select has said with which I agree 200%, (and have been saying for a long time) is, "We are the ones we've been waiting for." Not him - US. If we'd only just think critically and believe and trust in our own *honest* opinions.

Happy Belated New Year Cliff!