Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sitting On My Porch Part Twenty Five

It’s Thursday night and everyone’s eyes are on the swine flu. I am not ready to put on my mask just yet since there are still no confirmed cases in Louisiana. It’s sure taking a long time to diagnose the potential cases here. My place of employment has a head start on prevention measures. There are at least 57 bottles of hand sanitizer all over the place. We are cleaning up after everything we touch in the office. My only concern so far is that you catch this thing just like the regular flu and there is no vaccination. If you get it you have to ride out the illness just like the regular strain. How come health experts already know about all these different strains of virus and don’t have medicine ready for them?

Our Vice President Joe Biden told people not to fly on commercial planes or use the subway. If you have a job and ride the subway to get to work in this volatile employment climate please remember that there are people who can’t wait for your paranoid ass to not show up to work because of the swine flu so they can run in there with a resume.

I wanted to mention this about Las Vegas earlier this week but I forgot. I wanted to tell them that if people are going to spend all the money to come to your city having 10-20 illegal aliens in 24 Hour Girls t-shirts handing out prostitution advertisements to men including ones with their spouse is not a good look.

Whether you like him or not I don’t think anyone can truly grade President Obama’s first 100 days in office. Things have been just too complicated to know if any of his ideas were good or not. If I have to name something positive I think I will go with Sojourner Truth being honored at the Capitol.

Dick Cheney just can’t let it go. Has a vice president ever done this to the new administration before? I am actually starting to believe that he was running the whole administration behind closed doors. It is really ironic that when the last president was in office no one could question anything without being accused of being unpatriotic and not supporting the troops. The whole torture argument is complicated to me because I know some of these terrorist will just kill us all and be done with it. There is no black and white to the topic. If there is no reason to believe that a threat is imminent then I say there should be no torture but if someone knows that a group has a bomb under a building somewhere in an American city and we need to find out exactly where it is, they can pull his fingers off for all I care. Find the bomb first and we can take care of the person after everybody’s safe. That’s my opinion but it’s not my job to make the decision. It’s not Dick Cheney’s job anymore either and he needs to be quiet.

If anyone knows where I can find the Life Alert commercial with Ted please send me a link. I can’t see this commercial nearly enough times.

Glenn Beck's family should really monitor his health for the next four years. He's not going to survive President Obama's first term going the way he is.

If the state approves this new Saints deal it will change my entire opinion on Tom Benson and his legacy as owner of the Saints. When you follow the NFL closely you realize that even though he says some crazy things, we would have had the San Antonio or the Albuquerque Saints a long time ago. I think I owe him a few apologies. Of course if they start the season off with a few loses it will be all his fault. I can't wait until football season starts especially after what happened this week in basketball.......

I have never been more embarrassed in a sports team wearing my city’s name than I was in the Hornets performance against Denver. Not even the worst Saints lost compared to that. I never saw the Saints lose a game where every single person on the team and the coaching staff all quit at the same time. The entire sports world challenged the fans to see whether or not they could show up and support the team. They did that and that’s how the players paid them back. I don’t know if any of the people on that team are aware of the story of this city. We might be a little dysfunctional but we don’t just take whippings without fighting back. The least someone could have done is getting ejected in one of those last two games. Show us you have some pride.

I have never posted a Keith Olbermann clip on my page before. Sometimes I think he is over the top purposely to piss off Bill O’Reilly. I have to give him some love for his Worst Person in the world last night dedicated to Congresswoman Virginia Foxx of North Carolina. I agree with this opinion 100%.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Killing The Culture Part 2 : The Myth Of The Drug Hero

And all y'all dope-dealers...
Your as bad as the po-lice- cause ya kill us
You got rich when you started slangin' dope
But you ain't built us a supermarket
So when can spend our money with the blacks
Too busy buyin' gold and Cadillacs

Ice Cube - US

When I speak about killing the culture I don’t want anyone to think I am talking strictly about the young kids that are having problems right now. They may be the latest product of the culture but by no means did they start any of this. I think this whole thing started with the assimilation of drug dealing into our community as a respected and acceptable profession. When the crack era started we made too many excuses for people selling this drug. Some of those excuses were not many jobs or opportunities were available so the brothers didn’t have a choice but to sell drugs to try to make a living. That was easy to say and believe during the Ronald Reagan era. We turned the guy who used to be an outcast figure into this anti-establishment hero that was going to beat the system and escape poverty by any means necessary. There has been a lot of money to pass through the inner city from the result of drug sales. I pose the question; what in the hell do we have to show for it? What have we gotten for so much death and destruction?

I was watching this special on the history channel about Jewish gangsters of the past. There was a time when Jewish gangsters were just as bad as the Italian mob. There were people like Bugsy Siegel and Meyer Lansky. At the end of the show one of the historians mentioned that the reason the Jewish mob lost a lot of its power was because while the older guys were running their rackets, their kids were going to top notch schools and most of them ended up having legitimate wealth and success. That leads me to my first question.

Where are the poor little hood children who are now successful people, with world class educations because their dope dealing daddies used that money to better their lives? Why do so many kids still struggle in the same ghettos that their families destroyed in the drug trade? Shouldn’t we have set up enough avenues for some kids to escape with all this money? I am not trying to sound like a hater. I’m just saying that if your dad controlled all the drugs in the Ninth Ward at one time and you can’t read, he and the drug culture failed you. When was the last time you’ve seen a group of kids in the store with their dad buying baskets of food with his drug money? How come so many sisters who had babies for these cats still on food stamps? Where are our stores owned by all these outlaw mavericks who beat the system? What did they do to keep our money in the community and change the circumstances for the next generation?

Forget about the false benefits. What about the price that’s been paid. Have we not lost thousands of dads, moms, daughters, sons, grandmas, grandpas, uncles, aunts, cousins, and close friends all in the name of the game? Didn’t the deadly rules of the drug game lead to even more kids not having their father’s present? I have a play cousin I grew up with that has three kids. All of their dads were murdered before the kids were born.

Is it not true that the crack era damaged the family hierarchy and respect factor so much that it’s been difficult to recover? You can’t fix the problem without being open about what really goes on. It’s hard to maintain the same level of respect for your elders when women who were your mom’s friends when you were a child are trying to turn tricks with you for ten dollars. That might make you uncomfortable but it is real life.

Hasn’t the need to move product forced us to accept a level of demand that meant we never properly dealt with the drug users in our community? That led to the user becoming a character to be laughed at instead of cared for which led to acceptable drug use and disease.

Hasn’t the materialism based on the idea of fast money changed the definition of manhood and masculinity in our community thus putting criminal behavior on par with everyday hard work and in some instances in higher regard? Doesn’t this make it extremely difficult to reach out to these young brothers and tell them what they are doing is wrong when at the same time the hustler gets respect, attention, popularity and female attention? At the same time, hasn’t it changed the way young men view the value of women and altered the respect level they have for the mothers of our children?

When you add it all up the years of the drug game have been a horrible mess yet strangely we still accept it. We only get bent out of shape when the violence escalates but when it calms down and contains itself within the acceptable victims it’s all good. There are a few rare situations where guys have been successful doing it and turned it into a good life but there’s probably entire neighborhoods destroyed because of it. It’s time to admit the Scarface mentally hasn’t done a damn thing for us. Hell, even Tony Montana gets killed at the end of the movie with nothing to show for it. We are glorifying the wrong things. When I was a teenager my child hood best friend’s dad ran his own company. His parents could legitimately go out and buy him anything he wanted. Because of the neighborhood we lived in, people used to assume and ask him if he was a dealer. The bad part is that for popularity purposes this wasn’t a bad thing. This kind of mentality has only gotten worse with time. That's why we have so many studio gangsters.

Happy Birthday Mr. Williams

April 29 is the birthday of my best friend and closest comrade Cedric Williams. I met Ced when I was the 11th grade and for the first six months of our friendship I don’t think he said five words to me. He would just listen to all my crazy ranting and ideas and laugh. That’s kind of what still happens now. Over the last 19 years I can truly say that there is no one on this earth I trust more than that guy. He’s my brother, my friend, and my advisor. He’s my enabler for all my dumb ideas and then my support system when they don’t work. I consider him to be irreplaceable. Plus, he’s one of the few friends I ever had my parents actually like. I love that dude and anyone who has a problem with him has a problem with me.

One of the strange things about my boy that I can’t really understand is his admiration for Bone Thugs N Harmony. I don’t know why. There is nothing thug about him at all. He can’t rap. He’s not from Cleveland. He goes to the barber every week because he’s too GQ to let his hair grow more than a centimeter. You ever took a road trip with a guy who has the entire Bone Thugs music catalog in the car? It’s not fun. Oh well, it’s his birthday not mine. I would like to dedicate this song to Cedric Williams a.k.a. Ebony Man.

It's a beautiful day in the city......I would like to dedicate this song to my boys at Samuel J. Peters Middle School circa 1987.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

An Eleven Year Old Morale Booster

I was going to post my second chapter of killing the culture today but Sheena sent me this story and it boosted my morale for the day. In the constant barrage of stories about young black men laying bloody on the pavement, it feels good to read about a young cat like this stepping up and handling a situation that should be above his capacity at that age. Stories like this make you want to work a little harder because there are probably thousands of other kids just like him that get no recognition or they don't know it yet.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Do We Have to Play One More game?

I would like to apologize to Chauncey Billups, Carmelo Anthony and the rest of the Denver Nuggets. After 30 years of being a New Orleans sports fan I know an ass whipping when I see one. I was trying to be positive even though we have a two man team. I know the series is not over and the Nuggets still have to win another game. I would like to think we are going to win the next three and shock the basketball world.

The only way that happens is if you guys stopped at Emeril's after the game and one of the cooks seasoned the BBQ shrimp with something that made the entire team sick. Other than that happening I see Chris Paul hosting a playoff watching party at his crib a little early this year.

How To Kill The Culture Part 1 : Talking to the Younger Cats

I saw a news story today that Tony Dungy is going to visit Michael Vick in prison. That’s a good thing because even though I think Mike Vick made one of the dumbest choices in history, ruined his chance at making millions and set black quarterbacks back about ten years just to keep it real with his homeboys, he is still in a position to make things right in his life with a second chance. Not many people get a second chance like the one he is going to have so I hope it goes well to set a good example.

Coach Dungy is doing the right thing for Mike Vick by going to talk to him and offer some guidance. That should work out for him provided his ears are opened. Personally speaking I have been blessed to have older men around me that were willing to offer guidance and advice. I’m not just talking about my dad and the men in my family either. I’m talking about men like Mr. C at Clark High School or my first work supervisor Marlon. I’m talking about the older cats like Mr. Henry, Mr. Baptiste, and Mr. St.Cyr or guys like Freddie Blue, Tim, Joe and my by Ron. You can’t put a price on having someone who has been there before willing to pull to the side and give you some heads up on what life is all about. I don’t want to sound like everything went perfectly because of people willing to talk to me. Men are always going to test the waters and try things regardless of what people told them. I tried a few ideas and some didn’t work out. Guidance won’t stop you from making a few mistakes. It will help you bounce back from the ones you do make and keep you from destroying yourself. It’s the support factor. As I get older and things sort themselves out, I realize now that as much as it was their responsibility to reach out to me, I still had to make the choice to listen and try to apply what they told me to my own decisions. It has to be a two way street. There is no choice of words that can circumvent what a person is going to choose to do for themselves.

You don’t have to be a coach or have a ministry like Tony Dungy. You don't have to join any organization to be effective. Not everyone is up to that kind of structure. There are enough kids in your family, around your neighborhood, at your job, or someone you know has a son or a nephew who needs that kind of thing. Real life is a daily grind and you have to be equipped with tools to deal with it. One of those tools is the truth about how things are really supposed to be as opposed to the fake thug hero crap that leads to the cemetery or the penitentiary. If Mike Vick would have had someone to talk to him before he got in this situation he might be still be quarterback of the Falcons right now.

Glad To Be Home

I’m back in the city and at work on a Monday morning. Las Vegas was cool since it was my first time going. I was there for a work conference and as usual I met some really nice people. Friday I sat and had lunch with a bunch of people including two ladies from Detroit. It seems like everyday there is some bad news about their city. As I sat there talking to them I couldn’t help notice how melancholy they were as we talked about it. I also couldn’t help notice how they didn’t seem to be blaming their own people for everything.

There was no blaming the people uptown or the people downtown. No one said that the economic problems were an “opportunity” to reshape the city. Even though these ladies had jobs, no one said the other folks needed to stop whining and get themselves together or how we should sterilize all the people who were living off the government. These ladies lived in the suburbs and talked about upset they were that their morning commute had become too easy. They wanted the traffic in the city because it meant people were there. I was just thinking to myself “Wow, people in the suburbs understanding the importance of stability in the big city….I bet these people have a hospital.” They didn’t even mention their text messaging crazy ex mayor and call him any names.

I am not saying everyone in Detroit is as caring and concerned as these ladies. I am not saying that everyone in the area I live in is negative. I’m saying that sometimes it feels like all we want to do is be pissed off with one another around here. Sometimes the situation is so severe that you should pull together. That’s why a city like Detroit will fall flat, pull together and recover two times over while we sit down here pointing fingers, watching opportunity pass us by and try to figure out who our mayor went to dinner with in 1985. I’m glad to be home.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

My Weekend Vibe......Grandma's Hands

This video is dedicated to Mildred Harris and the late Geraldine Louvier.

While I'm here, let's dedicate it to Shirley, Iola, and Ozella too. They were my aunts and not my grandmothers but they had the same reverence and I know their grandchildren feel the same way..........

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Headed to Vegas

I have a lot of things on my mind that I was going to touch on this week. Unfortunately I can’t because in the morning I am headed to Las Vegas for some fun. Well, actually I am going to Las Vegas to a conference to learn new programs and HUD regulations but I give props to whomever selected the location for the spring conference this year. They must have known the city was going to be on my last nerve and I had to get out of here. Trips like this are the reason why I don’t explain to people exactly what I do for a living because you never know if people are going to find out and try to set me up to be fired so they can apply. (That last sentence was dedicated to Big Red Cotton... LOL)

Although I have been flying on planes since I was a child, somehow I have started developing a fear of flying. This is not a good for a person that has to travel from time to time. How can I expand the World Wide Cliff Network if I feel the urge to take the Greyhound everywhere? I will occupy my nerves and time by listening to radio shows on my MP3 and writing. Too bad they don’t serve cocktails at 6:00 AM on the plane. I would have to get a double. I’m just playing. You have to do what you have to do to keep climbing the ladder. Usually these kinds of functions are in a city where the nightlife doesn’t really excite a cat from New Orleans. I usually end up sitting in my room watching the NBA playoffs. I can’t make the same promise in Vegas. I have to walk the strip and visit the spot where Tupac got shot. I am sure there is a plague out there or something. There would be if I was the mayor. While I sit here getting my head together for being twenty thousand feet above the ground, I will find some videos to post until I get back to the 504.

I am going to need for no one to add anything to the drama and stress we already have while I am gone. Everyone is already at the edge. Here’s my first video to get things started.Since I am going to the place he died and the song applies to things going on today, lets start like this……

Monday, April 20, 2009

Kill The Culture

I am tired about writing about the same thing because that means it keeps happening.

For many years now we have had this sad acceptance of violence as long as the victims fit a certain profile that said they were in the street game. As long as they description of the people involved in the stories included the words young, black, corner, and drugs were found on the scene we just sucked it up and moved on. We are all guilty of being silent and dismissive. Some of us are even guilty of giving the street soldier more admiration than an everyday hard working man. We’ve had a love affair with the thug even though we know there’s a good chance he might not live long or destroy the community. It became such an acceptable way of living that it spawned its own culture. It has its own music, dress, and language. Now the virus has mutated and that invisible wall that existed to keep the acceptable level of death between young black males is breaking down and we are having infants, children, and young girls just starting life all falling victim to the same ignorance we let get out of hand.

We have to kill the culture. It's the only way. The only way we save the people in the culture is to stop letting them think it's cool to be that way. You can't come up with all these great solutions in the midst of people living the problem as a lifestyle. We have to teach the little kids that the stupid shit they think is cool really isn't. We have to stop letting people talk up drugs, murder, violence and a lack of respect for women. We have to eliminate stupid ass words like "haters" and "beef" that people actually harm one another for like that is a good reason. This is no hate at all. No one loves me more than my dad and he never let me make excuses for anything. If we love these brothers and sisters then we can't make excuses for them either. The idea that thug culture is somehow interwoven with survival is false. The last time I checked, black people made it through a lot of challenging times without having to slaughter one another. We'll be just as black and cool without going to war with one another all the time. The babies won't live if this culture doesn't die.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Hornets in Six Games!

Fair weather fans and bandwagon jumpers talk trash after the first game when they see how their team plays. Real fans talk trash before the game starts so they can be even more upset when their team loses or even more excited when they win..

I can't speak for the other ten guys but I have faith in David West and CP3 to get it done. I just hope they have enough left in the tank after carrying everybody the last few weeks and covering up the reality that their coach ran all the young players that should be our bench out of town. This will not be the year that Carmelo Anthony finally joins his friends and gets out of the first round. Let's hope his career continues to mirror Tracy McGrady's and doesn't include any winning.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

My Weekend Vibe : My Governor's World Wide Tour

I would like to dedicate this hip hop triple play to my globe trotting governor who is not running for President Bobby Jindal. I know he says he’s not running in 2012 but he’s sure picking up a lot of extra money and frequent flier miles just to run for governor of Louisiana. He doesn’t need that much to win in Louisiana. He will get re-elected in a landslide just for sticking it to New Orleans in his budget cuts. Let me say this in fairness to my Republican friends. Yes, Kathleen Blanco traveled a lot too but most of that was after Katrina when she was trying to hide from her incompetence. People can't really get the full scope of what you are not doing if you are not here. Governor Jindal ain’t hiding. He’s in front of everything. I hope the governor's tour went well in between cutting health care and education. That's what the public wants in a presidential candidate.

Puff Daddy feat. Mase and Carl Thomas - Been Around The World (Remix) -

Friday, April 17, 2009

Talking To My Neighbors

Yesterday evening I went outside for awhile because it was a rare day where people on the block were outside. I saw one of my neighbors pulling into her driveway. I found out that her husband had a heart attack and a stroke. He’s been in the hospital for awhile. That explains why I haven’t seen him. He’s not that old of a guy. I think he’s somewhere around my dad’s age. That’s the kind of news that makes you want to throw away the rest of the leftover Easter ham and stop drinking Crown Royal. I could do without the ham. I am going to have to grow into giving up Crown. I might have to cut my neighbor’s grass for awhile if she can’t get anyone else to do it. What’s messed up is the people who stay between us has a riding more and those two men were drinking buddies. He can’t cut the grass because his wife is still angry about something no one knows about. Even her husband doesn’t know. Oh well, we can’t do anything about her paranoid self. Anyway, I heard Mr. John was doing a little better. He had some movement on his right side so lets hope he recovers enough to make it back to his crib. I don't think he'll be walking to the store for those big 24oz cans of Budweiser anymore.

Just a quick side note: When the guy who lives across the street from you walks his new born in the stroller and his pit bull on a chain at the same time while smoking a Black and Mild cigar and is literally walking them in the street, it’s okay to call your area a hood. Even if everyone including the person walking them has a job that's a hood. If he goes to the park to do the same thing but adds jogging to the equation with workout gear and one of those goofy looking hats you can call your area middle class.

I also found out that their house and another at the end of the block were broken into for big screen televisions. I live in a fairly quiet area. We are just the right distance from the club where we can’t hear the music or get any of the traffic. I guess I had talked myself into thinking that my quiet area of the hood was safe. After that news yesterday I think that since 90% of the people around there leave for work we are prime targets for stuff like this. I’m even more concerned because the two houses to my right are still empty and that’s prime hiding spots. That might be why they targeted the house they did. There is a house next to that one that looks like a small forest because no one has came to cut the grass or the trees. I have to tell the folks across the street about the break-ins and take away their small idea of comfort too. I have to do it because everyone is going to have to start paying more attention. That’s how it is living in the city sometimes. You have to take the good and the bad. Hopefully we can get together as a neighborhood and figure out how to move up on the city pecking order to get some extra patrols. All we need is something to attract tourists.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I Don't Know Any Chicken Queens

I have a quick public service announcement this morning. There have been some new commercials on television causing an uproar. The everyone is talking about is the Burger King Spongebob square booty shaking ad with Sir Mix A Lot. My friend Neecha along with other folks were not happy about this one and already talked about it. Burger King ended up pulling the ad yesterday.

There is one commercial still running that I am afraid will cause some problems; and that's the Popeyes Annie the Chicken Queen commercial. Even though Popeyes is owned by a company in Atlanta ever since the late great Al Copeland lost it, they still present themselves as a New Orleans brand. I don't have a problem with that because this is where it started. However, I want everyone who reads this to understand one thing. If you happen to be in my city and roll into Popeyes please don't expect to meet Annie behind that counter. There are sisters working at almost every Popeyes but after hours of standing over hot grease, chicken, and dealing with crazy customers they are usually not this happy go lucky. Even if she's in a good mood she's not talking like the woman in the commercial. If you go in there and ask her to speak some of this happy jive slang you will probably get cussed out. If it's the wrong one she might even want to fight. My advice is order your chicken, stay quiet and if you meet Annie somewhere else when she is off try to to talk to her then. She'll be good people when she's not covered in flour and chicken spice. Don't mess around in Popeyes after looking at this Annie commercial and get hit with a bag of frozen biscuits. We don't need any more negative publicity around here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Speaking on a Tea Party

This morning concern citizens all over the country are supposed to be gathering for a Tea Party to protest the socialist tax policies of President Obama. This is not a very original idea. I guess the activist Republicans are taking a page from the activist Democrats and are starting to hold demonstrations to show their frustrations. I hope they have better success than the Democrats did because President Bush walked all over them for eight years. I could be wrong about this but I thought the original tea party in Boston back in 1773 was a protest due to taxation without representation. The last time I checked anything decided now would be done by the elected Congress, Senate, and President of the United States that represents the majority. It's just a little strange to have a symbolic tea party with official representation attending. That's bass ackwards if you ask me.The fact that everyone at my job had an increase on their pay checks this month from a tax cut makes it all the more confusing.

I think someone could have come up with a different name for this event. Tea isn’t really that big of a deal unless it’s a long island. You can get a big box of Lipton for about three dollars. They could have named it the “Gasoline Party” or the “We Need Another Stimulus Check Party”. I would have gone to that one. The organizers of this event could be on to something. I think I am going to take an historic event and use it to my benefit too. Lets take the entire city of New Orleans north across the lake to higher ground with no threat of flooding. We can claim about 100 miles of land for our new location and call it Manifest Destiny. Who cares if someone is there already.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Best Show On Television is Back!

Do you feel a different calm in the world today? I know you do....

It could only mean that Deadliest Catch is back for a new season and all is right with the world...unless one of the boat sinks this season and I have to stop watching it. I feel like I know all the guys on each crew personally. Its bad enough Captain Phil can't fish with his sons because he has blood clots and his diet consist of Red Bulls and cigarettes. All reality shows should be canceled out of respect for this show. It's awesome. It's the best show next to pro wrestling.

One Of TheThings We Can Control

It's weak to speak and blame somebody else
When you destroy yourself
Chuck D.

Monday morning was the first weekday after the latest tragedy involving violence with young people in the New Orleans metro area. I decided not to listen to talk radio or any urban stations this morning because I knew what was coming. People were going to be calling and raising hell about all the reasons that we can’t get a handle on this violence problem. Folks seem to have a good grasp on all the factors and circumstances that led up to this point.

We know it’s the lack of opportunity for well paying jobs that's caused by a dysfunctional education system. We are aware of the fact that there seems to be an over abundance of drugs and weapons floating around our community even though we don’t grow any drug crops or make any guns. We have acknowledged the fact that there is a problem with absentee fathers and a breakdown of the family structure. All of these things are true and if we fixed every one of them there would probably be hardly any crime at all in the black community. The problem is that those are some very big and complex problems. Even if we all got together tomorrow and marched on Capitol Hill to persuade the government to put the laws and money in place to correct these things it would be ten years at least before you could see tangible changes. If changing all of these issues is the only solution to solving the problem then we have to be willing to concede a certain level of violence and murder while we work out the details to bring that about. That’s not acceptable.

Could it be that we use these factors as a way to relieve ourselves from guilt and personal responsibility? If disenfranchisement was the validation for this level of self hate and violence then the murder rate during the Jim Crow years would have been over 80% and hardly any of us would be here now. I don’t know if I am where I am supposed to be at this stage of my life. Some of it is due to my own decisions. Part of it is being born without money and being a young black male growing up in a city where your obstacles increase as your financial status decreases. I am aware of that and I never minimize it’s impact because I know too many people that have struggled because of it. I was dealt a better hand than some because I had parents that were involved. It is a reality that some of these kids don't have many options or many people involved. At the same time that shouldn't give them free reign to be as destructive and ignorant as they want to in the name of the disenfranchised black man. We also shouldn't address their situation in a way to make them think it is okay to act that way.

Before we do anything else we have to calm down some of the madness and to me the only way to do that in the short term is tell these young boys that even though all the bad circumstances they were born into were not in their control, it’s not a free pass to ruin lives and families. It's time to zero tolerance within the community. I don’t think the fight for changing the environment is going to go as well as it could with babies dying all the time. You would think that would be a signal for urgency but to some people that’s validation for not doing anything at all. That’s the way the world works and we have to deal with it. Until the time comes when we have conquered these big problems the only thing we have control over is our own actions and that has to be the number one focus. We have to make these young men and women understand and accept the reality that at the end of the day the decision to commit murder or harm their community falls mainly on their shoulders. They have to start feeling personally responsible for this mess and want to change it. If the conditions of the world around us are going to excuse our bad decisions and lack of self control then trying to stop what is going on might be a hopeless cause.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Shiver Me Timbers!.........Pirates in 2009?

It's getting crazier by the minute........

Now that the captain of the high jacked ship is safe we can talk about this pirate mess with some humor. This is all Disney’s fault for putting out that great trilogy of movies featuring Jack Sparrow. Things must be really rough in Somalia when people take to being pirates. They have already hustled shipping companies in other countries out of millions of dollars so they must be good at it. I think they better stick with French ships because the American high jack didn’t go quite the way they planned it. When they were ordering Pirates of the Caribbean from Netflix they should have rented Under Siege with Steven Seagal to see just what a Navy Seal can do before they went to messing with the U.S. boat. How about giving it up for the captain who sacrificed himself for the crew? That guy is a true leader. I’m glad everyone made it out okay.

I found it strange how the experts on Sunday morning news shows kept saying that this whole pirate scenario was a test of President Obama’s foreign policy. How was that fair when it wasn’t the Somali government seizing the ship? Doesn’t the brother have enough on his plate with two wars plus the political and corporate pirates here in the country? Can someone please take care of the lightweight stuff? Let Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden handle the pirates while the president knocks out this health care issue. Since the Navy Seals freed the captain can he go on television now and claim a victory? He could do that and get away with since everyone would have blamed him if something bad happened. Do you really think those pirates were trying to make a political statement? The only statements they are concerned with are the bank statements of the companies that own those boats. The pirates have vowed revenge on the United States. I hope they don’t call up Davey Jones and The Dutchman.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Last week I had training at work. A few of the trainees were part of a group of people who have moved here since Katrina and are working in the Lower Ninth Ward in some or fashion. One of the trainees is working with this guy who’s building a new school down there and I happen to mention to her that he’s opening the school about three blocks from where my grandfather’s house was. Before I knew it I had rehashed the whole story about everything that happened. She was real apologetic because she thought she had awakened some post traumatic stress. I assured her I was fine and not to feel bad because there is no way she could have known my situation. I actually thought the nervous silence of the room anticipating my emotional breakdown was kind of funny. I am not sure where I stand on the my lack of passion for the wrong that happened in the past and the bad things happening now. I’m not sure how I feel about that because I think there are too many content people. I am definitely not content but for sanity reasons sometimes I stop paying attention and pretend things are all good. The truth of the matter is that some days I talk myself into not being upset about anything at all. I'm slowly starting to have moments of fun with no complaints about anything. That’s why I can’t watch the news or pay attention to the things going on around me. How to stay a good blogger by doing this is beyond me but that’s what I have been doing the past few weeks.

I had a great weekend. All three days of it were great. I closed it out by hanging in the Lower Ninth Ward at my cousin’s house. She’s trying to start a new family tradition for the folks that have returned home to New Orleans. We were talking about the good news and the bad with a little reminiscing sprinkled in between. I was sitting by her door watching the fourth and fifth generations of Walter Harris’ bloodline playing outside and that’s when I realized it might be selfish to tune out and pretend that everything is cool. Things are not anywhere as good as they should be or could be. Between the crooked politicians, corporate thieves, racist people from all walks of life, thugs, bad education and the rest you have to wonder what kind of world we are preparing for those babies running around that yard today. Some of the things happening in this city and the world are crazy. I mean, two guys shot four babies yesterday and no one really knows why. You can’t ignore that kind of thing and hope it changes on its own. If Katrina did anything it taught us that even the most traumatic event can’t shake some people’s bad intentions. The mind state is entrenched and will be difficult to move. By the way, I am not just talking about the thugs either. There’s some educated ignorant people around here that are just as bad because they could help the problems but they would rather use bad situations to help their self esteem. It’s not time to tune everything out. I am going to have to balance being pissed off and feeling good at the same time. Good thing for me I have more than one personality.

Friday, April 10, 2009

It's A Good Friday

If you are looking for me I am sitting outside playing music and enjoying cold lager. I will be ranting and raving next week. For the weekend I am going to try and enjoy myself and pretend like this country and my city isn’t going totally crazy. We can discuss the madness on Monday. My only concern right now is that there will be enough crawfish available for me to eat at least five pounds for myself. That’s my standard amount needed to feel like I did any real damage. Anything less than five pounds and I might as well not eat any at all because it’s a tease. My sister and my brother in law are here from North Carolina. My brother in law is a good brother even if he isn’t from New Orleans. We have a lot of common interest. They might be mad at me because I just sat back sipping on a cold one while watching them peel a couple pounds of shrimp because I was too cheap to buy the ones that were already peeled. I don’t feel too bad. They could have been finish an hour earlier if they didn’t sit there and de-vein the shrimps messing around with him. I just told my sister that we our health might be compromised because we never de-veined shrimp growing up. I think that all the slime and mess on seafood is extra flavor. Maybe that’s just me.

I hope everyone enjoys their holiday and if you have any extra pecan eggs and heavenly hash save them for me. I will gladly except jellybeans and Now & Laters too.

I dedicate this song to putting the speaker on the step and holding the door open with the big bottle of Canadian Club on Benton Street. If you don’t know about the big bottle of Candian Club with the pump at the top then are not old school like me.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Sitting On My Porch Part Twenty Four

I think that remaining positive in this day and time is a hard task.

I think the shootings this weekend especially the death of 15 year old Lakita Johnson is a painful reminder that the ignorant culture we are fighting against will not go away quietly. Yes, we care about our community but that element doesn’t. It’s not going to be easy.

I think that sometimes there is no silver lining with something bad happens. Some things are just messed up and the only way to truly deal with that is to admit it to give the situation the proper perspective.

I think when things start feeling a little heavy, sometimes all you need is a good conversation with a fascinating person to lift your spirits. You learn a lot of cool things about people when you are just shooting the breeze.

I think that it’s never a good idea for any one in leadership to accept expensive vacations from an employee. After that your authority is compromised. My mayor should know better than that. You can never be sure whose paying for stuff like that.

I think I was feeling Michelle Obama in Europe representing the country with style and grace. There is nothing about that sister I don't like.

I think that since there are government programs designed to provide assistance to struggling families that require them to take drug test, work at a job that’s usually dead end, and have case managers walk through their house and invade their privacy it’s totally fair if a company’s CEO has to step down if they ask for tax dollars for a federal bailout. Welfare is the same no matter who’s asking for it.

I think with so many unstable people in the country that are struggling leading to folks shooting at innocent people and law enforcement, now might be a good time to cut out some of this paranoia about Americans losing their freedom. That’s why we have checks and balances people. Glen Beck has gone crazy.

I think I am against wars and stuff like that but if North Korea won’t stop playing around with these missiles we might have to do something.

I think I was the most disturbed I have been in awhile on last Friday when I heard a bunch of fifth graders talking and one of the girls in the group was yelling at this little boy because his girlfriend was “cheating on him and talking to all kinds of other kinds of boys”. ………What the hell is going on? When I was in fifth grade I still thought pro wrestling was real.

I think I really have a personal problem with the co-worker that talks way too loud on their personal phone calls and you hear too much detail so you start to feel uncomfortable around them because you know about things like their stomach problems caused by Sunday dinner or their husband’s back acne. People should really step in the hallway for certain things or send text messages.

Finally, if you make the conscious effort to bring your lunch to work everyday so you won’t have to go out and save money but get so stressed out about work and life during the day that you end up getting a daiquiri from the daiquiri shop on the way home or stopping at the convenience store for a few beers to get ready to deal with tomorrow….I think you might be from New Orleans.

I think me and my baby are rocking out to this song every morning.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Giving Back The Money Won't Make You President

If you are Bobby Jindal and you really want to run for president, can you really expect to win with the decisions you have been making lately. As a matter of fact, if I was a Republican with any clout I would be on the phone with him right now telling him to accept all the stimulus money he formerly turned down. This is just my opinion but the fact that Mr. Jindal is the governor of Louisiana is the worst possible thing for his resume running for president. I love my state but there is a lot of close minded people who still haven’t moved their thinking into the new millennium. You can turn down money designed to help working people in Louisiana as long as it includes words like Medicaid, unemployment, uninsured, and assistance. When ignorant people in Louisiana hear words like that they instantly associate it with poor, black or New Orleans in some combination. There are some parts of this state that will name schools after you for turning down money when they think it’s designed to help us out. They will probably be applauding this move until they get laid off in the next few months and get that Cobra statement in the mail and see how much those health benefits costs when the job isn’t kicking in their percentage.

He’s not running for President of Louisiana. He’s running for President of the United States and if you look at the electoral map of the last election and just take the time to watch the news you can see that the majority of this country is in such an uproar about this financial mess that neither political party has any creditability and working people damn sure don’t want to hear anything about turning down money designed to help them out to give the same companies that are laying off people a break on taxes.

This is so opposite of what’s going on in most of the country. That’s why even with all the shouting and screaming from conservatives the president’s approval numbers are just as high. I don’t think many average Americans understand all of the plans but at least they feel like he’s trying to help them. How is Bobby Jindal going to convince people in Michigan, California, Pennsylvania, Florida, and all those other struggling states to vote for the man that chose not to accept money design to help struggling working people in his state even though their tax dollars were paying for it regardless? I don’t think many people want that guy in a time of crisis like this.

Governor Jindal really isn’t doing anything outside of his basic principles. I will give him credit for being consistent but that’s my problem. If there is one thing we have learned over the last couple of years is that sometimes circumstances require responsible human beings to adjust their normal way of doing things until the rough time is over. When Bobby Jindal got elected we had a budget surplus that was over one billion dollars. Now we have a deficit and for the last few weeks our state has cut education, healthcare, and services to the elderly among other things. This looks like a time for an effective leader to acknowledge the situation, alter his thinking a little and take the money.

My Last Ashley Morris Comment....R.I.P.

I didn't realize he passed away on my mom's birthday. This was a comment left in response to a post about being burned out. We never got a chance to smoke that cigar. Life's a bitch...

Cliff, I have some Oliva maduro pyramides with about 5 years of age on them, or you can tap into the Habanos stash -- your call.

I'm on spring break for a couple of weeks, so just get in touch. I owe you a hot sausage po-boy from the big pink building anyway.

Posted by Blogger Ashley | Friday, March 14, 2008

Mommy's Birthday Time

Today is my mom’s birthday. Last year I posted a poem dedicated to her on this page that I thought was pretty sweet. I can’t top that one so I will just link to it here and change the picture and the song. I might get in trouble for this picture and it may not be smart to answer my cellphone for a few days but ain't she cute? Those dresses are going to come back in style. The second song is to make her smile but will probably make my dad and siblings go to bed early so they won’t have to listen to this album again. When an entire household knows every song on a album as well as the dialogue in between that’s a good sign that we played it too much.

You are the bomb! I hope you have a great day.