Thursday, December 30, 2004

2004 in Review

What do you do when you have three hours of work to go before your holiday starts and nothing work on? You might as well review things that made news in your world for the year. I think I can cover the entire thing in three hours. I bet you people that write these kind of columns spend all week on it. I am going to finish mine in three hours. That may mean I am talented. It also may mean that I didn't care about enough news to think of for more than three hours. Either way, here it goes in no particular order.

  • George Bush whipped John Kerry in the presidential election. You can't beat a wartime president without making him look bad or incompetent. Kerry argued some good points but never tried to take away any of GW's stature and presence. He didn't have enough charisma of his own to diminish any the president had.
  • For the first time a team I have followed my entire life won a championship. The LSU tigers beat Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl to hold up the crystal trophy. I watched this game 4 times on video tape.
  • Hurricane Ivan ran more people out of South Louisiana than the Union Army. It's no surprise that many people left considering the fact that Mayor Nagin made it seem like Armageddon. Speaking of the mayor...........
  • A black ministers group in New Orleans called the mayor an uncle tom that is not concerned with black people. They were pissed because he stopped the endless amount of government money they were receiving when Morial was in office. If not giving contracts and grants to millionaire preachers who live in mansions, while the majority of their congregations live in neighborhoods infested with drugs and poor schools makes you an uncle tom then maybe I am one too. Maybe they can take some of those offerings and sell some of the vast property they own all over the city and help the mayor build some drug treatment and adult education centers around the city.
  • Kathleen Blanco was sworn in as the first woman governor of Louisiana. Although I didn't vote for her, I won't make any negative comments about her until I see what she does with the Saints deal. If she messes that up, I will be on all out attack.
  • New Orleans citizens ran almost the entire school board out of office and decided on a fresh start. I just hope we don't let this group stay in office forever before we realize that progress isn't being made. If we can't see any changes in 4 years then we need to clean house again and that includes Mr. Amato. What's in that audit?
  • The Saints and the Hornets were so average and disappointing they don't even deserve to have separate bullet points.
  • The Pistons, Patriots, and Red Sox were the major sports champions. It was a good year for Boston. Speaking of championships.........
  • Janet Jackson flashed her breast at the Superbowl, excited millions of perverted men for two seconds and started censorship in America. Personally, I'm glad she got in trouble. She shouldn't have been up there with Justin Timberlake anyway. She better be glad she is with Jermaine Dupri and not somebody like 50 Cent or Mike Tyson because they would have made sure black people under 40 were banned from attending the Super Bowl for the next 5 years. Justin knows who to play with. Plus, he turned state's evidence on her every chance he got after the incident.
  • Kobe Bryant's rape case was dropped and every one involved looked stupid and shady. The only winner in this episode was Vanessa Bryant. She got a 4 million dollar ring, and a scared husband wrapped around her finger. Plus, she potentially has half of a 100 million dollar contract from the Lakers if he slips up. All that from five minutes of hanky panky in a Colorado hotel room and she didn't even have to do anything. She hit the golddigger's lottery.
  • Bin Laden managed to make it another 365 days without getting captured. I was thinking. Does the U.S. government have anybody on the payroll that is similar to Rambo? Shouldn't we have a group of commandos that can run in their and take out the entire Taliban with a knife and bow and arrow?
  • While we spend billions to make the Iraqi people love us for getting rid of their evil dictator and murderer, millions of people in the Darfur region of the Sudan die from ethnic cleansing and America does absolutely nothing. They should have had some oil under their huts and everyone would be safe.
  • Hundreds of gay couples flocked to San Francisco and Massachusetts to get married. When this story broke, Karl Rove and George Bush lit a victory cigar.
  • Cliff's Top Five T.V. Shows for 2004: 1. Dave Chappelle Show 2. American Chopper 3. Monster Garage 4. The Wire 5. The Family Guy
  • Rest In Peace to Reggie White, Rick James, Ray Charles and the Old Dirty Bastard. Have you ever noticed how black people treat entertainers and athletes like family when they die but can watch their local news of some young unknown brother in their own community getting shot and show no concern what so ever. That's just something to think about.
  • As I am writing this the death toll from the tsunami continues to rise. This might be the biggest story of the year in it's last week. Mr. Bush, please send these people more money than any other nation. If you spend billions on war, you have to spend at least 1 billion on helping people. This is the moral value moment that will validate 53% of American voters. 35 million dollars is ridiculous.
  • Entertainer of the year is Jamie Foxx because he moved up the list in Hollywood without changing his style. He really did keep it real.
  • Jackass of the Year is a tie between Kobe Bryant and John Kerry. Kobe because I am a Shaq guy and Kerry because now I have four more years of George.
  • Album of the year is another tie. Lets go with Kanye West - College Dropout and Nas Street Disciple. The reason is simple. I am 30 years old now but still love hip hop as much as I did 20 years ago. It was nice to have two mainstream CD's that actually had mature lyrics I could relate too. There is no rule written that says hip hop has to be directed towards teenagers who have no guidance or understanding. If you are a 30 year old rapper, you should be able to make a record about where you are as a person now, not 10 years ago. If the things you did in your teens and 20's make the same sense to you in your 30's and 40's then you are either not "keeping it real" or you are just stupid and not worth my hard earned money anyway.
  • Worst album of the year is a tie also and both CD's belong to Nelly, Sweat and Suit. Read the above paragraph.
  • The person who did the most without talent this year is Lil John. He made himself famous using the same beat and two words. You have to respect stuff like that....Yeeeaaahhh!
  • The Suge Knight Scary Negro Award goes to Ron Artest for running into that crowd like Tupac at a Biggie concert and attacking that poor fan. I honestly think the fan that threw the cup had no understanding of ghetto culture. No one from the hood would have done that. Anybody that has ever known a brother like Ron(and there are many of them) knows he was going to click out at any minute. When that beer hit him you knew what he was going to do. Sometimes, when the hood meets the suburbs bad things happen. Why did ESPN show that replay 5,669 times like Ron Artest was some strange creature from another planet and they couldn't believe he did it. He's just a product of urban living. At least he just grabbed the guy. Some brothers would have went to the locker room first and came back shooting everybody not in a Pacer's uniform. Since I am on the subject of urban living, I will end my year in review with this last story......
  • Bill Cosby has been going off on "lower economic" black people all year. Every chance he got he gave the message that the "lower economics" are not living up to their end of the bargain. When was the bargain made and why didn't I get the letter? Mr. Cosby I hope you are reading this. I agree with what you said about the kids not being able to read and speak. I also agree that some of our priorities are messed up. I respect the fact that you have provided a way for many young black people to go to college. However, please remember Mr. Cosby that you grew up as a "lower economic" yourself and I am sure there aren't too many people in your old neighborhood that got to leave it. The reason you got to leave is because you have a special talent just like most people who get a pass out of the ghetto. You can entertain people. Some people can dunk, some can run, some can rap, you can make people laugh. I know you are an intelligent man. It's a great possibility that had you not been able to make people laugh you would still be in Philadelphia working a 9-5 job doing well and trying to raise your kids right. You would still have friends and most of your family in that neighborhood and have a different understanding since you would be one layoff away from moving back there yourself. Imagine how you would feel if you turned on the TV and seen an entertainer making a sweeping indictment about you and your people just because you happen to be a "lower economic". That's why even though you were right in what you said, lots of black people were pissed. I wasn't offended personally but understood why some people were. Next time, make your statements and suggestions without sweeping every "lower economic" under the blanket of ignorance and complacency. Give some props to the men and women that are out there guiding their kids in the right direction despite the things that you mentioned.

I hope everyone had a good year in 2004 and a better one in 2005. May all of your plans come through for you.

Peace and Love,


Wednesday, December 29, 2004

I have been encouraging friends of mine to write something. I received this from one of them and I am going to post it for other people to read.

Power of Words

Words are so specific…. I believe that what comes out of our mouth is somewhere in our heart. The more we speak something the more we believe it. The more you believe it the more it comes true. That is why everything that comes out of our mouth should be of a positive nature. We speak negative, those negative things happen, we speak Positive, and those positive things come to pass. Life is too short to complain and look at all the bad. We need to look on what is good in our life, relationships and work. In all things there is always a good to it. And if it is outright bad, you can always turn it around for good. It is a choice. Take time to think what your choice will be… and run with it. Your attitude determines your altitude… How high in life will you get!

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

I am coming live from the planet of New Orleans today getting ready for the new year. I'm kind of excited although I will still be broke for the first half of the year again. It could be allot worse so I am not going to stress about that any longer. It's now time for me to touch on some things that I have been checking out around the globe for the last week. Coming later I will present the first annual Cliff's Crib's Year End Awards and Disses. These winners and losers were selected by a secret panel who have way too much time on their hands. That should be posted tomorrow and I know everyone is excited. Enough about that for now...............

It snowed for Christmas! I must admit that the snow put me in the spirit of the season. I loved it for one day but if it snowed for more than 3 days straight in this city, nobody would be able to drive.

There has never been another tragedy in my lifetime like that earthquake in Sri Lanka. Who knows how large the death toll will get. George Bush, this is a great oppurtunity to show the rest of the world that we are the leader in everything. Go to Congress and get some money to help those people. We have to help rebuild nations that don't have evil dictators with a large supply of oil. You should even send your top aides over to deliver the message first hand.

While there are thousands of people dying in Sri Lanka, this fool burned his house down over Xmas gifts. I think we have a new poster boy for birth control.

I would like to thank the Eagles for making no attempt whatsoever to beat the Rams last night. It's all part of the conspiracy to keep the Saints out of the playoffs.

I'm tired of people acting like the Panthers have already won the damn game Sunday. If this doesn't fire the Saints up, I don't know what will.

R.I.P. to Reggie White. I remember watching you lift lineman off of their feet. You were a great player.

Top Five High School Edition

Once again, I haven't heard anything on the radio that moved me this week. I am working on an old school high school cd so I thought I would drop my top five songs from 1990-1992.

1. Come and Talk to Me - Jodeci

2. Baby I'm Ready - Gerald Levert

3. Minds Playing Tricks on Me - Geto Boys

4. Written all Over your Face - Rude Boys

5. Put your Ballys On - Bust Down

Things I learned in 2004

I was going to do a year in review of 2004. Since I realized that I wouldn't have too many good things to say about the events of this year, I will instead give you the top lessons learned for 2004. You never get too old to learn.

I learned that a baby changes so much, so fast that you better take time to notice what they are doing because in a few weeks they will be an entirely different person. I don't think there is anything else that would give me the same satisfaction as being a father.

I learned that as proud as I am of being a dad, none of that is possible without Tara doing all the work for nine months. Thank You.

I already knew that there is nobody on this Earth that I would switch parents with for Bernadine and Clifton. You are why I am who I am. You probably have more confidence in me than I had in myself some days this year and every other year. If I can give my daughter the same support you give me, then I will be doing ok.

I learned that even though I am blessed to be a 30 year old mature man, sometimes it's ok to wish I was on St. Claude Street sharing everything with Shell, Jenny, Walt, and Jerald.

I am learning that judging by the start of this post, I am becoming way too emotional and sentimental as I get older. Maybe that's the dad in me coming out. There are just too many days where a song on the radio makes me cry.

There is no family I would rather be in other than the Harris, Louvier and Baker family. Thanks for making me feel special even when my confidence was shaken this year.

I learned that no matter how much you love your job and think you are secure, you better have a resume, cover letter, and interview clothes ready to go at any time. There are no guarantees in the job market.

I learned that there is no sense in any human being out of work by choice. I was out of work for 5 months and it drove me crazy. I will never understand how a man can sit home for years without a job or millions of dollars and not shoot somebody.

I learned it's better to let someone else fix your car instead of trying to be Mr. Fix It and breaking it more. Anybody have a jeep engine they want to sell?

I learned that after all these years, I still have the same bunch of friends that treat me with the same love and respect they have for years. I don't always make good decisions but I think I got this friend thing down right. Peace to all my "sisters and brothers from other mothers".

Finally I learned that after all is said and done this year, I am much more stronger and together than I give myself credit for. I don't know why I ever thought I was wasn't. After all, I am a Harris man as we are built for strength.

Bring on 2005 and lets hope that all of our love ones are safe, prosperous, in good health, and free from harm. If problems do come, like they always do, we can pull together and help one another through it.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Top Five CD's The Old School Version

Haven't been listening to anything new on the radio so I will give you the five songs I was listening to the most last week while playing albums.

1. Got to find Me an Angel - Aretha Franklin

2. Ike's Rap IV- Isaac Hayes

3. Bring it on home to me - Sam Cooke

4. Harry Hippie - Bobby Womack

5. Bon Bon Vie - T.S. Monk
Let me get some other things off of my chest this morning since I am on a roll.

What in the hell is going on in Iraq?
They are bombing U.S. bases now!. I wonder how some of that 53% that voted for George last month feel now. What is he doing supporting Rumsfeld anyway? Even the Republican senators think he is doing a bad job. I said it before and I will say it again, anybody who thinks they'll will be a democracy there is just flat out crazy. That first president needs to just wear a bullseye on his back to make it easy for the snipers.

It's December 21st and I am still not in the Christmas spirit. I haven't even listened to the Temptations- Silent Night yet. I still have four days to go. I was kind of getting into it until my jeep died and put me straight into the black man blues again.

Terrell Owens is out for the season..............good.

As of now I am ready to say that The Wire is the best show on television hands down. There is not one character on that show that isn't interesting and have some substance. It shows that gritty side of urban life without being stereotypical. I don't know where we go with Stringer Bell being dead but the show will still be interesting once they take it back to the docks and deal with the Russians and the union.

Hey Jay Z, I know you are ready this. Congratulations on becoming president of Def Jam. Who knew that making a few decent albums made you qualified to be in charge of the greatest hip hop label ever. Since you are in charge now, can I please get the EPMD greatest hits album now? How about a new album from Redman? Why don't you give Freddie Foxx a major deal so he can make some money for all the underground dues he has paid. Please hold your artist to the same standard of quality hip hop that you hold yourself to sometimes.

I know I just did a I Love New Orleans posting last week but................

What are we going to do with all these stray dogs with the SPCA stops picking them up? What are we doing with money in this city. I need to find where the budget is posted and check this thing out because something is wrong. People are going to start poisoning and shooting dogs in their neighborhood if they don't clear this up.

Why Not Us? Why Not Now?

I have made my share of negative comments and been really upset about this team and the coaching staff. However, I have decided that I am pulling out my old sweatshirt, dusting off the headband and heading to the Dome Sunday to try and help these fools make the playoffs. I am not going to be negative about anything this week. I am going to focus on strictly game planning and stopping Mike Vick. After looking at the NFC, there is absolutely no reason to think that our team is any worse than the other playoff contenders, especially since Owens is hurt. Forget about draft position, Brooks, Venturi, McCarthy, the stadium deal or Benson. The bottomline is we have a chance to get into the playoffs where anything can happen. If your disgust for Haslett and Brooks is enough for you to root against this team the next two weeks, then you need to be ashamed of yourself. No player or coach can overshadow my love for this stupid team. Besides, we have been drafting high and rebuilding for years with the same result. We might as well try to have another post season to enjoy. I want playoffs and the only thing I will accept beyond that is a blood and guts effort that leaves me physically drained when I leave the dome on Sunday. If Atlanta beats us, let it be because they are just better. Let's not let anyone say that we didn't support our team. We supported worse Saints teams than this one.

While I was sleeping

I had a dream last night. In my dream, I was stuck on a boat that was docked next to a hill. All the people on the boat were trying to get off and couldn't. If you went to the top of the hill, the wind blew you back down to the boat and hurt you. If you tried to go over the side, the high tides would sweep you under and people were drowning. The people on this boat were trying everything to get over the top or through the water. Nobody was paying attention to the door on the boat. This went on for awhile when finally I said why don't we just open that door right there and walk off the damn boat. I opened the door, everyone got off and the dream was over.

Now, I usually don't have dreams that really have any meaning but this one was different. The moral of that dream was that sometimes in our lives we get stuck in a bad situation that is out of our control. Instead of just taking the simple solution or trying to listen to other people's advice, we just go off on our own and try every stupid and dangerous idea to try and get over the hill or above water in one move. Sometimes you have to open the door to your vessel, get some new surroundings and try another hill.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

This is MY Home

Last night I was watching TV and checking out my favorite news show, ESPN Sportscenter. To my amazement, the lead story on last night's broadcast was the sorry history of pro sports in New Orleans. This was the last straw for me. None of those players are from here. Is there ever going to be a day when I see one good article or story about my city? The negativity is starting to kill me. I must have missed the part in the history books when it was decided that New Orleans would be the place for all things negative in America. We, the citizens of this city must be crazy to live here. After all, this is the only place with corruption, murder, drugs, crime, bad schools, and poor sports teams. The rest of America is a paradise I suppose. I guess the millions and millions of people in prisons or in poverty around this country were all born here and we shipped them off to other cities so they could have a criminal justice system.

I am not going to sit here and allow the national and local media to lower my self esteem just because I love the place I was born. I love this city. I can sit here and think of many things that I love about this place and they have nothing to do with sports, jobs or economics. I am talking about that personal quality of life stuff that we do now or did as a kid that attaches us to this place. Things that you sit around and think about and it just brings a smile to your face. Today I am going to list everything I love about growing up and living in New Orleans. Of course this list is coming off of the top of my head so if you read this and I miss something please let me know.

What I love about New Orleans is.........

The Entire Harris, Louvier, Butler, and Baker family

Grandma's sugar cookies

Going crabbing with my family in St. Bernard

Mama trying to catch the same crab for an hour (highlight of any trip)

Buying frozen cups from Ms. Josephine and the lady on George's street (never knew her name)

Me and Devin building skatemobiles: We had the only ones that went straight.

Me and Devin making wrestling belts from beer boxes: You had to be there.

Skateland on Wednesday Nights in the Summer

Pattons Hot Sausage

Manuels Hot Tamales with my daddy on the way home from dropping my grandma off in the St. Bernard (this happened when I was four and I still remember it like yesterday)

12 kids under the patio of my grandmother's house all playing spades, pitty pat, and battle all day long in the Summer!(my sister started having nightmare about cards chasing her. Please don't hurt me Shell)

Crawfish Boils

Fish Frys on Fridays

Swimming on the levee

Mr. Lawrence's Sweetshop ( you could buy beer at 5 years old and nobody cared)


My uncle bringing seafood from the Acne Oyster House (his picture is up on the wall in there)

Going to the old ice house with my grandpa early in the morning on holidays.

Walking into a bar room with my uncle as a little child and no one calling social services

The Lakefront on Sundays

Walking to the Riverwalk with the fellas after school

Having my first kiss in Peters Middle School hallway: I was a man then!

Joseph S. Clark Senior High School

Oliver Bush Playground

Humpty Head: You had to be there

Going to Krauss, Holmes, Maison Blanche, McCorys and Woolworths(loved those cinnamon rolls)

Standing in the cold ass weather waiting for that 30 minute gap in the Endymion parade(this will never change).

Mr. Bingle

Popeye and Pals


Second Lines and Mardi Gras Indians

Brass Bands (especially the Lil Rascals)

Junkyard Dog and Hacksaw Jim Duggan at the Municipal Auditorium: You had to be there

Horseshoes on the Neutral Ground

Meeting Brian on Canal St. to try and get some phone numbers( I only got a total of two numbers in three years. That's a shame)

Getting banned from Our Generation TV show after making an appearance with my pro black partner Renee Wichu Keller. That could have been my big break but we were way to radical for TV at that time.

Papa Smurf

Zulu coconuts

Catching that Broad bus with Kendra to go to the school board building to work those cameras ( We should have went to school for that and started our own company).

A poboy from Genes before they started cutting back on the meat.

A seafood platter from Jack Dempseys

Drive through diaquiris

K&B 3 flavor ice cream

Kool Can

Pitch up tackle with socks: You had to be there

Finally: Devin (I miss you), George, Brian, John, Shannon, Dana, Joseph, Ryan, Eric, Cedric, Trevor, Angela, Damion, Fred, Kendra, Nicole, Renaldo (R.I.P.), Danita, Shandolyn, Renee, Wichu, Gaynell, Lonnie, Big Nose Ed, Chris, Wootie, Kenneth, David, Jerry, Joe E., Freddie, Gene, Lisa, Doug, Dee(R.I.P.) and the Truck

You guys make me want to do everything all over again the same way.

Back in the House

Well, I haven't posted anything in awhile. Lack of concentration or concern has clouded my writing ability. I am not going to sit here and run down everything I failed to cover in the last week and a half. I'm not even going to give a top five song list this week. I will just start fresh on all of that stuff next week. I have some other things to write about today. NO, it's not the Hornets or the Saints.

Tuesday, December 7, 2004

The Weekly Five

Cliff's Top Five

1. Patti Labelle ft. Ron Isley - Go Solo

2. Angie Stone - Stay Awhile

3. Jill Scott - Whatever Whatever

4. Usher ft. Alicia Keys - My Boo

5. Lalah Hathaway - Forever For Always For Love

Monday, December 6, 2004

It's getting closer and closer to Christmas and I am still not in the spirit. I tried taking down the Christmas lights but that didn't do it so I guess I will wait until Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer story comes on TV or The Grinch and see if that works. It's amazing you can watch the same stuff every year for your entire life during Christmas and not get tired of it. Since we can't talk about Christmas or New Years yet, I might as well sit here and talk about other stupid stuff.

I know the Saints are struggling but after I watched Auburn beat Tennessee Saturday, the personal foul call on Prude after the missed field goal became my worst sports moment of the year. Just to see them celebrating and waving their flag pissed me off. That being said, it should be AU against Oklahoma for the title.

Since the start of football and basketball season, the Hornets and Saints are a combined 5-23. 2004 is so forgettable in many ways.

I actually got a letter from an employer telling me I was over qualified. This is a first for me. I don't know if I should be upset I didn't get an interview or happy that I am finally at the stage of life where I am over qualified for something.

Wrestling Note Only for Me:
You just knew that belt would be getting held up last night. Can anyone say triple threat match at the next PPV? What a boring show. Please get the diva contestants off the air. There are too many wrestlers to kill all that airtime on that. After watching Smackdown Thursday and Raw last night I realized what both shows are missing. They are both missing a charismatic, crowd pleasing hero. They're just too many heels right now and the list is growing everyday. They better create another Stone Cold or Hulk Hogan fast. They could even use a Bob Backlund at this point.

To all those people that voted for Bush in the election. Have you been watching the news lateley? Iraq is slowly turning into Vietnam and it's obvious those people don't really want us there now that Saddam is gone. We can't leave them alone because all hell will break lose. Basically we are stuck in a no win situation now. Like I said before, never totally trust anybody that won't budge on an issue. We are going to be there for years. Can anybody say draft?

Every Week

Every week I have to start off with the same thing............

Panthers 32- Saints 21

I can honestly say that these guys were not ready to play this game. We can sit here and blame one player or a few plays but the reality is if the Panthers had there true first string team playing this would have been even uglier. Haz gets the blame to this one because it's obvious that he has no idea how to get these guys to play any better. He is as confused as the average fan but makes too much money to stay that way.

Saturday, December 4, 2004 - MLB - Report: Bonds unknowingly used steroids - MLB - Report: Bonds unknowingly used steroids

You know the saddest thing about this whole story is that Barry Bonds doesn't even need that to hit the homeruns he did. Everybody is getting exposed and admitting it. Marion Jones is the only holdout. I got a feeling that they will have to have her on tape or something before she would admit anything.