Tuesday, December 27, 2005

New Year ,New Life, New Energy

There will not be another sad, sentimental post about the holidays. Anyone that reads this blog knows what has went on in my life for 2005 and we don't need to go over that again. Things will never be the same and that's a fact. With this being my last post until the New Year, I thought I would just think about what 2006 will have to offer. I don't make resolutions because I have never came close to keeping one. Plus when you make resolutions you are admitting that something about you needs changing and I am much too in denial to ever admit to needing some change. There are some things I want to try and do for myself in the next year and beyond. The first thing is that I want to start reading more books beyond King Magazine again. I looked at all the books I owned at home and realized how long it had been since I actually opened one of them and read more than a paragraph. I purchased my first new book. The Michael Eric Dyson Reader for Christmas and I am going to start with that one. My attention stand is short so I am setting a goal of 12 books by the end of the year. That's one a month. I think I can do that. The second thing I want to do is take better care of myself. I was doing ok before that event in August. I had started playing ball again and was feeling good. The last few months I have been eating and drinking in a mixture of boredom and depression and I am slowly starting to resemble a pear. I will never be small. I have never been since a kid. I can be in shape and feeling better however and that's what I am going to do. The third thing is try to figure out where the next five years of my life will be spent. I don't like moving and being unstable. I have decided that New Orleans gets one more shot to get their act together. Love and history will take me back there before the end of the year and we will see how things start working itself out. If things appear not to be moving in the right direction, I may have to roll out for the sake of my children's future. I was always willing to put aside certain professional goals for the sake of staying home. I always figured being around family and friends was worth the aggravation of hearing other friends and family tell you how good it was in other places. Now, the friends and family are gone and the recovery is going so slowly that it's anyone's guess when they will be coming back. That means if an opportunity presents itself in another place I can stand, I may have to explore it. My main wish is to go home and help the community recover and prepare for the influx of people once FEMA cuts the cord. That will give me the most satisfaction. If it doesn't work out that way it won't be because I didn't try.

To all my friends and people who read this blog, I hope you have a great and prosperous New Year.

To all my people from New Orleans...We can't pretend that what happened didn't happen. I don't know the right way to fully move on so I won't offer any. We'll just take our new lives one day at a time and make them as good as they can be.

To my family and love ones.....We are all going to be ok. Things will work themselves out with time.

Rest in Peace to Walter Harris Sr. 1916-2005. I miss the stories and the perspective. To my grandmothers Mildred and Geraldine, I miss you both and hope to see you again soon.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

And This Christmas....

I have tried my best not to get into the Christmas spirit this year. There have been so many things that have happened to me and my family that the only thing I really was looking forward to was Shaq against Kobe on TV that day. If my attitude would have been like this 3 years ago I would have been fine. There is one little problem now. I have a baby to buy presents for. That pretty much takes away the ability to ignore the holiday. I figure if I had good Christmas memories then she deserves it too. Today I am reflecting on my childhood Christmas mornings. My mama would let us get up at midnight to open our gifts but she had this thing where we had to go to sleep first before she would let us open them. It could be 11:59 and you had to go to sleep. Sometimes her and my dad would get drunk and sleep until 3 or 4 and we would wait until sunlight. I can still remember going to sleep and waking back up to realize that Big Cliff had been up all night trying to put all those complicated ass toys together. I won't even mention the year everybody got their first Atari 2600 game console. It was Christmas night before we got Pac Man to show on that old black and white TV. When I was a kid, our tree was never color coordinated. We put anything and any color on there. We even had beer cans as Christmas ornaments. I can't stand when people have those boring one or two color trees with no personality like the kind they have in the bank lobby. In my late teens and early 20's, Christmas was the time when I had to buy 5 or 6 of the same lotion from Victoria Secrets as gifts so I wouldn't get confused about what girl got what flavor. It's hard to find a jewelry store that has the same four pair of earrings in stock. That was also a time when you could talk ladies into breaking you off as a gift! That was a cool time but I digress. Since my parents are in Memphis and I don't have a need to go to Victoria Secrets or Zales anymore, I will spend this Christmas with my tool set ( to put together a Dora Table), my James Brown Christmas album, and my friend Jack Daniel with his cousin Coke. I'll miss sitting in the kitchen eating gumbo with the family and there is nothing more heart warming than watching little kids in New Orleans riding their bikes on Christmas before somebody steals them a few weeks later. I'll get over all of that when I am outside in Mississippi trying to teach a two year old to sit and pedal a Barbie baby tricycle. I think I better not hang out with my boy Jack until I put the wheels on. Merry Christmas and Happy Kwaanza.

Cliff's Christmas Memory List
Best Toy - Cowboy and Indian Train Set
Worst Toy - The cap gun I shot the neighbor in the eye with
Best Gift - Vina bought me my first Gangsta Hat when I was 21
Worst Gift - A watch with the velcro band (the giver will not be named so I don't get in trouble)
Favorite Song - Santa Claus Goes Straight to the Ghetto, James Brown
Worst One - Santa Baby by Eartha Kitt
Favorite Childhood Memory - Playing basketball with my daddy when I was 5 after he put up my first goal.
Favorite Adult Memory - This answer is censored.

Mind Blowing 26

Sometimes things happen in life that brings the difference between my hometown and the rest of the world. There is currently one going on right now in New York. There is a transit strike and people have been walking to work. There was a man on the news that said he had been walking since 3AM to get to work on time. Let me just say this. I don't mean to stereotype my people any more than they have already been, but if that was in New Orleans and we had to walk that far to get to work, the city would be at a stand still. I know I would have to collect cans or something to make extra money until the strike was over. I believe in hard work but that is ridiculous. Did I mention it's Winter time? God Bless you New York.

The president is spying on people in the country at his own discretion. He claims that it's in the best interest of national security. That's the same kind of rationale that allowed the FBI to destroy the Black Panthers and watch Martin Luther King until they drove him crazy. Listen, this kind of thing is really dangerous. What are the criteria for who gets spied on. How do they decide? Do they randomly search the internet or something for keywords. If they do, allot of black bloggers better be careful. You guys say some really critical things and could be a threat to national security. I on the other hand love the president and think he has done one hell of a job. That whole Katrina thing was our fault. No one told us to buy cars that weren't big enough to drive through 10 feet of water. Please excuse anything negative you have read about Mike Brown, Karl Rove, the war, Cheney and anything else that will get me put on the hit list.

On second thought............ This is America and I can say what I want. FEMA is inadequate, Brown was incompetent, Karl Rove is really running the country, the troops should come home, Cheney is using the war and the hurricane to make Haliburton rich and there was no weapons of mass destruction.

I guess black people in Philly are doing so well that the head of the NAACP can focus on calling Donovan McNabb not black enough of instead of worrying about other things. If you go to work, respect everyone and do your job the way you are supposed to you are not acting white. If you go to work, speak without thinking, always "keep it real" and call your boss classless, you are not acting black. Unless your name is on the bottom of the check instead of the middle of the check you cannot do what you want.

Last night, three people were stabbed a record release party for the new Biggie album. What a way to honor a murdered man. Maybe its my thirties. Maybe it's the fact I have kids. Maybe it's just the fact that most of the hip hop music that comes out now makes my stomach hurt. Does this type of shit happen in any other genre of music? As long as this type of thing happens hip hop will always be looked at as a teenage music fad.

Why are the people at these social service agencies giving people from New Orleans a hard time? Don't ask me a thousand questions about my personal life. Either help me or not. Most of you probably don't realize that before this storm allot of us made more than you and some of us still do.

I have been here in Mississippi for 4 months and I have not made one new acquaintance. I have to do a better job of making myself a part of the community for whatever the remaining time is that I am here.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Looking Forward

I'm looking forward to a healthy year for all my friends and family.
I'm looking forward to no one dying. I need a break to grieve.
I'm looking forward to the little one growing fast.
I'm looking forward to GG being potty trained.
I'm looking forward to going back home and not being scared to sleep.
I'm looking forward to the lives of New Orleanians having as normal everyday life as they can.
I'm looking forward to the citizens of the city coming back and not letting the culture die.
I'm looking forward to stronger levees being built correctly.
I'm looking forward to professional fulfillment.
I'm looking forward to eating crawfish on the lakefront.
I'm looking forward to less reasons to cry.
I'm looking forward to more reasons to smile.
I'm looking forward to Iraq getting their shit together so the troops can come home.
I'm looking forward to responsible city government that actually looks out for the people.
I'm looking forward to no hurricanes bigger than a category 2.
I'm looking forward to none of them hitting New Orleans for another 40 years like before Katrina.
I'm looking forward to no one looting jewelry stores if it does happen.
I'm looking forward to the class action lawsuit against the Corp of Engineers.
I'm looking forward to A Katrina monument for the victims right in front of city Hall.
I'm looking forward to a whole day when I don't even think of August 29, 2005.
I'm looking forward to something bringing our people together other than a natural disaster.
I'm looking forward to pretending to diet and ending up the same size in the beginning of 2007.
I'm looking forward to no one black doing anything that will make me put my head down in shame.
I'm looking forward to going to a Saints game in the dome at least one more time.
I'm looking forward to me, Big Dave,and Tate performing our Friday night potion ritual at least one time somewhere in this world.
I'm looking forward to just being comfortable somewhere again.
I'm looking forward to living, loving and laughing again the way Cliff likes to do it.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Return To The Lower Nine Part 2........Time to Move On

How do you describe the last 50 years of your family's history being destroyed? That is basically what I seen when I went to the Lower Ninth Ward on Thursday. I could sit here and describe what I saw but I would rather just say that the site of my family homes made it crystal clear to me that I have no choice but to consider 2006 a year to rebuild every area of my life. The only thing this storm didn't take from me was the fact that I am one proud ass black man from New Orleans. The son of Clifton and Bernadine and a member of the Harris family. That won't change so that is what I am taking with me. I want to return to New Orleans to work with the agency I have been. The only problem I have is that ever since I was 8 years old, I have been fascniated by history. If there is something that interests me, I always want to know it's past. It's hard for me to think my own past and historical things have been washed away. I will never be able to show my kids where I used to watch fights with my grandfather. I won't be able to show them the family new years mugs that we drunk homemade eggnog. I won't be able to pull out the photo albums of my dad in Vietnam or my grandfather in WWII. All of that stuff is gone. Now it's time to make my own history so they have something to show thier kids. I just hope something doesn't come along and wipes out the next 50 years. I'm not discussing what I lost anymore. It's time to look forward. Thursday was the equivlent of a funeral. Just like after any funeral, you still have some grieving time. I am not happy about everything but time will take care of that. Until then, I will just laugh, cry, reminisce and plan for the future.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Return To The Lower Nine Part 1.

For twenty years I lived at 5461 St. Claude St. in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, Louisiana. My parents and grandmother worked their ass off to pay off the shotgun double they shared and it was that fact that made me feel like I would never be homeless. It was ours. Tomorrow morning I return this house for the first time since Hurricane Katrina ripped the heart out of that neighborhood. I have been to New Orleans since the storm but never across the canal. The only thing I can compare how I feel right to is a funeral. I told my brothers and sisters when they planned this ride I had two rules to follow. The first rule is we are not going into the house of my grandmother Geraldine who is still missing and lived next door. There is a possibility that her body may still be in there and none of us deserve to see her decomposing remains. The second rule is that we are not going anywhere near my other grandparents' house because my grandfather passed away in March and the last time I was there was for my grandmother Mildred's 85th birthday party and that's what I want to remember about that area. I can only handle one traumatic event at a time and my childhood home will be enough. I don't expect to get anything or see anything positive. I guess it's for us to get some closure. Since we all slept five deep to one queen size bed growing up, it's only right we go together. I'll be back Friday for part 2.

What kind of Bullshit is This?

Official Katrina tours to begin in January

12:10 PM CST on Friday, December 9, 2005

Thanh Truong / WWL-TV Reporter

The tourism industry—and one bus line in particular—believes tourists should be ushered into New Orleans to see Hurricane Katrina’s devastation first hand, leaving critics to question the timing and sensitivity of a so-called Katrina tour through Lakeview.


The Lakeview area has become New Orleans' Ground Zero for tourists anxious to take in the damage wrought by Hurricane Katrina.

Lakeview and the now infamous 17th Street Canal have attracted the curious as of late; more and more people taking pictures and driving through an area which suffered major flooding.

New Orleans resident Suleymin Ayedin, who’s lived in the city 20 years, has visited Lakeview three times already and said he wanted to see Katrina’s impact for himself, and has cried a couple of times while looking at the damage.

Bob Salzer, a New Orleans native now living in Texas, described his journey to Lakeview as educational and humbling.

“I mean, this is my home and to see it as different as it is now is sobering," Salzer said.

The Gray Line bus company wants to cater to people like Salzer and plans to launch a tour in January, bringing passengers through sections of town which in the last three months have made headline news throughout the news.

Greg Hoffman, Gray Line Vice President and General Manager, addressed issues of sensitivity in touring the storm ravaged area, saying he lost his Lakeview home, too.

“I understand those questions…It is a very sensitive subject, believe me,” Hoffman said. “The turning point for this tour was when we decided the only way we're going to educate the rest of the country on what happened down here is when we bring people down to see it first hand."

Hoffman said tours will be on 25 passenger mini-buses but no one will be allowed to roam. Tickets will be $35 and $3 of each ticket will be donated to four different non-profit groups.

“We really don't know how popular this tour will be, we really don't know how many tourists will be in town, so we don't know if we're really going to make any money on this tour, just as we don't know if we're going to make any money off any other tours,” Hoffman said.


Greg Hoffman, Gray Line Vice President and General Manager, said $3 of every $35 ticket sold on the Katrina tour would be donated to local non-profit groups.

Shortly after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, a great number of people came to New York City to see Ground Zero. The 17th Street Canal in Lakeview, in its own way, has become the city’s Ground Zero.

The tourism industry supports the Katrina tour with the hope that visitors would bring back to their home towns everything they see. The President of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation stressed to WWL-TV that they were not marketing the disaster.

But for the many who called these areas home before Katrina have since been displaced, and if they have concerns about their neighborhoods becoming a tourist attraction, their protest may come after the buses roll in.

The tour's route has not yet been finalized. The first buses have been scheduled to roll January 4, 2006

I usually don't curse too much in my blogs because sometimes my mama reads them and I was raised not to curse around her. Sorry this time mama. What the fuck is up with this idea to give people tours of my city's devestation? If you weren't a resident at the time you had already left so you don't need to see. That may sound crazy but that's how I feel. The only people that need to see what's going on is the government assholes with the checkbooks to fix shit. We are giving tours while people are still going through drama over this. Then, we only get 3$ of every ticket for non profit groups. This asshole is going to get rich out of all of this. I am not condoning violence of any kind but I will not lose any sleep if someone sleeping in the dark inside one of those little ass FEMA trailers takes a few shots at the bus. If you want to get entertainment off of someone else's misery you deserve a few rounds passing around you.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Gang leader set to die as appeals fail

Governor Terminator of California has denied clemency for Stanley Tookie Williams so by this time tomorrow Brother Tookie will be deceased. I have tried to take a stand one way or another on this issue but I am still kind of confused about it. He was convicted in 1981 so he has basically had 24 years to change his life around. Some can argue that if the execution would have happened faster he never would have had the chance to do the things that would make the case for his clemency. If he never wrote those kids books, would anyone besides some gang members and death sentence opposers be worried about the brother? I don't think they would. There are hundreds of men on death row that probably feel they have changed just like Tookie and don't get the attention that he is getting. It's obvious that the families of the victims and the prosecutors are not impressed with his turnaround in life. I guess the thirst for justice overrides any benefit of the doubt they are willing to give him for geniunely changing. I don't know the man personally so I can't make that judgement. He says he is innocent and only he and God knows what is really going on inside of him. I hope he has made peace with whoever he prays to. The confusion comes in when I think about the American justice system as it relates to black men in general. I don't know if he is innocent or not. and surely being the founder of a street gang that is probably responsible for the death of thousands of black men all over America can't be good for your resume when trying to catch a break. With that being said, he is not the only brother on death row or serving a long time in prison that may have changed or actually be innocent. There is a part of me as a black man that has to ask the question. What if he didn't do it? Just like the brother in Atlanta that was released last week after the 25 years thanks to DNA and the other men that have been set free lately thanks to new or updated evidence. I am not saying he is innocent. I am just saying that until we can assure that every man on death row is guilty we shouldn't execute anybody. Justice in America is not blind when the person has dark skin so we can never take innocence for granted unless the guilty admit to their transgressions. All we can hope for now is that the brothers and sisters out there in L.A. don't burn down their own community tomorrow after everything is done. There are allot of Crips around the country and they are not the most level headed cats. Lets hope that Tookie is the only person crossing over because of this event.

Just a little different

I am basically an average everyday black man for the most part. I was raised in the neighborhood and have seen and done some of the same things other brothers have done. However, as I have gotten older, there are things that I like or don't like that have separated me from most of the cats that I know.

I don't like video games
I haven't played video games since SEGA. I just don't have the time to sit there and figure out some of these new things. A good game should only require two buttons. I have some friends that are 40 years old and will call in from work to finish their saved game of Grand Theft Auto. I'm not saying something is wrong with that but something is really wrong with that.

I don't like Trina
Sometimes I go to Black Planet and I see a few pages from men and women with her picture all over it and I think to myself "you can't possibly think she is that fly". She wears too much makeup, her mouth is too foul for a lady and she looks like a stripper from 1994. She is the type you meet on Chef Highway at two in the morning after you leave the club alone.

I appreciate the police and believe in snitching
Black people have this problem where they would rather suffer through all this crime in their neighborhoods rather than getting together and telling on some of these fools. Let me tell you something. If there were no police at all there would be about 5 black men left because we would have killed each other by now. The brutality and profiling police do are wrong and no one likes that but don't tell me when the bullets are flying through your window and someone robs your grandma, you don't want someone to come and help your ass.

I think any man with at least one child should not have rims on his car.
Unless you are a professional athlete or a rapper, you really shouldn't be spending that much money on your car when you could be putting that money away for your kids or a house. There are guys with rims that cost more money than the project they are staying in. Think about all the kids who are going to be taking out loans to go to school when daddy spent 40K over their childhood on Spreewells.

Rest in peace to Richard Pryor, one of my favorite people. I had to be the only brother with a Pryor poster hanging in his cubicle at work. I don't think I spoke enough about how much I like Richard Pryor. He has basically been gone from the public eye for awhile do to the muscular dystrophy he had. Yet, most of his material is still relevant today which shows you just how far we haven't come as a race of people. It's not always easy for white people to understand our pain and frustration in a way that they can accept. He was able to do that by making them laugh about it and at the same time not compromise the seriousness of the message. No other person in my opinion has been able to do that sense. If only he could have controlled his addictions. He actually lived a long time considering all the things he had done to himself. I guess that was God's way of letting him feel appreciated for awhile. See you on the other side Brother Rich. I hope you wake up in the right heaven this time and don't have to listen to Lawrence Welk.

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

Cliff's X-Mas Wish List

I honestly don't want or expect anything for Christmas. The only thing on my mind this Christmas is health and comfort for my friends and family and anything that has Dora the Explorer on it for my baby. Other than searching for Dora I am good. However, if I had to make a Christmas wish list for myself just for fantasy's sake here is what would be on it.


Wrestling DVD collection: The best part about having a collection like this is that besides my cousin Big Dave, the rest of my friends think it is strange and nerdy for me to take that much pride in a fake sport. That means no one ever tries to borrow anything so I never have to look for any of my propety. The storm wiped it out but you can bet I will be replacing the library as soon as possible.

Richard Pryor Concert Collection: Another lost item from the storm. I also lost my Richard Pryor t-shirt and my poster which were the only birthday gifts my brother ever gave me other than alcohol. I can't seem to find the Asian store owners that sell all the black t-shirts so I can replace it.

Two lapdances from The Blue Flame in Atlanta: Sorry, but that is a great gift.

A new class ring: I am more upset at Nikki for losing my old class ring now since my school may get the wrecking ball. If the ring was too big to wear you should have just given it back to me and not kept it in your purse. I didn't lose yours. Young love is so costly.

Isaac Hayes Live at The Sierra Tahoe Album: Went to look at my house the water had eaten away the album cover art but I started to clean the record and take it with me........was just too emotional at the time.

Aretha Franklin Live at The Filmore West Album: See above explanation.

Marvin Gaye Live at The Palladium Album: See above explanation.

A 2006 Lexus LS: There may some rich person reading this looking to give to hurricane relief. Is there anything more depressing and more unrealistic than those Lexus commercials where they show all the people getting new cars with bows on them for Christmas. How can you walk into the house with a Wal Mart bag after they run that commercial fifty times.

A date with Gabrielle Union: She's getting a divorce. She might be at home reading blogs and looking for a way to help with hurricane relief. What better way to help out then flying me out to Hollywood for the weekend? I have nothing to lose.

A bucket of Patton's Hot Sausage: Why is the rest of the world sleeping on the greatest food of all time. I mean you just can't buy it anywhere North of Hammond, East of Baton Rouge and West of Pearl River. If Mayor Nagin wants people to return home, he should pass an ordinance that hot sausage can only be eaten within the New Orleans city limits. He will assure at least all of his former residents will at least visit five times a year for their fix. I can feel my arteries closing just from the thought.

A New Gangsta Hat: You know the kind like Ced the Entertainer wear. I had three of them and would like them back. If I get one that means I have to actually buy some clothing other than the jogging pants I have been wearing since August.

My dog Sandy...........

Dora the Explorer Bed and Kitchen Set: I'll give all my request back for this one since they sold out in less than five minutes the day after Thanksgiving.

A second line: There has to be enough refugees in this area for the Hot 8, Lil Rascals or the Newbirth Brass band to come here and just parade around the block a few times. They only have to do a few songs and I will have my fix. I don't want to go home and see a secondline in the French Quarter because that will only piss me off. I need a good ghetto second line that involves grandmothers shaking things they haven't in years, pitbulls without muzzles, big girls wearing clothes that are way too small, someone getting shot along the way and that dirty, strange white dude with that nappy beard that shows up to every secondline no matter how dangerous the neighborhood is and always has more fun than every person out there. If you don't know what I am talking about then I can't explain it. If you do know what I am talking about, I hope you are not homesick for the holidays like me.

Happy Holidays

Monday, December 5, 2005

No Zulu....No Mardi Gras

Zulu may not roll if city doesn't let Krewe parade along traditional route

10:37 AM CST on Monday, December 5, 2005

Ben Lemoine / WWL-TV Reporter

One of the oldest carnival krewes in the city has decided it will parade this Mardi Gras, even after the majority of its members were displaced by Katrina.

But Zulu officials said the decision is far from final and they may have a battle with City Hall before they know for sure.

For the past 90 years, only two World Wars and a police strike could keep the Krewe of Zulu off the streets of New Orleans on Fat Tuesday. This year, it may be the streets themselves that bring the tradition to a grinding halt.

In the city's scaled back Mardi Gras effort that would maximize the placement of police officers and travel a route safe from debris, all krewes would basically go from St. Charles at Napoleon Ave. to Canal St. and then to the Convention Center. But Zulu's traditional route went down Claiborne and Jackson Ave. and onto Orleans and Galvez St.

City officials have said they do not have enough money to stage police along the traditional, longer routes, and some of those areas could be dangerous because of storm debris.

Zulu krewe officials said eliminating those areas is a deal breaker.

“That's the stipulation that we made; that we're going to parade, but it must be on our traditional route. Which we know goes contrary to what's been approved by the city,” said krewe spokesman Charles Hamilton.

For the krewe, whose den was destroyed by floodwater and most members scattered around the country, it came down to a vote Sunday night.

"Obviously the biggest factor is financial. I mean, we're dealing with folks who have lost everything, 80% of our club has been impacted as a result of the storm,” said Naaman Stuart. So it's difficult to ask a guy to choose between Mardi Gras and repairing his home.”

At a town hall meeting in Atlanta Saturday, Mayor Nagin had a difficult time defending the decision of other city leaders to go ahead with Mardi Gras in such turbulent times.

“They are of the mindset that if we have a Mardi Gras, things are going to be okay. I argued against it,” Nagin said.

But the argument made by some was that Mardi Gras will bring a much needed morale boost. For Zulu, it all depends on a discussion with city officials and krewe officials said they may sit this Carnival season out if they can't do it the way they always have.

"If there's no discussion, then we won't ride; it's just how it has to be,” Hamilton said.

Zulu members plan to request a route change some time this week.

Now look, I am one of the few black people that was all for Mardi Gras taking place because I knew the city really needs any amount of tax revenue we can get at the moment. We got to bring in some dollars to start getting some things done.
However, if Zulu doesn't get to roll through the ghetto and decide not to march, this will be a racist decision by the city and I will have to protest. The truth of the matter is that all the asshole, drunk, pissing in the street type of people hangout in the French Quarter because they are tourist. You don't need allot of police in the hood for Mardi Gras. I don't remember seeing that many anyway. Our safety never was that big of a concern to begin with. If the mayor, and the other community leaders want "us" to come home, they better give us the only parade that actually lets the ghetto participate. Black people from New Orleans will never forgive the city if Rex, Bacchus, and Endymion gets to roll and Zulu doesn't. It's bad enough they flooded out our history. Now they are trying to make excuses to get rid of our tradition.

Rainy Day

In Case you are at home in the rain with nothing to do......................

Ten Songs to Play on a Rainy Day

1. I'll Love You More Ever Know - Donny Hathaway
2. Beautiful Skin - Goodie Mob
3. Angel - Aretha Franklin
4. By the Time I Get To Phoenix - Isaac Hayes
5. Be Wonderful - Earth Wind and Fire
6. In the Rain - The Dramatics
7. Fairytales - Anita Baker
8. Dream With No Love - Gerald Levert
9. My Lover's Prayer - Otis Redding
10. Pink Cashmere - Prince


A friend of mine calls me everyday from Atlanta and asks me the same question. "What are you doing today?" My response is always the same, "nothing". What do you do when nothing is happening? How do you write a blog when you don't go to work, don't go out at night and basically just sit at home ALL DAY LONG! The only good thing to come out of all this home time is spending time with the family and realizing that there is actually a black Teletubie. Other than that, I am about to go crazy. I'm pretty sure there are some cool things to do around here. I just need to get out and find them. I need to find something to energize my brain. If not, I'm afraid this blog will turn into day after day of Katrina post and I am tired of letting this thing control all of my mind. I think I am going to just get up and drive into the hood to see what's going on. Random hood trips always lend themselves to interesting observations.

Friday, December 2, 2005

Dedicated to D

In the summer of 1979, right before I went to kindergarten, I met a little kid while trying to ride my bike without training wheels. Me and this little kid decided to race to the mailbox and back. For the next 15 years that kid would be by neighbor and best friend. I have had allot of dreams about allot of people the past few months. In a situation like we are in, there is a good chance that childhood friends and schoolmates will never be seen again in this lifetime. Of all the people I think about I think of this brother the most. Every thing I did from the ages of five to eighteen, me and this man did together. We got off training wheels the same week. We lost our virginity the same day. We got robbed together, got beat up together and caught beatings from our parents for breaking curfew at the same time. When things got hot in the neighborhood, we would always look out for one another and keep one another safe. We had our own code words,had our own word to describe something good (vicious). We shared the same love of pro wrestling( I remember when we cried when JYD had to leave town) , and we even had nicknames for our mothers only we could use(Lean and Dene). Once we became adults things changed and we went our seperate ways. We both spent a good portion of our 20's fighting our own personal demons. Through all of that there was one thing I always knew. That was my brother. It has hard keeping up with him and when I did get news about him it wasn't positive. The last time I seen him was at his wedding when he declared that no one in the room, not even his best man would share as many things as we did. I always knew how to reach him if I wanted to because our parents lived two houses apart. Now the neighborhood is gone and neither one of our families may be back. Five years from now I am going to be riding through New Orleans and get to the 54oo block of St. Claude in the Lower Nine. I am going to see that big oak tree that looks right into St. Claude Ct. and think about all the days and nights we spent sitting on that tree and sharing our ghetto dreams.

Here's to my friend and brother Devin Robert Bateman. I hope you and your family made it out of the city in one piece. Know one knows what the future holds. Maybe one of these days we will get together, share a beer and watch the wrestling match together. If not, I hope you are at peace and I will see you on the other side. I love ya pretty boy no matter what.

Thursday, December 1, 2005

Mind Blowing Volume 24

If anyone thought that George Bush was going to pull troops out of Iraq early his speech yesterday put all that speculation to rest. The man told you that he was going to win no matter what. The only people winning at the moment is the terrorists and Haliburton. The troops could win if they didn't have to guess who's the enemy and who's not. I will be glad when those kids get to come home and let the inevitable civil war in that country start. How do all the soldiers from New Orleans feel right now. They are working to bring new lives to the Iraqi people and their own government is giving them lip service about their own city right now. It's going to be rough for people like Lil Ronald who was over in Iraq dodging roadside bombs while his grandmother's house was being moved a block away from where it was supposed to be because a levee designed to hold a category 3 storm was broken by a category 3 storm that didn't even make a direct hit. I wonder how the families of the 3 soldiers from that neighborhood that have been killed in Iraq must feel now. "Thank you for your son's service and his ultimate sacrifice in fighting this war. Now get out of the way why we bulldoze the only home he ever knew and turned this into condominiums and a golf course behind this brand new levee that will be built correctly." God Bless America!

I was going to post the presidents entire speech from Jackson Square here on the blog but it had too many lies in it and I didn't want to piss myself off any more than I am. We give allot of attention to New Orleans because on the gulf coast we are the big dogs but I want to give a shot out to all the people from St. Bernard, Lower Plaquemines, Washington Parish, Pass Christian, Waveland, Gulfport, Biloxi and all the other areas that got the same shit or worse than we did.

Just for the record, I spent 21 years of my life in the Lower Ninth Ward and no one loves the place more than I do. With that being said, I cannot blame one single soul if they choose not to return. The bottom line is that there have been three major storms to hit New Orleans in the last 100 years and each time the Lower Nine has been put under water. There comes a time when you just can't keep putting your family through that shit. My dad has none of his trophies and memories from his childhood after Hurricane Betsy in 1965. Now, none of his kids have any of theirs because of Katrina in 2005. I think we have lost enough including grandma. People will rebuild and nothing is wrong with that either but I am not mad at anyone who doesn't.

FEMA is handing out property checks to compensate people for their losses. I had insurance and my own home so the handout line doesn't include me. Most homeowners that were still paying for their houses are in a situation where we might have to go home eventually just to keep our property. I'm glad my parents and grandparents own their property so they can just wait for the golf course pay off money to come and stay where they are if they choose to. Someone needs to copy and save this next statement for historical record. In two years time, the next chapter of the Katrina experience will begin when all the federal money is gone and that 40 % of the New Orleans population that never worked anyway has to fend for themselves. Whatever city this happens in will be in for a big surprise when they go back to the pre Katrina profession of hustling to make ends meet.

One of the things I get to do since I sit at home all day is watch allot of TV and read allot of magazines and books. I would recommend Micheal Eric Dyson's book "Is Bill Cosby Right?". It's a little old but I thought it was a real thought provoking book. Michael Eric Dyson is a very smart brother. He is the other guy I would invite to sit down and speak with along with Tavis Smiley and Dr. Cornell West. I could have had that kind of knowledge if it wasn't for the gallons and gallons of liquor that killed a portion of my brain cells from 1993-1998. Those five years are considered the dark ages.
I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving. I tried my best to enjoy mine like I said I would. Now I am back to writing on my blog and getting ready for Christmas. Christmas won't be a bad holiday because that's more about the kids. New Years will be tougher on me since this will be the first time I am not at my grandparents house celebrating. I guess I will get through that one too. I have thought about trying to write different things and acknowledge other things in the world that are going on besides what happened during Katrina. I think I will do that but I am not going to stop calling out these lying bastards about what they did or didn't do to contribute to the current state of affairs at home. I guess I am feeling more conscious these days. I have to admit that a few years ago that the corporate world had blinded me to allot of things going on. I was too busy getting paid and spending time in the burbs to notice certain things. Now everything that corporate America took out of me, Katrina has put back in. I won't spend all my day worrying about the storm because I haven't been doing that anyway. There are allot of other things that interest me. That just don't expect me to act like Katrina never happen. If we don't acknowledge a wrong in history it can easily be repeated. One more thing before I go......To all my friends or people that read this. Please don't excuse my anger about my current situation with being depressed or holding on to something. The fact of the matter is that everything happening in my life currently can be traced back to what happened a few weeks ago. If I mention it, it's only because it's relevant. Besides a few moments every now and then, I have been feeling pretty good. Since I have a large need in my life to laugh I can't stay upset all the time. A joke will come from somewhere if you give me enough time.