Tuesday, April 25, 2006

This Blog Has No Title

The following opinions have been influenced by listening to Tupac's Greatest Hits....

Lately there are three things that are guaranteed to piss me off:
1. All these jackasses coming back to New Orleans and starting all this shooting and shit again. What the hell is wrong with negroes? Thank you for validating everything the other part of the community thinks about us. All of this is taking in place in one of the few dry and black neighborhoods in the city. Its funny that the Ninth Ward gets all the press for being this violent place when we all know that uptown is where the real pit bulls come from(no offense to my uptown friends, not all of you are pit bulls). When being stranded for days together in the hot New Orleans sun without food and water can’t make you come together there is no hope.
2. When someone from New Orleans wants to put down the city and brag about how much better it is where they live like they always planned on going there. I don't mind you starting over, and you should be happy. But, don't act like we weren't neighbors 7 months ago and your ass was planning to leave. You were going to die here just like me and you probably still will eventually.
3. People from other cities that keep trying to tell me how to feel or how long I am supposed to be upset about the aftermath of the storm. Let me come to your town, take all of your family and move them around. Then pump 1000 gallons of water in your house. Then, just when you get really homesick and want to come home I will make about 1000 rules not allowing you to even rebuild the house the way it was. Deal with all that and then we can talk on an even level. Until then let us deal with this.

Due to the increasing gas prices its time to make some tough choices. I have decided that until the price goes down, I will decrease my large daiquiri with a shot of rum to a medium daiquiri with no shot and my 12 inch po-boy sandwich to a 6 inch sandwich and hold the cheese. These damn republicans got the gas so high I have to cut back on sandwiches and liquor just to get to work. That's what America gets for electing two ex energy company CEO's to run the country. You know the first revolution in this country started with a tea party to protest being over taxed by the British. I'm glad the president tried to do something today to make the price a little lower. I'm afraid that going from 2.85 to 2.75 isn't really doing a damn thing for me. I need some old school prices. You know, the kind we had before pissing off all the Arabs.

R.I.P. to Proof from D-12 and the man that he shot. It is really sad a talented brother lost his life. It’s just as sad that he was killed after shooting another black man and nobody cares about him or his family because he is not famous. That’s two black men dead and their lives had equal value. That’s why the murders have been allowed to fester for so long. We only care about the ones we know or our family.

It can’t be possible that I don’t qualify for every single one of the hurricane relief programs. Am I rich and no one told me? I am going to be so pissed if one of my grandparents have a trust fund for me that I don’t know about that keeps showing up on a computer somewhere. Then again, that can’t be true because if I had one my credit wouldn’t be so bad.

Finally I have a lesson in life for everyone that reads this. Sometimes a person comes into your life and you get a bad vibe so you end the association quickly. Then years later they come back into your world through circumstances and you think to yourself “This person isn’t so bad. Maybe I was wrong”. Eventually, the person does things that make you realize why you never wanted to be around their stupid ass in the first place. The lesson is : when judging people, following your first mind is usually the right call.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Who's Gonna Be the Mayor?.....I Don't Care

The mayor's race in New Orleans has came and went and now we have Mitch Landrieu and Ray Nagin in a runoff to see who gets to run the city for the next four years. Whoever wins will either get a whole bunch of credit if the city makes strides or all the blame if it falls on its face. It's a risky job to take. I think Landrieu will win if the voter turn out for the runoff is anything like the turnout for the primary. I think I misjudged Black New Orleans' attitude about this mayor's race. I think most of us don't really care who wins. When you really break it down, there isn't a section of the American population that has been more mistreated by other Americans than black people from New Orleans. No one really wants us. We are staying in cities now that look at us as a drain and a burden. Lots of those people in these other cities are black too. Then, our own city knows this and are still dragging their asses to get some kind of progress made. That's what's on the mind of the average citizen when he or she is about to spend 100.00 worth of gas to drive from Atlanta to vote for someone who hasn't really done anything to help them come back home regardless of their color. I have been here since the end of January and I still haven't found a place under 1200.00 a month that I would like to live in. After listening to the debates and judging each candidate, I probably wouldn't have voted either if I had to drive 500 miles. We would have been better off as the third world country as they see us.

Friday, April 21, 2006

My Favorite Hip Hop Verse of All Time

Through the lights cameras and action, glamour glitters and gold
I unfold the scroll, plant seeds to stampede the globe
When I'm deceased, by then the beast arise like yeast
To conquer peace leaving savages to roam in the streets
Live on the run, police paying me to give in my gun
Trick my wisdom, with the system that imprisoned my son
Smoke a gold leaf I hold heat, nonchalantly
I'm grungy, but things I do is real it never haunts me
While, funny style niggaz roll in the pile
Rooster heads profile on a bus to riker's isle
Holdin weed inside they pussy with they minds on thePretty things in life,
props is a true thug's wife
It's like a cycle, niggaz come home, some'll go in
Do a bullet, come back, do the same shit again
From the womb to the tomb, presume the unpredictable
Guns salute life, rapidly, that's the ritual

Nas from Verbal Intercourse by Raekwon the Chef

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Controlling the Media

When I was a young man living at home, me and my dad would always watch the news together. Whenever I would ask him a question about a story that didn't make sense to me as a young black man, he would always reply with the same phrase; "Son, when you control the media, you control what we see". Never has this been more apparent than this week in the news. Two women have dominated the news this week. One of them is Natalie Holloway. She is the young lady that disappeared in Aruba months ago and hasn't been found. Every single news outlet in the country has been covering this story every single day and they won't rest until someone in Aruba has been arrested for her disappearance. I used to look at this story everyday and I felt bad for her because she was young and had her life in front of her. As a matter of fact I think that Nancy Grace is on a personal crusade to have every male in Aruba brought up on charges for kidnapping. One way or another, someone in Aruba will answer for Natalie's murder and the American media will not rest until it's done.
The other story is the Duke Lacrosse team rape case. This story has also been everywhere this week but with a different twist. Every single day there is another story, picture or piece of evidence presented by the media to make this sister look like a black piece of trash who is trying to get paid by lying on these poor privilege kids at Duke. It's like they can't even imagine that she might have been raped and their asses are all covering for one another. If she was a little tipsy when she got to the party, who's to say she didn't get violated by something other than one of their little peckers. For a brief second I almost was starting to think that maybe she could have been lying. After watching the coverage of this story, it doesn't even matter if they don't have DNA evidence. I want her to stand her ground and bring these little bastards to justice if for no other reason than to see the look on the face of all the ass holes in the media on television that made her look like a drunken tramp. Do you think all those people on TV would be making negative comments if some white woman went up to a HBCU for a bachelor party full of wild Negroes. They would shut the entire system down until they found out who it was.
I love living in America. In any other country I would probably be dead already for writing some shit like this. Most Americans of all colors do the same thing every day. We go to work, try to raise our kids properly and earn enough money for some comfort in life. However, there are several cross sections of American life where the line is clearly drawn for black people. The top three are the justice system, the job interview process, and media coverage. We usually expect some sort of bullshit to go on in these three areas but when it's as blatant as the news has been this week it just pisses you off. This is what BET should be used for, some balance. They spend all their time teaching 12 year olds how to dance.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Signs of Life

Since I came back to New Orleans for my job I haven't been focused on anything. I have been here everyday and I even got a promotion. Somehow I still find myself drifting most of the day. The post Katrina stress always seems to have me down. I don't even write blogs as much because I can't think straight.
There is nothing worse than a series of meetings over a two day period to make you want to quit when you are in this state of mind. Last year I went to this same meeting with my entire staff representing our agency. I was a novice, the understudy and the low man on the totem pole. One year later, I was back as the lone representative for the entire program and had the title of coordinator behind my name. I had two choices. The first choice that came to mind was to go Tuesday and sit quietly writing down notes like I am interested then skip Wednesday's session and blame it on some housing appointment or something personal and stay home. I was all sold on the first choice and went in the conference room Tuesday surrounding by allot of smart people. That's when I had a long talk with myself. I told myself "Cliff, you are just as knowledgeable and capable as anyone in this room. Not only that, you were raised by a father that is an ego maniac and his father had the most self confidence of anyone you ever known. You have almost an obsessive pride about your name and who you are. What kind of Harris man are you to sit in here and let these people think your ass don't belong? What would grandpa say? Now open your damn mouth and show them you got skills." That's exactly what I did. I proceeded to demonstrate my training methods, articulate the merits of a closed database and totally shoot down the idea of a state system I feel is designed to have access to my local records. I felt really good. In fact, I felt so good that I went back to work and gave a three hour seminar on the mayor's race (my all Caucasian work staff thinks I should run for mayor of Chocolate City), the rebuilding of the Ninth Ward and why Kobe Bryant is the MVP of the NBA this year. It feels good when I have a day when I am 100% together after the storm. On those days people get the whole Cliff experience: charm, charisma, knowledge, humor, the ability to dominate a conversation and the biggest ego any bald, short, chubby black man has ever had. Grandpa would be proud.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Being Grown

I love being in my 30's. Other than some stamina and 75 less pounds, I don't miss being a teenager or my early 20's at all. My generation doesn't seem to be embracing this grown folk thing too well. We are holding on to our youthful ways for dear life. Holding on to your youthful mind state means holding on to your youthful expectations. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but once you turn 30 you have to be realistic about certain aspects of your plans. I'm not saying you can't do them. You just have to map out a different path. I was on 3 different paths in 2005 alone. Lately when I have conversations with all my 30-35 year old friends, we seem to talk allot about how old we are and how things have not worked out in our lives the way we want. What is our problem? How many of you have actually sat down for a few minutes and honestly thought about all the obstacles we have made it through just to get to our 30's? First of all, we are the first generation of black people that grew up in this country free of any type of legal segregation. The bar for our achievement was set so high that most of us were never going to be able to keep up with all that. We might not have had separate schools and water fountains, but the economic disparity was still there the whole time and no one did anything to deal with that before we came of age. Secondly, around the time I was 9 or 10 years old, crack took hold and held our community hostage. Lots of the things we are dealing with today are the effects of that dark time. This might be a New Orleans thing but I don't know anyone in my age range that doesn't know at least three people that are no longer here because of that drug. The bottom line is that our generation has had to survive allot of shit to get to this point. It's time we embrace our age and respect our experience. I am glad to be in my 30's. I feel like a wise man already and I can't wait until I am 50. Hell, I have already survived the crack wars, record murder rates, heroin addicts, the Galvez bus ride home in 87(you downtown people know what happened on Galvez and St. Bernard), having a girlfriend in the Calliope and the Florida projects, crack babies that are way worse than we are, excessive drinking, high blood pressure and Hurricane Katrina. It can't get much harder than it already has been.

Thursday, April 6, 2006

Questions, Questions, Questions

What happened to all that money that George Bush promised the city of New Orleans?

I guess he just lied in front of millions Americans on national TV. That's not so strange for him.

Why are there 500 people running for mayor of New Orleans?

Why isn't Cynthia Willard Lewis on TV everyday fussing about something?

There are enough things in her district to have a new beef about each day. I mean, she did lose her whole constituency to the storm. She should have her own hotline set up just for the Ninth Ward.

What is Leonard Lucas doing running for councilman at large?

This is the same guy that was the district representative for the Ninth Ward and led the entire state legislature in absences. He only sponsored two bills the whole term and the Lower Ninth Ward still didn't have a grocery store before the storm. The only thing he managed to do was open up his mini-mall and a Subway. That's just the guy we need.

Why isn't Paul Morton and Darryl Brister standing next to her complaining on behalf of the thousands of people that give them all that money?

Even if they are doing something behind closed doors that's not good enough. It should be vocal and loud to combat the feelings of frustration. The Bishop should be on TV now just as much as he was when his boys weren't getting in on the contracts from City Hall. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton should have never even needed to come down here and organize that march. It should have already been done.

How do all the girls from New Orleans name Katrina feel now that their families won't speak to them?

If the hurricane would have been named Cliff instead of Katrina, how many years of therapy would it have taken to get over that guilt?

I think I need to call my cousin Katrina tonight and apologize for ignoring her. She's a really good person and no one deserves to have a storm that basically wiped out their entire family structure named after them. They shouldn't even name those storms anyway. If anyone bigger than a cat-3 ever hits, it should just be called "That Big Bitch" and followed by the date. Katrina should have been "That Big Bitch on August 29"

How come the folks that went through Hurricane Rita don't appear to be as pissed as all the Katrina victims?

You all should be making more noise. There is enough FEMA money to be squandered away for everyone.

Did it really take the mayor and city council this long to figure out that they should be spending that money on rebuilding apartments instead of trailers?

Did anyone else notice that we will have had Mardi Gras, Jazzfest, and a Saints game before we even open one public hospital in the city of New Orleans?

When the son on Black and White admitted to his parents he let the white kids say nigger around him, why didn't mom or dad slap his ass?

There is never a time when that practice is cool. I don't care how many hip hop CD's they listen to.

How much did VH1 pay those girls to go back on Flava of Love reunion?

Why is Hip Hop the only profession where a black man makes good money and still wants to be considered part of the hood?

You don't see the CEO of American Express (a black man) representing the projects by stabbing the Discover Card CEO at a meeting.

Why are all those black kids, especially the basketball players(who are basically the image of the university) still going to Duke?

If this was 1966 instead of 2006 there would be sit ins and marches every day.

Am I the only person that is totally infatuated with Cynthia Mckinney's stand against racial profiling?

I wish they had the incident on tape to prove her point.

Keep your hair style baby. I think it's fly.

Can we get her to come to New Orleans on behalf of the people?

Why do white people bring their dogs everywhere with them including the office?

You don't know if I am allergic to dogs or not.

Why do black people take stuff from work they really don't need like white out and staplers?

I never got to use the adding machine I took from my old job.

What is the proper amout of work production lost in America between instant messages and e-mail?

There are people that download their favorite IM as soon as they are alone at their desk.

Is there such a thing as a young Caucasian woman at your job that isn't a newlywed or engaged?

I mean they all have fiances and new husbands. No wonder sisters are so pissed when they come home from work. I would be too if I had to sit 8 hours and listen to all that.

Would I be wrong to snitch on the blind guy that smokes in the restroom next to my office door?
It's not that I want to get the man in trouble. It's just that when you are the only brother, you get blamed for stuff like fires.

Finally, this is an actual e-mail I received. The name has been scrambled to protect the victim:
"ya this this be %@$%@$ from 71107 wat the deal is yo main holla at ya boy cuz maybe i can getcha down here agian an we can chill an smoke dat some cake]weed[ ok holla at me ,one"

The first question.... What did the New Orleans Public School system do to him to make him look at that on paper and think anyone would understand that?

The Last question..... Is the fact that I understood exactly what he was trying to say reason enough for all us to get together and file a class action suit against the school system for improper education?

It's alright to talk ebonics sometimes in certain circles but you are never supposed to write it unless it's a Gwendolyn Brooks poem.

One Love to everyone from the Lower Ninth Ward. Peace to all people New Orleans.

Monday, April 3, 2006

Just Venting.....Nothing Personal

This blog was written just for me to get things off of my chest. It is not intended for everyone to agree with or to really piss anyone off even though it might. I welcome any comments you may have even if you want to cuss me.

The election march was cool. I still stand by the fact that we need to be able to vote if we choose to. However, it’s going to be funny to see all those people vote for a mayor and give him four years of power to run a city that its going to take five years to find housing in. Essentially, all these black people are going to run down and vote for Ray Nagin to drag his feet like he’s been doing.

Sometimes I wish that New Orleans was really a third world country like the rest of the world seems to look at us. That would be ok right now to me because then we could overthrow the government, lock up the mayor, sheriff, DA and city council and annex ourselves from the rest of the country. Then we could make some trade deals with other countries on our own and build our own levee system and housing and hospitals and schools and all that other stuff.

One of the strange things about the aftermath of the storm is that there are some people from New Orleans that actually think where they are from makes them more deserving of a natural disaster. If you go anywhere in the world and someone makes a comment like to you, slap them That will be the only thing that makes you feel better. If you catch yourself believing that or affirming what they said, slap yourself. You are a disgrace to your whole family.

It has to be said…….Eighteen months of free rent for people that didn’t have a job before the storm is just too long of a time. My sister is a teacher and she had to pay her emergency money back to the government. The storm was not supposed to make working people’s lives harder and shiftless people’s lives easier. When all of this is up, there will be lots of people in panic and desperate.

The next time someone makes the comment to me that “God doesn’t do anything by mistake” or “Everything happens for a reason” concerning what happened to people because of the hurricane might get cussed out.

I had a conversation with a good friend concerning her child’s father. She was hoping that eventually if they spent enough time together his dad may decide to start doing the things for him that he needs to. Look, when Gabby was born my fatherly instincts kicked in the first five seconds after her birth. If you got a man that doesn’t want to spend every minute he can with his child the minute they are born, put him on child support immediately because you got problems coming.

Why are there so many 30 year old black women that can actually say to themselves that they will always be lonely? I am tired of young sisters talking like they are 65 years old. I am going to get in trouble for this but how many of you have actually thought it was yourself that was the problem. How many women can actually say they know how to be happy or make a man happy? There are thousands of good brothers out there but they don’t have Jay Z’s money or LL’s body. Most of them work for the city fixing streets or something with beer bellies and receding hairlines. You better go look for some of those cats.

After you reach a certain age, sex without passion or feelings for your partner is just like masturbation with allot more drama.

Why would African American people support any type of law allowing illegal immigrants to work in this country without citizenship? With all the joblessness in our community, there is nothing good about millions of people willing to work for half of what we will coming in everyday. We have enough competition already.

Sunday, April 2, 2006

Happy Birthday Mama

Today is my mother’s 56th birthday. Like most brothers, I have a undying devotion and love for the woman. I don’t know how to express my feelings for this woman properly. She is my mama, my guidance, my friend and maybe the biggest supporter I have in this world. My entire personality has been shaped on the fact that I never wanted to be the reason she had a bad day or a sleepless night. Thanks to Katrina, this is the first time since I was born I won’t get to see her on her birthday. I hope her whole day and everyday for the rest of her life is filled with smiles. I love you mama because without you, there would be no me.

A Mother's Love

Some say when my children
are old enough to understand the logic
that motivates a mother
I will tell them this:
I loved you enough to want to
know where you were going,
with whom, and what
time you would get home.
I loved you enough to
make you return a chocolate bar
with a bit out of it to a store
and to confess:"I stole this".
I loved you enough to stand
over you for two hours
while you cleaned your room;
a job that would have
taken me 15 minutes.
I loved you enough to
let you see anger,
disappointment, disgust
and tears in my eyes.
I loved you enough to
admit when I was wrong
and to ask for your forgiveness.
I loved you enough to
let you stumble, fall and hurt.
BUT most of all
I loved you enough to say NO
when you hated me for it
This was the hardest part of all!

Author Unknown