Thursday, June 29, 2006


I am Bored....

Bored with Work
Bored with My promotion
Bored with Being smart
Bored with New Orleans
Bored with The Internet
Bored with Fussing about the current state of my city
Bored with Iraq
Bored with Katrina
Bored with Rebuilding
Bored with Politics
Bored with TV
Bored with Sports
Bored with Reading
Bored with Drinking
Bored with Over eating
Bored with Exercise
Bored with Talking
Bored with Listening
Bored with Friends
Bored with Looking at all the immigrants work while those young cats sit on the playground in front of my crib smoking blunts.
Bored with Trying to figure out who buys their weed.
Bored with Being strong.
Bored with My car
Bored with Singing along with the same old songs
Bored with Looking at debris
Bored with Hip Hop
Bored with Waiting for everybody to come home
Bored with Reminiscing
Bored with This blog
Bored with Everything

Excited about nothing

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Chillin With Da Troops

Five brothers got murdered Saturday and now we have the troops…

Was this really neccesary?

Who’s got the “I Am Not A Thug” signs for everybody’s car.

Nothing like men in military suits running around to make you feel good about coming home.

Gotta love New Orleans!!!

You know this kind of thing could happen in any city so why does the national and the useless local media act like we are the only place in the country with street thugs?

Can we just get one story about working people who chose to come home despite all the negativity?

I must not be paying attention because besides one or two areas of the city I haven’t seen anything going on at the pre-Katrina level.

I hate to sound cold but two of the victims mother was at the press conference with the mayor and city council and she didn’t really sound all that surprised that someone hurt her babies.

What were they doing out at 3AM riding around anyway?

Shouldn’t she know where they were? I would still be punished right now for staying out that late at 16.

Are we gonna punish parents if their children get caught breaking the new curfew?

Council Thomas wants to know why we don’t march on the thugs……We can’t march on the thugs because you can’t march against something you helped create.

I’m no genius. I may not even be smart at all but I think I know why black people have become so passive when it comes to murder. My reasoning is that hustling and drug selling is not a fad in our neighborhoods. It’s a career. For most young men that come from where I do, we make the choice around the age of 15 if we are going to take the long hard road to education and hard work or the shortcut and get our hustle on. Over the last 20 years we have create this unwritten law that there are two factions in the community and one of them settles disputes by their own “code”. Sometimes that code cost lives. Until we admit that we don’t care because we don’t consider ourselves to be a part of that then nothing will change.

I think I should be doing more to reach out to some of these young brothers. I have been talking about it for years but haven’t done a damn thing. I know this much, it’s hard to tell some young cat that my way is the right way to go when he is 18 years old and his car rims cost more than everything I own put together.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

A Day in the Park

One morning a few months ago I had big trouble trying to raise myself out of bed. My stomach simply had taken over all of my body functions. That’s when I knew it was time to get up and work out. I have been going to the park to walk, jog a little, and clear my mind. I never liked jogging because I just don’t see the purpose. You run in a circle and nothing happens. No ones chasing you. There is no race going on. You are just running for nothing. I would much rather play basketball but since I have to much pride to admit to the other guys that I am about to pass out, I stay at the park and walk so if I get tired I can pretend my shoes are untied and sit down. Then, I can start running for a few yards when another person come around and make it look like I am on my seventh or eight lap.
Everyday the same characters are there. The old people are always out there scaring everybody because they look like they will have a stroke any minute. You have the power walker that always looks like she is going to whip somebody’s ass by how forceful she walks. You have the really big girl who you are scared is going to pass out any minute. She is the only one there that helps my self esteem. There is the thick sister that looks fat but is actually in so much shape that she runs circles around everybody and all the brothers out there with women get in trouble looking at her. Then there is Shaka. He is built like we probably all were before we got off the ships and discovered pork. He’s the one that doesn’t even sweat and really doesn’t need to be out there running, He’s just showing off (ever notice how women can look at a man and no one realizes it but when a guy sees a woman he like he has to turn all the way around and be so obvious? And we wonder why we get in trouble).
You know those cartoon when someone needs to make a decision and the angel shows up on one shoulder with the demon on the other? That’s what happens to me at the park. During the drive and the first 30 minutes the angel talks to me.

Angel: “Cliff this is great. I can feel your abs coming back just thinking about the three miles we are going to walk today. It is the commitment to do things like this that will ensure you are around for a long time. After we leave here, we are going to 50 pushups, 50 sit ups and eat a nice salad with lemon juice. YOU ARE A STUD!! Lets get back down to our high school weight.”

That’s what I feel when I get out and start moving. Somewhere around the middle of the second lap. The demon shows up to holla at me.

Demon: “What the hell is wrong with you Cliff? We are out here having pains in our side all because you tried to get out of bed one morning and rolled back in. It’s an air mattress for goodness sake. You would have got out of a real bed. Besides, your pot belly is part of your persona. You are the cute chubby dude. Getting fit will just turn you into some regular old dude. I thought the 12 beer a day diet was working out fine. Let’s go find a Burger King and get that Double Whopper.”

When you let yourself go, it's a bitch trying to get it back.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Goodbye to the Jects!

All do respect to people from New Orleans that lived in public housing. My mama grew up in the St. Bernard Project so I don't look down on you. If you thought the government was going to let you back in there you were dreaming. It took them 7 days to come and get you out of floodwater. What made you think they were going to be in a hurry to take care of you when it's dry. I am not the type of guy that believes it is a right to live in the project. I also don't believe that you should have to sleep in a tent when there could be some available housing. There are some homeowners that would pay rent for a second floor apartment in the project right now just to get down here. If you wanted to really clean this up for the people, you should have done it years ago before all those babies had the chance to get shot up in the driveway over ten dollar rocks. Some people will leave in tents while the business community and parts of uptown pop open champagne to celebrate. I noticed the article said that Ray Nagin urged the government to not move so quickly to restore public housing even though he is aware of the need for housing with his "chocolate" citizens. The funny part is that these are the people that got on buses all over America and drove down here to put his ass back in office. Sometimes you get what you ask for. You know these black politicians in New Orleans have run the city for the past 30 years. They messed up HANO, the school board, the police department, city hall and almost every other area of city government. Now they want to have this attitude that its all the poor people's fault that things are the way they are. In reality it is because we keep voting for the fools based on the color of their skin. Thats why I voted for Mitch Landrieu and not Ray Nagin. If your brother keeps wrecking your car when he drives it, why would you keep giving him the keys.

Somebody come and get these flooded vehicles and boats off of the streets!

More FEMA B.S.

There are two reasons why I shouldn't have taken this story about the FEMA money personal. The first reason is that I didn't get anything from them. The second reason is that I didn't get anything from them. The reason I am taking it personal is because we all know what's coming next. They are going to start arresting some poor brothers and sisters and parade them around like the worst human beings on the planet for buying some rims or getting their hair did. Let me break down what happened with this story about the FEMA money being misused. See, what happened was the government was looking so bad for leaving all those people stuck for days that they were giving out money to everyone with a claim number. Now, some of these people didn't really lose anything so they didn't need to buy clothes and necessities. No one told them what they couldn't spend it on so they had fun. Trust me, there was no one who took the full hit of the storm that bought Saints season tickets. No one should have used the debit card to pay for vacations or Gucci Bags and stuff. As far as the people that took some of that money to relax a little, I think being stranded for seven hot ass days in New Orleans without ice water was worth at least one table dance and a shot of Crown. That might have been the one trip that kept somebody from shooting five people. The real situation is that the government built a levee that was so poorly designed that we were doomed to be in the situation of needing their help anyway. We deserved more than what we got. I could easily make the case that everyone should have gotten 50,000 for pain and suffering and it wouldn't bother me one bit. Nothing pisses me off more than the media or someone in government making the assumption that we were trying to get over on the tax payers of America by spending a few funky ass dollars in place of all our possessions and the safety of our love ones. I know a whole bunch of people from this area of all races and I don't remember talking to a happy one during the whole ordeal. It's not our fault they didn't check all the addresses. That explains why all the people who really needed some help had to stand on one leg and bark like a dog to get some. All the funds went to fake people. It's stories like this that make people not understand truly what the hell happened to everybody. Their might actually be people who think we were excited about standing in a six hour line for a 300.00 Red Cross check like a damn bum. When you control the media, you control how people think. Stories like this makes us all look like a bunch of no good jackasses.

I got a proposition for the government since they are so concerned with 2300.00. I can personally guarantee that everyone from New Orleans will give you 2300.00 each if you can do the following things. First, give us back all the time of the lives that were taken. Then replace all of our pictures, trophies, keepsakes and family heirlooms. Then, rebuild all the houses our families worked hard to pay for and put all of our friends back where they were so we can be together again. After all of that, remove all the pain, confusion, depression, homesickness, money problems, grief, aggravation, anger and post traumatic stress. If you can get that done, then I will be happy to be the first one in line with a check for 2300.00 that I didn't even receive. If you can't do that, then do just like allot of us had to do. Take it as a lost, suck it up and try to move on. That 1.4 billion dollars ain't nothing compared to what we have been through.

One More Time So You Can Leave Me Alone

I have been writing this blog since 2004 and I have never gotten comments weeks after I wrote something like I have for the Duke case blog. I am going to say this one last time. I never said they were guilty. What I did say was that it wasn't fair that the media has already tried and acquitted the defendants before they even have a hearing. I still don't see why that DA would go through all this without some kind of belief in the accuser. Now, if she lied then she was wrong but she deserves the benefit of the doubt no matter how clean cut the accused appear to be. Plus, you guys act like they have been locked up for years like Geronimo Pratt. They are still at home chillin with their Duke degrees. It's just like I would tell a young brother that gets picked up during a drug sweep when he is just standing on the corner, if you didn't want to get caught up in that mess then you shouldn't have been there. If they weren't so busy trying to live out their jungle fantasies then this never would have happened. Now, stop sending me email. Personally, I have a life to rebuild here in New Orleans and I don't spend time thinking about this case. She shouldn't have been there dancing and they shouldn't have had her in their house.

Friday, June 9, 2006

Being Self Conscious

I spilled some coffee on my shirt yesterday morning and my whole day was ruined. I kept looking down messing with the stain. I was in the restroom for about an hour trying to get the stain out of my shirt. Now, I have a big white spot from where I scrubbed too hard in the same spot. My entire day is ruined because my shirt has a stain issue. That leads me to the topic of this blog. I have never been comfortable in public when I think I don't look right. There have been times when I have went back home in the morning just to change a shirt that made my belly look too big. They must look good in the mirror before I walk out of the door. I iron every night and I still believe in creased pants. I shave my head every other day and I give myself facials. I want to grow one of those big rough, nappy beards like a reggae singer but I just can't deal with seeing myself in the mirror not groomed so I always end up shaving or at least trimming up the face. I don't want to say that I am vain. Some of my friends and a few of my ex's might say so. I would say that I care about how I present myself when I am outside the crib. When you are out in public you are representing you, your parents, your kids and everyone else. I can't speak for everyone else, but my mama took the rollers out of her hair just to walk down the block and I don't want anyone to see me looking all trifling and associate that with her. It's a respect thing.

Now, I ride around the city during the evening and there are times when I drive up on some young brothers and sisters and they all look like they just don't care. The guys have their pants hanging down by their knees. Their afros are not picked or shaped and they all smell just like blunt smoke. It always fascinates me that they don't seem to be bothered by that. I am even more fascinated by the fact that these same cats have girlfriends and get other girl's numbers too. This might be a generational thing but when I was coming up, you had to look decent. I can't even imagine stepping to a sister without a fresh fade and an even lining. You couldn’t even get her name if your sneakers weren’t clean. Words don't even describe some of the things I see the sisters wearing. Let's just say that every style wasn't meant for every body type no matter what size it comes in. Maybe people are just expressing themselves. Maybe I don't understand the latest styles and trends. Maybe, when it comes to fashion and how to dress I am stuck in 1992 when a brother could still wear slacks and not be square. Shouldn’t there be times when we all want to look good? What makes a brother show up to his sister’s wedding wearing or his grandmother’s funeral wearing a Fat Albert Fubu denim outfit? And don’t say that he can’t afford it because ghetto fashions cost more money than a pair of slacks from J.C Penny. You can’t get a job on an interview with a mini skirt and a tattoo on your neck, anywhere but the neck. Even on the plantation the folks got clean on a Sunday and danced a little bit. Even if you have an far out style that expresses who you are it should be neat right?

The question is........

Am I being too self-conscious or are some of my people not self-conscious enough?

Friday, June 2, 2006

Stereotypes vs. Valid Fear

I know not everyone that reads this is from New Orleans. My office is located uptown next to Audubon Park. Let's just say that if New Orleans is Chocolate City like Mayor Nagin said, I work in the milky section that is added to the chocolate. There are not too many brothers cruising around up here and hanging out. I am a dark, bald, stocky man so I tend to walk with a menacing stroll from my car to the office door. I shave everyday but I tend to let my goatee hair stay kind of nappy. All the years of listening to Tupac and Ice Cube have me kind of conscious of looking like a crossover so I dress more urban than I probably should in an office setting like this one. Our office dress code is very loose so since many of my co workers dress like hippies I dress like I am going hangout. The agency I work for shares office space with several private doctors and almost all of their patients and staff are middle aged white people and mostly female. As a matter of fact, everyone here is middle aged and white accept for a handful of people. Now I don't have a problem with this because the ones that know me respect me. Here's my issue. Everyday I park in the same area. We have to share the parking area with the employees and patients. Every single day some white person checks their car alarm or waits to get out of their car until I drive off or go to the office door. Some of these ladies see me every day and they still do the same thing even after I speak to them. I have to say that as a young black man that considers himself to be their equal that really pisses me off. I especially hate the moments when a few people are standing in the lobby holding a conversation and they all stop to watch me when I walk through. Do not judge me on how I look and dress.

Here is the sad part......

There are times during the week when I do the exact same thing to some young brother that walks too close to my car.

As a matter of fact, I could make the case that I probably should have more fear of a black man doing something to me than these uptown white folks do and have many young black people my age agree with me. That's a sad but true commentary about our community at this time.

It's messed up that the line between the stereotypes and reality has been blurred that bad.

Thursday, June 1, 2006

Corps takes blame for New Orleans flooding - Yahoo! News

Corps takes blame for New Orleans flooding - Yahoo! News

I respect the fact that the Corps of Engineers would admit to the fact it was their designs and construction that led to the levees failing during Katrina.

I also hope they won't be upset at the amount of money the class action law suit will end up costing them. I am not the type of guy that believes in frivolous lawsuits. However, considering the fact I lost all my possessions, my grandma and my dog, I think I deserve at least enough money to put my kids and their kids through college.

Birthday Perspective

In 10 days I will be 32 years old. Normally I would be planning the extravaganza and giving everyone a birthday present list. I am just not feeling that this year. I can honestly say that the last year of that has been quite different than the first 31. It's the start of hurricane season. I am still sleeping on an air mattress and I still don't officially have housing yet (no keys = no house). So why make too big of a deal about a birthday? Of course, I will still celebrate in some form or fashion. My approach to it this year is a feeling of renewal. About the second or third night after Katrina, I was sleeping all alone on the floor of a dark room in Mississippi. I didn't know where most of my family and friends were and I didn't know what was going to happen in the future for me. I went to sleep for about two weeks straight feeling that this was the beginning of a lifetime of pain for me and my people. I was going to sleep and waiting to not wake up. Each morning I did, saw the sunlight and I knew that one of these days I wouldn't be stressing about all of this foolishness following the storm. It damn sure hasn't been easy. Actually, it's been down right f@#ked up many days. The world is tough to navigate through when you are dealing with stupid ass people and are forced to make choices about your life and going back to what you had before is not an option. That's how you get to a point where it's hard to be excited about anything. I can't have what I want. If it were up to me, I would be in my yard June 11 lighting up the grill, sipping on some Crown and smoking a big cigar with my love ones. Instead, I will most likely be watching TV at an apartment in Clinton Mississippi with my family and still trying to make sense out of the fact my grandmother won't be around to give me my birthday licks on the arm because a damn levee broke. Then, somewhere along the day my parents will call, then some of my friends, then the baby will probably bring me a piece of paper or something as a present and tell me happy birthday and try to sing. Then maybe Tara will make me a cake that doesn't have any chocolate and my sisters and brothers will call too. Then I will remember the reasons why I am celebrating in the first place. Life is just a contest between your circumstances and your attitude. If your attitude stays bad because of the cards you were dealt then you are cheating living out of what it could be. However, if you take all the bullshit and aggravation, suck it up and still find a way to get a laugh and a good time out of it then you are cheating dying because living in this dumb ass world without a way to smile is just like being dead and there is no need to be here if you are going to do that all the time. Like my daddy always tells me, you have to find a way to enjoy it.