Monday, September 25, 2006

I stand by what I said earlier about the game...




Not Feeling The Hype

Call me negative.

Call me pessimistic.

Call me the only person in New Orleans that is not excited about the game tonight.

I am all those things.

I am also a realist and unfazed by media generated inspiration.

I'm just keeping it real.

Honestly, if my friends were not going to be at my house watching, I probably wouldn't watch it. I'm a Saints fan since birth. I don't like the Falcons at all. I hope we win tonight. Everything else about this evening is bullshit. You can get wrapped up in the hoopla all you want. The fact of the matter is that if the same speed and effort put into bringing back Tom Benson's team (who he couldn't wait to move to San Antonio) was put into bringing back even decent surroundings and services for the citizens of the city life here would be so much more encouraging and inspiring than a football game. They were fixing the Superdome before people in New Orleans had hot water and streetlights. I wasn't thinking about the Saints during those cold showers.

I'm definitely happy that the Saints are 2-0 and are playing the Falcons.

I will be even more happy when I actually get a regular telephone and a drug store withing a mile of my house in case all the babies and elderly need medicine.

Go Saints!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Things I Thought About While Driving

Let me get this straight. When Nelly had the Tip Drill video on BET Uncut, sisters all over America was staging boycotts against his shows and writing BET to the point where I think they decided to go ahead and cancel the whole show. How could those sisters shaking their bodies be worse than Flavor of Love, a show that almost every black woman loves? Were those 3 or 4 minutes of video more damaging than 30 minutes every week of watching women throw themselves at Flav's ass just to be on TV? Al Sharpton protests the Boondocks and not this garbage? I need to know where the movement is to get this off the air. We won't even get into College Hill and what that has done.

I can’t believe William Jefferson is down here running for Congress again. I am tired of voting for black politicians just because they are black and Democrat. If George Bush weren’t a lying, election stealing, useless war-making president and most Republicans weren’t mindless clones that just go along with whatever they hear on TV, I would vote Republican just to make a statement. My city has had black democrats in charge for the last 30 years and shit has gotten worse. That's because we are enamored with the fact this person is smart and educated enough to actually run for office and not what they are going to actually do once they get in there. It makes total sense when you think about it. Black people are the only group in the country that values how much we can get and how far away we can move from our neighborhoods over anything else. That's our interpretation of the American dream. It’s the way we show we have “overcome”. It's only right that we would vote for inept politicians that used to live in our community even though he or she probably couldn't name three people there now. It’s style and presentation over substance every time. Nobody knows this more than black politicians and that’s why they don’t do anything. We are conditioned to vote for them. Ask Ray Nagin.

Finally, I read all the time about the crisis of black men. That is very real. There are a lot of brothers in trouble. Young cats are staying out all night, shooting, dying, fighting and selling drugs with no respect or concern for anything. It's a vicious cycle. In order for it to be a cycle, the people involved have to reproduce. So who's having all these crazy thugs' kids? I hope in our focus to find out what's wrong with the brothers we don't lose track of the fact there are allot of sisters who live the same kind of life. If they don't live it, they at least endorse it through their affection. I'm not trying to blame them. It’s all part of the same game. I'm just saying that if deep in the hood the valedictorian in school was a brother, and he had the five finest women in his class fighting over him because of how well he reads, every guy in the neighborhood would at least go to class and try to learn something. You have to attack a problem this big from all angles at the same time.

I am a die-hard Saints fan but I have to point out the following: We are going to have a football game Monday and still don't have a public hospital open in the city. I don’t know if I should be excited, sad, or embarrassed.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

100 More Days and Still No Plan

I know for a fact there are some people from New Orleans that read this blog. Since some of you are not home yet I am going to start out this blog out with something positive. I can honestly say that there are signs of progress everywhere in the city. Even the Lower Ninth Ward has a few signs of life. Everyday there seems to be more people on the streets than the day before. The only problem with this is that no one in city government can take credit for any of it. Mayor Nagin presented his “100 Day Plan” review yesterday and I have to say I was very under whelmed with it. His major achievements were water pressure, trash pickup, and more plans to come up with plans. That seems to be his second favorite thing to do next to free vacations around the world. If this was his first 100 days being mayor or 100 days after the storm I would be willing to jump on that progress train with him. Unfortunately he’s been in charge the entire time so that makes this whole 100 day presentation a joke in my eyes. What’s even sadder and disheartening is that all the major players on the committee were the people running against him during the election so that means they obviously wouldn’t have done a much better job either. The time for planning to make other plans has got to stop. We need to know something. At this point, I will accept a bad idea as long as it has some details to it. How can we be mad about the lack of federal funding when we don’t even know what the hell we are going to spend it on? It might actually be more frustrating to have the money to fix certain things and still see it not done. It’s my fault for being na├»ve. When George Bush said he would do all he could to help rebuild the city, I thought for sure there was going to be a week long meeting by city leaders to at least come up with a blueprint and ballpark figure. It shouldn’t have been that difficult to know what to ask for. Katrina messed up allot of things but the infrastructure in New Orleans was not great to begin with. This is the city of a lot of old things. I refuse to believe that the mayor and city council didn’t already have certain things they wanted to do around here before Katrina. Now, you have the opportunity to name what you want and I haven’t heard a thing. That tells me that no one planned on doing anything before the storm and they are not equipped to handle what has taken place after it. The only thing left for me to say is that its going to be a damn shame when I move back into my house within the next two months and there is no grocery store, park, school, or pharmacy within walking distance. The inconvience alone makes you want to pack up and roll out of here but I’m not. Leaving only gives them the excuse for being incompetent.

Pac's Passing.....Ten Years Later

On September 13, 1996 Tupac Shakur died from gunshot wounds he had suffered days before in Las Vegas. I am finally ready to admit that he is dead now and not in Cuba. I never wanted to admit he actually got killed. The reason is that I couldn’t understand why a person with so much potential and talent could act so careless with his life. He was too smart for that. Imagine all the cool things he could have done in the last ten years. For my generation, the man is a legend. He is the poster child for not giving a damn about the system and keeping it real at all times. Did he really keep it real? Or, did he conform to the same ignorant ideas that have young brothers scattered in blood all over the streets of America? It’s amazing how ten years can change your perspective on life. At 22 years old Tupac helped validate my frustration. Now at 32 I have a different outlook on it. There is nothing more depressing than a thug that knows he doesn’t have to be but still does it.
I had a friend that reminded me of Tupac named Renaldo. He was murdered in 1993. While I don’t know exactly why he got killed, I do know that whatever the conflict was he went out like the fake soldier he thought he had to be. I’m not trying to put down my boy at all. If something ever happened when I was in high school he would jump in front a bullet for me. He was a brave kid just like Pac was. The fake part comes in because even though he knew he could have been a Rhodes Scholar if he applied himself, he chose to live the street life. That’s the same thing Pac did.
If you listen to songs today, you hear allot of blind ignorance and glorification of the most self destructive behavior. Most of these cats act like there is nothing better in the world than being stupid. I always figured the lyrics to these type of songs played to two crowds, the suburban kids that are fascinated with the part of town they are not allowed to go and the lost souls in the ghetto that don’t know any better and think this is the blueprint for life. That’s why Tupac the artist and the man have been presented the wrong way. If you go back and listen to all of his music from the beginning you will hear serious social commentary. Even when he got with Death Row and wanted to kill everybody he knew there was a better way. Tupac knew exactly why kids were led to act the way they do. He even knew what could turn that around. He rapped about it and talked about it. He just didn’t choose to live it. That makes his life kind of tragic. The black community should take Tupac and make him the poster child for what happens when a brother knows the way around the trap and still steps into it. It’s been ten years and all the things he said in song back then still make sense now. Sooner or later we as black men have to start telling ourselves that keeping it real and being a soldier is getting us nowhere but right next to Pac, Biggie, Renell and all the rest of the potential great men that died too soon.


Friday, September 8, 2006

Cliff's Mix Tape # 1

Let's go back in the day....high school if you don't mind...........

Back in the day before CD's and MP3's, I spent my nights listening to Papa Smurf on WYLD FM 98 in New Orleans and his Mellow Moods show. The thing to do was stop at K&B on the way home and pick you up one of those 90 minute Maxwell tapes, sit by the radio all night and hit the pause button early enough to get the beginning of the song and stop it quick enough so Papa Smurf wouldn't talk through the end of the song like he always did and mess up your mix. Nothing killed the mood on a slow jam tape like the sound of the DJ's voice. Anyway, If I had to make me a fresh tape right now. This is what it would look like. Now remember, a tape only held about 15-18 songs so if I left something off go buy your own tape.

Side A.
1. Pretty Brown Eyes - Mint Condition
2. Baby I'm Ready - Gerald Levert
3. Oh Me Oh My(I'm a Fool) - Aretha Franklin
4. Send for Me - Atlantic Starr
5. Sparkle - Cameo
6. Where do we go from here - Enchantment
7. Say Yes - Floetry
8. Funny How Love Goes - Phyllis Hyman
9. Drop Down To My Knees - Elate (Does anyone from New Orleans know where I can find this song?)

Side B.
1. If This World Would Mine - Luther
2. I Love You - Lenny Williams
3. Insatiable - Prince
4. Right and a Wrong Way - Keith Sweat
5. Is It a Crime - Sade
7. Candlelight and You - Chante Moore and Keith Washington
8. Turn off the Lights - Teddy P.
9. 12 Play - R. Kelly

You can dub a copy if you want to...But don't pop my shit!

Thursday, September 7, 2006

Where Would I Be?

I am sitting here tonight at 12:15 AM in a small apartment browsing the internet on my laptop.

I just looked over to my cousin who is staying with me for a few weeks until he can find a full time job and some affordable housing and asked him the following question....

Do you ever think where you would be and what you would be doing if that storm hadn't came?

It's Wednesday, so I would probably be at my house sitting in the den playing an album and getting ready to teach a training class at my old office in the Red Cross building.

Maybe I would be sitting outside smoking a cigar and giving bones to Sandy.

Maybe I would be playing a game of pool on my table to relax.

Who knows where I would be....

I know I wouldn't be here......

You refugees understand.

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Goodbye Crocodile Man

I was listening to the radio this morning on the way to work and there was all kind of joking going on about the Crocodile Hunter. I will admit that getting stung by a stingray is not a common way to die. Steve did some crazy things with deadly animals so no one is surprised this happened. I still can't believe he sat in that boat surrounded by the hippos or lay in the tree with all the komodo dragons. Regardless of how he died, I have a large amount of envy for the Crocodile Hunter. There are three reasons why.

1. Here is a man that loved what he did to the point he was willing to risk his life to save animals that would have eaten him in a second. How many people in this world have that much passion and affection for any creature including humans?

2. Secondly, he died at 44 years of age. I plan on living pass my 44th birthday but I am pretty sure that with all the places he's seen and cool things he got to do that he has pretty much out lived half the population in a short amount of time. The man swam in the ocean with a pool of sharks with nothing but his khakis short set. There is no strip club road trip to beat that.

3. Third, he may have been a little crazy and kind of funny, but he had the biggest set of balls of any man on the planet bar none! There is nobody reading this that would have went to Africa and got spit on by a cobra or sat in a canoe surrounding by hippos. Who knows the number of times he had to jump on top of a crocodile's back. Not even my grandpa would have done that and he was the baddest SOB I ever met.

Rest in Peace Steve.

I hope there is a jungle in heaven full of dangerous animals just for you.

Sunday, September 3, 2006

In Case You Need To Sit Down

The picture above is the space where my grandfather's home in the Lower Ninth Ward used to be. There are very few houses left in the area as it appears they are being demolished daily. I have accepted the fact that even if the people were coming home, the majority of these houses were going to have to be torn down regardless. I only have one question and I think I speak for the majority of residents and families from this area.

When you guys tear down these houses and memories, why in the hell do you leave the steps and porches?

There is lot after lot of nothing but dirt and steps. I know those big ass machines can break up that concrete and haul that away too. I hope you are not just fu@#ing with everybody. Take the steps too please. We don't need to be reminded where the front door was. We already know.