Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Past and the Present

I need to clear up a misunderstanding. For the last two years I have written about my anger and grief over things that happen during Hurricane Katrina. Some people have read this and used it to highlight what they may have been feeling. Other people have read it and thought that maybe I was having an issue letting things go and moving forward. I will admit that it is difficult to get past something that changed your life so much. I have had a long struggle with that. Two weeks ago during a moment of clarity, I decided that I had dwelled on that long enough. It was time to let go of August 29, 2005. I was no longer going to give it power over things that are happening to me right now. Honestly, I am into so many different things and have opinions about so many topics that I can write this blog everyday and not discuss Katrina at all. That was my intention. I was just about ready to remove my name from the NOLA blogging rolls. Then I picked up the newspaper.
FEMA decided to tell people that their trailers were toxic two years after they issued them. Then, the folks at Peopleshurricane.org started issuing flyers about the Red Cross hiding money and damn near started a riot. Then, the Road Home program started rushing people to apply for assistance after saying it was out of money. Then, the Corps of Engineers said they were not rebuilding the levees for Category 5. Then, the murder rate is climbing and the DA and police department can’t get their act together. Then, there is a teacher and classroom shortage. Then, every week another house on my block is demolished. Then, we have all this stuff to fix with no money to fix it and no time table on when it will be fixed. Then all of our political leaders are crooked or like freaks. That’s when I realized that I am not living in the past. I am living in the present. Now, if you are not from New Orleans and don’t care or if you are from here and have moved to another city and are trying to pretend like this stuff never happened then that’s fine. Just hit the X at the top of the page when you realize I am talking about some local shit. I was not born with the ability to ignore the obvious around me. Now lets move on to other things.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I tried to warn him but I guess it was too late. There are two species you don’t mess with in America other than humans. One is horses and the other is dogs. What the hell was Mike Vick thinking? And why were people calling talk radio today playing the race card? We have to put things in perspective here. Regular black people go to through life worried about what they do or say and what are the repercussions if they don’t get it right. You can’t play the race card with Mike Vick. Mike got a 100 million dollar contract. His owner rolled him around the bench in a wheelchair. His number was retired by Virginia Tech after only two years of playing. Thousands of people of all races have bought his jersey. Even now after the indictment the NFL is not coming down on him like they did to Pacman and the rest of those brothers. White people have been kissing his ass since he was 12. . He was doing this since 2001. The authorities only found out about the dogs when his cousin got busted for drugs and used the dog camp as his home address. Mike is not a target of anyone. He’s just an asshole. It’s a shame that no one took the time to teach him the responsibility of the legacy of the position he plays for men of his color. If he wanted to be Don King of dog fighting that bad then he should have played wide receiver. Please Reverend Jesse Jackson. Don’t go to Virginia to counsel Michael Vick. If you do, please do it behind close doors and not at a press conference.

I have a public service announcement. If you are over the age of 15 or were born a boy, pink shorts, green tights and a loud yellow shirt is not cute on you. It just looks ignorant. This is especially true for anyone that is really dark. You look like a street sign. I saw a tall black “guy” with a pony tail and a lime green short set on with pink shoes. He was so bright in the sunlight he almost caused a 20 car pile up from blinding all the drivers.

I have tried the Myspace thing. I have my profile. I don’t see the big deal. Other than some entertaining pages from a few dancers and thick women I am very under whelmed. Parents need to look at some of these children pages. I clicked on one by mistake and kept looking at the door for Chris Hanson from Dateline. This shit is ridiculous. Why do these kids have crazy titles to their pages on there? Who identifies themselves as “You H@#s keep Hatin but my man is with me B@tch” What do you do when the parent’s page says “That’s Right H@es. My Baby is Bout It!” I think it’s time for Al Sharpton to march on Tom for giving these families an outlet to display their ignorance just like it’s the record company’s fault Snoop walks around with sisters in dog chains.

Now that the NAACP has buried the N-Word, (That had to be a big ass casket. I wonder if we all have to put in 10.00 on the service. I am going to be pissed if I get a bill. Who cooked all that chicken and potato salad for the repast? Did the N-word’s cousin get drunk later in the evening, start crying and telling all the family secrets? “The N-Word wasn’t your real daddy anyway!”) We have to come up with a replacement word to acknowledge crazy people of the same race. I would like to submit the word nupid. It’s a combination of negro and stupid. I also came up with blad for black and sad. We need something as a replacement for when I talk to some of my friends. I think I can get by with saying “Shut up you stupid ass blad!” We need to finalize these kinds of issues before Don Imus goes back on the air.

Jeffery and Denell

One of the nuances to being a black man in American society is the tendency by people to label you as being a certain type of person for the rest of your life. There are many brothers who made mistakes at 16 and 17 years old that are now in their 30’s and still have to fight through the stigma of whatever they did. At least once a week I try to go to Café Reconcile for lunch. Café Reconcile is a non profit restaurant uptown in New Orleans that serves as a program to teach at risk youth life skills and work skills to empower them to move beyond the street mentality. That’s the main reason I go. The second reason is that they have the best crawfish bisque you can buy for less than 5.00. Today my waiter was 17 year old Denell. He wore black like the rest of the kids that are still in training. This may have been his first week actually taking orders because he kept reading it over and over. I didn’t care when he brought me iced tea instead of lemonade. I was happy to see the young man neat and well dressed trying to do something positive. My colleague and I happened to be sitting at the table closest to the window. There was a local magazine taking pictures of the executive director Craig Cuccia. He offered us a free desert if we would pose in the picture with him and his head waiter Jeffery. Mr. Cuccia is a cool guy. Jeffery is 18 years old. He is Denell’s trainer. Jeffery started in the program at the age of 16 and now, two years later is getting ready to buy his own house uptown. You can have your opinions about how far in life a man can get by being a waiter. I know this for sure. Jeffery and Denell could be somewhere walking around looking to bust someone over the head and take their stuff. It’s amazing how this program and others like it do great things to try and turn some of these kids around yet the local news never says a damn thing about them. All we see are crooked politicians and defendants. There are so many days when you ride around this city and see hopelessness, desperation and ignorance. You see, hear, and read so much negativity that sometimes you wonder if it’s worth even trying to change these kids or the environment. I would like to thank Jeffery and Denell for giving me a little hope today. Stay focused and strong young brothers. Today you are waiting tables. Tomorrow you will own a restaurant on St. Charles.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Here We Go Again Pt. 2

Once again a major murder case fell apart and the city is in an uproar. Before I give my opinion let me say that I have a friend that is a district attorney so if I sound bias it’s because I am. Here is my opinion about the situation at the DA’s office.

  • I think the public discussion is good as long as we realize that everyone’s ultimate goal is to make the system better and the city safer. I don’t think Eddie Jordan would willingly send murderers back to the street if he thought he could convict them. He lives here too. If a person like Shelly Midura starts placing the blame on this man like Tulane and Broad was such a well run place when Harry Connick was in office then he will have no choice but to defend himself and the local news media (who all suck) will start focusing on that.
  • I haven’t heard this being asked anywhere else. I watch reality police shows everyday from The First 48 to The New Detectives. I realize these shows highlight special cases but why is it that every time someone in New Orleans gets set free before trial it’s because we don’t have a witness? Do we have a forensics team? I know having a witness is a slam dunk but damn. Nobody saw Scott Peterson kill his wife but he’s on death row. The guy who is causing all this uproar killed five teens at close range. He had to leave some kind of circumstantial evidence behind. When you ask people from those neighborhoods to testify you are basically telling them to take their entire family away from their roots because we can’t protect them enough to stay. That’s a hard thing to do. It's more convenient for them to just be quiet and hope the guy who did the killing doesn't realize they saw something.
  • If you were the arresting officer in this case, shouldn’t you be following it so closely that you know the DA’s office couldn’t find the witness and already be on the way to pick her up? I can’t believe these two offices can be that independent of one another that the police don’t know what’s going on in these high profile cases until they fall apart. That’s the only thing that makes me want to tell Warren Riley to shut his ass up when he comes on T.V. This is a quadruple murder case not a man with too many parking tickets. He should be the main one not wanting this guy back on the streets. As soon as he gets home one or two things are going to happen. He is going to kill someone else or someone is waiting to kill him.
  • As much as I can’t stand the fact you can murder people in the city and get away with it, I don’t want that to be the reason young brothers don’t receive the same chance at due process like the rest of the population. They may be crazy but they are still citizens. How long are we supposed to hold them without doing anything? Letting them go back to the streets unpunished is bad but so is trying a man 5 times for the same thing and keeping him in jail for 5 years without a conviction like Harry Connick used to do. Neither situation is a good thing. Just like everything else in this city the issue goes back to money. Pay the policemen, pay the attorneys, and get them out of trailers and out dated facilities and lets see what happens. On CSI the forensics team has those lights that can detect blood in a room. In New Orleans we have a guy that gets on the ground with a white outfit see’s if he gets red on it. How in the hell are you supposed to get evidence on that kind of budget?

Here We Go Again

David Vitter is next up to bat on the political letdown tour. Every time we get a politician moving up the ladder they do something crazy. Bob Livingston was going to be speaker of the house but freaky on St. Charles St. William Jefferson is running around making deals with Nigerians. He must be the only person that opens those spam emails. Now we have David Vitter running around working his tool all over the place. I'm telling you right now, if I go to She She's one night and Mary Landrieu is in the back giving Bobby Jindal a lap dance I am moving and never coming back. At least Vitter's supporters aren't running around starting coalitions in his defense like Bill Jefferson's people. How many girls has he actually slept with? Every day since the first story some other woman is going out saying she got a piece. David Vitter is a freak. This is why I can never run for office. If you have some skeletons you need to stay behind the scenes. You have to love Louisiana politics. If Edwin Edwards were free all these brothel and the brothel owners would disappear.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I Don't Need the Mask

Monday I wrote about being upset behind not going to a conference. Someone wrote me an email about it and ticked me off a little and I want to address the theme of the person’s message. I was basically told I was showing weakness by what I said. Now, I write this blog to share my ideas, opinions and the way I feel. Sometimes certain situations and decisions don’t sit right with me and I have to get it off of my chest. Where is it written that a black man can’t express feelings of regret or doubt? Nobody has more of those feelings than we do but we can never say anything about them because we have this notion that in order to be considered a man you must be immune to certain emotions. We are supposed to stick our chest out and whip somebody’s ass at the first sign of conflict. The streets are filled with our blood because of the emotional bleeding we keep inside until it comes out violently. How many times have you seen someone chastising their son for crying and telling him to “be a man”? We are brought up learning to repress our feelings then get ridiculed and looked down on when we get older and don’t give a damn about anything. Everybody wants a damn Superman. That’s why men lie to women about being better than they are. That’s why teenage boys lash out at everything. That’s why James Evans daddy went for a loaf of bread and never came back. We got all these feelings and don’t know what the hell to do with them. Even thugs have emotion. That’s why they listen to gangster rap music. It does the same thing for them that a gospel song does for a Christian. It helps them validate what they feel. If you have a son and want him to be grounded when he gets older, let him express himself. If he’s playing football but really wants to take a photography class, buy him a damn camera even if you think it’s kind of girly. Let him try and fail something and learn from it. Make it comfortable for him to express his fears and help him face it head on. Let him talk to you about what’s going on in his head. Honestly, if you ask most brothers they would tell you the one thing in life they need is just somebody to listen without judgment. Sometimes you just want to take that warrior’s mask off and be you. Let these brothers talk and get in touch with that emotion. If they get in touch with the emotion then they will get in touch with their spirit. If they get in tune with their spiritual then they become complete and a complete man is always going to be a better father and leader than some fake ass wanna be tough guy who’s sucking the soul out of the community. I might have a moment or two when things get me down but nothing has ever been able to knock me out.

And that’s as real as I can keep it this morning…..

Monday, July 9, 2007

Not Quite Ready

Let’s get this week off to a positive start. Let’s talk about not taking advantage of opportunity. I spent yesterday evening sitting on my sofa watching TV. I should have been packing. This morning there is a conference starting in Washington D.C. It is full of managers, directors, and professionals in my field. A few weeks ago my director here brought me the information to book my spot and go to D.C. yesterday to be there this morning. I never gave him the registration back. What ever recognition or accolade I receive has been well earned considering where I started from. I wasn't surprised when he asked me if I wanted to go. What I am is disappointed that I didn't. I didn't have a valid reason not to go other than I was just being lazy and not seizing an opportunity to better myself. I can't stand when other people do that so imagine how I feel knowing I did it to myself. I could be having continental breakfast and networking with important people from all around the country. It also was a chance to get away from the swamp for a few days at no charge. Instead, I am sitting at the same desk I do everyday like a second string player. What's going to happen when the next event comes up? What opportunity did I miss by not going? Oh well, at least I had some fun at the Essence festivities. If anyone that reads this sees me on the street this week please feel free to punch me right in the nuts. That's what I deserve for going out like a sucker.