Sunday, January 30, 2011
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Monday, January 24, 2011
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Thursday, January 20, 2011
How many kids are hard and callous by the time they are ten years old because their innocence is gone? It’s hard to educate that kid or teach him right from wrong when he gets to school because he already hates the world. What difference does it make to him if he shoots a few people? The community didn’t come and save him so why should he be worried about our concerns? Besides, the only place he’s ever found acceptance and what seems like love is from a bunch of cats he hangs with who revere him for his fearlessness. Everyone wants to be loved and accepted even if they don’t know it.
A few years back I gave a good friend of mine a ride to pick up his brother. His brother had a young son at a time. He had to be somewhere between 2 and 4 years old. The baby started crying because his daddy was leaving like kids are prone to do. He starts shaking the kid telling him to be a man and not to cry. I let him know that the baby was crying for him because that’s what babies do and that if he did while I was standing there again I was going to bring him outside and kick his ass. He apologized to me and got in the car but I know that wasn’t the first time or the last he did that to his son. It’s 2011 and I am pretty sure that kid is close to being a teenager now. Maybe his mama was able to give him the affection he needed not to be a victim of the streets. I hope so but it wouldn’t surprise me if I seen him on the news for doing something crazy. If he’s out there doing wrong we are going to lock him up like an animal. The bad part is we can’t lock his daddy up too so we can send a message that raising our kids the wrong way won’t be tolerated.
Rest in peace to Titus Gooseberry. I wish I could have given him one of my grandmothers.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Monday, January 17, 2011
Friday, January 14, 2011
Tonight is the start of former New Orleans City Councilman Oliver Thomas one man play at the Anthony Bean Theater. I hope the show goes well and that soon as the run is over he takes the same message of failure and redemption to the streets and talks to as many young brothers as he can about it. I think he has an important message that goes far beyond politics.
I remember when Oliver Thomas went to prison. It was a sad day in the city because he was a person who everyone thought would be our next leader. It also put black political leadership on life support if you care about that sort of thing. When he fell from grace there was a huge leadership vacuum that is still there in my opinion. All I could think about at the time was how could a man with that kind of a future ahead of him throws it all away for an amount of money that’s not even a drop in the bucket compared to some of the other cases of corruption in the city. The money he took didn’t set the city back by years but the small amount actually made me more disheartened because it appeared he was just going along with the crowd. There are just too many brothers who have found trouble in their lives and he should have known better. He also did much more jail time then he should have because he refused to rat on anyone. There’s just too many people that are terrorizing our community because no one wants to rat. I wasn’t just disappointed I was angry.
I get angry at all brothers who put themselves in situations they didn’t have to be in. It’s not just because Oliver Thomas was on the city council and maybe the next mayor. When I’m just riding up the street and see someone not conducting himself the right way I get upset with them too. I want to get out the car and shake some sense into them. I know how hard it is for a man to get rid of the labels and stigma attached for making mistakes. There are guys my age still suffering from bad decisions they made in their teens. The worst part about having a negative stigma attached to their name is when they embrace it and live out the rest of their lives like they had no choice but to validate it. That brings the whole community down because we have a bunch of men that don’t want to step up and be responsible. Maybe we can’t do anything about the overall view of society but our actions don’t have to match what people think. If we fix our behavior everything will take care of itself. The best thing Oliver Thomas can do with this play and in the future is show the guys struggling to get it together that you can fall all the way down then rebuild everything and prosper. If he can do that he’ll probably get more out of that than being mayor. The community would too.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Monday, January 10, 2011
It was a cold day in New Orleans. The weather has been bad ever since the Saints loss to Seattle. I think Mayor Landrieu secretly bet our normal warm and sunny weather against the clouds and rain. I have already gotten over the game. Yesterday I was in Winn Dixie supermarket and I cross paths with a guy wearing his Saints fleece. I was wearing my Saints hat. He looked at my hate and nodded his head in affirmation. I nodded back and instantly I was ready for next season. No one wins the championship every year.
Back in the day when New Orleans still had its old school personality we would have had a parade for the Saints this weekend anyway just because that’s how we roll. Now since our culture is so commercial we can’t do it because the Ying Yang Twins and the cast of Treme aren’t available.
I guess we have bigger things to worry about. Crime is still sucking the life out of everybody. The other night some young ladies were in an accident resulting from a police chase. The getaway car was being driven by a guy who should have been in prison for a dozen different things before this accident. I’m afraid it may be years before New Orleans stops paying for years of incompetence in the justice system and education. Rest in peace to Mariah Woods. We have to do better.
Then there was the shooting in Arizona that has sparked debate about the political climate, the consequences of words and gun control.
The political climate is not going to change because of this incident. Both sides have too much to lose to just stop scrapping now. Besides, if you listen to the opinions the last few days this guy was both a left and right wing wacko. No one knows for sure. The words will keep on going. They may be toned down slightly but I don’t know how long that’s going to last. I gave up on the idea of civility in politics after 9/11 didn’t bring about a permanent change.
Then there’s the issues of the words people use to make their arguments and the type of environment those words have sparked around the country. I do believe that the environment is pretty mean spirited right now. The shooter in Arizona was probably crazy enough to do something anyway but maybe the atmosphere made him just a bit less hesitant when he finally got a clear idea in his head. We may not ever know for sure because how can you trust anything that maniac says?
What if he mentioned Sarah Palin by name? How much weight would that hold coming from a man in his mental state? She’s taken a hit for this and I think she knew she would which is why she cleaned up all of her social media accounts to get rid of all the violent references. I’m a pretty hardcore blogger. That means I love writing my blog and reading others. There is some pretty wild shit going on around the internet. There are things being said about politicians and different groups of people that make Sarah Palin’s crosshairs on her website seem like something from PBS Kids. The difference is that the blogs that have that kind of language may have a few thousand hits a week if they are lucky. They are not harmless but have a far less chance of inspiring something crazy than a former candidate for vice president and highly popular leader of a political party. I’m always prepared to deal with a fair amount of crazy in America. It comes with free speech. The only group I feel should be above that or at least try to fake it are people in leadership. Why doesn’t she just say that she’s in it for money and entertainment? I don’t have a problem with that and maybe the media would stop broadcasting what she says on the news like it’s legitimate so she can reach a million times more people than a blogger ever could. The higher the exposure you have the bigger the responsibility. People need to stop talking about what she and other politicians say and what bloggers say like it has the same impact.
Rest in peace to the victims in Tucson Arizona and I hope Congresswoman Giffords and everyone else recovers.
Saturday, January 8, 2011
This end of the year post is 1000 times sadder than last year……
Many things in the world have put football in perspective for me. I have finally reached a level of maturity where I can take a lost and not hate anyone. Even the trash talk tonight hasn’t really bothered me too much. Nevertheless I love the Saints and I hate to watch them lose. It’s weird when you are the defending champs because you know you won’t be the champ forever but you want to hold on to it as long as you can. Our run came to an end in
There are two things I noticed this season about our fans and those from other teams. For some reason fans from other teams seem to be so excited about watching us lose. It seemed like every game we lost fans from all over the country would take time to celebrate even if it wasn’t their team they were playing. That’s just jealousy because of the relationship between us and the players.
The other feeling I had all year is that Saints fans never really got to sit back and really enjoy the Superbowl run. For some reason we had this paranoid mind state that made us feel like if we didn’t go undefeated and back to the championship this year everything that happened last year was invalid. I don’t know about every fan but by the end of the game today I was so tired and drained from everything that happened I just wanted the game to be over with no matter if we won or loss. We still had a shot at it until that incredible run by
Thank you Saints for a great run. I’m counting down the days to the draft, training camp and the first game in December so we can start the drama all over again.
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Today is my dad’s birthday. I have probably said this before but I can’t say it enough. I don’t know another man with his honesty and integrity. Compared to him I am a big knucklehead. I might get to his status one day. At least I have something to strive for. When you grow up with a man like that you get a lot of knowledge dropped on you all the time. Some of it comes when you are younger and doesn’t make total sense but as you get older it starts to become clearer. I was thinking about one of the things my dad told me this weekend when I was watching football. Two people really embodied some of his words, Michael Haywood former football coach of Pittsburgh University and LeGarrette Blunt running back for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Michael Haywood worked a long time as an assistant coach until he got head coaching job at Miami of Ohio and he finally made it to a BCS school after all those years of work when he got the job as head coach of Pittsburgh. He had the job less than a month when he lost it after being arrested for domestic violence against the mother of his child. He was charged with a felony, stayed in jail a few days and then was released and fired by Pittsburgh. When I heard about the story I was upset because there are only a handful of black head coaches at the top level of college football and I couldn’t believe he let his anger get the best of him to the point where he would put his hands on the woman and ruin his career. I saw it as the same lack of critical thinking that lead to so many black men reacting violently and ending up in prison with another person hurt or in the cemetery. I didn’t have to hear the full details to think he could have handled the situation better than he did.
Now some brothers will tell me “You don’t know whole story Cliff. That woman could have been tripping and anything could have gone down in there before the police came.” That might be true but if he was thinking about the big picture he still should have walked away and removed himself from the situation. He’s worked too hard to get to where he was to give it all away for a few minutes of anger and the same baby whose mother he was fighting with will suffer because of that decision. He’s got to be bigger than his anger.
Sunday the Saints played Tampa and LaGarrette Blount is their starting running back. He is the second undrafted back to rush for 1000 yards. The brother is physically gifted. There were a few plays this season where he actually jumped over a tackler. The young man has talent and should have a long career. At the beginning of the 2009 college football season when he played for Oregon, LeGarrette got suspended for punching a player from Boise St. after a game. He was projected to be a first or second round draft pick but ended up not getting drafted at all. He cost himself millions of dollars by punching that guy and not controlling his anger.
Now some brothers will tell me “If that had been me and that guy was talking trash all in my personal space I would have punched him too. The NCAA overreacted. It was just a regular punch.” Where we grew up that might be how to look at it but LeGarette was no longer in the hood. He was a man on the verge of making millions of dollars and helping his family and he should have looked the bigger picture and just ran through the tunnel. Once again, he heeded to be bigger than his anger. He let that part of our culture that requires reacting with violence to cost him money. I realize he has a chance to make it back but why take the chance?
It’s like Big Cliff always used to ask me whenever I was pissed off about something and wanted to react to it in a way that wasn’t going to change the situation. He used to ask me if my anger and my reaction to it were worth the relationships I would damage and the opportunities I would lose if I responded in the wrong way. If the answer is no then you have to take a deep breath and think a minute before you make life harder than it has to be. There are times when you have no choice but to fight. There are other times when you have to take a deep breath, suck it up and move on after looking at the big picture.