Saturday, April 23, 2011

There's No Pause Button In Life

I’m not going to write another emotional tribute to a family today although the one I lost definitely warrants that. As I sit here outside after doing some chores I realized just how little time there is to really reflect on anything good or bad for too long. The lost one of my favorite people in the whole world it just so happened to come at a time when I am probably the busiest professionally and personally. It’s no one’s fault and I am not complaining. It’s just one of those things that make life so complicated.

On one hand we have all these events and circumstances that affect us and we need to deal with them as well as we can. On the other hand things are constantly moving and life keeps going so much that I don’t know how much you truly get to reconcile your emotions. I wish everyone in the country had a year’s worth of time to just make everything stop so you could take a month off from doing things without going into financial ruin and your life being destroyed because you couldn’t numb yourself enough to act like everything was okay. There would be less people holding in all that built up frustration and animosity towards other people that usually comes spilling out at the wrong time and causes even more issues. I would love time like that. The only problem would be that after Katrina I would have used mine up already.

Since we don’t have the ability to do anything like that the only other option is the balancing act between reminiscing about the past and dealing with lost and at the same time moving forward and building blocks for the future. So while I sit outside and watch the kids of the next generation of my family play in the water I want to say rest in peace to Anna Thomas. I’ll miss her laugh most of all. A lot of things have changed for my family but we are still okay because of the foundation.

I hope everyone has a good weekend and if you have friends and family you care about spend as much time with them as possible. You never know when things may change and you’ll need those memories to get you through those rough days. That’s how I get through them.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Sitting On My Porch Part Sixty Five

You should always strive to learn new things about yourself. You never get too old for that. This week I learned three new things about myself.

1. Although everything I planted a few weeks ago may die soon, I love gardening.
2. I went without my phone for about three hours today and realized I am addicted to constant information and technology.
3. I never really cared about him before but now I really don’t like Donald Trump.

It’s not even the fact that he thinks Barack Obama isn’t American or he used the term “the blacks”. It’s the fact that he’s getting all this attention. If I were a smarter person I could put the words together to explain how Trump’s sudden political popularity is the perfect example of racism, sexism, and class warfare. To put it in simple terms, only a rich white male with access to media could be taken this serious despite his past and lack of qualifications for a job like president. If Trump can get this much attention with his attitude and personality then I think Jay Z should run in 2016. By that time he’ll probably have more money than Donald Trump does now plus he and his wife has always had a good relationship with the whites.

I was surprised that the Republicans actually had a real vote on Congressman Ryan’s budget. I thought they were just starting off with the extreme and hoping that the Democrats would counter with something less drastic but still containing cuts that they could accept. My thing is that if we are in a crisis why everyone over 55 gets to keep their health benefits the way they are now. I think Congressman Ryan and his friends know older people vote and when older people start preaching about America spending too much and having to cut back they are not talking about anything having to do with them.

There’s no way the president could sign off on this plan but I could only imagine how the people from 50-54 years old would feel. You’ve been marking off the days on the calendar for when you can finally stop paying for that private insurance and get on Medicare and now it’s about to be taken away. I don’t mean to be disrespectful to any older people. I was raised to respect my elders. With that being said, it’s funny that people in their 50’s and 60’s made most of the decisions that got us in this situation to begin with and now they don’t want younger people to give up their safety net.

I want to tell David Simon and the folks connected with Treme that even though the mayor went ahead and demolished the block of blighted houses featured on your promotion pictures that you shouldn’t worry. We have dozens of blocks like that. You can choose a new one for each individual episode if you want to.

If the state of Michigan wanted to layoff 5466 teachers in Detroit and take over the city’s school system they should have waited until a flood and all the citizens are refugees before they did it. It’s easier to do those kinds of things when the people aren’t around to say anything.

The NBA playoffs are starting and the Hornets messed around and ended up playing the Lakers in the first round. I am torn because I can’t openly pull for another team going against my city but I have been a Lakers fan since I was a kid and first saw Magic Johnson and James Worthy in action. I made up my mind that I will just stay neutral and enjoy the games. My official prediction for the finals is Heat vs. Lakers with Miami winning in six games. I just can’t see anyone beating Wade and Lebron on the same team four out of seven games no matter who else is on their team. If Rick in Gentilly is reading this I want him to know that I haven’t forgot about our six pack bet from last year. I’m willing to go double or nothing.

This song is dedicated to the feral chickens of New Orleans.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Living In Times of Belt Tightening

I’m glad the government didn’t shut down today and it’s only because of the military. I would hate to be out enjoying myself this weekend knowing that men and women in uniform we love so much but don’t pay that well may be struggling. If it wasn’t for that I may have enjoyed watching the country panic for a few days. Now that the deal is done we have to see how many jobs got swept up in those cuts. That’s the sad part about any cuts. You know someone is feeding their families because their job is connected to one of those programs on the chopping block. That’s why politicians look like heartless bastards to me when they talk about spending cuts like they found the money under some sofa cushions or something. I guess their job has less value because they don’t work for corporations like the politicians do.

Politicians like the use the phrase that the government has to tighten its belt the way average American families do when they are in a financial crisis. "Tightening our belt" is my second favorite saying right now after "do more with less". It’s true that when money gets a little tight families make changes to keep things going but that’s entirely different than a crisis. When families are in a crisis everything is on the table until the crisis is over.

In a crisis I have to do things that I normally wouldn’t think about doing and let go of my pride until I am doing better. I don’t believe in borrowing money from family and friends. I feel like if I don’t have the money to do something for myself then it doesn’t need to get done. I work with what I have. That’s how conservatives feel about taxes and government programs. I get that but we are supposed to be in a crisis. If I was really in a crisis I would call my parents and some friends even though I really didn’t want to. In most families parents would be pissed if they found out you were sleeping in your car because you didn’t want to ask them. If the government is in a crisis did we have to extend those tax cuts the way we did? Couldn’t we have let them expire and revisit the issue of cuts once we got back on our feet?

If we are in a crisis why wouldn’t everyone including the corporations be for closing the tax loopholes that would ring extra money in? That’s like someone having a few thousand dollars in their 401K they could access and to their house from getting foreclosed on and just leaving it there. Retirement is important but not being homeless now would be far more important.

Fighting two wars and then getting involved in Libya if we are in a crisis is like someone paying two car notes, losing their job and then buying a boat. If you knew a regular person that did something like that you would think he’s an idiot. If most American families handled financial crisis like the government is doing there would be even more homeless people than they are now which would be bad because we wouldn’t want to pay to help them.

The need to stop saying we are in a crisis and just explain what’s really going on. The rich and corporations want to keep all of the money they can and have the power to make more with no restrictions. The middle class can’t be taxed anymore without starting a revolution and the poor have no lobbyists. When you don’t have enough money coming in to pay for what you have and you are not willing to do anything to change that something has to go. That is the general principle going into these budget discussions. We’ll see how those average American families make out in the end especially if we lose Medicaid and the retirement age is raised to 71. I predict we will be doing a lot of belt tightening and bunch of other things too.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Sorry Al and Jesse: Make Noise If You Want To

Time and circumstances has a way of changing your opinion about people. There was a time not too long ago when black people in my generation shook their heads at people like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. They always seem to be raising hell for petty issues and playing the race card when we were trying to move past that. The things they were yelling and screaming about and that old school stuff like marching and having rallies couldn’t get anything done. They were just embarrassing everybody and playing self appointed black leader.

Then President Obama came along. He’s elegant, always talks in a distinguished tone, and he always sounds like he knows what he’s talking about. As far as image and conduct goes he’s the black community’s dream. The closer he got to the White House, the more we wanted all the bootleg leaders to shut up and get out of the way. Poor Tavis Smiley has been trying to organize people for years. He said one critical thing about Obama and we sent him to an island somewhere. President Obama was the symbol that we didn’t need that kind of illegitimate, sensationalized, self appointed spokesman anymore. We were trying to get to the mainstream and they never give those kinds of people much weight when it comes to public opinion.

That was all fine and dandy until after the inauguration. I should have known something was up when Sarah Palin got as far as she did even after admitting she doesn’t even read magazines or newspapers. We got Joe the Plumber making speeches and appearances on behalf of a political party. Glenn Beck’s crazy ass got to go on the highest rated news network every night and say some of the craziest things about the president and all kinds of other people. He got so much attention and credibility that he actually had a rally in DC and thousands showed up. As crazy as people think he might be you have to admit that he had a lot of impact for two solid years. Bill O’Reilly is less over the top but his rhetoric is just as crazy most of the time and the president gave him an interview on Super Bowl Sunday. You can’t get more legitimate than that. Now the final straw is here as Donald Trump is questioning the president’s citizenship and thinking of running for office. I saw a poll this morning on Morning Joe that made him the favorite among Tea Party voters. He was at 20% and Sarah Palin was only at 12%. If she decides to run for president, what kind of foolishness is she going to have to say or do to compete with Trump and win those people back? We are headed downhill fast.

I want to apologize to Reverend Al, Jesse Jackson and anyone else who got caught up in the 2008 election fever. Apparently we had no idea just how much of the general population was willing to embrace lunacy. If Donald Trump can question the citizenship of the president and have anyone outside of his wife and children give thought to him running the country then Reverend Sharpton and people like him can do and say what they want to do. We may not always agree with their style but at least most of the time they have a legitimate complaint.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

A Lazy Saturday For Mama's Birthday.

I just got up from one of the greatest naps of all time thanks to a fish plate and potato salad. It was a lazy day for me. I am probably the only person in the city that saw such a beautiful day outside today and still didn’t get up to do anything. Sometimes you just have to shut it down and recharge your batteries. I’ll get out and do something tomorrow to fulfill my good weather obligations. I did go out today and check out my week old garden. Children have a powerful influence because going outside last Sunday and planting seeds was definitely not on my agenda but I did it. I know nothing about gardening at all. I was online for an hour before I went outside just to make sure I had at least the basic instructions right. I have broccoli, tomatoes, corn, and sunflowers because they are pretty. I don’t really need to see any full vegetables because they will probably become food for all the hood wildlife like the possums and raccoons. If I just get a few leaves to come out of the ground it’s a win for me. I’ll keep you posted.

Today is my mom’s birthday. I actually had a chance to see her and tell her in person this year because she was here the last few days getting her New Orleans fix in. I think my family’s getting homesick. Usually for my mom’s birthday I try to come up with a poem or something nice like that because sometimes she reads this blog. My mom is not easily impressed and has only given me positive reviews for one of my tributes. Since I am being lazy anyway I might as well re-post the poem she liked. I’m using that old school Katrina survivor picture because her and my dad has lost so much weight she looks just like this now.

For all the times you had to come outside in your pink robe when I stayed out too long.
For the days we danced in the kitchen.
For giving me your eyes even though they don't open that wide like my daddy.
For the time I forgot my mouthpiece for the football game and you came on the sideline to bring me one.
For anytime you thought your kids were the best at anything even if everyone else thought differently.
For saying No and not caring what the rest of the mamas in the hood did.
For knowing how to cook the cabbage until it’s brown and sweet.
For knowing I like my gumbo with lots of File`.
For knowing that something is wrong with me even without me saying anything.
For every time I had a problem with a company or situation and thought to myself

“mama gonna handle this for me"... and you did

For showing me how a wife is supposed to be loyal.
For helping me keep it together to keep everybody else together after Katrina.
For teaching me to love Aretha Franklin.
For 1,275 plays of the Solomon Burke Soul Alive album.
For being willing to quit a job before you missed a school play or awards show for your kids.
For always fighting back.
For being protective and supportive.
For being my friend.
For having as much to do with the man I am as daddy does.
For being the first woman I ever fell in love with.
For already knowing that I cried when I wrote this.
For my number one fan…

Happy Birthday Mama.