Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Reveal the Real Secrets

I was thinking about buying my former mayor Ray Nagin’s book. The title pulled me in. There are some secrets from Katrina that I wouldn’t mind knowing but I haven’t gotten the book because I don’t think they are in there. I have been checking out the excerpts from the book and all I see are things about the former Governor Blanco and Michael Brown. I know he has a lot of things in there about what it was like to be in charge of the city at the time of the storm and the pressure of that. I also think he probably has a few things in there that speak to the race and class divisions in our and are probably true but since he has such low creditably many are going to dismiss them as just Ray talking crazy. Unless you are in denial or just not paying attention many of those issues are obvious too so I don’t need to spend eighteen bucks on the mayor’s book just to fill me in on what I already know.

What I was hoping Ray Nagin would give me from his book was some of the things that we talk about behind close doors but don’t know for sure. I was hoping he could clear up some of the conspiracy theories. For instance, I would like to know who was in that meeting in Dallas when they talked to him about who was going to come back to the city. If that meeting really happened the mayor should name each and every person and what business they run. That way I could start boycotting those people now. It’s not too late for that. I would like to know was the Lower Ninth Ward really going to be cleared to build a resort? I never thought this one was true but if it is I would like to know who was going to invest in that.

I would like to know what exactly did the mayor agree to before the Bring Back New Orleans commission released their plan and got everyone riled up. There’s no way those folks made that plan public without thinking the mayor was going to put his stamp of approval on it. If I am right about that I would like to know who or what changed Mayor Nagin’s mind and made him keep the entire city open brought so much heat on himself. That would be some eye opening reading. Other than that I don’t want to read about any new Katrina stories that are just similar stories to the ones we already lived through ourselves. If Ray Nagin wants me to spend money on that book he needs to expose all the things that went on behind the scenes that the media didn’t cover. If he’s not doing that then I am spending that book money on gasoline to get to work.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Life Expectancy Issues

According to an article on the front page of the Times Picayune this morning, men in New Orleans have one of the lowest life expectancies in the country. We needed one more thing to worry about. I guess if we need a silver lining we can take pride in the fact that we don’t have the lowest life expectancy. That title goes to Holmes County, Mississippi. I don’t know what’s going on around there but I won’t be heading that way if we have to evacuate for a storm. I got enough trouble.

While we are living to an average of 68 years our women are living to an average of 79 years old. That means that not only will we only get to enjoy a few years of retirement but our women will be using the rest of our money to have fun and meet guys who are still living at bingo games. This might be the first thing that makes me support raising the retirement age to 70.

If they raise it and the averages hold up I can probably work until I pass out from a combination of stress, pickled pork, brown liquor and Zatarain’s Crab Boil seasoning. I’ll be headed to the big BBQ in the sky with all my boys who didn’t go to the doctor. It’s sad to admit but we don’t really start cutting back on things until they have already made us sick. If we cut back a little and pay more attention I know we can add at two years on the average and get us up to 70.

There will never be a more authentic New Orleans man as my grandfather was. He was made of this city in and out and he lived to be 89. It’s not like he was a health nut or anything either because in his heyday because his close friends and associates called him “Heavy”. I think if was still here now and I asked him about this article he would probably say that to way to live a long time is to try and relax as much as you can when you are not working, start going to the doctor for checkups or when things don’t feel right, and by all means avoid being hit by bullets.

I think if we start going to the doctor and being more responsible while the youngsters avoid bullets and start living longer we can push our average to 75 and actually be around to enjoy our retirement. If we just keep eating and drinking everything without moderation and the bullets keep flying we will be giving Holmes County a run for the top spot and once again be at the wrong end of another list.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

At last year’s Rising Tide Conference I brought my little brother from the mentoring program to hang out with me and to show him another side to life. I think he had a good time despite being 10 years old and full of energy. Sitting around all day listening to people speak usually isn’t the greatest thing for his demographic but I think he got the point. He won’t be hanging out with me this year because his dad was released from prison a few months ago and now he’s living with him and they are working on their relationship. I met his dad the night I came and picked him to go the Monday Night Raw. He seemed to be a little nervous at the time but I told him he had to give his daddy a chance. I tried to explain to him that his dad was going to need to get comfortable and then things would work out.

I get calls from his grandmother giving me updates on him and apparently things are coming along fine. She thanks me for being there for him. I always tell her it was my pleasure because I know how important it is to have a male influence. I had a great one. I even had a few more for extra measure. I made out alright in the family department. Hopefully his dad keeps things together and can share with him all the things he needs to know to avoid the obstacles as well as he can and have a better and easier life than his dad and I do. You can’t guarantee everything is going to work out but our job is to try and make the process as smooth as possible.

That’s what my dad tried to do for me and his kids. That’s what I try to do for mine. Happy Father’s Day to my dad, Christian’s dad and all the other dads trying to do their best to keep things together.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Sitting On My Porch Part Sixty Seven

Vacation is the bomb. I have no idea why I don’t stay home more often but I am going to. I really don’t want to work at all. I think it would be great just to sit here all day and start cocktails at noon. That’s the way my life is headed as soon as I figure out how to replace my paycheck.

I don’t want anyone to worry about me becoming a slacker who expects the government to take care of him. I won’t quit my job until I find a bag of money or win the lottery. That way Americans don’t have to worry about feeding my family and adding to the deficit. I know the Republican Leadership Conference is in town and they wouldn’t take too kindly to the anti American behavior of needing help. I want to tell all of my elected leaders know that I will do my part to pay all of my bills no matter how much they rise for no reason and never expect anything.

It took years to come to the realization that the constant struggle to maintain financially was going to be part of my life forever. I tried to resist it and speak out on it but the evidence was overwhelming. I live in a broke city, a broke state and a broke country. In all three of those levels there are citizens that are the angriest at the people on the bottom who have the least like that’s where we spend all the money. Even after we cut what they get the deficit gets higher and people still blame them. I figure since that’s what everyone thinks and since the president kept most of the policies in place from the guy before him, nothing is going to change anytime soon and I need to be mentally prepared. Why should I drive myself crazy being frustrated? I might as well suck it up and get prepared for the day my job is eliminated by a budget cut.

The sooner everyone accepts this is the quicker we can focus all of our attention on something really important like the NFL lockout and the potential cancellation of the Saints and Packers Thursday night opening game extravaganza. I’m calling it the Small Market Champions Showdown. They need to get this deal done. A lot of fans have sided with the owners since the lockout. We’ll see how you feel when tickets, parking, and concessions still go up because they all want to “stay competitive”.

I wasn’t going to talk about Anthony Weiner but I can’t help myself since he stepped down. I know a little bit about doing dumb guy things. I have a few dumb things on my resume when it comes to women. When it’s all said and done I think he has to go down in history as one of the dumbest guys ever because he ruined a career without even actually touching a woman. Anthony Weiner shows what can happen when man works out too much and starts feeling himself. He should have left the P90X alone and stayed off the internet.

There was a time when Congressman Weiner could have gotten away with the stuff he was doing. The internet used to be a lot more taboo and not everyone had access to it. You could probably find a few “friends” and send them pictures of you getting out of the shower if you could figure out how to save them to your desktop with Windows 98. These days things are different. I can access anything in the world from my phone. We have stuff like Facebook, Twitter, and Google. Now when I go to YouTube it asks me if I want to click on all the pages from my Gmail contacts. My Flickr account is attached to my Yahoo ID and if you don’t make your pictures private the whole world can see them whether I want them to or not. I know so much more about my friends and family thanks to Twitter and Facebook that I am anticipating a day where there’s a pushback to them after breaking up so many relationships that people stop logging in to their sites in record numbers and start a recession. The internet is the last place a congressman should be living out his wild side so for that he goes to the main room of the dumb guy hall of fame. He doesn’t get the top spot however. Tiger Woods has that and it will be hard to dethrone him.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tupac's 40th Birthday : When We Die Too Young

Being born with less
I must confess
Only adds on to the stress
Two gunshots to my homie’s head
Died in his vest
Shot him to death
and left him bleeding for his family to see
I pass his casket
Gently ask him
Is there heaven for G's?

Tupac Shakur would have been 40 years old today. After seeing what was posted on Twitter and Facebook leading up to today there’s definitely a reverence for the man and his legacy. I don’t have an issue with that. I admired his music myself and have quoted him on this blog several times. As years go by I see his life differently than I did when I was younger and he was bringing all of that energy through my headphones. I just keep wondering if he would still be smoking blunts and screaming thug life at 40 or would that be a distant memory.

Age changes most people. Even if it doesn’t correct all of the misguided things you believed when you were younger it at least slows you down enough where you don't act them out. I know a lot of cats that went hard in the streets who have settled down over time. The challenge these days is getting to that point. The thing about Tupac that a lot of people don’t recognize because he acted so crazy sometimes was that his intellect and charisma was so great that by now he probably would have been leading some kind of renaissance for young men to change their ways. That’s how I have always felt about him and it made his death more tragic as the years go by. When I hear his music now I think of all the other young men who have died too early for reasons not worth dying for and I wonder how many of them would have changed if they just would have made it to their 30’s. As it stands we have too many men that didn't make it to 25 where adult life and the reality of the world starts to become a little clearer.

I think if more of those men would have survived they could help us put this violence thing in the proper perspective and slowed it down. Maybe the message would be different if there was more proof that circumstances can change as you get older. Our momentum has swung in the complete opposite direction since Tupac and Biggie were killed. Black men are still getting killed for real reason on the streets across America and there’s no real end in sight. Rappers haven’t gotten any more responsible. They still beef about crazy things and now guys who weren’t even bad guys in real life take names of infamous drug dealers and gangsters for their stage names. Men we should vilify for helping destroy our community have become mainstream symbols and in some cases role models and sex symbols.

I don’t really know if Tupac could have changed all of this from happening but it would have been great if he was here to find out. As it stands now he is a symbol of all the wasted talent and untapped potential that’s been left to bleed on the streets. That makes his birthday a pretty sad event when you think about it. Tupac once asked the question if there was heaven for G’s. If the answer was yes it’s getting pretty crowded.

The Hospital That's Coming Soon...or Maybe Not

I was going to name this post “All the things we could do with all the land we cleared in the middle of the city for a hospital that only needs half of the size.” That wouldn’t be right to do at this time because maybe the original plan from LSU gets done. I highly doubt that at this point because it looks like Tulane, David Vitter, and the shadow government have stepped in and found a way to get their share of the money with the governor’s blessing. It’s amazing how the governor can change his mind about certain topics depending on who’s in opposition to his original opinion. None of this is surprising to me.

Somehow we took a plan that was going to transform the city and create so many jobs and turned it into buying all of Tulane’s old hospital buildings and one of them isn’t even in the city. What happened to all the push to have everything being new? If that’s the case we could have just fixed all the old hospital buildings around the city and had them opened by now.

I don’t have the energy to be worried about things the state and shadow government does. Their agenda has been apparent since the storm. All you have to do is drive around and see that. I am disappointed with the city’s leadership for getting caught up in the middle of struggle between powerbrokers over money. I don’t think a house should have been moved, or a building torn down before there was a concrete plan in place. We could have waited and just cleared whatever space was needed after Tulane got their cut of the money and we knew what was going to be built. It wouldn’t have taken long to clear that space. All we do is tear down buildings in this city. We are getting as good at that as we are at jazz and fighting.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Happy Birthday To Me

I’m sitting outside today trying to enjoy my 37th birthday and the start of my vacation. When I left work yesterday I gave my coworker a list of things I was going to do this morning around the house before I started my birthday celebration. Well, I didn’t get to any of that because I went at it a little too hard doing my midnight celebration last night. I must be getting old and my recovery time is getting slow.

Every year around my birthday I always get real reflective. I didn’t really do that this year. That could mean that I have finally reached some kind of contentment with where I am in life so I didn’t have as much need to go over each and every decision I have made that got me to this point. I would like to think that’s the case but I don’t think it is. I think I was just too busy and tired to devote to my own self pity.

My only goals during these two weeks of vacation from work is to rest and relax as much as possible and bringing my blog back to a respectable level of posts. This once a week routine isn’t my style. I’m about to fix that as soon as possible. I just hope there’s something better to talk about than Mr. Ghetto’s Wal Mart bounce video and Anthony Weiner not knowing how to send messages on his Twitter account.

I am no frills kind of guy and I usually stick to the same things and brands I like. The only exception if my birthday when I will spend a little more on some high end bourbon and a higher quality cigar. I want one of them Cuban Maduros but I think they are still illegal. First I’ll eat, and then I’ll smoke the cigar, and then have a few cocktails before I go to sleep. That may sound like a very boring birthday to some but I’m saving the second line parade and music video for 40th birthday bash.

I want to give a shout out to all my friends, family, and especially my mommy and daddy. I’m out to enjoy the rest of my day.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Hanging In The Heat With A Bunch of Bulldogs

Yesterday I went to the J.S Clark alumni picnic. It felt like the temperature was 1000 degrees outside but everyone had a good time. I had been so tired from work that I didn’t want to go but my people talked me into it. I’m glad I did. It was a great turnout and I hope every school does the same thing with their alumni. It was cool seeing some folks I haven’t seen in years. I saw a lot of people I know from around the city that I had no idea went to the same school I did and I hadn’t seen any of them since Katrina.

I struggle with the conflict between the old New Orleans and the new one so many people seem to think we need. I go back and forth with how I feel about certain things like neighborhoods and schools. When I read about new ideas and plans for changes I always try to think of the right balance between progression and maintaining a sense of culture and community.

Many times I feel detached from a lot of things that make me who I am. Maybe it’s because I live in New Orleans East now and don’t spend as much time as I used to in my old stomping grounds. Maybe I have been beat down by news of violent crime and negative statistics that I mentally isolate myself just enough to not be associated with it. It could be that life is just too damn hectic these days to spend much time worrying about things like that and you have to keep pushing forward.

All of those things are true in some form or fashion but just like my friend who hasn’t lived in the city since we graduated and he went away to college said when we drove up to the picnic yesterday and he seen everyone out there; these are the kind of things that make you feel at home and happy. He was right about that. Sometimes when things get hectic you just need to spend some time with your people and reminisce about the people and places that got you to this point. It’s always refreshing to run into someone you came up with and be happy when they are doing okay. That’s what I saw out there on the Riverview yesterday and that’s the New Orleans that means the most to me. I hope we never lose that aspect because then the spirit of the city is dead no matter how nice the new buildings look.