Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sitting On My Porch Part Seventy Five

8 - 3 looks pretty good........and can someone please beat Atlanta so we can get some distance please.

Tuesdays after the Saints shine on Monday Night Football seem to go pretty quick. You forget all about the lack of sleep and over drinking on a Monday. Late Tuesday is about the time your body starts to come down from the football high which meant that Wednesday was going to be a hard day and it was.

The only drawback to watching football games this time of year is the endless stream of jewelry and luxury car commercials. The Lexus commercials are the worst. Do you know how much money you need to have in this economy to buy a Lexus behind your partner’s back and they don’t look at you like you’re crazy? Everyone on those commercials is part of the 1%.

I can't stand the flashing lights on the Mercedes Benz Superdome. I don't mind the colors but why do they have to flash all night like a club sign on Bourbon St?

I don't like neighborhood associations that fight when stores want to open close to them. New Orleans isn't big enough for you to be that selfish. A store in the right area actually serves dozens of neighborhoods because everything is so close. You just happen to live in an area where companies feel good about investing in. Bite the bullet and do what's best for the rest of the people living around you. If you want to move somewhere that no one wants to change come out to New Orleans East with me.

The NBA lockout isn't officially over yet and poor Hornets fans have already been subjected to Chris Paul trade rumors. Chris Paul is a good guy and his situation with the Hornets doesn't reflect on him personally. The way the NBA works almost dictates he has to leave for a larger market team. The players have all the control over where they wanna go and the financial structure makes it possible for them to play together with their friends if that's what they choose to do. That doesn't bother me but it's hard to get totally behind a team you know has no shot of winning a championship without a miracle before the season starts. The best player in the NFL at the moment is Aaron Rodgers (sorry Drew). He plays in Green Bay Wisconsin. If the NFL was the NBA then all the Green Bay fans would hear about is what big team he was going to leave for.

It really bothers me that every time someone gets arrested for murder it seems as if they have already been arrested 20 times for all kinds of crazy shit. I know we don't have enough witnesses coming forward but these cats are not leaving any evidence around. We have some sophisticated uneducated criminals around here.

Today I went to lunch and in the mile or so I drove I saw at least ten guys just hanging out around 1:00 PM during the day. The reason we are having so many violent crimes early in the day is because when you don't have anything to do there's no difference between day and night.

There's nothing funny about what's happening to Herman Cain's campaign right now. I would much rather his campaign just fell apart because he wasn't the best candidate than to have the whole world making fun of him as sex hungry black man that can't control his zipper. It would have been better for him to win the nomination than what's happening now. The worst image of a black man besides we are overly violent is that we want to have sex with everything moving. It's so bad even we believe it. Having Herman Cain's campaign fail because he couldn't be faithful to his wife is not good for any of us. That's true even for the guys who think he's an Uncle Tom. If I was a Secret Service agent and a woman other than Michelle Obama came within three feet of the President I would hit her with a stun gun. We can't have any of that foolishness going on. If the brothers at the top can't get right then there's no hope for the guys on the street. If Herman Cain had a stable of women he should have never ran for president to begin with.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Back IntoThe Grid

I tried to stay off of the information grid as much as possible this past week. I’ve realized over the past week that between phones, having a job that depends on web based software, and my addiction to Words with Friends it’s almost impossible to escape the internet. I would have to take a vacation and drive until I couldn’t get a signal like those guys on that car commercial. They drove a long ass way to get somewhere without a signal. It’s not the worth the gas money. I guess I was really off the disconnected from everything. I just didn’t have much to say so there weren’t many tweets or Facebook updates. There wasn’t any blogging either. I missed a lot of things.

I’m happy to report that as far as post Katrina life goes the start of this holiday season isn’t so bad. I guess I am finally used to not having tradition enough that I won’t force myself into being miserable until the new year anymore. I’m not sure how I feel about that but feeling normal beats being depressed.

I can name many things to be thankful for. I know a lot of good people. I’m not rich but I am currently not broke. I have all my visible teeth. I have a full staff at work now which is one of the best Christmas gifts I could have received. Maybe I can leave work at the office now. When you have a full staff with an extra twenty bucks and most of your teeth it’s hard to be upset. After I write this I am headed to make a donation to a family that really needs it. Then I’m coming home to sit outside in this cool weather and smoke a cigar if it’s not raining. I guess I’ll watch some football even though I’ve been conserving my energy for the Saints on Monday Night


If anyone reading this in the New Orleans area has a stove or knows someone with one who may want to help a family in need let me know.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Negative Aspects of Human Nature and The Choices of Men at Penn State

I love college football but this Penn State story has really messed up the season for me. I was at Children’s Hospital the last few days because my baby wasn’t feeling well. When you walk around that place for awhile it really reminds you of just how vulnerable kids are and how much we as adults have a duty to protect them from as many harmful things as possible.

I don’t feel like I am equipped to speak about the effects of child abuse so I won’t disrespect the victims by talking about it directly. I also don’t feel like I can make sense of the things Jerry Sandusky allegedly did because I might say something misguided and ignorant. Sexual abuse is a serious issue and while everyone should have their own opinions I don’t know if we need everyone to speak on it. I’m going to leave that to the experts.

The part about this story I want to talk about is how the decisions of one person can affect the decisions and lives of so many others. In this case there was two major ones involved that really highlight how human beings think. The first one was the graduate assistant Mike McQueary who walked into that shower and saw one of his mentors in life having sex with a kid. He left the scene without the kid and called his dad who told him to leave and tell Joe Paterno what he saw. Everybody has things in their life they have done or didn’t do that they second guess. I think about those kind of decisions all of the time. However I have to think that if I walked up on someone having sex at my job I would have said something even if it was two adults nevermind a kid.

Even if the initial shock made you so confused that you left I would think the guilt and second guessing would either make you ask everyday what was going to happen to Jerry Sandusky or you would have to quit and go to another school because you couldn’t look at yourself in the mirror knowing that guy was still free and possibly still abusing kids including the young boy you left there in that shower. Humans have a natural instinct towards self preservation. When people in bad neighborhoods don’t snitch they are doing it to keep from putting themselves and their families in harms way. The only thing in danger for Mike McQueary was never getting to coach at his alma mater. I can’t respect that and feel like he should never get another coaching job anywhere. He made the choice not to say anything so if he can’t coach again then so be it.

The other person in this equation who has a burden to bear in my opinion is Joe Paterno. I know he didn’t touch a kid. I know when he got the news from his employee he went up the chain of command the way he was supposed to. I know Jerry Sandusky wasn’t on his staff anymore. I get all of that. The reason why I think it’s perfectly fair for people to come down on him is because since I started following sports as a kid all anyone has ever done is kiss Joe Paterno’s ass for being a man of integrity and dignity. There’s some people who’s personal stature transcends their official title. You might have someone at your job that’s not even in management but their character and standing is so great that even the owner of the company listens to what they say. That’s the kind the pull Joe Paterno had. In fact, his stature was so great that I believe he could have got this case investigated and resolved at another campus just on the strength of his name.

Usually the people who have that kind of status know it. Even if they don’t flaunt it all the time they know it’s there and that’s why I can’t excuse the coach for going up the chain of command. I think he knew what would happen if the story came out in the open and he just didn’t want to deal with it. He also didn’t want to be the one that took down his long time friend because it’s human nature to not want to see your people fall. When you make that kind of decision over the safety of kids I can’t feel sorry for you if you have 409 wins or 4. I would like to think that even if I went to Penn State I would feel the same way and not be so caught up in the aura of the football program and it’s coach that I talked myself into making excuses for adults who enabled a child predator. Actually I know I wouldn’t because it’s also human nature to recognize right and wrong and this degree of wrong was obvious.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Appreciating Life and Death

Rap legend Heavy D passed away yesterday at the age of 44. People under 30 may not remember the time where he was a pretty big deal in the hip hop world. I was sad when I heard he passed because it reminded me of a part of my teenage years. A day before boxing great Joe Frazier died of liver cancer. Whenever boxing legends pass away I think about my grandfather. I loved watching boxing with him and I loved listening to him tell stories about boxing even more. There are people who find it annoying when a big deal is made about the death of someone who hadn’t had a hit record since the early 90’s or a man who hadn’t had a fight since the 70’s. Someone doesn’t have to be on your mind constantly for you to feel an impact from their passing. I have friends who I haven’t seen for years like Joseph Warner or my boy Fred. If I found out something happened to one of them I would be just as heartbroken as if we were hanging out yesterday.

I think life is precious and we all should hope to live a long one with as much quality as possible. I’ve always found the loss of life hard to deal with it especially when it feels like someone left too early. My generation and the one following has had to deal with a lot unnecessary death from things like gun violence and drug related issues. After awhile it starts to weigh on you. It actually doesn’t matter if you knew them at all. I get upset when I read about horrible things that happen to people who I don’t know. Maybe I’m just getting overly emotional these days but there could be more of that in our society. Everybody gets caught up in the ideology and forget that there are people involved. I remember after Katrina when everyone was talking about neighborhoods returning and taking over school systems I kept feeling like there was something really disturbing about the fact that the thing we talked about the least was all the people that passed away. When you don’t give life its proper respect you generate negative energy. That’s the kind of energy that is all throughout our community. That’s the energy that led to guys having shootouts in front of crowds of people and some murder victim’s deaths make the second or third page of the metro section in the newspaper. I don’t know how to change that but I think we should start working on it.

Rest in peace to Heavy D, Joe Frazier, war casualties, victims of disease, any of your friends and family that are no longer with us and all the victims of violent crimes even the ones that look like thugs.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Searching for Apathy

Tuesday I at dinner at Galatoires restaurant for the first time. I had a great time. My work colleagues treated me to say thanks for all my hard work. I had no problem accepting the free dinner at such a great restaurant because I believe in people showing appreciation to another. I also believe in working hard and free food so it was a winning situation all the way around for me. Our dinner engagement was the day after Halloween when there was a shootout and killings that gave the city another negative story for people to take in. Despite being all dressed up to eat I was in a sad mood all day because I believe in community, and personal responsibility. I also believe in the potential in young black men from New Orleans to do great things and when they make the decision to kill one another and bring the community down it’s draining to me. It’s like a slap in the face to everything I try to project as a man. I get upset about these things like there was something I could have done to stop it and didn’t.

That afternoon I was sitting at my desk and I started thinking about my own life and wondered if I was cheating myself out of the satisfaction for my own accomplishments. The truth of the matter is that I haven’t done anything to contribute to the problem we are having. I’ve never sold drugs, owned a gun or been arrested. Outside of a few times when I had no choice but to defend myself I’ve never really had a thought about harming another man. I hate to see people fighting in the streets especially women because I believe their behavior and character set the tone for everyone else. I’m trying to teach the kids the same thing but I also have to be realistic about where we live and also let them know that you may have to fight your way out of a bad situation.

I wish I could reprogram myself to be more self absorbed and ignore things I see around me as long as I am doing well. Then every time I see something horrible in the news or someone tells me how much they are going through I can look at my vehicles or my big TV and sleep like a baby with no cares in the world. Things would seem a lot less bleak if I could just stop feeling like we have so much untapped potential and could take care of ourselves and our children without anyone telling us what to do. I want to be one of the people who judge the quality of life by how many days they can go out to the club and gauge my city’s health on the number of second lines we have. If I was in that state of mind it wouldn’t matter who was the governor or the mayor.

I wouldn’t have any concern for the murder rate or black male image. I really wouldn’t care about the education of any children outside of my own and I wouldn’t be so concerned that some of these charter schools are experimenting with our kids like lab rats. I wouldn’t even say “our kids” because their future doesn’t have anything to do with me. It wouldn’t be my fault their mama made the wrong choice. Hell, rename or demolish everybody’s alma mater like our tradition and history doesn’t mean anything. My school is still standing. I may even start making excuses for politicians. It’s going to be great if that day ever comes. Until then I’ll just keep shaking my head and hoping for the best.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Positive Vibes Are Short Lived

Last evening I went out on the street to trick or treat for the first time since I was a young teenager. It was actually pretty cool. I was all set to get up this morning and tell you all what a great evening we had going around the neighborhood to hustle candy. I went down a lot of streets that I don’t think I’ve seen since the storm. There seemed to be more kids and families out walking around and more people sitting outside their homes giving out candy. I was going tell you about the neighbors I got to talk to and make friends with and how I should start going to the neighborhood association meetings because there’s a benefit to it. I was going to mention how good I felt about the evening and how my sense of community was strengthened. I think I got invited to a few BBQ’s by the people who live on the next street. I went to bed feeling pretty good.

Then I got up this morning and read the news. I saw all the shooting that happen last night on Canal St. where someone lost their life. I read about these two guys shooting at one another on Bourbon Street despite standing around all those people and how so many innocent bystanders were hit. That could have been anyone standing out there including someone in my family. Those two are just the big stories. There were other shootings as well. Now, I’m back to being frustrated and I haven’t even finished my first cup of coffee. Ignorant and dangerous behavior can really mess up a good vibe.