Friday, November 21, 2008

Yeah, It Was a Flashback, Thanks Nikki

My school schedule has me neglecting my blog lately. I had visions of returning to blogging with a bit of panache and some insightful prose about the state of the nation, the economy, and my shock that Obama will truly be our President.

However I find today, that I can only mirror a post from my sister Nikki X over at The Black Fist Blog and write about: Trick Daddy.

This post is really a long response to hers, but it was one of those meanderings that would have taken up far too much space on her blog - would have been longer than the post itself - and it is rude to hi-jack someone else's space that way.

It happened like this:

Having pretty much disavowed the travesty that had become hip hop and the glamorization of thug culture, it was against all odds that I fell in love with the thinnest of beats that summer...I'm pretty sure I saw the video first...I rarely watch BET but I was out of work, bored...and after that first time, anytime I heard the song I was bumpin' it. Ye Olde Matey would look at me in awe.

You like this song?

I don't know. Was it because I was out of work, again through no fault of my own....yet another business "restructuring" due to the economy- and why I feel the need to add that quantifier - why I should feel ashamed for being out of work for any reason in the age of the disposable worker - Hell I don't know.

But back to that summer...the hot days I spent bootleg driving out of desperation from joblessness (and even after I finally found a gig to supplement my income).

Trick Daddy asks the most important question first and foremost:
Could it be my baggy jeans and my gold teeth that makes me different from ya'll?
I mean bootleg cab driving doesn't exactly make me a thug but it certainly makes you invisible to anyone who doesn't need a ride. Dress too nice, you get no sales. Dress too bummy even people who desperately need a ride will be scared of you. It's hard to embrace the right look as effortless as Trick Daddy who wears his baggy jeans and gold the way all young men in his position do - we may protest but no matter what they wear - they will always be the outsiders - they may as well be comfortable.

I certainly had my moments where I, like Trick Daddy wanted to say F**** the po po's - through observation of how the police literally stalk our people, to the point where they can't even buy a ride home from the damn grocery store in neighborhoods where cabs are slow to come or find little ways to stall the ride and jack up the price to $15 for a 3 block ride and then don't help carry a damn thing or charge you for wait time while you load or unload. Seriously? Fuck 'em.

And once I got a gig - how quickly I went back to blogging and my pseudo-middle class life like nothing had happened. How easy it was to go back to being righteously indignant over hip-hop and forgetting the days of helping young women struggling with toddlers and groceries for a few bucks a ride. And after I dropped them off, I spent the one summer of my life, turning my radio on full blast, booming my bass even, nodding my head in complete and utter concord with Trick Daddy...
I don't know
What this world's gonna bring
But I know one thing
This is the life for me...

Trick Daddy goes on to say: Fuck the judge and CEO's, Fuck the DA and PO's - and honestly, I think back to my ballot in this past 2008 Election where the likes of Joe Deters and Simon Leis ran unapposed and that ambulance chasing Mike Allen still having a law license and that not one, but two white women have gotten away with literally KILLING their children....and hell yea, I'm with Trick Daddy on this one. Fuck 'em. Fuck 'em all.

No man is an island and no man is all one thing. Lest you think Trick Daddy is a thug and thug only - watch the video - the mini-operetta interuption mid-video is more than a camera trick, more than a device - it's almost the point of the video-

He, we, all of us, are more than the sum of our parts - and none of us live alone. His thugishness makes our un-thugishness possible. He's doing the dirty work - the work that will be done regardless - and leaving us to the trappings that hide the dirt.

Cuz he's a thug.
All day every day.

Nah, Trick Daddy - despite all outward appearances, you right. I'm not different from you after all.

Not at all really.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

This Was the Revolution. It WAS Televised

Barack, Michelle, Malia and Sasha:
Welcome To the White House!
Blessings To You All!


























White folks. Black Folks. Every Folks.

Went to the polls and an joined in the strongest repudiation possible

Goodbye George
Goodbye Dick
Goodbye Karl
Goodbye Condi
Goodbye Donald
Goodbye Wolfie
Goodbye Sarah
Goodbye John

You ain't got to go home...but please don't step on the White House Lawn as you head back to Crawford, TX, Wasilla, AK and all points west.

This was the revolution. It was televised.

Let the Church say, "Amen!"

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Going to See Obama

My hair is a mess
I have nothing to wear
I'm probably on the no fly list for all my anti-bush rhetoric
or some sort of NSA don't let her in list

But I'm going to see Barack today

OH, and if you go
Barack or no
Check your civil liberties at the door:

No signs
No bags (what the hell am I supposed to carry my camera in? *sigh*)
I suppose there's a free speech cage setup
somewhere out of sight
*grumbles over Barrack's FISA vote*
will be a good little goosestepping American citizen today
Must see Barrack even if it means
behaving myself

Anyway....

Here's the buzz in case you haven't heard already.
Ault Park Pavillion
Rally starts at 3:00
Doors open at 1:00

Parking: You have to park at and take a damn shuttle from Lunken airport (it's free but hella inconvenient IMHO)

(hella is a new adjective I picked up from my daughter; note to self, wash her mouth out with soap)

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Black and Blue at SNL











First Photo (left to right)
Jason Sudeikis, Tina Fey, Queen Latifah
Saturday Night Live
Second Photo (left to right)
Joe Biden, Gwen Ifill, Sarah Palin
Vice Presidential Debate



Quick: How many black female comedians can you name off the top of your head?

My list before I went running to IMDB:
Adelle Givens
The girl on the FOX comedy show -what's the name of that show. Damn.
Uh
Chris Rock's fem sidekick from that one movie where he's the dead guy playing the white guy
Uh
Damn.

I could remember faces, sketches, one-liners, movies, cameos - everything but the names of the women. As a black woman, not exactly one of my shining moments.

Maybe I just drew a blank because I asked myself. So, I went and looked up at lest the names of the women I should be able to remember and couldn't.

Adelle Givens
Wanda Sykes
Deborah Wilson
Sheryl Underwood
Mo'Nique
Laura Hayes
Sommore
Lawanda Paige

And though we normally don't think of them as comedians, think of every black woman that you know has carried or starred in a sitcom - Julia, That's My Mama, What's Happening?, The Jeffersons, Thea, 227, The Cosby Show, A Differen't World, Family Matters, Living Single Martin, Sister Sister, The Hughleys, The Bernie Mac Show, The Steve Harvey Show, The Parkers - ok, you get the idea. And yeah, a lot of those shows are headed by familiar black male comedians but think of the women in them and think of all the untapped talent out there waiting and wading through the sludge that is entertainment casting and suddenly the pool of black female comedic talent doesn't seem so shallow after all.

I normally don't watch NBC's Saturday Night Live. I switched on the telly last night and, flipping channels, saw what I thought was Sarah Palin speaking in her Alaska monotone. For a long moment I was fooled into thinking I'd stumbled on a replay of the Vice Presidential debate. I had only stopped for a minute to giggle at her and see if I could make sense of anything she said.

The visual was dead on but something about the lighting was a little odd, dimmer than I remembered from the original debate but that's also not unusual with CSPAN replays for some reason. Then the camera angle changed and I said, "Hey, that's not Gwen Ifill. That's Queen Latifah." Then the camera angle switched back to "Palin" whom Tina Fey portrays with reluctant yet effortless perfection, the only difference being that there's a gleam of wit and intelligence in her eyes that will never be present in the bottomless folksy depths of Palin's.

The sketch was perfect. Anne Hathaway brought her flawlessly beautiful self out and did her host bit which was funny and charming. We are big Anne Hathaway fans around here, The Princess Diaries I & II , Ella Enchanged and The Devil Wears Prada are stock films around our house, so I settled in to watch the rest of the show; but SNL ruined it for me, as they usually do, with an odd Lawrence welk bit and I tuned out and did not flip back for the rest of the night.

Of course, before the initial VP debate sketch was over, the question had already lodged itself in my mind. Why doesn't Saturday Night Live have a black female comic already in cast? Although I don't watch SNL regularly, even I could reason that if they had to tap Queen Latifah to fill the role, they obviously didn't have a black female comic on their roster.

And I thought, damn, it's 2008? Haven't we gotten past the one "ethnic" face per any unit group of white folks syndrome yet? And although SNL seems to realize they need at least "one black guy" they obviously don't need two and definitely not a black man and black woman at the same time. As I said, SNL is not a show I watch regularly, have never been a fan of and I'm not going to claim knowing cast history backwards and forwards. But I'm not the only one asking this question so I'm not too far off track. Here are what few others have to say.

TMZ
Queen Latifah Set to Grill Sarah Palin
Quote: Thanks to Latifah -- and since "SNL" has no female African-American cast member -- the world is saved from seeing Amy Poehler in black face.

Associated Press
`SNL' sends up VP debate with Fey, Queen Latifah
Quote: It's starting to feel like Tina Fey is running for vice president.
(Note: The AP spends all it's time on Fey and Latifiah gets a one-word mention)

Associated Content
Does Saturday Night Live Avoid Hiring Black Women Comics?
Quote: In 32 years, there have been only 3 black female members of SNL.
(Note: This site was asking this question last year! The article is dated Jul 29, 2007.)

Huffington Post
Note to SNL: Black People are Funny Too
Quote: Back before the WGA strike ripped primary season from Lorne Michaels' bosom, rumors circulated in New York's comedy scene that the SNL producer was auditioning black performers with Obama in mind. But on Sept. 29, the season premiered with only two black cast members -- for those keeping score at home, that's one more than it began 11 of its 33 seasons with and two more than in five seasons.

African American Political Pundit
At SNL No Black Female Comedians Need Apply
Quote: I don't get why Saturday Night Live does not have any black female comedians? I love the SNL skits. But this comedy segregation has to stop.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Monday, September 22, 2008

Let the Revolution Begin!

Do you have spare $750 billion dollars lying around?

How about the minimum of $5 million John McCain thought (until someone told him he was an idiot) that you need to be "middle class".

I am so disgusted with our media cheerleading the taxpayer entire bailout of this desperate financial crisis. The MSM's job in all this: to make sure we know that everyone in charge just needs their hands spanked: Congress, the White House and and well, maybe yes, the top folks at the Federal Treasury and finally the elites of Wall Street.

The words I hear bandied about: misjudged, stretched the truth, mismanaged, over-speculated

Words I don't hear: knew but lied, knew but lied, knew but stole money, knew they were over-reaching, over spending and just plain defrauding American consumers en masse - knowing from the past history of the Savings and Loan scandal that they could pin the entire price tag on us and we would roll over and take it up the wazooo.

I don't have spare $750 million dollars but I bet those Wall Street Executives do. I bet George Bush and Dick Cheney do, as much as they've benefited from the War through Haliburton and again from the rape of the American people in gas/ oil money. I bet Condolezza Rice does - just because they scrubbed her name off the oil tanker doesn't mean she isn't still filthy rich. John McCain - hell, with 7 houses, he might be able to scrape some gilded gold leaf off one of his many chandaliers, hit a pawn shop and come up with half. Hell what Barack, McCain and all the other candidates have spent on this election alone just maybe could have prevented some of these new tent cities from springing up.

Why are the rich elites in this country so eager to pick our pocket but NONE of them are willing to step up to the plate and plug this sinking hole of an economy?

We are expected to pay for the war in Iraq.
We are expected to pay for the war in Afghanistan.
We are expected to pay for Wall Street lies and theft.
We are expected to pay for Social Security.
We are expected to shell out for every single darn porkbarrel program, project and earmark that any half-wit Senator or Congressperson suggests.

And how have we benefited.

We're paying for our own loss of civil liberties.
We're funding the deaths and imprisonment of our own citizens.
We're allowing the wars to continue.
We're allowing Wall Street to pin the price tag of their greed on us.
We have allowed the last 8 years of Republican administration to lie us and cow us into submission.

I say no more!
They don't run us or lead. They simply administrate us! And they have done a lousy damn job. Every single one of them.

No more!
We need to rescind the privileges of every single Congressperson and Senator.
We need to re-evaluate exactly how our Supreme Court is chosen
We need to try George Bush (Jr. & Sr.), Dick Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Rice, and Rove for treason.
We need to turn our federal government upside down and shake it until they do right by the American people.

Our government is a failure. Only revolution and a new way of doing things is in order. Actually the old way of doing things - abiding by our constitution and installing TRUE guardians of liberty to public office. We the American people are far too willing to bury our heads in the sand and let "the government" do the dirty work.

The problem is, WE ARE THE GOVERNMENT. The People. And if we fail, then our government fails. And it has failed miserably.

No more.

If you plan on voting for McCain you're an idiot. How can you think more of this type of government or lack of it is a good thing? How can you vote for a man who thinks that if you don't have $5 million dollars you're no better than a poor homeless person?

I am mad as hell and if you're not outraged then you should be.
Don't let them pin the Wall Street bail out on us.
It's time to march.
It's time to fight.

It's time to turn off the news - It's time to stop listening to NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, MSNBC, CNN. It's time to start reading and adhering to common sense. Stop listening to the people who tell us that government screw ups are not only inevitable but that we should foot the bill when they lie to us and steal from us.

Our goverment is not only lying to us they are robbing us blind!

No more!

It is time to take to the streets!
It is time to march!
To protest!
To organize!

Let the next American revolution begin!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

FYI: Death and Destruction Continue despite Election and US Media Ignorance

Smoke billows outside the US embassy in Sana yesterday after a car bomb set off a series of explosions outside the heavily fortified embassy in Yemen. Photo and caption from the newspaper Times of Malta















While I and my family slept safe in our beds
While I got my daughter safely off to school
Despite the recent battle with storm winds
While I took so much for granted
Like electricity
Or even breathing
Seven More Soldiers Died In Iraq

The US Embassy is under attack in Yemen.
What have we done to piss off Yemen?
Ah, it's Al Queda again.
Another day
Another terrorist

While we dither over Obama/Biden, McCain/ Palin
Come on, is this really a choice for some of you people?
Please wake the hell up already.

Even so, while we focus on inconsequentials
The sons and daughters of our great nation
Die

So that our Emperor can fiddle while Babylon burns

The economy is fine
Gas prices are fine
We only think things are bad
We have become a nation of whiners

Yet billions of our tax dollars will be spent to bail out private corporations enabled in their failure and corruption by the people who tell us

The economy is fine
Gas prices are fine
We only think things are bad
We have become a nation of whiners

Seven more soldiers dead in Iraq
How many Iraqi's will be killed in retribution for their deaths?
Talk about a zero sum game.

I am not whining
These problems
These deaths
Are real

I am angry
I am saddened
I am crying

Back to your regularly scheduled life.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Sarah Palin Sucks

I didn't write it but I swear I should have and would have and it echoes my sentiments perfectly - especially as the mother of a 16-year-old daughter with a boyfriend....

16 reasons why Sarah Palin sucks


And that's all I will ever have to say about John McCain's lousy choice of running mate. Truly, it's all that ever needed to be said. That and all they pithy stuff The Skeptik One is testifying to over at her place. It warms the cockles of my heart, truly it does.

I apologize for this interruption in my regularly scheduled support of Obama. Might I suggest a Palin blackout? Just ignore the heifer. She's really not worth the press.

P.S. I'm still pissed at Obama about his FISA vote. Not pissed at him enough to not vote for him or switch my vote to McCain. That will NEVER happen. Just FYI.

Friday, August 29, 2008

This Election Has Never Been About Me

Image Link goes to www.BarackObama.com


Have you ever seen Eminem's signature movie 8-Mile? You know the part at the end where B-Rabbit causes his freestyle opponent to choke by rippin and spittin all of Poppa Doc's material first?

That's what happened last night at the DNC. Barack Obama took McCain and his World Class Wrecking Crew to task for every failed decision, every idiotic piece rhetoric and every fear-mongering, misleading tactic that they have pulled and to cap it all, he made it plain that John McCain may care about America, but he's sadly clueless about the people who truly make up America.

OBAMA:
Now, I don't believe that Senator McCain doesn't care what's going on in the lives of Americans; I just think he doesn't know.

Why else would he define middle-class as someone making under $5 million a year? How else could he propose hundreds of billions in tax breaks for big corporations and oil companies, but not one penny of tax relief to more than 100 million Americans? How else could he offer a health care plan that would actually tax people's benefits, or an education plan that would do nothing to help families pay for college, or a plan that would privatize Social Security and gamble your retirement?

It's not because John McCain doesn't care; it's because John McCain doesn't get it.
Barack Obama made a lot of promises last night: about healthcare, taxes, energy policy, education and the future of America in what is now a global economy. But he did not promise that he would accomplish this by Obama magic. To follow Barack Obama is to commit yourself to digging deep and working hard - and working together:

OBAMA:
America, our work will not be easy. The challenges we face require tough choices. And Democrats, as well as Republicans, will need to cast off the worn-out ideas and politics of the past, for part of what has been lost these past eight years can't just be measured by lost wages or bigger trade deficits. What has also been lost is our sense of common purpose, and that's what we have to restore.
Finally, for all of us, for anyone of any race, color, creed, political party or hyphenated nationality; for anyone who keeps spouting the diatribe of history in the making, Barack Obama reminded his detractors of something that his supporters would also do well to keep in mind:

OBAMA:
I stand before you tonight because all across America something is stirring. What the naysayers don't understand is that this election has never been about me; it's about you.
Obama is a well-spoken man but what else would you expect of a Harvard educated gentleman who has spent a life in public service? That's really beside the point. He speaks well because he speaks truth and the unmistakable ring of veracity has been missing from the White House for well over 8 years starting with Bill Clinton's fabrication and ending with the much more serious charge of the lies told to bring us into war and mismanagement and theft that have flattened the American economy.

Truth and a need to move on. Obama promises that we do not have to face the future as Dick Cheney would have us - with policies rooted in the past, cowering in our separate corners with fear of each other and of our government - waiting for the NSA, the KKK, the sherriff with foreclosure papers, the soldiers at your door to tell you that your love one has given their all for their country and sorry, so sorry for your loss.

A vote for Obama requires a faith in the future that Dick Cheney and George Sr. do not want the average American citizen to have. They do not merely want to keep wealth and power to themselves, they would rob us of our Audacity to Hope.

OBAMA:
You know, this country of ours has more wealth than any nation, but that's not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military on Earth, but that's not what makes us strong. Our universities and our culture are the envy of the world, but that's not what keeps the world coming to our shores.

Instead, it is that American spirit, that American promise, that pushes us forward even when the path is uncertain; that binds us together in spite of our differences; that makes us fix our eye not on what is seen, but what is unseen, that better place around the bend.

That promise is our greatest inheritance. It's a promise I make to my daughters when I tuck them in at night and a promise that you make to yours, a promise that has led immigrants to cross oceans and pioneers to travel west, a promise that led workers to picket lines and women to reach for the ballot.

And it is that promise that, 45 years ago today, brought Americans from every corner of this land to stand together on a Mall in Washington, before Lincoln's Memorial, and hear a young preacher from Georgia speak of his dream.

The men and women who gathered there could've heard many things. They could've heard words of anger and discord. They could've been told to succumb to the fear and frustrations of so many dreams deferred.

But what the people heard instead -- people of every creed and color, from every walk of life -- is that, in America, our destiny is inextricably linked, that together our dreams can be one.

"We cannot walk alone," the preacher cried. "And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back."

America, we cannot turn back...

... not with so much work to be done; not with so many children to educate, and so many veterans to care for; not with an economy to fix, and cities to rebuild, and farms to save; not with so many families to protect and so many lives to mend.

America, we cannot turn back. We cannot walk alone.

At this moment, in this election, we must pledge once more to march into the future. Let us keep that promise, that American promise, and in the words of scripture hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess.

Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Who Dey?


Yeah, 'Who Dey' with a question mark. I'm just not sure about the Bengals these days.

Before I get to discussing Christ Henry's delinquent tendencies, Chad Johnson's supposed arrogance and Carson Palmers overall whining, bitchy behavior, I want to update my fellow Ethan Kilmer fans. Kilmer simply rox and I could not be more heartbroken that he's hurt. I'm not the only one. I get many hits a day on people trying to figure out whether he's playing this year. Well, he's not. According to the Friday, August 22 Sports Section of the Cincinnati Enquirer:
...the Bengals announced that Corner Back Ethan Kilmer (thigh) officially had cleared waivers and reverted to the Bengal's season-ending IR [injured reserve] list.
[09/2009: DebLite Update on Ethan Kilmer here.]


So folks, Ethan won't be back in the game this season but my best wishes go out to him for a full recovery. We miss you Ethan!

The article also goes on to mention several other injured players as well: My beloved T.J. Houshmandzadeh (hamstring injury); Chad Johnson (shoulder injury) ; Andre Caldwell (right foot) and Marcus Maxwell, who like Kilmer, is on the IR list and won't be back for the rest of the season. Get well soon fellas!

Carson Palmer: If you don't stop biting your lip and sighing like a little bitch and get that sad ass look off your face when things in the game don't go the way you planned - a clear indication that either a sack is now inevitable or that the other team has finally trash talked their way under your skin - I am personally going to come and take my get well card I sent you and pop you upside the head with it.

Carson. Baby. Man the fuck up! You are in the N-fucking-FL! When shit doesn't go your way, you need to take a lesson from Kevin Kaesviharn. Yeah, I know you don't want to hear that about right now since Marvin Lewis made a big ass mistake by letting Kevin go. And Kevin went to the New Orleans Saints- which would almost seem like a punishment if they hadn't spanked our ass this past Saturday and, to add insult to injury - Kaesviharn bloodied your nose in a moment that the Enquirer captured so well for the Sunday paper. (Side note: Ever notice how the Enquirer backhandedly trashes the Bengals while pretending to support them? So much for rooting for the home team.)

I know this must have hurt but you should have been gritting your teeth and tasting your own blood like an over-acting WWE Wrestler instead of looking all pitiful. Plenty of time to look sad in the locker room.

I didn't see the game, but I've seen Kaesviharn hit a mo'fo harder than Robert Gaethers giving somebody a concussion and not blink. Carson, you need to cut your emotional losses, man up and quit blinking. That whining, self-defeated posture does not suit a quarterback of your standing.

Chad Johnson - There's been a campfire pissing contest of sorts between Chad and Carson for the past couple of years. The Enquirer ALWAYS blows it out of proportion yet Marvin seems to ride herd on the situation pretty well; Chad and Carson themselves - two grown ass men, both stellar players on any field on any given Sunday and yes, they can have the big head - yet they still seem to take the semi-manufactured controversy with a grain of salt.

But if I could throw like Carson, lead a team like Carson, come back from injury like Carson and just hell, be Carson Palmer, I'd walk the Earth with his confidence as well. However you never once hear *cough*white folks*cough talking about how "arrogant" he is. However more than once you hear that term applied to Chad. But if I could run like Chad, take hits like Chad and just plain perform Superman-like aerial pursuits and literally run myself into a wall all in the name of six points like Chad, and well hell, just be Chad Johnson, I'd walk the Earth with his confidence as well.

A black man with confidence must be labeled arrogant. From Barack Obama to Marvin Lewis, there has never been a black man in history who didn't "stay in his place" as far as the bigots among white folks were concerned that hasn't been called, at best arrogant and at worst, an uppity negro. I really don't see Chad Johnson's behavior as being that much different from Carson Palmer. Both have shot their mouths off at times - but Johnson gets more scrutiny because he's black. Both have had their childish moments where I wanted to put them in time out - but Johnson gets more scrutiny because he's black. And Chad Johnson has the confidence, talent and yes, arrogance to match Carson Palmer. He should. He's in the N-fucking-FL and he brings the noise and puts his heart into every play.

Chad and Carson need to get their heads out of their respective asses, do what's best for the team and work on getting their mojo back. Ignore the irrelevant Enquirer.

My friendly enemy over at the Nati Life and I normally don't agree on anything. He's all McCain, I'm all Barack. Well our parallel lines found a common plane where Chris Henry is concerned. I posted a response to his recent Idiot of the Week post featuring Chris Henry saying:
I still can't believe they're reconsidering Henry. Even if the current charge against Henry is bogus, the one where he pulled a GUN on the cops in Florida was not. If he'd been in Cincinnati, he'd be dead, let alone given another chance at the NFL.

Even this bleeding heart slaps on a band-aid where Chris Henry is concerned. If he puts a single other toe out of line, I will personally lead the march to Paul Brown Stadium to have him escorted out of the city, never to return.
I get more than I really want to - the most recent charge against Chris Henry was proven to be bogus. I also understand that the Bengals get him back by default because, honestly, who the hell else wants him? But how much more embarrassment and "rap sheet" jokes do the Bengals have to endure?

My Ye Old Matey was not exactly forgiving of Henry, but definitely more understanding than I am capable of being at this point. "Henry has said he wanted to keep hanging with his old friends. But when they got in trouble he got into trouble, and they all bailed on him; none one of them had his back, they were just using him. He will grow up from all of this and he'll be ok."

Ye Old Matey's instincts are nearly always right when comes to people and character. Having worked in criminal justice, he is the last person to have any false illusions about people and their ability to change. Let's all just hope he's right where Chris Henry is concerned. Henry's talent on the field is undeniable if he can just keep his personal life under control. He has to wait four games before he can play; I haven't checked the schedule, but I pray it's not a home game. You'll hear crickets the first time Henry takes the field at home. He needs to get on the field before that happens.

I'm a mom though...and for mothers, hope always springs eternal.

Who Dey!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

No Spelling Suggestions

Either...
A) Word doesn’t know how to spell check the proper noun Microsoft
or
B) Word figured if I didn’t know how to spell Microsoft, (especially as it’s spelled out in the top left of the title bar) it sure as hell wasn’t going to tell me.

Either way, I almost fell out of my chair laughing. One too many English Comp papers I suppose. It is end of term.

Update 08/26/08: I got an A in all 3 of my classes! : )

Sunday, August 17, 2008

As Seen On TV


I had to have it. For the low, low price of 19.95, one tiny scoop of this miracle cleaning powder would make my house a new place. From laundry to the siding on my home, everything would be scoured to brilliance and newness with OxiClean. I ran to my husband. You won’t believe it. There’s this stuff, it’s AWESOME! You can wash red socks with white socks and they’re fine, I swear. And this guy created this stuff and now he sells it on an infomercial. I considered myself fairly skeptical due to all the infomercials I’ve watched over the years starting with Ginsu knives and Christmas albums as a child, through the Home Shopping Network craze in the 1980’s and finally winding up with half hour to hour-long infomercials in the 90’s.

It was that precise skepticism that led me to become so enamored of this cleaning product. I valued my own reasoning to the point that I didn’t feel I could be taken in. I was wrong. Although many things in the world of advertising may seem random or coincidental, the reverse is true. Great care is taken with the timing and placement of television commercials and their longer counterpart, the infomercial.

Repetition is the key. Advertisers are patient with their potential customers and wear down viewers with the same commercial or infomercial, again and again. Whereas, initially, I would switch channels immediately – “Oh, that’s just another commercial,” with repetition it became familiar and somewhat benign – Hey, the Oxy clean guy is on again!” Even if advertisers engender a feeling of annoyance, they know that they will eventually wear the consumer down to at least resignation – “Can you believe it? Why do they keep playing this stupid infomercial?” This is the final step before, “Wow, maybe they have point, it sounds interesting,” which leads to not only capitulation but also acceptance and even anticipation at buying a product you have never even tried. “Wow, I need to buy some OxiClean. I’m doing myself and my family a disservice by not buying it.”
Advertisers, as it turns out, are not looking for the people who buy any and everything – although they will gladly accept their money along with everyone else’s – the people they are really looking to hook are those who feel they cannot be convinced. People like me.

When I told my husband about the product and he didn’t share my excitement, I was fervent in upholding the values of a product I had never tried. Still, I wondered for a brief moment if he could be right and I could be wrong. Could I really have been taken in by a commercial? After all, I knew better, right?

My husband explained the concept of the “emoter” in advertising; someone who creates a sense of sincerity and urgency about a product. My husband looked at me calmly and said, “He’s paid to be really excited like that.” I felt a momentary lapse in faith in OxiClean but I’d seen the commercial. With my own two eyes I had witnessed the miracle - a clear bowl full of filthy brown water turned white when just the tiny of scoop of OxiClean was added. And it wasn’t bleach because they pulled out a red sock and a white sock and the colors didn’t bleed. I was enthralled, amazed.
“No, he doesn’t get paid to sell it,” I replied loftily. “He INVENTED it! Like the "2000 Flushes" guy. And it really works! So there.”

It is possible to watch television and depending on your schedule and interests, to never see certain commercials. It has been several years since I have seen a commercial for Fruity Pebbles, a sugary cereal marketed to young children featuring Fred and Barney from the Flintstones cartoon.

This is because I no longer watch Saturday Morning television with my daughter as I did when she was younger. As a teenager, her Saturday mornings are spent sleeping in, rather than as she did from the age of five until she was around 12 or 13, rising early on Saturday to watch her favorite animated shows while eating the same cereals she saw advertised on television. Nothing gave her more pleasure in those days than to actually be eating the same cereal at the same moment the advertisement was shown; the same with toys. Any commercial featuring Barbie dolls or another toy she owned would send her running to her room to grab the toy and wave it at the television.

Owning items that we see in commercials on television gives us a sense of connection to the larger world. Commercials tend to focus on the new; even every day staples such as laundry detergent or a loaf of bread are constantly touted as new and improved. There may even be different levels to buying the same item. Why buy plain old Dawn Dish Liquid when you can have the new Ultra Formula? Why buy plain bread when you can buy the Fortified Home-style Recipe?

Advertisers work hard to find out not only what consumers want to buy but what they want to ‘feel” when they buy a product. And consumers want to feel good about the things they purchase. They want to feel they are getting a good bargain. Many consumers today do not bake bread and may not have lived in an era or household where bread baking was commonplace. Yet and still the image of home baked bread as a symbol of the time, effort and care one puts into feeding one’s family, still remains. Whether through literature or ever persistent ads with wistful portrayals of “the way things used to be” advertisers are very careful to offer up the idea that, yes, their products are effortless to use, but that’s not why they are selling it. No, they’re not out to make a quick buck; they only want to save you time and pass along a helpful idea. Not to mention, the results will be as stellar as if you had done the work yourself. The advertiser also quickly assuages any guilt you may feel about cutting corners; any extra labor or time you have saved will surely be spent on your family, your friends or can be devoted to more important pursuits. Any advertiser will quickly assure you that they have put the same care into their product the consumer would have done if only they had the time.

The first falsehood of many products is that they are advertised as only being available by calling an 800#. Recently, however in many a mall across America there is an actual physical store blatantly named As Seen On TV where anyone can purchase many of the hundreds of items offered “exclusively” for television. Also, the popular drugstore Walgreen’s has an As Seen On TV section of its store and many items that are touted on television as “available only via mail order” appear in Walgreen’s within weeks of the commercials being aired, often at the same price or less as there are no shipping and handling and charges involved, merely sales tax. Despite how many times I saw the infomercial, I never actually purchased OxiClean via mail order. It wasn’t until I saw it for sale in Walgreen’s that I actually made my purchase. There was something about mail order from television, no matter how enthralled I was with the commercial, that didn’t seem safe. However buying from an actual store meant if I didn’t like it, I could reasonably take it back.

I didn’t have a giant glass bowl to swish a red sock and white sock around with. I could have emptied my old aquarium of its dried rocks (the fish had long since died) and gone through the motions, but I wanted to put OxiClean to the test right away. After all, they had shown no hesitation in the commercials in giving OxiClean the dirtiest jobs to clean. I immediately took down an old blouse that I had been saving, heaven only knows why. It had a set-in stain – the kind that once you miss it in the wash and run it through the dryer, the stain is simply not coming out of the cloth.

But this was exactly the type of stain OxiClean claimed to be able to remove. I ran upstairs, got my blouse, excitedly took it to my laundry room where I had stashed the OxiClean importantly on my “Corner Shelf” after turning on my “Tap Light” – two other As Seen On TV items I had purchased in Walgreen’s along with the OxiClean.

The “Corner Shelf”, advertised to be a space saving device so “easily installed in any corner without using a single tool or bracket” and that should have been able to stand the weight of a large vase full of flowers and water. (I’d seen it on the infomercial and the flowers never fell) However it did not stand up to the weight of my 8 oz container of OxiClean. My “Tap Light” burned out after a week and no amount of batteries could get it to work again. Plus, it gave a toy-like squeaked when you tapped it whereas it had worked silently but well in the commercial. I was disappointed that the Star Trek like magic of the "Tap Light" was ruined by the everyday sound of a giant plastic push button hitting its plastic base.

I think we got rather caught up in how the OxiClean worked rather than whether the product worked. It bubbled and fizzed vigorously, seemingly doing all the work for you, which I guess is why I bought it in the first place. Why should I scrub the blouse, or even look for stains to pre-treat before washing, if OxiClean will catch and eliminate them all without any extra work from me?
Yet, I didn’t realize that, following the instructions on the canister, I was actually doing what I would do with any laundry detergent: Making a watered solution of the detergent, using that to pre-treat the stain and then actually washing it. Only I had gone the additional step and expense of buying an entirely different product to do the work that I already could do with my usual laundry detergent.Furthermore, although it did get out the bulk of the stain, it still left a faint outer ring of the stain, which, while improved, still made the blouse look stained and un-wearable. I was disappointed but I was still a bit impressed. It had done a better job than my usual detergent – considering I hadn’t pretreated first only after it got out of the dryer.

Budgets get tight. And when they do, for whatever the reason, you learn to do without certain things. One of the first things to go was OxiClean. As I became a better housekeeper and learned to never let stains set or forget to pretreat or inspect clothes before I washed them, OxiClean was no longer needed. I also didn’t need the idea of OxiClean; the feeling of laundry safety, a world that OxiClean had promised but had never really delivered no matter how many times I purchased it. And in the end, I even switched to a cheaper brand of detergent than I had been using and found that, with a small bit of extra care, it did just as well as my old detergent and without OxiClean.

Remember the man who I thought invented OxiClean? You cannot imagine my shock and my hurt when I saw him promoting other As Seen on TV items. Gullible to the end, I thought, he did such a good job inventing OxiClean and was so sincere about his product, that he was hired to promote other products. Well, I was only half right and my husband completely so. He had never invented OxiClean; he was just really good at selling it and getting other people to want to buy it. He had the face, the voice, the charm, and the sincerity of a neighbor or friend who just wanted to share a good thing with you. Even though it had been several years since I’d bought OxiClean it hurt very much to see the man I’d trusted to help me make decisions about my laundry and household cleanliness touting other must-have As Seen On TV items.

I still haven’t quite forgiven him for that but I know now that it is a mark of how I wasn’t just sold on the product but also the person selling the product. He has gone on to sell various items and I can never view any infomercial he does without, not just a return of my old skepticism, but a feeling of slight distaste and revulsion. It’s like seeing an old friend on the street you’ve stopped speaking to and can’t quite remember why, only that the grudge is still there.

Once we opened the door to As Seen On TV products with OxiClean, six more products found their way into our home. “Nads”, “Corner Shelf”, “Tap Lights", "Home Rotisserie", the "Marvelous Quesadilla Maker" and a "George Foreman Grill". Of these items, bought over a period of years, only one is still in regular use today, the George Foreman Grill. Last month when the Home Rotisserie, long since resigned to a top shelf, fell on my head, I dusted it off with care and put it in a safer place, lower to the ground.

I still may use it someday, as soon as I find a store that sells cooking twine to truss the chickens.

English Comp Grade 50/50

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Cornrows



“Girl, get on in here before your hair gets wet.”

A few brief drops from the bus stop to the house were impossible to avoid and were always forgiven as a matter of course. I was doing the unthinkable: Standing in the mist on purpose. It was a gray, muggy, rainy day – I stopped for a second- enjoying the slight spray on my face. My head mostly sheltered by the porch, I removed my plastic rain scarf and arched my face outward. The mist inched near my hairline before I was brought up short by Chick’s question.

I went straight to Chick so she could check my head. She brushed away the scant drops and pronounced, “It’s all right. But don’t even ask me to go outside today, hear? We’ll hurry up and make lunch and even make some crispies before Bob Barker comes on.” Chick wasn’t one to let the grass grow under her feet. The Price Is Right wasn’t even on yet and we had already been Uptown to the fruit market and back again on the bus. I wasn’t sad about not being able to play outside though. It was raining and only bad little girls who didn’t mind their Mama or Chick or Lydia would play outside and get their hair wet. I was a good little girl most of the time, who knew how to read some already and count to 100. I skipped into the kitchen behind Chick with my mind on bologna sandwiches and Rice Krispie Treats.

When Mama went to work, I went to Chick’s house. She dropped me off in the early morning, when it was almost light but still mostly dark. I was a big girl of four going on five who should have been above such a thing, but I’d want to cry when Mama left. I probably did cry when I was younger, even though I loved Chick and Chick loved me. It just took me a while to get used to being at Chick’s all over again every day. Chick never seemed to mind though. She was always patient enough to wait until the love settled in, patting and stroking my hair or leaving me to myself for a while.

Because Chick loved me. Chick loved me more than sunshine and butter cookies and watching Little House on the Prairie or The Waltons with me snuggled next to her on the couch in her house with only one lamp on, spreading it’s yellow light while it got dark outside; more than the snuff she dipped and the Lysol she doused the house with liberally twice a day and three times on Saturday. On the Seventh day, she rested. I’d have to do a lot more than get my hair wet than make Chick mad at me. Chick with her warm brown skin and big hugs when she handed them out. Chick with her hair kept mostly in a scarf and who wore a wig like my own grandmother but who had nice hair of her own, unlike my grandmother, who cut her’s off when granddaddy made her mad.

Most of the time, Chick was standing right at the door when I got there. Mama would do my hair before we left the house, but we were always in a hurry and I was either too sleepy or too excited to sit still. Mama didn’t bother too much about my hair in the mornings but she couldn’t just leave the house without doing something to it. Anyhow, she knew Chick would put on the finishing touches if not just plain do it over after I finished my oatmeal and toast or bacon and grits. But sometimes when we got there, Chick would still be making beds or praying upstairs and I’d have to deal with Lydia giving me my breakfast instead.

Lydia liked me but it took me a long time to like Lydia even though I admired her because she was almost grown up and her hair was always pretty like Thelma on Good Times. I was scared of Lydia for a long time because Chick bossed Lydia but Lydia bossed me. Sometimes Lydia would play or sing but she had a way of spraying spit through her teeth in an arc and she could aim. I’d run away shrieking and I hated it when she did that, even though I practiced doing it on my own. I could do it by accident sometimes but never on purpose.

Lydia also did grown up things like cleaning or cooking and leaving early in the morning like Mama did. I couldn’t even go to the bathroom without coming out and somebody saying, “Child, look at your hair. Come here,” and then there’d be fifteen minutes of somebody tugging at my naps with a comb and hairbrush. I nearly learned how to tell time before I could read, looking at a clock figuring out how much longer somebody would be doing my hair. No matter what Lydia did, her hair always looked exactly like what Thelma’s did last week. I didn’t really like Lydia until I found out that where she went every day wasn’t Work but someplace called High School. I reasoned that still made her kind of a kid because I’d be going to School when it was Next Year and I was kid and only kids went to School.

I don’t know when it happened but one day, being at Chick’s house was almost as good as being at home with Mama. On really lucky days, Chick would tuck me into the spare twin bed and I’d drowsily, partly wake up to hear Chick telling Mama, “Go on home, May. She sleep anyhow but you ain’t putting that child in that car. Go on now and sleeps it off. I’ll do her hair tomorrow anyhow, and then you won’t have to worry about it. Go on now.”

I could snuggle back down then and sleep until the train whistle blew. Then it would be daylight and we would clean house and I’d get to play awhile before Chick did my hair. After she did my hair, I’d have to sit quiet somewhere and watch TV or read a book. But the bright red tricycle she kept just for me would have to stay locked in the little shed where I loved to go get it with the tiny key. The housework would be done so I couldn’t even play-dust but I knew no one would be stupid enough to dust or work up a sweat after they just go their hair done. Not just a morning brushing but a whole hair-do done right and tight.

I was still learning the days of the week but any lucky day that I woke up at Chick’s house after the train whistle blew, and cartoons were on instead of Bob Barker, was sure to be Saturday. One Saturday, long after the train whistle and bacon and grits and cartoons and play-dusting and two doses of Lysol and riding the tricycle and locking it back up again with the tiny key and Mama still hadn’t come yet, Lydia asked Chick, “Mama, can I try putting Deborah’s hair in cornrows?”

In the time it took me to add Doing Hair to my mental list of Grown Up Things Lydia Does Even though She’s Still Kind of a Kid, Chick came to the door of the kitchen and considered my hair. She had stopped for the usual fifteen minutes and brushed it to shining neatness only that morning between the train whistle and bacon and grits but, sometime between play-dusting and locking up the tricycle, my hair was again all over my head.

“Child, go ahead. Maybe her hair will stay done for awhile.” Chick walked back into the kitchen, shaking her head as if to say she didn’t believe there was any power on earth that could keep my hair done. I didn’t think so either but Lydia was going to try. We trekked to the kitchen sink and I waited while she got out a few towels and the shampoo. By the time she finished washing it, my hair was in a tangled ball like a scouring sponge. So she got out the comb and the brush and the hair grease and we sat down in front of Soul Train. Lydia tugged and pulled while I flinched and squirmed. A few times she’d rap me with the comb hissing, “Sit still,” and I’d whine but after a while Chick would come to the door and I’d shut up until she left, then the battle started all over again.

Lydia won the war. By the time it was over, my hair was in a neat pattern of pretty braids with smooth shiny scalp in between. My hair was braided so tight it hurt if I moved my head too fast but I liked it anyway. I was admiring my head in the mirror and I knew Chick was going to say something about the Bible and vanity in a minute but just then Mama knocked on the door and came right in. I ran to her and hugged her so hard I thought my arms would fall off. I looked up at her, not letting go.

“Do you like my hair Mama, huh? Lydia did it. I never had cornrows before. Why do they call it cornrows if it’s braids, Mama, huh?”

I loved Chick and even Lydia now, but Mama was here. I was happiest when my two worlds collided, and I would miss being at Chick’s; but it was almost time for the last Saturday dose of Lysol and I wanted to go home.

“It’s really pretty, Lydia, thank you. Maybe it will stay done for a while.” And then to me, “They call that style cornrows because it looks like rows of corn with spaces in between. I’ll show you on the way home.” But I was already remembering the fields we always passed on the ride home that I never paid much attention to for looking at the horses and cows.

By the time we got home after passing the horses and cows and Mama had pointed out the real corn rows with the spaces in between, the sky was darkening and an afternoon shower was rolling in. Before it was even time to get out of the car, Mama was looking for a rain scarf, umbrella, something but she only found one rain scarf under the seat of the car.

Mama flicked a look at my hair and then put the scarf over her own pretty curls. “Oh,” she said relieved, “you’ll be just fine.” And she got out of the car, which was my cue to get out of the car too.

I hesitated for only a second but in the next instant I knew the truth. Cornrows were some kind of magic. My hair would not only stay done for a while but I could get my hair wet and Mama wouldn’t care!

I was so happy! All the tugging and pulling had been worth it. Oh, I’d put up the same fight the next time, but I knew on the next lucky day, I’d beg Lydia for the privilege of battle. The feeling of rain on my scalp was incredible. The drops soaking into my hair soothed my little soul and my mother looking on in open approval was rapturously satisfying.

“I’m glad Lydia did your hair,” Mama said, for once taking her time getting into the house, not hustling me inside and trying to shelter me from the rain with her purse only to mostly smack me upside my head with it in her hurry. “We’ll go to the pool tomorrow.” I stared at her in awe. In our apartment complex there was an enormous blue shimmering rectangle with a small fenced in kiddie pool. I’d long ago resigned myself to only looking at the pool longingly, sighing my tiny sigh as we passed. There was no use begging Mama to go, knowing she’d only ask, “And get your hair wet?” I could not believe that Lydia, of all people, had been the key to unlocking that fence for me. I smiled broadly, not believing my luck and Mama returned my smile, running a hand over my smooth braids fondly, but lightly, not willing to muss them, even by her slight touch.

“I’m a Pisces and you’re a Cancer,” I had no idea what she meant but she went on to explain, “We were both born under star signs for water. I’m going to teach you how to swim.”



*****
With many thanks to "The Skeptik One" who sparked the idea for this tale about my life.
Also thank you to Sherri at Every Day Miracle for allowing me to use the beautiful picture.
Score for English Comp: 49/50

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Writing about Writing

LOL. : )

And so I've gone back to school. Yep, that's right. It's been three weeks now and so far, I've done pretty well.

I'm taking English Compostion and I tell you, three years of blogging were good practice for getting homework done in that class. If nothing else, I've learned to come up with an idea and write a fairly lengthy essay in a day or so.

So, since I have to write for English Comp One, I decided, why not post my essays here? Heck I'll even tell you what I get on them and what the professor's comments were. So far so good, but hey, who's to say it will keep going that way.

All that being said, please don't forget about donating to the Re-Education of Deborah fund (email me now, ask me how) and here's my first essay about, of all things, how to go about writing an essay.

The Steps in the Writing Process

Much like the famed five stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance – there are also five steps to the writing process; getting started, organizing, drafting, revising and editing. The process for both grieving and writing appear to have much in common, namely that although one may not experience all of the stages or even go through the steps in the order presented, the final steps of acceptance and editing are assured.

When setting out on the task of writing there is a feeling of eager challenge and a wealth of ideas may race through your mind. Unfortunately when you sit down with pen in hand or hands poised over the keyboard, that wealth and eagerness may suddenly dry up into what is termed “writers block”. The theme you thought solid only moments ago seems pointless. Suddenly no idea seems good enough and denial kicks in.

“I’ll just wait and see if I really want to even do this. I’m sure that I can come up with an excuse that would cause any professor to burst into tears.” The fact remains: Anyone who has the time and imagination to render their professor to tears with excuses has the time and wherewithal to write an essay.

When a writer is at a loss for what to write there are several means of creating ideas. Brainstorming is giving yourself a time limit to write a list of ideas without stopping “no matter how silly or dull or irrelevant they seem.” Freewriting also uses a time limit but instead of just writing down ideas, you are free to follow your thoughts “wherever they lead, paying no attention to completeness or correctness or even sense.” For exploring your own ideas use your journal or start one for future writing.

“I can do this. I will do this. I’ll show that professor!”

Anger sets in as you set about organizing your first draft but anger can be positive if it spurs one to positive action. An idea comes to mind and it seems, if not well developed, good enough to build on. It is important to stop and ask: “What is the overall message you want to convey?”

Once you have established a strong central theme, decide on the best way to tell your story. An essay can be developed in many ways; through narration, by example, using forms of analysis, comparison and contrast, cause and effect or argument and persuasion to get ideas across. No matter which method of development you decide to use, the important thing is to keep writing without regard to the finer details just yet. Revising and editing will come later. “Awkwardness, repetition, wrong words, grammatical errors, spelling mistakes – these and other more superficial concerns can be attended to in a later draft.”

In the stages of grief, bargaining and promising is usually done with a higher power. In writing, drafting is promise made to yourself. If kept, it means focusing more on what you want to say rather than how you want to say it. “You pressure yourself needlessly if you try to produce a well-developed, coherent, interesting and grammatically correct paper all at once.”

The meat of an essay is developed during the drafting phase. Ideas that may have only been one or two words are expounded into sentences and then paragraphs. Your main theme is developed further and details fall into place. Now that there’s a “middle” to your essay, you can now decide how best to introduce your theme and how you would like to conclude your essay.

“…Revision occurs beneath the lines, in the deeper meaning and structure of the essay.” At this point, having done the bulk of your work through getting started, organizing and drafting, you may find that your work still doesn’t read the way you wanted. A paragraph at the end of your draft may work better as your introduction. Possibly, you drifted away from your theme and wound up writing about something else altogether. It may be discouraging to go back and virtually begin again on what may be an entirely new theme.

The challenge may lie in establishing a new tone. “Tone can range from casual to urgent, humorous to serious, sad to elated, pleased to angry, personal to distant.” “Your readers will be interested more in the substance of your writing…indeed an approach that is too familiar or unserious or hostile could put them off.” “A warm and light hearted tone may be just right…and a touch of anger may help to grab the reader’s attention…”

“Editing occurs more between the lines, on the surface of the essay.” Using checklists for revision and editing will draw a fine line between the two and ensure that you don’t forget a crucial step or miss errors. Use a dictionary to make sure you’re using the right word. “The denotation of a word is its dictionary meaning. For instance “reward is different from award and sites is different from cites. Substituting one for the other will confuse readers momentarily, and several such confusions can undermine readers’ patience.”

Ask other writers to read your draft and allow them to point out errors or problems. Read your draft out loud or into a tape recorder. If you are working on a computer, work from a printout rather than on the computer screen. Be critical of your own work and keep a list of changes you still need to make or advice you got from others. Go over your checklists and notes and proof your final draft even if you’ve run it through a spell checker.

I once read the quote, “The secret of becoming a writer is that you have to write.” Writing, it seems, is easy; writing well, however, takes effort to master. Accept that with time, work and following the stages of the writing process you can produce a good written work.


Works Cited
Aaron, Jane E. The Compact Reader. Bedford/St. Martin's, 2003
Chaos Manor Musings. Pournell, Jerry. How to Get My Job. February 2007
Kuhbler Ross, Elisabeth and Kessler, David. On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss. Scribner, 2005
*****
This one got me an 18 out of 20.
Comments from the professor:
You open with a great attention-grabbing device. MLA format doesn't use footnotes. You can read about MLA documentation in section 46a of the handbook.

Friday, July 04, 2008

The Lovers, The Dreamers and Me

The Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies

In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776


The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. —Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain [George III] is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
Read more about the declaration of Independence here.

****************
Amen.

And then they list their grievances against the King of England and they sign it and send it to him which was terribly, terribly brave.

Some people will inevitably claim that the framers of the Declaration of Independence did not have me in mind when they wrote it; that they only meant the ruling rich white guys of the day not the black people they viewed as slaves or women or...well, anyone who wasn't a already a ruling rich white guy.

However, sometimes, people stumble across a truth so definitive that people, even folks who may or may not have been viewed by them as human, let alone sentient people with destinies of their own, can't help but l take you at your word.

The Declaration of Independence is a challenge - to anyone who would dare to dream of freedom; and a caution that to accept that the road of securing liberty, not only for ourselves, but also others may end in bloodshed and that the blood shed may be your own.

However the idea that all men should be able to choose the road for themselves, that it should not be dictated by king, nor country - was a radical idea in it's day and it still is now - for conservatism still dictates that many must be left out of freedom's bounty for the needs of a few.

Whether they envisioned someone like me down the line or not (and being foolishly wise men who realized the world would change beyond their wildest imaginations, I think they did) The Declaration of Indpendence is the stuff that dreams are made of.

For the lovers, the dreamers and me.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Happy Birthday To Me!

The D List - My Three Birthday Wishes

De-Lurk - leave a comment. Tell me about you and what brings you to Deb Lite

Donate - to the Re-Education of Deborah fund through this link. Email Now, Ask Me How (You'll need my student ID to donate.)

Delivery - to my family and friends who may be so inclined, I have had my Amazon wish list for simply ages that has been easily google searchable. Most years I quietly and politely say, "Ah, don't worry, don't get me anything," but hey, get me something already!


*****
Like anyone else who has a website or blog, I was curious about who reads Deb Lite and what people are looking for when they land here. So, I got a stat counter but not because I'm all that chuffed about how many people read the site. I just wanted to know where people come from and what types of searches bring folks here.

As it turns out, I have people reading from a wide variety of places. To my faithful, returning reader from Ireland, I salute you. Also a shout out to my blog pals and readers from New Zealand, Slovenia, Saudi Arabia, Israel, South AFrica, Brazil, France, Canada, and the UK.

These are the top 10 searches that have brought people here this week.

12.93% ethan kilmer
6.80% white on white crime
4.08% what does crank dat mean
2.04% fired from powernet global
2.04% mitch painter
1.36% ufe recovery
1.36% time goes by jenny joseph
1.36% a nigger in the white house
1.36% racism and terrorism

Ethan Kilmer may not have played last season but yes, he's still on the Bengal's roster and he has not been forgotten, as I predicted in the one post I did on him. The hit he made, the touchdowns he scored and the fans he garnered continue to come here wondering when Kilmer will be back on the field. From the Bengals website:
Sidelined early in training camp with reaggravation of knee injury that had been surgically repaired during offseason ... Did not play in preseason ... Carried onto season-opening roster and was on inactive list for Games 1-5 ... Placed Oct. 16 on Reserve/Injured list.
I get a lot of hits about racial issues because, as a black woman, it's impossible not to comment on racial issues from time to time (I know, constantly). However that "nigger in the white house" and other popular searches terms that didn't make the top 10 list are a sobering reminder that the few articles I have done are not on the wrong track at all.

A new search that never appeared until this week was "fired from powernet global". Whoever you are, I hope you found solace here. I feel your pain. Just know that the company sucks and it will as long as Bernie Stevens is at the helm and still listening to that god awful sorry excuse for a phony motivational speaker Ron Archer.

A picture is a worth a thousand words but the picture properties speak volumes. The picture on Archer's page of him with Marvin Lewis also includes Bernies Stevens but Stevens (who considers Archer a personal pal) doesn't get a mention in the name of the picture. LOL! That's what friends are for. At any rate, PNG sucks. I cannot say that enough and probably now, neither can you.

Far too many people want to know what Crank Dat and Superman dat ho mean. Trust me, you really don't want to know. I'm definitely sorry that my 16 year old daughter knows but such is life.

Still, no matter why you came or how you got here, thank each and every one of you for reading Deb Lite!


These are the top 10 blog posts read here (not what I expected at all):

2006/11/who-dey-heck-is-ethan-kilmer.html
2007/03/but-i-had-on-red-dress-and-no-hat.html
2007/12/white-on-white-crime-is-out-of-control.html
2008/06/speechless.html
2008/02/blog-post.html
2006/11/michael-richards-and-n-word_21.html
2006/01/denied.html
2008/03/white-people-wake-fuck-up.html
(This post has been removed but is available upon request by email or through the google cache)
2006/02/why-i-do-not-trust-cincinnati-police.html
2007/05/terrorism-and-racism-hand-in-hand.html

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Soul Searching

Click picture for larger version.

The business I worked for closed their doors June 1, a victim of the foreclosure crisis. They were an environmental inspection firm. Their clients were some really big names - none of whom can now get financing for any of their buying or building projects - the residential foreclosure crisis is still in full sway and it's also hitting the commercial real estate industry almost as hard.

It's funny. We've known about this for a while now. All of us have been looking for other jobs, working together and working around each other for interviews and such, free to come and go as need be, trying to hold up the ship while it sinks until the last person is off. I've found another harbor but I can't say I like it very much. And so I'm taking a suggestion from George Bush and going back to school for "retraining". I'm taking up Multi-media and Web Design (MWeb) at Cincinnati state. I started classes last week.

It's very interesting working full time and going to school on what they call 3/4 time which is really just one credit hour shy of full time. But honestly, one more credit hour might have just tipped me over the brink from extremely busy to complete insanity. I've finished my first few assignments but I see it's going to be a relentless round of work for ten weeks at time, every term.

All that being said, I'm taking donations for the cause. I'd be most appreciative if you'd donate a dollar or two to what I'm calling the Deb-Lite Re-Education Project. I've never solicited donations on the site before but I've never gone back to school before. If you feel so inclined, please do. You will not find me ungrateful. You'll have to drop me a line for my name and student ID# to donate at this link under Guest Deposit.



**************
A few posts ago, I wrote a blog post called White People, Wake the F*ck Up. I wasn't so much angry when I wrote it as exasperated by the non-issue of Rev. Isiah Wright in relation to Barack Obama's campaign to be the Democratic nominee.

I was also tired of what, Obama calls in his book The Audacity of Hope, "the petty slights" that white people inflict from time to time. Tired of grinning in the face of white folks to prove I'm "safe". Tired of getting followed by cops three days in a row on my way to school for over a mile, knowing they're running my plates and helpless to do anything about it in a supposedly "free" society. Tired of biting my tongue to bleeding and refraining from choking the hell out of the lady in the cubicle next to me who, when talking about her daughter's tanning fetish, turns to me and says, "You already have a pretty tan. You don't have to worry about that do you?" as if my skin color is a prerogative. I was tired, tired, tired and it ended up in kind of rant, that I'm not sure I’m completely sorry for, but one I’m definitely embarrassed about.

Obama has since clinched the nomination and what I thought then has truly come to pass. The eye had not seen nor the ear heard the length, width, and breadth of backhanded racism to come from FOX News, Karl Rove, John McCain himself and even the entire state of West Virginia.

The latest being that Karl Rove says Obama is "arrogant" and McCain says "Obama's word cannot be trusted" which, as the nearest black person can tell you is barely politically correct rhetoric for calling Obama a lying uppity negro.

Yet and still, now that I've started school, I encounter white people every day who encounter black people every day. This is very different from the white people I work with every day, some of whom, I'm the only black person they see on a regular basis. First there's not the "shock and awe" factor. White people who aren't expecting to encounter black people go through some of the most interesting and downright amusing facial and body language contortions I've ever seen. I try to be understanding and furthermore, I try not to laugh but it's very hard. Why should it be so much harder to meet me or any other black person?

Secondly, white people who encounter black people every day know that they don't have to censor every little thing they say. Or they've already worked out and have enough practice with "what not to say to black people". They tend to strike just the right note of casual or better yet, truly don't give a damn and just treat you like a fellow human being.

And there are more and more of these people, every day. More and more white people are waking up. Many that have been awake and are truly making an effort.

So I take issue with myself for saying that "I just don't see white folks working that hard to get along with blacks. I don't see white folks doing more than paying lip service and counting how many of their best friends are black."

It's simply not true and I was wrong. And for this I apologize. Because although there's still a lot of bigotry and racism left to conquer - I still can't get over the fact that I was ashamed to give my blog card to a very nice young woman who shared her book with me in class and asked for my phone number to be study buddies. When people ask for my number, I usually just scribble it on the back of a blog card, thus giving out my information all at once and possibly gaining another reader.

But I didn't want her to see what I'd written and so, I wrote it out on a piece of notebook paper instead. The implications of that were unmistakable, so I'm changing it.

For the first time in three years of blogging, I'm taking a blog post down. I'm acknowledging it here and Google cache will keep it for longer than I'll ever want to remember. I'm going to go the additional penance of emailing the post to anyone who requests it. There is some truth there even if it is tinged with emotionalism and bigotry of my own.

No excuses, just an apology and and acknowledgment that I'm still learning, still growing, very human and prone to mistakes.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Deb's Bookshelf: In This House of Brede


From the cover
This extraordinarily sensitive and insightful portrait of religious life centers on Phillipa Talbot, a highly successful professional woman who leaves her life among the London elite to join a cloistered Benedicting community.

Excerpt
The Second vow was the famous Benedictine "conversion of manners". . . it was an entirely different way of thinking from the world's," and it turns your ideas topsy-turvy," said Hillary: self-effacement instead of self- aggrandizement; listening instead of talking; not having instead of having; voluntary poverty.

**********
On Ash Wednesday afternoon each nun had to give in her poverty bill, an exact amount of everything she had in her cell, and, if she had one, in her workroom. "We don't want to collect things," Dame Clare explained to her novitiate. No nun, from the least to the most important, escaped.

"Everyone should have the same," was the hothead cry of some. "If you pause to think, you could not say that," she Mother Prioress in mildness. "Dame Agnes, for instance, may need twenty books; Dame Perpetua needs one, as she would tell you herself, or perhaps none."

*********
"They are good dear girls," Dame Ursula often said of the novitiate - it did not matter which novitiate - "If only they wouldn't be so ardent. They want to sleep on planks, go barefoot, which isn't necessary, but they won't use up a reel of thread, or make a pencil last, or darn or patch, which is necessary," and "What is the use,"she said to Philippa, "of taking a vow of poverty if you look to the house to provide you lavishly with everything you need?" Phillipa had to smile at the thought of Brede being lavish. "And our poverty," Dame Ursula taught, doesn't simply mean doing without - a great many poor people are niggardly hoarders; it means being willing to empty yourself, be denuded, giving and giving up.

**********
There was always this emphasis on giving - being fit to give. "A monastery or convent is not a refuge for misfits or a dumping ground for the unintelligent," Abbess Hester had often said, "nor for a rebound from from an unhappy love affair - though a broken heart can often find healing in one of the active orders, it will not do for us - nor are we for the timid wanting security nor the ambitious wanting a career," and "Anyone who comes here with the idea of getting something is bound to fail," Dame Ursula warned all her postulants.

"But every human motive is, in some sense to get, to find," Phillipa would have argued, "if only satisfaction." Yet the paradox remained: Only by giving completely was there any hope of finding.
*****
Not a year goes by that I don't eventually decide, "I must visit Brede Abbey." I drop all my usual pursuits and spend all my spare time for days reading Rumer Godden's, In This House of Brede.

I originally read this book in it's Reader's Digest Condensed Version and I liked it so much, I eventually purchased the full version. Mostly the Condensed version gets it right (there was a movie as well which does not). The fact that they were able to convey the essence of the story in abridged form is almost a miracle. However the unabridged version is richer and provides a wealth of detail that is awesome in scope and yet impressive in it's brevity.

Good books always have a moment where you can point out a feeling of empathy with any given character and say, "That's me. I've done that, felt that," and you have a shared moment with the character that brings them alive for you.

However the best books challenge and change you and this book has definitely done this for me. It's new every time I read it because I'm at a different point in my life every time I read it. But the sense peace and "time outside time" have been unchanged each and every time.

This book helped me to finally find the courage to eliminate some of the clutter in my life, physical and mental. It is fine fictional depiction of a journey into discovering Christianity but it can also be read as the journey of finding peace with one's own life and the timeless story of finding your destiny in the most unlikely places.

Definitely a life changer and not to be missed. I'm glad just to be able to share it with you.

Rumer Godden: In This House of Brede

Monday, April 28, 2008

Wearing Black for Sean Bell



For Timothy Thomas and Roger Owensby and the other 13 who made the news only for the white media to prove their infamy not out of any sense of wrongdoing on the part of the police.

For the happy fat man who danced at White Castle. As a fat woman, I took this kind of personally, especially since I know I'm regarded as more "aggressive" because of my race and size. Not even a part of the number cited as "15 Black Men killed" yet he is gone.

And also for the the Naked Man. Again, not a part of the 15, but just as dead at the hands of Cincinnati Police.

And Amadou Diallo, truly an innocent man if there ever was one and yet the cops who shot him were found "not guilty".

And for all the black families in any ghetto, any suburb, any city USA where the lives of black men are cheapened and lost because even the most violent of white criminals will be assured that they will be brought in alive whereas a black man merely celebrating his upcoming wedding with his friends will be accused of having a gun and being shot to death whether it's true or not.

In solidarity with my people, I wear black today. Ye Olde Matey and I both got text messages from friends last night. Are you watching Rev. Wright on CNN? Don't forget to wear black for Sean Bell tomorrow. And so I am.

On another note...After the riots and the resulting police slow down and then the so called "Collaborative Agreement", it dawned on me that in order for "equality" to prevail in police treatment of citizens, the police would not have to terrorize black people less, but simply mistreat, brutalize and kill more white people for their behavior to be seen as standard operating procedure, not abnormal.

Lately I hear more and more stories from my white friends about small slights and ill treatment during routine stops by police. If you google "black man shot by police" you get millions of returns but simply google "man shot by police" (the media does not use quantifiers for white people unless absolutely necessary) and you will find a ton of entries that having nothing to do with black people

I fear for my white friends and neighbors. Whether you realize it or not, we're all in the same boat and it's sinking friends. It's sinking and we can only buoy it up again together.