Saturday, December 29, 2007

Rap Beef Nigga!

Okay, so I'm admittedly flip at the mouth. Though I typically think before I say things, there are times where I intentionally use strong words and can be a bit abrasive. But that usually takes place when the topic itself is abrasive and controversial. I do not mince words.

I found myself in a exchange regarding the housing situation in New Orleans. I'm sure that many of you have been aware of the controversy related to the projects and low income housing in New Orleans. They're tearing down "da bricks" to make room for "mixed income housing." Now on the surface, it sounds good. Unfortunately, there is not one monumental task in the city of New Orleans that has been seen to fruition without a load of bullshit. Don't believe I have a cause for concern? How's that levee thing going? The BIGGEST issue in New Orleans history, and the city is still not hurricane ready, almost two-and-a-half years later. So pardon me if I don't believe that poor people will not get the shaft here.

Now, there are an abundance of people that chide project dwellers for "always wanting a handout" and "not wanting to work" and blah blah blah. When you point out the fallacy of their almost robotic regurgitation of "I got mine" rhetoric, offense is automatically taken. And honestly, that's cool. I have the right to my opinion, and everyone else has the right to be offended by my opinion. But at the end of the day, I still hold on to my opinion.

My big question, which has never been answered to any degree of satisfaction is this: who is willing to pay their janitors $30K a year? Who is willing to pay pharmacy technicians $15 an hour? How about hotel maintenance staff? The very backbone of what keeps the New Orleans tourism industry running pays crap. These are all taxing jobs. Yet, many these folks can barely make rent without public assistance, living in the projects, etc.

I remember being newly separated, with a four month old daughter and a two month old son. I worked at Hibernia National Bank FULL TIME, and after four promotions, I made $1300 a month. My rent was $500, my child care was $650 at the time. When all was said and done, I had $150 to pay for groceries, electricity, a telephone, bus fare, doctor's appointments, medicine, you name it. I remember locking myself in my room crying, because my son dropped the last roll of toilet paper in the toilet, and I didn't have enough money to get another roll AND buy the milk that we needed. Me, a woman who worked every day. A woman who kept working hard to get to the next level like she was told to, only to realize that next level came with a salary instead of overtime pay. At the end of the year, I was thanked with a $12 gift certificate to Sav-A-Center to go towards my family's holiday dinner. What made this particularly fucked up was that my landlord gave me a $25.00 gift certificate.

The end result for me, was being homeless. No, not under the bridge homeless, or in my car homeless, but homeless nonetheless. Make no mistake, when you are above the age of majority, and you "live" in a place where your name isn't on anything involved in keeping that place running, and for that matter, you don't even know if someone's bad mood require your moving, your ass is homeless. I lived in a hotel for four months. Me, a woman who worked every day.

Now, eventually, I got another job. But you'd better believe that I was replaced with SOMEONE -- someone who was probably making less than I (since, keep in mind, I attained my beloved salary after a host of promotions and five years on the job). And I had a "good" job. Hmph.

So, until someone answers me with any satisfaction, I will have major beef with this housing demolition. It's not about being pro-black. It's about a moral obligation to people who are doing the best that they can. Are there people sitting on their asses in these places? Yes. However, if we had fewer city EMPLOYEES getting paid to sit on their asses and do nothing, maybe system abuses could be better monitored. Or maybe if NOPD wasn't so damned corrupt, the criminals wouldn't be running the bricks with abandon.

But I guess that's too much like the right damned thing to do.

I could go on, but really, people are going to say what they're going to say and feel what they're going to feel. This just so happens to be my spot, so I'm doing it here.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Happy Belated Festivus!

I grew up not celebrating Christmas. So of course, when I got older, one of the first things I decided to do was to celebrate Christmas...and ultimately felt a little silly. I'm sure if I grew up with a firm tradition, it would be easy-peazy. However, I did not, so going through the motions of something that I don't quite believe in rang a little hollow with me. Plus, I could not bring myself to teach my kids that Santa Claus exists, only to shatter that belief years down the line, forever branding myself as the parent that lies to kids because that's what they want to hear. I'm saying all that to say, Christmas really isn't my thing.

That being said, something about a passing year makes me long for my friends and family. It's hard for me to fathom that an entire year has passed and the memories that I have made with my friends and loved ones are so few and far between. This is the first time I've ever felt truly lonely during the holiday season. I called my sister the other day and she said she was playing Scrabble. I got incredibly sad at the thought of not being able to call a friend, or shit, even a casual acquaintance to do something as simple as play a game of Scrabble.

I'm never one to believe that I'm the only one going through rough times. I'm sure that I've got friends out there who are down as well, so, if you're feeling a little down or lonely or what have you during this holiday season, I hope this song picks you up like it picked me up.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Hey guys, it's your favorite cynic returning from a brief hiatus. It's not that I haven't had anything to say, it's not that I haven't had time, and it's definitely not that I don't love you. My computer desk at home collapsed (yes, collapsed, this is not an exaggeration) and since I have yet to replace it, I have to sit on the floor to use the computer. This makes my butt fall asleep, which hurts people. So, the blog has been lacking.

But fear not, I have some December jewels or you. It's winter, so you want something warm and fuzzy don't you? Well, fortunately for you, I'm a good mama, so I'm going to give you what you NEED: a heaping helping of my caustic mental gumbo. Please note the plethora of tags/labels here.

It would seem that prisons should make "The Shawshank Redemption" required viewing for their employees. Jose Espinoza, recently plead guilty to aggravated manslaughter, and Otis Blunt, was being held on robbery and weapons charges. Blunt dug a hole into Espinoza's cell. Espinoza dug a hole to the outside. I'm sorry; did I mention they were in the "most secure area of the facility?" The most secure area of the facility had one cinderblock separating an admitted killer from the great outdoors. Like Shawshank, they concealed their progress by covering the holes with bikini clad women. It was funny to watch the New Jersey prosecutor poo-poo the similarities. And by similarity, I mean that they did the exact same shit that was done in the movie. . .except it was more difficult for dude to get out in the movie. Two armed and dangerous criminals, who were kind enough to leave a thank you note to the prison, are now running loose in suburban New Jersey. AWESOME!

Meanwhile, in Iowa, John Edwards was involved in an exchange between an older white guy who essentially has no interest in Obama and the rest of his watermelon eating cronies leaving chicken bones on the White House Lawn. And uh, somehow, the O.J. verdict came up? Something about O.J. and Obama being payback for black mistreatment by white society. First of all, black people ain't fuck with O.J. like that since before "Naked Gun." I will have to defer (once again) to another quote from one of my favorite movies to wrap up my feelings on this.
Copperhead: You have every right to want to get even.
The Bride: No. No. To get even? Even-Steven? I would have to kill you, go up to Nikki's room, kill her, then wait for your husband to come home, and kill him. That would be even, Verntia. That'd be about square.
So don't think for one second payback, if such a thing were desired, would come so easily.

Pamela Anderson Lee Rock Salomon. She was married to Tommy Lee once. Then they separated, and reconciled and divorced. Wash, rinse, repeat with Kid Rock. So she married Rick Salomon in October, filed for divorce this past week, and they are now trying to work it out. Five dollars says what happens next. This proves only one thing: douchebags are unafraid of exposing themselves to sexually transmitted hepatitis. Then again, Kid Rock kind of reminds me of a cross between Pigpen and a petri dish. Who knows what he's had!

This past weekend, I watched the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Show of hands: who can watch these movies and escape the desire to smite someone's ruins upon a mountainside? Anyone? Anyone at all? That's what the hell I thought. Them shits are the BOMB!!!

As a pre-Christmas gift, I'm saving the best for last. I was caught in, what can best be defined as a nigga moment. I unapologetically offended someone. I firmly believe that every action has a reaction. I also believe that when a person feels you have wronged them, you can't control how they feel and/or respond. Unfortunately, that's not my fucking problem. Maybe I should elaborate.

I was involved in a conversation with two other coworkers, when the topic of hustlin' and slangin' somehow came up. I made the statement that such behavior is ignorant. I did know that one of those parties used to hustle. I did know that he would get a gleam in his eye at the mere mention of the name Rayful Edmond. I did not know that he was going to spontaneously menstruate at my desk. My firm conviction led me to be called "naive," "a slave to the man," "judgmental," "think you're better than people," and ultimately, my problem was diagnosed as "thinking I know every fucking thing." I'm hating on the hustlers for "grabbing the bull by the horns." In addition, since I work in the litigation department, what I do is no better than hustling, because "crime is crime, just because it's white collar crime doesn't make it any different."

Good argument. Crime is crime. And I'll be the first to say that ain't no thug like a corporate thug. I'll second that with saying that this justice system is deplorable. You know and I know that the right people lobbied for THEIR drugs, and they lobbied harder (i.e. paid off more people) to get their shit pushed and make their competitors shit illegal. I'll concede every bit of that.

Unfortunately for his argument, my job is not illegal. Unfortunately for his argument, my job is not the reason people look over their shoulders at the ATM. Unfortunately for his argument, my job is not the crutch that the middle and upper middle class "haves" use to justify why low income "have-nots" in New Orleans should be denied their homes. My job doesn't create chain snatchers, and orphans. My job does not lead people to the legal institutionalized slavery that is the United States Justice system.

Naive? No sir. I learned the rules to this game a LONG time ago. I think son was just pissed that this sheltered East Shore kid schooled his hustling ass to the game. But as Money Mike said, "You can lead a ho to water, but you can't make [him] think."

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Today's Mental Oasis

Dust of Snow

    The way a crow
    Shook down on me
    The dust of snow
    From a hemlock tree
    Has given my heart
    A change of mood
    And saved some part
    Of a day I had rued.

    - Robert Frost

Today, we're getting our first snow of the season. I am visualizing myself in this very moment, at home in my cushy chair; covered by warm blanket fresh out of the dryer; a mug full of hot egg nog healthily dosed with some of the most delicious dominican rum on earth. I've just dozed off with a book in my hand because Coltrane's "Stardust" is softly playing in the background. As the song ends, I become alert. I then put on my thickest cable-knit sweater, jeans, boots, coat, scarf and gloves and venture outside.

Once downstairs, I dust off the bench below my bedroom window and just sit there for a couple of minutes. I watch the powdery snow cover the table in front of me, and I write my name in it; the way I used to when I was 15. I'd curve the final "e" all the way up and over, then draw a smiley face inside of it. Undoubtedly silly, but I wrote my name that way for a solid year. I deliberately came outside without a hat, because I love when snow gets in my hair (plus my hats no longer fit). I try to see how many good things in my life I can list before the snow that touches my lips melts.

Sitting there I realize, even when things are bad, they're not that bad.

And since I couldn't sit on that bench in the snow physically, I think this is the next best thing.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Stop in the name of love!

Fewer things irritate me more than dating based reality TV shows. Watching a group of misguided, love starved souls vie for the attention of another misguided, love starved soul of the desired sex is not my idea of good television. Though I pride myself as the person who doesn't stop and stare at accidents, occasionally, my curiosity gets the better of me and I play looky-loo.

Flavor of Love 1 & 2: The powers-that-be don't think civilization has sunk far enough into the abyss, so we will soon be cursed with a third installment of this travesty. A group of women vie for the affections of Flavor Flav. Did you just vomit in your mouth? Yeah. Me too. Basically, women kick, scream, claw and otherwise degrade their way to the position as Flav's chosen one. He proceeds to rename the women as it suits him; you know, like in slavery. At the end of it all, she's presented with a grill. My heart is all aflutter.

I Love New York 1 & 2: When tallying the sins committed by Flav's show, few are as unforgivable as the unleashing of Tiffany "New York" Pollard upon humanity. After being twice dumped by Flav, her own reality show was launched. She fills her house with a bunch of suspect dudes. At the end of the first season, the "finalists" (because she's the "prize?") were this beefy dude named named Mango or something like that, and another dude who essentially needed subtitles in real life. Currently, it is in the midst of it's second installment, and a bigger group of pussies I've never seen. There's this dude that looks like he lives with his mama, a swole Puerto Rican with a press-n-curl, and a general assortment of douche bags. Now, I must say, there is one dude named Buddha that caused my eyes to linger for a moment...Until I realized "This nigga wears smedium tank tops and evidently pursues women who are obviously no stranger to the free clinic." Next.

Rock of Love: Bret Michaels of the hair band Poison headlines this show. Basically, imagine Flavor of Love, but white trashy. I could elaborate, but I believe Joe McHale of "The Soup" said it best: "It's like a Tupperware party...but with chlamydia." To my dismay, this too shall repeat.

A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila: This one kind of confuses me. I know who Flavor Flav is. I know who Bret Michaels is. I even know who New York is. But, Tila Tequila? No fucking clue. So I'll tell you what I do know. This bisexual midget brings slew of men and women into her house (I love that they refer to it as their houses, I'm sure it's the network's joint). Though uncertain of her gender preference, she just knows that she wants to be fucking - something. I swear that every time my television passes this channel, I feel the need to pop an antibiotic just to be safe. Since there are so many individuals there, she dismisses them two at a time. Soon we shall find who has the greater appreciation for skanks: emotionally damaged lesbians, or douchebag heterosexual males.

And this, my people, is entertainment. It's strangely ironic that my feelings can be summed up best by Public Enemy: "Burn, Hollywood, burn!"