Tuesday, August 28, 2007

And it all started at dinnertime. . .

This weekend, my children returned from visiting "down home," so I took the opportunity to restock my freezer. Soon the season of chicken noodle soup, stew and various pot pies will be upon us. I ordered my groceries via Peapod, because I was feeling like a lazy bum. As I shopped, I noticed chicken breasts were $1.79/lb. Who could pass up such a steal? I presumed the chicken simply needed to be frozen (Side note: I almost typed "freezed" and it took an embarrassing amount of time to figure that was not right) as soon as it arrived. What I discovered was much worse.

America, one single chicken breast should NEVER be bigger than the person about to eat it. I'm telling you - my chicken breast was four feet high. Maybe I'm exaggerating a little, but just a little. I cut it in HALF, and my kids said, "Mama...this is just too much chicken." Do you comprehend the gravity of two black children saying that chicken in ANY variety is "too much?"

It's really a damned conspiracy. Read here to get some perspective on what I'm saying. No coincidence that the poorest state in the nation is also the fattest. There's the main reason is lean meats, fresh fruits and veggies can be cost prohibitive. I've said it a million times: there is no reason a chicken leg should be one price and the chicken breast should be another. I will not sacrifice this argument until you point me to the Peruvian All Breasted chicken. No legs, no thighs; nothing but titties popping out all over the place on the chicken. Also, try explaining why 20 oz. of fresh pineapple slices is $4.99 and 20 oz. of canned is $1.79. Anybody seen a canned pineapple tree? If you think that simply going the lean meat, fresh produce route is expensive, think about the cost disparity when you go organic.

Then, when these healthier choices ARE in the price range of poor people, they are completely FUBAR. Plums with more bugs crawling inside of it than actual plum flesh, bananas that look like active participants in a Mexican hat dance-off and chicken breasts so injected with growth hormones that they ARE AS BIG AS A MAN! (It's also no coincidence that even when the children are not morbidly obese, they look like grown men and women. You should not have 38-24-36 proportions when you are ten years old.) So they're screwed even when they do what they are thinking is the right thing.

But, as Chris Rock said, "The money ain't in the cure, the money is the medicine." Diabetes, heart disease, cancer - these are all medical cash cows people!!! It also provides fodder for those with the "us vs. them" mentality. "Look at how they eat!"

If you're not rich, this country will do it's damnedest to keep you poor. You buy a car and go to work to pay for it, but you have to get another job to pay for gas and parking. You have kids, and you work to provide for them, but you have to get ANOTHER to afford child care unless you plan to entrust your kids to the "raper man." You pay for medical & hospitalization insurance that you may spend five years not really needing; but the moment you require a treatment that falls an inch outside of their stringent guidelines, you're sick and SOL.

So what's a scratchin' and survivin' single mother to do? Go home, eat the genetically mutated chicken (because though I'm not "poor," I damned sure don't have money to waste chicken) and pray that I don't have to buy a bra for my six year old next week.

Monday, August 27, 2007


Have you ever had a day, where so much was swirling around your head, it almost made you puke?

Plus, I think I really fucked up something important in my life.

I've had better days.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Lovely Lauryn

This morning, I received a picture of Lauryn Hill taken at a concert in Brooklyn, NY. It was a very unflattering comparison between Ms. Hill and Homey the Clown. Unfortunately, there was no denying the comparison.

This afternoon, I posed a question to STO. "Am I the only black person that finds Lauryn Hill's sanctimony just a little irritating?" I was then asked to elaborate because, well, it's Steve, and you can't pose a question like that without it requiring some elaboration. But since I'm me, I am very good about conveying genuine emotion, be it love, hate, or irritation. What I am not so good at, is giving the details as to why. At least, not all the time. It is easy to explain why I hate liver, or why I love my friends. To explain an irritation with someone you love is a much more daunting task.

On more than one occasion, I've found myself in the midst of the debate on whether or not she is a musical genius, or if that was an invalid theory because she only has one solo album to her credit. So last night, I sat down and listened, really listened, to "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill." Not only did every cut resonate me, but some made me misty. Twice, I closed my eyes and was transported to "then." To accomplish that is genius.

But this new Lauryn, I don't dig at all. And it has nothing to do with her wacked out clothes, or her "different" music, or any of the other things people pick at like scabs. It's her. Lauryn was always beautiful to me. What made her such wasn't the way she wore her hair, or her ability to spit some of the illest verses ever uttered (period - I will not use the "by a female qualifier"). It was the light she had in her eyes because she was doing and saying something that came from her heart. You got the feeling that she was sharing an experience with you.

Not so with new Lauryn. Now, you get the sense that she's not sure we will understand or be interested in her experience, so she placates us with what she thinks we want. Unfortunately, we want her creativity. I would rather she shaved her head, played the cowbell and celebrated it than furnish us with the musical equivalent of a pity screw.

The going opinion is that she alienates her fans, but I believe that's only a by-product of her being alienated from herself. She is still at odds with where she's going and where she's been. She doesn't seem to realize that she is timeless; an entity altogether classic and and ceaselessly relevant.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

I'm just a soul whose intentions are mediocre

I haven't blogged here in a LONG time. As a matter of fact, I haven't done much blogging anywhere. I just came out of hibernation last Sunday I think. And that one wasn't even here. I think it was on MySpace...or maybe 360. I think all seven of my readers have those addresses, so I won't bother adding the link. I'm actually a little lazy today.

Here's what's not lazy. I've completed the first chapter of my book. It's a short chapter, but still, I finished it. Now I'm well into the second chapter, which will be longer. It feels so good to have things flowing, I just don't know what to do. That's also part of the reason I don't blog as much. It can quickly become a monster that stops me from doing my own writing. Basically, every time I miss my honey and start obsessing over it, I pull out my notebook and start writing. Though I do a lot of work on the computer, there's something organic about pulling out a huge notebook and a pencil and just getting down to it. That method better serves to isolate me from distractions.

My kids come home in another week. I've missed them so. I had a lot of time to just decompress and kick back. It's a beautiful thing.

Gonna pour myself a glass of wine and hit the hay.


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Mmmm Mmm Bitch!

In a world full of pretense and demands, happiness can be elusive. For some, it is virtually intangible, causing one to question the very meaning of life. However, I'm a simple brawd, and happiness can be summed up very simply - ramen.

Who knew that you could wrap paradise in cellophane and charge twenty cents? It's cheap, it's comforting, and if you can get beyond the fact that the flavor pack is tantamount to a .zip file for sodium, it's the best damn thing on the planet. Like, if someone were to ask me, "Hey, what do you want to do? Have sex, or eat ramen?" I'd choose sex, but I'd probably ask what flavor ramen first.

My Pell Grant and Stafford Loan people feel me. The college experience isn't complete unless you've pulled an all-nighter with nothing more than your trusty ramen to provide nourishment and comfort. When I say you have to go to the Vietnamese store to get the "real noodles" (and a hot pickle), my New Orleans people DEFINITELY feel me. (For in New Orleans, the word "ramen" is rarely, if ever used. "Noodles" is completely sufficient.) I'm willing to wager that if a steaming hot bowl of Oriental flavored ramen were placed in the middle of the Saudi dessert, they could coax bin Laden out of hiding. Just a theory.

Personally, I get artistic with my ramen. You'd be surprised how some green onions, red peppers and a scrambled egg can jazz it up. Don't even talk about if you throw in a little broccoli. Talk about a MEAL!

So here's to you ramen, for bringing us so much joy, for so little, for such a long time.