30 December 2007
We saw the movie at Frontenac Plaza -- for those of you who don't know, Frontenac is the Beverly Hills of St.L. I counted about 5 sets of black people there -- two of them were working there. Even the cars in the parking lot were flashy, though I did see several newer Toyotas. We saw one Buick that just seemed out of place. We figured it must have been the help.
The mall is really quite nice. If I was a shopper, I would go there to do my shopping. Who can't like a mall where they serve Toblerone chocolate at the movie concession stand along with wine and a full bar. Full bar. I don't like seeing movies at theatres, but have seen a couple there and enjoy the experience.
After thoroughly enjoying the movie we were leaving back through the mall. In the parking lot I got to feel that feeling that only comes when you experience a near death experience. We were pulling out of our parking spot, which was right at the entry to the parking garage. A dark colored BMW started pulling into the garage at a relatively slow pace, then seemed to accelerate when he realized that we were people with melanin and in a lowly 2006 Corolla. He did not slow down. He was coming at us (really kid sis's numbers 2 and 3 since they were on that side of the vehicle but it was still frightening for me regardless). I looked into the man's eyes and felt like I was looking into the eyes of a man who knew that he had enough money to pay for all of our funerals after he accomplished his goal; a man who knew that his good insurance would pay for all the damages to his car and to his person; a man who, even if his insurance and the doctor's he would fly in to perform his reconstructive surgeries were not successful, knew that his AARP membership would help him to obtain one of those special scooters to get around on (at no cost to him) so that even if he could no longer drive a car, he could still terrorize people of color and young people by revving his scooter fast toward them as they are forced off the sidewalk or against the nearest wall.
When people do crazy things close to the new year my grandparents say "They don't have enough money to see the new year!" This man knows that I'm not super well off and don't do super crazy stuff on my own, so he wanted to go ahead and take me out before the new year.
It almost ruined my afternoon, until I remembered some lines from the movie and thought of some Moldy Peaches songs, and was once again laughing out loud.
My heartbeat slowed, my pits dried, and it was, once again, just another sunny Sunday afternoon.
29 December 2007
This is a message that is not so hidden.
The delivery is a bit harsh, but the message is very true.
Keep up with the news people. Look beyond the basic news sources. Get informed. Get angry. Then get out and vote when the time comes.
His other videos are also a bit interesting, too.
And can someone please explain to me why Schnucks (grocery store) is asking people to donate money so that people don't have to choose between eating and having heat when they could easily just donate a gang of food themselves. Help me understand.
27 December 2007
I had an experience last night which made me understand again how some gifts truly keep on giving. I was sitting talking with Leo and noticed that I had a piece of glitter on the skin between my big toe and the second toe. Glitter. Who thought of this product? It must have been a person with a serious vendetta against all the people they contacted and all they people those people would come in contact with.
The mentoring group I am involved with at school had us give our mentees a card with a message on it to share with the youth what we see in them. (Only the positive things) On the card was the "mascot" of the group covered in glitter. Covered in glitter. So much glitter that when the lady first offered it to me and told me I would have to write a message on it, I really wanted to tell her that I was resigning from the organization. I cannot stand glitter.
Once you come in contact with glitter, it never really goes away. I've never had it, but I hear when people get lice they have to wash really well -- their bodies, their combs, their sheets, their pillows, basically everything they come in contact with. Glitter is the same way, only worse. I delicately touched only the tip of the card, made sure no glitter stayed on the tip of my pen, handed the card off to someone even more cautiously. I came home that day and cut off more of my hair. Washed it very thoroughly. I have since washed the clothes I had on that day twice.
Despite all the precautions, almost two weeks later I come across a piece of said glitter on my toe. I have not received anything else (nor would I have accepted anything else) with glitter on it, so it is all from the contact with a gift that was supposed to stick with the youth and help them see themselves in a positive light. Unfortunately, it was me who had to have the experience of seeing the light from the TV and lamp glisten on the almost microscopic piece of metallic product on my foot.
Honestly, it made me want to celebrate Boxing Day with the creator of glitter. Or at least with whoever at school decided to decorate the cards in such a way.
Merry Christmas! Happy Festivus!! Happy Just-A-Chance-To-Spend-Time-With-Family-For-A-Few-Days!!
Happy Belated Boxing Day!
06 December 2007
I have this incredible fear of being shitted on by a bird. And an even larger fear of being shitted on by a large group of birds. It makes walking out of a building to the car, or to the store, or to the trash receptacle, or to where ever outside quite unbearable. I always have to look to the sky and think if this is the moment that shit will fall onto my shoulder, or into my newly perfect-vision-seeing eyes, or worse -- into my mouth. I have to be vigilant about making sure the large V's that fly by are not taking aim at my orange skull cap or my neatly cut head. That the birds are not going to try and practice the targeting that they have honed all spring while flying individually in the neighborhood parks over the baseball players and couples making out on benches.
This year, I have been noticeably calm. I have not felt any serious anxiety. The reason -- there have been no migrating birds. It is December and I have not seen any birds going South to the beautiful lands of Central and South America. I haven't had to dart my eyes to try and peep out the bird who has sneaked away from its crew to do the solo mission one of its friends in the V formation has dared him/her to accomplish with the reward of some fresh worms upon arrival to their vacation home.
This morning kid sis #2 called me at 7:03 to tell me that she had seen a large group of black birds migrating Southward. Finally.
But what took them so long?
I hate to bring it to this, but maybe it's a colour thing. Maybe they are starting to be on CBT (Coloured Bird Time). Seriously. I'm not kidding. It is December and there are still birds in the mid-west. Maybe they are adopting the culture of a lot of the brown humans they see who are taking over their landscapes in all the lands of the world. And maybe the other lighter birds are adopting the darker birds' cultural ways and deciding to be late for stuff, too. Think of it as similar to the way hip hop has crossed the color barrier with humans.
What other excuse is there for their tardiness to head to some of the most beautiful places in the world? Maybe they were still trying to feed on some of the fried chicken bones laying outside of Popeyes. I don't know.
Let me know if you catch some birds practicing CBT.
And if you see me ducking and looking nervous, it is not because I am running from the po-po or a local gang that I upset by wearing the wrong colors, it is the birds.
Those damn birds.
03 December 2007
Comment from the boy sitting next to him:
"Got a little acne?! Somebody hit puberty. I like that."
I never knew others could find it to be a good thing to see breakouts on your face.
30 November 2007
Some quick facts:
In the USA
* As many as one-third of those infected with HIV do not know they are HIV positive.
* At least one-half of all new HIV infections are estimated to be among those under the age of 25.
* Although African Americans and Latinos represent 12 percent and 14 percent of the U.S. population respectively, in 2002, they accounted for 50 percent and 20 percent of newly reported AIDS cases.
* Women are estimated to account for 30 percent of new HIV infections.
* African American women account for 64 percent of new HIV infections among women and Latinas account for 18 percent.
Throughout the world
* The global HIV/AIDS pandemic has claimed over 20 million lives.
* Every 7 seconds someone contracts HIV.
* Forty million people are estimated to be living with HIV/AIDS worldwide.
* Every 11 seconds someone dies from HIV.
* AIDS is now the fourth leading cause of death worldwide and the number one cause of death in Africa.
* Women make up a growing percentage of adults living with HIV/AIDS around the world, rising from 41percent in 1997 to 50 percent in 2002.
* Young people ages 15-24 account for 42 percent of new HIV infections and represent almost a third of the global total of people living with HIV/AIDS.
It really makes me fearful for all the students I teach when I (over) hear stories of their weekends, or see one guy get with a girl (or vise versa) right after the girl was with a different guy the week before. I also worry about all the people out there who are just not thinking smart when it comes to getting tested or who are doing things for a few moments of pleasure rather than thinking about themselves or the partner/needle etc. they are with at the time.
Rates of infection in the African American community and in various communities in nations in Africa.
Some sites to check out:
* World Vision - Building a better world for children
* World AIDS Campaign - Stop AIDS. Keep the promise.
* US Department of Health and Human Services - HIV Awareness Days: Educate, motivate, and mobilize against HIV/AIDS
* AIDS.gov - Serves as an information gateway to drive traffic to Federal domestic HIV/AIDS information and resources.
* National HIV Testing Resources - Find an HIV testing site near you
* World AIDS Day - HIV: Let's Get Talking
* UNAIDS - Uniting the world against AIDS
* AIDS.org - Information. Education. Action.
* World AIDS Day -Yahoo site. Allows you to go over nations and see how many in each have HIV
Thank goodness for weekends.
27 November 2007
But his message is good.
"We exorcise the cash registers, we drive the demon monoculture out of that cash register, sister Amy. You've got a billionaire at the top of that company and impoverished, as Charlie would tell you, impoverished coffee families at the bottom. We just ask that some of those dollars start blowing in the other direction. Amen."
He basically wants people to stop buying so much without thinking about their purchases. Especially at holiday time. I should have put this message out before Black Friday, but there is still time. His message is not just a message of stop buying, but also of buying local and supporting businesses that are being run out by places like Wal-Mart, Walgreens, and Target. Read the excerpt in the transcript of the interview from the men's clothing shop in Traer, Iowa. Sad. And avoidable if only Wal-Marts and malls would stop popping up all over the place.
What ever did happen to driving around your city to shop in a store rather than the one-stop shopping of the department stores and the Super Wal-marts? Morgan Spurlock put it this way: "I think there’s no better time than right now to start asking ourselves, where do our products come from? Why am I buying this? Is there a better way to shop and live? I am in full agreement with a lot of people who say there are some people that need to shop there, that make a choice because they have to, based on their income. Most of us choose to shop at places like this out of convenience more than anything else. I think we have to take that step back from rushing in to make a purchase somewhere just because it is cheap and easy and quick, and saying what does this purchase really mean? Who is affected? How is it affecting my life, my community, the world at large? Who made this product? We don’t do that enough." People just do not care any more. It is all about the quick fix. Finding the product fastest, getting the best deal, being able to get back down to your couch to watch the latest reality show on tv, or even being able to watch your favorite sports program while you shop from the comfort of your fatty recliner.
The site has some links to shops that support a cause, are fair trade, and are not connected to sweat shops like the crosses some churches are selling that are made in sweatshops in China. But hey, I guess it's all about the profit and the message, rather than the processes involved in the making of the symbols, right?
Rev. Billy goes around to different malls and Starbucks to try and share his message of the Shopocalypseto the masses. He even went to Disneyland on Christmas Day. As he and his choir belted out songs of the Shopocalypse the security followed him urging him to leave. This line they gave is classic -- "This is not like the United States on public land where you are free to … sing." Granted, I understand that most places you go to are technically private property -- such as the mall, and many stores you go into, but come on now. Why you kicking Rev. Billy and the Stop Shopping Gospel Choir out of Disneyland? The land of fun. You can see the people Main Street rocking it out with the choir. Main Street -- which Rev. Billy points out is more happening that most Main Streets you see in American cities, due in part to the expansion of so many fast-shopping stores.
Lots to not really have to think about. Just shop smarter. Or do like me and shop less. I don't do gifts except for the secret Santa I do with the siblings and soon to be sibling-in-law.
And if you do buy, you should also shop smart for the environment.
05 November 2007
Yesterday I heard someone on the television say that someone had "scared the bejesus out of" someone else. Of course I have heard the phrase, have even used it mockingly. But I have never really looked into the origins of the phrase.
Most dictionaries have the basic definition of bejesus being that it is an exclamatory term. All fine, but I wanted more.
I ended up coming onto this website. Which is hilarious. Absolutely had me laughing aloud with its explanations of bejesus and how to gain and lose bejesus. It is a bit long, but it flies by as you laugh and read and share with whoever is around you.
15 October 2007
And why did Kelli tell me today that a grown-ass, college educated woman, a teacher at that, has no idea of what apartheid was. No idea who Nelson Mandela is. What is really going on with the whitening of American education? This is why I teach African Studies. This is why I have discussions with students about historical topics unrelated to the material in the curriculum. This is why I talk about issues with friends. This is why I am going to have the children who swim out of my womb reading books at a young age and listening to NPR as I drive them to school or to their little kiddie practices after we go to the library and check them out their weekly, non-school related reading books.
To take my mind off some school mess and my fluid-filled elbow (this is what I get for deciding to work out after four years off) I decided to watch a little video. You can watch, too. Enjoy. Makes me smile, and giggle.
11 October 2007
There was the “popular jock” crew who now instead of their letterman jackets all have their wives with the massive diamond encrusted rings. Everyone in the crew. Kind of like they all had to get a ring just as shiny and sparkly as their buddy. I guess you gotta keep up with the Jones even if it means you are deep in debt. This is also the crew who regularly dines at Bush’s Grove. A place where Brishen said the cheapest drink is around 7 or 8 bucks.
There was still the crowd that didn’t really socialize with more people than their cluster.
Some things were pleasantly refreshing. Like chatting with Don who is now really chill. And absolutely hilarious. Stories I could not imagine coming out of his mouth, obsessions I never would have dreamed, jokes that literally made me spill drinks. And it has to be funny for that, cause I’m not one to part with the liquor easily.
Also chatting with Roo and wife and Brian and wife. Both of them are still cool. More open with me, or easy to talk to, than before. I always thought Roo was a bit standoffish after I started to wrestle. Both of them have really awesome wives, too. I actually think I talked with them more than their men.
I went back to the school and looked at the old sports picks. Really funny seeing me all skinny in the wrestling unis. And thinking I was all hard and fast on the track picks.
Reuniting with Brishen and Anna was cool. Haven’t really talked with them since school, but, with Brishen especially, it was like no time had passed. We were still cool. There were few people at the reunion that I had conversations with beyond “What have you been up to? Where are you now?” etc. I know it sounds cheesy, but the conversations that were real, were really real. And the people were all people that I was cool with before, but haven’t spoken with in fo-ev-ah.
Homecoming number two.
I don’t know why it is that Homecoming at the school I teach at typically has to have some scene that gets stuck in my head. Last year it was the big girl (BIG) running into the splits.
This year it was a girl who in the middle of her routine moved forward in front of everyone, putting her hands on the ground and raised her legs into the spotting hands of two girls. She then proceeded to booty pop on a handstand.
In case you don't know what this is, she gyrated like crazy while on her head. Very stripperesque. Looked like it actually took a lot of practice on walls or poles or whatever to learn to do that while balancing upside down.
Of course, the guys went crazy. My jaw dropped. They immediately cut off the music and ended their routine with that presentation.
I also decided to partake in a teacher v. student tug of war contest. Shouldn't have done that. Not only did we lose easily despite having seemingly fit faculty members on our team (hard to compete against a team with people who honestly outweighed our team by about 300 pounds, at least). I also got a rope burn on my obliques. And had my hands hurt for awhile.
All in all, two very memorable homecomings.
20 September 2007
I am digging most of the rest of the kiddos, though.
Life is hectic.
Keep up with the news. There is a lot going on that people do not realize and that my head hurts too much for me to get into.
Headaches blow. This one is reminiscent of the ones I had a couple years back when I thought I was literally dying and had to get an MRI.
02 September 2007
This girl wrote that her mom "thought of beautiful things like the exotic animals and the Saaphyri."
That is how she spelled safari.
I can only blame it on Flava of Love and Charm School -- Vh1 tv shows.
27 August 2007
The full name is Pursyphane Ewuzznme Darling Jones. WHAT!?! Yes. That is the name.
School so far has been cool. Best start in all my six years of new school years. Students have matured a bit. And there have been no fights with soup cans in socks.
Wedding over the weekend reminded me of how I dread the actual event. Marriage is awesome, I'm sure. The ceremony and the party and all it takes to get all that stuff ready is a headache. Congrats to the brother for getting engaged to his lady. Wishing them many stress less days until the day finally comes next summer.
Oh, yeah. Good news, I think. Gonzalez resigned. But is that really such a good thing? We all know that G-Dubb is just going to put someone else in there who is likely worse than Roberto. Only hope is that there is only a year and some months left of it all. January 20, 2008. Can we all wait, though? Can we all continue to suffer the consequences of all the people who voted for him? Those are the questions.
Some hope: Thursday I talked with Kate after trying to do it for two years. She said her parents voted for this man, but are understanding their mistake. They have seen the light.
Hopefully others will open their eyes and see the same things they are seeing. Though with all the conservative, fundamentalists out there, I am sure many of them will not take the big blinders off their eyes to see reality. They will continue to vote for issues that are really not that important to the successful running of this nation. They will continue to focus on those issues and the stability of their incomes. Regardless of the fact that their taxes (or lack of them) are what is causing bridges to fall and schools to fail and babies to die. Why are they all about saving unborn children, but not the living ones who a small amount of tax money would help their lower income parents take care of their living children?
Whole different issues. Discussed a whole 'nother time.
21 August 2007
Only problem is that at least two times today a large thought popped into my head -- that I still had 180-something more days to go. I really should not be thinking that so early in the year.
But so far, so good. One day down.
19 August 2007
Two of my sisters are in medical school. They constantly have stories to tell or new info to share that they have learned. The younger one is doing some rotations in clinics and hospitals in Rolla, MO right now. She was pretty stoked the other day when she saw her first black patient at her current clinic. Little did she know that not only did the woman have issues with being beaten by her man, but also issues with the baby she was carrying. Nothing seemed to be wrong with the baby, just the mother's mental state with regard to naming the being in her stomach.
She told Peggy that her friends had been telling her not to name the baby what she wanted to name it. But she really liked the name and thought it was super unique. That should have been a warning to Kid Sis #2 already. The lady kept talking about how she thought the name would be great and that on first look, no one would even know how to say it. That was her reasoning for picking the most bizarre middle name for her baby girl.
I'm sure you are wondering what the name was. Prepare yourself.
Seems kind of strange, yes. Just say it phonetically. It is a variation of the phrase "It wasn't me."
What is wrong with people? The baby will have two middle names. First name is some Greek goddess (I believe Persephone), then it is Ewuznme Darling, then the last name which is a pretty common last name.
It's not even just an American thing. There was a couple in China want to name their child @.
Help me understand.
The other day I saw a man in the store wearing a backpack. At first I was a little perturbed, no one really wears backpacks in the store. Then I looked a little bit closer and saw that there was a bird inside. The backpack was a bird cage. Do people really love their birds that much that they need to create a carrying case to bring them into the public with them? I'm sure the birds would get really excited seeing the outdoors, but in a way that they would want to be set free, not caged, teased with the trees, then brought into a store with crap they can't peck at or shit on.
As if that backpack were not strange or unusual enough, there is a company now who is creating bullet-proof backpacks targeted toward suburban America. I guess I would be afraid for my children, too, in a society where the gun laws are increasingly becoming lenient. Here in MO you are now allowed to shoot and kill anyone who steps onto any part of your premises with out your permission. And there has been the conceal and carry for some time now. The bags are supposed to be bullet- and knife-proof.
This is the world in which we live.
18 August 2007
Racism is not our fault. It is something that has been around since just about the beginning of time. There tends to always be a dominant group that discriminates and uses its status to keep those who do not look like themselves down.
However, in some ways there are things people of color can do to make some changes.
First, realize that it is not your fault. Even the actions that follow are not your fault. They all stem from the racism and white privilege that has been perpetuated for the longest time. Our actions are just a byproduct of these two things.
Although it is not our fault, there are steps we can take to change things within ourselves.
First is to recognize that most of us suffer from internalized racism. This is the process where people of color believe and act on the negative messages we receive about ourselves and our group. We also transfer racism in such was as insults, criticisms, slurs, violence – the list goes on. How many times have you heard a person of color tell another person of color that they are too dark, or too light, or that their lips are too big, or that their hair is too nappy? How many times do you turn on the news and hear of black on black crime? I heard one person say that they commit the crimes on people of color, who look like them, because they want them to suffer the way he suffers; that he wants to take out his frustrations on the people who look like him. Crazy.
When people are hurt from the effects of racism, they often decide to transfer or re-enact that hurt onto some one else.
There are other things we people of color do that are examples of internalized racism. When we see someone on TV speak on certain issues and they make some type of mistake or say something that is against the mainstream, we say that they are misrepresenting our people in a negative way. Yet, when someone asks us individual to speak for our people and answer a question in a way that represents every person of color’s view on _____________, we get offended.
We talk about peoples’ appearances. People who do not straighten their hair are seen as nappy, instead of naturally beautiful. People who have natural hair typically are only seen as beautiful if they have natural hair that is the texture of Tracee Ellis Ross (Joan of TVs Girlfriends). Skin color is always an issue – sometimes people are really into the lighter skin tones, sometimes the darker skin tones. But historically, the darker your skin the more teasing, and harsh treatment you will face.
What we all need to do is first hold our arms out. Look at your skin. It is beautiful. Recognize the beauty that makes people of colors skin. The variety. The tones. Amazing. Beautiful. Then do the same with your facial features and hair textures and tones.
Next we need to address the comments people make about each other. If you have not been witness first hand, then you have probably seen the show Yo Mamma on MTV. This is playing the dozens. This comes from slave times when after the long journey over to this side of the world some enslaved people would inevitably have ailments – missing eyes, cut off limbs, scars, mental issues. When they were to be sold these folks would be grouped into twelve and sold that way as one. The other enslaved people who were not malformed and were sold individual started picking on these dozens, and we see where we have come from there.
Playing the dozens, joning, cutting someone up, shit talking – what ever you call it, it is the same. People find something about the person and make fun of it. Typically what they make fun of deals with their features or their mother’s features. You should really sit and think back to the jokes you remember. If you don’t remember the punch line, how did the jokes start, that is the important part. What was it talking about? The ones I remember most deal with someone being
a. too black
b. too yellow
c. too ghetto
d. too white-acting
e. too black-acting
f. too ugly
g. too fat
h. too skinny
What is the point? It is all to demean someone and make them feel terrible about themselves. And what are they making them feel bad about? Just the things that the dominant society has targeted people of color for since the beginning. We have internalized their beliefs and turned it all into jokes.
But for many it is not a joke. The comments are real. Some families chastise members of their family when that person has skin that is either too light or too dark. They tell their children not to stay in the sun too long for fear of getting too dark. They tell them they need more sun so they are not too white. They tell them that they must have been smoking or else their lips would not be darker in color. They tell them that they have to put chemicals in their hair for it to be acceptable. They tell them they must cut out their locs so their hair can be acceptable. They must talk a certain way and act a certain way in order to not be seen as trying to be accepted by or fit in with the dominant culture.
It is not our fault. All these things are a result of what that dominant culture has done to us since the beginning.
However, it is our duty to try and love each other. To understand the hurt. To accept each other. To not redirect our hurt onto others who are already suffering.
Once we truly love ourselves and can heal ourselves, it will be easier to attack the monsters of white supremacy and white privilege. That is a whole different thing in itself. Something that the dominant culture must come to understand they experience and benefit from. That, too, for some, takes time. They need to recognize and see the resulting pitfalls many people of color face due to their privilege, and the concerns people of color face every day that the dominant culture has no idea about or ever has to consider. Once we are all aware of ourselves then we can truly change our society.
We must love and understand each other and ourselves.
14 August 2007
Last week I spent two days with a bunch of faculty and administration. Totally amazing. Totally eye opening in so many ways. I'll go into detail on some of the things later. And will write an opinions and editorial piece on it for Clean and Articulate later this week. I'll let you know when it is up. I'll just say it dealt with racism, white privilege and people of colour's internalized racism.
Of course there were people at the workshop that I still do not like even hearing their voice or seeing across them across the room, but I am an adult and can handle all that shit. Shining points were all the awesome people I had a chance to talk with about various issues and life. The new counselor rocks. Do people still say that? Not sure, but she does. So does Gretchen, who I've known, but never really talked with in depth before.
Today is the first official school function. Luckily it is only for a few hours. So I can kind of ween my way back to being in the school and not having some sort of panic attack at the thought of having to be there for nine months and having to deal with some of the people for almost 8 hours a day.
My schedule pretty much is awesome. Just have to hope that the new crop of kids has matured a little bit so I don't have to be a hard ass for much longer than a couple of weeks. But with them, at least with track and Study Hall last year, I kind of enjoy being a hard ass to them. And I think they react well to that. What does that say about their upbringing that they respond better to harshness than to kindness? Hmmm....
Today is going to be a busy day. Hope to get this old furniture moved out, new furniture moved in. Get a hair cut. Trade in my school computer. Meet the new teachers. Buy a desk or a table or something. Talk to Cassandra, who I have neglected for about a week. Make sure Leo returns from Memphis safely (not that I have any control over that, but it will be on my mind until he returns late tonight).
But first, I will shower.
03 August 2007
I really enjoy teaching. One thing I do not like is that I really cannot tell if I am making a difference with the students. Occasionally I have a teacher moment and can tell that something I said in or out of class has really clicked and might change the way a student lives, but that is kind of rare.
Despite the fact that I am the only teacher in the family, all my siblings are constantly working with kids and making their lives better.
Big ups to Big Bro who is making things happen with the chil-run. He got a new job that is really something that will hopefully make the world these children exist in a better place. And they do it across the country, too. Even have some schools they are connected to here in St. Louis.
18 July 2007
Last night I saw this show on The Discovery Channel -- Build it Bigger. The episode I saw was about the military and refurbishing the tanks they have. The host went to Anniston Army Depot and was able to see the massive amount of tanks the military sends there. There were thousands of old tanks. It was like looking at a junk yard -- only these tanks had not too much damage to them. Some of them just needed a few new parts. They showed the military men cleaning the tanks and putting new engines into them. That was the part that was amazing. All of the tanks that they showed were in line to be fixed and shipped back to the military fighting site. Redoing them costs upward of a million dollars. For one tank. Making the originals can cost around 5 million dollars per tank.
And people wonder why this war is still going on? If it stops who is going to make the billions of dollars the war has to offer? If it stops all the private companies making money will go broke. Our tax dollars will have no where to go. On NPR this afternoon there was a brief story about how the Congress is trying to set a date for pulling hundreds of thousands of US soldiers out of Iraq. The story was immediately followed by another story about the Balad air force base in Iraq and its necessity in the war. The base houses over 25,000 troops. I don't think people realize how large these numbers are. That is the population of many colleges in this country. Camp Anaconda is located near Balad. It has 28,000 troops and 8,000 civilian contractors. There are hundreds of trailers housing the people, a dentist, ultra nice medical facilities, two swimming pools, a huge movie theatre, a fitness gym, golf course, Subway, Popeye's, Burger King, Pizza Hut, five nice dining halls run by the contractors and more.
I'm not saying the soldiers don't deserve these nice amenities while they are in "Mortaritaville" (known as that since it receives about two attacks a day). Most of the guys joined up to get paid, nothing wrong with that. Most of the did not realize that they would be over there for this long fighting a war that seems to have no end in sight.
All I'm saying is that the war has a price. The facilities over there are funded by many contractors that are all about making money. The facilities here are funded by the government and the contractors, both trying to make money. The factories and military bases in St. Louis, Mississippi, Michigan and all over this country are making money producing military equipment, housing equipment, etc that all helps the workers in the factories pay their bills. They all have thousands of employees. If the war ends, can you imagine the unemployment this nation would face?
There is no way it is going to end any time soon. I wish all the troops the best of luck. I hope they return in tact -- mentally and physically. Hopefully they return soon, but if the government has any say about it I don't think it will be over soon. Congress people say they want it to end and for the troops to return, but I believe it is all lip service. They have so many lobbyists in their back pocket that when vote time comes, they will likely not vote for these men and women to return to the lives they had, and can have here in this country.
29 June 2007
This first thing I wrote is just from on here. Sometimes it will be like that, and sometimes I will write something specifically for that site.
I really can't even think of words to explain how fucked up it is that this type of shit is still going on in this nation today. I guess one happy note is that people are taking action against the people who did this stuff.
Last night I was pretty excited about this Nigerian moving up politically in Ireland, but this really put a damper on that excitement. This is happening in this nation. And it is happening now, not in the 1860s, or the 1950s, or any time in the past. Now!!
Everyone in jail is innocent. At least that is what all the inmates say. But all this stuff with the Duke lacrosse players and the prosecutor, Mike Nifong, is ridiculous. I truly understand that money can buy you anything. And that if you have it, you can get what you want, even if what you want is to punish someone for doing their job. They did not go to jail. They were found innocent. Even this is mind boggling. Something happened that night. The fact that these guys called in a black stripper for their entertainment and then did something in the bathroom with her is really shady. The fact that there were fingernails found ripped off her hands, that they had some person's DNA under them is even more crazy. Something happened that night. Someone did something to that girl. Perhaps it was not the guys that were on trial. Perhaps they did not completely rape her. But people's nails do not just come off when you are shaking your junk for some guys. And when people hand dollars into your G-string, someone's DNA does not get under those nails that are falling off and flying into the bathroom. I don't know if we will ever know exactly what happened, but something happened.
On top of all this accusatory stuff with the actual case is the disbarment of the prosecutor. If I was a defense lawyer in North Carolina, I would have every case I had ever tried back in front of a judge accusing the prosecutor of wrongdoing. I understand that he is believed to have conducted himself poorly -- accusing the guys of raping the girl, and lying about evidence against the defendants. What other people do not seem to get is that, as the song goes, this type of shit happens everyday. I think it would I would be remiss not to bring up all the brown people and people of limited financial resources in prison who are accused of crimes they did not commit. Who are then convicted of said crimes. And are, many years later, found to be innocent of said crimes due to evidence that comes up. Many of the people are convicted because the prosecutors bring forth "evidence" and witnesses that show that the person is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. But if they are later proven to be innocent with DNA, or with other witnesses, wasn't all the evidence inaccurate? When are these prosecutors going to be disbarred? When are they going to be charged with bringing forth inaccurate evidence on these innocent people? Likely the answer is never. These people do not have money for these court cases. They are not what society sees as good looking, ivy-league gentlemen whose lives have been ruined just by being accused of a crime. They are not on TV crying about how they will be remembered on their tombstone as the guy accused of raping a woman. Instead they are the forgotten. They are the people that many in society are happy to see off the streets, even if they have not committed a crime. After all, they might commit one in the future.
Just a short segment on this next topic. Why has CNN turned into paparazzi of the famous. I turned to the channel the other day and instead of discussing actual news of the world, they were talking about this celebrity being let out of jail. Larry King even did an extensive interview with her. I do not get it. I guess there is nothing going on in the rest of the world. The Russians are not contemplating nuclear weaponry, one out of three children in Zambia are not dying of malaria, there was not just a Benz car bomb in the UK this morning, the Australians are not banning the aboriginal people from drinking alcohol and looking at porn. And what is with that? Did they not mess with the native Australians enough when they were taking children out of their homes and forcing them to live with white people so they could assimilate into a more European society? Now they are going to ban alcohol and porn in an effort to help the society ease its sex abuse. How about they treat them like people? Like people who were their long before Britain decided use the island as a place to send English prisoners? (Yeah, that was the original purpose of the island, later it was used as a port for ships on their way elsewhere.) How about the European men don't go into indigenous areas and rape the young aboriginal girls? That might help the society, but what do I know? These are just a few things in the news besides some blonde bimbo being let out of what they are calling jail. A sentence she served mainly because she is dumb and does not think the law applies to her.
Not only are people obsessed with celebrities, they are also not so bright. The iPhone is coming out today, or tomorrow, I'm not sure. People are camping out for them. There are even sites set up to help you ease the pain of camping out. Complete with lists of good places to eat and places to use the restroom. This is crazy. What is even more crazy than them camping out is that they are camping for what is, at least in this country, the most technologically advanced tool we have had at our disposal. Yet, these fools don't seem to want to use technology to their advantage, rather, they want to sit like idiots and wait for something. There is an easier way. Instead of risking the store being out of the gadget, while the crazies shove in line to get to the front they could go to one of the handy computers in the Apple store and order one off the computer. With expedited delivery, they could have it by Monday. And instead of camping out in the rain, you could sit at on your couch, or even get out of the house and have a life and get it in the mail soon. If they really want more than one iPhone, they could do the camping out deal, but they would only have to start when the stores start selling them. They could use a plan like my brother concocted and wait outside the door and as people walk out trying to learn how use theirs, fingers tapping the screen, gank them for theirs, they'll have no idea what happened. Or since people are being warned against theft of the phones after purchasing them, you could use the ultimate jack move and steal from the people stealing from the original buyers. And you could do it to a few people, get a few phones and even sell some for higher than market value. (This is all just a vision for him, he has more sense than to actually do this, and more sense than to sit in line like this freak in the rain. He will order the phone on the computer.) Or they could really just wait a bit, because I guarantee that Apple with come out with a better version of the iPhone in just a few months, that completely outshines this first version.
Last night Tavis Smiley moderated a forum with the Democratic presidential candidates at Howard University. I did not get to see it since I couldn't figure out when it was on and what channel. I kept looking at PBS, but must have missed it when I went to say happy b-day to my sister or something. I've read some comments from the discussion and am kind of excited about some of what they spoke about. They finally talked about issues that mean something to people. They did talk about the war in Iraq, but instead focused on what really matters right now (no offense to soldiers and families of soldiers). Darfur, AIDS among blacks (the #1 killer among black women aged 24-35!!!), racial disparities in the criminal justice system, poverty, and the right of Katrina victims to return to their homes in the Gulf. I still do not have a candidate I am full out supporting -- they all seem to be spouting only what people want to hear with no real solid plan of how to get it all accomplished. But more power to them for finally acting like they care about people.
Maybe there is hope for this nation.
21 June 2007
I succumbed junior year. Contacts were the greatest thing ever. Except that I would always wear them past the time the doctor recommended and they would start to irritate my eyes.
I have tried to estimate the amount of money I have used on glasses, contacts, contact solution, glasses cleaner, eye doctor appointments, and shit in what seems like a million years. The number is astronomical. Seems more like the US budget deficit or something.
But that is over.
Do you all remember the Little Mermaid movie? There is a scene in there, not really sure what is happening, I just remember the music. Very peaceful, mermaid singing "Aaaa-aaa-aaaaa. Aaaa-aaa-aaa-aaaa-aaaaaa". That is my theme song when I have woken up the past three days. Why?
I can see. I can see. I can see!
I had a version of Lasik on Monday. I had to get the PRk one since my corneas are thin and my prescription was so bad. It has a little bit longer recovery time, but I can still see way better. And it will only get better as the days go on.
Many people who wear glasses and contacts worry about the cost of the surgery. Honestly, that should be the thing that convinces you to do it. The cost of the surgery is less than you have probably shelled out your entire life for eye correction stuff. And this time it is a one time payment that will have you able to see the leg hairs on your leg as you shave in the shower,
Wonderful. Only thing now is that I am still really sensitive to light, which is making typing this kind of hard.
I would love to write more about the surgery, more about this NC guy who they disbarred, more about a lot of current issues, but it is starting to hurt. Instead, i will make some pancakes.
I will write more when I am recovered a little bit more.
12 June 2007
I don't really find it hard to believe that this is still such a big deal in our society, but I find it disappointing. Why is it that most people typically look a little longer at couples who are different colours. I know that people are very prudish and that most people in this country are very conservative and stuck in their ways. But, it is 2007. It is really the most corny thing to say, but, the world is getting flatter and browner. Pretty soon, it will be hard to find a pure white person. Even now, most that you see in this country trace some of their genetics to Native Americans, if not some other brown people of the world.
I guess a main reason is that people are still super segregated when they are growing up. There are entire neighborhoods that are homogeneous. I lived in one that was completely white. I am pretty sure that within at least a square mile (on the Ladue side) there were only seven brown people living there. NOTE: There were five kids and two parents in my family.
There are people, some of whom I work with, who intentionally (some not really realizing what they are doing, though) move to areas further and further from the city. White flight. Granted, there are many who stick around, many who thrive on the diversity of the city and all it includes, I work with some of these, too. But these people represent the minority when it comes to our society. Most of the people who want to go back to the city are people going into real estate. And they are trying to build high-rise condos, or lofts that help the city in a few different ways. 1. They are draws to some who fled previously to come back to the city. 2. They tear down the old dilapidated homes and rental communities that the minorities once lived in. 3. They are too expensive for these former home owners/renters to move into. 4. Since the new residences are too expensive for the majority of the minorities who used to inhabit these areas of the city, they must move elsewhere. (Where? Doesn't really matter, as long as they are out of sight of the new residents.) 5. With these people out of sight and out of mind, even more wealthier people can move in to the area without having to set their eyes ever on people out of their economic status. Most of the time they will not see people our of their colour, unless they are people different from them physically, but on the same page mentally and economically. (No offense to these, I often fit into this category since I am not a threat to white people due to my ability to code switch.) They live amongst the good brown people -- the doctors, engineers, moneymakers -- not the bad brown people -- house workers, convenience store workers, janitors, the bus riders, the lower income makers.
I sound negative. Don't get me wrong, I would love to live in a loft. I like the way they look. I also like that there is money going into the city system because of architectural achievements like these. If only more of it could be going to the public schools of the city. There might be some sort of loophole keeping the funds from going there, I don't know.
All I know is that most people are not around people different from those who look and act like them. Minorities are the same way, too. Most people don't encounter different people until they reach college (and we all know the cost of that is rising, meaning more people are not having even that, sometimes, diverse experience). Though even at the university level, it is rare to see people around other people who are different from them.
I always remember back to junior high school in the cafeteria. My table got extra Ram Awards for being the most diverse table -- a biracial (black/white) girl, an Ethiopian-Iranian, a red headed Jew, a Filipino-German, a blonde headed white girl, a black girl with unrelaxed hair, a little bitty Jewish girl, and me (Nigerian). Even the teacher (I think Mr. Keller) realized how rare it was to see something like this.
I was pleasantly surprised to see a commercial (I believe for cotton) a few months ago where there was an interracial couple in the ad. There was a man of Asian decent and a woman who was African American. Pretty sad that it was so shocking, new, and different. But what can I really expect.
Maybe one day we will see all sorts of people hanging out on the corner and rich white people won't walk by thinking it must be a drug deal. Maybe one day we will see all sorts of mixed couples and not think that the man is trying to move himself up socially, or that the woman gave up on black men, or that the woman is trying to be "black". Maybe one day we will all accept people. Maybe one day we will all find it strange for a person to only be friends with people who look like them. Maybe one day it won't be a joke for someone to say, "But, my best friend is black."
Maybe one day.
11 June 2007
It keeps coming up anyhow
Don't decoy, avoid, or make void the topic
Cuz that ain't gonna stop it...
Let's tell it how it is, and how it could be
How it was, and of course how it should be
Those who think it's dirty have a choice
Pick up the needle, press pause, or turn the radio off..."
~ Salt n Pepa
Really, though. It is amazing how it is 2007 and people are afraid to talk about sex, afraid to change rules on sex, afraid to do things outside the box, so to speak.
Genarlow Wilson was in the news again today. When he was a senior (17) he received oral sex from a sophomore (15). They were at a hotel party. The boys were drinking, the girl admitted that she did not drink that night. Everyone, including the girl and the prosecution agreed that the girl had initiated the act. She had consented, but the Georgia age of consent was 16, so her admission meant nothing. Wilson was charged with aggravated child molestation. The jury convicted him. Many jurors were shocked to find out that the sentence would be 10 years. But it was too late for them to do anything about it.
There are outdated laws all across this country like the one that changed this man's -- at the time this boy's -- life. The law said that it was a misdemeanor for teenagers less than three years apart to have sex. And a felony for the same teenagers to have oral sex. What? Doesn't really make sense, huh?
But there are more crazy laws. In North Carolina a law says that "While having sex, you must stay in the missionary position and have the shades pulled." Another law says that "Oral sex is a crime against nature" punishable as a felony with up to 10-12 months in prison.
The state legislature in Georgia changed the law to a misdemeanor instead of a felony, but that did not help Genarlow Wilson since the law was not retroactive. His life was ruined. He was a good student (3.2 GPA), never in trouble with the law, football star with a lot of college prospects. As of right now, there is still the possibility that he may not be let out of prison, since some higher ups in Georgia are still trying to appeal the judges decision to release him. Wilson is going to likely be put on the sex offender registry. Which would mean he couldn't even return to his family since he has an eight year old sister, and would be forbidden contact with his own sister.
Now, I guess we just sit and wait for the decision to be made in this state. And we all continue to violate outdated laws in our states simply by lifting our legs while having sex, or having the girl be on top. Crazy. This is our nation. These our our states' rules.
They still exist.
I went in the place, and could not find the two for the life of me. The owner asked who I was looking for and I said just some friends I haven't seen in a long time. But I kept going through the different parts, only to see nothing. Though, I did see someone who looked like someone I went to high school with. Not sure at first if it was him. Turned out it was. Talked with him and his creepy-gaze friend for a bit later that night. (Oh, KBO -- it was the guy from The Pageant... the rapper with the big ear and shit. He's not rapping any more, though. Just producing and doing real estate.) Again, good times talking with old friends.
Finally as I am on the phone telling Leo how I know I saw them walking this way, I see Yoichi sitting down next to a woman who can be no other than Daphanie. Weird how I recognized him first sitting there. Both looked great. But, I promise that they were not there originally.
Went over and the night began. It seriously was so easy and so natural. We caught up a little bit. Drank a lot more. Turns out she used to work at the restaurant/club when she was in school. The people there were really amazing. I was tempted to ask Barack if I could have an application and begin working there at least for the summer.
Everyone was beautiful, inside and out. And it was all so comfortable. Talking with the DJ, with the bartenders, with the owner (who I should have told who I was looking for when I was walking around lost, since he knows Daphanie really well), Daphanie's really funny friend who I can't remember her name right now. She was really cool, though, and sat with us most of the night.
One of the most wonderful, inspiring things was hearing more of Daphanie's story. Both from her and from the owner of the place. She was really changed by working at the club. Helped her to see what the world had to offer. I think that is shit that I kind of took for granted growing up with people from different countries. But something that I really treasure today. And what I really enjoyed about that night. It was International Night at the club, and you could tell. There were Russians, Ethiopians, Croatians, Italians, Japanese... it was everything I love -- people from all over having a wonderful time, listening to Robell's wonderful mixing of music from all over the globe.
Her story was great. Her husband is great, too. It really amazed me how good she is with the language. I know in some emails she has said that she doesn't speak English a whole lot any more, but it is really different to hear someone in person speaking a second language so fluently. It was enthralling. And she has not been speaking it for a super-long time. Being engrossed in the culture and being married to a native speaker really helped her become fluent in her Japanese. Her husband speaks English, but I talk really fast, and he couldn't always understand what I was saying, even when I tried to slow down. But Daphanie was there to translate. Daphanie as a translator! Daphanie, who used to run around with me at Sara's stinky place with water balloons in our bras, who used to try (along with the others) to not touch too much at Sara's, who used to sit and try to listen to Glynis's crazy stories of her family shitting on walls in a hotel, and then smoke a fat blunt in the back of her house that Glynis wouldn't get in on. Daphanie is all grown up, beautiful, and bilingual.
The night continued to get better. Drinks can really do that. Especially when the bartender makes them right. We closed down the place, decided that we couldn't end the night there, and drove over the bridge to the East Side. Went into one of the strip clubs and sat and chilled. The nudity was no big deal. The most disturbing thing was the drink I ordered. The alcoholic one was fine, but the water tasted like shit. I think the bartender might have thought I ordered water with vodka or something. The shit made me want to throw up, though.
We stayed in the club until they closed. Daphanie and I danced. We talked more about life, Yoichi, drinking. Some of the people from the club joined us -- Brian, Robell and the bouncer who I cannot remember his name, and couldn't figure out which country he was from either. Our waitress came over at one point. Real cute girl. As she asks our orders, Yoichi asked if she was Japanese. She really did not look too Japanese to me, but I guess he can tell that shit better than me. The girl was shocked and said no one had ever identified her by sight as Japanese, the three then said some words in Japanese, until the girl realized that Daphanie and Yoichi were much more fluent than her, then she went back to serving.
Daphanie and Robell convinced me to go up to a girl and touch my first implanted boobs. Robell found a girl with some really realistic ones, that felt really nice. Almost made me think twice about getting the shit. They didn't sit all high, they didn't look like melons, the were malleable. Nice.
The night ended soon after that when the club closed down. We tried to get some food from the stand outside, but the people were really adamant about getting us up and out so the girls could leave the place. The sun rise was beautiful, but deceiving since I could have sworn the place I was seeing the colours was really North. Argued with Brian over that for a little bit, too. Even got him to start believing it and trying to convince me it was North and that it was some sort of illusion that made it look like the sun was rising there.
We said our good byes in the lot. Daphanie, Yoichi, and Robell were about to go to another club, I was about to head home for the night. It was honestly the best time I'd had in a while. I really needed it after all the shit I'd been dealing with in the last week or so.
It was great hanging out with beautiful people. People that were comfortable, funny, intriguing, amazing, helpful, inspiring. It was even greater seeing Daphanie again. Greater, still, that we meshed so well, just like old times. I know there is a ton of family and other friend shit until Wednesday, but we hopefully will meet again before her million-hour flight back to Japan. If not, more of a reason for me to fly out there and see the Land of the Rising Sun.
Another highlight of the night was being awakened around 7 to Leo laughing telling me of his dream. Some type of Montel Williams setup with a girl about to go off on a guy saying "Ok, Big Daddy with the titties. You just let them keep jigglin' and jigglin'. They move around more than mine without a bra." Comedy, early in the morning, while I'm still kind of drunk. Woke up, surprisingly, with no big hangover, at least in the head. Just some undigested vodka in the tummy. But ready to do it all again.
04 June 2007
Really the main thing that keeps coming into my head is, as kbo would say, how much "you can't reason with crazy." So true. When a mofo is completely off their rocker you really can't justify anything to them. You cannot even convince them of anything contrary to the concocted thoughts that are in their head.
Some examples in my life and in society in general, past and present:
The biggest ones coming to my head from my direct life deal with in the recent past. I have always been a person who loves stories, but when they come to real life, it is crazy. It is absolutely insane to think that a person is so in love with make believe that they create their own stories of their life. I know that sometimes a person's life can seem mundane, but can it really be so bad that you have to develop stories for even the most ordinary details? And that you have to pick up random people you don't know and give them rides and offer your friends up to give them rides, also? I cannot possibly go into enough detail on this person. It really frustrates me, yet also enthralls me to think about all the stories and all the drama.
Another close to home issue deals with young females. I can't understand how they can be so preoccupied with the penis that they can't notice that the body and the brain attached to it are shit and completely worthless. Even more questionable is the fact that they will get into physical fights over it all. After a track meet this year, the bus pulls up to school and as I am talking to the bus driver to figure out when we will leave for the next meet, I hear some loud screaming. Figured the kids were just fucking around with each other, talking in their super-loud outside voices like they do even in school. I turn the corner to tell them to calm down and go home only to realize that they are brawling. And with chicks they were arguing with at the track meet. The chicks followed the bus back to the school so they could fight over these two worthless dudes. Get out of here. Quit gossiping on Bebo, quit ruining friendships over guys with so many issues it is unbelievable.
The other night I was watching National Geographic Channel and came across this guy who decided to live with wolves. Yes, live with wolves. Allow them to bite him, bite them back, lick them, fight with them, play with them, eat raw deer and other animals with them, allow the wolves to eat out of his mouth. Cannot possibly reason with this guy that what he is doing is way off.
G-Dubb. There is not enough time in the world for me to go into detail about all the craziness he has done, along with his lackeys. And for all you Clinton-lovers... he did some fucked up shit, too.
Life on this planet is full of the crazies.
And I will write about them as this blog continues...
31 May 2007
I will continue to comment on my life, on society and its ills, and on whatever else I am feeling at the time.
So keep coming back. I'm sure at some point I will write something that could interest you.