Sunday, August 31, 2008
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Politics is like a big Chess Game and with that being the case, I'd have to say that John McCain just made a really savy move. He picked 44 year old Alaska Governor Sara Palin to be his running mate. Many people have speculated for weeks cx that his pick might be Mitt Romney or even Mike Huckabee but, McCain played it close to the vest and made a "power move" that I have to say I respect as far as the playing of "this game" is concerned.
Here's why McCain did what he did... he knows that a number of Hillary Clinton's die-hard supporters have stated that they do not intend to vote for Barack Obama. He watched the Democratic National Convention just like we did and he knows that the Democrats brought Bill and Hillary out to "woo" those people back into the Democratic party circle. Can you imagine how embarrassing it would be to lose the election because a part of your own voting base defected? By picking a young woman, he is almost certain to get those disenchanted Hillary Clinton supporters.
I have to shake my head and ask them (as Hillary did)... Are you in this for her or are you in this for the ideals she has, which aren't that far from Obama's? I believe that they are caught up in a cult of personality. I also believe that some of them are closet racists too. (Yeah, I said that it!) As for the black ones, like that misguided sister who was on CNN Monday, you tell me? What was that, anyway? I went on her blog and there is nothing by anti-Obama diatribe on both the posts and the sidebar. It seems like she needs to loosen up a bit (too much starch in her milk as a child).
All I can say is, this is going to be a very wild and exciting election. McCain just "upped the ante" with this move. I gotta give credit where credit is due... brilliant move Mr. McCain. The next move is yours Mr. Obama...
Friday, August 29, 2008
The thing about writing and blogging is, if one does either too long and or too much, one leaves little pieces of oneself out there (either on paper or in cyberspace) that reveals who he or she truly is. I'm going to lose some cool points here but, I actually thought about what type of marriage I wanted to have prior to getting married (almost no guy I know does that). Most of my friends got engaged under protest and then resigned themselves to just showing up at the wedding with a nice haircut and a decent tux. (I was an hour late to my wedding but, I did have fresh haircut and a great tux.)
Around the age of 26, a lot of my friends began getting married and I began thinking about the inevitability of doing the same. Me and one of my close friends thought about this and we both said that we wanted to get all of the "play" and wildness out of us because marriage (after all) was a serious thing and it was to be approached with a "sober" mind. I laugh about it now when I think of how innocent and idealistic I was back then.
When I was younger (and like most Americans), I didn't look at my parents as role models for the type of marriage I wanted... I looked at celebrities. I wanted to have a marriage like Cliff and Claire Huxtable. (Basically, I did get that minus the money, status, and cool sweaters-lol!) But, more than anything, I wanted to have a relationship like Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee. (Go ahead... you can laugh.)
Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee were married for 57 years. They were actors and lived in Hollywood so, that says a lot. These two were in movies together, worked together, and lovied each other since before I was born... so, if there was any marriage out there that was going to provide a measuring stick for me, it was theirs. I didn't want to be married multiple times and have kids by this wife, kids by that wife, and a baby mama (or two) hanging around like so many other people I knew. I was playing for keeps, like my man Ossie Davis and his wife, Ruby Dee.
Well, they wrote a book about their life together a few years before Ossie passed away. I just happened to be leafing through it earlier this year and discovered a shocking fact about their relationship. They had an "open marriage"! When I think of the term open marriage, I think of swingers and hipsters from the late 1960's and the free love 70's. I don't think of these two who were part of my parents generation. (In fact, both Ossie and Ruby were older than both of my parents.) It appears that Ossie and Ruby were ahead of their time... some twenty years ahead of their time.
Ossie said in the book, "It wasn't the cheating that destroyed most marriages... it was lying about it." So, he and Ruby agreed that they could see other people as long as the other person knew about it and agreed to it. Don't get me wrong... I'm not judging their decision or championing it but apparently, it worked for them. They stayed together from the time they got married until his death in 2005... a total of 57 years. I know couples that couldn't stay together for 57 days!
I'm a closet "hopeless romantic" and I view marriage as sacred and I struggle daily to keep mine sacred and special. To me, an open marriage is really adultery just gussied up a bit. I mean... if I'm free to do what I want as long as my partner knows about it and is cool with it then, why get married? I could be single and do the same thing with less guilt and absolutely no responsibility.
Open marriage wouldn't be my thing. This is my opinion and you may not agree. If you don't, that's cool. Like I said, I'm not judging anyone. I just know that it wouldn't work for me. For one thing, I couldn't play the game fair because I wouldn't want my wife with another guy. Most men, if you ask them and they are honest, would tell you that they want to play but, they don't want to imagine their woman with another guy. Forget what you see in the porn movies (not that I watch them).
My blog family has a lot of strong opinions on a lot of subjects and I'd like to hear your opinions on "open marriage". Oh... just for the record, this revelation didn't make me look at Ossie and Ruby in a bad light... just differently.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
I've been married for almost twenty years so, it's safe to say that for all of those years I've been safe and protected. I've recently been reading about the state of the dating game on some of my fellow bloggers' posts and in conversations I've been having with my single friends and I've discovered something... "The game done changed!" For one thing, there seems to be a lot more incidents of stalking than I recall when I was out there. Take the case of one of my former neighbors...
He lived at the corner of my block. I wouldn't say we were friends but occasionally, we would be outside washing our cars at the same time and we would converse sometime... usually about the Sixers or the Eagles... nothing really heavy like politics or for that matter, relationships. So, with this backdrop, you can probably understand how surprised I was when he told me he was getting married soon.
He brought the young lady around one day and we met. She was attractive, smart, witty, well-dressed, and like him, an employee of a major pharmaceutical company. She seemed like a really nice girl. Now, mind you...this guy was one of very few words (at least with me) so, when a few months later he told me out of the blue that he wasn't getting married, I had to know why. It was the first (and only) time I would ask him about his personal business. He looked at me with an empty stare and said, "Ahhh, she's just not the one for me. I changed my mind." I knew that was all of the info I was ever gonna get out of him so, I went on about my business and forgot about him and his ex-fiancé.
One Sunday morning (that I chose not to go to church), I was coming back from getting some coffee and blueberry muffins when I heard a loud thump! I got out of my car and there was his "sweet" ex-fiancé, jumping up and down on a black BMW (he drove a black BMW). She had a scarf on her head, she was wearing a green sweat suit, and she was yelling to the top of her lungs, COME OUT! FACE ME LIKE A MAN! I KNOW YOU HAVE ANOTHER WOMAN UP THERE WITH YOU! RESPECT ME, I'M YOUR WOMAN!" Not a sound was heard from my neighbor's house but, two doors down, a door swung open. I don't know who this guy was but, he was hoppin' mad! "What in the Sam Hill is your problem? Get your ass off my car!" Okay, I'm going to stop right here because I've got two questions: (1) Who is Sam Hill? My Dad would yell that when he was angry all the time... "Boy, what in the Sam Hill is wrong with you?"; and (2) What are the odds that two brothers would be sportin' the same color (black) BMW in my neighborhood at the same time? You see, she was jumpin' on the wrong car.
My man's car was parked around the corner. Lucky for him. His ex-fiance's girlfriend was in an old beat up Nissan Altima screaming for her to stop and get in the car before the cops came. Too late! For once the police were on time for something. Okay, this brings me to my third question: Why do women travel with their girlfriends when they go to stalk someone? I now knew why he suddenly called the wedding off. She was crazy as crazy as a crack house rat! But, his troubles didn't end there. He came home from work one day and found that he couldn't get in his house. Somebody had taken liquid cement and cemented all the locks on his house in the front and in the back. Another time, telephone books and all kinds of trash was spilled on his front porch. Whenever he had a date, there she was... driving down our block, cutting the headlights, and driving slow. The worst incident (and I wasn't home when this happened... the guy across the street told me) was when she drove up to his house and began to sing a couple of songs to him. From what I heard, she had a pretty good voice but, he never responded, didn't came outside, or make a scene. He was a very conservative brother.
He was renting the house he stayed in so, eventually, he just moved and he never told anybody where he was going. He wasn't the most talkative or outgoing person in the world. His ex-fiance didn't know where he went either. To this day, she still drives down this block with the lights turned off in the car. She knows he's gone... she even questioned me and several others about his whereabouts but, we can't tell her what we don't know. I really don't think she believes us. I haven't seen her in a few months but, she's out there somewhere... watching... waiting...
Special thanks to Kyle, whose last post drudged up this memory... "I'm havin' nightmares, man!" (Just kidding - lololol.)
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Seeing Teddy Kennedy (who was supposed to be too sick to come) walk up to the podium and give a speech, looking every bit as spry as ever, was also moving... with everybody knowing (but, not saying) that this maybe the last time he is seen at one of these event. He didn't have any quit in him... he was talking about being in the senate for the next two years. And, that's the lesson... the same lesson my Mom taught me about facing your possible demise. You live... you don't deal with death, you deal with living. But, I'm getting away from my point here...
These conventions and the candidates who have been nominated haven't inspired me in a while. In 1980 (the first time I voted), Jimmy Carter was my candidate and he lost. In 1984, I voted for Rev. Jesse Jackson (yes, I did)... then, I got disgusted (I don't know why) and was about to sit home and not vote that November. But, I did and I can't even remember who the Democratic nominee was that year because my candidate lost again. In 1988, I was not inspired but, I still went to the polls and voted for Dukakis and once again, my candidate lost. So, do you see where I'm going with this? I was 0-3 and getting pretty pissed with every coming election year.
In 1992, I didn't bother to watch either convention and I didn't know a damn thing about William Jefferson Clinton, the eventual nominee. I had to play catch up. I leafed through Time and Newsweek magazines and watched enough news broadcasts so that as November drew near, I would know enough about the eventual candidate. (Which is more than the average American would do... even now when information is so much easier to get. I'm talking about this medium... the internet...the world wide web.) I reluctantly voted again and finally my candidate won! My record was then 1-3.
In 1996, it became two in a row, as my candidate won again. We all know what happened in 2000... my candidate actually won but, he didn't... and there I was, pissed off again. My record was then 2-4. By 2004, I was not impressed with John Kerry or George Bush. Once again, I didn't bother to watch any primaries, conventions, or anything. I was just bummed out and, even though I voted, I knew what the outcome was going to be and the pure stupidity of the majority of the American public did not disappoint me. George Bush won again and my record was then to 2-5.
It is now 2008 and I'm throwing my lot in with Barack Obama and not just because he's black. I really believe that this is the man who (at least) has a concept of how to begin to do something about the mess this country has become. I know he's not perfect (Who is?) and in my heart of hearts, I know that he is just another politician. But, what did you expect? I never envisioned him as the "Savior" but, he is different from what we have now and what we have now is nothing. My record could easily wind up being 2-6 in November or it could be 3-5. Only time will tell.
I know that Obama has a hard road ahead of him. He's going to be put under a microscope by some whites because he's black and they don't feel as though he belongs in the White House. It doesn't matter to them that the current president they elected never belonged there either (along with a few others who sat in "the big chair" over the years). They just don't want a black man there, qualified or not. And, he is going to be put under a microscope by some blacks too... blacks who can't understand that he has to be president for the entire United States and not just us... blacks who have their own private racial agenda that they feel he should adhere to... and finally, blacks who (for some reason) don't understand fully what it means to be black in America and how what he has achieved already (regardless of your personal or policy disagreements with him) is phenomenal.
America is still a racist nation. I didn't think that a black person would get past a few primaries in my lifetime and here a black man has become the Democratic nominee and is actually leading in the polls right now (slim margin, though it may be). If there is one time we as a people should discard that "crabs in a barrel mentality and come together, it is NOW because this is history in the making.
I'm sure this is probably not going to make me too popular in some circles but, I'd be a phony if I didn't say what was on my mind right now. I had to get this off my chest. I've been joking and trying to be light-hearted in my blog posts most of the summer but, it's time to do this... time to do something for our ancestors. And, I'm not talking about the slaves... but rather, the folks who got beat, hosed down, and gave their lives in the 1950's and 60's for a moment like this.
Monday, August 25, 2008
On Sunday, we attended the second day of festivities at Unity Weekend. This gathering, which has been one of Philly's most popular cultural events for the past 30 years, became a two-day extravaganza for the first time (formerly Unity Day) and it was held at Penn's Landing for the first time. Music for the day was provided by Chazz, Chante Moore, Dwele, Bill Jolly's Hard Drive, The Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church Choir, Eric Benet, and Kem. Steve Harvey, Nephew Tommy, Shirley Strawberry, Patti Jackson, Doug Henderson, and Tony Brown were among the WDAS FM radio personalities present. Things kicked off at 12:00 noon and ended at 7:00pm on Saturday and Sunday. My daughter was fortunate and found a spot close enough to Chante Moore to get these two photos when she came down into the audience to sign autographs (and hold someone's baby), etc. after her performance.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
The quirkiness of this production has Missy Elliot written all over it. I have heard that she produced a couple of cuts on the as yet unreleased CD but, I don't know if this is one of them. She's a Philly girl and I first heard of her some months ago. I was reading VIBE and they had her highlighted in their NEXT section. I read it and moved on. I'm glad I remembered seeing her in VIBE when I heard this song... it blew me away.
A co-worker of mine told me that she remembered seeing Jazmine when she was no more than 14 year old (about seven or eight years ago) at the "Five Spot"... a popular Philly night club where you could catch the best new and unsigned Neo-Soul and Hip-Hop acts back in the 90's. Unfortunately, the club burned to the ground in 1999. She said she was happy to hear that another neighborhood girl has made good and gotten herself a recording contract. (Jill Scott got her start at the same club.)
A few nights ago, I was lurking on Eb the Celeb's blog again... (She gets so many comments that all I can do is lurk because she would never get to mine. So, I mostly read her exploits and look at her photos-lol.) I heard another Jazmine Sullivan song called, "Lions and Tigers and Bears". This song sounded nothing like the last one but, had an equal effect on me... I had to stand, turnaround, and listen. There have only been a few artists who have had that kind of effect on me... Stevie Wonder, Luther Vandross, Prince, Rick James, Public Enemy, Biggie, Jay-Z and Missy Elliot come to mind. I'm not putting her in a category with them just yet but right now, she certainly has my attention.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
I guess this post is the result of the text message heard around the world: This just in... Barack Obama has chosen Delaware Senator Joseph Biden as his running mate. Hallelujah! Not because he chose Biden but, because he finally chose a running mate. Now, all the rumors about Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, and me (lol) can stop circulating... he has made a choice.
Senator Joseph Biden is as good a choice as any. He is the longest serving Senator in Delaware history (elected in 1972). He has foreign affairs experience (He's white.) and he knows his way around the Beltway and Capitol Hill. (He's white.) He has a good record as far as voting for and championing progressive causes is concerned and most important, he is well respected amongst both Democrats and Republicans. Did I mention that he's white? It can't hurt and it can also ease a certain segment of American's minds that are really worried about turning the keys of power over to a black man.
They polled a certain number of people in West Virginia (I think it was) about whether race is a factor in this election, whether it would effect their vote, and a large number of these people polled said that yes, race was definitely something that they were "concerned" about in this election. This is shameful in this day and age... shameful that some people haven't gotten past race... shameful that we still have idiots running around calling themselves "Racist Separatists" or get this, "Leftist Racist Separatists." An oxymoron indeed or let's just say, Moron.
But, those kinds of people (with no lives) are not important. They only make up a small portion of the general population... a population that I applaud for looking past race and for being more open-minded than I ever expected. Unfortunately, a great number of well-meaning whites still are nervous about Barack Obama. That's why he has to walk a fine line and why he has to throw some of his black past associates (like Rev. Wright) under the bus. This is why he had to get a guy like Joe Biden, when maybe his heart might have gone with his buddy and political ally, Deval Patrick. America couldn't deal with two young African-Americans in the White House.
Obama has made a safe and calculated choice. All in all, it's a good choice and a ticket that can win.You have the scary black man that you know you need and the white man that you have known, who is there to relieve your fears and let you know that the scary black guy is alright and together, we both can save America.
It doesn't get much better than that folks!
Friday, August 22, 2008
The sad thing is, that kind of thinking was not only wrong then but, it is really wrong now because so much more is at stake. I heard today that about 8 million African-Americans of voting age are not registered to vote. I may not have voted but, I did at least take the time to register. I recently heard some knucklehead on the corner say, "It ain't our country anyway so, why the hell should I vote?" In his case, this was just an excuse for being too lazy to go register, vote, or do anything else resembling something responsible.
IT IS YOUR COUNTRY if you were born here... IT IS YOUR COUNTRY if taxes are taken out of your check every week to pay for whatever... that alone is enough reason for everyone who is old enough to vote. That's the lie that White Supremacists always want to tell everyone that doesn't look like them... "Go back to where you came from. This is our country!" Well, when they stop deducting taxes out of my check every week, maybe I'll take them up on it. Until then, I have a RIGHT to at least, make my feelings known in this way. So, to Tom Metzger, David Duke, and whoever the hell else has something to say, DEAL WITH IT! DEAL WITH ME!
Despite the fact that there are Black Republicans, do you ever wonder why the Republican party doesn't try to court the Black vote more (even though they have given lip service to wanting to do that in the past few years)? I'm glad you asked and here's why:
(1) They know that those of you who do vote, will more than likely vote Democratic. (Never let one party think that they've got your vote sowed up like that... they'll take you for granted.)
(2) They don't think that the majority of Blacks will vote anyway.
(3) They have a large base that they can depend on that they KNOW will in fact vote.
Interestingly, both parties "court" the Hispanic vote because they know that Hispanics (and Asians as well) might go either way. But, the Democrats take the Black vote for granted and the Republicans don't care about your vote... they don't consider the Black vote a factor. There are close to 41 million African-Americans in the United States today and 41 million of anything is a factor... if everyone or (at least) a large percentage of that number could be counted on to actually vote.
My name is Keith and I approve this blog post!
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Okay, I was going to do one of my more political posts, find something about Barack Obama, jack the subject matter, and put my own spin on it... but, Zack gave me an idea for a post that I have long wanted to do but, hesitated about doing. I have talked about many of my colorful friends and their ups and downs. It occurred to me that I have never talked about my own. At long last, I'm going to talk about what was probably the worst day of my life and how it changed me forever...
My mother always said that I was a good boy up until about the age of 15 and to use her words, "that's when the trouble started." I made good grades in school, went to church every Sunday, sang in the choir, and was even a Boy Scout at one time. I was also Steve Urkel without the suspenders and ill-fitting clothes and I had a reedy, nasally voice. I always wore a pressed white shirt and a pressed pair of Chinos to school. My grandmother would slap Vaseline on my face and pinch my nose, right before she passed me my books and sent me off to school.
When I was around 13 or 14 years old, I started growing and my voice began to crack, change, and get a little deeper. By age 15, I was six feet tall and towered above both of my parents. I was very uncomfortable with these body and voice changes (which I would find out much later was not only normal but, everybody else was going through these changes too... they were just frontin' better, I suppose.)
My brother and I went to a party at the old Wagner Ballroom (for those of you from Philly). You know how those kind of parties are... all the guys standing on one side of the room trying to be cool and all the girls on the other side talking, giggling, and wanting you to ask them to dance but, not letting you know it. Most of us are willing to dance but, only if there is a lot of people on the floor. Nobody wants to be the only two out there dancing with everybody looking.
Anyway, they played the song "Walk on By" by Isaac Hayes (yeah, his death brought this memory back) and I asked this girl to dance. She was brown-skinned, very pretty, and had on a very sheer party dress (she was like Madonna, eleven years before anyone ever heard of her).
I had absolutely no rhythm on the dance floor back then (some would argue I don't even now-lol) and this was a slow song. Well, the girl dipped and I wasn't ready (or something or other) and I lost my balance. I grabbed a hold of her sleeve to catch myself and the sleeve and half of the girl's dress came off. I hit the floor with a thud with half that girl's dress in my hand! I vaguely remember her kicking me in my side but, I was too embarrassed to remember the pain.
Of course, the room did what you are probably are doing now... everybody's mouth was hanging open and then, they burst into laughter (which I would have done myself, if it had been someone other than me). In that moment, I felt more alone than I had ever felt before. I heard my own brother, who was dancing with another girl, say "Nah, I didn't come here with him. I don't know him." (I didn't blame him... I might have done the same thing.) We had to run out of there after that but, the good thing was, the Wagner Ballroom was near my brother's high school (Central) and nowhere near where we lived in West Philly... meaning, I didn't know any of the kids at the party and never had to see them again. Philly is a big city.
My mother and my grandmother felt sorry for me I know but, even THEY laughed when they heard the story. But, my grandmother told me something that I'll never forget... "Well baby, nothing that will happen to you will ever be worse than that so move on, grow, and don't dwell on it." I made up my mind right then and there that I wasn't going to be THAT guy ever again or let anybody put me in that box.
Within a year, I was (if not) old enough then, certainly big enough to work (without working papers and without anybody asking) and make a little money. I used my small income to "help my mother out" with buying my clothes. Sometimes, she would protest my choice in clothing but, I think she admired my independence and willingness to do for myself.
My wardrobe wasn't the only thing that changed. I became the type of guy I admired... the guy who wasn't afraid of girls. When I met a girl I liked (and I don't care how out of my league she was), I talked to her. I also found that I could make people laugh (I was always imitating someone on TV, when I wasn't making up stuff out of thin air) and I used it to my advantage. I didn't always get the cute girls but, I could count a whole lot of them as my friends. In turn, a lot of their friends, who were maybe "okay" but not quite as cute, became my first girlfriends.
By the time I was 19 years, I was miles and miles away from that guy who fell on the dance floor. I still can't dance much but, was smart enough never to put myself in a situation where I looked like a fool on the dance floor. The women I work with "marvel" at how many female friends I have and they joke that they have never met a man so "comfortable and leisurely" around women. I wouldn't have believed it myself but, it was what my grandmother said so many years ago that was my turning point... "Nothing that will ever happen to you will ever be worse than that..."
This is why I never met a woman who I thought was "out of my league", even though many really were. I just didn't have anymore fear. I would hear Isaac Hayes singing "Walk on By", think of that moment, and realize... whatever the outcome, it ain't gonna be that bad and move on from there. Positive thinking at it's best. Imagine who you can be and then, go out and do everything you can to actually be that person.
I hope y'all had a good laugh at my expense but, learned something too!
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Rick Warren, author of "The Purpose Driven Life" hosted a forum for John McCain and Barack Obama at Saddleback. Most of the audience was Evangelicals and the good folk of the so called "Bible Belt"... the type of folk who more than likely, will not vote for Barack Obama anyway.
I'll give Barack Obama some points for just showing up, just like I gave John McCain points for going to the NAACP convention earlier this year. There, McCain was faced with a group of people who more than likely, will not vote for him either but, unlike George W. Bush four years ago, he was not arrogant about it.
As moderator, Rick Warren asked the two candidates a number of questions dealing with how they felt about moral and spiritual issues... such as "When do you believe conception begins?" Are you people serious? Have any of you taken a look at this country? Are you still debating issues from three presidential elections? Get over it already, it's the law... a woman can have an abortion, okay...? Is this all you folks can talk about? Still? Then, they were asked if there was EVIL in the world? Yes, it is... look no further than the present vice-president... an evil man if ever there was one. Personally, he scares the "cowboy crap" out of me.
Mr. Obama went on first and I have to say that I was a little disappointed. He never answered any of those questions directly. He went into long, rambling, scholarly dissertations without ever directly giving a yea or a neigh. In his defense, this is because these are spiritual and moral questions that can't be answered like that... these are issues that each human being has to wrestle with and it is between the person and God and their interpretation of what God wants of them. There are no easy answers and really there are no wrong or right answers to these questions.
Mr. McCain was supposed to be in a room dubbed the "Cone of Silence"... a soundproof room (I guess) in which he couldn't hear the questions. The problem is... he wasn't there. He was in his car where it is alleged he could have heard the questions. He and his people say that this isn't true and nobody but them really knows so, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.
At any rate, John McCain answered the questions decisively and without hesitation. I feel as though he got the better of Barack Obama in this forum. John McCain was in familiar territory, he was amongst his people. The Republican faithful and more importantly, he was preaching to his choir. Would his answers have been any different had he of been in the Cone of Silence? I can only speculate at this point.
My real question here is... were the questions asked that important in the first place? Whether a candidate is pro-life or pro-choice, how a candidate feels about confronting evil in the world (not to mention in the White House) means nothing to the worker who doesn't have health care... the man or woman who has just been laid off and is now wondering how they can afford that mortgage and that predatory loan they took out... the farmer, whose crops have been devalued... the worker who's job has been outsourced and sent to another country... and those brave and wonderful soldiers still in Iraq and Afghanistan, still wondering when they can come home.
These are the issues that concern a lot of people and unfortunately, they were locked in the Cone of Silence instead of John McCain!
Monday, August 18, 2008
When she told me just who it was she was marrying, I responded, "Who? Him?" Don't get me wrong... I like this guy, he's a good dude, and always was. The fact that we were both dating the same woman years ago says more about that woman and her deceptiveness... not him. But, he is not the type of guy that my friend usually dates. She usually likes the kind of guys who can drop $100.00 down for a date in a fancy bistro and it not hurt them at all... the kind of guys who have a custom made Lexus with their name engraved on the side. (One of her ex-boyfriends, a doctor, had two Lexuses like that... one was a car and the other an SUV. He was just too smooth for words.)
My man here, went through a divorce in which he lost the home he was living in and the fly car he once drove. When she met him, he was living in an efficiency with a kitchen, bathroom, and a bed in the kitchen. He was driving a 13 year old car that often needed work and, to impress her, he rented a car for their first date just so he wouldn't seem so down and out. He is miles and miles away from who she usually dates so, when she said that she was marrying this man, I had to know why... I had to know what made him so special. She said something to me so profound, I just knew it was going to be the topic of one of my posts.
She told me, "I just love HIM... who he is... I never looked at the essence of any of the guys I dated before. You know, they were all doctors, lawyers, drug dealers, stock brokers, and a few close-to-well-known athletes... guys with lots of money, nice cars, and nice things but, you take away the money, the cars, etc. from a lot of them and I found that you didn't have much left personality wise. I mean there was nothing there of any substance with a lot of them." (There was one now deceased New York rapper she dated who had plenty of personality... too much for his own good... but, that's another story too.)
She also said, "I know that next to them, my new man is a borderline bum but, he's kind, he's very intelligent, hard working, and I know he'd give me the world, if I asked him. And, when you get my age (she is 44), you need someone you can talk to, someone who can hold you, and someone who is a gentlemen more than you need the cash and the flash."
I was pleasantly surprised that she had come this far... back in the 80's, she was known as the highest of the "high maintenance divas". We traveled in the same circles but, none of the guys I hung with would touch her. She was fine they said but, more trouble than she was worth. She married a lawyer who later became a judge and who left her for a white woman. She also married a bank manager who was a drunk and drank himself out of the marriage.
As for her new fiance, he works for the federal government, has just managed to buy himself a new home, and is working on getting a new car. He's coming along... his luck has changed and just by him being himself, he has taught the most unlikely person in the world, a lesson about the true essence of a man. It's about who he is, and not so much what he's got.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Saturday, August 16, 2008
I know that right about now Pat Buchanan, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, the various leaders of the Ku Klux Klan, and the Aryan Resistance are sick to their stomachs. I didn't even mention the fact that there is going to be a lot of interracial dating and mixing... Blacks marrying Hispanics, Hispanics marrying Asians, Native Americans marrying Blacks, and White women marrying Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans, etc. Oh, I could go on and on with the combinations but hey, who was it that just fainted? Was that David Duke? Somebody revive him!
My little grandson will be about 36 years old by then. And, if I'm still alive, I'll be too old to care but, you can bet that I'll be tickled pink. By then, the idea of a Black president or some other aforementioned minority might not be a pipe dream. Maybe by then, we will have elected a woman president too... and maybe, just maybe... Nah, there will still be racism but, it might not be as prevalent.
I know... I'm an incurable idealist but, I can't see racism being that prevalent or relevant in this new America that will eventually have even more color than it has now. California and Texas are probably the closest to what America might look like one day. I've never been to California but, I've been to Texas several times and all I saw was Mexican, Blacks, and Whites coupled up in various combinations and little interracial children everywhere I went. This was especially true in the southern part of Texas... San Antonio, Medina, Corpus Christie, etc.
It's going to be a White Supremacist's Nightmare! Oh my God! Was that Tom Metzger who just passed out? What? He's Dead? Oh well! (Somebody told him that his niece married a Black Hispanic man.)
Friday, August 15, 2008
I dropped hints about the money to the friend for about two weeks before it finally erupted into a heated dispute and unfortunately (for me), it was only after the dispute that I learned that my friend was indeed correct (this time) and that I was not owed any cash.
It's hard to realize that you are wrong and even harder to eat "humble pie" and apologize to somebody. However, I did the Christian thing and apologized but, here is where the story gets interesting. (You knew this was coming, didn't you? You know I don't bother to write a personal post unless there is a weird twist and, believe me, my life ain't that interesting... but, I sure make it sound like I live in a three-ring circus when I want to, don't I?-lol)
Getting back to my story... here is the main reason I don't like to apologize to this person. Do any of you know somebody that brings up stuff from seven years ago when you are having a dispute with them? (Spouses and significant others are excluded-lol... just kidding.) Well, this particular friend won't just take an apology... they tend to bring up long ago buried incidents, which you thought they had forgotten. It makes me want to say, forget it. This is also the reason why I am this person's only friend and I think they realized it too... which is why I got a conciliatory call today. It was the first time we've spoken since July 21st.
It was a nice conversation... very civil... but, I was reminded of another time that I supposedly miscalculated a bill (but, that time I was right). It was done in a joking way but, I know that there was a bit of seriousness behind the joke. This is the type of thing that "irks" some of the other people in my small group who associate with this person too.
Next time, I will not split a bill. I'll pay for my food separately or maybe there will be no next time. I just know that sometimes, friends and money don't mix. I talked to another friend about the incident with that person and this friend gave me some sage wisdom... "Real friends don't put their friends through the meat grinder." Indeed!
Thursday, August 14, 2008
When I first started blogging, I was worried that I would run out of things to write about but, each day brings with it a new writing experience. I am sure that by writing this, I'm missing out on an important topic but, that's okay... I've always been good at catching up. I worry about writer's block the way some guys worry about performance anxiety. (Okay, that was out there... dramatic guy, ain't I?)
Anyway, I never worry about this blog because I know that I'll always have plenty to say here. I've been known to jack a few people's topics and put my own spin on them and I've seen a few of my topics jacked too. But, it's okay... I'm mostly flattered when that happens. Another blogger said that, "it was okay because we are all family". I feel like I'm on the verge of something new... a history maker, at best.
Then, there is that other blog of mine... my baby blog, Escapades. I loaded a lot of old poetry on it when I started it last month. It was mostly stuff I had written in college, when I was in my twenties. Then, I began to get my confidence and I started writing new stuff. Thus, I'm having the time of my life just creating. The last couple of poems are brand new and the biggest surprise... the fiction is all new.
I took a creative writing course a few years back and the instructor told us to create a character or a set of characters, put them in any situation, and then write at least three stories using the characters. It was good practice for eventually writing a novel.
A couple of weeks ago, I created the character of Mabel Jenkins, a sexy and saucy southern woman who knows her way around the kitchen and the bedroom ("She Was A Southern Girl"). Mabel is actually a composite of two women I have known. I gave her a past, a jealous boyfriend named Clerow, and a present... a nameless protagonist who tells the world about Mabel through his sensual experience of eating, smelling, making love, and battling her two admirers... a jealous spurned lover and a salacious preacher.
I only meant to write two stories using these characters ("Clerow's Wet Dream" being the other) but, "Mabel's Bangin' Biscuits" kind of wrote itself and there is at least two more stories on the way. I'm just havin' fun and these characters seem to speak to that sensual part of my character that loves both women and good food.
My other stories "The Tell-Tale Condom", "White Gown, Black Suit", and "Blind Date" came completely from other people telling me things that happened to them or somebody they knew. I actually heard a girl yell out of her open window, "How do you want your pancakes, Daddy?", and I was taken back by it. (It was 12:00 midnight and I don't think she was talking about breakfast) and"Blind Date" grew out of something that simple... I took a statement and just let my imagination run wild. Truth be told, I don't know who she was talking to or what she was talking about... but, at midnight, hearing a woman say something like that sounded awful sexy. (I know... only me, right?)
Without a doubt, there will come a time when I'll hit a writer’s block. We all do from time to time. Maybe I'll post two or three times a week here... maybe I'll let Escapades go for a few days. But, for right now, I'm having the time of my life and I hope you all will join me on my ride!
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
According to someone in bail bondsman training camp, Geisel referred to Obama with a racial epithet. (Let me guess, is it the one that the rappers and athletes like to throw around so much or the one that some of us call our closets friends?) He said, "If he gets elected, I'll assassinate him myself!"
Well, Ray, you won't be killing anyone for a minute anyway... you've got an appointment with a judge in your immediate future. You've got your nice high and tight crew cut, which I hear is all the rage amongst you right wing assassins. Timothy McVeigh had it and James Earl Ray had it too.
You're in good company but, I don't think that it will play too well in a Florida state prison amongst all the brothers... you know? Better let that hair grow a little longer and invest in a lot of packs of cigarettes. Ya know what I mean?
Are there more out there like him? You better believe it! Again I ask, where is Will Smith or Batman when you really need 'em? Watch your back Barack!
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Barack Obama is slightly ahead of John McCain in the polls at this time. Doesn't it worry any of you that it's only a single digit lead? I'm willing to say that if Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, or hell... even Mike Gravel had won the Democratic nomination, with the shape this country is in right now, they would have triple digit leads over John McCain. So, why is the Obama lead so close?
They have not yet discovered any skeletons in his closet... no affairs, no love children, no theft of public funds, and no secret text messages to woman (check it out, Kwame). They have found absolutely nothing! About all the McCain campaign can hit him with is the fact that he is young and inexperienced. You can only beat that drum for so long before people start tuning it out because, as I said before, if the present state of affairs in this country shows "experience", then give me the "inexperience" of the junior senator from Illinois any day of the week.
So, I ask again... What is it? Why is this race so close when Obama, who has charisma, good looks, and the wholesome all American family, should be so far ahead that John McCain shouldn't even be a footnote in this election. It's got to be that 500 pound gorilla that has been in America's living room since the first Africans stepped off the boat at Jamestown.
A certain amount of Americans who are melanin-challenged, still feel a little uneasy about a black man sitting in the "White" House. Even a black man who's mother was just as white as they are and from the Heartland to boot. He's still half black and that's one half too much to be in the reigns of power.
If I took their idea, I would have even less of a reason to vote for a white candidate... he or she might have ancestors that owned my ancestors. Yet, I and every black person who has ever voted, has voted for white candidates our entire lives without thought to any of that.
America just might get over its racial hump and elect a black president in a few months... and, if it does, that will mean that all Americans have come a long way. In my dreams, I don't want it to end there... let's elect a Latino president, an Asian president, a Native American president, and a woman president.
It's not that far-fetched, if you really think about it!
Monday, August 11, 2008
The Mayor of Motown is in the news again. Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is in jail! He was in the spotlight last year when it was found that he sent several salacious texts to a woman (not his wife) who worked for him. Yes, that's right... the mayor is now in jail!
Mayor Kilpatrick has been charged with perjury and a slew of other felonies for his testimony in a civil trial. He was ordered to jail this past Thursday because he violated his bond by taking a quick road trip to Canada without notifying the proper authorities. You know me... I would've said to the arresting officers, "I'm grown! What are YOU talking about?" Just for the sake of a laugh, I wonder if that's what he DID say-lol? I digress...
Mayor Kilpatrick apologized and acknowledged that he made a mistake when he visited Windsor, Ontario (Any strip clubs there? Just asking!) which is only minutes away from Detroit. The mayor said that he was in Ontario on "city business" last month. He also pondered that, if had been anyone else like say, "Joe six pack", he wouldn't have been arrested, let alone put in jail and humiliated.
He's right. I never heard of a sitting mayor being put in jail before. We had a city councilman here in Philly who was given a traffic ticket and then, it was discovered that he never owned a drivers license in life! He had been driving city owned vehicles for close to twenty years... but, he was not arrested or charged with any crime. In fact, he was on television laughing about it and was issued his first drivers license the next day! However, he wasn't an African American, like Mayor Kilpatrick.
Mr. Mayor, handle your business. Please, handle your business!
Sunday, August 10, 2008
When the presidential race began, I told my wife that I was 90% certain that John Edwards, the fair-haired southern senator from North Carolina, would easily win this year's Democratic nomination. After all, I reasoned, isn't he the type of guy that most Americans seem to go for, anyway? He is young, handsome, liberal, WHITE, and he has (what they say is) a sexy southern drawl. He reminded me of another young somewhat liberal governor from the state of Arkansas, who seemingly came out of nowhere and won the presidency in 1992... Bill Clinton.
I had all but anointed John Edwards, when the unthinkable occurred. Hillary Clinton (who I didn't feel had a chance at the time) emerged as the front runner, and another young, somewhat liberal and handsome junior senator from Illinois named Barack Obama overtook everybody and made the presidential race something it hasn't been since Bill Clinton was running... interesting!
I was surprised when Edwards, who hadn't won a primary, dropped out of the race back in January. I still thought he had a chance to gain some ground a little later but, when he failed to win even his own state, (I guess for him) the writing was on the wall. Then, I (like every other black person that I know) threw all of my support behind Barack Obama. By the time Obama finally was declared the likely Democratic nominee, I found a lot of my co-workers, associates, and friends saying that an Obama-Clinton ticket would be a sure winner. I couldn't really see that... not after the sometimes bitter campaign that they ran against each other. I said that John Edwards would be the perfect vice-presidential candidate.
Recent events have now scuttled all of that... As you know, he's admitted to having an extra-marital affair with a woman but, stopped short of saying that he fathered her child. The woman is refusing to have the child's DNA tested for proof of paternity. This is the type of non-sense that always seems to dog Democratic candidates right around this time. John Edwards IS beginning to look a lot like Bill Clinton, more and more.
Don't Republicans cheat on their wives? Do they have sex at all? Or, do they just get caught in off election years? Hey Barack, I'm available if you need a running mate. I have no criminal record, I haven't cheated on my wife, I have no outside kids, I'm a family man, I about the same age (give or take three years) and a life-long Democrat so, give me a call!
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Friday, August 8, 2008
It's hard to believe that my wife had to practically beg me to set up a blog about a year ago. It was the same as when you keep promising to take the trash out. You know that you will eventually get to it but, you don't really want to do it so, you keep SAYING that you'll do it. Well, that's how it was for me. She knows how much I like to write and that I stopped writing for a while (6 years to be exact). She kept telling me about this medium in which I could write my thoughts and opinions about all of the things that I talked with her about. I would bend her ear a lot about politics, sports, and all kinds of subjects that she only had a moderate interest in (at best) but, I was really passionate about (she humored me a lot).
My wife had already been maintaining a blog for our grandson for one-and-a-half years... an electronic baby book (so to speak) to record the early years of his life that he would never remember. Finally, on the day after Christmas 2007, we sat down at the computer together, came up with a blog name, determined the web address, picked out a Blogger template and thus, "Keith's Space" was born... but, I didn't actually write my first post until New Years Day.
I started out slow... writing a post or two a week. I would usually post at work... then, I would call my wife and tell her that I wrote something so she could edit it and find a nice photo or graphic to match it. The system worked for a time, until I gradually began to post nearly everyday. I quickly realized that I couldn't do it at work anymore so, I started posting at home, usually after dinner. We have two computers in the house so while I was writing a post, my wife could edit and add the photos or graphics to another post.
Then, in late June I got the crazy idea (from Mizrepresent, kinda sorta) to start another blog. While I was reading a post on her "Write For Life" blog, I noticed that she had another blog called "Wildflower II". I read her great poetry and was floored. I kept saying to myself, "This is what I wanted to do in the first place! How about doing a blog like Miz's that is just for my poetry and fiction?" I already had two or three books of poetry that I had written over the years but, had never been seen by the general public... plus, I had all of these ideas for short stories in my head that I was gonna eventually get around to writing but, never did.
So, I approached my wife with the idea for the second blog and she looked at me like I was crazy. She really didn't want to do it but, after a couple of weeks she gave in and helped me set it up. I came up with the idea for how I wanted the blog to look. This time, we searched for a template at Pyzam and I found one that I thought would be just right. So, on July 17th I launched my second blog, "Escapades", for my poetry and fiction.
Because I now have to manage two blogs, there is NO WAY that I can post at work anymore. So, I have developed a routine... after dinner, I write the posts for both blogs. Now, my wife can do the editing, photos, or graphics right there on the spot and I can just "schedule" them for the day and time I want them to appear on the blog (a little trick I learned from the Original Glamazon, who scheduled a couple of her posts while she was away in Houston).
For instance, tonight I wrote a short story called "The Tell-Tale Condom" for my Escapades blog. (And no, it didn't happen to me or anybody I know... I got the idea from one of those "what if" conversations with a group of friends.) While I worked on that post, my partner in crime was on the other computer "lurking" on other blogs and reading comments. I can't believe it. I have gone from someone who just had a casual interest in blogging to a BLOGZILLA... a person who is addicted to blogging. And, I wasn't satisfied with just one... I had to have two blogs!
So, here are some questions for all of my fellow bloggers...When do you write your posts... during the day or night, at home or work, etc.? Do you eat or drink while you blog? (I know that there is someone out there who blogs in the nude... but, that's okay. I don't need to know who-tmi... I just know that someone does-lol!)
Thursday, August 7, 2008
I walked around to the sister's office, hugged her, and told her congratulations. There are only 3 black managers in my entire 82 member department. I know how hard it is for a black person to get to that position so, I tried to be supportive. All three of the black managers in my department are females... that says something too but, that's another post for another day.
I wasn't out of her office a hot minute before my phone started ringing. It was a friend of mine, another black woman from across campus. I'll call her D. and her ear is always to the ground. She asked me, "Keith, is it true what I'm hearing?" I sighed and said, "What are you hearing?" She said, "I heard that T.J. got promoted to manager in your department." I said, "No grass grows under your feet D. That's right, she starts today." Then, she said, "That's a damn shame. How did they promote HER? She's not even that knowledgeable." I sighed again and said, "Well, somebody thought so... they gave her the position." She replied, "I can't believe they promoted her... she's not that bright, you know."
Why do we as black people do that to each other? Why can't we be supportive of each other rather than tear each other down? The woman that got promoted is going to have enough eyes and stress on her from the white faculty members. Isn't that enough without having scorn from one of her own?
You should know that D. has applied for several jobs at the university. She says she is at a point where she needs to "run something." She's not worried about money... she just wants to run a department, be a manager, and have a title. In the past year, she has applied for three positions and has been turned down for each one of them. The interviewers said that she was pushy, brash, and her writing skills weren't up to par. Some of that is true but, a lot of it is b.s.
There are several pushy white women (and men) in a lot of high positions. Justifiably, D. feels slighted and the victim of racial prejudice. She may well be but, she's turned a lot of her disappointment inward to the point that, when somebody black gets a position, she always tears into them and questions their capabilities.
She drank a big bottle of Haterade and it's just got to stop. We've got to be more righteous with each other. "We" are all we've got and if we can't celebrate each other's success in this dog-eat-dog world then, who will?
Come on folks. Stop the hate!
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Everyday of my life, I'm glad that I am married and out of the dating game. "Mrs. Keith" and I have been together so long now that, if I had to enter the dating game again, I don't think I'd know what to do or say. On the other hand, I might not have to be so knowledgeable at all because it seems as though a man coming up today can do, say, and get away with damn near anything and everything.
Case in point... a man I know once told his girlfriend (who he has been living with in her house for three years) that he cheated on her over the Memorial Day weekend. He told her that, when he was missing for three days, he was not "in the hospital with no memory" as he originally told her (What? Huh?). He said he was, in fact, with another girl he knew before, getting his swerve on. He then said, "At least you didn't have to find it out in the street... I came to you and told you." Apparently, this was good enough for her and they are still together. And, I'm not talking about a twenty-something here... I'm talking about a 50 year old woman and a 43 year old man (and I'm using the word "man" loosely here).
The woman in my previous three-part (July) post, Blowin' In The Wind, had two children by a man and watched him marry three women, have children by two of them and more by another woman, and is still running around with him, talking about the two of them as if they are still a "couple". He is presently going through a divorce from wife number three while living with another woman. He told her that "they have an understanding". Here we go with labels and ridiculous terms again. (O.G., I'm not jackin' your topic but, it does comes to mind.)
I recently read on one blog where a woman said, "...these stupid women make it hard for other women to have any standards because they will go for anything." She's right and I really didn't want to do a post on this subject because I feel that others such as O.G., Miz, Dreamy, The Karrie B., and EB the Celeb can do it more justice than I can but, I felt as if I had to speak out on this subject.
Ladies... Stop the madness, stop bein' played, and stop allowing yourselves to be disrespected. I'm a male and after a while, I get disgusted when I watch you all fall for some of the most ridiculous lines and moves I've ever seen or heard. I'm ol' skool... I was a young man when Run DMC, Public Enemy, Al B. Sure, and Boyz II Men, were hot. Back then, a man had to put in some time with a woman, take her out, visit a couple of times, send some roses, and have some "game". He also had to have a little bit of "work ethic". Those days are all but non-existent now.
I'm not hatin' on today's brothers and I don't begrudge them because, it's not completely their fault. If you don't make them respect you and you carry yourselves in a way that allows them to walk all over you, tell you anything, treat you bad, and still lay their heads down next to you at night (or whenever the hell they feel like it) then, why should they treat you any other way? What is the incentive to treat you good? Why are you complaining to your girlfriends that there are no decent men?
Truth be told, you don't really want the "decent guy"... at least, not right now at this time in your life. He's going to bore you and let you run all over him. You're not going to respect that type of man. You really like the drama and you love the noise that the "bad boy" brings so, don't complain. Just deal with it.
But, here is another truth...The older you get, the harder it is to find somebody decent and you will have less time and patience with the bad boy and the b.s. that he brings with him. By the time you are ready to appreciate a decent man and really, really NEED to have someone to hold you, be your companion, and have your back, he's going to be married, in a serious relationship, living with someone, or so "off the market" that it's not going to be funny. Put a quarter in the meter, park right here, and check it out...
You have to set a standard from the door. You have to carry yourself in a way that men will know who you are, what you will and will not stand for, and you can't believe any ol' thing that men tell you. I'm a man... I was a predator once... and I would say whatever it took to get what I wanted so, I know! Now days, men don't even try to be slick. They don't have to because they can tell you the "truth" and they know that you'll still hold on to them because "having a man is better than having self respect." Some woman actually had the nerve to utter these words to me... "Self respect can't hold you at night." She's without a man as I speak so, good luck with that school of thought.
Being played is not sexy... appearing dumb is not sexy either. There are women that men will screw around with and mess over... and then, there are women who he will "take home" to meet his Mom. The one that he's running a game on and is being run through by all his boys, is not the one he takes to the fancy bistro, Virginia Beach, or to his family reunion. No, that's going to be his woman, the one he respects.
Now, which one do you want to be... his woman or his "jump off"?
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
In those horrifying days after the September 11th terrorist attacks, strange letters began appearing randomly at the homes of people, offices, and a television station. The letters contained a deadly biological agent known as "anthrax". Five people died, several more got sick, and a nationwide panic began.
We had just been attacked by Muslim fundamentalist terrorists the week before and many people thought that this was part two of the attack so, the FBI launched a massive investigation. Weeks passed and then, nothing... the newspapers and the media at large stopped covering the story.
This case was the basis of a sly and covert suggestion that "Iraqi agents" had been involved. I believe in my soul that people were thinking about this case when President George W. Bush made his case before the U.N. that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and he was a danger to all that was holy and had to be stopped before he launched even more attacks, like the mysterious Anthrax letters.
Last week, this troubling case came to light again when Dr. Bruce E. Ivins, a U.S. government research scientist committed suicide when he learned that the FBI was about to arrest him on five counts of first degree murder. It seems as though Ivins, who oversaw the highly specific type of germ, anthrax, in a U.S. Army laboratory was no "Iraqi agent"... just a "mad scientist" and American citizen bent on taking over the world. Where is Superman or Will Smith when you need them?
Using new genome technology to identify the type of Ames strain anthrax used in the attacks, the FBI began to focus on Bruce Ivins as a suspect more than a year ago. This had to do with very specific characteristics in the DNA found in the saliva on the letters, plus the knowledge of that very strain of anthrax in Bruce Ivins' labs. These were the cultures for which he was responsible.
The new technology that was used to track him down wasn't available in 2001 but, became available around 2005. The hunt was on but, the mystery man has taken his life and in so doing, has taken his secrets to the grave with him.
Did he act alone? Who put him up to it? Was it Iraqi spies? Was it some rogue elements in the Bush administration? Hmmmm... I'll leave it to the conspiracy theorists to answer those questions... or agents Mulder and Scully (X-Files). Take your pick!
Saturday, August 2, 2008
Down the street, there was a live Jazz band and they sounded pretty good... so, I left my co-workers and walked over to where the band was playing. Inside a scruffy little place with cheezy neon lights, the smell of soul food filled the air where people were sitting and watching the band play... fried chicken, fried fish (which I can't eat), collard greens, macaroni & cheese, candied yams, and potato salad. I have to cut down on this type of food for health reasons but, I just couldn't help myself. I loaded up my plate with everything mentioned (except the fish). I also helped myself to a jar of sweet ice tea and enjoyed the feast while the band finished their set.
A DJ came on while they took their break and began playing cuts from Al Green's new CD (which was partially produced by Questlove), Mint Condition, Ashanti, Usher, Mariah Carey, and Janet Jackson. It was a good time... no drama, no gunplay, no foolishness. I enjoyed myself fully.
Now, here I am... stuffed and feeling like I'm hung over... hung over from good music and good eatin'.
The Duel 11:00am
I was taking my grandson to breakfast this morning (Seems like I'll never learn, will I?) and I said to him, "Come on, little man lets go someplace nice." So, I hit Lincoln Drive and headed for the Germantown section of town. I was going to take him to another one of our favorite places, The Trolley Car Diner. It has great food and great service... the only thing is, I couldn't get to it. They are doing construction from Germantown Avenue to Chestnut Hill and the part of the road that leads to the diner is blocked off! (It must be killing their business right now.) I didn't feel like driving around in circles all morning so, I headed back to Lincoln Drive. This drive is known for its monstrous curves and is considered hazardous. I was once told that my father would go out of his way to avoid driving on it... which is part of the reason I love it!
While I was on the drive, I saw this really cool Mustang GT convertible in front of me and it had an Omega Psi Phi license plate on it. The man driving it looked to be about my father's age. He was one of those real cool old men that never seem to age. (They tell me that I'm gonna be like that too-lol!) He was wearing a white Panama hat, white shirt, and white shorts. He had a woman sitting next to him who appeared to be in her late 40's. I pulled along side of them and slowly moved in front of them. I know that he saw the Kappa Alpha Psi cane and fishing hat sitting in the back window of my car, as well as my frat license plate holder. So, the duel was on...
We were going at it in both lanes, making those wicked turns. I was conscious that my little man was in the child seat, in the back (Did you hear that Nancy Grace?) so, I drove with as much caution as I could. This guy whipped between 2 or 3 cars and slipped into the lane beside me. Then, he looked at me, winked, and pulled off. (Oh no, he doesn't wanna take it there, does he?). I bided my time and waited until we got to City Avenue... an SUV with out of state plates cut him off and I shifted to the other lane. Now, it's my turn to look at him and wink. Then, I smiled and when the light turned green, off I went... laughing like The Joker! I said to my little man, "Did you just see your Pop-Pop! How do ya like me now?" My grandson said, "Brrrrrrrrr, whoooooooooo!" and clapped with approval but, it was short lived. The old playa drove up beside me again, laughed, and pulled off three or four cars ahead of me. (I guess he didn't get that old by NOT knowing how to drive.)
Finally, when I got to 54th and City Avenue, I glared over at him. We both watched for the light to change and this time, I got the upper hand and kept it until we got to 63rd Street. I put my signal on and went into the turning lane, signaling that our little duel was over. We nodded to each other... the nod of two worthy opponents who respected each other. He drove straight and I made my turn onto 63rd street.
Now, I ask you... was it the boy in me, the Aries in me, or the damn fool in me?
Adventures in Brunch 12:00pm
Obama & The Hecklers 1:30pm
Friday, August 1, 2008
This day marks ten years that he's been dead. (I'll call him V.) When I began serving in the U.S. Air Force Reserves, V. was my first supervisor. He was a Staff Sergeant and four years my senior. I came to the base fresh from boot camp with a wild crew... we were all in our early to mid 20's and none of us had any stripes; therefore, we had no fear and no responsibility. V. understood us... he and his crew had all been what we were... the young terrors on the base. These guys were now in the midst of changing because they were starting to get promoted and had a little responsibility. The same would happen to us in a few years too.
V. and I became fast friends. We were both raised in the same part of West Philadelphia, had a penchant for the ladies, and had been burned by love. It would take a book to talk about our many adventures and mishaps in the Air Force and I don't intend to talk about them all here. I'll just go over the basics.
V. met me at a time in my life when I was going through a change... I was 26 years old, starting to think about my future, and beginning to tone down all of the wildness of the years before. I had finally listened to my mother and started socking away some money. I already met the woman I was going to marry and my entire attitude had changed. In effect, I was no longer any fun... I stopped drinking, cut down on the partying and staying up late, and I was starting to move up the ranks in the military. Me and two other guys (I'll call them E. and S.) eventually equaled V. in rank and were no longer his "charges" but rather, his contemporaries.
My fun came from living vicariously through V. He had gotten divorced before I met him and had just married wife number two. He was constantly battling wife number one over issues of child support. Then, he and wife number two had a baby. While we were all over in Europe, she neglected to pay any of the bills for the house they rented and subsequently, they all got evicted. V. and his new family had to live at his mother's house, which was around the corner from my aunt's house.
When we went back to Europe, V. got involved with a beautiful woman whose father was an African American G.I. and mother was a German civilian. The entire time we were there, he stayed at her home in Amsterdam. E. and I covered for him when he didn't show up for work. The woman wrote him a beautiful letter, put perfume all over it, a lipstick smudge, and mailed it to his home in PHILADELPHIA. The letter beat him home and his son from his first marriage opened the letter and showed it to his step-mom!!! Well, that pretty much ended marriage number two.
V., E., and I went to San Antonio, TX a few years later and V. got involved with a much older woman (she was 50 years old). Mind you, we were by then in our late 30's. Her husband had been some kind of "negro first" something or other in Texas, died, and left her a pile of money. She bought V. clothes, let him drive her cars (I did say cars... she had a black Jaguar and a white Mercedes Benz), and she gave him money. V. would come to the base, pick us up, and we would go out on the town and have a high time.
One time, we met these girls from Philly who were visiting for a few days and they wanted to party. I was married by then and in a rare moment of good judgment, I elected not to go with them to the party. Just as I was getting out the car (the Benz), his woman drove up in the Jaguar! She yelled, "Get them b-----s outta mah car, nigguh!" E. Looked at me and I motioned for him to come with me. He did and we both went back to the barracks.
Later that night, V. knocked on my door... his clothes were torn and he was a bloody mess!!! The woman made him get in her car, they quarreled, and she drove at speeds of 80 and 90 miles an hour while screaming, "If I can't have all of you then, I'm taking us both to the grave! V. leaped out of the car and she drove the car into an embankment. I know this wasn't funny, but I had to walk into another room to keep him from seeing me laugh... the woman wound up in the hospital and all of us returned to Philadelphia.
Right after that, V. realized that he needed a change in his life so, he married a church-going girl. He even got saved himself and he left the Air Force. He got a good civilian job and he and his new wife moved into a small home in the Mt. Airy section of Philly. I went to Italy that summer and returned to Philly in August. One day, I was walking down the street towards my block and saw V. with his wife. He had on a very nicely tailored suit and was all smiles. We embraced and I talked about my trip to Italy. He told me that he and a friend were going to go partying the next night and he asked me if I wanted to come. I declined but told him I would drop by his house and see him in a few days. Unfortunately, that was the last time I would ever see him alive. I never knew who the "friend" was that went with V. to the party but apparently, they went out and got an "8 ball" of coke (not the soft drink) to get high. V. subsequently went into cardiac arrest and died. He was only two weeks shy of his 44th birthday.
I had just turned 40 years old a couple of months before this happened and, it felt so weird attending his funeral. Every guy I had known throughout my Air Force career was there. It was like a reunion of sorts... guys I hadn't seen in years, guys who had retired, transferred, etc. And women!!! All three of his wives were there, his four children, and past girlfriends. It was like a rock star's funeral and V. WAS a rock star. Everybody had a funny story to tell about V.(celebrating his life). As I walked by his coffin and looked at him in his full military garb, I couldn't cry... in fact, I smiled because I remembered all of his misadventures with the women (and there were a lot more than the two I talked about here). Then, I silently said to my friend... "I hope the action is better for you in Heaven."