Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Best Selling =/= Best

The current generation's Lil' Kim or someone with real skillz like Jean Grae?

Weezy or Talib Kweli?

A VW Beetle or a Mercielago?

I'd much rather watch Persephone in The Matrix than Scarlet O'Hara in Gone With the Wind any day.

Tommy's over Mickey D's any day.

Plain vanilla or your local favorite?

Sure, I'll pick up paint, toiletries and DVD's from Walmart - but never a suit.

Monday, June 28, 2010


The South seems to have a disproportionate amount of STDs,
And of these Southern states - my area of Texas seems to have a high incidence of Syphilis.

One of the elderly blind women I check in on mentioned that many of the women, with whom she'd worked as a cleaning lady at the local university, were now also suffering from a loss of sight.
One of the women's daughters thought that the cleaning chemicals used on their old job was the cause.
This woman's daughter thought that she could bring some type of suit against the university.

But I talk to these ladies.
These ladies tell stories of hardships and struggles which led many to turn to prostitution as a means to earn a little extra money to better provide for their children.
These women never thought that they could get sick from these acts - but many are now blind and/or on the verge of senility.

Besides the chemicals used in cleaning products - what could cause blindness?
Sex + ? = Blindness.
After reviewing the Syphilis infection rates in or area (which are quite high), I thought that these women had been syphilitic for years but had never been treated.
After taking one of these elderly ladies to her doctor to be tested for STDs, I found out that she was indeed positive for Syphilis.
(She's still blind but she no longer tests positive for the disease.)

But the other ladies were/are too ashamed to get tested.
Their daughters, sons and grandchildren are too ashamed to force them to be tested.
In the end -the fear and ignorance of these women may have been the cause of their current conditions.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Whucha' Can't Have

Everyone has been to (or seen) a club which holds potential patrons in a holding pen consisting of little more than a velvet rope and a little intimidation.
As people drive by, they notice that this club must be so cool that it only allows certain people in.
This club must be so exclusive that it can afford to turn away those which many other venues would love to have as their customers.

One of the clubs I advise was having trouble creating heat.
The club could get people to come by for a drink or two - but the club became an afterthought and not the default club in most people's minds.
But this was a fairly nice club.

How was this problem solved?
By giving membership cards to the most active patrons and sending cards to those, within the community, the club would like to have as patrons.
As people began to be turned away (unless they were accompanied by members or were members themselves) - people began to frequent the club more often, tip more and buy more drinks all in an effort to become members of an imagined exclusive club.

How did we get people to want what we were initially offering them for free?
By telling them that they couldn't have it.

Monday, June 21, 2010


Some people go through a stage in life when their poor choices or circumstances determine their station in life.
Sometimes people become drug addicts, alcoholics, impoverished or worse.
For some, this station becomes more than a passing phase - for some, this station becomes a choice, a way of life - this station becomes their identity.

Some people are from the ghetto - others are just ghetto.
Even when one acquires the resources to remove themselves from their situation - their mentality dictates that they live the lifestyle of the ghetto (With all it's limitations).

I've never been a slave.
I've never picked a ball of cotton, been whipped by a master nor prevented from making the most of my innate talents.
To me, Slavery was just a very small portion of my identity as an Black man in America.
For me, Slavery was just a passing phase from which I could learn.
For me, the few hundred years of slavery pales in comparison to the thousands of earlier years of freedom and innovation.
For me, Slavery was just the foundation from which later success could be built.

IMOHO - Too many people still choose to only identify with the worst of their past.
Too many hold on to the mentality of settling for the scraps, the subjugation by others and the position of inferiority.
I think too many people still see themselves as slaves and act accordingly.
Too many cannot see Slavery as being similar to a horrible childhood of poverty and oppression but an adult life of freedom, wealth and opportunity.
Too many people act like slaves because they still see themselves as being slaves.


Black/white, straight/gay, male/female, light/dark, good hair/bad hair, young old, smart/dumb, fat/thin, hot/not, healthy/sickly, rich/poor,...
IMOHO - Most people identify as that which they are not.
In a room full of straight, Christian, rich, old, white males - the gay, Christian, rich, old, white male stands out.
Or the straight, Christian, rich, old, Black male.
Or the straight, Christian, rich, old, white female.

In a room full of rich, educated, young , Black, Christian, light-skinned males - the rich, educated, young, Black, Christian, dark-skinned male stands out.
And on and on...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Bad Kobe.
Good Kobe.

Lower Case

I saw a bag similar to this on the header of someones blog and said, "Nice satchel.".
"I could use a bag like that to go from club to club to construction site to meeting without having to worry about a scuff mark or having to worry about my bag matching my shoes.", I thought.
But the girl reading over my shoulder thought that it "looked poor".
What she imagined as being of a 'higher class' was something resembling this, more traditional, briefcase from Gucci.
Her idea of class was a suit from Dillard's, Stacy Adams shoes and a briefcase.
(This reminded me of Von's aspirational way of thinking.)
When I reminded her that I carry a nondescript TUMI bag, wear Donald Pliner shoes and Armani or Jahne Barnes suits and sportswear with no visible labels, "What's that" is all she could say.

This is the hardest part about finding a girl here in the South.
Most are still so stuck on feeling inferior that they try to hide their insecurity behind the labels of their products.
Most don't understand the old axiom, "Form follows function.".
Initially she thought that this bag "looked poor" too.
Until she saw the "LV" logo.
"Oh, that's nice.", she said.
Next thing you know, she'll want me to carry a murse like this MCM model.
(Umm... No thanks.)

Monday, June 14, 2010

I Don't Get - Lady Gaga

During the '80's there was no dearth of attention whores, of varying talents, who positioned themselves on the pop charts based on little more than appearance alone.
Grace Jones had a few hits - but it was her striking looks which put her on the magazine covers and in the hands of pop artist Keith Haring.
Cher's singing career was in the dumpsters until she began to dress in attention grabbing attire on the Red Carpet to ensure her place on magazine covers.
Madonna had number one albums and singles but she is most remembered for her Jean Paul Gaultier and Theirry Mugler outfits.
Dale Bozzio (Missing Persons) was Lady Gaga before L.G. was even born. (But better looking - back then).
It was Ms. Bozzio who would be cited as a major influence on the vocal and fashion choices of the next generation's fashion icon Gwen Stefani.
(Even though Gwen seems, to me, to have been more inspired by the local (to Anaheim) fashions of the Latinas and Asians of So.Cal..)
Maybe I'm just old - but I don't get the appeal of a homely girl with a terrible body.
I just don't get Lady Gaga.

"And You Stay There Because..."?

brohammas asked.

This past weekend I had a conversation with a few of our local politicians and the same topic came up.
When a local businessman pointed out that I'd been retired for the past decade, "You work more than anyone I know, especially for being retired." another businesswoman commented.
But that's the thing - being retired doesn't mean that one doesn't work.
Being retired means that one does not have to work.
It gives one freedom to walk away from any job at any time for any reason.

To tell the truth, I hate this town, this area, and this state.
I used to be racist (I couldn't help it, the philosophy is often one with which many youths who grow up in less than desirable circumstances are inculcated as a reason for their suffering.), but race no longer plays a major factor in my decision making.
But in this Southern town, area and state, race is the only determining factor in most people's decision making processes.

But I only do work for Black owned businesses.
Because the Blacks in this area have large amounts of money but very little power or wealth.
Blacks in this area represent half of the population but little of the effective representation.
Many Blacks still harbor resentment from Segregation and most still feel as though they are inferior.

Most of these still imagine that gaudy material goods bought from a chic boutique are more to be desired than ownership of the boutique or the building in which it operates.
Most still imagine that getting a new car every two years is more to be desired than not having a car note to pay for two or more years.
Most imagine that an unusable degree is more valuable than a marketable skill or knowledge.
Most still imagine that having better material goods is the same as being in a better class.
Most Blacks here focus on the outward signs of wealth without generating any real wealth that can be passed from one generation to the next.

"But there are a lot of Bill E. Bob rednecks in your area.", some might say.
So what.
What are they going to do to me besides hate me because they are in no way better than me - Call me a "nigger"?
Bitch please - try to hit a nigga and see what's up.
Provide poor service at a restaurant or store?
Chances are that I'm friends with their boss.
Have the police harass me?
Pa-leeese. The head of Internal Affairs and the Mayor have already handled problems for me in the past.

To tell the truth, I'd be more likely to be shot while pumping gas at a local station in So.Cal than I would be getting shot by some simple Hillbilly here in the South.
The truth is, most of these rednecks are just running scared.
Scared that their teachings have proven false.
Scared that Slavery, Segregation and racism have failed to eradicate Blacks (or browns, or yellows, or reds) from the American continent.
Scared that many of their children are being more influenced by the pop culture of the "coloureds" than by the disinformation being taught in their sacred history books.

So brohammas, why do I stay?
It is in towns such as this where society can be corrected.
It is in towns such as this where people will begin to judge each other by the value and quality of ones work.
Because this is ground zero for a larger social change.

U Ain't "Grown"

If you're of an adult age and still living with your parents - you're not grown.
I walked in on a thirty year old cousin arguing with her mother because she was not afforded the freedoms generally associated with someone her age.
"I'm grown", was the response of the daughter.
"Oh hell no. You're not 'grown' until you are responsible for yourself.", I said.
"You're only 'grown' when it's your house. Until then, you're only a guest.", I finished.
As the daughter slammed the door and left the house for the home of her boyfriend - the mother reminded me that her mother lived with her.
"Yep,", I said, "your mother lives - with - you. You're 'grown'.".

Kermit Said It All

"It ain't easy being green."
Unless you're rooting against Kobe.
Sure, he's a great basketball player.
I'd choose him if we were running threes at the local park.
(Just don't let him come to the strip club with you afterwards.)

Robert Green - Choke.
Alvin Greene - Broke.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Ain't Nothin' Gonna Happen

BO can talk the ish he wants about firing BP's CEO.
But the truth is - it ain't gonna happen.
Why - because the perpertrators are white?
Nope, because the US has too many ties with the Brits and the US is not beyond reproach when it comes to environmental disasters itself.
Attacking BP and the Brits is just a case of the pot calling the kettle "black".

Damned Small Towns!

Back in the day, one could drive to the nearest big city to catch the latest rap acts in touring shows such as The Swatch Fresh Fest.
Being that most groups only had one or two albums - there was often a need for many groups to be packaged together to fill out a concert's worth of material.

Sure, smaller towns and metropolitan areas have their charms - but prime entertainment isn't usually one of them.
So when I read that Slick Rick, The Wu, BDP, and others were touring and performing their classic albums - I knew that this was the one concert I'd have to attend this year.
But after looking up the sites of the shows (Two on the West Coast; L.A. & San Fran., and two on the East Coast: New York and D.C.), I began to rue the day I ever left the media rich suburbs of Los Angeles.

Damned small towns...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

As Simple As

Chances are that one will never have to press a washing machine from ones chest while lying in a supine position.
Chances are that one will never have to repeatedly curl fifty pounds of groceries, rest, repeat, rest and repeat.
Chances are that one will never have to run five to ten miles at any given time in ones lifetime as part of their daily activity.
But each is a good exercise to prepare for what one will have to do.

When we blog - who is our audience?
For me, it's my young cousins and the topics are generally related to questions which have arisen throughout the day.
For me, the format and delivery must not only be simple enough for them to understand - but it must be simple enough for them to relate to their friends and family.
The contents of my posts (and the other blogs I use to help them understand more than I'll teach) must not stop with them.
The contents, ideas and concepts must be recognized as being applicable to their daily lives in a manner which they will be able to use them to have an impact on the outcomes of their situation.

Are most of my posts smart?
Heck no.
I'm not at that stage in life to have that luxury.
But are my posts simple enough for a fifth grader to teach to his classmates and teachers?
I hope so.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Not Julia Roberts

I shudder when I see poorly equipped and poorly trained workers cleaning the residue from the Gulf oil spill and the later applied chemical additives.
Sure, Tyvek suits, dish washing gloves and paper masks give the illusion of protection - but are EPA guidelines really to be trusted?
Or does the EPA or OSHA even regulate the amount of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) required for cleanup workers?
Even in a down economy - Are; $16 and hour, time-and-a-half overtime and a $26 per diem really worth ones health?

Now the real Erin Brockovich is getting involved.
Ms Brockovich is bringing into question whether PPE such as this can protect one from illnesses later in life.
And these poorly worn Type-A suits still leave room for improvement.
At the very least, a Hepa mask should be worn by every worker.

And Tyvek suits should only be used by those with the least potential for contact with any hazardous materials.
With recent record profits for oil companies - Big Oil can surely afford to protect even it's temporary workers.

Monday, June 7, 2010

What Do You Get Prince?

For his Roayal Badness' birthday?
He's already been associated with Sheila E.

And Vanity.

And Eddie Murphy's Baby Mama Melanie B.
(Who should replace Simon on American Idol. A pop star like Paula and a bitter Brit like Simon? It's a natural fit.)

And Carmen Electra.

And Apollonia.

And Troy Beyer. (The only reason I'd watch Dynasty back in the day.)

I guess the only fitting gift would be Salma.
(If she's the reward for becoming a Vampire, sign me up today!).

Mother Earth Has Gas

What's up with all this gas related destruction?

You know the feeling.
Not to make light of the recent earthquakes - but the BG's are usually proceeded by a rumbling in ones bowels.

Followed by a gaseous explosion like the one experienced on a pipeline near Dallas today.

Isn't it thought that gas was also the culprit in the recent Massey Coal Mine disaster?

And now we have a brownish discharge accompanied by a foul stench emanating from deep below the Gulf. (A story which KIT has been killing 'em on of late.)

Even pristine Iceland seems to have joined into the Fart Game.
I know, I know...
These are not joking matters.
But really.
What is up with Earth's recent Irritable Bowel Syndrome?