When I first saw the footage of the North Hollywood bank robbery shootout I was waking up at female friend's home after a long night at the casino.
'Damn, that looks like (the movie) 'Heat'', I said as I sat up to watch.
What was most notable about the shootout was that the felons seemed well protected in their homemade body armour while po-po seemed under-armed.
These guys showed up ready to do damage.
Sure, I have a few weapons around the house - what Texas guy doesn't?
With the state's Open Carry laws about to go into effect in the new year, I don't plan to be one who walks around strapped-up.
In all honesty, I'm more scared of scared people with weapons than I am of criminals with weapons.
Being in the nightclub business it would seem like a no-brainer for me to carry a pistol.
But the thing is that even without carrying a gun I seem to have plenty of guns 'on' me.
The po-po park across the street to make sure I drive away safely, street bosses deploy their crews to make sure no one messes with the only legitimate Black-owned club in the city. (My club is like the Intercontinental in the movie 'John Wick'. It's neutral territory and the street has determined that no 'business' is to be handled on club property.)
But I won't carry a gun. When I was a kid some old Italian man told me to never carry a gun because one day I would have to use it.
He told me to never put myself in a situation or position where I would have use for a gun. (I've remembered that ever since.)
But being in the scared/conservative South, maybe I should walk around with a full suit of body armour.
' Are you kidding me?', I replied to a customer after she stated that she is afraid of all Arabs and Muslims and that she cannot trust them.
'That's like white people thinking that of you because they've seen too many news stories and television shows about Black gangs and crimes.', I concluded.
It was more upsetting to me because the woman is supposed to be educated and she is in a political position to affect the lives of others.
IMOHO - If you're a racist (regardless of your race) then you deserve any racism directed towards you.
Depending upon one's socio-economic status, Southern California offers the best of everything and at the same time the worst of everything.
Perhaps no place in region exemplifies this better than the Inland Empire area. Even though the metropolitan area is the 13th largest in the country, few people have ever heard of it.
I grew up in Riverside - in the middle of nowhere.
But in the middle of everywhere. In 45 minutes, depending on direction, I could be in Newport Beach, the deserts Palm Springs, the mountains in Lake Arrowhead or L.A.. Vegas is only a 45 minute flight out of Ontario.
But there is also a lot of crime and poverty in the area. Smog, gangs (Asian, Black, Hispanic and white-supremist) and drugs are as common as grass in many towns of the region.
Especially in San Bernardino.
While many surrounding areas have rebounded and even flourished since the housing and economic market crashes, San Bernardino seems to be getting worse.
Being one of Riverside's traditional sister cities (from downtown to downtown is only ten minutes), I am very familiar with the town.
Syed Farook (one of the alleged shooters in San Bernardino) is said to have gone to high school in my hometown at La Sierra (often referred to as 'Lousy Area' by those who live in better parts of the town). The shooting took place just blocks away from the Friday's at which I worked many years ago. Loma Linda hospital (the hospital to which the shooting victims were taken) is in a town which I once lived. The killing of two of the shooters in Redlands happened in another town in which I once lived. Police officers, Sheriffs and dispatchers in the area are still my friends. (In fact, it was from tweets and Facebook postings that I first learned of the shootings.)
But what of this terrorist attack?
(Yes, 'Terrorist' - as the media, citizens and law enforcement in my current town (2000 miles away) are all scared as shit thinking that the next event could happen here.)
I think it was a personal attack that will be claimed or spun to have political or religious motivations.
A Christmas party with co-workers isn't exactly a high-profile target.
San Manuel Casino (a few miles away) would have had a larger negative financial impact on the area.
The Mission Inn's annual Festival of Lights (a few miles in the other direction) is a much bigger party.
The area is filled with colleges and universities and some type of shopping mall can be found at most freeway offramps.
If the goal was to disrupt the most lives possible, there were clearly more visible targets in the area.
While searching facebook for Syed's page, I came across another man with the same name who was advocating the celebration and recognition of Muslim holidays by the government. Apparently some Muslims wish to be treated as equals in America.
IMOHO - This attack was one derived from personal motives.
At least since the time of Capone, the ability to tell the differences between criminals, politicians and the police has been getting harder and harder to define.
Chicago cover-up/Benghazi cover-up, Guantanamo/Homan Square,...
I guess Rahm learned a lot from the Clintons and Obama.
Back in the day;
Levi's 501 - $10
Lacoste polo shirt - $30
Nike Cortez - $40
Guess jacket with leather patches - $160 (and it better last long enough to go out of style at that price)
Ray Ban Wayfarer - $45
Swatch Watch - $20
Sony Walkman - $50
Levi's 501 - $50
Lacoste polo shirt - $70
Limited edition Jordans - $300+
North Face coat - $300+
Ray Ban Wayfarer - $100+
Who wears watches anymore? Smart Phone - $500+
Beats headphones - $150+
I have an ex whose son still looks to me for guidance.
When I first met the kid he was kinda' soft and spoiled.
But I don't play with children.
The kid's mom was proud of her son and she felt that his little award shrine was just as good as any other child's.
"Man, these aren't real trophies these are participation trophies and medals. You didn't earn these.", I said to the kid (hurting his feelings).
The thing is, after this conversation the kid joined me in the gym. We'd go for nighttime runs or play tennis or basketball.
I'd check his homework and have him revise any mistakes.
He'd watch the news, ESPN the History Channel and whatever else I was watching and he'd comment or ask questions.
When he doubted himself or didn't know how to do something, I'd just say, 'That's alright, we'll just have to work on it and practice. You'll get it.".
When he was getting picked on at school I bought a heavy punching bag and gloves and we'd workout. (He ended up going to the kid's house and beating his bully in a straight up fight.)
And on and on...
After a few years the kid made the honor roll, played football (Receiving his first bone crushing blow leaving him in tears. 'You're alright. You're not dead or injured. Now you won't be afraid to hit or be hit.' I said as his mom waited to baby him.)
The kid made the AAU basketball team and he's starting on his high school team.
'Your job isn't to make my life easier, your job is to make me better.', he repeats back to me when things get hard. (And the thing is, the kid believes this. He believes in this.)
The kid now has a shelf full of EARNED awards, of which he is very proud.
The kid did the work and made the sacrifices and he doesn't feel in the least entitled.
As far as this new generation of kids who are worried about getting their feelings hurt? Effum. As long as I'm around a kid he will not be concerned with trivial offences - he'll be too busy trying to do and be better.
I say that we SHOULD raise the minimum wage to $15 hr .
My lowest paid employees already make as much - even those receiving tips.
No more Shequillas, Pablos or Laqueenameishas rolling their eyes and talking on their phones when all I want is a number two.
All these protests are a joke.
At $15 an hour, automation and a smaller more competent workforce would price most of these undereducated and underskilled workers unnecessary.
At $15hr, maybe I could get a smile and professionalism and good service.
At $15hr, most of those who are currently protesting will be on unemployment.
The apoplectic responses to perceived (and real) racially stained slights seem all to common these days.
'Justice or else'? Or else what? Or else you'll continue to whine and complain that no one in real power sees you as their equal?
'Black lives matter'? Do they really? What have you given up to prove this? Besides effete prose (Ta-Nussy Coates) and blog posts - what work have you actually done within the communities you claim to value?
'Million Man March'? Ninja-pa-lease! That was as effective as listening to the many gospel concerts and affirmational motivational speaches y'all pay your 'pastors' millions to watch in an effort to live vicariously through his pimped-out 'church' services.
The reason you have to repeat to yourselves that 'Black Lives Matter' is because they don't.
All the lies that your mama told you about you all being 'kings', 'bosses', 'divas', 'queens' and in some way 'special' were that - just lies told to you so that you could feel better about yourself (without having to do the work or make the sacrifices required to actually BE special - in any measurable way).
Black Lives Don't Matter.
Until they do.
The James Blake incident was the best thing that could have happened for your cause. Mr Blake is seen as 'Black' and not as 'just another ninja' '. Mr Blake is in a position to matter. Mr Blake's temperament and poise allows him to speak to power in a way that power is compelled to listen.
And now Black Mizzou football players matter.
These kids bring something to the table.
These guys have formed a group with a collective power that has the ability to facilitate change without violence.
These young men decided to start a fight from a position of power wherein they can make demands instead of your sissy-assed African-American Studies-inspired begging.
These young men control a product that has value.
These young men formed alliances across racial lines which will allow their message to go beyond that of their chosen discipline.
These young men are MAKING their lives matter.
While talking to 'church people' about the nightclub business, the question of my morality and character came up.
I listened as they told me of their pastor's teachings as most of them noted, '...he teaches the word...'.
'Have you read the entire Bible?', I asked. (None of them had.) 'Then how would you know?', I continued.
During the club's Empire Watch Party we eat dinner and sip Champaign.
But I can never eat.
It's not that I don't like the food - I'm the one who orders it.
It's just that I cannot eat if I see unattractive fat people.
Back home I had a beauty queen friend who would scold me whenever I would react this way. 'Stop that John. She has to go her whole life getting that reaction from people. YOU know better.', she would say.
Being in the South and surrounded by unattractive bigguns....
Well, I'm told that I'm Wrong.
When a white dude (Jeff) wearing a wifebeater and cowboy hat, and confederate flag and racist slogan tattoos, and from Jasper (A town (in)famous for the dragging death of a Black man) accidentally stops into my club and declares that he must be lost - I get a little worried. No, not for our safety, but for his.
Since being down South, I've been plenty of places where the owners and patrons acted as though I was unwanted. I did not want my patrons to make this redneck hillbilly feel the same way. We are better than that.
The thing is; many of my patrons are into motorcycles, they know Country music, many have served in the military, and most are into Zydeco and trailrides. Most of my patrons (even the dope boys and ballers) are country boys at heart. Most of my patrons could find common ground with the man.
It was our Karaoke night (With an hour break so that the customers could watch 'Empire'.) and Jeff wanted to sing 'Fat Bottomed Girls' but he didn't know the artist. ''Queen'. That song comes before 'Bicycle' on the album.', I said as I walked by to tend to other customers.
Our Karaoke host assured Jeff that she had some Queen in her books and goaded him until he gave us his drunken rendition inspired by all the callipygian shapes on the women which surrounded him.
The dude was terrible, but he put on a good show. Drinks and rounds were bought and no one was made to feel unsafe or unwanted. Jeff drank so much that he passed out.
When it was time to close, Jeff was too drunk to drive and miles from home.
'We got this John.', a few of his newfound drinking buddies said.
It was at this time that two Houston rappers and their crew took Jeff to a hotel, parked his car and made sure that all of his belongings were on his person.
Jeff woke up this morning hungover and amazed that no one took advantage of him and that he was unharmed. My inbox message from Jeff''s sister/girlfriend/wife (?) thanking us for our service was unexpected (but expected).
At my club, everyone is VIP. Even those who do not expect it.
I don't usually like Black blogs - all they seem to do is whine and complain about how somebody white is keeping them down.
Their lists of their types of victimhood and the Liberal and African-American Studies-influenced catchphrases seem endless while their actionable intelligence seems limited. (To the point where they have no ability to create and/or sustain any real change - the only real 'power' they possess is the ability to boycott, protest or write about problems. i.e. Ta-Nussy Coates)
Their apoplectic ranting resembles that of little children throwing temper tantrums after hearing the news that their candy was taken away from them by persons they have no strength nor ability to resist.
Thanks Jimmy Kimmel, now I know who I am dealing with the next time I have to sit through another meeting with powerless Black politicians who always seem to blame their failings on whites who 'won't let(?) us have nothin'. (Or the next time someone in a position of authority is attempting to regain his street-cred after losing everything after he sold out and bought into and was used and tossed away by the powers that be.)
Maybe it's my time spent in the South, maybe it's a cultural shift and a sign of the times - but I've grown to appreciate to booty.
But that doesn't mean that I've forgotten about the tiddies.
This year will mark the fifth that I've hosted a Breast Cancer Awareness Benefit at the club.
When I first started I'd have to pay for everything and beg people to participate and any donation made would come out of MY pocket.
But not this year.
This year I have five Black-owned restaurants providing food, I have a Black-owned car dealership as a sponsor, I have more door prizes than I can give away, I have so many Black-owned businesses participating that the white elites in our town have asked if they can participate.
And so the rogues gallery of race-baiting political polemics begins to form..
The NAACP? When was the last time they were even relevant?
Jessie Jackson? Ninja-pa-lease!
The new student wouldn't heed the teacher's request to put her phone away.
The student defied the request of the Black vice principal to leave the classroom.
The student would not leave when the school's resource officer gave her orders to leave the classroom.
The student is tipped to the ground, yanked back up and thrown across the room and later taken into custody.
One classmate stated that the student, '...don't got nobody...' while another stated that the officer (his football coach), '...is a cool dude, he is no racist...' (Some have pointed out the officer's Black girlfriend as proof of this.) and that the student, 'wanted to prove that she was bad.'.
By most accounts, Spring Valley High School is a good school in a county that is 48% white and 47% Black.
(The school itself is 52% Black and 30% white.)
The school receives five stars on the Great Schools website.
Twenty-eight percent of the school's students are enrolled in AP classes and 78% pass the AP exam.
Thirty-five percent of the students receive free lunch while another 7% are eligible for reduced lunches.
The teacher involved is said to be a good teacher.
The school did have a controversy over the hiring of Dr Baron Davis as it's first Black principal a few years ago because it was said that he 'wouldn't understand the culture' of the school. But Dr Davis has since been promoted to assistant superintendent of the district.
I've seen some bad-assed kids and I've met some bad cops, but in the battle between the two - the first round went to the po-po.
The jokes on you.
"Motherboard" didn't react, they did their homework to discover that the alleged outrage over there being too few PWC (People Without Color?) in the newest Star Wars trilogy and outrage that it caused as being a hoax perpetrated by Internet trolls.
But that the protagonists of the newest film are a woman, a Black and a Latino?
Hey, hey, wait... Slow down now.
The greatest execration to the meme was on the side of male PWC who see themselves as victims to their perceived loss of power in a society largely divided by class, race and gender.
News outlets and social media jumped on the story with either anger or agreeance in an effort to be sensational and first.
While this take on people of color and women becoming the alphas was false, I still understand your consternation.
I understand that Affirmative Action caused the loss of your positions of power up to and including the presidency.
I understand that your feminization has caused some of you to become mass murderers.
I understand that your fear and resentment towards minorities and women has caused some of you to extirpate a once honorable political party.
I understand that your lack of game has made some of you even less desirable to many of the women you thought were your own.
I understand the influence upon your children of a pop culture that is dominated by those you once considered as being 'other'.
I feel your pain.
But don't worry, your position is safe.
White males are still the heroes.
White males always save the day.
White males are always the wielders of and in positions of the real power.
Other than in the *Fast and Furious franchise, the white male is still the alpha in a sea of minority and female betas.
Don't forget, Star Wars takes place a long time ago in a galaxy far away.
(In other words: not now and not on Earth.)
*I liked the franchise and it's diversity. While set in LA, I grew up under similar circumstances and demographics a few towns over. I have never been the sidekick even when I was in predominantly white situations. Sure Bryan and Dom were pretty much equal stars, but Dom could kick Bryan's ass (and I'm sure that Bryan was always aware of this fact).
When Boris Kodjoe joined the cast as the only alpha male in the Resident Evil films I was sure that he was going to die in a heroic effort to save the white hero at the end the movie. But he lived. Being that there are only a few humans remaining on earth, and that he plays a virile alpha surrounded by the characters; Alice, Jill Valentine and Claire Redfield - he was bound to eventually have a dalliance with one or all (It would only be natural and make sense.) I'm sure the directors and producers have thought of this so I doubt that he'll be in or live through the next installment of the franchise.
Almost everyone seems to say that they are in favor of everyone being equal and that everyone should have the same opportunities.
Sure, this sounds nice but this is not reality - nor will it ever be (at least, not in this world).
Raven Symone seems to be taking a lot of hits from social media lately and most of her problems seem to be caused by the things that come from her mouth.
Raven is seen by many Blacks as being out of touch with her heritage, history and culture.
Ms Symone seems to be speaking from a position of 'privilege' (You know, that elusive thing that is supposed by some to be endemic to white people in America).
Ms Symone is said to want freedom, liberty and the pursuit of her own happiness while denying the rights of others, less fortunate, the same opportunities to enjoy the same.
Ms Symone is said to be exhibiting 'internalized racism'. (Whatever that is?)
Some see Ms Symone as a real life 'Uncle Ruckus'.
Ms Symone is so blind to her own color that she fails to understand her 'proper place' in a racially divided America. (But wasn't that the goal of all those sit-ins, marches and protests?)
Honestly, in my business I deal with A LOT of Black people from across the country and from many cultures and socio-economic backgrounds.
Most of the conversations regarding race include:
Dark brotha's and sista's resent light skinned brotha's and sista's.
Light skinned brotha's and sista's look down on dark brotha's and sista's.
Uneducated Blacks see most of the more erudite brotha's and sista's as 'acting white'.
Ghetto brotha's and sista's think that they are 'keeping it real' while many see those with more stable lifestyles as 'Uncle Toms' and 'Sell Outs'. (Those few successful Blacks who still retain a sense of street-cred are those who have mastered the task of being Black+ or Black++)
Light skinned Blacks perform better because they have to fight against ghetto dark blacks from behind and rich white people in front of them. (This argument may have some merit so I'll have to look into it further at a later date.)
'Internalized Racism', 'Black Pathology', 'Colonial Mentality' and the rest of the terminology used by 'educated Black folk' are just natural occurrences in any social order regardless of race, ethnic group, country or culture. It is the exploitation of these types of fears by those with real power that keeps those without without.
If you believe in these theories put forth by those in REAL power - you'll be broke, they'll be rich - in the very same hour.
If you want to see an example of the game and how is played, just look at The Sneetches and who ultimately gets paid.
Back when we were kids, my youngest brother and his friends would sneak booze from our parents' liquor cabinets and go play in the surrounding hillsides to have 'shootouts'.
The sight of ten to thirteen year olds drunk and shooting at each other with Daisey pellet and BB-guns was amusing to us older kids.
We'd laugh at our younger brothers when they'd come home bruised (and sometimes bleeding) from these shootouts.
I only remember one kid - Robbie Beverly - shooting his eye out.
(Well, he didn't really shoot his eye out but he did need surgery and had to wear a patch for a while. After that the boys would wear sunglasses in an effort to protect their eyes from a stray BB.)
Back then, in that area - kids with pellet guns were a common sight
Most kids would use their guns to shoot at snakes and gophers.
We would place targets in front of a hill to create practice ranges and we'd we've competitions to see who was the best shot.
When the po-po would roll up they would instruct us kids on safety and the proper way to hold, aim and shoot a pistol and/or riffle.
They'd tell us that shooting at cans was alright but that we weren't allowed to shoot bottles because of the danger and resulting litter.
(The police academy was less than a mile away on a neighboring hill so police patrols and their training runs enabled us to actually get to know quite a few officers.)
No kids were shot by the police.
A recent girlfriend's son and his friends had shootouts in their neighborhood here in Texas.
One day the kid asked me if I could paint his orange tip black so that his pistol could look more like a real gun.
'Hell no!', I answered.
'That orange tip is what keeps you out of trouble', I said.
(And then he received a lecture and was told stories from my childhood.)
A few weeks later his crew was approached by the police. Someone had called 911 reporting that a group of Black kids were shooting at each other.
The kids tried to hide their guns but it was too late.
The po-po rolled up and warned the kids that they couldn't shoot animals, people or property and that they should limit their shots to below the chest as a safety precaution.
After this run in, the boys decided to limit their shooting to the nearby Air Soft ranges.
No kids were shot by the police.
What ( if anything) is different from my experiences with the po-po, kids and fake guns and the experience of Tamir Rice?
Most people park their cars for long periods of time during work hours.
Why don't businesses and municipalities use at least half of their parking spaces as shaded parking spaces that would recharge worker's cars while they sit idly all day?
With the second great Jihad of 1453, Islam conquered Constantinople and took away Europe's land routes to the East.
This set the stage for what indigenous people would have thought of as being a Christian 'Jihad' in the Americas.
The subjugation and/or dismemberment of non-believers, rape, looting and pillaging, the forced conversion of those of a foroegn faith...
Al Qaeda has nothing on the destruction and atrocities committed by those seeking to spread the faith of those who refused swim the Tiber.
(I know violence in the Americas existed before Columbus, but so did original America.)
Well, I'm not a fan of the host's style - the show is a'ight..
The thing about Bar Rescue is that it's easy to improve sales for a short period of time but do the establishments become anchors in the community over an extended period.
About 25% of the rescued bars end up closing but this is better than the 75% failure rate of most bars/clubs in their first three years.
Given that each bar is essentially made into a new bar with media/television exposure, all of the bats on the show SHOULD have increased sale.
In reality, there are not many rules when it come to running a profitable bar.
(In no particular order of importance.)
a) Know your market.
The customer ISN'T always right but it IS the customer who is buying your product. Know and understand what people are willing to pay for in your market.
b) Plan to lose money.
No, not forever but for a year or so until you establish a consistent and growing clientele.
c) Don't be your best customer. (Okay, THIS is the most important.)
You are at work, you're not there to drink and have fun - you are there to make sure your customers drink and have fun.
d) Never hook-up/sleep with any customer or employee.
One will cause social problems while the other will cause legal problems.
e) Pay your people - even when it's slow.
Your people come to work. You are building assets, they are there to make money.
The first question I ask during interviews is whether the applicant would like a drink while we're talking. A 'yes' answer is an automatic disqualifier. One can teach another skills but he cannot teach character and discipline.
My girlfriend is not allowed at the bar often or for extended periods of time. I'm there to work, l'm NOT there to entertain friends and family. They are a distraction.
I'm kind of 'mean' to my employees. They are at the club to work for me, they are not there to be my friend. (But my employees are loyal to a fault. My employees are the highest paid in the market. My employees have a lot of autonomy but the responsibility that goes with it is known to all.)
This past month I received a negative review on Yelp. On the night in question, l was just hanging out on a night off. The only part of the complaint I cared about was the lack of personal service. (The rest of the complaint I don't really care about - we cannot be all things to all people.) Even when I'm off
I can never be 'off'. I cannot be tired or sick or in a bad mood or distracted.
Even when I'm off, I'm not there to have fun - I'm there to make sure everyone else has fun.
Sometimes I hate reading Black blogs - it seems that the only thing that Blacks are expert in is "Blackness".
I grew up in a town that was 6% Black - there really weren't enough Black people to justify any further type of delineation.
In some parts of the South, some Blacks break it down to; Black, brown, light, bright, Redbone, Creole, mixed,... .
On another blogger's page some commented that mixed-race Blacks weren't 'real' Blacks.
(In all honesty, I'm fine with that - people can call me whatever they hate (it has no real impact on my life).)
But what cracked me up was that these same 'militant' comments often dismissed Obama's Blackness while citing the works of other mixed-race Blacks (Frederick Douglas, W.E.B. Du Bois, Booker T Washington and mostly Malcolm X).
Dumb-asses. Black is Black.
(But Black is NOT limited to; ghetto, poverty, ignorance, victimization or and other negative stereotype.)
While laughing at a troll on another blog, I commented that he didn't really hate Black people (he didn't know enough of them to form such a judgement) but that he only feared and resented them.
His fear is media driven and his resentment is predicated on his own failures.
The thing that kind of confused him was that of all the wars that 'his' country fought - most of them were against OTHER WHITE PEOPLE.
Both of the World Wars, The Cold War, The Civil War, The Mexican-American War (the Spanish are European, as he agreed), The War of 1812, The American Revolution, and The Seven Year War.
I also brought up that most white people moved to other countries in an effort to escape OTHER WHITE PEOPLE.
Man, it cracks me up when racists claim to want 'their' country' back.
Everyone cheered near the end of Star Wars when the Rebel Alliance succeeded in blowing up the Empire's 'Death Star'.
As a people - we seem to favor the underdog, the oppressed, the rebel...
Most people don't seem to have a problem with power, authority or being governed - just as long as those in such positions understand that their power is a responsibility and not a luxury.
(The oppression and subjugation of others are not requisite for those in positions of power.)
If I were a Southern plantation owner during the antebellum period, I may have viewed the federal government as an oppressive power seeking to alter my traditional way of life, my culture and hindering my ability to earn a living.
I would have viewed those like Nat Turner as terrorists.
But how can one oppress another whose existence is predicated on the oppression of others?
Shouldn't good always trump evil?
The IRA, Black Panthers, and those involved in democratic revolutions centuries ago are usually thought to have been Freedom Fighters.
While Southern Rebels, ISIS/ISIL, the KKK, Bloods/Crips,.... are thought to be terrorist groups.
In today's world - has the United States [through it's internal (police) and external (military) overseers] become the newest and most villainous Evil Empire?
Will the world cheer when this empire falls?
Does the once oppressed always ultimately become the oppressor?
Two of the more popular songs from Gershwin's folk-opera were: 'It Ain't Necessarily So' and ''Summertime'.
I live in a town that seems to make every published negative list in America.
The club's Facebook page is littered with complaints about how boring the city is.
When I suggested that we go to the symphony or opera, people thought I was joking.
Besides when the next Tyler Perry-esque play coming to town, many Black people here seem to have little interest in culture.
(*note: The videos are NOT the original performances from the play.)
It was where my father would take my mother every year to watch the the swallows.
After my dad died (when I was one year old) my mom would take me there every once in a while as a child.
I still have all those little silver saint medallions from these trips in my old bedroom at my parent's house.
I guess Father Junipero Serra (who held mass at the site) is set to be canonized by Pope Francis.
Sainthood for a missionary who allowed the mistreatment of the native tribes all in the name of acculturation for The Church?
My mom was sent from her reservation in Klammath Falls, Oregon to the Judson Academy in Scottsdale, Az for her boarding school experience.
My home town in Riverside has a similar school (Sherman Indian High School) which was created for the same purpose of teaching natives how to act like real Americans.
Even to this day churches are teaching the heathens how to act like real Americans.
The school's traditional multi-tribe Pow-Wows have been replaced by Christian prayer services in recent years.
Now my father's side of the family...
Apparently the mulatto children in Louisiana were taught all that was right and good in the eyes of The Church as well...
C'mon Pope Francis, stop trying to appeal to the American Latino crowd and pick a better option than Junipero Serra.
The best thing to happen to the whole Black Lives Matter/Campaign Zero/The Counted movement was the recent arrest (and attempted cover up) of the Harvard educated former tennis star James Blake while he was just chillin' outside of and upscale New York hotel.
Sure, Blake DID look a lot like the guy the police were looking for in an identity theft case but how many other Black males have been detained because they 'matched a description'? (It's REALLY common for this being the reason given for searches in 'Broken Window' police policy.)
If it could happen to Blake it could (and does) happen to anyone.
As I stated earlier - Black Lives DON'T Matter.
Only SOME Black Lives Matter.
What is it with the Bees?
(Jupiter Ascending was a less-than-great movie by the Wachowskis but they referenced that bees could sense royalty.)
From the Mormon's 'Deseret' to Gurdieff's 'Sarmoung' to the usage as symbols by Egyptians, the Merovingians and Napoleon...(among others).
What is so special about Bees?
Obama HAD to come across as anything other than The Angry Black Man in order to win the election.
While certain qualities will get one elected - these qualities are not necessarily good once one is in office. (Sometimes the boss has to be a dick.)
Trump has no such social/political/cultural obligation.
Trump can be Trump.
(If asked a question, Trump will give an answer - even if he's wrong. But I guess when people are uncertain and afraid clarity is better than ambiguity.)
And when it comes to Vladimir, I think that many think that Obama may be a bit too soft.
The bitch-assed-nigga who shot on-air former co-workers was a sissified punk.
Apparently the boy had been picked-on during his tenure at the same station.
By the time one becomes an adult one should be able to handle rejection.
By the time one becomes an adult he should be able to just move on and learn to stop identifying and dwelling upon his particular form of 'victimhood'.
Being different is what makes people great.
NOT fitting in is what sets people apart from the ordinary and mundane.
Being able to overcome setbacks is what makes ones successes even more satisfying.
But I just don't get this whole high-self-esteem/pampered/participation trophy/coddled generation.
When we'd get into a fight - we'd win or lose.
If we weren't good enough to make the team - we'd get cut (there was no such thing as a 'B' team).
When we messed up - we got our little bad asses whooped.
When we got teased - we had to learn to take or tell jokes.
When we went outside to play - we got dirty.
It was this exposure to dirt which built up our immune systems which helped us fight of illness later in life.
Maybe all these wanna-be-bad grown assed boys just needed to get a little bit dirty earlier in life.
I hate Single Women's Ministries.
Why? Because they seem to encourage women to stay single and dependent upon the Pastor - the bitter, divorced and single group leader - and the church.
If a woman wants to be trained in being a good wife - wouldn't it make more sense for her to inquire of the married members of the church?
It seems that Black churches are the most predatory in these teachings.
A single mother seems more impressed with and loyal to her pastor's sweet soothing words than she would be with a prospective husband's practical advice.
A single mother would fall for the whole, 'Name It and Claim It' misinterpretation of Biblical teachings and remain broke in doing so.
A single mother would rather listen to the 'You DESERVE the best' sermon instead of the 'YOU be your best (and the rest will fall into place)' sermon.
A single congregation will post photos and sayings on Facebook about their 'favor/blessings/destiny' but not be living a life which is in alignment with receiving such things.
A single mother could more easily be duped into tithing beyond what is right because her pastor puts on an entertaining show rather than teaches The Word.
But why would. Pastor do this?
'Money, status and power', come to mind.
How many of these Pimp Preachers would have what they have or be who they are if their whole congregation was actually Biblically literate and informed?
How many followers would these pastors have if they taught the words of Christ dealing with being virtuous beyond ones circumstances?
Like those who trade in racial tension, divisive politics, and/or 'Special Status' for persecuted LGBTs, etc...
These people NEED people to identify as victims in order for their 'leaders' to stay in power.
Ok, before all you useless African-American Studies majors get your panties in a bind - just hear me out.
BLACK LIVES DON'T MATTER - ALL LIVES MATTER.
(Now get back to writing/talking/complaining about change without having to do any of the hard work required to bring about any real and lasting change - you may be excused. Thank you.)
Black lives don't matter - not even to many other Black people.
Blacks are only 13% of the U.S. population. (Our numbers are not great enough to dictate our wants and desires on the national level.)
Ninety percent of Blacks are killed by other Blacks. These Black lives didn't matter.
Only 44% of Black mothers even bother to breast feed their babies. (The lowest rate among races or ethnic groups.) Many Black babies don't matter.
Seventy percent of Black children grow up in single-parent homes. Black families don't seem to matter.
The abortion rate for Blacks is twice the national average. The Black future doesn't matter even to Black people.
Sure, all lives matter but Black people will not understand this until Black lives matter to Black people.
IMOHO the BLM movement has run it's course - they are no longer useful in speaking on the national nor international levels.
The idea was good and the cause was just - but like the Million Man March or the Occupy Movement, they had no clearly stated goals or any means to accomplish anything beyond protest.
'The Counted' created by the Guardian counts ALL lives lost to the police in America, thus bringing attention to the larger systemic problem - while still not ignoring the almost exponential effect these practices have on the Black community.
Campaign Zero seems to going the same route. Their focus seems to be on the total problem not just on how this problem affects the relative few.
By bringing attention to the national problem, whites can see that the police issue affects their quality of life as well and will be more likely to side with justice.
Someone once paraphrased Klemens Von Metternich in saying that, 'When America sneezes, the whole world catches a cold.'. If this is still the case then; When America sneezes, it's minorities get pneumonia.
Power speaks to power - not it's victims.
BLM and the rest of the ockie-done Black movements have little to no real power - they need the likes of Campaign Zero and The Counted.
BLM came to the table as victims without focus or an agenda - Campaign Zero and The Counted stated their platforms from the start.
BLM were just a bunch of powerless angry negroes who could start a fight yet they seem too unprepared and too unqualified to finish it.
So, do Black Lives Matter? Of course they do, but not until we realize the ALL lives matter.
From the Abolitionist Movement of those like John Brown,
To the founding of the NAACP,
To the murders of white civil rights activists in Mississippi...
Black Lives NEVER Mattered.
What changed the hearts and minds of many was that white people were being killed or harmed in their efforts to fight for freedom for ALL.
It seemed that every fifty or so years we have this conversation.
Will 'Selma' director Ava DuVernay direct the upcoming MCU 'Black Panther' movie or won't she?
IMOHO - She should. (It would have the same impact as Uhura remaining on Star Trek. It would have shown a generation of minority children that we Blacks have a place in the future too.)
Stan Lee and Marvel have always made an attempt at creating and including Blacks in their books for decades. (And no, I'm not about the terribly missthought PC inclusion of a Black guy in the re-boot of the most recent 'Fantastic Four' studio effort.)
And a female and Black director at the helm of a big-budget film would take Marvel's stance on inclusion to a whole other level.
Apparently Ms DuVernay has declined the studio's offer (which is a good position in which to be) but should the director have put her own interests aside in order to open the gates for others in this white male dominated field?
I used to read comic books back in the day but I have yet to read a single 'Black Panther' issue.
I don't know why, I just never needed a color model in order to self-identify with an ideal.
If a character possessed the requisite virtues to which I had hoped to aspire then that was all that mattered.
But upon reading about the Panther, maybe I should give him a look.
Apparently there came a time when all the leaders of all the major MCU teams (Avengers, Fantastic Four, Inhumans, X-Men,....) came together to form a secret group called the Illuminati.
The Black Panther was asked to join this all-stars of the all-stars group but he would walk away.
Sure he would support these different groups and their members as well as fight against them - depending on whether he believed in what each group (and this super group) were trying to accomplish.
The Black Panther was all about freedom and being a member of some secret all-powerful group went against his character.
Said to be the 8th smartest person in the world, the Panther could see where the creation of such a group would do more harm than good.
(I think his wife (Storm from the X-Men) would have been an interesting member of this group - she has already worked with most of the other member's teams)
'Black Panther' and the 'Illuminati'?
This sounds like a conspiracy theorist's wet dream.
Everyone likes to feel attractive to the opposite sex - some prefer the same sex.
But not me.
"Everyone loves John.", is a common statement heard around town.
My newest liquor-rep stated that, 'Even my white stores get excited and mention that they know/have me you.'
Now, I have a bartender - a tall, fit, fine and pretty girl.
She likes when I work the bar because she has to work less, everyone asks for me to make their drinks and she gets to keep the larger tips.
'Even my boyfriend makes it a point to stop by to see you when he's in town. These nigga's have man crushes.', she said.
I just laughed at her taunting.
I thought I was just a cool dude.
Every good bartender has groupies.
I thought the guys wanted to be around to meet the women that I turn down - and that IS the case (MOST of the time).
Apparently I have a large groupie following of male prison inmates.
I was informed of this by a group of prison gaurds who frequent my spot.
Ummm.. I've been raped before (All Summer long by a group of thirteen year old girls when I was eight years old.) but I doubt that what these dudes have in mind would quite be the same experience.
Back in my Rude Boy days we always seemed to get along with the Teds.
(Well the Southern California incarnation of these British style tribes..)
By this time; Punk had been taken over by racist Skin Heads, New Romanticism was moving towards Goth, Soul Boys were mainstream Pop, and Hip Hop was just beginning to gain traction.
With the release of the NWA bio-pic, some are concerned that negroes will not be able to compose themselves in a civilized social setting.
If only Blacks could remember how perfect everything was before Hip-Hop, Integration and Obama.
If only we could go back to a time when Rock-n-Roll was the REAL music of choice, when the UK was the great example we all should follow.
It's odd that this movie would spark riots in movie theatres across the UK and that the Teddy Boys were given the blame.
By always being at the club, my sleep hours are terrible.
Sometimes I have to go on a movie binge to wind down.
This weekend I watched three films dealing with the potential of A.I. ; 'Automata', 'Chappie' and 'Ex Machina'.
'Automata' attempts to be 'Bladerunner' but fails in every way.
'Chappie' is cute and more family (even with the R-rating - well, all of these films are rated R) friendly.
'Ex Machina' is probably the most thought provoking.
Storm has been a member of the three biggest Marvel franchises (and several other smaller and lesser known teams).
(I think only Namor Sub-Mainer has been on more teams.)
Storm has been the leader and/or in The X-Men, The Fantastic Four and The Avengers.
She's even squared off against The Silver Surfer.
The sista' is working harder than Sam Jackson.
Of course Black Lives Matter - ALL lives matter.
( pimppreacher.com wrote an essay citing sources stating that twice as many whites are killed in police custody as are Blacks )
But there is nothing new under the sun and the abuse of power by some of today's police officers is just another of those old-new things.
Because this brotha' is getting raped over at 'Beyond Black&White',
And this is the video that started it all.
Apparently Ed didn't like the young ladies' poetry - nor their looks.
And it was calling these ladies 'ugly' that stirred the hornets' nest filled with bitter Black women.
(I wanted to comment and ask questions but I was advised by the woman looking over my shoulder to stay out of it.)
One of the comments said that Ed better look like The Rock if he was bold enough to write a whole post about women's looks.
''The Rock'? I think she meant 'A Rock', the woman reading over my shoulder said after seeing Ed's photo.
'That little black maggot...', she continued.
In my business, I deal with a lot of women.
In all honesty, my blogging name is kind of a joke - I get a lot of women. (Looks are subjective but I do a'ight.)
But even I wouldn't be bold enough to call average looking women 'ugly' - and then to link to their website?
Okay, so I jacked this video from another blogger.
(But in my defense, my reply was too long and I didn't wish to leave a whole blog post in your 'comments' section.)
There is another blog which hosts a bunch of really smart people (and Big Don).
The question of 'where are all the Black leaders' was brought up and few had any solid answers.
My answer is simple;
There are no Black leaders because there are no enemies big enough to require them.
That's not to say that there are no social, political and/or economic ills facing Blacks in America today - only that all off these problems can be solved by the 'victim' themselves.
(And please don't get me started on how it is that many Blacks identify as one form of victim or another. That's a whole other post.)
What are the issues facing Black America today?
High crime rates, the lack of employment and/or education, redlining, single parent homes, ....
All of these problems (and all others which harm Black people) can be solved by Black people - and most of the time at the local level.
In 'Sicillian', Christopher Lambert's character becomes jaded as he realizes that those he fought to free from oppression never really wanted freedom - what they really wanted was cheaper bread.
I think that's the case with many 'oppressed' Blacks today.
Most will complain about the results of their poor decisions yet few will do the work and make the sacrifices required to make things better.
Many will boast about being a Boss, King, Queen, Diva yet few are even in control of their own lives and conditions.
Some will state that we are still slaves in America today. But there is a problem to this thinking - we are free to just walk away from any job, city or even the country itself if we so choose. What slave could do that? (Now, a slave to the debts of our desires is a slavery of our own making.)
I had a talk with a local pastor and he commented that my small town Blacks lacked 'Class'. This caused a commotion with several of his flock as many pointed out what type of cars they drove, what types of clothing they wore, where and what they ate, to which fraternities they belonged, and where their homes were.
I agreed with the pastor and told his church members that they made the same money as those thought to be members of the establishment but that they lacked the education and culture required to sustain a Black middle-class.
That most of them thought about themselves and their status but few were willing or able to create a lasting change for those who were not as smart, wealthy or good-looking as themselves.
I told them that their comfort inured them from the reality that most of them weren't shit.
A Black Leader?
Sure, when we have problems that we cannot solve on our own.
Just Google, 'Celebrities Who Look Like Animals'... Then click 'Images'...
Some of those are kind of funny - but not racist.
The not-so-secret secret in America is that, MICHELLE OBAMA - IS NOT PRETTY.
I'm not saying that the First Lady is ugly nor that she doesn't carry herself well, that she is not smart nor that she she is not a good person.
If I happened to see her walking down the street I wouldn't cringe.
But I wouldn't turn around to get a better second look either. (It's not that she's pretty - she (like the majority of people) is just not ugly)
She's about on par with Condoleza Rice - IMOHO.
So... Univision viewers.... Back to your regularly scheduled programming...
Wednesday night at the club is karaoke night - the best bad singing in town.
Last night was sponsored by a new liquor brand, catered by a local chef and we were given tickets to give away for an upcoming Jazz Festival.
Usually we show sports on our television screens and last night was the night of the ESPYs.
Debate about some winners, admiration for many winners but disgust for one winner.
'John, please change this ish.', said many patrons in the club.
'It's just too much. A Gay Pride festival (held in this small town last month), gay marriage and now THIS? It's just too much.', was the conversation around the bar.
It was karaoke night.... We had a few groups of gay and lesbian couples in the club - and no one cared.
But Bruce Jenner winning an ESPY for becoming Caytlyn was just too much for this usually tolerant group to accept.
I guess people have limits as to what they will accept and it seems that giving awards for being gay/transgender is where the level of acceptance ends.
It seems that ISIS will admit fighters from Jordan - just as long as they are not wearing Jordans.
I just giggled a bit when I noticed the photos of all the ISIS/ISIL fighters wearing sneakers as part of their military ensemble.
As it turns out, the wearing of Nike sportswear and skinny jeans is forbidden for the fashion conscious freedom fighter.
I guess Weezy would be shot on sight.
As I read as Hypertiger is going 'Pi' on his more recent posts - sometimes I think that one can have too much if he is not careful.
I HATE nightclubs - I'm just good at them.
It seems that I'm about to open another club in Denver... And Galveston.. and to sell franchises...
I HATE NIGHTCLUBS... I'm just good at them.
This has been an eventful week for me at the club.
The pastor with whom I am at enmity decided not to show up at the NAACP banquet. (The title from the post were my only words uttered to a request for a lunch meeting.)
The candidate being pushed upon us was defeated.
And three rival clubs have closed for good.
No, not because the club is doing poorly - maybe it's doing a bit too well.
While one of the nicest clubs in the area, my best patrons are a bit more 'street'. (Yet this still is not the problem.)
The club hosts parties for everyone from ballers (from 'street money' to professional athletes) to private parties for the local Grand Sire of the Boule. (Yet this still not the problem.)
The club's patrons include a mix of races and classes and sexual preferences. (And still, this is not the problem.)
Through the club, I donate to most of the area's local charities. (And this might be the problem.)
By supporting charities I tend to meet many of the movers and shakers in the area.
By being in a bar setting, many from such charities drop by the club to support me and sometimes some become intoxicated and tell their business. (Which is still not a problem as I tend to 'remember nothing'.)
We are in the middle of a run-off for a hotly contested city council seat for one the city's Black districts. As each candidate seeks support - some make deals with those who may not have the area's constituents' best interests as their own.
Some deals are said to be made between candidates, pastors of the area's largest churches and a white lawyer (who made close to a billion dollars in Texas' tobacco settlements) who is said to already have most of the city's politicians on his payrolls.
As I happen to be sitting at the same table at an upcoming NAACP gala this weekend, I plan to call those involved in this intrigue out.
Will there be retaliation? I expect it.
...Since Mills passed?
No more DeeVee, or Sub, or Mandissa, or KIT, or even ByrdEye (BigDon's predecessor).
Man, I remember when blogging was fun. SeeNew's, 'octoroon please...' still cracks me up all these years later.
odmp.org list 44 police officers being killed in the line of duty so far this year.
While killedbypolice.net and innocentdown.org list the even greater number of civilians (yes, most are felons so I have no problem with those) killed by police this year.
I'm not an eff-tha-police kind of guy - not at all - but we need better trained and better prepared cops protecting and serving us.
In all honesty - I don't think of police officers, men (or women) in uniform or anyone else just doing their job as being a 'hero'.
'Man, this ain't that place.', I said to a young patron at my club.
(One of my waitresses had spotted a gun on the young man so she ran behind the bar in fear.)
'You, right man, you right. I'm sorry.' The young patron replied as he finished his drink and left.
I deal with a lot of people in my daily life - not all of them good.
The recent riots in Ferguson and Baltimore seem to have added even more fuel to the already smoldering racial fires in the lives of some in my small Southern town.
"We gonna' burn this place too.", one patron of my club stated.
But Beaumont is no Watts.
While it has been rated as the least educated city in the country (Forbes Magazine), and the saddest (U.S. News and World Report), and that it was once said to be the second worst city to raise a family - Beaumont has nothing but options and a low threshold for success for anyone Black who is willing to do the work.
With just an Associates Degree - one can work at any one of the many Prisons, Ports or Petroleum plants in the area.
While low-skilled, these are high-paying jobs with many people making over $100k per year.
The city is more than half-Black with equal representation on all elected boards. In fact, our former Black (Yes 'former' - the district was taken over by the State Board because the small district is said to have burned through billions of dollars with little to no accounting. But that is another story.) School Superintendent was at one time the fourth highest paid in the country.
Housing is also relatively cheap.
But back to my earlier conversation...
Another patron quoted Martin Luther King Jr as saying, "...a riot is the language of the unheard.".
It's election season now in this town so I asked the group if any of them had voted.
None of them had.
I asked if any of them had done any volunteer work.
Again, none of them had.
I asked if any of them had served on a jury.
I told them that they should make their voices heard by their actions and volunteering, that they should be heard in the courts by serving on juries and that they should flex their political muscles by voting.
I told them they if the had no vested interest in a community that they shouldn't be heard. That their lack of action validated their lack of a voice.
"Man, who's gonna' win the fight...?", one patron asked in an effort to change the conversation...
To be honest with you - 'Popularity' is for suckers.
My club is doing well (maybe even TOO well).
I get free stuff all the time. The thing is, when some people see that other people give me free ish, these people seem to want to give me whatever it is that they have to offer.
I don't even keep or use the stuff being given.
Most of the time I just give it to my patrons at the club.
But this creates another problem. Those who receive these gifts often turn around and give me more and better gifts in return - which I dole out to other customers.
I rarely have the chance to use tickets - so I give away more tickets than Ticket Master.
If the timing is right and I actually have the time to show up at an event - I try to sit as far out of the way a as possible. But this seems to make the hosts of the events upset. I guess center table and/or front row people are supposed to sit with center table/front row people. By my choosing to sit out of the way (I do this because most of the time I will have to leave early) I have been told that I am being 'uppity' by whites and that I am 'acting funny' by Blacks.
By not trying to a part of the 'in group' (I have children to mentor and elderly ladies to check on) I seem to be creating a more 'in-in group'.
Concerning to whom the fault of oppression belongs; "We are not all equally guilty but we are all equally responsible" - Rabbi Abraham Hescel
Concerning blaming others for the problem; "...And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?... - Matthew: 7 1-5
Concerning how to fix the problems concerning oppression; "Someone once said that the word 'motivation' should never be used in the singular. Some combination of motives always exist and it's impossible for anyone to qualify the proportion of each that is involved in any given act" - Warren Buffet (in an interview in the USA Today)
Please take into account that the views expressed on my blog are prefaced with; in my opinion, in my experience or even (sometimes) random observations and/or thoughts. Please make your statements without the endless litany of cross referenced materials. Source information is fine but I'll just assume that you've done due diligence and that your statements are correct or an accepted editorial. Thank you, UBJ
Other People's Blogs About Politics, Race, Social Change
Although I'm pretty tired of the "Race is King" mantra usually put forward by past and current polemics, race-relations (and the improvement of such) is always a good topic of civilized conversation. I've been called "Uncle-Tom" more times than I've been called "N-----". When I volunteer at the local Habitat for Humanity, I'm often the only black working who's not trying to get a house. When I volunteer at the local shelter, I'm usually the only black on the giving end. Something is wrong or deficient with Black-culture (as it is practiced today). Don't say that I don't know the ghetto, I'm originally from the ghetto. My ghetto-pass wasn't pulled, like my middle school I.D., it expired. I graduated. Now, I say middle school because too many blacks haven't graduated from high school. (Detroit, anybody ?) Please feel free to bring up any topic but please refrain from misusing epithets and downgrading others. Thank you, UBJ