Friday, March 28

you're gonna need a bigger boat



I’m trying to give you all time to get ready, although I doubt anything can truly prepare you for the unadulterated narcissism that accompanies The Birthday Month of G. That’s right, minions, I said MONTH. I’ve been over the lame birth'day' for a couple years now. The month of April is mine and while I will share it with others lucky enough to be born in my month, I will never lose the chokehold I have on each single day in relation to my birth. It is, as always, all about the G.
Here are my planned activities so far:


April 1: Going to see RENT with the BPM…no Taye Diggs (aka baby daddy) but still a good kickoff event.
April 12: Double birthday party for moi and Brother of Boss. Should include tons of alcohol and hopefully will not include pictures.
April 14: Dinner with the BPM at Krush, my very fav restaurant in town where we will exchange gifts (he’s the 16th, I’m the 17th).
April 16-20: Trip to Chicago with Papa G!!! Blues, drinks, steaks, baseball and Oprah!!! Oh and did I mention more blues and more drinks?
April 24: Wine-tasting dinner, again at Krush, with the docs from my volunteer group at the children’s hospital.
Yes, you’re right, there’s not nearly enough on that list. There should be daily celebrations of my magnificence and wildflowers at my door each morning. Alas, it seems it is not to be…
Unless my minions wanted to come up with some ideas???
I’ll be posting a list of acceptable presents on Monday and will be taking suggestions until then for anything you think might be suitably inappropriate.

Thursday, March 27

DFTL: spring edition


Spring has sprung, at least here in Hampton Roads, VA it has and all week long i've had snippets of song running through my head as usual. So, what's the problem; why am I not posting lyrics?
Well the song is Springsville and Miles wasn't a big word guy, so no lyrics for you!
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, it to go to wherever you buy or steal music from and download it. Or pull out that old CD or album and play it this afternoon while the sun shines (and the pollen slowly makes breathing a necessary evil).
Enjoy, minions, enjoy!

Wednesday, March 26

i haz fans...

It’s obvious that you have great taste, or wouldn’t be reading humble ‘ol me, but it’s also nice when you display your fabulous taste by giving me awards, like my friend the CEO (aka Minion #1...that's what happens when you give me things!!!)
I, of course, have great taste as well and will be passing these awards on in all my beneficent majesty.
…drum roll please...

Susan is one sexy bitch. Just ask her. She’s also a great friend with wit, humour and strength- all very sexy attributes.

No Regrets runs the gamut from serious introspection to pee inducing hilarity on a regular basis. She is a grab bag of greatest hits and what could be sexier than that?

Jay/Cynical Bastard has ‘brought sexy back’ to Arkansas. I thought it was impossible, so he deserves so much more than just a little ass, although that’s all I have to give him at the moment. My PSA for Jay’s blog: Do not sip your coffee while reading it in the morning unless you have some of those screen wipes handy…or you don’t mind a coffee stained computer; I speak from experience.

Finally, The Black Pope. What could be sexier than a man so evil he has his own shadow Vatican and a web comic devoted to his naughty antics? Not much. Have some ass, Pater!

On the Bright Side:

I read Big Man every day. His faith, intelligence and devotion to telling the truth have calmed me when I was about to blow and made me feel less alone in this political hell we call a primary season. His devotion to his wife and family and great taste in music make him a bright spot in any day.

Boring Black Chick is nothing of the kind. She has a refreshing perspective on the world and an openness and honesty that brightens my day. I get to travel to London through her blog, and I like it much more through her eyes than I did when I was there. Maybe I’ll have to go visit!

Go to Some of Nothing right now. Go. Read, laugh, nod your head and say, ‘That’s right!’ Then go look at all the schwag and buy me some for my upcoming birthday month.

EsLocura is quite possibly the coolest person I know on the internets. If I ever grow up, I’d like to be her. Talk about brightening a G’s day – her light comes from within, her humour is infectious, her love of her isla and her brother’s cool haircut …all of these brighten my day. Random information Fridays are her newest hit and I will use this award as bribery to keep it up.

OK – if I didn’t call your name, stop pouting. There will be more awards. Remember, the more you give me the more I have to give out. Great and humble logic, I know. Actually, I read all of my blogroll because they provide a shot in the arm of something great. You should all read each other and become a happy little minion family. Or a cult. That’d be cool…

Saturday, March 22

A Message From Papa G

This week I received a package from Papa G containing a letter and a picture. Both are reprinted here. The letter is about my grandfather, William Ferguson Seabrook pictured below (1898-1991). His grandchildren called him PaPoo and I remember him as a quiet and sweet old man. I never really thought about what it must have been like to raise a family in Charleston, SC before, during and after the Depression as a Black man. Papa G was born December 5, 1928 to Gladys Mildred Graham Seabrook and William Ferguson Seabrook. This is part of his story.



Unfinished Business

Procrastination - sitting in my office with at least two assignments that I have not yet begun; looking at the photographs of William F and Gladys M., and looking at the other photographs of our family; it occurred to me that I have unfinished business.

My concern is that Graeme, Gerren, Little Dex, Leah, DW, Lauren, Rochelle, Ryan and Rhamsie would not know who provided the foundation, the rock upon which they stand, from the Seabrook side of the family. My attempt is to do no more nor do less than share my experiences with William F. - the good and the bad (me).

William F. worked for his children and we are where we are today because of William F. The 5'6" man is a giant. Long before the eight hour day, he worked tow jobs. Imagine - twenty-four hours in a day-two jobs. He worked as a custodian for the Charleston County School District for 47 years and at the B.P.O.E. Club for 36 years. In addition, he worked private parties whenever he could. He worked for his children.

We went to public schools until completion of the eight grade and the we went to private schools. Herbert to Immaculate conception; I was sent to Lincoln Academy in Kings Mountain, NC; Gladys, Sara Lee and Lois to Avery Institute. Without fear of contradiction, I can say that damn near all of his earnings were invested, not in stocks, bonds or savings, but in the education of his children; in the welfare of his children; in the promise of his children. Three of us went to music lessons for years - to no avail. We experienced the best through high school and into college. The man invested, wisely, in his children. Did his investment pay off? You bet it did! He provided an economic, social and religious floor for our family and that floor is solid. Did the investment pay off for William F.? I would like to believe that it did. William F. was a man of great faith, a lover of his family and his church. I never saw him strike any of his children and for that matter not anybody else.

I knew, behaviourally, I was the worst of the crew. Let me say that I was terrible in a loving and respectful way. We did have several 'sit downs' after I became an adult that resulted in my gaining additional respect for PaPoo. Each of you would possibly be very surprised that the older I got, the smarter he got. The older I got, the more I understood the great love and affection he had for my siblings and me. But it took years for me to 'fess up' for some of the terrible things I did to him, and more years for me to see the true beauty of the man.

William F. never smoked, drank or cursed, as far as I knew. I often wondered how much money he might have had if he invested in property, stocks, bonds. The way that he worked, he may have become a moderately self-sufficient man, monetarily. Instead, he invested all that earned in his children, assuring them a life sans poverty. We never had a day in our lives without more than adequate food, shelter, clothing.

You would believe that with a man so dedicated to my well being, I would have been a model son. No way! I will omit some of the trivial things I did, but one session with him will stay with me for the rest of my life. As an adult we were talking and I said to him, "Tell me, how many times in a school year do you think you have to buy books?" I was feeling a little guilty about having ripped him off when I was in school. He said to me, "Listen boy, when I was growing up I could have gone to school but I wanted money and I wanted clothes. So I sold newspapers, worked on the milk wagon, and wouldn't got to school. When I got married and the children came, I promised myself that my children would not have to do that." I started crying. He, as always, was crying and for the first and possibly last time (that I can recall) I said to him, "Old man, I love you." That memory is still dear to me.

When he retired from both jobs in 1975, I believe he had little or no monetary resources. This is what I meant when I said he invested all of his money in his children. A house was bought, a mortgage was secured, the house renovated and he had the physical comfort that he had earned. In addition, for sixteen years he, his wife and Travis went, each year, wherever they wanted to go on vacation - Florid, New York, Chicago, St. Louis, California and repeat. This continued, sans Travis, for an additional four years, until he became unable to travel. His investment paid off.

To some measure, each of us, to this day owes something to this gentle giant. I truly believe that the concern, care and love that permeate this family will continue through each of you. It was his gift to us. It was well taught, by example, by William F. Collectively, we stand on his shoulders. Each of you will make him proud.



lws
3/1/08

Papa G earned his BA from West Virginia Teacher's College (now WVSC), his master's from Columbia and his Ed. D from U Mass. Every single one of William and Gladys' grandchildren and great-grandchildren are either enrolled in college or college graduates (except the black sheep scuba instructor on St. Thomas). We are committed to each other, our community and the future of our family.
I'd say the investment paid off.

Friday, March 21

smiling faces, beautiful places



I was going to write a post on ‘Black Anger’ the Rev Wright and the ignorant idiocy of the MSM, but this morning I heard the words ‘South Carolina Highway Patrol’ on the national news and my blood ran cold, then flashed hot.
It seems that some SCHP officers have been running down suspects on foot with their patrol cars. Apparently speeding is now subject to police vigilantism in SC. Before it was mentioned on the news I knew that all the officers were white and all the victims were black. Not only because it was my home state, but because that’s pretty much the way it goes in America. Now, they’ll tell you that this is not a systemic problem and that the issue has been taken care of. The officers were reprimanded, which one of them is appealing and no one has been fired, although some have resigned. What little outrage there is comes from the Black community.
So: why might we be angry?
The Governor and top state law enforcement officials are not outraged that their officers are running down citizens. They are not outraged that these men are defaming the department, the State and the very idea of ‘serve and protect’. It doesn’t seem to bother them beyond the fact that it is making news at the beginning of the tourist season.
I wonder why.
I wonder why the only kidnapping victims the country gets obsessed about are white.
I wonder why there are such disparities between crack and powder cocaine mandatory minimums.
I wonder why Black parents have to have such different conversations with their young children about the police than white parents.
I wonder why so many of our young men are in jail or cemeteries.
I wonder why white people voting for a black candidate is ‘post racial politics’ and black people voting for a white candidate isn’t.
I wonder why HIV/AIDS is rising faster among Black women than all other groups combined and no one is talking about it.
I wonder why black men being run down by police cars isn’t shocking.
I honestly wonder how anyone could be surprised that there is anger when I could have continued that list for days.
Now, my life has been charmed by anyone’s standards. I never wanted for physical or emotional comforts. I am educated and I have a job, apartment and car. I am healthy and compared to most people on the planet with my skin tone remarkably wealthy. I AM ANGRY. Any Black person who tells you they aren’t angry is a liar or a fool. Am I angry at the entire white race? No, don’t be stupid.
I am however, outraged at all of us. We sit still for this and end up debating whether a certain senator threw his grandmother under a bus by telling the truth in a speech he never would have had to give if he was white. What do we do? Raise our children with integrity and strength. Show your patriotism by trying to live up to the words in our Declaration and Constitution. Serve our communities the best we can and hold our government officials accountable for the rights of all our citizens.
Oh – and try not to speed in South Carolina…

Thursday, March 20

DFTL: Hope Edition


“All the boys and the girls gonna be there, young and old, rich and poor gonna be there, at the meetin’ up yonder”

“Come on up for the rising”

“All your life you were only waiting for this moment to arrive”

“That flag flying over the courthouse means certain things are set in stone, who we are, what we’ll do and what we won’t”

“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one, I hope someday you’ll join us”

“Deep in my heart, I still believe, we shall overcome someday”

Wednesday, March 19

taste the rainbow


For years my blond haired blue-green eyed Mama G has identified herself to the world and to herself as a Black woman. The fact that her mother had red hair and a Scottish maiden name apparently meant…?
In truth she was forced to choose at an early age. To choose between a culture that thought she was sullied and one which would claim her (but never in mixed company). Mama G identifies with Barack Obama in a way that many African Americans and Caucasian Americans cannot. When he says that he straddles both worlds there is no one who understands that and who understands the opposing forces that can tug at you from both sides like the women in my family.
Like two of the sisters of G who are Irish African Americans, like all of the Sisters of Mama G and their daughters. Her sisters married throughout the rainbow and so the cousins of G are beautiful in our variety. Our family has always seemed faintly exotic to my friends, rocky road to their vanilla or chocolate.
Discussing his speech last night Mama G said, “That was the first time I ever felt that someone was speaking for me”. She was not speaking politically, but personally. Since the start of this campaign she has been able to speak more about her personal history to her friends and co-workers than she has ever before. When she is met with uncomfortable reactions she no longer feels like it’s her fault, like the act of her being is somehow wrong. Here is this beautiful, brilliant man who is just like her, who is speaking to her and for her to the rest of the country.
As much as the African American community may have pinned their hopes and aspirations to this man, as much as he may be hailed as the first Black President, he will always be something more and something much more precious to the Family G.
This is not why Mama G and I are supporting him; it is just the gravy on top of the meal. Please believe me when I say that we are savoring it.

Tuesday, March 18

take that!




You can read it here: http://www.c-span.org/Content/PDF/obama_031808.pdf

Monday, March 17

diet schmiet

Weekend Update:
Thanks Mama G for hooking me up at the Ann Taylor Factory Store. Niiice.
Thanks V and the Family V for the company the dinner, and taking me out of Nine West before I embarrassed myself.
Thank you Donna Brazile for being the only black person on the Sunday shows to bring some truth when you said that you could hear ‘worse’ than Rev Wright in most of the black churches across the country on and Sunday. AMEN!

As for today…
Every couple of months we have a potluck day at work. The bosses will provide the big ticket items and the rest of us bring in sides. Today they’re having 6-foot long subs and plates of wraps brought in around lunchtime, which is healthier than the hamburgers we’ve been grilling out lately. It would be if we all hadn’t been eating since we got here. So far I’ve only noshed on a cheesy potato casserole and bbq chicken dip, but there’s still pasta salad, super garlicky salsa and taco salad to go through before we break for lunch and the REAL eating starts.
The G made her famous cookie and cake brownies, but I dyed the cookie parts neon green because I’m so damn clever.
So there goes my diet and/or any idea of staying on my healthy eating plan today even as everyone around me wallows in great tasting yet artery-clogging foods.

Saturday, March 15

weekend laughs...sorta

Because all the truly cool people are from Chucktown... like my man SC (see his initials match the State initials!!!)


Friday, March 14

hillary clinton: a letter

HRC,
Frankly, I don’t expect too much from politicians, I find it a buffer against being let down. I feel that most of the problems in this country need to be solved from the ground up and that the best thing that the pols can do is make it easier for that to happen or stay out of the way. I don’t expect much even from the Democratic Party. One of my favorite quotes from the West Wing is “Now we have two wholly owned corporate subsidiaries, one pro-life and one pro-choice.” I’ve worked in it and seen how dirty even the clean guys have to get just to get elected.
So, I guess I should give you some kind of prize, Hillary, for making me completely disgusted with the Democratic Party. Honestly, what is your endgame? Do you think you’ll get to the nomination? Do you think that tearing apart the party to get to the nomination will somehow benefit you? Do you think we’ll all fall in line like good little soldiers if you do somehow end up the nominee?
Maybe you don’t realize the position you are putting some voters in, so please let me explain to you where I’m coming from. I believe in a woman’s right to choose. I believe that what I do with my body is between me and God, possibly my doctor, but definitely not the Supreme Court nor anyone else. The next President of the United States will be in a position to appoint judges who could overturn Roe and as a woman, sister, daughter and hopefully a mother one day I feel that I must do everything in my power to stop that.
Here are my problems with you: I don’t agree with your health plan, I’ve heard no substantive education plan from you and I cannot stand the fact that you can’t answer a straight question. You cry when someone calls you a monster, but continue to act like one. Your surrogates have been out spouting racist rhetoric since even before SC and you do not ‘distance’ yourself. Do you think that we don’t see the game you’re playing? Either you’ve surrounded yourself with racists accidentally or you’re directing them. Either way it’s despicable. At this moment I can’t find much difference between you and the Republicans, either in rhetoric or in policy other than your healthcare plan and Roe. I also have no reason to believe you cannot be bought (Wal Mart, anyone?).
Tell me, what am I supposed to do if you become the nominee? Do I hold my nose and vote for you, sullying the vote that generations before me bled to secure the right for me to cast? Do I vote for a third party, of which I predict there will be more than one if you are the nominee? I cannot bring myself to vote for McCain, so do I just stay home for the first time in my life on Election Day? And when my young cousins are grown, when my children are grown and they ask me about this time; when they ask me how the country stripped women of their rights, ignored the peril of the environment and tripped down the path to war outside its borders and fraction within them what do I say? Should my answer be that once there was a woman who believed that since her husband exposed and embarrassed her to the country that same country owed her the White House as reparations? Do I say that she used every trick that her predecessor, the worst President in history, ever used and tore apart the Democratic Party on her way to an inevitable loss she was too blinded by ambition to see coming? How do you want me to answer them?
I don’t think that Barack Obama is a saint and I am quite glad that he is not the second coming of Jack Kennedy, but I do believe he is better for this country, this Party, and the future of my family than you are. If that makes me a traitor to feminists everywhere or if that makes you cry I just don’t care. The dirty fighting you are engaging in and trying to get Senator Obama to engage in is a disgrace to everything you say you hold dear.

It is a slap in the face and I have no more cheeks to turn.
_____________________________________
The CPL said it better than I ever could, go check it out here.

Thursday, March 13

don't forget the lyrics, part 3


I'm leaving the religious/political craziness for others. These are the lyrics living in my head this week.
“She says you know me and Jesus, we’re of the same heart
The only thing that keeps us distant is that I keep fucking up”

“Tell me is that rolling thunder
Or just the sinking sound of something righteous
Going under”

“I think he’d wear me well”

“Brown skin
Up against my
Brown skin
I can’t tell where yours begins
I can’t tell where mine ends”

“Nobody wants to face the truth
but you won’t believe what love can do
‘till it happens to you”

“While you were sleeping
I was listening to the radio and wondering what you’re dreaming
And it came to mind that I didn’t care”
________________________
OK, so I know I SAID I was going to leave it alone, but Jay's post today was just too funny for any of you to miss. GO READ IT NOW!!!

Tuesday, March 11

too much to ask


All I wanted was a pair of shoes. I hate malls and try to employ what I like to think of a special forces shopping tactics: get in, get what I need and get out undetected by the ‘enemy’ (people who love malls…shudder). So I wasn’t really having a good day on Sunday when I got to the mall only to discover that Nine West was being renovated. I went to Nordstrom to comfort myself with beautiful shoes I will never be able to afford and then took myself off to my favorite sports bar for a beer.
I was not in a great mood. There had been no shoes and I’d wasted a trip to the mall. All I wanted was to watch all the basketball games at once and drink a beer or two in peace. The bartender, being a bartender, immediately picked up on this and pretty much left me alone until I was finished with my first Yuengling. There weren’t too many of us there: three seats down from me were two guys in their mid twenties having lunch, watching the games and occasionally making snarky comments about the players that were witty enough to have me half eavesdropping on their conversation. At the end of the bar were three NR’s. There is a subset of male that is peculiar to Navy towns, which my friends and I call the rat. The rat thinks he’s cool because he’s been to McDonald’s in 12 different countries. He thinks buying illegal DVD’s somewhere in Asia is romantic and that every woman in America will be charmed by his supposed ‘worldliness’. He’s usually on the short side, can be of any race but is generally under 25 and not actually attractive. They always travel in packs. I avoid them like the plague.
I was on beer # 2 and was chatting with the bartender about my move to Seattle and her time in New Mexico, with the b-ball watchers chiming in from time to time, when it happened. Suddenly short, unattractive men with no personality surrounded me. There was one to my right and two on my left. They pull the bar stools closer to me, effectively blocking me in and bought me a beer before I could say anything (which is pretty damn fast). They didn’t want to be left out of all the fun. Oh. Joy.
They talked loudly about nothing at all, thought they were hilarious and never noticed the eye rolling that occurred amongst the rest of us or the fact that we talked on around or over them. Now the question was, just how rude was I going to be? I knew that if I got started I was likely to go into Super Bitch Goddess Mode and felt they really didn’t deserve that type of smiting. I thought maybe if I was simply cool to them and ignored them they’d get the hint. The bartender and I picked up our conversation about Seattle and my bookstore at which point the guy on my right said, “You’re gonna’ open a bookstore? So, do you like to read?” He couldn’t have been more than 22 and he was trying so hard. And he was annoying the crap out of me. I wanted to say, “Yes, kid, I like to read. That’s. Why. I’m. Opening. A. Book. Store. Now, will you please go away and let the grown folks finish their conversation?” I didn’t. I took a fortifying gulp of my libation, paid my tab and left the bar.

Monday, March 10

much ado about


Here’s the problem with things going well for me: I’ve got nothing to talk about. The apartment is clean; I made some amazing pasta on Friday night and got hit on by unattractive short men on Sunday afternoon. Regular weekend.

I could post about the rumours the Borg Queen is trying to start about a two for one special, but that’s crap she’s only spouting for the Mississippi primary, trying to cuddle up to a cold shoulder.

I could post about how it seems like so many black folks are freaking out because Obama lost OH and TX, but I know that’s just because so many of have been waiting to get screwed by this whole hope idea for so long.

I actually thought about doing a post about how the Borg Queen and Obama remind me of Cowboy Bob and Matt Santos from the West Wing and then follow that through to a McCain as Vinnick vs. Obama as Santos kind of thing, but most of you are huge West Wing fanatics like myself. Also, I like to keep SOME of my more darkish tendencies under wraps.

Ok, so maybe I should post about my Chicago trip with Papa G: everything’s sailing along great.

Or Mama G’s much-anticipated visit to VA? Smooth sailing as well.

The possibility that I might actually have to hold my nose and vote for Borg Queen in order to keep the Supreme Court out of my uterus? I’ll gag my way through it, but I don’t think it’ll happen.

Everything’s ok today.
Well, it’s not. The world is tucked cozily into it’s handbasket and is still heading south, but I’m doing what I can about it, which gives me a sense of calm I am, quite frankly, not at all used to.

Don’t worry overmuch, minions; I’m sure I’ll have something to bitch/moan/rant etc about soon, but right now? I got nothin’.

Friday, March 7

new growth


I’ve been cleaning my apartment. If any of you remember the Oprah episode where women who looked normal and successful were revealed to be living in crazily disgusting conditions you will understand why it has taken me all week to do this. Someone once told me that your living space reflects your mind and heart. I don’t know if that’s true, but I do know that as I’ve hauled crap out to the dumpster and scrubbed until my arms ached each night I’ve felt better. I’m not generally a spring cleaner and I’m not quite sure that is what this is.
For months I’ve been making plans to change my life. Step by step I’ve put the pieces in place and now it seems that I’m ready to start moving.
I’m cleaning house: body and mind. I’m not stopping until my entire apartment is clean and shiny. I’m eating better and working out. I’ve started writing again, fiction and poetry and created a blog to post it all. I’ve made plans to travel with Papa G and host Mama G here in VA. Tomorrow morning I’m going to garage sales on a search for bookshelves to sand and stain. I’m actually sticking to a budget! I am an active participant in running my life now more than ever. I won’t let it just happen to me anymore.
I’m still volunteering at the children’s hospital and for Barack Obama online. I’m still obsessed with LOST and the Green Bay Packers. Some things won’t change. But if I don’t get a guitar for my birthday I’ll be buying one for myself and teaching myself to play. Why? Because I’ve always wanted to.
There is a ‘fierce urgency of now’ in more than the campaign. I will do all that I can for my candidate, but no matter who wins I must do all that I can for my community and myself. I can’t tell any of you how to live your lives. I hate advice, giving or receiving. But all winter the entire country has been talking about change. Now it’s spring and I’m wondering if it has all been talk or if any of us have actually been changing?

Thursday, March 6

don't forget the lyrics


It's Thursday, so here you go! This is what's been playing through my head this week:


" Big puffy girl handwriting, cultivated cutesy pillow sculptures..." Danielle Howle


"I am sorry that I set my sights on the things I read"
Indigo Girls

"My tears dry on their own"
Amy Winehouse

"I know that it's a wonderful world, but I can't feel it right now"
James Morrison

"You've come a long way from whiskey and cocaine"
Pink

"Well she tied you to her kitchen chair and she broke your throne and she cut your hair and from your lips she drew the hallelujah" Leonard Cohen

Wednesday, March 5

Goodbye Brett


Well, shit Brett.
Too many people play the game like a job and you never did. Too many people try to hide or whitewash their imperfections, ignore the blessings they have been given and the ones who haven’t been so blessed. I’m not a Brett Favre fan because of the records he’s broken or the Super Bowl ring or the Pro Bowls or the Conference Titles. I’m a fan because in a time when there are fewer and fewer sportsmen and more and more businessmen he played football with the single-minded intensity and pure joy of a child who somehow made it to the big leagues and could never get over his luck. I’m a fan because after his own struggles with drugs and alcohol he took others under his wing and helped them save their careers and families. I’m a fan because he had magic in his hands and an infectious smile. Because no one, sometimes not even he, could make some of those throws but damn if it wasn’t fun to watch him try.






I’ll never get to see you play at Lambeau. I’ll never get to see you win a Super Bowl in person. No more will I get to yell, “Damnit Brett what was that?!” at my TV on a Sunday afternoon. Do you have any idea how many possible inflections there are for that shout? My neighbors do. No more victory laps around the living room when you take a Lambeau leap. No more laughing out loud when you pick up receivers and sling them over your shoulders after a touchdown. No more feeling like I’m watching one of the playground games in the park – just with uniforms. No one plays the game like you did, with skill, guts and pure joy. I remember the season when your father died and you broke your thumb and I saw some of the most amazing plays in the history of the game. I remember the seasons when it seemed nothing could go right. I remember you calling a fan down from the stands in Charlotte because she had cheered so loudly during the game that you could hear her on the field. Thanks for that, Brett. Thanks for all of it.

Tuesday, March 4

idiots piss me off

This is a long one, minions, you might want to wait until you get home from work to slog through it…
Some days there is no place to run. Early this morning I get an email from Uncle G with this speech of in it:

Remarks for Senator Barack Obama
University of Texas Brownsville
Brownsville, Texas
Friday, February 29, 2008

As prepared

I’d like to begin with a prayer.

It comes to us from Jeremiah 29,
when the prophet sent out a letter to those exiled from Jerusalem to Babylon.

It was a time of uncertainty, and a time of despair. But the
prophet Jeremiah told them to banish their fear – that though they were
scattered, and though they felt lost, God had not left them.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” the Lord revealed to Jeremiah, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a
future.”

God had a plan for His people. That was the truth that Jeremiah grasped – the creed that brought comfort to the exiles – that faith is not just a pathway to personal redemption, but a force that can bind us together
and lift us up as a community.

It’s a lesson I learned more than two decades ago, when I went to work as a community organizer with a group of Christian churches in Chicago, fighting poverty in the shadows of a shuttered steel plant.

It wasn’t easy. Sometimes the road ahead seemed too long or hard to tread. There were setbacks and false starts, and moments whenour commitment was tested. But we never gave up. Day in and day out, we provided
job training for the jobless, and after-school programs to keep kids off the
streets, and block by block, we turned those neighborhoods around.

And as I was meeting with leaders and lay people in the churches,
and trying to get them organized, I found that I recognized a part of myself in them. And I think they recognized a part of themselves in me. They saw that I knew Scripture, and that many of the values I held and that propelled me in my work were values that they shared. But I suspect they also sensed that a part of me remained removed and detached, that I was an observer in their midst. And slowly, I came to recognize that something was missing in me as well.

You see, I wasn’t raised in a particularly religious household. My
father, who came to this country from Kenya, was agnostic, and he left when I was two. My mother was from Kansas, and though she was a deeply spiritual person, she wasn’t all that religious in the way most folks use the term. And my mother’s parents, who raised me throughout much of my childhood, were non-practicing Methodists and Baptists. So I had no anchor for my beliefs, no commitment to a particular community of faith.

And I think some of the pastors I was meeting with started to sense this. They began saying to me,“If you’re organizing churches, it might help if you actually went to church once in a while.” And I figured they had a point.

So one Sunday, I woke up at 6 a.m., brushed the lint off the only suit I owned, and went over to Trinity United Church of Christ on 95th Street on the South Side of Chicago. And I heard a sermon about the audacity of hope. And during the course of that sermon, I was introduced to someone named Jesus Christ. I learned that my sins could be redeemed and that if I placed my trust in Christ, He could set me on the path to eternal life.

And it was because of these newfound understandings that I was finally able to walk down the aisle of Trinity one day and be baptized. It came about as a choice, not an epiphany. The questions I had didn’t magically disappear. The skeptical bent of my mind didn’t suddenly vanish. But kneeling beneath that cross, I heard God’s spirit beckoning me. I
submitted myself to His will, and I dedicated myself to discovering His truth,and carrying out His works.

But my journey is not unique. The calling I heard – a calling to apply the values of my faith to the problems of our society – is one that’s been heard through the ages. It’s what led a predecessor church from my own denomination, the United Church of Christ, to inspire the Boston Tea Party and help bring an Empire to its knees.


It’s what led men and women of faith to take up the banner of abolitionism and purge the stain of slavery from the soul of this nation. It’s what led young men and women, clear-eyed and straight-backed, to board
buses heading South, to sit in for equality, and stand up for justice, and march from Selma to Montgomery in freedom’s cause.

It’s what connects Dr. Martin Luther King to those of you who’ve traveled so far to be here today –the belief that our values should be expressed not just through our families,our communities, and our churches, but through our government. Because the challenges we face today are not simply technical problems in search of the perfect ten-point plan. They are moral problems, rooted in both societal indifference and individual callousness – in the imperfections of man.

And so long as we’re not doing everything in our individual and
collective power to solve them, the conscience of our nation cannot
rest.

Our conscience cannot rest so long as there are folks being
called the “working poor” – if you’re working, you shouldn’t be poor in the
United States of America. We need to ease the tax burden on working families,seniors, and struggling homeowners, and crack down on the predatory lenders who are tricking families into buying homes they can’t afford. That offends our conscience, and it shouldn’t be tolerated in this country we love.

Our conscience cannot rest so long as schools from East L.A. to
West Chicago to Brownsville are crumbling or overcrowded or underfunded, so long as Hispanics are more likely to leave school than any other Americans. Because when our children aren’t getting the world-class education they need to reach for their dreams and compete in our economy, that’s not just a Hispanic problem– it’s an American problem.

It’s time for real education reform in this country. We need to reform No Child Left Behind and make sure the money isn’t left behind. We need to make college affordable. And we need to give teachers more pay and support, and recruit them to come teach in places like Brownsville. And until we do, our conscience cannot rest.

Our conscience cannot rest so long as there are 12 million undocumented immigrants living as second-class citizens in the United States of America. Do we not remember that we were all strangers in the land of Egypt?

Now, I understand the very real concerns of Americans who are worried about illegal immigration not because they’re racist or xenophobic, but because they fear it will result in lower wages when they’re already struggling to raise their families. But what I refuse to accept is the rising current of distrust and evenhate that’s being directed not just at immigrants, but at all Hispanics. We are – each of us – children of God, and the Bible tells us to love all of our neighbors, no matter where we come from or what documents we have.

Yes, we are a nation of laws, but we are also a nation of immigrants, and there is no reason we can’t reconcile those traditions. And until we do – until we not only secure our borders, but give every undocumented
immigrant who’s otherwise playing by the rules a chance to earn their
citizenship by paying a fine and waiting in line behind those who came here
legally – until we fix our broken immigrations system, our conscience cannotrest.

But understand, if we are to meet these challenges –if we are to ease the conscience of our nation – government alone is not enough. We must reclaim in every corner of this country the lesson I learned on the
streets of Chicago, the parable you preach to your congregations – that I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper, and that what’s beyond our grasp alone is within our reach together.

There are those who say we cannot do this, that the divisions of race, religion, and party run too deep in this country, and cannot be overcome. But I reject this. Because whenever I hear folks talk about the “brown-black” divide, I remember my days as a community organizer, when I brought African Americans and Hispanics together to fight a rising drop-out rate in our schools. I remember my days as a civil rights lawyer, when I worked with my Hispanic brothers and sisters to protect our voting rights. And I remember May Day 2006, when I marched shoulder-to-shoulder
with the Hispanic community to stand up for comprehensive immigration
reform.

Whenever I hear folks talk about how we can’t come together as Protestants, Catholics and Jews, believers and non-believers alike, I think
about the evangelicals I know who may not agree with progressives on every issue, but agree that poverty has no place in a world of plenty, that hate has no place in the hearts of believers, and that we all have an obligation to be good stewards of God’s creation.

Whenever I hear folks say that Republicans and Democrats can’t come together around a common purpose, I look to the work that Hispanic evangelicals like you are doing to mobilize voices in Congress for comprehensive immigration reform.

And whenever I hear stories about Americans who feel like no one’s looking out for them, like they’ve been left behind, I’m reminded that God has a plan for his people.

God has a plan for the father who goes to work before dawn, and lies awake at night wondering how he’s going to provide health care for a daughter who’s ill.

God has a plan for the boy who’s watched his parents hauled off in an immigration raid.

God has a plan for all those men and women serving tour after tour after tour in a war that should have never been authorized and never been waged.

God has a plan for hispeople. But it’s a plan He’s left to us to fulfill.

So I’m asking you to walk with me, and march with me, and pray with me. And if we can do that, if we can reach for the America we believe in; if we can stand strong, even when it’s not easy, even when it’s hard; if we can overcome what might divide us and embrace a common destiny, then I believe we’ll not only be easing the conscience of our nation, we’ll not only be caring for our own souls, we’ll be fulfilling God’s plan here on Earth. Thank you.


It started off my day pretty well. While I’m not a practicing member of any religion I have seen what churches can do to lift up and change a community when they start focusing more on what’s outside their coffers than inside, so I applaud his goals. Then I go over to the Field Negro’s blog for my daily hit of reality and get bitch slapped by some idiot from Cincinnati. If you’ve got a minute, check out the comments section. I haven’t commented yet because I feel the need to wait until my blood pressure has come back down from the stratosphere and my head is not filled with vile name-calling. I refuse to link to her. She gets no hits from me. Here it is:


Back in 2001 I had my political awakening to race-card politics
duly blogged under the heading “Is This White Woman Racist and Does She Really Fucking Care”. This was in response to the so-called Cincinnati riots. (Here is the local media’s politically correct
distortion of the
events
, and here is the correct assessment.) As I review those early
posts I can trace my journey from someone who had absolutely no issues with any race or ethnicity to my present views on racism.

As a pre-teen, I was not a participant in any civil rights movement, wasn’t particularly aware of it, but never had any perception of blacks as inferior. I think what frightened me most, as I remember, was associating poverty with blacks. My mother, born shortly after her parents immigrated from Yugoslavia, was thrust into an orphanage at a young age and her dire tales of want and hardships chilled me as a child, leaving me far more wary of that particular condition, no matter what color skin bore witness to it.

It actually is very hard for me to think in terms of ethnicity. I have never felt need to make claim to my Romanian-Serbian roots nor lament the plight of my gypsy kin in Transylvania. My daddy grabbed his American name from a billboard and proceeded to move himself steadily up the economic ladder.

By the time I was born, he had turned his allotment of rags into riches, and I was, quite frankly, a spoiled little rich girl, without the attendant social status. I felt we had much in common with the Beverly Hillbillies. My dad may have known how to make a buck, but uneducated white men who sold cars for a living didn’t get much respect in the wealthy neighborhood I grew up in. And my dad, an independent cuss, could not have cared less. But there was never a moment in my life that I defined myself, or others, according to blood, skin or lineage.

Black men worked for my father at the dealership. He also hired them to cut our grass and paint our home. There wasn’t a disparaging word uttered by my parents. They were treated like any other contractor that came to the house.

I do have vague memories of the Cincinnati riots in 1966. Those were actual riots. I remember my dad getting the gun out of the safe. In retrospect, our neighborhood was so far from Cincinnati center that the likelihood of anyone driving out to do us rich folks harm was minimal. But he didn’t talk about shooting “niggers”. The word wasn’t in the home and my guess is he would have gotten the gun out no matter what race was having a riot.

But here’s the rub. It isn’t about civil rights anymore. It’s about victimhood. It’s not about equality. It’s about extortion. It’s not about unity. It’s about vengeance and pay back. Obama dresses it up with flourishes of pompous rhetoric and spices it with the incense of mysticism but it’s the same ole same ole race, entitlement and “justice” rhetoric that constituted “dialog” during the riots here in 2001..."

As a descendant of enslaved Africans and of English and Portuguese immigrants I find her premise ignorant and her blog insulting. I can tell you about a woman desperate to give her children something better in life and uprooting herself to come to America, learn a new language and wade through years of red tape to become a citizen. I can tell you of how hard she studied and how proud and grateful her family is of her. I can also tell you of a woman working the fields of the sea islands of South Carolina and raising her son to believe in himself and his own worth and not let anyone else, even his ‘master’ decide that worth for him. I can tell you that belief was handed down in my family and is part of the reason we take pride in owning part of the land where we were once ‘owned’.
I believe in family, community and country. Yes, I believe in this country and her citizens, as hard as it is sometimes. I believe in hard work for my self and my community. I believe in creating a future for the generations behind me and honoring the sacrifices of the ones that came before. History must be studied and learned from so that it is not repeated. I hope that at some point I’ll be able to explain to her the difference between coming to a country in hope and in chains, but until that time I’ll stay away from her blog because right now she’s shaking my belief in everything both sides of my family sweat and bled for and all I want to tell her is to kiss my ass.

Saturday, March 1

*This post was inspired by the Pater's post on competitiveness.

There is something timelessly beautiful about the early fall in the south. It is my favorite time of year. The sweltering heat abates, the tourists go home and the gardens are still blooming. It's the time of year your 20 min bike ride home from work takes over and hour as you meander through your neighborhood. It's the time of year you blow off studying to go play football with your friends in the park. That's where it gets tricky.
There are, in my humble experience, two types of park football players: the ones who play for fun and the ones who play to win. The ones who play for fun may or may not actually play a whole game. They may or may not change which tree is the end zone (because they can't remember) or where the sidelines are. They are much more likely to end up in a pile laughing until their sides are splitting and quitting the field in search of pizza and beer.
Winners will have the field marked off (possibly with chalk) and won't forget. Winners will have some way of keeping time and score. Winners will walk off the field sore and either elated or defeated as they go in search of pizza and beer.
Both of these types enjoy themselves, they're having fun. If there was an objective way to measure it, I'd say that they're having the same amount of fun. The point of the game for these two groups is completely different. Funners just want to hang out, catch up with friends and maybe run around a little. Most of their time is spent talking, even while they're playing. Winners are there to achieve a goal, personal or team. They still share camaraderie, but the focus is on the game and not the social aspect.
I've played with both, a bonus of living within walking distance of a major park in Chucktown. I loved playing with both, depending on my mood (and how my knee was feeling). As long as they don't play together everything is fine. Funners get confused and hurt when Winners don't want to play and Winners get frustrated and annoyed that Funners didn't come to play. There are so many ways you can use that word.
Personally, the better I am at something the less competitive I am about it. I can have a great time with the pressure on or off and either winning or losing as long as the rest of the group is having fun as well. When people get pissy or frustrated it's time to walk away.

So, minions, what kind of 'player' are you?