Just some thoughts and ideas going around in my head while trying to figure out where I am and where everyone else is going.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Lent is Coming

Most people make their New Year’s Resolutions in order to change something that they don’t like about themselves. They try to head off in a new direction that will bring some new happiness to their lives and make them better people. And I would suppose that because this is done at the beginning of a new year, it makes it some sort of winter solstice pagan ritual that has been handed down through the centuries and has been practiced by hundreds of thousands if not millions of people. There is of course the Christian version of this practice but that really isn’t a life changing event because the whole ordeal lasts less than 6 weeks, 40 days to be exact. So I have decided to do something for Lent this year.

A lot of people will give up drinking alcohol, red meat or sex, but I figure I would have to be drinking alcohol, eating red meat or getting some to begin with. Since I haven’t had a drink in almost 2 weeks and don’t think stopping would actually prove anything. And as far as the red meat goes, well I only eat beef about once a week as it is and that’s only when I’m out since I don’t buy it anymore. Actually if I gave up meat and fish all together, that would make a far more impressive statement but like giving up candy when I was 10, that ain’t happening. And I'm not talking about sex today. In fact when I think about it, there is very little that I would to give up and out of that much less that I think I could do without for 40 days.

Let’s face it, I’m no Superman or chosen one, I can’t go about wandering around in the desert for days on end being tempted by immoral acts and then come out clean and untarnished. Although, I am not sure what kind of temptations one can have alone in a desert, unless you start to use your imagination like how I’m starting to use mine and I don’t think I will go any further along those lines right now. No, instead of giving something up, I am going to start doing something instead of, or at least in addition to.

I had made mention in an earlier post of the amount of people that have died in Zimbabwe due to cholera. I have forgotten how much it was then but as of last week I had heard that it was over 2700 people and possibly more if you took the counts from certain organizations. I have decided that instead of me taking for granted the water supply that I am privy to; I shall now drink at least 5 glasses of clean water a day because others can’t.

What’s the big deal you ask? Well like WC Fields used to joke about, plain water is like a poison to me. Drinking water without sugar or corn syrup and food coloring is like a complete anathema to me. If had thought about it before Warren Buffet did, I would have bought stock in Coca Cola before the price went up because I love it so. Drinking water is an effort that I usually can do when I dropping down dead from thirst and exhaustion.

So there it is. Nothing earth shattering. I’m going to drink plain water, but maybe I’ll be able to figure out what others are going through or unable to experience.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


It’s Valentine’s Day so in order for me to enjoy the rest of the day’s festivities, let me get something off of my chest. No, don’t get funny, that’s not my chest that you’re looking at but it is more interesting than mine at the moment. I seem to sag in all the wrong places right now and I’m not sure if it’s because of age or because I drink about 4 or 5 cans of coke a day and I inhale baked goods without end. I don’t seem to be able to stop. Addiction, it’s a terrible thing to have and makes you do terrible things like drift the way that I’m drifting away from my point now. What I really want to say is I don’t like Heh- Heh. In fact I can’t stand Heh-Heh. If there is one thing in this world that I won’t be able tolerate any more for the rest of the year, it’s Heh-Heh. What is Heh-Heh you ask?

Heh-Heh is thing you hear when you are standing in the express line at the supermarket with your 10 items or less and the person in front of you turns and faces you and you realize they have about 6 months worth of groceries in their basket. Then they will say “Heh-Heh” and turn back around trying not to look guilty.

Heh-Heh is when in a club or bar some big fat drunken bastard has stepped on your foot and crushed a couple of bones that you never took notice of before or has spilled cheap alcohol on your expensive shirt and all he can say is “‘scuse me! Heh-Heh.”

Heh-Heh is the excuse you hear when you’ve just come off the gym floor and all you want to do is rip off your sweaty stinky jock strap off in peace. Meanwhile there is some bozo that has decided to ignore the rows upon rows of free and open lockers against the wall and decided to change his clothes at the locker next to yours. “It’s funny how these things seem to turn out this way. It’s like Murphy’s Law, Heh-Heh,” he will say. I will just grunt and grimace as we both try to do some sort of awkward semi-naked tango over the same spot of smelly rug.

Speaking of being naked, I had just taken a shower at the gym about 3 months ago and I was putting on lotion in front of one of the mirrors. I had dropped the towel and doing legs and behind when the senior senator for Pennsylvania decided to introduce himself to me. Now I’ve been going to that gym for at least 12 maybe 14 years and he’s never introduced himself to me before. I’ve seen the governor naked a couple times and a few other notables including the senator undressed so I know being nude in and of itself doesn’t really cast aspersions. And I don’t mean to do that here. But as the senator is talking to me, he’s staring at the nipple ring, my dick is swinging in the open breeze and I’m starting to feel uncomfortable.

Suddenly I see a break in the conversation where I think I can take over and guide it to where I want it to go, which was to an end. I really wanted to tell him was that he was creeping me out and that I had no interest in becoming one of his lackey troll boys who hang around him looking for crumbs and a leg up in politics and or power like I’ve seen others do. But instead I said, “I live in New Jersey, so I can’t vote for you senator, Heh-Heh.”

Oh, and happy St. Valentine’s Day.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Benjamin Banneker

street marker for Banneker Institute PhiladelphiaIn honor of Black History Month.

In Philadelphia there are these series of historic markers that list where a famous institution had been or where someone well known had lived. This post is about one of those markers and who it is dedicated to. It was actually written a few years ago when I took a class for Web Development.

Since I had to create a web site, I chose to do one one on historic markers listing famous African Americans. One of the pages on that website was this. As in most classes you learn how to cheat a little bit without getting caught and I'm not really sure how much of it I actually wrote and how much is just a cut and paste job that I did, but here it is.

The Banneker Institute was named after Benjamin Banneker (1731-1806), he was probably the best-known African American in the early years following Independence. He was an astronomer, farmer, mathematician, and surveyor. In 1791, after being recommended by Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, Banneker was an assistant to Major Andrew Ellicott, the surveyor appointed by President George Washington to lay out the boundaries of the District of Columbia.

Banneker was born near Baltimore a son of a slave and an indentured servant. His grandmother, an EnglisBenjamin Bannekerhwoman, taught him to read and write. For several winters he would attend a small school open to blacks and whites. He developed an interest in mathematics and science. He pursued his mathematical studies after he became a farmer and taught himself astronomy. From 1791 to 1796, Banneker made all the astronomical and tide calculations and weather predictions for a yearly almanac.

Banneker sent Jefferson a copy of his first almanac. With it hethe Banneker Institute Philadelphia sent a letter calling for the abolition of slavery and a liberal attitude toward blacks. Banneker' s skills impressed Jefferson. Jefferson sent a copy of the almanac to the Royal Academy of Sciences in Paris as evidence of the talent of blacks. Opponents of slavery in the United States and England also used the almanacs as evidence of the abilities of black people. The publishers of Banneker's almanacs printed contributions by prominent Americans in addition to his material. In the 1793 almanac, for example, the surgeon and statesman Benjamin Rush proposed the appointment of a U.S. secretary of peace.

The Banneker Institute is located at 409 S. 11th St, Philadelphia.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Manners and the Cell Phone

Years and years ago, when Trailways was still in business or at least ran out of Philadelphia, I had gotten back from London and after noticing that everyone there seemed to have one, I decided to get a cell phone for myself.

I remember the Trailways thing because one of my first calls was done on the bus trip back from Boston to Philadelphia. The trip was one of those promotional deals done in order to save the company, $25 round trip for the Memorial Day weekend. I didn’t really want to go to Boston, but it was a hell of lot cheaper than the $500 plus that the airlines wanted to take me to Miami with a one-day advance purchase. Yes as usual I had left everything to the last minute and decided that I had had enough of the DC Memorial Day trips. No one told me at the time the trip to Bean Town would take 6 hours each way and have 2 sever cases of leg cramps.

Anyway, it was the Monday and I remember calling Larry and telling him that I would be arriving in Philly at around whatever time it was and that we should hang out and go to a club when I got there. When I hung up, a little girl who had been watching me came over and said that her mother, sitting behind me to my left would like to know if she could use my phone. I looked at the mother and thought the nerve of some people, doesn’t know me from a sack of shit but wants me to pay for her roaming charges, long distance charges and maybe even international charges if she calls Haiti or wherever she was from, (I’m bigoted that way sometimes, I don’t mean to be, but that’s how it is.) I shook my head and said “no” openly and “bitch” silently.

I bring this up only because I read earlier this week on MSNBC.com an article about the etiquette of cell phone use and how it has degraded the social interaction between many and left the rest of us angered or at least frustrated by the seeming lack of concern by the cell phone user for the privacy and comfort of those not engaged in their conversations.

Curtis is like that. If we are leaving the gym together and in the elevator, he will get on his phone and almost shout into it. Regardless of how many people are in there with us, he will talk, kee-kee and guffaw so loudly that I swear one time I felt the glass walls of the thing start to vibrate.

There was another time when a man on the Speedline, my commuter train, started to call his friend and tell him about his “I”-talian meal that he just had and had washed it down with a nice Chianti. He must have also caught an old movie too. He spoke of how he enjoyed himself until his friend on the other end must have told him that he was going to bed, it was about 9pm and they hung up. Then he called another friend and got to same point in the story when this one said that his wife was calling him and they hung up. And this continued and continued until he got to his station.

I would have felt sorry for this man’s friends having to put up with him, but they got to end their conversations. I and the rest of the passengers in the car heard the same story over and over again for at least 6 times word for word, and each time as clear as a bell even though we were about 20 feet apart. Everyone was starting to get annoyed. I guess like me they just wanted to get 20 minutes or so of peace and quiet after a long day and this bozo was intruding in it.

Speaking of peace and quiet, have you ever travelled on Amtrak along the Northeastern Corridor? Some trains now have a quiet car at the end where conversations and cell phones are forbidden and all electronics must be in the mute mode in order to enhance the ride and joy of their fellow passengers. I love it and try to find it whenever I am on Amtrak.

As for the movies, I won’t even get into the amount of times that I used to hear cells phones ring and conversations start when I was at there. Although now, I have learned to avoid certain places and stay away from those elements that exasperate me. That’s code for me being “Bougie” even though I’m not sure bougie is what really describes me.

A few years ago I was on my cell phone and telling, well he never reads this, Lamont my plans for the weekend.
“I think that I will come up to Neeeew …..York,” a loud release of breath and a pause, “this weekend.”
“Are you alright?” asks Lamont.
“Yeah. I was just stretching,” I said trying to remember not to flush the toilet until after I hung up with him.

Truth be told, I think that wasn’t the only time that I’ve gone through that, nor was Lamont the only person that I’ve done it to. But if someone were to do that to me and show so much disrespect I would try to reach through that phone and I would, I would…

Well, who among us is perfect?

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Redemption of And the award goes to...

Have you ever noticed those people who once they are up on the stage receiving an award they seem to refuse to get off the stage and just start rambling on and on about stuff you're sure they don't even care about until the music comes on? Okay, with all the rambling that I’ve been doing in the last two posts I and II, it’s time to take this baby home, kill the Dark Lord and answer all the unresolved issues.

You will remember that in the last post I had about this, RunningMom from Blackshoes WhiteSocks was the one responsible for nominating me for this award and I had also listed the rules that I was to abide to, well here now is the list of, and I think, varied people that I would like to pass the award on to. I hope that I haven’t listed anyone that has received this award already, and I actually feel the same way about many other blogs and bloggers not listed here but the rules, time and space forbid me from adding them in. So:

1) Chacoyrami of Chacoyrami: This was the person who started me off with doing a blog. He told me how to go about registering and gave me the idea of what to start writing about. He has often criticized me for what I write about or the direction that the post has headed in since. He has sometimes has not liked the look of the blog itself telling me that it was too cluttered or worse boring. But I have listened to him, sometimes not agreeing with him but I've always been very appreciative of what he has had to say.

2) Mr. Jones of Surrealistically Speaking: I seem to remember his blog name was something else when I first started to read him, but his blog was the first one that made me not take my own sort of seriously. He has a unique wit that makes me wish that I was that way when I was his age. He will at times make me wince and shake my head with disbelief with the things that he says but he keeps me balanced and makes me challenge my own beliefs and sets of prejudices.

3) Whozhe of SGL Universe: His commentary on people being victimized for just living or trying to live keeps me real. He tells me that it’s not alright for me to have mine while others lose theirs’ because eventually I’ll lose mine as well. I don’t think that I could ever be as aware or as activist as he is, but he keeps me grounded and I hope thinking.

4) Ingrid of Through My Eyes: Again with the politics. She’s been absent recently but when she’s there she’s always looking out, speaking up for those who have been taken advantage of, for those who are the weakest amongst us, and all while trying to raise a little girl to respect and embrace all the good things that life has to offer. When you see that you see something really special.

5) Rod of Rod 2.0 Beta: You know how you always remember your first, well sometimes you do. His blog was my first blog to ever read. It was slick, and almost chic. Easy and informative. He kept pace with the current topics and brought up subjects before they even became current and clich├ęd.

And now to the 5 blogs that I’m supposed to be provide encouragement to. They may not be newest of bloggers, and they are probably the ones that are least in need of something from me, but they are the ones that I wish I was more familiar with and I would like to give a shout to:

I) Oyin of Oyin’s World: Or is it Kin’shar’s World? I don’t know it depends on what season it is. The name changes according to her moods, her likes, her wants and that’s what makes her so interesting and hard to pin down. There is nothing about her that is predictable and that ensures her a wide and varied audience. In fact sometimes reading the comments responding to her posts are the things that make the blog exciting. She has what I will never have, the pulse of her readers, the ability to know them, because she is one of them.

II) Omar of Life in the Key of O: Is a blog that I don’t ever think that I have commented on, he’s too clever for me. In fact this blogger is so talented, he makes me jealous. Apart from being young and attractive, he sings, writes songs, he models although I’m not sure if it’s just for his own pictures or someone else’s but more than that, he writes. He writes not just for himself but for the reader. He takes you on a journey that lets you into his head and his heart that sometimes makes you relive his thoughts, his emotions. He needs nothing from me, but here it is anyway.

III) BLKSeaGoat of Black Sapience…My 0.2 and Black, male And gay…in that order: He doesn’t write often, for his own reasons I’m sure. And I think mentioned earlier about being an activist; well this blogger takes it in another direction. Most people will look at others and tell us how they were done wrong by them. He looks at us, whoever us is, and he shows how we allow ourselves to be victimized even when we ourselves are doing the victimizing. He keeps you on your toes. Like Marvin Gaye he “makes me wanna holla.”

IV) Blah, Blah, Blah of Writing My Wrongs: Now I still haven’t figured her out yet which is why she fascinates me. One moment she’s flying around the world, moving from one city to another doing the Marlo Thomas “That Girl” thing or at least my impression of what the TV show must have been about, I’ve never seen it. Then the next moment she seems to carrying the ills of the world like Atlas on his shoulders. This makes what she writes so poignant and interesting. But she has disappeared now and I don't know if she'll come back, but if she does, I'll still be here for her.

V) The CPA Doc of Destiny’s Mogul: This young blogger, I really am sure is new to the blog world. He writes about everything and is like most people his age he is 100% sure of what he writes. He is really refreshing and new and everything is black or white with very little grey in between. But I look at his posts and I think he seems to be looking to find his own voice. And when he does, he will be a force to be reckoned with.

I am not even sure that all or even most of these recipients read my blog on a regular basis. Actually, I know one two don’t read it at all and never will, but to those that do please visit the Helping Hand blog of Sojourner's Place where you will become more familiar with the reasons why you were nominated and what you can do to honor or “pay it forward” to those that you think you can help.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Black History Month

It's Black History Month once more and with the celebrations of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's birthday and the inauguration of Barack Obama as the first African-American President of the Unites States of America last month, it's going to be hard for me to find or write about something that will be of equal relevance and or stature.

So for now, until I am able to think of something worthy of your attention on this great occasion I will, with your permission show a brief video on a cause that is of great concern to many black women around the world. I hope that after seeing this, if you can find it in your hearts, you will contribute as generously to the cause as much as you can.

Thank you.


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