Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sorry I Ate Your Peanuts


My brother told me a story not too long ago. It’s funny as all get out. I want to share it with you and then I have a serious point to make. But first levity…
My brother is a pastor. He is often traveling to homes of parishioners to minister, pray with, bring food etc. During one of these travels he and a small group arrived at the home of an elderly woman. She invited them in and offered them a seat. She then excused herself to tend to something in the other room. The group had been very busy all day and was famished. The helped themselves to the bowl of peanuts on the coffee table. The woman returned. One of the ministers admitted sheepishly; “Sorry Mother. We were so hungry we ate all of your peanuts.” The woman waved her hand dismissively. “Oh, don’t worry about that baby. I done sucked all of the chocolate off of those already.”
As everyone tried not to hurl, my brother hollered with laughter. Boy was he glad he didn’t eat any of those peanuts!
Which brings me to my point. What are you feeding yourself? How many people have touched it before you? What did they do to it? These are the questions that remind me to bless the food at restaurants. It’s also why say an extra long prayer at a buffet.
These questions can also be applied to belief systems. Religious beliefs as well as secular. For the record, I identify as a Christian… With reservations.
So that is where I’ll focus.  Around 1800 BC Moses went up on Mount Sinai to get away from the Hebrews. They were getting on his nerves something serious. He’d been listening to them cry and complain since Egypt. So he grabbed two of his homies and they went up to the mountain where it was quiet. Maybe God would tell him something to do so he wouldn’t have to kill those people. And God did not disappoint. He kept Moses on the mountain for forty days. (I’d like to think that 35of those days were like a spa trip for Moses. He deserved it. And on the last 5 days he gave Moses instructions. God even wrote them down on stone tablets. So Moses wouldn’t forget or lose them. Those instructions were the Ten Commandments. And the start of Judaism.
Now I don’t know exactly how the people felt about these instructions or exactly what they did with them. They lost the tablets. And the Ark, which contained them. Whatever they did it wasn’t good, because 1800 years later Jesus had to be born to clean house.
Jesus (at least in my mind) was like Shaft in sandals. He’s a bad mutha- Shut yo mouth! He didn’t care what anyone said, he got stuff done.
He looked at the Jews and told them they were doing things all wrong. They had strayed so far from what his Daddy had written on those rock all of those years ago. People were changing things to benefit their own selfish agendas. Just straight up lying on his Daddy and Jesus was having none of it. So J.C. started changing things. Everywhere he went he was bucking the system. The Jews didn’t take too kindly too him busting up their pimp game, so they decided kill him. But it was too late. Jesus had decided to give up his life long before. He made his mark and would never be forgotten. Mission accomplished. He made some revisions to the Jewish faith. Those who liked Jesus’ ideas called themselves Christians and decided they were going to live their lives being like him.
That was over 2000 years ago. Judaism lasted only 1800 years before it was too dirty and corrupt to continue on as it was. Christianity is even older now. Come to think of it, Islam started at about 600 AD. And since many of the Jews rejected Jesus’ revisions Judaism is about 4000 years old.
If mankind is true to form, then all of these religions are in need of an overhaul. Too much time has passed. Too many people have touched the sacred scriptures.  And considering the fact that the members of these faiths tend to be the hardest people to get along with on the planet, it’s a safe bet that those holy books probably look very little like they were intended to. That is why I am a Christian with reservations. I know in my gut that there was some non-God authorized revisions to my bible and by extension, the Christian faith.
I read my bible with a critical eye. I follow politics with a critical eye. I observe tradition with a critical eye. I know the peanuts in there have been around a long time. Long enough for them to be M&M’s that someone sucked all of the chocolate off. Long enough for someone to have knocked them on the floor swept up and put back in the bowl. Long enough that even if the were never covered in chocolate; like bar nuts any number of unsanitized hands could have been there first. I don’t eat nuts at the bar. I don’t eat in “Grade Pending” restaurants.  I look around in a restaurant for obvious signs of filth before I eat. My body is my temple. I have to watch what I put in it.  My mind and my soul are the residents in that temple and I have to watch what I feed them too. I always ask questions before I eat anything. It would be foolish not to. And regardless of the answer I’m given, if something doesn’t look or smell right. If the little voice in the back of my mind clears it’s throat in caution. I’m not eating it. I want to know that my peanuts are not reincarnated M&M’s.

Thursday, September 6, 2012



In 1984 Jessie Jackson ran for president. I was four years old. My mother and my aunt took my cousin and I (in strollers) to a campaign rally. I don’t remember much except the size of the crowd, yelling “Run Jesse Run!!” And I remember Jesse saying in his speech “I know I am Somebody, I know I am Somebody, I know I am Somebody!!” It stuck with me. A few years later in Sunday school I remember staring at a poster with a little kid on it that said, “I know I’m Somebody. Cause God don’t make no junk!” That stuck with me too.

So while checking out my Papi’s Facebook page today; I came across something that disturbed what Jesse told me in 1984. And what that poster told me Sunday after Sunday. Here is what he posted. He posted it from someone who posted it from someone…
Females, lets be clear....and REAL....a man isn't cheating with you because you are so good at being the other woman....he's cheating with you because you aren't good enough to be THE woman. I laugh at women that brag about being the "go to" woman when the man gets bored at home, & you try to put down a submissive woman for being who God designed her to be. Learn what submission really means. A submissive woman is far from weak, because a true submissive woman knows how to carry the load for him and her both without him even having to know it. She knows how to speak to his spirit & not his lusts. She knows how to push him to his dreams instead of pulling him to destruction. She knows how to pray with him and not play with him. She knows how to be quiet even when her flesh wants to speak. She knows the value of his hard work & not just his dollar. A submissive woman is his "LIFETIME" but you are just a "GOOD TIME"...and that's all you will ever be. He knows that he can throw a few dollars & material possessions your way & that's all you will ever expect. The other woman makes it easy for a man, the submissive woman makes it easy for herself by making him EARN & not buy her. You are the O.T.H.E.R. Overplayed Toy He Eventually Releases....Get it straight.”
On the surface this seems like a “Hell Yeah Girl!” statement. Until you squint a little and realize that both women addressed in this statement suffer from low self-esteem. Both women are allowing themselves to be used. Neither sees their value. The woman who wrote this sees the other woman as the loser. The immoral wretch who is worth nothing more than a roll in the hay.
This may be true. But the wife, the #1 woman who feels the need to debase the other woman to extol her own worth values and status is a fool. She with all of her values and commitment to the biblical idea of womanhood has married a whore. She knows it. She stays. And she is angry with whom? The other woman. Is she angry with her man? Not really.. He’ll be back.
No, the other woman is not a nice person… But if she enjoys her position, she’s getting what she wants --a good time. Sure, she should believe she’s worth more.  But at least she knows a dud when she sees one. Your cheating man is not worth more of an investment than a good time.
Soo angry at the other woman… Why? She is just taking what he is offering.   If a man deceives his wife took his paycheck, and his time to the casino would the woman blame the casino? Or would she blame the man for a lack of honesty and commitment?
This issue has nothing to do with the other woman. She is an opportunist. This has little to do with the man. (He broke his commitment) but at his core, he too is an opportunist.
The issue is this long suffering woman who believes that God called her to submit to a man who has not first submitted to God. And she wears her suffering as a red badge of courage. And this makes her “better” than the other woman YUP! Women are stupid. This is the very same attitude that keeps us nursing broken hearts and medicating STD’s. A man would have never written such drivel. When a woman cheats on a man with anyone he blames the woman. If she cheats with his brother he will forgive his brother and still blame the woman. A man would never sit there and think up a list of reasons why the other man is not good enough to be number one. He doesn’t care. That man is getting for free what he worked for and he’s mad as hell at her for giving it away. He would never boldly admit to waiting on a whore to change her mind and act right.  He would never do that because he knows that he would just be confirming to the world what she thinks… He’s not worth much.
Sometimes things mean so much more than they appear to mean on the surface. Sometimes how we view others is a direct reflection of how we see ourselves.
 Sometimes we don’t feel special or worthy of more than scraps.
No matter how we dress it a pig in lipstick is still just a pig. And low self -esteem wrapped in a wedding band and a bible is still low self-esteem.
I am Somebody, I am Somebody, I am Somebody! Say it if you don’t feel it. Say if you don’t understand it. Soon it will stick with you. And you will be able to loudly proclaim “I know I’m somebody. Cause God don’t make no junk!” And you won’t take any junk. And the other woman won’t matter. She won’t exist. Because the man that would bring her about would no longer take up residence in your life…. Shalom

Monday, August 27, 2012

Learn More, Know Less

Throughout history, there have been amazing civilizations and revelations.  Today, we live in the Information Age, where virtually anything we want to know can be accessed with just a few mere touches of our fingertips to a machine.  Heck, even the advent of a machine is a miracle in itself.

Have we gotten too cocky?  I remember the lyrics to a theme song for a show in the 90s, “The Hogan Family”, which said “Life is such a sweet insanity. The more you learn, the less you know.”  I’m starting to believe – more than ever – that this is true.

Humankind has developed in ways that would make people born merely a century ago drop dead in disbelief.  The accomplishments we have made as a species is unbelievable.  But the only thing that astounds me more than our successes is our arrogance, not even our failures.  One point of our arrogance surpasses and surprises me than all other, however: Believing in God is rapidly becoming rapidly a signal of a lack of intelligence.  It seems we have bought into our own hype.

I’m sorry to burst our own intellectual bubble, but the more we learn, the less we know.  Humans on this planet have had civilizations without disease, meaning that even the common cold was a foreign concept. Making matters worse, these civilizations were thought to be “savages” and to live in “huts.” 

There have been multiple civilizations that interacted with each other, and fought wars; BLOODLESS wars. For those that don’t understand that concept, it means that two opposing nations disagreed, and settled their differences in a combat environment where nobody died. Oftentimes, no one was even hurt!

To be clear, many of these civilizations developed independently and during different eras of human existence.  They occupied all the hemispheres of the planet, and their ideals and achievements span thousands of years. As different as they all were, they all believed in some sort of divinity.  They might have worshipped their deity or deities differently, had different religious practices, or believed in different deities entirely, but they all had some sort of “faith.”  How foolish and arrogant of us to discount them!
No, they were not perfect civilizations, but were they really “worse” than ours?  We live in the prototype nation for freedom, where we judge and chastise other nations for not advancing the rights of women, unsanitary living conditions, etc., yet we still argue about birth control, give tax breaks to the rich, and lose countless souls to PREVENTABLE diseases and ailments, not to mention things like cancer and AIDS.  We fight wars that old people start and young people die in by the thousands, but we have the audacity to look at these other cultures as primitive. 

In the history of human evolution, atheism and agnosticism are relatively new concepts.  Actually, their widespread belief is arguably newer than the idea of fundamental human rights, which can be traced to a time hundreds – if not thousands – of years before the birth of Jesus. In this day and age – the era of technology, the mastery of sciences that would be deemed magical not too long ago – 80% of the world believes in some sort of religion.  That translates to roughly 5.5 BILLION people, again, in the INFORMATION AGE!  If we were to assume – falsely, I might add, since the percentage was most likely much higher – that this percentage has stayed constant throughout human history, it is arguable that the number of people that believe in some sort of deity living today equals the number of atheists and agnostics that have walked the earth EVER.  I admit that’s an exaggeration, but without doing a population check for the last 10,000 years, it is far from unfathomable.

Maybe you believe in a deity. Maybe you do not.  But the disdain those that do not have for those that do is beyond arrogant and idiotic.  Not all religions are the same, nor are all religions safe.  However, the fact that religion is as old as humankind itself should be enough to make an argument for actual possibility. 
We no longer fight bloodless wars.  We no longer have civilizations without disease.  We no longer have race-blind multinational civilizations.  In some circles, we no longer have a God.  We do have computers, cars, airplanes, chemistry, physics, biology, inequality, famine, socioeconomic classism, racism, and hate.  Some of these things – good and bad – have existed for a long time. Some of them have not.  It truly does seem like the more we learn, the less we know.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Misery Loves... Justification

He Says:

I have, never in my life, been accused of being an optimist. The glass is half-full if it was empty before the waiter put something in it. It is half-empty if I had a full glass and someone drank it.  So I'm not one of those "life is what you make it", "every cloud has a silver lining", "turn that frown upside down" bullish spitting peoples.

Sometimes things just suck.

The question, then, becomes, what are you gonna do about it?  Are things just gonna suck, and you sit there in the suckiness and be sucky? That seems counterproductive to me. If something sucks (and not in a good way), it is completely understandable to at first be overwhelmed.  It is a natural reaction.  But why would one choose to stay there? Simply put, misery loves justification.

Misery may love company, but any house guest can overstay his or her welcome. At some point even misery prefers to be alone... But justification is a different story. Justification is the four-course meal on which misery thrives. It is the surf, turf, potatoes, steamed veggies, and quadruple-layer chocolate cake that feeds misery and keeps it both fat and strong.

I mean, seriously, if you can justify why you're miserable, you lose the will/power/focus to do anything about it.  "I don't have time", "I've tried everything" and, my personal favorite, "It's not my fault!" Every time you justify being miserable and your sucky condition, the misery inside you smiles because it is getting stronger while you get weaker.  Misery's goal is to keep making you weaker until the only victory you will be able to achieve is one that is Pyrrhic in nature.

There will always be reasons why your present condition sucks, and there will always be reasons to justify not even trying to do anything to change that present condition. But if things are so bad to begin with, what do you have to lose? And if you just tried to justify your misery because your circumstance is special, then by all means, be miserable, have a drink, and die slowly - both literally and figuratively... Just make sure you have a nice suit/dress picked out, and someone has something non-miserable to say at your funeral.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

"Happy White People Day" Indeed


On July 4th, Chris Rock tweeted"Happy white peoples independence day the slaves weren't free but I'm sure they enjoyed fireworks." And oh boy did that burn a bunch of White  folks biscuits. Why? What part of it wasn't true??

  The 1st Independence day was to declare  independence from Great Britain of primarily White men who owned property, followed by white men who did not own property and finally white women. Black people were not included in that declaration. He did not address how slavery originated, who owned the most slaves or any of the other irrelevant points people are raising.

Actually Chris Rock commemorated the day more appropriately than most. He made a statement about the systematic oppression of a people by their own government. Doesn't that just SCREAM 4th of July?

When White folk die or are mistreated it is a travesty of national or even global proportions. And do we ever move on from those tragedies? No. "We Will Remember" "Never Forget" If you even mention that the holocaust wasn't the greatest example of genocide, you are anti-Semitic.

White folk in America want us to forget about slavery. Guess what? We'd love to!  We have tried to assimilate for generations and just be Americans, but due to the dedication to racism that persists specifically against Blacks in this country; we cannot forget. 

When we forget and get comfortable we build our own profitable, self sufficient communities. And they are lynched burned to the ground. (Rosewood,Fl. 1923) When we forget and get comfortable we forget to remind our children to cross the road and not look a White person in the eye. (My Grandmother. Augusta, Ga. 1939) Our sons are killed for allegedly whistling at a White woman(Emmitt Till, Mississippi Delta 1955) . Shot at by the NYPD 41 times, killed while reaching for the wallet that holds the ID to identify himself to the officers. (Amadou Diallo Bronx, NY 1999) Or something as simple as a 13 year old boy being stopped frisked and questioned about  how he acquired his handheld video  game in his pocket. (My Nephew. Brooklyn, NY 2006)

So since Independence Day is the day that a group of people chose to declare their independence from a nation that enacted a system of oppression on some of it's people; Independence at it's core for Black people in America still has not come. Yes we've come a long way, but not far enough.

We cannot forget our history. Lest we be doomed to repeat it. And we are still recovering from the first pass. We still have to watch our backs in the nation of our birth; permanent prime suspects to a never ending crime. But much like my people before me I am hopeful, I am prayerful and I am expecting a miracle. I am expecting a true independence day for all Americans... Someday.

"It's been a long, long time coming. But I know a change is gonna come. " 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Dealing With The Devil

She Says:

Riddle me this: What do Mike Bloomberg, the MTA, The GOP and Apple all have in common?
Answer: They are all closely linked and allied if not the very Devil himself!

Bloomberg bought his way out of term limits and had become the Dictator in Chief of NYC. The MTA holds the city hostage with ever increasing fares and ongoing "service improvements" That only seem to serve to eff up most people's already hellish commutes. The GOP wants you to pay FICA and die! Why should average citizens see a doctor? But you'd better file those 1040's... Or that's your ass! But, on to my devil of the day, but very high on my list all days...APPLE.

As I type this rant I am on an iMac. An iMac that some awesome friends gave me when they crumbled and bought a new over priced Mac. I have never bought an apple product first hand. I refuse. I'm broke. Apple's rich. Everybody buys Apple..So apple don't need my money.. Shout outs to the two cool people I bought my first macs from on craigslist. Super Shout outs to Joe & D. The kind benefactors that gave me this mac for $0. And a drink or two :)

****Warning: The rest of this post will contain some four letter words. Some will find it amusing, others offensive...But I don't care. Because this is how I feel down deep in my soul. When something ticks me off, even if you don't hear it out loud I'm cussing on the inside. God hears it. So why bother hiding it from you.****

I used to love Apple. The macs were shiny, and cool. And they did cool stuff that windows did not. They had ITUNES!!! 99 cents a song! Whoo hoo! I no longer had to buy an entire 16 track crappy cd just for 3 cool songs! Genius! Oh look! Itunes works on PC. I signed up. All the while saving my pennies so That I could eventually buy my very own (overpriced but awesome) mac.

One day, and 400 dollars into my Itunes library. My hard drive died. Just died. No warning or anything just bye bye hard drive. I lost my pics and all of my music. I know they tell you to back up your itunes. You are supposed to back up everything. But who actually does it before their first computer meltdown? No One. That's who.

So I do the logical thing and call Apple. I tell them my story, and ask them to explain to me how I can download my music again. They say that I can't. But I can go to my account where every song I bought is listed and buy them all again if I'd like.
Hell No! I would not like! I would like for you to re issue my music that we both know I spent 400 dollars on. I'm sorry ma'am. We just cannot do that. There is no way we can.
That's pretty much how that stupid ass conversation went.

Those Bastards!! They  act like I asked them to ship me a bunch of CDs or a crate of vinyl. The music is digital!! Why can't they just press a few buttons. Re-digitize and send me my shit?! That is when I realized that Apple did not give a crap about it's customers.
I found "other ways" to get my music back. And I was happy. It was also then that I decided I would only buy Apple products second hand if at all possible. They don't care about me... They ain't getting my money!   Some time had passed and I was looking for a song. I could not find it anywhere. I knew I had purchased it from itunes before so I bit the bullet and went to re purchase the song. Do you know that apple had the audacity to grey out the song so that I could not re purchase it!
So... I called Apple. "Umm yeah.. sooo. I wanted to buy this song right? And Ya'll won't let me."
"Well we see you've purchased it before. So you can't purchase it again" That's when I snapped and informed the chick on the line that I would be calling back everyday, all day until someone in there let me buy that damn song again. I vowed to holler at every poor soul who answered the phone until I got digital justice. Suddenly a supervisor came on the line and said that they would make a one time exception and re issue all 400 dollars of my music to me. As a courtesy. My ass. Here's a courtesy. Be good to your customers before they turn into hollering shrews.

I have heard horror stories of people walking into the Apple store with a loose screw on a unit and being charged more that what the computer is worth to fix it or offered an upgrade on a new machine.

Just today I decided that I needed to upgrade my mac's software. I go to the website and see that the newest upgrade will be released in July. Cool. I'll get it then.. NOT so fast. In order to get the latest upgrade you have to have every one in between. I'm running leopard. Mountain lion comes out in July. Snow leopard and lion are between them. So I effectively have to buy and install two useless upgrades to get to the new one. Why? is this a punishment for not following the curve? That's like Microsoft saying you are using XP. You want windows 7? You gotta buy Vista. I know. We are not using it anymore, but we don't appreciate that you did not buy it. You were supposed to buy it. and for your defiance, we will force you to buy it.

Ain't this about a bitch. How about they just charge extra to skip upgrades? That would make sense.
Apple doesn't care what makes sense. Apple wants assimilation. Like the Borg. They want you to abandon all free thought and purchase. They want your mind, your wallet and your immortal soul. But that usually is the price you pay for dealing with Satan isn't it?

Kiss my grits Apple! I will find "other ways" to get that upgrade. My money belongs to me! My soul belongs to Jesus! And my heart belongs to PC! I'm just using you because you're flashy and easy.

Friday, June 22, 2012

License to Breed

We must register to vote. We need a License to drive, but anybody can just make and raise a kid. They ask you no questions. There are no qualifying factors. It's just okay there ya go. Good luck baby, hope your parents don't suck. I mean can they at least give you a pamphlet and a 5 hour course? A road test or something? I mean It's a person!? People are more thoroughly vetted before buying a puppy.. With that in mind here is the pamphlet that I would send home with anyone who is thinking of or recently had a child.

Page 1
                                    Whatcha Gonna Do Now?

         What do the 1991 Chicago Bulls, General Patton and Kelly Clarkson all have in common? They won. Sure they all won different things, but they won.  All great conquests are made with a plan. So now that you know you’re going to be a parent, now that you’re out buying onesies, and booties and all other types baby gear. What’s your game plan? Don’t know? Okay grab a pencil.

         But seriously in quiet moment allow yourself to consider the most important things that you want your child to learn. You know indispensable life knowledge. Write them down commit them to memory and try as often as possible to tie these pieces of information into their lives. Start the messages out very basic and become more in-depth as the child’s understanding increases.
P.S. Don’t be crazy about it. Only reference these things when they make sense. And if your kid’s already here it’s okay, you’re no too late you can play catch up.

Page 2
                                      You Gotta Love ‘Em

         No one can say enough about how important it is for a child to know that he or she is loved, thoroughly and unconditionally. When your tired, angry, happy, or sad or any other feeling you can muster up. Make sure that you show your child love. And  tell them that you love them. You can’t just expect them to know. Just because you feed them and clothe them does not mean you love them, that is a parental responsibility. The sanitation worker picks up my garbage, but that doesn’t mean he loves me. Now if he showed up at my door  with a large roll of those really good industrial strength garbage bags and said “Hey, I Love You! “, then I’d be sure too get the message. Not that you have to bring your kids gifts to show your love, I just have the hardest time finding good trash bags.
         If you want to show your child you care take an interest in their hobbies. You don’t have to love it , just take interest in it. It will mean a lot to them a forge communication that will be very important further down the line. Take time with your kid now or take time in the court house, or E.R., jail, or cemetery later. The choice is yours.

    Page 3
                                    They Are Watching You

Sounds like the opening scene from a horror flick, but it’s true. Those little people are watching you. How you walk, how you talk , what you do and don’t do. They are silently piecing together the puzzle of what life is about. They are formulating ideas and making decisions based on what they are exposed to primarily by you. Sure there will be many other influences, but yours will be the greatest. Because you were there first and you had their undivided attention the longest.

  Page 4
                           They’re Not Really Yours They’re On Loan

         You read right your precious child is not yours rather a very valuable loan. God has done with you what Harry Winston does on Oscar night with celebrities. You have been loaned precious cargo. It is expected that that loan be returned in the best condition possible. In the case of jewelry, it is returned to the store. In the case of a child, they are returned to the world as adults. You only get to hold them for a brief period of time, so make that time count.

Page 5
                  You’re Bored?... Learn To Play The Violin

So you’ve traded in your stilettos for loafers and you’re your bachelor pad is now a play yard. You have decided to become a parent. Your idea of fun needs to change.  It’s not really about you now. It’s about that little person. Some kind soul will occasionally babysit so you can go shower off the drool and kick up your heels from time to time, but you are now on call 24 hours a day. It gets a little better as they get older, but it never stops. Make your child a part of your new idea of fun. You’ll learn to love it, your child will love it and in return they will love you. Still bored? Learn to play the violin so you can lull the kid to sleep & have a drink.

Page 6
                                             It’s Your Fault

If nothing else you’ve read motivates you to strap yourself in and really commit to this parenthood thing, then maybe this will. THEY ARE GONNA BLAME YOU!!!!! And people will BELIEVE them!  The Giants win the Superbowl. They thank their parents. Serial killer on death row. They blame their parents. Either way you take the rap. Wouldn’t you like to stack the deck in favor of a Superbowl win?

God Speed and Good Luck