Sunday, September 29, 2013

6 (more or less)


This is a vulnerable moment. It's the truth.  Today I have been here for 6 years.

6
 
the # of years I've given Oregon for me to become acclimated to it. Every other place I've lived, it's taken me only a few weeks.
 
6
 
more than the # of black people I know in the entire state of Oregon.
 
6
 
more than the # of happy hours I've been invited to  since I've lived in Oregon.
 
6
 
more than the # of  invites to meet friends out on Friday and/or Saturday nights since I've lived in Oregon.
 
6
 
more than the # of  Oregonian 'friends' who will initiate a call or text or email or instant message if they have not heard from me.
 
6
 
less than the # of months Oregon is cloudy and rainy

6

the # of friends whom I caught in lies, cancelling out of social events because they were ill, but forgetting to tell mutual friends not to post pics of themselves partying on the night they were supposed to be ill 
 
6

the # of times I've deactivated my facebook account for the above reason.

5
 
the # of  Oregonians who told me they had no time for new friends
 
4

the # of ingenious ways I've been advised to meet women of color

3

the # of black women I know in the entire state of Oregon

2

the # of black men in Oregon who told me they want nothing to do with black women

1

the # of black friends here whose wife, in a heated argument, slipped and called him a mother fucking n****r, stunning him- as he has told me time and time again that white women was where it's at.


0

the # of people from home who want to come visit, or has visited since I've been here .

 

Friday, September 27, 2013

The whole village



    and nothing but the village

Individuality

                                                                      
                                                                      One creates oneself.
                                                                            --Grace Jones

Thursday, September 26, 2013

I am already whole

I am an expression of the divine, just like a peach is, just like a fish is. I have a right to be this way...I can't apologize for that, nor can I change it, nor do I want to... We will never have to be other than who we are in order to be successful...We realize that we are as ourselves unlimited and our experiences valid. It is for the rest of the world to recognize this, if they choose.
― Alice Walker, The Color Purple

History Expects You


Little Mosque

I came across this show when Directv added another network,   Pivot.     I was intrigued because the few Muslims I see on the train on my way to and from work are always so serious and they never seem to smile.  I love this show.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Second and the last

.
Stephanie Mills
.and when she looked through the crates of all my vinyl records and asked me who  Jesse Johnson, Jody Watley or Jodeci were,  and who Sheena Easton, Sheila E, or Stephanie Mills were, and asked me if I had any Simon & Garfunkel, I knew this second date was going to be the last.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

i feel



During my layover in Frankfort Germany last November, and I went in a mens clothing store,  this was the first song I heard. And during the following week when I was with my friend Billal at a macaron  store in Paris, this was the song I heard. And then went I went to a club in Paris that weekend I heard this same song. I used the  Shazam app to find out the name and group. I've never heard this song, or even of  the group before and I had to find the cd and song on Ebay. Everytime I hear it I am back in Europe-

J. D*vey

What is the biggest misconception about you?



That's an easy question.

I talk a lot, and I can laugh at myself, and I'm very considerate and full of compliments, but if I  don't know you, then you would find that hard to believe because it takes me a while to warm up to people I don't know. I'm not the type to smile when there's no need to do so-especially in the morning when I would rather in bed asleep, I'm told I look intimidating.  I can't count the number of women at current and past jobs who have said "when I'd see you years ago in passing, you always look so mean, but you're a really nice guy."
When I tell my best friend that I'm shy, he rolls his eyes. I would say that I situationally shy. You put me in a room full of strangers, and I will hardly speak, but if I find someone in the room that loves to cook or bake, or loves old school RnB, or poetry, then I'm open. I'm smiling, laughing, listening, talking, etc.,
About 20 years ago a friend  invited me to a party that was full of Ph.D candidates. He was worried that I'd feel uncomfortable- he said that as soon as I was ready to leave to let him know. I dreaded going to the party, but within minutes I saw a guy with a Langston Hughes T-shirt on, and a woman with Prince T shirt on, and  that was my proverbial foot in the door, socially.  My friend was on the other side of the party and he was pleased to see that I was comfortable and that he didn't have to check up on me.. I was pleased as well, because I thought I'd bored to death.
What is the biggest misconception about you? 

If/Then

           
 
                                                                                                 How to build a better black man?
 
You build a better black man by building a better son, and you will build a better husband, the type that won’t go for ratchet women. Hopefully.
 
                                                                                                     How to build a better black woman?
 
You build a better black woman by building a better daughter, and you will build a better wife, the type that won’t go for pants-saggin thugs.  Hopefully.
 
If you build a better black man and woman you will build a better community. How?  By taking back the power that’s been taken away from us.
 
That's how.
 
What say you?

Afrodisia


Friday, September 20, 2013

For the weekend

Good music heals. As we go into the weekend, let's compile a good list of music to roll out to. What are the BEST THREE ALBUMS OF ALL TIME? I'm gonna have to start us off with:

1. Bob Marley, Live at the Roxy
2. Purple Rain, Prince
3. A Love Supreme, Chante Moore

"One good thing about music, when it hits you feel no pain!" - Bob Marley

Note to self

One of the first steps to leading our healthiest most fulfilled lives...knowing when to say no.

I agree

Malcolm X
"I believe in the brotherhood of man, all men, but I don't believe in brotherhood with anybody who doesn't want brotherhood with me. I believe in treating people right, but I'm not going to waste my time trying to treat somebody right who doesn't know how to return the treatment."

-- Speech, Dec. 12 1964, New York City.



Thursday, September 19, 2013

House Republicans Pass Deep Cuts in Food Stamps

The bill passed narrowly despite efforts by the House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi, who spoke at a news conference on Thursday.
House Republicans narrowly pushed through a bill on Thursday that slashes billions of dollars from the food stamp program, over the objections of Democrats and a veto threat from President Obama.
The vote set up what promised to be a major clash with the Senate and dashed hopes for passage this year of a new five-year farm bill.
The vote was 217 to 210, largely along party lines.
Republican leaders, under pressure from Tea Party-backed conservatives, said the bill was needed because the food stamp program, which costs nearly $80 billion a year, had grown out of control. They said the program had expanded even as jobless rates had declined with the easing recession.
“This bill eliminates loopholes, ensures work requirements, and puts us on a fiscally responsible path,” said Representative Marlin Stutzman, Republican of Indiana, who led efforts to split the food stamps program from the overall farm bill. “In the real world, we measure success by results. It’s time for Washington to measure success by how many families are lifted out of poverty and helped back on their feet, not by how much Washington bureaucrats spend year after year.”
But even with the cuts, the food stamp program would cost more than $700 billion over the next 10 years.
Republicans invoked former President Bill Clinton in their defense of the bill, saying that the changes were in the spirit of those that he signed into law in 1996 that set work requirements for those who receive welfare.
But Democrats, many of whom held up pictures of people they said would lose their benefits, called the cuts draconian and said they would plunge millions into poverty.
“It’s a sad day in the people’s House when the leadership brings to the floor one of the most heartless bills I have ever seen,” said Representative James McGovern, Democrat of Massachusetts. “It’s terrible policy trapped in a terrible process.”
The measure has little chance of advancing in the Senate, and Senator Debbie Stabenow, Democrat of Michigan and the chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, called it “a monumental waste of time.”
The bill, written under the direction of the House majority leader, Eric Cantor, Republican of Virginia, would cut $40 billion from the food stamp program over the next 10 years. It would also require adults between 18 and 50 without minor children to find a job or to enroll in a work-training program in order to receive benefits.
It would also limit the time those recipients could get benefits to three months. Currently, states can extend food stamp benefits past three months for able-bodied people who are working or preparing for work as part of a job-training program.
“This bill makes getting Americans back to work a priority again for our nation’s welfare programs,” House Speaker John A. Boehner said.
The bill would also restrict people enrolled in other social welfare programs from automatically becoming eligible for food stamps.
In addition, the legislation would allow states to require food stamp recipients to be tested for drugs and to stop lottery winners from getting benefits. The Senate farm bill also contains a restriction on lottery winners.
Critics of the measure said the cuts would fall disproportionately on children.
“Yes, the federal government has budget problems, but children didn’t cause them, and cutting anti-hunger investments is the wrong way to solve them,” said Bruce Lesley, president of First Focus Campaign for Children,  a child advocacy group.       
According to the Congressional Budget Office, nearly four million people would be removed from the food stamp program under the House bill starting next year. The budget office said after that, about three million a year would be cut off from the program.
The budget office said that, left unchanged, the number of food stamp recipients would decline by about 14 million people — or 30 percent — over the next 10 years as the economy improves. A Census Bureau report released on Tuesday found that the program had kept about four million people above the poverty level and had prevented millions more from sinking further into poverty. The census data also showed nearly 47 million people living in poverty — close to the highest level in two decades.
Historically, the food stamp program has been part of the farm bill, a huge piece of legislation that had routinely been passed every five years, authorizing financing for the nation’s farm and nutrition programs. But in July, House leaders split the bill’s farm and nutrition sections into separate measures, passing the farm legislation over Democrats’ objections.
The move came after the House rejected a proposed farm bill that would have cut $20 billion from the food stamp program. Conservative lawmakers helped kill the bill, saying the program needed deeper cuts.
--courtesy. cnn.com
 
If the present crop of right wing Republicans had been around during The Great Depression, they would have outlawed soup kitchens.

I wish Republicans would come up with creative ideas for developing good new jobs. Instead they trash people who desperately want to work but can't find a job or are struggling with part time work.

Some statistics about Food Stamps and job challenges --
-- 76% of SNAP (Food Stamps) families include a child, an elderly adult, or a disabled person.
-- The average SNAP household has a gross monthly income of $744.
-- Half of children who receive SNAP live in low-wage WORKING families.
-- 1 in 50 Americans live on nothing but food stamps.

(In addition to job loses from out sourcing and automation) - Large numbers of full -time jobs in the U.S. have been replaced by part time or temporary jobs.

-- Over the past decades, many major retailers went from 70 to 80 % full time workers to now having at least 70 % part-time workers.
-- Work schedules for many part-time workers are now far less predictable and stable - making child care, school attendance, or trying to work a second part-time job very difficult or impossible to schedule.
-- Many businesses now decline to hire anyone older than 50.
-- Job seekers who may have a college degree, but are anxious to find any work they can get, may not be hired for lower-paying jobs because they are "over qualified" or "will get bored and leave for job."
 
Republicans do not understand the difficulties poor people contend with.

Worse than that, they do not want to understand.

I do not understand how any person scraping by and making minimum or near minimum wages----or out of work----could vote for any Republican candidate.
 
And they claim to be Christians. What would Jesus do?       Not this.
 
My heart is hurting.  I'm furious. 

Paradign Shift

Give up defining yourself - to yourself or to others. You won’t die. You will come to life. And don’t be concerned with how others define you. When they define you, they are limiting themselves, so it’s their problem. Whenever you interact with people, don’t be there primarily as a function or a role, but as the field of conscious Presence. You can only lose something that you have, but you cannot lose something that you are.
-Eckhart Tolle


 It's false ego doing the posing because it's afraid of letting down it's defenses. All when there is nothing to defend.

Time for a reboot

                                                  Don't fuck around and push delete

#realtalk

"It's just like when you've got some coffee that's too black, which means it's too strong. What do you do? You integrate it with cream, you make it weak. But if you pour too much cream in it, you won't even know you ever had coffee. It used to be hot, it becomes cool. It used to be strong, it becomes weak. It used to wake you up, now it puts you to sleep."

-- "Message to the Grass Roots," speech, Nov. 1963, Detroit (published in Malcolm X Speaks, ch. 1, 1965).



Thursday Throwback



Good morning

“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.”
Rumi

 Do something today - that for no other reason - brings you great joy. Make a special cup of tea, bake a cake, take a nap, go on a long walk, go for a run,  go for a drive, write a poem, send a thank you card, throw a party,  read a story to your baby, cook a big pot of greens, whatever it is that makes you - and only you - grateful to be alive.

Note- the above is my homemade Maple Bacon Cake

It shouldn't be complicated

"Love is or it ain't. Thin love ain't love at all.”
 - Toni Morrison

  A perfect reminder that we deserve the best.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

What would I do

If I won the lottery?

  • Fall to my knees and praise God
  • Give my tithes-10% -have my best friend help me find religious organizations whose beliefs are in sync with my own
  • Pay all my bills
  • Give my best friend and his partner the wedding of their dreams 
  • Only communicate with those who have communicated  with me
  • Bribe the appropriate NY judge to unseal my adoption records.
  • Give a 2 month notice at work-enough time for my boss to look for, hire, and train my replacement. 
  • Leave Oregon 5 minutes later and never ever return

BE (Basement Elevation)


Afrodisia


What I would say

To my daughter I will say,
‘See your beauty
without a compliment
or a mirror.’
- Della Hicks-Wilson

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Music 4 black girls


Does your mama ever tell you,

tell you

how beautiful you are

show you the Africa you are with pride

like shiny black pearls

around your neck?

 
life/ dont let it fool you

take you for a ride.

dont let life fool you/  gather up all your fortunes

in a bundle

caress it,

cherish it,

hold it tightly

against your chest like a shield and feel it living

hear it beating/feel it living

inside of you.

remember,

even as Europe tries to shove herself down your throat daily,

drowning you until every pore is immersed,

& saturated

wherever you are

or wherever you have been or will be

you are Africa,

thus, you are more than capable

of beauty

strength

love

resilience.

A fulfillment of dreams

of your great great great grandmothers

(who fell

so that you could stand)-

doesnt your mom ever tell you that your beauty & intelligence scrapes the sky

on

the regular?

(we really, really, really, need you

)

( you

just

dont

know

how

much)
 
 
--Alieux George

White Woman Wears Shirt Saying “I Love My N*gga” While Standing Next to a Black Man

In a picture that has gone viral on social media outlets, many are proclaiming that the notion of a post-racial America is just an excuse for some people to say, do, and in this instance, wear whatever they want without any recourse.
A picture has surfaced of a young white woman wearing an “I Love My N*gga” t-shirt while standing next to a young African-American male. The names of the aforementioned people are not circulating with the image, but the image does raise startling questions as to why anyone would be ok with anyone wearing a t-shirt of that nature.
It is not uncommon to pull up into a high school parking lot and hear young white people mouthing along to the lyrics of popular, uncensored hip-hop songs and in turn, using the same verbiage as their favorite stars, including the infamous “N-word.” This is not to defend their behavior, but to acknowledge that in some segments of our society, it has become a normative term used by people from various racial backgrounds.
Perhaps some youth have become so inundated with the term that they are now comfortable using it, and in this case wearing it, without understanding the historical implications of the word.
Just as one must pause and ask what was this young lady thinking, it is equally necessary to inquire as to why the young man would pose so casually with someone wearing such a vile shirt?
As much as some would try to defend the idea that the ending of the word, whether it is “gga” or “er”, somehow dilutes its power, the connotation is still the same. When is the last time that you saw a Japanese-American bragging about internment camps or a Jewish-American proudly displaying a swastika?
Even in the land of the free, where censorship is vilified and freedom of speech is upheld, common sense should tell us that some things are just nonsensical. But I don't just blame her.  I blame the young brotha mostly. What is he thinking? If you're going to be socially ignorant, expect someone to exploit that ignorance.

29 yrs ago today

Vanessa Williams became the first African-American woman to be crowned Miss America.
The singer/actress was still attending Syracuse University when she won the title of Miss New York.
Following her 1983 win of the Miss America crown, Williams faced a racist backlash, including
hate mail from viewers and pageant fans who were unhappy with a black woman taking on the coveted role.
Similar to Williams, the most recent Miss America winner, Nina Davuluri, has received derogatory comments via twitter  due to her Indian-American heritage.
She is scheduled to meet Williams this week in New York City. Davuluri, who is also a former Miss New York, will be attending a performance of The Trip To Bountiful, the Broadway play in which Williams is performing.
Towards the end of her reign as Miss America, Williams found herself in the midst of a scandal during the summer of 1984. Nude photos of the then 21-year-old, which had not been authorized for publication, were printed in Penthouse magazine. Williams was forced to resign from her post as Miss America.
Williams then went on to a successful recording career as a singer, as well as successful performances on Broadway, television and film.

courtesy   The grio.com  

Toronto, Stand up

One day

I will write  that novella or bake that cake that will afford me the luxury of not being underneath the man anymore. I will be the man I've always wanted to be.  I won't have to kiss anybody's ass and I won't be needing to push up on anyone to stand out or to get what I deserve.

Monday, September 16, 2013

She wasn't scared

I was surprised when someone actually sat next to me on the train this evening without hesitation.   She was perhaps in her late fifties.She smiled, said good evening. She even asked  how I was doing. She wasn't American. She was visiting from Bristol UK.  

I knew she couldn't have been from the US.

She wasn't scared to sit next to a black man. 


 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

What I wouldn't do

For love...

I  didn't convert to a religion that doesn't believe Jesus is the son of God like she and her parents required of me in order to marry her. 

I would do most anything else though, but that was where I had drawn the line. 

-For this, I give Him praise

Friday, September 13, 2013

Friday Flashback

My sister used to play this song over and over. And  over and over. And  over and over:



And I used to play this song over  and over. I sang this in my high school voice recital:

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

What are they scared of?

I know I said I don't care if people don't want to sit next to me on the train as I like the extra elbow and shoulder room, but I think its ridiculous, considering the train, as I write this, is barely standing room only and the seat next to me is empty. I have my gym bag on the floor between my legs. The seat is available and as the train fills up, people bypass the seat like someone is sitting there. The train is now packed tighter than sardines in a can. and I'm comfortable. I can stretch my feet and my arms and not touch anyone. I know I don't smell. I just showered at the gym before I went to catch my train. I'm not giving people mean looks_ I'm not even looking around at people-I'm looking at my tablet, watching Breaking Bad on netflixx. An older woman just began standing in front of me. I asked if she wanted to sit down. She looked as if she thought she might need to stand her ground. She said no thanks, before getting lost in the crowd of people on the train. If only people realized, if only people knew that I don't have one mean bone in my body, that I'm chivalrous, even more so for the elderly, pregnant mothers, and the disabled. If only people knew that my mother preached 'you reap what you sow' so often to us as kids that I intentionally treat people better than they treat me, because I would like for good to come to me.  If only people knew I'm not as angry as I look in the picture above.

Do Me a Favor


 People have been telling me that my other blog, click here is dragging their whole system down. I chatted with some technical geeks at the Blogger forum online  regarding this and they had me make come changes to the layout.  Please do me a favor and access it, and please tell me if the problem still exists.

Thanks!



Love Or Money?

Love.


without question. Love is the most powerful force of nature, second only to gravity. I would jump through a million hoops just to get it. To keep it. Choosing love goes without saying. On my death bed, I won't be wondering about the personal possessions I was able to attain or the gifts I  was able to give to people. I'll be thinking about the woman in my life. I'd be sad that I wouldn't be able to touch her, to kiss her, to hold her, to hold her hand, hear her laugh, see her smile. I'd be sad that I wouldn't be able to see my kids anymore. The rest of my family, my friends. I'd be wondering if I gave them enough love, and if they felt I gave enough love. When the time comes, I hope  the answer is yes.







-from Claudine

Reflecting on 9 11

This afternoon I took  a moment to reflect. Where were you on 9-11? What does today mean to you? #momentofsilence

I was working at a consulting form in The District. I had just showed up for work when my secretary told me a plane just crashed into one of the Twin Towers. Like a lot of people, I thought it was an accident. Then I went to get some coffee, and when I returned to my office I was told the other tower had been hit, and shortly thereafter The Pentagon was hit.
The Consulting Director called an impromptu meeting with the staff, telling us that we could leave if we wanted to. The building was deserted al most immediately.
It was chaotic outside, what with   low level planes and helicopters  flying every which way above us,  and people running to get on the  bus and train. If you've ever seen the Godzilla movies, where people were running- that's how The District was, with people fighting to get on busses to get home to their loved ones or to schools to get  their children, and the busses filling up.  The trains were packed too. It normally used to take me about 30 minutes to get to my place in Silver Spring Maryland- that day it took almost 3 hours, as every train  was filled to capacity.
It was chaos. After I called my mom in Wisconsin and told her I was okay, I watched the news all day. I remember seeing millions of pieces of singed paper floating through the air and ash showering down on the streets of Manhattan.
I think about those who died. Floods of memories about the first responders came back to me as well. I remember those that sacrificed themselves to help others, and the wonderful example of being a humanitarian that they laid out for us ... I remember that we are lucky that we didn't have to make the decision to "jump or not" from the 78th floor, or make that last call to our loved ones. I remember that we didn't have to sit terrified on a plane holding our baby's hand telling them it was going to "be okay" even though we knew better. I remember we weren't the ones trapped in a burning building, nor did we have to ride the ruins down as the building around us toppled. I remember how I felt; I remember  imagining what the aforementioned people had to deal with in their last moments of life.
Today is about those people that lost it all, that braved the face of death in the scariest of moments, that lost their lives helping others. Today isn't about attackers, or anger, war, peace, or politics. Today is about being thankful for every breath we take, and for remembering those that never took another after 9/11. I hope you all had a blessed day and that you all had 5 minutes of spare time to remember and say a little prayer. It's still not too late.

May God Bless you!




 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Good for me


You are, Lord God;

Too good.

I am not worthy but for some reason You see fit that I wake up every morning 
in my right mind. Every time I begin to complain to myself about certain limitations, 

You always present me with situations that stop me in my tracks- situations that make

me wonder why I treat myself the way I do.

TD Jakes once said that Your Son Jesus

did not die on the cross so that I can be miserable.
I have to keep that in mind.

Dear Lord,
You woke me up this morning, and that to me, means that You are not

finished with me yet. And I will try my absolute best
to live up to what you might be

expecting of me.

I await the opportunity.

Amen

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Love.


Prince releases new song ‘Breakfast Can Wait’ featuring Dave Chappelle cover art

Who knew Prince had a comical side.
 He selected a photo of comedian Dave Chappelle  dressed as him and holding a plate of pancakes for the cover art of his new single “Breakfast Can Wait.”


The artwork may have made people laugh, but Prince's new song is no joke.

Prince has been raising his profile lately with performances worldwide with his new group, 3rdeyegirl. He also recently started tweeting from the group's account, surprising some, given his negative comments about the Internet in the past.



Here's a small preview of the song:

My heart is calling

Maybe someone is trying to tell me something. I just awakened with this song in my mouth. As I lied in my bed I was humming it. Maybe I was dreaming about the movie in which this song was playing. I don't know. I don't remember.
I love this song.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

20 feet tall



My love, what did I do
to make you fall, so far from me
And now, I can recall
Cause of the fall, selective memory
Then you, you built a wall
a 20 foot wall so I couldnt see
But if I get off my off my knees
I might recall Im 20 feet tall
 



When you realize your greatness and stop playing small, you'll realize you can stand up and see over the wall.
-me

Hollywood, are you listening?

"Lee Daniels' The Butler" was served another first-place finish over the Labor Day weekend.
 
The film starring Forest Whitaker as a veteran White House butler earned $20.2 million in the top spot at the box office for the third weekend in a row, bringing the Weinstein Co. historical drama's domestic haul to $79.5 million.
Sony's boy-band music documentary "One Direction: This Is Us" opened in second place with $18.5 million.

Dear Hollywood,

          We're hungry for movies that feature the black experience. As you can see with the 'Lee Daniels, The Butler' movie, movies featuring the black diaspora can make money. They're not niche films. I did predict it would be #1 the first week because most black people will go to see it, most likely encouraged by the black church ( I have a friend who attends a mega church in Dallas, and she said her church rented busses to take people to the theater to see this movie).
 For this movie to be #1 at the box office for three consecutive weeks, I hope that means that others are interested in seeing more movies with predominantly black casts as well. Quality movies (that of course counts  out any movie project that Tyler Perry is involved with).   

-Regret


                       
Don't lose everything chasing after the scallywags


Until then...


Until someone
creates
a word
that more accurately describes
how I feel
about
what You’ve done for me,
 Lord Jesus,
I’ll just say
Thank You.

-Gil Scott Heron

Here comes the son