Keeping Up with the Jonzee still at the right spot.

Friday, June 30, 2006

"And Still I Rise..."

...But today I fell. Right into the trap of a regularly scheduled person of non-color with the some non-colored folks' opinion that "Blacks need to get over it"

I know I should have just gone to Chickie's website, chuckled at the stupidity and moved on...But alas, I did not.

I think the fire started when I got called colored yesterday so...

I went there...

Sarcasm and name calling...Yeah, I left my rational self on the corner of East 105 and St. Clair and told that fool that pretty much...She was a fool.

I even told her that she should feel blessed, because God loves idiots and babies. Yeah, uh huh, that's right...I had a shiningly proud moment.

Of course, It ain't like I ain't heard the shit before. I hear it in school. And I especially heard it when I was behind the bar. Although, cash flow depended on rationality, I schooled a few while making it seem like schucking and jiving with booze.

Yet, today I was tired. I am tired of hearing some folk, especially those who don't know, interact, live near, or have relationships with people of color tell me what I should or should not feel from their place of permanent privilege. Willie Lynch and the Lynch mob can still be vividly remember by the Boomers and their parents. Its like these folks who think slavery and its socio-economic reprecussions should be layed to rest--though the reprecussions visibly ripple through society. Some actually purport that the moment slavery and then segregaton ended every white person....


became caring, genuine, tolerant, and felt everyone was created equal...

Its a curious thing, then, that so many white people almost immediately divested from their urban ethnic unclaves and centers and moved further and further out to the hinterlands to get away from the coloreds.

Maybe it was just the smell of the collard greens and chitlins they wanted to get away from.

Bustin' Loose

Boys and Girls, I am headed to the District tomorrow. I must be a masochist, cause that damn place treated me like a red-afro'd step child.

I'm sure it will be swamp-ass hot. And the brothers will roll out their best slouch socks and jean jackets with cartoon character airbrush on the back tomorrow so they can look good for Chuck (Yeah the 80's ended 20 years ago, but not in the classy fashion world of the native Washingtonian.)

Half the fun, is knowing that even at my worst I am still better dressed.

So, off to the plantation of good guh'ment jobs and righteous republican indignation I go. I'll be sure to bring you all back a tee-shirt that reads "Hell hath no fury like an angry white man on the Hill"

Thursday, June 29, 2006

"McFly...just like your father...a slacker!"

I had a whole 'nother post planned. But I think I will hold on to it for a minute, 'cause today, I feel like a slack-ass. Well...I often feel like a slack-ass and not because, I over-extended my lunch by 10 minutes reading so wise's best hits, but because, though I crack on the folk with the "bougie black thing to-do list", that damn list is engrained in my psyche somewhere and we are constantly in a state of war.

The "list" is kicking my tail today. See me and "the list", used to be real cool. I was adding to the list and checking it twice, more times than not in my early 20's. I thought, I was on my way to checking off:

-Married by 25
-at least one kid by 28
-A house in an urban suburb by 30
-A Master degree before 27

Then lots of real shit happened-- broken hearts, promising relationships that went terribly sour, job loses, and near loss of life--twice...

That's when the good sense my 'rents gave me kicked in. I decided fuck it, I'm young and a rack of people I know got married on the "bougie black" track of marriage by 25 and are now divorced and trying to find themselves. Settling on anything in order to check that shit off my list stopped being an option. But every once and a while, I'm like "it was also so perfectly laid out--what the hell did I do wrong?"

Why? I think it is the impending on set of thirty. Though the shit is a whole year away, I am so very excited and so very terrified of it. Why? Because, that list seems to be telling me I'm behind. And I am having a hard time getting it to shut the hell up. All my damn friends keep calling me with grow-folk good news, while my ass is still in grad school, living the undergrad life in a house in Jersey City with 2 roommates.

My peeps, are kicking ass and taking names. And all in the right way... and inadvertently contributing to my slack-ass feeling. In the last year:

-5 people bought houses
-6 people identified and decided to marry the "love" of their life
-4 people got new cars and houses ( I have an unhealthy love for sports cars--so everytime I hear about my boy's RX-8 I look at the Ac like its an old piece of trash)
-2 people are pregnant, one with multiples.

All of which adds up to me being the slack-ass of the bunch.

But for today, only... I'll get over it and be back to my happily young-ass self. I will enjoy my free living life on guh'ment student loans and scholarships, while reveling in the fact that I still get to do whatever the hell I want. Hell, all those fools are damn near 35!( some of them creeping dangerously close to 40) I got plenty of time.

Crack is Wack

So, you know, in general crack is wack. I mean all of its forms. In its original form, it devestated our urban centers. It decimated peoples confidence in their community, in their neighbors, and most significantly in whether or not the government gave a damn or was in C-O-N spiracy with the fools it brought it in to certain areas by the carload.

But now technology has produced a new kind of completely legal crack, and it is totally supported by the "commerce never sleeps" crowd. (Before you bash my head in, I am all for efficiency and the advancement of commerce--otherwise I wont be able to one day purchase the FX35 ) Look at, for instance, the Blackberry, a.k.a the "crackberry". The damn thing is giving people additional license to be generally rude in the name of commerce--in a meeting, over dinner, even in the club on the dance floor. And good gracious, you better call an ambulance if they leave it at home/car/airport or break it/lose it or are kindly asked to stop that incesant "thumbing".

Its not like the cell phone didn't already give us something to be addicted to that was crazy. While some of us use them wisely and at appropriate times and places. And still others simply use it as a license to front like a mo-fo. For others, it's a real freaking problem. The cell phone was the old crack. But now that you can get a phone and a blackberry togther? Sheee-it. The level of "crackish" behavior gets taken to the next level. It might be time for some folk to check the hell in somewhere.

Crack might be wack. But I think I might have to join the "perfectly legal crack club" of technology. This blog, I think is my crack. And that's both a terrible and wonderful thing.There is something sublimely therapuetic about sharing my random thoughts with a world full of like-minded folk (I think.). But see, Its got me up late at night. I find myself at work, between proformas and spreadsheets, thinking "I wonder if so-and-so has posted something new." or " I gotta write this thought down on a post-it, so I can post it".

Okay, I will admit that blogging is not necessarily new to me. I failed at my other attempts because I just wasn't in the "write" state of mind. There are at least 5 blogs out there right now, that I started and never really did anything with... I should probably go delete the things. Now, I'm open like Wal-mart on Black Friday.

I am not abandoning this post, 'cause this one's the joint, and hear withdrawl is a real mo-fo.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The B-Side

Last night, I had the best time I have had in a minute. I stumbled on to a spot called the B-Side Lounge in Cleveland Heights' Coventry Neighborhood. While I have attended a number of open-mike events, often I have left with the feeling that it started off good and went down hill. Doesn't matter what city--whether in NYC, ATL or DC, the night would turn into a to showcase for every wanna be rapper and "the wack posse". Fools on a mission to impress us with weak verbal skill and lack of a story line. Last st night, however, I was blessed with a great band, some very talented poets, and a few quite decent MC's (noticed I did not use the word "rapper") And in pure "un-Cleveland" style...the DJ only played "Pistol Grip pump" and not the rest of the Cleveland five--"Telephone Love", "Don Dada", "Black Superman", and "Black Cop" (yeah, homies in that order). And By the looks of the DJ's tortured face, he played that one song to get the birds in the audience to stop their damn squaking.

I got home at 1:00AM and after reading some of the the diatribe of the day , got to bed around 2 AM. I was hype off the idea that I could have a great time and only spend $3 to get in, and 2 brothers bought me a drink without making me feel like they had just bought a concubine for the night.

I woke up next morning with the "wow was that a dream?" feeling and big kool-aid ass smile my face (thought my head hurt a bit and I could used another hour or so of sleep.) I managed to get up on time, without being my normally grumpy AM self. I had a nice little shower while listening Tom Joyner. Mom made me breakfast (Hands down, the best thing about being home...I don't have to feed myself) And to top off a fantabulous start, I managed to remember everything--the phones, the wallet, the electronic badge, and the gate opener. As I drove down the road with the sunshining and Gnarls playing on the radio...

.... I blew my front tire...Forgot, to turn the headlights off...Had to get a jump...Forgot my lunch...was 30 minutes late to work.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Ready to leave "the Man" behind

I was reading a the "Tuesday Morning Mind Purge" on DPs
blog this morning. His reference to the Man, got my mind turning. I thought I would share.

You know, after 4 years of struggling upcreek without a paddle, and for most of the time, without a boat--I realize I have become quite risk averse. In my younger years, I'd say my "leaping out on faith" was more like just making plain silly rash decisions. I thought these things were well-thought. In actuality they were quite reactionary.

After being unemployed, and leaning on a friend,who turned out to not be such a friend, I had to really take stock of my sit'chee'ation. As such, I have become quite cautious and methodical. I am sure that being back in a city (NYC for those of you who are behind) that is quite happy to eat you alive has something to do with it. Being here in Cleveland has balanced out the "proceed with extreme care" that the City had produced in me. It reminded me, that ultimately, me and the Man cannot work together long.

I see what some of these other cats in real estate are doing in this town, and I am sure that I can be both innovative and make have a positive impact on the community--while making money. And it doesn't have to be here, but I can do it.

As much as I like this job and look forward to the opportunities that may come about after school, I know that I look forward to one day doing my own thing full-time. One day, me and the "Man" will say 'hi' as we pass each other by.

Monday, June 26, 2006

I cant believe this!

So as I crossed the hill from the 'hood to the 'burbs. I ran into this here. GTFOH! How the hel** did a turkey get in the middle of the damn street! Did a u-turn to catch this.

Why American's need Accessible and More Affordable Health Care

So, my stomachache turned out to be an ovarian cyst that I managed to burst by refusing to stop going to the gym though I was in pain. One pelvic exam, two ultrasounds, a blood test, an x-ray and four hours later I am home on bedrest. While I was sitting in the Urgent Care, I thought about how blessed I am to have such good health insurance--no visit co-pay and $10 for perscriptions. If I was not in school or was still slinging gin and burgers, I would have been without insurance. I would have been in the ER, where the cost of care would have been $300 just to sign in.

This brings me to why we, as nation, need to find a common ground that will allow us to develop a system that ensures regular access to health care and preventitive medicine as well as the importance of making regular doctor vists as important as remembering to take out the trash on trash day. The plight of the uninsured is a part and parcel of the so-called war on poverty. The conservatives of this country spew this fear of the "welfare state" and the continued use of welfare and other public assistance programs as wasting the tax payer dollar. While I do believe that throwing money at poverty is not the best use of resources without sufficient long-term strategy, I also feel that, we will, as a nation, pay for poverty one way or another. In the case of health care, if we dont design programs that not only promote healthy living but give people of all income levels access to the health facilities to insure health, we will pay for it as poor and unisured folk continue to visit ER's for everything from an earache to a heart surgery. The use of these facilities increases the overall cost of health care for all of us, because if the hospital absorbs the unpaid medical bills, you can best bet it is passed on to us.

As we all know, the gap between those at the top and those at the bottom is much greater than this country has ever seen.And I doubt, we will see a reversal of this fortune in any form in the coming years. The top 10% increased their wealth from $957,000 in 1990 to $1.75 Million in 2000. Those in the middle 20% lost 1.9% of their income. Those making less than $110,000 and more than $40,000 lost income as well. In a nutshell, everyone but the top 10% lost income. Everyone who is not rich is feeling the health care sqeeuze. American small businesses have become among the biggest employers in the country and they cannot afford to continue to provide health insurance. It is not just the poor who filling the ER's and avoiding health care in fear of the bill that may come.

We pay for health care, just as we do for poverty. We dont have a quality education system nor do we provide sufficient daycare to the growing number of single mothers who would like to work but cant afford the expense of day care. We will pay for it one way or another, as states like Michigan start busing women on welfare to jobs 50 miles away from home and cannot afford daycare to care for their children. We pay for it, when that mother's child is hurt or gets in trouble with the law and both the mother and the child end up in the penal system because of it. We pay for it one way or another when jail's become more important than schools, and this country does not have sufficient qualified youth in math and science.

We are certainly paying for it as obesity, asmtha, diabetes, high cholesteral, and heart disease kill more Americans year by year.

People! Can we get some self-esteem here?!

I have been here for a week now, and as I reflect on my time here through the daze of a two-day stomach ache,one thing has become quite disturbing to me. Cleveland is suffering from low self esteem. One of the things I always tell my colleagues at school about this town, is that it is always up for a good fight. Yeah, the damn river caught on fire--nearly 40 years ago. So what? (And its always some ass from NY who says it like NY wasn't a frigging dirty polluted sess pool for the last 30 years) Cleveland has picked itself up by its bootstraps and never given up hope. That is, until the Bush administration helped upend most of the progress that a number of mid-size cities like Cleveland were making. 9-11 didn't just effect the economies of NYC and DC. The effects, obviously, were quite residual. In 1999, Cleveland had managed to attract over 18,000 new residents after years of decline. 16 companies had headquarters here. By 2002, 13 of those sixteen companies left or were forced to merge with companies located elesewhere. The city laid off 900 teachers and had to stop construction on three of the biggest schools in the area. Now, in 2006, everyone seems to be saying "screw Cleveland it sucks"

Although, I have a love/hate relationship with the place ( I have the same relationship with NYC, honestly) I have always thought that Cleveland, out of all the down and out cities I have visited has some of the greatest potential. I say this, not because I was born here, but out of my professional opinion as a planner and community development professional. First, the housing stock here is phenomenal. Cleveland is an old city, so a great deal of the housing is Craftsman, Georgian Farm House, Four-Square, and other housing types built in the 1900-1930's. That means it is strong durable and full of character. Second, Cleveland has a long proud history of firsts. Cleveland created the Job Corp program. Carl Stokes was the first black mayor this country ever saw. John D. Rockefeller loved the place so much, he left thousands of acres of beautiful park land to both the city and the county. Also, it takes stock in what its planners envision, enacts these plans with care and vision, and thinks outside of the box when it comes to finding new ways to help communities hold on. There is diversity here. On Cleveland's westside, we have large pockets of Puerto Ricans, Slovenian, Nigerian and Ghanaians, African American's, and White folk. Though there are not five thousand different kinds of restaurants, the 500 that exist are, on average, phenomenal and inexpensive. If you like to drink, there is a different kind of bar --whether sophisticated or hood, for you to chose from. And living here is cheap, yet the professional jobs are nearly comparable to that in more expensive cities like DC. In this town, if you are smart with your cash $12.00/hr can still provide you with enough cash to buy a house in a relatively decent neighborhood.

So what is the freaking problem?? Here we go:

1) Mayor Mike White, who had a great deal to do with the growth and recovery of Cleveland from the 80's to the turn of century, did not groom someone to continue his legacy. With the election of Jane Campbell (White lady elected by a black majority) creating and maintaining open conversation was not a big priority. However, it is hard to say whether she could have done better because after severe budget cuts from the Fed's the city was bleeding money like a stuck pig.

2) Cleveland has never had a business improvement district nor dedicated resources to attracting new businesses to Cleveland. Under Mike White, it was an ad-hoc committee. The New Mayor, who is a Mike White legacy, will need to try to address this through creating these sorts of things. As I understand it, Cleveland has established its first bid. I recently sent a long email to the mayor suggesting that he establish a paid-staff position to cultivate opportunities for businesses that are related to some of our biggest employers like Cleveland Clinic (for those of your who don't know Cleveland Clinic is top notch in Cardio-Thorasic medicine and Cancer research and treatment. The King of Saudi Arabia was here for heart surgery awhile back.)

3) Nobody knows anything about this place, unless they are from here. Detroit is the pits, but they advertise everywhere. Its like we are afraid of being rejected. Recently, there was a poll of 3000 people conducted by the Northest Ohio Marketing Alliance, and most people were either indifferent to the area or knew nothing about it. We should be cocky about what we do have and we need to get on it. It seems like some momentum is developing there and the region is on a mission to attract more young people and though the jury is still out it seems like something positive might come out of it.

There is one more thing that is disturbing me. I think Cleveland needs me. I could live the glamorous life (too much for rent, too much for living expenses, and too much stress--but location, location, location! and something to add to my bougie black dossier by living in NYC or DC), and exaggerate about my sphere of influence by living somewhere else. I would be a cog in wheel. Or I could help this place realize its potential. I don't want to. And God know's it. But I guess I have no choice but to go the way he tells me.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

I hate teenage girls

So, being the interested and invested down for my community sista, and member of the illustrious ladies of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority that I am, I thought it only appropriate to try to spend a little time with my 14 year old cousin who has been acting a fool. That chile is way to damn grown for her britches and totally disinterested in life other than "what the boys like" and what label is on her behind. Yet, she is my favorite. She's brilliant and insightful and tells it like it is. However, she is the middle child and seems to get nothing but negative attention from the family. Her mama let some fool convince her that the chile' is ADD and now medicates her with Ritilan. I could go on about middle class parents of the "Me Generation" and there totally dismissive, uninvolved, 'throw money at it, and hope my child leaves me the hell alone', way of raising children, but since this about me hating teenagers, that would probably annoy people who might, at some point, actually read my damn blog.

I hate the little things. They are fast, dress way to grown, and have little to no manners. I spent yesterday with three little girls who actually thought they were growner than me. These little heifers had on more makeup than Tammy Fay, and two of them had on skirts that might as well have been underwear. I made one of them roll their damn skirt down (She was my cousin's friend and I aint her mama, and this aint the 60's, I couldn't do much else) I also informed my cousin, who had the unmitigated gaul to allude to her mama being okay with her mini-mini skirt, that I would take her nowhere with that damn thing on.

What insued made me rethink my whole plan to have five children. I don't like them I gander on saying that I despise them. Man, I hope I was not as bad as they seem today. If I was. I better go out and figure out how to make a mil real quick so I can pay my parents back for the heart burn. I am afraid that I would end up with little fast talking, way too flirtatious, fast ass girls. If I have anything to do with it, my cousin will at least be exposed to the other side of being a girl. She will do things other than go to the mall. I wont like it. But I will do it. I hate teenagers. But if I don't do it, she might end up like these clearly brilliant girls around here who were so smart they couldn't keep their legs closed multiple times.

I stole this and so what

I stole this from negro please and DP. Bored and feeling old so WTF...

Memelicious - A to Z

Accent: New York/Cleveland (yeah, these negroes got a their own and its special) wit a little DC thrown in for all the urics and mury's (eric and mary's)

Booze:Bourbon--Maker's Mark

Chore I Hate: Mopping. I hate the wringing out part

Dogs/Cats: I had a cat growing up and I am cool with them, but I want a bulldog named Otis

Essential Electronics: My video Ipod and my Imac. I am done with those damn PC's (sorry, Pop...I know IBM paid for school)

Favorite Perfume/Cologne: Ralph Lauren Hot for me. For him? Armani

Gold/Silver: None for me thanks.

Hometown: Cleveland and proud of it.

Insomnia: Not really, Just not enough hours in the day to do what I have to do.

Job Title(s): Summer lending intern, Student

Kids: Nope. And after hanging out with three teenage girls all day, I think I am over the idea of a big fam.

Living Arrangements: Living in JC with two male roommates. One is a songwriter and the studio is in the house. One day, my ass will be grown and I will again have the privelage of living alone.

Most Admired Trait: Loyal and helpful to a damn fault. ( There are at least a couple of brothers who felt comfortable enough to fall apart with me...and I took care of them. Over it. )

Number of Sexual Partners: A Lady doesnt tell

Overnight Hospital Stays: Blood clot in my lung first month of school at NYU. Almost died in an accident with a drunk driver in DC--concussion and a fracture.

Phobia: Waking up at 35 in a loveless marriage that I got into just so I could check it off of my "bougie black thing to do" list

Quote: "Children and marriage should not enter your mind until you have correctly identified yourself and what you want" -Professor Mary Watson Ph.D

Quote:"Prior to the Civil Rights Movement, we had the desire but not the options. Now we have the options and the disposable income but not the desire...we are dying unless we resurrect our self-respect"- Dr. Leonard Hamlin, Pastor, Macedonia Baptist Church, Arlington VA

Religion: Methodist/Baptist/Disenchanted with 'chuch folk

Siblings: One, male age 23 and that fool lives with a 22 year old girl with three kids and a bad attitude. I think we grew up in the same house, but Im beginning to think that fool is an extra terrestrial.

Time I usually wake up: 7:00 am., these days. And only thanks to Pops knocking on my door.

Time I am usually useful to someone: 1 PM

Unusual Talent: I make FABULOUS drinks...and I can make any one laugh

Vegetable I refuse to eat: Brussel Sprouts and Collard Greens ( Yes, I am sure I am black, but GTFOHWTB)

Worst Habit: Impatience

X-Rays: Knee, Mouth, Chest, Wrist/Hand

Yummy foods I make: Steak (shout out to DP

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Why, brother, Why???

Some of y'all know about this brother I met back in high school here in C-town. Fine Brother. Smart Brother, Chivalrous Brother. Good-Job-Having-Mama- AND-Daddy-Raise-Him-Right Brother. He and I have kept up with each other over the years. We always make sure we get together, even if just for an hour, whenever I am in C-town. We progressed to the whole " I like you a lot" stage. He even got up the nerve to kiss me (damn, that was good-ass kiss). We talked about seeing where it would go if I was here for the summer.

So WTF!!!! Here I am. The brother works 12 hours a day in a lab, and I know how that is. Time off, means time sleeping. It took a week and a half for us to catch up. So what? Last night, he calls and he is adamant that we hang out. Tells me he has some errands to run and needs to catch up with his sister and he will call me later. And he does. Like clock work. At 11 PM exactly like he said. But once again, I have to reitereate the WTF. That brother was drunk as a damn skunk, when I picked him up. We went out anyway. And then he got sleepy--because of course he was super drunk. Maybe its just me because I been in and out of the liquor business for 10 years and many of my close friends are big drinking, work hard, play hard types. But I cannot stand a person who can't handle their liqour. I wanted to kick his ass! I have never (and I have been very, very drunk a time or two--shout out to big Brady--wink wink), ever been so drunk I almost POD'd at the bar. Perhaps, it is the control freak in me.

Perhaps, I will survive

I have a love hate relationship with C-town Mo thugs. Growing up, I spent summers here having a fabulous time. But when I was forced to move here with one year left of high school, all that love shit stopped. I hated Shaker Heights HS (yeah, I said it). A school that prides itself on being 50% black and 50% white, and is segregated as Montgomery, Alabama in 1965. All of the students grew up together, and I was the new girl who supposedly thought I was better than everyone else because I was from NY (Keep in mind, the only thing I ever said about it was "I'm from NY and I miss my friends) You want to see the discrepency among how black children fare in school versus others ( the N&N syndrome shout out to DP) on display, Shaker is a fine place to see it. Only a few black students were in the AP and honors classes with me--all the same ones all the time. The rest, many who came from money, (cause Shaker ain't cheap) spent time driving nice cars, getting C grades, and hanging out on the black side of the school. They were in lower level classes, and were too busy trying to pick the "right car for the image" . Now, I know Shaker tracks kids, and in the Black cases, higher level classes sometimes have to be fought for, but it seems that some of the Black parents where expecting their children to be successful through osmosis. Needless to say, when NYU came calling, my behind was out like a scout on a new route.

But, my fam is here. So, I have come back to Cleveland relatively regularly--the obligatory twice a year( Christmas and Thanksgiving) But this year, I have been in Cleveland 6 times and now am here for a summer internship with a bank that is in community development. As a community development nutcase, It is probably i one of the best opportunities in Community Development Lending for me, so I couldn't rightfully turn it down.

in my first week, I have learned so much. I have spent time looking at properties in the worst parts of town--blocks and blocks of abandoned structures and blight. And my boss has bought me lunch everyday. What more could a fool like me ask for?

So, stay tuned. I'm sure the drama will be comical.