Keeping Up with the Jonzee still at the right spot.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

My Mama Ain't Speaking to Me

I got in a BIG fight with my mom. Over Barrack. That's right. I got in a fight with my mama over Barrack and she went all Joan Crawford on me.

See, Im voting for Barrack. And, to my surprise (Well, now that I think about it, not really.) Mi Madre is all about Hil. And what set this ball in motion was an email I sent. Clearly she shouldn't have been on the list. Clearly, I forgot who she was.

It all started when she brought up the email I sent concerning Tavis' Smiley's rant about Barrack not coming to his forum in Louisiana.

In a nutshell, my mother's thoughts about the issue and more broadly, Barrack, was this:

He should have gone. He's been avoiding black political social circles--to show he's not black--shoot even Bush went to the NAACP last year. Black folks always drinking the koolaid. The Clinton's have done so much for black folk and now we turn our backs on them-after professing love for so long. The man is short on experience and he voted present more times then he actually voted. He was not doing his job."

She talked over me the whole time--like we was on Jerry Springer. As far as she was concerned, I didn't know what the hell I was (trying) to talk about.

She's my mama. And I love her to death. But, um, that whole argument was flawed to put it nicely. And she ain't about to let you ever suggest that someone else's view might make some sense too.

She actually said I was drinking the koolaid, and one thing I don't do is drink a muuufuuca's koolaid. Im bright enough and savvy enough to do the research to make an educated opinion. I ain't fainting at nobody's rallies. And surely ain't hitching to no bandwagons without feeling comfortable with the driver

So, I'ma go ahead and pick it apart like I did that ign'ant women in the store who looked me in my face yesterday and told me I was voting for Barrack because he's "a brother." And admittedly, partially to make sure I still am who I say I am (and only a mother could make you question that, lol)

Lets start with Tavis. The brother's cool sometimes, but lately he needs to bring it down about 10 notches. You cannot single Barrack out, but not say one word about the fact that the other three candidates you invited said no. Tavis should know just as well as anyone born in black skin that if you want to win a national election in a country where race still very much matters--doing anything that the media can construe as making you "the black candidate", means "Don Pardo, please tell our guests about his consolation prize."

Second, that koolaid shit might fly, if Barrack hadn't achieved broad based support. If folks who never voted, never donated to a campaign, never volunteered hadn't decided to be civically active in this arena. We ain't talking just about bumper stickers and signs here. We are talking about volunteering precious free time. Calling folks who may very well hang up on you. And giving away money that could buy your kid another pair of shoes or put gas in your car so you can get to work. I'd say, in this apathetic ass country, it would take a whole lot a koolaid--the red kind.

Third, (now remember what I said, I love my mama. Lord knows I do, but sometimes her passion throws reason out the window--particularly if you don't agree with her.) er', um, she clearly don't know much about the Hill or the Hil (and might be drinking some koolaid her self--the carpetbagger kind) There are so many issues that get voted on and reviewed that it would be nearly impossible to vote with some knowledge on every nitpicky bill or motion that popped. Senator Clinton had quite a few "present" votes as well. Second, um, the bills that Senator Obama co sponsored--a number across the aisle with other Republican Senators--significantly outnumber Senator Clinton's. So what you saying?

Lastly, what does experience have to do with this? Experience, has put us where we are right now. And if I remember correctly, JFK is somebody my mother admired greatly. He didn't have a whole rack of experience before he ran and successfully captured the presidency. And as Pop said, (He who recently got lambasted by her as well) this country was built by a bunch of men with no governing experience. They kicked Britain's behind and declared themselves an independent nation. Seems to me, drive, vision, and the ability to lead, might be able to get a lot more than a policy wonk with a history of being divisive ever could in the highest national office.

And don't get me started on that "What the Clinton's did for Black folk" bull. That's a whole 'nother post.

Now I'm risking homemade Ziti and sour cream pound cake on the next visit, but so be it...

If wanting to see someone who works to appeal to the common needs of all folks in this country, who believes the only way to effect change is to reach across the aisle to those who we are supposed to hate, who brings a message of Hope to the masses, and has developed one of the biggest bottom up campaigns in the history of this country is drinking the koolaid, then in the immortal words of Senator Clay Davis...

SHEEEEEEEEIIIIITTTTTT, Gimme a Bigger Cup! cause I'ma go ahead and wear the red koolaid stain on my shirt like it belongs there, dammit.

Dear Ohio...

I was born of you and from you. And even though I grew up on the east coast--my Midwest roots color everything I do. I chose my career path because my grandfather told many stories of your greatness--prior to the decline of manufacturing--and of your greatness--largely ignored during the worst of times. I spend alot of energy defending your virtue against the naysayers--of which you know there are alot.

We pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and keep it moving. When we don't have bootstraps we push as hard as we can through the heels of our worn to the bone shoes and stand up straight and keep it moving.

We don't give up.
We are weary and cautious about folks from either coast who always seem to talk like they know us--though have never been, visited, or lived where we reside. Nor do they care to be aware of how much we have accomplished with so little--despite foreclosure, massive job loss, failing school systems, and if you were born in Northeast Ohio like me, miserable ass weather in the winter.

But lately, I am worried about you. Your drive is waning. Your faith is weary.

I say to you even though you are weary of slick suited fools from east and west coast megalopolis's--don't believe the hype. Don't let these same fools--carpetbaggers, folks who say they know better whats good for you better than you know.

Don't let us down this time. So many of us of have put our money and energy into this thing--many who never would have before. Don't discount that. Don't let some folks tell you that hoping and faith and the belief that we can all work together for the greater good is foolish.

Please. Feel free to hope this time. Think about all that has come your way via Washington, D.C. over the years. Job loss, foreclosure, corruption, no child left behind--that has left your children behind, sending your children disproportionately to Iraq. That's what experience has gotten you.

Perhaps you should be willing to try something else.

You guys have always had hope. Proceeded ahead despite of the bad times. You guys need hope again. You need to believe.

I hope you show your hope on March 4th.

Even if you don't, I love you anyway.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Tavis? Could you hush for like 5 minutes?

This whole thing about Tavis Smiley calling out Barrack Obama for his declination to attend the State of the Black Union this week in New Orleans, is making me hot under the collar.

Sometimes, Tavis needs to put his agenda aside and be reasonable. Then again. He is supporting Senator Clinton.

Barrack has declined twice. Perhaps, it because the date this meeting is held has had bad timing two times. The first time it was when Senator Obama announced his candidacy. This time, it is a time when what is critical to Barrack's success is winning Ohio and Texas.

Tavis says Barrack is ignoring us and our issues. But every time I read about "our issues" concerning this country--the big ones are the same as everyone else's--Iraq, health care, the economy, and access to education. He is running for national office--not city council person. Plus, he was just in Louisiana for the primary there. Not his fault the meeting is held at a critical juncture in the campaign in which he needs to focus his energy elsewhere.

Perhaps, the compromise could have been attending briefly via satellite and sending my favorite Michelle in person? I don't know.

What I do know is that Tavis needs to back off.

A lot of the time, me and Mr. Smiley are on the same page. But I agree with Roland Martin this time.

Friday, February 22, 2008

When in Newark, don't leave your car on the street.

Earlier this week, my car was nearly stolen from in front of the Pentecostal Church down the block from my S.O's house in Newark, NJ. Did I mention, that it was in broad daylight?

I am the 5th victim of this crime within 6 degrees of separation. My boyfriend's car was stolen within 10 minutes of him being in the Bodega. They found it a week later--half of it that is. The engine was gone, as were the front seats, the headlights, the radio--and my snow boots. Two days later, a friend of ours was badly injured when the driver of a stolen car ran a red light and slammed into her totalling her car. Neighbor's car stolen and recovered twice. Another friend, stolen, totalled, and during the theft a pedestrian was seriously injured.

Newark is unsaveable.

And its not because I got my car stolen. And its not because city also has a high murder rate, unemployment rate, and drop out rate amongst other challenges just like most large urban environments. Sheeeeeit, Bawduhmore has a heron problem and I live there and love it.

Its unsaveable because of its unnerving sense of apathy. I have never seen so much apathy, selfishness, and unfathomable belief that in order for Newark to "keep it real", its gotta "keep it Gangsta" in my life. In every city I have ever lived there is still a critical mass of folks give a shit. They move fast enough and loud enough to mute the apathy. Not so here. who Al you gotta do is sit in a beauty salon, barber shop or stand in line at the grocery to know that for every citizen who is sick of the crime and dirt, there is at least three times as much apathy apathy about trying to do something about it.

I believe that cities like Baltimore, Cleveland and Philly-- hard hit by riots, the dispersion of manufacturing jobs, and the decline of the school system--can still be rebuilt, reinvented, and reinvigorated. Though it has not been wholesale, there are large pockets of thoughtful planning and development going on all over these towns.

Not so much in Newark. A couple big luxury towers next door to Penn Station does that not make especially compared to the monstrous three family brick structures going up everywhere--thanks to former Mayor James' land give away to those who he favored.

What about Cory Booker--young, bright, full of energy, and beat the pants off a mayor who tried every dirty trick in the book to keep him from office? Well, folks are ready to set him out to pasture. His honesty about the budget, his attempts to bring in some young vibrant talent to overhaul city hall, his block by block approach to drug dealing and drug related murders, have not been good enough for the masses. They thought he would change it overnight--or at least build some more community centers or other public works named after the former mayor.

At one time, I believed that Newark was just like Cleveland--and it is in someways. After Mayor Booker got elected I badly wanted to work for him. I got offered a job working for the Deputy Mayor for Economic and Community Development. And after thinking about it I just couldn't do it. After really deciphering how the woman who was heading the department felt about the task, it seemed like a suicide mission.

Perhaps, I am just as bad.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Giving it Up

My mama is Baptist. My daddy is Methodist. I learned how to sing in the Baptist church. I learned the classical versions of Negro spirituals in the Methodist Church. I questioned the validity of all those ladies hopping about at Baptist revival, and wondered why the Methodist Church had so many traditions similar to that of the Catholic Church--the lighting of certain candles, the ceremonious end to service in addition to the uncanny ability to sometimes put you to sleep during Sunday service.

All of that adds up to me being a Baptist with a penchant for Methodist traditions. Hence, the reason I try to practice Lent.

For Lent, the idea is sacrifice. In Catholicism you are to give up something for the lenten season--it is a very big part of it. In the Methodist Church it is more like encouraged--in the form of the Lenten Offering--an increasing sum of cash from Ash Wedenesday to Holy Friday (starting off at a $.25) and obligatory giving up of meat on Fridays. (It might be Grandfathers fried Catfish and Snapper that really makes me try.)

I try to practice it. Enevitably I forget. Like last year, I gave up French Fries and a week in someone gave me a GC to Pomme Fritte in NYC LES. A terrible moment of weakness.

Yeah, didn't last.

But this year, I am giving up the Holy Grail of all foods to me. Making up for years of half-stepping. The one food I will never turn down if offered. The hamburger.

Some would say I have a mild obsession. And recently , I realized that is probably wholly accurate. So Im giving it up...

After dinner at the Prime Rib tonight.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Ice Princess Cometh

There is only so long the Senator could continue to hold together that Joker like grin before the angry competitor begins to show.

"The courtesy of conceding a primary or caucus loss — and then congratulating your opponent — is by no means required. But it has become standard practice during campaign season." (courtesy:CNN) She gives the finger from across the field.

Way to go, sport.

Monday, February 11, 2008

There's More to Life than Hip-Hop and R & B Joints

Every once and awhile the Grammy voters make me proud. Last night, they didn't pick the normal pop, rock, or R and B most popularly played on the radio record. They did something different.

Hence, Mr. Hancock's win.

Its only the second time in Grammy history that a "jazz" album (more pop compilation with Jazz roots then jazz) has won this prestigious award.

So in honore of BHM,Jazz music, and a "Jazz" album win in the Best Album category, check out These 8 Chicago Brothers (7 blood 1 not)

These cats have been on my list of "never take out of the changer" since 2006. And if you live in NYC and pass through Union Square you might get lucky and hear their funk, hip-hop inspired music. If you are so lucky, buy a record while you are at it--'cause you can't get it at the store.

And if not, check out their myspace page, where you can order one.

Keep dancin'.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Got Credit?

Yesterday, it became apparent to me, that as much as I would like to say my "credit crisis" is over it is not. I financed part of my college education on credit cards. I got medical bills that seem to randomly keep popping up--years after they were incurred and presumably paid in the most part by insurance. And it frustrates me.

Digging all the way out seems impossible.

I have paid off a lot of stuff--and I was never one of those people with 15, 20. 30k in debt. But the little bit I have had, thanks to moving and 911 and contracts being canceled, has put me on the roller coaster of decent credit/ damn its about to get ugly credit.

I'm tired. And it depresses me. And it doesn't help that I hear other folks talk about their own credit and it reminds me that though I have come along, the hole is still their and my one foot is still in it.

My plan was to be debt free(except student loans--Imma have them puppies till Im damn near dead.) by Spring. Naw sucha thang.

Try my next January.

Film at 11

So, my defacto life coach wrote this post today regard Richard Corliss' article in Time Magazine about what he believes to be the top 25 most influential movies on Race.

Like my Coach, maybe he should have taken a poll or something first. Possibly asked around a bit. Maybe consulted black friends. (Okay, that was a little low.)

Rather than jack my homeboy's idea. Well, I am biting a little... I'ma give you a few that I think should be on the list--not in any particular order

Here ya go:


The Color Purple

Jungle Fever

Do the Right Thing

A Time to Kill



Hollywood Shuffle

And please, tell me what you think should (for that matter) should not, be on the list

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Calm Down, Killa

This Long Distance relationship shit plays tricks on your mind and your self-esteem. If I was still living in NYC, the sick-to-my-stomach, nervous feeling I just got would not have happened.

If he called me up and told me that a woman we both know worked in the same building and they had lunch, I woulda been like "Word. That's hot.", but when he told me today, that heifer named"Jealousy" jumped up and punched me dead in the gut.

I kicked her where the sun don't shine and managed not to send the snippy response I wanted to send. But who knows what'll happen next time. Pray for me, y'all.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


Lately, no matter what I say or how I say it, it doesn't seem to be coming out right. Confusion bordering on anger is what I seem to get in return. I don't know how to fix it. And I am not very good at leaving things be.

It seems my communication skills are on the blink. I would say the same for the reciever. Lately, whatever I say comes out incomprehensible. And the responses seem as foriegn to me as sanskrit. Like we are no longer who we say we are and have been replaced.

And its a problem. So much a problem, that over the last three weeks, it seems like like we are on the verge of a big fallout. Like the ones you can't recover from--at least not in the immediate future.

A couple of times. We have stepped away, limited communication, and on the rebound, it all makes sense.

I'm hoping it works that way this time around.