Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Freelance Marketing Services

I would like to offer marketing services to the Occupy Wall Street movement. The way I see it is you have a number of great points. Here's what we can do to improve your campaign..
  • Targeted messaging > the public isn't clear about exactly what the issue is. There are a number of them and they are all pretty valid but we need to hone in on one powerful message that will keep people motivated
  • Slogan > You need something catchy and memorable like "Where's the beef" or "Just do it"
  • Printing and design > the movement is in need of a good designer to develop some brand standards and create signs to then be professionally printed on decent card stock. The homemade signs are often sloppy, hard to read and they do not force the spectating public or the wall street bankers to take it seriously.
  • Logo > We need a logo that represents what the movement stands for. This logo can be placed on Tee shirts and baseball caps. We can also consider key chains, thumb drives and water bottles depending on the budget
  • Spokesperson > we need a spokesperson designated to keep the message clear and speak to the media. This person must be articulate and intelligent. Between the ages of 28 - 37, and formally educated. a person with a good American back story so that the public can identify and the media will want to profile him/her. The rationale behind the age range is so that the person is young enough to represent the sentiment of the young but old enough to gain trust and credibility from skeptics and doubters. They must be educated to combat the ignoramuses who say "just get an education and get a job".. And by "good American back story" I mean we need a rise and a fall and the belief that they can rise again. We need promising background but obvious victimization by the man/establishment.
  • We need a theme song. Maybe something by Kanye West. He's empowering and Obama thinks he's a jackass
  • We need collateral > flyers that clearly and concisely outlinine the objectives. To be handed out at Manhattan train stations below west 4th street, at local colleges and at the unemployment office to start.
  • We need an official website and 1 official facebook page and twitter account. With that we can work on strategically placed digital banner Ads and a paid search campaign.
  • We need bi weekly Webinars to update the movement on progress and next steps
  • We need a deadline.. What do we want to happen and by when.. or else what?
And I don't want you to worry that these suggestions will make your image too corporate. Even an anti-corporate, anti-rich, anti-anti message needs organization and clarity.

Serial Groping... Hide Your Goodies!


I'm not saying this isn't a serious sex crime but what is with all the serial groping going on in this city? Has it increased? or have the reports increased? Is it a chicken or the egg situation? This summer/fall we have had serial gropers on the upper east side, one in Astoria and one in Brooklyn and I'm just wondering why we never had this crisis before. It's not the stuff a good episode of Law & Order SVU is made of but it's still a concern. I'm just wondering why it's such a major news story. Don't we have serial gropers in every middle school and high school across the city? I remember when this was a school yard game (5th grade, Sacred Heart School of JESUS for crying out loud). Haven't us girls been fighting off gropers since we were like 11? I remember the first time I was groped. I was going up the stairs at a classmates basement birthday party (I think I had on my purple jeans). The offender was 11 or 12 and he was in my class. I remember turning around in a rage (more because I knew I should than because I was actually pissed) and telling him NOT to touch me in that severe way that you speak to an unruly child. I'm not sure if he was a serial groper per se but he had an early start so who knows. Ladies, protect what your mama gave ya and remember, "a crowded train is not an excuse for unlawful sexual conduct."

Why you don't talk about Real Issues at Work

A 24 year old girl who lives with her parents said everyone is saying the economy is bad but I see so many people out shopping and eating at restaurants.

A 60 yr old woman said, those wall street protesters say they are protesting corporations but they all have Apple iphones

Both succeeded in ruining my lunch. If you don't get it then stay silent. Limit the conversation to talking shit about coworkers.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Dedicated Parents

I don't think you should be allowed to name all of your sons after you if they are going to end up in foster care. Nephra Payne and Shanel Nadal have 8 kids together (yes I'm impressed they all have the same father) and all 8 are in foster care. Apparently they were taken from Shanel when Nephra reported that they were being abused. But obviously he didn't have the resources to take custody since they ended up in foster care.
The couple stole the kids last week but they were recently caught and picked up in Pennsylvania. But the most disturbing part of the story for me is now there are 7 young boys named Nephra! (the one girl is named Nefertiti). It's not like when George Foreman named all his kids George. At least he's a successful athlete and grill salesman.

Is this Necessary?

Hand washing instructions posted in the kitchen at my job.. Courtesy of the Department of Health.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Hi Hater!

 





I know NYC has it all.. but why we can’t have Chick Fil A or Cracker Barrel? Is this some kinda ploy to keep New Yorkers relatively excited when they have to travel to the south? I mean what gives?! The owners of these brands don’t like money!?

Does it please them to withhold something from us, to remind us that we have almost everything.. but not quite?
I like to shop for apple butter and peanut chews while I’m waiting for my table as much as the next person. I like real chicken nuggets with Polynesian sauce, waffle fries and Oreo cookie milk shakes too. I can’t have that?!

My Weave is not Meant to Deceive

So how do you address added inches of hair with white people at work? This was an issue for me because I don’t normally wear weaves and now that I decided to add 2 tracks and about 4-5 inches I realized that I ended up wearing my hair in a ponytail all week in an effort to avoid the “Did you do something different with your hair?” conversation. By the 4th day I was over it and it was long and flowing like it had been on the weekend. In 2011 where white chics are getting weaves and calling them “extensions” I don’t believe I should have to worry about this but I still did. Not just because I don’t like discussing black hair with white people so they can stare at you like you’re a science experiment (I’m not making this up, try being 10 yrs old with corn rows at an all white sleep away camp), but also because I don’t like small talk in general (see previous blog post on hating small talk) with people I am not really friends with. So here are a few responses I came up with in case you are forced to discuss your weave with co-workers, classmates or friends of the Caucasian persuasion.

Caucasian: Did you do something different with your hair?

You:
-         Different? Nothing’s different?
-         How do you mean?
-         Yes… (coupled with blank stare)
-          It grows really really fast in the summer
-         My momma got Indian in her family
-         Outre-Yaki-#2-16 inches guuurrlll! (coupled with neck roll and 2 snaps)

Or whatever you want. Here’s the thing. These days I do not believe the weave is meant to deceive, I see it as an accessory or a style change like any other. No, black women don’t wish they were white. Girls just like hair!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Am I Some Kind of an Asshole?

Does it make me an asshole that I don’t give a rat’s rump about memorials / monuments? I guess I know why some people are drawn to them but it’s not for me. Recently I was asked if I intended to attend two popular new memorials. The 9/11 memorial and the MLK memorial in D.C. and both times that I was asked I thought… “um…Why?”.. I didn’t say it though.. Probably because I thought the person asking would think I was some kinda asshole (even though the people asking are people fairly close to me and should know I’m not one but still). Like who doesn’t honor Dr. King and 9/11 victims? Only an asshole. But I’m not a bad person. I just don’t need stone constructions (or in the case of the MLK memorial, a borderline eyesore) to help me honor something. I honor by actually knowing something about it or acknowledging the reason the said person or event was important to our lives and our history but I don’t feel anything when I go to a memorial. I visited the Vietnam memorial when I was a kid. I was with my dad who is a veteran and I remember feeling for him when he located the names of people he knew on the memorial wall. So I’m not saying monuments are bad. I’m saying they don’t do it for me personally. And if they do it for you don’t go around taking tentative memorial attendance so as not to make the rest of us feel weird.

P.S. That MLK memorial looks weird. Why does he seem to be looking down on all of us like it's judgement day? You're not the boss of me stone Dr. King!

P.S.S And yes I believe in going to grave sites of loved ones but that's different. It just is. That explanation is for a different post.

Monday, September 12, 2011

What kind of an Asshole Feeds Pigeons?

As the first installment to my "what kind of an asshole..?" series I would like to start with pigeon feeders. What kind of an asshole feeds pigeons? You live in a city! There are other people here who dont want pigeons flocking over head spreading dirty pigeon feathers and dust and possible poop.. the pigeons are here, we accept them but do we need them rushing in from overhead in a frenzy over some pieces of bread? I think not. Get a life pigeon feeders! or a Kindle, or an iPad or angry birds or whatever people do to keep themselves quiet these days.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Night I Fell in Love with a Stripper

So I was dreading this particular plan to go to a female strip club for a friend’s bachelorette party. I was of course dreading it less than if it were a club that featured male strippers but dreading it nonetheless. But I was ready to suck it up and deal because that’s what friends do. But when I got there I was pleasantly surprised. The stage was surrounded by the bar making it a lot less intimidating for a girl like me who has no desire for a lap dance or any kinda female nakedness rubbing up on me. Watching is fine. Watching I can do. So I relaxed… And then there was her.

At that moment I knew why that song “I’m in love with a stripper” by T-Pain came about. I’m sure he and I had different reasons, different motivations. But the love was there nonetheless.
This girl makes me want to be a better person. She makes me want to stick with my cardio routine, she makes me want to remember that I am all that (before I’m not anymore) and I shouldn’t forget it.. Yea all of that!
Here is why I was so impressed. The girl could dance. I don’t mean shake her thang I mean DANCE. Like Alvin Ailey, Martha Graham classically trained Judith Jameson DANCE. Graceful, perfect poses, perfect positions, athleticism, she was modern dance she was ballet but she was basically naked and yes there was a pole. But I also respected her nakedness because she wasn’t getting by on a big ole dookie bootie or some huge fake knockers. She had a short hair cut like a man, no weave, slim, brown skin, small build like me. I think that’s the other reason I liked her. She was more relatable to me than the other jiggly bootie broads. And leave it to me to seek out inspiration and relatability in a strip club at 1am. So I got change of a $20 and let her know my appreciation for her the only way I could. When in Rome… I wish I knew her name.

Friday, August 5, 2011

It's Probably Just Me But...


Why does Miles Morales, the new 1/2 black 1/2 latino Spiderman (who only exists in the comic books and not in Marvel's bigger universe) look like he could be Erykah Badu's son?

Friday, July 29, 2011

The E Train Chronicles

This is why I try not to ride the E train after 10pm. There is always some shi* I just cannot explain. I encountered these 2 last Thursday night. There are so many questions that I have I don't know where to start. If they looked like homeless people it would not have been noteworthy. But since they are dressed like college professors or members of a country club I had to wonder why they were so spent? or bent? and why were they riding a Jamaica bound E train after 10pm at night? Did someone roofie them? but why? I could go on but I guess certain things are not to be explained.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The "Whoa!" Remix Challenge

The "Whoa!" remix popped up on my ipod the other day as I was enjoying a nice shuffle. It isn't the first time this has happened. and I'm always tempted to listen to it because of the beat and because of how hard Rah Digga comes in on the first verse. But it's always a mistake. Your nostalgia and general respect for the original "Whoa!"by Black Rob may tempt you to listen to this remix. But you'd be making a mistake. They should change the name of the "Whoa!" remix to the "Bring-your-wackest-verse-or-your-least-favorite-rappers-rhymefest circa 2000".. It's terrible. and you know it's going to be once you realize someone let Lil' Cease go second. or at all. and it continues to go down hill from there. I tried to get all the way through this 8 minute fiasco but by the time I got to Black Rob's verse and realized he didn't even have any respect for his own remix I gave up. So I challenge you. See if you can make it through this entire song really listening. Not facebooking or emailing or planning lunch while it's on in the background.  If you can do it, you win an invitation to listen to the original "Whoa!".


"My Panama niggaz hold me down like WHOA, my New York peoples hold me down like WHOA" 

Life Outside the Matrix... A Comedic Tragedy

For the purposes of this poem
The Matrix (may-tricks), noun; is defined as…

-A place on this earth, where people enjoy the whimsy and simplicity of living with short or non-existent memories of unpleasant or inconvenient truths

This is about the misfortune of living just outside of the Matrix
Where I live.
‘bout half mile from the McDonald’s…. Any McDonald’s

Close enough to know many people that live inside
But far enough to know I can’t live inside myself

Outside feels like the kinda place
Where the raw sewage that they aren’t supposed to dump into the river would flow

It’s desolate, quiet.
More muted than naturally quiet

It rains a lot, but few things grow
There are no children here. Or there shouldn’t be

It gets cold it gets hot
Rarely is it just right

We can only enter the Matrix with our masks on
No one inside wants to be reminded of outside.
Our own little District 9

Those of us who live outside wouldn’t have it any other way
Despite how much we bitch and complain

Somehow we still feel more fortunate
Like an exclusive crew of hapless misfits
In our place, our position
Outside the Matrix

We are now renting space with the option to buy

Poet Like

I have a poem in my head
And I can’t get it out

I have a poem in my head
And I can’t get it out

I have a poem in my head
And I can’t get it out

Which is ironic because I’m not a poet
(it’s 2AM…maybe I am a poet)

po·et/ / [poh-it]
–noun
1. a person who composes poetry. (yea ok. that’s helpful)
2. a person who has the gift of poetic thought, imagination, and creation, together with eloquence of expression. (now that’s more like it)

I am not sure if it’s a gift
But I have a lot of thoughts

Some imagination
Sporadic creation
Questionable eloquence
Expression.. I can do expression

“I think therefore I am”
But I write. Therefore I-AM- ILLer...than most

There’s this poem in my head and I must write it down

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Small Talk is for Suckers

Small talk is painful, I hate it and I want it to die. Working in corporate America makes small talk totally necessary to my mere survival as a normal, socially acceptable individual but I despise it. Someone has to make it stop! If someone asks me how my Fourth of July weekend was I am screaming out in pain in my head. I tell them it was good and then if they need more I force out a comment about time with friends and family and then right before I throw up I try to end the conversation or walk away. And sometimes I’m forced to ask “how was yours?” Which really sickens me almost as much as the smell of tuna because now I am becoming part of the problem. I can’t take it. I don’t even want to listen to other people partaking in it. And for some people it’s their only form of conversation. So why not just stay quiet?

Then one person wanted to follow the miserable conversation up with a question about whether or not I’m taking any vacation time this summer. WHO CARES?

Me: yea just a few days to go see my brother in Texas
Coworker: oh Texas. It’s gonna be hot
Me: yes...hot (fake laugh, faker smile)

AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Frivolous Lawsuits?

We all hear the stories of people who make millions of dollars off of "frivolous lawsuits". One of the most famous is the woman who sued McDonald's because her coffee was too hot. An HBO Documentary film that I recently saw explores the idea that major corporations spend a great deal of money on PR campaigns to get the media to make sure that we think that people are abusing the legal system and suing companies just because they are greedy. Once again, we have to accept the idea that we are not getting the full story. Corporations work hard to make sure we don't get the whole story and that average people do not feel free to stand up for themselves and hold companies accountable for their actions. The image I put here is a screen shot from the "Hot Coffee" documentary showing the burns on the thighs of the old woman who spilled the McDonald's coffee on her legs. She was initially seeking help with medical bills and did NOT get millions of dollars and it turns out McDonalds' coffee, at almost 190 degrees was in fact too damn hot and there were 700 other complaints and burn victims on record at the time of this woman's (Stella Liebeck) lawsuit. Check out the "Hot Coffee" documentary. It also explores three other civil cases where the regular citizen was made to seem frivolous or crazy when they sought retribution or "justice".

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Play Review: "The Motherf*** With the Hat"

On the same night that President Obama went to see Sister Act on Broadway my boyfriend and I went to see “The Mother***** with the Hat”, also on Broadway. And isn’t that what’s great about New York? Plays about singing nuns and plays about motherf*ckers within blocks of each other. Little old me and President Obama, both taking in a Broadway show on the same night. How ‘bout that! Here is what isn’t great about New York though…The ticket prices. But I digress.

This is a play starring Chris Rock that has been out for a few months now and just because it’s Chris Rock on Broadway I wanted to see it. So here is my unofficial review.

If you don’t like profanity, vulgar sex talk, coarse Bronx Puerto Rican accents and plays about recovering addicts this play is not for you. But who doesn’t like that stuff? If you can handle it then you will be entertained, you will get some great laughs (but it’s not technically a comedy) and you will also find yourself clutching your pearls and gasping. It’s a good time. I know why this play didn’t win any Tony awards. It’s not a great play. But I also know why the theatre was packed. Who doesn’t want to see a Broadway play with Mother***** in the title? At one point the words “dick” and “Aquavelva” were used in the same sentence and I leaned in and told my boyfriend I may be too young for this play. After the first act he commented simply “that was dope!” it was his birthday so I was glad I made the right call in getting the tickets.

Besides Chris Rock, the play stars Bobby Cannavale, Annabella Sciorra, Elizabeth Rodriguez and Yul Vaquez. All actors I have seen in various places before except for Elizabeth. And if you can’t quite place them, then that’s what the bios in the play bill are for. Chris Rock commented during a few interviews that he realized that he knew nothing about acting until he did Broadway and he has actually apologized for all of his previous movies. So if you hated any of his movies or his acting he’s sorry.

On the ugotthejuicenow rating scale I give “The Motherf*** With the Hat” two and a half out of four cups of juice. 2.5 cups for shock value, laughs, authentic accents, a great cast and a good rotating set.. I docked 1.5 cups because it has no universal appeal at all and I just know there are better written plays out there. But who cares.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Hard Core Rap Fans.. Extinct?

Most rap fans I talk to these days have concluded that the only place to go for real rap music is to head underground. And I realized that names like Jay Electronica, Phil Ade, Action Bronson, B.I.G KRIT and others are the ones producing rap music. And Nikki Minaj, Drake, Lil Wayne and Rick Ross are producing popular music songs. Which are exactly what that genre title implies. The issue is that people of a certain age are used to the now "underground" rap music being the stuff that was main stream rap music in the 90’s and early 2000’s. A sound like Wu-Tang or Mobb Deep was our rap music. But today it’s underground or (cringe) old school. And it makes me sad. First of all I’m not sure I can keep up with all the underground artists, it’s not like there is one distribution channel for good underground artists. And there are a million rappin ass niggaz out there and how can I weed through all of them to find a good one? ipods make me less patient and less likely to commit to listening to someone’s entire album like I once did when their CD was in the CD changer. So I’m missing that intimate relationship that I used to have with a particular artist or a particular album. I no longer really know what song is coming next on the album and I no longer memorize all the lyrics like I used to. Very few artists (I use the term “artist” loosely) have playbackability (I heard that term from someone else and it was perfect so I jacked it). Even the artists that I do like, I don’t actually play their albums over and over like I used to and I’m not sure why. It could be:
  • That the music isn’t as inspiring
  • I’m getting too old
  • ipods are hurting my ability to focus on one album
Maybe it’s a combination of all of those factors. I actually found myself wondering at one point if I was even a fan of rap music anymore because I had gone such a long time without caring to hear any rap albums. But then I was introduced to some good underground stuff that re-awakened the thirst in me and I knew that girl was still there. The girl who incorporated Jay-Z and Biggie lyrics into answers to high school essay questions. The girl who went to Virgin with her brother at midnight to get Jay’s latest album as soon as it dropped. The girl who was so impressed with Beanie Siegal’s first album that she had to recite a few lyrics for her friend in a Loyola College dorm elevator full of amused and possibly mortified Caucasian peers. The girl who wrote her own rhymes to past time while studying abroad, then recorded her rhyme over a 50 cent instrumental and mailed it from Bangkok to NY so her brother could hear it ASAP (I also taped a pic of myself to the cassette case so I would have a makeshift album cover. It was called Live from Thailand. Inspired by Live from NY by Raekwon I think). The girl who was so excited to hear that Lil’ Kim was going to have a follow up album after Hard Core that she pulled the car over, found a pay phone and called a friend to tell her the new single was coming on the radio right now (yes the album was terrible and no I had no cell phone at the time). I won’t go on. But you get my point.
I miss being a hard core rap fan.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Happy Birthday Tupac


I came of age with Tupac. He was the first “grown” man that I fell in love with and I think I was probably 13.. His voice and his passion for whatever he was saying had me hooked. And my choosing him was important to me because my brother didn’t. And my brother taught me all I knew about hip hop. But Tupac was mine and no one else around me was really a fan but I loved him anyway. I fell for him when my aunt took me to see “Poetic Justice”. And do not ask me to recite all of his lines from "Juice".. because I will. “Strictly for my N.I.G.G.A.Z” kept me company and allowed me to maintain my angry and generally unimpressed teen age persona during long road trips with my family at that age where you are too young to opt out but too old to enjoy it. A friend gave me a Pac t-shirt with the image above on it. My parents wouldn't let me wear it outside. I still have it. I was in dance class on a Friday the 13th (of September) night when my hip hop dance teacher said “Yo, you heard about your boy?!” I hadn’t. I didn’t want to hear him and he seemed just too damn happy to tell me Pac was dead. So I just kept dancing and that night at home I cried. I had had a pretty rough day leading up to the announcement (rough for a girl 12 days away from turning 16) so I guess I had to let it all out using the news of his death as the straw that broke a teenage camels back. Sometime after that I found a huge, velvet, black light poster of him and it stayed next to my bed until about my sophomore year of college. Pac travelled with me. And then I let him go. I don’t care to ponder how he would have been now or what he would have thought about rap music or Barack Obama. I just know what he meant to me. Coming into my own, developing my own taste in music and in a man. I need a man with a voice! I knew that much at least. And being fine doesn’t hurt. I wasn’t na├»ve. I knew about his criminal issues but he was what he was.

Happy Birthday Tupac! Or should I say. Rest in Peace.

Monday, June 13, 2011

My Situation with The Puerto Rican Day Parade

The Puerto Rican day parade was yesterday. I have never been. So this is my perception and my cynical and often haterific (informed hate. Not just hate for hate’s sake) take on the situation. I had to use an image of Diddy at the parade because who loves Puerto Ricans more than Diddy?

I have always resented the fact that the non-Puerto Rican, black community (yes there are black Puerto Ricans and I hate that I had to add that but I did) loves this parade so much. Mainly black men who want to check out lots of Puerto Rican girls all in one place. As I have gotten older it doesn’t annoy me as much as it used to. But that is more due to my general older person fatigue with the issue and not because I don’t still think that black people’s (mostly men) worship of this parade is bullshit. Black people like Puerto Ricans because they aren’t black, yet they are more accessible than white people. They have flavorful food and music and sometimes similar style and similar societal issues to black people so you can’t really be accused of selling out if you date a Puerto Rican.  They are people of color but not black (not the ones they are looking at anyway) so it’s like this perfect middle ground. But how come black people don’t run to the African American day parade in droves? How come so many don’t come from out of state for the Caribbean day parade? (My cousin and some of his cousins once drove up from Maryland and stayed at my parent’s house to go to the Puerto Rican day parade. But he was half Puerto Rican so it’s ok.)

I once heard a radio DJ say Puerto Ricans and Blacks should stick together because we are all the same. I’m paraphrasing of course but um… NO. If you are a dreamer then you can say all people are the same or all people are children of God or we are all brothers and sisters if you are into that kinda thing but why just blacks and Puerto Ricans? Black people want to claim anyone that ain’t black because it just seems better than what we have going for ourselves. Maybe it’s partially due to our insecurity about not having our own language (don’t say ebonics..i’ll kill you, and Spanish doesn’t belong to Puerto Ricans but you know what I mean. The Spanish might say that Puerto Ricans don’t know Spanish either but that’s another post for a different person to write) or maybe it is because we are uninformed about our own culture and history because it was stolen from us and most of us haven’t really tried to get it back (I am by no means suggesting one should try to trace their roots back to Africa. But acknowledge that you have your own roots and stop trying to latch on to other people’s). It’s part of the same insecurity that makes Caribbean’s cling so hard to their individual island identities or that makes Africans terrified to be associated with black Americans. Puerto Rican people don’t walk around saying yes we are black it’s the same thing. And their Puerto Rican daddies don’t want their daughters with black dudes. They don’t even like Dominicans but that too is another post for another person to write.

I have love for all cultures and I like to learn about and enjoy aspects (mostly food) from other cultures.. I have no beef with Puerto Ricans. I spent my 30th birthday in Puerto Rico and had a blast. I think pride for your own culture is a beautiful thing but Black people should explore why they love Puerto Rican and other cultures so much more than they respect their own.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Die Hard

A few weeks ago I heard a news story about a newborn that was thrown 8 stories down a trash shoot in an apartment building and survived. It got me to thinking… If his teenaged mother didn’t want him then I can only assume she didn’t make regular doctor’s appointments, take pre-natal vitamins, go to Lamaze classes, switch to a diet of organic fruits and vegetables (she’d be hard pressed to find them in the hood anyway) and cut out caffeine. But despite the presumed lack of attention in the womb, lack of medical care, an unassisted at-home delivery AND being dropped 8 stories into garbage (I would want to bathe in a boiling tub of anti-bacterial gel and I’m no newborn). He Lived. And it made me wonder if it’s foolish to think we can control something like conception, pregnancy and birth. What I mean is, someone like me would have been careful and healthy to the point of obsessive and annoying if I were pregnant. I would want to do everything in my power to make sure I am healthy and the baby is healthy and people who are like me still have miscarriages or problems getting pregnant. Although I am not religious I know that doing “everything in my power” is all I can do and there is a large part of it that clearly isn’t in my power. It almost seems like if a baby gon’ live he gon’ live (almost) no matter what you do. And a control freak like me hates that idea. But the evidence is astounding (evidence meaning what I've heard, I have not performed any official studies). I recently read a book about a woman who was addicted to alcohol, promiscuous sex and drugs and had three abortions (she was white. Stop stereotyping!) and she still had a healthy child at like 40 years old. I am sure you have just as many similar examples. Look at Keyshia Cole’s momma. Seven healthy kids all while she was abusing crack. REALLY?! It’s almost maddening. But it’s one of the most humbling realizations that any of us can have. This is not meant to disregard the millions of babies born with complications due to improper care in the womb. But still. We aren’t really in as much control as we’d like to think we are. That’s not to say I’m not going to keep trying to be.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Anthony Weiner is our friend

Just because Anthony Weiner got caught sexting or sex tweeting or using social media to fulfill his need to be admired, looked at or desired in his draws, doesn’t mean he is over. Bill Clinton wasn’t over and he got real oral sex in the Oval office. If anything I think that maybe his constituents can relate to Weiner even more. Isn’t everyone abusing social media these days? Doesn’t this make him more of the everyday guy? During the 2008 election a co-worker and I were discussing Obama’s “Special Olympics” joke and the co-worker chuckled and commented that he thinks it makes him like Obama more. I knew it was because it made him more relatable when you realized that he cracks “retard” jokes just like you and your friends do.

I think a similar argument can work for Weiner. At the very least he should get more younger voters to support him because young people know all about posting something on facebook or twitter that they accidentally sent to the wrong person (or to everyone). Heck! I have done that over my company Instant Message service…. Twice! (but it wasn’t a photo of me in my Vicky Secrets so I didn’t stress it). We shouldn’t bash Weiner. We should embrace him for being as flawed as any other dude. And for being a liar about it like any other dude. The republicans are always trying to play the “ordinary people” angle. Why can’t Weiner? His situation is more comical to me than despicable. I don’t think he needs to resign. I think he should run for mayor.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

You're Not the Boss of Me Verizon Wireless

When did we lose the ability to choose the right phone plan for ourselves? I have a huge beef with the idea that you cannot get a decent phone without a data plan. And what erks me even more is that other people think I’m nuts for not wanting the data plan and I am the crazy one for questioning this cell phone company bullying that takes place every single day in this country. People should think the cell phone carriers are nuts. Not me.

Here’s the thing. I don’t NEED a data plan. So I won’t pay extra for it. I don’t need to sit in first class when I fly, so I don’t pay extra for it. I don’t even take Jetblue’s option to pay a little extra for more legroom in coach. I don’t need it. My legs will be fine. I don’t pay extra for DVR, tv shows aren’t important enough to me to record. I don’t pay extra for bottled water at restaurants. I’m good with the tap. So WHY should I pay for a data plan I don’t need? Has anyone asked themselves this? Or do we all just go along with what the bullies say? Or are we all so afraid not to have everything that we put up with anything?

I am not 16 so I’m not afraid someone might tease me for not having an iphone or a blackberry. But at this point I can’t get any phone more than 1 notch above a flip phone because I’m a crazy, rogue, social misfit who doesn’t need a data plan. I have a 9-5 job (for now). That means from 9am (approximately) to 5pm everyday I am in front of company internet. Then when I get home I got time warner cable internet. I even have a router so there is wi-fi.. That means the only time I don’t have internet is the 50 minutes on the train in the morning and the evening (where you can’t get the signal anyway). And if I’m not at work or home then I’m out; usually with friends, boyfriend or family. All people that I want to speak to and bond with and not be on the internet. And I don't Tweet so the only time it would help is if I need urbanspoon to find a restaurant but if we didn’t have it, we’d manage. So why should I pay for a data plan when internet is EVERYWHERE? It’s even at the Apple store, Best Buy, Starbucks, Barnes and Nobles and in parks…

So NO Verizon Wireless I will NOT give you $10 a month just to have a cool phone. You must not know who you are dealing with. I grew up in a house with no cable TV til I was 18. I have the same laptop since 2005, I have the same digital camera since 2003 that I got for free from my job, I do not have a navigation system in my car. I still print faulty directions off of mapquest and then I wing it. So if you wanna go Verizon Wireless we can GO! I’m ready.   

Review: My Infamous Life: The Autobiography of Mobb Deep’s Prodigy

The first thing that may take some getting used to about this book is that he actually wrote it. Yes he had an editor (not a great one, I found a few typos) but this book is literally in Prodigy’s words. Even if those words are ridiculously simple they are always straight to the point. Even if those words are abrasive, profane or hood, they are his (but not as profane as you might think). The words are appropriate for his life. He was shockingly candid and seemingly not afraid to expose his weaknesses and fears. If you are a fan of 90’s hip hop you will like this book. It gives Prodigy’s first person account of his entire life experience including how he got a deal, how he felt about the industry and the people that are part of it. He isn’t afraid to name names! He calls out so many people that I am sure he has new beef despite the fact that he ends off on a more mature I’m-past-it-all kind of note.

If you are from Queens it’s an extra treat just because you can picture every single street corner that he is describing from Hempstead, Long Island to Lefrak city. He talks about Sundays at the Tunnel for crying out loud. As a bonus, he includes a good amount of personal pictures of Mobb Deep with other rappers, their friends and also one pic of his kids and his wife.

He did what people wanted Jay-Z to do in Decoded (Jay-Z who Prodigy refers to as bitch boy more than once). He talks about his life and his feelings, he clears up what was or was not behind certain rap beefs, he talks about his woman and whoever else he may have boned. He talks about other rappers and he doesn’t sugar coat anything. I like the candidness and the straight forward delivery.

As far as how much he has matured my expectations and standards for him were a little too high after the book signing interview. I don’t know why I was trying to make him a dude I would really like. I like the music. That should be enough. His lifestyle and his behavior don’t have to become acceptable to me. It’s not about that.
  • Yes he has a wife, but yes he is a cheater (maybe so was she. and I had a hard time getting over all these women being into him when he is so darn pequeno).
  • Yes he began to read and gain higher awareness about society and his own health but it took a long time and a few relapses before he could put his learning into action and make real changes.
  • Yes he has kids but I can’t paint him to be some awesome father (because whose version of “good father” am I referring to?.. and because he was way too young, immature and reckless in most of the book to be who I would call a good father).
  • Yes he had loyalty to Havoc and his brand, but loyalty almost to a fault, loyalty that compromised his own goals in some ways.
Needless to say there are layers. There is no “all bad” and there is no “all good” for anybody I guess. Prodigy’s life is a perfect example of the specific shades of gray that color the lives of young, black, rappin-ass-negroes of the hood. Not necessarily from poverty but of a hood mentality. It’s an entertaining read to say the least.

Monday, April 25, 2011

What is So Sexy About GROWN Men?

Last week I went to a book signing for Prodigy's (Mobb Deep) new biography "My Infamous Life". I was glad to go. I was always a Mobb Deep fan and it was a nice Spring evening so why not right?

I wasn't sure I was necessarily as excited about the book as I was just to go to the signing/discussion on a Spring evening in DUMBO with my bf. But after Prodigy answered a few questions about the book and about his life I realized that I was genuinely interested in what I would learn about him reading his autobiography. I was no longer simply riding the momentum of my own 90's hip-hop, nostalgic hype. I was interested in the man he was today. He said a few things that made me nod and smile and urge my bf to hurry up and read it so I can dive in. (God forbid I buy my own copy).
  • He talked about the importance of eating right to maintain proper health to manage Sickle Cell Anemia (that basically works for any health condition folks)
  • He talked about the absurdity of wearing and rapping about iced-down medallions when the majority of his fans are struggling
  • He talked about identifying the things in his life that made him angry, hurt and confused as a teenager
  • He talked about his relationship with his father
  • He touched on the difficulty of being married while navigating the hip hop industry and living with friends who were not in committed relationships
  • He touched on how he explained to his children why he was going to jail
To put it short. He was grown up. Still tiny in stature, but grown. And grown is sexy. That's not to say Prodigy is sexy to me but witnessing growth and maturity is sexy in any man. It's good to know it's there. It's reassuring to me as a woman. It's a refreshing contradiction to the image the general public conjures when they here "black man", "rapper" or "ex-con". I'm attracted to people with dimensions and layers. People who inevitably offer you more than what you can see or infer from the outside. (FYI, on the outside Prodigy had on a fitted button-up pale blue shirt, dark colored jeans, black hard bottom shoes and a black leather Kangol style hat). I'm attracted to what he has to say in this autobiograpy. I'll let y'all know how it is.
Ain't no such things as half-way crooks.. or half-way men. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Resilience


I asked how she was doing
she said she’ll handle it
It’s her version of my “Maintainin’”

I know exactly what it means
I’ve seen her handle it before
It looks effortless

Maybe that’s the problem
Maybe that’s why no one seems to be worried
She can always convince me not to be… almost

My maintaining is not as graceful as her handling
So whenever I can, I take notes
It’s not something a person can learn
It just is

My notes are more for inspiration
Not an actual attempt to learn how to handle the way she handles
Impossible!
Her handle is something you have to be born with

It’s raw talent
Honed and polished by life, love and hurt.. but not necessarily in that order
So I maintain

Resilience
noun
1. the power or ability to return to the original form, position, etc., after being bent, compressed, or stretched; elasticity.
2. ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyancy.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What’s better uncertainty or certain doom?

I ask because as people both male and female approach 30, their early thirties and their mid-thirties it seems in some way many of us start to do things so that we will have some certainty about our future. We don’t want it to be “too late” for whatever we think we are running out of time to do. So people tend to lock down mates, careers, homes, exercise routines, nutrition plans and everything at a rapidly increasing rate due to the proverbial pressure. And most times these are well thought out decisions. Then there are the other times.

It made me wonder if some people would just rather be certain than uncertain. Regardless of what or who we signed up for whether it be an expensive gym membership that we won’t really use or spouses and potential kids that we don’t really want. Even if that certainty is that you will probably certainly be displeased. And the joke is that there is no real such thing as certainty. You can be certain you will have a home but you can’t be certain that the town you choose with the awesome school districts and close proximity to public transportation won’t be swallowed up by a ginourmous earthquake/tsunami tag team. You can be certain you have a career plan but you can’t be certain your field won’t be eliminated due to technological innovation like the people who used to own video stores or actually repair TVs and VCRs. You can be certain you got married but you can’t be certain that your spouse won’t join a cult that will lure him/her away from you and alter their current values and beliefs and then you are just living with a stranger who drinks all kinds of Kool Aid and stops eating chicken. Obviously I’m slightly exaggerating but I think you get my point. Implied certainty at what cost? Obviously no one can predict the future. But I guess we should try to make some educated hypothesis. They may not be too far off and maybe we can avoid some of the unpleasant surprises.

Either way our not so certain certainties come back to bite us, right on the ass while our pants are down and we aren’t looking because we were texting or planning our awesomely clear and certain futures.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Think Mean Thoughts

Recently I was watching a rerun of “The Sopranos”. It was the episode where Tony finds out his mother has passed away and he ends up confessing to his therapist that he not only felt relief that she was dead, but that he had wished that she would die. And he went on about how that makes him a horrible son. But if you have watched the Sopranos at all you know that Mama Soprano was no saint and I actually could understand why Tony would just want her out of his life for good. (She actually wished herself dead a lot too. “I wish the lord would take me now.”)

It reminded me of a conversation I was having with a friend where I wished some misfortune on someone and just couldn’t be bothered feeling bad about it. Maybe some of us do this kind of thing all the time but I have always been a “live and let live”, “the best revenge is living well” kind of person. But after an exercise of thinking about some of the people that have wronged me or just irritate me and thinking of all the negative things I could wish for them I realized I felt better. I did it with a friend, it was funny, it made me laugh and I felt lighter after just spewing the meanness that I never really allowed myself to think about. And after that I still know that I’m the same “live and let live”, “the best revenge is living well” kind of person. I am now concluding that wishing negative things for people you don’t like can be personally rewarding from time to time. Go ahead and try it. Does wishing bad on someone else mean bad things will happen to you? Does wishing well for others bring you lots of good things? I call bullshit. What proof do we have of any of this?

Back in the day Camron had a song called “Hate Music” that might help get you started. Some of the lyrics are

“I hope your girl get AIDS, your brother crash and dash Or your mother die, and your sister is a topless dancer No answer, glaucoma, and your pops got cancer”

 Oooph! That’s rough! You might wanna start a little lighter than that if you are new to this.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

And In This Corner....

This morning they announced yet another hate crime against a gay man in NY. He was beaten up pretty bad coming out of a McDonald's in the West Village. My question is, if you can't be gay in the West Village where can you be safely be gay at 4am?
NYC is a very diverse city but the neighborhoods are not really diverse at all. Everyone has their corners and we might mix and mingle during the day for work or entertainment or eating but for the most part everyone returns to their corners. And we all know which parts of which borough are whose "corner". We know where there are a lot of Blacks, West Indian Blacks, Hispanics, Jews, Asians and Indians. We even know where there are middle class families versus rich ones verses poor ones. We know where there are Greek neighborhoods and Russian ones. We know where people that aren't from NY like to live and where tourists frequent... And we all know that the West Village is gay. It's not like no one else goes there but you know what it is and why should anyone really care? This is New York City? If you don't like gays or people of different races or cultures or value systems or religions or people who smell weird or eat on the train or piss in the subway or preach about Jesus from the sidewalk, or people who jay walk or ignore "DON'T WALK" signs, or if you don't like paying a different price for a Snapple depending on what neighborhood you are in then you gotta move to Wisconsin. And I'm not saying we all love each other here. But we sure as hell tolerate each other and we damn sure can't be beating people up and murdering people because they are gay (especially in the West Village) or because they charge 50 cents extra for a Snapple in wealthy or touristy areas.

Dear Spring

Open toe shoes, flats with no socks,
Cropped leather jackets,
Flirty skirts and short sleeves
they all miss you

Eating outside, slow strolls and ice cream cones
they miss you
I mean real ice cream cones
not Red Mango or Pink Berry
but just to be fair, they miss you too

Spoke to the city parks and all the squares
(Union, Washington, Times, Herald, Tompkins, Cooper)
They miss you too

I’m asking for them, not for me
Will you return?
Should we wait?
Should we continue to write?
More importantly, do you miss us back? I mean them 
Do you miss them back?

Even surrounded by millions of people
It gets cold. But we get by.
We get by because we believe
Otherwise most of us... I mean them.
Most of them wouldn’t hang the way they do.
I mean I’ll be fine. It’s not about me…really!

But I don’t like when those other states talk shi* about us.
Saying how their Spring is better than ours and
how they are glad they moved away
So technically I’m doing this to protect you

So dear Spring... It’s been too long.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Is Incorrect Grammar Ruining Good R&B?

It all started for me with Trey Songz. I really really liked "Yo Side of the Bed" when I saw him perform it on some award show months ago. I thought that perhaps I had underestimated this youngster that folks were calling the new R. Kelly. (He is in fact the new R. Kelly. And the current R. Kelly is the old R. Kelly which I think is better.. if that makes sense) So I immediately downloaded it onto my ipod so I could love it all the time. But the first time I played it for myself, giddy with the excitement only new music can bring... I was disappointed. I was distracted to the point of annoyed by the refrain "Yo side Yo side Yo side of the beeeed".. I found myself wishing that some adult would just remake the song with proper grammar so I could finally enjoy it. But I let it go because who am I to say it's wrong? It's Trey Songz. I knew what I was getting into.
But today, I was watching TV while "working" from home and I saw Jennifer Hudson perform her new single..... "Where you AT" and the song was nice (written by the current R. Kelly) and she sings beautifully. I really really wanted to like it and I found myself wishing she would have said "Where were you" or "Where are you" or something. I mean I hated "Where you AT" when it was the tag line for the T mobile commercial and now its back. So is bad grammar ruining good R&B? It doesn't seem to make sense. It didn't bother me when Faith Evans said "Ain't nobody who can love me like you do" or when D'Angelo sang "One Mo Gin'". I mean heck M.J. sang "You Wanna be Startin' Somethin" and it was great. The examples of incorrect grammar in R&B are endless. So why does this bother me now? Is incorrect grammar always necessarily bad grammar?  Is it the R&B that's changing or is it me?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Is Reading Fundamental?

Is reading fundamental or does it depend on what you read? Some read for pure entertainment and others read to learn something or feel something that they didn’t feel before picking up the book. Some people need to walk away from a book enriched in some way and some just need to walk away.

I was a Junior in college when I read Sister Souljah’s “The Coldest Winter Ever” and it was awesome. I couldn’t put it down. It was so well written (from what I remember) that I was literally having dreams about the characters when I went to sleep at night. (Same thing happened when I read the autobiography of Malcolm X the same summer.. it could have been the Malaria prevention meds causing all the vivid dreams while I was in Thailand) But little did I know things would quickly get out of hand. Once people realized one could write about the hood and make money off of it, it took away the idea that writing required actual skill, knowledge, insight or education. It can’t be avoided I guess. Isn’t making money with little effort or skill the American Dream? Without anyone’s permission (certainly not mine) street lit was born. No spell check required. I am not mad at Sister Souljah. How was she to know? The same thing happened with rap music. How was Run DMC and Slick Rick supposed to know that they would play a part in influencing the likes of Soldier Boy and a million others with or without record deals today that speak really really loud but don’t say much of anything. The result? More people trying to use growing up in the hood as their degree or their skill to make money off of. And how long before they realize it isn’t enough?
And if you don’t want to write about the hood per se you can write about hood mentality. The over sexed black pimps and players and the gold-digging, just happy to have a man females that bump and grind each other into coonstown… Where they should die.. but they don’t.. they live for the sequel. But it’s only entertainment… Right? Would we be angry if a white person was writing street lit? (they probably already do. I mean they give us BET).

Just in case I was wrong about this I read a Zane “erotica noir” (ain’t that some bullsh*t) book a few months ago. I won’t get into the details of the book. I will just say I wasn’t wrong. But people love it. So I guess I can’t say it’s all bad. Entertainment is good. But it’s for those who know that is exactly what it is. It is not good for those who think they should model themselves after ignorant behavior and even more damaging for those who begin to think you should be able to succeed without really trying and there is a lot of that going around.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Love & Hip Hop... (Sigh)s and (SMH)s

Due to popular demand... I watched and I am weighing in on VH-1's Love & Hip Hop.
True Confession: I wrote half of this post in my head before ever seeing the show because I already knew what it was.

So I tried to ignore it. I was warned that it was coming and I was informed when it had started and somehow, I thought I would get away with not watching it. I barely lasted 2 days. I don't know what I was thinking. It's like ignoring a freckle that turns out to be skin cancer, or an itchy patch of skin that turns out to be ring worm, or a crying child that you know full well can outcry your patience. So here we are.
 When I hear "Love & Hip Hop" I think Method and Mary, or B.I.G and Kim, or B.I.G and Faith or B.I.G and Charlie Baltimore.... or Tupac and his "girlfriend" (all I need in this life of sin...). That is not what this is.

Olivia: She is here for your entertainment. And in case you didn't know she was supposed to be entertaining, she will make sure to drop as much slang as she can into any conversation or crack any kind of half-witted joke for cheap chuckles. It's ok. It's harmless. I'm starting with her because she is the worst person to represent Queens since Lamar Odom did the Khloe Kardashian thing. And why did she need to translate what "Mira mi Poom Poom" meant for Chrissy? (sigh)

Emily: Loso's baby momma. "He'll never leave me." Why is that a good thing?
Your an 8yr secret MA! Stop telling everyone this stuff. You're embarrassing yourself and everyone who ever knew you. But heck, who needs a ring. She got a Bentley. (smh)

Chrissy: Jim Jones' GF. First of all I have to ask... Is this show part of Jimmy's "h-u-s-l" as he spells it? Because he is in more scenes than a little bit. And Chrissy oh Chrissy, mm mm mm (smh) ain't nothing sadder than an old bird and Chrissy youse a old bird. She acts like a 14 year old confronting any girl that looks at her boyfriend because she hasn't learned how to act like a woman with an ounce of confidence yet. Or she hasn't learned that teasing a chic about her teeth or her outfit won't take away the pain of being the average looking, long term, ride or die bitch of a B list rapper.. But I guess when you look like any other girl walking down 125th street you gotta fight for yours. Also, she needs Emily to be her stylist because her outfits all look like they came from Forever 21.. The red lace bra showing, the cropped sequin jacket? Geezus! You're on TV!

Somoya: Whose attic is she sleeping in? I feel like she is gonna wake up with pieces of the pink itchy insulation stuff in her weave. What's the point of being light skinneded with a body like that if you can't get a dude to pay for a decent hotel room? And her fake lashes are like "Hey look at us we're fake as hell" Geez. She couldn't get the individual joints? (sigh)

Mashonda: Don't do it girl. I had no issue with you. Do not do this.

On the ugotthejuicenow rating scale I give the first episode of "Love & Hip Hop" 1 empty glass.. with no juice in it. Meaning it is so bad you might just have to watch.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Broke is the new Lent

Today is Ash Wednesday. The first day of Lent. Lent in the Catholic tradition, is the period of the liturgical year leading up to Easter. Lent is a time of sacrifice for Jesus and it lasts 40 days. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer  for the annual commemoration of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus. I was raised Catholic, but I still had to consult Wikipedia for a quick explanation of the holiday. 
I am no longer practicing any religion but as a youngster I used to give up something I really enjoyed for Lent. That's the tradition. For me it was usually candy. For some it might be cursing or cheese or whatever you think will make you feel tortured while you sacrafice for the Lord and Savior. I am not giving up anything this year and have not for a while...at least not for Lent. But I realized today that I am giving up things I love all the time because of brokeness. So brokeness is the new Lent for me, and it seems to last longer than 40 days.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Avatar vs. Chris Bosh

 


 


In part 2 of the "Who wore it best" Series we take a look at Chris Bosh of the Miami Heat when he had dreads vs. blue dude from Avatar.  They both have lovely bone structure and I'm undecided about what complexion I like best. But do you prefer the Chris Bosh dreads or the Avatar braids? I don't know. I'm torn.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Leela vs. La La













The ponytail and bang hairstyle.. Who wore it best? Leela of Futurama or La La Vasquez aka Mrs. Carmelo Anthony?
Leela's hair is real but La La's has better color
They have similar complexion and a similar over-bite but La La has two eyes
La La has a rich husband, but Leela has a job
They both have cool names.

I don't know.. I'm torn.