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Thursday, November 30, 2006
Jamaica Funk

Please pardon the jacked-up attitude of this post, but sometimes I just can't help myself. Let me just put a piece of life advice out there for all of you: if two people are having a conversation that in no way concerns you, stay out of it unless you're invited in or can provide relevant discussion.

A co-worker and myself were joking about our Jamaican heritage. Yes people, I'm a full-blooded Jamerican (for those of you who can't figure this word out, Jamerican means half Jamaican, half American. My mom's American and my father--not to be confused with the stepfather that I call daddy--is Jamaican.) Any-stinkin-way, we were enjoying our jokes, some of which would only be funny if you grew up or were closely associated with an island family. Enter co-worker #2 who decides to chime in, "Hey Mon, Me like de Bob Marley Mon. You know you be de Rastafari"

Record scratch, dead silence. What in all the hell? Here was this woman whose only experience with Jamaica was a family trip in 1987 and hanging around the white kids with dreads who listen to Bob Marley all day long trying to be part of a discussion that she obviously couldn't keep up with. Co-worker #2, if you can't tell, is NOT Jamaican, NOT Jamerican. She's a tourist if you will, and a bad one, at that. Co-worker #1 and myself are the only people with Caribbean backgrounds that she actually knows.

"Yo yo yo, how many jobs did your parents have? You know how de Jam-eeee-cans be havin mad jobs at once!" and even worse "Tasha, stop playin...your parents are divorced. Your mom and stepdad raised you, so you couldn't have been around that many Jamaicans"

How in the name of Purple Rain did she think she had any right to comment on something so, well... non comment-worthy? I don't know if she really thought showing off her fake-ass Jam-eeee-can accent would make us think she was cool or make us jealous of the fact that she's actually travelled to the country? Duh woman, we've already been there, parts of our families live there. Trust me, you haven't been where we've been. You got off the Carnival Cruiseboat and hung around the tourist traps. You couldn't tell the difference between Bob Marley and Garnet Silk if your life depended on it.

Both of us were quite offended by the things she said. I mean damn, not every Jamaican has five jobs at a time, I don't care what the old "In Living Color" skit said. And even if they did, that's for us to joke about, not her. Oh, and let me put this out there, just because my parents are divorced doesn't mean that my father and I don't speak. I grew up with his Jamaican family just as much as with my mom and stepdad's. So I do get to speak about my ethnic background, however dysfunctional as it may be, LOL.

People please, if you know that you only have a passing understanding of the subject being discussed, stay out of it. You will quickly be dismissed. No one wants to listen to a know-it-all. Think about it this way, would you interject into the conversations of people speaking Spanish just because you took Spanish I in high school? No you wouldn't. Well I hope you wouldn't, because that's plain rude. If you have questions about someone's conversation, go ahead and ask, but wait until the first conversation is over. Usually people don't mind answering questions when they're asked with a genuine desire to learn. (That's a topic for a different day).

Have you ever heard, "This is an A and B conversation, so C your way out of it"?? Yes, this elementary school phrase holds true even in your adult life.

People, help me out here...do I have a right to be offended or am I overreacting?

Toddler Say What?
“Lady you need to move!”

Not bothering to look behind me, I said “Sorry, I’ll be done in a second”

“Move bitch.”

Oh no, you are not about to disrespect me in public like that. I turned around fully expecting to see a grown woman behind me, but I saw nothing. I looked down and I saw nothing but 2 and a half feet of three year old standing there with the fiercest face I’ve ever seen. I had to stop a second and make sure I was in my right mind before I spoke.

“Sweetie, where is your mother? You know you shouldn’t speak to grown ups like that.”

“Don’t worry bout me and my mama she’s coming. You need to move, okay”

There I stood, a completely grown woman about to get in an argument with a toddler. I was really about to come out of my face with some grown folks words and hurl them at a child. At the grocery store about to get into it with someone whose idol is Dora the Explorer. All I could do was gather my stuff from the self-checkout, and leave in silent fury.

What made me angrier than anything in this situation was the fact that the child is obviously smart. Very few kids that young, she couldn’t have been a day over 4 years, can string sentences together that well. And there she stood spewing cuss words and the like. If her mother had only paid attention to her daughter’s linguistic prowess, and nurtured that quality, maybe she’d be more skilled at expressing herself properly.

Parents, again I beg you all to take a look at the things your toddlers are saying and doing. Whether or not you want to believe this, your children pay attention to everything you say and do. You may be aware of some of your bad habits, and therefore tell your children to “do as I say, not as I do”. But children, being the sponges that they are will want to mimic your every move regardless of what you tell them. If you’re always in somebody’s face swearing like a sailor and showing off otherwise unsavory behavior, guess what—your child will have a propensity to do the same thing. You might really think it’s cute the first time you see little Jaquenisha catch an attitude with a grown person, but please realize that her little “act” didn’t come out of the blue. She learned how to do that from you and the other adults she’s around all the time. Also, if you find yourself in a position where you have to get stank with someone, but your child is right there, do what you have to do. Just remember to explain after the incident that what you did is not something that should be done every day, nor is that behavior acceptable in most situations.

It’s bad enough that we have to deal with piss-poor attitudes from other adults, so to have to deal with the same and worse from very young children is absolutely unacceptable. I swear, the next ornery toddler that I have to deal with will be told that Santa’s not real. That’ll show em!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Holy Ghost Hoedown
When I went back home over the Thanksgiving holiday, I went to my home church as expected. As I’m sure I’ve said at some point or another, I grew up in a Baptist Church. So of course that means I’ve seen my fair share of people catch the Holy Ghost, and I suppose I’ve done so myself. Some people cry, some people dance to the music. But there exists a pattern of how people show that they’ve been affected by the sermon or the song, and I actually wonder if there is some type of “Holy Ghost School” that these people go to, because they all do the same thing. Let me list a few for you.

1) Throwing Wigs and Hats- In my church, and many others like it, a lot of the older women wear huge hats. I’m not talking about dainty little pillbox hats either, I mean large windmill-like creations that somehow block the view of the pulpit from every possible angle. A lot of these women also wear intricate wigs under said hats to cover up whatever funk-tastical state their natural hair is in. When the Holy Ghost enters their body, off come the hats and the wigs with some supernatural flair. They don’t simply place the things in the pew next to their belongings. Nope. None of that. The hats and wigs go flying in whatever direction they will, and sometimes land in the aisles or actually on people several pews in front or behind. Not to worry though, after the sermon, the ushers return the hairpieces to their rightful owners. I tell you, those ushers must have hawk-like vision to be able to accurately determine whose hair landed where. I was an usher for a while back in the day, and I couldn’t keep up.

2) Jheri Curl Juice Shake em’ up- For some reason unknown to me, a lot of the men, especially those over 50, have drippy jheri curls. I’m not sure if they’re trying to hold on to some fabulous part of their youth or something, but trust me when I say it is far from a good look. When they “get happy” they do some epileptic-type shake that sends activator flying everywhere. I’m glad churches are non-smoking environments because that stuff is flammable. It’d be terrible if some poor soul was calmly smoking a cigarette during the sermon and one of the jheri curled bunch started shaking and the activator landed on them. POOF, instant backdraft. I shudder at the thought.

3) The half hand-raise- I truly don’t know why EVERYONE does this. I’m guilty of it too, so I’m stumped. When something moving is said or sung, the left hand goes up as if answering a question in grade school. It only goes halfway up though, and the palm is ALWAYS facing the pastor or the choir. Maybe we think that the spirit of the Lord will enter our bodies through our palms? Or perhaps we’re giving whoever is at the pulpit a somber high-five? Whatever the case, up go the hands, and grab a Kleenex because the tears are about to flow freely.

4) The faux faint- It’s usually the same person, at the same time every Sunday. For some reason, at my church, this woman likes when the pastor gives the church announcements. “Hallelujah Jeeeessuuuussss” and out she goes. The hand on the forehead, Scarlet O’Hara style. She manages to land on one of the strapping young ushers. Maybe something is lacking at home. I don’t know, but she sits in the same seat every week, and the same ushers catch her every time. Poor Jason and Sean. That woman is a hot mess.

5) Marathon aisle running- When things really get going, and the spirit has really filled the church, the music changes to a more frenetic pace and people start acting up. Out come the marathon runners. These same few people feel it necessary to show their praise by running up and down the center and side aisles of the church. The sanctuary of my church is on the second floor, and I’m afraid that one day the floor will give in and it’s going to be a replay of the Titanic. Now, the aisle runners don’t just run amok. They have a patented type of run that resembles some NFL player’s end zone dance. High-knee stepping with the quickness all over the place. They never enter the pews or enter the pulpit. Oh no, they know better than that. That’s not good Churchianty. The ushers have stopped trying to corral these people into one place; they just run until they tire themselves out. I’m convinced that these people are trying to get in an extra aerobic workout for the week. “Watch out now Gold’s Gym, I’m getting my religion and my workout all at once!”

6) Dance club show off- Okay, so Sunday service is the morning after many people hit the clubs. Some people feel the need to show off whatever dances they learned at the club the night before during the freestyle instrumental gospel getdown. Yes, the music is upbeat, and yes some of it sounds like you can really groove to it. The Lord is cool with you getting your dance on to music being played in his honor, I’m sure of it. But some dances are best left at the club. I swear I’ve seen people doing the ‘Walk it Out’ and ‘Chicken Noodle Soup’ and even the ‘Laffy Taffy’ and ‘Electric Slide’ to some holy music. Oh goodness. Oh goodness. Oh goodness! I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ll get my dance on if I’m really into the music, but I’m smart enough to stick to a two step or something. It’s beyond hilarious to me when people claim to be Bible-beating Christians who don’t go out except to Bible Study and choir rehersal, but they can do the ‘Chicken Noodle Soup’ better than those of us who freely admit to going to the club. The lyrics are “Oh happy day, when Jesus washed….washed my sins away” NOT “let it rain, clear it out…Chicken Noodle Soup, with a soda on the side”. I promise you that. Even the pastor looks at them sometimes like “Dayum, where’d you learn that move Sister Yvonne?”

There are plenty more similar things that people do when the Holy Ghost gets them, I’ve only listed a few. I have strong opinions about church, and some of them are not so favorable. However, I keep going back—of course to get the Word, but partially to see the debauchery going on within the hallowed walls. I should probably be ashamed of that, but me being who I am, of course I’m not. When I was a kid not yet old enough to go to the club on the weekends, I would be excited to go watch people get down with their bad selves!

I just hope when I get old, I don’t end up throwing my wig one day. I’m not sure I could live with myself.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006
The Name Game gone BAD
I work in an industry that forces me to look at the profiles and demographic information of people across the country day in and day out. So of course, I run across all kinds of names. Normally, I'm not really bothered by the more creative sounding names or the so-called ghetto black names. To each their own. But today, I'm in shock and horror over the names I'm seeing. Parents, I beg you, pleeeeeeease at the very least check a dictionary before bestowing a name upon your child. Your darling offspring will have to live with that name for the rest of his or ner natural life or at least until the legal age to change a given name.

I know most of us have heard the jokes. But this is seriously turning into an epidemic.

"Gonorrhea" "Syphillis" "Oncology" "Chlamydia" "Amoeba" "Dysentary" "Escherichia" "Clostridium" "Angina" "Carotid" "Parotid"

Yes, those are all names of medical terms and diseases, and they're also the names of real children. I've spoken to each of their parents. Carotid and Parotid are twins, and when I asked the mother where she got the name from, she told me that she'd heard the doctor say those names and she thought they were cute. She really had no idea that carotid and parotid are actualy arteries in the body, and when I mentioned it, she was like "Ohmygoodness, I'm kind of embarassed now". I didn't mean to embarass her, really I didn't, I promise. When I call the parents of children with odd names such as those above, I usually end up getting schooled on how to pronounce the name properly. Like when I called little Angina's mom, I was quickly informed that her name is pronounced "Ehn-Gee-nya" like it's supposed to be French or something.

I'm all for being creative, even with pronunciations, but people need to understand that when the spelling doesn't remotely match the sound of the name or when the spelling of the name equals something that's best left in an anatomy book or a grocery store shelf, their kids may suffer for it. I could write a book about all of the Alize's, Sha'Quinessence's, Boone Farm's (YES!! It's a real person, DO NOT ASK!!), Pretzel's, Chrysler's, Bentley's, etc. that I've had to deal with, but that might just encourage people to give their children horrendous names.

My plea to parents-to-be:

I'm excited about your impending parenthood. I think. Well anyway, please make sure you take the task of naming your baby seriously. I know we have lots of ideas for cute names that will serve the babies well into their toddler years. But your children will grow up. Trust me when I say this. It's hard for people to take a 48-year old named Precious Cuddles Monée Johnson seriously. Also, I want to save your child the embarassment of finding out that they were named after an alcoholic drink or a medical anomaly. I'd hate to see your daughter in Microbiology class studying bacteria, and she discovers that "Eukaryote Escherichia Coli" is not African or French, but rather something that grows in a petrie dish, studied under a microscope, and can kill people (E. Coli). Or I'd really hate to see your son in the doctor's office when they tell him he's tested positive for Staphylococcus and he finally figures out where you got his name from.

And parents, please for the love, don't name your new child after the vehicle he or she was conceived in. Something's just really fishy about a daughter named Chrysler or RangéRover (pronounced Rahn-jay Roh-veir ---I kid you not!). I'm not sure if you realize how difficult it is for people like me that have to work with your children's files to make sense of what we look at. I'm in no way saying that you should name your child something bland for the sake of making his/her life easier or to avoid undue embarassment. However, by naming your child something truly beautiful and unique, or even simple and sensible, you are showing us that you have faith in your child that s/he doesn't require a NAME to make a good impression on the world and you are showing us just how creative you really are.

I ask this humbly, as I don't have any children of my own. However, if I see another Mononuclei--age 4, I may just be ready to pull my hair out. Please, it's a simple guideline to follow: If you don't know what it means, DO NOT use it as your child's name. If you heard it in a medical office, chances are you don't want to be naming your baby that. If you saw it in your little brother's Biology textbook--just say NO! If you can drink it, drive it, eat it, or wear it--please stop and think before you put it on your baby's birth certificate.

*Sigh* The defense rests.

Monday, November 27, 2006
NYPD shoots a groom
I tried all weekend to make heads or tails of this story (another version of events here) about the NYPD shooting up an unarmed man on the night before his wedding day, and I'm still struggling. My stepsister, who is an NYPD detective, I'm sure has some strong opinions about what's happened, but she's done the honorable thing and hasn't said jack. I wasn't there, so I really don't know the true story of what happened. However, judging by the intense grief of the families and the tight-lipped attitude of the NYPD, this situation has the potential to damn the organization forever.

I could very easily pull the race card in this situation, but I'm going to wait until I more facts have been revealed. I will go so far as to say though, that I have never seen something like this happen where the races are reversed. I can't even imagine how something like that would play out. Anyway, what I'm most sad about is that the brother we lost seemed to be a good one. He was engaged to his high school sweetheart, the mother of his children. So many young men don't stay on the type of path to do good by their families.

As much as I try to play out every possible situation that could have occured that night, there is still no justification for this one. We had an unarmed 23-year old get pumped full of bullets, sustaining fatal injuries, all because he'd decided to marry the mother of his children and have a bachelor party at a strip club that just happened to be under investigation. Where is the sense in that? I'm furious, curious, and just plain sad. How many times does it take before we start to get things like this right? Just because you're in the "hood" doesn't mean that everyone is strapped. Damn NYPD, I thought they taught you that in police academy. Warning shots aren't supposed to kill people. Hell, I understand the need to protect themselves. After all, the groom's car did ram the unmarked police vehicle, and apparently at some point during the altercation, a gun was mentioned. But NO ONE was armed. Does it really take 50 rounds to see that no one is shooting back? That's where things go wrong for me. I know the cops were doing their job but seriously, 50 rounds? And NOT one shot was fired in retaliation? Something is not adding up properly there. And please spare me the "But they were at the strip club at 4AM the day before his wedding" garbage. Have you ever heard of a bachelor party? Damn, the same situation is played out almost daily across this nation. And you know more than likely that you've been in the same setting yourself--leaving the dance club, strip club, bar, or whatever else at some crazy hour of the night. So please, save your breath. Really.

May God rest that young man's soul. *Shaking my head*

Sunday, November 26, 2006
When home isn't home anymore
I got back a little while ago from spending Thanksgiving with my family at home in NY, and I'm happy to be back. Usually when I leave there, I do so with a heavy heart, but this time it was different. Of course I was more than glad to see my parents and eat yummy home cooked food, but for the first time in my life, I felt like I was at my parents' house, not at home. For some reason, I felt out of place, more like a guest. I know now what my brother (he lives up I-95 in Baltimore) and my other friends who've moved away mean when they say that when you leave for good, home is never quite the same.

Now don't get me wrong, I will be a very proud New Yorker until the day I die, but being back in my hometown just felt odd. I'll always have a strong connection to home--I talk to my mom at least once a day and still keep in touch with my friends who haven't left yet--but I see now that when you leave, most of your soul goes with you. I've lived away from home before, but always in the same state, and never actually permanently, so my parents' house was still the big H-O-M-E. Now that I'm out of college and decided to make the DC area my permanent place of residence, things are different. I can't really explain it, because I'll always be happy to sleep in my childhood bedroom for nostalgia's sake and I'll always be happy to see my mom and dad and to troll around my old stomping grounds.

I know that if the proverbial shit hits the fan, I can still move back into their house and be comfortable--I guess that's what it means to move on in life. Seeing as I'll be starting my own family at some point in the future, my house will be the same way to my kids. My mom had a rough time letting go when I moved almost a year ago--I'm the baby of the bunch--but now that she sees and has internalized that I can make it on my own, she supports me wholeheartedly. That's strangely comforting, seeing the shift in our relationship from parent to friend as I've stepped out completely on my own. I guess she and my stepdad know that they did their job raising us well. We're self-sustaining adults who know that our parents, not their house, will always represent home and that soft, comfortable spot.

I'm looking forward to visiting again for Christmas, but this time I won't be going back like a college student going home. I'll be going as an adult to see her parents and reminisce on "back in the day". Just like my parents did when they left home, their parents before them, and like every person that's ever grown up. I miss my parents, I miss my family, but I'm home now.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Happy Thanksgiving
I'm going home to see my family today, so I probably won't be blogging until I get back. Have a safe and blessed Thanksgiving, and eat until you're stuffed. Watch all the football you can! See you Sunday!!!


Michael "Kramer" Richards not laughing today
I wasn't even going to give this situation my time, but after seeing the apology for his 3-minute racial tirade at the Laugh Factory, I have to say something. I'm mad at the fact that he dropped the N-bomb more times than some 2-bit black comic on Def Comedy Jam, but I'm not mad at him per se. Obviously, that wasn't some drunken misstep or some sad attempt at a joke. Those are his true feelings, even as many times as he says he's not a bigot. Even the 'drunken missteps' are usually someone's true feelings, seeing as most people become brutally honest when they're drunk.

When you have to make a statement like "I'm not a bigot", that usually means you are. People who are not racist don't have to quantify their statements like that because their lifestyles speak for themselves. When I hear, "My best friend is black" or "I have black people at my house all the time", that's usually a sign that they've kept track of these things because they're uncomfortable with the fact.

Anyway, I'm fairly certain that this will not be a nail in the coffin of Michael Richards' career, especially because blacks do not control Hollywood. If his statements were anti-semitic in nature, then I'd be more apt to say that he should just go ahead and call his career a wrap. Unfortunate as this all is, racism is still alive and well--that's something we have to live with. I can't help but wonder though, maybe we (I'm speaking of black people here) need to look at ourselves and ask if we need to stop giving people reasons to think so lowly of us. People do take notice of the coonery and buffonery and minstrel-show antics perpetrated by some of our music, etc. Just a thought. Yeah, I'll be posting about that at another time I'm sure.

Monday, November 20, 2006
Phawkin Pigeons!!
Ok, it's getting cold outside. I thought birds fly south when it gets cold. At least that's what they do back home. But I suppose this is as far south as some of those birds go. Fairfax County, VA. Yes, I can see the birds' travel agent trying to sell this location now..."Yes, Vienna is a beautiful town, just across the bridge from DC, with lovely smog from Beltway traffic, and plenty of low-lying tree tops on which to rest your laurels. There are lots of office workers there who take up space for the majority of the day. It's a great place to spend your winter." Well I'm mad at that travel agent now.

I was on my way back from lunch and I heard all of this commotion in the trees just above my head. Lots of rustling and strange gutteral sounds that pigeons make when communicating with their homies. I'm not sure if the red shirt I have on today makes me look like some type of extra large berry but out of nowhere, three big-ass birds land on my shoulders and start pecking at my shirt and my ears. I'm not wearing green or brown so I know I couldn't have looked like a comfy shrub on which to take up residence. For those of you who don't know, pigeon beaks hurt like a mutha^&*). I thought one of them actually drew blood, but to my relief, it didn't. If it did, I was really about to step out of here and find some rabies and cooties vaccines, because God only knows where pigeon piehole has been.

Once I took about ten running steps, the pigeons flew off of my shoulders and back into the treees above. Then I heard a faint, sick-sounding thud--kind of like what a spitball landing on a chalkboard sounds like. I heard it again, then once again, again, again, again. It sounded like I was in a war of spitball flinging fourth graders. My first instinct was to duck, but curiosity got the best of me. I took a glance upward, and at that moment, everything registered and I knew what was about to happen. Pigeon posterior in prime position to poop. I had one of those B-movie quality slow-motion moments, "Noooooooooooo" in the crazy altered voice as the pooplet made its way to my cheek.

Oh my holy hot mess, I have officially been shat on. I made a bee-line for the ladies room and washed the crap off of my face (mmm, double entendre or something) then went back to my office. I called my mom to share my unfortunate story with her, and I was really expecting some type of sympathy. Like maybe something along the lines of, "Aww, my poor baby, are you alright? Did the pigeon beak break your skin? Did the poop get on your clothes, did it stain anything?". But no, all she does is tell me that getting shat on is good luck. Umm, well if it was good luck, my sweater wouldn't have gotten caught up in the front door of the building when I was coming back in to wash off, leaving me fighting standing in the middle of the lobby with crap on my face cussing up a storm. When I told her that, she laughed and said, "Well honey, all I can tell you then is...shit happens"

Ha. Ha. Friggin Ha.

Sunday, November 19, 2006
Sketchy Superstar of the Week
I'm not sure what it is about me that draws insanely sketchy men, but as much as it sucks, they provide me with all sorts of comic relief. This poor excuse for a man found me on The Crackpace, aka MySpace.

I don't spend my time on The 'Space stalking people, but I do log on pretty often to get in touch with friends that I don't see on the regular and to add pics now and again. This is what normal people use Crackspace for. Some people, however, see this venue as a way to get their cyber-pimp on, and contiunously make fools of themselves.

On Tuesday, I got a message from some idiot named "Black&Long" telling me that he liked my smile. I sent a thank you back and figured that would be the end of it. All of a half-hour later, I got another message from him telling me that he's called "Black&Long" because he's got enough to be able to take care of a thick woman like myself. He wanted to know when we could meet up to watch a movie. I couldn't even bring myself to respond to his message because all I could think was his personality must be so vapid that the only way he can potentially find himself in the presence of a flesh-and-blood woman is to go the x-rated route. Just to humor myself, I looked at his profile and there was nothing but Freak McNasty quotes all over the place. Shook my head and logged off.

The next day, waiting for me in my Crackspace inbox was another message from him. He wrote (copied and pasted verbatim), "Oh gyrl I skurred you away? Don't be skurred of me, you know you can handle it. But what if I told you I will cook for you and wash up yo hairs and make you sweats? Wouldn't that excite you mamacita?" What in the goodness?? Sweats!? Is this fool actually going to sew me a pair of sweatpants? I responded, "Ooooh, you're really going to do all that for lil ol' me??? I only eat organic food, and I only allow my personal stylist to wash my hair with rare Artesian shampoo" (again people, I lied to get a response from him. I don't know what Artesian shampoo is, but it sounds more classy than anything he knows of).

Thursday rolled around and I got "I ain't really gonna do that shit for you, but you best to be happy I want to bless you with my black and long cuz you know can't nobody take curr dat azz like dis nicca right here" All I could do was roll my eyes and respond with, "Please take your foolish attempt at pimping elsewhere. You don't excite me, you can't string a coherent sentence together to save your life. If you really were black and long and great like you say you are, you wouldn't need to use MySpace to get a piece. Don't you know that you can use match.com or something? MySpace dating is for teenagers, you're 38. Now run along and eat your cereal, your mama's calling. And I bet she's the only female who's actually seen your bull-isht black&long"

I guess he was offended by my statement because his final communication with me was "Fine. Scooby Doo to you too" Damn, I don't even know if that's supposed to be an insult. Yikes!!

Men, please step up your game. This is getting out of hand.

Stomp-down at the Toystore
It's Christmas shopping season again, so that means the toy stores are full of savages trying to get the popular toy in time to put under the tree and slap a "From Santa" tag on the box. I had to go to a big toy store yesterday afternoon to buy a birthday and Christmas gift for my godson and I saw grown people acting like jungle animals stalking their prey.

I was looking for one of the new Elmo dolls, and when I saw one, it was the last one on the shelf. As soon as I reached my arm out to pick it up, a flash of hair and acrylic nails came out of nowhere and snatched the doll up. The woman ran between me and the shelf so fast that I lost my balance and almost hit the floor, and to top it off, the biyotch broke my bracelet in her haste. Hmmph.

I regained my balance, and proceeded to pick up a few more items. Just as I was making my way to the checkout, there was an announcement that Playstation 3's were being made available at the store. All of a sudden I felt the floor shake and I heard a crescendo of footsteps like from the stampede scene in the Lion King. I knew a herd of video-game system hungry adults was about to make a rush toward the counter, so I got in full Rambo-renegade mode to protect myself because I knew that running would be a futile attempt at self-preservation. Arms crouched, elbows out, purse strap around my neck so it wouldn't get accidentally ripped from my arm.

There I was, me against the heathens. Not more than 3 seconds later, they rushed. I'm talking full-on soccer mom stampede. I had no idea that the 5-foot tall Coach bag wielding set was so strong. I felt like a football tackling dummy being pushed out of the way with the force of a 400-pound offensive lineman. I think someone actually lifted me up and put me down out of his or her way. I've never been in a mosh pit, but if that is what it feels like, you can keep that. I want no part of it.

By the time I finally made my way to the counter to pay for my items--which I managed to somehow keep safe in my posession, there was one woman left trying to get her hands on a PS3. "What do you mean there are no more left? You don't understand, I MUST purchase one TODAY!!". The poor kid behind the counter told them that they could reserve one and pay for it now, and when the next shipment came in, all they'd have to do is come to the store and pick it up. As those words came out of his mouth, I saw a look on the woman's face that could have warranted a trip to the psych ward. She leaned over the counter, cellphone in hand as if it were a knife or gun, like she was really about to do something. "That is UNACCEPTABLE!! GIVE ME THE GAME! NOW. RIGHT NOW. I will give you everything I own to get one. My kids NEED this for Christmas!!" All I could do was shake my head as I was completing my purchase.

I made it out of the store in one piece, and I thank the heavens above for that. But it really frightens me when I see grown people willing to sell their souls to get a game system that will be replaced by something better in a year or two. I know that parents want to make their children and themselves happy this holiday season, and I'm all for that. I'm not saying you shouldn't make an attempt to get them what they want for the most part, but when getting your prize involves scaring people out of their wits, that's a problem. I guess this year when I head to the mall to finish my holiday shopping, I should wear full body armor and a helmet. Online shopping for everything is sounding more and more appealing every day. At least the Fed Ex delivery guy won't bumrush me to get the packages to my door.

Friday, November 17, 2006
Fraternity Fake!!!
Anybody who's spent time on a college campus will tell you that greek life can be the centerpiece of student life. People, especially black people, take their greek affiliations very seriously. Certain fraternities and sororities hold special places in our community. While I myself am not affiliated with any of the "Divine Nine" or any other greek organization, much of my family is. One thing I have learned is that it's completely not cool to fake like you've been through the intake/pledge process if you haven't. The process is very integral, important, and unique to each group and not every average Joe is a good fit.

A male co-worker of mine for the last two Fridays (we have casual Friday at my office) has been wearing a T-shirt with the greek letters of a well known Historically Black Fraternity (not revealing the group as a matter of respect). I'm quite familiar with this organization, and the shirt he's been wearing isn't to be worn without the wearer's line name, semester, and intake year on the left sleeve of the shirt. This information is noticeably absent from his. Also, most anybody who is proud enough to boldly wear their letters on their shirt knows without hesitation what chapter and what school they pledged at. When I asked him what chapter, he hesitated and finally gave an answer that didn't sound right to me. I checked with a friend of mine who works at the organization's headquarters, and he verified with me that no such chapter exists. Also, when I asked what university or grad chapter he pledged at, he mentioned the chapter encompassed several universities but he couldn't identify the school that he went to, but he did mention that he pledged during undergrad. Just to make everything clear in my mind, I asked him what their "call" is, and he gave the call of an unaffiliated sorority, not the one that his brothers would greet each other with. *Update--as I was writing this, he told me what college he attended, and I checked on their website, and the fraternity he's faking to be a part of doesn't have a chapter there*

I know people lie all the time about their backgrounds, but to lie about something like this is a blatant disrespect to the institution. I understand that he may really like what this particular fraternity represents and what they do in the community, but if that's the case, then just pledge. If the fraternity finds out that he's been faking it, it will make it that much more difficult for him to actually be a part of it.

I say all of this because in every aspect of our lives, people try so hard to be something that they're not and as the saying goes "You can fool some people some of the time, but you can't fool all the people all the time". People will catch on if you're not being your genuine self. Faking the funk so to speak does nothing but tire you out because you spend so much time coming up with one lie after another after another. When you have to try and make yourself appear more "important" than you already believe yourself to be by completely fabricating membership in a prestigious organization, you have issues with yourself that you need to work out. Please understand that it's not the uber prestigious people that solely make the world go round. There are lots of average Joes and Janes out there who are unapologetically who they are every day and they make the world interesting.

When you spend too much time pretending to be someone that you're not, you end up forgetting how to be the person that everyone really wants to see--you. Take that with you everywhere you go in life.

Friday Flashback!
This week's Friday Flashback video is O.P.P. by Naughty by Nature:

Happy Friday!!

Thursday, November 16, 2006
Culinary Malfunction
People will study for years on end to become master chefs, and some cook for fun or practicality. There is a subset, however, that just CAN'T. Boiling water somehow turns into a five hour ordeal and making toast turns into a demonstration of intestinal fortitude. When you have a standing reservation with 911 because you start a fire everytime you cook, you really should eat take out every day. Every. day.

How do you tell someone that their food tastes like rotten shoe leather without hurting their feelings? People seem to be territorial over their cooking, and usually for good reason since most people can cook. Cooking ability is something most people tend to trump up. Like, how many times have you heard, "Girl, I put my foot in that potato salad" and when you tasted it, you thought you could actually taste the cook's foot?

One of my sweet older neighbors made dinner for me last night because she saw that I've been working hard lately, so she thought she'd be nice and take the stress off of me for the night. She made me some collard greens, candied yams, and shepherd's pie. I love all of those things, when cooked properly, but this stuff just wasn't good. The collard greens looked and tasted like parsley, the candied yams were more like candied cardboard, and the shepherd's pie tasted like shepherd's belt buckle. I really appreciated the thought, but I most certainly didn't appreciate the food. I didn't know how to break it to her that next time she wanted to give me food, she should order a pizza.

And I've actually pre-judged people's cooking habits based on what they look like. Is that bigotry? I don't mean based on race or anything. I don't think all black people can make fried chicken (umm, but for the most part, we sure can eat the hell out of it), nor do I think all French people can make yummy chocolate croissants. But I have a tendency to pre-judge based on your lifestyle, and I know this is wrong. I remember the first time He® cooked breakfast for me. I expected it to be just god-awful because I had an image of the stereotypical bad bachelor cook. But His® cooking was actually good! I got perfect looking and tasting turkey bacon, grits, and eggs. I guess the surprised look on my face said it all for Him® because He® said, "I bet you didn't think I could cook, huh?"

If you can't cook, just be honest. No one will be mad at you. Matter of fact, that might help some people lose weight. But don't try to impress people and make a new recipe the first time they come to eat at your house. Order some chinese, make some ramen noodles--wait, don't do that. I'm not sure that fricaseed salt and cardboard noodles is palatable. I can only ingest so much pepto bismol before things go seriously wrong with my tastebuds. Just accept the fact that we can't be good at everything we do. Some people are good at making filet mignon, you're good at putting Cheerios in a bowl. Work with the talent you've been given. My stomach appreciates it.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Grand-Mama Baby Mama Drama
"Oh my goodness I'm so happy for you!", I tried to muster as much saccharine happiness as I could when I heard the news. Sometimes I feel guilty for having to pretend that I'm sharing in someone's joy when I'm really actually pretty heated, but this time I don't even feel bad. I just acted happy because bewilderment doesn't travel across phone lines very well.

See, I love babies and the hype surrounding them just as much as the next person. Of course I do get irked when people talk about babies and baby showers ad nauseum, but I really don't have a problem with people bringing them into the world responsibly.

If KC (initials being used) was telling me that she was expecting a baby for herself, then I wouldn't have batted an eyelash and my happiness would have been genuine. This was not the case though, she was calling me that she'd just found out that she was going to be a grandmother. She's 26 years old!! And she's going to be a GRANDMOTHER. If you want the details, she had her first child at 12 years old and now her son is 14 years old and about to reproduce.

Ok, accidents happen. I get that. But KC told me that she encouraged her son and his girlfriend to start having babies. She doesn't want them to be old by the time their kids graduate from high school...she wants them to enjoy their lives the way she is beginning to enjoy hers. She just got her GED about a year ago, and won't go to college because she's ballin working as a dancer--yes that type. According to her, life is fabulous...she's young, she's done raising kids, and now she can go buckwild. She's done her job, and got it done early, after all, once a kid reprouces, he's no longer considered a kid. Now she has no financial obligations to her son, she can go out and do whatever her heart desires.

My heart bleeds when I hear this because I'm watching her now and I see her doing things that most teenagers who had a chance to experience a "regular" adolesence wouldn't do. The relationships she's had with men have been stunted because in the years that she's been raising her 6 (yes six, count em, six--none of them with the same daddy) kids, she hasn't gotten to see what it's really like to be grown or have positive interactions with adults.

I can understand and respect the notion that parents should have children at an age young enough to be able to enjoy them. But to tell your 13-year old to begin reproducing is insane in my book. At that age, you're still figuring life out and are still learning from your own parents, so you're in no place to be one. I'm glad that KC's life has been pretty devoid of harsh times, but that doesn't mean that her grandkids' lives will be the same. It's so scary to me that we're just about the same age and she's got me beat by two generations. The closest I come to raising a child is raising my dog (who is a hellion by the way), and I suck at that sometimes, so I can't imagine being responsible for another human being.

"They're so damn cute though" is the reaction I get when answer the questions surrounding my reluctance to have a child right now and what I heard when I told KC that I'm concerned about her son being responsible for another human life. I know babies are cute, and they have been since the beginning of time. Just because it's cute doesn't mean I need one. Lamborghinis are cute, and I don't have any of those. Baby tigers are cute, and I most definitely don't have one of those.

People, please understand that babies are real human beings. Yes, they're oh so cute, but they will grow up. These aren't just little dolls that you can trade or put down at will. You can't just leave them in the toy chest and pick them up later. That little person will become a full-fledged adult one day, and will carry with him/herself a set of values. If you're not old enough to even have your own values figured out, you really have no place trying to instill some in another person. There's a lot more involved in this child rearing thing than making sure the child looks cute at all times, but I'm not going to preach here.

I used to think that the joke "mom at age 15, grandmama at age 30, great grandma by 45..." was just an exaggeration to get people to laugh. Sadly, I am mistaken. Kids, please enjoy being kids, there' no rush for you to be grown.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Bourgeois Baby
An old friend of mine called me at work today and asked to borrow $800 to pay her rent. When I said no, she actually caught an attitude and called me way out of my name. I was shocked not only by the amount she asked for, but by the fact that she just expected me to give her money. It's not the first time she's asked for money unashamedly.

This girl and I have been friends since the crib, so that's really why I haven't given her the walking papers. She's a good person at heart, but there are some things about her that I can't subscribe to. First off, she's 25 and refuses to get a job. She's completed her graduate degree and is done with her education, so being in school isn't an excuse.

When I asked her why she won't get a job, she told me that she needs to spend her time making herself comfortable and making herself look good. Her parents have paid for her rent, bills, shopping trips, and spa days up to this point but they recently gave her an ultimatum. They told her that she's being cut off unless she finds a job or at least makes an effort to find one. She's patently offended by her parents' actions because she feels that it is her right as their child to have them take care of her. In her estimation, they created her, so it is their duty to take care of her forever. After all, she didn't ask to be put in this world. Nevermind the fact that they will get old one day and won't have the level of income or ability that they currently have. The thought of helping her parents out or taking care of them in their old age is one that she abhors.

I don't understand where she gets off thinking this way--as if her parents owe her for being born. She's not the only one I've seen have this type of attitude either. The people who I've seen harbor these types of feelings seem to be product of the bourgeoisie so to speak. Sometimes their parents are trying to hard to keep up with the Jonses that they give the kids everything and that sense of entitlement never leaves them. The kids then develop a "boughi" or "uppity" attitude where they begin to think that everything is beneath them. They've been given everything and don't appreciate the sacrifices that their parents have made to give them the life they are able to lead, nor do they appreciate the sacrifices that make the world go round.

A lot of this has to do with parents acting as enablers and friends before they act as parents and disciplinarians. I see kids running amok and their parents have no control over them, and that infuriates me. When I see young children in stores with their parents demanding that certain toys or clothes be purchased for them, I'm sickened. In college, I also saw way too many people who didn't know even how to clean their room or make their bed because their parents always did it for them. They had no sense of responsibility. No idea how to take control over their own educational pursuits or even how to share--something that we should learn before our first day of Kindergarten.

Parents, I know you're doing the best you can to raise your children, and if you don't agree with what I'm about to say then that's okay. It's fine to not be your child's best friend all the time. Sure, I consider my mom my best friend now, but before we got to this point she handed out discipline on the regular to ensure that I know how to be an adult. Telling your kids no is necessary because when they get out into the world, not everyone is going to tell them yes and make sure they're comfortable. I know many of you want your offspring to have more than what you had when you were growing up, but you don't want them to grow up feeling entitled to having those things. Teaching responsibility to a child is difficult, but having to learn it as an adult is even worse. I know it hurts to see your child go through adversity, but if you don't let them go through that sometimes, then they'll never be able to function in society. You work so hard to give them what they need, so make sure you give them what they need to be a successful adult.

Oh, and please tell your grown-ass kids that they need to pay their own friggin rent.

Monday, November 13, 2006
Fighting For Humanity
I'm so depressed and enraged by the news today. I was just watching the national news on one of the big networks--I don't remember which--and there was a story about the horrors going on in Darfur. Of course I was already aware of the situation, with the seemingly constant celebrity attention. However, today's news report put a very human face on the problem. To see babies and children, mothers and fathers facing the threat of genocide really affected me. Sure, as a black woman, I've faced my share of racism and blind hatred of who I am, but I've never been forced to be a refugee because of it. The only people that I know personally who could possibly relate are my grandparents (R.I.P. all of them) and their friends because they were living in the dangerous pre civil-rights era and lived with the constant threat of being lynch-mobbed or burned at the stake by cowardly men in white sheets.

Watching that story made me question the level of depravity in this country, particularly from our government. We just closed the books on a particularly insidious election season where people were arguing about so-called moral issues like gay marriage and abortion. I'm sitting here wondering how anybody could really give a damn that two same-sex people who love each other want to be married when people are dying unnecessarily in record numbers. The friggin politicos can spend unheard of amounts of money on drafting stupid legislation and funding a fucked-up war but act like they're broke when it comes to stopping the Janjaweed from killing innocent people? Come on now.

This is supposed to be THE world superpower, and we flex our military muscle when it comes to causes that will ultimately benefit us or support our beliefs. But let a group of innocent people be run out of their homes because of some stupid racial/ethnic rift, we turn a half-closed eye. Why aren't our troops out stomping this bullshit out? Why aren't we working to rebuild their homes and villages and incorporate a democracy for them? I'm not even going to touch the race card on this one, but yeah the disinfranchised people in Darfur look more like me than the Iraqis. I'm praying this isn't a factor in the lack of organized response.

Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa, Ethiopia, Darfur. Sure there was a response from this country in each of those places, but after a while it seemed that when we opened our wallets to help them all that was left were some flies. Empty pockets, empty promises. Even outside of the political realm this appears to be true. Remember the "Feed the Children"-types of charity ads from the 80s and 90s? What did you see? Little starving, maggot infested, native African babies. Now you see little Central American babies and children. I'm not in any way saying the plight of the Central American children is less important than the Ethiopian and Rwandans--it is equally important and needs to be addressed just as quickly. What I am saying though is it seems these charities have forgotten the puffy bellied, malaria and AIDS infested children from the mother continent. A friend of mine travelled to Ethiopia this past May and she was also there in 1985, and she said it looks like nothing has changed. There's actually less food to go around in some areas, and babies are dying of AIDS with a quickness never seen here.

To say that I'm saddened and angered by the response by the government to the situation in Darfur and elsewhere in Africa (not to mention the rampant homlessness and poverty in our own damn country) would be an understatement. I realize that we've gotten ourselves into a jacked-up mess over in Iraq and Afghanistan, and we have to deal with that. But with the amount of money being spent there, you'd think that we'd be willing to go farther into debt to help some other down-trodden people. For the sake of humanity, if not for any other reason.

I'll be finding ways to contribute to relief efforts in the Sudan, and I hope you will too. If you know of any reputable charities, please let me know. I'm not a rich woman, but damn, they need my money more than the mall does.

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Blue Blockers
Ladies, for the love of everything good, please stop wearing cakey blue eyeshadow if you're darker than mahogany midnight. See, makeup is made to enhance our faces, not make us look like androgynous smurfette creations. I was in a meeting this morning and one of our clients was sporting that look--I wasn't able to concentrate on the meeting at all. I'm on my way into another meeting, but I just had to rant for a moment.

Sunday, November 12, 2006
Sketchy Scoundrel of the Week!
I went out dancing with a bunch of friends this weekend to celebrate a birthday. I realize that in venues like this, people drink entirely too much and act differently than they would otherwise. However, a grown man acting like a child isn't something you see very often.

We were on one of the upper levels of the club getting our reggae groove on, when someone came up behind me and started dancing. This isn't out of the ordinary, and usually when dancing to reggae (dancehall), it's expected. I was in my element, and never bothered to look behind me to see what cretin I was dancing with.

After about 5 songs, I was ready to sit down and rest for a little bit, so I stepped away from twinkletoes behind me. *Bump* I took two steps and he bumped right into me. I took a few more steps away from the dance floor and *bump* again. I got that sinking feeling that this wasn't going to be good (cue the scary horror music... DUN DUN DUUUUNNNN). I looked at one of my friends and she gave me that "Good Lord that's a hot mess standing behind you" look and that sealed it for me. I turned around to tell him that I was stepping away for a few and I almost passed out from the sight.

"Next tooth four miles" may as well have been tattooed on his forehead with the humongous gaps between his teeth. I'm not a fan of grillz, but wearing one would really have been to his advantage. I thought Mr. Potatohead was something Playskool made up for the sake of toddler enjoyment, not based on someone's actual face. Again, let me just say that I'm no supermodel and I'm comfortable with that, but sometimes I wonder if fugly is a disease. But I do recognize that good people come in all levels of attractiveness, so I didn't hold his facial fuck-up against him.

I told him that I was going to rest a while with my friends and he said, "Nooo, I really want you to stay here with me". I proceeded to tell him that I'd be back in about 20 minutes and I'd look for him when I came back and I promised that I'd dance with him then. He looked disappointed but didn't object verbally, so I went ahead downstairs with my girlfriends. As soon as we got to the bar to sit down, there he was. "Babygirl, I didn't want to wait for you, I wanted to look at your thickness some more. You know how to move dem thighs" *Ummm, what the holy goodness? Why must you people always mention thickness and thighs when you're trying to flirt?* I thanked him politely, turned around, and he went away. Well, I think he went away, but I was afraid to turn around to make sure. I didn't feel his hot breath all over the back of my neck, so I assume he did.

Fifteen or so minutes later, we made the trek back up the stairs. There he was again. He said some mess like, "I've been waiting for you and your fatty to get back up here". I politely told him that what he said was rude and he needs to work on his big-pimpin tactics. "Baby pleeeasse, I'm sorry. I'm sorry, I didn't mean it. I want you to talk to me!!" I've never seen a grown man turn so quickly into a blithering mess, especially over a woman he didn't know. The best I could do was shake my head and walk away.

I excused myself from the group to go to the restroom, and before I could make it there, I saw this fool standing at the threshhold. He was standing there holding the wall looking at his watch like he was waiting for something. He saw me and his eyes lit up like Christmas lights the day after Thanksgiving. I started singing the 80s song by Rockwell, "I always feel like somebody's watching me, and I have no privacy..."

"I knew you'd have to go to the bathroom at some point, so I figured I'd wait for you." I told him point blank that I wasn't interested and that I had a superwonderful booyfriend at home(so what I lied). This mess of a man actually started snivelling and I saw tears. He told me that I should leave my boyfriend and pick him. Soon we were in full "What's your man got to do with me"..."I got a man" mode. I finally was like, "Yo negro, back off, you have NO chance. Get the fuck out of my face". He had the nerve to break into a temper tantrum, complete with tears and foot stomping. I rolled my eyes and went into the bathroom. I came out with some tissue, handed it to him (yes he was still standing there a complete basket case) and said "Here. Use this, your mascara and nose are running. Oh, and crocodile tears don't impress women. That's why you're single and looking now. Pick yourself up, man."

I honestly don't know what comes over these men when they get some alcohol in their systems. I'm looking forward to the day when a man approaches me with some tact. Maybe I'm asking too much, but something has really got to give.

Saturday, November 11, 2006
Apartment Dwelling Dimwits
I live in a fairly quiet apartment complex where people pretty much keep to themselves and take pride in their homes. Most of us here get up and go to work everyday and live very normal lives, and we're very clean people. We've had a bunch of new people move in recently, and things just haven't been right since. I really thought leasing offices exist not only to collect the rent and to send maintenance to fix broken dishwashers, but to screen the people they let live in their complexes. When you fill out the application to rent an apartment, they ask for your rental history and references. Is this there just to make the application look thorough or do they actually check this stuff? The following is an open letter to my new neighbors:

My Dearest Neighors,

I'm glad you feel comfortable in your new homes, and I hope you enjoy your time here. I believe that we can all live in harmony together, but I have a few concerns I'd like to share with you.

The laundry room is not a good place to have sex. I know it gets warm and cozy in there when the dryers are going, but I really don't think you want to risk getting dryer lint caught in your nether regions. See, all of us in our building use those machines and we go in there whenever the urge to do laundry hits, so your "secret location" really isn't secret, nor is it private. Lots of people like to watch porn, but seeing it in person really messes up the fantasy. Also, I'm glad you're being responsible and safe, but please make sure you pick up your dirty Trojans when you're done. There's a trash can in there and I promise you it's okay if you use it.

Children are truly beautiful miracles, and yours are no different. However, when raising them, you should set some type of boundaries. I know they have just as much right as any other resident to sit on the stairs to the building, but when they clog up the entrance and I have to pull a Spiderwoman move to get around them with my groceries, I risk serious injury. "Excuse me" isn't rude and it's not a foreign language, so please educate your darling progeny on the fact that when people say it they shouldn't roll their eyes or cop an attitude. Speaking of attitude, they're awfully young to have such nasty ones. I normally see that kind of attitude from adults that have been through the fire of life, not just the lunch line at school. Oh, and at 11AM on a Tuesday, they should be in school, not home in the hallway asking me why I'm home with the flu.

Your apartment is just that, an apartment. It is not a rollerskating rink or a dance club. There is no reason why it should sound like you're walking around with cement shoes on at EVERY hour of the day and night. Please remember that people live underneath you, and those people can hear. I like music and movies as well, but I'd rather hear the soundtrack coming from my own stereo and television. I'm psyched for you that you were able to afford a home theater system with surround sound, but the sound need not surround the people who don't live with you.

For you culinary superstars, there is a fan directly over your stove. This fan helps to get rid of your cooking smells. I like arroz con pollo just as much as the next person, but when I can smell it better than I can smell the incense and Glade Plug-Ins that are 5 feet away from me, something is amiss. I'm sure you are a great cook, but I don't need you to tickle my olfactory fancy every day.

Neighbors, please accept my suggestions and do what you will with them. I want you to feel as welcome here as I did when I first moved in. But I pay rent here just like you, and I don't think it's unreasonable that I be able to live in peace. I will do what I can to help you adjust to living around people other than your immediate family, but I need you to hold up your end of the bargain. Welcome Home.

Truly Yours,

Friday, November 10, 2006
Thanks Daily Express
This blog was named in The Daily Express again. Thanks for your support! Go see!

My mom called me last night and told me that she'd been going through some old boxes in her attic and basement, and she'd come across a bunch of old toys that she wants me to sort through when I go to visit her for Thanksgiving. I got to thinking about some of my favorites, and all of the slightly destructive things I used to do to them.

When I was about 6 years old, I begged my mom to get me an EZ-Bake oven because I really wanted to be master of my own bakery and create all kinds of perfect confections. I got the purple and pink cooking contraption for Christmas, and I just knew that I'd be able to get my hustle on--bake cookies in that thing, then sell them to all my friends for a profit. Well, to my surprise, there was no heating element in the oven. As I'm sure you all have discovered at some point, the heat source is a 60-watt light bulb that you put inside the oven structure. I was really impatient with the 15-minutes it took to make one cookie, so I decided to up the ante and change the light bulb to 100-watts. Let me tell you...there's a reason why the directions say to use a 60-watt bulb. The cookies came out very crispy and charred looking on the outside, but the insides were very gooey and raw. When I ran out of EZ-Bake Cake and Cookie Mix, that was the end of my culinary discovery. See, in order to keep using the oven, you'd have to buy their brand of mix. You couldn't use Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker (trust me, I tried) because the mix simply made too much batter and it didn't cook properly. I don't think any parent was willing to go dig around in the box for the order form which would allow you to buy more boxes. Nope, the entire EZ-Bake went in the "big closet" or the attic--never to see the light of day again, or at least until you were old enough to use the real oven.

I also had a Lite Brite, and I thought this was the best thing ever. I mean, all those plastic pegs, and the possibilities to make "colored light designs"!? Are you kidding me? Not owning one was simply not an option. I didn't realize that eventually you'd run out of those templates that showed you where to put the plastic pegs. I also thought you could reuse them more than 5 times. Oops. The templates will fall apart if you use them too much, and I did run out of them after a while. So, me being the crafty child I was decided to use black construction paper in their place. Tasha, NOOOOOO. NOOOOOOOOO. The templates are coated in something that keep them from burning up. Yall, I caught my mom's dining room on fire. The light bulb in that thing (I've learned to have a healthy respect for light bulbs) burned the paper which in turn burned her tablecloth and things spread from there. Stop, drop, and roll does nothing to put out a fire when your clothes aren't what's burning. Trust me.

The Barbie Corvette was one of my favorite toys to run into walls. I'd slap the doll in the driver's seat, and I'd make her ride "fun". I wonder sometimes if Barbie had Geico insurance on her Corvette--the one that was parked in my playroom anyway. Not only could she have saved 15% or more, but she probably could have gotten PAID. I totaled that vehicle many times, so Geico would have been breaking her off some serious claim money.

My world was not complete without my Thundercats Big Wheel. For those of you who don't understand the importance of a Big Wheel to someone my age, it's kind of like the Radio Flyer Wagon to your parents or the Power Wheels Jeep to a 12 year old--it will always be that special. My Big Wheel was black and red and had Thundercats indicia all over it, so I really thought I was pimpin. That thing was the envy of the neighborhood--the Cadillac DeVille of the tricycles if you will. If it actually had a top or a back seat, then the "Diamond in the back, sunroof top..." would have applied.

No Cadillac is complete without good music, so I upgraded the sound system on the BigWheel to Teddy Ruxpin. Ok, so the bear was just duct taped to the handlebars, but let me have this one. Sure Teddy was made to tell me stories, but I was more concerned with listening to Bobby Brown. Me and that bear got along so well, after all, who else would let you shove a casette in their back and still continue to sing to you and mouth the words? Yeeeahhh, those were the days... Teddy and Louise cruising down the block in the Cadillac.

I have such fond memories of the toys from my childhood. Getting older, I'm beginning to see some of my favorite toys show up in the hands of today's children. I'm slightly upset, feeling slightly territorial, and slightly jealous when I see Transformers and Care Bears and Glow Worms in the hands of people less than half my age. Those toys were "ours", and I don't want to see a younger generation mistreat them. I guess now I understand why my it took my mom so long to go through all of her old toys a few years ago. I also understand why it's hard for baby boomers to see the things they grew up with repackaged and "freshened up" every 20 years or so. It's almost sacreligious.

Damn, are my toys really vintage already?

Friday Flashback
It's that time again! This week's flashback video: "Ice Ice Baby" by Vanilla Ice

You know you wanted that fabulous whiteboy hair!

Thursday, November 09, 2006
You Need Myspace Rehab

Look, I know it seems like 99% of the Generation-X and younger crowd has a Myspace/Facebook/whatever profile. That's all well and good. I have one too, and I'm not ashamed. However, some of the stuff I'm seeing on there has got to stop. I'm staging an intervention for all of you "Myspace Sketchies", since some of you really need rehab. I'm going to need you to try to live by the following rules:

1) If you know you look like a hybrid between an ogre and a troll, please do NOT include Diva, Foxxy, Sexxxy, or Hotttt in your profile name. It's fine to have a good dose of self-esteem, but self-esteem requires you to be honest with yourself. And honestly, you look like Shrek. You are not foxxy, nor are you sexxxy.

2) If you have never, never, never a day in your life been to the hood or the ghetto, do NOT include Gangsta, Thug, or Hardcore in your profile name. We can see that your hometown is WhiteBread Estates, Vermont. You're not fooling anyone. And please, get rid of the ghetto bird shout outs on your page, I know you don't know who TyKreesha is.

3) If you have an ongoing beef with someone, please deal with that beef directly with said individual. If you don't feel comfortable dealing with that person, then blog about your feelings or something. Go play Madden, go to the club, do something to get your mind off of it. But please do NOT change your profile name to something like "I hate Punk Azz WannaBe's. You Can't Handle Me", and have your friends wondering why you're hurling unintelligible insults to people. Pulling a move like that shows us that you're the punk ass who's too scared to threaten people in person. Threats were made for the streets.

4) If you're going to send me a message or a comment, please pay attention to your grammar. I know that it's the 'Space, so grammar isn't all that important. But please STOP typing like you're texting me. It takes just as much time to type 'was' as it does 'wuz'. It also takes the same amount of time to type 'what' as it does 'whut'. Some slang doesn't translate well to Myspace either, like "check this" "peep this". I can't see you, so I can't peep a damn thing but what's on my screen. When you type like that, the words are supposed to be abbreviations of what you'd originally be typing. Maybe I'm getting old, but that crap is really hard to read unless it's on my cellphone where space really is an issue. It's kewl u can type lyk ur txtng me. Gr8! But I h8 reading lyk this.

5) I know you really like posting "survey" bulletins and reading the responses, but PLEASE STOP. I'm very sorry that I haven't responded, but they take too long, and also my job doesn't allow me to access Myspace from my office computer. When I get home, the last thing I want to do is fill out 5 different 40-question long surveys and find clever, witty answers for all of them. I'd rather read my messages, send comments to a few friends, and log off. You already know the answers to most of these questions anyway (i.e.: have you ever been in love?, do you shower everyday?, can you sing?) , so why wait for some hilarious new sarcastic or clever answer?

6) If you are under 14, step quickly and quietly away from Myspace. You're setting yourself up to be on the next "Dateline: To Catch a (Sexual) Predator" episode. He's 40, you're 14...things aren't going to be good for you in that situation. I'm worried about your well being. Also, when you are that age, you say and do some of the dumbest stuff you will ever do. Trust me, I'm not all that far removed from my teenage years and I realize that I did some stuff that makes me question if I was clinically insane. All of my friends feel the same way. You'll develop the same feeling in about 3-5 years. And you really don't want an electronic record of the debauchery that you will participate in during these years of your life. Even if you delete your Myspace, there will be record of it somewhere on this cyber-earth, and it will come.back.to.haunt.you.

7) Men, please STOP with the sketchy playa tactics. The same rules apply for attempting to holla at a female online as they do in person. Sending me a message that says "hey baby you lookin fine, when am I gonna be able to get dat? I hope you look just as fine in person" equates to instant game over for you. Just because I can't actually see your face to cuss you out doesn't mean that you can suddenly get bold and start coming out of pocket with some freak-nasty flirting. And I don't know if that's really you in your profile picture, so don't expect a female to be automatically swooning over whatever flirt message you send.

8) Ladies, if you are over the age of 22, do NOT use that picture of you at the club with your daisy dukes and gladiator sandals on as your profile picture. You know better than this. You're old enough to know that having a picture like that invites the sketchy comments and messges mentioned above. So if you have a picture like that up, and you don't like the caliber of messages you've been getting, it may be time for a change. Also, there is no need for you to be that old wearing gladiator sandals to the club. A face pic or a nice candid shot of you and your friends does the trick. Please, we want to see grown and sophisticated, not ashy and trashy.

9) Look, just because you're not in my Top 8, Top 12, Top 17--however many top friends you're allowed to have doesn't mean that I'm mad at you or that I don't like you. See, the people in the top list are my best friends (like we've been cool since we were in utero) and the friends I'm closest to and get to see most often. It is not a slight against you at all. We're still cool, really. Get over yourself. I really don't think about it that hard, and neither should you. If you get all in your feelings because you got shifted down or off of the top 8, then you might want to consider therapy. (caveat, if you're dating someone exclusively, and they kick you off their top list, you might want to get on them about that--just a piece of advice)

10) If you're grown and are going to send a comment or message, take a look at the glittery, drippy "sending luv" picture that you're about to send. There is nothing glittery about you. Glitter is best saved for your children's summer camp or the people that make disco balls for nightclubs. The glittery Tweety Bird telling me to have a Happy Thursday just doesn't have the same effect coming from a 44-year old as it may coming from a 16-year old. Some things you're just too grown to do.

The first person to show me that they can follow all these rules gets to be on my Top 99. *Pinky Swear*


Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting
I made a new year's resolution to diversify my workouts, and while I know it's late, I wanted to make good on the promise I'd made to myself. So this morning, I decided to go to a kickboxing class at my gym. Now, I've done Tae-Bo many many times, so I was expecting to do some fake roundhouse kicks and a few cheesy dance steps to techno music and be out.

The instructor was NOT having any of that. She insisted that we remove our shoes and put on protective sparring gear. I was still thinking to myself that all of this had to be for effect, after all, who would I be beating up besides my reflection in the mirror? And if my reflection comes out of the mirror and bitch-slaps me, then I will promptly exit stage left because there is some type of poltergeist in the room. (I saw that movie yall, and I can't be messing around with that kind of stuff)

Our warm up consisted of stretching and learning how to uppercut, roundhouse, jab, hook, cross, shuffle, Kao noi, and push kick. We in the class didn't really pay too much attention to it, but I did have one older woman look at me and say, "this is some bull...". Then we hear, "SPLIT UP AND MOVE TO OPPOSITE SIDES OF THE ROOM. NOW!!!!" So while we're getting to either side of the room, I let the ghetto girl out of me and my neck started going and I mumbled some type of "no she didn't just speak to us like that" under my breath. Oh no, why do I have to have such a loud 'under my breath' voice?

"You. Center ring, GO." I pointed to myself and she nodded. So I go to the middle of the room (or ring, whatever you want to call it at this point) and she followed me. I gave a worried look of "if this mannish beast jacks me up too badly, someone please be nice and call 911 for me" to the other class participants and got understanding nods from them in return.

Instructor: "We're going to be sparring this morning, practicing what we've learned, so let me demonstrate with Mizz whatsurname?"
Me: "Tasha. But wait, the class description mentioned nothing about physical contact. Cardio Kickbox is what this is supposed to be"
Instructor: "I changed it. I run the class so I have liberty to change it. I've got the proper safety equipment, and we're only sparring so the chance of getting hurt is the same as if you'd be doing dance-Kickbox" *BOOM, this hulking mass of not-so-feminine looking muscle kicked me dead in my stomach* "See how I caught her off guard? In kickboxing, that's the key to winning a match"
Me: "That was uncalled for, I don't care if that is how you win a match. I didn't know I was in a match. I thought I was sparring--you know light taps?" *BOOM, she punched me in the side of my ribcage this time* "Don't do that again"
Instructor: "I'm just showing what sparring looks like, you can handle it" *SWEEP, kick to the back of the knees that sent me to the ground*
Me: *I got back up* "That's not sparring, you're trying to find a way to make this personal. I don't know what you have against me, but drop it so we can get on with this class. It's early and I have things to do" *here come her foul feet again. SMACK, kick to the stomach*

At this point I'd had enough. I've watched Jean Claude VanDamme mess enough people up to know that kickboxing doesn't look like that. So, taking the little real knowledge I have of the sport, I roundhouse kicked and my foot hit the side of her head (protected by a sparring helmet). She fell to the ground and started crying. Boo hoo biotch, Boo friggin hoo.

I took off my sparring gear, put my sneakers back on and went back out to the main gym. Treadmills never looked so friendly. After that experience, who really needs to diversify their workouts anyway? All that's over rated. I guess I'll just stick to tap dancing and Tae-Bo. Hmm, but Afro-Cuban funk pilates sounds like fun. That class starts next Monday and it's early enough so I can get to work on time. Count me in...

Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Pardon the dust
As you can see, I'm working on changing the looks of things around here, pardon the mess!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Crackhead Couture
Living in an urban environment, you're likely to encounter a crackhead every once in a while. Normally, they're quite harmless and are usually too far gone to be too angry that you didn't give them any money. When I speak of crackhead, I am not referring to the desolate meth, heroin, or other non-crack drug addicts, they're a different beast altogether.

Back in the day, you could usually get something of pretty decent value from them for only a small amount of money. Just the phrase "crackhead" conjures of memories of two particular crackheads, Cookie and Slim from my grandmother's neighborhood in the Bronx. These two were quintessential stereotypes. "I'll give you this new TV and a 7-day MetroCard for $20", and out of the shopping cart came a gleaming new TV and an unused MetroCard as promised. Or Slim would always be willing to do manual labor for a very small fee, and would do the work before getting the money--not the other way around like these substandard crackheads try to do now.

Lately I've been having far too many close encounters of the crackhead kind, with them asking me for money, cigarettes, breath mints, and anything else that they think I might have. For this reason, I've gotten the chance to study crackhead fashion.

Crackhead prêt à porter: This pretty much refers to the crackhead uniform of skully hat, wool coat, double knit pants, and usually a beat up pair of Nike hightops. Most crackheads flock to this look en masse since it's very easy to distinguish who and what they are. Dave Chappelle familiarized this look with his character, Tyrone. This is usually a crackhead who has hit rock bottom and may be past the point no return. They will come up to you anywhere--gas station, Metro station, sidewalk--and ask you if "you got a dollar or even just a quarter?". For those of you who've never come across a crackhead, some of them really do look like this:

Crackhead demi couture: This refers to the massive amounts of denim and gold made by a designer that's no longer au courant. Now these crackheads prefer to try and dress more according to what's in style at the moment, just a bit tackier. There is usually a lot of pawn shop gold jewelry involved, and occasionally a gold or silver tooth. The Designer dressing crackhead usually hasn't hit rock bottom as hard as those who've settled for the prêt à porter. This crackhead will typically be the one trying to sell you insense or bootleg DVDs while you're at the hair salon. Occasionally one may try to hit on you, seeing as they haven't lost all good sense yet.

Crackhead haute couture: Usually these crackheads are former entertainers or people who were living the "good life" at one point. They can afford to wear expensive designer labels, but somehow it doesn't look right on them. Basically, think Whitney before the split from Bobby. All you can say is "hot mess". Dusty mink coats, faded cashmere sweaters, splotchy velvet boots, *sigh*. This is usually the brand of crackhead who says "I don't do crack, I do cocaine" and lives with delusions of grandeur.

See, we underestimate this pocket of our population. They want to look good too. Maybe they deserve their time on the Fashion Channel with all the other crazy looking supermodels. I'm sure "Crackhead Fashion Weekly" would be a ratings juggernaut.

Get Your Vote On!
After a long campaign season, it's time to show our leaders that it's time for change. Make sure you get out today and vote. You may not think your vote counts for much and consider not voting at all, but imagine what would happen if everyone thought that way? We'd be stuck with the same ideologies in office over and over again. My mom always used to say that unless you voted on election day, you have no right to complain about who is currently in office. In many ways she's right. It really is hard to complain when you didn't even make your opinion known.
Women and minorities, to not vote today would be to insult the legacy of those that came before us and gave their lives for us to be able to cast a ballot. Please don't waste this opportunity to make your voice heard.

Ok, I've preached enough. Go vote.

Monday, November 06, 2006
Till Broke Do Us Part
I got yet another wedding invitation in the mail recently, and Im already fairly certain that this one won't last long. I've been in four weddings and attended three others in the last year and a half. While I'm all for being married to the person you love, sometimes you have no business at the altar. Out of those seven marriages, three have already ended and one is headed in that direction. Anyone with half a mind knew that those weddings were really nothing but a waste of our time, the end was too easy to picture.

When I was a little girl, I dreamed of my wedding day and the man that I'd stay married to until the day I died. Even though I'd watched my own parents get divorced, I knew that I wasn't going to end up like that. I just knew that I was going to fall in love and it would be forever. I never gave much thought to how much money the man would make, I just knew that I wanted to be like my grandparents--enjoying old age together.

To do so would require love, which in all of the marriages I mentioned, was noticeably absent. Actually, let me rephrase that...a love for the other person was missing, but not a love for the almighty dollar. The worst example was a former friend of mine, Eboni (real names ARE being used). When she got engaged, she made her fiancé trade her ring in for a bigger, shinier, more expensive version. "If a man really wants to get you, he'll buy you more than 2 carats...", she said on several occasions. I asked her if the first ring meant anything to her, and she said not really. She wasn't about to marry some man who didn't come correct with his bling.

Her fiancé had a very good job, so he came out of pocket for most of their wedding. Each time she crossed off another item on her pre-wedding to-do list, she felt the need to tell her closest friends how much she spent. It'd go something like this, "OMG, the flowers are going to be sooooooooo expensive, can you believe $9,500 just for mine and the bridesmaid's bouquets!? Wow, I'm sooooo glad Sean's got money". More often than not, our conversations revolved around what Sean was spending. I don't recall having ever heard her say something positive about him that didn't have to do with money or his good credit. Having watched her grow up in a comfortable middle class home, it seemed odd to see her act so enamored by the prospect of joining the ranks of the nouveau riche.

Their wedding was a lavish affair, with no expense spared. During the actual ceremony, I could tell that she was faking her happiness. I guess I knew her well enough to know the difference between genuine joy and sprayed-on smile.

Fast-forward two years. Three new cars, five Louis Vuitton bags, countless other shoes/bags, and a brand new McMansion later, Sean lost his job. The divorce papers came flying out faster than Flo Jo doing the 100-meter dash. Suddenly according to Eboni, Sean was not the good catch he once was, and she wanted out. "Girl, if he can't pay the bills, what good is he to me?" she said soon after the marriage was officially dissolved.

Every single one of the four marriages I mentioned that have bit the dust, have done so for the same reason. With more women going after theirs in the corporate world and more women being finanacially independent, I really thought the days of marrying for money had gone the way of the rotary-dial telephone. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be fiancially comfortable during married life, but to leave the marriage when the budget gets stretched is less than noble. Now, I understand if there is a gambling problem or something more serious, but because you can no longer afford your boughi lifestyle? That's just trifling.

What happened to marrying the person for love? What happened to falling for someone's personality? Good looking + rich = perfect husband for too many females. We wonder why so many marriages end in divorce these days. Our grandparents tended to say married because they actually liked the person they were married to--go figure. With money being the number one reason behind the divorce rate, it's ironic that the same reason why people get married is the same reason that they divorce.

With so many of my friends pairing off and getting married, I sometimes feel like I should be working harder to do my own version of the 'white dress aisle walk'. But the minute I get a phone call that starts, "Tasha, me and so-and-so are getting separated...", I come to my senses. Call me old fashioned, but I actually care more about the content of a man's character over the content of his wallet.

Sunday, November 05, 2006
This Week's Sketchy Man Champion
Last night I went out with a bunch of my girlfriends for dinner at a popular family & friends restaurant. About forty minutes after we were seated, a group of older men walked in and sat in the booth right behind our table. We didn't think anything of it and continued laughing and joking as usual.

I was laughing too hard at a joke when I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around and thisclose to my face was some smiley, grinning fool from the table of men behind us. I thought my coat or purse had hit him when I moved my chair, so I shrugged off his tap and went back to laughing at my friends. Tap tap tap on my shoulder again. I turned around and it was this same fool grinning a 100-watt super smile.

I said, "I'm sorry, did I hit you?"

"Nah lil mama, but I wanna hit you. You know, I wanna see what you're about, I been watching you over there and you got something special on you"

I really didn't know what to say to this man, especially since him and his friends all looked old enough to be our fathers and maybe even grandfathers. So I turned back to my table and gave the universal 'this mofo really just tried to holla at me' look to my girls. We started with the old man sugar daddy jokes, LOUD, so hopefully they would get the point that none of us were interested in hooking up with the geriatric old spice crowd.

I got up to go to the restroom and next thing I know he's right behind me. I didn't have my girls there for moral support so I knew I was going to have to handle this carefully. What if he tried to wedge me up in a bathroom stall?

"Why you runnin? I just wanna talk to you tenderoni girl" He smiled and *gleam* I saw the one gold tooth and I knew it was all downhill from there. But wait, did he just call me Tenderoni? Like New Edition Bobby Brown Tenderoni? What the hell? Cell phone check, it's definitely 2006, not 1986. "I'm sorry sir, I'm not interested. You seem like a nice man, but I think I might be a little young for you"

He actually started singing, "P.Y.T. Pretty Young Thing, you need some lovin' T.L.C. Tender Loving Care...Bet you don't know that song, but it was written for you" So trying to be a smart aleck, I said back, "Michael Jackson wrote that song in 1982 and put it on his Thriller album. I was in diapers and drinking Similac at that time, so that song is definitely not for me"

Mistake!!! He apparently likes a fiesty gold-digging woman, so he pulled out a wad of cash and tried to cover his playa-flirt tactic up by acting like he was pulling out his cell phone. "Sorry, you know my wallet was too full to hold it all. Lemme get your number babygirl"

"Umm, look. I'm young enough to be your baby girl--you know, your DAUGHTER. Matter of fact, your daughter is probably older than me. So I have to politely decline. Oh, and maybe if you didn't hang out at strip clubs you wouldn't have so many extra $1 bills in your pocket"

He shot me a look of bewilderment and defeat so pitiful that I almost relented, but then I saw the wedding band on his left ring finger. "Sir, wouldn't your wife be mad if she knew you were out here trying to get my phone number?" Then I turned away and continued down the hall to the restroom. Before I went in the door, I heard his Nextel chirp and he said, "Cold Busted dawg, she saw the ring. I didn't get the number..."

Perhaps this man was the inspiration for the movie Grumpy Old Men?

Saturday, November 04, 2006
For My Old Person
My grandparents, fondly named "The Old People" will always hold a very special place in my heart. My maternal grandparents especially were very instrumental in raising me. After my parents got divorced, they stepped in big time to help.

Some of my fondest memories are of joking around with my grandpa about all the chores I'd done at their house and how much money he owes me because manual labor isn't free. He'd always say, "You'll never be broke as long as I owe you money". This joke lasted 15 years. My favorite thing was to sit in his lap, I was mad when I got too tall to fit. Everything was alright with the world when we would sit together in his recliner and watch baseball on lazy Sunday afternoons.

My grandmother's sense of humor got passed on to me, and for that I'm grateful because she was probably the most hilarious little woman I've ever met. But she was the best cook in the Bronx (probably the world, but everybody says that about their grandmothers) and wouldn't hold her tongue for anything. She would cuss like a sailor and do it with a smile. I think this is where I learned how to tell off a sketchy man so nicely.

Anyway, six years ago today I lost my grandpa. It was the strangest thing because the night before he died I thought to myself, "Grandpa's going to die soon" and the next morning my mom called my dorm to give me the news. Two years and eleven months to the day later I lost my grandma, and this past April 4 I lost my paternal grandmother. My paternal grandad I never met, but I know he's deceased.

So every year, on the anniversaries of their deaths I'm understandably a bit more mellow than normal. I say a prayer of thanks for them, and since I blog so much and share lots of stories from my life, I figure I'd share my prayers. Today, for you Grandpa:

Heavenly Father, I thank you for having given me such a wonderful man to call my grandfather. While he had his human faults, he showed me what the definition of man really is. I thank you for all of the jokes, the stories, and the memories. I thank you for allowing him to have been the quiet source of strength that he was for our family. Thank you for the life lessons and thank you for his music. Thank you for allowing him to be a guardian angel, not only in life but in eternal life as well. Grandpa, I can only hope that the life I lead makes you proud, and I hope when it's my turn to leave this world that I get to see you again. I know you're in a better place, resting in peace. I miss you and I love you.

Friday, November 03, 2006
Friday Flashback!
I've decided to add a new weekly feature to this blog: Friday Flashback. I'll be posting an old school video to stir up feelings of nostalgia. This week, MC Hammer's U Can't Touch This:

Karma Chameleon
What goes around comes back around. What goes on in the dark will come to the light. Most of us learn that while we're in the throes of teenagerdom, so by the time we're adults we know enough not to criticize people when we're doing exactly the same thing.

Ted Haggard, one of the most prominent evangelical pastors in the nation, resigned today as president of the National Association of Evangelicals amid allegations that he carried on a three-year sexual relationship with a male prostitute. This man spent much of his time spewing anti-gay messages at anybody who would listen. He's admitted to nothing but says he can't function with a cloud of speculation surrounding him. I know as well as the next person that when you resign in this manner, it's about as close to an admission of guilt as you can get.

Mark Foley has been in the middle of a child molestation scandal for a few weeks now. If you've been living under a rock, his case surrounds sexually suggestive and exploitive emails and instant messages to young men who formerly served as White House pages. Foley was the chairman of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children, which introduced legislation targeted to sexual predators.

I've come to expect a certain amount of hypocrisy in religion and politics. However, I'm just plain disgusted by these scandals. In the real world, being a hypocrite of that caliber could get you killed or get you a private room in ICU.

Seriously, where are people's morals going? Grown ass men shouldn't be trying to holla at young boys, nor should they be so ignorant as to think that the sexual trysts they're trying to hide won't be found out. If Bill Clinton got caught, so will you. The religiously vulnerable out there will begin to lose their faith in God because the people that they trust to bring them His word can't even be honest about their own lives so why would they be honest about what God is telling them? We ripped Michael Jackson a new one and have kept him under a microscope for the last 15 years, but all Mark Foley has to do is resign and say that he was molested by a priest and he's pretty much off the hook. Doesn't he think that all the other sexual predators out there have similar stories. He actually has the nerve to support legislation that he may very well be convicted under? Where is the sense in that?!

The louder you talk, apparently the more you have to hide. Karma isn't just something that Culture Club made a song about in the 80s. It will come to bite you in the ass.

*Sorry for the disconnectedness of this post, but I'm angry at this and just had to vent.