i am from memphis, tennessee.

read tif’s recap of an incident that happened in our presence last night at tuesday crabs. here’s what I gotta say. sorry, i’m long-winded, be glad this ain’t an audio blog.

i grew up in an almost completely de-facto segregated environment. its a trip. my kindergarten teacher was white and i didn’t have another white teacher until i got that racist wench mrs. ____ in 7th grade pre-algebra. our city mayor is black. our county mayor is black. most of our city council is black. most of our school board is black. not even counting bi-racial people, in 2000, 61.41% of the population of memphis, tennessee was black. i say all this to tell you one important thing: in the 17 years that i lived in memphis, no white person ever called me nigger. not one. not once. however, during the same time period of 17 years, i was probably called some type of nigger, nigga, “my nigg” every single day by countless african-american men and women, boys and girls. i’ve never liked it. i’ve never appreciated it. yet, i never asked anyone not to say it to me, around me, or about me.

when i was 15, i was a volunteer tour guide at the National Civil Rights Museum, the reincarnation of the Lorraine Motel, where Dr. King was killed in 1968. one day, as i was guiding about 60 white people from Minnesota past the section of the museum that focused on the emancipation and reconstruction periods, i asked the question “now, what do you think the former slave and property owners were thinking when millions of people whom they have kept enslaved for their entire lives were suddenly freed and walking around with no place to go?” the group, just like most tour groups, was initially silent as they thought about it from their own perspective. a man at the back of the group yelled “whole lotta niggers!!!” slowly, all of his friends turned to look him in the face. his wife shifted her weight to the foot farthest from him, in an effort to disassociate herself. i smiled. “yes, that could be one thing they were thinking.” i quickly shooed the group to the next section of the tour which focused on lynching while i alerted security of the incident. they didn’t take the man down or anything, but a security officer followed us for the remainder of the tour. i will never forget the incident. it was 1994.

i’m not sure if this matters, but nobody that i knew watched rap city back then if you northerners can believe it. there really weren’t any videos to the music that we heard on our radio stations and even if there were, i guarantee, rap city wouldn’t be playing a video to “Triggerman” or “Tear da Club Up”. the only time we watched BET is when Teen Summit was on. what northerners think of as “hip-hop” didn’t really come to my town until i was about to leave for college in 1997. we had our own rappers and our own brand of rap (see “Hustle and Flow” for a damned good depiction) and it was on uncensored radio all day, every day. but see here’s the thing. white people didn’t really listen to “our” radio stations. they didn’t pick up on “our” colloquialisms. they weren’t up in “our” clubs screaming “Tear da Club Up” and gangsta walking among us. when “Lyrics of a Pimp” came on the radio, you wouldn’t pull up to a red light and find the white dude in the car next to you getting buck.

what i’m saying is, when i was in the dirty, no one wanted to be like us but us. you see how yall northerners turn up your noses when some some clueless dj accidentally puts on some real live southern rap – i’m not talking about that bouncing crap yall embracing all of a sudden – i’m talking about Memphis bling. shit you could only get on a mixtape from Stereo One shawty (a-word!!!).

however, northern rap, or hip-hop, or whatever it is today has crossover appeal. everyone’s listening to it. everyone’s doing it. didn’t they say that this was the first time in a long time that hip-hop didn’t dominate the mtv music awards? and we all know, we weren’t the only one’s buying NWA and we ain’t the only ones buying jay-z, et al. black music is everywhere. on commercials. featured in mainstream magazines. hip-hop artists show up in movies. escorting white women on the red carpet. all that. you think that a white man that’s really feeling hova censors himself when the n-word comes up in a verse? shit, you see that dave chappelle brought the word “bitch” into casual conversation. i think i’m the last black person that found out about the dave chappelle show. me and tif were hanging in bars, and white people kept calling us bitches. we couldn’t figure out what the hell was going on.

what i’m trying to tell you is – they get it from us. like my mama used to tell me “they give you such a hard time cause they wanna be just like you.” for years and years and many years, assholes in other races (notice that i specified only the assholes, there are great folks in other races, some of whom i’m happy to have as my friends) have hated us in all of our unique glory. some don’t hate us, but think that by imitating us they pay homage to what they fall short on – soul. but just like children, they have no ability to discern what’s inappropriate. they see us wear certain styles. they copy the same styles. no problem,right? they see us create certain types of art. they copy the same art. no problem, right? you know what comes next. they hear us use certain phrases and words. ‘lo and behold! they use the same fricking words. now all of a sudden we wanna jump up and fight, start a race war up in this bitch, tear the damn club up! feel what i’m saying here, i don’t think that’s its appropriate for folks outside “the race” to use the n-word. so here i am, taking my little itty bitty stance, kinda like when i was in college and boycotted the NBA cause i felt like they made too much money and me with my $150k degree could never hope to do the same. i’m ceasing my use of the n word. i figure, if i don’t put it out into the atmosphere, then maybe its less likely to come back to me. you dig?

this is late

my prayers go out to the people in louisiana & mississippi. being from tennessee, my family is close enough to be touched by the storm, but far enough away to avoid devastation. reading the news stories and watching the video streams is nothing compared to what it must be like to essentially live the plot of a disaster film. may God keep both those who survived and those survivors who lost loved ones and may He have mercy on the souls of those swept away by the floods.

what you should know about me

i am
*a mama’s girl
*ivy league graduate
*sometimes codependent
*working out
*an avid reader
*an IT contractor
*sleep deprived
*a quitter
*unable to wear flats
*always online*

mary jane with the mary jane

i had high hopes for this show weeds. ever since i woke up one sunday
morning and saw the preview playing over and over, i was attracted to
the concept of the show – a suburban soccer widow starts hustling in
order to make ends meet. its fresh. its new. its on showtime. it can’t

the woman who created the show says that she was inspired by one of
her childhood friend’s mothers. can you imagine? your best
girlfriend’s mom is trading dimebags with the fathers of the football
team while you and your girl are cheering on the sidelines. BAH!
granted, the brother of the girl who was my best friend in fifth grade
sold weed to jr. high kids and drove the first Chrysler la baron that
i ever saw and told my friend’s family that he worked at a
pharmaceutical company (i know, i know, the oldest line in the book,
but i swear that’s what he said) and 1. what pharmaceutical company
hires someone straight off a 2 year bid and 2. who the hell would
believe that shit? anyway, that’s all off the subject, we’re talking
about mothers here. and more than that, we’re talking about the show
about the dope slinging mother. i just finished watching the third
episode and i tell you, i’m not convinced. i guess its got something
to do with the main character. the unfortunate young attractive widow
and mother of 2 typical maladjusted sons who on the other hand spends
her free time schlepping between her suppliers in the ‘hood and her
customers at the saturday afternoon soccer games. even more than that,
the actress just doesn’t fly for me. i like her and everything, but
she’s not convincing when dealing with the other suburban mothers at
the PTA meeting, nor is she all that believable when she’s in the
kitchen of the black people that she buys the shit from. give me a
break. how many black women would choose to support their Range Rover
driving, live-in maid having lifestyle by selling dimes here and
there? and what would even even us liberal black folk think of them if
they did?

*sigh* anyway, i’ll be watching the next episode. maybe not when it
airs, but i’ll catch it on demand. i feel like i’m making a statement
that way: i like it, but not enough to alter my evening plans to see
it when its first out. I’ll save that sunday night ritual for THE

The Gaza Strip

Ok party people, I need some help. For years I’ve listened to news of the conflict of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, but I’ve honestly never had a grasp of what was going on. So I read a brief history of the conflicthere and a few other places and tried to put together a summary in my own words for my own understanding. Please read thru it and drop me a comment if I missed the boat someplace. To me it seems like this:

There’s this strip of land that is called the Gaza Strip. No one knows what to do with it, but for thousands of years people fought over it. Back in Biblical times it was known as Canaan and later the Philistines (Goliath was one I think) settled there subsequently it became Palestine.

The Palestinians thrive in the area, however for thousands of years surrounding countries and empires keep jumping up and trying to take it over, but the Palestinians remain against all odds. Its kinda like how Europeans landed on what is now North America and despite the presence of native people “claimed” the land for themselves. Similarly ignoring the wants and needs of the native people, the Jews of Israel and the Muslims of Egypt have been fighting over the land since 40′s. A bunch of Jewish people run out of Israel to get away from the war and they set up squatters towns in Palestine, the place that all the hoopla is about. Meanwhile, all the Palestinians want is to be their own country and have a sovereign government. At the time the Jews kinda wanted to let Palestine be its own country, but the Muslims weren’t having it. They started performing suicide bombings in Palestine cause a bunch of Jews live there(1995). The Palestinians felt like the Jews should get the Muslims to leave them alone. The Jews wouldn’t do anything, so the Palestinians said the Jews had to go if they weren’t going to help. The Jews refused to leave the land and thus the Palestinians and the Jews start fighting (2000-2001). The Jews of course are stronger and have more soldiers than the Palestinians cause everyone has been on their back for thousands of years and won’t let them develop their own government or military, so the Jews are easily able to oppress the Palestinians in their own country. Finally, when Ariel Sharon is elected Prime Minister of Israel a couple of years ago, he promised that him and the Jews would get out of Palestine (the Gaza Strip). The big issue is that the Jews that crashed in this other country don’t feel like they should have to leave. So the Jewish government is evicting their own people and telling them to bring their asses back into their own country.

Now Yasir Arafat fits in here, although I’m not sure where and how cause I read that he was born in Egypt and shouldn’t that put him on the side of the Muslims? How did he get to be President of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO)?

Comments are welcome. I’m really interested in someone setting me straight with the facts.

i don’t make this shit up

August Seventeenth. It’s finally my birthday. I remember being younger and going completely hysterical with the prospect of my approaching birthday.

“Really baby, as you get older you really do change the way you want to spend your birthday,” my mother leveled with me the year she turned about 37. “You grow to be much more mellow.”

I never thought that be true. Birthdays were a source of anxiety and excitement. And every hour that it got closer my blood pressure moved higher to an almost aneurismic level. But this year, mainly for fear that people would try to sing to me (what are you supposed to do while people are singing to you? stare at them? stare at your shoes? i really don’t like that shit), I was attempting not to make a big deal out of it. All I really wanted to do was sit at home and have a movie marathon night. All day I had been letting it slip about once per hour, only when I had to release the pressure just a little to prevent my brain from oozing out of my ear. (During the course of the day, it became apparent that I wasn’t going to get my movie marathon night, but I was trying to be cool about it and not throw my own personal VIP pity party.)

It’s almost exactly right at the exact hour and fractoid of 48 minutes that I was born. I walk up to my current favorite bar and approach the door guy.
“Its my birthday!” I blurt and I’m sure I misted him with a fine spray of spit. I’m so excited I could implode before I get the news out.
“Really?” he says, “Happy birthday.”
“Thanks”, I squeak, a cheesy smile stretching my face. He steps aside and I head for the first empty seat I see at the bar. I barely notice the guy that me and Tif always refer to as “the suit dude” – due to his ever-present business attire – standing along the wall with a few other local regulars.

A minute later, I’m already gyrating spastically to the trip-hop-techno-dreamy DJ track. I’m grateful for it. Its just adding to the sky-high trance I’m in. I realize that I’m staring in the bar mirror behind the liquor bottles when I vaguely see that door guy part
with the owner and head back outside. The owner, a sweet Ethiopian gentleman that I met when I first moved here, walks behind the bar and heads in my direction. He smiles wide but stops short before he reaches me. He steers the bartender closer, they turn away from me and then back again a few seconds later, both smiling. The proprietor parts and heads back the way he came moments later appearing by my side and squeezing me. “Happy birthday sweetheart!” he yells, accent thick and friendly. It makes me feel good, but in my haze I’m dumbly confused. “How did you know….?” I’m wondering if Tif is already here and that
maybe there’s a surprise party in the back and maybe the proprietor is here to stall me while they finish the setup and gosh its so
perceptive of me to wander in here without knowing that this is where my surprise party is gonna be…. Until it dawns on me that the door guy must have told him and that’s what this man and the owner were conspiring about. I thank the guy and I’m honestly appreciative that he’s making me feel so special.

*Insert montage here to signify time passing*

I’ve been here like a half hour. The 2 couples next to me are having a hyper conversation and one woman is literally screaming her story at the other people. I mean really screeching whatever surely hilarious point she’s trying to make. I’m grooving and drinking. Trying to decide whether or not to put a note in my phone to call that girl with the hookup. I’m feeling great. I find myself staring in the mirror behind the liquor bottles again. I watch the suit dude approach the screeching woman next to

“Happy birthday!” He gushes. Everyone in their group slowly comes to a halt.

Now this is the time that I pause and in pure Zach Morris fashion, bring you up to speed on how much I don’t like this guy. A couple of years ago, around my birthday then too, he and I got into a heated bar argument. He wouldn’t even admit that my side of the debate was a valid point. I hate men like that. They should be neutered. Now I’m going to clap my hands Zach Morris style and make everyone move again.

Dude continues gushing all over this lady. “Yeah I heard it’s your birthday. And I wanted to buy you a drink. You
look great!” His smile is huge. He’s got his hand on her shoulder and everything. Her date is bout to buck. The two women smile at one another and crack the fuck up.
“Wha?” His face falls. It’s like watching plastic melt.
“Its not my birthday.” I don’t know if I’m laffing so hard because this dude is dead wrong, or because as it turns out, the woman actually can speak in a conversational tone. Who knew?
“Its not?”
“No”, she pauses and both woman are rolling at this point.
“Its her birthday!” They point to me. All women are laughing including myself. The men in the date are a little dumbfounded. The Suit Dude turns and looks at me and I watch in horror as he realizes the mistake. And you know what this mofo did? He bought the woman a drink anyway to try to save face.

“What you drinking?” he asks.
“Scotch. Top Shelf.”

Sidenote: See Tif’s Blog for the story of what happened to movie marathon night.

hey, me too!

i was reading this guy’s blog today about his upper GI experience.

2 things:

I’ve had an upper GI and I agree with dude. The barium isn’t “that bad” but it is kinda like drinking liquid chalk. Turns out I had a hernia.

About Protonix:
Tif has acid reflux and was told to take the stuff. Soon after, he started having trouble breathing. A couple of days later he had 1 single drink at a party and passed out like he had been in a binger! He passed out! I was so pissed cause I thought he was just *that* drunk! Turns out its the stuff man. It compeltely wracks your system. So watch out!

getting closer..

i haven’t yet mentioned my exhaustive search for the “perfect” peach bellini to mirror those that i used to sip on at La Terrasse in Zurich. To say the least, this search just hasn’t been going well. Recently however, when the peaches came out this season at the Farmer’s Market, Tif has endeavoured to perfect the recipe. So we’ve got like 3 dozen peaches in the fridge, and he’s gone thru a couple of different recipes, all good in their own right but just not quite right. Friday evening, we stopped at the Brass Elephant’s upstairs lounge “The Tusk” to catch the 2 for 1 happy hour. Coincidentally, Greg the bartender happened to mention that his current specialty drink is a “Peach Bellinitini”. Of course we had to try it! Tif and I both agreed that this is a great drink and besides Tif’s versions, quite possibly one of the best bellini renditions that either of us have had. With a little prodding we got Greg to spill the seeds on the recipe he’s using:

Chilled pureed peaches, blended and cut with just a touch of OJ
Peach schnapps
Serve in a chilled martini glass and float champagne on top
Garnish with a slice of fresh peach.

If peaches aren’ t your thing but like me you like the bubbly, try some of these other champagne sippers.


here’s a private post

Who the hell did I think I was kidding?

I just don’t know where to start. probably at the most urgent situation working.

The lady over there screaming about how this “chink” fucked up her nail design when all she wanted was an american manicure, which this “chink” fucked up but took her american money. she’s calling for the po-lice right now. The dude standing over me trying to sell me various wares including cowrie shell bracelets, $2 purses, or a set of used clippers ain’t phased in the least. Neither is the air brush technician, bearing an uncanny resemblance to mary j blige circa “real love”. I woder where and on what i’m going to spend the extra $7 that I’m saving by not going to my regular spot in the mall to get my toes done. I’ve already instructed the young vietnamese(?) woman working on my feet that she is not to use a razor under any circumstances. So as a trade off I guess she’s seperating my toes with a damn paper towel instead of those cute foam things that the mall uses. There’s a hair salon in the back of this place. One of the stylists has a curl. Yes, a curl. Another is putting a relaxer on a woman whose hairline parallel to her ears. BET is blasting on the 52″ tv that seperates the nail techs from the hair salon.*fast forward* I rush out of there with half-dried toes and called tif, as agreed to hook up and head home from our foray into the open air any-and-everything market. On my sixth call he picks up. He’s stopped at a babber shop down the street to get an impromptu trim. Anyone who has ever had to listen to tif rant afteer a bad cut knows that something must be up. He only let’s 3 living american’s take sharp objects to his afro-jewish typical light skinned curly headed do, so where the fuck is he and who the hell is cutting his hair?

(as an aside, i wrote this whole blog post on my treo 600 and posted it perfectly intact when i got home to my pc. God, bless technology!)