Monday, December 31, 2007

Reflections - Happy New Year

The end of the year is a time to reflect about the events that have transpired over the last year and to look forward, making plans and preparing for the upcoming year.

This year has been a tough one for me. I relocated to another state and virtually had to start all over, finding employment, making new acquaintances, and finding my way around a new city. Through it all I have family and friends that have been nurturing and supportive, letting me know that they had my back when things got a little rough.

Sometimes people do not know how much they are helping with just a kind utterance that can mean so much to the recipient. Many times since January I have felt that “I had bitten off more than I could chew” in respect to my move, but someone always stepped up and reassured me that everything would work out. I feel truly blessed and want to take this time to count my blessing, rather than making resolutions that I probably won’t keep.

Things I am Thankful For:

1. My family and friends and wish them the best that life has to offer in 2008.

2. Having a warm and comfortable place to lay my head, especially when less fortunate have nowhere to live.

3. Having nourishment when there are those who are hungry.

4. Knowing that everyone I love and care about is safe and not involved in that wretched war.

5. My health.

For those of you reading this that are experiencing hardship and difficulties, know that I hope you and yours prosper in the coming year. Have A Happy 2008!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Poll Results

The commercialization of Christmas won hands down! I was not shocked at all by the results. Anyone who has been in malls, shopping centers, or department stores almost anywhere in the world and you will find mad rushes of consumers trying to pick up Christmas gifts. The true meaning of the season has been sacrificed in favor of buying and selling. It seems that no one was much concerned with cheesy gifts, fruitcake, or annoying relatives, but one person found over done Christmas decorations to be bothersome. A couple of people polled liked absolutely everything about Christmas, so they would not change a thing.

The breakdown of votes is as follows: Over done Christmas gifts 7%
Pesky/ annoying relatives 0%
Commercialization of Christmas 78%
Cheesy Christmas gifts 0%
Fruitcake 0%
I love everything about Christmas 15%

Thanks to everyone that participated.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Who Is Ledisi?

Rarely am I this excited by a new artist, but Ledisi has definitely got my attention. She is currently nominated for Grammys in the “Best New Artist” and “Best R & B Album”. As if this were not enough, she is even singing duets with none other than Chaka Khan. Ledisi (pronounced led-uh-see) may well one of the most prolific singers to grace the R & B scene in quite some time. In the vain of her neo soul predecessors, like Erykah Badu and Jill Scott, she is definitely a force to be reckoned with.

Since the release of 'Lost & Found,' Ledisi's momentum is steadily building in a much cluttered marketplace. Her recent performance at the National Association of Black Journalists convention in Las Vegas, coupled with her being featured on AOL's 'The Bridge' with Chaka Khan helped her to gain prominence within the entertainment community. If you like originality and flavor pick up a copy of ‘Lost and Found’ and get your groove on!

Check out Ledisi performing a live version of her first single from the album entitled "Alright".

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Thursday Thirteen # 4 - 13 Things I Hate About Christmas

I said I wasn’t going to do a post about Christmas because everyone else seems to be covering all bases quite nicely. Everybody is pointing out their favorite and might I add, positive things about Christmas. I will play “Devil’s Advocate” and point out some of the things that are not so nice and that I don’t care for in no particular order.

1. Over priced and underappreciated toys. Get little Johnny the 150 dollar Elmo that falls to the floor, laughing hysterically and by the end of the day Johnny will be more intrigued with the box that Elmo came in.

2. Black Friday: Any name starting with the word black usually pisses me off from the outset; however this time black is good…for retailers that is. Can you imagine adults standing on line at 4:00 AM outside Best Buy to save 20 dollars on a flat screen television? Well I can’t, but it happens.

3. People running around like escaped lunatics on Christmas Eve looking for that last minute gift that they somehow forgot or just decided to shop for today.

4. Cheesy Christmas gifts that have probably been re-gifted to you by someone who recognized how tacky the gift was in the first place. I am not talking about inexpensive gifts, but at least act like you know me. A 12.99 CD would be fine. Please do not give me the hot dog warmer.

5. Fruit cake. Oh how I hate fruit cake. I wonder who thought it would be a good idea to stick old processed fruit in burnt bread and call it a holiday tradition. Oops, this is something I would re-gift immediately!

6. Bell ringers and other charities that stand outside grocery stores, department stores, etc. begging (that’s what it’s called folks) for donations. I am all for charity and looking out for those less fortunate, but most of the people collecting the money either look like they need a drink or just had a drink. I’ll mail my donations, thank you.

7. Christmas lights, decorations, tree, etc. that go up before Thanksgiving and don’t come down until well into January (if then). I have seen Christmas light lit up on homes as late as January 27th no kidding folks.

8. The same goes for Christmas music. Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas music, but I don’t want to hear it the day after Halloween. I swear I turned on my car radio on November 1st and was greeted with “Jingle Bell”.

9. Back to Christmas decorations. Know how much is too much. There is a house around the corner from my home in which the walkway to the house is lit up and lined with 3 feet candy canes. In the yard is a blow up Santa, Rudolph and the rest of the reindeer, a Nativity scene, with Joseph, Mary, the Three Wise Men, the Innkeeper, sheep…Excessive huh?

10. The fakeness of the season. I mean why should Christmas be set aside as a time when we show compassion, fellowship, and kindness for fellow human beings? Shouldn’t we carry these feelings all year long?

11. Getting together with relatives you spend the better part of the year avoiding. If I don’t want to hang out with you at any other time what makes you think I want you to spend my day off breaking bread with you on December 25th .

12. Office secret Santa. I don’t even like most the people I work with!

13. And finally the commercialization of the season in general. Madison Avenue is overjoyed with the ‘buy, buy, buy mentality that occurs during this time of year. I find it obscene for people to spend money they don’t have for things they don’t need.

What are some of the things you could do without during this time of year?

Please vote in the "What Do You Hate About Christmas Poll" in the right column of the blog.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

1. (leave your link in comments)

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The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Snoop Dogg's Fatherhood

It seems that everyone is jumping on the reality show band wagon from Hulk Hogan to Salt & Pepa. BET currently broadcasts “Run’s House” and VH1 allowed rapper Flavor Flav to star in two reality shows “Strange Love” and “Flavor of Love”. So Snoop’s show will not be the first time a rapper has invited the cameras into his personal space. So I am thinking, what is going to be different about Snoop’s show, whose tagline boast “This ain’t the Huxtables”. Well duh!

I was all set to hate on Snoop because as we know he is no stranger to publicity, in fact he is a virtual media whore who will stop at nothing to keep his name in the press (remember “Girls Gone Wild”). I decided to tune in not expecting too much, but I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw. He has a wife (which he lovingly calls “Boss Lady”) and three adorable children, age 13, 10, and 8. Snoop's devotion to his family shine through.

In the one episode the housekeeper quits, forcing Snoop and the kids to pitch in and help with the housework. In another episode, Boss Lady, concerned about Snoop’s health, urges the people in their employ not to supply Snoop with junk food. Snoop pays someone money to sneak him in some Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles, but of course Boss Lady catches the smuggler and substitutes the chicken with a salad.

There are touching, but funny moments. One scene finds Snoop at the park spending time teaching his children to play soccer. When things don't go as planned he calls in soccer great David Beckham to give the kids some pointers. He promises Beckham that he will treat him to some (you guessed it) Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles for his trouble. After Snoop orders practically a whole chicken, guess who shows up at the restaurant with two plates of salad (you guessed again) Boss Lady. No matter how hard Snoop tries to outsmart her she is always one step ahead of him. While it is certainly not the best show on television, it held my interest. I found it to be funnier than “House of Payne” for shizzel. The show airs on E! At 10:30 EST/9:30 CST.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


AFI has just announced the official selections of AFI Awards 2007, AFI's almanac that records the year's most outstanding achievements in film and television. Ten AFI Movies of the Year and 10 TV Programs of the Year have just been determined by the juries.

America's cultural legacy resonates around the world through movies and television. When placed in an historical context, the stories listed below archive a complex, rich, visual record of our modern times. While I have not had the chance to watch some of these films and a couple of the shows, I definitely intend to check them out.

AFI’s mission statement is “to protect and preserve the legacy of the moving image art form so that future generations will have a greater understanding and appreciation for the proud heritage reflected in the realities of a new modern day”.

AFI AWARDS adds a volume to the history of American film and television each year by documenting the collective opinion of the moving image communities, recognizing the year's significant moments and honoring the individuals and creative ensembles that have created the year's outstanding achievements.





Are any of your favorites among the selections?


Dexter is the coolest show around and the only reason why I will not cancel my Showtime subscription (well at least not until in the morning). Tonight is the season finale and the last eight weeks have been packed with ‘edge of your seat’ plot twists. The show has strong writing, clever dialogue, and talented stars. It all makes for marvelous tv viewing at it's finest. Definitely one of the best shows currently on television and quite possibly will become one of the best shows of all time.

Dexter is a serial killer, but a likable one. He only kills murderers, child violators, drug dealers, and basically your run of the mill, scum of the earth types. The character of Dexter Morgan is played to the nines by Michael C. Hall of HBO’s “Six Feet Under”. Rounding out the cast is Julie Benz as girlfriend Rita, Jennifer Morgan as his sister Debra, Erik King as Sgt. Doakes, and Lauren Velez as Lt. Maria Laguerta.

The story lines are scary, chilling, and not at all cliché. 'Dexter' can also be hilarious when it wants to be, depressing when it wants to be and especially thrilling when it wants to be. It never comes across as trying too hard. You are kept guessing until the last possible moment and sometimes wonder how the hero (anti-hero) will actually come out in the end. I promise you that you will not be bored if give it a watch. Unfortunately the season ends tonight, but you are just in time for the reruns beginning next week.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Rocket 88

In honor of the life of Ike Turner I am posting what is often considered the first Rock and Roll recording "Rocket 88". For an excellent post highlighting his life please visit Malcolm at

Disclaimer: By the way I do not know what the woman putting on her stockings in her underwear has to do with anything. I don't produce these videos, I simply embed them in this blog for what hopefully will be your enjoyment.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Classic Jazz - Thelonius Monk - Round Midnight

Thirteen Thirteen # 3 - Performers (Groups) That I Never Saw in Concert, But Wish I Had

In the past week I posted about classic concerts I had attended in the last few years and it got me to thinking about the performers that are no longer with us that I never had the pleasure seeing perform. This list is compiled alphabetically to avoid having to choose artists in order of importance. If someone is not on the list it is either because I saw them live, there was only thirteen slots, or I had no desire to see them.

1. The Beatles – Who wouldn’t want to see the fab four in concert? As a child I remember the excitement they generated when they appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show. That was the first time I saw girls screaming and crying. Although I liked their songs I did not understand what all the hype was all about. I understand now.

2. Ray Charles - This artist was a major player in the music industry, He recorded over five decades, starting in the golden age of Rock and Roll, but he was never really considered a Rock and Roll star, like Chuck Berry, Little Richard, or Fats Domino. He was in a class all his own and he could definitely "make it do what it do".

3. Patsy Cline – Arguably one of the best voices in the last century, most definitely one of the best country singer of all time. Her voice and style transcended country music making it impossible to pigeonhole her. She is to country music what Aretha Franklin is to Rhythm and Blues, often replicated, but never duplicated.

4. Sam Cooke - Mr. Smooth. He voice like velvet and a debonair air about him made that made him timeless. This guy was a class act with women falling at his feet. Hearing his self-penned ballad "A Change is Going to Come" can still invoke tears.

5. The Four Tops - One of the premier acts of the Motown label, with one of the best lead singers in the business (Levi Stubbs). What was rare about this group was that they were able to maintain the same line-up until illness and death caught up with them in later years. The group was the recipients of countless awards and accolades, but when think of Mr. Stubbs it is to remember him fondly as the man-eating plant in "The Little Shop Of Horrors"..."That guy sure looks like plant food to me!"

6. Marvin Gaye - My favorite male singer of all time bar none. Mr. Gaye had a huge career as a Motown artist, but in the late 60's he began to write about social conscientiousness, resulting in a total shift in his singing style and focus. He is also known for performing duets with such artists as Mary Wells, Kim Weston, Diana Ross, and of course Tammi Terrell. His untimely death the day before his 45th birthday was a blow to entertainment industry and the fans who loved him through good times and bad.

7. Jimi Hendrix - Could be the best guitar player ever. Started out performing with Little Richard and the Isley Brothers before striking out on his on. If you listen to Ernie Isley's guitar playing you can definitely hear hints of Hendricks who Isley claims taught him to play. Hendrix's' star was on the rise and he was much sought after performer until his involvement with drugs cut his life short.

8. Janis Joplin - Affectionately known as "Pearl", The Bette Midler movie The Rose was loosely based on her life. At first she patterned the singing styles of African-American artist, such as, Bessie Smith and Odetta before she fell into a style of her own. Her performances are legendary as much for her on stage antics as for her singing, but footage proves she was electrifying. Ms. Joplin was also responsible for purchasing a tombstone for Bessie Smith's unmarked grave.

9. Bob Marley - Jamaica's finest who became a world renowned king of reggae music.Marley was an artist who transcended all categories, classes, and creeds through a combination of innate modesty and profound wisdom. Bob Marley may yet prove to be the most significant musical artist of the twentieth century.

10. Wilson Pickett - Much of my youth was spent listening to songs by the "wicked" Mr. Pickett. My uncle had a record player in his car that 45 rpm records. This contraption was the predecessor to the 8 track tape player. I love "Mustang Sally", "The Midnight Hour" and of course "Land of 1000 Dances". Mr. Pickett even did justice to the Archie's song "Sugar, Sugar".

11. Elvis Presley - Yeah I said it. Look even though I do not believe he was the "king of Rock and Roll" I do believe he made a major contribution in that he made Rock and Roll (race music) more acceptable among the masses. As a child I remember going to the drive-in with my aunt all decked out in my pajamas in order to see the latest Elvis movie. She was a huge fan of "The Pelvis" and it was contagious I must admit.

12. Otis Redding - Notably the only Rhythm & Blues (Soul) singer to perform at California's Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. Mr. Redding was one of your more exciting performers of the time and was highly revered by acts like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Backing him up at this particular function was Booker T. & M.G's. Tragically he died in a plane crash a few months later.

13. Minnie Riperton - Ms. Riperton possessed a five octave vocal range and could imitate various instruments. Before striking out on her own she sang back up for Etta James, Fontella Bass, and Stevie Wonder, as well as fronting a group called Rotary Connection. She was cut down in the prime of her life and the height of her career by breast cancer.

Who are some of the acts that you wished you had seen in concert, but will never be able to because they are no longer with us or incapacitated to a degree in which they will never perform again? Please check out the custom player posted below to view footage from the above mentioned acts.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others' comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Thirteen Peformers I wish I'd Seen In Concert

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Supreme Court Ruling Aimed At Reducing Racial Disparity

The Associated Press reports that on Monday the Supreme Court ruled that judges may impose shorter prison sentences for crack cocaine crimes, enhancing judicial discretion to reduce the disparity between sentences for crack and cocaine powder. By a 7-2 vote, the court said that a 15-year sentence given to Derrick Kimbrough, a black veteran of the 1991 war with Iraq, was acceptable, even though federal sentencing guidelines called for Kimbrough to receive 19 to 22 years.

In a separate sentencing case that did not involve crack cocaine, the court also ruled in favor of judicial discretion to impose more lenient sentences than federal guidelines recommend.The challenges to criminal sentences center on a judge's discretion to impose a shorter sentence than is called for in guidelines established by the U.S. Sentencing Commission, at Congress' direction. The guidelines were adopted in the mid-1980s to help produce uniform punishments for similar crimes.

The cases are the result of a decision three years ago in which the justices ruled that judges need not strictly follow the sentencing guidelines. Instead, appellate courts would review sentences for reasonableness, although the court has since struggled to define what it meant by that term. Seventy percent of crack defendants are given the mandatory prison terms. Those convicted of crimes involving crack are overwhelmingly people of color.

Kimbrough's case did not present the justices with the ultimate question of the fairness of the disparity in crack and powder cocaine sentences. Congress wrote the harsher treatment for crack into a law that sets a mandatory minimum five-year prison sentence for trafficking in 5 grams of crack cocaine or 100 times as much cocaine powder. The law also sets maximum terms.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, writing for the majority, said, "A reviewing court could not rationally conclude that it was an abuse of discretion" to cut four years off the guidelines-recommended sentence for Kimbrough. Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas (surprise, surprise) dissented. It seems that Thomas has no ambition to help people of color, especially black people, but I digress (check out his book in the library).

The Sentencing Commission recently changed the guidelines to reduce the disparity in prison time for the two crimes. New guidelines took effect Nov. 1 after Congress took no action to overturn the change. The commission is scheduled to vote Tuesday afternoon on the retroactive application of the crack cocaine guideline amendment that went into effect on Nov. 1. The commission has estimated 19,500 inmates could apply for sentence reductions under the proposal.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Mop Top Shop

As an educator I am interested in anything that can perpetuate learning among young people. A mother concerned about her children’s education has developed a system to teach African American children science and history. Jackie Johnson, an educator at Wake Technical Community College in Raleigh, North Carolina says that she came up with the idea when she found virtually no websites that featured black characters excited about learning so she decided to create her own.

Her creation is a character called Mop Top, a black hip hop scientist patterned after Bill Nye, The Science Guy. The Mop Top Shop is home to Mop Top and his sidekick, Lollipop. Mop Top and Lollipop navigate a list of important blacks like George Washington Carver, Charles Drew and more. There is an online lab with puzzles and games that are educational and fun. I went to the website and found it to be very user friendly and it actually encourages children to celebrate the achievements of African Americans in the area of science.

Saturday, December 8, 2007


I was all set to write about Snoop Dogg’s new reality show. I was definitely through talking about Imus and although he was back on the airways, I decided I was not going to allow him or his kind to run my blood pressure up. Guess what he has done now to get me in an uproar? He’s gone and hired two African Americans comedians, Karith Foster and Tony Powell as his new and improved radio show's cast members. WHAT THE HELL! According to Imus, these two individuals were hired to “to help conduct "an ongoing discussion about race relations in this country”. Yeah Right, give me a break would you Imus?

We all know Ms. Foster and Mr. Powell were hired to pull Imus’s ‘fat out of the fire’ and try to portray him as being sensitive and truly remorseful about the derogatory remarks he made earlier in the year. What better way to show he is politically correct than to hire people who look like those he offended in the first place. It is the equivalent of shock jock Howard Stern’s employment of Robin Quivers, it kind of gives him card blanche to say insensitive things about Black people, while on the other hand the audience takes it as a joke because [he couldn’t mean what he says after all he hired Robin].

Imus stated upon his return to the airwaves on December 3rd , "I will never say anything in my lifetime that will make any of these young women at Rutgers [University] regret or feel foolish that they accepted my apology and forgave me.” This remains to be seen. As the old saying goes, ‘a leopard can’t change his spots’.

Friday, December 7, 2007

The Winner of the Movie Adaptation Poll Was a Tie…

Until I broke the tie by voting for The Shawshank Redemption, which was adapted from the book, Different Seasons about an innocent man sentenced to life that spends decades in an unjust penal system before escaping to Mexico. While incarcerated Andy meets and befriends Red another lifer who helps to make life somewhat bearable. As a movie it did not do well in the theaters upon release, but because of favorable reviews from the critics and its outstanding life on cable and DVD it is now considered one of the greatest movies of all time.

The Color Purple was tied with the Shawshank Redemption for most of the poll. I don’t know why I chose Shawshank over The Color Purple, in fact on another day I might well have chosen Alice Walker’s depiction of rural life at the turn of the 19th century when women were considered second class citizens with no rights and no say so over their life circumstances. The film was a testimony to the human spirit and what can be accomplished through sheer fortitude.

The Maltese Falcon and One Flew Over the Cuckoos Next tied for third place. The Maltese Falcon, John Huston’s 1941 noir stars Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade, a hard-boiled San Francisco private eye who’s swept into an international murder plot when he makes the acquaintance of the beautiful Miss Wonderly -- who turns out to be a dangerous scoundrel herself. Mayhem and murder abound, and all because of a foot-high, jewel-encrusted statuette.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s is an adaptation of the 1962 novel of the same name by Ken Kesey. The movie was the first to win all five major Academy Award (Best Picture, Actor in Lead Role, Actress in Lead Role, Director, and Screenplay) since It Happened One Night in 1934, an accomplishment not repeated until 1991, by The Silence of the Lambs. Jack Nicholson is excellent as McMurphy a recidivist with bizarre behavior who develops a kinship with fellow inmates in a psychiatric ward.

I had expected The Godfather to do better, but it came in last place along with The Outsiders. The Godfather is a 1972 crime film based on the novel of the same name by Mario Puzo and directed by Francis Ford Coppola. The story spans ten years from late 1945 to 1955 and chronicles the life of the Corleone crime family. The Godfather was initially ranked as the third greatest film in American cinematic history (behind Citizen Kane and Casablanca) on AFI’s list of the best movies of all time. It has now been re-ranked number two under Citizen Kane, with number three being Casablanca.

The Outsiders is a novel by S. E. Hinton was written when she was 15 and published at the age of 18. The Outsiders is an account of a traumatic time in the life of fourteen-year-old Pony Boy Curtis. Hinton explores the themes of class conflict, brotherly love, friendship, and coming of age by following two rival gangs, the Greasers and the Socs (short for "Socials"), who are separated by socioeconomic status and political beliefs.

Shawshank Redemption 33 %

The Color Purple 25 %

The Maltese Falcon 14 %

One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest 14 %

The Godfather 7 %

The Outsiders 7 %


I have certain televisions shows that are near and dear to me. “Bones” is one such show. The tagline for the show is: “To Unravel A Murder, You Have To Strip It To The Bone”. It stars Emily Deschanel (Glory Road, Cold Mountain) as Dr. Temperance ‘Bones’ Brennan, a forensic anthropologist and David Boreanaz (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel) as Special Agent Seeley Booth. Bones and Booth work together to solve murders from skeletal remains (hence the name Bones).

The cast is rounded out nicely by many lesser know, but formidable actors, Michaela Conlin, Eric Millegan, T. J. Thyne, and Tamara Taylor (Tyler Perry’s Diary of a Mad Black Woman).Veteran Actor Ryan O’Neal has a recurring role portraying Bones’ father Max Keenan, a convicted murderer, who was brought to justice by none other than Booth. The scenes between Bones and Max are priceless and sometimes hilarious; however the relationship that garners to most attention is that between Bones and Booth.

The sexual tension between these two is thick enough to cut with a knife. They both are trying to fight the attraction, but it’s a losing battle. Everyone around them seems to know they have feelings for each other, but them (de’nile ain’t just a river in Egypt). It is apparent in every glance and snide remark that passes between them. Although they to aggravate each other to no end the camaraderie between the leads, as well as the rest of the characters on the show always shines through.

The show is suppose to be drama being that someone is murdered weekly, yet it still can be very humorous, for instance, Booth has a fear of clowns and is in counseling for shooting at a clown. Another episode has Bones and Booth kissing under the mistletoe in order to satisfy the whims of the special prosecutor from whom Bones needs a favor. They act like they don't really want to kiss, yet the kiss lingers for much longer than it has to.

Booth and Bones frequently disagree, so there is a lot of bantering going on between them. One such scene find Bones at odds with cosmetic surgery:

Dr. Temperance Brennan: Every culture nurtures ideals of beauty toward which people strive - fine! But in the future people'll look back upon the surgical alterations of the nose or breasts or buttocks with the same horror that we regard the binding of feet or the use of bronze coils to extend the neck.

Special Agent Seeley Booth: You wanna speak up? 'Cause it's really hard to hear every word in this very, very quiet waiting room.

Dr. Temperance Brennan: It's barbaric! It's painful! It's wrong! This murder victim may never be identified because some glorified barber with a medical degree has the arrogance to think that he could do better than a millennium of evolution.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Stevie Wonder In Concert

Over the past two years or so I have been going to concerts of classic artist who either do not tour much anymore or might not be touring again. I started out with the Eagles in 2005 and then came Steely Dan, Smokey Robinson and Chaka Khan in August of 2006, I saw Aretha Franklin in October of the same year, and finally I saw Diana Ross in April of this year. I enjoyed each show immensely. This week I got to see the ultimate show of none other than the “Eighth Wonder of the World”, yes the “Harmonica Man” himself, Mr. Steveland Morris (Stevie Wonder).

With pen and paper in hand (like a reporter of sorts) I found my seat in the fifth row. I knew I wanted to share my experience with those who visit my blog. Stevie is an awesome performer and if he comes anywhere near your town I would encourage you to check him out because the man is awesome, truly a WONDER!

Stevie was escorted on stage by his daughter Aisha (yes the baby immortalized in the song "Isn't She Lovely"), who is also a member of his backup group. After bantering with the audience he sat down at the piano and began singing "Love's In Need Of Love Today" with Aisha. Stevie then went into a series of his lesser known probably newer stuff, which wasn't bad, but I came to hear the hits not the "B" sides. After this set of virtually unknown music the crowd was back to life by a funky rendition of "Living For The City", which was followed by "The Master Blaster Jammin".

Using the voice box (the mouth apparatus used mostly by Roger of Zapp fame) Stevie performed "Betcha By Golly Wow", "Give Up The Funk", "Soul Man", and "We Are Family" as an prelude before transitioning into "Higher Ground", which was followed by "Golden Lady" and a crowd involved version of "Ribbon In The Sky" (I sang until my throat was scratchy) . I am including an entire list of songs performed at the end of the post.

Besides Aisha the back up singers included another lady named Kim and a male singer named Keith John. Well the male singer was introduced as the son of none other than Little Willie John of "Fever" fame (I know Malcolm of pop culture dish will appreciate this tidbit). The guy even broke out in his own rendition of his famous father's song...Classic stuff.

The band consisted of electric and acoustic guitar players, a bass player, two percussionists, a drummer another keyboardist besides Stevie, and a young boy named Jeffrey who played the harmonica on "Blowin In The Wind". The band was wonderful and vocally Stevie was at the top of his game. Of course if he wasn't on some type of soap box (war, racism, discrimination, etc.) it wouldn't be Stevie so I expected and accepted this. There is nothing quite like a little politics mixed in with your entertainment.

The concert ended on a high note with a performance of "As" (which I thought should have been entitled "Always"). A performer of Stevie's caliber has enough hits to sing for days without repeating a song, so you know he left the crowd wanting more. I would have liked to hear a medley of "Little" Stevie Wonder songs ("Hey Harmonica Man", "Contract On Love", "Everything Is Alright Uptight", or even "Fingertips") and two of my personal favorites "That Girl" from "Original Musicaquarium" and "Knocks Me Off My Feet" from "Songs In The Key Of Life". He performed for well over two hours, but if it had been up to me I would have kept him there all night. Below is a performance of "Superstition" on Sesame Street.

Songs Performed:

Loves In Need Of Love Today

Too Fine

Visions In Our Mind

Livin For The City

Master Blaster Jammin

Bet You By Golly Wow, Give Up The Funk, Soul Man, and We Are Family

Higher Ground

Golden Lady

Ribbon In The Sky


You And I/Days Of Wine And Roses

Send One Your Love

Blowin In The Wind

How Will I Know (Duet with Aisha)

If You Really Love Me, I Got The Feelin, It's Alright (Duet with Kim)

Don't You Worry Bout A Thing

Sign, Sealed, Delivered

My Cherie Amour

Sir Duke

I Wish

You Are The Sunshine Of My Life


I Just Called To Say I Love You


Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Thursday Thirteen # 2 - Thirteen Things About Me

Thirteen Things about ME

This is my second Thursday Thirteen and I think I should introduce myself with thirteen facts about myself in no particular order. I probably should have provided this introduction last week, but I didn't think about it. Better late than never.

1. I moved to the Dallas area earlier this year after living in Long Beach, California over 16 years.

2. I teach at two colleges in the Dallas Community College District. My courses are Intro Sociology and Criminology. I love interacting with the students and getting their take on current events and issues that affect society on a personal and global level.

3. I love popcorn! I sometimes go to the movie just to get the popcorn.

4. Music is a very important part of my life and I am a fan of all genres of music from R&B to Country and everything in between.

5. I am also a student working on a criminal justice degree.

6. I am originally from Michigan having been born and raised in Flint. I attended Beecher High School (Go Bucs).

7. I have an adult son who still resides in California. He plays the guitar and drums in a couple of local bands and he is also a disc jockey for hire.

8. Television is another passion of mine. I started recording most of the shows I watch so that I can fast forward through the commercials. It saves me about fifteen minutes on an hour show.

9. I also work as a case manager for adults with acute mental illnesses. Some of them are better off than others; however they all are on some form of psychotropic medication.

10. I enjoy playing card and board games. Some of my favorite games are Spades, Bid Whist, Pictionary, and Motownopoly.

11. I like watching professional basketball and I am a lifelong Detroit Piston fan, no matter what city in which I take up residence.

12. I miss California in a big way. My family and friends, the places to go, the beaches, the weather…Alas, the things we do for property ownership.

13. Finally I have found that I really like blogging and I am really getting into it in a big way.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

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The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Twenty-Five Most Memorable Quotes According to USA Today

Every now and then someone makes a statement that becomes a catch phrase or captures an event, phenomenon, or a particular time or era in popular culture. USA Today reporters and editors compiled a list of the 25 most memorable quotes over the last quarter of a century to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the publication. Is your favorite quote among these or do you have another one from the last twenty-five years that sticks out in your mind.

1"Let's roll."
Todd Beamer, Sept. 11, 2001, just before he and other passengers attacked terrorists controlling United Flight 93, which crashed in a Pennsylvania field. The White House may have been the target.

2"Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"
President Reagan, June 12, 1987, appealing to the Soviet leader to remove the Berlin Wall that divided East and West German sectors. It fell in 1989.

3"If it doesn't fit, you must acquit."
Defense attorney Johnnie Cochran, Sept. 27, 1995, arguing that a glove used as murder evidence in the O.J. Simpson trial was too small.

4"I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky."
President Clinton, Jan. 26, 1998, at a White House news conference.

5"You've got mail!"
America Online, 1989. The voice, which still greets users, is El Edwards, the husband of an AOL customer service representative.

6"Read my lips: no new taxes."
George H.W. Bush, Aug. 18, 1988, accepting the GOP presidential nomination in New Orleans. A tax hike later in his presidency was a factor in his loss for re-election.

7"Obviously a major malfunction."
Steve Nesbitt, NASA public affairs officer, Jan. 28, 1986, shortly after the space shuttle Challenger exploded.

8"How do we know when irrational exuberance has unduly escalated asset values?"
Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, Dec. 5, 1996, interpreted as a warning that stocks were too high. Markets plunged briefly the next morning.

9"You can't handle the truth!"
Actor Jack Nicholson as Col. Nathan Jessup in the 1992 film A Few Good Men.

10"I knew Jack Kennedy; Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy."
Democratic vice presidential candidate Lloyd Bentsen, debating Republican Dan Quayle in Omaha on Oct. 5, 1988.

11"Just say no."
Nancy Reagan's anti-drug campaign slogan, 1983.

12"I want to focus on my salad."
Martha Stewart, June 25, 2002, on CBS' The Early Show, when questioned about the probe into her stock dealings.

13"Which office do I go to to get my reputation back?"
Former Labor secretary Raymond Donovan, May 25, 1987, after being acquitted of fraud charges.

14"Keep hope alive."
Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, July 19, 1988, in a speech at the Democratic National Convention in Atlanta.

15"I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you. And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon."
President Bush, Sept. 14, 2001, addressing police, firefighters and rescue workers at Ground Zero.

16"My belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators."
Vice President Cheney, March 16, 2003, on NBC's Meet the Press, describing how Iraqis will react when U.S. troops topple Saddam Hussein.

17"One more thing."
Apple CEO Steve Jobs, 1999. He uses the phrase before unveiling products such as the iMac and iPod at computer shows.

18"Don't give up. Don't ever give up. "
Former North Carolina State basketball coach Jim Valvano, March 4, 1993, accepting an ESPY Award shortly before he died of cancer.

19"It takes a village to raise a child."
Hillary Rodham Clinton in her 1996 book, borrowing from an African proverb.

20"I'd run over my own mother to win the Super Bowl."
Russ Grimm, 1984, a Washington Redskin who ended his career as a player with three Super Bowl rings.

21"You gotta fight for your right to party. "
The Beastie Boys, 1986, in the song Fight For Your Right.

22"People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along?"
Rodney King, May 1, 1992, after the acquittal of Los Angeles police in his beating trial sparked widespread rioting.

24"I can't deny the fact that you like me! Right now, you like me!"
Sally Field, March 25, 1985,. accepting the Best Actress Oscar for Places in the Heart.

25"Not that there's anything wrong with that."
Jerry Seinfeld, Feb. 11, 1993, in the episode The Outing, later used whenever a gay character was discussed on the show.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Clinton Versus Obama

As a black woman, I find myself facing quite a conundrum (I love that word) with regards to the upcoming presidential election. I, as many other people, have two candidates in the race, but alas I can only vote for one. I am trying desperately to weigh the issues rather than letting my heart guide me.

I have always been a Hillary Clinton supporter since her days as the first lady. She is an advocate for socialized health care and children’s rights, but she is middle of the road on issues of abortion. She is progressive without illusions and believes that government should play a more prominent role in providing for the needs of the people.

The crux of candidate Obama’s campaign is rooted in universal health care. As you might have deciphered I am pretty big on every citizen in American be provided with adequate medical care in spite of their financial situation. Obama is also in favor of getting our people out of the Middle East, something that is very important to many Americans.

I am not a political analyst (and I don’t portray one on TV), I just feel that after the last eight years we need to return the government to the people and I think these two candidates offer the most promise for the future of this country. With that said, I still don’t have a clue about what I am going to do next November.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Pet Peeve # 1

I feel compelled to speak on a subject that bothers me, but I have not really told anyone about...Those pesky pieces of email that usually comes from acquaintances, friends, and relatives that you are suppose to read and send to four or more other people, plus the person that sent it to you.

Most of the time these emails come to you with the promise of reaping some huge monetary windfall for forwarding it on to others. They also contain veiled (and sometimes not so veiled threats) of disaster and even death if you do not follow through and send the email on to the next victim. Yes I said victim because these email are the equivalent of the old chain letters we use to receive in the mail promising doom and gloom to anyone who dared to break the chain.

I am not totally against forwarding email and I do forward worthwhile news, information, and miscellaneous items that I feel would be beneficial, enriching or bring comic relief to someone. I usually delete chain emails without even reading them. Many times they contain some type of reference to God or Jesus Christ and how you should not be ashamed to let the world know about your relationship with a higher power. My religious preferences or lack there of are my personal business. If I have friends and relatives who believe in a higher power (God, Jehovah, Allah, Buddha, etc.) they already know that he or she loves them and they don't really require my forwarding an email in order to validate that fact.

So for all my friends and relative who may be reading this, just know that I truly care about you and I will let you know this through words and deeds, not by forwarding some cheesy, generic email to clutter up your mailbox. Also know that I will be sending such emails straight to the trash bin above...No offense. If anyone understands where I am coming from please let me know that I am not alone.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

52nd Anniversary of Rosa Park's Arrest

It is hard to imagine that fifty-two years have passed since a tired working woman refused to stand up and give her seat to a white man. As I write this, Mrs. Parks is being honored in the place she chose to call home, Detroit, Michigan at the Wayne State University Law Library. When I was of elementary school age we never heard about black people doing anything positive, except for Booker T. Washington or George Washington Carver and the peanut. There was never any mention of people like Charles Drew, Lewis Latimer, or Rosa Parks. In history (his story) class, we were told we had been slaves until President Lincoln freed us. In other words, we never accomplished or contributed much of anything to western civilization worth mentioning.

We should have been taught about the struggle and how we have overcome unsurmountable obstacles and persevered. In the movie "Barbershop", Cedric The Entertainer mentioned the fact that Rosa Park's had refused to stand up because she was tired. Sometimes that is what it takes to make a difference, average, everyday people who sick an tired of being sick and tired. Her failure to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus sparked a year long boycott, which ended after the city agreed to total integration of the transportation system. My hope is that Rosa Parks is resting comfortably in the knowledge that she made a big difference in the lives of millions.

An excellent movie detailing this turbulent time in American history is "The Long Walk Home" starring, Whoopi Goldberg, Sissy Spacek, Ving Rhames, and Erika Alexander.

Jackson State University Student Found

The remains of Latasha Norman were discovered more than two weeks after her disappearance. A former boyfriend, Stanley Dwayne Cole, has been charged with the murder and is being detained without bond. She was found in a wooded area in North Jackson and her body showed signs of trauma. In the weeks before her disappearance Ms. Norman had been the target of several attacks, in which her tires were slashed on one occasion. Cole was charged with simple assault for another incident involving the deceased.

Jackson State University planned a moment of silence and bell ringing ceremony Friday. The was to include 16 tolls, one chime for each day Norman was missing before she was discovered. I cannot help thinking that if this kidnapping had received more media attention and if the FBI had gotten involved when she was first reported missing, she would have been found much sooner. It was only after FBI involvement that Cole led law enforcement to the body.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Kid Nation

I have been know to watch a reality show or two (or three). My favorites are "American Idol" and "Big Brother", but I also like BET's "Sunday Best" and I don't usually watch BET for obvious reasons. The one reality show that has me really intrigued is "Kid Nation". At first I started watching because I wanted to see if these children would actually be left alone to run this town by themselves for forty days. Once it was determined that there were adults there too intervene if crisis's arose, I was able to watch the show without feeling like I was contributing to the abuse of children.

The premise is that 40 children were transported to a western town called "Bonanza City" to get the town up and running. In true nineteenth century fashion the town has none of the modern day luxuries. They have to pump their water and bring it back to the town, for cooking, washing dishes, drinking, and cleaning. The town is divided into four districts, the Red, Yellow, Blue, and Green. The town is socially stratified and each week there is a showdown to determine which category each group will find themselves in. There is the Upper Class, the Merchants, the Cooks, and the Laborers. Of course everyone is vying for the upper class and no one wants to be a laborer.

Each week there is also a town meeting in which the town council (one child from each district) votes on the town citizen who deserves the gold star, literally worth it's weight in gold (20,000 dollars). At the town meeting the citizens are asked if anyone of them wants to go home. So far at least three children has found it too difficult to stay in Bonanza City.

I am hooked on this show and I am always in awe of how intelligent, well-spoken, and determined these children are as they attempt to successfully build a city.

The Computer Wins!

The personal computer seems to be the most important invention of the last one hundred years according those who took the poll. I personally would have chosen the television although I do love the computer. My only criticism of both computer and television is that it contributes to certain health problems in children, such as, obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, etc. Actually rather than blame the woes of the our children on technology, I should the place the blame squarely on parents who allow the computer, television, and video games to babysit. But I digress, here are the results of the poll.

Television 0%
Computer 75%
Cellular/Mobile Telephone 0%
Electronic Mail 0%
Other 25%

Thursday, November 29, 2007

He's Back!

Imus is returning to the airwaves after a seven month hiatus. I am one who thought he never should have been fired in the first place. Sure he may have offended the Rutger’s basketball team a little bit, but that’s what people like him and Howard Stern are paid to do, ruffle feathers and say the things others might think, but are too socially conscious to verbalize. He’s a shock jock after all. I like knowing where Imus and his type stand because I don’t care much for surprises. I was angrier that he apologized because he didn’t really mean it. He just uttered an empty and obligatory “I’m sorry” to save his job, I do not believe the apology was heartfelt in the least.

I must say I was never a fan of Imus’s in fact I never heard his show. I had seen him on television a couple of times and hurriedly changed the channel because I don’t suffer fools gladly. Can we expect a kinder and gentler Imus and do we really want him to be politically correct? Should he be returning at all? I would like to hear your thoughts.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Thursday Thirteen # 1 - Movies That Are Among My Favorites

Thirteen of my Favorite Movies

I am a firm believer in the ideology that you are not only what you eat, but also what you watch, listen to, and read. In other words we become what we take in though our senses. In my very first TT I am going to share some films I enjoy watching. I hope you find some of them enjoyable as well.

1. American Hot Wax (1978) – Malcolm of “Pop Culture Dish” and I are always saying that this film should be released on DVD. This movie was a wonderful tribute to the man who coined the phrase “Rock and Roll”, Alan Freed and the era that the genre represented. The film is also noteworthy because of the solid musical performances by Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, and a host of entertainers. A young Fran Drescher and Jay Leno also star.

2. The Color Purple (1981) - If I am flipping through the channels and this movie is on I cannot turn away. This film is noted for its breakout performance by Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey, who were both nominated for an Oscar for their performances (neither won). This film gave us a glimpse of what it was like to be a woman in the Deep South dominated by men. When Sophia (Oprah) rebelled she spent the better part of a decade incarcerated. Still it was a good story for the spirit because good did triumph over evil in the end.

3. Dirty Dancing (1987) – This is another film that I have watched more times than I can count. It is just something about it that remains so fresh too me, I think it is the dancing. Patrick Swayze sure knew his way around a dance floor. There is nothing remarkable about the plot, it is your typical good girl falls in love with the bad boy scenario, with some really corny dialogue (nobody puts Baby in a corner), yet somehow it works.

4. Do The Right Thing (1989) – This is one of my favorite movies by Spike Lee. It is always a treat for me to see Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis together and they were at full strength in this movie. The setting is one hot summer day in “Bed Stuy” New York where racial tension rises until a young man is left dead on the sidewalk. From the opening credits with Rosie Perez dancing to Public Enemy's “Fight the Power” you are engrossed by what is unfolding before you.

5. Friday (1995) – Whenever I want a good laugh I pop in this DVD. My favorite scene in the movie is when the mother has prepared all of the food for breakfast and Ice Cube’s character (Craig) finds out that he will not be getting any. Chris Tucker (Smokey) is also hilarious. [Craig Jones: We ain't got no sugar. Smokey: No sugar? Damn. Y'all ain't never got two things that match. Either y'all got Kool-aid, no sugar. Peanut butter, no jelly. Ham, no burger. Daaamn!].

6. Hair Spray (1988) – The Ricki Lake versions is a favorite of mine. The cast were well known, albeit “B” or “C” actors. I guess I am a sucker for a good musical and this film delivered. The dance sequences are great and the soundtrack is superb. Rounding out the cast was Sonny Bono, Deborah Harry, Pia Zadora, Jerry Stiller, Divine, and a fine performance by the late, great Ruth Brown.

7. I Want To Live: The Barbara Graham Story (1958) – This is one of my favorite movies of all times and my most favorite starring Susan Hayward. The 1958 film tell the true story about Barbara Graham, a petty criminal who is tried, convicted, and sentenced to death. Ms. Hayward is gives a stellar performance that tugs at your heart strings. You really care about her and wish her well, though it is not to be. She was the last woman to perish in California’s gas chamber.

8. Let No Man Write My Epitaph (1960) – The sequel to “Knock On Any Door” focused on the drug addiction and the disenfranchised among us. The main premise is how a mother and her friends try to insure that her son does not end up like his father. What is more telling is how poorly society deals with the lower class. The film included stand-out performances by Shelley Winters, Ricardo Montalban, Burl Ives, and Ella Fitzgerald (yes that Ella Fitzgerald) as Flora. I don’t see this around very often, but I recommend it wholeheartedly.

9. Malcolm X (1992) – What can I say about this film other than Denzel Washington channeled the spirit of Malcolm X. How he failed to win an Oscar for this performance is a mystery. The transformation from Malcolm Little to Malcolm X to El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz was extraordinary. I was mesmerized the entire time. The film featured some excellent work by Delroy Lindo as “West Indian Archie”.

10. Piece of the Action (1977) – My favorite of the three films from the duo of Sidney Poitier and Bill Cosby. They portray criminals who are blackmailed into mentoring teenagers at the Benjamin Banneker Community Center by a well meaning detective. When they meet the kids, the fun and games begin. The center facilitator/babysitter questions Barbara’s “attention span” and all hell breaks loose. Curtis Mayfield is responsible for the soundtrack which is sung by Mavis Staples of The Staple Singers fame.

11. Sparkle (1976) – Before Fame and performing the Flashdance theme song, Irene Cara was Sparkle, of a trio of sister’s who have aspirations of making it big in the 1950’s recording industry. There is an abundance of hardship along the way, with drug addiction, poverty, and domestic abuse taking its toll before the human spirit triumphs. This film also has a Curtis Mayfield soundtrack, sung by none other than Aretha Franklin. Although I love Aretha, I always thought the songs on the album should have been song by the stars who sung them in the film. I later heard that Curtis Mayfield admitted that he wished he had released the album with the kids.

12. The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946) – This star-studded film cast included Barbara Stanwyck, Kirk Douglas, Lizabeth Scott, and Van Heflin. This film had some of the best dialogue between the characters portrayed by Ms. Scott and Mr. Heflin. They don’t make em’ like this anymore, the really don’t.

13. Why Do Fools Fall In Love? (1998) – The film was supposedly the true story of Frankie Lymon, who along with The Teenagers was a popular act circa 1950’s. The group disbanded when Lymon went solo and he like many stars of the era became hooked on heroin. Vivica Fox was hilarious as Frankie Lymon’s first wife, the petty criminal. Halle Berry and Lela Rochon were wives number 2 and 3 respectively.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Another Young African-American Woman is Missing

Latasha Norman, a twenty year old college student at Jackson State University student in Jackson, Mississippi has been missing for last two weeks. Blogger “The Field Negro” focused on the incident, stating that “she isn’t white so you won’t hear about her…” I tried Goggling her name to see if she had been found, but I did not even get an article reporting that she was missing. I ended up going to only to learn that there is no new information.

My sadness is two-fold. I fear that since she has been missing for so long, there is the possibility that she will not be found alive, which is very troubling to me. It also saddens me that the media is once again disinterested in acknowledging that a woman of color is missing and providing the national attention needed to garner the resources and manpower to actually find this young woman.

I often inform students who take my intro sociology course, that it is a definite privilege to be white and that white life is much more valued than the lives of people of color, be they black, red, or brown. Journalist Gwen Hill describes this phenomenon as the “missing white woman syndrome”, in which all media attention is extended to missing white women (and white children), while people of color get virtually no media coverage.

I feel for this young woman, her family and friends and I pray that she is found unharmed.Anyone with information regarding Latasha Norman's whereabouts is asked to contact JSU's police department at (601) 979-2580 or the Jackson Police Department at (601) 960-1210.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Jackson Reunion Tour

Well it is about time. One of my favorite groups from childhood, The Jackson Five is about to be reunited. According to Jermaine Jackson, the bassist and sometimes lead singer, they are in the process of launching a full-scaled reunion tour with all of his brothers, including Michael. The famed group's last album came in 1989, five years after the "king of pop" left to become one of the biggest recording artists of all time. Jackson said the group believes it has an obligation to perform. "We feel we have to do it one more time. We owe that to the fans and to the public." Jermaine, who was lead singer of the combo in the early days until his younger brother took over, added that Michael has been active in the reunion plans.

Jermaine also stated that earlier attempts to reunite were put on the back burner in the midst of the child abuse allegations against Michael. At the peak of the group’s success, the members in chronological order were Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, and Michael. There was no mention of whether their younger brother Randy would be joining the festivities, but I am assuming he will since he recorded with them on several of their later albums. There is also talk that the reunion may actually result in a new album.

I know if the tour comes anywhere near the Dallas area, to quote one of the groups older songs, “I’ll Be There”. Here is a clip showcasing the brothers singing a medley of their hits.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

How To Rent A Negro

Sometimes you stumble upon something that is controversial, yet kind of cool at the same time. A couple of years ago a woman by the name of Damali Ayo authored a book entitled “How to Rent a Negro”. I had the book on my shelf for a while, but never got around to reading it until recently. I found it to be a hilarious and satirical look at what goes on between the races in American culture. The book is set up as guidebook for transactions between the renters (whites) and the rentals (blacks). The premise of the book is that if you are going to be the token black in a situation you might as well be compensated.

Although "the purchase of African Americans was outlawed many years ago," Ayo writes, "black people are once again a valued and popular commodity." In her view, they appeal especially to whites who rely on their relationships with blacks as evidence of their own progressive politics or simply to inject some sorely needed "cool" into their lives. Ayo has in mind real-life versions of George Costanza, the "Seinfeld" sidekick who spent an entire episode in search of a black person whom he could pass off as his friend in a social situation.

Whites like George need not despair that slavery is no longer legal, Ayo suggests. "Those who want to utilize the service of an articulate and well-mannered African American are easily classified as renters. Those who find themselves serving as certified African Americans for colleagues and friends are conveniently referred to as rentals." Her book is a tongue-in-cheek guide to completing such "transactions" with a minimum of fuss. As I mentioned the book is very funny, but it also has a sobering ring of truth.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Lena Baker Story

Tichina Arnold ("Everybody Hates Chris", "Martin") will be starring in an independent film entitled "The Lena Baker Story" about the first and only Georgia woman to be sent to the electric chair. First of all I am totally against the death penalty under any circumstances. The main reason is that it is a barbaric and outdated way to deal with crime. Secondly, it does not deter crime because those who commit crime do not think they will get caught and many people actually do not get caught.

Another problem with the death penalty is that some people on death row are not guilty, which brings me back to Ms. Baker. It seems that this woman was used for sex (raped) by her employer regularly and when she finally got the nerve to fight back she ended up killing him which led to her being convicted (by an all white, male jury) and sentenced to death. Although she proclaimed her innocence, stating that she acted in self-defense, she was executed. Sixty years after her execution she was pardoned by the Governor of Georgia.

Although justice came far too late for this mother of three, her story can help to illustrate what is wrong with the United States justice system. The same problems that existed sixty years ago still persist today. People of color continue to bear the brunt of an justice system that often times simply does not work . Some people say that the time has come to move on and not focus on the past. I beg to differ, “Those who are unaware of history are destined to repeat it" - George Santayana. I welcome any comments you might have.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Boondocks

Anyone that familiar with me knows that I love the "Boondocks" an adult cartoon on the Cartoon channel created by Aaron McGruder. The cartoon is actually a spinoff of sorts from McGruder's political comic strip in which the main characters are 10 year old Huey, 8 year old Riley, and Robert Jedediah Freeman or "Grandad" as he is affectionately referred to by his grandsons. Rounding out the cast is Thomas Dubois (The District Attorney), his wife Sarah, his daughter Jasmine, and Robert's self-hating buddy, Uncle Ruckus (no relation).

Riley is a grifter who is forever trying to get something for nothing. For instance he convinces his grandfather to act as if he is blind in order to reap the benefits from two reality show. These schemes always have a backlash and unfortunately the characters end up in much worse shape than they started.

Huey is the voice of reason in an insane world. He is intellectual, militant, and well-versed. In one episode he is asked to speak at his grandfather's friend funeral. Huey recites poetry from Khalil Gabran, the little brother is DEEP!

There is also the semi-regulars that stop by from time to time, such as, Remy and Ed Wunsler III, a new character called Thugnificent and his crew consisting of Macktastic and Flownominal. Below is a clip from this week'
s episode in which Grandad is introduced to the world of internet dating.