Prop 8 Upheld?!

First of all, I’ve got to come clean; I’m a little behind in my blogging.  And I usually write only about stuff that really means something to me or to society.  But the other day, when I saw that the California Supreme court upheld the ban on gay marriages, I got a little enraged or something.  I’ll preface this by saying, I’m not a gay male.  I love women.  They’re fun and cute and angering and lovable and blah blah blah.  But here’s the deal – I’ve always been in favor of gay unions, marriages, etc.  Not for some grandiose reason of “I love the world,” but because if somebody loves somebody else enough to want to spend the rest of his/her life with another person, then damnit go let them do it.  As long as we’re not allowing people to marry pigs, we’re in good shape.

Now is marriage a “civil right?”  I don’t even know what a civil right is nowadays, but I do think that equal rights should be allowed to all.  I mean no, I really don’t like the image of two men kissing.  It doesn’t appeal to me, just looks….weird.  But hey, if they want to go get married, why not?  Marriage is “supposed” to be between a man and a woman, and that’s great.  But really though, does two men or two women getting married affect anybody else’s day to day life?  If I have to live next to a co-habitating gay couple, I won’t walk past them going, “Hey shh…it’s the gays!”  They’re the damn neighbors, and the only time I’ll care is if they make too much noise and I need to ask them to turn down the music, like with any neighbor.

What I’m saying is I don’t know why there’s so much fuss about who can marry who.  With all the sham marriages in this country, forced marriages, pressured marriages and failed marriages, if two gay people love each other and want to tie the knot, jump the broom and step on the glass of pee then give them a pat on the back and tell them good luck.  Call me the ultimate egalitarian – I do believe in total equity of all peoples, but that’s another rant for another time.

Oh here’s a great question for you all, and please comment.  Sometimes when I start thinking about the interesting scenarios involving gay people, transgendered people come to my mind as well.  Say you meet somebody, spend time with that person, date that person, fall for that person, and you propose to that person.  Person tells you, “I love you too, but I have to confess.  I was born a man.”  Arguably one of the freakiest things that can happen, but let’s just say he’s completely gone through all surgeries.  You can’t tell the difference.  You love spending time with him and fell for him.  What would you do?  Would you be scared that you’re gay?  Would you just tough it out?  Would you not care?  Same for ladies, if Bill was born Beverly, how would you react?

And some light humor, because I like to laugh at life – old school.

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Hilarious websites

Normally I’ll be making various commentaries, but I can’t resist putting these websites up here so that more people are aware.

F*** My Life might be one the of the lowkey funniest websites in history.  Here’s a recent example of what goes on there…

Today, I was dealing with a psychiatric patient with a colonostomy bag. She got agitated and ripped the bag from her abdomen and threw it at my face. I got a bag filled with poop thrown at my face. FML

If that doesn’t make you laugh, nothing will.

My Drunk Texts From Last Night is a site a friend of mine just told me about…and I’m pretty sure we’ve all done a good drunk text or two.

chick I’m bringing home just asked our cab driver if she could do a line off his turban.  i think I’m in love – or trouble. – MDT

Gotta love the comedy in our everyday lives.

OH, before I forget – Boondocks Bootleg is fucking hilarious.  No better way to describe it.  Here’s a sample…

Black Shows Are Phased Out

The cast of The Game

The cast of The Game

I ran across the show, “The Game,” on BET a couple of months ago.  If you haven’t heard of it, it was a show about a few members of the San Diego Sabres, a fictional professional football team.  There was Malik, the star QB who lived with his mom who was also his manager; Jason, the veteran WR who had the “perfect marriage” with a white woman who was a trophy wife, and Derwin, the rookie WR who is adjusting to the pro life with his girlfriend.  It came on the CW on Friday nights, and I think it was in the Friday Night Death Slot, because folks are pregaming to go out somewhere or are out socializing, not watching much TV.  Either way, this spinoff from Girlfriends, one of the longest running black TV shows and definitely the longest running all black female cast TV shows, had a good following and had a good cast.  Tia (I know you remember Sister, Sister) Mowry was Melanie, the girlfriend of Derwin, Wendy Raquel Robinson of The Steve Harvey Show played Malik’s mom Tasha, and with those two veterans of the small screen leading the way, the show performed well in its first season.

I found about the show late, and I really liked watching it on BET at 5.  The plot twists were decent enough, the characters were built up, and the realism in the show was very important.  As much as I knew that the show did parody professional athletes a little bit and had some very wild episodes (everybody in LA at the same hotel on the same day?), it all kind of stuck.  It worked.  They had the new music on the show, the hot athletes and celebrities, it was a fresh show that never forgot what it was – a comedy/drama about pro athletes and what goes on with their families.

Sadly, the show got canceled.  And with its cancellation, there are no more predominantly African-American scripted shows on American network TV.  Hell, the only ones I can think of are on TBS and are the two Tyler Perry shows, Meet The Browns and House of Payne.  Now I recognize that family-friendly sitcoms have more or less gone the way of the dodo, but it’s still shocking to me that there just aren’t black people on TV in prominent positions like there were 10 years ago.  Cosby, Family Matters, Fresh Prince, Sister, Sister, Girlfriends, Living Single, In Living Color, Martin, A Different World and many more were network TV gold in primetime slots over the past 20 years or so.  So many careers were launched and these shows were venues and platforms for mostly black casts to showcase black life.  With Everybody Hates Chris gone and The Game gone, if you want something mostly black on your TV you have to go with (Thank God) The Boondocks, though it’s definitely a sitcom, or one of the two Tyler Perry shows.

Nothing against TP, but I enjoyed variety in my choice of black shows.

Why these shows were cancelled is beyond me, though according to Wikipedia, The CW wanted to get away from half hour sitcoms and move to hour long dramas.  And in the process, alienate a large section of viewership.  Then again, both Everybody Hates Chris and The Game, the black shows, were given the Friday Night Death Slot treatment.  The CW killed these shows, and in the process really made American network TV take a step back.  At this point, I’d be happy to see BET take it up because Baldwin Hills really ain’t black TV to me.

The more I write about this, the more I’m really shocked.  There isn’t a predominantly African-American cast, scripted show on network TV.  This would never have happened ten years ago, and as much as everybody made fun of UPN (U Pick a Nigga, UnderPaid Niggas), the network did one hell of a job promoting black TV shows and adding some variety to the network TV atmosphere that’s usually milk white.  So here we stand, forced to watch rich LA black kids’ drama on BET, social commentary masked by profanity and absurdity on Adult Swim, or a helping of family values based TV that’s punctuated with a cross-dressing man playing a grandmother.

I might as well eulogize black TV…

On The Subject of Love…

As I read some entries from the website www.fmylife.com (a great site if you want a good laugh), I noticed a prevailing pattern – love, as bombastic and whirlwind-like it can be, is not the ultimate in having a relationship with someone. Even more so, love is not the end-all-be-all when it comes to successful relationships. I then was reminded by that “Lions, Tigers and Bears” song of a line where the woman sings that just because two people love each other, it does not mean they should be together. By no means am I making reference to an Ike and Tina setup, but this all begs the question (at least for me); what is the use of this love business?

Maybe this is what happened to Cupid?

Maybe this is what happened to Cupid?

Admittedly, this stance is skeptical and pragmatic – two things that love seemingly “overcomes at all odds” in many of its descriptions and personifications. According to many romantic people, love is the ultimate in fairness and justice – it holds no prejudice, no favor, just strikes like a tactical snake, filling you with love venom until you burst. But I maintain – what is the use in this love business?

I’m brought back to the line from the song I mentioned. There are many schools of thought when it comes to love and relationships, with the hopelessly romantic on the side of “love will be enough to make the relationship work,” and the antithetical school being “relationships aren’t built on love alone, they need actual work.” Now, if this “Love” character (if I am going to personify this so-called undefinable entity) works for fairness, it would seem to me that if two people indeed do love one another, then that actually should be enough for the relationship to go. Granted, relationships of any sort do require work to maintain and continue, but the fact remains that the second school of thought looks at the first with the assumption that no work happens and the relationship is powered by love only. My thought? What is the relationship of the second school of thought, heretofor called “Love Work,” running on? Work? In a society that disparages work, I feel safe in admitting that work alone will not create a successful relationship – it creates a job that one eventually comes to despise, be annoyed by, and either quit or gets fired due to poor performance. Now then, with all this said, I ask again about this “Love” character and his/her business in the world.

Shots to the mouth hurt too...

Shots to the mouth hurt too...

A problem I hold with the business given it by us humans who are supposedly influenced by it is that we are defining something that infects us with no known origin or knowledge of transmission. (That’s right, I’ve equated love with a virus) Love is like an infectious disease that infiltrates your system and crosses up your natural mental wiring. So we aim to define and describe this disease as we’re already infected. You can give the symptoms, but no doctor really self-diagnoses. Because the diagnosis is not objective any longer, which is the exact issue with the common personifications, descriptions and evaluations of love. We give symptoms, and we try to give these symptoms cause, but the reality of it is that we have no idea how this “Love” character chooses to strike. How he or she strikes. Much like an assassin, we only know after the bullet has punctured our chest.

Yet again and again I ask, what becomes the purpose of this love? Many of us claim love prior to even having the mental faculties to interpret what love is, but when someone asks what love is, all we hear are the descriptions of what love has done to that person. But that person’s wiring has been crossed! It’s akin to asking an insane person about the world around them. They’re able to perceive, but how they perceive is shockingly different than how we do, and we don’t trust their perceptions. Yet we trust the perceptions of those in love, because it is what we all aim to be. We all endeavor to feel this insanity, this mental recklessness. And we excuse our desire for insanity by saying that “love” is bigger than us, it’s more powerful than us, it knows what’s best, blah blah blah! We praise love for the good times and we do not blame love for the bad.

It appears, in this respect, love has entered the realm of the deity – indescribable yet palpable, intangible yet we desire it to be tangible so much so that we create its tangential body, and because it is like the deity, we excuse it from all blame. When things go wrong when you’re in love, you blame the other person. When things go right when you’re in love, you thank God (which is in this case thanking the “Love” character) for having found this person, and you’re so happy you have found love. Love has earned its fair share of blame, and we avoid blaming love because if what’s supposed to be the most purist thing in human interaction is love, it must be considered faultless for faith in humanity to continue, just like God must be faultless for faith in a higher power to continue. I don’t want to rain on anybody’s parade, but culpability is not a one way street.

But before I continue on, I’ve had to speak about Love from a completely theoretical and conceptual standpoint. The difference between love and god is that with God, you know his “powers” (Omni-whatever you want), but with love there is no definition of this “deity” (because let’s face it, the damn concept has been personified so much so that it’s a sub-deity unto itself) and as such we use our romantic imagery to conceptualize the abilities of love.

Romantic Imagery

Romantic Imagery

Spellbound lovers have created the powers of love, and we all caught on like moths to a flame. And as such, we’ve become accustomed to accepting the semi-deity like status of the concept of love. Ask someone what love is, they give a fluffy anecdote or story or tale or some sort of half-cocked description because they cannot actually accurately explain this love deity. And as wild as it sounds, any conversation about love already begins with the presupposition that we are all talking about the same “type” of thing, but in reality we are all grasping at straws.

So what does love give us? No guarantees, supposedly some funny feelings and warmth on the inside, a desire for another person and yet none of that means much if the relationship never comes to fruition or even is successful. No, this love game is much more like a business venture than a deity working his or her magic like some old Greek God. We have some emotional money – we invest in another person. The hope is that this person will provide a more than adequate return on your investment, but sometimes they keep your money or you just lose money on the failed investment. Some people are gung-ho with their emotional money, or emotional capital, and continue to invest. Others become more guarded, worried about having the same fate. Sometimes we hit on winners…until they too fail. Sometimes we find the most consistent thing and ride it to success. Sometimes we don’t sell early enough; sometimes we sell too late. Love ends up mimicking a business, or even the stock market much more than its romantic descriptions would have us believe.

Is this how the Love stock market is?

Is this how the Love stock market is?

My personal opinion is torn. I am actually a romantic – I want to believe in this love guff, but I can’t bring myself all the way around. If love is like a deity, then perhaps I have to give myself fully to reap the benefits of his or her existence. But if the other side of the coin is right, and love is nothing more than consistency and continuity in some person doing their job that you have assigned for them better than any other person so you keep them around knowing there is no other upgrade possible, then I am worried. I’m worried because this love thing we all buy into could be a huge sham, and what’s the point in believing a lie?

Then again, I still believe in Santa Claus…(but that’s another story)

Vick Drama Continues…

Michael (Mike) Vick

Michael (Mike) Vick

Yesterday the sports world was buzzing a bit.  Michael Vick was released from Leavenworth, KS to go to Virginia and be on house arrest.  That’s great for Mike and makes great fodder for ESPN, but here’s what blew my mind.  The following day, on ESPN’s Bottom Line, I see, “Michael Vick meets with probation officer.”  Come on, ESPN.  Are we really going to follow his every footstep as he returns to real life?

Make no mistake, I’m not one of those “Free Mike Vick” supporters.  He aided and abetted in the torture and murder of dogs and accordingly paid his debt to society.  Now that he’s only got a couple of months left, can’t we leave the man alone unless he does something football related?  He’s going to do construction work, he’s going to be on house arrest, there is no more real news.

I’m going to be mad as hell if I wake up one day and ESPN reports, “Michael Vick begins construction job.”  THIS ISN’T NEWS!  Give me more on the Stanley Cup playoffs, which have been excellent as of late, but this is really trashy to utilize small stuff like a guy meeting his probation officer to make a story.  For all we know, Vick might not ever play another down in the NFL.  I know we like to speculate, but it’s really not that important – let’s just leave the man in peace.  If Vick is going to make headlines, let’s please let it be because he made headlines, not because the headlines made him.

Graduation – My 10 seconds of fame

A time to laugh.  A time to cry.  A time to smile, and embrace that this day is indeed your own.  Such is how many naturally embrace graduation, be it from high school or the one that I’m to have in roughly 5 hours, college.  To be honest, I felt no euphoria when I finished my last class.  I felt no euphoria when I knew I was going to pass my classes and graduate.  I felt no euphoria when I saw my name on the clearance list.  The only word I can come up with is relief.  It’s over.  I’m going to become a Morehouse Man, and get my degrees (PHILOSOPHY and Spanish).  And even now, as I type this, I feel no extreme euphoria, the type of which I expected to feel when I finished my work.

I acknowledged this strange emotion, and I think it exists because I didn’t come to Morehouse or college period to pussyfoot around and not graduate.  The ultimate purpose of college is to graduate.  Get out and become a productive member of society.  Well I’ve been a productive member of society and on one hand, being proud I’m graduating is being proud I can wipe my ass – you don’t get proud of doing what is expected of you.

But maybe I’m not giving the situation or the circumstances enough justice.  I’m in the minority – a black man with a college degree.  While I may have expected it, my family expected it, my peers expected it, perhaps the world at-large didn’t expect it.  As much as I downplayed it all, no matter what this is an accomplishment.  To me, it’s more of a step than a finish, but nevertheless it is a step in the right direction.

As the big day readily approached, and I was out with my friends for the last time as an undergraduate, I never stopped and thought to myself that these days are over.  I never reveled in the inherent nostalgia of meeting these good men and women for the first time.  I lived in those moments, which are now done, and my memory of living is what holds those moments together.  But I never had some sort of excitement about it all.  Maybe I’d long since accepted that this is what happens when you graduate – you pack up and leave town, because whether or not you made a mark, your time has come.  And you must move on.

Then my family came into town, and something powerful started to overwhelm me.  Seeing my aunts and uncles smile, my parents gleam with pride, my brother simply say, “I’m proud of you,” and 50 of my family come down from St. Louis on a bus just to see me walk across a stage for 10 seconds provided me with a swell of pride in my heart that I’d never felt before.  All eyes were on me, and I didn’t know what to say or do.  Seeing them Saturday evening and spending some 6 hours with them, having drinks and shooting the breeze, it hit me that I’m the man of the hour.  That they came to see their hard work fulfilled by watching that 10 second strut across a stage on Morehouse’s campus.  And I was determined to have them enjoy themselves.

So the prior feeling of listlessness left me, and my tired body (I hadn’t slept in 2 days combined with a good amount of drinking in those two days) dragged itself to campus at 6:15am Sunday morning.  I put on my cap and gown, and looked around at the 450+ men who were about to graduate with me.  The sight truly is something to behold, and as we began our processional, the excitement I’d been waiting on came.  As I made that last walk from King Chapel down to where the ceremony was held, right across from Graves Hall (my freshman dorm), my body started to shake a little bit.  I saw the banners of the different classes who came back, people who graduated in 1969, 1954, 1944, and more.  They stood smiling, proud to see more Morehouse Men enter the world.  And that euphoria was arriving.  Slowly but surely, as we marched past Benjamin Mays’ grave, and the sea of people were surrounding us, I felt it.  As I write this now, I still feel it in my heart.  The combination of happiness, euphoria, pride and joy created a harmonious note of finality to my Morehouse and college experience.  And as I sat through Cicely Tyson bringing out the Jane Pittman and Henry Louis Gates taking 15 minutes too long, my legs started twitching.  It was almost showtime.  And I would not want to disappoint.

Shawn Michaels as Champ in 1997

I’d told Ed Coffie, a friend of mine, that I’d come across the stage with the pride, power, and exuberance of Shawn Michaels in 1997 (obscure wrestling reference #2).  And since the stage had its own Titantron-looking thing, I was just that much more excited.  When I stood in the short line to get up on the stage, I felt the jitters.  I felt those nerves.  I felt the impending moment about to happen, if that makes any sense at all.  My 10 seconds of fame was coming.

Shawn Michaels as Champ in 1997

They said my name, and I hopped up those stairs, put my right hand in the air and yelled, “Let’s go baby! Yeah!”  The eruption from my 50-deep fan club shocked the crowd near them, and my comrades gave a large yell as well.  One hand shake later, I was a Morehouse Man.

It was my 10 seconds of fame.  It meant so much to so many, and to them I say thank you.  For those of you who will one day have your 10 second walk, enjoy it.  One guy did the Ric Flair across the stage, finishing it with a “WOO!”  Because your 10 seconds of fame is the best 10 seconds of your life.

Flair and his trademark WOO

Flair and his trademark WOO

I once thought that graduation was like losing your virginity.  Everybody hypes it up, there’s so much talk about what’s going on, then the moment comes and goes.  I’d forgotten the deeper goings on in losing one’s virginity.  That moment can never be replicated.  Your memory of it will be a jumble of emotions and events, regrets and successes.  But the importance of that moment will always stay with you – in that time period, you did something you can never do twice.  And one time is plenty.

Shout out to all college classes of 2009.  May we go forth and do big things.

The Chronicles of the Black Pack – Pt. 3

Here’s part 3 of The Chronicles.  Who’s next in their romantic issues?  We’ve seen how the 4 of them got up with one another, Rob’s inability to commit, James’ sour luck, and in part 3 we’ll learn more about one of these men…

Part 1

Part 2

—————————————-

Andre and I were closer friends just because of our circumstances of how we met and the fact that we came out in the same year.  So when I checked my watch that Saturday, he knew exactly what that meant.  “Maria got you that watch, so that must mean it’s Maria time.  How’s that goin’ for you; you gon’ drop down and pop that question sometime soon?  I got the hos ready to go for the bachelor party man, I just need you to let me know when.”  He gave me a nudge, which, because of his large, athletic frame can still knock a man over, and grinned like a Cheshire cat.  I know that Dre, Rob and James think that I’ve got this amazing relationship or something.  They have this idea that Maria and I were the paradigm of a good relationship – the truth is we just try.  That’s really it.  It helps that she can come around the fellas and talk some shit with the best of them, though.  “Dre, if I put the handcuffs on, then you niggas better throw me a damn good bachelor party.  I want a fountain of strippers.”  I got up, we all shook hands, and I headed to pick up Maria from her Sandy Springs apartment.  As I hopped on 75/85, I wondered why Andre seemed so interested in me and Maria.  “Jazzy Belle” by OutKast blasted from my iPod, and as I bobbed my head to the soulful song, I thought back to the last time Andre and I spoke about his love life a few weeks ago.

“Yeah, so I was in San Fran doing reporting for a game, and I’d gotten an invite to a little post-game party in this hotel.  I knew I had to pull out the best fit I had – I still remembered what those pros had told me during training camp about the post-game parties and attire.  As soon as I walk in, I see the guy who sent me the invite – he got drafted a couple of rounds ahead of me, but we both got cool during rookie camp and stuff.  Anyway, he points out that there’s been this girl eyeballin’ me since I walked in.  We all know the deal – I’m only in town for a night, I’m gonna have a couple drinks and I’m gonna enjoy myself.  If that means I end up hittin’ somethin’, then so be it.  I felt like having that old school no strings, face down ass up with Luke in the background like I’m back in high school type of night.  So I stroll up to Brandy, who was a beautiful chocolate girl in a dress that just fit her perfectly and she just looked like something amazing.  “You new in town?”  I told her I’m only in town for the night, and she gave me a look up and down.  I’m not out of shape, just because I don’t play in the league anymore don’t mean I’m not still keeping good care of myself.  So she asks what position I play, and I tell her I used to be a running back but now I do the news.  She got that sad look on her face, asking why I’m out of the league so fast and I told her a little about me messing up my leg in my first training camp.  She made a comment about how at least I’ve got a job in this crappy economy, and I told her she’s right – if I didn’t land this job I’d have to go back to Miami and do my Black Tony Montana thing to try to make ends meet.  We got to laughing and then we definitely got to drinking.  We found a little part of the suite that was more private, and we were all on the couch getting close.  She asked me where I’m staying, and I’m down the block.  She says she’s got a room and since I’ve been drinking, she wants to make sure I’m safe.  Man it was like somethin’ clean out of a porno.  I handled business that night, like it was a dive play and I’m goddamn Jerome Bettis.  Woke up, came home, but it’s starting to get old doing this stuff.  It may keep me young, but I’m not Hugh Hefner – I’m going into my late 20’s and haven’t really had a lot of meaningful relationships.  I always just kinda got what I wanted – I was a winner, man.  Now I kinda wanna wine and dine a chick because I like her, not her pussy.”  All I could say was, “If Rob was here, he’d tell you that you need a tampon and the Sex in the City movie with all this whining.”

Andre’s background presents an interesting dichotomy.  He was always the jock – the best athlete in high school and he ran the school, he was one of the best running backs in Blackwell history, and I already told you about how we had the campus.  And he went to the league – he was on top of the world.  He could have any woman he wanted, and since basically 14 he’d done just that.  He didn’t really want that long term relationship – he liked dealing with women as ass.  He wouldn’t do ‘em dirty like Rob might, but he was very upfront with why he was talking to a girl.  There was no leading on, he was talking to her for only one reason.  But it seems that recently he’s after a little more, and hopefully it’s because he’s sowed his oats enough.  I guess you can’t be a one night guy all the time – after awhile you do want to have that stability.