Saturday, September 20, 2003

And she would be the one to get fired.

I walked into AT&T hoping to pay on my go phone account. The clerk, a young Black female, was already helping a customer, another young Black female. As I walked in the clerk was asking her for her work phone number to which the customer replied "Girl! I don't be knowing no phone numbers. I think its 855 something. Just put Nissan." The clerk chuckled and proceeded helping her establish her account.

There was another clerk, a pseudo-young white male, on the phone as I proceeded to survey my surrounding. He seemed to be on an important call, so I simply stood in line awaiting to helped. After five minutes the guy walked over to me, said I'll be right with you, and went into the back. The clerk already assisting the customer looks at me and says 'I'm sorry, I guess his personal call is more important'. By her tone you could tell this is something that has happened before. My mind raced and I thought 'here we go'.

The woman who was being waited on upon my arrival was accompanied by what I assume was her brother or her boyfriend and her son, who could not have been any older than three or four.

He ran around the place, unruly, but very innocently. He was playing cops and robbers or so it seemed, since he kept screening about who [his imaginary playmate] had the gun. The gentlemen and I, and secretively the clerk waiting on his mother, watched as he crawled back and forth across the building, screamed and tackled, kicked and enjoyed. What struck me was that the mother was so casual about his public behavior. I admit I am not the best when it comes to kids, but I believe there should be some type of decorum taught in public. Something to the effect of BE STILL.

After another five minutes of this and the witnessing of:

Clerk: What's your home phone number?

Customer: Girl!! I ain't got no home phone. Stop Jerod.

Clerk: He has a good imagination.

Customer: Girl!! He play like this at home. I mean it ain't nobody but me and him.

Jerod (who has collapsed on the floor after 15 seconds of silence): I want a baby.

Clerk: He wants a baby?

Customer: Girl!! He silly.

Clerk: Where is he going to get a baby from? He wants you to make a baby? (now becoming frantic at the mother's lack of concern) Jerod, where are you going to get a baby from?

Jerod: I'm going to make one.

The mother laughs, the clerk sighs and I am growing agitated.

Mr. Clerk finally returns and asks what he could do for me. I explained I was there to make a payment. He asked what type of phone did I have while simultaneously physically searching my person for it. I backed away and said 'I have a GO phone'.

He asked "Is the phone off."

I answered "No"

Without pausing to hear my answer he continues "Because if it is off it will take..."

Again "No, my phone is not off"

I assumed he had gotten the message. He walked around the counter and started punching keys. He asked the other clerk for a dollar, I still have no clue why. Then he beckons me to step forward:

Mr. Clerk: What is your cell phone number?

Me: 601-

Mr. Clerk: Make sure you give me the right number.

Me: Why would I give you the wrong number?

Mr. Clerk: You have no clue how many people who don't know their phone numbers.

Me: [classic sarcasm] Really?

Customer: Girl!! Yea!! Cuz I don't be knowing my numbas all the time. It just happen like dat. I didn't even know my work numba.

Mr. Clerk (who has come from around the counter to demonstrate): Because people come in here all dragged out and they're like uh duh uh...

All of which I could possibly have understood had I not been in the process of giving him my number before he went off on this acid trip. Seeming as though this clerk was obviously tact-less, and wor-king my nerves, I interrupted his speech to motion (read: push) him back around the counter because I was more than tired of his BS.

After finally handing my receipt to me and freeing me from this torture, I headed for the nearest exit. There was a customer entering as I left and I could only hold my head in fear for what she was about to encounter.

Notes on this experience for those who did not see it as I did:

After remembering what I heard of Mr. Clerk's conversation he was no doubt having phone sex, which explains why he had to take it in the back.

Mr. Clerk is aware of his position as the alpha male in that facility. He knows when the shit hits the fan the Black Chic gets the ax first.

When Jerod turns 16 and says to mommy that his girlfriend is pregnant will she remember she released all rights to be upset. He already told her he wanted to make a baby, by her silence she condoned his actions.

I can not say Mr. Clerk was racist but he was definitely prejudice. He made assumptions from what he saw, a young Black woman dressed in hip-hop fashion, and implied that a) I must be reconnecting a disconnected phone b) I must be too ashamed to admit it c) I will lie about what phone I have for whatever reason d) My time is worthless and e) it is necessary for excuses to be made for adults who don't take ownership over the products they purchase.

The customer being waiting on from the time I got there to the time I left was obviously offended by my infliction when I sarcastically asked about giving wrong numbers. Yes that was on purpose.

Needless to say my cell phone bill is now REFT so there will be no more trips to hell town.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Memphis Blues

He was 26 years old and from Memphis Tennessee. September 17 he decided to drive 80 miles to hold 15 people hostage for pizza, sodas and his life. This is about all the info the police have as well.

Harold Kilpatrick, Jr., 26, took about 15 people hostage at about 12:50 p.m. CST, but then released four of them, said Lisa McDowell, Dyersburg Police spokeswoman. He was holding them in a second-floor classroom of the Eller building, McDowell said.

Kilpatrick is from Memphis but had recently been staying with his sister in Dyersburg, McDowell said. He was neither a student at the community college, nor did he work there, she said.

The Dyersburg Police Special Operations Response Team and hostage negotiation team were addressing the man through the classroom wall, she said. Kilpatrick told police he wanted to commit suicide and left a suicide note, Williamson said.

He said the man was believed to have a 9 mm handgun and barricaded the classroom's doors.

Earlier, Kilpatrick was refusing to negotiate with authorities and would only talk to them using his hostages as intermediaries on cell phones, Williamson said.

Later in the evening, though, McDowell said the suspect began talking with police and even ordered pizzas and sodas to share with his hostages.

The chief said the man claimed to be a member of al Qaeda, and the FBI had been informed of the claim.

"I don't know about that, but that's his story," Williamson said, shaking his head.


Sunday, September 14, 2003

Color as a state of mind

When MLK marched thru Greenwood, Mississippi both of my parents skipped school to be apart of history. Their contribution did not stop there. They spent their lives attempting to upturn a system that sat on top of them. They helped open doors I can now simply walk thru. I do not know their struggle, although I can not help but sympathize.

I first 'realized' I was Black when I was about 5 or 6 years old. I was in Wal-Mart when a little white girl rubbed her hand across mine and then ran to her mother. She acted as though I had given her 'cooties'. I didn't understand. I was clean, I was well dressed, there was no difference between us other than the color of our skin.

My parents did not teach me to love everyone as equals. They taught me not to trust white people. Period. End of lesson. I had always been conditioned to believe whites were sometype of anomally that deserved reverence and attention, be it negative or positive.

In High School I took a course called Theory of Knowledge. This course required us to think outside the box. It made us ask the questions we had been told were out of line. What made the teacher correct? What is a belief? What is race? This course allowed us to see life as well as knowledge from a totally different perspective. It showed us there is natural progression to all things. Even authority.

I had always been to Black schools, had Black friends and I was an adult before I had a friendship with anyone outside of my 'race'. She was different to say the least but I noticed when I hung out with her and her friends I was not treated like the 'Black' chic of the group as I had been warned I would be. I was treated as a member of the group. As with any relationship with anyone, I made my share of mistakes and misjudgements and I was always waiting for the shoe to drop. I was always waiting for my white friend to disassociate with me and tire of my Blackness as I had been warned she would.

I'm still waiting. By them conditioning me to be cautious they were actually creating a complex. Instead of receiving a message to disregard color, I was learning to judge by it. Where I should have been getting to know this person and understand them for who they are, I was instead judging them by what stereotypes dictated they should have been. I was waiting for the doublecross that has yet to come. But that is a risk you take in any relationship with any person you acquaint yourself with, regardless of their color.

What I have learned over the years is that color is a state of mind. As with all karma what you put out is always what you get back. If you see everything in Black and White that is all you will ever get. I don't see my friend as my 'white' friend, she's just my friend. A person no more or no less than me. Her skin color no more makes her a threat than a young man with his pants sagging. It is the content of their character that dictates their actions. And the content of their character can not be seen in their skin.

I can not carry the battles of my parents on my back. There are new battles out there to fight. I am in no way saying racism does not exist. Also, I do not mean to imply that one should not be cautious of the intentions and motives of others. I am only saying the main battle is not fighting the evil 'white' people. The battle, at least for me, is helping others realize they have the power to change their circumstances thru the choices they make. My parents and their generation provided that privilege. They fought long and hard to give us the opportunity to know life beyond the boundaries of color. So why would I limit myself on the basis of pigmentation?

Saturday, September 13, 2003

Yea, that...

Unfortunately as prolific as I can get today is to say: saying goodbye sux!

Friday, September 12, 2003

Where would I find the pager number???

I am not a people person so why do I work in Customer Service? Every Thursday - Monday at five am I awake and head to a major Telecommunications Center to answer the calls of complete idiots.

My beef with Consumers is simple, if you buy a product at least take the time to learn how to use the equipment. If you have a pager LEARN YOUR PAGER NUMBER. If you move to a new area and need a phone or lights or cable, KNOW THE ADDRESS OF WHERE YOU NEED THEM. Telling me to just use your Post Office Box means absolutely scratch. Yes I can actually send service to that PO Box, but my friend it would do you no good.

Small talk can be a wonderful thing if in fact it is just that - small. But if your tire caught on flat; you ripped a hole in your new suit; you were late for work; the day after you had just been warned not be late again; your life partner/spouse/loved one chewed you out for no apparent reason and/or your favorite show was interrupted by another PSA from Good Ol' Dubya. PLEASE don't choose that hour to call Customer Service and ask me why you have not received a page in two months. (Why have you waited 2 months to call about it?) Besides, no matter what I say you will somehowwork into the conversation your general melancholy and quite frankly I don't want to hear it. I just can't tell you that because 'this call may be recorded for Quality Assurance purposes'.

These companies send you invoices knowing that the only part you will ever actually look at is: Total Due. Do me a favor, when 'Total Due' says some outrageous number take the time to search through the rest of the invoice to see why you were actually charged. Which implicates you would have to know what rate plan you are on and what charges are associated with that rate plan. I say this because when you call me and I explain how the charges on your bill are accurate I want you to be able to say more than 'Oh I didn't even bother to look at that'. And in the not-so-rare-as-you-would-hope case that you have been over charged, be one of the privileged few who actually read the terms and conditions (which include in small print how companies can ultimately screw you at will). Because when I tell you it will take up to 60 days to give back the money it only took us 60 seconds to take, I don't want you to become irate and hear me chuckle at your request to speak with a supervisor (who will only come back to me and have me explain to them what should be done...and you gotta love that).

All I am asking is for you, the consumer/customer/provider of my paycheck, to take responsibility for the products and services you purchase. Become knowledgeable of what is due you and considerate of what is not. No, you can not have 3 months of free services because you missed 1 page. No, I will not credit you back $326.21 because you have to pay your rent and you used your debit card with the Visa logo. No, I will not call you when I get off and it does not matter if I am married or have a boyfriend, are you that desperate or do I sound that gullible. And no, your cursing ranting and raving will not make this road any smoother, as a matter of fact, I'm going to place you on hold (Customer Service Time-Out) so that you can think about your behavior!

I am expected to carry a friendly attitude despite your attempt to p*ss me off, which I might be obliged to allow if this call were not 'being recorded for Quality Assurance purposes'. This is my job and not my career, I will do everything I can to make you happy. Help me to help you...

P.S. In the case you are from California or New York, please be advised it is not a compliment to tell me I speak well to be a Southerner or that you love my accent (well I'm not too fond of yours). Do not ask me if I am White or Black. And the next person who drops into my line and says 'Do you all wear shoes down there' YOUR CALL (and possibly your service) WILL BE DISCONNECTED, screw Quality Assurance!!

Thursday, September 11, 2003

My tongue is bleeding

An excellent resource for any Religious Research is the Instituition for Religious Research.

The best research of all is to read the religious text yourself. Quotes mean less if you do not know what inspired them or what context they are being used. For most religions words are not interchangeable.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Looking for senselessness

I have come off the high of confrontation and now I am attempting to move back into my normal patterns or abnormal patterns would be more like it. At any rate the past two days have been most interesting. I had to republish this entire blog to erase the deflamatory comments left by one misguided soul. I still think one of my friends saw what she posted though.

I did not think there were rules to this. I thought this cyberspace was free to us all to release ourselves of the statements we hold hostage. The most important thing should not be who reads it and whether they like it, but it should be getting it out. No statement can be heard without it being said. We will work on understanding it once its born. Even the process of deciphering the message can be used to bring people closer together. It creates dialogue. And doesn't dialogue create understanding? Understanding creates tolerance. Tolerance breeds acceptance and acceptance is peace.

What I said about not wanting to be like the adults was simply in reference to all the bickering. I have seen enough of that in 24 years to last me a life time. If all you can do is insult me then I really don't have time for you. We can discuss what you don't like about me or what you think I did to you. Allow both parties to bring their point of views to the table and the circumstances which reenforces them but do not sink so low as to point and go 'nah nah ni nah na'.

By far I do not want to seem like a saint, I am far from it. Right now I am having major issues with the fact that I know a friend who I do care for deeply, read on these sites some things I wrote about her religion. If nothing else that would qualify as deceitful. Which was not my intent. My intent was to get the issues that I was having accepting her belief foundation out of my system without going to her and seeming as though I was questoning her specifically. I knew she would see it ebentually and I think thats a good thing. But I wanted her only to see my remarks not those of outsiders criticizing her, she gets enough of that as is. My hope was that one day we could sit and go over all the things here on her terms. I say on her terms because she gets defensive if you bring things to her. I am a fairly patient person so I can wait for the conversation to simply arise.

I know in my notes I define the difference between honest and truthful and right now I am not being honest. But how can you be honest with someone who expends so much energy in hiding from the truth. She can hate me if she chooses, that's nothing new. I have made people hate me before for a lot less. As long as it poses the question 'This is where I am and this is what got me here. Am I happy about this?' I can't lie to myself about that question. There is no way to do so. When you try to fool yourself into thinking you are really happy thats when you get that slight pang in your chest of dry air. It's inescapable.

Changing your lifestyle or way of thinking can be the hardest change to make because it causes you to examine not only yourself but those around you. Everything has to go under a microscope even the one thing you thought you knew for certain. We are slaves to our mentality. So something or someone has to come along to pull us out of that mindframe for at least a second. Otherwise we would not ever see anything beyond what we have accepted. I wouldn't be able to say it had I not been thru it.

I believe everyone deserves to be happy. Even when their happiness impedes on my personal comfort or warrants me expendable from their circle. I can deal with that, its not about me (as much as I would like everything to be :-) It's about a common goal within all of us: to survive in this world and to do so under the best physical, mental and emotional conditions. Am I being presumptuous? Of course!

As for the 'haters' I find them flattering. I learned the hard way that I can not please everybody. I don't write about things that already make sense, that would be redundant. Redudancy can not be original and original is all I know how to be.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Immediate Patience

The past 12 hours have been quite adrenaline packed; on and off the computer. I learned after Freshman year not to attempt to defend myself to someone who has you persecuted. Its a waste of time. They already have it set in their minds to see the worst in you. Surprisingly I actually learned that lesson.

I will be the first to admit I was more interested in Band than English in Junior High a folly that I am now attempting to correct. No my grammar isn't the best but its the words that I am concerned with. Still I give credit where credit is due. I do need to make sure Punctuation is a class that I am registered for next semester.

On the B side of things, I am infected. Yes, infected. I am infected with these pangs of needing to relieve the angst of being so damn understanding. Hence my personal blogs. As humans we all deal with emotion in different ways. My way is to find an interesting way to write that emotion. Even when it comes out as babble. At the time of writing I am not expecting anyone to read it but me. Yes, I could write it on paper but the simple fact that I don't have to settle for paper means I can explore all the options available to me and choose the one most adequate for the thought or emotion being expressed at the time. Simplified: different things come out different ways on different surfaces. Regardless of whether you are an artist or living human being.

Even though I take the bulk of insults lightly while charmingly smiling and returning calm but observative and reflective refutes, I am still quite human. And some people, well, some people will drive you to cussing. Fortunately the blood of Generation X flows thru so most tension is released with five small but powerful words: I don't give a fuck.Seems rather infantile but it proves to be quite effective. As with any lie, if you say it to yourself enough times you actually begin to believe it.

Degrees Of Separatism (Dammit I'm Hungry)

My company has relocated us to a new, more modern and highly secure building. Every morning I run, literally, down to the cafeteria for breakfast. We have been warned: not to eat at our desk, not to have drinks at our desk, any food must be consumed in the cafeteria. We are urged to sit in the front of the cafe, not to fraternized (read: bother) anyone from other departments and any food left from the meal must be disposed of before returning to the floor. Anyone caught with food at their desk will be reprimanded. For food?

The building we just left, I agree was nasty, but they had been in that building upwards of 8 years of course it was going to be nasty, especially when you only have 1 person cleaning in behind 500.

I understand their train of thought: Keep this new building new. But is treating adults like children really going to accomplish this?

You can see people at their desk choking on crumbs when management walks by. Nabs are hidden in the far crevices of desk drawers. Should people really fear losing their job if they spill water? (And yes it really is that serious)

The saddest part is the walk to the cafeteria. You have to take the elevator down to the Plaza and then walk through the hub, 1/4 mile, to get to the cafe. The hub is basically the stock hall. Everything that doesn't work or has no more use is stored there(Cletus are you trying to tell me something?). The hub is straight out of a major motion thriller. It leaks. Its dark. You can hear unidentified movements lurking behind unaccessible doors. Did I mention my department is the only section that has to use the hub? To take the conspiracy theory even further, our access to floors and doors that would be quicker en route to the cafe is off limits.

The major issue is that, none of the other departments are under such strict guidelines. And it is causing quite the issue in the office. We feel like we are the step children of the company. Whenever we attempt to address our discourse it is simply implied "Be glad you have a job!" Is that truly the right response? What about work morale? They are doing nothing to improve it but they continue to expect outstanding results.

Managers patrol the floor looking for any sign of edible contraband. That lets me know that my job has to be expendible if this is all you have to do all day!

Whats even worse than us being the children under the stairs is the cleaning people in the building are treated even worse. They sit on the far side of the cafeteria in nothing less then a corner, where they are instructed to sit. They sit by themselves, too themselves. If we make eye contact (as is the Southern way) they speak then proceed on their way with heads down. Why aren't we able to mingle amongst one another? What separates management from us and us from them besides title and responsibility? And the most important question would I have even noticed had I not been in the same position as them?

Explanation Necessary?

I guess I could give an explanation for the abundance of religious material on the sites. No I am not a mormon myself but someone very close to me is. In an effort to understand them better I wanted to read the scriptural text for Mormons, which is primarily (other than the Bible) the Book of Mormon or the BoM (not to mention Doctrines and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price, Journal of Discourses, Book of Moses, Book of Abraham, kinda sorta...etc). The BoM opens with testimonies and an account of the Prophet Joseph Smith (translator of the BoM) and his trials in receiving the message of the Angel Moroni. The story is a good one actually. At any rate, Mormon is one of the prophets who ascended to Heaven and became an angel. Moroni is his son who was also a leader of the righteous tribe in America. (Take into effect that this is grossly generalized for the sake of making this brief)

I think one of the biggest misconceptions with Mormons is thinking that they don't believe in Christianity. Quite the contrary. They believe themselves, by definition, to be the true Christians. I say by definition because you have to have an understanding of the faith in order to appreciate why they feel that way.

At first I couldn't get past the first few chapters. I wanted to cry. I was confused. Not spiritually but mentality. I could not understand how my friend could be so taken by what I thought was so fabricated. I was torn between calling out what to me seemed like such a falsehood and respecting the belief system of someone I cared for. I am known for my objectivity, I can give anything the benefit of the doubt but this was going too far. Too understand you would have to have a better understanding of me and my friend. I will say I accomplished one goal, I definitely was able to understand my friend better.

We were chatting one day after she had read a post I had written on Blogcritics and she asked, excitedly I might add, how far along I had gotten in the BoM and what I thought. First of all I dont like discussing books until I have completely finished them. And I mean completely. Usually I look up additional sources and then read reviews. But this time I had stopped in the middle of reading the BoM to do this. I had looked up accounts of ex communicated Mormons and their stories. I read several biographies on Joseph Smith to get an idea of what kind of young man he was(he was only 14 at the time of his vision). I read any text referenced or mentioned about or around the BoM. Of course Ifelt no need to tell her this. My friend feels better when she's confident. I didn't want to just throw all that I had learned at her and seem like I was judging so I just asked that we discuss it later.

We ended up meeting at the local Barnes and Noble one night just to chat as we sometimes did. And she ended up asking me about the BoM again. So we discussed it or rather I asked general questions and let her give detailed answers. I was alright until she said 'I'm sure you don't know anything about this but...' Why include that? Then when I said something else she said 'Oh you're reading stuff from the internet' And? She doesn't see how thats judging. Then to top it off when I as casually as possible said I didn't see what she saw, she scoffed at me. She said 'If my family didn't like of course I'm ok with my friend not." Valid point but unnecessary.I mean I understand it was a major sacrifice for her to let go of her family, but I'm sitting here fighting against myself to remain objective and you basically shrugging me off (<---yes I really am that As much as I was bothered it wasn't new, thats her defence system, shruggin any type of vulnerability off, and yes she's good at it.

I had always known she was Mormon or more correctly a member of the LDS church but I had not known what being Mormon entailed until I read the book, doctrines and scriptures. At first I was hurt. I really had to pray. I was disgusted with myself for judging someone else's belief system but I felt like someone needed to point out the holes. Who appointed me that person? Noone so I kept my opinion to myself.

The notes you see that pertain to Mormonism come from me. Normally if I am reading and I come across a scripture or think of a question I have to put it down immediately or I will forget. It is only because I have had this blog a week or so that the majority of the notes are about Mormonism. That and I was in the middle of reading the BoM when I started this blog. Give me a few months and you will see a vast range of temporary obsessions. Yes, obsessions. I have a big issues with proving my point. Most of the time, its me proving them to myself and not others. I deal with criticism better as long as I know or feel as though I have the answers. (yes I am that narcissistic)

I think, no I know,thats why when she said 'I'm sure you don't know anything about this but...' I got really heated. I know she tries not to judge people but she does it subconsciously. I asked her what did she consider judging and she could only answer 'I judge myself'. That wasn't answering the question. For instance we were discussing politics one night and I asked what party did she belong to (I've known her over 2 years and never knew)? She is a republican and I am democrat and when Bush was brought up she asked: 'And why didn't you vote for Bush, cause he's Republican' Do you see the judgement or do I need to point it out. Playing dumb has its benefits, being perceived as dumb is not one of them.

At any rate. I am still very much into the Mormon debate and even though I told her I wasn't interested I think I may just set up an appointment with the missionaries to hear their pov. As for my friend she is die hard in her beliefs. Which I can appreciate because we all should be. But sometimes I have to ask if it isn't just for believing sake. Even though she says we wont have that conversation again, I know we will, its inevitable, if for no other reason than she reads my blogs (she knows even if I dont say it, I have to write it.) My concern is the context of the conversation. You cant effectively discuss a belief systems without discussing the influencing factors. (See the circle?) I know how much she hates feeling like she's being judged and I can not see us discussing religion (hers or mine) explicitly without throwing in some judgments.

Have you ever had a conversation with someone where you are discussing one central thing but you never name that thing? Those are interesting conversations to have especially since you can always come back and say 'I didn't say that' There is no accountability in a conversation like that. And you know what I'm on one of my tangents this would have been better on a note but its 4 in the morning and I really dont care about notes right now:-)

I think religion (or any moral belief system) is a very important Blog topic it is the basis by which we make our choices(i.e critiques). But I think in order to really reflect we have to pull away and even question our belief system, regardless of the religion creed or color.

Now that's deep

She calls it 'My Father's unconditional Love' I think this account is clearly an exception and not the rule but it was interesting to read her frame of mind.

The Pleasures of Adulthood

I'm only 24. La di da di da. Age is just number whether you are 24 or 64 if you have not grown out of childish ways, your age represents how long you've been acting like a child.

A fellow Blogger of the sinister cabal has taken offense to some comments posted to comments from a post that I made. I repeat 'offense to some comments posted to comments from a post that I made'. Now she went thru the regular tirade of letting them know how racist they were and so and so. when people didn't jump on her bag waggon as she felt they should, she clicked. she threatened to leave, threatened to delete her post and cause financial harm to the site by petitioning the sponsor: Amazon.

If I am not mistaken, and I often am, Blogs are for the purpose of stating your opinions. How can you get pissed at someone's opinion? Even if it is that they do not like you? Its that one person's opinion. Big Deal! Needless to say I stayed quiet, then finally I said:

Hmmm as a 'person of color' (like we all arent people of color) I do not know whether this will hurt, hender or harm 'the Black Movement' but suffice it to say I must be heard or read...

Painstakingly I must admit that Al, no matter how zealous and unrelenting in its efforts still deserves the right to express his opinion, no matter how unruling it may be. His unyielding attempt to provoke reactions is exactly the main reason I love this site. Its the left field attitudes that force the rest of us to either sh*t or get off the pot(excuse my french).

I can not speak for others but I enjoy that. Being of unsound mind and body I do not take pleasure in anything too easy. If there is no challenge there is no interest, so Al, Andy and Joe are all necessary. Were some of their comments out of line? Hell yea! But so were the Diva's. She let her personal outrage remove her objectiveness causing her point to be moot. Hey, it happens to the best of us.

I don't think what the 3 musketeers (yea I said it) said warrented her resignation, especially since it seemed she had been quite a contributor. If nothing else she should have been more willing and adamant about creating a presence that would supress what she perceived as their bigotry...But eh, what do I know?

To which I received a comment from said 'upset Blogger':
Dew, I've been cutting you some slack on the grounds of youth and naivete. End of that. What you've posted above is pure piffle

To which I replied:
You know I was waiting for the Diva to pick on the little kids too. Somehow I knew for her inanity, this was the only logical next step. And thats fine.

Unlike her if I am not mistaken I have in no way said anything at all disrespectful or demeaning about her or her work. So wouldn't that make Mac Diva somewhat of a hypocrite? Or does that make me a neo-Confederate too?

If my thoughts to you are 'piffle', guide me. Confer with me and allow me the chance to become better in what you perceive better to be. But your rants are getting old and I haven't even been here long.

Al could be the Grand Dragon if he wants to be but I will give him this when he insults he also disputes. Which at the moment is more than I can say for the Diva. It is much better to have a forum where opinions can be expressed, however conflicting they may be, rather than have intolerent attitudes on the streets where violence can erupt.

Am I young? Yes, admittedly. Now that we understand my reason for acting as such tell me Diva what is yours? As you would have people think: it was not that long ago I was playing in the sandbox. And, if I remember correctly there was always one person who had to have their way and if they couldn't they threatened to leave the sandbox. I am terribly sorry to have bothered you with my piffle, but please if you are leaving don't get sand in your shorts on the way out.

And in the indelible words of Faith Hill


I feel sorry for her for one reason: she started throwing insults. When all you can resort to is insulting people, basically you have allowed them to win.

To be quite honest, as I normally am, I admired the Diva. I would have loved to be under her tutelage because she had a lot to offer. I signed up for the Blog experience to grow as a writer not to coddle adults who can not stand to be disagreed with. If she's upset be adult enough to self examine the real reasons why, but don't strike at any and everybody because you have run out of ways to prove your point.

I'll be the first to admit, I didn't even know what piffle was. So I looked it up. Am I upset she called my writing, which I thought was quite readable, piffle? No, I am upset she didn't give me reasons why it was piffle. I'm all about growing and learning, but if this is what being an adult is about you grown folks can have it!!

Who loves ya baby?

Why do we need religion anyway? Because where would you be without direction. We all need two things, somewhere to go and a way to get there, without it we are lost (Literally and figuratively). It’s all a manner of control. Religion gives us the idea that we are in control of those things physically out of our hands. Those without religion even toss in the air something has to govern everything. Some call it the universe but most call it God.

Religion gives us a sense of purpose, a reason to be. Insinuating we were without reason before. It allows us to see in ourselves what we hope to become and it gives us reason to believe becoming so is actually possible. Believe–believe-believe? See a pattern?

Believe is defined as having trust, faith and confidence in; to accept as real or true. Do we believe facts? No. Why? Because facts are incontestable, the truth as we define it is before our eyes. No proof necessary. Does that mean that anything not before our eyes is false? No but this gives reason to the necessity of belief: those things we can not put our finger on, yet have the experiences and/or revelations within our lives to know exist.

I have never seen wind or air. EVER! Yet I can feel it. I can feel and see its effects, so despite the fact I can not hold it in my hand, I know its there. Why can’t a higher power exist to which the same can be applied? I called out for help and help was given. I cried for peace and peace came over me. And what about the times when I was too blind to see for myself what lie ahead? Who urged me to turn away? Who laid the distractions before my path? Who causes my spirit trouble when I think all is well? Who controls the parts of my being I have no control over? Who loves me when I refuse to love myself? In hindsight I could say I control it all but during the time of discontent all I could see was confusion. If you can’t see clearly and there is no other person in the car, what happens? Hint: If you pull over its called suicide.

Why you? Why would God want to be apart of your life? Why not? The one thing you are guaranteed is free will. You always have a choice, even when the gun is to your head, your choice still remains. No one can take away your right to choose for yourself. We often feel when the consequence is heavy our choice is removed. No, your choice becomes distinct not non-existent. Even when that decision is to deny God it is still your choice to make. But what if you have been receiving protection you knew nothing about? Then one day it was presented to you and you denounced that protection?

Let’s say I have been following in the shadows all your life, keeping you from the perils that lurk about and one day through my own will I present myself to you and you curse me. I gave everything I was to you without you knowing and after I reveal myself to you and you curse my name, I choose to give you nothing. And then you start to have an open eye of those things that I once protected you from. You begin this path of wild and reckless behavior and when you are introduced to me again you curse me more, now for what I allow. But when I was there for you that was not enough, my existence and my purpose was not enough. You had to have more. So I allowed you to have everything. Everything I kept from you. And when it finally overwhelms you, and it will, you cry out for the protection. You seek out the answers that will give you the peace you cursed me for. Because the answers are what will give you peace, not me, right? I am not enough. Realizing this I show you what it is you need to see in order to grow until its time to allow you to see me once more, because the next time will be the last. The next time I will not have to show you, you will seek me out.

No you don’t need religion, its God that you need. And who doesn’t need someone else in their life who only wants to love them?

I murdered my Stereotype

When the Black guy coming down the street with his pants sagging and his gold teeth shimmering, do you feel the need to lock your car door? When the white guy tells the nigger joke about not being able to say nigger, as a Black person do you get offended? When you see a Mexican, have you ever seen just 'a' Mexican? Does every short person with squinted eyes have to be Chinese or Japanese (is that the only Asian experience)? Are all female basketball players really lesbians? If a man doesn't like sports does that mean he's gay? Do you get uncomfortable when you are approached by a large group of the opposite (Opposite - as if there were only two) race? Do all New Yorkers have such a bad attitude? Do all Southerners have nothing better to do than populate? What really is Poor White Trash? Have you ever thought interracial dating as the ultimate evil?

I was in Wally World (Wal-Mart) one Mississippi hot night and saw an interracial couple standing in line ahead of me. They had a baby with them that seemed to be no older than maybe 6 months, I couldn’t help but stare at the child, it was gorgeous. It was wearing neutral colors and no bows or gender specific clothing, hence the reference as ‘it’. After what I believe was a minute or so, the father (who was black) gave the mother (who was white) an exasperated nudge and pointed at me. I could only laugh and turn away. For a second the father looked as though he wanted to approach me but decided against it after the mother dissuaded him. I wish she had let him come. I’m sure as an interracial couple in the south they are used to the stares and the grimaces, but for him to be agitated shows his insecurity at his situation. But everyone isn’t out to get them. I could careless about the two of them I was admiring the child.

The experience brought to my attention the issue of stereotypes and how they affect us. As independent as we would like to assume ourselves, are we really? Every action has a reaction even if we are not present to witness it. How many times had they been stared at or ridiculed for being with one another? And every new stare conceived a new resentment that leads to a final straw. Was my stare the final straw or did I just make it worse for the next person who gives them a cross eyed look? Guess I’ll never know, but why must they be in that position in the first place?.

I love to read and I love philosophy. Often people walk by my desk and see Plato or Nietzsche or (yes I dare say) Harry Potter or whatever I am reading that day and I am asked “Are you reading that for school?” No I am not. Once I answer and they realize this is just light reading for me, I get the look: the look of I-must-be-from-another-planet-because-who-would-read-that-stuff-for-fun? I would. Then comes the awkward silence and the eager escape. Its like they expect me to roll out the stone dais and recite Socrates’ Apology so they give me a grunt and run away. What changed between them knowing and not knowing what I like to read? The implication changed. As long as all they knew about me was what they could see, they had something to identify with. My skin color implied I was Black like us, a state of mind, not the color. When there became a catalyst to alter that identifying factor, I was no longer one of ‘us’ but one of ‘them’. And how do you find common ground with ‘them’? I already knew it was uncomfortable for most people to think or see outside their self-inflicted boxes, but why?

Why do we not accept people for who they are instead of who we need them to be in order to be comfortable with them (read it now, figure it out later)? Doesn’t that implicate not being comfortable with self? My mother does not understand why I have read the Book of Mormon or the Koran (for example) if I am - for the lack of a better classification - a Christian. My mother is an educated woman, just a narrow minded one. I use her as an example because she fits a general mind set for the point I am trying to make. To her, what she believes is enough. She does not need to see another side, there is no other side, but isn’t that limiting? Isn’t that how stereotypes are born?

History of the worlds is taught in school for a reason. The most validated reason being if you visit a country outside your own it is good to know their customs, traditions, language and general way of life. What means red here may mean blue somewhere else. In that case good listening is not enough, you also have to understand what is being meant, but whose responsibility is it to understand both sides? Ideally it is everyone’s; believing in your own set of rules and appreciating the rules of others would be a moral standard that would allow us to see others as people and not preconceived notions. That again would be ideal. Reality, on the other hand, supposes that believing in one thing means disbelieving in something else. It has too, otherwise I would actually have to have faith in something or respect the differences of others and actually accept my own differences. Because isn’t that what stereotypes and prejudices are about - differences?

Our culture is a lax one. If we really paid attention we would notice how much we actually do stereotype one another. I was in the Arby’s drive-thru listening to Nickelback and the cashier screamed at me that I should turn to the Rap channel. All Black people do not listen to rap (I’m not one of those Blacks) and those who do, don’t necessarily listen to only rap. While driving through the homeless district, I was at the light when two homeless men, looking straggly and worn came toward my car and before I thought about it I had locked the doors. They never even looked my way. While reading Harry Potter I was told I was going to hell for devil worshipping. When I replied ‘If I am going to hell its not because of HP but rather this triple 6 I have burned onto my back’ I don’t think they appreciated my acerbic wit, but I didn’t appreciate their stereotype.

Unfortuantely, I can only control what I do and say. All the examples above took place in the course of half an hour. How many lives have been affected by the steretypical mumbo jumbo that we write off as 'just a joke'? Become conscious of who you are as well as what you say...

A Race of Friends

I was reading threads on my favorite show and came across this comment:

I don’t understand why everyone is hung up on there being "no black people on this show." I understand that none of the main characters are black, but so what? Just because there aren’t any there it doesn’t make the show racist. It actually is more realistic, considering only about 12% of America's population is black, why should there be a black person in every frame or the show. Did Family Matters, the Cosby Show, or any other show about a cast of black people have any white leading roles? No! And you don’t hear any white people bitching about that. Also, every time there is a position of power on this show, have you noticed they almost always tend to be black? Like 2 out of 3 of Chandler's last bosses have all been black. When he goes to an interview, the guy is black, they do this all the time, because they cant introduce a new leading role 9 seasons into the show when they know its going to end a year later. Just a rant. I saw a comment on it in the paper the other day and just seeing what all you guys thin…Just for all the angry people whose feelings are hurt about the lack of color on Friends, the producers should extend the show for another 5 years and recast with all black actors and call it "Black Friends". But then that wouldn't be good enough either, would it?'

I think you would have to be black to understand sounds bad but its true. The phrase 'it's a black thing you wouldn't understand' plays deeply into this situation. I love Friends and I do mean love. I'm parked in front of the TV every Thursday watching, but as a Black person I am the exception not the rule. Most white people love the show because there is a character to identify with. That’s why Blacks have a problem with the lack of color as its being referred to here because where do we get to identify? Overall we shouldn't identify with the color but with the personality and that’s where we are losing out.

Yes Blacks have plenty of organizations but if you can not see where those are necessary, your view of this country in a whole is very naive. I love when white people say 'But Black People have BET and UPN' (which is like saying, riding in the back is better than not riding at all right?), yes you could say that but compare that to the other 200 channels that cater to the white demographic and we are still under represented as all minority groups are in this country. Is it right for ‘The Black’ shows to be just as narrow-minded? No, it’s not.

My personal opinion is that its television and nothing on TV should be taken this serious. But Art imitates life (yea I said it) and thus what does it say when one of the highest rated shows which has been on the air for 9 years and has only had 2 Blacks in main guest appearance roles (and those have been in the last two years)?

Help Me Understand

Today as usual I pull up Msnbc and Cnn i hopes of staying in tune with the world as its presented to us and I see "Chemical Ali nabbed..." I know I dont smoke but maybe I was high at the time, hadn't we already nabbed him ealier. Next week the headline will read "Uday has surgery on his bad leg"

Second Reply

Lesson 1
My father passed away on January 17, 2000 five days after I turned 21. My mother and I knew neither the cause nor the reason because that is how my father was. He believed his problems were just that, his, to bare and struggle with. He could not bare the feeling of loading his problems off on other people. His name was Atlas; any of you familiar with Greek mythology knows the character Atlas carried the weight of the world on his shoulders, as did my father.
I am the clone of my father in the female form. We were both conceited, arrogant, we walked the same, we talked alike even our handwriting is similar and like him I believe my problems are mine. To discuss them with someone is to give that person power over my weaknesses in the end. I promised my mother as well as myself I would open up more because sharing believe it or not is a necessity.
In relation to Harvey’s question of happiness sharing is pertinent.
Because I couldn't be happy without sharing apart of myself with others, no relationship could survive with both people being closed-ends. Maybe I should explain.
I had my own personal trials with searching for happiness. I thought I could find it within other people, within money, within friends, but I could not be happy until I was satisfied with myself. I moved out of my mother’s house, got a job I really didn't need, surrounded myself with men and friends and still cried at night because there was always something wrong.
After my father's death I secluded myself. I stuck my head in every book possible, I didn't call anyone, I didn't see anyone mainly because I wanted no one to see me. And one day I arrived. I arrived at a stage where I was not afraid I wasn't afraid to tell complete strangers my most intimate secrets because they can not hurt me, wasn't afraid to be myself, to open myself up completely because I realize it is your problem if you don't accept me. That is perfectly fine because I'm happy with myself if no one ever accepts me, I accept me.
So to answer your question Harvey, when I close my eyes I see the universe because that is just how wide my future is. I have been truly blessed with the opportunities of a lifetime and I didn't have to alter anything about my person for anyone to cater to me.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with being loved, as long as you are not compensating for loving yourself. Dew

Second E-mail

Lesson 1
I know a lot of you didn't get my first revelation, but now a lot of you will hear my second. First I'd like to say that it's 3:20am, I'm in Wisconsin on active Duty and I don't get off until 8am. So I've had time to really think over the last two weeks. Some of these things I'd like to talk about. As usual, please give me your feedback. Your thoughts along with mine bring understanding.
I can cry tears. Pain, joy, sadness. Even a stranger passing shows concern no matter the type. What of our internal tears. We all hold inside of us things we care not to share to the world. We let it grow and try to put it away, believing that it's nothing more than a passing experience. Why can we not share it to allow others the chance to learn. I admit I do have things I'd rather not share, but I'm open. If you ask me I will tell. We are secretive people, each with our own specific ways about us. But that's just a thought not my main subject.
My concern is with happiness. Do we look for what is best for us now or do we look for the best later? If we want something so bad we can reach for it. What if you reach only to see that it's so far away. We all have goals and dreams, but none of us want to come short of those goals. So what do we do? Give up or drive on. I know sometimes we settle for what we have, not sure if it's the best and afraid that nothing better is out there. Other times we have what's best but believe that something better is out there. What do we do? Life has so many twist and turns, but no signs on any roads.
For three years I have been without a "companion". Not until recently has it really started to bother me. My goal has seemed so close but when I stand there and look around no one is there. I question myself, but I realize I’m just me. I can only be loved for who I am. I stand with open arms waiting, patiently but carefully. I know God has a plan, but he just hasn't told me what it is. Am I wrong for wanting to be loved? Is it wrong to want to love? Close your eyes and see your future, Does it scare you?I know to some it may be hard to understand, but most of you are deep thinkers and can feel what I am saying. Open your minds and let this make you think. Let it help you observe. Allow it to make you love. Please again I ask for you thoughts.

Harvey "Spike" Lee Thompson II
Goodfella.s.s. 4life

My Reply

In response to innocence I agree wholeheartedly. The question is what has happened to trust? Answer it has depreciated into TOLERANCE. Out of all the people you know you may only trust 2 of them and tolerate the rest of them. Why? Convenience. This person has cool conversion but you know they shady, that person is cute but stupid, this person is cool but ugly, so as people you do not want to invest the time to expand the knowing of this or that person so that you can learn to trust them. It's so much easier to use you for what you are worth to me and not invest the time it takes to get to know you. Cuz in turn that means you begin to know me and dare I have too many people who know me, because then I become vulnerable.
What if I MISTRUST you? That means you can turn against me and in doing so you have a secret weapon- my own little dirty secrets. And I can't have that. There's no way you can know about my personal skeletons. Then you know I'm not as GOOD as I want you to think I am (or perceive I am). Then you begin to see me for the dirty birdy I've tried so hard and so long to keep you from seeing. But what I don't realize is that I'm so fouled up on my own insecurities that I don't realize you have secrets just like me. You have problems and skeletons of your own, so why am I so shaken?
Because you no longer PERCIEVE me in the way of innocence. I can't pretend I don't know about or I haven't heard or I didn't see, I can't pretend I haven't done or haven't used any and everything I can no longer LIE for the sake of innocence. Why though? If you must lie about it, why do it? Cause it feels good. Cause I enjoy doing it. Then why lie about it? Because society tells me I'm dirty for doing it. Not just sex, but the cursing the gambling, the drinking, the promiscuity, all of it thrills me, yet I know if you find out I’m no longer an exception, I'm no longer special because I don't; I'm no longer popular for being different. And dare I not be popular.
The one thing most people fear more than death is the fear of being alone. Therefore I will tolerate Shady Susie and Lying Lewis so I won't be alone. I'll lie about myself to form an image of someone you will accept into your realm of lies (think about it). I'll lower my own standards to be higher in your regards, because dare I be alone, dare I stand on my own 2 feet, dare I educate myself, dare I tell the truth and you accept me for who I am. DARE I BE AN INDIVIDUAL.
We're a selfish generation we want to be loved but not give as much love, we want to work but not that much, we want to be felt and not feel, be helped but not help. Aristotle said it best "In friendship loving is far more greater than being loved". You can not trust anyone else until you trust yourself, you can not love until you love yourself, and indulgence in some cases is a wonderful thing but if you have to lie about your indulging you may want to consider abstaining. If you know you'll regret it why do it? Dew

E-mail from Spike

Whatever happened to trust? I was sitting here wondering why is it that nowadays, more than ever, people lie. Is it something in the water? At what point in time did it become ok to do this? I believe it has a lot to do with the way people want to be perceived. In an effort for others to accept them they feel that a lie is the way to achieve that goal. Why worry about what someone else perceives. When and if they see the "lie" they begin to act differently anyway. This is the problem with relationships today. They come based on lies. These lies become evident inside the relationship. This brings about the saying, "You've changed". In all actuality they haven't changed, it's just the lie isn't being maintained.
Who do we point the finger to? Of course we all would say the opposite-sex, but is this really the answer? Let us look at both. Who can honestly say I haven't seen or heard a friend lie. Who can honestly say they haven’t told a lie to build a relationship. Honestly in meeting a person that seems to be your potential "friend"(a term I will discuss later) our goal is to impress. At this point we tend to believe that bending the truth maybe a little will help us obtain that goal. Understand what I'm saying now. The unsaid answer, the little grin instead of saying no, the avoiding of questions. This is not keeping it real. If I can't be honest with you now, all I'm doing is making it harder on myself down the road.
Now the "friend" issue. Now more than ever the term friend is in use. To have a friend suggest that I do have someone I kick it with. This can go from just telephone conversations to sex every other night. A friend is saying I have no commitment to this person so I can do as I please. I'll call etc. In some cases we see more than one friend in the picture. What do we call a man with more than one friend? Personally I see it as a way to escape commitment. Everyone says they're young and have time. Well if you ask a few people on this campus who thought the same, but were victims of an unexpected case of herpes, they seem to see it differently. Don't get me wrong, live your life party if that’s what you like, but if you're not committed then your friend isn't either. It's so much out there nowadays and there is no way to protect yourself 100%.
I was just sitting here and all these things rushed into my mind. It was just something I really think about from day to day. I see it, I live it. The only things I trust are Goodfella.s.s. and my dogg. This is only because I know them. I personally think this is a good conversation topic also. So what are your views?

Harvey "Spike" Lee Thompson
"Don't piss on my leg and tell me it's raining"
Goodfella.s.s. 4life

A New End

What I find interesting is that I had to accept the Terms and conditions in order to complete this blog. Check these out, I agreed not to:

(a) upload, post or otherwise transmit any Content that is unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, tortious, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, libelous, invasive of another's privacy, hateful, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable; what is the point of having a blog then?

(b) harm minors in any way; A little mental scarring does a kid good, look how well I turned out

(c) impersonate any person or entity, including, but not limited to, a Pyra official, forum leader, guide or host, or falsely state or otherwise misrepresent your affiliation with a person or entity; Dont worry I save my impersonations for my real job, you know, an employee, studious worker, responsible, hard job but someone has to do it.

(d) upload, post or otherwise transmit any Content that you do not have a right to transmit under any law or under contractual or fiduciary relationships (such as inside information, proprietary and confidential information learned or disclosed as part of employment relationships or under nondisclosure agreements); Hey Bob! Put those Area 51 papers away, cant use'm here

(e) upload, post or otherwise transmit any Content that infringes any patent, trademark, trade secret, copyright or other proprietary rights of any party; D'oh

(f) upload, post or otherwise transmit any material that contains software viruses or any other computer code, files or programs designed to interrupt, destroy or limit the functionality of any computer software or hardware or telecommunications equipment; Microsoft has already cornered that market

Degrees of Separation (Dammit I'm Hungry)

My company has relocated us to a new, more modern and highly secure building. Every morning I run, literally, down to the cafeteria for breakfast. We have been warned: not to eat at our desk, not to have drinks at our desk, any food must be consumed in the cafeteria. We are urged to sit in the front of the cafe, not to fraternized (read: bother) anyone from other departments and any food left from the meal must be disposed of before returning to the floor. Anyone caught with food at their desk will be reprimanded. For food?

The building we just left, I agree was nasty, but they had been in that building upwards of 8 years of course it was going to be nasty, especially when you only have 1 person cleaning in behind 500.

I understand their train of thought: Keep this new building new. But is treating adults like children really going to accomplish this?

You can see people at their desk choking on crumbs when management walks by. Nabs are hidden in the far crevices of desk drawers. Should people really fear losing their job if they spill water? (And yes it really is that serious)

The saddest part is the walk to the cafeteria. You have to take the elevator down to the Plaza and then walk through the hub, 1/4 mile, to get to the cafe. The hub is basically the stock hall. Everything that doesn't work or has no more use is stored there(Cletus are you trying to tell me something?). The hub is straight out of a major motion thriller. It leaks. Its dark. You can hear unidentified movements lurking behind unaccessible doors. Did I mention my department is the only section that has to use the hub? To take the conspiracy theory even further, our access to floors and doors that would be quicker en route to the cafe is off limits.

The major issue is that, none of the other departments are under such strict guidelines. And it is causing quite the issue in the office. We feel like we are the step children of the company. Whenever we attempt to address our discourse it is simply implied "Be glad you have a job!" Is that truly the right response? What about work morale? They are doing nothing to improve it but they continue to expect outstanding results.

Managers patrol the floor looking for any sign of edible contraband. That lets me know that my job has to be expendible if this is all you have to do all day!

Whats even worse than us being the children under the stairs is the cleaning people in the building are treated even worse. They sit on the far side of the cafeteria in nothing less then a corner, where they are instructed to sit. They sit by themselves, too themselves. If we make eye contact (as is the Southern way) they speak then proceed on their way with heads down. Why aren't we able to mingle amongst one another? What separates management from us and us from them besides title and responsibility? And the most important question would I have even noticed had I not been in the same position as them?