Thursday, July 28, 2005

Guess Who Pays for the Inconvenience

Real quick. As you know, New York City was the latest victim of the recent heatwave that has finally broken. Con Ed, no stranger to problems providing NY'ers with power, asked the following neighborhoods to reduce their electricity usage, and simultaneously reduced power output to said nabes:

Williamsburg
Greenpoint
Fort Greene
Clinton Hill
Flatbush
East Flatbush
Harlem

2 guesses as to the ethnic makeup of these neighborhoods. If you said predominantly Black and Latino, you've won! Guess the Upper East and West sides of Manhattan don't use nearly as much electricity, eh?

Gay for Play

I'm in a foul mood, having been disturbed by my triflin' ass gully neighbors at three in the fucking morning, who I wish would move the hell out of a neighborhood they just don't fit in. Isn't gentrification supposed to push out the riff raff? My bad, if my tax dollars are paying for their shitty asses to live, why would they give up a good thing? But, onto my point.

Last weekend, the wife and I were enjoying one of the perks of living in a gentrified neighborhood (no, not having the cops come when you call). We were having ice cream in one of the nabe's local parlors, when an old acquaintance of hers walked in with her two kids. Greeting, greeting, greeting, chat, chat, chat. She's not my friend, so I don't know much about her, except that she used to date a female friend of the wife's. Now, she's sportin' a huge rock, with matching diamond band, on her left hand. Although my wife is similarly icy, she's quick to point out that it was her WIFE that iced her. But back to the chick. More chatter. More "we should have dinner since I'm in this neighborhood all the time" blather. Now that I recall, the last time we saw the chick (about two years ago), we met for drinks with her and her date, the aforementioned female friend of the wife's. And, she was icy then. Thanks for riding this out with me, here we go.

What the fuck is up with this DL bullshit? Let's pause for a second. Fuck whatcha heard about the DL phenomenon only occurring among Black men; that's just another "Black men ain't shit" thing. I'm totally through with men or women who get involved with other men or women simply for the sex. At least men have some level of detachment about it. Men are much better about anonymous sex than women. But, that doesn't excuse either sex from being gay for play.

IMHO, and I don't really need to be humble as this is my blog, and it is called From Where I Stand, DL simply means "Don't Label," short for, "I don't want to be labeled as homosexual or bisexual because it's just too heavy for my emotionally immature ass to carry. I don't care if I hurt someone else's feelings with my affair, or even my own, because deep down inside, I'm only 17 years old emotionally and sexually, and I'm only interested in fulfilling my stuck-in-time teenage lust. I don't really believe that relationships between people of the same sex can work, and I'm not interested in trying to find out if they can because I'm too afraid of what society, Mom & Dad, Big Mama, or my preacher may think once they know. I'm only trying to have some fun, and it's just too hard, waah waah waah."

These punk-assed gay-for-play clowns are secretive and dishonest. I'm tired of DL poster kids like J.L. King, assuming the role of white knight, warning unsuspecting Black women that their men may be DL. What about the same-sex people who are equally the victim? I'm not in favor of infidelity, whether it involves a heterosexual or homosexual couple. I'm not on the side of mistresses (what is the male equivalent?) either. I just want to hear from the lesbian who spends her spring and summer with what she thinks is someone she can love, only to find out after they've broken up, that she's been the plaything of a straight woman? What about the gay man in the same situation?

I wish they'd sleep with each other, and stop going after queers in it for the long haul. Believe me, as soon as we win our liberation, they'll come running back, ready to commit. If you're the victim of a gay-for-play playa, pull up some self-respect, and run in the opposite direction.

Monday, July 25, 2005

I Need a Church, for God's Sake!

It's Monday, and in most Black folk's lives, that's the day to discuss Sunday, better known as Church Day. The convo usually goes something like this:

Preacher was too long, preacher was too short; I was just gettin' my praise on
Visiting preacher was boring, he didn't have a word for me
Choir needs a new director
Choir was off tha chain
That girl's dress was just too tight
That brotha was fine, but I think he's on tha DL

Blah, blah, blah. Having been a church musician and choir director for most of my adult life, and having walked away from it about two years ago, I miss the immersion in church life. I miss the sense of community. Okay, maybe I don't miss people all up in ya business, and I definitely can live without the politics and check writer's power games. I miss a sense of communal focus on God. Period.

A friend of mine is an incredible musician and choir director. He's well sought-after, and deservedly so. He's considering a post with a church, whose denomination I won't share. He asked me to consider serving as a backup for him, and I gave a conditional yes. Boy, was I glad I did that. A little research later, and I found this gem:

Homosexuality is incompatible with Christianity.

Ah, there it is. Several denominations believe it, which is no surprise. And, it leads to my own conclusion:

I can not simultaneously be a Christian if I am homosexual, I must choose one or the other.

Heavy sigh. Well, at least I figured out why I have a headache. I thought it was caffeine withdrawal. So, essentially, any church that espouses the incompatibility belief, is not one that will welcome me unless I change. And, if I choose not to change, they won't put me out, but will do their level best to help me seek change, even pray for my change. And, churches that do not support the incompatible thing, are seen as not really Christian.

Heavy sigh again. So, do I, then, simply give up Christianity until they get it together? I mean, on the surface, most churches have publicly condemned racism. How long did that take, about a hundred years? Many churches support and encourage women clergy. How long did that take, maybe 85 years? I'm only 40, I guess by my hundredth birthday, Christianity will have sorted the gay bit out too. Problem is, I need a church now!

I miss the community prayer. I miss having a spiritual guide. I miss the music. I miss the lowering of vulnerability just enough for catharsis to take place. I miss the lessons in what God may want us to do and be (sorry, I can't yet believe that one person knows exactly what God needs me to do; I don't buy that "maybe God is trying to tell you something" crap, because God is talented enough to speak for Him/Herself). I miss being in a room with people who have the same questions and concerns I have.

It's not as if I don't have gay-friendly churches at my disposal. They're just a mess, or they're boring, or uninspiring, or just a mess. I know too many of the key players in the game, and know too many details about their inner workings. I need to be anonymous. I need a church where I don't get involved, and nobody makes me get involved.

I'm always pissed off when I encounter cool churches with groovy members, interesting music ministries, only to find that the door is open as long as I change. We're all sinners, and have fallen short. It's like being a drug addict, they argue. Or a murderer. Or a prostitute. Repent, and turn your life over to Jesus. Excuse me? I've never had sex for assets. I've never been a drug addict, nor have I ever taken a human life. My committed relationship with a woman isn't at all comparable, so save your conditions-for-Christ. What happened to come unto me, all you are a heavy-laden?

Essentially, this is a long rant about the sad state of spiritual affairs. I'm feeling a little lost, and the state of the world isn't helping. As corny as it sounds, it does ring true -- if people spent more time appreciating how differences are unifying, and not separating, things might be better. Until then, heavy sigh.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Oh My God...

I am frightened, not just by terrorist acts, but by these possibilities:

1. We can assume that suicide bombers become suicide bombers, willing to kill and die for a cause they strongly believe in, having been thoroughly indoctrinated in that belief.

2. We know that extreme religion, whether Islam, Judaism, or Christianity, is usually the spur for violent behavior in defense of that religion's tenets.

3. We know that both sides of an issue decry extreme behavior in opposition to an issue, whether it is action taken by an individual or small group, or large-scale action, with government imprimatur.

4. We know, or perhaps we choose to forget, that desperation from oppression, poverty, hunger, or brutality, is a greater threat than political or religious zeal. Anyone with nothing to live for is not afraid to die.

One of the four men identified in the London bombings, Germaine Lindsay, was a Black man of Jamaican parentage. His mother, the duaghter of af a Christian evangelical, converted to Islam at her son's urging. Islam is not a common religion among the former British colony. Many Jamaicans are staunchly conservative, having been raised with very British values. Certainly, this could have changed through the generations. I'm speaking as a nearly-forty daughter of a 70-something Jamaican woman. But, aside from tourist enclaves like Negril and Montego Bay, Jamaicans are pretty cut-and-dried about their morality. The openly-gay leader of Jamaica's only LGBT organization was found murdered, and the police have done little to find his killer. You do the math. But, I digress.

Stories on the 'net all describe this young Jamaican man as a convert at 15, who fully embraced himself in the religion, trying to convert his friends. What was it that he embraced so strongly? What was it that embraced him? Was there something that made him forget his working-class upbringing by his mother, without his father's presence? Was there something that made him forget the smashing of the windows of his house as a Black child in a nearly all-White working class neighborhood? Was there acceptance of his love of a White woman, who would bear his children? What made this 19-year-old father of one, with another on the way, decide to bomb a train full of people?

I've been thinking strongly about who should be feared, and it can't be narrowed down to Muslims. Remember, when you have nothing to live for, you're not afraid to die. So, should society fear these people:

-- The Black Man: he has been feared and vilified on the shores of the Caribbean, Latin America, and North America. Defined by America's forefathers as three-fifths of a person, portrayed as a sexual predator hunting pure, undefiled White women, ghettoized, treated to prison instead of opportunity, subject to scrutiny should he exhibit signs of propserity, profiled as criminal.
--The Black Woman: forced to raise the sons and daughters of White America and serve as sexual playthings for their White fathers, turned into doormats for Black men, frustrated by their mistreatment at the hands of White society, hypersexualized and objectified by pop culture, cursed for asserting their independence through mating-by-choice and independently-obtained wealth
--The immigrant, especially one from a non-English speaking country, and with brown or black skin, willing to work for pennies on the dollar in contrast to similarly-abled White men
--The man who identifies as gay or bisexual, subverting definitions of masculinity and femininity by assuming, in some cases, what is thought of as a female sexual role
--The woman who identifies as lesbian or bisexual, who also subverts definitions of masculinity and femininity by not making herself available to a male for mating, asserts herself without a male partner
--The unmarried, the non-Christian, the couple who chooses not to have children, the single parent, anyone who can be defined as other; i.e. not Christian, male, heterosexual, middle class, parent

How long? How long will these "others" embrace something that causes them to take extreme measures? How long before discrimination and oppression become so unbearable that dying becomes easier to bear than living? How long before these "others" are so fed up that they take to the streets in retaliation for day after day, and year after year or mistreatment? What will it take?

And how do we stop it? How do we find and stop the Germaine Lindsays? Oh, my God.

Like This Wasn't Coming

So, now New York police plan to randomly search large bags prior to entry to the subway; no racial or ethnic profiling involved in the criteria, it's just 1 in 50. Several interesting things to note:

1. When this was announced yesterday, the all-important end of the sentence wasn't mentioned: you can refuse to have your bag searched, and although you won't be detained, you won't be allowed to board the train.

2. This is supposed to also include city buses, but oddly enough, most Manhattan-bound commuters don't ride the bus. And, most of the people of color who commute to a Manhattan job, do so by subway. Most Manhattan bus riders are Manhattan residents, who are usually White.

3. Pictures of the 4 suspects in yesterday's London incident have been released, as was the picture of the suspect in the first incident. 3 of the 4 suspects are very Black-looking. Even if the police don't plan to do any racial profiling, the court of popular opinion will. It's not as if White subway riders don't already, especially European tourists, and tourists from America's midwest and south, don't either carry their backpacks in front of them, or huddle really close together.

4. I've heard that commuter buses, buses from New Jersey and upstate new York, are randomly stopped. As a result of the first London bombings, cops have been riding commuter trains (Metro North, LIRR, and NJTransit), and bags will also be searched. How long will their heavily White middle class ridership put up with that? Have you ever seen some of these riders basically hurdle over you to catch a particular train?

5. Every "terror" expert, who has made a mint on their "consulting" services since 9/11, has said our food and water supplies, power plants, bio research facilities, and yes, our commuter venues, are vulnerable to attack (more so since 9/11). Having said that, and spent good taxpayer dollars on those messages, why weren't these measures taken earlier? We've put National Guard staff in places like Penn Station and the Port Authority, why didn't we put them on the trains?

6. Could it be the conspiracy theorist in me that thinks it's no accident that the UK has been involved in the Iraq War since the beginning, but it wasn't until shortly after Tony Blair's narrow re-election that these attacks in London came to pass? Hasn't anti-Western rhetoric from Islamic fundamentalists included Great Britain? And is it a coincidence that the shooting and killing of a suspect in London, whose police force is known worldwide for not carrying guns, has made front page news on the same day that hearings into Karl Rove's involvement in the outing of a CIA agent begin? Or that the renewal of the Patriot Act is up for vote (and passed by majority) right after the London bombings?

I suppose I should be happy about these attempts at keeping the public safe. I have to wonder, though, what will it take for people to finally feel safe? What is safe, anyway? And what will it cost?

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

What Do You Stand For -- UPDATE

Stop the presses, I didn't know that Robert Traynham, Rick Santorum's pal, was Black! I still ask the question: what do you stand for? I'm smart and savvy enough to know that I don't, can't, and won't support everything assumed to be Black, or female, or gay (as in of the community), or lesbian, or Black lesbian. But, when battle lines are drawn, what do you stand for? Really?

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Flip-Flop Indeed

In today's WTF news...

According to the Associated Press, Northwestern University's national championship women's lacrosse team has become the talk of the nation because a bunch of the lovely young ladies wore flip-flops to the White House to meet the Prez.

This is news? The term flip-flop, yes (fire Karl Rove already, if you have the integrity you claim to), but four women shown wearing flip-flops, no.

No wonder the world is laughing at us. Sheesh.

What Do You Stand For?

I'm always confused by minorities, i.e. people who aren't part of the power-holding class (white, male, heterosexual, married, parent), who choose to work for, or support members of the power-holding class, who have no intention of really supporting you, the minority. I just don't get it. I really do believe actions speak louder than words, and I'm not easily swayed by "what he was/thought/did back then isn't what he is/thinks/does now" argument. It just seems too conveniently drawn upon, and if you dig to the bottom, the so-called conversion can be connected to a strong need for allies to forward their agenda, which always circles back to what he has always been/thought/done.

From Armstrong Williams and Alan Keyes, to Arthur Finkelstein, and now Robert Traynham, director of communications for Senator Rick "protecting the family is homeland security" Santorum. Santorum's rise to fame (or infamy) came on the heels of this gem of wisdom, following the Supreme Court's tossing of sodomy laws:

"If the Supreme Court says that you have a right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything," he declared.

I'll skip the commentary on his lack of intelligence, and jump to what's itching my bum. How is it that someone from an oppressed group (Black, Latino, gay) can join forces with an oppressor? Here's Traynham's response:

"Senator Santorum is a man of principle. He is a man who sticks up for what he believes in. I strongly do support Senator Santorum."

Okay, I can dig supporting someone who sticks up for his beliefs. I can even agree to disagree. After all, disagreement keeps us from homogeneity. I just can't understand how one can put up with negative, untrue, intelligence-free utterings that strike at who you are, day after day. It's the same question I have for closeted (or even out) lesbians & gays who continue to support churches that have called them an abomination their whole lives. How do you sleep at night?

We already know what Santorum thinks about consensual sex between same-sex adults. And, we know that he thinks same-sex marriage puts the country at risk, equal to terrorist attacks. We know that the Republican Party shifted dramatically to the right, beginning with Barry Goldwater, and has done its best to court the South especially, rife with embracing states rights (which, among other things, drives the South's unquelled desire to hold on to its racist past). Yet, Keyes and Williams, are poster boys for this same party. We already know Williams isn't above selling out to the highest bidder, so conclude for yourself what puts him to sleep: cash. Arthur Finkelstein, a storied architect of New York State's anti-Hilary Clinton campaign, is a gay man, married to his partner, courtesy of Massachusetts' marriage law. And now Robert Traynham.

Interesting that we hear so much conservative rhetoric from White men. Yes, I am familiar with Concerned Women for America, but the old boys are using them to win over the few women with their heads still in the sand about the destruction of the family, blah blah. But, White men will always look out for the interests of White men, and White women will look out for the interests of White men, who they believe are looking out for their interests (little do they know). I will be accused of some level of racism, and I'll take it. I'm not 100% trusting of White people, especially White men. There have been too many opportunities for too many of them to stand for things that don't directly affect them, and said opportunities have been passed over. So, I'm fascinated, and mildly amused, by the alliances formed between these gay White men, and the White men they so admire.

I'm reminded of the scene in the Tom Hanks movie "Philadelphia," where the partner in the law firm that has fired the main character explains his admiration for Andy, extols his legal skill, expresses some paternal affection for him, and then shows his hand when he discovers his star is gay and has AIDS. How could this be? Andy is a regular guy, he's like one of us. How long will the groovy feeling last between Arthur Finkelstein and the GOP? Richard Traynham and Rick Santorum?

What do you stand for? What do you believe in, and what will you stick up for? Are you willing to go back into the closet, face the possibility of criminal censure for being gay, if your bosses have their way? What, you think that isn't a possibility, discussed in wood-paneled rooms over bourbon (America's cognac) and cigars, by fat cats in leather chairs?

And what will be your move then?

Friday, July 15, 2005

Some of You Can Go To Hell

Short & sweet, and perhaps only relevant to New Yorkers (those of us who ride subways & buses, that is).

Mr. Homeland Security thinks it's not such a big deal if 30 people get blown up on a train, because 3,000 can die from an airplane attack. Nice, really nice.

Gotta love our government, eh?

Ladies vs. Women -- More Dirty Words

So, today's Times editorial calls for an end to the exploitation of women in the military, particularly in Abu Ghraib and Camp Gitmo. As I mentioned briefly in a past post, it is acceptable to make homosexuality a dirty thing, and I've also expressed my disdain at using things associated with the female; i.e. allure, menstrual blood, as instruments of torture, er, coercion.

Now, I wonder to myself, about conservative women who support this kind of crap. Not just the whole "sex is dirty" mess, or even the "women shouldn't serve in the military because they're not cut out for it" foolishness, but the strongly held belief that woman bad, lady good.

In Googling the phrase "lady vs. woman," I came across a bulletin board with a cute joke on it. Eseentially, it's a collection of things a lady would do, and what a woman would do. Here's just one:

Ladies - Stuff a miniature marshmallow in the bottom of a sugar cone to prevent drips.
Real Women - Just suck the ice cream out of the bottom of the cone, for Pete's sake. You are probably lying on the couch, with your feet up, eating it anyway.
So, a lady would never get messy, or make herself comfortable, or behave in an aggressive, caveman-ish way (really, just never be aggressive). A woman would do what a man would, and just eat the damn cone without a care in the world. A lady concerns herself with what others think, a woman doesn't.

I'm being a bit flip, but my point is that just as we use the "homosexual" brand as humiliation, we use "female" in the same way. We stick to Eve's tragically poor judgement in the Garden as reason to think of woman as less-than, as evil. We cling to Eve's creation as an afterthought (made from one of Adam's ribs, in the original act of cloning, by the way, but I digress, as a companion to Adam) to justify and maintain not-quite-equal status in society. And, we even pass on the legend that pain in childbirth and menstrual cramping as punishment for forcing Adam (yeah, right) to eat the famous apple that brought us poor humans into the blight we now live in. In spite of test after test, and living example after example, that in most things, women are not inferior to men, we still use the vagina as a weapon and wedge.

Aack. I could be really weary, and get in bed and never leave. I think I feel better about being a woman after this snippet of the aforementioned lady vs. woman joke:

Ladies - Cure for headaches: Take a lime, cut it in half and rub it on your
forehead. The throbbing will go away.
Real Woman - Take a lime, mix it with tequila, chill and drink. You might
still have the headache, but who cares
?

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Gay is Officially a Dirty Word

In today's news, the non-abuse abuse at Camp Gitmo is now of the anti-homo variety. That's right, boys & girls, the U.S. government uses the accepted repugnance of homosexuality as a means of coercion.

Both CNN's website and the New York Times report that a prisoner was forced to dance with a man, wear a bra, was told he was homosexual, and the other prisoners knew it; dangerous as the majority of the prison population was staunchly Muslim, and just as rigidly anti-gay, which could lead to his harm or death.

Well, if you didn't think we lived in crappy times, I don't know what to tell you. It was easy enough to ignore, or just not think too hard about, teenagers saying something negative was "gay;" e.g. unfashionable clothing, a bad hairstyle, an unfavorable decision. It was easy to block out young men routinely calling each other "faggot" or "homo" as if calling their name. Maybe I've been idealistic, observing the behavior of groups of teenagers in my lefty nabe of Park Slope, home of one of New York City's longest-running food co-ops, a neighborhood of brownstones with windows festooned with rainbow-striped "Peace" flags, cars with "Defeat Bush" stickers, and same-sex couples hand-in-hand strolling the main drag of Seventh Avenue.

And then I read the story of Ronnie Paris, Jr., beaten to death by his father. Dear ol' Dad didn't want his son to grow up to be a sissy, so, according to trial testimony from the boy's mother, Ronnie Paris, Sr. would beat the child until he cried or wet himself. Ronnie Paris, Jr. was three years old.

Read just a sampling of this pathetic tale here. Needless, to say, I'm incredibly saddened.

More than that, I'm disgusted by a few aspects of this case. God is still working with me, so my apologies for my judgemental ravings.

1. According to the link above, the father's BIBLE STUDY PARTNER, only cautioned him to stop playing so roughly with his son. Sorry, but doesn't the Bible teach us to be "gentle as doves?" And what kind of Christian would see a child in trouble and not tell the authorities, even anonymously? Mr. Christian, you have played almost as great a role as my next target:

2. Baby mama Nysheerah Paris. A father who beats a child, never mind beating a child until he wets himself, is not the kind of father any child deserves. Yes, I know it's easy to observe a domestic violence situation from the outside, and make a host of suggestions as to what should have happened, but this child didn't ask to come here. You didn't have to succumb to the supposed charms of Big Ronnie, and your selfish fear that reporting the abuse of your baby would result in his removal, is not justification for allowing this man to use a child as a punching bag. A piece of man is NOT better than no man at all.

3. Ronnie Paris, Sr. May the gracious and merciful God I serve, not the vengeful and hateful god some others serve, have mercy on you. Florida is a death penalty state, and you sit in fear for your life, just as that child did. Or, perhaps you don't. Or, you don't respect life enough to care if you live or die. Your Bible study has not saved you. Your probably confessing to be a Christian doesn't make you a better person. I say again, may God have mercy on you.

I've known for quite some time that gay has become synonymous with bad; parents have exclaimed that it would be better that their child was a drug addict, a dealer, or even dead, than gay. But never have I heard anything more nauseating than this.

May God have mercy on us all.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

We Really Are Family

Unlike the rest of the blogiverse, I decided not to do an official Independence Day rant just out of sheer brain fatigue. Luther Vandross is dead, London has been terrorized, the major countries of the world except for the U.S. are trying to do the right thing (big surprise, eh?), and I've just learned that a friend of mine belongs to yet another groovy-on-its-face modern church built on the Biblical infallibility platform. I'm just tired.

I would, however, be remiss if I didn't extend my heartfelt condolences to the families of those killed in the London bombings, and my love and support to the U.K. We live in fucked-up times, and this New Yorker feels your pain, and sends you good vibes and deep prayers.

So, although I'm skipping a well-deserved criticism of ersatz Americana (somehow, I can't believe that schlocky flag-o-rama clothing and a diesel Japanese dude gorging himself on hot dogs is what our Founding Fathers wanted us to remember), I'd rather focus on family, the one thing that truly connects every human on the planet. I spent July 4th with my best friend and her family, including my soon-to-be 3-year-old goddaughter(who is beyond adorable), and I've just returned from my partner's family reunion.

My family doesn't have reunions. Thanksgiving dinner usually happened at my house, with my mom making no less than a dozen dishes, and at least 4 desserts. Both of my parents, one of my brothers, and one of his sons, were all born in November, so it ended up being a combined celebration. And, you can probably imagine what it looked like. The table is groaning with turkey, roast beef, spareribs, ham, lasagna, stuffing, rice & peas, potato salad, baked sweet potatoes, carrots, cabbage, green beans, tossed salad, corn muffins, crescent rolls (to this day, I STILL love Pillsbury Crescent Rolls!). Wash that all down with fruit punch, rum punch, a jazzed up carrot juice drink made with stout (among other things), and chase it with Jamaican fruit cake, pumpkin and apple pies, and birthday cake. No wonder I'm so friggin' fat! Sorry, I digress. Shove all this down the throats of myself, my younger sister, two older brothers, three aunts, a reluctant Jehovah's Witness family of cousins (didn't want to celebrate a holiday, but all four of them could put a plate away), an uncle, two sisters-in-law, two nephews, and three or four hangabout cousins or family friends that got in the car with somebody, and you have instant family reunion.

My partner's family reunion wasn't that different, except that at this particular event, most of us left hungry after the two PLANNED meals (and out $75 for our trouble). The highlight, for me anyway, was spending a slightly tipsy evening with our generation of cousins. Over five or six rounds of shaken vodka cocktails and a variety of chicken wings, the wife and I were essentially read the riot act because we didn't invite them to our wedding. And this is what they were upset about:

You assumed we were as closed-minded as some, but we're family, and you didn't give us the chance to show up for you.

I'm just as shocked as you. I've gone on long enough, so I'll summarize what happened almost five years ago when we were planning our wedding. My soon-to-be mother-in-law was okay with our relationship, but not the wedding. After all, a wedding tells the world that you are officially a couple. She didn't tell us from the beginning how she felt; she even led us to believe that she would come as late as TWO WEEKS prior to the wedding, and then just announced she wasn't coming. Mind you, her only child is getting married. So, she suggested we not invite the family because they wouldn't be supportive, and we acquiesced. And, we heard about it all this weekend.

Family is about showing up. Family is about the ties that bind you. Family is about knowing there are difference between you, but not caring about them or allowing them to be more important that what makes you similar. Family is unconditional. My wife isn't allowed to go to family events without me, unless there is a really good reason why I can't be there.

There will be another family reunion this year, if I get my way. It will take place in November when the wife & I renew our vows in front of our friends and family, the entire family.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

A House Is Not A Home Anymore

Luther Vandross has passed away. A voice like drawn butter to lobster, lyrics and melodies like chocolate sauce, he was the muse for Black romance. He will be missed.

I'm saddened certainly, from an artistic standpoint, but I'm also saddened by what he represents as an artist. He struggled with his weight, more than likely because he was a star in an image-driven industry. He came from a family that struggled with health issues, and, yes, there certainly was gossip about both his HIV status and his sexuality. I was also one that talked about it, but there's no fun in it anymore. If he was gay, it is tragic that he died without feeling fully free to be himself. And then again, he may have felt as free as he wanted to.

A room is still a room, even when there's nothing there but gloom.
But a room is not a house, and a house is not a home when I climb the stairs...

Luther's not there, and his house isn't a home anymore. God bless you. I hope you're free, at last.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Quickies

Like my pal Angry Black Bitch, I am also tired. Not really physically tired, although I have had a full coupla weeks, but mentally. I'm tired of the shift to the right. I'm tired of preparing for battle. I'm just tired. So, as it's summer, I'll be slow on the postings unless something really significant hits me. Which will happen. Because it's America.

Houston, We Have a Problem

Am I the only one who didn't think Sandra Day O'Connor was planning to retire from the Supreme Court? Am I the only one surprised that she stepped down before William Rehnquist? Am I the only one about to soil myself in light of recent federal judicial appointments? What's next, reprogramming centers?

Who Knew This Was a Law?

South Dakota recently struck down as unconstitutional a law that required doctors to tell patients considering or planning an abortion that abortion "ends human life and causes physical and psychological harm." Do you mean to tell me that this madness was actually on the freakin' books as a law before a court said it was bogus? It wasn't bad enough that in some states a pharmacist can actually refuse to fill a prescription if it is contrary to their moral beliefs?

Mr. Charlie Comes Calling and Uncle Tom Answers

An article in today's New York Times discusses the GOP's snuggling up to Black candidates in hopes of winning over swing Democrats who may be feeling like football widows, pun intended. Featured in the coverage is football legend Lynn Swann, planning a run for governor in Pennsylvania. A win is a win, right? Even if it involves selling out. Field niggers never trusted house niggers, anyway.

Black Boys Not Welcome But Leave Your Hip-Hop Stylee Anyway

Howard Beach. Home of the Black-bashers. Yeah, we've seen this scene before. Black guys in a nabe "they don't belong in" take a savage beat-down from a group of White thugs. Interesting thing is these cats love hip-hop (which is Black), wear hip-hop clothing (uh, Black again), and aspire to a "bling" (Black phrase, Black concept) life. Reminds me of the scene in Spike Lee's "Do The Right Thing," where racist Pino tells Black delivery guy Mookie that Michael Jordan isn't Black, he's "bigger than Black."

But The News Isn't All Bad

Thank God for good news, 'cuz my head was starting to ache. Spain joins the Netherlands and Belgium in granting same-sex couples the right to marry. Nearly all of Canada does now, with a vote on all provinces due at the end of the month.

Brooke Shields tells Tom "I know everything!" Cruise to shut up. She bravely shares a bit of her struggle with postpartum depression in an op-ed piece in the Times. Good for you, girl. At least you're speaking from an intelligent place, versus a swelled head. Listen up, Tom. Wisdom comes from humility, and you have to give it up to someone admitting an incredibly painful, and probably shameful, experience so others can benefit. When you push out a ten-pound bio bit from between your legs, and are expected to be everything for it at all times, then you can speak. Otherwise, zip your fly so the words won't jump outta your ass anymore.

Have a great Fourth of July, everyone. I'm not calling it Independence Day, for that would imply total freedom for everyone. Just try to enjoy your 3-day weekend.