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D10

Please Support Devan and the PG Storm in the National AYF Championships

As A Blogger, I haven’t been on my job, but please do not let that stop you from supporting the fine work of  one of my sons.  Devan, who occasionally is referred to on this blog as Mid-Ink is a Cornerback for the PG Storm Cadet Football team. On December 1, they will be going to Orlando, FL to play in the 2012 American Youth Football National Championship

Thanks to the help of many, he is very close to his individual goal.  Please take time to donate any amount of money…even 1 dollar makes a difference.

 

PRINCE GEORGE’S STORM YOUTH ASSOCIATION

P.O. Box 4906, Upper Marlboro, MD 20775

240.997.4236

www.pgstorm.com

_____________________________________________________________________________________

 

Dear Prospective Sponsor:

My name is Devan Parrish and I am a member of the Prince George’s Storm Youth Association’s Cadet Football team.   My football team has a strong possibility to compete in the 2012 American Youth Football National Championship, which will be held in Orlando, Florida, December 1-8, 2012.  The cost of travel and related expenses for the 21 players and 5 staff members is approximately $20,000.

Prince George’s Storm Youth Association has been in existence since 2002 with great leadership, volunteer coaches and staff, parent participation, and community support.  The Storm’s mission is to offer a range of quality athletic, educational and outreach programs as a vehicle to: impart Christian-based principles, empower and develop youth leadership, cultivate a fun and safe environment for youth, and strengthen and build strong communities.  As one of the longest-running, independent youth organization in the state Maryland, Prince George’s Storm has achieved various levels of success during its ten year history.

I respectfully ask you to make a donation today.  Your contribution will go a long way to help make our dream a reality.  We take pride in being a team of hard-working young men between the ages of nine and eleven, who excel both on and off the football field.  My teammates and I work hard in the classroom, participate in a variety of extracurricular activities, and serve as youth leaders in our community.  Please contact my coach at president@pgstorm.com  if you would like additional information or go to www.pgstorm.com  to learn more about the Storm.

Please help support Devan and his team in this effort. Whatever you can donate would be greatly appreciated.

Here is the Storm’s Rally page.  If you want to donate you can find Devan’s picture and click donate.  For Devan to receive the credit you have to use his name when you type in the comments section.  So basically, you can just say “Go Devan!” or something like that.
Many Thanks….

Respectfully,

Devan Parrish #10 and the PG Storm (2012 Maryland State and Atlantic Regional Champions)

The Eight Year Itch

On March 14, 2004 I got off a greyhound bus in Dallas Texas with 95% of everything in the world I owned. I was determined to start over and make shit work once and for all.

 

On March 14, 2012 I will get on a US Airways Plane with the clothes on my back and little else, going back to the city of my birth, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

 

I am not coming back alone.

 

I am bringing my Mother to Texas.

 

Twenty years after she told me she was leaving Pittsburgh the first time to move to Maryland, we are Driving a UHaul truck out of Pittsburgh and not looking back.

 

She returned, but that was because her mother was still there.

 

Grandma is gone now. My mother is finished with Pittsburgh.

Her oldest son and her youngest grandchild are here.

It won’t be easy, it won’t be boring. It is time for me to do my diligence as the oldest child as my mother strolls gracefully into the dawn of her twilight. She is in good health, I look forward to helping her add back the years working two full time jobs took away from her.

 

The older I get, the more I realize my mother and me are similar. We’ve loved, laughed, Bickered, but we have always ridden for each other.

 

My mother had due cause to write my sorry ass off more than once, but she’s always kept it 100 with me. Death, abandonment, racism, illness, heartbreak, marriage, tribulation, parenting, infidelity, historic success and unfathomable failure have woven their way through our relationship and here we are.

 

There is almost a guarantee that I will wish this day had never come.

 

I will expect at least ONE of you to give me a stern talking to when I part my lips to complain.

A Completely and Purposely Hijacked Obituary of Andrew Breitbart

I woke up to the news of the unexpected death of Andrew Breitbart, who died of natural causes at the age of 43.  

I harbor almost exclusively contempt for Andrew Breitbart as a journalistic entity.

I have nothing beyond the perfunctory humanitarian mourning for Andrew Breitbart the human being and those he leaves behind.  I do not know him outside of his professional existence, and I try not to get caught up in being extra judgy on people I don’t know personally.

So this isn’t really about Andrew Breitbart the person. I don’t know that dude.

This isn’t so much even like Andrew Breitbart the Journalistic Entity. It is what it is. And to a large degree…it is over.

Andrew Breitbart is not walking through that door. I don’t have any feeling about that whatsoever. He wasn’t on my reading list and had no hope of making it.

This, ultimately is about David Frum.

David Frum is probably the most reasonable Conservative that I read on a regular basis. While I do not agree very often, I find him almost alone in telling uncomfortable truths about his party.

That said…The bar is low. But Frum meets it regularly enough so I respect him for the most part.

 

So, when The Angry Black Lady Tweeted Frum’s Obit on Breitbart as a Fair Assessment I didn’t hesitate. And to be fair in assessing Mr. Frum, it was fair…Largely.

 

It’s difficult for me to assess Breitbart’s impact upon American media and American politics as anything other than poisonous. When one of the leading media figures of the day achieves his success by his giddy disdain for truth and fairness—when one of our leading political figures offers to his admirers a politics inflamed by rage and devoid of ideas—how to withhold a profoundly negative judgment on his life and career?

 

Frum even Makes note of the specific coded nature of Breitbarts game…calling it exactly what it is…

 

Because President Obama was black, and because Breitbart believed in using every and any weapon at hand, Breitbart’s politics did inevitably become racially coded. Breitbart’s memory will always be linked to his defamation of Shirley Sherrod and his attempt to make a national scandal out of back payments to black farmers: the story he always called “Pigford” with self-conscious resonance.

 

Then he Fakes the funk on the Money shot.

Yet it is wrong to see Breitbart as racially motivated. Had Breitbart decided he hated a politician whose ancestors came over on the Mayflower, Breitbart would have been just as delighted to attack that politicians with a different set of codes. The attack was everything, the details nothing.(emphasis mine)

 

No. Hell. No.

 

Shit like this, up with I shall not put.

I don’t know Andrew Breitbart’s heart and his heart aint the issue.

 

The ISSUE?

David Frum Frames the very nature of Breitbart’s Racially coded distortions and then turns RIGHT around and does what happens WAY too often. He shifts it away from being about the Racism..and gives us some smoke and mirrors.

Thin, wispy smoke and Cracked fun house mirrors at that.

I might have given Frum a bit of a pass if he had bothered to at least Describe what kind of code you hit to Sway people against the sainted Pilgrims. Alas…No such codes were given.

The cold hard reality is, I don’t really give a shit about Andrew Breitbart. I am here to neither bury him nor praise him.

I am here to once again remind people that there is no shame in saying that a racist act is racist.

I am going to pause here, to issue what should be an unnecessary disclaimer.

I don’t know enough about Andrew Breitbart to say that he is a racist. Frankly, I don’t know enough about ANYONE who does the racist shit I spend my time scowling about on twitter to say that THEY are racists. I’m not here to brand People as Racists. If you are here for that…there is a nice operational burner on a Stove over there…way over there that you can cook on. This stove ain’t here for all that. But BEFORE You go Stirring your pot on that other stove…Watch J Smooth.

Now. Where was I?

Ah…here we are. Mister Frum.

Sir? How do you articulate that Andrew Breitbart willfully and purposely engaged in racially coded language for the purposes of advancing his political agenda and then immediately say he WASN’T racially motivated?

 

If you are willing to engage in Racially coded rhetoric, then you are Motivated by Race. And the power it has to divide people.

I find it interesting that you would identify the spade in Mr. Breitbart’s Garage and THEN point out the parts of his garden that he used it in, only to turn around and suggest that it wasn’t a spade, but some kind of convenient digging apparatus.

It is a spade, Mr. Frum. You said so yourself. Call it a spade. What are you afraid of?

Yeah, I get it…you don’t wanna be THAT guy.

 

You are okay being the last reasonable Republican in the Media…but you aren’t willing to be THAT guy.

That guy who says that the dead white dude did some racist shit in his life.

Nope. Let the Negro do it.

 

Fine. Have it your way, Mr. Frum.

 

If it’s mid January…then it must be time again for The Black Odd Couple

Join the good Brother @WiseMath (aka Wise Naim) and me for another Black and elegant season of  The Black Odd Couple.

This week’s topics are likely to include:

  • The phenomenon that is Blue Ivy Carter
  • The Phenomenon that is Timothy Richard Tebow
  • The phenomenon that is the Republican Party’s complete disenchantment with their presumptive nominee for president, Willard Mitt Romney
  • The Phenomenon that is the marriage between Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. and Michelle LaVaughn (Robinson) Obama and the much discussed book about said marriage and its impact on the White House and America.
  • whatever various Phenomena that we encounter between now and Noon, Saturday Eastern Time.

 

If you need a sample to refresh your memory on how good we are or aren’t, check out our MLK edition from our first season.

On: The Public Spinning of Ones Wheels

Yesterday was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was a day where I accomplished everything I set out to do, it was a day of utter and complete failure. It was a day of innocent two year old black children with Cars Shaped pretzels and Apple Juice Boxes and 74 year old white women drunk from a five course wine dinner.

Just another day in my life.

 

And yet another day spent staying afloat rather than moving forward.

 

I have had moments that I believed were progress that have revealed themselves to be moments of Deja-vu; The new job that ended up being somewhat like the old job; Shuffling the cards in life’s deck vigorously only to cut the cards and deal out the same hand you had an hour ago; Staring at your mental to-do list only to realize that the same things were on that list 6 months ago….12 months ago.

 

Anyone who finds themselves surprised that I actually wrote something for a change reads this blog knows my propensity to stop and start and flounder about when it comes to this writing thing. Part of it is that while it is easy to formulate thoughts on the fly or in the course of the day, the second you sit down to focus…the demons gather as though Ma Walton Rang the Supper bell.

  • Behemothballs – The Demon who inhabits inconsistently updated blogs.
  • AntoomuchDromalius – the Demon who constantly creates turmoil in your life to disrupt the creative process
  • NoOneCaresBeelzebub – the Demon who constantly tells you that no one cares what you have to say but you.
  • obscuredbystuffofmoreIMPort – the Demon who prevents you from writing about random fun stuff by clouding your mind with trivialities like…a paying job, parenthood, and food and water necessities.

     

     

As I have suggested before, these kinds of boilerplate writer’s block are typically staved off by writing ABOUT being blocked. This brings up a Hobson’s choice where one has to choose between Unlocking the Pandora’s Box of Putting your business in the street in the name of Discussing your writer’s block in detail and leaving the blog post in Draft purgatory (with all the other aborted blog posts) and going off to play Farmcitymafiarailroadcastlezooville.

 

So. Here is the deal.

 

I wake up every morning making the choice between Throwing myself on the metaphorical pile of rocks because I feel like I am fighting the same battles I was 365 days ago and high fiving myself for still being in the fight.

 

Part of me says to shuck off the pride and just go balls out and put all my dysfunction and life chaos on Front Street. Because it’s 2011 and dysfunction is what’s hot in the streets.

 

But the reality is that there is a certain shame in having your car repossessed before it can finish breaking down on your first day of work at your new job that you had to make your only job because you can’t afford to pay for, insure, fix or replace your car that is your only way to get to your fulltime job which is basically a job you were holding while you were going to college, which you haven’t been in for three semesters so you have to couch surf on your ex’s nephews couch in South Dallas while your stuff is Way out in Keller 7 miles away from the nearest quasi regular bus at your boy’s apartment where you crash on your days off until you get out of training and make enough money to get a temporary apartment to stay on the bus/train line until you can get ANOTHER job to transition to a regular apartment which is all being retarded by the fact that it appears that the Texas Rangers’ desire to win a championship was so inspiring that people totally altered everything they did ordinarily until the Rangers were finished breaking the collective hearts of about 7 million people, 90 % of whom don’t even like baseball all like that but are so caught up in the bandwagon climbing that they get totally out of their usual routine hence sending a mini recession through the entire non sports bar food service industry which isn’t typically a problem if I hadn’t just spent two weeks making minimum wage while trying to get your life back on track for the fourth time in a year for various pending divorce related reasons and find yourself currently fighting depression because now you are forty-one dealing with the same shit you were dealing with when you were thirty-three but now your children are older and openly discussing how they wish their stepfather could adopt them and you have to actually hear this from the mother of your second ex-wife while she urges you to reconnect with your two year old toddler that you can’t bear to be away from even as you don’t see him nearly as much as you should but you don’t always go even when you COULD go because he, being a two year old boy is far more interested in the women of his life even though he misses you desperately he doesn’t need your close and personal presence, he just wants you around which is obviously not enough when you want nothing more than to have him sit in your lap for hours and hours to make up for the days that go by without you seeing him but what kind of asshole would you be if you insisted he handlethis YOUR way and not his and this says NOTHING of his long-term chronic illness he suffers from that I think about every day even as I do everything I can to not actually have to do anything about it even as I wish there was more room for me to operate as somewhat of an Equal partner but cognizant of the fact that it is my own tenuous living situation that has me in a state where I am focused more on daytoday survival than anything else.

 

 

*Stops…takes a deep breath. *

 

Now see, who can write about anything else with all that angst and frustration roiling around. There..it is out there now. I shall not discuss any of it any specifically, although I may make reference to it now and then.

 

At Least it is off my back. Now…onward…and maybe even forward.

 

 

 

 

Flowers for the Living

 

 

As Monday’s passing of Nick Ashford gave way to today’s tenth anniversary of the tragic death of Aaliyah I find it instructive to do what my father always taught me

 

“Make sure you remember to connect the dots so you don’t just end up with freckles” – Inkognegro  Beta (my father)

One of the most maddening things I experience in life is the lip-service paid to history.  Our memories are as narrow as they are long.  We can recite chapter and verse of what matters to us as though it is holy canon, yet scoff whenever someone dares suggest a little context, which invariably diminishes the moutain in our eyes to the molehill it probably deserves to be.

The very nature of  Social Media in general, and Twitter in particular is that it is a massive but diverse organism in search of common themes to fuel it.  Some folks seek to drive a narrative for one purpose or another, but most just float along and ride whatever wave comes along to pull them.  As much as we would rather it not, those of us who indulge in social media to any appreciable degree are forced to ride the waves we catch, like it or not.

 

The difference between nostalgia of Monday’s Lament over the death of Nick Ashford differed from Thursdays acknowledgement of the death of Aaliyah in degree, tone…and intensity.

 

I have always been fascinated with the impact Aaliyah’s death had on her career.  As someone who was a fan…but hardly a devotee of her, It was intriguing to watch the nostalgia build from one year to the next.  Of course…the fact that her death came during the earliest stages of the broadband era, has only served to enhance her legacy.  and there is nothing whatsoever wrong with that.  I do wish that she was as beloved in life, though.  But that is how life is…It never occurs to us how fleeting it is…until it flees from us.

Which harkens me back to Mr. Ashford (to say nothing of the work his surviving wife of 37 years, Valerie Simpson).  I would be lying if I said I was a huge fan or afficionado of his bonafides.  I knew, intellectually, that he was a titan in the industry whose reach exceeded far beyond Solid as a rock and a cameo in New Jack City.  Even if you delve into the Motown accomplishments or even lean into the work he (and Valerie) did for Ray Charles…rattling off a selection of hits in no way captures the cultural impact of Nick Ashford on the American Landscape.  And no one thinks to do so until it is too late.

 

As we mourn the losses of Mr. Ashford and Ms. Haughton, let us Start to Pick metaphorical flowers for those legends amongst us who are still living. who still have lessons to teach us.  So much is said about the paucity of genuine musical stars…I submit that if we spent more time lauding the stars amongst us rather than shepherding them into history, maybe there would be time for the stars of tomorrow to incubate and learn the craft.  In our rush to crown new stars we may be leaving out the most obvious candidates.

Viola Davis really wants me to see The Help. This is why I will not.

 

“It’s not an issue of Hollywood, it’s an issue of culture. I mean, I am a Black woman from Central Falls, Rhode Island. I’m dark skinned, I’m quirky, I’m shy, I’m strong, I’m guarded, I’m weak at times, I’m sensual, I’m not overtly sexual. I am so many things in so many ways and I will never see myself on screen. I actually had a person walk up to me once and say ‘So what person from history do you want to be? Do you want to [just play strong characters]?’ I had to stop them and say ‘Just write a story. Just take a risk and tell the most fantastical story that you’ve ever wanted to tell and then put it in my lap, or Octavia’s (Spencer) Lap, Or Cicely Tyson’s lap, or Angela Bassett’s Lap.’ There are few movies coming out this year with African-American women in them. Very few are being made. Black actresses have enough obstacles in our way without someone protesting an opportunity to show our work on screen. It’s one thing if you go see “The Help” and you don’t like it, but Give it a chance!”

- Viola Davis (Star of  The Help)

 

Ms. Davis, I still remember the role you played in Doubt.  I went to see it in the theater on the strength of the acclaim you received for your role in the movie alone.  I ache for you and your fellow Black actresses and empathize as best I can with your struggle. Ironically, the fact that The Help will do spectacularly well this weekend makes a part of me happy.  Because it allows me to opt out even as the movie exceeds all expectations and still allows me to hold out hope that someone will give you a chance to play a significant part in a movie I want to see.  This particular part is rather pie in the sky but keeping hope alive is a large makes being Black tolerable.

 

I don’t believe anyone should protest or boycott your movie.  I do believe we  as consumers must hold dear our right to not accept less than what we deserve for our money.  The Fact of the matter is, Walt Disney is selling this not just as a nice story…but in the words of The Help producer Brunson Green, “This is African-American Women’s story” .  (EW, August 12, 2011 page 37)

As the grandson AND Son of “The Help”, someone who as recently as 1991 was picking up Black women from white women’s houses in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and listening to their stories, some of whom had logged in as many as fifty years of “Helping” I can say with near certainty that Brunson Green, book author Kathryn Stockett, and movie director Tate Taylor (all white Jackson, MS residents)  are ill-suited to tell that story in a way that truly represents African-American women. for THIS reason

 

But as for you, Ms. Davis, as well as your Sisters in your industry, I wish you all the success you deserve, and should you be nominated for an award, as I certainly believe is possible, given what I have heard thus far…I hope you win.  I hope this movie brings you (and your co-stars) every bit of success humanly possible.  But Disney cannot have my money.  If you see me in the street, remind me of this article and I will give you the 15 dollars my trip would have cost me Personally.

 

I support you…I will not support Walt Disney in this endeavor.

 

 

The Part where we realize Mark Halperin was better off Calling POTUS a Dick

“I miscalculated a fair amount about what would happen with debt talks. I thought, for instance, that there’d be a big signing ceremony. I thought the president would stand with the Republican leaders, and they would announce together, we’ve solved the problem, even if we didn’t do everything everybody wanted. That didn’t happen.” – Mark Halperin

 

So, apparently calling the President kind of a dick is actually an improvement  over his standard boilerplate political commentary.  I am starting to wonder if Mark Halperin could predict the weather here in Dallas-Fort Worth (hint: it hasn’t been something other than Hot as all bejeezus and sunny since July 2)

 

 

Hello World: Another Upgrade, Another Corner Turned

Everytime I take an inadvertent Blog Hiatus, I feel the need to make changes when I return.

 

This is probably the biggest change that I have made thus far.

 

Dragging my blog out of the shadows of the blogosphere and into the broad daylight of networked blogs attaching it to my Facebook page, which is basically like stapling my drivers License to the cover page.

 

I have been blogging for almost ten years….over ten years now.

 

*Pauses*

 

I have been blogging off and on since I had one YOUNG son.

 

Now I have one son staring puberty in the face, one son contemplating life with two digits in his age, and third son with the Potty looming in his future.

 

When I Started blogging the world was fundamentally different than it is now.

When I Started blogging some things that I saw, felt and believed  are no longer things that I see, feel and believe.

When I Started Blogging I was Grasping with the age of 30, with no thought of what 40 would feel like.  Today I am 41 and feverishly preparing for 50.

 

It has been a ride.  A ride I have largely shared with strangers.

 

With a few clicks, I have exposed myself to relatives, Coworkers, Classmates, and even my Mother.

 

I never thought I would be here.  But here I am.

 

Out here for the world to see.

 

Naked and unashamed.

 

Metaphorically speaking…because my Momma is watching.

The one where Ink writes about everything but what he is thinking about the most

I am most successful as a writer when what I am writing about is the most important thing on my mind. The ability to Plunge a syringe into your brain and withdraw the foremost passions and thoughts only to inject them onto the page is the literary equivalent of shooting fish in a barrel.

But what do you do when what is foremost on your mind is sacrosanct.

 

What do you do when your primary thoughts are everything that cannot be spread to anyone, neither the elites nor the huddled masses?

What do you do when the thoughts you most think are toxic to the air?

What do you do when even the benign thoughts in your realm are susceptible to infection by the virus that is your most primary thoughts?

What happens when the thoughts foremost in your mind cloud your ability to Conjugate your verbs forge agreement with your subjects?

 

What do I do?

 

I write about writing about it. It was the first lesson I learned in dealing with writer’s block. Write about how you can’t write what is most pressing until something you can write about becomes more important.