Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Book Review: On the Down Low



When I first wrote, ‘You Can’t Keep It On the DL Forever’ and ‘Oprah on the DL’, the feedback that I received spiked a bit higher than normal. After I posted the articles, a lot of the responses from the women was very supportive and encouraging. Along with the ones who had already known about this ‘DL lifestyle’ before, where the people who had NO IDEA that such a thing was going on.


On the other hand, there’s a couple of folks who were completely turned off and agitated by the DL articles and the whole DL issue for that matter..

"Man..the last thing black men need is ANOTHER reason for folks to look down on us in derision, fear and anger."

Those who feel offended or perturbed by the mere MENTION of the Down Low lifestyle are a puzzle to me. Because I’m a heterosexual black man and by becoming more educated about the lifestyle, I feel better equipped with my life as well as the guidance, advice and friendship that I can offer to all the females in my close circle who may have to deal with this issue. When I wrote those first articles, I had yet to actually read the book. But since then, I’ve had the opportunity to meet J.L. King personally as well as read the book.

This was a big step for me, because I am what my wife often refers to as a ‘recovering homophobe’. I have my own levels of uneasiness and uncomfortableness with homosexual men. It’s not that I think they’re contagious or anything, it’s just that I’m wary of them taking my words or actions the wrong way. So instead, I have the tendency to stay reserved and deliberate when I’m around them, because I don’t want any misunderstandings, ya feel me?

The friends and family members that I have that are gay are a different thing, because I know they KNOW me, so there isn’t any fear of a misunderstanding or them trying to recruit me into their world. Most heterosexual men that are approached by or ‘hit on’ by a homosexual man get offended and pissed off and ready to fight. This is because most heterosexual men see homosexuality as a perversion against the natural order. Since I have friends and family members who I’ve known to have had these homosexual tendencies and mannerisms since childhood, I know that this is a fleshly lust that some men are just naturally born with. Just like how some heterosexual men are born with a natural lust for many different women.

So now we’re faced with a group of men, who like to engage in homosexual activity ‘on the cool’ and still reap all the benefits of being a ‘straight’ man and thus we have the Down Low community. Of course, on first glance, my first problem with the book was the title: On the Down Low, A Journey Into the Lives of "Straight" Black Men Who Sleep With Men. Holeupcuz!?? In MY world, ‘straight’ black men don’t sleep with men! After reading the book, I now understand that the point JL was making, is that although these men sleep with other men, they don’t consider themselves gay. That one still kinda baffles me, but I guess the mind is a powerful thing. We can convince ourselves to believe whatever we want to believe if we try hard enough.

Some folks call this denial, but the thing is, truth and time go hand in hand. And as time marches on, the truth is always there, maybe to be exposed today, maybe 10 years from now, but the truth never fades away, it’s always there. All things done in darkness will eventually come to light, just let time keep doing it’s thang. Apart from the hyper-sensitive homophobic black men who complain about the broadcast of the whole DL issue, are those heterosexual men who commit acts of infidelity with women.

"Man..don’t be giving my gal reason to start checking up on me! She might be looking for some punk sh’t and run up on one of my freaks! All those ‘can’t make up their mind’ punks are making it harder on all us true PLAYERS out here!"

I tell all those ’Players’, that the whole Down Low issue and the rising HIV epidemic in the black community isn’t really about homosexuality or bisexuality, this is really an issue of fidelity. People may jump up and start talking about ‘safe’ sex, which is definitely a necessary education, but having ‘safe’ sex does not put you under the shield of God. God honors ‘saved’ sex, that which is from the union of a married man and woman. And now, with so many folks stepping outside their marriage and indulging in illicit sexual acts with people they’re not married to, then that brings the health and well being of a faithful spouse under the target range for STD’s. Some people look in uppity derision on homosexuals, but yet they ignore/overlook this same fornication when it’s a heterosexual act. That’s when the finger pointing starts and the walls built by hypocrisy go up.

There is a church located on the Southside of Houston called The Shrine of the Black Madonna. It was at the Shrine‘s cultural center, that I went to hear J.L. King give his lecture/discussion/signing session for the book and the issues which it addresses. Now first of all, when there’s going to be a book signing by the man who wrote, On the Down Low, what kinda people do you think would come? Overwhelmingly the population throughout the small auditorium was black women. It makes sense, since they are the demographic which is suffering the most from this secret lifestyle. Of the handful of men in the room, there was a questioning aura every time one of the guys looked at each other. Because unless you worked at the Shrine, most folks were trying to figure out if you came because you WERE a man on the Down Low or what?? I realized that if I wasn't out on my hustle trying to get my writing thang down, I wouldn't have came either. True players know how to rise above their hangups and just take care of the business at hand. Whatever feelings of uneasiness I had, were quickly brushed to the background, because I was very eager to see how a fresh new author, hot on the scene, handles himself in front of a live audience.

J.L. gave a very nice overview of his life, his journey, the book as well as some things to look out for on the horizon. He then opened the floor up for questions. Some women vented anger at him and any other man who would put their woman through such a nightmare. Others voiced their support for him having the courage to stand up and educate our community to a lifestyle which had previously been spoken of only in hushed tones. When the time came for questions from the audience, I submitted one question: "Do you think homosexual marriages should be made legal?" His blunt and simple answer was ‘No. I don’t’.

After the lecture and Q&A, he signed books and I stood in line and got my book signed along with everyone else. J.L. was very warm and kind spirited, he spoke directly to everyone, took pictures and he was very cooperative and interested in his audience. We briefly discussed my writing endeavors, publishing company, servinemup.com, etc. I even left him with my website URL and email so that he could check out my style. Since then we’ve emailed back and forth a couple of times and he had a copy of this review before anyone else.I say this, because some of the parts that I’m going to bring up from the book are what I consider constructive criticisms. I think J.L. did a good thing by bringing this issue to the forefront, but there’s a couple of theological points in his book which are directly against the teachings of the Bible. So in that regard, I’ve got to put my boy J.L. ‘on blast’.

This is an excerpt from the ‘Oh God’ Chapter, pg 75 in the book.

"The book Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsh has provided me with 100 percent peace of mind about my life. In this publication, God tells the author that He gives all of us free will to live our lives. He, God, doesn’t intervene or make decisions for us. Because God has given us free will, He will not punish us for the decisions we make. That’s comforting."


That’s not comforting, that’s absolutely wrong! I posted Free Will yesterday to get folks to start thinking about it. God DOES give man free will to do as we choose. But this does not mean God is encouraging, inviting or ignoring us when we sin against His Word.

"I question whether having sex with men and women is a sin. I think that abusing people who give you their bodies, minds and souls by not being honest and true is a sin. I am thankful that I now know that. Yes, I was living in sin when I was lying and putting others at risk of death and destruction. Now that I give my sex partners a choice-free will- I feel I am no longer living in sin."

This ain’t right. So for all ya’ll out there (J.L. included) thinking you can get your fornication on and not think God won’t hold it against you because you’re not ‘hurting anyone’?? You’ve got it twisted mane.

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21envy murders, drunkenness, revelries and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in the time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. - Galatians 5:19-20

Of course, to some extent, we ALL have yielded to at least one of these fleshly lusts and a common tactic to deflect any ‘blame’ for any sinner is to point out Romans 2:1 like J.L. did in his chapter on the Black Church on page 80:

"What most churches won’t do is take the Book of Romans a few more lines down to chapter 2, verse 1: "You therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself"

In other words, ‘You can’t TELL me what I’m doing wrong, only God can judge me mane!!" Actually, the latter part is very true. God is the Eternal Judge of us ALL. But the problem comes in when people try to spread this, ‘Pay your dues and do’s as you please..ERRBODY (who don’t hurt others) is going to Heaven!’ that’s what you call a false teaching. And people who don’t KNOW their Bible and who aren’t rooted in the Word can easily fall prey to this ‘okey doke’ move.

I’m not casting stones at brother J.L. or anyone on the DL lifestyle or whatever. I’m just so afraid for our world, when we get to the point where there is no discernment for what’s right versus what’s wrong. That book that J.L. King used Conversations with God is NOT God’s Word, that’s just a book that Neal Donald Walsh wrote. Those who are searching for God’s essence, need to look in the Bible. I

n that passage from Galatians, the original Greek term for fornication is porneia. From which we get our English word pornography. This word covers all illicit sexual activity, including adultery, premarital sex, homosexuality, bestiality, incest, prostitution, etc. So the homosexual (or Down Low) community is correct in pointing that man is not the judge of man, but brother King is oh so wrong to lead people to believe that God will not punish us for committing sins that don’t ‘hurt’ anybody.

8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. - I John 1:8-10

We’ve ALL sinned and come short of the glory and for Christians to deny that they are sinners, is denying the very reason WHY Jesus got up on the cross. The key is having a truly REPENTANT heart and striving to leave the fleshly lusts (which wrestle with us EVERY DAY, even the saved folks!) behind and move on toward the glory of the Lord. Those who harden their hearts against God’s Word are going to have to give an account of themselves to God one day and He’s not going to want to hear ANYTHING about what other folks were doing, He’s only talking about YOU.

I encourage everyone to read the book and educate themselves on the lifestyle and the ‘signs’ that can let you know if your mate is a participant in the Down Low lifestyle. I pray that you all educate the people in your lives who you know don’t normally read on this subject. Just don’t forget, God didn’t instruct us to use condoms and practice ‘safe’ sex , His instruction is for faithfulness and monogamy with our marital spouses, which is known as ‘saved‘ sex. There is a difference between the two, but some folks just don’t want to see it.


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Friday, June 17, 2005

June 17, 2005

It’s been awhile since I stepped outside and shared my pen for others to see. I get moody like that sometimes. My grandmother used to tell me that I get my mood swings from my grandfather. My mother tells me that I get it from my father. Wherever it comes from, I just know that I have these spells when I don’t want to share my world with others. Instead I’d rather brood in silent introspection. I write, but I write for me and me only.



Writing is MY thang..I ain’t got to share it with NOBODY if I don’t want to…hmph.



Some people may wonder just how in the hell does a blogger who posts new material every blue moon maintain a steadily increasing audience of readers? Believe me..I’ve pondered that same question myself. But you see, what we have here is a failure to communicate. Blogging is my opportunity to ‘work out’ my writing skills in public view. Kinda like a prize fighter in training that holds public workout sessions for the media to see his skills on display. That’s how I view www.servinemup.com. This is my opportunity to try out a few punches and counterpunches, work on my footwork and my combinations, just so ya’ll will have an idea what kind of fighter I am when I step into the ring for my first official match or book in this case. The internet is cool and it allows for a wonderful marketing and publicity tool for ‘unknown’ writers like D. Washington...but the real bell doesn’t ring until that wood hits the street.



When I first started blogging, I put out 2-3 blogs every week, much akin to those quick jabs. Nothing too long or elaborate, I was normally in and out in 1,000 words or less. Stick and move..stick and move. But as the audience started growing, so did the urgency to prove myself as a championship caliber writer. I didn’t want to remain a one punch quick hitter type writer, I wanted to dig deeper and be ready to go 15 rounds and then some. My father groomed me to be a world champion from the time I could walk. And I’m not just talking about the many times we spent shadow boxing with bare fists. He was so much bigger than me, that he’d let me get in punches to his body as he covered up his head.



Gone and get you a nuddin



He’d grin and flash that gold toothed infectious smile, almost amused by my efforts as I would stand there and try to load up with all the energy in my body and punch him in the stomach as hard as I could with my fist. If I got too sloppy with my delivery, he might throw a jab or two at my chest or arm, or maybe even give me an open handed slap upside my head, just to remind me that I can NEVER let my guard down.



Keep your guard up! You gotta be ready to take a blow at all times.



He taught me all the critical areas to target in my opponent and he promised me that if he EVER caught me doing that pre-fight, shoulder to shoulder dance in circles,that he’d whup me himself.



Don’t dance and play around, if you know you’ve got to fight a n’ga, don’t wait..take the fight to him. Get in the first punch, the 2nd, 3rd and all em of down to the last if you can. Fight to win.



So whenever I pick up my pen, I always remember the training that my father gave me, I’ve got to write to win ya’ll, it’s all I know. Some may wonder who the opponent is, but I don’t worry about that. All I focus on is who my Master is..and whenever He puts me down in the pit to scratch against another dog (or demon), I know it’s a match that’s completely off the chain and I’m dead game.



‘Dead game’ is a term that is commonly used in the fighting world. Some may think it’s a measure of skill or strength, but it’s not. The ‘game’ in a person (or dog) isn’t about how strong they are or the quality of their training, but rather their heart. No matter how nice you are with your hands, or how vicious your bite is, there is always somebody out there who can match your talent or training. Somebody that has more guns than you. So when you’re in the midst of the struggle and you reach a point where you realize that your opponent is stronger, smarter, quicker and more agile than you are..your heart or ‘gameness’ will determine how long you stick it out.



Some people get popped in the mouth one good time or get knocked off their feet with a crushing blow..and that’s it. They’re ready to turn tail and go home.



“Live to fight another day n’ga!!”



And believe me..fleeing danger is a primal instinct that is not always dictated by fear, but rather the will to survive. But the thing about this Christian walk..is that once your time comes to get down in that pit and fight for the Lord, there is no turning back. If you know the Lord is on your side, those bites and blows that the enemy inflicts aren’t wounds, but rather medals. Because whenever you suffer pain and take blows because you’re lifting up the name of the Almighty God??... that’s when you start winning FO REAL!!



Okay..let me back up a bit. Cuz I know I have the tendency to stray from a linear path and instead write along a path more akin to stream of consciousness..but I do have a definitive plot for this post. I know some of ya’ll may be a bit confused, with the references to fighting and taking blows and then all of a sudden I started talking about God and maybe I lost you. But this is the deal..so read this very carefully.



God wants your testimony.



Didja get that? Not just mine…but YOURS too. He wants all of His children to open our mouths and tell this dying world that He is very real and very much alive. You see, lifting up the name of the Lord is not a politically correct thing to do. If you want to start a fight at work or at a party, start talking about why you know that Jesus is Lord. People will start laughing at you and calling you ‘crazy’, ‘Jesus freak’, ‘simple’ or ‘gullible’, because a lot of people have intellectualized themselves past the cross. From the people of random chaos who think sh’t just happens, to the people who think Jesus is a fictional character, to the people who don’t believe that it was Jesus that got up on the cross in the first place, our world is dead set on refuting and denying the deity of Christ.



Now the real tricky part comes in, when you assume that everyone who has a Bible in their hand believes that Jesus Christ is the Lord and Savior of us all. There’s a lot of people who read the Bible for recreational purposes only. Or they may use it like one of those boxes of assorted chocolate candies…biting into the verses they like, but discarding the ones that are disagreeable to their palate.



The Bible is cool and all..but it’s been in the hands of MEN and it’s been changed over the years.



Whenever someone pulls that ‘the Bible has been changed by man’ card out on me, the first thing I ask them is, ‘Oh yeah? What part?’ Usually they stumble and fumble with an answer, because they really don’t know, they’re just repeating what they heard or read from someone else. They haven’t read the Word for themselves. They haven’t studied to show themselves approved unto God. It’s a lot easier and more convenient to tarry along the fringes of faith rather than take a full bite into the Word with conviction.



I believe in GOD, but not religion, cuz religion is man-made.



I’m sure there’s a lot of people reading this right now who probably just told someone that exact same thing a few minutes ago. I know, because I used to be one of those people that had fooled myself into believing that I was a part of the family of God, but yet I did not praise and worship Him in any way, save that meager grace we normally do with a mouth full of French fries that you couldn’t wait to taste..



God is great God is good, let us thank you for this food. Amen.



I wasn’t robbing or killing, and I believed in God, so I was all good. Going to church was a religious thing and everybody knows that religion is a man made construct..right?



Things didn’t start changing for me until I woke up one day and realized that I was stuck in a quagmire. My job seemed unfulfilling, my home life was unsatisfying, and I just started to question why God put me on this earth in the first place. I found myself trapped inside of that dark and unforgiving pit and I was being constantly attacked by an undefined opponent that seemed intent on devouring my soul. I knew I was slowly fading away and losing strength, because every time I walked past a mirror, I always found myself worrying that the day would come when my image would no longer reflect. I felt that I was on my way to completely disappearing from the face of existence, I was about to disappear in a poof, quicker than Kaiser Sousa from the Usual Suspects.



That’s when I made up my mind to reach out to the only help that I knew. Momma couldn’t save me, daddy couldn’t help me..I had to get on that hotline and call on the LORD for myself. I was raised in a Southern Baptist household, but my studies had taken me on a tour of the different religions of the world. Our high school class read Thoreau’s ‘Walden’, and I was kinda digging that whole ‘transcendentalism’ thing. God was in ALL of us. I read Malcom X’s autobiography and it peeled my wig back a bit and made me study Islam. There’s a long list of religions or ‘paths’ to God that men claim, I was well read enough to know that the Baptist weren’t the only game in town. From Catholicism, to Islam, Judaism, Taoism, Scientology, Kabala, Buddhism..I had dabbled on the fringe of various faiths for awhile. It might sound surprising, you know, with me being raised in one of those good ol Christian homes and all..but the thing about God is, it doesn’t matter what your family or community teaches you about God, you’re going to reach a point in your life when you’re going to have to know Him for yourself.



I felt that I was intelligent enough and mature enough to have the power of discernment between what’s real and what’s fake. I wasn’t about to let somebody pee on my head and tell me it was raining…naww, my game was too tight for me to fall for the okey-doke move. I’m sure there’s a lot of us who look at the older generations, our parents and grandparents and think that they’re na├»ve..or too trusting..that they don’t REALLY know what’s up in the world like us ‘intellectuals’ with enlightened education and global awareness.



Why would Jesus be the ONLY Way to God? What about those good devout Jews or Muslims? What about those people who grow up in cultures and countries where the gospel of Christ isn’t even allowed to be taught?



Those were just some of the questions that I had swirling around in my mind as I paced back and forth in the pit, looking for my entry point to lock in to the power of God that I knew I needed to survive. I was searching for truth, I was searching for understanding, I was searching for peace, I was searching for redemption.



I knew God is...but the whole issue of religion and worship seemed so random to me, that I was hesitant to step out on faith. I didn’t want to fall suspect to the ‘white man’ in charge who uses religion as an opiate for the masses. I was a free man with my own free will and I refused to let my soul be shackled to the slave mentality of organized religion.



So instead of choosing a religion, I chose to immerse myself in the Bible and really study it for myself to see if I could see the ‘janky’ parts in it, those parts which have been changed by those evil men running the world. So what you’re about to see these next few days, is my testimony of why I know that Jesus is real. I love the LORD ya’ll, He heard my cry. And I know no matter how many seeds I may plant through my words or how much water Curvey may distribute, it is God and God only that can give the increase.



So all ya’ll agnostics out there who are dabbling along the fringes of faith? Get ready…we’re coming to get you.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Reverend Janky Just Got Out Of Jail

When we pulled into the church parking lot , I was slightly agitated. My wife and I were attending a 3:00 program at our friend’s church and we were late. By the time we pulled up in the parking lot it was 3:20 and there was not a parking spot to be found. We ended up having to park across the street at a store. Since it was closed on Sunday’s the store’s owner let the church use it’s lot for overflow parking. My wife had the mirror down on the passenger side getting her lipstick out and making sure she was looking tight. A red Lexus with gold rims drove up and parked alongside of us. The windows were tinted but I could still see the shadow of the driver. His music was blaring so loud that his windows were rattling, and I could make out his head being thrown back as he took a swig out of a pint of some kinda liqueur. As he came down from the deep swig and was wiping his mouth, he turned his head in my direction and gave me a nod. I nodded back at him and turned back to see if my wife was ready. She gave a final okay, closed the mirror and looked at me and smiled..

Don’t be mad baby, you know they never start anything on time!

I just gave her a ‘yeah right’ stare as we both opened our doors to get out. As I stood up I noticed the guy in the Lexus was already out of his car and walking toward the church with a Bible in his hand. He was dressed in a pink pinstriped suit, with black thin lines and a black shirt. Looked like one of them hustlas turned preachers that were so common on the Southside of Houston. As my wife and I passed around his car, I noticed a smell that was quite familiar.

Baby you smell that?

(sniffing) Yeah. somebody’s been smoking some weed.

I glanced down at the personalized license tags on the Lexus as we passed by. Laid out around a perfect chrome plate in platinum frosted letters were the letters RVJANK. I’d heard so much about him, but this was my first time laying eyes on the legendary, Reverend I.B. Janky.

When we walked into the church foyer, I was instantly amazed at the crowd that was gathered in the lobby area just waiting to ENTER the sanctuary. Obviously we weren’t the only late arrivers, which actually is pretty commonplace in black Baptist churches. Most black folks don’t worry about getting to church until before the choir sings or definitely before the pastor gets up to preach. They just want the highlights of the service, they don’t want to get into all that congregational praising, responsive reading, announcements, portions of service. I would even venture to say, that a large portion of churchgoers have never been in Sunday service when it was FIRST starting. They have no idea what it’s like to see one of the deacons get down on his knees and start praying right after the whole congregation sang one of those Old 100’s led by one of the deacons..

I love the Lawd, He huurd my cryyyyyy…

That’s what’s called responsive singing, and after the lead singer would call out the verse, then the entire congregation would repeat it..

IIIII..Luuuuuuvvvvvv…thuuuuhhhh..Laaaaaaawwwdd. Heeeeeee, huuurrrd myyyyyyy cryyyyy.


And so it would go. I have no idea why everything had to be so drawn out, but for some reason this is how it was done. I learned in a history class that this is how slaves learned new songs. Most of them couldn’t read, so the verses would be taught and passed on in an oral tradition such as this. Makes sense when you think about it, hymn books don’t mean a damn thing if you can’t read. But I digress..

There was a wide assortment of folks waiting to get in. Everybody was dressed up and looking tight. One of the top drug dealers in the hood had went to prison and got saved. When he got out of prison, he started his own church, so I guess you could say most of the congregation was full of people who had lived in that ‘world’. Pimps, players, hoz, thieves, jackers, forgers, gamblers, any level of the underground world that you wanted to delve into, they’ve got a member who has done it. I’d heard about this church before, but I avoided it, since it most often turned into some kind of rap awards festival. The young hustlers were running this church and they were working it hard. The congregation had been steadily growing each year and now they were making plans to move into a brand new 50,000 square foot facility. Pretty impressive for a congregation that started with 4 chairs in a garage. It seems the Pastor had put all of his street skills to work for the Lord, and it just so happens that the Pastor was a childhood friend with the aforementioned Reverend I.B. Janky.

As I was observing the ‘Hook Up with a Christian’ bulletin board, which had phone numbers pictures and email addresses of the church’s singles, I couldn’t help but marvel at how some of these ‘church’ folks were dressed for their pictures. I found myself staring at one woman posed a lot like Ice-T’s wife Darlene on his album cover, when my wife and I were approached by the church greeters…

Heyy, how are ya’ll doing??! Welcome to New Jerusalem Sanctified, Saved and Delivered Baptist Church! My name is Sister Juwana and this is Sister Shereta.

Sis. Juwana was a nice looking professional woman. With her soft honey skin and demure demeanor, she would put you in the mind of Halle Berry. Nice, fine and sexy. Sis. Shereta on the other hand was different, she was more thick fine like Beyonce, except a lil darker and a lil thicker. As my wife smiled and shook their hands, I couldn’t help but notice Sis. Shereta staring into my eyes, never taking her eyes off of me. She smiled at my wife and gave her a hug such that her face was over my wife’s shoulder. But all the while she was hugging my wife, she was staring at me and I saw her mouth the words, ‘What’s up?’ and she gave me a suggestive glance down to the crotch of my pants. I had been in the world before, so I knew what was up with that, I felt the devil in this church, cuz he knows how to tempt us with the flesh.

When Sis Shereta came and gave me a hug, she made sure to press her breasts all the way into my chests as she whispered close in my ear…

You need to make sure you holla at me after church.

I figured I was tripping or in some kind of dream world, cuz fine women like THAT don’t often come on to me so strong, in fact, this had NEVER happened to me before, so there were a lot of conflicting emotions going on in my mind. But as I was struggling to maintain my composure, Sis. Shereta went straight to my weak spot, right before she was through embracing me, she ran her tongue lightly over my earlobe and licked me. As she pulled away and looked into my eyes, she gave me a look like ‘Mmm, you taste good.’ I glanced over at my wife, amazed that she hadn’t started tripping, but Sis. Juwana had her so wrapped up and entertained, that she had barely glanced in my direction. It seems Sis. Juwana was one of the most popular girls at my wife’s college, and they had some folks to talk about that they both knew. As I was trying to figure out what was really up with Sis. Shereta, we were bombarded by some vendors.

Breath mints! Get yo breath mints!! Don’t have no fonky breaff in chuhch! Get yo mint on dog!! This is the only ‘blessed’ mint for this congregation. Pastor don’t let nobody chew no gum, cuz too many people be poppin it during service. So even if you have your own mints, since they aren’t ‘blessed in this house’ Pastor say it would be a sin for you to use them. Mint brother?

Game updates! Git yo personal game updates! We’ve got personal pagers that will silently buzz and flash the score and scoring player for every football game. It’s quiet, it don’t buzz and it’s the ONLY sanctioned updater in this church! So all ya’ll football freaks who want to know what your team is doing, holla at me mane! Pastor already knows what’s up, it’s all good!!

Git your official Pastor Anniversary programs right here! Full color magazines with a featured fashion and hair article each week! See what all the divas on the Southside are wearing, see how they’re styling their hair! Be up on where it’s at!!! All for the Lawd!!!

From the looks of their bulging money changers, these vendors were all hittin licks. It seems like they had something for everyone. When we finally weaved our way through the crowd and got up to the next group to go inside the sanctuary, I was approached by a shifty eyed dude. He looked just like Rollo from Sanford and Son, but he had on a uniform that said Usher.

Yeah, dog, whatchu tryin to do?

Trying to do?? My wife and I are going into church!

Okay..what kinda seats you trying to sco?

Huh?

How good of seats do you want?? I can get you in the middle for $10, but I’ve got two on the front row that I can let go for $20 apiece.

$20?? Just to have a place to SIT in church???

Look here dog, (whispering in my ear) I don’t know if anybody has told you or not, but this is Pastor Anniversary Appreciation Sunday. We’ve got some praise dancers from Foxxy’s Strip Club (saved of course) and Reverend Janky is preaching his first sermon since he got out of jail. This ain’t your normal church experience dog, it’s about to be CRUNK in here! You think Shereta and Juwana are fine, boyyyyy,once you see THESE dancers??!! I’m telling ya mane!! (laughing out loud, then composing himself)..So, what’s up, it’s ALL for the Lord ya know??

After I had gotten my $10 change back after giving Rollo a $50, I couldn’t help but smile as we were being led to our seats. As we were passing down the aisle, I notice how plush the carpet felt on my feet, and it was like we were on some fashion runway, so the whole church seemed to be observing us. Just as we were approaching the middle of the aisle, I looked into the pulpit and saw the massive pink clad preacher who had been smoking weed and drinking liquor in the parking lot while jamming in his car. After we had gotten settled in our seats, I browsed through the pulpit. I never knew that they made so many loud colored suits. The pulpit was packed with preachers, all dressed in their canary yellow suits with matching shoes and socks, a few where like Pastor Bird, dressed in all white. Some were dressed in lime green, but the one that stood out from them all was Rev. Janky. All the ministers had their time at the podium, saying a word or two about the Pastor and finally it was time to introduce the keynote speaker. I glanced at my watch, as I always do to keep a gauge on just how long this n’ga was go preach. Baptist churches are known for long church services, but I was hoping that this wasn’t one of those services.

When it was time for Reverend I.B. Janky to get up and speak, he paused and surveyed the crowd like a patient land surveyor.. The church was already in a buzz by the time he stepped to the podium, especially after those praise dancers had delivered that rousing rendition of ‘Shake that thang for the Lawd’ performance. They had the whole church on their feet and clapping their hands. All of the men were smiling from ear to ear with eyes wide open, some even started throwing bills on the ground they liked it so much. Rev. Janky came to the podium smiling and looking out over the congregation. He was a big man, almost 6’0 tall at a hefty 250 lbs. His gold grill glistened and the diamonds earrings sparkled as he wiped his sweating brow and smiled out at the crowd.

Good evenin’.

His greeting was returned with a smattering response. Obviously that wasn’t good enough for Janky, cuz he had to repeat himself.

I said, ‘GOOD EVENIN’’??

Janky was amazed that everyone wasn’t enthused to respond. Obviously most people there knew that Janky didn’t play, so they 2nd response was a lot more lively.

GOOD EVENIN!! The crowd responded. One dude even yelled out, ‘What’s up n’ga??!!’ As everybody were laughing and smiling at the clown’s remark, Janky smiled along with them.

Yes, yes. We’ve came here today in the house of God to celebrate the anniversary of one of my dear friends and fellow servants of the Lawd. God has put a lot of things on my heart to tell ya’ll and the first thing I want to do is be REAL. Is it okay if I get real with ya’ll this evening???

Go head Jank!! Preach that Word Reb’m Janky!!! Let them fools know!!!

Allready! Some of ya’ll say amen or halleluia, Janky says, ‘allready!’ Some of ya’ll already know, Rev. Janky hasn’t been around lately because Rev. Janky has been in jail.

There was a slight pause in the congregation, people started murmering and whispering amongst themselves..Girrrlll, I didn’t know Janky was in jail!! What did that n’ga do THIS time??!!

That’s right, I’ve been in jail. Bu I’m not ashamed, I’m not discouraged, because I know we all must face persecution of some sort. Just like prisoner Paul, we all have to bear our cross for the Lawd. So when them white folks came in with the IRS and DEA and FBI and seized all of my church files and financial papers and put them handcuffs on me, I didn’t cry, because I know that ALL things work toward what? That’s right, all things work toward the GLORY for those who believe. Guess what ya’ll?? They can call Janky an embezzler, or an extortionist or even a racketeer, but guess what they CAN’T say about Janky? Can’t NOBODY say that Janky don’t love Jeezus!! Ya’ll feel me? Can I get an ‘allready’??

ALL-READY!!

The congregation was charged. There was nothing like listening to a man of God bare his soul of transgressions for all to see, and throw his fate at the mercy of the Lawd.

And guess what else? They can lock up my body, but my soul?? My soul has been set free by my Lawd, the risen Savior, can I get an already??!!!

ALL-READY!!

By this time Janky had begun to pace up and down the pulpit, as if he was some sort of caged animal just looking for the opportunity to pounce on its prey. As fascinated as I was with the antics of Rev. Janky, I was even more amazed with the reaction he invoked from the crowd. It seemed that people wanted to be fed by a man who had been saved from the pit of iniquity. Seeing someone who had ‘been through it’ seemed to strengthen and encourage them. Janky was somebody everyone could relate to. Janky was all the way real and no one doubted that God was using him to spread the Word. It also seems that sinners love company, and since Janky had already done it ALL, he could relate to all the other sinners in the church. God can save you, just like He saved Janky!!

Once they ‘opened the doe’s’ of the church and the service came to an end, I knew that this wouldn’t be my last time hearing Rev. Janky preach. Despite all of the game that was going on in New Jerusalem Sanctified, Saved and Delivered Baptist Church, I had thoroughly enjoyed myself because my soul had been fed. Of course my wife probably thinks I just like going there to see the praise dancers shaking that thang, but I know it’s much more than that. There’s some strange things going on at New Jerusalem, and I felt compelled to learn all about them.

As we were leaving the church, Rev. Janky was positioned by the exit door, so that he could shake everyone’s hand before they left.

God bless ya brother, I’m shole glad ya’ll came to worship with us today. Amen sister, gone and give Rev. Janky a hug, you know I NEED a blessing!! Oh Mercy the Lawd has been so good to YOU sister. My, my, my it’s a miracle you could fit all that into that dress, Lawd have mercy!! Make sure you come back next Sunday, ya heah??

As my wife and I were walking out to our car, she looked at me with a smile..

So? How did you like the service?

It was pretty good. Definitely never a dull moment.

Rev. Janky can GO huh?? (smiling)

Yeah, he definitely has skillz.

As we arrived at our car, I couldn’t help but glance over at Janky’s red Lexus still parked there next to us and smile with amusement. Janky had been in jail and was still doing the things that the 5th Ward Boyz claim, ‘Seems to satisfy us all’ and I wasn’t mad at him about it. Little did I know, that this was only the beginning of my relationship with the remarkable Rev. I.B. Janky.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Links

It’s not an easy chore being a blogger. Most people who start their own weblogs usually fizzle out within 7 months. The grind starts to get to them. You see them on the street or in cyberspace and you say,



“Hey! What ever happened to that blog deal you were writing? Are you still doing that?”



“Uhh..well..you know I’ve been so swamped at work and dealing with all the blah blah blah blah blah blah, that I haven't been able to blah blah blah..”



That’s what it usually sounds like at that point. Because in the bloggers world, you’re either growing or you’re dying. Everything else is just blah blah blah blah blah.



Okay, I know, kinda heavy on the blahs, I’m sorry, it got good to me, my pen has a mind of it’s own sometimes whenever I let it roam free.



I don’t get out as often as I used to, but I do get down more real. Writing those couple of hundred word blogs everyday is one way to do it. But as my pen worked out blogging, I found my endurance increased and I could easily go for 4 and 5 thousand words at a clip.



Blogging is a great exercise in extemporaneous real time writing. Stepping up to that podium everyday with something to say. Microphone checka, one two, checka.



Didja hear that? No? I thought somebody just turned on some Das EFX? No? Hmmm..I’m trippin.



I got hooked up with the blogging world via a friend of mine from Stanford that blogs at www.tradermike.net. TraderMike and I were discussing ways of making money via the blogging vehicle with our dearly departed brother Okon one day. The thing about Okon that was so beautiful to be around, is that you will never ever in your life meet a more positive brother.





Positive brothers give out positive energy into the universe. They aren’t hating, they’re hugging. They’re not whining and complaining, they’re singing. And that is the best way I can describe Okon in so few words.



I’m sorry if the mood just changed for a lot of ya’ll. Especially the ones that knew Okon, because I know ya’ll know just what I’m talking about. Okon, or ‘Gooch’ as the Bruh’s all called him. Actually, I spell it Gooch, but it should be Gucc, because Okon got that nomenclature from wearing all those fake Gucci short suits and sandals like a lot of those ‘Africans’ like to wear.



Okay I see what makes you smile now, a lil ol American negro vs African negro, brother vs brother put down has got you smiling again? Good. You’ve got a twisted sense of humor, but don’t worry, you’re amongst friends.



Maybe you didn’t know that they had real black people at Stanford??..cuz you know how black people like to give everybody nicknames. Whatever your reason, I’m just glad that you’re smiling. Because that’s what I make a point to do whenever I think about Okon, smile.



Okon and Mike had read this treatise on personal hygiene that I wrote and sent out to our Stanford crew awhile back called ‘The Streak’. I was telling Okon about how I had a lot of those that I needed to get printed out into a book and Okon was encouraging me to chase after my dream.





“You should go ahead and do that…you’re SUPER DAVE!! (laughing so hard that he had to clap his hands and double over at the waist..Okon could get pretty animated.)



TraderMike.net was the one that first suggested that I start a blog,



“You can use it to increase your readership base via cyberspace.’



So, that’s how I got into the blogging game.





Tradermike got me IN to the blogging game, but there’s also a lot of other people and websites out there who are on my list of ‘Favorite’ links. Those people that I check out from time to time, check up on em when I’m browsing, just to see, like they do with me. Now, of course this doesn’t mean that I agree or I’m down with everything they have on their websites. Just like it doesn’t mean that they are down or believe everything I write here at www.servinemup.com.



“He’s naming names!!!”



So..don’t start tripping with me if you see something on their websites that offends you. I have enough of my own problems, I ain’t trying to get caught up in nobody else’s. Ya feel me? Calm down, this ain’t about to be no real freaky web sites or nothing like that. It’s just that I have to get some people ready, because they can’t always handle how real I get.



For instance, there have been SEVERAL people who have approached me kinda strange after I wrote Aunt C.





“Is that shower scene with you and your Aunt C you wrote about true??”



“Yeah.”



“And your MAMA read that???”



“Uhh..yeah.”



“Your family is WILD D.”



“Oh yeah.”



I’m sure the incestuous innuendo could throw some people off. Especially those Bible thumpers who throw out that Leviticus 20:19



And thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy mother’s sister, nor of thy father’s sister: for he uncovereth his near kin: they shall bear their iniquity.




So when you add that in to Jesus teaching that thinking it in your mind is just as bad as doing it for real?? And a person like me would start thinking,

“Ain’t no way in hell I’m go get in to heaven now. Just THINKING it is as bad as doing it?? Shhiiii…I might as well DO it and have some fun!!”



But whoaaa. That would be like doubling down, cuz sin ain’t free. Let me gone and get back into this Bible, cuz I know God gotta have a plan for crazy THINKING n’gaz like me. Hmm..let me see some more of that Leviticus….



If a man lies with a woman during her sickness and uncovers her nakedness, he has exposed her flow, and she has uncovered the flow of her blood. Both of them shall be cut off from their people. – Lev 20:18



‘During her sickness’ is the same thing as ‘that time of the month’??? Oh great. Now I’m gonna have to move away from my kinfolk.



Okay, let me stop tripping, I’m making myself laugh too hard. Some of ya’ll just don’t know how good Jesus really is!! And this is serious. Ahem.



So if you’re ever in New York, the Big Apple, the city that never sleeps and you happen to find yourself in Manhattan near Broadway and 47th street, you’ll see a world reknown lounge known as the Supper Club. Scores of performers in the entertaining industry have rolled through and performed or enjoyed hearing others perform at the Supper Club, with it’s astute clientele of music and jazz enthusiasts.





If you look up on the wall outside of the club, you’ll see a mural painting of famous performers and my Aunt C is the lovely cinnamon sugardrop in the red dress. I’m talking about THE diva (and I mean that in the most loving way), the captivating, alluring and perpetually entertaining, Cynthia Scott!!!





You can check out all of her latest happenings and itinerary of performances on her website, www.cynthiascott.com.



She’s the bomb ya’ll. I had the pleasure of seeing her perform a few times this past year. In Detroit, in Manhattan in a jazz tribute to Ray Charles performing with Fathead Newman (played

boy Bokeem Woodbine in the movie Ray), in Yonkers and most recently in the city where she first got her start in the music industry, Dallas, Texas. Unfortunately, she’s the only blood kinfolk that I have that has her own website, but I’m looking forward to adding a lot more in the future. ESPECIALLY those of the seed of the late Sam Scott, aka ‘Big Daddy’. Cuz I KNOW ya’ll got that hustler blood in you, it’s just waiting to get out.



I’ve already told ya’ll about my wonderful wife Tracy at, www.tracyopensdoors.com,

she’s definitely opened a lot of doors for me in my life and I appreciate her for it (wazzup baby doll?? J), but we also have another close friend of the family that’s in the real estate world and that’s my podna Byron over www.realtydreammakers.com. Between the two, I’m sure you’ll see SOMEthing you like.





What? Does that sound too pimp? Oh..okay, let me straighten back up then, cuz this is serious. Ahem.



I gotta say what’s up to my golf podnaz, cuz they’ve been down for a n’ga since before I ‘came out’ with my pen to the general public. We used to get out on those links regularly in our group, hitting fairways and greens and getting up and down. I haven’t been able to play as much these past couple of years, but they all know I stay ready to show up out of the blue and get a hole in one and drink brews with everybody after the round.





So to my podnaz Big Lou, Carter, Travis, D.C., Brian, Hawk. I appreciate ya’ll mane. Hawk, thanks for hooking me up with Rev. Rudy and St. John’s Downtown, the support of the brothers is very strengthening to me (even ya’ll Methodist & Catholic boys can be alright sometimes! :)



I have a recipe on the site for Quick & Easy Abbeville Etouffee that I ‘jacked’ from my boy Brian (from Abbeville, Louisiana). And I spoke of a special seasoning that I used for it.



www.seasonfinale.net





Season Finale is a host of special spices and seasonings privately made by a world class chef..oh, okay, maybe world class may be pushing it a bit, but all I know is that the n’ga know how to put some seasoning together. It comes in 3 flavors too, Original, Jalapeno and Cayenne. Check him out, he’s even got special gift packages for the holidays.



Let’s see..who else do we have..oh yeah! For all ya’ll who need to residential or commercial building inspections (including windstorm), then you need to check out another brother from the Southside that’s getting down for his. Everybody wants to glorify the drug dealers and the professional atheletes that make it out the hood. I’m talking about those professional doctors, lawyers, engineers and PhD’s that make it out the hood!! Going ‘pro’ doesn’t have to mean in sports, ya know? So check out a Texas state licensed PROFESSIONAL engineer over at EDP Consulting Engineers. It’s real.




www.edpce.com



If you are in need of any custom wireless engineering services, RF design and stuff like that? Then you need to check out my podna out of South Oak Cliff.



www.rfade.com



I gotta say what’s up to that DeadEnd Twin and all those back in the day hustlers that used to hang out at Carro’s on Monday Nights and at the most jammingnest hole in the wall in the world, LaShaun’s in the hood.





Twin? I see you coming through baby! I know you put the turntables to the side and you picked up a wok doing your chef thang and all. And I KNOW that if your hand skills with food are anywhere near your skills to move the crowd with the music, that you’ll be a world class chef before it’s over. You know I need you to DJ my book signing party..right? :) Keep on pushin baby. Already.



And here’s a list (in no particular order) of other websites that I frequent and check out from time to time.



www.geraldpoindexter.com – This brother taught me some game on being an independent writer.



www.ghettointellect.com – Very sharp blog that will make you bob your head and say, “I feel you” or it might make you laugh out loud. I like it.



http://www.drduru.com/index.htm - another Stanford brother spouting knowledge supreme!



www.charlottefranchise.com – my podna ZB is the founding principal, I call him black Trump.



http://www.icvcapital.com – Some brothers are incognegro..but don’t worry, I won’t tell anybody!



www.bet.com – my podna is one of the executive officers, so you know I’m riding!



www.blackplanet.com – the founder and I worked as resident assistants together in the African American Theme Dorm at Stanford (Ujamaa). Omar?!! Tell Oprah I got something for her to read!!


Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005 © Servinemup Ink

All Rights Reserved

www.servinemup.com

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Statement of Faith

For those who want to know what I believe...


The Bible, consisting of all the books of the Old and New Testament, is the Word of God, a supernaturally given revelation from God Himself, concerning Himself, His being, nature, character, will and purposes; and concerning man, his nature, need and duty and destiny. The Scriptures of the Old and New Testament are without error or misstatement in their moral and spiritual teaching and record of historical facts. They are without error or defect of any kind in the autographs.

There is one God, eternally existing and manifesting Himself to us in three Persons-- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Our Lord Jesus was supernaturally conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin, Mary, a lineal descendant of David. He lived and taught and performed mighty works, wonders and signs exactly as recorded in the New Testament. He was put to death by crucifixion under Pontius Pilate. God raised from the dead the body that had been nailed to the cross.

The Lord Jesus, after His crucifixion, showed Himself to be alive to His disciples, appearing to them in the space of forty days. After this the Lord Jesus ascended into heaven, and the Father made Him to be head over all things, including the Church. The Lord Jesus, before His incarnation, existed in the exact form of God, and of His own choice, laid aside His divine glory and took upon Himself the form of a servant and was made in the likeness of men. He is a divine person possessed of all the attributes of deity and should be worshipped as God by angels and men. "In Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily."

By His death on the cross, the Lord Jesus made a perfect atonement for sin, by which the wrath of God against sinners is appeased and a ground furnished upon which God can deal in mercy with sinners. He redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse in our place. He Who Himself was absolutely without sin was made sin on our behalf that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. The Lord Jesus is coming again to this earth, personally, bodily and visibly.

The Holy Spirit is a person distinct from the Father and the Son, and possesses all of the divine attributes. He is God. Man was created in the image of God, after his likeness, and therefore has transcendent, intrinsic worth. The whole human race fell in the fall of the first Adam. All men, apart from spiritual regeneration, are lost, darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, hardened in heart, morally and spiritually dead through their trespasses and sins. They cannot see nor enter the Kingdom of God until they are born again of the Holy Spirit.

Men are justified on the simple and single ground of the shed blood of Christ and upon the simple and single condition of faith in Him Who shed His blood, and are born again by the quickening, renewing, cleansing work of the Holy Spirit, through the instrumentality of the Word of God. These alone become children of God and receive eternal life. At death their spirits depart to be with Christ in conscious blessedness, and at the second coming of Christ their bodies shall be raised, transformed into the likeness of the body of His glory.

All those who persistently reject Jesus Christ in the present life shall be raised from the dead and throughout eternity exist in a state of conscious, endless torment and anguish. The Church consists of the host of the regenerate, wherever they may be found. It is the body and bride of Christ which Christ loves and for which He has given Himself. There is a personal devil, a being of great cunning who can exert vast power only so far as God allows him to do so. He shall ultimately be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone and shall be tormented day and night forever. We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life and to perform good works that are the necessary evidence of their genuine faith in Christ.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Servinemup Awards

The numbers for May are in and I would be remiss if I didn’t step back and take a minute to say thank you to a lot of special people out there who have helped me in my efforts of making my dream a reality. It’s a different feeling stepping out into that ocean of the internet, walking that plank time and time again to bare your blood, sweat and tears to steadily growing audience. All I gotta tell ya’ll, is to be very careful what you pray for. Because when the Lord starts breaking you off a piece of that blessing, it can be so good to you that you almost feel overwhelmed. My website statitstics track ‘unique visits’ every month. Every computer has it’s own IP Address associated with it, so every time you log on to servinemup, the service can track the address. That’s why after you visit a lot of websites, you end up getting a lot of spam emails after the fact, because they tracked the email address associated with that IP address. Visit one of those XXX sites, and you’ll likely to start getting a lot of those Viagra or Kinky Sex Online emails. (ahem) at least..that’s what some of my friends tell me.



But anyway..I don’t do that. The only emails I send out are to people who have signed up for the newsletter. (Click Here to sign up for the Servinemup Newsletter!!) This is a website that started with an initial email mailout (unsolicited to my family and friends) of about 100 folks. And in less than 2 years time, it’s grown to an audience approaching 2,500 unique IP addresses every month. I know this can be a bit eschewed, since some people in the same house use the same computer, and some people go to the library and log on different computers everytime, so I think it pretty much averages out to being a fairly accurate number when judging audience size.







I first started blogging almost two years ago, but I’m still a moonlighting writer, full time husband and father of two, plying my trade as a technical sales engineer in the manufacturing industry here in George Bush’s America 2005. I don’t talk a lot about my daytime job, because that’s just what it is..a job. My homeboy Yuk from 3rd Ward always says that a job “ain’t nothing but another name for ‘Just-Over-Broke’.” I didn’t realize just how dire my situation was until I was talking to my grandmother one day…





Baby…(in case you didn’t know, it feels GOOD when yo grandma calls you ‘baby’, no matter how old you are)..do you like yo job?



Uhhh..yes ma’am..I like it just fine.



We were sitting on her front porch just watching the cars go by and talking.



What do you like about it?



Well..I get a chance to travel to different places and see different things.



I know! Everytime I talk to yo momma or yo daddy, they telling me about how you gone out of town to Arixona or California and waay on out up there in New Yawk and thangs. You don’t be scared to be flying up in them airplanes?



No ma’am..flying doesn’t bother me too much..I just don’t like being out of town as much now that I’m married with kids. But fortunately I’m not on the road TOO many nights...and our main office is close to my house



Yeah..that is a blessing. But you still didn’t tell me that you like yo job.



Yes I did..it challenges my mind because I still have to use a lot of the engineering principles and training that I learned in college..and it’s close to home…and I get to travel..and I make good enough money where my wife doesn’t have to work.



Well let me ask you this here…when you wake up in the morning..do you look forward to going there?



That one stumped me. I couldn’t lie to my grandmother and it made me realize that I had been lying to myself. Because there are many mornings when I wake up and I almost start getting a headache just because I know I have to go to work and deal with…’those people’. My job affords me the opportunity of delving into society on several different circles of existence.





On one hand I deal with the money men. The money men are the people who have control of the resources and they’re looking to do business via product or service with our company. We’re a privately owned company working in the public sector and we ship our products worldwide. So wherever someone needs to have some water moved and they have the money to make it happen, I’m the guy who examines their needs, designs a high quality product that will meet their needs, I tell them what they’ll need to install it, how much power is required to run it and how much it will cost. These are the guys who are making decisions or directly advising the person who does make the final decisions. You gotta be ready to get out there and ball with other players, no matter what color they are, if you’re going to be a real player in the game.





And on the level that I really enjoy the most, is dealing with the people who actually use and operate the product. That person who has to make sure that water is being delivered to where it’s supposed to go everyday. Usually these are working class type folks who are doing a job to support their family just like the people I grew up with on the Southside, and they come in all colors too.



Product..meet Money..Money meet Product..it’s a business thang mane. And when you deal in an industry that’s centered around the earth’s most valuable resource..potable water, it will open your eyes to a whole different level of the game that’s going on in our world. Everybody is talking about how bad the economy is, but just like there’s a lot of homes being foreclosed on and a lot of retirees that have to go back to work to survive, there’s also a booming population of millionaires around the world. And when you consider what it takes to become one of those aforementioned..’money men’, you can’t help but remember the chorus of Wu Tang’s hip hop classic 'Cream'...



"Cash rules everything around me (CREAM!!)..gotta get the money

Dolla Dolla bills ya’ll!!!"



I’m a 70’s child..but I’m on the end that’s right next to the 60’s, so a lot of people my age are very familiar with Michael Douglas’ ‘Greed is Good’ soliloquoy in the movie Wall Street. We’re at a place in our society where that mode of thinking is more the norm, than it is the exception. You see it everyday in the news..high level executive is convicted of pilfering the pension fund or caught with fraud accounting practices. That’s that greed right there ya’ll..’gotta get the money’.



So after my grandma and I had talked, I was thinking that I needed to firm up my professional goals. My job wasn’t perfect, but it was just comfortable enough that I wasn’t ready to get back out there on the track and start looking for another one. I glanced through the want ads a couple of times, but I never saw anything that really grabbed my attention and made me think, “Oooh! I want to do THAT!!”



My problem started in college. You have to declare your major at some point and I started thumbing through the curriculum guide and wondering how the hell was a 17 year old supposed to know what I wanted to do for the rest of my life?? Being a doctor would have been cool, except for the fact that I sometimes get queasy at the sight of blood, especially my own. Perry Mason made being a lawyer look cool, but it looked like they had to read a lot of those biggo books and memorize stuff and my brain doesn’t work like that, I can barely remember what I did the day before, let alone some case back in 1936. I knew I wanted to do something that was math related..physics was a bit too weird..I’m stupid in chemistry..computer science was attractive, but I wanted to have a bigger scope of the real world. So I’m browsing through one of those sheets where they rank the highest paying salaries for various degrees and I come across PetroChemical Engineers #1 starting salary…let’s see..petrochemical..that’s them oil boys..nawww..doing that kind of stuff will make you end up working in a foreign country around a bunch of dudes named Khalib..plus you gotta know chemistry and I’m stupid in chemistry..hmm..Electrical Engineering..that sounds like a good one and it’s towards the top of the list. So I declared my major, earned my degree and so I went.



Not too long after I had the sobering conversation with my grandmother, I went to a business breakfast and seminar with some co-workers, and I got to meet and then hear this dude named Zig Ziegler deliver a motivational presentation. What struck me as odd, was that this guy was in a business environment, around all these money men and he was giving a motivational speech, but yet he was quoting Bible scriptures frequently and wasn’t nobody tripping. Cuz usually when somebody starts talking about the Bible in a public place that’s not a church service, SOMEbody starts tripping..but no one did there that day in Hopheinz Pavilion. Everyone was tuned in to Zig and he was DYNAMIC!! The part that really stuck out to me was when he started talking about quality vs quantity of life.



“You’ll really start focusing on the quality of life, when you stop trying to find the job that will allow you to retire the quickest, because that’s a person that’s wrapped up in quantity. What you really need to focus on, is finding the job that you won’t ever want to retire from. The job that you will want to keep on doing until you can’t do it any more.”



That hit home right there. Engineering? It’s cool and all..but I don’t jump out of bed thinking, ‘Yeaaahhhh!! It’s time to go..engineer.’ How the hell did I get so off course?? Was I even paying attention?? So I’m going through the day really searching WHAT it was that I wanted to do..what was MY thing??? By that time, my wife and I had already been going through, and I had found that a lot of times, whenever I was feeling pent up or needed to vent, when I sat down and started typing my feelings and thoughts out ..it soothed me. After the anger had gone, the writing jones was still there. So I started writing in a journal from time to time, but never anything that I shared with anybody.



But just to show you how the Lord truly works, I got a call at work one day from some white lady in California who had an opening for a technical article in her magazine and she wanted to know if our company had anything we wanted to submit for them to publish. So I wrote an article about water cost-energy savings and they published it. So I started writing technical articles and white papers for various publications throughout the industry. All the while I’m still writing on my own little notepad in my spare time.



I play fantasy football (read Fantasy Football Freaks if you don’t know what it is) and one season our league graduated to an internet based service that allowed us to customize our webpage settings to display stats, schedules, standings, transactions and articles. So just on a whim I started writing articles for our league for the other 11 members to read when they logged on to our fantasy league’s website (wazzup Ultimate Players Club!). Right away them n’gaz started trippin..





"Mane…you the wildest n’ga I know!! That sh’t you wrote cappin on n’gaz AND they squads was HILARIOUS!!! You need to keep writing them articles..cuz they be FRESH!!"



It was kinda a big step for me..because when you’re used to writing behind the scenes in your own world, then you step out into a more public view for others to see..it’s a very vulnerable experience. But by then I was a writing junkie. I started visualizing thoughts of getting published and becoming a professional writer. So all these things started coming together all about the same time…going through..writing..Zig..quality of life..the thing you want to do until you can’t do it anymore..PING!!!! the light bulb went on!! This writing thing was undoubtedly my way to freedom. Maybe I could be the next starving writer turned best selling author to hit the streets? SUPER D!!!!!! Able to write spellbinding novels with a single stroke! Strong enough to push out a book every month!!



So I started researching what it meant to be a published writer. I knew my grammar skills were of the countrified ebonic dialect with a Texas twang, but I’ll be a hood writer..like my boy Donald Goines..keeping it real to the street. Representin! SOUTHSIDE!! Hmph.



Now this is where it REALLY started to get weird..in less than a 2 year time frame, my wife and I had over 10 funerals of family or friends that we attended. I’d been to funerals before, but I have NEVER had the feelings that I felt at my grandfather’s funeral. His was the one that really set it off and lit a fuse in me. Because as I sat on that front row with the other pallbearers at the funeral, a real strange thing started to happen to me. As I was sitting there..looking in that casket..at the empty shell of one of the most strong willed and hard working men that I had ever met in my life..and I thought about all the experiences that I had with him, my Big Daddy, I suddenly had a visual image of myself laying in that casket one day..and it almost felt like the grave pulled me down into it’s depths and I was surrounded in darkness. But just as I started to feel like I was actually fading away..I felt myself being lifted, up to a higher place. It was almost as if God Himself had scooped me up in His arms and carried me into the Light..and by the time I could open my eyes and see what was going on, I found myself crying tears of an unspeakable joy and then it kinda snapped away from the vision, but the tears were still real and I still felt that unspeakable joy. I didn’t see any hands around me, but I did hear my cousin Jamar at the microphone singing a solo a cappalla rendition of ‘My Soul’s Been Anchored In the Lord’ and by the time that I realized that I really was in the land of the living, I looked around and noticed that I wasn’t the only one who must’ve had felt what I just felt..because everyone that I saw in that packed church was crying too. They say that the Spirit moves in mysterious ways, but this time we all knew that He was moving through and we could feel it through Jamar’s voice.





It was that experience that woke me up to realize that this life is but a fleeting memory. And since that final date is already notched on ALL of our calendars…I knew I wanted to leave some kind of mark. I wanted to put in my work on earth so that the Lord would be able to look at me and say, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.’ Ya feel me? It’s kinda like how the rapper Juvenile says, “I need Him in my life, I want Him in my life, I’m go keep Him in my life” except I’m not talking about buying cars or clothes, I’m talking about anchoring my soul in the Lord.



So from there I got on my hustle, cuz I could clearly see the task that lay before me. I had to write things that will help people, I had to write things that would motivate people, I had to write things to encourage people, I had to let them fools know, “Jesus is real mane..ya’ll n’gaz sitting around here caught up in a bunch of trivial sh’t like money, cars and clothes..ain’t NONE of that go do NUTHIN for you on the other side mane!!”



I discovered how hard it is for 1st time authors to get picked up by a big name publisher, so I decided to do my own thang, at least for the first few books and self publish. I ended up taking a writing class and researching how to start my own publishing company. After awhile I realized to hit big in the publishing world, I was gonna need some help. There’s thousands of outstanding writers that the world has never heard of because they didn’t have the right promotion or consistent distribution channels. I could write, but I needed someone to handle the distribution..get it out there..push it on the block. Move that weight and put it in them fools face! I needed another weapon to add to the arsenal.





I happened to start spending more and more time with Curvey, because he’s one of the few men my age I know that is IN the Word through diligent study. We both grew up attending the same church. His path to becoming a man that is in to the Word is a bit different than mine. Instead of attending college for 4 years, he ended up doing over 7 ½ years locked up in prison. That REAL state education.



Some people trip on how crazy it sounds that so many of my fellow church members and homies from the hood are locked up in prison or dead, but unfortunately, it’s a rather common occurrence for young black men from the Southside of Houston, Texas. Just at our modest sized church alone, there is a ridiculously high percentage of young men who have fallen away to a violent death or have felony convictions. So I was gearing toward publishing products that would be good for the hood. My kinfolk.





When I wrote Dr. Chickenhead, that whole experience of mentoring those young black boys opened my eyes to the game. I didn’t fault the kids for their materialistic value system, instead I think the point of correction should start with their parents. So I knew I needed to write for a young adult audience, those young parents and parents to be. I knew that there is nothing more fulfilling, motivating and strengthening for someone to read than the Bible, but the problem was, most folks don’t read and study their Bible



It’s too boring! Reading the Bible makes me sleepy!!



Even most of the folks who go to church only read the Bible IN church, they don’t study it at home. So if my words could entertain this attention deficit, video game generation of young parents and get them to put all that bullsh’t to the side and focus on what’s real. If I could write words that would prick their heart to spend more time with their kids, and to get them into that Word so that they could train their children up in the way that they should go..I’d fulfill my mission.





Me and Curvey started talking about a lot of different things..’chopping it up’ like we say on the Southside. And after I told him what my vision was and the plan of attack that the Lord had placed on my heart, his eyes lit up..



You know what D? You hood enough that the street n’gaz go feel ya and respect ya and you smart enough to make even them college educated n’gaz start tripping. This book thang you talking about can hit a lick FO-REAL. Even if we could start selling books to penitientiary libraries we’ll make a biggo lick..especially when they see it’s some Christian motivational type material at the core.



Yeah..but I don’t want to be confined to the ‘Christian’ section of the bookstore, cuz then most regular n’gaz who need to learn about the Lord would never read it.



That’s true. Well, just keep uplifting His name, but just write it in the tongue of the street…hood n’gaz gotta hear the Word too mane. (laughing) You go have them church folks trippin and all mad and stuff..but as long as you keep it real to the Word, they won’t be able to fade you.



I need your help Curvey.



What do you need me to do?



I need you to distribute the goods. I’m not trying to run down there with one book and get one soul, my goal is to fill bookshelves before it’s my time to go.



You ain’t go do that with ONE book..but if you keep banging them n’gaz upside their head with a new look but the same foundation in the Lord every time you drop? You can throw a big net then.



You down to get these packs out on the block?



(laughing) Am I down? N’ga..we can put a product in the hood that will help our folks and spread the Word AND make money?? N’ga I’m IN!!! And I ain’t even gotta worry about the laws taking me to jail if they catch me moving THIS weight!!



So I’d like to introduce everybody to the distribution manager for Servinemup Ink, Tommy Curvey. Anybody who is interested in being setup as a local distributor in your city, town or hood? Holla at Curvey. Who knows, it could be your chance to help serve.





tcurvey@servinemup.com

(713) 731-4737 (shop)



In the meantime..you’ll still see me out on the block pushing my blog. But if you ever wonder why I don’t post as much as I used to, then Lil Keke’s song “Pyrex Shaking” can tell you why..



I’m in the kitchen with the pyrex shakin’

I’m bout my game, ain’t got time for no fakin’

I might be rapping, but I’m still brick breakin’ (Fa-Sho!)


Cuz ain’t no limit to this money I be makin’.




God has blessed me to have some wonderful people around me my whole life. I have people very close to me that I can lean on for support whenever I feel my way is getting murky or cloudy. We all need someone to help guide us along the way at times and I thank God for giving me two of the realest and most wonderful parents in the world. I can never hug them or kiss them enough, because I love both of them so dearly and I’m thankful that God let me have them for my parents. I also thank God for allowing me to have extensive relationships with all 4 of my grandparents. There’s something about the older generations, a wisdom and a strength, that can’t be taught in books or a classroom. And I thank them for helping me along this path of life and I especially thank them for all those prayers they sent up to the Lord for me, even before I had the sense to pray for myself.



I know this may start sounding like an album cover credit, but you never know what tomorrow may bring, so I try to make sure that the people I love hear me say it. I have a wonderful and beautiful wife that grounds me and recharges my batteries with love and affection. She’s the one that taps me on the shoulder and let’s me know when enough is enough..”It’s too late D..you need to get some rest..turn that computer off and come to bed.” Life is a lot easier when you have that rib at you side fellaz, especially when she’s a ride or die chick.


I’d also like to thank a few special people, my editor, L.F. Lubin for being a consistent source of love and support in my life, my senior staff photographer T. McCoy for keeping me from going certified nuts, even when I was ready to check into a crazy hospital in South Africa; all of my families: the Scott Family (thanks for putting me down in the music web world Aunt C!), the Washington Family, the Andersen family up there in the Big Milwaukeefe!, the Alexander family, the Stewart family, the Dunston Family, the Ladet Family, my cousin Peaches and Robbie

for all of ya’ll support out there in Hotlanta, all my wife's people out there in Victoria, Cali and Jersey who have accepted a crazy Southside n'ga like me into the family with open arms of love and support (Wazzup Uncle Ben, Aunt Lessie and Lee-Lee!); my church family at Blueridge Baptist Church, my pastor, Rev. Ceola Curley, Jr. and the entire Curley and Dunn families, all my homies in Union County, Arkansas that I grew up with every summer, all my homies from the hood, Sugarvalley (Big Fella, yo story is so tight it’s gotta be on paper), Blueridge, Reedwood, Cloverland South Park, Hiram Clarke, Yellowstone, Almeda Plaza, Mo City Thugs (Crawlin through the turning lane)..WAZZUP SOUTHSIDE!!! I know ya’ll see D.Wash and Curvey making a major move..don’t sleep and don’t hate, just be happy for a n’ga. We bout to show these fools how to be bleed the block FO-REAL.



I got to say wazzup to all my classmates, all the way from Pickwickian in South Park on MLK, to Poe Elementary, Lanier Middle School (Weeee are the Pups!!!), thanks Dr. Erika Gentry, your support means a lot to me, big thanks to my boy Joe Touriac the 3rd Ward Thriller for hooking me up, the Fellaz and all the other alumni of Booker T. Washington (I’m soooo glad!!)..thanks for helping me push my work. I gotta say what’s up to the Stanford University alumni family and especially all my Bruh’s who made me realize that I’m not the only crazy n’ga that knows how to perform well on standardized test. National Society of Black Engineers, Praire View A&M University, Texas Southern University and all the other college crews that are getting on and checking out servinemup.com on their internet browsers, I gotta say what’s up to my golf crew, T. Coop, my boy Carter, Hawk (thanks for putting me down with Pastor Rudy and the rest of St. John’s downtown), Big Lou, DC, B. Douglas and all of Abbeville, Louisiana..I gotta say what’s up to Mob-town and my dog HAWKEYE and all of those real players down there in Mobile, Alabama…you know, I’m kinda feeling like Stevie Wonder at an awards show..but I’m just thankful for ya’ll showing up and supporting a brother. I appreciate ALL of ya’ll kinfolk..FO-REAL.



Please continue to share the link with others in your email groups, please continue to support this sincere effort of a brother getting down for his purpose and above all, please remember to pray for D. Washington and Servinemup Ink. This ain’t the finish line, the battle has just begun and ya’ll already know what set I’m throwing up. Southside keep they mouth wide mane...we servin' down here.