Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Keep Your Head Up

Tupac Shukar embraced the plight of many single mothers with his smash hit song, ‘Brenda’s Got A Baby’. In the song he penned the all too familiar scenario of a young, unwed mother struggling to make it in the world. The Black American community has reached a point where over 60% of all newborn’s are birthed by single women. White America’s unwed mother’s numbers are at 20% and steadily rising. It is very easy for society to point a finger and give a disapproving glare toward the women that have to endure the pregnancy and commitment of raising these children, while at the same time making excuses for or completely ignoring the absent fathers. As a married father of two, that was initially a single father of one, I am amazed and a bit disgusted by this double standard that is our reality. As far as responsibility and implication, both the male and female that come together and conceive a child are equally culpable. But due to the biological realities of fetus development, it’s a lot easier for the male to pull the ol’ ‘disappearing act’ than it is the female. Being a member of the ‘other’ side of the fence, gives me a wider perspective of the dynamics involved in the traditional ‘double standard’ household. It really doesn’t matter if you’re the sperm supplier or the egg producer, it really all comes down to assuming the responsibility of raising the child(ren), to the best of your abilities.

Once you get married and have children, the common Southern Bible Belt protocol is to act as if both you and your wife were virgins until the day you got married. It doesn’t matter whether that’s true or not (99 times out of 100 its NOT), this is all about ‘appearances’ for your children and other impressionable young folk. Behind closed doors, the ‘men’ folk always give each other elbows to the side and a wink and laugh about the wildness of their past youth…

Hey David! How many girlfriends you got boy? None? What the hell is wrong with you?? Boy, when I was your age I had a girl for each finger and one standing behind each one of them ready to get a chance!!

Of course, a lot of men exaggerate and lie about their past prowness..but that’s not the point. The point can’t be seen until a closer examination is paid to how young teenage girls are similarly treated. Instead of the same kind of encouragement and understanding for their attraction to the opposite sex, ‘ladylike’ reservation was the unwritten rule…

You don’t need to be out there running around chasing them ol nappy headed boys! Girls need to be focused on their schoolwork and home duties and not be so HOT and ready to run the streets! Have your fast tail home by 12, cuz ain’t nothing open after 12 but legs!!

Societal structure was actually encouraging me and other young guys to have as many girlfriends as we could handle (‘It’s perfectly normal for guys to get them ‘some’ from time to time’). Contrarily, this same structure strongly discourages young ladies from being too ‘friendly’ with the boys. I used to sometime wonder, ‘What kinda girls do they expect me to ‘get’?’ If they were all strictly ‘ladylike’ and homebodies, I’d never be able to ‘get’ anything.

This accepted ‘double standard’ is a socially indoctrinated way of life for many people, not just on the Southside or even just in the South..but in the global scheme of things also. An amazing case in point is the recent story of a Nigerian unwed mother that has captured worldwide attention. This divorced mother, Amina Lawal (pictured), was sentenced to death by stoning as punishment for having an adulterous relationship. Since her baby girl was born over a year after her divorce, the strictly traditional Islamic Shariah Laws called for this archaic punishment for her indiscretion. The real tripped out part about all of this, was that the presumed father in question was released and not charged with anything. Amina insists she did nothing wrong and that the man who fathered her child made a promise to marry her. He did not, leaving her pregnant and with no support. The man said he was not the father, and three male witnesses testified he did not have a sexual relationship with Lawal. The witnesses constituted adequate corroboration of his story under Shariah law, and he was freed. Instead, all of the blame was placed on Amina and her stoning sentence was only delayed until her baby was old enough to be weaned from breastfeeding. Fortunately the world community was very vocal in the rebuke of this primitive and exclusionary punishment. There were boycott’s, letters of formal disapproval and many news crews from around the globe following this trial closely. The Shariah Court of Appeals ruled on Thursday that Amina’s conviction was invalid because she was already pregnant when the Islamic Shariah law was implemented in her home province. So in a way, she was ‘grand fathered’ out of being convicted and sentenced.

The American reality is that although there aren’t any physical stones thrown at these unwed mother’s, the backbiting and gossipers that verbally berate and ‘look down’ upon them can cause a proportionally amount of damage to their psyche and feelings of self worth. Truth be told, there are MANY more women that regularly do all the things it takes to GET pregnant but due to birth control and God control, they just don’t happen to conceive. And then there are those that conceive, but have no problem using an abortive procedure as a means to ‘cover up’ their accidents.

Now that I am a father of both a girl and a boy, I have to prepare both of my children for their inevitable journey into this circle of life. I’m going to teach both of them the same thing my father taught me, “Boy..when people have sex they make babies.” I’m sure they will experiment and grow into their own sense of sexual awareness just like anybody else. But no matter what happens, I want them to know that I will always love them and no matter how dire their mistakes may seem, they should always follow the mantra of another Tupac favorite of mine, you gotta ‘Keep your head up.’

Copyright © 2003 www.servinemup.com All Rights Reserved

Sunday, September 28, 2003


(Telephone rings)
What it do brudder-in-law?
Is this the #1 Stunna?? (smiling)
You know it ‘tis..
Heyy wassup baby!? What it do with you??
Oh it ain’t nuthin..hey?
I’m going home ta Lose’ana this weekend.
Oh yeah?
Yeah..you won’t me ta bring ya some mo’ boudain?
You know I do, we’re down to our last box.
How many boxes you won’t me ta bring ya this time?
You going to that same place to get it?
Yeah man, that same place we always go to in Vealplatte.
Okay..get me 4 box’s then.
Foe huh? You won’t dat spicy or dat mile?
Go ahead and get me the spicy.
Your kids can eat dat, yeah?
Yeah, they’ll eat that spicy, but go ahead and bring me 2 box’s of the mild too.
If they anything like my kids, they probably like that spicy better anyway, shoot my lil 3 year old boy can eat a whole biggo bag of hot chips without drinking no water or nuthin. Alright then, I’ll make sure to get you your 4 boxes spicy and 2 boxes mile.
Thanks Stunna..you want me to bring you the money now before you go?
Naw..I’m on my way out right now, I’ll just get it from you when I come back.
Allready! Ya’ll be careful on that road now.
Aw man, I’m riding with all my kids, you know I ain’t go be dranking or nothing…I wait until I get off the road before I start popping them tops..but hey?
Once I get back home with my kinfolks? Its go be time to drink til we walking sideways!
Alright Stunna..I’ll holla at you when you get back.

One of the best things about growing up on the Southside of Houston, Texas, is the diversity of the people that make up the community. Most people will say, ‘Diversity? It ain’t nothing but black folks on the Southside?!’, but that’s just to the naked eye. When you look at black folks as a race, there’s actually only a handful of people who are actually BLACK (My grandfather was one of them :). The color spectrum ranges all the way from ‘high yella bone’ to butterscotch, red bone, honey brown, caramel, coffee and those so dark that when they sweat they look like a melted Hershey’s bar. Black folks have a diverse gene pool that started with the dominant African gene and over the years was mixed with the blood of the white slave master’s, Native Americans, Hispanic’s, Asian’s, and pretty much every race imaginable. The color diversity is just part of the mix, the real diversity is the one of culture.

Most older people migrated to the Southside, from small country towns in East Texas, Southern Louisiana, Northern Louisiana, and Arkansas. Whether it was for the opportunity to attend college at Texas Southern University (Southside U!) or just because Houston was the largest southern city with more job opportunities than most of the depressed economies that they were living in, the Southside was the Mecca for black folks in Houston. People from all over came to the Southside to kick it! Whether it was to party at the old JB’s entertainment center or just to get some good down home fried chicken w/red beans and rice from Frenchy’s, the Southside was the place to go get it. The most interesting thing about it is when you bring together the horse riding Texas cowboys and the Cajun and Creole cultures of Southern Louisiana, along with the mustard green, oxtail eaters from East Texas and Northern Louisiana and throw in the generous and loud people from Arkansas..you get a melting pot simmering with spicy people.

One of the common traits of folks on the Southside, is that we like spicy foods. Spicy doesn’t always have to mean hot..just not bland and flavorless. The Africans and Caribbeaner’s brought their methods of preparing food to America, using many spices and slow-cooking methods that let the flavor seep all the way down to the bone, that will make the taste buds feel alive! You can’t drive by too many corners on the Southside without seeing a bar-b-que man setup with his pit smoking some meat and selling ‘bobby-q-samiches’, or maybe its some coon-az (common slang for them Cajun folks, but you better be careful who you say that too) selling fried turkeys and dirty rice dressing, or a farmer on the side of the road selling fresh collard greens, yams, okra and sweet watermelons or a hunter with an ice chest full of skinned and cleaned raccoons, squirrels or rabbits for sale..the Southside is in the mix.

For all those who like hot peppers with their fried chicken, Tabasco on their eggs, pepper sauce on their greens and chow-chow with their peas..I know ya’ll feel me. Like most other native Southside kids, I grew up eating spicy foods. Whether it was my father’s delicious pork ribs that will make you want to gnaw on the bone or some of my aunties good chili that will make you start sweating when you eat it, I like that spice. There have been a couple of experiences like getting hold of a pepper that someone forgot to take out of the pot of greens that made my eyes water and my mouth feel like it was about to disintegrate from the heat, but I still hold strong and I can’t turn back. There’s a wonderful and spicy mix of folks that have called the Southside home, Debbie and Phylicia Allen, Michael Singletary, Cliff Branch, Darrel Green, Scarface, Clyde Drexler, Beyonce Knowles the list is never-ending. Spice is a way of life for the Southside and I like it so much, I just had to marry one of those sweet cinnamon brown queens that you can only find, on the Southside.

Copyright © 2003 www.servinemup.com All Rights Reserved

Thursday, September 25, 2003


TMI (Too much information) is a common acronym that gets thrown around in the subversive ‘cool’ population of society. For some reason or another, there are a significant number of people walking the streets that feel as if they need to tell ALL of their personal information to anyone who will listen. Complete strangers standing in line at the grocery store, or sitting next to you in the waiting room of a doctor’s office, sometimes feel it is their duty to inform others of all the delicate details in their life. In a way, it’s a good thing, because for some it’s their only venue to ‘scream’ and let out any pent up issues or worries that they might have. Others use it as a gesture of trust and friendship with the hopes of opening communication lines and making the information exchange a dialogue.

Hi there..how are you doing?
(looking in the other person’s grocery basket) Hmm..beer, wine, steaks..looks like you guys are about to have some kind of party! (smiling)
Yeah..I guess you could say that.
Man..I wish I could still party like that. I’ve been a recovering alcoholic for 3 years now, my last ‘binge’ was so bad I ended up in the hospital after another blackout. and now my digestive system is so jacked up from all the drinking, that it’s a joy for me just to have a good bowel movement once a week. I sure do miss those steaks!

This is the type of TMI situation that can leave you a bit speechless and maybe even uncomfortable. There are a lot of people who have been in ‘group’ therapy that have completely lost their sense of privacy concerning personal matters. They are completely immune to any feelings of embarrassment and they’re eager to bring all those around them into their unguarded world of ‘openness’. If it’s a condition that you can ‘feel’, then maybe you can banter back and forth with similar ‘issues’ of your own. But everyone should be warned when dealing with complete strangers in the general public, you never know what’s REALLY going on with them. So the standard rule with dealing with the general public should be to share as little personal information as possible.

Hey there Fred!
Heyy Ralph..I didn’t know you guys were already back home?
Yeah, the Mrs. and me just got back from our vacation.
Great! I’ve got your newspapers and mail for you..let me go get them. (going into the garage and retrieving a box with a week’s worth of newspapers and mail) Here you go.
How was the trip?
Oh, we had a BLAST!! We went to one of those nude beaches down in the Caribbean. every night everybody in the whole resort just got WASTED and we all just danced together and did the ‘group’ thing.
Uhhh…’Group’ thing??
(smiling) Yeah..you know..swingers.
(confused) Swingers? You mean like swing dancing?
No..I mean like swapping wives. You and your wife should come with us next year!
Uhh..nawww..I uhh..don’t think my wife would be too interested in that.
You’d be surprised..the Jenkins across the street and the Thompson’s that live behind us said the same thing..but once you get down on that island..in a tropical environment with a lot of drinks? Your wife will be willing to do things you never imagined! We used to have a ‘swingers’ club for the neighborhood. but the people who used to live in your house got into some kind of trouble with the FBI for some 'freaky' pictures they took that somehow made their way into their child’s middle school.
Yeah man, they were freak couple #1!! They were the ones who introduced US to this resort!!
Well. here’s your mail Ralph. I’ve got to go.
Okay. make sure you tell that beautiful wife of yours I said hello!

Neighbors can be a tricky dilemma when dealing with TMI. Since they’re people that know where you live, there has to be a balance point between being ‘neighborly’ and not letting them in on all of your private business. Now when private information is shared that makes you realize that they’re on a completely different level of morality/awareness, then that’s when fences come into the picture. Anyone who feels that their personal space is being intruded upon has the right to just say, ‘Whoaa. Back up’.

New relationships are probably the trickiest grounds to maneuver when balancing exchange of information. Ideally you want to be as honest and open as possible, to build the foundation for a strong relationship. But some people have various ‘history and issues’ that they’re hesitant to divulge too quickly, in fear of ‘scaring them away’ before the relationship really starts.

Wow..this is exciting, I’ve never been to a professional football game before!
Yeah..I LOVE football..I hope you don’t think its too much of a ‘man’ date?
Not at all..I like football a lot too..I’ve just never actually BEEN to a game before!
Good..I know this is only our 2nd date, but I just wanted to do something different than the standard ‘dinner-movie’ thing.
Good job! You get brownie points for this!
I’ll go get us some drinks.
Okay, I’ll have a white wine..and do you know where the bathroom is?
Sure..its right around that corner..
Okay..I’ll be right back.

(while he’s waiting in line for the drinks, several guys walk up behind him and start talking)
Dude! Did you guys see that chick that just went to the bathroom??
Yeah! She’s hot!
Man..I SWEAR that’s the stripper that did Tank’s bachelor party!!
You know..I KNEW I recognized her from somewhere!!

Now at this point, it doesn’t matter if it’s a mistaken identity or not, most guys will feel a sense of urgency to KNOW what the deal is. The reality about historical information is that its in the past and there’s nothing anyone can do to change it. The task is to discern what’s really in the past from what’s really just being covered up for ‘appearances’ and just waiting to avail itself again. No one wants to sit down and reveal all of their past actions/mistakes on the 1st date, but there is a decorum of honesty that is required for a ‘real’ relationship. Some people NEVER want to discuss their past due to the painful memories that they’re trying to leave behind. Some people get stuck dwelling on the past and can never move on to a new day. No matter the position on the information spectrum, whenever lies and half-truths are used to ‘cover-up’ things, that’s when the line is crossed. Usually, it’s always safest to just say as little as possible and just listen.

Copyright © 2003 www.servinemup.com All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, September 23, 2003


I’m not getting on that thing.

Aww maan!! C’mon!! We’re HERE!!?!

So?! I came to the amusement park to help out with the kids and enjoy the day, I don’t DO that kinda sh’t.

Whatsa matter? You scaid??


I thought you was Mr. “I Ain’t NEVA Scaid!”..what happened to all that??

That’s just a rap lyric mane..don’t try to call me out.

So you know, YOU can’t sing that song anymore?


Mr. Big Bad “I sleep with 2 Glock’s in my bed” Neva Scaid is afraid of a roller coaster that KIDS laugh and play on? Huh??

Look..let me gone and tell you like this so that you will leave me alone…all that going up in the air real fast and twirling and twisting around, then rushing back down so fast that your balls go all the way up to the top of your stomach?? That’s not ME..I tried it..I didn’t like it..and I ain’t NEVA getting on one of those things again. Now for all you thrill seekers wanna jump out of a plane crazies..ya’ll go right ahead and enjoy yourself.

But that’s the whole THRILL of it!!? Don’t you like that feeling of riding through the air??!

Hell naw! If God wanted me to fly He would have gave me some wings! I don’t like roller coasters and stuff like that, because all I can think about is that the car will jump off the track and everybody on it, including me, being read about on the front page of the newspaper the next morning.

Aww man..you can never enjoy life if all you worry about is ‘what if’..when its your time to punch out, its just your time. Rollercoasters are safer than driving on the freeway!

Whateva mane..I still ain’t getting on it.


Some people really enjoy the ‘thrill’ that roller coaster’s and amusement park rides can bring. The experience of having your stomach turn flip flops while being helplessly transported by a man made machine challenging the laws of gravity. Others ride just for the opportunity to scream their lungs out in a public place and not having to worry about being considered ’weird’. And then there’s that smaller group who ride actually HOPING that a catastrophe will happen. They’re screamers too, its just that their screams are silent and not via their vocal chords.

There's a myriad of reasons to enjoy roller coasters; for the anticipation it brings, while waiting in line (which are usually the longest in the park), the scream effect and the feeling of accomplishment you have when the ride is over. First time riders should make sure to pay careful attention to people who are getting off of the ride. If they’re all laughing with flushed faces and their hair is all over the place?..then that’s a good one. If they’re crying, sobbing, drenched in sweat or look like they’ve just used the bathroom on themselves?..then that’s a REALLY good one!

Personally, the best thing I like about roller coasters is the moment of release it gives. Flying through the air at accelerating speeds on a machine that I have absolutely no control over causes a complete helplessness, which in turn gives me a sense of freedom and enlightenment that vitalizes the spirit and really makes me feel ALIVE. Fortunately, I already feel very much alive with my 2 feet on the ground, so I don’t actively SEEK OUT these thrills. But if I’m in an amusement park and somebody needs a riding podna? I ain’t neva scaid. Unless of course its one of those round-n’-round rides..I can’t do those without revisiting my last meal.

We all should have our ‘release zones’ where we can just go and scream our lungs out. Some people do the roller coaster thing, some people go to sporting events, some do all of their screaming in the bedroom and some (especially the sanctified & Baptist folk) do their screaming at church. No matter the venue, screamers are letting it out..and its always good to have an outlet to ‘let it out’. Some people ‘scream’ for attention by the way they dress or carry themselves in a public place. Whether there’s a deficiency in their lives or they’re just the kind of people who can never have too much attention, the screams are still there. We’re living in a society and economy in which a growing mass of people are ‘quietly living on the brink of desperation’. Financial woes, rocky relationships, employment issues, health problems, dealing with haters..everybody is dealing with something. The task for all is to stay focused on your goals, shake the haters off and scream when you feel like you need a release. Just make sure to show discretion when and where you scream..roller coasters are a great place to start, if you ain‘t scaid. :)

The roller coaster pictured above is The Nemesis at Alton Towers in Staffordshire, United Kingdom. You can find out more about this roller coaster and many others at http://www.coastercentral.com.

Copyright © 2003 www.servinemup.com All Rights Reserved

Sunday, September 21, 2003


The familiar eye chart that is pictured above is called the Snellen chart. It is based on the work of Dutch ophthalmologist Dr. Hermann Snellen, who in 1862 designed this system for describing human vision. By testing the eyes of a multitude of people, eye doctors have decided what a ‘normal’ human being should be able to see when standing 20 feet away from an eye chart. If you have 20/20 vision in one of your eyes, it means that when you stand 20 feet away from the chart you can see what the ‘normal’ human being can see. In the metric system, the standard is 6 meters (approximately equal to 20 feet) and its called 6/6 vision. So if you have 20/20 vision your vision is ‘normal’--a majority of people in the population can see what you see at 20 feet. If you have 20/40 vision, it means that when you stand 20 feet away from the chart you can see what a normal human can see when standing 40 feet from the chart. That is, if there is a normal person standing 40 feet away fom the chart and you are standing only 20 feet away from it, you and the normal person can see the same detail. You can also have vision that is better than normal, a person with 20/10 vision can see at 20 feet what a normal person can see when standing 10 feet away from the chart.

20/20 - Normal vision. Fighter pilot minimum. Required to read the stock quotes in the newspaper, or numbers in the telephone book.
20/40 - Able to pass Driver's License Test in all 50 States. Most printed material is at this level.
20/80 - Able to read alarm clock at 10 feet. News Headlines are this size.
20/200 - Legal blindness. Able to see STOP sign letters

Some people can see well at a distance, but are unable to bring nearer objects into focus. This condition can be caused by hyperopia (farsightedness) or presbyopia (loss of focusing ability). Others can see items that are close, but cannot see those far away. This condition may be caused by myopia (nearsightedness). Today’s technology offers a myriad of corrective lenses and procedures to allow everyone the opportunity to see the world as a ‘normal’ person. But there are other types of vision which go beyond the physical limitations of sight.

Peripheral vision is a type of vision that is very useful in sports and in the street sense of being ‘watchful’ of what’s going on around you. Magic Johnson's ability to throw ’no -look’ pin point passes to the streaking James Worthy on a fast break was a display of uncanny peripheral vision. This is also a valuable skill to be used while walking on a crowded street, you never know when a jacker, mugger or pickpocket is walking/standing right next to you, waiting to catch you unaware and ‘slipping’.

A lot of successful golfers benefit from the use of tunnel vision. This is the ability to block out all the actions, sounds and commotion going on in the background and focus completely on the task at hand. When you see Tiger Woods crouching down to line up a putt, and he uses both of his hands to form a set of ‘blinders’ around his eyes, he is using visualization and ‘tunnel vision’ to focus in on the line and speed required to sink the putt. Tunnel vision can be extremely beneficial toward goal seeking, but it can also be hazardous for those who get ‘caught up’ with small details and fail to remember the big picture. A common expression for this occurrence is those who ‘can’t see the forest because of all the trees’.

We all have our own goals and dreams that we have our sights set upon. Some have clear visions of retirement days full of leisure, travel and enjoyment. Others are just trying to make it, one day at a time. And then there are some who’s vision is even more shortsighted, Guru from Gangstarr penned this verse about ‘stick-up kids‘, “..they all live for the minute and they caught up in it.” We’re living in a society with a diverse mix of mentalities. A lot of people have lost all hope for a better day and their only vision is of immediate gratification. They pay no heed to their own personal safety as well as others, they don’t care if they end up going to jail and some really don’t even care if they live to see the next day. I strive to make direct eye contact with all of those around me. The ‘look’ in a person’s eyes are good indicators for their state of mind. A lot of people walking the streets are not ‘at’ themselves and they’re under the influence of some foreign substance like drugs, alcohol and/or hate. The common creed on the Southside is to ‘keep your eye on them haters’, because you never know when they will strike at the opportunity to inflict harm. The best advice I can give anyone is to have their vision checked regularly by a professional and stay watchful of the things that are going on around you, haters prefer to attack from the blindside.

Copyright © 2003 www.servinemup.com All Rights Reserved

Thursday, September 18, 2003

The Rules of Flirting

Somewhere in the midst of today’s cyber-age pornography, music videos flooded with scantily clad women and the publicly visible thong, society has digressed away from the innocent art form of flirting. Instead of gentlemen sending flowers and a brief note to request a moment of time, there is the vulgar and primal discourse found in your average club, what some call ‘meat markets’:

What’s up freak?
WHO are you talking to??
I’m talking to YOU! I’ve got cash money to put on it and I don’t take long (holding up a handful of 100 dollar bills)
Boyyy…you so crazy!!! (smiling) What’s up?

I was fortunate to have been molded in an era of respectful engagement. The best flirters know how to show subtle but sincere interest, while not coming across sleazy or ‘stalker’-ish. Whenever an opportunity presents itself for innuendo, that’s when the best flirts take full advantage. That way, if the flirtee is disgusted or offended by the flirter, there’s always a safe refuge to take cover.

What do you think about you and I doing that 69?
69..you know, bullet item #69 that we just went over in the project meeting?
Oh..oh..well, uh..
Are you okay? (smiling innocently) What did you THINK I was talking about?

Nursing Home Flirting
Hey ladies! How are you pretty women doing today??
Oh just fine!
My Frankie Mae, your grandson sure is a HANDSOME devil! If I was just a few years younger..
You’d do what?? You know I can’t handle you right now Ms. Jenkins you’re too wild for me!!
Hmm..you just better watch yourself young fella..cuz I’ll take my dentures out and rock your world.
Thank you for that tidbit Ms. Jenkins..you’ve just caused a plethora of graphic octogenarian sex images to run through my mind and I will never be the same.

Sushi Bar Flirting
What are you getting?
I’m going to have some of the yellow fin tuna and the California roll.
Umm..I LIKE good sussy!
Excuse me?
Good sussy…I like mine nice, fresh and pink..
Don’t you mean, sushi?
Yeah..that too.

Church Flirting
Good morning Sis. Truett..how are YOU doing??
Just fine Rev. Janky..and you?
I’m blessed, I’m blessed..(grabbing both of her hands and looking from her toes up to her eyes while shaking his head slowly and smiling displaying a gold toothed grill) Lawd have mercy! You sure ARE blessed!! I gotta get me one of these good Sunday hugs!
You’re so crazy Rev. Janky. (hugging him)
Uh huh..just make sure you come see me during my office hours this week..I might need to ‘lay hands’ on you…(watching her intently as she walks away) Lawd Lawd Lawd..God is SO good!!

Work Flirting
What’s wrong with the printer?
The ink cartridge needs to be changed out.
Do you know how to do it?
I’m trying to, but it doesn’t seem to go in right.
You’ve got to hold it steady and line it up to the hole, then THRUST it in all the way.
‘Oooh’ what?
I like the way you said that.

Grocery Store Checkout Line Flirting
Is that all of your groceries?
No..that 12 pack of beer is mine too.
(glancing up and smiling, before ringing up the beer) I’m going to have to see some ID
ID? Are you serious? I’m almost old enough to be your daddy!!
Oooh, I need a good daddy.

I personally think flirting can just be a playful and harmless act that brightens the day. But flirting can also take a sour turn, when some people just don’t get the picture and make themselves bothersome by not understanding the word no..

Say baby, hold up!
Yes? May I help you?
Naw, baby, I want to help YOU. Let me pump your gas for you..you’re too cute to be pumping your own gas.
No thank you…I can handle it.
Well let me pay for it, buy you a cool drink, massage your feet..let me do SOMEthing for you!!
No, thank you, I’m okay.
Well look here..let me give you my number. I’m a mechanic and I have my own shop and if you ever..
My husband takes care of our cars.
Oh..well you can give my number to your husband if you want..I do good work. Here’s my card.
Thank you..I’ll give it to my husband.
You don’t HAVE to give it to him though…if you find out there’s some things that he just can’t handle the way you need them to be handled..give me a call.
No..there’s nothing that you and I need to discuss.
You’re just so cold..do you treat all men this way?
Only the ones who can’t understand the word ‘no’.

Once you get married, you can compare ‘flirt’ notes with your spouse. If you know you’ve got a nice looking woman, or a handsome man, its fully understandable that others will notice these same attractive attributes. Unfortunately, all of society doesn’t respect wedding bands and the commitment of holy matrimony. Instead, some people will act like they don’t see the wedding band/ring and put there flirting ‘out there’ just to see if they’ll get a bite. Its even worse for those ‘kinda’ single people who have a boyfriend/girlfriend but no long term commitment, because then the dogs/hoz will REALLY come out…

Can I buy you a drink?
No, no thank you, I already have one.
Well, is it okay if I sit right here next to you?
That’s fine..I don’t own the bar.
Are you waiting for someone?
Is it your husband?
My boyfriend.
Boyfriend huh? I know if I was your boyfriend, I wouldn’t let you be alone.
Well, you need to go be with your girlfriend then.
I don’t have one..but I would if I could have one like you.
Don’t you think you’re being kind of rude and disrespectful?
I’m sorry if I’m being rude, I’m just a sucker for a beautiful woman with good conversation. But if you ever want to go out and have nice time..here’s my number. Someone as beautiful as you should never have to be alone.

That’s normally when the ‘line’ is crossed. Harmless flirting is light and immediate, there are no future plans and discussions for the next encounter. Phone numbers or email addresses don’t need to be exchanged, plans to meet again need not be discussed. The sad part is that everyone doesn’t adhere to the ‘rules of flirting’. Some people are in their own world and are completely oblivious to respecting the sanctity of marriage or the word ‘no’. The best advice is not to start something that you can’t finish. A lot of people take smiles and kind words too literally and expect to further the relationship. Others are easily offended and ready to file a sexual harassment suit if a co-worker so much as winks in their direction. In today’s world of zealous litigation and crazy stalkers, it’s best to limit your circle of ‘flirting’ as tightly as possible. Because as harmless and benign the intentions might be, you never know when someone will take it the wrong way.

Copyright © 2003 www.servinemup.com All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Emergency Procedures

Being a native Houstonian, it stands to reason that the first natural disaster that I was aware of being a part of was Hurricane Alicia in 1983. Being situated less than 60 miles from the Gulf of Mexico; Houston is an annual participant in ‘Hurricane Season’. It’s a period of time between June 1 and November 30, that hurricanes occur.
They start as tropical disturbances, usually off the coast of western Africa. Thunderstorms falling down over the warm ocean start the wind patterns, and once the wind speeds exceed 39 mph, they are then called Tropical Storms. When winds hit 74 mph or more, a tropical storm takes a cyclonic form and becomes a hurricane. The severity of hurricanes is measured on the Saffir-Simpson Scale (1-5) with 5 being the highest with winds 155+. The deadliest hurricane in U.S. history, a category 4 by today’s standards, killed over 8,000 people in Galveston, Texas in 1900.

The picture above is a NASA satellite image of Hurricane Isabel that is currently in the Atlantic and heading toward the eastern coast of the United States. With its current force and size (115 mph, Category 3), meteorologists are predicting a landfall sometime around Thursday somewhere along the Carolinas. Living through an experience such as Alicia reminds me of how important it is to be as prepared as possible for natural occurrences such as a hurricane. The National Hurricane Center and Red Cross have a common checklist of 10 steps and procedures to follow to prepare for a potentially severe hurricane:

1. Money: Make sure you have cash and credit cards in your possession in the event you need to evacuate. Also get a copy of your homeowner’s insurance policy.

2. Escape route: Have multiple escape routes and know the proper government evacuation route. Make sure you car's fuel tank is filled and your mobile phone is charged.

3. Escape Shelter: Identify ahead of time where you could go if told to evacuate. Choose several places, like a friend's home in another town, a motel or a shelter.

4. Supply Kit: Assemble a disaster supplies kit including the following items:
• First-aid kit and any essential medications.
• Canned food and can opener.
• At least three gallons of water per person.
• Protective clothing, rainwear and bedding or sleeping bags.
• Battery-powered radio, flashlight and extra batteries.
• Special items for infants, elderly or disabled family members.
• Written instructions on how to turn off electricity, gas and water if authorities advise you to do so. (Remember, you'll need a professional to turn them back on.)

5. Prepare Interiors: If evacuating, unplug all electrical devices. Shut off natural gas if local officials advise it and make sure to have a sufficient supply of batteries for battery-powered equipment.

6. Prepare Exteriors: Secure your home by boarding over windows or putting up hurricane shutters. If you use boards, purchase precut one-half-inch outdoor plywood boards for each window of your home. Install anchors for the plywood and drill holes in the plywood ahead of time, so it can be installed quickly.

7. Clear Dead Trees: If you live in a wooded area, make trees more wind-resistant by taking out diseased and damaged limbs, then strategically removing branches so that wind can blow through.

8. Avoid Danger Areas: Move to safe shelters. Low-lying areas and mobile homes should be evacuated.

9. Stay informed: Stay informed by monitoring weather advisories on radio and television. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.

10. Clean Up the Yard: If a hurricane watch is issued, prepare to bring inside any lawn furniture, outdoor decorations or ornaments, trashcans, hanging plants and anything else that can be picked up by the wind.

These are some time-tested steps of precaution and safety that have helped many potential victims over the years. Of course, the most important thing of value is human life and these steps are designed to save as many as possible. Going through an experience like Hurricane Alicia, with its 130+mph winds and heavy rains can be a humbling experience. Flash flooding, dissected power lines, ruptured water tanks, phone lines down, it got pretty bad and there was nothing man could do to stop it. As Alicia was passing over the Southside, I was awestruck by its sheer force. It had already swept through Galveston and the path didn’t look pretty. As the heavy rains increased, as did the wind, I wondered if we would be like one of those homeless people living in sleeping bags at the Y because their house was destroyed. Just when I thought our house would not be able to take anymore…there was a calm. The wind stopped..the air was clear..the rain ceased. I walked outside with my father and we could actually see blue skies and the sun come out.

Is it over?
No son..this is what’s called the eye of a hurricane.
The eye?
They call it the eye, but it’s really the center point of the hurricane, that’s what’s passing over us right now.

How weird. Right in the middle of one of the fiercest storms in American history was calm. Peace. It was downright eerie. After Alicia blew through, we were without electrical power for over 7 days. Fortunately, we were all safe and our home remained intact, as the flooding waters never got up into the house. So keep a radio and batteries handy and stay tuned to the news reports, keep flashlights and candles available, as well as a good book and some games to play. The storm won’t last forever, just make sure you do all you can so that YOU last through it.

Copyright © 2003 www.servinemup.com All Rights Reserved

Sunday, September 14, 2003

Soldiers In The Hood

Well…the first step is to have a goal.


Yeah..something to strive for..to achieve.

I have goals.

That’s good…but do you have A goal??

Uhh..yeah, to be rich.

Okay..what do you mean ‘rich’?

You know..to have a lot of money.

So..what are you going to do with all that money?

Buy a big house, have a Hummer..an Escalade..a Porsche..a Rolls..a Jaguar

Hmm..rolling BIG body huh?

You know it! Gotta have that bubble eyed Benz!

Alright..you got that money flowing…now what??

Get me some fresh clothes, buy my momma a house and sit her down so she don’t have to work no more, travel around the world, make sure I got the biggest diamond earrings

Bling bling!! huh?(sarcastically)

Yep! I’m go have all my dogs around me, so they don’t have to work. Have me a fly honey…like Ashanti..and just sit back and chill.

Hmm..what about after that?

After what?? I’m go have so much money, I won’t EVER be broke!!

Naw..that’s not what I mean..I’m talking about what about after all those lavish cribs, fly rides, cute honeys, blinging diamonds..what about when you start growing older..40..50..60 and so on.

Well, I’m go have the BEST medical care there is..I’m go STAY in tiptop shape, ain’t go be no fat gut for me!

You do realize, that no matter how much money you have, there WILL come a day when your heart is going to stop beating?

Oh..well..I’m go have one of them PLATINUM caskets with diamonds rolled down the sides!

Yeah..I hear you keep talking about that casket and all your homies pouring out a lil liquor in your memoriam. but what about YOU??

What do you mean, ‘What about ME??” I’m go be DEAD!!

So..what do you think happens when you die?

Uhh..hell, I don’t know..I guess it’s going to be like being asleep or something.

So you think everybody who’s dead is just asleep forever?

Naww, I guess at some point we all have to move on to heaven.

So..you think EVERYBODY is going to heaven or just you??

Well..since I’m a good person I’ll go to heaven just like all the other good people of the world.

What’s your definition of a ‘good’ person??

I’m not a criminal..I don’t steal or kill folks..you know act bad.

So..’good’ folks go to Heaven and ‘bad’ folks go to hell?


And who determines who’s good or bad?

God..of course!

How do you know all of this is true?

Well, cuz my parents taught me about God and the Bible.

The Bible??

Yeah..God’s book.

So you’ve read it?

Not all of it..some of it. Why, do YOU believe in God??

With all my heart and soul.

Have YOU read the Bible?

Yes, I’ve read it from front to back and I try to make sure I continually read it everyday
Man!! How do you stay interested through all that..’begat’ stuff???

Well, the Bible is a book written by prophets inspired by God to record His word. It’s not like the newspaper or some book that you just pick up and accept at face value, you have to pray for understanding and for God to open your heart and mind to receive His word before you read it. You believe in God, so I assume you acknowledge the fact that God is THE Supreme Being.

Yeah..God is on that ‘other’ level.

No doubt..so a lot of the Bible was written while God’s people and prophets were enduring great duress and tribulation. The Bible is a documentation from the beginning to the end of what has happened, what IS happening and what will happen in the end.

Yeah! That’s what I was saying about being good and going to heaven!

But if you believe in God..and you believe that the Bible is God’s Word….then you should be made aware of some very distinct scriptures in the Bible, which deal with how us humans gain eternal life in Heaven.

Man, look here…I ain’t trying to hear no God squad mumbo jumbo about how we all need to just sit in a dark room and pray all the time and wait to die, cuz I ain’t trying to hear all that!

(laughing) What makes you think that that’s what I’m talking about??

Cuz all them ‘God squaders’ be going around like Jehovah Witness’..talking about you better ‘repent’ and give all your money to God and stuff. I ain’t trying to hear that! My uncle was a Muslim with Malcolm X and he let me in on all the ways those blonde haired, blue eyed devils have used the Bible and Christianity to hold black folks back for YEARS! All the while they’re slaving and oppressing Negroes, they’re also feeding them that ‘turn the other cheek’ ‘do not kill’ 24-7 to keep them from uprising against them.

Well..the Bible DOES say that we should love our enemies as well as our friends. And that even though a person or people does us wrong, we should pray for them and not seek vengeance..vengeance is the Lord’s.

See! That’s what I mean! That’s some sh’t the white man made up to use at his convenience so that he can take over the world… What are you LAUGHING at??

Well..(chuckling) I’m laughing because I agree with a lot of the things your uncle taught you. There’s a LOT of people that have pimped the Bible and Christianity to further their personal and worldly gains. But if you get so hooked up on those devils and false prophets and stray from the Word…well, that’s exactly what the enemy wants you to do.

So you agree with me about the white man being the enemy?

No..I don’t.

Well, who do YOU think is the enemy?

Evil is the enemy and Satan is its leader. But evil doesn’t have a color..it comes in ALL colors.

So how are you supposed to know who’s evil and who’s not?

Hmm..now THAT is the task!! Because people want to paint Satan as a demonic hooved creature with horns and a sinister sneer, when actually Satan was one of the most beautiful and intelligent angels..and he knows how to come at people and make evil look good and attractive, so us ‘good’ people have to be strong in the Word to avoid the many traps, pratfalls and deceitful paths that Satan has.. So…do you think you’re ready to ride and get on the battlefield for the Lord?

Um always ready to ride on them hatas!!!

Ready to ride huh? (smiling)


Well…if you’re going to be a SOLDIER, you’re going to have to put on the whole armor of God…are you ready for that??

Yeah!! Where is it?? (looking around the room quizzically)

The directive for SOLDIERS is right here…(and he pulled out a well worn Bible). Eventually, you need to read ALL of this…but for now, since you’re so ready to ‘ride’, let’s look in Ephesians..6:10-18

10 Finally my bretheren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15. And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16. Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.

Man..that don’t say nothing about no GUNS!! You can’t fight off them haters if you ain’t got no GAT!!

Yes it does…the ‘gat’ that you’re looking for is ‘the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.’

Aww man! You can’t fight NOBODY with no Bible!! They ain’t go do nothing but shoot you and TAKE your Bible AND your money!

Well..until you release your mind from ‘worldly’ thinking and focus on God and His will, you won’t be able to understand and join in the battle.

So are you trying to tell me that YOU can stop bullets and fists and knives with this Bible?

I’m telling you that the REAL battle is not of the flesh..its for the soul. The time you spend away from your body is going to be a LOT longer than the time you spend IN your body on this Earth. So many people put all their time and energy into these worldly possessions and treasures and they never focus on the eternal. The soul is forever podna..this body ain’t. Now the choice you need to make is WHERE you want your soul to reside for eternity.

Copyright © 2003 www.servinemup.com All Rights Reserved

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Fantasy Football Freaks

[Group Therapy Session..joined in progress..]

Hello..my name is Earl and I have a problem.

(group in unison) Hello Earl!!

(sighing) I’ve been a Fantasy Football Freak for the past 3 years…

(group) We love you Earl!!!

I recently sat down and added up the time I spend every week watching football on TV (including sports news and shows), making or just talking about trades on the phone with the other guys in my league, on the computer surfing fantasy football information, sending/receiving emails about fantasy, listening to sports talk radio, etc…

(group) We STILL love you Earl!!

The tally quickly surpassed over 50 hours a week…

(group silence) Everybody just stared at each other with their mouths open in amazement….

Some guy in the back yelled out..”Dammit Earl!!”

Then I heard mumblings and somebody whisper, but not too quietly, “This guy really IS a freak..”

Fantasy football is well past the point of being a ‘fad’. Fads are passing fancies of popular culture, fantasy football has been around for years and it is steadily growing in popularity and exposure. Every major magazine stand has a full selection of fantasy football material, fantasy football leagues on the Internet are growing almost exponentially each year and we’re only at the tip of the iceberg of fantasy ‘potentials’. What most non-fantasy players fail to realize, is that the Fantasy Football Freak (FF Freak) didn’t suddenly change into a FF Freak overnight, the ingredients were always there, it was just a matter of time before it ‘came out’. To understand the addiction, we must examine the components of the ‘problem’:

Fantasy: Say what they want, nearly every man has at some point fantasized of being a star professional athlete. Whether playing in a sandlot football game or watching it on TV, the life of being in top physical condition, rich and famous is a position in life that ALL would want to experience..at least one day. Some of us realized at an early age, that our lack of speed, size, durability and/or strength would always prevent us from EVER stepping on a professional football field in a playing capacity. He who loves the game, but can’t play the game, usually coaches or manages. Early FF Freak indicators are: ownership (current or past) of one of those electric football games with the vibrating board and plastic players; hand blisters from playing that first arcade football game with the x’s and o’s and hand rollers; Tecmo Bowl video game. If a guy has one (or all three) of these things in his past? You already know he has that ‘potential’.

Football: There are millions of arm chair quarterbacks (QB)..

“Pass it to the tight end dumbaz..he’s open!! Kordell sucks, I can QB better than him!”

Arm chair coaches,..

“What the hell?? Why aren’t they kicking the field goal?? Martz is an idiot!”

And arm chair General Managers (GM)..

“They cut Milloy?? That’s a dumb move that’s going to HURT them!”

Fantasy Football is the closest thing to being a real NFL GM/Coach that the average man will ever see. Once a group of guys (anywhere from 8-14) get together to form a league, then they have a draft. At the draft, each GM/Team Owner, takes turns selecting real NFL players. Each week, each team has to play a certain combination of its drafted players (i.e. 1QB, 2RB, 2 WR, 1TE, 1Kicker, 1 Defense), and whatever the real players do on the field (Touchdowns scored, yards gained, field goals kicked etc.) is accumulated into the team score. Highest score wins each week. The strategy comes in with deciding what players to put in the lineup each week, making trades with other owners and picking up players from the free agent pool. And just like real football, when a player gets hurt and can’t play, he can’t play in fantasy either. What a great game!!

Freaks: Of course, freaks come in all different sizes and colors (but what I like about them most is that they’re real good lovers :). The guys you see in the stands of a football game in Buffalo, in the middle of December when its 10 below and snowing, and all they’re wearing is body paint and a wig, screaming ‘WOOO-HOOOOO!!!’ at the top of their lungs or the Raider Fan at Oakland Coliseum, that looks like he just left a KISS concert with the entire cast from the Rocky Horror Picture Show, these are the freaks I’m referring to. You’ve got to keep an eye on these guys, because they really don’t give a d’mn about what people think, they’re just enjoying the game..freak style.

Fantasy football brings out the freak in everybody..because whatever the indulgence preference (Stats, Competition, $$$, Trend Tracking, Talking Big Smack, etc), its readily available to freak out on. Some people play just to draft all the players from their favorite NFL team and dress out in full gear so that they can incite the crowd at the local sports bar, others strictly play in the big money leagues looking to gain a financial return on their time investment. No matter the motive, the number of FF Freaks is well into the millions and growing. From the ‘old-school’ guys who still take stats by hand (funny) to the high tech cyber dynasty keeper leagues that have wireless alerts sent to their two-ways for each breaking update, it’s a fun thing to do. You can discern FF Freaks by that nervous twitch of anticipation they start developing on Saturday’s..and that ‘look’ in their eyes they have on Sunday’s before kickoff. Football isn’t the only fantasy sport either, there’s also fantasy basketball, baseball, golf, car racing, bowling,etc. Fantasy has also transcended gender barriers, as a larger proportion of new female recruits are sweeping through the leagues. Of course, females make the best FF Freaks, they scream the highest. Watch out for those freaks ya’ll..it's highly contagious. WOO-HOOOO!!!!!

Big shot out to The Ultimate Players Club (aka ‘The Dirty Dozen’), the freshest fantasy football league on the planet.

Copyright © 2003 www.servinemup.com All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Undercover Brothers

I’m sure most readers have realized by now, I’m quite fluent in ‘Southside lingo’. I guess you can say that I’m bi-lingual in a way. But sometimes I like to give people a hard time when they don’t know me and just assume that I’m literate in ‘jive’. I don’t do it to be mean, I just do it to raise people’s awareness. A lot of people (white and black) really believe all the linguistical stereotypes of Black American men, that our verbal communication has to include split verbs and ebonical slang. I think it’s important to try and learn as many forms of communication as possible. Good grammar and clear diction are valuable assets in the business world and in life. And as much as I recognize the need for decorum in the professional environment, there is also a level of familiarity and closeness reached, when I talk amongst ‘my peoples’ in a social environment. I use the word n’ga in my speech, but I censor the audience and place that I use it as I would a curse word. I truly believe that all people should be judged by their heart and character and not by their race, color or sex. I make a point to seek out all the undercover brothers that are walking this earth and believe it or not, they’re not all black men….

White Front Desk Attendant at a high-rise office building: What’s happening bro?

Undercover Brother: (As a rule, the first time a non-black person try’s to get ‘cool’ on a slang level, turn straight corporate conservative on them, just to see if it throws them off) Hello, how are you doing today?

W: Jus chillin like a villain bro..what’s happening? (He smiled a smug ‘knowing’ smile)

UB: I beg your pardon? (Frown up and look extremely puzzled and confused)

W: Aww bro…don’t start trippin’.

UB: I’m sorry, I’m not sure I understood what you said? ‘Bro? Trippin?’ Is that some sort of derogatory stereotype aimed at lampooning the global systematic educational oppression of people of color?

W: What??? (His smile faded from his face like chalk on the sidewalk when it rains)

UB: I mean..of all the people that have passed by you in this building today..just because I’m black, you assume that I can communicate with you in some ridiculous ‘street’ dialect??

W: No..well, no dude. I was jus trying to make you feel more comfortable.

UB: More comfortable?? So I guess next you’ll want to take me out to lunch and buy me some fried chicken and watermelon??!!

W: No..man, I’m sorry of course not!! I didn’t mean it like that at all!! I just wanted to ..(his face had turned beet red, his eyes were as wide as saucers and he was so nervous he started stuttering) I’m sorry man..for real. I didn’t mean any harm.

UB: (keeping a completely straight face) I accept your apology and I really hope you’ve learned a valuable lesson from this whole experience.

W: Yes..I have! I HAVE learned something from you today sir.

UB: Good…now maybe you can direct me to the office that my appointment is in.

W: Of course!! What office are you looking for sir?

UB: Cut-Snip-Stitch Vasectomy Services?

W: Sure..that’s on the 5th floor and you can use the elevators to the left. And I must say, that’s a nice tuxedo you have on sir, is there a special ocassion today?

UB: Say mane…I just told you where I’m going!! If I’m go be M-po’-tent, I want to LOOK M-po’-tent!

Most undercover brothers (with a strange sense of humor) that have tried this ‘stunt’, can count on seeing a variety of expressions flash across the white person’s face. It’s usually a combination of confusion, fear and/or reserved amusement. I normally have to struggle to keep from laughing out loud, before I turn and walk away while they stare at the back of my head. Sometimes their mouths gape open or sometimes they’ll cock their heads to the side like a confused puppy, trying to figure out what kind of ‘medicine’ I’m taking.

Now, for you black folks who are hearing this joke ‘If I’m go be M-po’-tent, I want to look M-po’-tent’ for the first time and are laughing right now, that’s okay, but if you say it out loud and buck your eyes wide open and stick out your butt and make your lips look big and expressive, kinda like Kingfish (the guy in the hat at the top of the steps in today's picture) from Amos and Andy..then it’s REALLY funny!!! Make sure when you tell your co-workers this joke, to act it out with the facial expressions and ‘coon’ mannerisms and just watch how hard you can make them laugh. When they’re finally able to catch their breaths wiping the tears away from their eyes, tell them to check out http:www.servinemup.blogspot.com at least once a week, so that they can get some more jokes.

Now for the white folks that are hearing this joke for the first time and are laughing I strongly discourage you from repeating this joke out loud...unless of course there are not any black folks around..then feel free to do it (and make sure you do the enactments just like a real negro too!) for your co-workers to see. They might laugh so hard that you’ll get a promotion!!

“That ol’ Bubba..he’s a good ol fellur..he tells the best n’ger jokes this side of the Mississippi!!”

But I must warn some of you folks who are itching to re-enact the black guy in the tuxedo. There are some people (especially big muscular black men) who won’t find this funny at all and if they see you stick out your lips and buck your eyes and mimic a black ‘stereotype’, then be warned that they very well might enact an ‘angry black man’ stereotype of their own. Because although some of us work in a ‘real’ environment, you never know who might find this joke offensive. It’s funny how the world works like that. black people can tell n’ga jokes and laugh but white people are called prejudiced if they say the same thing…hmph...weird.

If you find yourself laughing out loud as you read this scenario, then surprise!! You’re an undercover brother too!! And if there’s anyone in your office (white, black, Hispanic, female,etc) group that you want to find out if they’re just ‘acting’ all formal and proper or if they’re REALLY an undercover brother? Send this link to them or print out a copy of it and observe them as they read this post. If they start laughing?..you already know!

Copyright © 2003 www.servinemup.com All Rights Reserved

Saturday, September 06, 2003


Hurricane Fabian in Bermuda

Everybody who has ever walked the face of this earth has had problems to deal with. Problems don’t discriminate. they visit both: male and female, young and old, rich and poor, healthy and sick, employed and unemployed, God-fearing people as well as heathens, Southerners and Yankees, Jews and Gentiles (non-Jews), straight and gay, the free and the enslaved. A person’s strength of character is ultimately determined by the manner in which they handle these problems as they arise throughout the walk of life. There are some problems that are preceded by indicators of their existence and then there are others that pop up completely unannounced and out of the blue. The first step toward solving any problem is acknowledgement. Isolating and acknowledging that there IS a problem that needs to be addressed is the most
difficult action for some to handle.

When’s the last time you’ve gone to see a doctor?
Doctor? For what??! Ain’t nothing wrong with me, I feel fine! I ain’t going to no doctor!

Your phone is ringing.
I know.
Aren’t you going to answer it?
Naw..I don’t feel like talking to that person right now.

Hey ya’ll!!! It’s about 10 laws that just pulled up in the parking lot!!
Aww mane!! (jumping up with a frantic look in the eyes) I gotta get out of here!! Where’s the back door!!!??

Hey..are you STILL in the bed??
Yeah..I just laid back down for a little bit.
Are you okay??
What do you mean?
For the past couple of weeks, ALL you do is sleep..is everything alright?
Yeah..I’m okay, I just stay so tired all the time.

Some people try to ignore their problems for as long as they can..until the time comes when the problem is manifested into a direct physical form that they HAVE to address. This physical manifestation can occur in a variety of forms, it can be a repossessed vehicle, a notice of foreclosure, a divorce decree or an arrest warrant. For some it can be a physical pain that they can no longer bear quietly or an emotional pain that consumes all of the energy in their body and leaves but an outer shell vaguely similar to the person they ‘used’ to be. It’s easy to fall into the childish mentality of crawling in bed and curling up into a tight fetal position. Covers pulled tightly over the head, instantly shielded and protected from those gnawing problems that are eagerly waiting to devour. The obvious truth is that ignoring problems will not make them go away. Ignoring problems will only make the potential for pain that much greater. So many problems start out small and seemingly insignificant, but because of lack of attention, they grow into larger problems. An oil light in the dash of the car might start
blinking intermittently, then it starts staying on all the time, all the while the driver never address’s this ‘small’ problem. And weeks later when the car is smoking on the side of the road, engine locked up without a drop of oil in it. These are the types of problems that have early detection symptoms that should be addressed as soon as possible. The age-old saying is true, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

There are also problems that have no warning signs, and arrive like a sucker punch to the gut. If a person doesn’t already have strong intestinal fortitude, these ‘blows’ can completely take the breath away. They can show up by way of a call from the doctor’s office, blood test results or a life-changing experience in the bathroom. It can be a knock at the door by a messenger bearing bad news, an army official, a state trooper, a neighbor or a family member. These problems can show up in a conversation with the person that you love the most or from the mouth of the person you most despise. No matter how many tears a person cries, or how vehementlycries are screamed, problems are not solved by lamentations.

Once acknowledged, problems can be separated into 2 different categories, those that can be humanly controlled and those that can’t. Some people become so consumed by problems that are completely out of their control, that they worry themselves into a sickness. On the other end of the spectrum are the people that walk around like fools and never address even the simplest of problems, almost functioning in a fantasy world of delirium. One thing’s for sure, no matter how problems are (or not) addressed, the world keeps on spinning. It is all of our choice to decide how we’re going to deal with the reality of life’s problems. The people who experience the most problems and refuse to yield or give up, and instead fight through these problems, are the people who are the strongest. Because its only when we’ve been brought down to our lowest, that we can raise our head up the highest to God. Prayers of strength, like the well known gospel verse “..Lord, don’t move my mountain, just give me the strength to climb..” are an example of the type of attitude and strength necessary to get through the most difficult problems.

So many choose not to acknowledge, believe or fear the Almighty God, but as soon as they approach a closeness to death, they end up screaming the loudest to Him for help. And then there are those that pray to God for help, but as soon as they don’t see any immediate evidence of their prayers being answered, they turn away and stop praying and stop believing. Mad at God and the world for the condition that they’ve found themselves in. No one can measure another person’s pain or hurt, because everybody is different. But until a problem is addressed, through prayer and through diligence, it will always be a deterrent in the quest for happiness. Bad habits, work, family, car, house, finances, legal issues, health issues, etc., there’s always something that can potentially be a problem. But the task for us all, is to deal with these problems the best way we can as they arise. So often the problems we have, once we persevere and make it through, we can look back on
them in retrospect and know that we’re a better and stronger person because of them. Much like the trees blowing in the swirling wind of Hurricane Fabian, we must stand steadfast and unmovable in our faith towards God.

Whenever I feel my problems to be the most intense and overwhelming, I can always be soothed by reading the book of Job, praying to God for strength or listening to one of my favorite songs, by the late Rev. Paul Jones, “I Won’t Complain”..

I've had some good days
I've had some hills to climb
I've had some weary days
And some sleepless nights

But when I look around
And I think things over
All of my good days
Outweigh my bad days
I won't complain

Sometimes the clouds are low
I can hardly see the road
I ask a question, Lord
Lord, why so much pain?
But he knows what's best for me
Although my weary eyes
They can't see
So I'll just say thank you Lord
I won't complain

The Lord
Has been so good to me
He's been good to me
More than this old world or you could ever be
He's been so good
To me

He dried all of my tears away
Turned my midnights into day
So I'll just say thank you Lord
I've been lied on
But thank you Lord
I've been talked about
But thank you Lord
I've been misunderstood
But thank you Lord
You might be sick
Body reeking with pain
But thank you Lord
The bills are due
Don't know where the money coming from
But thank you Lord
I won't complain

Copyright © 2003 www.servinemup.com All Rights Reserved

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Them Laws

I have several friends that live in Houston now, that are originally from other parts of the world. Because of them, I realize that there are certain phrases and terms in the Houstonian/Southside dialect that will make some non-natives pause and try to understand the meaning…

Say Dave??
What’s up with ya’ll Houston brothers?
What do you mean?
Why do ya’ll call the police, the ‘laws’??
(smiling) What’s wrong with that??
C’mon now..I’ve heard ‘cops’ and ‘po-po’s’..but ‘them laws’?? That sounds crazy!!
Naww, its not that crazy, you’ve got to realize that this IS Texas.
A lot of the brother’s here have just as many (if not more) guns as the police, so when ‘them laws run up on the scene’, most brothers aren’t scared of the guns the police have, but they ARE respectful of the ‘laws’ that are behind them. Texas is the ‘hang em high’ state, its definitely not a place you want to be in if you’re going to commit a felony.
But ‘laws’ though?? How about just ‘officer’?
Naah..some brother’s feel like ’officer’ sounds a bit too much like ‘overseer’.
Whatever man..sometimes I feel like ya’ll are stuck in the past down here.
Maybe..but as backward as we may seem, ya'll ‘Yankees’ sure do seem to enjoy our mild winters, no state income tax and bar-b-que.
Word! (laughing)
Just make sure you stay on the up and up while you’re here bruh, these Texas laws ain’t no punk…

In the past November 2002 elections ,Texas as a state, voted for a more conservative agenda in the way things are done. This past Monday was the first day a lot of these laws were put into effect. Any person can review these new laws online at http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlo/reports/daily/78R/eff0901.htm I’ve attempted to go through and highlight a few of these new laws (and include a bit of my own commentary), but I definitely encourage all Texans to browse through the listings by title and description for themselves.

House Bill #85: relates to the establishment of an undergraduate medical academy at Prairie View A&M University.

Southside Translation: Mane..now we can go to P.V. and study up to be DOCTORS, that way, we can write our OWN ‘scrips!!

House Bill #1592: relating to the establishment of the offense of performing surgery while intoxicated. (state jail felony)

(Hiccup) Why yes..er..Mister..(hiccup) Mister Trahan sir, (hiccup) we’re going to fix that cervix of yours right up in a.. (hiccup..) jiffy! Don’t you worry!!

House Bill #2126: relating to the manner of payment of child support to a local registry. (f) a local registry may accept child support payments made by credit card, debit card, or automatic teller machine card.

Nah!! That ol' sorry deadbeat ain’t got NO excuse about why the child support payment ain’t in..they even take CREDIT CARDS now!!

House Bill #2156: Relating to the size of containers for certain alcoholic beverages. No person may import, sell or posses with intent to sell any liquor in a container with a capacity of less than 20 milliliters.

Aww man, now I can only buy those little ‘bumps’ of liquor on airplanes!

House Bill #778: relating to the offense of interference with an emergency telephone call. Any peace officer may arrest, without warrant: (5) persons who the peace officer has probable cause to believe have prevented or interfered with an individual’s ability to place a telephone call in an emergency, as defined by Section 42.062(d), Penal Cod, if the offense is not committed in the presence of the peace officer.

Ma’am, we received a 911 call from this residence..is there a problem?
Hell yeah there was a problem!! This crazy n’ga was trying to HURT me..and he pulled the phone cord out the wall when I dialed 911!!
Where is he now??
He’s back there in the room crying and listening to his B.B King records..
Are you okay?
Yeah..I’m okay, but the thrill is DEFINITELY gone!!
Stand aside ma’am, we’re going to have to take him into custody..

Senate Bill #1942: Southwest Texas State University is now Texas State University – San Marcos

It doesn’t matter WHAT they call it, it’s still a big time party school!!

House Bill #470: Relating to the labeling, advertising, and sale of halal foods; providing a criminal penalty. Halal as applied to food, means food prepared and served in conformity with Islamic religious requirements according to a recognized Islamic authority.

Uh ohhh..somebody’s been slipping some ham in the falafel!!

Whot iz thees?? Thees doesn’t TASTE like lamb…

House Bill #148: relating to the prohibition of the manufacture, sale, or POSSESSION of a counterfeit disabled parking placard.

Oooh, I’m running late and there aren’t any parking spots…hmm

House Bill 15: This new law (which goes into effect in January) requires all women seeking an abortion to receive information and counseling regarding fetal development and then wait 24 hours before an abortion can be performed.

I think this strengthens both the pro-life and pro-choice agendas.

Senate Bill 83: requires students to say the pledge of allegiance to both the United States and Texas flags as well as observe one minute of silence.

Those parents who are tripping about their kids being mandated to make a pledge to ‘one nation, under GOD’ can have their child exempted.

Senate Bill 7:known as the Defense of Marriage Act, prevents same-sex marriages performed in other states from being recognized in Texas.

This isn’t the last we’re going to hear about this one, I’m sure.

House Bill 1: A large contingency of low income children previously covered by the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) will lose the following benefits effective this past Monday: dental, hearing aids, hospice, mental health, substance abuse treatment, vision and chiropractic care.

Seems like whenever budget cuts are necessary, the poor and underprivileged are the first one’s effected. Texas already leads the nation in uninsured children and that number just went up.

Senate Bill # 45: relating to the operation of a motor vehicle while intoxicated with a child passenger in the vehicle. new law creates a state jail felony for intoxicated drivers who have a child 15 years or younger in the car.

Along with this is a law that increases the surcharges and fines for 1st,and 2nd time DWI offenders. Failure to pay these surcharges will result in the revocation of driver’s license. A lot of the ‘social’ drinkers disagree with the minimum legal limits for the blood alcohol level, but I’m one ‘social’ drinker that’s all in favor of these stricter laws. Texas leads the nation in alcohol related traffic deaths and stricter laws will hopefully serve as a greater deterrent. Get a cab, ride with a friend, or sleep it off..

Uhh, Ms. Beasley?
Uhh..your husband is really not in any condition to drive home, so we’re going to let him sleep on the couch over here.
Naw..I’ll come over there and get his drunk az right now!!

Senate Bill #193: relating to vehicles passing certain stationary emergency vehicles on a highway; providing penalty

This law was made to protect emergency vehicle operators (police, ambulance, DPS, etc.) who are injured by passing motorists, while making stops on the highway. When we see an emergency vehicle with its lights flashing on the side of the road, we’re supposed to slow down (20 mph less than the posted speed) and get in the farthest lane as possible away from the emergency vehicle.

The beginning of this month brought in the enactment of 725 new state laws, that are noticeably characterized by the first Republican dominated session in years. For those new laws that you just don’t like at all, there are always measures to be taken in the political process to make sure your voice is heard. VOTING is the obvious action of opinion and those people who don’t even exercise their right to vote really don’t have much of an argument. If you’re not a registered voter yet, you can just clink on the link on this page “Register To Vote” and GET registered (if you’re eligible). And remember, ignorance is NOT a justifiable excuse for breaking the law.

Aww Mr. Policeman..(whining) I didn’t KNOW I was supposed to slow down!!
(writing a ticket) Well..you KNOW now.

Ya’ll watch out for them laws.

Copyright © 2003 www.servinemup.com All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Dirty Pretty Things

My wife and I had the glorious occasion of a night out free of the kids (thanks grandma & papa!) and we took the opportunity to take in a movie that didn’t have any animated characters or past Nickelodeon actors. Instead we ventured out into the international world of art, to see the movie Dirty Pretty Things (DPT), written by Steve Knight and directed by Stephen Frears. For those who dare to explore ‘outside of the box’ of mainstream media…away from the formula mega-budget Hollywood movies dominated by special effects and predictable plots, this is definitely a movie to see. I enjoy the ‘zombie’ entertainment value of just being ooh’d and aahh’d and made to laugh by the antics and quips of mega stars on the screen, but I also enjoy thought provoking productions, like DPT. Movie’s that lure you in with graphic depiction of everyday life and the sometimes ‘disturbing’ images and storylines that make it harder to distinguish between art and reality.

DPT is a movie about the plight of illegal immigrants striving to earn a living in London. The main character is Okwe (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a thoughtful and intelligent Nigerian exile that’s works 2 full time jobs, driving a cab during the day and working the front desk at a seedy hotel at night. The co-star is Seyna (Audrey Tautou), a Turkish immigrant who’s a chambermaid at the same hotel, as well as Okwe’s clandestine and strictly platonic room mate. The movie’s title can mislead people to think that its another one of those liberal ‘skin flicks’ that is riding on the edge of being X-rated. Instead, DPT is a gripping thriller that sends the viewer on a grim tour of the realities of illegal immigration, sweatshops, and the predators that feed off the urgency of these poor immigrants strong desire to become ‘legalized’ citizens.

The performances by the entire acting corps are very real and engaging. The movie’s main villain Sneaky (Sergi Lopez) is definitely a man that you know is walking the streets right now and although morally despicable, his character is very rational and even understandable. Okwe’s battle of maintaining his own strong religious convictions vs. surviving, is a struggle with which all can identify and Seyna’s charming innocence is equally countered by the shamelessness of the prostitute Juliette (Sophie Okonedo).

DPT vividly displays the simple joys of life, like true friendship and love, as well as the reality of oppressive labor practices, greed and the apathetic indifference toward the poor by the ‘privileged’. For those that are not ready to swallow the ‘red pill’ of truth and reality, then I definitely wouldn’t recommend seeing this movie. But for those who crave to broaden their world of awareness and become more informed about the struggle of those that famed writer Franz Fanon describes as ‘the wretched of the earth’, then you should definitely check this movie out. DPT bridges a lot of historical places of contention, like the Muslim-Christian relationship, and gives all of us a glimpse into the seamy underbelly of society.

For those interested in seeing Dirty Pretty Things (and any other movie you might see reviewed on Servinemup), I have made an intentional decision to not spoil the surprise of what is going on at the hotel. Unlike a lot of movie reviews you might find on the internet and beyond, I personally think the viewer’s enjoyment will be reduced by the lack of surprise. DPT is rated ‘R’, 107 minutes long and all the characters speak in English, so there aren’t any subtitles. I encourage all to open their minds to new experiences, the world is a lot bigger than just what’s happening on the Southside.