Thursday, October 30, 2003

Crazy is Relative

Where are you going?

I’m going over to my cousin’s house to play some dominoes.

Aww hell!!! There you go AGAIN!!

What are you getting all riled up about??

Is your cousin George Earl going to be there?


Then you don’t need to go over there.

Why do you say that??

Because, that has to be the craziest n’ga on this earth. I can’t even understand how he hasn’t been locked up somewhere by now.

Aww..George Earl is cool..he’s just one of those people who likes to get rough.

The last time ya’ll all got together, everybody got drunk, started fighting and you ended up breaking your hand and having to get stitches in your head.

Well that’s just cuz George Earl got a little too carried away re-enacting the DDT wrestling move on Bubba. I just got caught up in the fray when Bubba got mad and started swinging, we were trying to break them up.

All ya’ll are kinfolk, but everytime ya’ll get together, you end up fighting. I’m the one that always has to take you to the emergency room for x-rays or stitches and take care of you later. Gone and go over there if you want to, you’re obviously just as crazy as they are.

Its all good. You don't need to be tripping.

Hmph. We’ll see how much I’m ‘tripping’ when you come back home broke up and bleeding again.


I’m sure everyone has at least one family, friend, neighbor or co-worker that is a bit ‘out there’. They may 'look' normal, like Marilyn Munster (pictured in the pink dress) but beneath the surface they are crazy as hell. Somehow, someway their words, mannerisms and actions push the envelope for society’s accepted ‘norm’. The extreme cases go too far and end up having to spend some time in one of those institutions where everybody wears soft slippers all day and all meals must be eaten with a rubber spoon. The milder cases are always the life of the party and can be counted on to say something funny all the time. Everyone has something about them that’s ‘different’, I guess that’s why the term ‘crazy’ is relative to the circumstance involved.

While I was in grade school, my parents had some serious worries as to the state of my mental well-being. It seems that I was answering too many of their questions with a delayed and confused ‘Huh?’. I also had a high propensity for spectacular collisions that usually caused a big knot to be visible somewhere on my forehead. Between my apparent hearing loss (‘Huh? What?’) and my extreme clumsiness (‘You knocked that plant over AGAIN??!!’), they were sure that SOMEthing was wrong. Whenever I would do something REALLY crazy or have that dazed and confused look on my face, my father would just shake his head and tell my mother.

Something ain’t right with that boy….

Fortunately, my parents had the resources for me to get tested by medical professionals to make sure my hearing, motor skills and thought patterns were ‘normal’. Once the last doctor informed my parents that I was physically and mentally sound, my parents took it upon themselves to become stricter with their discipline. A firm rod applied to the behind will make someone ‘acting’ crazy straighten up and ‘act right’ very quickly. Needless to say, those numerous ‘act right’ moments administered with a belt or switch caused the fog of confusion to be lifted from my level of was a miracle! I was cured!!

It wasn’t until I ventured out into the general public that I realized that there really were some crazy folks out there. From the people walking the streets having fierce arguments with their ‘invisible’ friends walking beside them, to the people who just stand around with a smile on their face holding a sign that says ‘Welcome Aliens!’, everyone has their own different grasp of reality. Some balding men put on ridiculous toupees or hairpieces and think, ‘No one will ever know’. Some 400 lb women put on blonde wigs and squeeze into a pair of daisy dukes and think, ‘I’m fine like Beyonce’..its all relative.

Now the REAL kicker is when you have to deal with crazy family members. Some of them may look normal, like Marilyn Munster in the pink dress in the picture above, but they have that crazy lurking underneath the surface, waiting to get out. . Just like Chevy Chase’s crazy brother-in-law played by Randy Quaid in the movie National Lampoon’s Vacation, crazy kinfolks can make your life a lot more..interesting. From the ones that show up at your house out the blue one day and want to ‘borrow’ your VCR, to the ones that stir the pitcher of Kool-Aid with their bare hands, you’ve got to keep your eye on those crazy relatives. Crazy in the singular sense can be controlled by a majority of sane individuals. But when two or more of the same kind of crazy get together?? It’s time to either get out the guns and restore order or call the police, cuz that crazy sh’t can get out of hand QUICKLY.

The problem with shooting (or beating up) one of your kinfolk, is that there’s always going to be some family member that’s going to be a bitter about it and hold a grudge against you if you do it. ‘Ya’ll didn’t have to jump on George Earl like that, you know he don’t mean no harm’ The best thing to do if one of your kinfolk starts talking that ‘crazy’ is to call their mama, grandma, wife or whoever it is that looks after their crazy az. If they tell you, ‘Please, don’t hurt him, you know he ain’t got good sense.’ Then its best to just let it go and get away from him. But if they tell you, ‘Gone and handle your business kinfolk, that n’ga needs some act right put on him’ then you already know what needs to be done. Obviously, I’m one of those people with a LOT of crazy kinfolk. Fortunately, I’ve never had to shoot one of them and its even better that none of them have had to shoot me. We all make sure to repeat our family mantra whenever we all get together, “Let us live together and love one another.” If you say it often enough, it will ward off many crazy episodes from happening.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Good Citizens

Every day I make sure I read about the current events happening around the world. Usually I get my information from the local newspaper and various news websites on the internet. But please, don’t be misled by my exclaimed diligence. I haven’t always felt the need to make this type of information gathering a part of my daily routine. I used to feel that reading the newspaper or watching the news was something that only old folks were supposed to do. I’d rather watch a ballgame or one of my favorite sitcoms on TV, or read the Sports and the Comics sections of the newspaper and ignore everything else. This lifestyle of wallowing in ‘blissful ignorance’ wasn’t confined to my adolescence. I didn’t summon the courage to take the ‘red pill’ of truth until after I became a married father. Having a beautiful wife to love and take care of and children to raise, will make even the most hard-headed man come to his senses and focus on what’s real.

There’s a common American standard formula for being a ‘good’ citizen. The common path is grade school, college/vocational training, get a job, get married, obey all the laws of the land and work hard, buy a house, have kids, retire, enjoy our grandkids and travel until our heart stops beating. Of course this is a blatantly crude assessment, but life & burial insurance salesmen always LOVE it! The funny thing about human life, is that no one comes with an expiration date stamp. There are no guarantees, because tomorrow is promised to no man. Some people freak out at the thought of their eventual inevitable death and they completely block it out from their conscience thought. Others become so obsessed with it, that they become detached from everyday life and ‘zone out’.

The good citizen is not swayed toward either of these extremes. Obviously all good citizens don’t have formal education or training, some good citizens can’t find a job, some good citizens never get married or buy a house or have kids. There’s a lot of good citizens that will never be able to retire, they will never have any grandkids to enjoy and they will never get a chance to travel outside their own neighborhood. So of course, those weren’t requirements for good citizenship. The main requirement for ALL good citizens is their desire to obeying the laws of the land.

The American media today is deluged with stories of millionaire business executives who ‘stretched’ or found a ‘loophole’ in the laws as written. A select few make off with fortunes while the ignorant hard working masses are left on the short end of the stick looking for a new job. Despite all the new media hype that’s being generated, these devious practices are not new. Snakes have been around since the beginning of man and they’re destined to be with us for awhile longer. A lot of the rules we impose as a society are based on religious beliefs. Of course this is not saying that all people in the ‘religious’ world are good citizens. There are scores of snaky and evil people masquerading under the guise of a religious cloak. No matter how slick their method of operation, its always only a matter of time until their true nature is exposed. All things done in darkness will eventually come to light.

As much as we can be overwhelmed with all the bad news going on in the world. I think its imperative for all ‘good’ citizens to stay as informed as possible to what’s going on around us. Its easy to put blinders on and go through life with tunnel vision. “If it doesn’t involve me or someone I know, then I don’t care about it. I’ve got too many things of my own to worry about.” Once we take the initiative to tear down these blinders and really pay attention to what’s going on in the world around us, then we will be better prepared toward being a ‘good’ citizen in our own community. Here is a brief summary with more in-depth info links to a few things that I’ve observed to be happening around the universe today:

Southern California is being ravaged by wildfires that are burning thousands of acres and causing thousands of people to evacuate from their homes. Firefighters have been working for the past 3 days attempting to douse the blazes, but the strong Santa Ana winds are causing the fires to spread even more. They canceled the scheduled Monday Night Football game in San Diego because the stadium was being used as a shelter relief area for evacuated families.

The sun (yeah, that big hot thing that’s in the sky all day), has erupted one of the largest solar flares ever
recorded today (Tuesday). The picture of the sun above shows the flare erupting in the center. Its fallout is predicted to hit earth sometime Wednesday afternoon. These flares aren’t flaming balls of fire, but rather a geomagnetic cloud. The last time a burst close to this magnitude hit earth, it knocked out power for millions of people in Canada in 1989.

These are just a couple of events that are going on around the world that should make all of us realize that the world does not revolve around just us. Good citizens do what we can to stay informed and thus prepared for the many curveballs that life can throw us. My prayers are for all of our world leaders and the powers controlling the strings as well as for the unfortunate who are in dire need of help. Whenever I get overwhelmed by the conditions of the world today, I’m always revived by the eternal decree from The Book who’s law is everlasting. No matter how much the world seems to be over-run by snakes and bad things, God is still in control.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Live Music

Servinemup is live on location outside the R. Kelly concert in Houston. The show is over and all of the concert goers are streaming outside to their vehicles. Let’s step in and get some feedback and see what people thought about the show…

Excuse me sir…how did you enjoy the concert?

Mane..I’m PISSED OFF!! I spent all this money on these tickets. Paid for my gal here to get her hair and nails done, bought her a new outfit WITH matching shoes. Fought through all this traffic to get here..and this n’ga has the nerve to only be on stage for 1 hour and 15 minutes??!! Hell, that freak tape they got out that’s supposed to be him is longer than that!!

Ma’ you feel the same way?

Yeah..he wasn’t on stage long enough if you ask me. But that’s not what I’m pissed off about the most though.

What has you the most upset?

He didn’t even sing ‘Bump N’ Grind’!!

What about the performance?

Oh, he gives a good show, it just wasn’t long enough . R is still my boy though, he can turn on my ignition any day!!


Music lovers all over the world cherish the euphoric heights that can only be reached by listening to music performed live by a band or vocalist. Whether the love is for the horns, strings, percussion or just a rich strong voice, the energy generated by live music is unrivaled. Elite entertainers have a full array of musical talents as well as the ability to captivate a crowd with their choreographed steps. True music lovers are wooed by the audio component, with the visual aspect only serving as an added benefit. Like most natives of the Southern Bible Belt, my first taste of live music was in church. A good gospel choir can lift the spirit and cause a body to move. Add in instruments like a piano and/or organ to complement the voices, and the atmosphere becomes more charged and electric. Of all the wonderful choirs that I have had a chance to hear live, my personal favorite is still the youth choir at the intimate Baptist church that I grew up in. The youth choir was composed of all pre-teens and teenagers. The youth choir director was also one of the leaders of the neighborhood high school marching band. Listening to this choir perform the song ‘No Greater Love’ always warmed my heart and made me really get IN to the music and its message.

Jesus went, to Calvary, to save a wretch, like you and me, that’s love,
They hung Him high, they stretched Him wide, He hung His head, for me He died, that’s love

The whole choir would always enact each station of the cross with their outstretched arms and body. All the while, swaying from side to side in unison with the beat. It was always a glorious sight to behold. The best part was always that last refrain…when all the voices would join in to sing with the fullest amount of enthusiasm and volume.

But that’s not how, the story ends, 3 days later…HE ROSE AGAIN!!

By the time this part came around, the entire congregation was usually up on its feet. Clapping, singing along, some people would just raise their hands to the air and said ‘Thankya Jesus!’. Riding on this spiritual musical crest gives a whole new appreciation for the gift of song.

Church is not the only place that I’ve listened to a live performance and had my spirit lifted. There have been may musicians that I’ve heard perform live in concert that caused my music sense to tingle. The power of Rachelle Farrell’s voice has moved me to tears with open arms. The joys and pains of life enumerated at a Maze concert has made me stand up and dance the whole night. The smoothness of Luther Vandross crooning onstage has made me want to turn my house into a home. The controlled emotion of Phyllis Hyman has left me barely able to stand living all alone. There have been so many talented musicians and vocalists that have enriched my life through their songs. Whether the lyrics were right on point to something that I was going through in life or the music just hit that ‘note’ of rightness to my ear, I love live music. The energy of the crowd combined with the richness of hearing music not altered by recording devices brings a whole new level of appreciation.

My favorite venues to enjoy live music are those small and intimate ‘spots’. I’ve always enjoyed the close energy that is magnified in these places. Whether it’s a full band with backup singers or a lone soloist performing, the appreciation is the same. There’s some who are only interested in seeing the megastars at the mega venues, which is fine. But to truly feel the effort required of performing musicians, the tight dark clubs are the collective soul of music. Away from all the big lights, marquees and cameras, the true musician still performs. I encourage all to check out their local jazz clubs, R&B joints and churches that have live music. You’d be surprised how much fun you can have when you let yourself go and enjoy the moment of the music.

(Pictured above, Shirley Austin Reeves performing live in Point Blank, Texas)

Friday, October 24, 2003

Servinemup Ink Announces New Hire!!

We are pleased to announce the addition of another key member to the Servinemup Ink Staff. After pouring through several resumes and ngz trying to be down, we have selected Ceola Curley III as the new website administrator for Servinemup Ink.

Ceola is a Southside graduate of Evan E. Worthing Senior High School and he's also a graduate of Rice University. N'gaz keep thinking the Southside is all about drugs and pimping hoz don't even know, we ALL the way real down hear. Yeah!

He's not just a regular Southside n'ga either, he's also my cousin!! We know how to keep it in the family!!

Welcome CJ!!

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Like Asa



Heyyy..what’s up Kabiru?

We had a boy!!

WHAT??!! (smiling) You’ve got a lil hard head huh? How’s the new mom doing?

She’s fine, the doctor is letting us go home tomorrow.

That’s great. I know your chest is swelled up like no other…congratulations Big Poppa!!

Thanks…I’m still kinda floating.

You got that natural high huh? (smiling)

All the way!!

What’s his name?



No..ASA..after A. Phillip Randolph.


You DO know who A. Phillip Randolph IS...don’t you?

Uhhh….I think I forgot. You know I’m one of the slow Stanford bruhs….


When the Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863, it brought about a significant change in the way American business was handled. Gone was the traditional slave master-slave relationship, replaced with an employer-employee relationship of free volition. This was concurrent with the burgeoning of the Industrial Revolution, when passenger railroad travel began to grow immensely in popularity. The Chicago based, Pullman Palace Car Company built, owned and operated most of the passenger trains during this era. The Pullman Porters were the employees that served and attended to the needs of all the passengers. Initially, the Pullman Company only hired black men for the job of porter. Their attentive and cheerful service was a renowned commodity that attracted repeat customers. By the 1920’s the black employees at Pullman was the largest category of black labor in the United States and Canada.

Asa Philip Randolph was born in Crescent City Florida in 1889. Born to a Methodist minister and a mother who’s parents were slaves, Randolph attended high school in Florida, then moved to New York and studied economics and philosophy at City College. He worked several jobs as an elevator operator, porter and as a waiter. In 1917 Randolph along with co-editor Chandler Owen founded a magazine called The Messenger, which campaigned for black civil rights.

This was only the beginning of the activist life for Randolph, as he repeatedly (but unsuccessfully) attempted to be elected to political office in the state of New York. He was involved in organizing black workers in laundries, clothes factories and cinemas. Randolph’s sincere determination and polished oratorical skills, led to his involvement with the Pullman Porters and being named president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (BSCP). Randolph championed the improvement of working conditions and wage compensation for the BSCP, and this became the first successful black trade union.

In 1935 the BSCP became a part of the American Federation of Labor (joined in union with the white folks!). After enduring threats from the Pullman Company such as job loss and harassment, the BSCP forced the company to the bargaining table. After 12 years of battle, the BSCP was recognized as the official union of the Pullman Porters in 1937.

Randolph didn’t stop there, the remainder of his life he diligently struggled and fought for the cause of the working black American. In 1941, he convinced President Roosevelt to establish the Fair Employment Practice Committee, which led the way to obtaining equal opportunities for minority employment in government and in the defense industry.

In 1947 Randolph formed the League for Nonviolent Civil Disobedience in the Armed Forces. Because of this group, President Truman issued an executive order against discrimination in the military. This order allowed Blacks to be admitted to the Army and Navy Academies.

In 1963 Randolph was one of the key organizers of what became known as the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. It was at this March that the charismatic Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his I Have A Dream speech. In 1964, Randolph’s lifetime of work was recognized with a Medal of Freedom, presented by President Lyndon Johnson. This medal is the country’s highest award for civilians.

Randolph passed away in 1979, a few weeks before his 90th birthday. The fruits of his labor have left a resonating influence on fair labor practices and employment opportunities in American society. Here is an excerpt from his speech at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963:

We are not an organization or a group of organizations. We are not a mob. We are the advance guard of a massive moral revolution for jobs and freedom. The revolution reverberates throughout the land, touching every city, every town, every village where blacks are segregated, oppressed and exploited. But this civil rights demonstration is not confined to the Negro, nor is it confined to civil rights; for our white allies know that they cannot be free while we are not. And we know that we have no future in which six million black and white people are unemployed and millions more live in poverty. Those who deplore our militancy, who exhort patience in the name of a false peace, are in fact supporting segregation and exploitation. They would have social peace at the expense of social and racial justice. They are more concerned with easing racial tensions than enforcing racial democracy.

The A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum is located in Chicago, Illinois. You can visit their website at A. Philip Randolph Museum It’s brothers like Mr. Randolph that have illuminated a path of diligent toil for all to follow. It’s this type of day to day grinding that would make the world a much better place, if everyone could be more like Asa.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Black Entertainers

One of the most common questions I receive from non-Black people is, ‘Why do Black/African-American people always want to be considered separately instead of just being PEOPLE?’ My normal reply is, “Believe it or not, I don’t KNOW all the Black/African-American people in the world, so I can’t speak for all of them.” This may seem like some kind of wisecrack, but it’s the truth. Black people DO possess the power of independent thought and what some may see as reality, others may see as complete fantasy. Take brother ‘Buckwheat’ for example, he was the lone black character on the Little Rascals show back in the late 30’s (Stymie didn’t show up til later). His big bulging eyes and wide open mouth of incredulous disbelief was accessorized with his electric mop of hair. To this day, people of all colors can see a picture of Buckwheat and start smiling. But yet, in the Black community, there is a large faction of folks who are very offended and disgusted by the stereotypical ‘coon’ images that they feel Buckwheat glorifies.

When I was growing up, we had to be very careful of where and when we watched the Little Rascals. Because if certain relatives walked in and saw us looking at it, they’d flip out…

What are ya’ll doing??!!

(We were all laughing at Buckwheat putting firecrackers in Alfalfas shoes, now we had to freeze and BUCK our eyes with worry) Uhh..watching tv.

Ya’ll don’t need to be watching NO show that makes fun of black folks like that! All the other kids on that show are walking around with shoes on, hair combed, neat, talking like they’ve got some sense. But there they have the ONLY black boy on there, hair all nappy, eyes bucked out, sticking out his butt and smiling a biggo watermelon smile all the time!! Turn that junk off!! And don’t let me catch ya’ll watching it again!!

Personally, I didn’t understand what all the fuss was about..Buckwheat was O-tay to me. It wasn’t until I grew older and more educated on Black American History, that I was able to understand the sensitive areas that the images of Buckwheat stirred up in a lot of Black folks. Although we’re in 2003, there are a lot of Black people still bitter about the Middle Passage and slavery. And now that we live in an ‘integrated’ society, they want to completely obliterate all negative images or references of Black folks as an inferior race. Some go all the way to the right and just want to completely submerge themselves in Black culture. They only want to live in Black neighborhoods, marry Black spouses, attend Black churches, shop in Black owned stores, watch movies/shows with Black people in them, listen to the Black radio stations, go to Black clubs and eat Black (soul) food.

On the opposite end of the spectrum are the Black people who want to completely eliminate color from the equation and prefer to be thought of only as a ‘person’. Some go so far as to intentionally avoid ALL things Black, to further distance themselves from this restrictive barrier. It doesn’t even matter if their skin is darker than Buckwheat’s, they only want to associate with non-Black people. From the non-Black community in which they live, their non-Black spouses, non-Black churches they attempt to completely ignore anything and anybody that tries to draw them into the ‘Black’ side of life.

I think these are both dangerous extremes. In an ideal world, the color of your skin shouldn’t make a difference as to how you’re treated. But the sad fact is, America 2003 is not an ideal world. We still harbor a lot of the same racial prejudice and hatred that was here when the first slave ships arrived. Its obviously on a lot less overt and accepted level, but its still there. Those who act like racism no longer exists are just as bad as those who constantly seek out the smallest reason to pull the ‘race card’ out. Ideally, I think we all should strive to judge people solely by the content of their character, but we’re still a ways away from that Nirvana (I like that group too..white boys jamming!).

On the REAL side of the coin, William ‘Buckwheat’ Thomas was a young black boy making money on the big screen in the 1930’s. That in itself should be applauded considering the state of Black folks as an economic group at this time. The entertainment talents of Black folks has opened many doors and venues to the mainstream general public. I think everyone should be proud of their heritage and always ‘represent’ their people and culture to the fullest. But at the same time, ultimate success is gained when all racial, gender and cultural barriers are transcended. We may start out as a Black student or a Black teacher, Black writer, Black dancer, Black singer, Black actor, Black doctor, Black lawyer, but once excellence is displayed on a consistent level, that’s when those barriers are slowly but surely brought down and that ‘Black’ prefix is erased.

Some people are upset because Black folks get ‘special’ privileges. Black folks have their own greeting card section, Black folks have their own television channel, Black folks have their own awards show, Black folks have their own magazine and book section, etc. Since this is America, we all have our choice as to what group we want to identify with. These aforementioned ‘color’ specific areas for Black folks aren’t meant to show a superiority or inferiority from the mainstream, just a difference. I love the Black culture that raised me and I’ve never even considered it an option to be anything other than Black. But when it comes to my endeavors as a person, I want to be considered as a good writer who just happens to be a nappy headed Black man from the Southside of Houston, Texas. I don’t want my work to be herded and constrained to the ‘Mahogany’ section of the bookstore or magazine rack. I want to be in the mix of the general population, balling with them good white folks..ya feel me? Many black entertainers have been ostracized and ridiculed by their own people for ‘selling out’ to the mainstream by profiting off of stereotypes. But these same people talking down about them wouldn’t offer them the time or a thin dime when they’re out looking for ‘respectable’ work. I’m not a sellout, but I WILL buck my eyes and shuffle a lil bit on stage or split a verb and use some ebonic slang if it will keep the coins dropping in the hat. Don’t be mad, its just part of the entertainment game. We all have to shake what our mama gave us…O-TAY?

Sunday, October 19, 2003

Southside Math

(The bell rings on Mr. Parker's 9th grade math class at Southside High School. As the students are leaving the room, he calls out to one of them in particular...)

Hey Chris!

Yeah Mr. Parker?

Hold up , let me holler at you for a minute.

Okay…(waiting till all the other students left the room) What’s up?

You got a C on your test yesterday.

Yeah…(shrugging his shoulders) I know.

You’re smarter than this man, you don’t have to live like a slave.

I ain’t no slave!!

You’re not huh?


What kind of shoes are those that you have on?

These the new Gordan’s (smiling proudly)

The ones that come in their own little suitcase?

Yeah!!! (smiling)

Dang…don’t those cost like, $200?

223.45 with tax! you KNOW exactly how much they cost?

Yeah..I had to pay for them.

YOU had to pay for them??

Yeah…my momma made me buy them with my own money.

Do you work?


Well…how do you get your OWN money?

My momma gives me an allowance.

Where does your mother work?

She’s a school teacher, just like you.

Chris…do you know how much I make a year?

I dunno..(shrugging his shoulders)

Let me show you something (getting up to write on the chalkboard) this school district pays me $39,400/ you know how much that is a month?


Do you know how to find out how much it is a month?


How many months are in a year?


Okay, so if we have 39,400 per year, how much is that per month?

Uh…39,400 divided by 12?

Right and if we put that in the calculator. hold on, do you know how to do that by hand?

Do what?

Long division, 39400 divided12?


Okay, get up there and let me see. I know it’s a lot quicker and easier to use a calculator, but to really be good at math, you need to be able to do that problem by hand.

What did you get?

3,283 remainder 4

What is that in decimal?

In decimal?’ve got to USE that number with other numbers, so you’ve got to convert it from having a remainder 4, to what that would be in decimal, 3,283 point (something).
Oh, uhh 3283.4??

No..the 4 is just a portion of the divisor 12, so 4/12 reduces to 1/3 which in decimal is the repeating .33333. So the decimal answer is 3,283.33.


So that’s how much I make a month, $3,283.33…we get paid twice a month, on the first and how much is that per check?

Uh..3283.33 divided by 2?

Right..which equals, I won’t make you do it longhand this time, here use this calculator.
1641.67 take out 35% for federal taxes…

Uh..okay..I multiply 1641.67 x .35 and then subtract that answer from 1641.67?

Yeah, you can do it like that..or you could just multiply 1641.67 x .65, it’s the same thing.

Yeah..I never thought of it like that.

You can do the same thing when you see sales items in stores…25% off, just take the price and multiply by?


Right, .75

So how much is that after taxes?


Okay..and then take out, FICA and health insurance and contribution to my retirement program..which all comes to about $400 per month or $200 per pay period. So that leaves what for each check?

1067.09-200 = $867.09 that’s what I take home every two weeks.

That’s a LOT of money!!!

Is it? Keep in mind that I still have to LIVE…house note, light bill, gas bill, telephone, cable, car note, insurance, groceries, gas for the car, etc. So let’s just be optimistic and say all of that comes to $1400/month. How much money do I have left?

Let’s see…$1400/month in bills is $700 every two weeks 867.09-700 = $167.09

Which wouldn’t even pay for a pair of the new Gordan’s huh? wouldn’t.

The point I’m trying to make is that your mother works hard..and she might even make more money than I do, but she GIVES you all these nice things and you’re just not showing any appreciation.

What do you mean? I EARN my allowance by cutting the grass and washing the car and stuff!!

Oh yeah? You EARN it huh? You really think your mother OWES you that money for doing what you do around the house and in the yard?


Well, that’s where you’re wrong, the only thing your parents owe you is a place to sleep and a meal. They’re not obligated to buy you Gordan’s, or Bolo’s or video games. She does that for you out of love for you, not because she HAS to. And here you are not doing ANYthing in school.

I’m doing okay in your class, I got a B.

Yeah, but you are good enough and smart enough that if you would really apply yourself, you could have gotten an A.

I’m doing alright, I’m go graduate.

Yeah, you’re going to get your diploma, but your work ethic is going to come back to haunt you. You should be trying to maximize your abilities and talents, instead of loafing and just ‘getting by’. Especially with the way you like to dress, your mother isn’t going to always be there to buy all these things for you. Eventually you’re going to have to go out there and hustle up on that money yourself.

Oh, I’m go have a job, cuz I GOT to have me a nice ride.

Well, by APPLYING yourself in your school work as hard as you can, you’ll already be a step ahead of the game. I just hope you don’t turn into one of those people spending all of their money on these material things like cars and clothes and jewelry. Just getting by, living check to check because you spend ALL of your disposable income as soon as you get it.

What’s disposable income?

That’s what’s left from your check after you pay all of your bills.

Oh…that $167 every 2 weeks number?


Well, that would be cool, I could buy some new shoes and outfit every month and still have money left over.

Yeah..for awhile, but life has a way of throwing curveballs at you…house needs repair, car breaks down, you might be in an accident where you can’t work, who knows?

Ah Mr. Parker…that’s talking like my grandma..she never wants to spend anything, just save, save, save. You can’t take it with you when you die, might as well spend it, right?

You definitely can’t take it with you, but you can start making decisions now that lessen your burden as you get older. Just because you HAVE money, doesn’t mean you have to spend it. Its always good to INVEST your money in things that will turn a profit for you later. If you get caught up into just getting by from check to check, that’s just like being a slave.

I ain’t go be nobody’s slave!

You are if you succumb to that master of ‘status’. Because it will have you working your whole life for OTHER people, like the mortgage company, or the car financer, or credit cards and stuff like that. You need to really look at what it means to be free..and figure out if you’re ready to make that sacrifice of hard work and diligence for your freedom, or if you’re just content to ‘get by’ and be a slave. I would hate to see a young brother with so much promise and potential let it go to waste. You need to buckle up podna. This world is not going to GIVE you anything, you gotta go get it for yourself. Do you understand what I’m telling you?

I think so.

Math is a very fundamental subject that builds on itself. You start off with counting, addition, subtraction, then you learn multiplication and division, fractions, decimals all that stuff keeps building up to get you ready for algebra, geometry, algebra II, trigonometry, elementary analysis, can’t afford to miss a step, because each step builds off the one before. You understand?

Yes Mr. Parker..I understand. I guess I just never had a good teacher like you before to explain things to me to make it easy to understand.

Well, I’m glad you feel that way. But if you keep on coming in with these C’s on my tests, you’re going to make me feel like I’m not doing my job…and you KNOW I can’t have that!! (smiling)

Alright..I’ll do better.

Hmph, I hear what you SAY, we’re going to see what you DO.

Thursday, October 16, 2003


As a child, my feelings for church were very similar to Twain’s timeless literary character, Tom Sawyer. What? I have to take a bath, comb my hair, put on some stiff shoes and ‘good’ clothes, just to sit still in some pews in a big room with a lot of other black folks and watch some guy yell, scream and spit about how everybody is going to hell? Much like other 8-year-old boys, I felt that this was cruel punishment. Sunday School was fine, because it was interactive and informative, but doing that 'group thang' for 11oclock service in the sanctuary? Hated it!! To make matters worse, one of the Sisters at the church ‘okey-doked’ me one Sunday…

Good Morning Brother David.

Good morning Sister Miles.

We’re having a program in 2 weeks here at the church and your mother told me it was okay if I asked you to serve on the program.

{2 weeks? Program? What did my mother say?? Needless to say, I sometimes had a problem paying attention when people were talking to me)

Uhh..Yes ma’am.

Good!! Here are the lyrics to the song you can start rehearsing. The solo you’ll be singing is called, ‘He’s Sweet I Know’

Okay..yes ma’am.

I took the photocopied hymnal page from her hand with the lyrics and music for the song. I kinda glanced at it and jammed it in my pocket as I was easily distracted by one of my church buddies who had poked me hard in the side and started walking away real fast in the milling crowd. Of course this was a challenge to play church ‘tag’ and I was eager to release some energy.

Okay..well, we’ll see you in 2 weeks here for the program Brother David. Make sure you get here early.

Yes ma’am.

I quickly nodded a goodbye and started walking quickly through the after service-congregating crowd trying to catch my buddy so that I could ‘tag’ him. I honestly never even thought about my impending performance until a couple of days later when I was at home.

Your uncle is going to be over here later to play the piano to help you practice your song.

(Huh? Uncle? Piano? MY song?? What was this all about??)’am?? (I was confused)

David, the program is coming up, you need to start practicing that song Sister Miles gave you to sing. What did you do with the lyrics?

(I didn’t know WHAT she was talking about..but I did remember Sister Miles giving me some paper) I lost it.

What was the name of the song?

Uhh..umm (I always looked up to the ceiling and tried to LOOK like I was in deep thought, in actuality, I was completely clueless) I think it was something about Jesus. (That was ALWAYS a good answer for church questions)

My mother gave me the frown of disapproval. From that point on, I had to watch what I said, because if she caught wind that I was trying to be a smart az…POW! When my uncle showed up and phone calls were made, we found out that the song was ‘He’s Sweet I Know’. Somehow I hadn’t quite put the image of me singing in public, on a microphone, by myself, in front of a church full of folks all together in my head. I was okay with being in front of everyone, I was even okay with being ‘solo’ and the microphone was actually pretty cool to talk in. The only problem I had with the whole deal was the fact that I couldn’t sing..a lick. The practice sessions were brutal, they always ended with my mother angry with me..

Open your mouth, ain’t nobody go be able to hear you!!!

My uncle trying to coach me..

No David, you’ve got to HIT that’re dragging.

And my sister dropping in the room from time to time and laughing at me mockingly when my mother wasn’t looking.

By the time the program time rolled around, my stomach felt like my intestines were shriveling up inside in a knot. To make matters worse, this was a 3 o’clock program and the choir stand was empty. So when the time came for me to do my solo, my uncle and I were the lone figures in the choir stand. He was at the piano, I was standing next to him holding the microphone and as I looked out into the congregation, all I could see was grown folks smiling, ready to be ‘served’ by one of the youth in the church. As soon as the song started, I knew I was in trouble..when I heard my voice come through the speakers, I sounded like Popeye the Sailor Man drinking a glass of water..A-gu-gu-ga-he’s sweet I KNOOW.

By the time I finished the song, tears of embarrassment were streaming down my face, my uncle was having to restrain himself from laughing out loud and the whole congregation was either clapping saying ‘Sing for the Lord’ or ‘That’s alright baby’. I didn’t even want to look at my mother cuz I already knew she had her ‘This lil n’ga is TRIPPING’ look on her face.

That all happened almost 25 years ago, and I haven’t been in a choir stand since. Singing is a talent that I simply don’t have. Some people are born with this natural ability of song. I have a wonderful collection of relatives that can sing, dance and play almost every musical instrument ever created. I used to sometimes wonder, “Am I the only person on this earth with NO talent??” It just didn’t seem fair. But lo and behold, I happened to be paying attention in Sunday School one Sunday morning and I heard something that caught my interest, Jesus’ parable of the talents:

Read Mathew 25:14-30.

Our Sunday school teacher explained to us that in this scripture, the word ‘talent’ was a measure of weight, not a specific unit of money or skill. And although all 3 of the servants had a different amount, they all had SOMEthing. The intended task for all is to work with what you got, for the good of the Lord. We’re not supposed to be wicked and lazy servants that just let our talent waste away without ‘investing’ it. Those who work, more will be given. Those who waste their talent, all will be taken away as the 29th and 30th verses illustrate:

29For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Can you imagine that? Right there written in the Bible in plain English! Not only does God make sure that EVERYONE has at least ONE talent, He wants EVERYBODY to be hustlers for Him. Sing a song, play the tambourine, serve on the usher board, minister to the sick, feed the widows and orphans, whatever it is that we DO, God wants us to use it to magnify His Kingdom. Hmph. I knew I couldn’t sing worth a lick, but I could read real well. Whenever they needed a scripture read out loud? Heyy…that’s ME!! That’s what I DO!! I can SERVE too!!

Sometimes we’ve got to look DEEP within ourselves to find our talent(s). Sometimes it’s so obvious, that we can’t see the forest because of the trees. Sometimes the talent is SOO close to following our dreams, that its too scary to even THINK about, let alone make this talent available for public knowledge and scrutiny. It can be a scary venture that will make other’s look at you funny “Uh ohh..I think he’s done turned into another one of those Jesus freaks!” The haters will put you under their spotlight, “She might be TALKING about God, but let’s watch what she DO!” The truth is that it really doesn’t matter what other people think, all that matters is how hard we ‘get down’ for God. Everybody can’t sing, but we all should strive toward being a profitable servant on the day of judgement, I know I do.

Copyright © 2003 All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Superstars Shake Them Haters Off

Player haters want to know who you are,
When you’re coming down like a Superstar

- Fat Pat, ‘Superstar’

Like most people, I often have problems when trying to understand the general public. Men and women definitely have varied views in the way they look at life. If men are from Mars and women are from Venus, then that would make both genders aliens here on planet Earth right? That actually makes a lot more sense. Of course, any generalization can be labeled a ‘stereotype’ that does not fit the actual full Diaspora of gender differences. But personal observations DO define reality, and I’m from the Southside.

One of the main differences I think men and women have is their time delay. When something happens to a man, whether by words or actions, more than likely he is going to react to it immediately…

I’m going to be a little late coming back from lunch; I’m going to the barbershop.
D’mn! With all the hair you’re missing, why are you even paying for a haircut!!??
Aww shut up fatso…I ain’t trying to hear NOTHING from no FAT boy!!
But your wife likes this big belly tho’..
Yeah and your mama likes this bald head..nah!

[Shoving, wrestling, punching and flat out fighting]

After a fight, men that are relatives or close friends sit up and lick their wounds together..

Hey mane..I don’t play that mama stuff.
And I don’t play that wife stuff
Well you called me fat
Cuz you called me ball-headed

And that’s are going to have a confrontation (argument, fistfight, court order) and get an understanding. Afterwards, the protocol will be clear, they’re either going to still kick it together or they won’t deal with each other again unless its strictly business. In contrast a woman’s reaction time would be of an entirely different force and magnitude…

Hey girl, listen, I’m going to be a little bit late coming back from lunch, I’ve got to drop by the beauty shop.
You gotta go buy some more weave? (half-smiling)
What?? Girl, MY hair is REAL!!
I know, I was just playing with you girl.
Oh..okay then.

Nothing else being said or mentioned about it, but later on while talking to another girlfriend on the phone..

Girl, you ain’t go believe what this fat heifer said to me today!
What girl??
Loud talking me saying I was going to 'buy some more weave' all in front of folks!
What?? Why did she say that? Your hair isn’t even a weave??
I know! She just up there trying to high side because that cute delivery guy was in there.
D’mn! You can’t even be FLY no mo! Them haters are just waiting!!
Ya know! Hmph..don’t hate me cuz I’M LIVE!!
You need to get that cow back!
I am.
What are you going to do??
The next time she tries to front me like that, I’mma have to let her know about those played out too-tight pants she wears… EVERY Friday!!

What started as a slight joke, quickly turned into a full-fledged battle of position. The recording department had already started making mental notes of every outfit the enemy wore to work. The emotion department had internalized the pain of the offending comment and instead of releasing it to the external action committee for immediate handling, this pain is instead sent to the boiler room, to ferment and fuel the rationalized revenge furnace. Hell hath no fury as a woman scorned…Shakespeare knew what he was talking about. It is the depth of this boiler room that makes the woman a much different creature than the cold and somewhat dimwitted male. Say the typical male memory bank for emotions is about the size of a toaster, then the female equivalent is about the size of an 18-wheeler. A lot of women can remember stuff from YEARS ago that hurt their feelings..and they never forget about it and let it go. Instead they let it marinate in the furnace, waiting for the time to explode.

Now no one knows when this aforementioned time delay is going to activate. It could be the next time a ‘joking’ remark is made, it could be reflected in the form of a hateful smirk, or it could just fester within clandestine conversations between everyone but the two parties involved. In the meantime, both parties have to start paying special attention to their appearance so that the ‘enemy’ doesn’t catch them slipping. The hair and nails have to stay tight, as does all the outfits, makeup and accessories. Women and gay men go the hardest in the paint by far when it comes to fashion. There is a silent minority that could really care less about looking ‘vogue’. But the majority of women have a DEEP and STRONG affinity for a sexy pair of shoes. I think this deep rooted shoe attraction is a key component of why appearance is such an important part of the female identity. But that’s just me and my dimwitted-testerone laden mind.

I really wish ALL people could be more real with each other as a collective body. All the whispering, slander, fakeness and gossip is wasted energy that could easily be directed in a positive form. There’s nothing wrong with being a ‘Superstar’ but you have to be prepared to handle the consequences of commanding attention. Superstars have to be prepared to handle the ‘haters’. Hate can’t be beaten with hate, that just breeds more hate. Hate can only be defeated by love. It takes a strong person to stay positive and loving under an assault of hate, but such is the battle. Here on the Southside, the Superstars and the Players alike wave the two fingers of peace high in the air and smile while we keep on doing what we do. Because we know that the haters are like the poor, they will be with us always.

Sunday, October 12, 2003

The Good Fight

This is a collect call from the Harris County Jail from..[TYRONE!]..if you accept, please press 1.

Although Tyrone is a good friend of mine, I had to think about accepting the call..basically the question comes down to..Is he a crackhead? No, not that I know of, so I pressed 1..


Say mane..I need you to get some money and come down here and bail me out.

Where you at? bail is $450..I’ll pay you back as soon as I get out.

Is everything ok?

Yeah..they got me on this pistol case.

Pistol?? You shooting folks now??

Naww, I didn’t shoot anybody..but I was ABOUT to!!

What happened??

I was driving home from work and this FOOL cut in front of me on 288. I was so mad, I pulled up onside of him and started cussing him out! He rolled his window down and shot me the then I pulled my pistol from my console and waved it in the air to let him know!!

What??!!! thing you know, he must have called the laws on his cell phone cuz they pulled me over before I could even get off the freeway…what the hell are you laughing at??

Man..I thought you had gotten past all that bullsh’t! You're in jail now because of some IGNANT stuff. I mean, IF you are going to go to jail, let it be about SOMEthing real!

Whateva mane..I ain’t trying to hear that right now, are you coming to get me or not??!!

Yeah..I’m on my way.


This past week, the Nobel Foundation announced this year’s winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. Much to the surprise of many in the global community, the prize was NOT awarded to the ailing Pope John Paul II. Instead, the 5 member Norwegian panel that annually selects the winner of the prize, chose an Iranian lawyer, Ms. Shirin Ebadi (pictured). Ms. Ebadi is the 11th woman ever selected for this acclaimed prize since its inception in 1901. In an even rarer occurrence, she joined the late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and the Egyptian born Palestinan leader Yassar Arafat as only the 3rd Muslim to ever win the award and the first Muslim to have sole claim to the prize. (Sadat and Arafat shared the awards with Israeli Prime Ministers Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Rabin respectively).

The 56-year old Ms. Ebadi is a well known child and women’s rights advocate. She was the first female judge in Iran and has a long standing record as a vocal supporter and legal fighter for human rights in her country. She was forced to step down as a judge after the Islamic Revolution in 1979 when the strict Sharia law was enforced. ‘Women were too emotional and irrational to pass judgment in the courtroom‘, Iran’s new leaders felt. Since then she has been an activist for democracy and the rights of refugees, women and children. Her actions have not come without repercussions, she was thrown in the notorious Evin prison in 2000 which is known for holding political dissidents and she had her legal license suspended due to her unyielding commitment toward fighting the ‘good fight’. In a 1999 interview with the Christian Science Monitor, she had this to say, “Any person who pursues human rights in Iran must live with fear from birth to death, but I have learned to overcome my fear.”

Ms. Ebadi’s Nobel Prize serves as a beacon of light and hope for others in Iran and other oppressive countries. Her being awarded the prize shows that the rest of the world IS cognizant and supportive of their struggle. From a domestic perspective, Ms. Ebadi is a shining example of hope in a country that the Bush administration has labeled as a member of the ‘Axis of Evil’. Since the September 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, there has been a lot of Americans that hold prejudice against all people of the Muslim faith. Their ignorance of the Muslim culture and religion has them believing that all Muslims are terrorists or suicide bombers. The truth is that the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful, law abiding citizens that submit themselves fully to the will and laws of God. The battle that Ms. Ebadi and so many other human rights activist are fighting against the hard-line regime, is one of interpretation of Islamic laws. From something as simple as requiring all women to wear a head covering and veil (hijab) to something as dangerous as to trying 'criminals' in a private state court without the presence of a jury, the democratic process is being suppressed. Despite the struggles in her country, Ms. Ebadi firmly believes that all reform in Iran must be done by Iranians, not by an outside entity.

So often in our daily lives we easily become angered and incensed by small things such as obnoxious drivers or bothersome people. Its always good to take a step back from time to time and look at the big picture of what’s REALLY important in life. There’s enough hate, hunger, poverty and injustice in the world for everybody to fight against, that we shouldn’t even have the time for the insignificant things. Some might see Ms. Ebadi as a small figure from a place and society far away from our reality here in America. To those, I offer a quote by the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Martin Luther King, Jr. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Of course, that doesn’t mean we should garnish a pistol on the freeway to teach someone a lesson like Tyrone. Instead we should all sharpen our eye and strive for the REAL battle, the never ending struggle for peace and justice for all.

The Nobel Peace Medal inscribed "Pro pace et fraternitate gentium"

translated "For the peace and brotherhood of men"

Copyright © 2003 All Rights Reserved

Thursday, October 09, 2003

The Servinemup Family


Say MANE!!?!


Why you being JANKY wit it??!

Huh? What are you talking about??

I’m sitting here looking at your website, trying to get ‘served’ and everytime I click the refresh button, the counter on the page goes up!


You ain’t really had no 6,000 visitors!!

No, I haven’t..not yet.

So why you trying to hype it up like that?

The counter that’s displayed on the website only tracks ‘clicks’. If you click on an archive page or any link on my website, the counter goes up…reloads too. many readers do you REALLY have then?

The last time I checked, it was a little over 1900 visitors. When you consider that most people who visit, check in at least twice a week and then add in the crazy people like you who just like to keep clicking the reload button so that you can watch the counter increase, that 6,000+ number makes a lot more sense.

Oh. Well I guess that’s still pretty good…your sh’t is TIGHT tho..I ain’t go lie. Everytime I read one of them, I’m either laughing or learning something new.

Thank you, entertainment value is an integral part of my objective..I write for a pretty diverse group, so everybody doesn’t ‘get’ some of the humor, but I think I’m staying true.

No doubt…hey..when you go do one with me on there?

I dunno..what do you want to do?

Shii…I can go get G’ed up and take some pimp pictures with me standing next to some butt nekkid h..

Whoa whoa whoaaa..podna!! It ain’t even that kinda party. My parents, cousins, family, people I grew up with in church all read the site, I’m not trying to go ‘pimpin’, I’m not serving it up like that, its not that kind of party.

Well, what are you servin then?

Reality, information, laughs and things that make you go hmmmm. I try to write it so that people who don’t normally READ for understanding can still get IN to what I’m trying to say. I do use curse words from time to time, but it’s rated PG-17..not XXX.

Oh..well, whenever you DO get ready to do the ‘freak’ stuff, just let ME know, cuz if you start throwing some T and A in the mix, your visitors, clickers, whateva you want to call them will QUADRUPLE in this mug!! (laughing)

I’m sure it would…but I’d rather build my base up on the Rock..cuz that’s what’s going to last.

The Rock the wrestler?? I didn’t see any articles on him??

No, not the wrestler, I’m talking about THE Rock. talking about….

You already know.

Servinemup has reached its 3-month milestone of being ‘up and functional’. Many thanks to all of those that have stuck with it since the ‘coming out’ party in July. Everybody is on his or her own schedules and time, but even if you check in just once a week or so, your presence is still greatly appreciated. The chart above is a global breakdown by time zones of all the visitors to Servinemup. As you can see, the Eastern and Central (Southside!) time zones are the core of the reader base. Much props to all my East Coast family in New Jersey, New York, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, Atlanta, Charlotte and Philly that are passing along the URL to others. Most people who come and check it out at least once, always come back.

Cali and the rest of the West Coast is kinda slow to catch on, but what do you expect from a state that elects Conan the Barbarian for governor? J Pookie? Steph? Coach Kev? and the rest of my ‘peoples’ out West? what are ya’ll doin out there?? Go ahead and step it up a notch and ‘serve up’ the URL to some more Pacific time zone folks. There’s a group somewhere over in Southeast Asia that’s getting ‘served’ regularly too...I haven’t figured that one out yet, but WELCOME!!

Hopefully everyone will just make themselves comfortable, browse through the archives until you find something you REALLY like and either drop a comment on the site or just email me at to let me know that you’re feeling the vibe or that you think I’m full of sh’t. Everybody isn’t going to agree with all of my slants and viewpoints, but that’s to be expected, I actually welcome dissenting opinions. Because I truly believe that it’s only by discussing differences in viewpoints, that true growth and understanding can be attained.

Once again, thanks for coming to get ‘served’ and I hope you enjoy the show. Go Cubs!!

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Yom Kippur

Heyy..its almost 9 oclock! The kids should have taken their baths by now!

Why? They don’t have school tomorrow.

They don’t?? Why not??

Because it’s the Fall Holiday.

Fall Holiday?? What is that??

H.I.S.D. is now observing a Fall Holiday…they don’t SAY it, but it’s really for the Jewish Holiday, Yom Kippur.

Oh..just like they don’t SAY Christmas Break or Easter Break anymore?

Right! Now they just call those Winter Holiday and Spring Holiday.

That ole separation of church and state huh?

You know it! But it shouldn’t deter people’s faith…REAL people of God are going to continue serving Him no matter what.


One of the things that has greatly helped my development as a person, has been my experience OUTSIDE the comforts of my own home and community on the Southside. There’s a limitation of awareness when all you know about a people or place is what you’ve learned from a book or TV or word of mouth. The opportunity to expand your world and get to know other people from other cultures, races and religion will enlighten anyone toward a more global viewpoint of life and humanity. The best thing about it all to me, is when I realized that despite our differences, people are still people all over the world. The main thing that separates the ‘civilized’ from the barbaric heathens are the moral, ethical and religious beliefs or lack thereof. Within the circle of civilized religious folk, there are divisive factions that pit Christians against Muslims, Muslims against Jews and Jews against Christians. While observing all of this bloodshed and hatred amongst these ‘people of God’, I’m sure no one is happy about it but Satan.

A LOT of people today and throughout history harbor ill feelings, distrust and in some cases downright hatred toward Jewish people. These ‘anti-Semites’ are characterized by their defamation and relentless persecution of the Jews. One of the most infamous anti-Semitic people in history was Adolf Hitler and unfortunately, a lot of people still share his views concerning the “Master Race” today. This is a battle that I was personally completely ignorant of for a long time because I just saw all melanin deficient people as ‘white folks’. I didn’t realize that there were racial and cultural distinctions that they had within the group.

A lot of black folks on the Southside see Jews as greedy and oppressive. This has a lot to do with the fact most of their experiences with Jews are as the slumlords of the duplex or apartments that they live in. I on the other hand have been helped, educated and befriended by several different loving and caring people of the Jewish faith and I am unable to harbor these feelings of resentment and prejudice. Add in the fact that I’m a Christian, and all of my favorite writers (Biblical prophets) are Jews and my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (Yeshua) walked on this Earth as a Jew, you can see why I can’t hate on them or anyone else for that matter. Instead, I constantly strive to educate myself and learn more about the religion and culture, which birthed Christianity into being.

Americans (and a lot of other countries in the world) recognize January 1st as the start of the New Year. We normally all just go out and party and get drunk on December 31st, and make all of our ‘resolutions’ for the New Year the next day. The Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) is quite different in time and observance. This event is observed on the first day of the seventh month (Tishri), which was September 27, 2003 (Jewish year 5764). The ten days, starting with Rosh Hashanah and ending with Yom Kippur (Kip-pour) are commonly known as the Days of Awe or Days of Repentance. This is a time for serious introspection and a time to consider all the sins of the previous year and repent before Yom Kippur. One of the ongoing themes of the Days of Awe is the concept that God has ‘books’ that He writes names in, writing down who will live and who will die, who will have a good life and who will have a bad life, for the next year. These books are written in on Rosh Hashanah, but actions during the Days of Awe can alter God’s decree. The actions that change the decree are “teshuvah, tefilah and tzedakah”, (repentance, prayer and good deeds). These ‘books’ are sealed on Yom Kippur. This concept of writing in books is the source of the common greeting during this time, ‘L’shanah tovah tikatev v’taihatem’, which means, ‘May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year’.

The Bible refers to this holiday in the 23rd Chapter of Leviticus (and the 11th Chapter of Romans), but the name Rosh Hashanah is not used, instead the Bible refers to this holiday as Yom Ha-Zikkaron (the day of remembrance) or Yom Teruah (the day of the sounding of the shofar). Yom Kippur is a complete Sabbath; no work can be performed on that day. Observers are supposed to refrain from eating and drinking (even water) on Yom Kippur. It is a complete 25-hour fast beginning before sunset on the evening before Yom Kippur and ending after nightfall on the day of Yom Kippur. Most of the holiday is spent in the synagogue, in prayer. The services end at nightfall, with the blowing of the tekiah gedolah, a long blast on the shofar (rams horn).

I have some very loving and supportive Jewish people in my life and through my relationships with them, I have learned so much more about the Jewish faith and culture. From my fellow sports freak/computer geek friend Mark, who lived in my dormitory my freshman year at Stanford, to my electrical engineering academic advisor Professor Hellman, to my close friend Lisa from Philly who was my cubicle mate when I worked at NASA, I am very grateful for the love and understanding they have added to my life. We obviously disagree on the virgin birth and resurrection, but we do share the concept of peace, love and forgiveness and I think that’s an ideal outlook for EVERYONE to start with. L’shanah tovah! :)

Copyright © 2003 All Rights Reserved

Sunday, October 05, 2003

Woo Wooo!!

Tonight’s meeting for the Southside Civic Club will come to order! (gavel hitting the table) Ya’ll all need to sit yo black az’s down and shut up! (sorry about that curse word Reverend Janky, these n‘gas only listen when you talk crazy to them)

Oh..that’s quite alright Brother…sometimes we all just need to release them demons OUT of our body. I let some out myself every day.

We’ve called this emergency meeting because a lot of home and business owners have been complaining about these loud cars in the neighborhood driving by with all that ‘Woo Woo’ foolishness. Reverend Janky has agreed to preside over this meeting and hopefully lend us some guidance on how to handle this problem, since them laws say they can’t do nothing about it.

(somebody yelling out from the crowd) What the hell is that ‘Woo Woo’!??

For those of ya’ll who don’t know about that ‘Woo Woo‘, Ms. Fuclanda Andrews has brought a videotape from a news story in another community that has been going through this same problem. Ms. Fucla? Go head and start the tape in the VCR right here up front please.

Woo Woo (<<<---Click on this link and 'view' the videotape)

(When the tape ends, half the room starts laughing, yelling and slapping high fives, the other half gets mad upset and ready to fight..needless to say, this is a spirited issue on the Southside)

Okay! Okay!! Calm down!! Everybody CALM DOWN!! We’re not going to get ANYthing accomplished if everybody is going to sit up here and yell and scream and act like a d’mn fool!! There’s a microphone in the front aisle way..if you have something to SAY, get in line and wait your..HEY!! No pushing!! Ya’ll just knocked down a 70 year old woman to the floor!!! Take your TIME!! Everybody will get a chance to say their piece..D’MN! (turning around to whisper to Rev. Janky) You SEE why I asked you to come?? This is about to get out of hand.

(standing up with his Bible in his hand and smiling) Don’t worry Brother..I came fully prepared to handle this.

You’re going to put God’s Word on them??

I’m gonna try..but if that doesn’t work, I keep my pistol in my pocket for them ignant n'gas. (stepping up to the podium) My Lawd..what a nice turnout we have here tonight. If I could get all this spirit into the chuch on Sunday mownings, we could REALLY praise the Lawd! Now we go try and do this the fair everybody can be heard. When you get up to the microphone, say your name and speak your peace and move on. Ain’t go be no arguing back and forth and name calling…just say what you got to say and move on. That beautiful young fine sister in the canary yellow cat suit…my Lawd, you sure are blessed…go head and say your piece sister.

My name is Dashonda and I’m representin that Blueridge...


HEYYYY!! HEY now!! I just told ya’ll n'gas not to be yellin and screaming out all that bullsh’t! Don’t NOBODY care what gang or hood you’re from, this is some serius BIZNESS if you can’t keep your mouth shut, we got 10 laws parked outside waiting to run n'gas numbers if they start clownin’. I’m sure most of ya’ll got warrants out anyway, so unless you want to take a free ride downtown to the police station, you needs to chill.

(it got so quiet you could hear crickets outside)

Nah! That’s what I thought! Now go ahead Sis. Dabooty


Oh..yeah, I’m my, you sure are blessed..go ahead Sis Dashonda…

I do hurr for a livin in my momma’s garage and somebody need to be doin something about all this Woo-Woo noise! Cuz its disturbing me and its disturbing my customers.

Okay..point well before we go any a show of hands, how many people in here have that ‘Woo-Woo’ on their cars??

(Nobody raised their hands)

Wait a minute now..I KNOW somebody must have it??!!

(Everybody was looking around the room, nobody raised their hand)

Well, WHY are ya’ll here then?

I just came for the free fried chicken they have at the meetings.
Me too. Un too! And ME!! Where that chicken at?? I want mine HOT out the grease! I came cuz I saw ol girl walking in here with that cat suit! Me too!!

Alright..alright..we’re not going to be able to get anything done if the people who HAVE it aren’t here..ya’ll need to get THEM together and have them come to the next meeting. When’s the next meeting brother?

We meet once a month.

Alright..well I’ll see ya’ll next month. If there’s not anything else to discuss, I guess you can go get your chick..…HEYY!! Ya’ll already knocked over an old lady, now you just pushed that man out of his wheelchair!! Slow down! Its enough fried chicken for everybody!! I hope…

As each generation grows older, there are always gaps of understanding that comes with the changing times. When I was a child, the ‘cool’ guys always cleaned their cars up till they were SPARKLING, then drove around the neighborhood real slow ‘creepin’, while they had the seats tilted so far back you could barely see who’s driving. The bass in their sound system was ‘bumpin’ so loud, it would make house windows rattle as the cars passed by. Other places and times were the opposite, speed was ‘cool’ and if you weren’t peeling rubber on the pavement, you wasn’t making any REAL noise. Cities have laws concerning ‘disturbing the peace’ which seek to protect the right of private citizens to enjoy peace and quiet in their own homes. A lot of people feel like THEIR rights fully entitle them to ‘bump’ in their rides whenever THEY want to. Since we’re all breathing the same air, we must also share this same medium for sound. Too often nothing can be done by these sound intruders with their booming system’s and their cars that go ‘Woo-Wooo!’ but there is justice in the end. People that constantly subject their eardrums to high levels of sound (measured in decibels, dB) without using earplugs, are PRIME candidates to having hearing problems as they grow older. It might take awhile before it shows up, but that ‘ringing’ noise in their ears will soon let them know that they need to turn the volume down. Some are going to just be ignant with it and as their hearing starts to fail, they’ll just turn the music louder. Others will become afraid of the reality of having to wear a hearing aid just to hear a normal conversation and they’ll turn it down a notch or two. Today’s technology allows hearing aids to be virtually undetectable to the public‘s eye. But if someone happens to notice the little plastic ‘bug’ in your ear, just tell them what Bubb Rubb and Lil Sis said, ‘That’s only fo decoration mane!..WOO-WOOO!!”

Copyright © 2003 All Rights Reserved

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Looking Back On Doritos

As a child, I was the typical hard headed little boy that thought I could get away with ANYthing.. It wasn’t that I had an evil heart or that I was criminal minded, it’s just that I always enjoyed doing what I WANTED to do…what made ME feel good. Sit down in my chair when I eat my dinner? For WHAT?? Its much more fun to reach up and take a couple of bites, then run off and watch TV for a little bit or play with my toys on the floor. Needless to say, I usually had to ‘catch’ at LEAST 3 whuppings a day. My parents refused to tolerate a child that doesn’t OBEY their commands. They weren’t masochistically motivated to inflict pain, it was just their way of teaching me to respect and obey authority. Because they knew that obedience starts at home. And they also knew that if they didn’t teach me how to obey and comply with rules at home, I would be at an extreme deficiency in a classroom with 20 other kids.and a prime candidate to spend some time behind bars later in life.

Sit down in that chair and eat your food!

I just glanced at her out of the corner of my eye as I slid back into my seat…I started eating a couple of bites of my food and peeked to see if she was still looking at me…nope, she had gone back to talking to my father as they ate their food. When she had called me for dinner, I had been building a Lego Fortress that protected my little plastic Indians against the evil white cowboys. Whenever I played Cowboys and Indians, I wanted to be the Indians. My favorite was the one that had the bow and arrow and hunting knife and rode his horse bareback with those leather loose pants on and one feather in his bandana on his head. As you can see, I was REALLY into what I was doing and eating dinner was somewhat of a deterrent. At the same time, the food was a contradiction. I loved the smothered chicken and rice, but I hated lima beans. Especially after I eat everything else and they’re the only things left on the plate. So I’d dawdle so long that they’d get cold. Cold lima beans?? Yecccchhh!!! Instead of really eating them, I’d stare at them and hope they magically disappear..or I’d arrange them in line, then a circle, then a square..

Stop playing with that food!!! Finish eating so you can get up from that table!!

She was starting to get impatient with me. They had already finished and she was in the kitchen at the sink starting to put up the food and wash the dishes. I had already been busted with my move of putting all the beans in my mouth, chewing them for a little bit, then spitting them out into a paper towel and putting it in the trash. So I couldn’t try that move again, cuz I had already got caught and got my az whupped for lying about it…

Did you eat all your food?
Then what is this wadded up in this paper towel in the trashcan?
I dunno.
Don’t LIE to me little boy.
I dunno
(Picking the paper towel out of the trash can and opening it up to see some half chewed up spit out liver)
Then who put this in here??
I just started crying…cuz I KNEW I was caught and was about to get a whupping for lying. Keep in mind, the whupping wasn’t for throwing the food away..the whupping was for LYING..that was THE cardinal sin in our house. I don’t care if you’ve killed the pope, don’t LIE to ME about it!!!

Your parents are your providers, protectors and teachers. If they can’t trust you for your word, then if it ever comes a time when you’re out away from them and something happens and it’s your word against someone else’s..if they know you to be a person who would lie to temporarily avoid persecution, then they won’t know WHO to believe. Unquestioning trust and support is earned and validated through actions. Once they finally got the ‘always tell the truth’ through my thick skull, they then had to teach me to control my tendency to be greedy. If there was something I REALLY liked? I didn’t want to stop with just one, I’d want to eat as much as I could without getting sick. Those nacho cheese Doritos were my favorites. I’d eat the whole big bag by myself if they didn’t watch me. Fortunately, I had parents that were ON it…

Don’t take the whole bag!
I wasn’t going to eat all of them.
So! Get you a paper towel and put some on there to eat.

As many toddlers, pre-schoolers, elementary, pre-pubescent adolescents did, I was full of questions ‘why’? It wasn’t enough that my parents were older, wiser and had been 7 long before I had..I still wanted to question their judgment. Depending on my tone of voice and the situation, sometimes they’d answer me, but most of the time, if I asked for a reason for their decree, they would get upset and retort, ‘Because I SAID so!!’ If my question of ‘why’ had any hint of disrespect or disgust in it, I might fall prey to an open handed slap upside the head. ‘Don’t talk back to me boy!!’

When that would happen I’d recoil from the pain of the blow, then grow quiet and sullen as I thought of all the evil demons that MUST be taking over this woman’s body..because I KNOW my REAL mother wouldn’t be abusing me just for asking why. This must be some type of communist regime that suppresses individual thought and any challenge against the government’s rule. Or better yet, a monarchy ruled by the evil king and queen who will only allow all the Doritos to be eaten by them and no one else. When I get big I’m going to eat ALL the Doritos I want!! Hell, I might even eat two bags of them!! And I’ll just stick my face in the bag and sneeze if I wanted to!! I know!! I’ll just stop eating all together, and starve myself and see how they like THAT! Hah! I’d starve myself so that they’ll be BEGGING for me to eat. I’ll lock my lips and shake my head, I’m not eating the food from this abusive dictatorship! I’ll probably be on the news and in all the newspapers and everything. And my mom will be crying and feeling sorry that she had been so mean to such a brave,sweet and charming little boy that had captured the hearts of the world with his refusal to eat. 7 Year Old Sunnyside Boy Enters Day 230 of Hunger Strike!!!

Because, if you take the whole bag to eat, you’ll get your germs on the other chips in the bag as you reach in to get them.
I don’t lick on my fingers until I’m finished.
No, but when you get that loose Dorito cheese on your fingers, its moisture that makes them stick, saliva and perspiration..
Saliva and perspiration
What’s that?
Spit and sweat boy!.(She was losing her patience with me)
And everytime you put your hand back in the bag, you put the germs on your hand in the rest of the bag. Your germs will be spread to everybody who eats from that bag.

Curses! My motivation for my hunger strike was foiled by a logical answer! Ahh such a cunning and shrewd adversary..she was on to me I think!

And it’s not just about the germs, your daddy and I both work very hard for us to be able to have EXTRA things like Doritos.
(uh oh…I felt a ‘Starving kids in Ethiopia’ lecture coming on)
Ya’ll don’t understand how easy ya’ll got it made. When I was a kid, we were lucky to even HAVE a bag of Doritos to share between 12 of us…
Ya’ll must have gone through a lot of paper towels.
(Uh oh!! Did I just say that out loud??) Uh..
What did you just say??
Uh..I said that Big Mama probably had to buy a lot of paper towels for all 12 of ya’ll.

She paused for a moment while she stared at me…trying to figure out if I was trying to be a smart az or just plain ignorant. She gave me that look a lot..

(excerpts from the soon to be released ‘Real Game’, by David E. Washington, available exclusively via Servinemup Ink)

Copyright © 2003 All Rights Reserved