Skip to content

Archive for October, 2008

31
Oct

Old Genie

Joke of the week

A man walks into a bar with two shoe boxes. He places the boxes on the bar and orders a beer. The bartender hands him a beer and asks “what’s in the boxes?” He responds, “You don’t want to know, just keep the beers coming.” Ten minutes later, the bar tender asks again, “what’s in the boxes?” The man says, “You don’t want to know, just give me another beer.” The bar tender said, “You will not get another beer until you tell me what’s in the boxes.”

The man opens the first box and pulls out a miniature piano, a miniature piano bench and a little man. The little man walks across the bar and sits at the piano and begins to play Mozart. The bartender was amazed. He shouts “where did you get that?”

The man opens the second box and pulls out a old tarnished and dented Aladdin’s lamp. The bartender snatches the lamp and rubs it. An old Genie with two hearing aids, thick glasses and no teeth appears. He says “I’m old so you only get one wish sonny.” The bartender says “I want a million bucks!”

The bar fills with smoke, when the smoke clears there are one million ducks all over the bar. The bartender says “I said a million bucks, not ducks!”

The man stands up and says “And I didn’t ask for a 10 inch pianist either!”

29
Oct

Jelisa Rashad Harris is my daughter? I am not the father!

I was recently served with a notice that a child support case has been reopened regarding my daughter Jelisa Rashad Harris. I have no idea who this person is. Apparently Karen of Riverside is the grandmother of the minor and is receiving government assistance and as a condition of such aid she has to actively pursue support from the parents. I’M NOT THE FATHER, I SWEAR, I HOPE! The lady from the child support office advised me that the mother’s name is Leslie Rascell. “I have never heard that name in my life” I’ve never had a one night stand, and if I don’t remember the names of the women of the past, I’d at least recognize them when I hear them. Leslie just didn’t ring a bell. Thank God.

I am in the system due to the support I pay for my children, and Jermaine Harris is a popular name in the hood. If you do a google search of my name, you’ll get a bunch of athletes college stats (unfortunately none of my college football stats are posted); as well you’ll get a number of convicts and criminal cases. One of which may be the real Jermaine Harris in question in this child support case.

dada?

dada?

The lady on the phone said she’ll send me a mistaken Identity form and I’m to complete with a photo ID. Cross your fingers for me folks, my expenses may jump. The real injustice here is with Jelisa Rashad Harris, and her obvious lack of parental participation. I will keep Jelisa in my prayers as she represents millions of children that don’t feel the direct love and affection of their parents.

The County child support office is a house of pit-bulls. They are on their job and that is a good thing for the children who are due financial support from dead-beat dads. If you are a very active father who is there for your children it can serve as a mediator that will handle the fund transfer from one parent to the other with minimal contact between the parties. In my case this unfortunately is a good thing. Yet the County child support office is overbearing even for me. At one time I was more than $2,500 overpaid on my support. These pit-bulls go after you until they get blood. For example, there was one month were I sent a check, additionally they garnished two of my jobs checks for the full amount, so I ended up paying three times as much as I was supposed to. Don’t think I’ve ever received a refund. Every year I have to fight them to not garnish both of my jobs and take double. Once that ball is rolling it takes hours on the phone on hold to get things straightened out.

The moral of this story is to not place your self in this predicament to begin with.

27
Oct

Is November 4th the end of the Civil rights movement?

What started on a bus on December 1, 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama may be finally coming to a close very soon. What will happen to the Black struggle on 11/4/08? What will those angry poets rant about? How will comedians change their punchlines? What excuse will Pookie give as he does his 8 hour shift outside the liqua sto? Will the white man still be holding Pookie down? Does 11/4/08 mark the end of the Black struggle in America?

The Television in the food-court in downtown was airing Colon Powell’s Obama endorsement as I walked in last week. My natural reaction was to pop my chest out. correct my posture and stride harder. I felt a sort of curl of confidence occur on my lips as I grin. At that moment I was hit with the reality not only of a potential Black president, but there is another highly respected and influential Black man being listened to regarding this event.

I’ve fought a very personal battle of self doubt due to my race, I’ve fought to ensure my son never will blame his race for any abuses he may experience. My intellect has battled with social injustices, and the weight that black people talk about to the dismay of white America. But let me tell you, even if white America has absolutely nothing to do with the internal baggage that Black people carry, I must attest to the fact that it is a real and live burden. It may only live in the collective minds of Blacks due to the struggles that were had by their elders and the mounting obstacles that many of us face. Even as a successful black man, I’ve left many of my childhood friends behind. 11/4/08 may be the best answer to the lifting of this cross that we bare. I welcome it with open arms, heart and mind.

Some white Americans may be swayed to heal the racist elements of their hearts if Obama can win and truly represent his creed despite his race. Some white (mid-western) Americans may drown in additional hatred as they state, “Those uppity nigga’s need to remember their place”. That same racial frustration felt by some whites is the closes comparative to the racial disparity that Black people have endured. The difference between the two frustrations are that white bigots may feel regarding Blacks, “They are unworthy”. Just as Black people have felt, “They think I’m unworthy”. They both are negative burdens that are carried within the heart that act as a weight of self mental oppression.

Despite any change in white America, I guarantee that Black people all across this country will feel different, better, stronger, less disenfranchised, included, heard and considered. I hope this change will not come at a cost of white America feeling slighted or robbed as if inclusion is a piece of a limited amount of pie that they had to give up to the enemy. Yet this pie can increase in size and scope without taking away from anyone. We should all get a slice and a cup of milk to accompany it. I hope this burden of hate and doubt can be lifted from us all.

Most historians say that Civil rights movement was well over by 1980. I could agree in the sense that Republican Reaganomics ruled the 80’s and that the 70’s were so hard on Black people that they stopped uniting and begin fracture into either the assimilated or the fallen by the waist-side. Blacks were too divided to fight a common battle. They were culturally exhausted from the civil rights movement, the sexual revolution and the drug epidemic. But just because they weren’t punching, bobbing and weaving doesn’t mean they were not still in the boxing ring. Black people have been oppressed in many corners of the world, and every time they obtain their independence, things get worse way before they get better. We saw it in the rapid deterioration of the Black family at the end of the Civil rights movement. We saw it in South Africa and in Jamaica. Black Americans must take this moment in history and learn from history to receive the greatest gain of this era.

Let us pray for peace of mind for all

26
Oct

Black man’s parrot

Joke of the week

A black man walks into a bar with a big red parrot on his shoulder. The bartender looked in amazement and asks, “Wow, where did you find that?”

The parrot shouts, “In Africa, there’s millions of them!”

25
Oct

Family – Stage Three

My wife works as a manager of the lingerie department at a major department store. She just called me from work to say hello, she does that when she is stressed and needs a break. I try to make her laugh to refuel her to get back in there and “make daddy’s money” hehe. Joke, but true. My philosophy is “kick in, or get kicked out”. Another joke, I made that one up last week. But anyways, back to the point. During this call she tells me she just found out another of the 15 women she employs is pregnant. “That’s 5 pregnancies within 5 weeks”. There is nothing wrong with sex, procreating, and giving life to another potential President or CEO. However, in all of these cases they had to seriously consider abortion. In all of these cases, not only were the women not married, none were in relationships.

Abortion

Abortion

Look ladies, this is your body we are discussing here. This is your health, your livelihood that you are playing Russian roulette with. You can die giving birth, on the abortion table your spirit can be damaged. A child needs so much to have a fighting chance in this world. The very first thing a child needs is a mother who cares enough about her own welfare that she is willing and able to put time, thought and deep effort in having her situation together prior to considering becoming a mother. We will soon address the men as well.

My wife went on to tell me that through conversation with one of her employees that a friend of a friend has had 10 abortions. I’m not perfect, and I’ve contributed heavily to bad Karma, but that should offend all of our sensibilities. In this series entitled Family, we must first assess our current status. Where are we regarding morals, family goals, and current family structure?

In my personal search the biggest obstacle was to change my sense of morals. This is where we make decisions from. Most of us know right from wrong. We know what makes us feel good, but morals are what we rely on to deter the feel good and lean harder on what’s right. If we are God fearing, we’ve been taught well and we still do destructive things, are we moral? No, morals can be witnessed and determined by actions.

Regarding myself I committed to working towards the right lifestyle. It may be difficult for a 21 year old to refrain from sexual activity, but while you are making your transition to reduce that activity, you can commit to having protected sex only. Change is difficult and it takes time and a different way of looking at the world. Beautiful people will continue to be around you. Situations and opportunities will always be there. You can’t change the world, but slowly you can change the way you look at the world and eventually changes how you operate within it.

Take a sheet of paper and divide it into three sections, the top, the middle and the bottom. On the top, list words that describe your current family situation (regarding relationships, existing children, Not mother, brother and sister). On the top section also include words that describe how you feel about your situation. Are you happy with it, why, why not.

On the middle section write words that describe what you see as your perfect family situation from now to 5 to 8 years from now. Do you want to remain single, do you want a divorce, do you want to adopt a child…

On the last section, jot down words that describe what you need to change in order to make section two a reality. Do you need to dump that zero that you deal with? Do you need to keep your legs closed and treat yourself with more respect? Do you need to be a better provider? This is your list, be honest with yourself. Through the Family Values category on this site we will delve into developing that third section into some action plans for yourself.

Give love where love is due, you are due love first

25
Oct

Keep the faith

Quote of the week
Tavis Smiley

25
Oct

Black Heroes – Tavis Smiley

tavistalks.com

tavistalks.com

Last week I focused on the lives of two of our fallen heroes, Bernie Mac and Isaac Hayes. I must confess that I have a sort of disdain for honoring Black athletes, actors and musicians. These two former sentences may contradict one another but allow me to explain by stating that this disdain is created in the perception that Black people have a limited roll in successful society. Yet we live on the backend of the Black movement where victory drenches our mouths. Increasingly we have other positions of accomplishment that we can point out to our youth and honestly say “you can be like her, you can be anything you want to be”. It is a deep rooted hurt when you have to say that to your child while crossing your fingers behind your back.

Those days are behind us now. Now we are in the battle for greater numbers of winners to represent in white lab coats, board rooms and as scholars. One true soldier of bringing to light extraordinary people or just ordinary people with extraordinary stories is my Black Hero this month, Mr. Tavis Smiley.

As a Journalist and facilitator of the truth as told directly by those who partake in accomplishments of their own goals, Tavis is in his fifth year as host of his self named interview show on PBS public access Television. Tavis has created an avenue for people to be feed various perspectives that shape the world. The purpose of his work can be summarized in three things:
1. His first goal is to introduce America to each other
2. Aid America in reexamining their own assumptions
3. For Americans to expand their inventories of ideas

The theme is to build understanding and tolerance so that we can live as a united America. In addition to his journalistic works, Tavis also runs The Tavis Smiley Foundation which is the premiere leadership training and development program for African American youth. They focus on Youth rights, Homelessness, HIV/AIDS, Juvenile Justice, Hate Crimes, Media Influences, Peer Pressure, Education, Politics, and Leadership. They provide training and exposure to opportunities to allow youth to demonstrate their skills as organizers, activists, advocates, and catalysts for social change on behalf of themselves or their community.

For all his efforts I consider Tavis Smiley one of my Black Heroes.
http://www.pbs.org/kcet/tavissmiley/

22
Oct

Freeway

Joke of the week

As a senior citizen was driving down the freeway, his cell phone rang.
Answering, he heard his wife’s voice urgently warning him,
”Herman, I just heard on the news that there’s a car going the wrong way on the 10 freeway. Please be careful!”

Herman shouted a reply, “It’s not just one car, it’s hundreds of them!”

20
Oct

Virtue of a Woman- Part One

My mother

My mother

Women come in all flavors, shapes and sizes, we can not generalize them too much without backing ourselves into a corner surrounded by angry women. In this series of writings I will share with you my personal understanding of women’s virtue, and how it has transformed over the years. I have had a fair amount of experiences with women. My mother was a single dating parent during a substantial portion of my childhood. She was a whirlwind to live with.  Almost annually I was awakened in the middle of the night by flashing red lights, crackling scratchy sounds of walkie-talkies carried by very tall white men in uniform due to my mother’s episodes of banter and rage. Even to this day, if paramedics are in my house I have an emotional trigger that creates confused disgust. It took me years to discover how her personal issues affected me, 90% for the worst, but that’s another story.

I also have three sisters and no brothers. I was the baby with two older sisters until I was 10 and my little sister was born. My older sister’s friends would all call me “manish” with a negative connotation and a smile, usually after I tested my pre-teen mack on them. Unfortunately my sisters and their friends were what we called back then “fast”, so I got “lucky” a few times. Additionally I was very close to my grandmother who owned two houses, ours and the one she lived in next door to us. My grandmother wasn’t a whirlwind, she was a firecracker. Wow she’ll beat you across the noggin with brutal honesty. She lived with me during the final years of her life, and she virtually chased my first wife out of my house. In that regards, she wasn’t a firecracker, she was a stick of dynamite. As an adult, I found women to reinforce my negative perception, which in turn caused me not to be the best demonstration of a man.

One day when I was around 20 years old, we were all discussing a serious family problem and trying to figure out what we should do. I was quiet and listening as usual. Being in a house filled with strong women made me quiet and subdued. It was either be that, crazy or sexually confused.  My mother said “I don’t know what we are going to do”, I heard my grandmothers voice echo the same sentiment. The room got quiet, unusually quiet. I looked up to discover they all were peering at me with a question mark floating above their heads. At that moment I realized that I was the man of the family. The baton had been passed and I had to step up and learn to lead quickly.

My experiences lead me to think that women can do anything. They are tough, resilient and my equal.  They know what they want and they will get it one way or the other regardless of the participation of a man. I had a great deal of superficial respect for women. I eventually learned that deep down on a subconscious level I didn’t respect them at all. See, in my situation I witnessed problems arise, I witnessed how these women handled them and to what end.  This made me feel that, yes they are strong enough to tackle all problems. Yet they tend to go about it the wrong way. Many of the women in my life made their problems worse before they made them better. So interpersonal relationships with women laid heavy on my heart due to this unnecessary struggle regardless of how obvious the right path was. To not have strong men in my life or the lives of my family did not show me the way to deal with women or life’s issues, rather it be right or wrong.

My emotional scar is manifested through a low tolerance for “illogical, unnecessary BS” from anyone, especially women.  Yet the being able to stick in there when the going gets tough is exactly what a woman needs.  Hell, that’s what everyone needs from that special someone.  So our success within relationships is directly impacted by our emotional resilience.  Too bad manhood is so fragile.

Running from Bullshit

Running from Bullshit

I love to be with women, it is a comfort, but if I love to be with them but I don’t want to put up with the “BS” I’m a walking contradiction. This lead me to have superficial relationships where women could not dump their crap on me. I may not have been the President, but I was a card carrying member of “The afraid of commitment club”, for men.

The challenge in today’s world is to learn how to be a strong, fair and willing leader of a household, despite the examples that we were given as children. We have to fight an internal battle to be that person of virtue. We must fight to cultivate relationships only with persons of virtue. We must fight to raise our children with an example of man and women appreciating each others virtues.

Till next time, please share if you will, your thoughts regarding virtuous people in your life. Do you look for it, do you have it? This will inspire me in my writing of “Virtue of a Woman- Part Two”

Live hard, think deep, love hard & deep,
Jermaine

17
Oct

Black Heroes – Bernie Mac & Isaac Hayes

Every month I will be writing a piece entitled “Black Heroes”. Now I know many of you are not black, yet I feel that this is an opportunity to contemplate why we should be aware of the black struggle and its importance to us all regardless of race. We are all too familiar with the history of the African American, so may think it is time to let the past go and look to the future. In some respects I feel the same way. Yet from a black man’s perspective, I must acknowledge and understand how history has shaped the opportunities of the future.

From a non-black perspective I feel that we all can appreciate the struggle to survive against many odds. Each race has its own obstacles to overcome. Yet the black experience is everyone’s experience magnified. We all as groups have suffered at the hands of adversaries, but slavery was the mother of all suffering. We’ve all had to look ourselves in the mirror and try to love that person, but black people were told that they were not worth love. We’ve all had to fall down and learn to get back up, but black people have been tripped and held down, yet we are getting back up. We’ve all had our cultural demons that we’ve had to fight, but black people for some reason tend to at times be their own worse demon.

To witness from slavery to the white house is a drama that is unfolding before our eyes and we watch. You may be filled with pride, disconcert or disconcern for the black experience but the story is all around us. Growing up, I can’t remember too many positive roll models that influenced me. I used to say I wanted to be this, or that, but deep down I didn’t believe it was possible. As a child I didn’t see it around me so I did not buy it as a realistic possibility for myself. This is one reason I have this site, to shed light on at least one path.

Black heroes are people who have shared their lives with the masses and have inspired us to enjoy, strive and grow. My first selections of black heroes are, Bernie Mac and Isaac Hayes. They both died untimely deaths in August of this year. In celebrating the lives of the recently past, we get a bigger sense of mortality. We are only given a short window of opportunity to make an impact, where the expiration date is unknown. So with that thought we must get on our horse and bring joy to those we love.

Bernard Jeffrey McCullough aka Bernie Mac (October 5, 1957 – August 9, 2008) devoted his life to making people laugh. If Bernie Mac ever made you laugh, if he ever made you understand, he had a positive impact on your life. Please take a moment of reflection in recognition of the simple things that make such a difference.

Isaac Lee Hayes, Jr. (August 20, 1942 – August 10, 2008) Many of the younger generation may not know who or what Isaac Hayes was. He was an Academy Award winning soul and funk singer-songwriter, musician, record producer, arranger, composer, and actor.  He was the first African-American artist to earn a Platinum album. His most notible song was the theme for the 70’s hit TV show, Shaft.  If you don’t know of his music, you most likely know and enjoy a music that he laid the foundation for, and set in motion the continuous sound that transpires through many of your favorite artist of today. I thank Isaac Hayes for the emotion that his creative sound has borne in me. If you remove the foundation, the house will fall. Rest in peace my Black Heroes.