Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The fast is over ...

... the fast is over, buh-da bye bye!!!
Cue the DJ, call the cable company and plug up my TVs, my self-induced TV fast is nearly over. Today is the last day that I go without my favorite glowing box of entertainment.
The last day I remember watching TV was Sunday, June 29. I don't remember what I watched nor do I remember why I didn't watch the following Monday. I only remember sitting in the 11 a.m., worship service at New Jerusalem Cathedral in Greensboro beside fellow blogger Sheletha.
I had been contemplating a fast to complete my business plan for my nonprofit organization. That Sunday, the pastor spoke about getting off track and using other vices to keep you from accomplishing your calling. My vices of choice were fear and that dang contraption.
While I think my fast has proven that I can go with out TV, it was the fear that kept me from moving forward with my ideas. And here's the kicker, I wasn't afraid of failure, I was afraid that the thing might be successful. This just might work!
I am happy to report that during this fast, I have been able to face, not only my fear, but so many other things that were laying dormant in my psyche.
You know, you learn a lot about yourself when you're forced to spend time alone with yourself. I can honestly say that I really know me now and I ain't half bad. Of course I am constantly trying to improve myself but I am really happy with who I am at this time in my life.
This fast was good for me but I am in no rush to do it again. I have been going through Law & Order withdrawals and CNN cravings. Quite frankly, I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve. Just think, tonight at midnight, I can watch Larry King Live and then at 1, Anderson Cooper 360.
I can hardly wait!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Some people should just ...

... shut the hell up sometimes.
OK peeps, consider this a warning, I am a little more irritable than normal so this post may seem a little like I'm extra pissed off.
So, I was doing my daily rounds on CNN and I happened to see a video about a "shock jock" making downright dumb assessments about children with autism.
In case you opt not to follow the link, radio host Michael Savage made this comment:
"You know what autism is? I'll tell you what autism is, in 99 percent of the cases it's a brat who hasn't been told to cut the act out ... what do you mean they scream and they're silent? They don't have a father around to tell them 'don't act like a moron. You'll get nowhere in life, stop acting like a putz. Straighten up, act like a man, don't sit there crying and screaming, idiot' ..."
I'm not sure how familiar you guys are with autism but, according to the Autism Society of America, autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and affects a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others.
It is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is what is called a "spectrum disorder" that affects each person differently and to different degrees. There isn't a known single cause but a lot of mother suspect, and I do too, that it has something to do with all these vaccinations they're shooting kids up with now.
To my knowledge, there aren't any kids in my family on the spectrum and for that I'm thankful because I wouldn't want them to have to deal with the ignorance being spewed by Savage and a whole lot of other folks who don't recognize the seriousness of autism.
A blogger buddy of mine, Kim Stagliano has three girls who are all on the spectrum. She is the managing editor of the blog "Age of Autism" and writes on her self-titled blog. There's a wealth of information about the disease on the first blog and in the second one she shares a lot about her person experiences and what she endures daily as the mother of three children on the spectrum.
While autism is certainly not new, we've been hearing a lot about it because more and more kids are being diagnosed as on the spectrum. To my recollection, Oprah has done a couple of shows about parents who have children with autism. Two stick out because I remember a black man who looked drained and frustrated because of what he and his wife are going through with his son.
I also remember the show where Oprah talked to celebrities who have children who are on the spectrum. You guys probably know that Jenny McCarthy, Holly Robinson Peete and Toni Braxton all have children with autism. Toni Braxton sticks out in my mind because her son had recently been diagnosed and she spent a large part of the show in tears.
There are symptoms that kids on the spectrum show. Check out this video for some of those symptoms:

I do hope you all take a few minutes and do a little research to find out about autism. It's high time we all become aware.

Monday, July 21, 2008

They're at it again ...

... this time in Dayton, Ohio. Police in that Midwest city tasered a blind lady in her own home.
So, here's the situation. The police show up to this woman's house looking for her son. She is on the telephone when they get there. They obviously ask for her son, everybody heard the woman say that her son was not there. The woman says that the officers tried to make her get off the phone and when she told them no, they grabbed her and threw her on the futon. At some point, the woman ends up on the floor and an officer uses a taser on her.
Because the name of the game is CYA (cover yo' ass), of course the police are saying that she was combative when she opened the door and claims that she punched one of the officers.
The police spokesman says,"She was able to force herself down on to the floor and not be cooperative, grabbing on to the detective. A taser was dry stunned onto her arm to control her hand movement, then she was cuffed."
Keep in mind that this woman is blind and neighbors and family members say that she was robbed and assaulted by someone who knocked on her door claiming to be the police. So if she was swinging on them, she was justified.
Not only is this woman blind, she is also sick. She also has cancer. I don't know what kind because that has not been reported. But regardless, that taser had to wreak havoc on whatever kind of treatment she's been receiving.
For those of you who don't know, a taser is a weapon used to push electroshock waves through a person's body to cause muscle contractions or spasms to render the person incapacitated. So in other words, the thing shocks you into submission. It is called "less-lethal" force because in theory it won't kill the person on the receiving end of all that voltage and there are no stray bullets so bystanders won't get hit.

It is true that bystanders won't get hit but I don't know about it being less lethal. It's certainly not humane. I don't know if you've ever had a muscle spasm but that crap is no walk in the park. Muscle spasms are violent, involuntary episodes that you have have to endure until they are over. Why would anyone want to inflict that on anyone is beyond me.
Granted, if someone is coming at you swinging a weapon or you know that they are coming toward you and can actually cause harm, that is one thing. But to use a taser on someone you can control with a side step or a simple hold it ridiculous.
During my sabbatical from journalism in 2006, I worked with kids with behavior problems and granted I did want to shoot those bad a-- kids with something but there are ways to restrain folks without using voltage. I know grown people, in theory, are bigger and stronger than kids. But, those same holds work on grown people too.
I don't understand why the cops are so taser happy. I think if they all had to take a taser in the ass they'd be a little less likely to use that dang thing on people at the drop of a hat.
I hope that lady sues the city and gets enough money to pay her medical bills and then some! ***SMH***
That just don't make no damn sense!!!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Crocodile tears?

So, I was checking my e-mail earlier today and someone sent me a link to watch a video of Elizabeth Hasselbeck crying on The View - again.
The unique thing about this is her tears came during a heated discussion about use of the word Nigger, Nigga or however you want to spell it. One of the hot topics was of course the video of The WRONG Rev. Jesse Jackson using the word at the same time he mentioned his desire of neutering the presumptive Democratic nominee for president.
Since there are now two black women on the show, of course the entire panel was looking to them to "explain" why it is OK for black people to use it but not white people. This probably the dumbest segment of hot topics I've ever watched.
Take a look:

Of course, anytime the word nigger/nigga comes up in conversation amongst a crowd of racially mixed people it's going to get heated. I didn't expect Hasselbeck to cry and I didn't expect the ignorance that flew from Sherri Shepherd's mouth on the subject. I have heard the argument that Whoopi Goldberg has about the word having as much power as you give it. I've listened to my brothers and my cousins and in some cases some of my best friends who defend themselves by saying "it means ignorant" and they grew up using it.
I got news for some of you guys who think the word nigga means ignorant. That's not what it means. Take a few minutes and look the word up in the dictionary, it'll piss you off.
The Random House Unabridged Dictionary defines the word as:
nigger:1. Slang: Extremely Disparaging and Offensive. a. a black person.
b. a member of any dark-skinned people.
2. Slang: Extremely Disparaging and Offensive. a person of any race or origin regarded as contemptible, inferior, ignorant, etc.
3. a victim of prejudice similar to that suffered by blacks; a person who is economically, politically, or socially disenfranchised.
In the description, states that nigger is probably the most offensive word in the English language. I'm going to have to agree with that. How is that word endearing?
I think it is agreed that words do have power. I think that we as bloggers have no choice but to agree because why else would we further exhaust ourselves after a full day's work, some of us write for a living, just for the sake of putting words together.
Since we know words have power, we should assume that their definitions and origins should as well. I've already addressed this in a much early post but since this keeps coming up, it may warrant redundancy.
The word nigger is derived from the Latin word nigre which means black. Some where around the 1700s, some southern slave owner got a hold of the word and butchered it and it derived into the racial slur that it is.
I don't, won't and will not ever use the term "the n-word" because I think it takes away the power and seriousness of the word. It should never be shortened or otherwise disregarded because it does carry a lot of weight.
The first time I ever remember hearing the word in a song was in Curtis Mayfield's "Pusherman." After that, rappers picked it up and you started hearing it in all their songs. Rappers began describing themselves, their friends and their enemies as niggas.
Personally, I think the gratuitous use of the word is a testament to the hate that so many black folks have for themselves. Whether it is sub-conscious, subliminal or blatant, a lot of us do hate ourselves and how could we not? It's what we've been taught and fed throughout history. It's in everything that we do.
Going back to slavery, our ancestors were not viewed as people, they were viewed as livestock and treated as such. They were beaten and degraded and they passed that along to their children who in turn passed it on to their children.
We have come a very long way and I am thankful, but there are some things that we have yet to let go of and this word is one of those things. It saddens me that we continue to degrade ourselves and piss on the memories of our great ancestors with not only this word but some of the downright ignorance that we subject ourselves to on a regular basis.
I don't want to get up on my soapbox but I think it is high time we kill the word. Hell, the NAACP had a funeral for it, buried it and everything and it has risen again. How in the hell do we expect the rest of America to stop treating us like niggers when we insist on identifying ourselves as such and acting that way?
Because of this, I can see why some white folks in America would be confuzzled as to why they can't use it. Hell, I wonder the same thing. I get offended when anybody, and I mean anybody calls me a nigger. If you call me a nigger/nigga, be prepared to fight me.
I won't lie, I've used it before. People in my family, my parents included, use the word - often. But I'll tell you what, if I call somebody a nigger/nigga, I mean to offend them. Shoot, every time I hear somebody use it, I take it as a teaching moment and tell them why I don't want to hear it. Now, they get tired of me bringing it up and now I rarely hear it when I'm around. We've got to police ourselves.
It's going to take some of us "educated and enlightened" folks to keep saying until it gets on their nerves to the point where they will stop saying it. Better yet, let's try to get us all some help to deal with why it is we hate ourselves so much that we have to to degrade ourselves every chance we get. Then, let's stop using it. Let's start one person at a time and we won't have to have dumb ass conversations like that one.

It's just one of 'dem days ...

... ever feel like this?

I - don't want to - Go to work today - I 'd rather - Stay home - And play -
video games- I wanna chill
But I gotta get up
I gotta gotta gotta gotta gotta gotta gotta gotta gotta get up
(repeat 1x)
Get up
I don't want to go to work today
I'd rather stay home and play video games
I'd rather chill for real
I don't know how you feel
But sometimes I feel like I'm
Workin' for nuthin' tryin' to get sumthin'
Every where I turn there's a bill standing out
Swim the river climb the hill
Complacency you ain't gone get me no no no no

"Cause I gotta get up
I gotta gotta gotta gotta gotta gotta gotta gotta gotta gotta get up
I gotta gotta gotta
(Got to get up, Got to get up, Got to get up, (Jill: Gotta Gotta get up) Got to
get up)

I don't want to go to work today
I rather stay home and play video games
I rather chill for real
I don't know how you feel but sometimes I feel like I'm
Workin' for nuthin' tryin' to get sumthin'
Every where I turn there's a bill standing out
Swim the river climb the hill
Complacency you ain't gone get me no no no no

'Cause I gotta get up
I gotta gotta gotta gotta gotta gotta gotta gotta gotta gotta get up
Get up
I gotta gotta got to gotta gotta gotta get up
I gotta gotta gotta gotta gotta gotta gotta gotta gotta gotta get up
Get up

I'd rather be in my space
I'd rather chill in my place
So I can go out and play all day I
I'd rather chill at home
I'd rather lay alone
True, but I got to work
I don't wanna go
I wanna play today
But what can I say
Bills to pay
I just can't get comfortable doing (doing) nuthin'(nuthin')

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh(Gotta get up, Gotta get up)
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh(I gotta got to got to gotta gotta got to get up, I gotta gotta
get up)
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh(Hey I gotta gotta get up, Get up)

Gotta gotta
I gotta get up
I gotta gotta gotta gotta gotta gotta gotta gotta gotta gotta gotta get up
Get up Uhmmm

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Sometimes I wonder ...

... this will probably be a regular post. How regular, I don't know. But I will say that it is inspired by 12kyle even though he's an Aggie Hater.
This is a series of random thoughts I've had over the past few weeks since I've given up TV that my friends and family members refuse to listen to so I guess I'll subject you, my audience, to these thoughts. Brace yourselves.
Sometimes I wonder:


- I am the only sane person left in this universe. I find it sad when I'm always the one making the most sense in a conversation.

- we will ever truly get over our hang ups and stigmas long enough make this a better place for the generation behind us.


- media outlets will stop being fixated on celebrities and their business. I don't care that Angelina Jolie had her babies.

- the maintenance people at my apartment complex will fix something right the first time and not have me burning up in the middle of the night because of a broken air conditioner.


- people lick their fingers to separate papers and plastic bags. Do I look like I want to come in contact with the germs from your dirty a-- mouth?

- people cough into their hands and offer it to you to shake when they greet you or touch something that you have to touch. I guess you automatically assume that I want in my body what ever you're trying to force out by coughing.

- old people get on major interstates and drive 40 mph in the middle lane. I know 40 is the minimum you can go on the highway but I think they mean for them to stay in the right lane.

- do people continue to hire ghetto a-- secretaries. The secretary in my office takes a series of personal phone calls all day long, sometimes babysits her granddaughter at work and gets upset when she has to do some real work. She's trying to talk to a 2-year-old on the phone now.

- the actual lyrics to The Temptations "The Way You Do the Things You Do" are so corny. Have you ever really listened to them? "As pretty as you are, you know you coulda been a flower, if good looks were a minute, you know that you could be an hour ..." WTH?

- if all these people are looking for love online, why don't they have a weekend-long singles conference and hook up in person? It seems like that would make more sense than meeting somebody online and having these in-depth convos via instant messenger and you meet them and discover their picture is 20 years old.

- corporate America deems it necessary to stick their employees in cubicles. Isn't navigating through these cube farms similar to sending hamsters through a maze?

*** Addendum ***
I'm also wondering why it seems like Miss America can't walk in heels?

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

New readers ...

Welcome!!! I hope you all will stop by periodically and not just look around, feel free to engage in the on-going conversation that is Difference of Opinion.
With that said, can I just say that I love the Real Time Live traffic feed component in the right rail?
I am always curious about the folks who come to read and this gives me the city you're from and how you got here. While some of you have been coming to my spot via Eb, 12kyle and PCD's spots, thank ya'll for the extra traffic, it has come to my attention that a lot of folks are coming through Google searches.
The craziest sounding Google search is "Will Smith + down low" and you're getting directed to a December post I did about Mr. Smith, Young Joc and R. Kelly. I'm sure this post is so not what you guys are looking for but I hope you'll stick around anyway.

Let me just say that I have no knowledge of Mr. Smith now or ever being on the down low. I certainly don't have any knowledge of him engaging in such acts with Duane Martin. In fact, up until I started seeing some of these Google searches, I hadn't heard any of this - at all.
How come every time black men are friends or cool with each other or get photographed in a "brotha man embrace" they have to be dating? That irks my soul.
Granted, I heard that Will and Jada and Duane and Tisha were into some freaky -ish, but I didn't buy into it. Folks are always going to gossip about celebrity couples and black celebrity couples especially. Truth be told, folks have been questioning The Fresh Prince's sexuality since "Six Degrees of Separation" and Jada has always been a lil' on the tomboy side.
Either way, I think it's their business and they can tell, or not, if they want to. If the Smiths are swinging and it's keeping their marriage together, more power to them. If the Martins are swinging and it's keeping their marriage together, more power to them. I don't think we ought to be getting in their business one way or the other.
These people are adults and they are married and if my mama taught me two things it's to stay out of grown folks and married folks business! So that's what I'm going to do. Besides, if you can't be freaky with your spouse, who else you gonna be freaky with?

Monday, July 07, 2008

No TV for you!

No, I'm not channeling the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld. I have actually decided to fast TV for the month of July. It might look and sound a little strange but it's something I felt I had to do.
First off, I don't claim to be some religious nut but I am striving to be more like Him and I have accepted Jesus as my savior so that makes me a Christian. Because I'm human, I don't always do right, nor do I always obey. I'm working on it, Lord knows I am, but it's an uphill battle.

To let you guys in on a secret about Smarty, I watch a lot of TV. I mean, a lot. Like, on a regular night, I get home from work around 6, maybe. Then, I proceed to watch TV until I go to to bed around 3 a.m.-ish. If you're counting, that's about nine hours of TV.
What could I be watching pray tell? Well, there's always CNN and Headline News and an episode of "Law & Order" on, whether it is the original, "Criminal Intent" or "Special Victims Unit." Then of course there is "Wheel of Fortune" and "Jeopardy!" Of course I have to get my dose of reality TV with "Jon & Kate Plus 8" and "Little People, Big World." And if "Grey's Anatomy," "In Plain Sight" is on, I'm watching that too. Let's not forget the shows on Nick @ Nite plus reruns of "Girlfriends," "Half & Half," "The Golden Girls" and believe it or not, there's almost always something worth watching on BET-J, TV One and HGTV.
The thing is, I didn't realize how much time I wasted watching TV, particularly those shows I've seen before, until I turned off the TV. Today is Day 7 and I think I am going through withdrawals. Seriously, I don't ever recall going this long without CNN since I've been working in the media. I hate not knowing what's going on in the world.
I know some of you may be asking why I'm doing this to myself. Trust me when I tell you that there is a method to my madness. Stay with me now.
There are a lot of things I have been praying for and asking God to do in my life and they all require me doing something first. That's not hard, right? Wrong, I noticed that watching that much TV served as a distraction and actually made me procrastinate even more.
The main thing I have been praying for is sleep. I have had a jacked up sleep pattern since high school and I haven't been able to get it together since. I usually require four hours of sleep to function. I need five to be productive and I need six to be cordial while doing it all. Anything after that is icing.
So, add to that the fact that I am trying to get my non-profit organization started and for that, I have to put together a business plan. I can not and I will not throw something together just to say I have a plan. I owe those kids more than that and I owe myself more than that.
Add to that the fact that I really need to stop being a punk and take the GRE so that I can apply to graduate programs for non-profit management. I was blessed/super fortunate/lucky (whatever you prefer) to have made it through four years of high school and three and a half years of college without learning how to study. As you can imagine, that leaves me at a disadvantage in prepping for what is no less than the SAT on steroids.
The plan was to take the test before my birthday, that didn't happen. I got discouraged after seeing my scores from a practice test. I allowed fear to set in and I haven't taken it. Yea, ya girl Smarty gets scared sometimes.
At any rate, since abandoning TV, I have managed to nearly complete my business plan. I need perhaps a solid day and a half to complete the plan. From there, I have to identify grant-giving public and private organizations and pull together the research for the presentation to board of directors for my uncle's ministry and the focus group I've pulled together. And this is only Day 7.
In addition to this, I'm sleeping so much better it's not even funny. I don't remember being this well-rested in all my 26 years of life. It's not that I'm going to sleep at a set time, I'm getting more sleep when I do go. Instead of knocking off at 3-ish, it's more like 12:30 and then a nap when I get home in the evenings.
There's a lot to be said about this no TV thing, but then again, I hate to be in the dark about the world happenings. only gives you so much.
Anyway, I think the purpose of this post is to get you guys to hold me accountable. Plus, being a Christian, we are supposed to 'speak' things into existence. Personally, I think that if you shout it out to the world, folks are going to expect results and this is what I'm doing. I want you guys to mention my nonprofit or ask me how my "studying" is going or something just to sort of keep me on track.
Can I count on you?

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Many, many thanks ...

... and big ups or whatever the young'uns are saying nowadays.
You all have helped to make Black Music Month a success. I decided to try something that I've never done. It is really rough and unedited. and I hope ya'll enjoy it.
I couldn't mention everybody but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate you all.
I will be taking a brief sabbattical from this blog so that I can catch up on Poli-ticked because I haven't been over there in a hot minute. I'm sure you guys understand.