Saturday, July 31, 2010

Soulful Saturday- American Idol Edition

There has been so much said about the makeup of next season's American Idol panel. Who is getting fired? Who will stay? Who is going to be the celebrity judge? All kinds of craziness. My two cents? I want to stare at Justin Timberlake all season long, so it would be cool if he was a judge. Or Jon B, oooh members of the group New Edition. Yeah, essentially I want eye candy! :)

I have to admit- I was not very involved this year. I have had a lot going on- selling the house, trying to find a job... trying to figure out what state I am going to be living in. Essentially, putting together this crazy thing called life. I do believe that this year's winner is from Chicago, so that is exciting. :) Usually Idol is a bonding experience between my mother and I. She is still in Ohio, but we used to watch Idol and call each other during the commercials. Hey- it IS corny, but also amazingly cute!!

For this edition of Soulful Saturday I'm going to pay homage to the past ladies of Idol. I have to admit that I didn't like Carrie and Fantasia at first, but now they are mainstays on my iPod. I have always been a fan of Kelly's- she might just be totally awesome! I have used these songs (along with all other music) to make it through some tough times. Music is great therapy and if I have every made you a CD or (gasp) a mix tape we share a connection that is not easily broken. I have shared my bare feelings with you because for me it doesn't matter what type of music it is- all music is a glimpse of the soul of the person who gives it to you. You can always tell the frame of mind of a person by what is on their playlist... I wonder why people would glean from mine? Without further adieu:

Carrie Underwood- Cowboy Casanova

Key Lyrics:
* You better take it from me/that boy is like a disease
* He's like a curse/He's like drug... You get addicted to his love
* He's a good time, cowboy casanova, leaning up against the record machine
* He looks like a cool drink of water, but he's candy coated misery
* Gives you feelings that you don't wanna fight- you better run for your life

Fantasia- Free Yourself

Key Lyrics:
* The love I had inside has died
* This love thing is full of scandals, so you are welcome to walk

Kelly Clarkson- Never Again

Key Lyrics:
* I hope when you're in bed with her- you think of me
* When your day comes and he's through with you- and he'll be through with you...
* Does it hurt to know I'll never be there?
* Bet it sucks to see my face everywhere/ it was you who close to end it like you did- I was the last to know
* Never again will I hear you, Never again will I miss you, Never again will I fall to you
* Never again will I kiss you, Never again will I want to, Never again will I love you...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Year Long Commitment?

Last night I watched (finally) Julie and Julia. Awww, it was so cute! I am not sure why I waited so long to see it, I mean it is a story about a girl who blogs to make her life begin to make sense. Hmmm- I may or may not see parallels with my own life.

Alas- watching Julie and Julia makes me want to begin a year long commitment to something. I want to do something for 365 days and blog throughout the process. But what? I mean, I don't necessarily want to pick a cookbook and work my way through it. Seriously, that has already been done PLUS I have friends who have food blogs that I read and enjoy on a weekly basis. Not to even mention the fact that my parents would have a field day with the thought of me cooking for the next 365 days and putting the results online for everyone to see. Plus, I am not sure where I will be by the end of this year- I could be in Chicago, Ohio or anywhere else a job will take me! So what does that leave me with? The want to commit to something for a year that will make a difference in my life and the life of others, but no idea how to manifest that want into something productive... I need suggestions. What would you suggest?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Obama, Race and the fight of his Presidency

IF you follow me on Twitter (jovonnam) or Facebook, you would know that I have been a little more than disappointed with the topic of race relations this week. The whole Shirley Sherrod situation grated my nerves like you would not believe and I said as much in my updates. While sending out resumes, I saw her on the Today show where she said that while she was not expecting an apology from the President, she would like to talk to him about her situation. There is so much wrong with that statement. So, I was all in attack mode about her and then I read this article, which made my panties get all bunched up even more.

This article criticizes the President for being silent on race for the vast majority of his reign in office. Um, why are we talking about that like it is a bad thing? The author says that the President has has nothing to say regarding the deaths of Oscar Grant, Sean Bell or Aiyanna Jones. So. Neither do I. I am not saying that I don't give a shit about these deaths- all were at the hands of the police (Grant in California, Bell in New York and Jones in Detroit)- but what exactly does it have to do with the office of the President? Why does Shirley think that she should get to talk to Barack?

In my honest opinion (which is what you get when you read this blog) people are pissed off because they voted for Barack for the wrong reasons. If you voted for Barack simply because he is Black- shame on you. If you voted for him because you thought that he was going to cure all social ills that have plagued minorities- again, shame on you. If you think that race relations are going to magically be fixed because America has a Black President, or that said President HAS to respond every time there is a Black person shot at the hands of a non-Black person- you are naive and shame on you. Why do people think that Barack owes you a speech on race every time an Oscar Grant situation comes up? Every time a Sean Bell situation surfaces? Every time someone like Shirley loses her job? Did Barack shoot Sean Bell? Did he fire Shirley? Um, no. So why does he have to talk to their families? Why does Shirley think she is good enough to have a conversation with the President?

The author says that the Sherrod situation was "one of those folded arms, pursed lips, neck-twisted, 'so-what-you-gonna-do-now-Barack?' moments for Black America." Let's all be clear: I do not like that description. I find it very stereotypical (I mean can't you just see some overweight Black woman with ridiculously long fake nails mouthing those words?) Not only do I find the description off putting, it is also not a true statement for me. I don't care that Shirley lost her job. Is it unfortunate? Sure. But is it clear that everything you say (or type) now a days can and will be used against you? Absolutely. PLUS, that woman was offered another job... and she said that she doubted she was going to take it. If someone wronged you and offered to make it right and you are too proud to take it... shut the hell up with your complaining. Especially during this time when people are fighting for jobs.

Are race relations important? Yes. Are they relevant in these days? Sure. Should our President be commenting on every instance of inequality? That is totally a no brainer... NO. That is not his job. Would you expect George W. to comment every time a Yale graduate got into some trouble? Every time an oil tycoon was taxed extra money? Any time a Texan was shot and killed? You think that Bill Clinton should respond every time an Arkansas resident is unjustly arrested or fired from a job without cause? No. That is never gonna happen. As the President, your job is to work towards the betterment of the COUNTRY, not groups within the country. If Bush and Clinton had done any of the above, they would have been instantly lambasted, but at the slightest nod in the direction of a racial situation people expect that Barack is gonna drop everything and be at the head of the equality march. Listen, unemployment is well above 9%; we aren't really bouncing back from this last recession; our country is involved in two wars; the Gulf Coast has yet to recover from Hurricane Katrina (5 years ago) let alone this BP fiasco; violence is taking over our major cities (Chicago included); states are going bankrupt (Illinois included); foreclosures are engulfing neighborhoods like wildfire; and in the richest country in the world some children are going to bed hungry every night.. the list goes on and I point these items out because it is clear to me that the President, no matter what ethnicity he is, has more to worry about that what Shirley Sherrod is going to do with the rest of her life.

You want racial equality? Try this out: the outrage should be coming from our neighborhoods, our churches, our city officials, our police. Shocking, I know. Local movements should be taking place. You want violence to stop? Start reporting violence when it happens. You want better neighborhoods? Get involved. I complain... you know why? Because I am involved. I call the police. They know who I am. The kids know that I will call on them in a split second. Go to city council meetings; get involved in city politics; PTA... anyone? America was built on the actions of a few that changed the tide of a whole nation, not on the apologies of a President. If you are putting all your race relations hopes in the 'Barack will fix it basket' you deserve to be disappointed.

Friday, July 23, 2010

"Where are the Parents" Schaumburg Edition

Just when I thought that it could not get any worse... I read this. Yes you read that correctly- mom and son turning selling drugs into a family business. Good example for your 21 year old son, you thoughtless waste. Are you kidding me? I don't advocate selling drugs in any situation- EVER- BUT IF YOU MUST, don't do it with your children. I don't care how old they are, setting the example that selling drugs is the norm is not just irresponsible as a parent, it is socially irresponsible. You are going to one day release an individual on society who thinks that selling drugs and hurting his/her society is somehow normal. And do you know what that deranged individual will do? He/she will spread that diseased type of thinking on to their offspring. That is the very reason why society is not whole today- the passing down of bad manners, crazy morals and extreme thinking. Jeez.

Lately the family unit has started to take on criminal enterprise, I have read stores of parents and small children shoplifting together. At some point we are going to need more parents to stand up and show children the way that they should act and the type of people that they should be. That day can't come soon enough.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

100 more cops- is that enough?

While reading the paper online today I came across this article. In it, the powers that be at City Hall run down their plan to add 100 new police officers to the Chicago Police Department. 100? Is that enough? In my honest opinion, 100 does not even scratch the surface of what is needed. The criminals are taking aim at our officers this summer. On Sunday, another Officer was shot down in the streets of Chicago. He was off duty and a month a way from retirement. His life was cut short by someone who reportedly wanted his car. His death brings the number of officers killed in the last month and a half to: 3.

100 new cops when we have had a shortage for at least the last 5 years- and the hiring freeze has been in effect for the last 4 years? 100 new officers when two years ago 3,160 reported being assaulted while on the clock? 100 new officers during this time where the city is suffering from unemployment and the violence here is only rivaled by the wild times of the early 90s?100? Hmmmm. A promise of 100 new officers when the city of Chicago is broke? How will we pay for them? I don't see anyone in charge offering up some of their salary. I love that these men and women put their lives on the line (on duty and off) and they don't make 1/6 the salary of their Superintendent. Exactly how do we fix that? My suggestion is to fire Jody and hire 106 new officers. Our city needs the structure, the service and the protection.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Maybe it is the heat

I will say that I have been indoors for the vast majority of this last week. It has been amazingly hot outside and I have not really felt like being outside, so with the exception of taking the dogs out 4 or 5 times a day I have been inside, sitting very close to a fan, watching very bad tv, or reading blogs. I love tv. Ok- there are a few tv shows that I love and I generally don't miss them. In the age of DVR, I luckily do not have to watch a ton of commercials during the shows that I love. But this week, I have actually been watching the commercials and all I have to say is: WTF???

Ok- if you didn't know what I looked like before reading this blog, I put up a picture. I often describe myself. I am a short, slightly athletically built, midwestern, educated Black woman. Most of the time, I am very comfortable with that. Clearly, through my posts anyone can see that I despise stereotypical people- no matter who they are. When I describe the bad ass kids in my neighborhood, it is not because I hate them per se, but I hate the things that they do, the people that they emulate, the culture that they are perpetuating. The same can be said about three commercials that I have just seen. Darrell the dude from the Walmart commercials, that fat lady from the PineSol commercials and the Kia commercial with the hamsters. Wow- I felt like I was living in the 40s and looking at stereotypical Black people. The black guy is entertaining- like in a minstrel show, the black woman is overweight, selling a cleaning product and calling everyone "baby" like the mammies in every kitchen in every black and white movie, and the hamsters... they look like the neighborhood behaviors that piss me off every day and they are rapping a song by the Black Sheep.

Maybe it is the heat, but I doubt it. Check out the videos that I am posting and leave a message. I am curious to see if I am the only one that is offended by Black people are in some sort of stereotypical role (or hamsters are made to have all the characteristics of Black rappers). I will also post a video of clips from the 20s-40s, so you can see the vague similarities. Let me know if the heat is getting to me.



Videos from the past...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Writing Analysis

Twitter is amazing. You can look into a slice of anyone's life in their frequent updates of 140 characters. One of the ladies that I am following had a link for analysizing your writing. I though- eh, what the hell. Let's see who my writing style mimics. Can't be bad, right? I copied and pasted my LeBron entry and I got this:

I write like
Chuck Palahniuk

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

For those of you who are asking yourself who Chuck Palahniuk is, I googled him for you!! Chuck authored "Fight Club" and his writing style has been said to use a limited vocabulary and short sentences (mimicking the way people speak). Could be worse. :) Also, ol' Chuck seems to answer criticism just like I do. In response to a "scathing review of one of his books" Chuck said "Until you can create something that captivates people, I'd invite you to just shut up. It's easy to attack and destroy an act of creation. It's a lot more difficult to perform one." Who does THAT sound like? Ha! ok, ok, my response would have had a limited vocabulary full of more colorful descriptions of where someone could go, but you get the point.

Chuck didn't start writing until his mid-30s... maybe, just maybe, I am on the right track? I could be the Chuck Palahniuk of the midwest!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Soulful Saturday- Fiona Apple Edition

Instead of picking three different artists for Soulful Saturday, I have decided to dedicated this Saturday's edition to Fiona Apple. Haven't heard much from her in a while, but I owned Tidal and I am not afraid to say that she is AMAZING. Maybe it is because she is full of surly delight, or because we are the same ago, or she has figured out the best way to say "F you" in a song about her ex (and guess who I want to dedicate those songs to?) Either way, I rock out to this on the iPod to this day. By the time we were 18 Fiona had made it big with a lovely, sultry voice. She sounded like no one else in 1996, and there are ton of girls that have followed that have used the Fiona Apple formula- one of which is Amy Winehouse (although I do have friends that disagree with that assessment).

First video- her critically acclaimed Criminal. It is a good song, but surprisingly, I do not think it is her best. The 70s scenery in this video is funny, but I love her voice.
Key Lyrics:
* It's a sad, sad world when a girl will break a boy just because she can
* I know tomorrow brings the consequence at hand/ but I keep living this day like the next will never come

Second video Shadow Boxer- like this song better than Criminal... dedicated to... he knows.

Key Lyrics:
* what a cunning way to condescend- once my lover, now my friend.
* darling I just want to say... Just in case I don't pull through. I was on to every play... I just wanted you.
* It is so evil, my love, the way you've no reverence for my concern. So I'll be sure to stay wary of you, love, to save the pain of once my flame and twice my burn.

Third Video- Sleep to Dream. This video kicks ASS!!! The lyrics say exactly what I have wanted to say on several occasions.

Key Lyrics:
* You say love is a hell you cannot bear. I say give me mine back and then go there for all I care.
* This mind, this body and this voice cannot be stifled by your deviant ways. So don't forget what I told you, don't come around- I got my own hell to raise.
* First you run like a fool just to be at my side, now you run like a fool, but you just run to hide and I can't abide.

Friday, July 09, 2010

An Ohioan who doesn't understand the LeBron problem

Clearly, I have to write about this because between my email, Twitter and Facebook news feeds, everyone is either laughing or having a meltdown about LeBron James leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat. Um, really? Now, let me preface this by saying what we ALL know: I am from Ohio- I carry that state proudly in my heart every day. I love being a Buckeye and no place will EVER be like home. With that said- I am *not* from Cleveland. Some of my best friends are, but I hail from the capital city (Columbus). Cleveland is like your little sister- you can talk about her all you want, but no one outside the family is allowed to! So, while the things I say may sound harsh- I am allowed! :)

LeBron is leaving- so? Ok, I would be pissed because of the way he did it. All that hype and he knew he was headed out of town... that sucks and was completely unnecessary. But that is what people love about him (another disclaimer- so not a LeBron fan- never have been, never will be). For God's sake that guy started every game by throwing chalk dust into the air and everyone called him the King. I can see how he has a huge ego. He gets paid millions of dollars to play a game. That is all basketball is- a child's game. And now he is leaving.

People are burning jerseys and acting like the world is going to end. I just don't get it. Let's review exactly what LeBron has brought to the city: NOTHING. Cleveland has not won a championship in the last 7 years while LeBron was "king." He made a substantial salary and gave Cleveland nothing but dashed hopes, drama (with his mother sleeping with his teammate) and no ring. And you are mad that he is leaving? Huh?

I say let LeBron and his big ego go play second fiddle in Miami. DeWayne Wade is not going to let someone run his team. LeBron is no long going to be king, instead he is going to be prince #2, behind Bosh and Wade. Let him go and use his salary to rebuild your team. Seriously- the city of Cleveland has been through worse, and will probably go through worse. One man does not make or break you, so get over it. Who cares? I don't and you shouldn't either.

PS- to the grown men burning jerseys... dude, you still BUY jerseys? You wear another man's name on your back? Really? Ewwwwww. Grow up. That $80 could be used for something else.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Glorification of Bad Behavior

Being at home during the day is hard on my mind. I mean, if you have ever had to watch daytime tv, you know what I am talking about. Mentions of out of control teens, paternity tests, murders and other violence plague almost all television stations- and that is just the mid day news. Forget turning on Maury or any other talk show... especially because I think I am allergic to the term "baby daddy" along with being allergic to the dregs of society laying their entire trashy loves on basic television for everyone to see. And for what? A trip to New York and a few dollars- for your self respect? I say "no deal!" But I digress.

Unfortunately for me, my computer is in the same room as a television, so as I fill out job applications, read blogs or surf facebook, the tv is on in the background. Usually I can filter out the actual words coming out of the mouths of people on the screen, but every once in awhile a commercial or two breaks through my self imposed hearing barrier. Today, what snuck in, struck a nerve.

The Oxygen Network was playing in the background because I can quickly zone out to the programs on that channel. Then the commercial bled through my barrier. It was a commercial for the newest installment of the "Bad Girls Club." Apparently the show is going to take place in Miami and will be even more obnoxious than usual. *Sigh* Is this what society now finds entertaining? Young girl acting out and getting applauded for atrocious behavior? No one is speaking proper English; they are fighting and they seem to be offering nothing of value to anyone. Hair pulling, cursing and acting ignorant-- and that was just a commercial. OMG. I remember feeling the same way when "Flavor of Love" came out. Are you serious? Where do thy find people to be on these shows? Why would you ever want to be on these shows?? I read an inspirational blog today... I think it describes how we should uplift our daughters, instilling them with self esteem and letting them know that they can get attention without bad behavior. Maybe of more parents were like this, less paternity tests on Maury would be needed; less women would be clamoring to get on the "Bad Girls Club" and I would have less of a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.
We need to do better,

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The Times, They are a-changing

There comes a time in every young woman's life... blah, blah, blah. Things are changing. The look of the blog is going to change and soon, the place where I sit when I type out my thoughts will change too. Where am I going? That is still up in the air. I love Chicago and will do whatever I can to stay here for as long as possible. I have built my own lovely life here; filled with friends and laughter. I love this city. I embrace almost all that it has to offer, but when the laughter starts to turn into tears priorities need to be reexamined, pros and cons need to be weighed. That is what I am in the process of doing.

I find it oddly comforting that I am not alone in this situation. Lots of young people are leaving familiar cities for foreign skylines for a brand new start. I must admit that any skyline I see at the end of this process will not be foreign to me. Columbus, Cincinnati, Chicago- all familiar stomping grounds. All on the short list of cities to begin a new stage in my life. The city with the most lucrative job offer will win out. I will keep everyone updated and in the meantime I will be up to my same old shenanigans (blogging and what not). Exciting, right? For your listening pleasure- Eddie Vedder singing a classic. "You better start swimming or you'll sink like a stone, for the times they are a-changing." and... GO! :)

Sunday, July 04, 2010

I am a Patriot

What a glorious day for America to have a birthday!! It is beautiful outside here in Chicago. Just like my relationship with the great city of Chicago, my thoughts on the United States of America are very love-dislike. I will always point out the things I dislike about America... because as an American, I have the right to do so. I will always point out what needs improvement, what is wonderful and what needs to go away- because I can. My ancestors died for the rights that I have. For their ultimate sacrifice I get to have an education; I get to vote and I get to voice my opinion- as loud as I want! Amazing, huh? :)

Funny thing is: as much as I complain about Chicago- I choose to live here and I love it. As much as I complain about close minded Americans- I love them. I love what my country represents; I love the freedoms that I have and I love that I can visit countries all over the world (I have been to a few) and get to come back to the best place on Earth- the United States of America.

So, to celebrate here is a video of Eddie Vedder singing "I am a Patriot" Now, this song has been covered by Jackson Browne and countless others (including different versions by Eddie). But, in my humble opinion this one is the BEST! :) Enjoy and God Bless the United States of America!

Key Lyrics:
* What I believe with my soul ain't what I see with my eyes, and there is no turning back this time.

* I am a patriot and I love my country. Because my country is all I know.

* I want to run like the lions, released from the cages; released from the rage that is burning my soul tonight.

* I only know one party- that is FREEDOM.

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