Thursday, September 30, 2010

Taking Back Our Neighborhoods

I read stories like this and I have to say I get excited. A story about violence on the streets of Chicago is generally disheartening, but THIS story about a 68 year old woman who is simply tired of the bad behavior of children in the neighborhood and decided to no longer be a victim, is a story of triumph. On FaceBook, Twitter and in face to face conversation, I can often be overheard talking about the bad ass kids in my neighborhood. Kids who seem to have no direction; who are comfortable spending the whole day on the corner doing nothing; kids who have no home life to speak of. These are the kids that have taken over Mrs. Matthews neighborhood. Those are the kids that she shot before they could take advantage of her. I believe that the situation that happened yesterday will (and should) take place a little more often. People NEED limitations. I am tired of coming home and wondering if someone else has decided to break into my house; tired of seeing my city being portrayed so disparagingly; tired of these bad ass kids thinking they can do whatever they want without any consequences. If we are facing facts- the #1 fact is that there are not enough police and even if there were, as a community we have an obligation to each other to raise our children and tell them (and show them) the difference between right and wrong. Someone failed. Failed Mrs. Matthews, as their neighbor, failed the City of Chicago and most of all, someone failed these kids.

Since the papers are reporting that Mrs. Matthews in 68, I did some math and figured out that she was born in 1942. A quick google search will let anyone know that 1942 was a different time. Right? I did some searching- 1942 is the year that Mayor Daley was born; Casablanca was released; World War II was raging; the Armed Forces in the United States was still segregated; and the United Nations was created. Think about how many things have changed in this country, hell, in Chicago since 1942. This woman has earned the right to not be harrassed by some kids with no home training. I bet that people would be a little more mindful of where their children are, and manners would make a come back if there were more people like Mrs. Matthews willing to take a chance. Willing to say "No... Today I will not be a victim." Live today and drop that victim status. Congrats, Mrs. Matthews and thank you!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Found at:

Monday, September 27, 2010

Eddie Long Schlong

If you have been living under a rock for the last week, let me clue you in on what is going on. Eddie Long is the “appointed pastor” of a huge Baptist Church named New Birth in Lithonia, Georgia (a suburb of Atlanta. This week the breaking news about Eddie Long Schlong is: he has participated in some sort of sexual activity with at least four young men at his church....allegedly. Now these young men are suing Long AND New Birth, asserting that the church had a duty to warn them about Long's proclivities and that Long convinced them that a sexual relationship was “a healthy component of their spiritual life.” OK, wow.

If that is not disturbing enough, got up in front of a cheering church today to say that he is fighting these allegations. He then compared himself to David, going up against Goliath, five stones available for his fight and he “hasn't thrown one yet.” There are several problems with this. Let me rephrase that: I have several problems with this. For one moment, let's all forget that he may have plied four young men with electronics, cars, money- church money- and clothes so that he could get some sexual gratification. Maybe he didn't do it. It is possible- I guess. Maybe he didn't send those now infamous pictures to teen-aged boys, so they would continue their sexual relationships with him. Maybe he didn't take advantage of his position as the “pastor” of a mega church, gleaning from the flock who he could devour. Let's even forget that if he DID have sexual relations with the four men that have come forward he could have swayed their life in ways unseen. Let's just focus on the David comparison and the cheering.

Here on our local news there was coverage on the people who actually attend New Birth. One lady said from inside her car that “even if he is guilty, we will stand by him no matter what.” What the hell did she say? I don't care who he is, or what inspirational phrases he says in church, if it is proven that this man used his position to prey on young men, this chick will stand by him? Is this a repeat of Jonestown? Listen carefully people- the only person that deserves that kind of dedication is the God you serve. I guess through her statements, we know who this lady's God is. While I am not one to second guess anyone's religion choice, I am super suspicious that there seems to be an undying devotion to this man- from this woman, and what seems like the whole church. What about the young men coming out against him? I mean he walked into church service this morning and it was standing ovation time. Really? That reaction is exactly why more men of the cloth are participating in and getting caught up in sex scandals throughout the world. Where is the doubt? Where are the questioning people? Where is the outrage? Where are the parents that are unwilling to turn their children over to pedophiles? How is it that church members that were marching with this man, protesting homosexual acts and same sex marriage, are now marching in defense of his homosexual acts? Does that make sense? Of course not. Am I surprised? Of course not. Let me state this plainly: blind faith in a man does not guarantee you a place in heaven. You can't buy your way in and the man you are following is not who you need to impress. Priest, bishop, pastor, reverend whoever- they all work for someone else... well, they are all supposed to be working for someone else. We should all keep that in mind.

The reference to David did not go unnoticed by people who know the Bible. Now I am not claiming expert status, but I do know the story of King David- and I will paraphrase it for those of you who don't know. David was known for following his penis into less than noble places. He lusted after another man's wife (Bathsheba), fornicated with her and impregnated her. If that was not enough, he arranged to have her husband killed in battle, so he could have her all to himself. (2 Samuel chapter 11) So, are we to conclude that the latest young man who came forward and said that Long Schlong helped him move to Atlanta to be closer to him, gave him a car and cash AND told him not to have any girlfriends would be Bathsheba in the story? Is Eddie Long Schlong's Goliath the truth? Who has he eliminated so that he can take advantage of these boys? Their parents? Schlong should tell everyone what happened after David displeased the Lord. Calamity came upon his house and what he did in secret was brought to light... and the first son he and Bathsheba had died. I wonder if this scandal will kill Schlong's child (New Birth)? {Side note: New Birth is definitely Long's child. When he was appointed in 1987 there were 150 members, currently membership is bordering on 30,000.}

David paid a steep price for disappointing God, and although we have all sinned and fallen short of the Glory, I truly believe that if pastor Long Schlong is indeed guilty of these acts the price he pays will be steep- and justifiably so. What are your opinions? How do you think this will pan out?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Say it Ain't So Jesse...

As I was perusing the Chicago Sun Times yesterday morning, I saw the picture of Jesse Jackson (Junior) next to the words "I'm Sorry" and I have to admit that I chuckled a bit. So, if you didn't know, Mayor Richard Daley has said that he will not seek re-election in the upcoming election. For the last three weeks there has been some serious political posturing going on in Chicago. IMHO, the family that has had their chests poked out the most was the Jackson clan. I don't like them. Seriously, none of them. Don't like the Jesses (Junior or Senior) or Junior's wife (who is an Alderwoman). I can just do without their political wrangling and Senior's claims of a racial bias EVERY time something comes up. (Senior- here is a helpful hint- race is not the underlying issue ALL the time. The more you whip out the race card, the less effective it is when it is actually warranted.) I guess there will always be politicians that rub you the wrong way, regardless of party... and the Jackson's rub me the wrong way.

So, what exactly is Junior apologizing for? Apparently, since the family has made it known that there may be some Mayoral aspirations, the shit has hit the fan (take note: heading Chicago will not be an easy job to get). Not only is Junior denying that he tried to buy the Senate seat vacated by Barack, but now he is apologizing for a recently uncovered affair. Um, excuse me while I barf. A political supporter has told the feds that at Junior's request some airline tickets were purchased for a female acquaintance. Ok, WTF? Now I am not advocating that people cheat on their spouses- in fact, I have to admit that I have limited respect for people who DO cheat. If you feel the need to sleep around, man up and tell your significant other. As grown ups there really is no reason to lie; have some dignity and don't be a sleaze ball- honestly. And just remember: how you get someone is how you will lose them. If they cheat on their spouse with you, they will cheat on you with someone else. I mean, I realize that it is really fashionable right now to be the other person, but that shit does not last. And if you think that you are different, you are delusional.

For the sake of argument, let's say that you are a politician and you are going to cheat. Be smart, for the love of Pete!! Do NOT have a supporter pay to fly your side piece from Washington D.C. to Chicago. Why give someone the ammunition they need to take you down? Why give them dirt to use against you, especially if you have political hopes and dreams? Come on Junior! Think with your big head.

I further chuckled when I read that his "female acquaintance" is a hostess at a cigar and martini lounge. That little factoid immediately brought back thoughts of Tiger and his entourage of whores. Is Junior going to have a press conference where he says he did it because he could? Because he didn't think that the rules applied to him? Let's hope not.

Seriously I don't care what Junior does in his private life. If his wife puts up with it, he can do whatever (or whomever) he wants. However, with this Mayoral opening, there is a chance for some substantial change in the city of Chicago. The Daleys have had a choke hold on Chicago for more than four decades (21 years for the dad, 20-so far- for the son). It has been both good and bad. Getting a new name/face and some new blood at the helm is going to be great. Chicago has been dealt more than a few blows in the public arena in the last few years, so I am going to go out on a limb and say maybe we shouldn't elect some asshole that is going to embarrass us more. I mean, if you can't keep it in your pants (or figure out how to hide your indiscretions better) do you deserve to be the Mayor of the third largest city in the United States? Good, bad whatever, you don't ever hear about Mayor Daley having a side piece of ass that he flies all over the country. Yeah, I am leaning towards no Mayor Junior for me. Am I saying that the other potential candidates are better than Junior? No. I AM saying that I am less annoyed with the rest of them, while fully realizing that less annoyance does not equal a great Mayor. In fact, there is only one candidate that I would endorse... and he would have to leave Washington D.C. to take the job. Oh Rahm, go ahead and throw your hat in the ring... I want you to! :)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Time Machine

I would love to think that I am not naive- sincerely. On most fronts I am not... I don't think. ;)BUT- I would like to be able to believe that under all the corruption and money grubbing, people are generally good. Seeing the posts that I put up about the city that I love in, the people I live around, the happenings of the world around me, makes it hard to come to that conclusion.

I was packing up some stuff around my house- awaiting the ability to move out of this place and I came across some cassette tapes (yeah-you read that right) from my youth. After I stopped laughing that I still have cassette tapes in my possession, I started to pop them into my radio and play them. Talk about a walk down memory lane! So out comes the most utopia laden lyrics ever- that's right, Let Love Rule by Lenny Kravitz is in my collection (proudly). He was (IS) so freaking phenomenal. Naive or not, this album allowed me to fall in love with him, his music, those dreadlocks AND the thought that it just might be possible to find common ground with everyone.

For the length of this song- I proudly wave my naivety flag. For a little over three and a half minutes, I remember that in 1989 when this album came out, I still thought that I could be whatever I wanted, do whatever I wanted, I could conquer anything- even hatred. The world was at my little (dirty) fingertips- all I had to do was work hard and grab opportunities like tomatoes on the vine. I look back on those days and wish I could have some of that innocence back. Questions on this day: What did you used to dream that you would be? What did you want to do with your life? Did you make it?

Ah well- there is always the time machine known as the cassette tape to sweep my mind back to simpler times.

Here is a song from the album. I won't post Let Love Rule because most people know that song. Does anybody out there even care is still relevant and I love it! :)
Key Lyrics:
*The dream is lost... Don't let it slip away.
*What will it take for us to join, in peace, my friends?
*Wake up world before it's too late. It's time for love to conquer hate.
*If we can learn that we're one- we can overcome!!
*Does anybody out there even care?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Chicago Love- A review of Bleeding Heart Bakery

I spend a lot of time on my blog highlighting the no so nice things that happen in the city of Chicago. So much so that I have to remind my reader (and sometimes myself) that I love this city... and I do love it here. One of the reasons I am so fond of Chicago is... food. That is right, food. Simply yummy, unpretentious, great Midwestern food. We eat well here! We should- we spend four to five months running from the bad weather; the summer is not nearly long enough and the winters start in October. How does Chicago make up for that? Simple- we have a kick ass night life, hot men AND we have amazingly great food.

One example of great food is Bleeding Heart Bakery. And before you ask- dessert is food and sometimes for me is breakfast, lunch and dinner. That's right, I said it. I had a bad day not too long ago, visited the Oak Park location bought some cupcakes... proceeded to eat them on the ride home and you know what? The day ended well. :) BHB is a local, sustainable, punk rock bakery- at least that is what their website says! After hearing rave reviews on Twitter, I decided to treat myself and see what all the hype was about

I walked in the bakery and was greeted immediately by the guy behind the counter (so sweet!) He was helping someone else so I had time to decide exactly which flavors were going to up my caloric intake for the day :) I decided on four cupcakes (don't give me that look). I purchased two red velvet cupcakes (the tops were sliced and the cream cheese frosting was on the inside of the cupcake), a carrot cake cupcake and a (are you ready for this??) chocolate peanut butter cupcake- which is vegan. They are all under the category of "Plain Jane" on the menu, but Plain Jane they were not.

I KNEW that the red velvet cupcakes were going to be amazing- and they were. I posted pics on twitter of half eaten cupcakes... from that notorious ride home. They were so yummy with the chocolaty explosion in each bite. I know my friends are laughing at these descriptions, but screw you guys- you're jealous because I am telling you these cupcakes were amazing. I was scared about the carrot cake one. I actually hate to order carrot cake anything because you never know what you are going to get. No one can make it like my mom, who has a secret ingredient that keeps everything moist, so I am always leery to order it- no matter how good everything else is. So as I started to undress this cupcake I was afraid that I had again fallen into the carrot cake trap. SURPRISE!! Totally luscious! Same cream cheese frosting (with a splash of cinnamon, I think)- the cupcake was not dry at all and there was shredded carrots inside. LOVED IT.

Was a little afraid of the vegan choice also. I mean, I get it, some people don't want to consume animal by products. Um, I am not one of those people. Again, I thought the flavor was going to fail. I was not really all that excited about it and I saved my second red velvet cupcake to eat after- just in case. No need. It was very good. I will admit that out of the three flavors the chocolate peanut butter was my least favorite (because gosh darn it that carrot cake one was an unexpected freaking phenom!!) but it was still great. I would eat it again- several times over! :)

ALERT: I just read that they have BACON CUPCAKES. Holy heart attack, Batman! I am going back and I am going to love it!! Since I ate the evidence of my cupcakes, head to their website and check out all the yummy options. This place rocks and I will definitely be back to sample some more cupcakes. Would it be inappropriate to say "I love BHB like a fat kid loves cake"? It is? Damn... ok. I won't say it... again. :) The staff was exceptionally nice and the cupcakes will be a repeat diet buster. Good stuff!! Hope to see you all in line next time I go... ok, behind me in line. :)

Soulful Saturday- Bruno Mars

Ahh the return of Soulful Saturdays!! I have a new obsession and here is the surprise- it is currently being played on the radio. Generally, I plug my iPod in as soon as I get in the car because most of the music put out today is garbage- catchy- but garbage nonetheless. But, oh Bruno Mars you have struck a chord with me.

No matter what kind of person you like to date, your "type" as it were, everyone likes to hear that you only have eyes for them. Everyone longs to hear that the person they like accepts them, for exactly who they are at that moment. It is nice to be appreciated- even with all your baggage. I have to admit that I like it and I don't know one person that doesn't. The fact that Bruno Mars put it into words and made a song, AMAZING. So there are officially three songs that are getting radio play that I enjoy. Does that make me a music snob? LOL

Key Lyrics:
*She's so beautiful, and I tell her every day.
*When I see your face, there's not a thing that I would change. Because you're amazing JUST THE WAY YOU ARE.
*When you smile, the whole world stops and stares for a while...
*If perfect's what you're looking for then just stay the same...

Friday, September 17, 2010

Guilty Pleasures

Musically speaking, of course. I don't care what anyone says... this is my guilty pleasure for the moment. I secretly rock out to this song EVERYtime it comes on, but I will stop singing at stop lights because I am so SURE that I am way too old to be in the Jesse McCartney fan club! LOL

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Just Breathe

I have joined the ranks of complainers. I am not talking about the occasional "Oh, why did this situation have to happen to me?" type complaining either. I am talking about "Can I pick up my life after this?" type complaining. The type of self questioning that is rare in Miss Mox's life. The kind that comes with an immense sadness about where some things are headed.

At first I thought, ok maybe it is just the change in weather. Here in what used to be sunny Chicago the seasons are definitely a-changing! Some night temps have dipped into the 40s, leaves are starting to fall, grass isn't really growing anymore (ok- that is a great thing, but you get the idea). But after some reflection I realize that it is not the colder temps. You know, not having a job, but looking- all the time- is hard to take. Getting rid of the few luxuries you have so you can stay afloat is hard. Being happy when life as you know is changing dramatically is really hard. And two days ago, I was tired of the 'hard'. There are only so many times I can tell myself that things are going to be ok and still continue to believe it. Sometimes I feel like there are only so many smiles I have left to give to someone who tells me that this is 'only temporary.' I don't want 'only temporary' I want an income... a stipend... hell, an allowance. Urgh! And before I start receiving crazy emails/comments- please, please, please do NOT complain to me about hating your job. You have a job and that is more than what me a few million other people can say. I mean, I understand that you might have to do some shit you don't want to do or that your boss is a jackass, or that you hate that you have to be there- I get it, we have all felt that way. But just know- staying at home ain't no walk in the park. Being exposed to a life without a salary is NOT fun... and trust me- unemployment benefits, while I am grateful for them, don't come CLOSE to the the salary I used to make. For those reasons, please know that someone will ring up those groceries in your place; someone will answer those phone calls; somebody will deal with your boss- with a smile on her face. You know why? Because someone is losing their house because they can't pay the mortgage. Someone is trying to figure out how they can keep all their utilities on; someone is trying to think of some creative ways to feed their family. It is not about retaining luxuries at this point, ladies and gentlemen. It is about being able to survive... food in your stomach, clothes on your back, roof over your head. Watch the news, look at those numbers- those are your neighbors suffering. Your extended family members, your friends. Those percentages aren't empty numbers... they represent people that you know- people you know well.

Also, I don't want to hear that there are jobs everywhere, because that horse shit is not true. I have a college degree, work experience and an MBA- and so do a million other unemployed people. How many times have I applied at grocery stores, gyms, dog walking services, etc. and been told that I am overqualified? Countless. So, before I get ANYMORE emails telling me that there are jobs available that privileged Americans just don't want to take- go screw yourself! I don't care what I have to do- cook (no one really wants that), clean, cashier, stock girl. College degree or not, I want to be self sufficient. I don't want to live off the system, I want to make my own way. I want to pay my own bills (good thing too, because they are mounting); I want to live a life where I don't have to contemplate moving back to Ohio, I don't have to think about living with a roommate, I don't have to make payment arrangements- on everything. I want to be able to pay the bills when they come in and enjoy the satisfaction of working a full day, coming home exhausted and getting up the next day to do the same damn thing, as a productive member of society.

SO, a couple days ago I was passenger number 1 on the "this is why my life sucks" train. I was listening to music (as usual) to get me out of my funk and this song came on. And the clouds parted, the sun came out and it all made sense... ok, nothing that dramatic, but I did feel better and was inspired to write this ode to my fellow unemployeds. Like the song says "if I get it all down on paper, it's no longer inside of me- threatening the life it belongs to."

What I am learning throughout this whole journey of unemployment is patience- and I HATE it. You know I am a confident, driven person. I am used to seeing what I want, working hard and getting it. This delayed response in driving me up the freaking wall. But like this song says I need to just breathe. No amount of tears is going to make me find that ever elusive job (yeah- it used to be the ever elusive dream job, now getting a permanent, full time job is a dream). No amount of angry face is going to make this any better- and it doesn't make me feel better- in the long run. I am tired of being bitter betty. She sucks. So, like I have to remind myself every 2 months or so, onward and upward.

Key Lyrics:
*You can't jump the track; we're like cars on a cable and life's like an hourglass glued to the table
*No one can find the Rewind button
*There's a light at each end of the tunnel, cuz you're just as far in as you'll ever be out
*If I get it all down on paper, it's no longer inside of me, threatening the life it belongs to.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

America: land of the free and home of the brave

It has been a couple years since I commented on September 11, what it means to me and what it means to this country. I think that with all that is going on and being proposed this year, I should take the time to add my two cents to the conversation. As I sit at my friend's computer, trying to wrap my head around these feelings that I have had 9 years to try to absorb, I find that again- I am speechless. Face it- we all know that is not usual. A lack of words flowing from my head, to fingers, to computer screen. If nothing else I have an opinion, right? If nothing else I will call someone a dumbass, or talk about how their decisions will not be ok with me, my budget, my life, my neighborhood... right?
The unspeakable acts that happened on THAT day, while I was getting ready for my very first Property class in law school- those acts leave me breathless, wordless; the ability to put sentences together is gone. To watch the coverage of it in my small rented house in Lansing, Michigan, seeing soot covered faces of ordinary people searching for their loved ones, crying as they recounted their last moments with their missing person. It is almost unbearable to write about 9 years later. It is just as unbelievable, just as hurtful, and I am just as wordless as I was in 2001. May God look upon favorably and hold in his arms those affected by the attack.

What has happened in the last nine years?

As seen by current news stories... a lot has happened to America, our state of mind and our intolerance. As stated above, I hate what happened in NYC nine years ago. God forgive me, I hate the people that did it. Nine years later, I hate those people. Those specific people whose selfish act brought pain to the doorsteps of every red-blooded American- I have no love in my heart for them. Zero. But you know what warmed my heart? The sight of ALL those American flags during the weeks and months after the attack. The camaraderie that everyone picked up. I loved how, even for a half of a second, being neighborly didn't just mean that you lived and got along with the people next door. We all came together and showed a united front. I venture to say that united front is gone.

In nine years everyone has settled back into the comfortable niches that they are accustomed to. Only on days like this do we bother with each other's stories of overcoming. We are quick- a little too quick- to step on someone to get ahead. I see it every day with this crazy economy that we are living with. The hate that I feel for those who brought this pain is shared with those who feed an intolerance that has engulfed some of my fellow Americans. The friendliness has started to diminish; the helpfulness is hard to find; there are Americans that feed the flame of hatred that is beginning to eat away at our country. The camaraderie is not 100% gone... often we show it to other nations, but, as a whole, we are not showing it to your neighbors. Too often I see that personal prejudices are getting in the way. This week in the news was full of ignorant people- unfortunately. That kind of thinking gets us no where, and I am saddened that around this day of remembrance that type of hatred even made news. If you follow me on Twitter, you know exactly where I stand in reference to the mosque and the "pastor"...

As noted above, I (as an outsider, meaning I had no immediate family or friends that died in the attack) still feel the pain of September 11, 2001. I feel it like it happened yesterday- not 9 years ago. What I wish for America is that we not only remember the pain but we remember and hold tightly to the hope that we shared after the attack. Remember the determination to show why America is such a great country; the bonds that we shared with those in our neighborhood, our city, state, region. Remember the pride you felt when honoring all the first responders, that hope that gave you butterflies when you saw the firemen from your city packing up food and supplies and driving to NYC to help anyway they could. Remember those tears you cried when all news stations played the National Anthem, while panning out on New York neighborhoods with flags on every doorstep. Remember that something horrendous happened and our country banded together and got through it. Remember that it was (and is) our similar qualities that makes us a working unit and our differences that make us unstoppable. Remember. Remember. Remember.

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