Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I'm not sure what happened to this woman, but she can do nothing else in her beautiful life, and I'll still love her for this song alone:

I would like to publicly apologize to my beloved mother-in-law for the comments I made about her husband yesterday. She mentioned to me that her husband was a great and prolific poet, and in response I told her that I respected poetry, but they frustrated me as well, because I never know what's going on, and they always seem to have an infinite number of interpretations. I also added the I consider poems to be the handjobs of writing--meaning they leave you feeling slighted and wanting more (and yes I can talk to my mother-in-law like that, because she's cool and we have an understanding).

Still, I owe her an apology, because the previous reasons don't truly represent why I poems bother me so much. The TRUE reason I can't stand poems is that every time I read one, I hear it like its being read in Maya Angelou's sweet baritone, and that throws everything off, and I can't take it seriously...

Am I jealous of people who can write beautiful poems? Perhaps. Do I read poems and then feel like I need cliff notes? Hell yes. Do my mother and some good friends of mine, get sick of me slamming poems? You bet your sweet ass they do. But back to my original point..if you're reading mother-in-law, please accept my apology, and forgive my fleeting ignorance--along with my annoying rhetorical questions.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I remember coming home in the summer of 1996, and hearing my mother give me the great news that she had a new boyfriend. She arranged an elaborate meeting among the three of us, and she gave me a speech about being nice, respectful and fair--all traits that I possessed back then. You see a year earlier, I met my mother's previous boyfriend, and I immediately thought that he was gay--not that anything is wrong with that. My mother denied it and got upset with me for not being over the split of her and my father. I told I was over it but her man definitely had the gay, and she was upset. A year later, my mother called me when I went back to college, and told me that this guy was indeed gay. I took no pleasure in saying I told you so.

Anyway, on this particular occasion, I ended up going to lunch with my mom and her new boyfriend, and this guy was definitely not gay. He was a Vietnam vet, he was Mr. Testosterone, and worst of all for me, he cursed all the time. Mind you, back then (and now) my mother was an extremely religious woman woman who never cursed, so to hear this guy doing his best sailor impression in front of her, was a shock to the system. Not to mention, I have this delusional notion that older men--especially one who wants to be involved with my mother--should carry themselves in a classy, regal manner. What you do behind closed doors or when younger folks are not around is certainly not my business, but if I'm in your presence, pull yourself together and be classy or fake like you are. My father carries himself like that, and right or wrong, that's the standard I hold older men to. There are plenty of men in my life who have no problem upholding that standard, and this guy my mother was courting clearly was not one of them.

Six months later my mother married this years later they were divorced. His drinking habits, his inability to deal with my mother making way more money, and other things I won't mention, eventually caused the split. My mother told me she ignored the signs because she thought she was in love. Again, I did not say I told you so, because I knew she was hurt, and Lord knows I wasn't even close to perfect i the relationship department. But I was glad that guy was out of the picture, because he rubbed me the wrong way, and I lost respect for him after that initial, expletive-filled meeting. That was awfully judgemental of me I know, but come on, I'm biased when it comes to a man dating my father too for that matter.

Why am I mentioning this? Someone I recently met, who is a pastor and has told me how deeply religious he is, was cursing up a storm yesterday. I'm not sure how I feel about it and I don't know he stands with me in the respect department. I know he's a man, and he's human and all the rest of those b.s. cliches we sometimes throw out to do what we want sans accountability, but he's also a man of the cloth. And if you come to me and say you're a pastor, and if you tell me you'll pray for me, and you give me unsolicited advice on how I should live my life in His name, then goddammit, you shouldn't be cursing like Kool G Rap in his prime. Maybe I'm wrong here, and if I am it wouldn't be the first, second or third time..but it was on my mind...

Saturday, November 26, 2011

And now, making his third appearance on my blog via video, my son Carlton. While I was at work on Friday, he spent the day with some friends of his, and I got wind of a picture he drew while he was over I asked him about it:

Friday, November 25, 2011

When I was 14, I do believe I was the epitome of awkward. I was short, skinny, in the marching band, on the newspaper staff, unable to make any of the athletic teams, and I got no girls. It wasn't as if I wasn't interested or my young loins weren't burning, yearning for some interaction, it was just that I had nothing to offer them at that time. I lived vicariously through my boys who had women, I continued to get lost in my love for sports, and I was placed in the friend zone (the high school version) by all types of attractive girls who thought nothing of me. I'm not saying this to get any sympathy, I'm just saying this was a stone, cold fact during that time.

**As an aside, while I am typing this my co-worker came into my office, didn't ask if I was busy, and sat his ass in my chair, and just commenced to talking about his weekend, his Black Friday experience, and other bullshit that I really don't give a good goddamn about. Its not that I don't like the guy because I do, I just a)don't like when people come into my office and just unload on me and b)don't give me at least 15 minutes to get myself together (read: blog) when I get in--especially on a day after a holiday. And, just to piss me off, a second co-worker has come in asking about my holiday..can't they see I'm busy? Perhaps I need to pull a George Costanza and look angry so that folks will leave me alone early in the morning.**aside off

My son, who is in town for this Thanksgiving "holiday", is the completely opposite of me at 14 years old. I have watched young girls flock to him, and he just acts like its no big deal--which of course makes them want him more. I asked him if he had or wanted a girlfriend, and he said, "No not right now, the girls will be there." I may as well have talking to Denzel F. Washington, instead of a 14 year old high school freshman. Although I don't believe this stance will last very long, and I sure as hell don't know where it came from, I admire it. I'm sure it doesn't hurt that his voice has deepened, he's taller than me (he's 5'10", I'm 5'9"), and he's lost all his baby fat. I'm thinking yet another sex talk is in order..

Monday, November 21, 2011

I don't have much to say this Monday morning, and I really wasn't going to write a damn thing. Then my co-worker came in this morning, and provided me with the comic relief/inspiration that I needed to write.

He has on a maroon shirt, dark slacks and black shoes, and that sounds like a respectable work outfit right? WRONG..AND WRONG AGAIN. Although my man only has one button undone on his shirt, I see way more chest hair than I care to see when I'm in a non-tropical/beach environment. There's no t-shirt, no tactufully placed top button, and apparently no razor in sight for him to cut it down a bit. There's just chest hair, and one open button, and frankly I'm longing for some Magnum PI reruns. I want to tell him, but honestly, what do I say?

Friday, November 18, 2011

So today after I enjoyed a few tasty happy hour beverages, I happened to run into an underground wrecka stow. Now I bought a record player a few years back, and for awhile I was doing a good job of purchasing quality hits on vinyl. But soon the baby and other pressing personal needs were more important, my vinyl collection fell a bit by the wayside. But today I was inspired enough to buy four good records:

1)Mos Def and Talib Kweli Are Black Star (the instrumental): This remains one of my favorite albums of all time, and now I can pretend I'm going to write my own rhymes over the classic beats..

2)2pac - I Wonder If Heaven Got A Ghetto 12": This wasn't even in my top 10 favorite 2pac songs list, but this song does have sentimental value. I first heard it the day I got my first teaching job back in 1997. I was 22 and as altruistic as one can get.

3)Hall and Oates - H20: This album has Maneater and One on One, which is enough to reel you in alone. But there are other gems on here like "Open All Night" and "Crime Pays". Plus the cover of this album just looks intense

4)Miles Davis - My Funny Valentine Live in Concert: I really don't need to explain why I'm buying a Miles Davis record. Just know that I WILL be playing this on Sunday morning while I cook breakfast for the wife..

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Do you realize that young Melvin will be here in a little more than a month? Soon this blog will go from me writing my mundane musings about the ignoramuses I come in contact with on a day-to-day basis, to real, live observations about this little man who will occupy our home (and I won't pull a Bloomberg and kick him out). We've found a daycare, I begrudgingly bought a car (which is a pain living where I live in DC), we've looked at strollers, and all kinds of baby things, and the fact that I'm going to be father again is slowly starting to hit me--in a good way of course.

Last night while the lady and I were watching Archer (my hyperlink function isn't working right now, but google it. Its an adult cartoon that is hilarious and shout out to Nichole for recommending it) and I literally felt the baby moving from side to side. I don't know whether he was moving his ass or his ankles, but he was causing quite a ruckus in there, as if to say, "Man I've had enough of this sh*t, I need to be free, I need to be on the breast (I can relate), and I need to see all the stuff I've been hearing in this damn womb."

I wanted to tell him that I can't wait for him to be freed either..and then I wanted to add that I need him to stay in there, so I can try and get laid as many times as possible before he messes it all up. I'm sure he'd love to hear that, as most kids do. I'm rambling horribly, but this is my long-winded way of saying that I'm excited, I'm ready and I plan on being knee deep in some trim this weekend (you've been warned wife).

Also, a big shoutout to my 26 year old co-worker (who I'm sure had googled me and found this blog) for bearing with me while I explained who the hell the D.O.C. made feel old, but at least you learned something in the process.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I realize these self-congratulatory stories about the amount of restraint I've shown in any given situation is a bit annoying. But a)I was once in therapy for my anger, so these are continual success stories and b)What the hell else am I supposed to write about? Anyway..

As I've probably mentioned before, the wife and I get our groceries delivered. She doesn't mind the grocery store, but she doesn't always have time to get there during the week or the weekend. I can't stand going in the grocery store and waiting in line, and the delivery route is just so damn convenient. You can finalize your grocery list online one night, and BAM, your food is there the next morning. Plus, I can still get my fruits and veggies at the farmer's market down the street. Win-Win.

So on Sunday night I ordered groceries and scheduled my delivery between 6 and 7pm. My wife usually gets home at 5:30, so the 5 to 6 window was too risky. And it just so happened on this night, the wife had to pick up our wedding pictures (and if you come over to our house we will SO have a big production around showing you the pics and making you comment whether you want to or not--that's how we get down)so she was also scheduled to get home around 6, so I knew we were covered.

Now mind you, the wife and I usually order groceries via Peapod but every now and then I switch it up and use Safeway, which is what I did yesterday. Peapod has less selection, but they are cheaper and always on time. Safeway has much more of a selection but they are NEVER on time..I mean sometimes they are up to an hour late, but I rarely complain. I went with Safeway this time.

So around 5:45, as I'm on my way home, I get a call from the Safeway delivery guy telling me he's out in front of my house. I checked the time on my cellphone, and then I kindly informed him that I was still en route, but I'd check to see where my wife was. He loudly sucked his teeth in my ear, and hung up without reacting to what I said, but I let it slide. I called my wife and she wasn't close, so I called the dude back and informed him that I'd be there by 6pm--which is the damn time I chose. The following phone conversation went down:

Me: My wife isn't home, but I'll be there by 6pm, I'm 3 minutes away
Him: 3 minutes away huh?
Me: Yeah 3 minutes
Him: I'm going to have to hold you to that man, I have other deliveries to make
Me (wanting him to repeat that dumb shit again): Say it again?
Him: I gotta hold you to that, I got other deliveries this evening

I hung up the phone at this point because I didn't want to say anything mean to the guy who had my food in his hands, plus I was close enough to see him in front of my house. When I got there, he didn't say hello, he just shook his head repeatedly, slammed my bags of food all over the place, didn't acknowledge my wife who walked in behind him, even after it was CLEAR she and I knew each other, then he shoved the pen and the paper in my face for me to sign the receipt. And even then he had this scowl on his face and he was STILL shaking his head like he was just so damn annoyed.

I wanted to ask him if there was a problem, I wanted to yank his locs and slam his head into the door, and I wanted to ask him to carry my groceries up to my apartment like I usually do. Instead I used restraint, signed for my groceries, said thank you and went up to my apt with my smiling wife. Still, how are you gonna be 10-15 minutes early AND demanding, when I have clearly paid for a delivery at a certain allotted time. Either you call and wait until 6, or politely ask me how close I am, but you can't get indignant and impatient, because you're early and can't tell time...or am I wrong here?

By the way, this song has nothing to do with what I've written, I just can't get it out of my head--and yes I realize Dolly's cameltoe is on full blast, but that's not why I'm posting this..

Sunday, November 13, 2011

My friend Janelle, who writes this blog right here (not nearly as often as she should, but who am I to talk right?) has her own website geared towards greeting cards and event stationary. Check it out if you get a chance.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Joe Paterno was fired tonight, but a year ago in this NY Times article, he spoke about why that terrified him.
I've directly and indirectly written about death twice this week already, so as much as I respect Heavy D, I don't have it in me to write about that anymore. Instead I will write about subject that no one seems to be touching on (no pun intended) and that is Herman Cain.

Now, I suspect Herman copped a feel or two (and maybe he even sang about it afterwards), and it is being made into a big deal but I don't know for sure. Let me repeat, I don't know for sure, because I was NOT there. But I will say this..if I was a politician and I was single, do you think I'd be throwing my weight around to feel up on some nice, attractive women? Do you think I'd be begging or (over) extending myself at all, just to get unlimited access to some trim? Do you think I'd fraternize with "regular" women just to get my sh*t off? Hells no.

I would carefully examine the female landscape--aka the women who were free in the circles I ran in--see who I could and could not get with without losing my career, and then I'd enter into a mutually beneficial relationship with a nice lady who had as much to lose in the political realm as I did. And then we'd wear each other out and put "it" on one another for as long as we possibly could. Then when we were done or when we were bored, we would walk away with our careers and dignities fully intact. If we were questioned, we'd both deny it and give Fox, MSNBC, and everyone in between the middle finger. Little boys, married women, waitresses, people below my "status", etc wouldn't even be in play for me if I was Herman Cain's (or any politician for that matter) position.

As my father tells me from time to time, "Rashad, life is easy, its just our questionable decisions that make it hard" (again the pun is not intended). I've learned this lesson the hard way..

The word for the day is hard.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

When I was about 13 right up until I was 17, I used to sneak in my Dad's office (which was right next to his bedroom) to temporarily borrow (read: steal) all types of fun, fascinating items. Some days I would steal one of his many college sweatshirts to wear to high school. Other days I would steal music like the Jimi Hendrix Blues cassette or his Branford Marsalis Royal Garden Blues cd. I'm sure my father knew I was removing items from his office, and putting them in the wrong place, but he was nice enough to never say anything--thus enabling my thievery.

One day I was on a mission to steal something new, when I noticed some of his interesting reading material. My father had saved some old newspapers from significant dates in history like Nixon's resignation, Gerald Ford's inauguration, and Martin Luther King getting shot. I set all three papers aside to read, and then I saw two Sports Illustrated magazines buried in the corner. The first one read: End of Ali legend with Ali in the midst of falling from a devastating left hook from Joe Frazier, and the other one read: The Epic Battle with Ali making Frazier eat a right hand. I quickly stacked the magazines on top of the newspapers, and I prepared myself to pull yet another heist.

Unfortunately for me, two seconds after that, I heard the garage open, which meant my dad was home, and I had to attempt to put everything back in its place, and get the hell out of there. Before I went to bed that night, the magazines AND the newspapers were sitting on the desk in my bedroom, and I went to my dad's office. First I apologized for the theft, but he said not to worry about it, but to stop it immediately (I didn't). Then he proceeded to tell me stories about Nixon, about MLK, and most importantly (at least to me at that time) about the Ali/Frazier battles that he saw when he was in his early 20s. I was captivated and jealous all at the same time, and this was before I had ever seen tapes of those entire fights. Once I saw the fights, and combined them with stories I heard my dad tell, I felt like I had seen them live and in person.

So when I heard Joe Frazier passed away (while my Philadelphia Eagles were losing no less) I immediately wanted to call my dad to see if he maybe had one more story he had forgotten to tell me all this time. Unfortunately for me, it was 11:30pm and you don't call anyone that late unless there is family emergency. I'll call him this morning though..

Monday, November 07, 2011

Andy Rooney died on Saturday at the age of 92 after complications from surgery. Joe Frazier, 67, is weeks if not days away from death, due to the liver cancer he was recently diagnosed with. They are both considered to be giants in their fields, and just the mention of their names demands a certain degree of respect.

When Andy Rooney's death was reported, all kind of media outlets started off by saying that his death was a tremendous loss in the journalism field, and he would be sorely missed. I agree that his presence on 60 minutes will be a loss (as a side note, if you want to live longer than 80, 60 minutes is the gig for you..Morley Safer, Andy Rooney, and Mike Wallace have had their AARP cards since before I was even born), because I thoroughly enjoyed his parting shots. He was cranky and funny, and I'd like to think I am too, although I'm nowhere near as good as he was. But to think Rooney's death is a tremendous loss is absolutely ridiculous.

The man lived to be 92 years old..90 effing 2 years old. We had plenty of time to hear him, laugh with him, pick his brain, etc. In fact, considering most people are dead around 80 years old, we got EXTRA time with Mr. Rooney. So when someone like that dies, it isn't a loss, and it isn't sad, it is a celebration of his life. The only people who can legitimately be sad, are his family members and his immediate co-workers, since they will no longer interact with him. His fans? We should get over ourselves, youtube his clips, read his work, and get to know him even more posthumously.

Now Joe Frazier's inevitable, untimely devise? That is sad. 67 is too early to die, especially for a man who has lived much of his life in Muhmmad Ali's shadow. He needs some time (before he dies) to be thoroughly celebrated for his boxing achievements--much the way Negro leaguers have been celebrated during the past five years or so. Frazier should have been able to enjoy this celebration, only because he was tormented by Ali and others for so damn long. So if HE dies this week or soon thereafter, it is sad, its too soon, and it is a tremendous loss.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Here is my review of the movie Tower Heist (which I haven't seen) starting Eddie Murphy, Ben Stiller, Ferris Bueller, and other respective actors. I have no plans of seeing this movie, because I am furious at how unimaginative the writers were with their usage of Eddie Murphy--mind you this is simply based on the endless numbers of previews I have been watching for a little over a month now.

Eddie could have done this role in his sleep 30 years ago when he was a brash, cocky 20-year-old kid. In fact, this could have been the role that took him from star to superstar. But 50 year old Eddie does not need to do a movie where he portrays a criminal who is granted a release from jail just to lead a heist against a dude who swindled millions out of his employees. I'm upset with the writers for not taking a chance and putting Eddie in a different role, and I'm more upset with Eddie for taking it.

You know what would have been funny to me? If Eddie played the role of the guy who swindled folks out of millions, and scoffed at the notion of a group of people coming to reclaim what was rightfully theirs. or, I'd have been cool withe Eddie playing the Ben Stiller role as the man who rounded up the troops and organized the heist. But to see Eddie play a role that he mastered, perfected, and basically created, is just annoying and lazy. Eddie should know better--however, if this bullshit role leads to a big comeback, which leads to more substantive comedic and dramatic roles, then all is forgiven. Until that magical, mystical day, i will protest and forsake this movie.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Yesterday was my nephew Nazir's fifth birthday, and based on what his father told me, he did not have the best of times. You see young Nas has been sassing his teachers for the past couple of weeks, and despite the strong urging of his parents to switch up his behavior, he continued to misbehave. The day before his birthday, young Nas tried to straighten up and act right, in hopes that he could salvage some semblance of a birthday celebration. Not so much.

My brother opened all his gifts in front of him, and then took them away--I swear my brother and I are DEFINITELY products of my father's upbringing. I told my brother that if I was there, I'd have taken it one step further, and played with each and every one of those damn toys in front of him, with a huge smile on my face just to rub it in. That's how I get down. The silver lining here is that Nas gets great grades, he just doesn't act right, so that's not a bad trade-off.

Today also represents what would have been my parents 38th wedding anniversary, which ended in divorce in 1993 (that's 20 years if you're counting at home). My parents both try to act like this day is no big deal anymore, but they are liars. They are friends now, but I know this day is on both of their minds big time. I used to wish they were still married, so I had one place to go during the holidays. Now that I know them as people, not just parents, I realize there is no way in hell they could have made it this long, and I'm just happy they are both still here.

And now, the song that was played on that glorious day, 38 years ago:

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

When I was younger and in the dating world, I had the whole seal-the-deal routine down to a science. In case you're naive or selectively acting like you are, seal-the-deal is a politically correct code for getting the boo-tay (but I'm quite sure you knew that).

To seal-the-deal, I would offer to cook a dinner of salmon, asparagus and rice if I was feeling especially in a good mood. After dinner I would suggest that we watch the movie Love Jones while we drank Riesling (I don't drink that anymore, my pallet is too advanced), and then I'd sit back and wait for all of that goodness to work in my favor. It may seem diabolical, simple and just flat out dumb right now, but nine times out of ten, your judgement is colored with mature colored glasses. Either that, or you're just not tipsy(read: drunk) enough to truly appreciate the (pseudo) genius of it.

Now that I'm 36, married, allegedly mature, and a bit more learn-ed, I no longer have to resort to such guerrilla tactics just to get some of the sweet goodness. However, I realize some of you people are single, lonely or just flat out have no game (if you read the previous paragraph, you will understand that I was right there with you not too long ago), so I will attempt to lay out a tried and true method for you to get laid.

1) Take your significant other to a jazz club. It shouldn't be a big jazz club, but rather one with an intimate setting like the Blue Note in NY or Blues Alley in DC. You don't want your date to feel swallowed up by the venue, and a smaller venue will give you both the feeling that you know and see everyone. You can see other couples kissing, eating, drinking and swaying to the music and say, "Hey they are just like us!"

2) Drink wine (I'm a Merlot guy, but there are other out there)

3) Take your date to see Kurt Elling (tour dates listed here). He's smooth, his phrasing is beautiful, he's always dead-on pitch, and dammit, I've been telling you about his ass for three of the five and a half years I've been writing this damn blog. You owe it to me (and yourself) to check him out, and see why he will most definitely seal-the-deal for your ass. The wife and I saw him tonight, and it was great as usual

4) Take her to get dessert at a place other than a jazz club. I don't know what it is about going somewhere with the sole purpose of eating dessert, but it just feels adult. Sharing a fine dessert dish is an option, but if you're like me and you are selfish with your food, just get two damn dishes and share that way. And if the wine hasn't done any damage, this is your time to drink Amaretto or even a Port

That's it..that's the list. Just follow those four steps and you'll be doing the grown up and thanking me for the Blueprint. Of course, as with everything else, I am quite sure I am way off base with this one, so don't hold it against me.