Archive for March, 2009

Capitalism at it’s finest

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on March 29, 2009 by klysha

The whole country is in a financial mess and all anyone seems to want to do is blame burn someone in effigy for it.   There has never been a worse time to be a bank executive or CEO of a multbillion dollar corporation. In a recent poll*, banking executives beat out crack dealers and peddlers of children on the list of most reviled professionals.

bankamericaceospeaksmortgagelendingcrisis09aikh-ip1kl

 

Stealer of homes, futures, hopes and dreams

nino_brown1

 

Ambitious small business owner

 

It’s so unfortunate, and I really hate that a bunch of people are losing their homes, and jobs, and are unable to retire as a result of this situation. But let’s be real. People were buying fabulous houses that were doubling in equity every six months. HGTV had everyone thinking they were real estate investors. Jim Cramer had everyone thinking it was a good idea to bet the farm in the stock market. Jeans were averaging $100-$150 a pair. Something had to give!

Booooo Yahhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!

Booooo Yahhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!

All the while our government was removing all oversight and accountability from the banking industry and the banking industry was merging and consolidating themselves into a handful of mega-financal Super Wal Marts. The result:  a handful of people with nobody watching them holding the nations economic future in their hands.

Given this scenario there could be a couple of different outcomes.

Outcome #1

Despite the lack of oversight, the banking executives responsibly manage funds by taking reasonable risks and experience modest but sustainable growth.

Outcome #2

Seeing the opportunity to rake in unbelievable riches by making a few tweaks in banking policies, the banking executives turn the banking industry into a gigantic roulette table and make outrageous bets with ridiculously thin capital to back up the bets.

So what do you think happened?

Welcome to Vegas Baby!!!!!!!!!

Welcome to Vegas Baby!!!!!!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

So now our government is forced into an imposible catch 22. Sit back and do nothing and watch the economy fail or make hasty decisions to pump billions of dollars into the problem that may or may not help the situation.  All because the economy is dangling at the mercy of a bunch of companies that are “too big to fail.”

Perhaps that’s the heart of the problem. Why should banks be allowed to grow to a point where, if they should fall prey to poor management decisions and greed, millions of peoples finances hang in the balance? And if they are allowed to get that big why shouldn’t someone be watching to make sure they are doing the right thing for the people who depend on them? Why should our banking industry even be a part of the legal gambling racket that is the stock market? And why should people be fed the idea that they can make a mint just by sitting back and letting people play with their money? Maybe instead of fixing an obviously fatally flawed system someone needs to sit back and rethink the system entirely. Maybe capitalism as we know it isn’t so perfect afterall.  

There’s a slight chance that we all got too greedy, and the more money we had access to the greedier we got. But perhaps this economic crisis will serve as an opportunity for people to try to learn to live more simply, do more with less and learn to appreciate the little things in life. 

Or maybe we’re all just biding our time until they fix this thing so we can cash out our home equity to buy a luxury boat and some designer jeans to wear on it like the good old days**.

 

*Poll was completely unscientific and consisted of only one imaginary participant.

**By good old days I mean days that people other than me or anyone I know personally were experiencing, but that we were all dreaming about.

They say it’s just hair

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on March 23, 2009 by klysha

On June 6, 1995 I made a decision that has changed my life for the past 13 plus years. On that day I sat in a beauticians chair and chemically altered my hair for the first time. It was two days before my high school graduation and to mark my transition into adult life I thought it was appropriate to transition from what I at the time considered to be baby hair to the grown up world of relaxers. I was probably the last of my peers to make this transition so I felt like it was a long overdue rite of passage that I was no longer being denied.

Fastforward almost 14 years and I barely remember what my naural hair texture is. 

When I was growing up the the deep and dirty south I was taught to believe that straight  was the right way to wear your hair…so by the time I was a pre-teen I was suffering through same the bi-weekly ritual that most black have girls suffered through at some point….. the dreaded pressing chair.

the hair identity crisis starts early

the hair identity crisis starts early

I believed that the only way to wear my hair was straight even though the hair that grew out of my head clearly was not straight. So I suffered through the bondage of burning hair grease in a smoky kitchen every two weeks just so I could enjoy about 24 hours of straight silky hair. And that was in the winter time. In the summer it was so hot and humid in Mobile that all that effort usually went to waste within 45 minutes of stepping out the door.  

The day I got my first relaxer I left the hair dresser feeling free. Finally I could wear my hair down for more than one day. When I walked in to graduation rehearsal the day after I got my first perm a couple of my classmates were in awe of my long straight newly permed hair. Most of them had only seen me with my hair pulled back into a pony tail.

creamy crack application

creamy crack application

Of course the reality was that I wasn’t really freed that day. I only traded one form of bondage for another. Now instead of a bi-weekly holding my ear and trying not to jump when I felt the heat off the comb bondange, I was in creamy crack application every 6-8 weeks bondage.  All because I still believed the only way to wear my hair was straight.

 

After all of these years of textural alteration I would love to just go back to my roots and reacquaint myself with my natural hair texture.  Unfortunately a relaxer isn’t something that you can just reverse. To go natural I would have to either wait for enough new growth to come in and cut off all of the relaxed hair and go short, or I could keep the relaxed hair and press the natural hair until I have enough natural hair to cut off the relaxer. But either way it requires cutting off the relaxed hair and some wait time. Unless I shave my head…which is a non option.

I have numerous issues to overcome before I can take the plunge into naturaldom.

1) I don’t know how to take care of my natural hair. The last time my hair was truly natural (i.e. not getting pressed or permed) I was in elementary school wearing plaits.

2)  My mom and most of Alabama thinks its a little radical to wear natural hair….I know…that sounds a little crazy if you live in a more progressive area….why would wearing your hair the way it grows out of your head be radical….but in Alabama they haven’t quite embraced the natural thing yet….  my mom of course was the main one who didn’t want me to get a perm in the first place…right behind my grandmothers…neither of whom have relaxers…wearing my hair natural might be the first “radical” thing I do….if I do it….hmmm 

3) What if I go to the trouble to go natural then get bored and miss my straight hair…would that mean I don’t love myself or something?

4) I’m really afraid of cutting my hair short so I’d have to go with option B and do a gradual transition. But what if the hair at the point where I have two textures is weak and breaks and I’m forced to cut my hair short….and then I discover that I look like a 13 year old boy with short hair…and then instead of getting approached by attractive eligible guys I get approached by gay pedofiles….I’m tripping I know but it could happen!

Aside from all my issues I’m probably a perfect candidate for natural hair since I don’t like styling my hair, and I’ve never really taken full advantage of all the things you can do with permed hair anyway. I guess I need the right hair dresser who can teach me how to properly care for my hair to give me the push. Of course I would imagine that most hair dressers would have little incentive to push anyone to abandon expensive chemical treatments every 6-8 weeks. So what’s a girl to do?

There must be a support group or something I can join…Any advice????

In Honor of St. Patricks Day – Revisiting the Leprechaun

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on March 17, 2009 by klysha

Happy St. Patricks day to all my Irish Peeps! Especially those of you over in the land of Eire getting low…(see my last

To me it looked like a leprechaun to me

To me it looked like a leprechaun to me

post).

In honor of the holiday I thought I’d pay tribute to some magically delicious shenanigans that took place in my home town a few years ago.   I’ve probably watched this video a hundred times and it still cracks me up.  Enjoy the YouTube post below.

Anybody seen a Leprechaun say yeah!!!!!!!!

For those unfamiliar with this story** this was a real news story that aired on WPMI in Mobile a few years ago about the commotion that was caused in the Crighton community over some alleged sightings of a creature that was described as a leprechaun in a tree.  The brilliance of this piece is the fact that it’s unclear whether this is a well orchestrated joke or whether the people actually believe there is a leprechaun living in a tree. The video went viral and resulted in songs, T-Shirts, and webpages in it’s honor. To date this is my all time favorite viral video.

** What kind of rock were you living under back in 2006 when this came out????

Ghetto culture touches the world

Posted in Music, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on March 15, 2009 by klysha
Makes music that's more popular than the Beetles?????

Makes music that's more popular than the Beetles?????

I was talking to my brother today and he quoted a statistic that was just unbelievable to me. He claimed that friend of his read that a song by Flo Rida was the most popular song in the world ever. Really ever? So your friend believes Flo Rida made a song that beat out Happy Birthday and everything ? Of course the researcher in me was not about to take a third hand statistic like that as fact without doing some verification.  As I expected the statistic that the guy reported was slightly off since he failed to put a very relevant qualifier in front. But the real statistics were still pretty amazing to me. Apparently the single “Low”  by Flo Rida was the best selling digitally downloaded song to date* with over 4.5 million downloads.  It held the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 longer than any other song in 2008. And get this… It went #1 on the charts in Australia, Canada, Ireland, and New Zealand, France, and Thailand. It was also in the top ten in several other countries. Ireland????

What I think of when I think of Irish girls dancing

What I think of when I think of Irish girls dancing

I wonder if Flo Rida had any idea he’d have the Irish Lassies and the girls down under getting low when he made that song. The success of stuff like this is a testament to the influence that urban culture has not just on America, but on the entire world.

On one hand I see where people who complain about the images of black culture that the rest of the world get exposed to are coming from. In far too many cases these are the only images of black American culture that some of these people have. But on the other hand it shows that young black kids have real power because the whole world watches to see what they like.  Maybe someone needs to figure out how  this power can be used for the good of the black community instead of complaining about it?

 I also think it’s hilarious how so many non-black people critisize  “ghetto culture” while their kids are posting videos of themselves on Youtube getting low low low low.

At any rate I get excited when someone unexpected has a global impact. We saw what happened with Soulja Boy and Crank Dat. Whether you love the song or hate it you have to give the kid credit for the global impact his song had. Even prisoners in the Phillipines were Cranking that Soulja Boy. I can’t wait to see what the next ghetto thing to go global will be.

Will we see videos’ of kids in the villages of India doing the Stanky Leg?
* Apparently this stat is based on U.S. sales or maybe songs made in the U.S. because the actual number 1 most downloaded song in the world is a song by a Japanese girl that had over 7 million downloads in Japan. If something is number one in an Asian country with all those people you may as well say it’s number one in the world. Even if the rest of the world has never heard of it.
 

Getting real about racism Part II

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on March 10, 2009 by klysha

I talked about racism in my last post because, as everybody is painfully aware, with the election of Obama, talk about racism started blowing up the airwaves. I think everyone hoped that electing a black president would be the beginning of the end of racism and we’d all be holding hands and singing cumbaya by now. 

Not quite there yet.....

We're not quite there yet.....

 Of course it seems to have, at least initially, had the opposite effect since it has given racists a whole new array of forums on which they can identify themselves. A quick look at the comments section of articles about just about ANYTHING will let you know that there is still an abundance of cyber-racists lowering the bar on dialogue for everyone.  Fortunately most racists of today, especially cyber-racists, are an easily dismissible nuisance. The problem is most black people haven’t learned how to ignore them effectively. Most people who post inflammatory remarks, or bake inflammatory cookies, or draw inflammatory comics are just starved for attention. They know the stuff they say is going to piss a bunch of people off.

Yet every time this happens black people do the same thing. We reward the attention seekers with our undivided attention.

I would let this topic go but I got a text message today from a very good friend telling me to boycott Barnes and barnes_noble_display_smNoble. Apparently my friend was not satisfied with the appology given by the manager of the store for the unfortunate monkey book prank that was played using their display window. I did not hear this appology so I can’t speak on it. But regardless of what they said I have no plans to boycott or encourage others to boycott Barnes and Noble or any other place that contributes to increasing literacy.  My feelings on it are yes the store probably could have done a better job of monitoring their display window and yes the manager could have groveled for the forgiveness of all black people for their negligence. But is this a real issue that deserves my energy? I don’t think so. And what would be accomplished by punishing Barnes and Noble  for this anyway?

Will punishing Barnes and Noble for an incident non-incident that they are probably not even really responsible for contribute to the end of racism? Probably not.

Will giving national attention to a stupid prank encourage other pranksters to pull attention grabbing racist stunts then turn the evidence loose on the internet? Much more likely….

I was reading the comment section of a blog about this incident and saw how upset a lot of people got over this thing. One person said they had just gotten a B&N gift card, but after they heard about this incident they threw their gift card in the trash. Yeah that’ll show em!! Give them some free money! Hello the gift card was already paid for!!! Just like most knee-jerk reactions to incidents like this, this was an example of reasoning with your emotions rather than your head.

As a people we seem to wear our emotions on our sleeves. And as long as we make it known that this is the way to get to us, people will keep doing stuff like this. When you think about it does it really matter if someone thinks  black people are monkeys? Someone thinking it doesn’t make it any truer than me thinking white people don’t have rhythm* makes that a fact. Black people need to stop being so crippled by what other people think of us and focus our energy on being all the wonderful things that we actually are.

*Okay there is documented evidence to back this up all over You Tube so there is a possibility that at least in most cases this is a fact. But who cares whether I think most white people can’t dance.  Obviously some of them can. I saw America’s Best Dance Crew. Besides I told y’all I was predjudiced  in my last post.

Let’s be real about racism

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on March 2, 2009 by klysha

Just as I predicted, now that we have a black president, the racially motivated comics and jabs have been flowing in non-stop.  And just as I expected people are getting  up in arms about things that, in my opinion, really don’t matter that much. Here are just a few notable examples.

monkeycomic

watermelon

Cookies baked in "honor" of Obama's election

Cookies baked in "honor" of Obama's election

Now as a black person I guess I’m supposed to be shocked, appalled , or at the very least outraged by these comics.  I’m not. What I do find shocking is how people seem to react with amazement every time someone comes out with one of these.  I liken it to a baby playing peek-a-boo who is shocked and amazed every time the person they’re playing with’s face reappears from behind their hands.

Oh my God people are still racist!!! I can't believe it!!!

Oh my God people are still racist!!! I can't believe it!!!

Here’s a newsflash that might come as a shock to a lot of people. It’s so shocking that any political aspirations I might have had before typing this might be shattered by these next few sentences. Okay here we go. Ahem….Most people on some level are at least a teensy bit prejudiced about people of other races.

Now I’m really going to put the last nail in the coffin of my political aspirations. The “most people” described in the statement above includes me.  I would be as dishonest as most politicians if I came out and said the following: I’m totally not prejudiced. I don’t even see color.   I would never laugh at a racial joke.  **

So since most people are at least prejudiced of course some people will take it to the next level to outright racism. With that said I’m never surprised when I see racist jokes and comics come out. Although I am sometimes surprised by the lack of business savvy and/or public relations expertise exercised by some of the more high profile parties that put out some of this material. But hey, everyone does or says stupid things sometimes so whatever.  For the most part I for one am not offended by racist jokes (especially if they are funny), and even when I am offended I at least respect the people who make them’s right to free speech in this country. While I’m pretty hard to offend, I also respect peoples right to get offended about whatever they want to. ( Now racist actions are a totally different ball park. The parties involved in such acts get no sympathy from me when justice is served. But that’s another post for another day. )

All of the three jokes illustrated above resulted in some form of public outrage. The first attracted the attention of the official spokesperson for all African American outrage, Mr. Al Sharpton, and resulted in boycotting of the NY Post. The second resulted in the resignation of a California mayor. The third resulted in demonstrations outside the New York Bakery responsible for baking these commemorative cookies as well as threats to burn down the shop etc. Obviously the public is still engaged in an ongoing game of peek-a-boo with racism.

Other than a general feeling of  indifference, here are my personal feelings on these three examples. 1) None of these jokes was particularly funny to me. (If you’re going to make a racial joke at least make it funny!) 2) All three of these cases appear to be bigger demonstrations of stupidity than they are of racism.  Newspapers are suffering right now and it seems pretty stupid to toe the line like that in this economy. Or perhaps they were just gambling big that a little controversy might attract new readers to their publication. In that case maybe the folks at the NY Post were smarter than I think. But something tells me that the widespread boycott of their paper isn’t helping sales. The watermelon patch at the white house was just a stupid email forward and I think it’s ridiculous for the mayor to lose his job over it.  I get a flood of email forwards every day. If I wasted energy being outraged every time something mildly offensive was in one I’d be tired all the time. But a mayor is a public servant so he just needed to be smarter about his. And the baker who made those cookies is obviously an idiot who no longer wants to be in business. I’m not sure how his business is doing after the incident but I doubt that  angry demonstrators outside your doorstep is a big sales booster.

So the moral of this story is racism is still a fact of life, but it’s just not economically viable. We have this fabulous right to free speech in America that I will always stand up for.  But sometimes free speech has consequences.  Most people recognize this. That’s why most people who want to remain employed don’t go in to work and tell everyone how they really feel.  But obviously there are still some people who have to learn this the hard way.

**I plan expand on this in a future post….stay tuned.