Version 2.0

Culture, healing, politics and bullshit - Not necessarily in that order

The general, socio-political and very personal rantings and ravings of a hip hop head from the hood hustling for change... Of himself.

You all know me and are aware that I am unable to remain silent. At times to be silent is to lie. For silence can be interpreted as acquiescence.
—Miguel de Unamuno


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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Where Did Our Balls Go?


There. I put it here.

I wasn't going to comment much on this, in my mind I saw Serena doing what a lot of women in sports and entertainment do and while I do have an opinion on that I figured it's what 'they' do for whatever reason. Empowerment, influence, resume purposes, proof of sexiness/marketability, whatever. She's grown and she can do whatever she chooses, right?

I guess not.

It seems that African-American women cannot do what they please without asking certain caucasian folk for the proper permissions. People that look like me haven't carried freedom papers for a couple hundred years.

I thought I should mention that.

So I roam across the internet and see shit like "Serena Goes Ape" and "She's A Man, Baby" as article headlines. I guess the racist and insulting headers are supposed to be a message to the rest of folks that look like us. Now hey, I ain't one to get all up in yours about your opinion, but how many times must I keep reading about how fat or too muscular Serena is. She is an athlete and a pretty good one at that. She had conditioning issues like many athlete regardless of color but it seems that a lot of folk in white America and beyond resent folks like her, sister Venus and cats like Barry Bonds. It ain't the body type or the willingness to speak to the press, it's the fact that someone outside of your comfort level as far as race is concerned is dominating and it burns your ass.

When certain folks get the chance you know we'll hear about it... Right?

I know my sports history like many other sports buffs and I respect all of those that have come from wherever to set the bar and create standards that take decades sometimes to touch, but even I know that all records are meant to be broken. One day someone will come along with a skill level that will surpass all others. Same goes for science, entertainment and humanities or whatever. I believe the Creator doesn't discriminate about giving certain skills to random folks.

I recognize that and was taught to respect that and those that set the standards and those that come along and raise the bar. That obviously isn't taught on the other side of the tracks. I am also offended to the highest degree that I must overlook race and background when I recognize things like that. The double standard has never been tolerable over here in these parts.

Barry Bonds was hitting homers waaay before his hat size grew exponentially. More than 400 before he 'grew' at that. Never in my life have I heard the term 'cheater' used like this. There have been reports based on science that clearly state that performance enhancing drugs have no real bearing on the hand/eye skills necessary to hit a pitch from 60 feet coming damn near 100 miles per hour with a thin stick. What steroids does is cause regeneration, which could explain how Barry is 43 and still at the top of his game, but up until 2004 steroids were perfectly legal in major league baseball, and since his indictment in 2003, Bonds has tested clean in random surprise testing. I never saw anyone, including the commissioner of baseball (who points at Bonds as the reason people hate baseball) mentioning anything about steroids when all them homers were being hit a few years ago. Bonds has been tested vigorously since the federal indictment and dude is still the same size and has the same skill. I'm not saying he never took em', but...

Find another reason to hate this dude. You can't punish someone for something they did back in the day, especially when it was both allowed and ignored.

Whether you like Serena's style or look is up to you. From the look of that picture up there I do not see a fat, out of shape woman. I also see a champion. Some may like a woman with more musculature... It's up to you family. The thing I'm seeing is that racism is becoming much more blatant today than in latter years. Hateration based on race is more elevated than ever in 2007, and as a black man am I supposed to just look the other way when very commercialized companies, media outlets and their related com padres use derogatory and defaming narratives to describe a few of my people and still give my dollar? My time? My accolades?

Hell to the mutherfucking naw.

I'm more offended about how America is taking the Micheal Vick case in more than ever. When he was running around trying to avoid 300 pound lineman he was described as "the greatest show on turf". Now that he has been accused of harboring criminals by owning property, providing finances to said criminals and possibly attending dogfights and assisting in the termination of fighting canines it seems that certain folks are 'despised'. I got a chance to flip channels and see Nancy Grace, Anderson Cooper and folks of the like and the callers from the heartland of America really told us what they thought.

But Lindsey Lohan get a pass because of tremendous pressure. Oh, and that Baldwin cat still gets work after 9 rehab stints... Riiiight. Back in 1994 a drunk driver killed my friend but it's cool for starlets to drive under the influence... She was the shit in The Parent Trap!

Shiiiiiit.

The term 'monkey' to name one as wall as 'ape' and other wonder narratives were used in columns, blogs, responses and phone calls to TV shows to describe ol' Ron Mexico. What ever happened to innocent til proven guilty? Now even I know that a federal indictment is a hard one to shake (especially with a 95% conviction rate), but how does Michael Vick become public enemy number one banned from work when he's only been accused?

How much longer must I flip past the CNNs of the world and see the featured missing white woman of the week and hear absolutely nothing about my sisters? Has our value diminished that much to society in 2007 that we don't get equal play?

Why is it when a brown skinned person hits the headlines that person becomes a pariah? Will we ever hear anything about Tim Donaghy and how much of a cheating, lying bastard he is? Why is he getting a pass in the press? He did ref that pivotal game 3 in the West playoffs this year...

Did Scooter Libby just walk free?

Why are we just letting this double standard go on?
What ever happened to our standards?
Where are the balls in the African America community?

My people have been neutered and then pacified with cheap jewelry, alcohol and fake soothsayers that stole our drum. As much as I hate that we are still targeted I am still amazed that we are so silent and just go with the status quo.

I'm starting to believe what some of them say about us, being lazy and all. Sad thing is not many will agree in public with these words. I'm 3 weeks from calling the movement dead.


Prove me wrong.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Preventive Medicine

I'm well, getting rest and packing and readying myself for the road which comes in a few short weeks. I'm looking forward to getting back out. Nothing else is happening with the exception of me possibly hooking up on a few short term assignments to gain a little loot before I hit the roadways. I haven't come close to piecing together a thousand words like I did last week. Oh well. I have gotten a chance to sit in the quiet with the TV off and unplugged from the internet and that's always been a good thing but after watching TV last night, I realized one certain thing about myself:

I am in my late thirties and am diabetic, and this has become both a personal and political issue.

For everyone.

Now I do not 'suffer' from this disease because I do everything in my power to function well, nuff said. I took the time last night to watch the YouTube/CNN you askem' Democratic debates and I tell you, I was overwhelmed after watching and taking notes during the replay later that night.

33 percent of all Medicaid, medicare and disability claims in the last decade and a half were diabetes related. After further research I found that the number is higher, Anderson Cooper, a few of the candidates and a whole lot of the civilian question askers confirmed that 33% statistic and that scared the shit out of me.

There were more questions asked of these candidates about health care than war, partisan politics or the economy. I've always wanted to say this since I arrived here, "Houston, we've got a problem." One of the reasons that I wanted to bail from Big Oil was the fact that they did not offer health benefits as a part of my package, and with the great state of Texas as a right to work state, and no one has to offer healthcare and that scares me because purchasing the proper coverages has been some of the most difficult murk I've waded through since being down here. I really didn't have that problem in Utah or Illinois, but it ain't where you're from...

It seems that less than 20 percent of us here working legally in the US have the proper health care benefits we need for ourselves and our families and I ain't talking bout' my ass going to the VA (and I do) or the free clinic (is there still a free clinic?). KRS One said something pretty profound a decade or so ago:

"See we don't need nothing else... But health, wealth and knowledge of self!"

As a man of Afrikan descent, most of my people are lacking on all three. As an American, the health and wealth part is really lacking something serious. I need to ask you, how are you planning to retire and how will you get coverages in the coming years, especially when you know you need it? The pharmaceutical companies are banking doo doo dollars, the health care systems have more than enough loot in the booty to function for the next 300 years and hospital systems have mostly went private and can exclude sick folk (nee: BROKE) at will.

My question to you on this Tuesday is not what should Hillary, Edwards, Barack or Biden should do, it is simply this:

What are you doing NOW to have the coverages you need?
What contingency plan do you have for the shortage of social security benefits?
What plans do you have RIGHT NOW to take care of you if Alzheimer's or a debilitating stroke sets in?
What equity, investments and property are you banking on to pay the bills (if and) when you stop working?
Have you even given thought to that moment in time when you need the fruits of your labor?


And I'm talking right now. I have my plans... I am looking right now to invest in a few foreclosed properties (taxes) in Chicago to sublet out to build my net worth and have equity for my hair brained schemes. The change of employer is for me to afford better health care and purchase real property so I can fall back on this twenty/thirty years from now. I also am taking herbs and gravitating more towards a vegan lifestyle in order to live and function longer and stronger in my later years. I still go to the VA for preventive maintenance health wise. I have to, it's me dammit and I like my ass (and the rest of me too). From tax lien certificates, to herbalism, I have a plan to be well in more ways than one whenever my golden years reaches me, lord willing.

What in the hell do you plan to do?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Post 346: Progress

So yesterday started out good, it got even better by the time I hit the hay:

I accomplished 1000 words by 3pm.

I always wanted to do that but didn't have the nuts to stay in one place long enough. It's not that I don't have the discipline... I just thought that I was talented enough to get it done one day. I need at least 20 more days like yesterday in my arsenal to become a respected published author. Here's to more days where I grow enough balls to not eat, drink or surf/watch TV enough to care about my future and stroke some keys.

I held my job with SOPUS in high regard.

I got a call late evening that the initial offer I suggested Monday afternoon was not only rejected but my contract as a whole was scrapped. I am no longer an employee of Big Oil. Seems that the direction I wanted to travel in didn't go over well with upper management. I did let them know that I was to bail if my proposal didn't work out, so...

I get an opportunity to leave Texas earlier than expected and with my dignity. There is a way to tear up an unwanted contract, thank the lord!

This leaves me free to become a contractor again, but not broke. I got a few things to do today that'll keep a few bux in my pocket. It's a matter of timing and availability. I now have both in abundance. Plus, my trainer wanted me for 4 days the next few weeks and I didn't have that.

I did make a couple of calls to Chicago to let a couple of prospect/candidates know my services were available.

I got/left email with them cats in the Chi and looks like I'll have a handful of copies of their new album to place in a few mom and pop establishments here in Houston.

Funny how a few days changes one's perspective and outlook on things. I feared that I would be here in Texas beyond August, and that though scared me.

Looks like I'll do the blog thing Tuesdays and Thursdays from this point on.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Doors To Enter, Gates To Open

Most of you 'know' me:

My name is Hassan.

I am in my mid to late thirties.

I currently reside in Houston, Texas.

I work for SOPUS here in Houston.

Don't know? Look it up.

Mine is an important job.

I have a meeting today with my boss Michelle and a phone call with a man named Mike that will determine the rest of my life.

Seriously.

I am a writer.

I will also mention separately that I am a poet.

I thought I finished my opus "100 Shades Of Indigo" until it was edited and returned to me.

It threw me until recently.

I'm halfway done (again) with that project. I have done little since arriving in Texas to finish it.

I am working on finishing laying vocals and edits on a Hip Hop CD.

I only get sporadic chances to work on my music, my work schedule keeps me away.

I am also working with some cats in Chicago in efforts to distribute their album.

I blog 3 to 5 times a week.

I currently have 3 employers (contracts with two, agreed in principal with one Friday), but only work for one... For now.

I feel misplaced in Texas.

I read a lot of blogs and believe in the contact and community serious blogging brings.

Now comes the swerve...

I will no longer read all the blogs I read now. I will take more time to do what I consider more important things.

"100 Shades" will be finished in a newly agreed time line (says Morris Publishing).

After today, I will only have one employer.

Vocals and edits have now taken priority now that I am in a Pro Tools environment.

By close of business today I will have a Texas exit strategy (beat ya' G Dub!!!)

I will no longer blog 3 to 5 times a week.

I'm glad you come here to visit, but I understand now more than ever that my words (unless their being published and sold) have no merit, so I am submerging myself in activity... Actions to complete what needs to be completed, be where I'm most needed in business and where I want to be in comfort, and also serve a better purpose to myself and others in an effort to be more complete in my life.

I'm making myself whole y'all.

Don't wish me luck or give me accolades. Hell, don't even pray for me. Do nothing but watch me do my thing and nod your head like you know when you do read something here because you do and it makes sense. I'm the same cat, you're just going to see more 'ass and elbow' like mom used to say from a whole lotta' work.

I hope you do the same. It's almost closing time, what are you accomplishing?

Friday, July 13, 2007

Post # 344: Do You Know The Way Home?

So I've been back in Texas since Monday.

I didn't have to go in but I went straight to work from the airport, bags and all that day. My boss had already prepared for my absence by having two floaters on the ready and let me know when I was hanging out in Cincinnati waiting to get on the smallest jet ever.

So I work a partial day Monday and had Tuesday and Wednesday off, making yesterday my 'Monday'. I would have rather worked thru but I do not control my schedule. I'm glad I had those days off because all I could do is sleep off last weeks activities. All I really did was spend time with my brother for most of the week, spend an equal amount of time with my play sister and her son and my real sister and her family who was packing the house and was actually offered a ride back to Texas.

In between that I drove some friends to Wisconsin and went on a shopping excursion there, convinced a few folks to go to the Taste Of Chicago and the African-Caribbean Festival Of Life (both big events to me, went to the Fest twice) and got a chance to hang out (for like 3 days - we hit the lake front, hung out in a dark ass beer garden at odd hours of the night/morning and chilled over chili at his spot) with a close friend I haven't had a chance to hang out with in damn near 2 years. I got a chance to meet his other half and also introduced him to my home girl Millz who is an artist like he is. Here's to hoping that they mash up and do something that hangs in a gallery someday.

I hung out with my Pops Saturday and walked my ass of thru my old neighborhood (even went condo shopping and did a couple of interviews) and spent my Sunday night in my old park until the cops came and asked us to leave. I saw Transformers 3 times and probably slept that whole week between the hours of 4 to 7 am, so When I got back to Houston all I could do Tuesday and Wednesday was crash and regroup. And think about my place in the grand scheme of things.

You all know what towing the line or maintaining the status quo is, right?

Well, when I got back and got into the swing of things here in Texas the line hit me in the head and I think someone pinned the stat quo sign on me like back in the seventh grade. I realize that I'm being tolerated here and if I weren't already embedded in different ways, shapes and forms in Houston, it would have been expected for me to stay in Chicago. When I got back to work, folks were all smiles and conversational just like my boss said they'd be because she spoke with the fools that have beef with me during my absence.

All other aspects of being here is definitely folks and myself maintaining the status quo. And I know that ain't a good thing because it's hurting people. I am waiting for that moment where shit just builds up and the explosion of exclusion happens, so I prep for it by quietly throwing away unnecessary things and streamlining my belongings to make my transition easier. Because I spent a grip on plane tix, rental cars and such, I need to maintain this line for just a little while. Based on looks, non-looks and body language, I don't have much time.

I know that I need to move on in order for other folks to get on with their lives, and me coming back really feels like I took a step back in a sense. My original plan was to get to Chicago and stay there, but the job prospect wanted me to clear a few red tape hurdles effectively killing that plan. My plan on getting 'home' is not dead though. I think I can right all of the wrongs I caused by coming here to Houston in due time.

Things are cool because I have faith in myself to do what's right and be where I'm supposed to be. To quote another blogger:

"But, that's just not the only thing that's got me feeling all complex and tangled and stuff. I got some decisions to make that actually affect my entire circle. Ultimately it's my life but, when you go through life you have to know that your choices affect others. Sometimes its good and other times it is positive. But it affects people.

I realize that sometimes I can get so lost in my own stuff that I let people fall to the wayside. I am so sorry to my family(you know who you are) if you feel like I
haven't been there. Or, I am not listening but I am listening. I am here, so I will be looking for the call or email."

That's a Deep In Thought Moment. Take time to get over there and read her when you get a chance. Those 2 paragraphs fit me to a tee today.

So the remaining time I have here in Houston will be dedicated to doing what I think is the right thing, and that is going 'home'. Chicago hasn't been good to me and my family is dysfunctional as hell, but I think it's the right thing to do in going back and being there in the interim. I plan on getting back into a truck (sacrificing rent and house bills to pay for publishing and distribution) late summer/fall and basing myself out of someplace familiar, and Chicago is exactly that. Familiar.

Plus, I get to be close to my dad (we seem to be growing closer, imagine that) and although I have no relationship with my Mother, I hope to get to the day that we can have dialogue. I hate being so far away not being in contact. I won't be mad if something happens while I'm away and we're not talking, we've already made that choice, I would be mad if things aren't handled correctly. So I'd rather do that in life than in sickness and death, ya dig?

I found my mojo in the park on the South Side of Chicago. I pray it's still there waiting on me when I return.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

More Chicago Shots

I had to post a few more shots from my 'visit' to Chicago last week. I really enjoyed myself beyond a few family follies. I thought I'd have enough time to do all the things I wanted to and see all of those I wanted to see but no. I tried to do what I could given the time I had.

I really appreciate my city and it's beauty. Take a glance at these shots and remember, you can click on them to make them larger to really get some detail. I'm headed back to the Chi in about a month or so on a few follow ups music-business-wise and of course I got a few interviews to do as well.


Enjoy.
I thought I'd throw in another shot from the Taste Of Chicago... Damn all them people and that heat!

I ran across a few hemp heads lobbying for weed equality and selling some cool ass T-shirts

I had to throw my skyline in there again. Had to. Still impressive and comforting

These cats have had a Cricket league in my old neighborhood park for more than 30 years. See that building back there? I grew up a few houses down from there most of my childhood into young adulthood.


Another beautiful shot of the Chicago skyline from 20th Street and California Avenue at about 5:30 am

You Know Who You Are

We have your IP address... you've done this twice today from the same location (silly, you're supposed to use dynamic IP addresses when spamming someone's blog/website).

You came thru Negrophile twice.

76.225.158.08

I have reported you to HPD's Digital Forensics Unit.

I no longer have to ask you to stay off of my blog due to your digital signature and trail left.

Get your own blog to state your views like the rest of us. Blogger is free ya' know?

Monday, July 09, 2007

Back In Effect

Yeah, so I went to Chicago for a week.

It was okay.

I mean, I made it safely there and back and I saw most of the people I wanted to sit and break bread or exchange words over a cup of java, but there are glaring non-connections that I wish happened. I also got a chance to get to a ball game, a few festivals and romp around a few places I used to haunt back in the day. I am sorry that I didn't get a chance to see a few folks...

I didn't get a chance to hook up with my home girl from BigPoshSpoiledTrustFundBaby University. We spoke and exchanged pleasantries over the phone during the week, and I had a book I picked up for her to read that I was to deliver but... Timing was off and we just didn't get that chance to connect.

I didn't see or speak to my older brother. It was funny because no one has his phone numbers (he keeps changing them) but his kids can get picked up by various family members so they could to go to their cousin's birthday party. I guess he didn't want to be bothered because although there was effort on my behalf and he knew I was in town, no effort was made from his direction...

My main man Mike. What happened dude? Your number changes or goes out of service the day I get there when we spoke the day before? No email or texts? Smoke signals or carrier pigeons? Wow.

Me and DJ Mornin Man had schedule conflicts, and the event planned on Monday night got shut down due to cats fighting. We didn't get a chance to get together.

Other than that, I had a somewhat pleasant time. I do have words for the family member that totally shut down the remainder of my week:

I know you read my blog. I love you and wish you well because I try not to hold grudges, but you were bogus for doing what you did and are currently doing and you know what you do. If it weren't for blood ties and the fate of certain other family members intertwined happiness with you I would whoop that ass within an inch of your life and wouldn't care if you lived or died from your injuries. You messed up a lot of things including my visit. You disrespected the elders and have the mitigated gall to gallivant around like your shit don't stink after causing a big one during the week. I hope you get it together and know that what you have is a blessing and not something owed to you because of who you think you are. The streets are watching and I'm waiting for the opportunity to rectify a few things if that needs to happen. Pray that it never comes to that.

So I'm back in Houston and I'm actually at my desk at work straight from the airport. My flight got re-routed due to weather concerns, but I made it back. There is a weird feeling I have in returning though. I can't call it but I think I know what it is. More on that later, I got blogs to read and stuff to catch up on.

Be easy, y'all.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Hassan Around Chicago (sort of)

Welcome back Mr Ntimbanjayo... That'll be 4 bux
Nothing quite like seeing the Sox
2007 Taste Of Chicago... Too many people in that heat
2007 African Caribbean Festival Of Life... Had to get my black soap

And Roscoe's still ain't open... Damn!

Friday, July 06, 2007

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