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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Friday, August 29, 2008

Days Three And Four In Denver...

Was a blur...

I think I lost a couple of pounds due the the humidity of the hot air blown by a few speakers at the convention.

I did get a well needed 90 minute deep tissue massage yesterday morning that has already started to help with muscle relief thanks to my other half. Other than that, I think it's politics as usual. In order to get stuff accomplished things will be said and done in the next 66 days that you might not either like or want to hear, so get used to it.

The talking heads, politicians, elected officials, pundits and spin doctors have done all they can do. It'll continue next week in Minneapolis and I hope folks will attend and participate with the fervor Dems had in this past week. Understand that there is a great chance there could be a Republican elected to the white house so we should at least know what the hell folks are talking about.

Well at least I hope so.

I'm hoping to grow faith in my people to the point where I'm confident that we can deliver Senator Obama.

I'm headed back to work. I can't wait to see what folks out there have to say about the convention and speakers.

and...

MY SISTER IS COMING TO TOWN!!! AND SHE'S BRINGING THE CHILLUNS!!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Day Two In Denver: Blanket Haterism And Bad Electoral Numbers

You saw and heard it.

Once again I got a chance to speak to a bunch of folks and there's a whole gang of folk that are secretly hoping that the junior senator from Illinois loses in the general election.

There are folks that totally trashed his wife on her actions and activities from Monday night.

There were folks in the New York delegation that willingly told the media (and everyone they could for that matter) that their junior senator told them she could not tell them who exactly to vote for but she was voting for the senator from Illinois no matter what they do.

That senator's husband once again explained (to a foreign delegation observing the convention activities) how unqualified the presumptive nominee was and how prepared his wife is/was for the open seat in D.C. next year.

There are folks (mostly male, white truck drivers) that just could not understand why the nominee's wife was even involved with the convention. They even went as far as to call her divisive, unattractive (um.. she was white hot in my eyes. If I were Barack I would have wooed her ass on that big screen Monday night in front of company with no shame) and even bitter.

I'm thinking after nineteen months of campaigning, 2 biographies and all of the 'dirt' put out on Barry folks would actually admit that the know something about his ass. It seems like more excuses not to vote for him is what I get.

Excuses.

If Cindy McCain were to give the same speech, it would have been the the greatest speech ever.

Folks even bagged on the Obama kids.

Why am I putting this out here? Well, Even though John McCain said he wouldn't run a negative campaign, I'm getting at least 8 emails a day from the RNC that are borderline hate mail. I'm registered as a democrat this year only to support Senator Obama and there has been little to no negativity from the ad/marketing arm of the campaign.

Well, except from the Clintonites.

And why is James Carville walking through the building not talking to anyone?

This convention is a weird one. Lots of closet behavior and secrecy about how folks really feel. I like the Clintonites though. These folks are the only ones speaking their minds so far.

What are you doing to make sure Barack can be delivered this fall? Have you registered? Have you registered someone else? Are you even paying attention to the fact that Hillary hasn't mentioned her 18 million?

Add her 18 and Senator Obama's 18 mil up...
Think about George W. Bush getting 65 million in the last general election.
Think about certain folk that just cannot wrap their heads around a black man as president.
Think about how many votes are needed to gain 270 electoral votes.

If half of Hillary's voters are voting Obama plus 18 mil... That adds up to 27 million.

There is a lot of work to do. It'll probably take 75 million votes to get the Democratic nominee over in November.

We have to find damn near 50 million folks to vote Obama this fall. Where are they coming from and what are you doing to ensure things can change?

Remember change?

That's a whole lotta changed minds in America. I hope you're up to the challenge.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Day One In Denver: Even After Witnessing Last Night...

I was going to add my commentary to post 450 which I worked on a yesterday but I decided not to post that. No one said Senator Obama was going to win (or lose for that matter... the title for the last post was a talking point), and after talking to all of the folks I've talked to I guess he's just supposed to do that by osmosis cause' not many are qualified to vote. Even after the production last night, I talked to a bunch of people that fell in love with Michelle Obama but are either hesitant to register to vote or think that folks walking around wearing Obama t-shirts and hats already are and that's all he needs.

He ain't no saviour.
It ain't getting done just with these delegates in Denver.

There is no plan by us the people to do anything other than what we're doing right now no matter what happens in the November election. Things like your taxes, oil prices and racial status has no intention of changing after November 4th because there is no plan.

Racism ain't going anywhere.
Electing a black president won't cure the ills of America.
You gotta do that.

Every major bill presented on the floor of the congress and the senate with the exception of the housing bill president Bush just signed was filibustered into limbo making the democratic controlled congress a do-nothing unit. Since the mid-term elections they passed nothing significant and will go down in history as the most inneffective group of politians in world history.

What say you about that?

Oil speculation raised gas prices
forclosures increased tenfold
healthcare became more distant for those with insurance
the immigrant population increased by 24 million
almost 40% of all large business got tax breaks
more than 95% of working individuals paid the taxes for these businesses
Hillary raised over $130 million, McCain $185 mil and Obama over $250 mil

for an election

That's not change we can believe in.


How dare I say that Obama will lose in the title of this post, right?. I am a delegate from Illinois and even have a link over ---> there that no one has bothered to click on to go to his campaign site to learn, download the white papers and see the program proposals themselves. I am also a part of the Camp Obama plan, going out after the convention to battleground states in an attempt to register folks to vote in November.

Remember, I travel daily through 7 states.
I also live in the hood.

One thing I've noticed:

America (especially black folk) are blowing more hot air about this election than Barack and John combined. Half of us aren't even registered and all we do is talk about when Barack wins.

How does that happen?

No one did anything when congress stomped out HCon Res 4 and 10... I could go on.

No one is a part of the political process. Most folk cant even tell me about a house resolution, bill, new law or discussion anyone from their city, state or federal legislature are even working on. We the people don't know shit.

It took last night for surrogates to even come out endorse Barack. He's still running against Hillary. It took his wife for most to even want to come and attend day one of the convention. Most 'working class' folk still aren't convinced. Lord help you if you're independent because the McCain tax plan looks better than Obama's, but I guess most will never read em' and compare.

(Hint: lowering taxes are always the strong point of the republican platform - conservatives make more money and would like to keep more and still have deductions... Oh wait, that's the loose definition of conservatism)

I'm impressed with the campaigns of both John McCain and Barack Obama. It's my own fellow citizens that disappoint me. If you want change, you must first start with yourself. It won't matter who'll win in November because most aren't even prepared to discuss either point.

There is no plan. Not even for ourselves. Change starts from within.

I do not see that.

In us.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Post 450: What Will We Do When Obama Loses The General Election

The same shit we're doing right now.

More on that later.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Post-It Note To A Nemisis... And Possible Adversary

I will never apologize for me being me
cause' that's the only thing I aspire to be
there were times in the past where you never looked to see
my actions and speech is the is that makes me free




It's not hard to know that I moved forward and you haven't
my food tastes better and the air is cleaner
I seem taller somehow and I couldn't put my finger on it until...


Until I realized that you were no longer attached to what's mine


and I didn't need stanzas or words to rhyme
cause' my heart is poetic and my soul keeps the time





No matter what is said and no matter what you do
I know the feel of free but I'm not so sure of you
you'll never overstand that it has to take a coup
to overcome the external that affects all you do

In other words... Just be you.
If you can do that, you just might make it through.


2008 Hassan Olumoroti Ntimbanjayo - Sho Nuff, Ya Dig

Monday, August 18, 2008

More Money, More Problems

I'm just like everyone else.

I have too much and can't even see it. I know a lot and act as if I'm the most ignorant cat on the planet. What I know and how I do in having that knowledge is what pushes me deeper into this harmful abyss most people never recover from. It's contagious too. I spread it to folks in the past and even became a product of that kind of environment and it has let me to be the person that I am today, right now.

I, like most of us suffer from having a poverty mentality.

Its defined as having the thought patterns that things aren't going to get much better because that' all we have and all we deserve. It's a half-empty way of looking at things. I don't suffer from this all the time but there are times like right now that I do. The unnatural forces of nature that push society tricks us into thinking this way. Case in point, I bought a new car on the 5th. I was so uninterested in purchasing it that I rented a car so I couldn't drive the new one off the lot.

I know the game. There are certain cars that the dealership has to move to make room for a more profitable model, so even if you come in looking for one thing they push another and the finance companies look at what's being held as collateral before they approve the loan so one's credit has nothing to do with obtaining the loan for whatever they end up with. Unless you're firm with what you want you'll get 'special rebates and financing' aimed at forcing you to take a piece of shit out the door... And the psychology of the deal is to make you feel good about buying what you didn't want at terms you probably didn't even think of and your down payment?

A credit. Well to the eyes of the finance entity. Your cash down payment is split between the salesperson, the manager and the dealership. You just paid a car salesman's mortgage or like I did January 2006, I bought some dude a boat. He used my $3500 as a down payment for a nice little river putter his wife urged him to get. I sold the 06' Jetta when I ran off to trucking school but I know the game. This time it was $4800 that paid down some young cat's student loans. I don't even like the shit but my wife needs reliable transportation, a warranty, roadside assistance, GPS and familiarity and comfort so her transition from the last vehicle is damn near seamless and I feel like I provided that. That's my job so I deliver. I have to, I just don't have to like that shit.

I had to be an asshole in order to get the deal I wanted. It seems that bringing out my asshol-ish nature is the order or the day round these parts.

I just gotta get over the feeling that I had to act an ass to get a 'deal' that'll cost me $500 a month for the next 24 to 36 months because I had to. I should be happy that I am able to afford such things for my other half and that I have a deal to replace the vehicle with the 2010 Prius (plug-in Hybrid redesign from Toyota - look that up), but no. I feel like I put myself in some sort of financial doghouse because when you add fuel, insurance and the payment itself, there goes over $1000 monthly that could have paid for something else. But isn't everyone else going thru the same thing?

It's hard because even though I exist in a two income household, $15,000 a year for a the privilege to drive just doesn't sit well with me. It's funny because both wifey and myself have business on the side that could replace what we do employment wise in the very near future but I just feel like stuff like this somehow affects my ability to retire in Belize.

It's a thousand friggin dollars and every one else is feeling the same crunch, right? Even with the ability to write off a portion of the payment and fuel costs I still find the whole thing wrong and a waste of time and money.

So imagine how I feel about paying the house note?
And gas. electric and cable/phone for a 4 bedroom, 3 bath behemoth?
Food expenses?

If I get out of the game and move away will that make me happier?

Lord help me if I ever win the lottery (I don't play) or if our businesses explode with success. Florida and James never encountered problems like this, did they?

I should be thankful to even be in this position to burn money the way we do.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

What the hell am I talking about?

Rant Alert:

Sometimes it feels like you're in it alone.

It feels like the whole world is crazy as hell and you are the only one with an ounce of sanity. I wish it wasn't the thought that crosses my mind sometimes but it is.

Sometimes.

I know I've been all over the place recently and that was not by design, it's just that damn busy round' here. Between working and creating there is no place to display my stuff any more. That used to be here, but things have changed. Every now and then I'll throw something up here (and it might be old stuff to keep me from letting the world see the new stuff) and I'll do it as catharsis but other than that, no new material makes the blog any more.

See, I got married and some of the new stuff might make my other half either blush or get mighty uncomfortable to the point where she might have to explain stuff over on her blog, and my intent is to not invader her space. Every now and then I might venture over to her place but for the most part I rarely go there. We sleep in the same bed, I don't need to check in on the internet to find out what's going on, but every now and then...

Like a handful of weeks ago I had to read that she was frustrated and wanted to give up, something we never talked about. That happens. It has happened in other relationships and I paid it no mind but this time it was my wife talking to the world because she felt that she either couldn't come to me or if she did it would force me to push her away or not understand her emotionally. I can be a cold-hearted son of a gun sometimes because for the most part nothing surprises me any more. I've experienced a lot of bullshit in my short 37 years and I know where to put bullshit these days and function within my sanity and normality.

Most people can't do that, and that kinda frustrates me. A little.

I know that the reason Obama has a short lead over McCain is because a lot of folk just can't bring themselves to vote for the black guy, no matter what the circumstance. I've witnessed folks vote against their own interest 20 years ago.

I know that there is a visible gap and distrust between the brothers and the sisters and also our elders. It seems that we complain about not being able to find a good brother or sister and for the most part never really look beyond the surface but for some strange reason we can still have sex. I know that intimacy is built outside the physical and then it heightens over time with the connection of commonality, spirit then the physical, so why doesn't everyone else know?

I know that common sense ain't as common as most would like to think. I keep hearing horror stories relating to health care and the lack thereof, and I keep hearing about the 'imbalance' caused by our dependence on drugs and how we revel in drug culture. We contribute to a failing health care system by putting the things the death merchants (fast food, birth control, hormones, caffeine, pharmaceuticals, tobacco) want us to put in our bodies and then run to doctors to get more drugs not meant to cure the problem but prolong the sick.

I know that we continue to drop the ball when it comes to standing up for ourselves. We have the right to form a militia, the right to bear arms and the right to freedom of speech and the right to protest non-violently. I also know that we as a people (the working poor, minorities, women, etc) have not stood for anything regarding fair housing, equal school funding, police brutality/racial profiling and the like. We let a presidential administration and a do-nothing congress let damn near 30% of all big businesses not pay taxes while the employees did, cater to pharmaceutical companies and big oil and march thousands of our troops off to an unnecessary war. I guess we don't really care.

I know that we have to pay the bills, but I have yet to read on those celebrity gossip blogs how to take advantage of the new tax laws and increase out detectability for FY 08'. How it makes sense for one person in a married couple to stay home to reduce the taxes damn near 30% because a two income home is taxed on two separate incomes and a one income home isn't and how there are 3 times as many deductions as well as additional credits available ( for each dependent as well as writing off 40% of rent, fuel and the car payment) which means a large end of year return, reduced costs and the availability of a parent regulator at home with the children which saves money on daycare and brings a sense of much needed discipline and family closeness to a household. I think Alyson and Langston can speak on that one. Folks be crying broke but can still fill up that gas tank.

I know that we have a communication problem with each other. All we have to do is talk. With the advent of cellphones, text messaging and email, I'm sure talking across the dinner table has been replaced with funky emoticons and fancy symbols.

I know that folks like Lil Wayne have replaced cats like Chuck D as role models.

I know that sex feels so good to my young sisters and brothers that folks still ain't wearing condoms to the point that your jump off will jump you the fuck off. Right onto a permanent regimen of AZT. Which means if you're dipping off on your spouse or significant other you can commit murder with your sex organ.

I'm just rambling at this point...

But I feel like I'm the only one that knows stuff like this. I get frustrated and bored with everything outside my lil' stretch of reality because this existence just doesn't feel real. But not anymore. Sometimes it's just best to stay indoors and not touch anything. And that's sad because I used to love getting out and exploring.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Mortality

I spent my weekend celebrating life in white...


While others left this plane moving towards the next. And I thought about them but I did not mourn. I thanked the Creator for all that he has given us through them and smiled about what they gave us. I got a little happy when I realized that I have damn near all of the DVDs, MP3s or LPs of the recently departed and knew that I would always have them right there to comfort me.

That's all that matters.

And then I move on because I'm still here, and which means I have been given work to do and I have to complete my journey. Not that folks can remember me and pay tribute when I leave here or somethinoranother but to just be fufilled.

By life.
By my life's work.
By my wife and family.
By my friends, and even my enemies.

Be not afraid of death and know that we all have a purpose. So when our tour of life's duty is completed you and I can make an exit with no regrets. Don't cry for those that left us, use those energies to do something now for those you care about, even those you don't even know exist because they will no longer suffer if we intervene.

There are folks still alive here, right now so close to us that are hungry and destitute...

What will we do about them? Ourselves?
Our souls are waiting for those answers.

Remember, we are just mere mortals but through our actions (just like Brothers McCullough and Hayes) we can still change the world.

They did.

Think you can't?

Friday, August 08, 2008

Friday...

I'm blogging from my smartphone as I wait in the lobby of a physical rehab center. Oh no, not that... I'm okay, just taking a physical and this place is covered.

I realize that in the past few months I've really been ranting about politics and such and the only time I've blogged about personal stuff was when my wife and I had our little episode. Don't worry, we'll have difficulties in the future like most newer couples do and I'll probably have something to say about that...

I bought a new car Tuesday and I am insulted that some people have to go thru that sales pitch bullshit. I know sales strategies and I also worked as a loan officer for a major residential mortgage lender back in the day and there is one thing I know about auto sales... It's all a sham.

I shocked the shit out of those guys Tuesday. I came in, knew what I wanted, bought it and left. I didn't even drive the damn thing off the lot. I went and picked up my other half from work and let her do the honors (um yes, there was another car) because nothing about auto sales either impresses or excites me. Hooray. I got another bill.

I brought up something to my wife the other day that I studied as a kid and her interest peaked causing her to study because even though she went to a HBCU, she didn't have much info on this very relavant topic and I find that amazing that the teaching of black history is overlooked in favor of curriculum focus (classes rooted to one's major) even in traditionally black schools.

So I'll ask you about it:

Why are the debates between Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony damed important RIGHT NOW and what does and will it mean for the future of the social climate here in the good ol' US of A?

If you know about what impact that had and how it has influenced behavior all the way to the now, then you know what's about to happen in a mere few weeks in Denver.

Oh, it's time to get it cracking... They're mispronouncing my name... Again.

Peace, y'all

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Something's Gotta Give

Friday, August 01, 2008

A Year Ago This Weekend...

This time last year I made it back to Chicago after trying to re-establish myself in Houston, Texas.

Things didn't work out like I wanted them to.

I just wanted to get on my feet and find a way to fall in love with the new, Southwestern me, but I realized after struggling to find my place, working as an insider in Uncle Tom's Cabin (Shell Oil, damn big oil), and trying to avoid a relationship I wasn't trying to have because I didn't know who I was or what my role was... Was a lot of work.

I broke a promise and never looked back weeks after getting back here to Chicago, but I had no clue I'd be here, right now.

Happy.

And married.

What the fuck? I got married back in December.


I heard the stories. I read the complaints. I heard my name in the mouths of many a brown blogger that I was some man whore, hell bent on screwing at least one third of the female population via my big rig. That I traveled to Houston under false pretenses and broke some young woman's heart when I abruptly left her high and dry... Wow, I wish I could have had the heart to have been half that dude because it seemed like he was having fun.

That dude wasn't me, and I never complained about that. Still ain't gonna'.

I wish I was getting the ass some said I was getting on my escapades. I would have had some great tales of conquest to tell, but... It didn't go down like that for me in Houston, in Salt Lake City or while I was on the road.

I made mistakes in 2007, I was somewhere I wasn't supposed to be and I corrected that mistake a year ago this weekend.

I never knew that the woman who would be my wife would be in Chicago and that we would have the adventures we had that led up to us falling in love and getting married in Vegas. She had been someone that I had flirted with since 2005 and someone I could call friend. All of that friend shit went out of the window when she just so happened to be in Chicago when I was coming off the road. That weekend, those moments and that first kiss...

Yeah, I was sold on dating her from that point, but never did I know that we would be all up in Home Depot a year later looking at paint swatches for the bedrooms and moving furniture into our second living room (it's a compound, I tell ya, just enough space to get away from each other when we ain't in love).

I left Houston pretty much the way I came: confused and directionless. Even though I got an incredible offer of employment that came out of nowhere (because the job I wanted called me at the last minute and told me they didn't want me) I still had no clue what would be in store for me when I got back to Chicago.

The person I had confidence in straight flipped on me and opened up to me after I left and then a few weeks later spoke to the folks investigating me for the job I got in Chicago last year. Did you know that prevented me from getting the security clearance I needed for the job and I lost out on a shitload of salary and bonuses that I was going to use to compensate that person, and I ended up not getting that position and ended up with a lesser paying one and damn near lost that one because I needed that damn security clearance?

I'm not angry about that anymore, but that did cause me to get as angry as I have been since my drinking days in the Army. I even plotted to go back to Texas and confront folks over that but my money was funny and then I decided to break my promise to them and with the help of my brother, best friend and dad I just walked away and left that shit alone.

And a few weeks later I was running around Chicago with... My wife.

And it kept happening. And then we created the patented (pending) Hassan Traveling/Shacking System

Midwest
West Coast
Midwest
West Coast

Labor Day came, and then She was with the fam at Thanksgiving, and we were driving down I-5 to places unknown in Southern Oregon for Sunday Brunch and then days later we were on Michigan Avenue downtown Chicago...

And now a year later and damn near a year married here I am.

In the time that I traveled back to Chicago I thought I was falling back in love with the city because I missed all of the events, people and atmosphere it had to offer but that wasn't it.

I was falling in love with myself.

And then I was able to fall in love with her.

And then we brought it together here in Chicago. She surprised me when she found a job here and said to me: "Let's go home"

I never thought it was possible for me to find myself, find my love and find a home here in this place, all in the span of one year. I thought it was impossible.

Now I know that nothing is impossible.


Husband, Homeowner and Hunter-Gatherer

I never knew that could be me. What a year.