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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Monday, April 27, 2009

Catching Up With Hassan

I've been around. Seriously.

I just didn't have much to say in the past few weeks. Well, nothing worth bloggin' about. Or at least I thought. I thought I'd take this time to catch up. I know that a ton of the Facebook family have seen these pics, but... Maybe you haven't. So...

All is well, I've just pretty much stayed busy and have been hanging hard with my other half. I've also IMed and emailed a few old friends, grew older another year, shaved off all of the hairs on my chinny chin chin. And upper lip. And I still look good.

Ask my momma. She actually likes me without a mustache.

I also started getting my asanas back, eating a whole lotta greens, hanging out with old friends from high school (that ish was 20+ years ago!) and my wife swears that this weekend was the first time I danced with her.





She got to meet some of the good folks from high school. Because she's from a different place I thought it was important for her to know where I came from and who was there when I was becoming me. We had a good time, and she met some good people who after 20 plus years are still in my life. Oh, did I mention that we danced?


A couple of weeks ago, my mother in-law came into town for Easter weekend and we ran her, fed her and ran her some more. Lots of walking thru all of the nooks and crannies that make Chicago 'The Chi'. We even went shopping and she enjoyed the hell out of that. I take it Tulsa, OK doesn't have 'the black mall'. We took her to a few special places in the Chi and both her and my mother held court Easter Sunday at our home. We were able to entertain and feed 20+ guests and managed to have a good time and cater to all.



we even took her to the shrine


see, us and the mommies



A week later my brother celebrated his 29th rotation around the sun, and I ran his ass thru the gambit. I betcha he'll never take a day off of work and attend a baseball game with me. We actually hit the rooftops across the street from Wrigley Field, where the Chicago Cubs play. All you can eat and drink on a Wednesday is a dangerous thing. Well, it was for him. I can still drink your drunk-ass uncle under the table. Something I learned to do in Korea. He tried, but failed in a cute and almost 30 kinda way. Stick to the Heineken keg cans dude. Thanks to my wife, we got him home for an interesting evening with the wife and kids. I owe them an apology.

And a therapist.

I think daddy snoozed on the big birthday presentation.

I know. I stink.

But it's funny.

The day started well...


ended something like this

Okay, nothing like that. We went to a bar my best friend works and I fed his ass Sambuca and Patron... Not in that order either.



Last week to now was kind of a blur to being busy. Nothing really to report. I'm just in awe of the Repubs...

  • disapproved damn near 200 million in pandemic research and relief
  • filibustered and still holding up the seating of HHS Secretary, who would appoint a director of the CDC (we don't have one)
  • the current pandemic cannot be controlled, and we're short (about 200 million) for relief and research
Whatever.

I think I'm we're all caught up here. I got some stuff I've been working on that I'll post tomorrow when I get back from an assignment. I swear I'm posting on a regular basis now. For real. I'm serious. No joking. Pinky swear. I had a period where I was feeling uninspired and unmotivated, but that cloud has passed.


Just tell my wife to stay the hell offa' the pole in my mancave.



See how that just picks me up and gives me hope? I figure that seeing that she has more rhythm than Carrie Heffernan some lessons just might benefit her pocket change fund. One can't be short in the impulse section at the cash register, even in a recession.

More to come, after a short commercial break...

Back, after these messages

Monday, April 20, 2009

Mondays...

Are boring. I like them but... I don't know.

Whatever.

I got a week and some change review coming maybe later after I run some errands. I also need to express my thoughts about then end of things. I can see relationships, residencies and bonds breaking in the very near future.

The fact that I know I'm undervalued, marginalized and underestimated before I even walk out of the door leaves my faith non-existent. I officially have faith in basically nothing. When the world lets you down you have folk to fall back on. When your people fail you... Well, you're back to fending for yourself and you hate the day you even put an ounce of trust in them.

You told them things that you just couldn't tell anyone else. Yeah, I blew it. I can't blame anyone else for my failures. The fact that it's a rainy, dreary Monday means nothing to me. The fact that I woke up today disappointed in who I gave my trust to sends little mental shockwaves thru my veins.

I really messed up and I really can't hit the reset button. There is no reset button to hit. It feels like I'm at the tables at some random casino and I'm down to my last dollar. I really should take my money off the table and go home.

But it's Monday and it's boring. I have nothing better to do. Even if I hit a big windfall with my last dollar, it matters not how much of that I'll have in my pocket when I get home.

Now dig, I'm not depressed nor angry at anyone or anything. I just know that this is what it is. I always have another direction in which I can travel, the only cost would be time and effort. I'm realizing that most of them paths usually end up with the same storyline.

I got stuff to do. I wanna come back and post pics and thangs from last week. It's Monday, something has to be done to fill the spaces.

Peace, y'all.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Why Chi?

Seeing that my Mother In-Law is in town (for the first time for that matter) spending Easter weekend with my side of the family and with my friends, I thought I'd answer one question she had that is closely related to a Scoop Jackson column posted on ESPN.com a couple of days ago...

And because I'm lazy and don't feel like blogging today. I got a full week of stuff to share in the upcoming days anyway.

So... There.


Anyhoo... Here's the article:







Many people across America will ask, "Why Chi?"

Why did Chicago get the first ESPN local site to itself? They will ask what makes us so special. What makes us think we are so special? Why did ESPN choose the Windy City? They will find fault.

Cool.

Michael Jordan
Why Chicago? Well, we did have the greatest basketball player ever ...

As a city, we don't have a problem with any of that. Most of us will accept it because we are so used to it. Try living here and you'll understand. If you are born and raised (and gonna die) here, you more than understand ... you embrace it. We are -- in our minds -- the most slept-on, overlooked, underappreciated sports city in the world.

In our minds, this site, one dedicated to all of Chicagoland sports at every level, is long overdue. Because when it comes to the games we all play, watch and love, no one -- and I repeat no one -- on any corner of any block in any city any place in the world got swagger like us.

These reasons only further our proof:

Because we turned the saying "Good Guys Wear Black" into a rally cry.

Because our Cubs blue is truer blue than Yankees or Dodger blue.

Because the words "upscale" and "sports" don't mix here.

Because when it comes to sports, we die harder than Bruce Willis.

Because we have a Claes Oldenburg-designed steel sculpture of a 100-foot baseball bat on the corner of Madison and Jefferson in the middle of the city for no damn reason!

Because Michael, Scottie and Phil got us six rings.

Because our players only cry after winning.

Because only here can you have two sides of town that hate each other because of their beloved teams while they will never ever be a threat to one another in winning a World Series.

Because we will put this city up against any city in the world when it comes to diversity, knowledge and passion for sports. There isn't a city that exists that holds our desire for sports on an everyday basis.

Because we're about to host the Olympics in 2016.

Because Jackie Robinson is a league to us, not just an icon.

Because only here could a car dealership (Chicagoland Chevrolet Dealership Association) get Michael Jordan and Muhammad Ali together for an ad.

Because of Walter Payton.

Because we just won the Jay Cutler sweepstakes.

Because no other can handle the annual pain that comes along with loving the Cubs.

Because when the Blackhawks eventually win the Stanley Cup, we will -- in all of our belligerent arrogance -- have the gall to say to anyone who is listening, "We told you so!"

William
... and the greatest NFL team of all time ...

Because we have Ozzie and you don't.

Because we were the originators of "March Madness."

Because we were too stupid to trademark the phrase and too forgiving to sue someone -- anyone! -- for copyright infringement.

Because as far as we're concerned, there is still no team in the history of the NFL that could beat the '85 Bears.

Because we play with 16-inch Clinchers (TM).

Because we drink Old Style and Olde English at games.

Because we hoop on ice, golf in snow, row on frozen ponds, play beach volleyball on hard sand, do marathons in North Face and play soccer on grass that won't bend.

Because what Green Bay calls a "tundra," we simply call "a football field."

Because "strikeout" is much harder than "stick ball."

Because we validate the existence of a sports jinx.

Because Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are the next Crosby and Malkin, and ESPN wants to get an early jump on covering them.

Because the women at Wrigley Field look better (and can drink more) than women who go to baseball games in any other city in the country.

Because our "W" doesn't stand for a hotel chain or an ex-president.

Because we consider pitching pennies a sport.

Wrigley Field
... and we'll keep showing up at those rooftop seats until the Cubs finally win it all.

Because win, lose, draw and lose again, we rep our teams like Drew Rosenhaus reps his clients.

Because the greatest sports documentary of all time ("Hoop Dreams") and arguably the greatest sports film ("Brian's Song") were about what we are all about.

Because we use our brown paper bags for sneaking booze into stadiums, and we don't use them to show we're embarrassed of the team we came to see.

Because we (not Denver) made "Rock and Roll, Part 2" famous.

Because we nurtured a Rose from concrete.

Because at least 81 times a year, we "take you out to the ballgame."

Because we'd rather build a spaceship inside of our football stadium than do what the Yankees did to theirs.

Because on any given day, at any given sporting event in the city, Oprah or Obama could be sitting next to you.

Because of what Devin Hester is about to do this season.

Because no one gives the term "ride or die" more meaning when it comes to sports teams than us.

Because of the overtly obvious reasons not even worth mentioning.

Because we got Mike Ditka, fool.

Scoop Jackson is a columnist for ESPN.com and ESPN Chicago.com.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

79 Days



Someone named Independentvoice wrote in today's Chicago Sun-times:



President Obama’s Promises Kept:
Reverse restrictions on stem cell research
Extend unemployment insurance benefits and temporarily suspend taxes on these benefits
Create a foreclosure prevention fund for homeowners
Expand loan programs for small businesses
Extend and index the 2007 Alternative Minimum Tax patch
Expand eligibility for State Children's Health Insurance Fund (SCHIP)
Expand funding to train primary care providers and public health practitioners
Direct military leaders to end war in Iraq
Send two additional brigades to Afghanistan
Restore funding for the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne/JAG) program
Release presidential records
Require new hires to sign a form affirming their hiring was not due to political affiliation or contributions.
Remove more brush, small trees and vegetation that fuel wildfires
Create a White House Office on Urban Policy
Support increased funding for the NEA
Work to overturn Ledbetter vs. Goodyear
Ban lobbyist gifts to executive employees
Weatherize 1 million homes per year
Invest in all types of alternative energy
Enact tax credit for consumers for plug-in hybrid cars
Support high-speed rail
Appoint at least one Republican to the cabinet

Promises that he kept but offered a compromise:
Eliminate capital gains taxes for small businesses and start-ups
Expand the earned income tax credit
Create a tax credit of $500 for workers
Create the American Opportunity Tax Credit to offset college costs
Set a three-month moratorium on foreclosures
Earmark reform
No family making less than $250,000 will see "any form of tax increase."-Cigarette tax for SCHIP

Stalled Promises:
End income tax for seniors making less than $50,000
Call for repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy
Enact windfall profits tax for oil companies
Allow penalty-free hardship withdrawals from retirement accounts in 2008 and 2009

Promises in the works:
Increase the capital gains and dividends taxes for higher-income taxpayers
Eliminate all oil and gas tax loopholes
Extend child tax credits and marriage-penalty fixes
Require automatic enrollment in 401(k) plans
Require automatic enrollment in IRA plans
Change standards for determining broadband access
Create a $60 billion bank to fund roads and bridges
Extend the Bush tax cuts for lower incomes
Repeal the Bush tax cuts for higher incomes
Phase out exemptions and deductions for higher earners
Invest in electronic health information systems
Implement and fund proven health intervention programs
Eliminate the higher subsidies to Medicare Advantage plans
Prevent drug companies from blocking generic drugs
Double federal funding for cancer research
Reduce the Veterans Benefits Administration claims backlog
Launch a supportive services-housing program for veterans to prevent homelessness
Begin removing combat brigades from Iraq
Launch robust diplomatic effort with Iraq and its neighbors
Increase the size of the Army and Marine Corps
End the "Stop-Loss" program of forcing troops to stay in service beyond their expected commitments
Set standards for when the government should hire defense contractors
End the abuse of supplemental budgets for war
Double U.S. spending on foreign aid to $50 Billion a year by 2012
End the use of torture
End the use of extreme rendition
Close the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center
Develop an alternative to President Bush's Military Commissions Act on handling detainees
Extend monitoring and verification provisions of the START I Treaty
Develop a comprehensive cyber security and response strategy
Increase the size of the Foreign Service
Grant Americans unrestricted rights to visit family and send money to Cuba
Expand Early Head Start and Head Start
Reduce subsidies to private student lenders and protect student borrowers
Expand Pell grants for low-income students
Secure the borders
Push for a college football playoff system
Allow bankruptcy judges to modify terms of a home mortgage
Appoint experienced disaster official to head FEMA
Encourage community service through online outreach and social networking
Expand broadband's reach
Double federal funding for basic science research over 10 years
Create White House performance team and chief performance officer
Limit subsidies for agribusiness
Appoint an American Indian policy adviser
Create new financial regulations
Pressure Sudan to end violence in Darfur
Create 5 million "green" jobs
Raise fuel economy standards
Work with UN on climate change
Create cap and trade system with interim goals to reduce global warming
Require more energy-efficient appliances
Reduce energy consumption in federal buildings
Require federal fleet to be half hybrids or electrical cars
Modernize the nation's electricity grid and use "smart grid" practices
Modernize air traffic system
Ensure that stem cell research is conducted ethically and with vigorous oversight



Broken Promises:
Allow five days of public comment before signing bills
Tougher rules against revolving door for lobbyists and former officials
Create a $3,000 tax credit for companies that add jobs
Recognize the Armenian genocide

There are over 400 promises that President Obama has not given any action to. But give him time, he has only been in office 79 days.


You think so?

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Everday Struggle

Good Sunday to you.

I spent yesterday just sitting around, vegging just thinking about things. For years now there has been so much running thru my mind. I've never been able to turn the noise off.

Ever.

There has to be at least 127 different things going on at one given time in my head, and I hear them all. All at the same time. I never had a problem with my mind's filter. Not even now. I'm just selective with which voice I listen to. I have great ideas, I'm also a sick, demented fellow. Never had to give in to the evil or misdeeds that my mind sometimes tells me to do, so there.

But now in my third act I have to make a choice. I have to choose that one thing.

You know, like Lauryn said: That thing.

I don't have much time to make that choice either. Because I'm married and have to consider my other half's feelings and ideas... You know. I have to choose. This is a hard thing, making the choice.

You still don't know what the hell I'm speaking of? Okay, here:

I am standing at 40's gate. In fact I have a couple of years to get there, but here's the rub... I just got married about a year ago. I never wanted children and if I never have any I won't be mad. I did what I was supposed to do with school (after a little prodding and the phone calls from the student loan people trying to recoup their yapers after I dropped out of undergrad the second time) and never capitalized on higher education.

I saved and had money. Dibbled in real estate and invested a few duckets here and there but never made a wad of cash in the market. I wrote songs, recorded them and even wrote a few manuscripts with enough verbiage to edit, publish and stand on it but never wanted to really put it out there because I would put too much of myself out there for folks to buy and have on their shelf. And I would have to answer for that shit too... Hells naw, I've cowered out more than a few times and quit a few jobs over having too much responsibility. I refuse to baby sit grown-ass human beings. Left the Army over that shit and ran from corporate America as well.

I ain't the one.

Now I stand on this plane of existence with a wife, real estate opportunity, and the possibility of having a house full of opinionated, bad ass Hassans' running around, getting politically dangerous with their second grade teachers...

I have to make a choice of what I'm going to do in order to support my family and define myself in this, the last third of my life. The first twenty or so years were purely developmental. It made me me. As the second twenty comes to a close I have to stick to that one thing...

What my kids and history will know me for.
What will put food on my table. I can't drive that truck for much longer. Absence...
What will make me happy.
What will satisfy my wife, family and extended fam. I'm happy when their happy, trust.

I keep hearing Biggige hitting that chorus from 'Everyday Struggle':

'I don't wanna live no more
Sometime I hear death knocking at my front door
I'm living everyday like a hustle
Another drug to juggle
Another day, another struggle

Yo, it's just like that in at least the first 47 voices that be yelling in my head.

I got the education, the connections, the street knowledge and the drive, but I gotta make one choice and do something...

Out of all of the things I can do. I have to determine exactly what that thing is and stick to it and be happy with my decision. Can't build a home and feed and handle a family unless I do that thing, whatever that things is. I'm not confused, I just want to do the one thing that will make me happy and feel good about my definition.

I don't know what that thing is going to be. I also know when I make that choice I cannot flip-flop. According to the stats, I have less years left to live that I've already used.

Damn.

How does one satiate one's soul, give into other's wishes and feel satisfied that what he or she is doing as the right and good thing? This is indeed an everyday thing struggle.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Huh?

Sometimes, it takes a wealth of courage to hold things back.

Other times, you gotta just let it spill from you emotionally.

I promised in my last post that I would curtail my emotions and conduct myself like a grown-ass man when it comes to blogging. I spent a lot of time back in the day waging war against certain folk, even myself lyrically with the written verse.

I've written a bunch of poems, held mental court with myself more than a few times and did everything within my physical to not do stupid shit when it came to situations, jobs and other people. I am not an anti-social cat so I still get out and speak. There was a time where I got too personal with people I had no business dealing with. In those instances, I shared all of myself and learned a lot about them. That information was strictly for me and I have not shared.

As I reflect on what I have done here with putting my business all out on the street and thangs I realize that life is a series of actions based on the emotional...