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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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Where The Last Shall Be First

I came across this article in the Chicago Sun-Times yesterday. I thought it was worth a re-print sort to speak. I never got Black History Week when I was a kid and I didn't get it when they made it into a month, so let's hear it from black history herself...




"I have a scar on my back I got when I was a slave. . . . You got people out there with this scar on their brains. . . ." -- from the 1974 movie "The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman,'' now on DVD

Throughout this month, we asked Chicagoans and prominent visitors their thoughts on Black History Month. Most said it is still relevant, though many questioned relegating the celebration of a people's history to any specific period.
We close the month with 110-year-old Ethel Darden of Hyde Park, tied with another supercentenarian as Illinois' oldest resident.

Born in Dallas, Texas, on Feb. 17, 1900, to Ella Mary Allen and Charles Boswell, two schoolteachers, she is a pioneering educator who helped establish the city's first private, nonsectarian school for blacks, the Howalton Day School.

Founded in 1947 by her sister Doris Allen-Anderson and two other women, the school operated until 1986. It was responsible for educating many of Chicago's black elite, including the children of boxer Joe Louis, U.S. Rep. Ralph Metcalfe, historian Timuel Black, Judge R. Eugene Pincham and Mayor Eugene Sawyer.

In 1996, she donated the school's archives to the Carter G. Woodson Regional Library's Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection.

"There were five of us girls. The whole darn family became educators," said Darden, laughing as she smoothed out a brown ruffled dress with her long, slender rhinestone-ringed fingers.

"She's sweet as pie, always full of smiles and laughter," said her caretaker and close friend, Betty Miller. "She still has that southern genteel. Occasionally, she'll ask me, 'Honey, is he colored or white?' "

Darden outlived her siblings and husband, Lloyd Darden, a successful accountant she married in 1942 before the couple moved here. She lives at Montgomery Place, a retirement home staffed by University of Chicago Medical Center physicians.
Her doctor, William Dale, said he's in awe at the health of Darden, who occasionally enjoys a glass of wine.

"She has no diseases, takes no prescriptions and looks decades younger," he gushed. "And while her short-term memory is poor, her long-term memory is very intact." Darden attended Dallas Colored High School, graduated in 1921 from the historically black Wiley College in Marshall, Texas -- featured in the 2007 movie "The Great Debaters" -- taught 20 years in Dallas schools, then 40 years here.
Here's what she had to say:

"You know, sometimes I don't like to look back. It's hard enough to look front. When I think about the past too much, it knocks me down. "I came up with Jim Crow. But I didn't let it bother me. I was just living. We didn't have money, anyway, to go places they didn't want us. In the South, we knew where we could go and couldn't. Didn't have to hear them say it. It was written loud and clear, 'Whites Only.' 'For Colored.' "It was terrible what they did to black folks those days. Lynched them. Burned them. I don't want to talk too much about that.

"Dr. [Martin Luther] King came to our church. My twin sister and I sang a duet for him. I liked him. He wasn't afraid of anybody. Marched up to Washington. He asked our help. We collected money in jars at school. I did march. One time, we put on buttons to protest, marched right downtown and had breakfast. I wasn't scared.

"I honor all those who tried to make it good for us, so we could come downtown and have lunch if we wanted to. The Civil Rights Act was a great day because I felt free at last. That I could walk with my head up, that we were free to go to any school at last. I did feel good.

"Black president? Didn't think so soon, but I felt we'd eventually have a black everything. I don't like to say 'black' history. It's just history.

"I don't know why I lived so long. I never thought of it. Just tried to do my work and treat people the right way. There's a road you have to take, and you take it. It's been a good life. I wouldn't say a 'fine' life, just 'good.' Could have been worse.
"A white man is a white man. Let him be white. A black man is a black man. Let him be black. Just watch the way they treat you as a human being. Treat folks right, and respect them the way God would have you do. Let history take care of itself."

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

You Delight A Satellite



I got your favorite planet in my pocket

But it ain't the one you pay attention to.

I got the one that has the hue of a large chunk of amber
hold it to yours and you can see the frozen past
You keep staring at the ones that some deem official
while I keep the chiseled chunks of fallen stars
and once bright meteorites

I use a telescope in measured sight
you gravitate to moissanite
It's the measure of who you are
identify your fallen star

Pieces

Sometimes when you pick them up the dust crumbles thru your fingertips
and reform earth

even though they ain't from here.

Keep them watchful eyes to corner skies
to monitor the rise and fall of moonbeams and ultra violet rays
as I manage the dust

It's so hard to do that under the warming vibes of the sun
and the map yielding light of the one satellite 
you've always held dear

I have those now to watch over and guide me.

You delight a satellite
and dance within its vaunted rays
every day I make my way
by the light, your constant play
I close my eyes and feel your rays
when darkness falls you pave my way


Your light a constant warmth for me,
The only way I truly see.

2010 Hassan Ntimbanjayo (I just made that up) - Ya Dig?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

When White Privilege Just Isn't Enough

Feb 20, 2010

I started this post yesterday. I never got around to finishing it due to having 'stuff' to do. I think being in the midwest, lacking twelve full hours of sunlight has a way of having a diminished sense of seeing things sometimes. I am happy with my life and how I am in it. Yeah, I've made hard choices, command decision and mistakes that affected not only myself but others along the way, and I am satisfied with every move I've made. It's my life and I refuse to be unhappy.

I also understand that being who I am, living in the era I live in has its... Limitations. I try hard every day to try to deal with the world as if I have none even though I know that every step I take, someone that has no clue as to how it is to walk in my shoes puts a tiny pebble of doubt, hate, misunderstanding or prejudice in my pocket. By the time I get home from my day's journey, I have the equivalent of a quarry by the way of my trousers.

I never asked for it. Neither did my grandfather or his grandfather, but it has been given to us and we still carry it. Never have I asked anyone who hasn't ever driven down my block to come there because I know that they cannot stomach the bullshit, but it is spoon fed there, so the expectations of men who look like me are low. Results contrived for the solutions to the world's problems are unexpected, dividends aren't even considered to be yielded unless I can score touchdowns or hit jumpshots.

But I'm 40 now and there isn't a market for me. Well, it isn't that large. Never has been, even though some of us have climbed through open windows of opportunity and have made impact. The fact remains that there are no expectations for us. It is the mark of the attitude of living with and whithin the status quo, even though we have so much to offer. 

We should be angrier. We should hold a grudge one million times more than we already have. The atrocities committed against those that look like me that has happened in MY lifetime...

And I'm not supposed to ask for reparations
I'm not supposed to bring certain conversation up
I'm not supposed to want apologies
I'm not supposed to feel the pain of all of my lost mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters
I'm supposed to just smile and take it, forgiving the sons and daughters 

And we do.
We just take it.

And we act like it never happened.


And then when the TV gets turned on to the nightly news, we see a brand new form of a very old version of an anger so horrid that it reminds me of the days where it was common place to see another me swinging from a tree.

And I believe that just the sight of our current sitting president causes such a feeling.


When White Privilege Just Isn't Enough  - 2/19/2010



I've been black my whole life.

I've been a witness to a lot of travesty.

I've had to live in a world... No, a country where folk are shunned from keeping it real. I mean it's looked down upon and for some, it's downright disrespectful to bring certain stuff up in conversation. I would have never made it growing up in the Jim Crow or Civil Rights Era.

The truth is the truth and unfair is unfair.

This country was founded on rebellion, slavery and developing stolen land from the native peoples. This country has also thrived on military might, racism and a class based system that pits the middle against the lower, leaving the upper to prosper in the brokering of the class wars. To watch the utter arrogance of the American people as we speak against the development of other nations... To watch how we police the world so no other nation can gain equal footing burns my ass when just a few days ago the men who murdered Sean Bell...

Never mind about that.

What we're all witnessing these days is not the elimination, but the decline of white privilege. The country as a whole is taking a new shape by the numbers and those who had the unspoken privileges and graces in the past are getting balanced out in more ways that one.

I cannot finish this because of how I feel right now. There is an anger that I feel coming from parts known that feel like the stuff I've seen from the horrid past. Fear, trepidation xenophobia and finger pointing because there is someone else sitting in the office of power and certain folk just can't stand it.

They are angry and upset because for a few scant hours in their lives they have almost been made to live like we have for ages. It ain't everybody but... It's enough to take notice.


You know:
None of my family ever brought guns to a health care rally.
No one I know flew an airplane into a Federal use building.
I've used the N-word before, but to my knowledge, I haven't replaced it with the word 'Socialist'

It might be high time I got on my horse to warn the folks to start clinging onto their guns and religion

incomplete 2/19

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Ask Yourself

I really enjoyed my weekend.
My sister and brother in law brought the kids in from Dallas and we all gathered together to celebrate my brother's twin son's birthday by hanging out at an indoor water park. Good times were had and great, laughable stories were made this weekend. I can't wait to hang out again with my sibs this summer when we trek to Disney in Florida.

This past weekend was a pre-vacation for my other half and I. I think I mentioned that we're headed to the Bayou in a bit for a real two weeker of alligator, coffee and beignets as well as a whole bunch of etouffee. Lord, I can't wait for that. Things have been real busy around here and it would be nice to just get to a nice spot and experience a little slow and quiet. Chicago will tax your friggin' brain and overrun you with business if you let it.

I have absolutely nothing to say about Chris Matthews, Dick Cheney or John Mayer. I need folks to ask themselves a few real questions that actually matter like:

  • Why are black and brown folk so damn affected by the so-called recession?
  • Why are black and brown folk seemingly 'just taking' the negative results of current opinion polls as well as managing the negative outcomes of labor employment statistics?
  • Is it just me or does it feel like there is some stagnant waiting period going on right now in minority communities?
  • Why isn't there more reactionary activity taking place in our communities?
  • Where the hell are the proactive lobbies, and why aren't they addressing congress?
  • Why exactly did we wait for so-called black leadership to address the president last week when the pressing socio-economic elephant in the room has always been there?

Instead of placing blame on all things external (like calling John Mayer racist last week), where are the ideas and actions that would bring forth the necessary change to actually move people ahead? I'm seeing a lot of folk sitting on their hands right now and I don't understand why.

There seems to be a lot of folk running and hiding from the issues when it seems to be the time to asses and reassess what seats need to be filled in congress both on the federal and state levels. If folks like Senator Evan Bayh have become totally discouraged in the federal legislative process, then who should become candidate to fill that seat?

From Gary to Indianapolis to Evansville and all parts between, the state of Indiana has tons to lose in funding, jobs and farm support if the wrong person is chosen to rep there.  I mean, from the steel, iron and manufacturing personnel needed for the bridge and road repair that our president's administration got off the ground to the high speed rail project, Indiana has a lot to loose...

And there are 10 other states that can use the right candidate to get the job done with job creation and with repositioning federal dollars to provide for workforce payroll instead of unemployment benefits and the like.

We must eliminate the thought process that we must continue along with the status quo. There are a ton os 'isms' that are still in effect if we continue thinking along these lines. What is happening with the thinking process and how we're coping with them is NOT okay.

What am I talikg about? Ask Keith Olbermann and then ask yourself.






You got an answer?

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Water

I thought I'd be sad or something seeing that I lost my beloved MacBook Sunday morning. I was mixing up my herbs, playing with my juicer (spirulina primarily - I gets my greens in son!) and I was adding some crushed L-Arginine to a glass of water when I tipped the liquids right on on the keyboard.

Damn!

And then I realized...

The only thing I fried was the logic board. I noticed that this was my chance to have an opportunity to upgrade to something bigger and better like a titanium MacBook Pro.

An UPGRADE!


GLORY!!!

It's a better feeling than the Saints winning on Sunday night. My water moment was funnier than the Sarah Palin comedy hour the night previous.

I mean, I think I am the only one watching this stuff? I know that I can't be. Everyone seems to be a little too pre-occupied doing other stuff to be concerned about their health and well being, and I mean 'the process' IS about our health and welfare. The marginalization of our current leadership is moving into a third phase and no one seems to care.

Enough about that. The missus and I are packing up for our NOLA trek next week but first... Indoor water park activities with the nieces and the nephews.

I guess this past and next weekend's theme is all about water.

Friday, February 05, 2010

The Long Walk Home

It's impossible to think that I walk this path alone.


I just cannot be.
It is very impossible for my mind to contemplate
But for some strange reason if this is to be

I truly understand


Even if I don't wanna.
Even if I'm headed home, being away for so long
that I can't even remember



There were times upon time itself as I traveled where when I looked around
all I saw was the endless trail of my own footsteps
And it's shameful because I've come this far

No water
No pause
uninterrupted, without a single hitch in my step

and then I realize...

A lot kinfolk and those I held dear
let me walk right past them
without even lifting their head

Acknowledgements meaningless
unfocused energies
unfettered emotion

lack of eye contact, not even giving me a simple walker's hello

Hey stranger!


never lifting an arm to wave into the distance
Offering sanctuary
extending shelter
sharing overabundant libations

or even

a drop

of kindness
So my next thought is to not even look back
as I travel over blazing sands

their worth in this moment of my extreme thirst and fatigue
is the value of a pillar or salt.

So I never lose pace


I just keep walking.

Might as well then, right?
There's more for me to indulge when I get home.

whenever that will be
if it'll ever happen
however I might try to continue

I just keep telling myself:
keep walking. I'm almost there.



2010 Hassan Olumoroti Ntimbanjayo - Ya' Dig?








I remember telling myself that things would be different when it happened back then. I just didn't know how much. It seems the trade off is a bit scathing if you ask me. Folks aren't afraid to let you know that they tolerate this as just a temporary measure, that 100,000 people have set an agenda that will topple the current political power structure.


I think that's a bunch of bullshit.




I also think that folk that say things just to get you to regurgitate it so that the other guy will believe it is an old and tired practice but we still fall for it anyway. After all of the years of struggle to get free it seems like the being free part wasn't what we really bargained for. Most folk that look like, related to and fraternize with me really wanted to be validated. It's good enough for all of us now so sleep is a necessity.


Also bullshit.




I bet you President Obama is feeling like a broke-ass Nino Brown eight now because nobody is putting in any work. With all of the unemployed folk out there right now, you'd think that folks would get constructive and start bartering and creating some sort of grass-roots economy.


Sheeeeyit. That's socialism.


Idiots!


I read about whole societies that were lazy, uninterested and unmotivated. They fell quickly.


And to think... These obstructionist bastids actually think they'll get their country back the same way they had it by doing nothing, keeping the ball away from the change guy and then doing the exact same things that got us in this rut in the first place.


And we extend a hand to them because we need to remain cordial.




The same folks that brought guns and rifles to rallies and have utter contempt for cats like me. Luckily, I still have a few field manuals and some recent range training.










And now, I go back to doing my thing.















Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Wooten's Day Update

It's not that I haven't been paying attention, I have. It's not that I haven't had anything to say, I have. It's not that I haven't been reading others works, that I have been doing as well. I just took the last week to observe and participate in our most recent electoral process without filter.

I have a ton of things to get out regarding our commander in chief, reactions by his opposition, decisions made by the administration, the upcoming budget and our friends, family and neighbors and how they relate to the current state of things from my point of view.

I just need to finish up a few things on the business end over here as well as prep for my stay in the Big Easy coming up in a week and some change. Things got busy in a good way over here and I'm just enjoying the time I do have free...

Enough. I got stuff to do.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Stealing From Richard Lawson


In honor of the 'Lost' series finale premier, I've stolen an article written by Richard Lawson of www.gawker.com


Everything That's Happened on Lost So Far, Just from Memory



Lost is so confusing! But not that confusing. Here I will try to write, from memory without using any wikis, fan sites or Google, everything important that's happened on the show up to tonight's final-season premiere. Wish me luck.
A guy named Jack wakes up in the middle of the jungle wearing a suit and doesn't know where he is. So he gets up and follows some noises and there on a beach is a plane wreck, with survivors running around screaming and people getting sucked into the still-running engines and stuff. They were all on Oceanic Flight 815, headed from Sydney to Los Angeles. Jack helps rescue some people, so we know right away that he is the Hero, and he meets a girl name Kate who stitches him up even though she is scared to. Jack tells her that he is a spinal surgeon and she doesn't say who she is and then we go meet other people who survived the crash.
There's a bratty brother and sister named Boone and Shannon. There's a pregnant Australian young woman named Claire. A heroin-addicted fading rocker named Charlie. A mysterious, knife-throwing bald man named Locke. There's Michael and his sullen son Walt. A Korean couple with a stern husband named Jin and a timid wife named Sun. Neither of them speak English (or so we thiiiiink at the time...) There is a great big fat person named Hurley who makes a lot of jokes but is also sort of a sadsack. There is a highly capable Middle Easterner named Sayid who, it turns out, was an interrogator for the Iraqi National Guard. Finally there is Sawyer, a long-haired Southern guy who is aggressive and immediately takes a disliking to Jack's authoritativeness. The feeling is mutual.
So whatever, everyone gets to know each other and we get to know their back stories. Kate is a fugitive who killed her mean step-daddy and then fled to Australia. Oh, she also got her childhood boyfriend killed while she was fleeing from the police. So she feels really bad, but is still happy to be free — the US Marshal who found her in Australia and was bringing her home died shortly after the plane crash. Jack had an alcoholic dad, also a doctor, who drank himself to death in Australia. Claire wants to give the baby up for adoption, and is creeped out about something a psychic told her about her baby (basically that she can't let anyone else raise it.) Charlie wants sweet sweet drugs and to do sex to Claire once she is no longer pregnant. Michael, whose ex-wife recently died, wants to have a good relationship with his son. Sayid wants off the island (he's looking for his long-lost love) and Sawyer just wants some peace and quiet. Boone, a step-brother as it turns out, is sort of pathetic and in love with his step-sister. Step-sister Shannon is just sort of a whiny bitch and doesn't do a lot. Oh, but she does speak French! Which comes in handy when...
...On a little hiking mission to see what else is on this island, they pick up a radio signal. It's a recorded broadcast of a woman saying something about how the rest of her friends are dead, that they got sick or something, and that she'd really like some help. Sayid does math magic and figures that the thing has been playing on a loop for sixteen years. A confused Charlie then gives the show's most iconic line to date, "Guys... where are we?" Chills abound!
Even more chills are caused by a big loud thing in the jungle that makes trees thrash around and sounds like some sort of old timey mechanical dinosaur. Nobody knows what the tree monster looks like, but Jack and Kate are fairly concerned because on a little trip (this show is all about various trips and missions to things) to the detached cockpit, they watched as the barely-alive pilot was sucked out of the window and horribly killed by that very same loud noise thing. So everyone is scared! And people are hungry and all that. Someone, I forget who, finds a series of caves that will sustain the people for a while if they want to live there. Some folks don't want to leave the beach though, still hoping to get rescued, so the crew divides in two. At the caves they find two old dessicated skeletons. They do not know who they are, but they know people have been here. Jack and Kate sort of start to fall in love, but Sawyer's got the hots for her too and thinks get complicated.
Meanwhile: Sayid is still trying to get the fuck off this damn rock so he can go find Nadia. In his travails he gets, after hearing creepy whispering in the trees (a common phenomenon), captured by... the French lady from the recording! She is crazy and feral and lives in a shack. She says her name is Danielle and that she was on a science-boat that crashed on the island 16 years ago. They'd heard a broadcast of a sequence of numbers repeated over and over again, and they'd followed it and boom. Then everyone "got sick" and "the Others" took her daughter. So there are others! This makes Sayid very nervous.
For further proof of these Others, the crazy bald guy named Locke is digging in the jungle, frantically. Why? Well because he found this metal hatch thing hidden under some vines and now he wants in. Locke has a special relationship with the island. See, before he got there he was paralyzed from the waist down from an accident. (Much much later we find out that a con man pushed him out of a window.) But now that he's on the island? Lt. Dan's got magic legs. (Much like a lady we don't know much about, Rose, had cancer in off-island life, but now is fit as a fiddle. Mysterious.) So yeah, Locke is obsessed with destiny and symbolism and all that, so he really thinks he's supposed to be on the island. Dig dig dig he goes, with Boone's help. One day he and Boone are doing some exploring and they find the wreckage of a small airplane, laden with a few long-dead priests and a bunch of ceramic Virgin Mary statues. Except! The statues? They're full of heroin. Watch out Charlie! But anyway, the heroin is sort of a red herring. This isn't a drug-running island. This is a Mystery Island. So Boone's in the airplane and he's fiddling with a radio. Suddenly he hears a very faint voice and he starts yelling "We're survivors of Oceanic flight 815!!" etc. You hear "815" back and then the signal cuts out. Boone has disrupted the plane and it topples over a cliff. Despite Jack's efforts to save Boone, he dies. His is the first real character-casualty of the show. He is not the last.
Eventually everyone finds out about the Others and the Hatch and by this point we've seen traces of a weird black mist or smoke every time the monster is nearby. So his name changes from Tree Monster to Smoke Monster. Smoke Monster it will stay until... well, he's still the Smoke Monster. Claire has had her baby and Danielle the crazy Frenchwoman has made the acquaintance of the camp, and starts staring creepily at the baby. This unnerves Claire, who has been having night terrors about people trying to steal her baby. Well, she was right to be scared because she ends up getting kidnapped by a guy named Ethan who was pretending to be a fellow survivor, but was really an Other! Oh it's all very scary and Claire is gone for a few episodes, but eventually she comes back, dazed and drugged, and can't remember a thing. But now we're pretty sure that Others = bad, so we are wary of them.
At the end of the season, Danielle shows up and says the Others are coming and everyone panics, but really it was just a ruse to get Claire's baby. It doesn't work and she weeps and runs away Into the Woods. Meanwhile a group of folks — Sawyer, Michael & Walt, and Jin (who has made up with his secretly English-speaking wife, who was planning on leaving him because he was doing wicked things for her gangster father) — have built a raft and go pushing out into the sea, to swelling music, to go find help. As they set out away from the island, Jack, Kate and others head deeper into the island to find dynamite. Why? To blow up the hatch door and see what's inside. And where would one expect to find dynamite on Mystery Island than in the belly of an old slave ship that's somehow made its way all the way to the interior of the island. So they get dynamite and, after a minor character gets blowed up by said dynamite, they bring it to the Hatch.
Back at sea, something terrible has happened. A creepy fishing boat has attacked the raft and snatched Michael's son Walt, and then torched the USS Freedom. So Jin, Sawyer, and Michael are just floating in the water, missing the kid, and seriously screwed.
In the jungle, they're about to let it blow when Hurley says "No no!" See, he's seen numbers on the side of the hatch door and they are bad numbers. Numbers he played in the lottery back home and won, only to be followed by some kind of curse. Hurley is bad luck and seeing those numbers — the same sequence heard by the French ship 16 years ago, one assumes — makes him think that only bad things lie within the Hatch. But it is too late. The fuse is already lit and the thing blows and everyone pokes their head over the edge to see what's inside. That's how season one ends.
Season two gets into yet more mysterious territory. Everyone on the boat turns out to be OK, they wash up on shore basically. The Hatch is investigated and... there's a Scottish guy living down there! His name is Desmond and, oddly enough, he and Jack once met briefly on the mainland. (There are all sorts of weird, incidental connections like that.) Desmond tells them that he got shipwrecked a few years ago while trying to sail solo around the world, and that there was another dude there when he got there. Their job was enter a code of numbers — that code of numbers — into an old-timey computer every 108 minutes or... the world would explode. This was serious business! The good news is that there's a ton of shit in the Hatch, food and supplies and stuff. Desmond quickly disappears, not to be seen for a while, and the Oceanic kids take over the Hatch, and the button-pressing duty. Locke, of course, becomes particularly obsessed with the whole thing.
MEANWHILE, something very interesting has happened: When the plane was crashing, it split in three pieces. The cockpit was besieged by monster attacks, as I mentioned. The middle section contained all of our heroes. And the tail... well, the tail contained the Tailies, a second group of castaways whose first 48 days on the island we see in a single episode. As bad as Jack & Co. had it, the Tailies had it much worse. They were nightly attacked by Others, and even had all the children they were with stolen. They too had a sleeper agent, who ended up getting killed by a tough LAPD cop named Ana-Lucia. Jack and Ana-Lucia had met at the airport bar before taking off, so again, incidental connection. Joining Ana-Lucia are a glass-eyed psychiatrist named Libby, a tall stoic Nigerian fellow named Mr. Eko, a man named Bernard, and a stewardess named Cindy. You find out that that voice Boone heard in the little heroin plane? It wasn't rescuers, it was just Libby and friends. D'oh.
Eventually the two teams meet up, but with sort of disastrous results. Shannon, who had begun to form a bizarre romance with Sayid of all people, is running through the jungle on a rainy day and Ana-Lucia, approaching the mid-section people's camp, thinks she's an Other and shoots her dead. So both step-bro and step-sis are now dead, and Ana-Lucia hasn't made the best first impression. The man Bernard turns out to be married to mid-sectioner Rose, so that's a cute little old-people romantic story that continues on through the series. The stewardess Cindy mysteriously disappears right before Ana-Lucia shoots Shannon, and we've only seen her one other time since. Hurley meets Libby and gets a crush on her, while Jack kind of digs Ana-Lucia. Kate is still trapped in triangleville, as is Sawyer. Complicating everyone's business further is a man named Henry Gale, captured by Danielle the crazy Frenchwoman and brought to the Jack for safekeeping. This man is a master manipulator. He seems innocent and good at first, even though Danielle is convinced he's a terrible Other. Well, eventually it turns out she's right. Henry Gale is long dead and this man is named Benjamin Linus, a real sonuvabitch who, like, *runs* the Others. He starts whispering bad things to everyone and everyone goes a little nuts and eventually Michael, trying desperately to get his son back, shoots and kills both Ana-Lucia and Libby so he can free Ben and get Walt. Everyone is pissed at Michael, but especially Hurley, who had a boner for Libby somethin' fierce. We are also upset because we may never find out why, in a flashback, Libby was a patient at the same mental clinic where bad-luck-maddened Hurley was. We still haven't found out!
Phew. This is where it starts to get blurry for me. So basically everyone sets off across the island to find Michael and confront Ben and the Others and stuff. Meanwhile a small contingent has gone a little numbers-nuts, and they want to see what happens if they *don't* push the button. Will the world end? Yes, probably. Locke has discovered signs of other Hatch-like stations, and a narrative about some mysterious American scientific group called the Dharma Initiative begins to emerge. Are they the Others? Were they killed by the Others? It's unclear. Anyway, there's a whole big fight thing with Mr. Eko and then Mr. Eko gets killed by the Smoke Monster and Desmond comes back and is all "Wait, you gotta push the button!" but Locke doesn't want to push the button because he's lost (Lossst) all his faith again or something. The people looking for Michael have found Walt but have been captured by Others and while they're waiting down by the docks with bags over their heads, there's a loud noise and the sky turns purple, because the button didn't get pushed and a strange magnetic reaction is happening in the Hatch. Desmond reaches for an emergency turn-off valve or explodey button or something and he gets to it and the season ends. Jack, Kate, and Sawyer are in captivity and everyone in the Hatch may have been blown the hell up. Oh, and Michael and Walt are gone, home to safety. Michael will later come back and die on the island, trying to rescue everyone else to atone for his sins.
For some mysterious reason, though the Hatch is now smithereens, the people inside it are alive. They don't really remember getting out of the Hatch, but they know they're alive, so what's to worry. Not faring so well are the captured three, who are being kept in weird zoo-like cages. Ben has brought Jack there because he has a big bad tumor on his spine and he needs Jack to fix it. While Locke and Rose (the lady with cancer) seem to be cured by the island, Ben can still get sick. It is a mystery. In his captivity, Jack meets an ethereal blonde Other named Juliet, a fellow doctor who persuades Jack to do the surgery. If he doesn't they're probably going to kill Sawyer and Kate. Sawyer and Kate who are put to work building some kind of something outdoors (people seem to think it was a landing strip.) Juliet reveals that she is a fertility doctor and that all the pregnant women on the island die in the third trimester. But Claire gave birth on the island! Exactly, this is why they snatched her. For creeeepy medical studies.
This is also troubling because we have learned that Sun is pregnant, though it might not be Jin's baby. She had an affair before getting on the plane and it might be that dudes. But it doesn't really matter, because they're still in love. ANYWAY. Locke is still like crazy and doesn't know his purpose or whatever. He ends up sort of siding with the Others or something? Well, however it happens, we end up learning a lot more about these mysterious people. We see more buildings. We see that Jack and friends are actually on a second, smaller island (that kinda gets forgotten about). We learn about the Dharma Initiative, that something very bad called The Incident happened that wiped a lot of them out. We learn that some people, like the teary-eyed Juliet, are basically being held there against their will. Ben is bad, Ben is connected to some old, sinister stuff. He convinces Locke that Locke is some sort of Chosen One and takes him on a vision quest to go meet the Others' big bad leader, name'a Jacob. Jacob lives in a creepy old cabin with a picture of a creepy old dog and... well, he's invisible. He's a ghost maybe? Locke can see a dim flicker of a figure in a chair when the whole cabin starts to shake and everyone runs the heck outta there because it's scary.
So all this mystical stuff is going down while everyone else is still trying to get off the damn island. One night someone parachutes onto the island and says she's from a rescue boat that's a few miles offshore. Everyone is happy and, of course, everyone is suspicious. See they've started to learn about something called the Widmore Corporation, some sort of shadowy conglomerate with ties to the island that is, conveniently enough, run by the father of Desmond's long lost love. Desmond doesn't know where the heck he stands in all this because he's been having a terrible case of temporal displasia. He's sorta maybe been time traveling and chatting with a weird white-haired woman, who has told him that he can't change a single thing or else the world will basically end. This is all very confusing to the audience.
The girl who parachuted in has a satellite phone, but it's being jammed. They figure out, with the help of the now-defected Juilet, that there's a Dharma station under the water that's been jamming frequencies. Desmond, in his weird time skipping, has visions of the future. And he sees one thing: Charlie, our Claire-obsessed nice hobbit rocker, has to die. But he dies saving everyone! Charlie accepts his fate and takes a suicide mission down to the water hatch to unjam the satellite phone. He succeeds and he dies and though Ben warns that the people on the boat are very bad (they're having a big showdown near a radio tower) Jack calls the ship and tells them to send in the cavalry.
We see a flashFORWARD, instead of the show's usual character-developing flashbacks, and it's a drunken miserable Jack who is yelling at Kate that they need to go back to the island, that they never should have left. Bad things happen once people get off the island and it was all a terrible mistake. That's how season three ends, with rescue hanging in the balance.
Seasons four and five get wayyyy more complicated and I can't remember everything. Basically the island becomes a big time machine and while the six folks who end up making it off the island — Jack, Kate, Sayid, Hurley, Claire's baby, and Sun — are trying to get back to the island, everyone left on it is jumping around in time. We find out that Locke has gone into the past and visited with old island people (the original Others?) to make sure that certain things in the future happen. Mostly he talks to a guy named Richard, who never seems to age. In fact, Richard once visited Locke in foster care when Locke was a boy. Circles!
The crew from the boat turns out to be mysterious indeed but not all that bad. Basically they are working for the bad Widmore guy, trying to get Ben, but they're also scientifically curious about the island. A scientist named Daniel Farraday knows all about the time travel and teaches everyone a lesson about having a Constant — something in the present to cling to in case you get stuck traveling in time. If you don't have a Constant you die of time sickness, which may or may not be the disease thing that the crazy Danielle lady said killed all her friends.
Danielle finds her daughter, now a teen being raised by Ben, only to get killed. Then Alex gets killed by bad soldiers from the boat and Ben is super mad. Locke has also been having weird meetings with this mysterious Jacob, who's now taken on the form of... Jack's dead dad! What's going on?? Nobody knows. Basically lots of forces are all vying for control of the island and our castaways are stuck in the middle. After many hijinx, Jack gets the original six (minus the baby) to come back to the island with him. The only strange snag? In the future, Locke is dead. Ben goes off island and kills him, making it look like a suicide. The island is traveling wonkily in time because in order to get off the island, Ben went down into a mine shaft or something and turned a giant donkey wheel, which made the whole island disappear. Disappear into the past, that is.
Sawyer and Juliet have carved out a nice little life in the '70s for themselves, working for the Dharma Initiative and increasingly letting go of their off-island lives. All that is disrupted when the five folks come back to the island and start mucking things up. Jack is determined to prevent that big Dharma-killing thing called The Incident, convinced that that will correct the whole course of history and thus prevent Oceanic 815 from ever crashing on the stupid island in the first place. All this weird time-loop theory abounds, and season five ended last May with Juliet maybe blowing up a nuclear bomb while lying near-death at the bottom of a well and we don't know if it was successful in correcting the time warp or not.
We also see a wayyyy long ago flashback of a man named Jacob and a mysterious other fellow talking about things. The man dressed in black, who goes unnamed, says he wants to kill Jacob. And he succeeds! In a weird way. Basically Locke's corpse was brought back to the island with Jack and crew, and ended up in the island in the present day. A crew of mysterious people who were on the same plane that brought Jack back, but who weren't sent back to the '70s like Jack and Kate and Hurley were, take the corpse while also being led around by... Locke. So Locke is both dead and alive! Or is he? Turns out that Locke really *is* dead, it's just the man in black's spirit pretending to be Locke. The fake Locke gets Ben to kill the real Jacob in the base of a giant and crumbled Egyptian-esque statue and so we don't really know what any of that means.
Claire has disappeared for an entire season, we suspect her to be dead, but we're told she's coming back. She too may be an island ghost. We don't know if all the different timelines are going to meet up, but I suspect they will. We still have to figure out the true nature of the island and why the castaways are so important to it. Couples have still to be reunited (Jin & Sun, especially) and many questions remain unanswered. The time-travel savvy Faraday has been killed — by his own mom, in the island past, who is dating a younger version of the bad Widmore guy — so we can't ask him. Desmond the Scottish Odysseus has reunited with his Penelope, but has decided to go back to the island to help. I don't remember if he made it back yet or not.
AND THAT IS WHAT I REMEMBER. Are you intrigued? Or just confused.

Richard Lawson is a writer and blogs for Gawker.com