Sunday, September 19, 2010

B.B. King And Politics?

Who would have ever thunk it: the B.B. King effect is in full play for the mid-term elections. Let me explain.

After attending the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's 40th Annual Legislative Conference last night in Washington, where President Obama delivered a speech, I came away humming that B.B. King classic, "The Thrill Is Gone." Having watched the president deliver that speech the year before and seeing the crowd's reaction, it was clear that something was amiss.

How could this be? Afterall, President Obama, in his usual eloquence, ticked off a number of major accomplishments his administration has scored over the past 20 months. You know them by now: saving the economy from the brink of disaster, historic health care legislation and new financial regulations, keeping the US auto industry alive and, of course, getting the car out of the ditch as others watch.

With such a string of accomplishments, how could the audience just go through the motions with its appreciation and applause? There were no gleaming eyes or broad faced smiles like last year. Sure, a standing ovation and a lot of laughter when the subject of giving the keys back was discussed, but not much else.

Could it be that the audience was tired from three days of continuous "brain trusts" and never-ending, late-night receptions? Or was something else at play? Maybe they were waiting to show their enthusiasm once the President walked the ropes to shake a few hands and throw a few finger-point shoutouts. Well, it didn't happen because he didn't walk the ropes. Maybe he was tired, too.

In any event, if the hopes of those who helped to put the President into office are to be realized, somebody -- somewhere -- should be working overtime to get that once dynamic zeal back in place.

It is sorely needed because last night was proof undenied that, as Mr. King would say, the thrill is gone.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Black Women, White Men: Need A Plan?

After hearing news reports today about interracial marriages and how African American women are getting the short end of the stick, my wife, who @*#! Knows Everything, sounded off: "Black women need to get more aggressive with white men," she says.

It's her view that black women empower white men. But white men, she says, don't know how to approach black women. She surmises that this inability could be the result of a lack of interaction between sisters and white men, or unfounded beliefs that white men have about black women -- stereotypes. And the only solution to that, she says, is for blacks and whites to get to know one another better and to overcome the schisms.

"Well, honey, what about black men and white women," I ask. She responds: "That's fantasy land." She makes her point by brining up the old Cadillac commercial; the one where the black man buys the car and asks the dealer "where's the white woman?"

"O-Kay," I say. (that's for a future posts)

"Well, what should black women be doing, baby?"

"There's no need for black women to get angry," she says, "they need to get a plan. They need to be more proactive and less reactive."


"Yes, if I was single (and couldn't find a black man) it would be open season on white men."

Okay. Well let's hear what the people have to say about this. Should single black women become more aggressive toward white men? Do they need a plan?

Friday, October 23, 2009

@*#!* Wife Knows Everything II

I guess you should know that my wife has a bachelor's degree in psychology, which could explain why she knows everything. I'll use an example from this morning.

I'm fresh out of the shower and she tells me, "your eyes are red; you look like the devil." Then she notes that if our daughter was a four-year-old and heard that statement, she would have gone to school and told her friends: "my mommy said my daddy was the devil."

And because !#*#! wife knows everything, here's how she said the kids would have reacted: "wow, where does your dad keep his pitchfork;?" "can your dad turn his head around in a full circle;?" "what does he do with his tail when he puts his pants on?"

Well, we all know how kids are, and these things certainly "could" have been said. But because @*#!* wife knows everything, these words must be so.

I'm not sure how this links, but she then went on to tell me that the "new" thing now is "intuitive intelligence." (She's been reading 'O' magazine from cover to cover.) I asked her if intuitive intelligence could be what we know as the tool that seniors have used all of their lives to survive?

Her retort: "Yeah, I think it's just another way of saying trust your #*#@! instincts." Hmmm. I don't know.

Here's what Francis Cholle had to say about intuitive intelligence.

Which would you value most: the intuitive intelligence of today's seniors; or that of Mr. Cholle? (who I hadn't heard of until now)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

@*#!* Wife Knows Everything

I keep toying with the idea of writing an occasional blog on the topic, "@*#*! Wife Knows Everything." The title comes from a punch line of a joke that ends with @#!*@ Wife Knows Everything. Once my friend Angie Nolle returns from vacation, I'll ask her to retell the joke; I can't remember it. In the meantime, I think the title is so appropriate because my @#@*! Wife Knows Everything! (she's in on this, too, so no problem)

To give you an example of what I mean, six years ago or so she said why do we still have a land line phone; in a few years, more people will have cell phones than land lines. Well, I think recent news reports verify this claim. #@*! Wife Knows Everything!

We were talking about problems with education in general and public education in particular. A news report mentioned the benefits of home schooling. She said that she thought African-American kids could probably benefit from home schooling. I've never given that much thought, but given the dismal state of public education, maybe it should be considered. @!*# Wife Knows Everything!

Then the other morning as we were getting dressed, another story on the Rush Limbaugh saga airs. "He made that bed so let him lay in it," she says. See what I mean, #!#* Wife Knows Everything!

All of her statements have been natural and off the cuff. So once I told her about the idea of this blog topic, she tried to get all philosophical on me. So this morning she comes up with this: "which is best, wisdom or knowledge?" My retort: How can you have wisdom without knowledge? Then she goes into all the prophetic things our daughter use to say when she was 8 years old. "She didn't have a lot of knowledge, but she sure said some things that showed wisdom." Okay, I said. Maybe my friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter can help on this one.

So what do you think, folks: which is best -- wisdom or knowledge. Let us know.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Last Ride

In my previous post, I noted that the following day would be the last time to take my high school graduating daughter to school. It went down like this:

Allister and I were looking forward to the Last Ride. The I-Pod-free conversation (an achievement in itself) started immediately. There was a lot to cover, so we jumped right.

The "fish story" got first airing. Knowing that Allister had caught the biggest fish during the weekend competition among first graders, we (I) were looking forward to the big announcement and award ceremony during the morning convocation. But to our (my) surprise, it was announced as a "tie" for first place. Well, apparently little Susie "had" the big fish on her line, but it got off just before it could be snagged. Well, now it's decision time for father. Does he stop the proceedings in progress and make the point that the fish had to be "caught," or does he wait and approach the Headmaster with WTF! Thinking that it would be too haunting to wear the "angry fish father" moniker for the next twelve years, I let it go. But the scar, as I hope you can tell, is still there.

The next memory dealt with "brilliant academic sense" versus "plain ole common sense." The male parents were matched in a basketball game as a school fundraiser. So, here are these late 30s and 40 plus men going at it on the court. My team was up by at least 10 points by halftime, and my jumper was working from the top of the key (Yes!). And while we expected the students to have a cheering competition or maybe some musical entertainment for half-time, the administrators, instead, held a spelling bee competition -- for 45 minutes!! Yes, a spelling bee at half-time for more than 45 frickin minutes!! As our old ... posteriors were stiffening, we wondered if we could regain our momentum going into the second half. Low and behold, we eeked out a victory, by two points, but the lesson had been learned: Yes, the folks running the school had great "academic sense," but little "good ole common sense." We had a good laugh on that one.

We also talked about the Science Fair story -- too long for this post -- but bottom line: she didn't get to go for an overnight stay at the St. Louis Science Center even though her test scores were higher than two other students who were selected. We (wifey and I) called the Headmaster on the carpet for that one. (details later)

By now we were nearing the end of the Last Ride. A few comments about the most engaging teacher, or the wierdest one, as well as thoughts about friends who once attended the school but moved away. Given her academic success over the past 12 years, we began to realize how fortunate her journey had been by attending The Governor French Academy. Afterall, we concluded, it's a College Preparatory School, and after today's classes, she would be well-prepared to begin that journey in the fall.

It hasn't hit me until right now, at this very moment, how special it was during that Last Ride.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Driving Ms. Allie

My daughter graduates from high school this week. She has been an oustanding student, and a very amazing person. For twelve years, plus the daycare days, I have driven her to school. Tomorrow will be the last day for that drive, and I'm not sure what to make of it.

I can only recall one instance of a possible accident: it was raining and I had to make a quick stop to avoid the car ahead. I ended up bumping my tires against the boulevard and she, in a car seat in the back, never really knew what happened. So I've been very cautious, and blessed, in transporting my valuable cargo.

We have shared a lot of great moments during those rides -- too many to even begin to tell. And we've heard a lot of radio shows, at least before the I-Pod arrived.

Driving to work next week won't be the same. But, boy, what a drive it's been.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Background and viewpoints on attending SIUE

Copy and paste the above link into your browser to read this story from the SIUE Communicator. Never mind that my last name is spelled incorrectly.