Saturday, March 22, 2008

When Creativity and Politics Meet - Ron Paul Ad

I am not a supporter of Ron Paul. I am still making up my mind about who I will vote for in the election. But I do like to pay attention to how a candidates ideas are presented.

After viewing this ad/promotional video I have an understanding on his position on the war, the presidency and we are in a whole heap of trouble. It is simple, concise and put his voice out there.

It invokes the same resonance that the Obama video does; that is to engage the viewer in the vision of the candidate. There will be more of this to come.

Friday, March 21, 2008

I'm Cooked - Christopher Walken

I was checking out Megan's Video Runway blog and discovered a new video distribution service called I'm Cooked.

Christopher Walken at I'm Cooked

Christopher Walking working on
Chicken and Pears at I'm Cooked.

I love to see this guy dance especially in music videos or in movies. Of course his a great actor as well. I didn't know he could cook as well. A man who dances and cooks. Stone dreamy.

Sorry, I had to yank the video. It was really loud and I couldn't find out how to pause it or turn it down. But click the above link and it will take you right to it.

Letter To My Body on This Day

I resisted this. I wanted not to share the personal because there is so much that need to be seen and experienced beyond the self. I like exploring outside of myself.

Hmm. Yeah. I don't know how to do this so I avoid. LainaD over at BlogHer asked women of color to post letters to their bodies. I kept waiting for folks to start posting links so that I could read about our struggles with having our bodies in this culture. I'd check in every other day but I heard the cyber equivalent of crickets.

I did a Google search on "The Letter" and as of this day 124,000+ mentions and 5,830 blog posts about women writing about their bodies. Dang, late to the party once again.

I didn't think I had anything to add. There are funny, moving powerful letters out there. I've been looking at a few. Women's magazines and mainstream media do not have a clue as to who we are, the only deal with the veneer of surface enough to know how to sell us something.

Dear Body:

We started in a fury having chosen to emerge during a snow storm. I thought it was a good idea at the time but being birthed during a blizzard does set up our pattern for how we've sloshed through life. You reflected my ancestors, both the voluntary and involuntary ones and some of those rascals were impatient to begin again.

My hair I now celebrate but in reality it is a hard won truce. It wasn't called pretty and hardly ever in style. I've pressed my hair with hot combs, relaxed it with lye, had it Jerri curled. I promise never, ever to do this again. I do remember being caught in a rain storm without an umbrella. Major apologies to the eyes for that dumb move.

Hair, you came back. Each and every time. Thank you.

As for the body. We've been though it haven't we? I'm sorry about pulling the toaster on your head when I was three, I hadn't mastered that cause and effect thing yet. The cord was just dangling there and you know, inquiring minds.

The N-word. High yellow. Tar black. The paper bag test. Having people look at my skin and make instant decisions on my intelligence, my ability to articulate the letters "Th" or their level of investment in being involved with me. Skin you caught hell from both sides. Intra-racism, External racism.

I fought fights in school because I was too light. In 1968 James Brown has a hit record called "Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud." I then fought the same people then said I wasn't black enough. How you survived the emotional blender of the 1960s is a miracle. It was something wasn't it?

I remember when I was eight or nine I tried to stay out in the sun so I could darken you up a bit more. Only worked in the summertime. I never hated you, I hated how people reacted to you and I had to defend you more than I was capable at the time. I know I wished I had skin like Gladys Knight but I really wished people would back off and see me.

It is a lot better now. Thank for adding a bit more color as I aged. Thanks for covering my body as a reflection of what came before and what is to come.

You were round and never small as in skinny. Certainly never in style. We had to make our own path with many a misstep along the way. Sorry about trying to stuff the thighs into Fishnet and Window Pain stockings. Trying to wearing mini skirts and forever tugging them down. Clogs and boots I tried to teeter you on to be taller. I never developed the fashion gene so I kept you out of step. Sorry about that. You got additional grief because of it.

I'm sorry I stuffed you to null some of the pain of my life but I'm not sorry about what I stuff you with. Cheese Steak Hoagies with extra onions, cherry peppers and mushrooms. Tasky Kakes, Tandy Kakes, Rum Water Ice, Black Cherry Soda and pork rinds with a Pizza chaser. Oh and experimenting with other cultures foods. It was a good run while it lasted.

We know much better now don't we? We eat veggies and on occasion sample but not consume to our hearts content.

I'm sorry that man attacked you on the street. I wished I could have protected you better. And later on when you were physically ill I wished I could have fought harder faster so I could have gotten the help you needed. Unemployment and illness do not mix well.

I appreciate your patience as we search for the right partner. Thank you for not get pregnant with those that I shouldn't have been with in the first place.

Thank you for you continuing interest in the male species but you are gonna have to let mind and soul have jurisdiction over selecting folks. I do ask that you quit lusting after certain types of warm bodies. Mind knows what she is doing, you gotta trust it will be ok. I understand about the sexual munchies but you can't want to f*ck everything in pants. Bank that passion into learning and actually driving a car. In the meantime, I promise to find a better way of handling those needs.

Thanks to the knees for holding me up all these years and letting me know I need to pay attention to the weight load or there is gonna be trouble. Thanks to my feet who have taken me where I want to go when I wanted to do it.

Thank you to my flat feet for allowing me to walk from 69st in Upper Darby to 21st and Chestnut because I needed to heal and walking is a real good way to meditate. Thank you for being flat because I can feel more grass under my feet that way. Also in the tube I can move more water and feel embraced by circulation.

All in all I don't have many complaints about you. Ok, when I lose weight why do the boobs have to lose mass? All I'm asking for is resource allocation. Take from below and not from above.
I think this can be worked out with the thighs.

Just kidding. I didn't think we'd make it this far. We still got work to do and miles to go before we sleep. I appreciate the journey you have taken me on so far.

A Sampling of Other Letters:

Lady Beams
Lady Shanny
Currently Dreaming

If you want to get in the BlogHer Letter To Your Body all you gotta do is write a letter and let folks know where to find your post.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Prelude Letter To My Body - Part Four

Picture this, my mom trying to do my hair before I go to school. No such thing as an Afro at the time. There were however Plats. Not Micro-Braids, Braids or Cornrows. And a jar of Dixie Peach petroleum jelly. The best she could do was two up at the top and two in the back. And one of those would come lose if she didn't remember to rubber band them.

Man I hated those Plats! I am what you call tender headed. This does not mean I am easily moved. It means that you really can't tug and pull my hair into obedience. It physically hurts my scalp if you pull on my hair.

The ancestors have spoken and not only am I tender headed I got a double dose of the kinks. It took a while but I learned to appreciate the kinky, curly and authentic hair. Kids these days don't know how good they got it.

In in this society we are told from a young age via television that our hair is supposed to flow like silken threads of shimmering light. That when we turn our heads our hair tumbles into a cascade of curls like Jacklyn Smith taking off that helmet in Charlie's Angels.

There is one problem. As a rule, and their are non-chemical and non-textile exceptions, black hair doesn't do that without a great deal of alteration.

Even when you think you have it mental worked out sometimes you slip up. It happened to me. This is my testimony.

I was watching TV. I saw that infomercial for "Rio Girls." It promised to change my hair into a sexy mass of Brazilian curly delight. They had black people in those commercials. Women spoke of the new freedom they had found being a "Rio Girl." They even brought out the little kid with a beautiful head of hair.

I watched that infomercial sixteen times because I was going to get that stuff. At the bottom of the screen was the physical address. I go all the way across town. Other black women are pouring into what use to be known as the Helsinki Hair Club for Men.

Some of the Helsinki Men were standing around wondering what the heck was going on. The place was mobbed. I make my way to the counter. They didn't have brown anymore did I want to take black? I thought about it for a half second and said yeah! $45 later I'm walking out with my box of Rio Girl.

I put that stuff on just like they said. There was a change. It turned parts of my hair green. Apparently the manufactures added large amounts of copper to the mixture which is not a normal ingredient of any hair care product. For other "Rio Girls" they had scalp burns and major loss of hair.

The guys from the Helsinki Hair Club for Men were pissed, they had been displaced. A whole bunch of Black women were furious that we were chumped by our desire to have easy to manage hair. The Feds weren't too happy because you can't sell a product that causes physical harm to consumers. The Rio Girl Hair Care line disappeared without a trace.

I had to cut my hair, the stuff wrecked it. And I started thinking about what I was trying to buy in a box. Was it whiteness? Nope, I feel real sure about that. Was it acceptance? Possibly. Was it ease of hair care so I would keep people off my back and be able to get a job? Kinda.

I think it really was I didn't want to invest so much time and energy into doing my hair to be acceptable to people. But the truth was I bought into the hype. I had issues with my natural hair.

Now days I swing into what I feel like. Sometimes I cut it all off, I love how that feels in the shower. Sometimes I use a very mild relaxer so I can have an imitation curly Afro. Sometimes I wrap and go. The thing I learned it that I can do anything I want with my hair.

If the mainstream American society thinks that is a rebel or an extremist position to take so be it. It is my hair.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Prelude Letter To My Body - Part Three

I read the news today. Oh boy. There was an article about a visit author talking to middle school students about the long term effect of being a bully.

The author's name is Jodee Blanco. I like the fact that she has a tip page for students and for adult survivors of school bullies. You can listen to an interview at Eye On Books.

I read that article and I teared up on the bus. Every time I hear some teenager whacking a portion of his class I clench up. I don't in any way condone it. But I understand it to the core of my being. School is not necessarily a safe place. And now with the Internet there are a lot more cyber bullies, take a look.

If you are in any way "different" you get targeted. Consistently. Relentlessly. Physically. Emotionally. School is the place where we learn to conform and if the little darlings have a internal measuring gizmo that tells them you are the "other" your school life is toast.

I read the article and I flashed back. How did I survive that? I had a fight almost everyday in elementary school if I didn't manage to out run the bully of the day. It changed to verbal when I got to Junior High. Jodee gives good advice but I did tell adults what was happening to me.

"It's kid stuff, you have to learn to work it out." Sometimes it is kid stuff. And sometimes it is sadistic. Yes, I learned to fight back. I learned to suck it up. And I learned not to trust anyone unless absolutely necessary. My life got better when I went to high school in another part of town.

So if my future self could talk to my younger self I'd tell her to knock a certain SOB to the concrete sooner rather than later. And to open a bank account and pop quarters in it so I could have been a millionaire by now.

Downer huh? Not really. See I needed those PF Flyers. I needed safe places. I found resources that helped me stay sane. And I know a lot more good people than bad.

This is certainly not what I planned to write about but it feels right. Dissolving the old demons one by one.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Prelude Letter to My Body - Part Two

I had a thing for bell bottom pants. Elephant bell bottom pants. If I wasn't wearing overalls with a Jeff cap it was the bells. Thing was, I was never tall enough to wear those pants.

Lord knows I wanted to be. All of my bell bottom pants had torn bottoms cuz when I wasn't falling off of my clogs I wore sneakers. And none of that hip-hugger crap. I had a hard enough time getting into standard jeans. I had to work extra hard to keep the back of my front covered.

The bells bottom pants was my way of paying homage to Tamara. Truth be told I wanted to be Tamara Dobson.

Okay, I wanted to be as tall as Tamara Dobson in addition to looking like her. Either one or the other would have worked for me.

If I couldn't be Tamara Dobson then Pam Grier would have done just as well but I kind was in awe of Pam Grier. As in she'd scared me. You just didn't mess with Pam Grier in her movies. She'd hurt you really, bad.

I liked that. Well I like that she beat the hell out of anyone doing her wrong.

Now you might say how in the world can I look to these women as my heroic icons? Easy. They were the first. They were present. Everybody knew their names and said them with respect. These women acted in roles that didn't talk about getting their freedom that just assumed they had it and proceeded from that point.

Were some of their movies exploitative? Yes. I can't lie or deny that. As a teen these are the folks that popular media projected and I responded to. If I didn't like them I wouldn't have given them a second thought. Knowing that one or the other blew the hell out of some guy was very reassuring in a goofy kind of way.

Plus they were snazzy dressers, a skill I dreadfully lacked in the 70s.

And they had long legs. Men seems to like women with long legs so I thought it was something to aspire to. The concept of genetics and the immediate lack of tall relatives hadn't hit my conscious yet.

More than anything I wanted that kind of cool. Emancipated cool. I wanted to be that kind of black woman. The one that wouldn't take no stuff from no one.

It kind sunk in around sixteen I wasn't going to hit the heights. Or carry a gun. But they gave me a rough outline that I could take a look at and fill in to suit my life.

Oh, special shout out to Ready Betty Davis, I wanted to look like her too.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Prelude Letter To My Body - Part One

For the next few days I will be telling stories about my past. And my body. And my memories. This will probably cost me a future job, so be it. I might loose a potential partner. Well yes, if anything I write so freaks you out you can't love me then be on you way. We are not right for each other.

I write with the TV sound off. It is better that way. It causes me to look up from time to time and see what is being pitched for my possible consumption. So far it has been shoe commercials for stuff I can't wear.

I can't wear heels. I found out two years ago why I can't wear heels, one leg is slightly shorter than the other and I have flat feet. Really flat feet. Ducks look at me with envy.

But before I found this out I thought I was female challenged. I kept falling off my shoes. Like I was drunk. But I wasn't. I was unbalanced. I was trying to do something my body wasn't structurally able to do but I kept trying because adult women wear heels and pantyhose that helps to guide the male eyes up to your ass. Or so I've been told.

Three years before I found out the truth about my legs I gave up wearing heels, clogs and anything over 1.5 inches. I had to let it go, I wasn't good at propping up my body on two tiny points. My feet didn't like being squished and the falling thing gets old.

I had to re-create myself in my own image. One that was based on level ground. So when I see images of women with a pair of Cum F*ck Me Pumps I see and don't see. I never see people like me in slinky black dresses looking for a step ladder to gain the attention of some tall guy. I've given up on tall guys anyway. Let the heeled women have them. With time comes acceptance.

It isn't that I don't like shoes. Once upon a time I was fixated on having just the right shoe.

I thought if I had a pair of PF Flyers I would be invincible. I would not be picked on because I have cool sneaks instead of "Bo-Bo's". It seemed important at the time.

Live long enough and you might learn different. Maybe.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

A Million Dollars Without The Music Company or RIAA Having Boo To Say About It

I wake up. I'm feeling good cuz I had a full night sleep. I check my RSS fees for the latest action. I'm reading AppScout and not only is Virgin Mobile Canada exploiting the Spitzer situation but there are people who paid 98 cents to hear his fee for services bed partner "sing."

With her vocal chords. You can sing with other parts of you body but yeah; Two million people. She gets 70% of the total profit.

Me, I want to know exactly how much. So after I found out what is 70% of .98 cents I did the calculations and then cyphered up 0.686*2,000,000 downloads = $1,372,000. In the spirit of one of the classic video bloggers of all time Drinking With Bob I quote, "Are You Freaking Kidding Me"?

Now I'm not hating on her original choice of career. I'm all for it. If the market place wants to pony up pennies to hear what her mouth is doing when it is unoccupied with her other professional duties so be it. I just hope the girl opens a ING account.

Here is the other story being ignored. Besides banks violating your financial privacy and turning information over to the Feds.

Anybody with promotion, not talent can make money quickly independent of the recording companies. A chunk of cash. Over a million dollars worth of cash. No manager, no agent, no A/R or accounting or bookkeeping malfunctions.

Just a bit to the online distributor and the bulk of the cash to the performer. I've been saying this for years. I've been waiting for folks to catch on but I didn't think the example would come quite this way.

Viva la independence and keep those dental dams and condoms handy. Seriously, I give her major props for insisting on protecting herself. If any good comes out this it will be an increase in condom sales by those in the business and those of us just trying to get busy.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Design and Structure - A Shot of Los Angeles

I have been trying to see. See colors, shapes and lines. See accidental art and intentional design. I did take a design class a few year ago. I think I failed it.

I wasn't an "art-teeste" and I rarely see the same things that other folks do. Or I see more in the so called mundane. It isn't. There are levels and the environment to consider. There is form, function and a good looking bunch of bratwurst just aching for some spicy brown mustard and grilled onions.

So when I got the chance to play hooky from work I took old faithful to see what I could see in the real parts of Los Angeles. I found an angel and a bit more.

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