Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day and What I Learned About Black Confederate Soldiers

It is a pip of a topic. It came to me on the serendipity flyer. I was cruising through Ms. Lady Deborah’s Renaissance Gallery blog. My eyes locked on the name of the video, Black Confederate Soldiers.

My brain had an instant system scramble. It made no rational sense to me. Then I started to think; maybe it is a parody video or some kind of joke. It wasn’t. Every history book I picked up contained white men in a grey suit holding a gun. I do not ever recall seeing a photo of black man in a confederate uniform.

This is another video that has footage of the Confederate soldiers and a discussion of Nathan Bedford Forest who had 41 of his slaves go with him into battle:

I’m not sure if this is propaganda or a historical distortion. It could also be the truth or a part of a greater truth. So for two and half hours I've been looking for verifiable sources of information.

What is My Agenda?

For me, I want to know if this is true or not that there was voluntary service of free black men in the Confederacy. More importantly, I want to know why. My 21st century personhood really wants to know why.

When you start to research a controversial topic you need to be clear as to what you are searching for and what is my expectation of a result. Then you have to be prepared to jettison the expectation.

The Facts and The Truth

There were people in the U.S. Army and in the Confederate Army who wanted to conscript slaves and former slaves.

Once word got out that there was going to be military action the free blacks and former slaves rushed to enlist. They were turned away because of a pre-existing Federal law that barred Negroes from bearing arms for the U.S. Army.

The U.S. Army resisted as long as it could until there was a drop in white enlistment. Things changed. The rest is history.

Over on the Confederate Army side of the fence is a little more complicated and to me, psychologically mind boggling. Confederate offices and slave owners did bring their slaves along with them into military service.

Slaves were conscripted to assist and support confederate troops. Not a big deal, kinda thought that would have happened. This was not voluntary action by the slaves. There was no choice in the matter. Slaves had to serve their owners.

The bigger question is did people of color try to or indeed voluntary serve in the Confederate Army? Yes. And No. Really, I am not playing words games here.

This is complicated. There is a very good article at the University of Maryland Baltimore County America History site that started to clear things up for me.

Things were not going well in the Confederacy. After black recruitment shot up in the Union Army the Confederacy started looking around for allies and assistance.

One of those places was Louisiana. There was a large number of free people of color. Some who called themselves Creole. In their perception of reality they were not Negro, black or of African decent.

A Creole person of that time would have had a stroke being called Negro or African. It did not matter what they looked like on the surface. They were Creole. Not white and certainly not African. They had their own society and business concerns.

Looking at the odds between the Underdog and the long term Big Dog a certain percentage of the free and Creole population that went into the Confederacy figured that the Big Dog (the Confederacy) was gonna win.

It was in part an economic decision. Some of the Creoles were slave owners themselves. They had property and a lifestyle negotiated long ago. They had more to lose with the Union than with the southern states.

The narrative goes on to talk about the decision of Virginia free and slave populations to consider joining the Confederate Army. It wasn't necessarily love of Dixie, more like being between a rock and a hard place.

Having said that, there were black confederate soldiers that were proud of their service. Their descendants also want it known that these men served in honor. That is not something that can be dismissed.

Knowing When to Back Off

I found the first level answers. But the questions those answers generate are far more complex and deep than I can handle in 1500 words. I'd need 300,000 and a couple of Ph.Ds after my name. There is a important context to the answers that cannot fit a sound bite or a quick post.

I'd want to find diaries and recordings of these gentlemen, if they exist, to really understand.

I want to know living conditions and how do you deal with inter-troop and external racism? I'd want to know if they felt that a life in slavery was better to them than a life as a free person?

Those questions take time and respect for the truth to find the answers.

Final words. I will not be a party to revisionist history for the sake of advancing a political agenda. There are bloggers who are doing this now - searching through every historically prominent person of color writings to find "the hidden Republican or conservative streak."

Also, if you think you found a sympathetic African American that understands the right to praise the Confederacy think again. I neither praise nor condemn. The Civil War is a historical fact with many dimensions. Each soldier and the family he or she was attached to has a viable story.

My only commitment is to find the truth and validate as best I can.

I don't play it the other way either. I have words for some liberals; you can't continue to ignore Booker T. Washington either. If the system is going to collapse then damn well we better be prepared to build anew.

Somebody needs to hip the hydroponic boys to diversify the crop. Pop some veggies in between the ganja if you catch my drift.

As for me? I have to find something else to write about.

Resources Used and Discovered For Those That Are Curious:

Stoop Status Report or What The Heck Is She Doing?

Miles to go before I sleep but naps are important. Which is a strange introduction but that is the kind of gal I am. Just wanted to give a re-cap of all the going on in my blogging life with some real world accents.

I'm still a Contributing Editor at BlogHer. I write about educational topics but I also get to branch out a bit. The deal is I have to wait a bit before I can post what I've written for BlogHer on my site.

The bad news is that it might appear I'm not being productive. The good news is that I usually wind up re-writing stuff anyway because I have this fear or boring people. In any case, it will balance out.

Still trying to find my voice and the appropriate level of involvement at Create Video Notebook. My intial vision was to point folks to resources and discoveries about creating web video and those that are doing it.

I am finding out that people are asking questions in forums and blog posts who are not techies or people who are thinking about vlogging.

That is ok, I want to reach out to those folks. It is just that there are people and web sites that do want to help newbies (without scamming them) It is just that two groups are not finding each other.

I have to re-think about how to plant respectful seeds and create simple tutorials. For the time constrained that is a killer thought. It has been giving me headaches. This is good because I'm am using brain cells.

It is bad because I don't have a good answer yet so I am just plugging along. I want to figure out how to teach/communicate via blogs and video. I'm looking here and there but I don't have my answer yet. It is still in Beta mode.

Vidlicious! is coming along again. Originally Zadi Diaz and a few others of us wanted a place to showcase active women vloggers. Well, I can't speak for the others but I know my life ramped up to hyper speed. It is a balance and some times you have to let things go.

So it went for a while. I was nattering to myself about the lack of representation of women in web video and bemoaning lost history. Until it occurred to me that once a week I could find one video that was produced by a woman or reflected a specific woman's point of view.

So I did. A drop in the bucket but a drop is what is needed to fill that bucket.

Lemme see, still have the day job. Still have piles of laundry and even more paper. I don't want to be the doggy lady that the police find under pounds of books and papers so I have got to do some purging of property.

You'd think that would be enough stuff but I have another bunch of ideas I don't dare speak into being.

I don't have the time.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Been A Long Day on the Finally Friday Freakout

Normally it would be a long day at Amalgamated Salt Mine and Manufacturing but I have the day off. Normally I don't take time off so I can bank up vacation. This year I needed down time in a profound way.

Having only Monday off was not going to cut it.

You know that long list of things you swear you are going to do over a holiday weekend and never do? Yep. I'm not doing them. I am just being. The woulda, coulda, shouldas can really hurt you if you let them.

I have Yoda on my desk to remind me of "Do or do not. There is no try."

Yes, I have a lot of stuff on my desk. There are bills to be paid and receipts to file and ideas to flesh out. At the end of the day only what has been completed can be judged.

This is a scene from How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Maybe this does work for business but for everything else, just do it.

No product endorsement intended.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Desire for Cabbage and Some Pot Liquor

For the past couple of days I had a desire for cabbage. Specifically the kind of cabbage that you cook for so long you get the added bonus of pot liquor.

For those of you that might make assumptions on my sobriety, pot liquor is the liquid that the essence of what was in the pot with the cabbage such as onions, green peppers, potatoes, garlic, a touch of oil, water, salt and pepper.

If you do this right you get to dip bread into the pot liquor and savor everything again in a new form. If you toss in smoked pork neck bones that will elevate you to another level of consciousness.

Plus add a couple more pounds to the frame. Because you can't cook 1/8th of a pot of cabbage. You have to do the whole thing. Which means that I will wind up eating the whole pot.

I can live with it. But sometimes I would like to share a pot of cabbage with someone. Some of the people I know are fast food hit it and quit folks.

By the time I tell them I have it ready they are stuffed with sodium laced Double Downs. You can't take it to a barbecue cuz it isn't BBQ food. Cole Slaw, yes. Hot Cabbage, no.

Trust me, I'm not suffering. It is just that the cabbage is a metaphor for sitting around a table talking and laughing in real time.

I'm mourning missing out on thinking, non-hostile debates and kidding. Of memories uplifted for another look and the measurement of time that has gone by.

Sure this will happen. Cabbage has nothing to do with it. It just means that now folks are standing and talking at gourmet food trucks or finding a hidden gem of a non-chain restaurants.

Few of us cozy up anymore at a communal table and just talk. And eat. Then talk some more.

I'm going to need hot sauce to get me through this moment.

Friday, May 21, 2010

System of Survival on the Finally Friday Freakout

I have been doing more exercising because I don't want to internally rust up. I've been a chair jockey for too long. You really do have to move that thing but with a desk job that is hard to do.

Damned if you do and damned if you don't. Seeing as how I don't want to have anything replaced or tinkered with I think it is in my best interest to make time, even if it mean waking up a little earlier than I want to.

Believe me, I'm not a natural early riser. Yet I have to say that I can feel something is good is happening. My body is telling me you should keep doing this moving stuff.

I wish there were more public places where we could swing out and dance when we needed to bust a move. Maybe in a post-venom society. Until then, this is Earth, Wind and Fire from 1987 with System of Survival directed by Bob Giraldi.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Thinking About Meat Loaf and Passionate Singing

I was in the store the other day and a cashier was sharing with a customer about how good the Rocky Horror Picture Show really is and that she would enjoy it.

I smiled because I certainly did and the other person waiting in line was nodding his head. The person, who appeared in her early twenties, was not necessarily convinced but she bought it anyway.

It won't be the same experience for her. That is ok. There is no way to replicate what it was like to be in the theater and have no idea of what was about to happen. The Bic lighters being flicked. Huge chunks of the audience doing the Time Warp. Tim Curry in a corset and that blond beefy guy in those plastic, vinyl shorts. Ah yes, I remember it well.

Before the movie was a musical short feature. We didn't call them music videos because there was no MTV. Or cable as we now it now. We had VHF, UHF and if you were prosperous a VHS player.

I laid eyes on Meat Loaf ripping the hell out of Paradise By the Dashboard Light. I'm sure that I had popcorn suspended between the bucket and my mouth. Keep in mind that I was raised as and shall always be a Funkateer.

Yet his Meatness was working his way into my being; rattling what I thought I knew.

So after I got home from the store I was wondering if the video holds up for me. I checked it out. It did. In the side bar there was a photo of how Meat Loaf looks now. I click on over.

No need to worry, he is doing just fine:

The dude is looking kinda good! Not that he was bad looking just that I never got to see his face without his hair plastered on it. Beef-a-licious you might say. Like you know there is somebody in the bed and you don't need that extra blanket.

I digress. Still kicking it hard and passionate. Look here, can't somebody make a television/cable theatrical movie musical with him in the lead? Come on, put this man in a music structured long form video. He could do it.

I don't know if he can act. I do know he can perform. I'd write it myself if I knew how to create that kind of musical narrative video. I'll put that on the bucket list for later.

Word is that he is finishing up a new album and going on tour. I hope he is going to pacing himself. I don't understand how he can sing like that night after night. Sitting or standing, I don't care but take care of those vocal cords baby.

Oh, Mr. Loaf doesn't need a woman to sing with him. Check out Cry Over Me. Amazing work. The video, not so much but the song and the vocals. Powerful.

Seriously put him in a movie musical somebody.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Your Book Memory Can Help 1000 Kids - Fess Up!

Ok, here is the deal. You know there is one book that stoked your furnace. The one that just thinking about it gets you emotional. I'm not asking for money, time or a commitment. If you could just swing over to BlogHer and share the one or five books that made you the divine person you are today it would really be appreciated.

That is it. Just leave a comment. Have no fear or shame. I know for a fact that Go Dog Go! has a loyal fan club. Steinbeck is in the house. Heck yeah to Road Less Traveled.

But that is the thing isn't it? We need 800 more people to pony up the book that needs to be heard and shared. I've already put in my two cents but somebody needs to speak up for Pudge, Girl Blimp or other obscure titles lost in the mist.

Undercover Nerds - you know you gotta do this right?

Moving to The Upper Realm - Walker and Burke

This is a day of recognition and sorrow of the passing of two great performers. Dr. Albertina Walker and Mr. Solomon Burke have made their transition to the upper room.

Albertina Walker is one of the great ladies of traditional African American gospel music. A body could not move through a Sunday morning without hearing a recording from Dr. Walker or one of the many choirs she created or was associated with.

Special shout to her recording with James Cleavland, Please Be Patient with Me, God is Not Through With Me Yet.

This is her rendition of Lord Remember Me:

For those that don't know, just because the song seems to end does not necessarily mean that the song has ended. This is the music equivalent of stoking the furnace.

Four minutes and thirty seconds isn't always enough time to invoke the spirit. You might need a little longer to not only go up but to remember to come back down.

Solomon Burke made his transition on route to a performance in Solomon Airport in Amsterdam, the Netherlands for a sold out show with Dutch band, De Dijk.

This is his recording with the Blind Boys of Alabama with a ripping version of None Us Are Free

Mr. Burke recorded gospel, secular and country music. Think of him as a musician's performer. Those that knew about the depth of his talents were respectful and did not nor would not try to lump him as a one or two hit wonder. There is a strong body of work and good music that never got proper promotion or U.S. air play.

Europe and Asia had more sense than we did.

Mr. Burke, in addition to his musical legacy has a loving family of 21 children, 90 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Pasadena Bloggers Meet-Up Video May 2010

This is the next video that I have ready. This one shows some of the folks that showed up for the tour and what we did.

We listened. We looked. We photographed and recorded. If the Doomers are right then what we are doing is even more important. We needed to pay it forward for the future. If they are wrong than we still need to pay it forward.

It is a win-win for everybody.

Ann Edman is the pubic information officer for the city of Pasadena, CA. She has an historical blog about the city and the current doings at

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Ann and the Hidden Whimsy At Pasadena City Hall

Last week Ann Erdman was gracious enough to host a bunch of Pasadena and area bloggers to a tour of Pasadena City Hall. Being that we were bloggers there were also a lot of photos and videos recorded.

We can't help it and don't want to.

This is a quick video of Ann describing a gentleman who has been keeping silent track of the comings and going of the city of Pasadena. Ann has a blog that has all kind of historical goodies about the City of Pasadena.

Hoping to finish up on the rest of the videos soon.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

My Squirrel Story or Just Do It

I turn the corner and walk down the block. Actually while my legs were moving I'm was thinking of what I have to do to be worthy of drawing continued breaths. The laundry, the kitchen, updating software on the computer, research, edit video, plan, dream, exercise, blah, blah and blah.

My eyes glance down at the ground for a moment. A squirrel is walking up the block with either a kid's ball in it's mouth or an orange. I'm leaning toward orange because there are orange trees on the block.

This sphere is 3x the size of the squirrel's head. He/she can't see where she is going but the destination was a tree. The fuzzy one scampers up the tree with the object firmly in the teeth.

I loose sight of the squirrel. I can't remember what I was thinking about on account that squirrel was making me feel like a slacker.

I went home and took a nap. I needed one. Later, I did a little bit of everything and it was good enough.

Will the lesson hold? Probably not.

But I have to tell you I see squirrels all over the place. Makes it kinda hard to forget.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Darling, It's Alright on the Finally Friday Freakout

I fought the stupid and kept it at bay. I kept my eyes on the goal and the goal was to get to Friday. Time for something new.

To me at least. I am so out of the music loop it ain't funny. I gave up when robotics replaced singing. Robotic lyrics, robotic gyrations and nothing really important to say but it goes on and on. Only a good DJ re-mix can save most of what is called popular music today. The poor DJs must be tuckered out trying to make music out of garbage.

Anyway, I'm flipping the e-mail pile and I come cross a link to a video by this group called Frances and the Lights.

I'm not expecting anything but I give it a go. The name of the tune is Darling, It's Alright:

I do love black and white film and videos. Let's see, I believe the correct response is I like the video. It had a beat and I could dance to it. (Ancient American Bandstand meme.)

But can they perform in color? Let's find out. the name of the song is Lime at a performance at Diesel in New York.

Much to do and 62 hours left to do it in and I don't know where to start. Darling, it's alright.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Lisa Schrader's Awakening Shakti Video

I might be meeting a bunch of new people today so let me explain that Out On the Stoop is my personal blog. I have a wide range of curiosities and interests. I am open to exploring my world and environment.

So the topics and posts you see are what I have come across in my real world and cyber travels. It doesn't mean I accept or embrace everything presented but it is a moment that I want to pay attention to or share with my friends and extended community.

This is a video by Lisa Schrader, who I gather has a business that involves re-connecting people to their inner light and spiritual nature.

I was doing research on spiritual sexuality for a post on BlogHer. I came across her video. She has a presence that seems to be calm and relaxed. I don't know, I guess the video is a window to a kind of place I would like to live in some day. A place of love, nature and non-hostile community.

I'm not promoting her company or service. I'm really looking and listening to her describe a kind of internal and external place we could construct if we were willing to see each other as equal loving beings.

This is not easy with some of the jokers and chuckle heads on the planet. At times I have been the joker or chuckle head so I have sympathy for both sides.

I guess I'm looking at how still she is and being physically quiet. I have to work on being physically quiet.

It might take time for me to truly understand the enlightenment thing.

Ina's Video on What Women Really Need

I do understand that there is a portion of the population who needs chemical assistance with the hydrologics but it ain't me. For one specific person take you pill pushing behind someplace that has a penis. I do not have one, okay?

Being that I am solution orientated I want to heap increase the natural and pleasurable friction between partners. In order to stem the perceived need and fear of not getting any on-going action, I bring to you men folk words of wisdom from Ina Mlekush who will help some of you guys to stop worrying about the plumbing but instead being in the moment.

For those of a delicate nature, Ina does use words that you might not want to have resonating in the office. NSFW if you catch my drift.

Now as I have just learned from Ina, Menfolk feel the need to be doing stuff. We can work this out. Here is some of the stuff you fellas need to consider doing.

In the interest of equal time and because we all could stand a little touch-up of technique this is what the men folks want from us.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Love Rollercoaster on the Finally Friday Freakout

I picked up an issues of a mighty fine magazine called Wax Poetics because on the cover there was a photo of the Ohio Players. If Parliament/Funkadelic was playing on the radio then it had to be the Ohio Players. And where there was the Ohio Players there was Sugar with that lovely afro and that thumping bass.

There is a great article about Sugar's time with the band and how love is indeed a roller coaster when folks you trust don't pay the tax man. It isn't the show part that does musicians in.

It is not knowing or understanding the business that can really mess you up.

I still own some of their album so it is only right and proper that the weekend starts off with a little Wolfman Jack and a whole bunch of Love Rollercoaster.

I just learned at the Wax Poetics In Memoriam page such as the passing of Steve Reid, who I did not know played drum/percussion on a pound and a half of Motown recordings.

Note to self, avoid reading In Memorian pages. You might find people you should know or people you do know. Either way I get bummed out.

Speaking of bummed out I have to clean something that is calling my attention in a most undesirable way.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Spiritual Sex Explained - Joy Davidson

I am working on writing an essay type piece on Sacred Sexuality. As usual, I had more resources than space to display them all. It is a challenging topic to find authentic, non-exploitative voices.

I'm all for the sex positive because we seem to be choking on the negative. This is Joy Davidson and this is her perspective on how she defines sacred sexuality.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Tim Freke - Philosopher

I will admit that I do pay attention to bald headed men. Can't help it. Think of it as my Picard veteran preference in action. Anyway, this caught my attention. Who is this guy?

It is an intriguing concept - a philosopher with a sense of humor or at least a present that doesn't act like a narcotic. Yo, Nietzsche, I'm talking to you!

Sorry, flashback. There are other videos but let's see if this guy has got staying power.

Love exploring the journey from all perspectives.