Friday, June 19, 2020


I'm not going to sit here and tell you I've celebrated Juneteenth as man and boy. I didn't even really hear about it until college. And it was only because I went to summer school (to avoid going home for the summers) that I was able celebrate it with some guys from Texas, really more as an excuse to put something on the grill than anything else. That it isn't taught in the mainstream curriculum at any level is almost a crime. Or more precisely, typical of the current state of affairs.

And although we would be sold out to end the emancipation of Reconstruction after the Civil War,  and would endure the brutality of Jim Crow, the clear disparities of the hypocritical policy of  "separate but equal" and finally just raw discrimination, this day means something.

So, we can start with a federal holiday. But that is just a start. Understand.

Barkeep. A glass of that Uncle Nearest. Neat. And a fine cigar.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Something to calm the nerves, or inflame the spirit

Ramblings Post #382
Sometimes you just need to stop and take a moment. We live in interesting times. Or rather what we hope is the beginning of an interesting period in history. Where massive change, for what we hope is the better, is upon us. But even in the heat of battle one must rest. Clear the mind before marching back into the fray. 

I like black art. Or just art that showcases black people. That shows them as whole souls, as masters of the own futures, as pained by the dark parts of inhumanity, as people and not things, props, fetishes or less than.

Planes by @stylesosunde

Champ by @frankmorrison

Loud and Clear by Tim Okamura

Mask On by Nile Livingston

The story will be told. We will use those words, those colors, those images, that music, that thing we best feel expresses ourselves and we will tale you who we are. The story will be told.

Barkeep, a martini. Let a little vermouth sit at the bottom, don't just swish. One olive, no toothpick.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Use Your Words

This is a political post. 

I saw a post on Twitter today that disturbed me, but for all the wrong reasons.

At some point during a rally in Minneapolis, the mayor walked out to speak with the protesters. He came out without security, in a t-shirt and indicated that he knew that there was a real problem, that sweeping changes needed to be made, listed some he was ready to work towards and that he was ready to get to work.

Then he was asked, point blank, as a YES or NO question, if he would commit to defunding the Minneapolis police department.


First, is he even able to do that? Second, what exactly does defund the police department mean? Third, did the mayor know what you meant?

On the face of the phrase is not entirely clear. It's not quite like the familiar phrase Black Lives Matter. I ask the question what does it mean because while it's a slogan that apparently has found a home in our rage at the injustice we've faced since 1865, the actual meaning is not as clear as anyone yelling it thinks it is. Even the background of the shot of a greatly demoralized mayor of Minneapolis had signs that said "abolish the police," which I believe means something different than just defund the police. Or does it? Little things like that, that disconnect, gives the impression that even among those enthusiastically supporting the idea, the meaning of those particular words in that arrangement are a little too open to interpretation. It doesn't help that it is just muddled enough that the conservative media machine can and has latched onto the phrase, subsequently giving it the worst possible interpretation in an attempt to paint the protesters as people who want to destroy America.

It's a broad phrase Defund the Police, as most slogans are, but in this case it feels like it's garbled and the because the people who originated know what they mean and are real excited to use it, but they've erroneously assumed everyone listening knows what they mean. Or worse, suggest the confused Google it to find out. Google it? We live in a HEADLINE society.

So, does "Defund the Police" mean that thirty days from the notice of defunding that policing simply ceases to exist in municipal Minneapolis? It can't mean that. What about domestic violence incidents? What happens with the trafficking of illicit narcotics? Not weed, I mean meth or something worse.  Would a young woman who has been raped just on her own? Are we going to private security or street justice?

Or does "Defund the police" mean that we're scaling back if not eliminating completely the militarization of the police and taking those resources and creating programs to help citizens instead of criminalizing them? More community outreach programs, more drug therapy, more jobs programs, etc.? On a side note, I know that I find it odd that while doctors and nurses battle a disease that has killed 100,000 Americans they must must do so in trash bags and with equipment donated by people with home 3D printers, our police, who are using police brutality against a police brutality protest, are decked out head to toe in the Boys in Blue Law Enforcement 2020 Spring Collection. I think it shows that our spending priorities are just a skoosh off.  

It's the second one if you're not clear.

Later, the Minneapolis City Council would would agree to the concept, the defunding and then further dismantling of the current police department and rebuilding from scratch. I would suggest rebuilding the destroyed precinct and using it as a new headquarters. Symbolic. Now, this is a great FIRST step, but we also need new systems and checks in place to make sure the new structure doesn't even start down the path of the old.

My next question is - so what was with that grandstanding? It's obvious from the City Council's actions that the Mayor didn't have the sole power to defund the police. And putting him on the spot to promise to do so was just cruel. Either he had to lie and say he would knowing he didn't have the authority, or say he couldn't. To his credit he didn't lie. But what really happened was they took a potential ally and set his ass on fire. Instead of taking him in and using him to work the agenda (short and long term) to suit the needs of the people, the person on the dais pulled that "I'm the captain" now bullshit. This may make other future potential allies wary. Now, in this case this one objective was still achieved, but what about the others on the list?

Seriously, that "You either wit' me or against" me aesthetic really doesn't work outside of a two person relationship. We need to learn to stop asking for absolutes in a world full of grey and trying to simplify the complex questions by framing them as all or nothing slogans.

We need to use our words.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

This Should ALWAYS Happen

This is a political post.
Officer Krystal Smith, Ft. Lauderdale (still from CNN footage)
The black woman in this photo is Officer Krystal Smith. She works in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. During a Protest Demonstration in that jurisdiction a face-off occurred between the police and protesters. During those tense moments, Officer Steven Pohorence, the man at the far left of the photo, shoved a kneeling protester who had their hands raised out of his way.

Officer Krystal Smith immediately checked him. She snatched his ass up, and chewed his ass out. And he looks honest to God shocked that someone with the same uniform on as him might not agree with something he's done. Please be aware, Officer Smith is not his superior officer. She's just a cop who saw wrong and because she was in a position to do something she went and did it.

This should have happened in Minnesota.

Now, this is the important part. Officer Pohorence has been with the department for four years. But there are 71 use of force cases in his file and in at least 51 incidents in which he has drawn his gun. It's not clear if the some of these incidents occurred concurrently or if all these incidents occurred in just the four years he's been with this department. But if that is the case you have to wonder why this officer is still interacting with the public. And still possesses a badge.

I haven't slept good in five days wondering when someone is going to run into a cop with a record like this one. We've already heard ominous audio from the people who are supposed to be responsibly handling this situation. And there a people like this officer out there.

What would help right now, is more of those people who claim to be good cops to step up and be the good cops we need right now. 

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

This week on "President"...

This is a political post.

Is President still hiding in the Bunker? Does it have num-nums? Is the VP in like a mini-bunker, or is it like a closet in President's bunker? Did President reveal he was the evil twin? (like seriously, that's like from two seasons ago! Do we know yet?)  Is it true puppets Silk and Diamond are getting recast with models from the Ms. America pageant? How is President getting his fast food fix in all this chaos? Will they ever arrest the other three officers? And how the hell did Covid-19 blow a 28-3 lead over racism?

Okay, I must have missed something. While I'll admit I'm not an avid watcher, what I've seen so far is that this season looked like they were trying to pack absolutely possible everything in. I know it's a renewal year but it's just too much like Empire at this point - too much, too fast. And sadly, the whole thing is still as badly written as the first season. Back then they at least had the Mueller Investigation arc to hang everything on, but now it seems like they riff from one tangent to another, no attention to continuity or anything. I mean, the whole "This is a hoax, then I knew it was a pandemic all the time" twist, who did they expect to buy that? Maybe their hardcore audience, but everyone else is looking at the channel guide wondering if they can find an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives or maybe a Hotel Impossible rerun. I think this incarnation of President has single-handed ruined the anti-hero genre.

Again, I'm not an avid watcher. Because apparently impeachment, a pandemic with 100K dead, and murder hornets were just not moving the ratings dial enough. Special note - whoever decided to fire up the old Racism 1865 needs to get fired. I know the adage is "go with what you know," but this is a trope that should have been benched by the network decades ago. Because of this, I can tell you now is season is not going to get a "fresh" rating. The theme of shooting looters is 1960's material, and even with fan groups like Fox "News" or those new guys, um, OAN or whoever, throwing up tons of fan-fiction isn't going to save it. We've seen this material before and it wasn't good the first time, or the eighth time or sixty seventh time. I wasn't okay in black and white and damn sure isn't okay in 4K. It's just bad writing.    

Wait. Are the old writers of Game of Thrones on staff? This looks like their work. If so, we're still short a hurricane, a zombies invasion and two other howlingly inconsistent plot twists.

Okay, honesty here...I'm not really feeling the lead on President. Never did. Just a bad vibe, from shitty hair and makeup to the awful styling. Is it just me? I personally would have looked into seeing if we could get the previous guy back, for like one more run at it, but something about Guild Rules or whatever. He was good. I liked him. Or that woman who they were looking at four years ago would have been good too. She wasn't my favorite but I think she would have worked it. But the guy on there now? He has no nuance, no subtext at all. Seriously, he just wasn't ready for the role. I mean, he does terrible reads, it's obvious they're dumbing down the script for him and does anyone know how Golf is getting such prominent product placement? I mean could see this guy appear on an episode of Law and Order, or as like a secondary villain in say, a Sharknado film or something like that. But he just doesn't work as a lead in something as big as show like President. I'll say it. Terrible casting. I'm not even going to mention the supporting characters who are uniformly just as bad.

Here's to hoping we can get a reboot this fall.