On August 9, 2014 August 28, 1955, Michael Brown Emmett Louis Till , an African-American boy who was murdered in Missouri Mississippi at the age of 18 14 Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson drove up to Brown and a friend, Dorian Johnson, and ordered them to move off the street and onto the sidewalk. An altercation then took place between Brown and Wilson through the window of the police car. after reportedly flirting with a white woman. Till was from Chicago, Illinois, visiting his relatives in Money, Mississippi, in the Mississippi Delta region, when he spoke to 21-year-old Carolyn Bryant, the married proprietor of a small grocery store there. . A shot was fired from within the vehicle and Brown and Johnson began to flee. Wilson left his vehicle, fired his pistol at Brown and confronted him. Wilson then fired several shots at Brown, fatally wounding him. Witness reports Brown was on his knees with his hands up when Wilson shot him multiple times. Several nights later, Bryant’s husband Roy and his half-brother J. W. Milam went to Till’s great-uncle’s house. They took Till away to a barn, where they beat him and gouged out one of his eyes, before shooting him through the head and disposing of his body in the Tallahatchie River, weighting it with a 70-pound (32 kg) cotton gin fan tied around his neck with barbed wire. Brown’s body is left lying in the middle of the street for four hours. Three days later, Till’s body was discovered and retrieved from the river.

Till’s body was returned to Chicago. His mother, who had raised him mostly by herself, insisted on a public funeral service with an open casket to show the world the brutality of the killing. “The open-coffin funeral held by Mamie Till Bradley exposed the world to more than her son Emmett Till’s bloated, mutilated body. Her decision focused attention not only on American racism and the barbarism of lynching but also on the limitations and vulnerabilities of American democracy”. Tens of thousands attended his funeral or viewed his casket and images of his mutilated body were published in black-oriented magazines and newspapers, rallying popular black support and white sympathy across the U.S. The shooting sparked unrest in Ferguson due to longstanding racial tensions in one of the most segregated metropolitan areas in the United States. Protests, and other forms of social unrest continued for more than a week, with night curfews being imposed and escalating violence by State Police Department. Intense scrutiny was brought to bear on the condition of black civil rights in Mississippi, with newspapers around the country critical of the state. .Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), who nearly 40 years ago suffered a fractured skull as police officers attacked civil rights protesters with dogs and billy clubs in Selma, Alabama, denounced the police treatment of protesters and journalists in Ferguson, recommended the federalization of  the Missouri National Guard to protect citizens from police brutality. . Although initially local newspapers and law enforcement officials decried the violence against Till and called for justice, they soon began responding to national criticism by defending Mississippians, which eventually transformed into support for the killers. A support campaign for Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police officer who shot 18-year-old Michael Brown six times, has managed to collect over a quarter million dollars in a few days via GoFundMe, a crowdsourcing site. Several donors passed racist comments on the page while making donations, prompting GoFundMe to disable the comments as it was in violation of the site’s terms

 

The trial attracted a vast amount of press attention. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) opened a civil rights investigation of the shooting. President Barack Obama issued a statement expressing condolences to Brown’s family and committed the U.S. Department of Justice to conduct an investigation. “When an all-white, all-male jury acquitted Bryant and Milam of kidnapping and murder in September, the verdict shocked observers across the country and around the world. And when, mere months later, the men openly admitted to Look magazine that they had, in fact, mutilated and murdered Till, the outcry was so intense — and the reaction of Till’s devastated family so dignified — that it lit a spark that helped ignite the modern civil rights movement”. Bryant and Milam were acquitted of Till’s kidnapping and murder, but only months later, a Look magazine reporter interviewed Bryant and Milam. Protected against double jeopardy, they admitted to killing him, which further inflamed black opinion. Till’s murder is noted as a pivotal event motivating the African-American Civil Rights Movement. The shooting of Michael Brown is under investigation by a grand jury. The demographics of the jury are 68 percent white and 24 percent black.

If you don’t learn from your past you are forced doomed to repeat it.

 

You guys, my anniversary is coming up. Next weekend I will have been married for 22 (!) years. I think. I’m pretty sure it’s 22.
I’m also fairly certain it’s next weekend… I’ll be honest: I have a horrible memory. But I’m absolutely certain of two things: We got married. AND it was a LONG ASS TIME AGO.

YES. I GOT MARRIED REALLY YOUNG. (see also: 24 year old son. Hi, Adam!) I did a LOT of things really young. Heh.

ANYWAYS. Not the point. The point is that I never know what to do about our anniversary. I looked up wedding anniversaries; apparently this is the year I’m supposed to gift copper.
A copper WHAT, though? Really, it doesn’t matter because when you’ve been married as long as we have, I feel like you pretty much have all the things you could ever really want.
EXCEPT JEWELRY, YOU CAN NEVER HAVE ENOUGH JEWELRY. So I guess I’ll just sit tight until my 25th anniversary: Sterling Silver. Tiffany’s here I come!

And while I was looking up anniversary stuff, do you know what ELSE happened on my anniversary?

Houston Riot of 1917 (also called the Camp Logan Riot)!
So what had happened was… two Houston police officers busted in this (black) lady’s house(they were “looking for a suspect in the neighborhood”). They assaulted her and then dragged her into the street.
A soldier from the 24th Infantry was like, Well WTF IS HAPPENING HERE?
And the police officers were like, you can get some of this too.
The official reports and later news reports stated the soldier was charged with interfering with the arrest of a publicly drunk female.
Later on, Corporal Charles Baltimore went to the Houston police station to investigate the arrest, as well as beating of another black soldier, and attempted to gain the release of the soldier.
An argument began which led to violence, and Corporal Baltimore was beaten, shot at, and himself arrested by the police.
Once he was set free and sent back to camp all beaten up, the infantry became angry and decided extract revenge.

The riot began the evening of August 23, when 156 angry soldiers stole weapons from the camp depot and marched on the city of Houston.
They were met outside the city by the police and a crowd of armed citizens, frightened by the reports of a mutiny.
A virtual race riot began, which left 20 people dead – four soldiers, four policemen, and 12 civilians.
Order was restored the next day, and the War Department disarmed the soldiers.

There you have it folks! Your unnecessarily long, but still informative BHFOTD!

But I don’t want y’all thinking I’m trying to insinuate some sort of correlation between police officers from 1917 to the present day are out here causing riots because they don’t know how to treat black people. So, may I share one more anniversary with y’all?

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the movie, Do the Right Thing.

SMIRK
#jerks4life

The other day I was watching some Korean equivalent of America’s got Talent! Or maybe it was The Voice or…something. I dunno. There was a girl singing and people judging her and it was all in Korean. Except the song the girl sang.
Why am I watching Korean shows, you ask? ‘Cause The Brat is home. And she felt the need to make me watch all the shit I haven’t had to watch since she’s been away at college.

ANYWAYS.
Me: I don’t think she picked a good song. I think I’d like it better if she was singing the original version.
Brat: ….?
Me: The Fugee version is a cover. The original singer of this song is Roberta Flack.
To be fair, there’s not really a reason you should know that. That song is WAAAY before your time. And really, I was barely born when that song came out.

My mom (who’s visiting): That CAN NOT be true. That song isn’t THAT old. (Did she just call me old?)
Me: It was released in 1973. I wasn’t even 1 year old yet. (Thanks, Google!)

My mom: DAMN.

And because I’m a jerk, I felt immeasurably better knowing that even though this entire conversation made me feel old, I managed to make MY mom feel even older.

#jerksforlife

I went to BlogHer this year. It was a last minute decision, so sorry if I gave some of y’all heart attacks by being where I didn’t say I’d be. Usually I go for the parties, and to stalk my favorite bloggers who I don’t get to see regularly because they don’t live in SoCal. This time I went for something else. BUT WHILE I WAS THERE (I stalked up a few faves, went to a few parties and ALSO), I dropped in on a few panels. One of which was  The Girlfriends’ Guide to California Politics that was being hosted by the California Women Lead organization. While I’m not usually “politically minded” (y’all read my blog, right?), I was interested. Even more so when I realized that women are severely lacking in leadership roles in California. One of the more disturbing facts that were presented was that of the 296 seats County Boards of Supervisors in CA, 68 are women. Many counties have 0.

 THIS IS AN IMPORTANT LESSON ABOUT REPRESENTATION GUYS.

 We need to get involved. We need to be interested, and active in issues that affect us. Our homes, our healthcare, our bodies.

And if you don’t think it matters…Lemme tell y’all a little something I learned about….Ducks.

In early July, I went to Vegas with some friends. One of them is getting married! That isn’t why I was in Vegas, it was just a happy coincidence that she told us she’s plannin’ to get hitched. And in the way that women do, we asked lots of questions. One of them had to do with the living situation, which, he hasn’t completely moved in because he has ducks. And I think chickens? Maybe she owns the chickens? I’m not sure because I was drunk and in Vegas drinking out of straw shaped like a penis. ANYWAYS. The point of this story is that the chickens (whoever owns them) need protecting from the ducks. BECAUSE APPARENTLY DUCKS ARE RAPISTS.

 No. I’m not exaggerating. She told me a horrifying story of ducks raping chickens, ducks raping other ducks, and corkscrew penises. And then I did some research! Because WHUT? That can’t really be a thing. But it is, Blanche, it is. But NEVER FEAR. Apparently female ducks* are constantly evolving ways to not get pregnant from forced sex. Female ducks have the vaginal equivalent of false passages and dead ends.

 Sidenote: I bet in a million years you never thought you would be learning about duck sex (forced or otherwise) on my blog. You’re welcome.

HOW DO THESE TWO THINGS EVEN CONNECT?! WELL. There are 20% or less women in Elected Office. Maybe if we got more involved in politics, more involved in seeking public offices, ignorant mother fuckers wouldn’t be trying to convince people that we are not in fact human ladies, but lady DUCKS. (See what I did there? There’s always a point guys, sometimes you just gotta look for them)

 

**As it turns out Female PEOPLE also have ways of preventing pregnancy (forced or otherwise): birth control and emergency contraceptives, but if there’s no one representing women and what’s important to us, how much longer will we have them?

I like our neighbors a lot. They’re nice people. They are the son and daughter-in-law of the man who has owned that house since I was 5 years old or so. I know that because that’s about how old I was when I moved into the house next door. Which is coincidentally the house that I currently live in. 

They moved in a few years ago. It took some time to get used to them. Because the neighbor who lived there prior to them had been living there for 20ish years.  She had an asthma attack, and didn’t have enough time to call 911. It was pretty terrible, I have to say. But that’s all I’m gonna say, because that’s not what this story is about really. And also talking about it still makes me cry. 

So back to what I was saying. Our neighbors have kids. Really adorable ones. The daughter is 3. She’s very shy. Sorta. If I happen to be outside when she is, she’ll only say hello from behind her mama’s legs. But if I’m outside and she’s inside, she’ll talk my ear off from the window. She knows my name, wants to know what I’m doin’…she asks about Nesto because my husband is some kinda baby magnet. Which is kinda hilarious, because people are always telling me he’s intimidating. I guess they’ve never seen him in his kangaroo outfit. 

The baby just had his 1st birthday. He’s a BIG BOY. And is definitely the more outgoing of the two of them. The other day when I got home from work, they were all outside. The baby girl waved at me safely from the porch. The boy crawled over and pulled up some grass to give me. And I have to say, I fell in love with him a little bit. He’s so sweet, in the way that babies are. Friendly and happy and one of those babies that are willing to let you pick them up and snuggle because BABY.

Fun fact! This baby was born in that house. His mom had that (9 lb something oz) baby at home in the bathroom because she didn’t have time to get to the hospital. In fact, by the time the ambulance arrived, she was already holding a baby.

I like to tell this story. I will probably always remember this story about these neighbors and that house. It makes me happy to know that a birth happened in that house. I feel like it was a reset button. A death, and then a birth.

I know. I’m not generally all in my feelings. But apparently it was a story I wanted/needed/decided to tell.Life goes on. Even when you don’t think it will, or think it can’t, it does.

Maybe I needed a reminder. Maybe *you* do. Here it is! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Restaurant: fiftyseven (Another soft opening: that’s what HE said)

Food: Fancy, and tiny. They served briya-sized portions.

Me: Fettuccine & lamb. (LAMB! I ate Mary’s friend! And it was not awful!)
I would also like to say that I chose it because it was the least scary thing on the menu.

Nesto: Bratwurst with salsa (?) and pretzel w/mustard (Everything was made in house!)
Everything was pretty good. Didn’t even need extra seasoning (which is good ‘cause there was no salt or pepper on ANY table)
ALSO: They had a pre fixe menu. NO.

People: Hipsters. We actually sat next to a lady wearing all black and a beret. Lived in a loft in the (very sketchy) area.
Gentrification! It’s coming for ALL of LA!

Other stuff: They had a singer downstairs in the club area of this place. She was good from what we could hear while we were eating.
Went downstairs and Mr CrazyPants decided there were too many people for him to remain there.
Something something…Rhode Island Fire (fun fact: I lived in Boston when this happened)

7/10 would recommend. Because menu was only pre fixe or appetizers. And there needed to be an plainer option for people who are not food adventurous

There are wonderful things about living in a house with no kids after living in a house with kids your whole married life.
Most of those things include sex. (Sorry, guys. I’m not sorry)
But they also include things like eating cheese and crackers in bed. Which I do. A lot.
Which I also bitched out both of my kids for doing.
And also having ice cream for breakfast.
Because you’re at war with your husband because FUCK YOU, I don’t always feel like cooking.
Or yannow. Not cooking. Because FUCK THIS, that’s why.

But here’s the thing:
It’s hard to cook for 2 people when you’re used to cooking for 4.
Going out to eat is expensive.
(Related: Did y’all know I have a kid in college? She is also expensive. At least paying for her is not gonna make me gain weight)
(which going out to eat is doing because WTF would I go out and order a salad? Also: I hate lettuce. I don’t care if that sounds weird to you)

Anyways. Recently, I told The Man that we’re gonna eat better.
(and that he’s gonna workout with me. But that’s another story)
AND AS IT HAPPENS, I did this fancy Freasy walk through.
It’s FreshER! And Easy-ER(easier, guys. EASI-ER. *cough*)

Image

So I gotta tell y’all. I was impressed.
I like convenience. If I have to eat and/or cook for other people, I prefer not having to do too much work.
Otherwise, back to cheese and crackers.
Healthy food! Snacks! Food for two!
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I pack lunches.
And two snacks. Because I’m at work a long fucking time.
And I don’t eat a lot but I do eat often.
So it’s good they have options for snacking.
Fruit, meaty cheesy snacks. And deez nuts.
(for your mouth. Not mine. Because I also hate nuts)
(also that’s A LOT OF NUTS)
(that’s what she said)

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They even have breakfast things now.
Which is fantastic. Because after taco Tuesday, is I’m slightly tired Wednesday.
And there’s a fresh & easy express on my way to work.
So when I wait til the last minute to leave the house I can run through
and throw some stuff into my lunch bag!

And apparently the freshest eggs this side of a farm.
You know that joke: What came first? The chicken or the egg?

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Turns out, Freasy agrees.

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I can never resist a dirty joke.
Also: happy shopping guys! I think I’m in love with this place.

 

 

Yes. I sang it to the tune of M-I-C   K-E-Y    M-O-U-S-E

(alternately titled: I haven’t done a “Reasons why I hate Disney” post this year yet)

I’m just gonna assume that everybody who gets this e-mail has at least a passing  familiarity with The Boondocks. I’m excluding old folks. Well, really, just my mommy and aunties. Daddy, I’m SURE you probably have heard of, if not SEEN it. It’s your kinda show. Srsly.

Did y’all know that Uncle Ruckus’s name is a reference to Uncle Remus or Uncle Tom. He is the darkest-skinned character on the show. His name is also a reference to Amos Rucker, an African-American United Confederate Veterans member, who allegedly wanted to stay a slave after the United States Civil War. (Picks up eyeballs from the floor because EPIC EYEBALL ROLL). He is a black man who firmly doesn’t like black people– the world’s biggest “Uncle Tom”. An overweight, homely man with disproportionate eyes, he enjoys disassociating himself from other African Americans as much as possible, and is outspoken in his support of what Huey calls the “white supremacist power structure.”

I know y’all know about Uncle Tom. Because BOOKS.

But who’s that Uncle Remus fella?

  Image

 That there is James Baskett, the singer-dancer-actor who plays Uncle Remus, ex-slave in Walt Disney’s ‘Song of the South.’

Song of the South is about a young boy, who moves to his mother’s family plantation in Georgia right as his father leaves the family to fight…something. Nobody knows what. Alone and depressed, he’s comforted by the tall tales of Uncle Remus. While it’s implied that the black workers are no longer Johnny’s family’s property, they are still completely subservient, and happily so. Remus is a companion, and link between the live-action sequences and the animated ones involving Brer “don’t throw ME in the briar patch” Rabbit and Brer Fox

Fun Fact: Baskett was not allowed to attend the film’s premiere in Atlanta, Georgia because Atlanta was racially segregated by law.

ANYWAYS. Baskett won an “honorary” Oscar for “his able and heart-warming characterization of Uncle Remus, friend and story teller to (white)children of the world. Baskett also introduced the Academy Award-winning song “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah.” (See? Songs I love, CHARACTERS I DON’T)

Moving on… The last time Disney released the film was 1986. But never in home video format in the US. I HAVE NO IDEA WHY.

 

And lest you think that I don’t have anything Black History Fact of the Day(ish) to add:

Did you know that James Baskett, a black man, was the VERY FIRST LIVE ACTOR hired by Disney?

 

And that’s it kids! Another month of “LOOK AT ALL THESE BLACK PEOPLE” in the can. I hope you learned something! Because I always do. After all, ain’t but so many ways you can learn about Martin, and Malcolm, and Harriet and Rosa. Other black people were out there doing shit too! And when they are, I’ll be back next February to tell you about it. Please enjoy not really thinking about black people doing stuff because we can only talk about that during February and tomorrow is March.

 

 

I don’t know about y’all. But July 4th is a pretty important holiday at my house. Most of the family (all the sides!) and a lot of friends come over for food and foolishness.
And I’m not gonna lie. THERE IS A LOT OF FOOLISHNESS. One year we had a HUGE water balloon fight. I was winning until Nesto climbed in the window with a water hose. I don’t think I have to tell you that’s cheating.
I wish I could say I was making this story up. Only. Have we met?
I can’t even tell you how hard it was to get that much water out of my living room. I’ll just leave it at VERY. IT WAS VERY HARD. (That is what she said. I can never resist. So I stopped trying)

And then the NEXT year, we had THE GREAT SUPER SOAKER WAR of whatever year that was.
The year where I was making a mad dash for safety and stepped in a hole and tore my Achilles but GOOD.
Sidenote: Say what you want about Kobe. If he could stand on both feet after tearing his Achilles and take free throws, he’s a BAMF. The End.
All those people who work at a hospital at my house. Some of them actually clinically inclined.
And the best they could come up with was to put my foot in a bucket of ice and fix me the largest Vodka drink known to man.
And then I spent the rest of my summer in brightly colored casts (hot pink, and green…the colors, Duke! The COLORS!)

While most people would blame the Vodka, or my general clumsiness, or hidden holes in the grass, I blame Lonnie Johnson.
Because he is the (black) man who invented the Super Soaker!

In 1989 Johnson formed his own engineering firm and licensed the Super Soaker water gun to Larami Corporation. Two years later the Super Soaker generated over $200 million in retail sales and became the best selling toy in America. Over the years, Super Soaker sales have totaled close to one billion dollars. Johnson reinvested a majority of his earnings from the Super Soaker into research and development for his energy technology companies – “It’s who I am, it’s what I do.” (Huh. I thought that praise was what we do. No?)

Currently, Johnson holds over 80 patents, with over 20 more pending, and the author of several publications on spacecraft power systems.

I’d say that I’m sorry for slipping in a random gospel song except I’m not. God is everywhere! Even in random stories about my left foot.

I’m not saying that there’s no place in my life for romantic comedies, but. I LOOOVE cowboy movies.
And I was sad that when I lived in Arizona, I never got to go to Tombstone. Site of the gunfight at the OK Corral!
Wyatt Earp! Doc “I’m your huckleberry” Holliday!

Unfortunately, I lived in Yuma, Arizona. Which is NOT AT ALL close to Tombstone.
(But *IS* close to Tuscon, Mo. In case my baby girl is looking for something to do when she’s not studying)
(you’re welcome)

No. This BHFOTD is NOT about Arizona. Because Arizona hates Black people. And Latinos. And Gays.
But it IS about a guy named Wyatt. Turns out there’s more than just one famous one.

*clears throat*

Wyatt Outlaw was the first African-American Town Commissioner and Constable of the Town of Graham, North Carolina.

Outlaw was apparently of mixed racial heritage. Sources conflict on the question of whether Outlaw was a slave or a free person of color.
Outlaw served in the 2nd Regiment U. S. Colored Cavalry from 1864-1866. He served in various engagements in Virginia and late in the Civil war was stationed on the Rio Grande in Texas until he was mustered out in February 1866.
After returning from his service in the Civil War, Outlaw became a prominent African-American in Alamance County. In 1868, Outlaw was among the a number of trustees who were deeded land for the establishment of the first African Methodist Episcopal Church in Alamance County. He was also prominently involved in the Union League and the Republican Party.

Outlaw’s prominent activities on behalf of African-Americans in Alamance County made him a target of the White Brotherhood, the Constitutional Union Guard and the Ku Klux Klan. As a prominent Republican in Alamance County, Outlaw was appointed to the Graham Town Council by Governor Holden and soon became one of three constables of the town – all three of whom were African-Americans (Anybody thinking about Blazing Saddles right now? No? Just me? Okay then).

On one occasion in 1869, white residents of the area who were incensed by the prospect of being policed by an all African-American constabulary organized a nighttime ride in Klan garb through the streets of Graham in an effort to frighten the African-American constables. Outlaw and another constable open-fire on the night riders, but no injuries were sustained. Outlaw’s aggressive response to the night riders further inflamed the anger of Klan sympathizers. AND On this day(night) in 1870, a party of unidentified men road into Graham, dragged Outlaw from his home and hung him from a tree in the courthouse square in Graham.

In 1873, Guilford County Superior Court Judge Albion Tourgee advocated for re-visiting the murder of Wyatt Outlaw. That year the Grand Jury of Alamance County brought felony indictments against 63 Klansmen, including 18 murder counts in connection with the lynching of Wyatt Outlaw, but the Democratically-controlled state legislature repealed the laws under which most of these indictments had been brought so that no trials in connection with Outlaw’s murder ever occurred.

The End.

I know. I’m sorry guys. I just sprung a deathiversary on y’all with no warning. I’m an asshole. But y’all DID know that right? It’s not like THAT comes as a surprise.
But if it makes you feel better… That was 144 years ago. ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY-FOUR YEARS. That’s a long time. And now we’re in post-racial America! We’ve got a Black President!
THIS IS THE YEAR 2014. And race relations are so much diff…. (thinks about Oscar Grant, and Kendrick Johnson, and Trayvon Martin, and Jordan Davis)

Nevermind.

 

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