Wednesday, November 19

Out of Pocket

I've been a little out of pocket recently - What does "out of pocket" mean anyway? - and there are several things to discuss.

First, last week I was deeply saddened to hear Mitch Mitchell died. I hadn't thought about him in a long time but those who know me know my utter devotion to Jimi Hendrix. Hearing that Mitch died meant that the last member of the Jimi Hendrix Experience has died. Why that means anything considering all of the music that is available I don't know but I do know that I mourned for Mitch. I owe a lot of my sensibilities, especially music sensibilities, to that band. I owe MY definition of being black, or at least part of my definition, to what Jimi did while he was here and Mitch was along for most of that. 

Second, because my father died of colon cancer I had to have a colonoscopy a couple of days ago. I will never look at Gatorade the same way again but I would love to have a sleep like the anesthesia offered once a week at least. I felt groggy as hell but refreshed. 

They don't tell but you might need to wear depends before bed the night before your colonoscopy.

Its interesting how many circumstances I find myself missing my father. Its hard to reconcile b/c I was such a mama's boy but maybe that's the reason I find myself missing him. The most recent example is our current photo exhibit of Christmas in Nashville and it has all of these photos from old Nashville. I can imagine my Dad with some stories from those days. He loved to talk about that kind of stuff and he was full of stories and, as I kid, I believed them all including the one about him being a pro football player. As I got older I understood fact vs fiction better or maybe, he stopped telling such fantastical stories. He was a child of the Depression, he was rural, southern, black and male. He was career Army and he was stationed in Germany, Guam and some other places I have the paperwork to backup. He was neat, organized, thoughtful, gregarious and he loved baseball. 

I wish he had lived to see so much more than he already had and now that I am about to embark on the fatherhood train I think about him probably more than usual. He was old school, he was a man's man, stuck with a wife who was a "modern woman" - full-time job, full-time homemaker, and Master's Degree holder. I know he would have lots to say about the world we live in. And I can't help but wonder what he would have to say to his son, a new father

I'm rambling a bit, aren't I?

Anway, those are a couple of things on my mind.

Friday, November 7

Alice Walker to President-Elect Obama

Thank you Alice Walker for bringing the Buddhist perspective into things. President-elect Obama is inheriting a crazy office and I have to agree with Ms Walker that the president, ney, we all, must work to find and maintain that peace within before we can affect change without. Only with clear mind and pure heart can we truly get anything done. Its tough to work on yourself the same time you are attempting to do a big job but you have to. 

Copied from The Root

Nov. 5, 2008

Dear Brother Obama,

You have no idea, really, of how profound this moment is for us. Us being the black people of the Southern United States. You think you know, because you are thoughtful, and you have studied our history. But seeing you deliver the torch so many others before you carried, year after year, decade after decade, century after century, only to be struck down before igniting the flame of justice and of law, is almost more than the heart can bear. And yet, this observation is not intended to burden you, for you are of a different time, and, indeed, because of all the relay runners before you, North America is a different place. It is really only to say: Well done. We knew, through all the generations, that you were with us, in us, the best of the spirit of Africa and of the Americas. Knowing this, that you would actually appear, someday, was part of our strength. Seeing you take your rightful place, based solely on your wisdom, stamina and character, is a balm for the weary warriors of hope, previously only sung about.

I would advise you to remember that you did not create the disaster that the world is experiencing, and you alone are not responsible for bringing the world back to balance. A primary responsibility that you do have, however, is to cultivate happiness in your own life. To make a schedule that permits sufficient time of rest and play with your gorgeous wife and lovely daughters. And so on. One gathers that your family is large. We are used to seeing men in the White House soon become juiceless and as white-haired as the building; we notice their wives and children looking strained and stressed. They soon have smiles so lacking in joy that they remind us of scissors. This is no way to lead. Nor does your family deserve this fate. One way of thinking about all this is: It is so bad now that there is no excuse not to relax.
From your happy, relaxed state, you can model real success, which is all that so many people in the world really want.
They may buy endless cars and houses and furs and gobble up all the attention and space they can manage, or barely manage, but this is because it is not yet clear to them that success is truly an inside job. That it is within the reach of almost everyone.

I would further advise you not to take on other people's enemies. Most damage that others do to us is out of fear, humiliation and pain. Those feelings occur in all of us, not just in those of us who profess a certain religious or racial devotion. We must learn actually not to have enemies, but only confused adversaries who are ourselves in disguise. It is understood by all that you are commander in chief of the United States and are sworn to protect our beloved country; this we understand, completely. However, as my mother used to say, quoting a Bible with which I often fought, "hate the sin, but love the sinner." There must be no more crushing of whole communities, no more torture, no more dehumanizing as a means of ruling a people's spirit. This has already happened to people of color, poor people, women, children. We see where this leads, where it has led.

A good model of how to "work with the enemy" internally is presented by the Dalai Lama, in his endless caretaking of his soul as he confronts the Chinese government that invaded Tibet. Because, finally, it is the soul that must be preserved, if one is to remain a credible leader. All else might be lost; but when the soul dies, the connection to earth, to peoples, to animals, to rivers, to mountain ranges, purple and majestic, also dies. And your smile, with which we watch you do gracious battle with unjust characterizations, distortions and lies, is that expression of healthy self-worth, spirit and soul, that, kept happy and free and relaxed, can find an answering smile in all of us, lighting our way, and brightening the world.

We are the ones we have been waiting for.

In Peace and Joy,
Alice Walker

Tuesday, November 4


I am filled with emotion.

Barack Obama is the president-elect. How I wish Papa was here to see this. He would've loved Obama.

I am excited - Barack Obama is the president-elect of the United States of America. I never believed a black man, even one as eloquent, conscientious and smart as Barack Obama, would be on his way to the White House. I am excited b/c my child will be born into a world where a black man CAN be president. I am sad b/c my father, a black man who grew during the depression in the urbanized rural south, who spent most of his adult life in a segregated world, who knew an awful lot but only had a high school diploma, is not here to see this happen. I am nervous b/c there are nutjobs in the world who would do Obama harm. I am nervous that my choice for president won't live up to my expectations, hopes and dreams and will not only let me down but give those nutjobs ammunition to say and believe stupid shit.

PS: Barack has some incredible speech writers.

Can you feel it in the air?

Maybe its just me and this glorious day we've had but there seems to be an electricity to downtown Nashville today.

It might have something to do with this picture...