A Disappointment ~ Early Evening Thoughts

I was so hoping that we had moved beyond certain backwater behaviors, that some how we as a people had gotten beyond certain things in our lives that hold us back from reaching our own potential and allowing all others to reach the potential within themselves.

How wrong I was …

I’ve been following the controversy over Rick Warren – fed in part by Rachel Maddow (who might be heading down the road of becoming the Ann Coulter of the left). I’d been reading about Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich being guilty and defiant at the least of idiotic conversations and possibly more.

But these paled in comparison to the stories about Republican Chip Saltsman, a candidate for the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee distributing as CD titled “We Hate the USA” and includes songs referencing former presidential candidate John Edwards and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, among other targets.

According to The Hill, other song titles were: “John Edwards’ Poverty Tour,” “Wright place, wrong pastor,” “Love Client #9,” “Ivory and Ebony” and “The Star Spanglish Banner.”

The big main song according to reports was “Barack, the Magic Negro.” (to the tune of “Puff, the Magic Dragon)

Saltsman’s lame excuse was “political satire” and “I think RNC members understand that.”

Sorry sir ~ They might, I do not. It certainly didn’t make it any easier when I found out that the Rush Limbaugh ‘s radio show had played it first back in 2007. While this is the kind of racist behavior I would expect from Rush and gang, for someone who wants to be considered a serious contender for Chairmanship of the ailing RNC and the ailing party, it certainly was not one of the better ideas he might have had.

The song had it’s genesis in an article by David Ehrenstein (who’s Father was a Jew and Mother an African American with white Irish roots) who often writes about homosexuality in cinema and in the article talks about the “magic Negro” of cinema and somehow Mr. Ehrenstein makes the leap from the silver screeen to the politcal stage. You can read the article —>here<— And he certainly would have been upset if someone had written about the "Magic Jew" problem…given his ethnic background.

All this was coupled with realizing that we as a people, have NOT really progressed to where we should be in this day and age ~ and I’m including BOTH sides of the ethnic divide. I hear African Americans say things in public that if someone else were to say them would cause immediate backlash of all kinds. I have gotten e-mails from people I really love containing Obama jokes that not only are tasteless, but border on racist. These kind of things hold someone up to ridicule and show how little we hold them in regard.

SIDE BAR: I need to say here that I do understand satire and political satire…those are both vibrant and valid forms of expression and speech. What is involved here is neither. Satire really doesn’t work when it only involves characteristics that someone can no change. For example, Barack Obama can NOT change the color of his skin or his ethnic heritage. Jokes about either are not satire..they are more the old saying of “keeping the uppity in their place.” (THAT ring a bell for anyone around in the 60;s?) The fact that Prince Charles ears are rather large and obvious serves as “quick identification” in satire, but if was the only thrust of the story or sketch would not be satire, but rather cruelty.

If goes back to what I have written about before, this kind of behavior simply allows “us” a sense of “control” over the person we have labled as “the enemy.” And allows “us” to label them, put them in a box and decide how all behavior toward them will be.

All it does is belittle, cut down and move toward humiliation of people. And for those that are listening (especially children or youth), they form the idea that it’s perfectly acceptable to behave in a similar manner. And why shouldn’t they? After all they see/hear the actions, speech and “satire” , so it must be alright. It must be “cool.”

This reminded me of the lyrics of “You’ve Got to be Carefully Taught” from South Pacific and I think they are more true today than when they were written:

You’ve got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You’ve got to be taught
From year to year,
It’s got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You’ve got to be carefully taught.

You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff’rent shade,
You’ve got to be carefully taught.

You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate,
You’ve got to be carefully taught!

Is there a place for satire and political satire? Absolutely!! Satire is a wonderful lens to hold up the mistakes and foibles that the great and near-great and the not-so-hot make. But merely denegrating someone or holding them up to contempt for my own amusment or sense of control isn’t.

Dear Lord ~ January 20th can’t come soon enough and according to a poll just released 75% of the people asked can hardly wait for the 20th as well!!!

Erin Go . . . ~ Late Evening Thoughts

To say that last week was interesting would be an understatement. It was a wild, intense and one where a lot was accomplished. Not easily ~ not always with charm ~ not always without some stress. But then the weekend had arrived and I was “good to go.” Little did I know it should have gotten up and gone!

I was especially looking forward to Sunday when someone that I have gotten to know quite well and I were going to have a quick sandwich and coffee at a small streetside cafe and then spend the afternoon exploring Half Price Books. We had arranged to meet at the cafe around 1:30 in the afternoon. This would still give plenty of time for enjoying the book store. Around 10:00 in the morning I began to get text messages and then phone calls changing the time and location of where we were to meet. Finally I told that the place we would meet would be La Strada. (cue mournful music here.) This establishment was an attempt at an upscale Italian restaurant. Fortunately, they managed the upscale and the upscale price part. Unfortunately, (as far as I was concerned) they didn’t manage the food part.

I decided that I would have some dessert and let that be that.
I headed out on the adventure of the day. (cue Psycho violins here.)

When I arrived at the place, I realized even before I got to the door, there had been a change. The place was very noisy…very noisy. I though maybe it was because the windows on the street were open but then as I approached the door I had the reality hit me ~ this was not the case at all.

The upscale restaurant had become (on Sundays) a 21 (barely) and up (barely) party central location. It’s a little hard to remain upscale when all the drinks are being served in plastic glasses – coffee in foam cups!! And the place was packed. I realized that probably 80% of the boys “guy’s” voices hadn’t changed (21??) and NONE of the women’s voiced had progressed beyond grade school. It was as if I were at a Hanna Montana concert that was never going to start.

My friend? He was at the bar trying very hard to get under it – I think. To say that he had been drinking his lunch would have been been an understatement. He had used all the breakfast, dinners AND lunches for three weeks or more. I am now surrounded by people in high-pitched shriek(s) and a very intoxicated friend who is pawing me and giving me bone crushing bear hugs inbetween telling me what I was going to do and asking me for money. Great conversation points there!!

And, of course, Monday was St. Patrick’s Day . . . I found something very interesting and decided to end tonight’s post with these VERY clever cell phone charms from Japan. They are called the 6 stages of drunkenness ~

the first stage is the lecture stage: “Let me tell you something … over and over and over…

The rest and the conclusion tomorrow …

Pant, Pant, Puff, Puff ~ Late Night Thoughts

A quick update ~ and I apologize for not posting Friday as I said I would. This was an absolutely wild, crazy, frustrating, amazing week. Monday was just the tip of the iceberg about the job that I had taken. When I finally got through some of the paperwork, I found that the corporate office (deliberately lower case), my boss and myself were operating on completely different figures. I had one set, my boss another and accounting a third. Unfortunately, the office was in the midst of updating how the accounts are done and posted.

We know how much fun changing anything can be, this involved approximately 15 properties of various sizes, shapes and states of being. And this was…fun was maybe one of the words I might have used this week.

I also have (finally) seen the apartment that goes with the job, and am seriously considering moving into it.
Not that it would add any more confusion to what’s already going on ~ right??

I put in quite a few hours this week (as in over 56) – and I think I ran myself slightly down in the process. Today I have felt a cold trying to take over (sooo not going to happen!!). So, as my dear friend SGB said to tell everyone: I’m not doing a lengthy post tonight ~ I’m going to bed with a hot number (and that’s my temperature!) (What were YOU thinking?) and a dose of “Theraflu.” ….

I should be back on track tomorrow ~


Imagine that
the job were
so delicate
that you could
it. Impossible
work, really.

Like placing
pebbles exactly
where they were
already. The steadiness it
takes… and
to what end?
It’s so easy
to forget again.

Kay Ryan

–crazy doesn’t cover it magnet
–Job Poem by Kay Ryan
Published in the New Yorker Magazine dated January 31st 2000

And When Lighting Strikes ~ Late Night Thoughts

This has been an interesting three days. Saturday, I decided to drop by a favorite “watering-hole” for a VERY gentle libation…I was having coffee, believe it or not. While talking to a dear friend who is the bartender, I noticed a friend I hadn’t seen for several months. We starting talking and when we got to the “And what are YOU doing?” part ~ he told me that he had starting managing an apartment complex.

We discussed that for several minutes, and then he let the thunder roll. “We’re looking for another manager, do you know someone who might be interested?” Avoiding the temptation to jump up and down and squeal, I casually mentioned that I might be interested. (me being someone, by the way, that’s been out of work for a “bit”)

“That’s great,” was the reply, “the boss is right over there, let’s talk to him.” Talk about being struck to almost silence. So, off we went to chat with the boss. He turned out to be quite the business man, and VERY business oriented. We talked for awhile and I found out more about the job. I said that I was very interested. He wanted to meet on Monday to talk further. I gave my friend my new phone number and thought that was the end of that. I’ve had these kind of job suggestions on bars before – and they come through about as often as “let me have your number and I’ll call you next week.”

Sunday evening, I got a phone call to confirm that I was indeed going to meet with them on Monday and to finalize the time and place. At this point I was speechless ~ but wait ~ there’s more. (including the lighting strike!)

When I went down today (Monday) I did know they were getting rid of the current manager of one of the complexes … what I did not know…….

When we arrived at the complex, my friend and I were outside looking at some work that needed (definitely) to be done. The “big boss” went inside, fired (terminated) the current manager – who knew it was coming – and after he’d cleaned out his desk – came out, called me in and informed me that I was now the manager. THAT’S when the lighting struck. You see, I’ve been looking for work ~ but when you reach a certain … ahem … age, finding a job is not that easy. Ageism is quite alive and well – although no one really talks about it ~ and it would NEVER be the reason they give for not hiring someone. However, I have very firm spiritual beliefs – and I knew that at the right moment, at the right time – I would find something. Little did I know it would be within 72 hours.

Before you “fuss,” that kind of change-over is VERY common in the apartment industry ~ I’ve had it happen to myself as well…although not quite that quickly. Unfortunately, when it happens that way, there is no kind of hand-over of information. In this case, I’m not sure he would have been able to hand over much information anyway. And as I began to undo the piles of “stuff” – the former manager had brought many of the problems on himself.

The apartment complex while somewhat small (60 units) is none-the-less, going to be a real challenge over the next several days.
I have uncovered and unearthed that payments were incorrectly posted, not posted or even worse – leases not completed. Not a good sign. The stacks of papers that made little or no sense, were another less than promising sign. When I tried to rent an apartment that was listed as being vacant – but was actually quite occupied, was probably the final straw. (Oh, yes and I had to turn on all my charm when the tenant of the apartment got home from work and one of her neighbors casually mentioned someone was looking at her place to rent … let’s just say she arrived in my office in “high shriek” …but let chuckling at the end.)

Having been through a “clean out your desk” situation myself, I have always tried to be supportive of people who have gone before. Not after that incident. I had my excuse for any problems I couldn’t immediately solve. “I’m still trying to solve what the previous manager did … I’ll get back to you.”

The issues at the complex are going to really occupy my time for the next few days. For example, I’m going into the office tomorrow morning at 5:30am to see if I can sort out the postings on the computer program and compare them to the hard copies.

I know for a fact, that I will not post here until Friday – so be patient with me. I will be back. And some good thoughts would be most appreciated. And trust me, I will have a wealth of stories to tell you when I get back on Friday!!! And probably from then on as well!!!

–Egyptian libation bowl
–the Gordian Knot by J. Tonkin