Monday, January 29, 2007

Control your damn kids

I still can't get over the story of the family that was kicked off an airplane because their child had a tantrum. I'm not shocked that the child had a fit. Kids do that.

No, I'm tripping about the parents. They're pissed that Air Tran kicked them off the flight.

I'm with the airline. The child was kicking and screaming and hiding under seats and refusing to take her seat before takeoff. The parents apparently kept saying that the child "needed more time" to calm down.

Hell, how much "time" did she need? Was the pilot supposed to hold up the entire flight schedule so that little heffa could "calm down"? Was Air Tran supposed to screw up its entire flight plan for the entire country because little Elly Kulesza could decide when SHE wanted to take off? Come on, now. She's 3.

My mother would occasionally carry a belt in her purse whenever she took me and my brothers and sisters out, just in case. And, if she didn't have a belt and we acted like fools, we'd have Andrew Senior to deal with when he got home from work. That's not child abuse. That's discipline.

I agree with this piece from MSNBC. If we don't teach kids how to behave in public how will they act as adults?

Should we have just let the little brat calm down for as long as she wanted?

Hell naw. Bump that. We should remember the following equations:

Child = 3
Parents = grown.
Solution = what my parents did when I acted out in public - beat her ass.

Friday, January 26, 2007


So I'm on my way to meet friends for Margaritas. I pull up to the restaurant. In front of me was a truck. I was talking on my cell while driving, but I couldn't help but notice the word printed on the truck's license plate.


The guy pulls to the curb, parks, and gets out. I pull up behind him, and park. Our restaurants were opposite each other. He was a big, white-haired white guy that looked like he was still pissed about The Civil War. A friend of his came out to greet him, and they talked for a minute. The friend walks back in, and the guy in the truck lingers, taking stuff out of his truck (it looked like he was changing his shoes or something).

I almost - almost - left it alone and went about my business.

But, I couldn't help it.


"Excuse me," I asked.

"Yes, sir?" he replied.

I told him I noticed his license plate and was wondering what it meant.

"Oh. My name is Sam," he said, "And growing up, people called me Sambo, and they called me that as an adult and it just stuck."


Me: "Oh. Just curious. Because to black folks Sambo means something totally different, and I was just wondering."

He laughed. "Oh, no. I get that a lot. Trust me. There's nothing pejorative meant in the name on the plate. That's just my nickname."

Ok, just curious, I said. "Thanks."

"Take care," he said.

To be fair, he seemed like a genuine guy, so I can only take him for his word. But, this is Texas. You don't know what you're going to run into at any given moment. Even in major cities like H-town, big, racist mutherfuckers are everywhere, waiting for their chance to show their shit. Maybe a confident black man questioning a big white guy was not a good idea. I suppose I could have gotten my ass kicked (he was a big mofo) or gotten my head blown off by one of the myriad guns I assumed he kept in the back of his truck.

But, I didn't give a damn. I wanted to know. Had the right to ask. After all: we won the war.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

"Our credit limit with the world is endless..."

Real estate is a monster. It's competitive. It's rough. And it can really piss you off.

I bid on a house this week. A fucking awesome house. And it was a steal, because the buyers were relocating. It was my first time bidding on a house.

This house was da shit. Trust me. Some of you have seen the photos. The photos didn't do the place justice. I dreamt of this house. I cancelled vacations to Mexico and Central America because of this house. I was willing to shell out $2000 to break my apartment lease for this house.

I got outbid. This was AFTER I upped my offer by nearly $20,000 within a matter of hours. I was a pissed Negro. But, after my girl Jemele pointed out, the shady-ass realtor/buyer knew she had a great house and was trying to start a bidding war between me and another buyer.

The irony is, I could have easily afforded the full asking price. Hell, more. But, based on the location, I felt that the offer I submitted was fair. That, and I was trying to be all Donald Trump. But, I made one mistake that Trump would never make: I got emotionally attached to the property, which is a big mistake.

BUT, as a co-worker said, How can you NOT get emotionally attached to a house? It's where you're going to LIVE. Hell, that's personal!

I swear, I've been stressed before, but submitting a bid, then having it rejected, then having it rejected again, then calling my mortgage broker and keeping him on standby, then calling the insurance company for a quote on homeowners insurance, then scrambling for a private inspector was a pain in the ass.

As childish as it sounds, I kinda felt like I deserved a kick-ass house. I work my ass off. I don't live extravagantly. My credit is good. I have almost zero credit card debt. I don't have a car payment. I'm not a clothes whore. My one luxury is travel, and even when I do that, I do it for cheap. So, I feel like I've been a good boy, and that I should have been rewarded for a tight-ass house with a ton of equity to start building wealth.

Childish, I know. But that's how I felt.

Then, Steve, who was trying to cheer me up and let me know that there are other houses out there, responded with this: "Our credit limit with the world is endless..."

Deep. And he's right. Life goes on.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Lately, I've been musing about the importance of ego. Ego is important. In everything we do. In work. In life. In personal relationships. If you don't have an ego, you are screwed.

Taken deeper, I'm talking about self esteem. Look, if you don't think highly of yourself, no one else will. Cliche? No. The truth.

I'm not talking about being a prick. Being rude, mean and nasty isn't the answer. Shit, I'm also a firm believer in Karma. Being mean and nasty to other people will come back on you.

But I'm talking about ego: a solid, healthy belief that what you are doing, and who you are, is important.

Sometimes, we forget that.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Seeing them suffer

My boy Steve said something really profound when I was down in Sarasota visiting him the other week. It was so deep (and yet hilarious) that I can't get it out of my head. We were relaxing on the beach, having a few beers, and talking about covering hurricanes.

Steve is a reporter, and said he enjoys covering hurricanes. I asked him why.

"Because I like to see rich white people struggling with real-life issues," he said. "Oh, so you have no water? Boom. OK. What, oh, you're stressed out and have no electricity? Boom. OK, what else?"

Damn. He has a point. And it got me to thinking about how we handle adverse situations. I have seen, time after time, rich people get upset and bent out of shape over small, seemingly non-important situations. For example, there was a situation here in Houston a few years ago where people in a neighborhood were trying to save a tree. They were serious about it. They didn't want the tree knocked down, which is what the city wanted to do.

They organized. They protested. They chained themselves to it. That's all good. I'm a pseudo-environmentalist. I like trees. More important, I like hell-raising.

But. These fools went so far as to say they were willing to mortgage their homes to save the tree. That's where I stop. No way in hell I would ever do such a drastic step just to save a tree. But these people were perfectly willing to do so.

And did I mention that this was a fairly well-off neighborhood?

I agree with Steve. It's not that I like to see people struggle. It's just that rich people's "struggles" are so far removed from those of us working class folks that it's surreal to see what they get upset about.

But, I suppose that's what happens when you don't have to worry about paying the electric bill. Must be nice.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Not the flight attendant

Ok, this is a new one. I rolled to the Florida coast over New Year's weekend. Was treated like a king by my boy, Steve and his girl, Michelle. Real cool peeps.

My flight out of Houston was delayed on the runway because of a storm. They started the movie and gave us peanuts, but they wouldn't serve booze, which pissed me off. While I was stretching my legs near the back of the plane, a guy walks towards me and is like, "Can I get a Cranberry Juice?" I'm like, "I'm not a flight attendant." He goes, "Oh, well, you look like one. You look like you're in charge. Ha ha."

Ha ha my ass. For one thing, I wasn't "dressed" like a flight attendant. I was wearing a red silk shirt, black slacks and black shoes. Work attire. The flight attendants were all wearing uniforms, dark uniforms at that. Most of them were wearing blazers with patches on them. How the hell did I possibly look like a flight attendant?

The lead flight attendant was a black male, but he was heavier and dark-skinned. We didn't look anything alike. The funny thing is, I'm not shocked that a white person mistook me for another black man, even though we didn't look anything alike. It's happened a million times before. I'm just surprised that it was on an airplane. That's a new one.