Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Songs in the Key of The Honest Man's Life - Christmas Edition

I realized in making my essential Christmas list that in the music section, I left off the timeless classic "Christmas in Hollis". The first time I heard this I was hooked. And from that point on, EVERY Christmas, I scanned the video channels or tuned the radio stations at Christmas time, waiting (and waiting) for my man DMC to say "It's Christmas time, in Hollis, Queens, Moms cooking chicken and collard greens...." You got Bing Crosby, I got Run DMC. Holla if ya hear me :-)

Run-DMC - Christmas in Hollis

Monday, December 21, 2009

Racial man...racial

"Nice....very niiiice" - Bernie Mac

You've gotten two stories already from the Honest Man about his parents. One story is here. The other is here. Now I'm going to hit you up with another oldie but goodie from my youth. What my readers may not know is that the Honest Man is not originally from South Carolina. While I grew up there the majority of my life, I was actually born in Houston, Texas. How did I end up in South Carolina from Texas you ask? Well, impatient ones, I'm going to tell you....

The Honest Mama is from Tennessee, Springfield, TN to be exact. The Honest Daddy is from South Carolina, Edgefield, South Carolina to be exact. My parents met in Atlanta, fell in love, and moved to Houston when my mom got a new job. That's the cliff notes version, I'mma give you the real version at a later time. Anyway, my Dad started getting homesick, my Mom felt somewhat guilty for having to uproot them to Texas, and ultimately gave in to moving back to the Southeast. So after my sister was born, my Dad found a job in Columbia, SC (about 50-60 miles from his home), and we were off.

Now in Texas, we lived in an affluent neighborhood for blacks and latinos. My parents, particularly my Mom, loved the area because it was a great example for my sister and I to see that minorities could thrive and have their slice of the American pie. When we moved to South Carolina, my parents started looking for a similar spot but not shockingly, that "paradise" did not exist :-). They ended up finding a nice suburb where they were building new homes, which my parents jumped on.

If we were not the first, we were one of the first black, scratch that, minority families in the neighborhood. I'm talking like the University of Nebraska where all the black students are probably there on athletic scholarship and the rest of the student body is white. Except my Dad wasn't a pro athlete...although he did look like Reggie Jackson.

Keep in mind, this is the late 70s/early 80s when we moved and while race relations had definitely made significant strides since the 50s and 60s, you still had backwards ass people. And our neighborhood would prove to be no different, particularly our neighbors that were directly next to us.

When we moved in, I swear you probably could have heard pins dropping. I think the folks at the time probably thought we were the moving people that brought their kids along because they were too poor to pay for a babysitter type bullshit. But nope, we were doing the Huxtables before it became mainstream. Like I said, our neighbor next door was one of those observers, and according to both my parents, he wasn't happy about it.

I don't remember him that much because I was too young. Like I would easily remember if he was rocking a confederate flag or calling me a n***er in front of me but nope he didn't. He simply showed his ass by refusing to acknowledge us, especially my Dad. Like for example, my Dad would be in the backyard doing work, he see the dude, shout out "hello", cat would just go back in the building like "You must be kidding..."

Well there was one time my Dad taught this cat a lesson on race relations. One spring day, ole dude was out in his yard barbecuing steaks. Had his beer in one hand, grilling fork in the other, just as happy as one could be. Remember what I told you in the above paragraph. That day, my Dad went outside and was determined to make that guy talk to him. Well he goes out there, waves to ole boy, and just like before immediately dude goes back in his house. So my Dad goes, ok, I'll teach his mark ass. He stood out there and just looked into the open air like he was on some nature shit, knowing full well that ole boy needed to turn his steaks. Here's the crazy part, that jackass REFUSED to come back outside. You could smell the steaks burning but my Dad stood his ground, refusing to budge. He even had me bring him a tasty "beverage."

You could imagine the look on that guy's face when those steaks burned. All that money spent gone to waste. Your family's primary meat is toasted. And in his mind, all because of some smarty arty n***er. But in reality, he had no one to blame but himself. Instead of trying to get to know someone, he assumed what he had been taught was true and chose to show his ass. And in return, my Dad showed him how stupid being racist is.

Today's Lesson

You have to keep in mind my Dad does a lot of talking behind closed doors but is more poodle than pit bull in public. My mom, as you read in a previous post, is the Wu-Tang clan member not to fuck with. But my pops had his moments and that one was of them. It was essentially, you don't have to do a lot of waving your arms and shouting to show your anger at someone. You can just flip the game on them and then they see after the fact, how dumb their tactics were. Thanks Daddy, I learned so much that day.....Racists beware, I smell some food burning LOL.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

All I want for Christmas

"..And this Christmas will be, a very special CHRIST-mas, fooorrr mmmeeeee" - Donny Hathaway 'This Christmas'

The Honest Man hit you with a Christmas Story last week. This week, I'm letting you what's mandatory to have a successful Christmas. Mandatory you say? That's right jabroni, MANDATORY. If you haven't experienced the following things during Christmas, you might as well call your holiday season unfulfilled :-).

I. Christmas Songs

  1. Donny Hathaway's 'This Christmas' - The grandaddy of all Christmas songs. Yes better than "White Christmas". Yes even better than "Silent Night". And damn sure better than any Christmas song that came out after 1991. Don't be fooled by the imitators. Donny's version is the one you have to hear.
  2. Jackson 5's 'Santa Claus is coming to town' - They put out a Christmas album featuring this but for the most part, the album is pollywollycrappy (shoutout to Nelson Meanie). You only need to hear lil Mike blowing it out like no other on this. I can't help but feel like a kid when I hear this. Let me go get my milk and cookies :-)
II. Christmas TV Specials

  1. A Charlie Brown Christmas - The greatest Christmas cartoon special in the history of Christmas cartoon specials. I'm not bullshitting you. Just classic stuff. Dope Intro ("Christmas time is here") .You got kids (the Peanuts gang), you got animals (Snoopy), you got romance (Lucy and Schroeder), you got the important message about Christmas (Linus' solo started off by "Lights Please"), and you got a bomb ending ("MERRY CHRISTMAS CHARLIE BROWN!!"). It gets no better. Stop frontin' and act like ya know....
  2. Fat Albert's Christmas Special - I think I was 6 or 7 years old when I first saw this. But I do remember one thing. Church's chicken was a major sponsor for the special for like forever until they stopped showing this. Sadly, they have shown the special on TV like once since '88. You kids out there today don't know how good life was in the 80s. If someone has the video and offers you to watch, you better take advantage. And yes it's better than that foolish Shrek special....
  3. Emmett Otter's Jug Band Christmas - HBO used to show this ALL the time. Just classic shit. Like the infamous lines "Look at the birds in the trees." 'We're not birds, we're a jug band.' Ha! Hell I still remember the barbecue song ("BARBECUE, bless my spirit, I swear it never fails, and the sauce just stays there together so you never get it under your NAIILLLLS"). Yep I need Jesus...again!
III. Christmas Movies

  1. A Christmas Story - Although Ted Turner has done his best to make me loathe the movie with the 24 hr marathon every year, it is still the best holiday movie. If you are thinking 'Home Alone' belongs here, then I'm thinking you need a virtual slap. Or better yet, I will do something to your toiletries, make you go blind, and have you telling your family "It was....soap.....poisoning! OOHHHHHH"
IV. Christmas Humor

  1. Raging Rudolph - "Hey whatso friggin important you interrupting my meal" Classic start-off to this HILARIOUS sketch that MAD TV debuted in the 90s. Took that old claymation stuff and flipped it into a historical masterpiece. Don't have me break balls on ya!

Today's Lesson

So there you have it. The Honest Man's list for mandatory viewing during the Holiday Season. There are others that I watch from time to time but I don't find those mandatory, moreso if it's on, I'll watch it (see Silent Night, Deadly Night, BET's top 100 countdown, This Christmas, etc).

Do yourself a favor. Wise up and listen. The Honest Man knows all. And he knows what's good for you. Kinda my own Christmas Soup for the Soul....CHUUUCHH!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Tales of Christmas Past

The holiday season is here. Decorations are rapidly going up or are up on homes. People going ape shit at the local Walmart trying to get that GI Joe with the Kung Fu grip for their kids. Kids are writing out Christmas lists like their parents write out their wills, telling Santa they want the whole world. Aw yes, it is indeed that time of year....

The Honest Man has some fond memories himself about Christmas. I remember when my parents surprised me with a boombox (yep I'm old school), and the Raising Hell and Orange Juice tapes for me. I also remember getting a Nintendo one year. I even remember the bad years when I got books and clothes as my primary gifts :-). But there is one memory that always sticks in my head and about I'm about to share with my readers.

I was either 8 or 9 yrs old and it was Christmas Eve. Moms had finished making the mandatory sugar cookies for "Santa" so that "he" would have something to eat from doing all that "hard work" in delivering our gifts. My sister and I were doing required viewing aka watching the Fat Albert Christmas special (yep that Fat Albert special, the one that got main sponsorship from Church's chicken back in the day). My Pops was in a jolly mood that evening. I don't know if it was the hellacious amount of egg nog he drank but he really was in like a Cliff Huxtable type mood. He even had on the crazy sweater!

Anyway, it gets cold in South Carolina in the winter. So my Dad had the fireplace going to keep the house warm. Like I said he was feeling giddy. He had actually brought some chestnuts from somewhere and had them on this little platter. He starts walking from the kitchen to the fireplace with the plate, doing his best imitation of Nat King Cole by singing "Chestnuts Rooooassting on an opppeeennn fiiiiireee!" He was still singing when he actually tried to put the chestnuts in the fire. He popped two into the fireplace, those bad boys shot straight back at him in seconds, he quickly dodged and shouted "OH SHIT". He also fumbled the plate of unroasted chestnuts :-).

Today's Lesson

I don't why I remember the silliest shit from my youth but that story does it to me everytime. And if you aren't laughing, my response is either you had to be there or you should try it yourself with people around you and see how they react :-).

My Dad also learned a valuable lesson too. The only roasted nuts he should mess with are the prepackaged ones from Planters. Next year he just baked cookies......

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Frosted Flakes

"I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart" - Eldridge "Tiger" Woods

The Honest Man really wanted to avoid this subject aka the Current Saga of Tiger Woods. I mean I have already spent time discussing the perils of the pickle tickle if you are married. But since the day after Thanksgiving, my global and local news has started off every night with this bullshit. Are we so starved for entertainment that we are easily intrigued by the idea of a popular athlete supposedly getting his roll on with some "fans"?? Dude cheated. Nothing magical in the world of sports or entertainment. But no trapper (my term for the females who want those dollah dollah bills ya'll) got pregnant and Tiger didn't announce he's retiring from golf due to contracting a sexually transmitted disease. So why all the fuss?

The Honest Man has gotten caught up in multiple conversations about this. The first one stemmed from a co worker telling me, "I would never expect someone like Tiger to do this." That is an interesting comment to me. My response was "Why? Dude's the most recognizable athlete on the planet, the richest athlete on the planet, and isn't a bad looking cat (no homo!). Frankly, I'm shocked this didn't happen sooner." Of course he was alluding to Tiger's physical appearance and the way he keeps his personal life private but that's a cop out. Let's be clear, Tiger is no saint. None of us are. He's got the same vices as say Allen Iverson does. The difference is he doesn't have a bunch of tattoos and he doesn't publicly lash out at people. But truss Tiger is about GTD as much as Iverson is.

The second conversation was around the shock factor. I mentioned to someone I wasn't shocked that he cheated. And she responded back that she was, can't believe someone would violate the morals of marriage. She added it doesn't matter how much money, how popular you are, you still have to respect the marriage. I absolutely agreed with her. But unfortunately the Honest Man learned at a young age, those rules are thrown out the door by athletes.

The first time I was shocked by an athlete cheating on his wife was Magic Johnson. Dude was my sports idol. I came home from school, turned on the tv, and listened to him state he was retiring from the NBA. Shit broke my heart. Stories followed later about his infidelities and I was stunned. Not you Magic was my first reaction. I literally thought the way he played on the court was the way he acted off the court. Leader. Charismatic. Loyal. Team Player. Those were the images I had about him when he wasn't playing. Come to find out, he was a rich woman's lover and a poor woman's fantasy. But still I wasn't completely like these athletes are doing dirt.

The next one was Michael Jordan. Again, I didn't have a man crush on Jordan like most male groupies back in the day but I did (and still do) believe he was the G.O.A.T. The way he played on the court, I swore that's how he approached family values. Again found out dude was doing dirt all over Chi-town and possibly other cities. That pretty much sealed it for me, athletes, and their thoughts on the sanctity of marriage. That shit basically is a pipe dream :-).

I say all this to say that I'm no longer shocked by anything athletes or entertainers do. Babies born out of wedlock even though the dude is married to someone else (Bill Cosby, Jesse Jackson), check. Dudes accused by their wives of cheating on them with another man (Michael Strahan), check. Nice dudes on the court, different type of dude off the court, like strike your wife different (Warren Moon, Jason Kidd), double check. So don't be shocked readers about Tiger's "transgressions". Embrace it and understand he's no different than anyone else. He's human. And since we live in a short term memory society, Tiger's reputation might be damaged for 2-3 years but he'll bounce and someday we'll all look back and laugh. Well all except the people actually involved ;-).

Today's Lesson

I continue to say this but if I was a POPULAR athlete, no way I'm getting married until my playing days are either over or close to over. In Tiger's situation, dude's been popular since he was in high school. I would be doing my best Q imitation and having a hoasis until I was like 35. Then I would settle down :-). Easier said than done though. One thing's for sure though Tiger, if you are indeed found guilty of cheating and wifey leaves you, her settlement will be g-g-g-g-g-g-ggreat!