Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Soul Food- Our Issues With Food

I was sitting down to lunch the other day eating two pieces of fried chicken and a soda trying not to draw too much attention to myself while I ate. You see like most people the way I eat at home is a wee bit different from how I eat out.

There are no licking of fingers, no gawning of bits of flesh that hang stubbornly on the bone, nor any gawning of the bit of hangy fat, no sucking of bone, no sound of cracking cartilage, or bone. Oh, no! None of that! I do everything short of using those darn plastic fork and knives. (Luckily for me they had those even though I don't use them because it could be worse; it could have been one of those damn Sporks, half spoon half fork. Once on a date a long time ago I had to use two of those things to eat with. Didn't want my date to think that I had no home training.)

Well the reason this thought popped into my head and is now in this blog is because it wasn't always like this for me. I've been in-between jobs off and on. Had good time and bad times but whatever kind of time I've had of it some people have always felt as if I've spent most of my time eating my guts out. You see I'm a bit over weight, (think less Nell Carter and more Shandra from 227 Fame. In the 80's though I was pushing more toward Nell there.)

I went from a size 12 when I was fourteen years old to a size twenty by the time I was seventeen years old. By the time I was in college I was a size 22/24. I'm telling you all this to put things in perspective for ya'll. (The points are coming wait for it!)

During my pre-teen and teenage years all that time my mother was torn between being pissed, (you try buying a size 16 for a teenager on a budget then you'd figure out why), or perplexed, sometime both. You see she couldn't figure out how the heck I got that size. (I mean she figured I was eating junk food. Which parent didn't have a slight clue?) However you see when dinner time came around I picked and picked at my food like she was serving liver and brussel sprouts every night. (Mind you she had tried feeding our family that once or twice. At those time even my mom knew the dog would be eating better than we would. Liver, yuck!)

But those days were far and few in between that was dishes she made for our family like Curry Chicken with rice and peas (liked), Cow Feet with White rice and spinach (No on Cow Feet, strange enough yes on Spinach, not so much rice, more on that the next blog post. Yessh!), Salt Fish and Akee with White Yam and plantains (So not liking that not even now.) Mind you these are the delicacies that some of you connoisseurs of Caribbean food would happily pay anything from 5.95 to 21.50 on vacation in Jamaica and not even bat an eye. Meanwhile back in the day I was hiding Salt fish in my napkin and spiting out akee after the first chew. "Gal!" My ma Said. "Me don't know where your getting fat from because ya sure na eat no real food!"

Obviously she wasn't getting the midnight cereal eating, the after school behind her back Ice Cream eating, not the beg my Step-Father friends, my neighbor; Mrs. Bolden, for cookies or money, so that I could buy thing like Twinkies, Ho hos, Now N' Laters and snickers.

O.k people I was getting fat from a whole lot of sources however I found out later when I became a adult that I also became fat from a lot of inactivity as a child. Oh I played outside but because I was shy I preferred to play with kids younger that me or stay inside and read my little brains out. When not watching t.v of course. So mystery solve mom! Now riddle me this people; why did I continued to gain weight after college. Doesn't matter what matters is my relationship with food is just about the same as other Women and Men out there who analyze every thing we eat till our eyes glaze over.

Now the government and other health groups claim to be helping us with telling us how many calories are in the food we eat at fast food restaurants. Sometimes I think they just don't get it. Our relationship with food sometimes has nothing to do with nutrition and everything to do with our emotions. (That's it that was my point. Worth waiting for. No? Yes. Maybe. Hey give me something here!) That's why despite that fact that I take a walk every weekend around the neighborhood and park I still probably won't be that healthy size 18 everybody and my mother thinks I should have. And that is why I'll be grawing my chicken at home while watching t.v because I love the fact that I can do that and not have to justify it to anyone.

Enjoy your food and...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Food for thought: My weekend sourjourn via the 37 Bus.

Good day, everybody! I'm back and although I'm feeling somewhat better from the headache from hell I am still a little foggy. So please forgive me if the details from this weekend aren't very clear.

However there are somethings that stick out from my mind so much that I just had to share it with my reading audience. (All three of them. [Smirk.] )

It happen after my interview with Primerica, [Shudder.] Afterwards I left and went outside where I discovered that I was on the same street that the 103 Bus travels. "Oh, wow!" I remember saying. "This looks like the street the 103 bus passes by when I ride it in the mornings. Oh, look there is the little side street that the bus turns on as it goes toward the highway." Little did I know that there would be more surprises in store for me as the afternoon went by.

I thought that all I had to do was to walk down the block until I saw the 103 bus stop. I walked until I reached Jay Street-Borough Hall (or maybe it was 4 ave. don't really recall), stopping only to buy some pretzels and some soda at this corner store one block before it. All the while looking out for the 103 Bus Stop. I walked passed that block and still didn't see the bus stop so I turned down the block that has the 75 and the 77 bus. Then I walked, walked some more, and walked till I reached 9th Street. When I spotted the 103 limited bus coming down the street. Only one problem......

No 103 bus stop. In fact if I wanted one I would have to walk three more blocks down 9th street near Alantic Avenue. As it was I was in no mood to walk three more blocks. "Oh, look there is this bus stop! I wonder where it goes." I said to myself. It was the 37 bus. Now at this point if I haven't lost your attention your problaly thinking; why should I care?! (O.k people stop pounding your head on your desk for a minute and I will tell ya!)

Because that's when things got interesting, I road on this bus and after a while I figured I was on the wrong one. Of course I didn't know whether to ride it out or get off. As it was the deciding factors were the bad bus driving and the level 3 crazy person behind me muttering to herself. (O.k everybody mutters to themselfves, even I do it from time to time but it was what she was muttering about, 'The dog ate my peanut butter, the is something in the water and they're in my head.) So bye, bye, crazy lady! Hello 9th Street and where the hell I'm I?! (LOL).

Found myself in an interesting place full of highway overpasses, Warehouses, and (now here's the pay off) live chicken slaughter houses! What the fcuk! I thought those things were only at some place in Spanish Harlem in Manhattan! Coooooool! (Hey, I'm part Jamacian and my late grandmother own a small farm. These things facinate me, o.k?!)
There were two of them that I noticed, one of them was this Korean owned place, didn't here any chickens squawking inside. (Bad thing, good thing? I guess it depends on whether your a vegeterian or not. ;) ) The other was a Halal Mulism type place, nope didn't go in. Then I walked all the way to 39 street where I say a Costco! (Sing it along with me people, A Cost-----co!)

Never been in one myself, oops I lie I might have been in that type of place when I was in Florida but I don't remember when exactly. But it made my heart soar when I found this Costco on 39 Street and 3rd Aveune. I also found the #35 bus that took me to Church Avenue and the Q Train. So now I know how to get there. (Yeah, me!) Oh, wait now you do too. (Wasn't that worth the long story?) O.k tune in next time when I write to you about my relationship with food and connect you with my other blog with two poems that express how I feel about food. (As if you haven't figured it out from the Yeah, Costco statement.) ;)


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I almost drank the Primerican Kool-Aid

O.k so I'm not feeling well and because of this I'm gonna make this post short and sweet. (O.k stop clapping!)

Friday I went to a job interview. (I know! Bet you thought I was just an unpublished author. Nope, unemployed too!) Anyhoo, I went thinking that this was going to be the interview that would drag me out of temporary poverty and solve all my problems. Problem was when I got there I found out that it was for a commission sales job to sell life, mortgage, and health insurance.

I expect that you expect that I was pissed right? Right. I almost left but for one thing; I needed to prove to some people that I was actually looking for work and not goofing off. (Note the fact that I'm writing a blog when I should be on Craiglist.com!) So I went back in there. (Shaaaat Upppp!)

First thing that happen was that I poke my head back in there to see if my interviewer was there. Nope. Perhaps she was in the office next door. Went next door and low and behold they told me to go one floor down. Sh---- was in her office so I sat down next to a girl. Asked her if she knew what this was about, she said that "Umm, I don't know I just got this in my e-mail and I've sent out so many resumes that I don't know if I've sent one out to these people or not."
(Cue inner eyebrow raised ascrew and while your adding answer this question. How many of you guys and gals out there have done the same thing? Come on admit it! 'Chris, raise your hand! There's a fellow.)

"Uh, huh, me too. I'm mean my Aunt took down the number and gave it to me but Sh---- didn't say what this was in reference to." I said smiling dopely.

Speed thur twenty minutes later and two flights of stairs later and we're up in that same empty room that I had poked my head through. Sh---- said that she was waiting for some more people to come in so while we wait we can watch a movie. (Just in case you care it was : "Pirates, The Adventure of the black pearl." Or something like that. Who care?! Moving on!)

Hey have you heard of the rule of 72? O.K look if you put money in your bank account at let's say 4%, (Shaat up!), well if you keep it in there say for oh I don't know, let's say eighteen years you savings would be at $20,000 dollars. Sounds nice, huh? Well it isn't because at 6% in twelve years it would be at $20,000 dollars. Sounds like you'd get your money's worth then wouldn't you? Well your wrong. Here it is ladies and gentlemen the secert that banks won't tell you. (What else is new, Clue?) That they take your money and lend it out or whatever and the money they get back goes into an account that get's this: 12% interest! Wow.

So that is what I was inudated with for about an hour. You can figure out the math for your self if your buying this. I may of course sound cynical now but for about 20 minutes I was buying it. (I almost drank the Kool-aid people!) Then came the big finish!

For just about 99 dollars you can get a license to sell Life Insurance and et al. because of course it's illegal to sell life insurance in New York without a license. (Of course.) And all you have to do is take a couple of course and your on your way to financial security. Just as long as your willing to bug the hell out of your friends, relatives, and neighbors to buy from you!

They were this close to having me sign up except for one thing. Don't have 99 dollars and need a steady paying gig in order to give them 99 dollars. Plus I don't have that many friends, relatives, and neighbors to bug and I have a crazy feeling that if I want to keep these same friends, neighbors, and relatives; (Yes even my Jamaican ones. Hey my mom and aunt are great cooks what can I say?!), that I better just nod my head sanguinely, slowly put my coat on, politely ask for a card, and get the hell out of dodge while the getting was good.

Well at least I had an interesting afternoon afterwards. But more about that tomorrow. My head hurts. (Not for the above reasons. T.V, all night, haven't been watching because lights were out. Nevermind!)

See you next time!


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Moving Out of your Political Comfort Zone- The Bailout, folks don't panic!

I usually don't do this; I mean write political articles, except for the occasional comments I send to my favorite blog: Life on Terra Firma, (I like the articles written by NY Nerd. Hey Gurl!). My fellow blogger 'Chris' is one of the members that run the blog, (and I'm thinking runs the thing with NY Nerd). At anyrate no more shout outs, let's get back to business.

The reason why I'm writing this on this blog today is that this whole bailout thing is pissing me off. It's got me so heated up that I'm writing in my blog that is usually dedicated to fun stuff going on in Brooklyn and NYC. But I had no other choice, it's a writer's responsibility to write the truth as they see it and this writer is got to write the truth as I see it!

Now everybody has heard the reason's why this bailout is soooo important and hopefully have heard the other side of why it's not. I mean the Government and Wall Street have pressed the panic button and cried wolf because their afraid of what this means to their rich supporters pocket books.

They've gotten half of Congress and via them half of some Americans thinking that if this bailout doesn't happen that if Wall Street falls we will be headed for another recession.

News Flash people, we are in a Recession Now! We have been since last year as Unemployment steadily climbed up and foreclosers where coming up left and right. So what do they do? Ignore the problem till it becomes to late, affect Wall Street because of the loans they supported with the mortgage companies via stock loans. Oh look now it's Fall 2008 and oh dear we have a problem Huston! Now would the government please be so kind as to give us the money to pay of the debts of the failing banks and mortgage companies so that they don't go bankrupt. Huh!

No matter that taxes go up, the very thing that the Republicans swear up and down that their going to prevent. No matter that the American people will be the ones cleaning up the mess. Oh no let's go down to Washington vote for the bill and then while we're added drag the Democratic Senate into the mess!

Now I know that their are some people that noted that Pelosi supported the bill the first time around but the ole gal had a bit of a trick up her sleeve where as she ask dems to support the bill but not if their consciences or their constituents would not let them. There by lessening the votes and making it easier for some in Congress, (Strangely enough both Rep and Dems), to not vote yes. So as you can see their are some people in Washington with some sense. (Not much but it's all we got, for now. Shush NY Nerd! I know, I know!)

But now what is happening the Dow Jones takes another dip and all of a sudden it's a certainty that this bill is needed. (Luckily for me I checked that little box that said all this is adult content but pardon my french anyway.) Bullshit! The media had said it's because that the first time it didn't go though it was because constituents called up their Representatives in Washington stating that they didn't like the idea because it affected Wall Street not Main Street. But now these same constituents seeing how the low Dow Jones has fallen down to 777 think that now all of a sudden that this will affect Main Street. Yeah, hmm, hmm, yeah right whatever!

Look just in case there is a minority group of people out there who are shaking in their boots right now about what will happen if the bail out doesn't go thur. (Though as of this writing it looks like your fondest wish will come true.) I am going to drag you from out of your comfort zone for a bit.

First of all, now listen cause I'm only going to say this once, it will not have that much of an effect on Main Street America. I'm no financial analyst or a political pundit but I'm going to give it a go and break it down for you. If you don't have any investments in Wall Street it won't affect you, if you don't have a bank account with these following banks it won't affect you : Wacovia,IndyMac Bancorp, AIG, Washinton Mutual, and countless others, if you don't have an investment in one of the investment firms like Bear Sterns, one more time people, it won't affect you! If you own a home that is in mortgage with one of the formentioned banks then yes you are having some issues and I feel for you I really do. (But hey I live in an apartment building and if my Landlord has trouble with his bank I'm as screwed as you are. So back to Main Street shall we?)

So of course your saying well Clueuin let's say I am one of those people, what the heck can I do?
If you can pay off your mortgage before it's to late. If your in forecloser; well I did mention that I'm not a Financial analyst or anything? So all I can say is that my prayers for what is worth are with you. If you haven't been laid off due to the carelessness of Corporate American then your better off than you think and when you move to new digs (if God forbid your not homeless or anything), do not what ever you do when you get a second chance to get a home and your paid off, get a second mortgage. It is in my humble opinion one of the reasons we're in this mess to start with. Real and more honest Financial analysts have been saying for years that this borrowing money with credit and getting second mortgages to pay off your debts was not a good financial idea. (Now in the interest of full discloser I've got credit card debt up the ying yang because I thought that it was a good idea at the time to use my college loans as collateral to get credit. That might be a subject for a later time, might not but take from my experience a cautionary tale at best.) As it is I can see no light at the end of the tunnel from Wall Street getting this Bailout.

So there you are in the majority of people who didn't do all those things to get yourself in this mess or in some cases the mess the banks and corporations have gotten some people in; and your wondering if this will affect you. It won't if your not in the above mentioned situations.
So why does America need this bailout. It doesn't! If the banks were doing there jobs safe keeping our money instead of speculating in Wall Street, if the mortgages hadn't loaned people with bad credit at high interest rates that they could ill afford to payback when this mini-recession hit leading to the forecloser crisis, and if Wall Street had not backed this same loans, they wouldn't need the U.S government to pull their fat out of the fire.

All those years of threatening to cut spending to programs that help people like medicaid, all those years of throwing a hissy fit as the mere mention of a United Health Care (which would save millions for small and big businesses alike), all those years of overseas investments and sending jobs over to India (without due compensation to said employees of that country I might add), then expecting the American government to give these same business taxes breaks. Then turning around and saying that; 'America is a country that expects people to pick themselves up by their own boot straps and should not expect the American government to aid them through government aid'. (Whoever said that is a booby!) And what happens when they fuck up?

I tell you what! Waa, waa, if you don't help us America is going to be in a financial crises and fall into a recession if you don't help us clean up our mistakes. If any social needing group like the elderly, the unemployed, or any disenfranchise group came to Congress with the same plea all Congress would do is cater to any lobbyists making a squawk about how this will affect what ever Corporate industry felt like they would take a hit in making profits and say no. But because it's Wall Street and other corporate identities we the American tax payer is suppose to Bail them out! They must be crazy!

Ladies and Gentlemen if this bill goes through it will be the American people on Main Street that will be screwed! If not with higher taxes because as of this writing this bill is being revised to prevent that. (Big F*ing deal!) Then with Corporate America never ever again taking responsibility for it's actions because all it's has to due is continue what it's doing in it's laid offs, transfers of business overseas that will bring about even higher unemployment. Then (and this is when it get confusing even for me folks) that's when Main Street will feel it babies! That's when we will all be standing on line at the food banks. (As it is I know I'm seeing my fair share of former middle management types standing in line with me as late.) So as it stands I hope that their are still some holdouts in Congress that will not say yea to this bill in any of it's guises.
It's time Corporate America to pull up you own freaking bootstraps!

That's my two cents for what it's worth.