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Showing posts from April, 2011

A Mother and Child Reunion (Rest in Peace, Phoebe Snow)

No I wouldn't give you false hope
On this strange and mournful day
But a mother and child reunion
Is only a motion a way . . . .

"Mother and Child Reunion," Paul Simon

I opened my different email accounts today to find three messages telling me that Phoebe Snow had passed. A close friend of mine wrote that I was the only one who could understand his grief. He was wrong. Others were grieving, too.

Despite my grief, I'm happy for Phoebe Snow's release from these earthly bonds and hope she is having a reunion with her daughter Valerie. Valerie, who had been born with severe brain damage, died in 2007 at the age of 31, and Ms. Snow had been her primary caretaker her entire life. Despite Ms. Snow's musical genius, she gave up touring and promoting her career to devote herself to her daughter. With no regrets.

I was blessed to see Phoebe Snow perform on a magical evening on August 22, 2008 at the University of California, Davis quad under the stars. This performance took …

Having An Oprah Gail Moment, Or Outgrowing Your Circle

"Don't you ever want more?"

- "My Love," Jill Scott

If Oprah never does another thing that's meaningful in my life, her Master Class show would be enough. I watched both of her own episodes of Master Class, and two things struck me. One was the moment during her childhood when Oprah's grandmother told Oprah while washing clothes for whites and hanging them to dry something to the effect of, "Now, Oprah Gail, you pay attention to what I'm doing because someday you're going to have to do this." Oprah said that something in her soul just rebelled, and deep inside she knew, "That would not be my fate."

The second thing that struck me was Oprah's response to a conversation with her boss at a Baltimore television station when she decided to go to Chicago and do a talk show -- a talk show that would eventually become The Oprah Winfrey Show. Her boss told her she would get slaughtered, that there was no way she could hope to compete…

150th Anniversary of the Civil War -- I Call B.S.

Today is the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. This date doesn't have to conjure up the antipathy of 150 years ago, but I'm sure it will because the people over whom the war was fought are in a unique position to speak their minds about it in a way they could not even 50 years ago. People like me.

I can't abide hearing historians, Civil War enthusiasts and Southerners describe this war as "the war between the states" (well, duh -- what else is a civil war?) or a war over "states' rights". It begs the question -- states' rights to do what? And that question inevitably leads back to one answer: To legalize slavery. Of my people.

For the life of me, I don't understand how fighting a war for the right to enslave other people is anything to be proud of any more than fighting a war to engage in a genocide is something to be proud of. At least some Germans have the good sense to be ashamed of their role in World War II.

Don't tell me celebratin…

The Rise, Demise (and Rise?) of Cathie Black

"One of the things I've had to work on over the years is recognizing the difference between a funny remark that's just funny, and one that's cutting. Humor is an incredibly valuable asset -- a good laugh has a positive effect in the office -- but all it takes is one ill-considered remark to set someone on edge and cast a pall on a good working relationship. If you find yourself inclined to make cutting remarks, there's probably some deeper reason behind it, and your colleagues and employees will sense that. Also, it's best to be straightforward about problems or issues you have with people, and save the humor for lighter topics."

Cathie Black, "Basic Black: The Essential Guide for Getting Ahead at Work (and in Life)," p. 223.

Gentle readers, especially my New York readers, you will come to appreciate the irony of this if you have not already. Read on.

About two weeks ago, my husband, Black Man Not Blogging (BMNB) and I ran across a brand new lib…

Is a Bloody Pig's Foot Political Speech?

New York Representative Peter King was the intended recipient of a bloody pig's foot and a note that allegedly said, "Kiss my black Muslim ass." King has been leading congressional hearings about the radicalization of Islam in the United States. King is also Jewish.

Given the Supreme Court's most recent rulings on free speech, I'm wondering, is a bloody pig's foot political speech? I mean, if you can protest against gays within a thousand yards of a military funeral because you don't think gays should serve in the military, can a pig's foot sent to protest what is perceived as the persecution of Muslims be excluded from free speech, especially free political speech?

I don't think so. Now, mind you, I think those anti-gay protesters at military funerals better be careful because one person's free speech is another's fightin' words. I double-dog dare those protesters to try that mess at a black Baptist military funeral in the south. I know…