Thursday, November 17, 2011

Hey, Occupy Wall Street: Need An Agenda? Take This One!

Dear Occupy Wall Street,

I support you, really I do. But the time has come to move beyond occupying to accomplishing. It's time to adopt an agenda and push it. Need an agenda? Take this one:

1) Re-enact Glass-Steagall.

2) Overturn Citizens United by constitutional amendment and strip corporations of personhood and speech rights.

3) Repeal the Bush tax cuts for the top 1%. If these cuts were supposed to help the "job creators" create jobs, we wouldn't have so much unemployment.

4) Pass a constitutional amendment prohibiting CEOs from making more than 40 times in salary, benefits and stock options than the annual salary of the lowest paid employees in their companies.

5) Break up banks that received TARP money so they're no longer "too big to fail."

6) Prosecute the CEOs of the commercial banks, mortgage lenders, investment banks, and rating agencies that precipitated the real estate bubble.

I know this doesn't encompass all the issues you're protesting about, but it's a good start.

Here's a tagline for you, borrowed from the late comedian Robin Harris:

"We don't die; we occupy."

You're welcome. Rock on, Occupy Wall Street.

Monday, November 14, 2011

How To Avoid Becoming a Holiday Hostage

You know the feeling: You're at a holiday party that you either didn't want to attend or realize that you shouldn't have attended. You can't find a polite or other exit because you came with someone else or committed to stay. And you are dying inside of boredom or shame and contemplating faking a heart attack to get out of this sorry POS called a holiday party.

You, my friend, are a holiday hostage. And I'm here to make sure this never happens to you again.

Here are the basics for avoiding becoming a holiday hostage.

1) First, have a game plan that includes a lot of "noes". Before all the holiday events start appearing in folks' minds and on your schedule, find out the ones you want to avoid and calendar in conflicting appointments on your calendar. No one has to know that those appointments are with yourself. If anyone asks if you can attend something, tell them, "I need to check my calendar," followed with, "I'm so sorry, but I committed to getting together with my old friend Mia." They don't need to know that "Mia" is short-hand for "Me, uh, myself, and I." Even better: Tell them you're getting together with THREE dear old friends (Me, myself, and I). They don't need to know who they are.

2) Second, if you have to attend an event, always, ALWAYS, drive yourself. Let any passengers know that when you're ready to go, they either have to leave with you or find a way home. The easiest way to become a holiday hostage is to agree to ride with someone else. There have been events where Black Man Not Blogging (BMNB) and I have ridden in separate cars because I refused to be a hostage.

3) Third, if you can't drive yourself, have someone fake call you with an emergency that will force the driver to take you home. Any woman who dated in the '90s knows this trick: You have your girlfriend call you in the middle of a first date with a fake emergency so you'll have an excuse to leave if you want to. Apply the same to holiday events. If you're enjoying yourself, you stay and thank her for the call. If not, you alert your driver promptly of your "emergency." Who knows? Your driver might want out of this event, too. Even better: Have your driver place the fake call.

4) If you can't drive by yourself because you are going with a spouse or significant other, have an escape code word or phrase. This code word or phrase, once worked into conversation, is your signal that one of you is ready to go and the other better hustle up and git to gittin'. Your code word or phrase needs to be something that will catch your spouse's or significant other's attention without catching the attention of your hosts or other guests, and it needs to be something that isn't so mundane that it would be overlooked. Try a current event and build your code word or phrase around that event. For example, if your code word or phrase is "cadaver dog," build it around the earthquake in Turkey, to wit: "Hey, have you been following the news about that earthquake in Turkey? I hear they've flown in cadaver dogs from the United States to help with the recovery." The earthquake in Turkey is still current news, and "cadaver dog" is enough to get your spouse's attention without alerting others, to wit, whispering in your spouse's or significant other's ear: "If you don't bring your sorry ass on, they're going to need a cadaver dog to find you when I'm done."

5) If you have to ride with someone else for whatever reason and can't have a code word or phrase, bring your favorite alcohol. If you're going to be a holiday hostage, might as well be a drunk one. Instead of feeling bored or ashamed by the event, BECOME the event. Get drunk off your ass, do a strip tease, and make sure you'll never be invited again. Problem solved.

Unless, of course, it's your office party, in which case you might find a pink slip waiting for you when you get back to work.

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Death of Honor

Honor is dead, y'all, plain and simple. Conrad Murray put it on life support, it flatlined with JoePa, and it died quietly with the passing of Heavy D.

Conrad Murray put honor on life support when he had the temerity to not only insist on a trial on his involuntary manslaughter charge in the homocide of Michael Jackson, but then attempted to blame Jackson for his own death. The question whether Murray had any honor was answered in the negative when his mistresses took the stand, when the argument was made that Jackson administered the fatal dose of propofol himself. Regardless of how Jackson got his last dose of propofol, he could not have had access to it but for Dr. Murray. To blame a dead man for his own death that could not have happened but for your own actions? Absolutely no honor. It would have taken me all of nine minutes, not nine hours, to vote to convict Murray, and that's including six minutes for going to the bathroom. If Murray had had any honor, he would have pled guilty.

An honorable man takes responsibility for his actions, no matter how horrific they may have been.

Then came allegations that Penn State football legend Joe Paterno knew that one of his former assistant coaches was alleged to have sodomized a child, that one of the assistant coaches, a graduate student, witnessed the act. Sure, JoePa reported it up the chain of command within the university, but honor demanded more -- that he go to the police because a child's safety was involved. Children can't defend themselves from predatory adults. If JoePa could play a paternal, protective role with his players, who are clearly capable of protecting themselves, why couldn't he have picked up the phone and called the police to protect a child who couldn't protect himself?

An honorable man stands up for those who can't stand up for themselves, especially children.

And just when honor was flatlining in State College, PA, we heard of the passing of Dwight "Heavy D" Myers of "Heavy D and The Boyz" fame. It's no secret that yours truly hasn't been an ardent fan of hip-hop, but I loved Heavy D. Why? Because his rhymes didn't demean women. You could listen to his music, and he was all about loving women and women loving him, and loving him as he was -- The Overweight Lover. I never felt that I had to put my feminism on the shelf to enjoy a Heavy D song. I never felt excluded from his music because of misogyny or profanity. I didn't have to be less than myself to enjoy a Heavy D song. In fact, in one of his songs, "Is It Good To You?", Heavy D raised the bar as far as what we women should expect from men in the romance department.

An honorable man honors and respects women.

And so it appears that honor has died. May it rest in peace.