Friday, June 29, 2007


Friday, June 29, 2007 5

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Bodymore, Murderland - 6/27/07

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**Baltimore has a murder issue. Sadly, that isn't news. To give you an idea of how mean and vicious this town is, each week I'm going to post a synopsis of the local crime blotter.**

Murders This Week: 4
Murders This Year: 151

Four deaths resulting from incidents that took place earlier this year were added to the homicide rolls this week. On June 17 at 7:18 p.m. a man was walking in the woods in Gwynns Falls Park behind the 1300 block of Woodington Road when he discovered a decomposed body and called police. The body was identified as that of Riley Pettus, a 43-year-old African-American man from Greenmount West. Because of the decomposition, the cause of death was not readily apparent, but the next day the medical examiner ruled Pettus’ death a murder--he had been shot repeatedly.

Just after noon on May 19, staff at the Executive Inn in the 3600 block of Pulaski Highway found a man lying dead in a room at the hotel. The man, 35-year-old African-American Tarik Tynes, had died from being beaten in the head. His death was ruled a homicide on June 19.

On May 23 at 4:37 p.m. police were called to the 1900 block of Presstman Street near Carver Vocational-Technical High for a man lying naked in the street. When they arrived they found Voltaire Conway, a 40-year-old African-American from Sandtown-Winchester, wearing only a T-shirt and suffering from severe head trauma. He was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center in critical condition and died on May 25 at 7 a.m. His death was ruled a homicide June 21.

On Aug. 29, 2005, a man was heading into a 7-Eleven in the 1100 block of East Cold Spring Lane in New Northwood when he was stopped by someone in the store parking lot. The person threw the man to the ground and started kicking and punching him in the head and body. When the man lost consciousness his attacker went through his pockets, stole a cell phone and some money, and fled. The victim was taken to Sinai Hospital, where he was found to have neurological damage and was in critical condition. A suspect was arrested for the robbery and assault on Oct. 15, 2005, but as of press time the case was still marked as open and police had not released the dead man’s name. Nor could they furnish the date of his death.

Monday, June 18

9:33 p.m. David Carter, a 26-year-old African-American man, was outside in the 3400 block of St. Ambrose Street with a big group of people when someone came up, shot him several times in the head, and fled. This is the sixth homicide this year in Central Park Heights, tying it with Barclay and Carrollton Ridge as the most murderous neighborhoods in the city.

Tuesday, June 19

1:15 a.m. Ronnie Bundy, a 21-year-old African-American man, got into an argument with someone in the 2900 block of Miles Avenue in Remington, two blocks from the Papermoon Diner. The person he was fighting with pulled out a gun and shot Bundy in the neck. Bundy died at Shock Trauma half an hour later.

Thursday, June 21

12:30 a.m. Roughly a mile away from where Bundy was killed, a 24-year-old African-American man named George Wilson was driving in the 3100 block of Ellerslie Avenue in Better Waverly, near the Stadium Place YMCA. A dark-colored sedan drove up to Wilson’s car, and someone in the sedan shot Wilson in the head. He died at Johns Hopkins Hospital at 2:07 a.m.

Saturday, June 23

2:48 a.m. A man was shot in the upper body in the 1500 block of Pennsylvania Avenue in Upton. He tried to flee the scene in a green car but lost consciousness and crashed shortly after turning the corner onto Mosher Street. He died at Shock Trauma at 4:27 a.m. Police are waiting until the man’s family has been notified of his death to release his name.


Tyree White, a 24-year-old African-American man, pleaded guilty to the murder of Trayvon Granger on June 19, just before his trial was set to start. According to the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office, on Aug. 17, 2005, White and Anthony Eubanks, a 21-year-old African-American man, met up with Granger, a 20-year-old African-American man, at the intersection of Pall Mall Road and Loyola Southway. Granger and Eubanks were first cousins. The three men talked and then Granger ran away. White and Eubanks chased him, and White shot him during the chase. The shooting was allegedly caused by a dispute over $1,500 in drug money. White was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Eubanks, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder, received five years in prison.

On June 22, Maurice Crosby, a 19-year-old African-American man, and Erica Ammenhauser, a 20-year-old Caucasian woman, turned themselves into police. They were charged with the June 10 murder of Michael Simms, an 18-year-old African-American man.

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A few weeks ago, a friend recommended that I read 'The Cynical Ones' and I'm suggesting the same to you. The entries are smart, well written and super critical of damn near everything, but in a fun way. If you like my entries, you'll love his.

Click here to read his most recent post on the BET Awards. It's more than worth it.

Sobering news for DC/MD smokers

Police find 42 lbs. of marijuana in traffic stop
Two men were transporting drugs from New York City to Washington, police say

By Liz Kay
Sun Reporter
Originally published June 27, 2007, 6:24 AM EDT

Maryland Transportation Authority police arrested two men yesterday after police said they discovered nearly 42 pounds of marijuana in their station wagon during a routine traffic stop on Interstate 95 in Baltimore County.

A police officer stopped the driver of a 2006 Dodge Magnum south of White Marsh for speeding and following too closely, the authority said in a statement.

Raymond A. Sharpe, 25, of Lithonia, Ga., and Dewight Antwain Stephens, 26, of Hallendale, Fla., were charged with possession of marijuana and other charges, according to the release.

The two, who police said were transporting drugs from New York City to Washington, were being held on $100,000 bail at the Baltimore County Detention Center, according to the statement.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Melo Does Good

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**Before I begin this entry, I'd like to mention, as an aside, that a co-worker, who I completely had the URL to this blog, mentioned that he has been reading my entries and likes my work. I hope he realizes that Just Me, My Dignity and this Guitar Case is just like Vegas in that what happens here should stay here. lol.

I wonder how frequently he reads. He asked for this shout out, so I'm sure he'll mention it when/if he reads again.**

I've never been a fan of Carmelo Anthony.

I don't dislike him, but I don't root for him or his team to win like He, for me, has never been a hometown hero. I don't root for Carmelo and the Nuggets to win like I do for, say, Baltimore natives and former Terps Toronto guard Juan Dixon and the Raptors or current Maryland assistant Keith Booth and the Bulls when he played.

Maybe its because Juan helped lead my team to Final Four in 2001 and the 2002 NCAA National Championship and ACC Regular Season Title. Or perhaps its because Keith helped lead the Terps to a regular season ACC title in 1995 and Sweet 16 appearances in 94 and 95. Maybe I'm still bitter that Carmelo attended Syracuse and led the Orangemen (throwback) to the 2003 title instead of helping secure a second consecutive title for the defending national champion Terrapins.

Juan and Keith seemed like 'good guys'. Carmelo, on the other hand, helped introduce the world-at-large to Baltimore dope dealers' now infamous 'Stop Snitchin' campaign in 2004. Then in 2006, he was suspended 15 games by the NBA dictator commissioner David Stern for his involvement for fighting at the office.

Since the 'Stop Snitchin' thing, Young Melo has been a paragon of virtue. Of course the media doesn't report the good, so I will. After idiotic P.D.T.s (personal displays of thuggery) in 2004 and 2006, Melo has:

Kudos to Carmelo. I appreciate philanthropy regardless of the team they played for in college.

Background - Snippet of the 'Stop Snitchin' video in which Anthony appeared

Monday, June 25, 2007

Song of the Moment

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After growing up the northeast, listening to FM radio has been tough recently. I've come to accept that southern rap is not a fad and is here to stay...for now. In the midst of crap like this and this and this, its good to know that the south can still produce a banger.

International Players Anthem by UGK feat. Outkast is easily the hottest southern rap song and video combination this year. It's well produced...kudos to Juicy J and DJ Paul. The video was well directed...Bryan Barber always does well. Andre has spit fire on everything he's been on post-The Love Below; this verse is no exception.

Cameos by T-Pain, Three 6 Mafia, David Banner, Alex Thomas, DeRay Davis, Chamillionaire, Fonzworth Bentley, Big Gipp, Don Magic Juan, Big Tigger, Lukas Haas, Slimm Cutta Calhoun, Katt Williams, Chamillionaire...everybody.

I've listened to this song like 40 times in the last two days. It and the video are a still a breath of fresh air.

UGK feat. Outkast - International Players Anthem

Feel Good Story of the Day

Lacrosse gift lifts team spirit
After a player's death, Patterson squad sees AT&T gear donation as a 'ray of light'

By Alia Malik
Sun Reporter
Originally published June 25, 2007, 8:13 PM EDT

Never mind that they only had four returning players and finished with a losing record. When members of the Patterson High School lacrosse team talk about their difficult spring, it always comes back to the mid season death of their captain, senior Christopher Clarke.

Clarke was fatally shot after practice March 13, an innocent bystander in a street shooting near his home in the Belair-Edison neighborhood.

Patterson Principal Laura Lee D'Anna, lacrosse coach Jonathan Kehl and three of Clarke's former teammates remembered him Monday as they accepted dozens of new and barely-used lacrosse sticks and pieces of protective gear donated to the school by AT&T.

"This is just such a catharsis after coming off of the grief we suffered," D'Anna said. "This means so much to them. It's a new beginning." The communications corporation collected public donations during the NCAA lacrosse championship, held at M&T Bank Stadium over Memorial Day weekend. The company, which sponsored the championship, also threw in its own equipment, which had been used only for exhibitions and demonstrations during the tournament. (click here for full story)

Friday, June 22, 2007

My dating woes continue...

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The dating process really annoys me. Actually, I like getting to know new, interesting people that I click with. I suppose I should say the process of weeding and sifting through the losers and idiots annoys me, but isn’t that the essence of dating and finding the right one?

A few days ago, I went to a bar an was approached by a prospect: 30 y/o, no kids, lives alone, own crib, interesting career, goals/ambitions, own car, interesting convo, fairly attractive, currently obtaining MBA. We've been chatting on the phone each of the last three nights. Conversation had been going pretty well…until last night.

We were having one of those typical 'getting to know you' convos. We started talking about the dynamics of our respective office environments. I mentioned that my office is predominantly (read: 98%) white, that I’ve worked in both mainly black and white environments before and that I experience much less daily drama in my current office. “Well, I’m sure you have no trouble adapting. It’s cool. I can turn it on and off when I need to too”, was the response I got. Ok…that sounded a little pointed, but whatever.

We somehow started discussing which clothing stores we frequent. My list included Banana Republic, Express for Men, Urban Outfitters, J. Crew and a few others. “J. Crew don’t make clothes for black people. They make clothes for white boys.”

Wait…you’ve already offended me with the ‘I’m sure you adapt well’ comment. I mean, what the fuck?!? Do you think I put on black face in my car, soft-shoe into my Director’s office and say, “Top of the morning, boss!” before sitting at my cube every morning?!? I already let one pointed ass comment slide, this had to be addressed.

“What do you mean J. Crew doesn’t make clothes for black people?”

“Well, I mean, they just don’t. The clothes don’t fit black people.”

“You can’t be serious. Clearly I’m black and I have plenty of J. Crew clothes that fit just fine. You buy the right size. No, they don’t cater to people with a size 40 waist and above, but if you’re overweight, you’re overweight. That has nothing to do with race.”

“A 36 at stores like that isn’t a 36 at other places.”

“Stores like that?!? Whatever.”

That exchange and the little remark about me being able to “adapt” really rubbed me the wrong way. The convo got real dry after that and eventually ended. I don't have time for that racist, 'crab in the barrel' shit.

Let me explain a bit about myself. I’m articulate and well spoken and I'm proud of that. I understand grammar and use it properly. I put prepositions at the end of sentences and use adverbs when necessary. In middle and high school ignorant kids often told me that I “talk proper” (note the missing adverb) or “white” (as if there is such a thing). I prefer varied, colorful language. During my college prep years, I was forced to learn lots of words for the SAT and IB exams in high school. They didn't go in one ear and out the other, so I use them regularly.

I should also mention hat nothing about me is disingenuous. What you see really is what you get. I’m me. I refuse change that for anybody and I take pride in that. I explained this twice obviously to no avail.

I really don’t get it. I would think most seemingly fairly successful and traveled 30 year olds pursuing a MBA would understand that everyone isn’t a chameleon. Not everyone changes and morphs to suit specific situations or cater to different people/demographics. Some people are who they are and refuse to compromise that. I happen to be one of those people.

'I’m sure you adapt well' my ass.

Needless to say, there won’t be any return calls.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

This or that? - You Decide

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I wanna buy two pair of sneakers this weekend. I'm pretty sure I'm buying these:

But, I also want some real sneakers. Which pair should I buy?

Choice #1:

Choice #2:


I went to the mall to pick up a shirt to wear to a party tomorrow and came out with 5 things. Every store had sales. I saw these in Nordstrom and decided to get them:

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

President Bush

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I've never claimed to like President Bush or approve of the he's done in the White House, but he's a funny dude. Below are some of the more entertaining (read: idiotic) things he's said of throughout his presidency:
  • "Information is moving -- you know, nightly news is one way, of course, but it's also moving through the blogosphere and through the Internets."
  • "Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream."
  • "You work three jobs? … Uniquely American, isn't it? I mean, that is fantastic that you're doing that."
  • "There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again."
  • "Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."
  • "They misunderestimated me."
  • "Rarely is the questioned asked: Is our children learning?"
  • "Tribal sovereignty means that; it's sovereign. I mean, you're a — you've been given sovereignty, and you're viewed as a sovereign entity. And therefore the relationship between the federal government and tribes is one between sovereign entities."
  • "I couldn't imagine somebody like Osama bin Laden understanding the joy of Hanukkah."
  • I'm the master of low expectations."
  • "I wish you'd have given me this written question ahead of time so I could plan for it…I'm sure something will pop into my head here in the midst of this press conference, with all the pressure of trying to come up with answer, but it hadn't yet….I don't want to sound like I have made no mistakes. I'm confident I have. I just haven't you just put me under the spot here, and maybe I'm not as quick on my feet as I should be in coming up with one."
  • "I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we're really talking about peace."
  • "If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator."
  • "I'm the commander — see, I don't need to explain — I do not need to explain why I say things. That's the interesting thing about being president."

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Weekend Recap: Baseball, Liquor, Club, Regret, Liquor...Tuesday

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Much of the weekend was spent traveling up and down I-95 between Baltimore and Aberdeen.
The company for which I work owns a youth baseball facility (It's actually one of the best youth facilities in the country...see pic at left) in Aberdeen, Maryland.

We invited a bunch of kids from Boys and Girls Clubs throughout the mid-Atlantic to participate in an essay contest explaining why they want to be like their Dad or father figures. We picked winners and invited them and the father figure about whom they wrote to Maryland for various baseball related festivities. I actually administered the program, so I had to be there.

It was cool to see kids and their Dads, but bitter sweet for a kid like me who has never experienced that type of thing (or much of anything for that matter) with his Dad. All went well.

In the middle of traveling up and down I-95, I did some partying.

On Saturday, I went to Pazo again. Love that place. Love their drinks more.

On Sunday, I made the mistake of going out with my ex...for a little background go here. We met two of my buddies at Be Bar Lounge at 9th and N Streets in NW DC. Anyway, I drank...a lot. I still couldn't loosen up and enjoy the experience. I got annoyed and was ready to go. Since I drove, he had no choice but to leave with me. We fell asleep in my car at the parking lot where he parked. At 3am, I was awakened abruptly to his ringing cell phone.

" ok?", he answered in a sleepy/half-drunken voice while gathering his belongings and exiting my car. My heart sank. He used to ask me the same question in the exact same way. He walked over to his car and turned to me asked, "You good to drive?" I nodded and proceeded to pull myself together. I refused to acknowledge that I was not ok and certainly not ok to drive. I pulled off and began my long drive home. 35 minutes later I arrived home all depressed and shit. I made one last drink and sent a email message to my boss alerting her that I wasn't feeling well and shouldn't be expected in on Monday before passing out on the sofa. I'm not sure why I'm not ok.

Monday ended on a much lighter note.

I was scheduled to work at J. Crew from 6pm until like...2am to help with
summer roll out. Well, as I was walking in, my manager was walking out. She was fired. We ended up only staying until 10pm for roll out. We met her for drinks at The Brewer's Art. A really expensive resturant above a much grungier, darker, cheaper basement bar/brewery. It's quite the juxtaposition. Anyway, a few J. Crew coworkers and I arrived and the former manager was already pissy drunk. We got the scoop on why she was fired and had a few drinks ourselves...they sell a 7.5% abv brew called Ozzy for $2.75!

The highlight of the evening was observing the usually refined former manager screaming at the top of her lungs, "FUCK J. CREW!!!!!" and "J. Crew can suck my asshole!!!" Good times.

Now, it's Tuesday.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Random Musing

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I like music...a lot. All different genres. Nothing too outlandish, but there's not much I wouldn't at least sample before deciding I didn't like it. I think the music a person enjoys is very telling about their personality.

I drive....a lot. I live' work and play in the 4th largest metro in the country behind only New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.The DC-Baltimore area is home to lots of stupid drivers. So, I'm either stuck in traffic at New York Ave and 7th trying to get onto 495 or Pratt and President trying to get onto 83 or stuck on 95 somewhere between the two or on the B-W Parkway...either way I'm stuck.

These are the cds in my current rotation in my car changer that help keep me sane.

John Legend - Another Again

Radiohead - Kid A

Meshell Ndegeocello - Comfort Woman

Coldplay - X&Y

8 Ball and MJG - Livin' Legends

PJ Morton Band - Perfect Storm

Amy Winehouse - Back to Black

Nas - It Was Written

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Poisonous Colgate Toothpaste Recalled in NY-NJ-PA-MD

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I had a bit of a scare this morning.

Every morning I start my day with John Roberts and Kiran Chetrey, the hosts of CNN's American Morning; they keep me informed. I rarely actually watch the program, I'm usually listening to the audio while I'm preparing to leave for the office. So, I'm in the bathroom, brushing my teeth (with my newly purchased Colgate Whitening) and hear the following teaser "Next on American Morning: Poisonous Colgate toothpaste recalled in several northeastern states. Stay with us for more."

I didn't really think anything of it initially. The program returned from commercial break. "The FDA," John Roberts asserted, "announced today the recall of several batches of Colgate toothpaste sold at discount drug stores in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland." I immediately stop brushing. I live in Maryland. "The toothpaste," Roberts continues, "contains a poisonous chemical found in antifreeze." Kiran interjected with other news.

"WTF!?!?!", I thought. I had so many questions. WTF do they mean discount drug store? Like...Duane Reade, CVS and Rite Aide or some second-rate mom and pop shop? I immediately did what most 23 year olds would do...I called my mom. If figured if CNN couldn't tell me more details, I was sure she could. I called and she knew exactly what I was referencing. The information she provided, in concert with some internet research yielded the following findings:

  • The FDA has warned that consumers should avoid using any dental products manufactured in China. Poisonous toothpaste made in China has affected people in several countries.
  • Colgate products with labels reading 'Made in South Africa' should be discarded. These products are counterfeit. You'll find lots of misspellings on the packaging these products come in.
  • The FDA has issued an import alert to prevent Chinese toothpaste containing DEG from being sold in the United States and has said it will continue to stop brands of Chinese toothpaste for testing.
  • The fake South African toothpaste comes in 5oz. units and contains Diethylene Glycol (DEG). This product is used in anti-freeze and as a cleaning solvent. Colgate and the FDA are working together to find the source of the counterfeit product.
If you live in the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic and brush with Colgate, check your labels. My 6.4 ounce unit of Colgate was purchased at Target, not a drug store. Luckily, I'm safe...I think.

Update: CNN Money

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Picture of the Day

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I'm sure by now you've heard about Paris Hilton and her recent problems with the law. I was roaming around the blogesphere today and came across this picture of some of Paris' supporters (I didnt know she had any). It was ridiculous enough for me to share with you guys.

I could say so much about this pic, but I won't. I'll leave the editorials up to you all.

Picture courtesy of:

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

U.S. Government is at it again....

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The federal government is at it again. I guess even after admitting to stuff like this we're still supposed to believe that a fiend wiggled his nose and made crack magically appear in the 'hood and that HIV/AIDS came from an infected African monkey. God bless America...our home sweet home.

Pentagon Confirms It Sought To Build A 'Gay Bomb'

Hank Plante

BERKELEY, CA - A Berkeley watchdog organization that tracks military spending said it uncovered a strange U.S. military proposal to create a hormone bomb that could purportedly turn enemy soldiers into homosexuals and make them more interested in sex than fighting.Pentagon officials on Friday confirmed to CBS 5 that military leaders had considered, and then subsquently rejected, building the so-called "Gay Bomb."

Edward Hammond, of Berkeley's Sunshine Project, had used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain a copy of the proposal from the Air Force's Wright Laboratory in Dayton, Ohio.As part of a military effort to develop non-lethal weapons, the proposal suggested, "One distasteful but completely non-lethal example would be strong aphrodisiacs, especially if the chemical also caused homosexual behavior." (more)

Monday, June 11, 2007

I did a little shopping this weekend....

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After about a year of only buying things for my professional self, I've decided to concentrate of improving my social wardrobe. I've been making a concerted effort to make at least one or two non-office attire purchases for myself each week or at the very least every two weeks. I figure, hell, I work everyday and pay my bills, so I deserve to take care of myself.

This weekend I bought these shorts (this is my first attempt at Madras. I usually don't buy things that are this ostentatious, but I this guy came into the J Crew I work at wearing was a good look.):

This polo to wear with them:

This sweater:

Of course I had to get something for work.

These shirts:

And these ties...

Saturday, June 9, 2007

I ♥ my BlackBerry

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Mankind should be embarrassed by how reliant on technology it has become (read: I should be embarrassed by how reliant I have become on technology). Think about some of the most basic tasks in our lives and think about how substantially different (and more difficult to complete) they'd be without technology.

With that said, I don't think I could live without my BlackBerry. In fact, I know I couldn't. It's become my lifeline. Honestly, its my primary connection to the world outside my head. I use it for everything...telephone, email, internet, calendar, calculator, AOL and Yahoo instant messengers, and GPS locater. I use it to monitor my daily caloric intake, check on my investments, keep up with the status of my bids on eBay...everything. Alerts and other emails from my banks, credit monitoring service, MySpace, and Facebook each come to it. Hell, when somebody replies to a blog entry I'm alerted by my BlackBerry. To be honest, office use aside, I don't really even use a computer anymore.

If I ever lost this thing, I'd be shit out of luck...seriously. I mean, I haven't memorized a telephone number since the days of 7-digit dialing (which ended in the mid-90s in my area), so all of my contacts would be gone (yeah, I can go to my computer and check my Outlook contact list, but who has time for that.) Nothing would get done b/c it handles my professional, social and financial calendars. I would miss meetings and dinner parties and bill payments. I'd be a mess.

It provides me with instant answers to any question I have...even triviality.

I ♥ my BlackBerry. I'm sure if I replaced BlackBerry with Treo, Sidekick, Pearl, BlackJack or any other smart phone device, this entire post could and would apply to many of you too.

"You have no new messages"

Few things in the world are more disappointing than hearing those words from your voicemail when I'm expecting your call. "You", the voice says mockingly, "have NO new messages". It seems to become more and more snide each time I listen to it.

It's 3am and its been 2 days since we've spoken. When will you call? Why won't you call? Are you ok? How did your meetings in London go? Why haven't you called? You've been on my mind all day. Sleeping in an empty bed is no fun. You know I worry.

At this hour, I should be on some sort of emotional high. You should be here. Instead of grining from ear-to-ear, I'm blogging and watching Tivo'd episodes of 'The Practice'. You should be here.

Herein, intercontinental travel is offically banned. I don't know what's going on in Brixton and I have no new messages.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Stay Tuned...

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I actually do have something to post about today, but don't have the time to dedicate to it right now. I'll do it either tonite or tomorrow.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Decade of progress in Baltimore overshadowed by negative press

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I'm one of the few natives who will admit to it, but I like Baltimore. It's one of those cities that you have to be away from for a bit in order to fully appreciate it. It's quirky and fun. It's 45 minutes away from Washington, 90 minutes from Philadelphia and (on a good day on the Jersey Turnpike) is 2-2.5 hours from New York City. Also, it's cheaper than other cities in the region. Based on its location, the cache of the neighborhood and proximity to bars, restaurants and retail destinations, my $1150 apartment in Baltimore would easily cost $1600-1700 in Washington and well over $2K in NYC. My bank account appreciates that.

My hometown, however, can never catch a break. Baltimore has spent the last decade improving itself. On the low, it’s become a destination. It has attracted and retained major businesses (Under Armor, energy conglomerate Constellation Energy and financial heavyweight Legg Mason…just to name a few), it’s has added thousands of new hotel rooms including flags by Ritz-Carlton, Four Seasons and InterContinental, it has become a haven for urban renewal and development and most importantly, it effectively ended its 50-year long population exodus. That progress, however, is always overshadowed by negative reports.

The last three days have not been kind to Charm City. On Monday, the Baltimore Sun published this article announcing that in its most recent study, the FBI has declared Baltimore ‘The Second Deadliest City In America.” Three days later, the Baltimore Examiner released this article outlining the findings of a report conducted by the Baltimore Health Commission Baltimore is second to only Miami in the number of reported AIDS cases. Not a good look.

Does Baltimore has its faults? Of course, but so do all major American cities including Chicago (where in the last 12 months 27 kids have been killed in public schools), Philadelphia (where homicides are nearing 1980's type record numbers), Los Angeles (where gang violence is more prevalent than ever), St. Louis (which is experiencing a ridiculous spike in crime and always seems to get a pass because its a smaller city) and Phoenix (which is experiencing spikes in violence all over its metro area), but you just don’t hear about those stories. For some reason, Baltimore’s flaws always seem to become major, national news.

I’ve lived in Baltimore for most of my adult life and aside from someone using a Sharpie to deface the passenger side fender of my car while I took in a show at the Charles Theater, I’ve never been a victim of crime. My car has never been stolen, by house has never been burglarized, and I’ve never been robbed, shot at or threatened in anyway. When I drive home, I don’t drive through the set of ‘The Wire’ nor do I encounter anything like that on a daily basis. In fact, I have to make a point to go through those types of neighborhoods.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that as long as you’re doing the right thing (95% of all murders in Baltimore are committed by and against people who have a pre-existing relationship with the criminal justice system) and don’t go looking for trouble, you’ll be fine. Oh, and don’t be promiscuous. Know your status and that of everyone you get in bed with. Being a whore is never a good look and is most certainly not in Baltimore.


My #1 goal in life is to not simply live it, but to experience and enjoy it; I'm also entertained by matter how sophomoric and immature it is. Below is a picture of a sign at the site of a building being constructed in Baltimore. I see it everyday on my way to work and chuckle. I thought I'd share it with the group. Nothing like a little school boy humor to start the day.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

This morning's random rant...

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I’ve often lamented this point on this blog, but I feel like discussing it again. The company for which I work isn’t diverse at all. Here’s a rough demographic breakdown:

- There are only three (and soon to be two) full-time, salaried non-white people employed by the company.

- 85% of the employees are white males. The remaining percentage is comprised primarily of white women.

- 100% of the employee base is either black or white.

- 0% of the entity directors or chief executives are non-white and non-male. (Two women do serve as divisional directors. One has basically been unfairly marginalized to a senior grant administrator; the other is simply a ‘yes man’ and has been since day one.)

Although I’m young, I’m no spring chicken. I’ve been around the block on or twice. I recognize that while these numbers are a bit extreme, this type of thing, for the most part, is representative of corporate America. I experienced this type of thing a bit in high school (although it took extra-Baltimore experiences to realize what the deal is) and in college at Maryland.

With that said, it still takes some getting used to. I still often feel like I’m constantly being surveyed and monitored, not by my bosses, but by my co-workers. I often feel like everything I do is a direct representation and reflection of my race (although I do not feel that everything every other black person does represents me.) Most of my co-workers admit to never having worked or interacted with a young, black male who is college educated, articulate, polished, astute, quick-witted and clearly modest. :-)

You see, most of them hail from random states like Iowa and Minnesota and other relatively isolated environments in suburban and rural America. For many of them, BET and MTV was the extent of their exposure to people who look like me. Hell, even the urbanites seem to be from parochial, sheltered environments. I’m a commodity in the minds of these people. I’m the complete and utter antithesis to the statistically average black male in Baltimore (or in America for that matter).

With that in a eggshell, my day isn’t starting particularly well. There’s nothing wrong, it’s just one of those days I wanted to stay in bed. I contemplated not coming into the office and at 7:42am I officially decided not to. I’m supposed to be in by 8:30am everyday. To get in on-time, I have to leave home no later than 8:15 (my commute is beautiful…it’s a 15 minute drive through secondary roads, albeit vital secondary roads, in northern suburban Baltimore. The only real stop-and-go traffic headache is getting caught behind the school bus picking the kids up, but I digress). Anyway, I began to have second thoughts. I checked my Blackberry calendar, noticed that our bi-weekly division meeting was scheduled today and decided to come in anyway. “Oh no, wouldn’t want to tarnish my image”, I thought to myself. “I better not miss this one”, I said. I get myself together and head out to work.

I get to work and notice that aside from my boss, I didn’t see the car of anyone who worked in my division. I get inside and I’m the only one sitting in our section. One girl strolls in at 9am and heads back out around 9:15am. She’s been sick and my boss thought it was important for her to get rest. One intern came in at 10am, but that’s his regularly scheduled time and besides, I don’t care what he does, he’s an intern. NO ONE ELSE IS HERE TODAY FOR THE FUCKING MEETING. Two are playing hooky…one is feigning illness, the other made up a fictitious ‘site visit’ and will be out all day. One is traveling on business and is rarely in the office anyway. One girl came in around 9am and left at 11am because today is her birthday. That leaves me here with my boss, an intern and a Vista from Americorp.

WTF?!?! I should’ve stayed in bed.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Coping with change...

Tuesday, June 5, 2007 4

After nearly a decade of not being around, my Dad recently decided to take an interest in me and life and I’m not sure how I feel about it. About 6 months ago or so, my grandmother, his mother, passed away. Despite not being terribly close (I had only seen her once or twice during the last 10 or 11 years of her life), I attended the funeral. He was there and we talked for a bit at the funeral and at the reception. At his request, I gave him my business card and cell number. We began talking fairly regularly which is a bug out for me at first b/c for so long, I didn’t have a male influence in my life. I mean, I had male teachers and coaches to whom I looked up, but I’ve never experienced being influenced by a real-life, tangible in-house (or even in-family) male. My Dad was a drug addict and abandoned his family, his brother, my uncle, was also on drugs and had been in and out of jail so much, that I had forgotten him, both grandfathers died before I was born, and I don’t have a brother. I can’t even think of a male cousin that I respect.

He called me like four times this weekend, which is taking some getting used to. It’s not that I’m avoiding his calls. It’s just that he calls at that most inopportune times. I actually don’t mind hanging around him. He’s only 17 years my senior and is a guy, so right there we have more in common than I and my 52 y/o mom will ever have. I finally called yesterday. Apparently, he left a message asking me if I’d like to go to dinner with him this weekend. I mustn’t have gotten it. He mentioned that he enjoyed my company and wanted to spend more time with me. I felt weird initially, but whatever. I told him I didn’t want to commit to anything, but would check my Blackberry calendar and get back to him. This is all just weird. I’m sure it’ll get better with time.

This is pretty f--ked up...

Living in the Baltimore-Washington, I get the benefit of having like 92 local newspapers and television outlets. This story was all over the news this weekend. I've read/heard/seen some fucked up stories, but this HAS to be right up there with the most purplexing of them all.

To make a short story even story, chick from Oxon Hill (like...10 minutes outside of DC) smokes some crack, straps her 7 y/o kid in the car, smokes some more crack and decides to mow right through a street festival in Southeast. No further commentary needed.

Mayor: 'unbelievable heroism' when car plowed into crowd

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Neighbors and rescue personnel threw children out of the path of a speeding car that plowed through a crowded street festival, preventing more serious injuries than the 40 people struck, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty said Sunday.

A 4-year-old boy with a broken leg was the only person still hospitalized a day after a woman's car sent people and strollers flying, leaving debris and injured bodies strewn in her wake.
"I can't believe that we're actually saying that, right now, everyone is going to pull through," Fenty said. He credited "some unbelievable heroism" by citizens and rescuers.

Authorities believe the driver, Tonya Bell of Oxon Hill, Maryland, was going about 70 mph when she tore through Unifest, a church-sponsored street festival in southeast Washington.

Bell was treated for an ankle injury and was in police custody pending arraignment Monday, police said. She was preliminarily charged with aggravated assault while armed. The "armed" designation is because she used a vehicle.

Marcellus Jackson's father saved the boy's life by throwing him out of the way of the speeding car, Fenty said. The father, Vincent Hayes, was then hit by the speeding car head-on but was OK. (Watch victims carried away on stretchers )

"The car just passed so fast, and all of a sudden I just heard people screaming," said the boy's mother, Denise Jackson. "I turned around, and it was like bodies falling out of the sky." The boy was expected to be discharged Monday, said Emily Dammeyer, a spokeswoman at Children's National Medical Center.

Some questioned why Bell was not stopped after she was seen driving erratically and striking an unmarked police cruiser 20 minutes before the rampage.

Police Cmdr. Patrick Burke said officers had followed Bell's 1991 Volvo, but were told to stop because the traffic violation did not pose a threat to officers. They responded after people were struck.

Officials were still waiting for toxicology results, but Burke confirmed that some witnesses said Bell may have been smoking something and laughing as she drove through the crowd.

Bell had a 7-year-old girl in the car with her whose identity wasn't released. The child was not injured and was taken by Child Protective Services.

Burke said additional charges expected Monday would likely include assault on a police officer while armed. Two police officers working at the festival were thrown off their motor scooters when they drove in front of the car in an attempt to stop it. They suffered minor injuries.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Monday, June 4, 2007

The Social Networking Era

Monday, June 4, 2007 1
I'm not really a fan of social networks. I think that websites like MySpace and Facebook promote self-glorification and are single handedly destroying relationships of people ages 18-34. Its laughable that the socially accepted definition of the term 'friend' has been reduced to mean nothing more than a person that has said "hey" or "sup?" once or twice. Then, for good measure, you're asked to confirm your friendship. Of course you wouldn't want the wrong people in your cyber social circle.

Plus, I'm not comfortable with the privacy issues. I don't like the fact that the random girl who sat next to me in my plant bio class during my sophomore year at Maryland, the kid I sorta know through a mutual acquaintance that I met at a party while drunk, and the HR assistant at my office can see that "Mr. Jones is..." on Facebook or what comments my crazy friends make on MySpace. I don't like the fact that you have to hide from paparazzo at parties now for fear of being tagged in a unflattering or compromising pic. In fact, I just don't like the fact that you can be found.

The muse for today's rant is a series of messages exchanged between 'OH SO SEXY', this chick with whom I went to high school and haven't heard from or thought about in over 5 years. My thoughts/comments are in read. What happened to the days graduating high school, going to college and resurfacing in 10 years at your reunion?


Date: May 31, 2007 7:11 PM

im so glad i found you!!! hit me up when u get this baby!!! (First, she's waaaay too cised.)

----------------- Original Message -----------------
Mr. Jones
Date: Jun 2, 2007 2:20 PM

Hey. How's life?
(Against my better judgement, I decided to entertain her. Not responding would have been really rude.)

----------------- Original Message -----------------
Date: Jun 2, 2007 2:53 PM

shit just bein me ya kno. i was thinkin bout u a lot lately. im glad i found me

----------------- Original Message -----------------
Mr. Jones
Date: Jun 4, 2007 6:03 PM

Oh, ok. Were you lost?
(Seeking clarity and being an asshole in one fell swoop.)

----------------- Original Message -----------------
Date: Jun 4, 2007 10:53 PM

no stupid im gald i found you (You make the mistake, spell glad incorrectly and I'm the stupid one? yeah, right)

I'm in need of advice.

I’m intrigued by the ex- of a former acquaintance/co-worker and, honestly, I don’t know how to handle this situation. On one hand, I know someone isn’t going to let go of their past until they’re really ready to. I’m conscious of the fact that what I say, no matter how fair, accurate and obvious it may be, could (and probably will) be misconstrued and misinterpreted and viewed as slander or libel. How do you rescue someone from an circumstance that doesn’t look good from the outside looking in? How do you let someone know they deserve to be respected, honored and appreciated and not toyed with or mocked? How do you let someone know that should be bored with sophomoric mind tricks and other miscellaneous bullshit over a year after the initial breakup? How do you let someone know that it’s ok to let go of someone who really doesn’t seem to want to be held on to in the first place? How do you let someone know that they deserve better and that there’s more to life than waiting for reconciliation that probably shouldn’t happen in the first place?

Right now, I’m comfortable with being a listener, offering advice when it’s solicited, and, hopefully becoming a friend. I don’t mind any of that, in fact, I like it. Right now, I’m playing the cut. If there’s one thing life has taught me it to never timidly enter a course of action.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Weekend Recap

Sunday, June 3, 2007 0
This was supposed to be a low-key weekend and it was, but you know how the saying goes; all work and no play is not for Mr. Jones. On Friday, I chilled with a few friends in the DC area. We didnt do anything too heavy, I just knew that was not spending the first Friday I've had off since starting my part-time job at J Crew in the house. That was chill.

Saturday, a friend and I went to Pazo, which could possibly be the best resturant/lounge in the area. I usually don't go out in Baltimore because of all the unsavories that tend to emerge, but this place is different. The atmosphere is electric, the people are beautiful and eclectic, the food is amazing (its a tapas place btw), the drinks will have you on your ass and the music is sick. It can be a little pricey (I paid roughly $150 for 2), but its more than worth the cost. If you're in the area and are looking for something to do, go there. I know it sounds like a commercial, but seriously, go.

I rested on the sabbath (although b/c my streak of not making an appearance in church is up to 5 or 6 weeks now, I probably shouldnt use that reference.) I had to work at J. Crew for a bit, but got off early. I came at 4pm home, took a nap, woke up at 10pm and now, I'm wide awake. I used that time to do things I usually don't have time to do. I listened to some music, I watched 'Stomp the Yard'....again, I did some laundry and gave some thought to what Monday's blog would be about. I think I know now.

Now that's the definition of low-key.
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