Archive for September 2007

The Jena Six Should Be Trumping O.J.’s Junk

September 21, 2007

In an article about a piece of history in the process of writing itself, Sally Kohn over at the Huffington Post asks a really good question:

Why is it that mainstream white media and white folks in general are so obsessed (once again) with OJ’s guilt but paying little or no attention to the innocence of the Jena Six?

Don’t know about the Jena Six? Thanks to the media, you aren’t alone. Here’s Kohn’s synopsis:

In the small town of Jena [Louisiana] last fall, two black high school students sat in a schoolyard under a tree. The tree was known as the “white tree” because only white kids are allowed to sit under it. The day after the two black students defied this unspoken rule, nooses were hung from the tree. The school principle dismissed it as a “prank”. Black students protested by sitting under the tree, in growing numbers. The District Attorney came to the school and threatened them, saying, “I can take away your lives with the stroke of a pen.”

There was a series of violent incidents were white students attacked black students. The government and school administrators ignored those. But when a white student was beaten up by six black students in a schoolyard fight — after provoking the black students with racist taunts — the District Attorney charged the black students with attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder. They were charged in adult court. Meanwhile, the white student they beat up suffered only minor cuts and bruises.

One of the black students, Mychal Bell — age 16 — has been in prison since December. Last month, an all-white jury decided that Bell was guilty — not guilty of beating up a student who racially taunted him, but guilty of attempted murder.

Welcome to the new Jim Crow. While institutionalized racisim rears its head for months in such a profound way that thousands of people marched on the little town of Jena today, the mainstream media focuses on what? The trifling and thuggy antics of a two-bit former athlete in a nice suit. If you think I’m implying that the media has a racial bias you’re right.

I was happy that the Human Rights Campaign was at the march today. HRC’s Donna Payne writes a touching wrap-up here.

This piece of info popped up at HRC as I was writing: The Lafayette Daily Advertiser says a Louisiana circuit court of appeals wants to know why Bell is still in jail even though his conviction was overturned last week. Hopefully accountability is on the way.

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Missed Anniversary

September 20, 2007

September 1, 2007 marked three years of GrowingSense. I totally forgot my anniversary. I feel so stupid.

It didn’t even dawn on me that I’d missed it until I was driving home from work the other night, and then I was like, “Oh s***! My anniversary was almost three weeks ago!”

I wasn’t too surprised by the response I got when I finally ‘fessed up to me. I burst into tears and said, “I’ve spent three long years pouring my guts out to God and everybody and I can’t even remember the date it all started? Sometimes I wonder if I even love me.”

I was so irked. I said, “Writing about me, non-stop for three years is surely a sign of self-love.” The crackling silence that followed let me know that my insightful observation was evidently not what I wanted to hear. The withering stare peeling the paint off the wall behind me confirmed my suspicion.

I’ve never seen me so angry. I have a few calls to the florist and a trip to R Bistro in my future. Don’t worry; I’m sure this will all blow over soon. I can never stay mad at me.

National Talk Like A Pirate Day

September 19, 2007

Today is the day. How will you celebrate? 21st century pirates are a diverse bunch.

You could be Safety Pirate.
Safety Pirate

Or maybe Monkey Pirate or Hot Tea Pirate.
Monkey Pirate and Tea Pirate

Or you can just go full-on pirate.
Full On Pirate

Birthday Peppers

September 18, 2007

My friend Chris got these peppers for her birthday last Friday. They are too bizarre not to share, but I’m afraid to write anything else about them because I can’t imagine what kind of search engine phrases this post would attract to my blog.

Pepper 1

Pepper 2

Hello. My Name is Octane.

September 13, 2007

My friend Katie at work alerted me to extremely good news. NBC is reviving the television show American Gladiators, that early 90s strobe and ESPN-ish music fest where impossibly muscled men and women with names like Nitro and Ice battle it out with air launched nerf items over acres-wide gym mats.

Supposedly the show will debut mid-season. Until then I’m asking that everyone call me by my new AmGlad name- Octane. Katie is now Onyx. Karen is Shred. Marc chose The Wedge as his new name. Wedgie for short I guess. What should I call you?

Any thoughts on the way the AmGlad should go? I’d like to see a Punk version because I typically enjoy the punk version of just about everything.

A Prayer Hug for Jennie

September 6, 2007

The Colts kick-off event is happening downtown where I work. My boss let us go at 2:00 p.m. so we could avoid the heinous traffic that is now at a standstill outside Henry’s Coffee Bistro where I’m taking advantage of the free day by sitting in one of their awesome leather club chairs with my laptop while catching up on some church projects.

Chairs at Henry's Coffee Bistro

At least that’s what I planned to do, but instead I’ve been obsessing over my Rate My Space pages and shopping online for the bathroom accessories suggested by helpful folks I don’t even know who are giving me free design advice.

In between purchases I tug on the tops of my socks which are about an inch too short for the pants I’m wearing—the unfortunate result of a plan John had to buy 20 pairs of black, Gold Toe Fluffies.

Gold Toe Fluffies
(Gold Toe Fluffies)

Part two of that scheme was to throw away any sock that wasn’t a black Gold Toe Fluffy so that finding a match in the morning would be as simple as shoving a fumbling hand into the sock drawer. Every grab wins!

Most guys I know would agree the plan has merit, but this afternoon, right after the sixth yank I decided I need greater shank coverage than Gold Toe Fluffies can provide. Nothing shocks with such subtle power as dark socks caressing an exposed man shin, like two illicit and unattractive lovers having a searchlight suddenly turned on them. I’m far too judgemental of shin skin perps to live with the problem myself.

At yank number eight I changed my church-work-avoidance strategy from online shopping to catching up on my favorite blogs.

Lately I’ve been enjoying Catch’s and Citizen Dave’s meditations on people who pray in public places like restaurants and hospitals. Their wide-eyed discomfort always makes me smile, and even somewhat grateful that public prayers, or PPs as I call them, are never in short supply in the South or here the Midwest.

Jennie is equally annoyed by PPs, but I fear I may be partially to blame for that.

One Friday night several years ago I was at her house for dinner. Not unusal since I was at the McClains so often growing up that Charles and Pat probably considered putting me on their medical insurance. That particular weekend I was in from the University of Arkansas and Jennie’s older sister Lori was home from OBU with a group of friends with whom she’d become really close. I had heard a lot about the Pack: Daphne, Jen, and Laura, and was excited to meet them. The McClain’s had invited several of the Batesville kids who were home from college to their house that night for a cookout to celebrate their arrival.

Julie and Jennie, who we treated like our little sisters, were probably 10 at the time. I’m pretty huggy by nature, and Jennie was just at the right height and distance for me to playfully wrap my arm around her neck as the group circled up for Dr. McClain to say grace. I gave her a jokey, fake strangle hold as Charles said ‘amen.’

About the time I opened my eyes and let her go, I noticed that Jennie was facing me from across the circle. When I looked down to see whom I’d been fake-strangling during grace I was horrified to see that it was actually Lori’s friend Laura, whom I’d met for the first time five minutes earlier. She looked remarkably like Jennie from the back. From the front she looked a little freaked out. Poor thing, someone asked her what she was thinking when I grabbed her for a prayer hug. She said she was surprised, but she’d heard I was really friendly.

Knowing that Jennie gets profoundly embarrassed for people, I feel certain that the spectacle of me molesting a complete stranger right in front of her scarred her mealtime prayer life forever. Sorry Jennie. I’d like to think that her pain, at least that night, was in part alleviated by the joy of seeing just how extremely embarrassed I can get.

Strong Ideas

September 3, 2007

I was at the Indianapolis Museum of Art the other night visiting the very good German Expressionist Era Prints exhibition (GE artists were sort of like Liquid Plumber for what they perceived to be the rut stuck art situation of WWI-era-ish Germany).

I ran across this quote from Franz Marc, an artist with Der Blaue Reiter group:

In this epoch’s great battle for a new art, we fight as disorganized
“savages” against an old, well organized power. The battle seems
unequal, but in spiritual matters victory is never determined by number
but by strength of ideas.

I’m sort of surprised to find that I still believe this.

(Oh, and, of course I didn’t have a pencil and paper with me that night. My friend Wendy Wilkerson who still works at the IMA was kind enough to take time out her day on Friday to write the quote down and send it to me. You’re the best, Lobster Lady! The exhibition is free and runs through December 2. Worth a trip.)