Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Aunt Jackie

If you spend a little bit of time surfing the net or flipping channels you are bound to run into Aunt Jackie. I found her when I stumbled across MTV's Dances From the Hood. This ridiculous show teaches the masses how to do all those little regional dances that the sistas and brothas make up in their free time. On the day I watched the show, they were featuring a dance called the Aunt Jackie. Apparently, this dance accompanies a song of the same name. Or maybe the song accompanies the dance, I'm not really clear on that. I'm only sharing this with you so that you will be in the know when you hit your family reunions this year. I know how frustrating it is to see the kids gyrating about without any idea what they're doing. I'm NOT sharing this with you so that you too can go out and start doing the Aunt Jackie at the club. Just don't do it! I'm sure I read somewhere that you have to be under 25 to do these dances. :-)

Anyway, read all about it on Slate....http://www.slate.com/id/2168867/fr/flyout


Monday, June 25, 2007


Have you heard that new song by Jill Scott? I can't think of the name of it, 'Hate on Me' or something about haters. The beat is funky. Did you hear that her Lyzel are divorcing? I'm sure she's going to talk about the demise of her marriage, it would be hard for a poet to avoid that topic. I wish her the best, He Loves Me (Lyzel in E Flat) is still one of my favorite songs.

This weekend I caught a rerun of the Rap Sessions at U of Chicago back in April. http://www.rapsessions.org/ is a travelling panel of urban and hip hop intellengencia that discusses issues affecting us and our community. This was my first time watching the discussion, I found myself talking back to the tv, applauding and jotting down things I want to follow up on. At the very least, it was quite interesting. The only unfortunate thing is that very often, I felt like the panelists were preaching to the choir. Most of the people that need to hear positive messages about and from the hip hop community were not in that U of Chicago auditorium and were probably unaware that the rebroadcast was on C-Span. (I stumbled upon the discussion by accident while channel surfing.) At any rate, check out the website. Most of the panelists have written books, you might want to check them out too.

Lastly, me and my bff walked/ran in a 5K race yesterday. Most of the other 5K's I've done were for fun only. They didn't keep track of our race times. This was a real race. I felt like I was back in high school when I was at that starting line. Then, when I started running, I remembered that high school was a very long time ago. Now, I'm motivated to increase my speed and endurance. I NEED to come in under a 9 minute mile. Yesterday I came in at 13:31. That average included my walking, so, I need to be able to not only run the whole 3.1 miles, but, shave 4:31 minutes off of my time. I'll check back in over the next few months to let you know my progress. The winner of yesterday's race averaged under 6 minutes. I'm not even going to kill myself to make that pace. I have limits ya know!


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Concession Stand

It all started with me asking a simple question. A question that I didn't really expect an answer for. Just me thinking out loud really. Now that I think about it, it wasn't even a question, more of a statement really.

"I wonder if that star right there is brighter because it's closer to earth."

He answered, "No, it's brighter because that's the North Star."

Now, right here it's important to note that we were facing due west. So, I point due north and say..."I don't think so, because that's north over there."

He replied, "No, that's the North Star, are you prepared to tell Joseph and Mary that they were going west not north." Don't ask me why he felt the need to bring the sweet baby Jesus's birth into this silly discussion.

I didn't want to go back and forth so, I said, "Ok, whatever." Why debate something that can easily be proven?

But, he wasn't quite ready to let it go. "If you think that's north, then we should be able to see the North Star, we just need to be up higher."

"Look, I know that's north, we don't have to go hiking to prove it do we? Especially, in this parking lot."

"What? Are you getting scared now?"

Why did he have to say that? So, we found the nearest hill, climbed to the top of it and looked for the North Star. The trees were in the way, we couldn't see any bright stars in the cloudy night sky.

"Oh I know", he said, "We can use the GPS in my car. That will tell us which way is north. Then THAT will be the be all end all. We'll go with whatever the GPS says."
"Sure, that's fine."

See, he was banking on the fact that this machine was going to prove me wrong. I can't describe to you how fast he ran to the car, he was soo excited. 'Penni doesn't know every dayum thing', he thought, 'I've got this one.' (And he was partially correct. I DON'T know everything and would never claim to. It's funny how people try to put that on me.) I stroll back to the car. I'm thinking this fool has lost his ever loving mind and why is it soo important for him to prove me wrong anyway. What's that about?

So, he powers up the car. The little N with the triangle above it is pointing towards 'my north'. I meekly point that out. His reply is, "Well, let's move the car in the other direction just to see what happens." I sit back in the front seat, amazed at how far he's taking this. He backed the car up and turned it left (west). The triangle above that little N didn't budge.

"Hey wait, that triangle didn't move."
"That's because it's facing north."
"How can it be facing north when you make a left but, incorrect when you
were parked. You can't have it both ways."

He thought about that for a moment. Meanwhile, I looked at the icon that represents his car in the middle of the onscreen map. Then I notice that it is sitting perpendicular to I-95. I said, very calmly...
"95 runs north to south right?"
"Well, why is your car perpendicular and not parallel to 95 right

Then, I tried to wrap it up so that we could move on.
"You know how I know which way is north?"

I pointed in the direction of the interstate.
"Because that's 95 over there. It runs parallel to where we are right now.
So, I figured that the North Star couldn't be 'beside' 95. It would have to be
in front or in back of us."

At this point, I was beyond annoyed. We'd just spent a good 20 minutes 'proving' me wrong...and why? I thought it was over but, my luck isn't that good. He was not going to end the night on a low note.

"So, that star must be another galaxy."
"You can't see another galaxy with the naked eye. You'll need a
telescope for that."

"No, people see other galaxies all of the

At this point I'm thinking surely he's seen Men in Black. I think they covered this concept in that movie. Sci-fi channel anyone???
"I don't think so."
A white couple minding their own business have the misfortune of walking in our direction. He says,
"I'm going to ask that man."
"Why do you think he knows. You think all white people know more about astronomy than I do?"
"He just looks like he might know."
I'm so embarrassed, I hang back while he approaches the man. I overheard the man corroborating my story. He's still not satisfied.
Did I mention that I'm beyond annoyed.
"Why are you so hell bent on proving me wrong?"
"It's not about proving you wrong, I just don't think you are right."
"Ok, well, you can always go home and google this stuff. I'm not making it
up. All the stars we see with our unaided eyes are in the Milky
Way. That's our galaxy."
"Ok, I just think we should be able to see other galaxies."
"Alright, well, I'm going in now. Have a good night."

I didn't know what to make of the whole exchange. It was very strange and competitive and weird.

I titled this post Concession Stand because this afternoon after googling all morning trying to find some kind of evidence...some kind of 'ah ha!' to prove me wrong, he sent me an email which read simply...

"okay you win. i conceed victory to you : )"

How telling is that? Nowhere during the exchange was I trying to 'win'. In fact, I kept trying to back down and let it go. But, I 'won'...and I didn't even want to 'play'.


Friday, June 15, 2007

U-N-I-T-Y Moment

I just had a black woman unity moment at work today. I was walking behind this attractive well-put together woman in my office and I noticed that the zipper on the back of her skirt was bursting and I could see her slip underneath. Just as I noticed this, I heard this bitter catty black woman in my office remark to another woman about the impending hole while making no effort to inform the affected woman. Ms. Bitter said, 'Yeah, she's been walking around like that all day. It's only gonna get worse.'

I was incensed. I tapped the woman with the wardrobe malfunction on the shoulder and discreetly informed her of the situation. Then I proceeded to help her fix it. I've only seen this woman in passing and I don't even know her name. But, all I could think was, if it were me, I'd want someone to help me out.

I swear black women are our own worst enemies sometimes. I can't count the many times I've heard women make disparaging remarks about other women. Remarks such as,

'I can't stand to hang around women.'
'I'd rather be friends with guys, they are less drama.'
and my personal favorite...
'Well of course she looks good, she's like a food nazi. I
can't be worried about watching what I eat all the time. Plus only a dog wants a

Why don't we realize that when we make a nasty comment about someone or attempt to lessen another woman's accomplishment, we are really disparaging ourselves? When you're happy with yourself, you're going to see the good in other people. You won't feel the need to disparage someone else. When you're a good girlfriend, you'll want to be friends with other girls.

Y'all know I'm a girl's girl. I like hanging out with guys, but, there is a reason that God made us different. A guy isn't going to obsess with you for hours about why 'he' didn't call or if those shoes go with that dress. They just aren't wired that way. My girlfriends have had my back for most of my life, but, my guy friends roll out when they get married or a new love. Even when I'm involved, I'm still tight with my girls. That's just the way it's got to be...for me.

So, I'll close this post with a suggestion...the next time you see a pretty woman walking down the street with a jacked up outfit or some other 'flaw' and you notice that it makes you feel a little bit better. Look inside yourself and figure out why her fabulousness makes you feel threatened. Then, acknowledge that there is room on this earth for more than one hottie. Her steam doesn't cool yours.


Monday, June 11, 2007

47 is the new 27

I went to see Damon Wayons on Saturday. He was doing his stand up comedy at the Warner Theater. My face kept transitioning from a shocked 'I can't believe he said that.' to 'Oh my goodness, I can't stop laughing...my face hurts.' That, all combined with the fact that as a 47 year old man his physique is flawless. It was a great show.

Now for the haters, you could blame his fitness on the money. Sure, he's a celeb, he's rich, he's got the money to stay in shape. But sitting in an audience with a ton of men in his age group and younger and seeing very few that could look down and see their feet, I was impressed.

He covered many topics, including Barack in the White House. 'You know once he gets in office, they're going to blame him for everything that's gone wrong in this country since slavery.' 'Obama's the one that put the hole in the ozone layer.' He also talked about his divorce and how men cope or don't cope with heartbreak. 'So, I tried to commit suicide, I just put that pillow over my head and tried to smother myself.'

It was a very full show and I'm glad I went. If you ever get the opportunity to see him live, go for it.


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Man & Wife About to Blow Up

I tried to put y'all onto Fat Man Scoop and his wife Shanda's podcast called Man & Wife a little while ago. Well it seems that MTV loves the show as much as I do and is offering a deal to the couple. Read about it...

Fatman Scoop and Wife Shanda Sign TV Development and First-Look DVD and
Publishing Deal with MTV for 'Man and Wife'

Wednesday June 6, 11:39 am ET
NEW YORK, June 6--

Fatman Scoop, made famous by his booming baritone DJ voice, and
his instantly likable wife, Shanda, have closed a television development deal,
and first-look book and DVD deal with MTV: Music Television based on the
internationally popular online "Man And Wife" show, available at
The television development and first- look deals are designed to take advantage
of the full power of MTV's multiplatform brand reach.

Decadent, colorfully raw and born completely out of their marriage, Scoop and wife,
Shanda, created "Man And Wife" to give the audience an interactive and
insightful role into a steamy, wild and naughty relationship.
"Fatman Scoop and Shanda are not only made for each other but are made for television," said
Tony DiSanto, Executive Vice President, MTV Series Development & Animation.
"Their hilarious and frank discussions could help usher in a new era of public
discourse on everything from sex and sexuality to romance in a committed
relationship and bring Scoop and Shanda to an even wider audience."

"Fatman Scoop and Shanda have created a rabid fan base as a result of their hilarious, fresh, and truthful take on relationships," said Jeff Yapp, Executive Vice
President of Program Enterprises for MTV Networks Music Group. "We think their
irreverence will translate incredibly well to the book and DVD world."

"Man and Wife" breaks new ground as the first of their kind married couple in the
hip-hop genre discussing Sex, money, Sex, relationships, Sex, jobs, Sex,
politics, Sex, marriage ... and yes, Sex! The show, launched earlier this year
as a weekly pod cast, recently reached the 3 million viewer mark.

"One night, when I was in bed talking to Shanda, I realized my own wife was witty,
funny and sharp," said Fatman Scoop. "My manager Charlie Stettler loved the
concept and brought producer/director and web entrepreneur Alex Lasky on board
and 'Man And Wife' was born! Now we want to bring our expertise to an even wider
audience and we think MTV offers the perfect way to connect with today's

The episode where Scoop gets his blood drawn had me in tears. It was hysterical. I can't imagine how they will be able to sanitize the show for a regular cable audience and still maintain the funny. Part of the reason the show works is because they are so off the cuff.

So, check out the show now before it goes downhill. New episodes are available every Friday.


Get You Bodied - Bmore is #2!

B-more Careful is not only a clever play on the popular Baltimore nickname and the name of an urban lit book, it is also a warning now. Baltimore was ranked as the second deadliest city in the nation. The nations's deadliest city is Detroit. Now, what do these two cities have in common?

A generation or two ago, both cities relied heavily on the manufacturing industry for opportunities to boost the middle class. Once those manufacturing jobs were gone, both cities became full of have's and have-nots. Bmore has been struggling with low literacy, high teen pregnancy rates, high HIV/AIDS rates, high unemployment for years. It's enough to make a person think things are pretty hopeless.

When people highlight statistics like this, some of us get defensive and want to point the finger back at 'the man' or some other force that keeps us down. I'm not interested in doing that. I'm bummed out about the stats, but, they just make me more determined than ever to help at least one person. We can point fingers all day, but ultimately we are the only ones that can change ourselves, right?

What's your take, how can we turn Baltimore around?


P.S. Here's the article... http://wjz.com/topstories/local_story_156225329.html

Monday, June 04, 2007

Solo Date Night (SDN)

So, I took myself on a date on Friday. The muse tried to come along but, I think it's important for me to keep a few things to myself. And I went all out too. My hair was cute, hot ensemble, date heels and I was out.

The important thing to remember about the SDN is to make sure you pick a place where you are comfortable. Since you will be solo, you will draw a bit of attention, there's no need to up the anxiety factor by choosing a place where you don't even know where the restroom is. I usually go to the same place for my SDNs, in my mind, it's like my personal Cheers experience. So, I sat at the bar and had a bite to eat, with a really good wine. Then, I went to the movies. I finally got to see Disturbia. I've been trying to see that forever and I couldn't even get my dog to go with me. The beauty of going to see a movie on your SDN is that you can see whatever you choose, sit where you want and you don't have to share the popcorn.

One of my girlfriends has been able to maintain a standing SDN throughout her courtship and now engagement. She doesn't always do something spectacular on her SDN but, the one rule applies. Her SO is NOT allowed to participate. He always calls. She always says that she's still on her SDN. It's quite funny. She always calls him back later and they usually see each other after she's done. And the thing is, he LOVES that she does this. He respects the fact that her entire life does not revolve around him. I think he's a pretty evolved guy. I'm sure she'll post a comment raving about him and their situation, so I'll stop now. :-)

One of the things I admire about men is that when they become coupled, they don't lose their friends and favorite activities. Women on the other hand tend to give up alot of things that used to be important to them prior to coupledom. An SDN every now and then is a great way to keep in touch with who you are, what you think and what makes you happy.