Friday, November 04, 2005

No real theme here

Awhile back, I wrote about how a big grocery store was closing in the area. Last night, I was at the nursing home visiting Three Cool Old Guys and they were talking about all the changes that they'd seen in our area. It was a really long conversation and I got home and crashed.

Elaine called me today to ask if I was getting e-mail about not blogging? I wasn't but she's gotten some. I've been mentioned in some of those and I'll plead my laziness and being tired as well.

Why tired? Honestly, working with The Third Estate Sunday Review is not just fun, it's also draining because I'm not a night owl like they are. They always work real hard to make sure Betty and I get done early because we have church on Sunday mornings.

Besides having fun, I think I learn a lot from working with them. So if any reader here has a problem with my absences, I'd ask if you'd prefer I just do the same sort of entries or stretch?
Just listening to Ava and C.I. debate sentences and jokes for their TV reviews is an education.
Like Kat, I never set out to have a daily blog so if that wasn't clear, let me state that now: Cedric's Big Mix is not supposed to be a daily blog.

In terms of daily blogging, you've got Rebecca, Mike and Wally. In terms of multiple times in a single day, you have C.I. And, if you didn't notice, Seth blogged Wednesday and today.

I go to church on Sunday mornings, Sunday evenings and Wednesday nights. I usually visit the nursing home on Sunday afternoons, Tuesday nights and Thursday nights. Since I work a full time job, there's not a lot of time I have left so this isn't a daily blog.

If I stuck to doing a "mix" like I planned when I started this site, I'd probably be able to blog more often but I really like to have something to say when I write.

Thursday night, there was a lot to say and I listened as Three Cool Old Guys explained how there used to be real jobs in our city and we used to make stuff but now we just sell stuff that's made overseas and "retail clerk" is about all that most people will ever be able to aspire to.

That brought home how awful Wal-Mart's anti-union policies are. If these are the jobs that we'll have in the future for most people, we really need a union presence to make sure that the jobs pay enough to make a living at and to raise a family on.

Wal-Mart is a store I won't shop at. I don't like the blue smocks, I don't like the way most of my friends (African-Americans) report being followed around in the store. That includes my preacher who went in one day in his sweats. If he'd been stopping in after a service, he wouldn't have been followed. But he was wearing sweat pants and he was followed around.

News flash for all retail stores, African-Americans are shoppers too. You may see us and think, "Shoplifter!" but we are shoppers. I'm sure there are a number of shoplifters, as there are in any race, but we are also shoppers. Following us around and starting at us doesn't make us feel welcome in your stores and results in your losing shoppers.

Three Cool Old Guys remember when blacks shopped one place and whites shopped another. In my area now, we're pretty much mixed and there aren't many shops that are in an exclusive white area. So retailers should learn to be more welcoming to everyone.

But what really bothers Three Cool Old Guys is that our country doesn't make anything anymore. They say we've become a nation of shopping malls from sea to shinging sea. It's like we're a tourist attraction with all these shops to buy souveniers in but we've got a Bully Boy who's blackening our image around the world so don't count on anyone being too keen to visit.

The e-mails I have gotten have been about Rosa Parks and people saying thanks for remembering her. Three Cool Old Guys can't believe how little reaction from the "white" web her death caused. They think it's a case of young white kids not realizing how important she was as much as it is outright racism.

I told them about the e-mail I got asking how they were enjoying the net and they say they love it and are learning more each day. They've mastered e-mails and copy and paste, they surf like pros. Best of all, they're grandkids are e-mailing them. That really means a lot to them.

If you've got someone you know, friend or family, in a nursing home, I'm going to repeat that you may plan to call, write or visit and then get busy. But your family member or friend is still in the nursing home. They're not tired from battling traffic and no one's stopped by to invite them to go to a movie most likely. So although you're busy, that's probably not the case for them. If you're not making any efforts, they are going to feel forgotten.

I don't care if it's clipping out Boondocks from the paper and tossing it in an envelope, everything does matter. Something as small as that or a Dear Abby column lets them know that they are at least thought of.

Christmas will be here soon and it's tempting to buy a really nice present to make up for the guilt you have for not visiting. Instead of giving from your wallet, the best gift would be to give some of your time. If you're too far away to visit, sit down and write a letter or pick up the phone and call.

From what I see, mail means a lot. They will hold on to letters and clippings and carry them around with them to show. They may show their friends a letter or a clipping six times. When I walk through the entrance to go visit my three friends, there are always a few ladies who want to show me a photograph they were sent or a letter. Those things matter to them.

Without any kind of contact, it's like they're in Guantanamo Bay. So as the holidays come up, don't just think, "What can I buy?" You should think about making time. A visit would mean the world to them and there's a bit of a competition in the nursing home my friends are in to see who is visited and who isn't. But letters and phone calls matter too.

Don't worry about what to talk about. Things will come up. I got an e-mail from one of the Three this evening and he said they were talking about Kat's review ("A Time To Dance") all day. They haven't heard Stevie Wonder's new album. But they loved Kat's review and love her writing. We've never had a problem finding something to talk about, we've always had a problem having enough time to talk. So if you think there's nothing to talk about, you might want to wonder if that "boredom" you're worried about has to do with you and not with them?

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Talking about the news review

Did you really yell at C.I. over the phone? Yes. I was asked to by C.I. I called C.I. Sunday everning about a project my niece is doing for school and C.I. sounded worse than when we were all working on The Third Estate Sunday Review. C.I. had just gotten home and was about to go straight to sleep for "a nap" but was worried the "nap" would last more than a few hours. C.I. wanted to be sure if that was the case, that it didn't go on forever. So I offered to give a wake up call. There had been no sleep over the weekend and C.I. warned me, "Cedric, you are going to have to yell or I will pick up the phone, set it aside and go back to sleep." So I did.

I was getting up at that time and C.I. always helps me out so I was happy to return the favor.

Jess covered the protests that were brewing over Bully Boy's upcoming trip at The Third Estate Sunday Review this weekend and I saw something I wanted to note on that. This is Alan Clendenning's "Protesters March Ahead of Americas Summit :"

Arriving in buses and minivans at the seaside resort of Mar del Plata, the demonstrators gathered at a drab concrete sports complex several miles from the luxury hotel where leaders of 34 Western Hemisphere nations will meet Friday and Saturday.
"This is a chance for the real people to hold their own summit," said Wayra Aru Blanco, a 33-year-old Bolivian Indian, beating a calfskin drum as brightly dressed South American Indian women played reed flutes.

Protesters will spend days airing grievances from the Iraq war to free trade policies they say enslave Latin America workers. They are hoping to draw 50,000 people for their highlight event -- a protest Thursday as Bush arrives on Air Force One.

Three Cool Old Guys say that the news review The Third Estate Sunday Review does is one of the highlights of their weekend because it catches them up on some stuff they might miss and puts 'em a little ahead on some stuff coming up. They wondered about that and how we figure out what we're each going to do? We aren't assigned topics. We come up with our own. Lately, I've been offering the Bully Boy spin in a sarcastic way and then this weekend I did something serious because of Rosa Parks. But I always get to pick what I want and then if I need help, Dona and Jim will help me find stuff. Most of the time, I don't and just go with what Jess' parents and I can find. That's because I usually go fairly quick. Usually, I'm right after Jess.
Jess flies blind by going first and I thought that was brave and still do, but I also know from what I do that C.I. is right there with you. There's no rehearsal and this weekend, Dona and Jim were going, "Is he done?" because I just read a poem by Langston Hughes. I was done and C.I. had already figured that out and was giving a trnasition from my piece into the next one. Jess will tell you the same thing goes with him. His reports are rough up until C.I. says, "Now we go to Jess . . ." and Jess is not always sure what he's starting with until that moment. But he knows if he's not clear on something, C.I. will pitch in.

I'd really hate to go to last. To me that's the hardest because Dona's saying, "Cut one minute" or more to you as she's watching the time. Ava and Ty will strip their stuff to the barebone to make sure Kat gets as much time as they can spare. And that's usually while Betty's on that they're figuring the time which is why C.I. and Betty always do their conversations during the news review. Rebecca usually goes right after that and she'll cut her own stuff to the bones. Elaine and Mike have their thing going and that's because they're talking all week figuring out what to cover at their sites so it works real well for them to team up. I've done some stuff with them and they're great but they're on their own wave length.

I'm going to note Wally's thing later this week.

But I want to note this because Three Cool Old Guys think Wal-Mart gets away with a lot.

C.I.: Thank you for that report Wally. For news from the world of entertainment, we go to Betty of Thomas Friedman is a Great Man. Betty, what do you have for us this morning?
Betty: C.I., no one wants to talk too much about it but for the fifth week in a row the show that America supposedly had to watch is down in the ratings: ABC's Desperate Housewives. 30 million watched last season's ender, 28.4 million watched this season's debut. Each week, this year, has seen erosion in the viewership and it's now down to 25.2 million. In the who the hell asked for it department, the otherwise unemployed Sylvester Stallone will make his sixth Rocky film and his fifth Rambo film. While Republicans punch their fists in the air and holler, 13 and 14 year-old boys ask, "Who?" As Robert Greenwald's Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Prices readies for release, Wal-Mart's trying to offset the Greenwald documentary with their feel good, Up With Corporations response film entitled Why Wal-Mart Works: And Why That Drives Some People C-R-A-Z-Y. The fact that they spell out crazy demonstrates how out of it the store that no self-respecting teen would purchase clothes at is. I spent time with my teenage nieces this weekend and apparently the must-say insult in their crowd is anything having to do with Wal-Mart. From, "Where'd you get that shirt? Wal-Mart!" to "Where'd you get that weave? Wal-Mart!" the corporation that just won't go away is fast becoming the punch line to any insult.
C.I.: Betty, Kat wants to jump in on this. Kat of Kat's Corner (of The Common Ills).Kat: Sorry to butt in but as someone a bit older than Betty, I'll note that it's a similar process to what happened with K-Mart. It stands for cheap goods and as a new group of teens comes of age that's been lugged to Wal-Mart once too often, they turn on it. If Betty's nieces are knocking it for non-political reasons, Wal-Mart should worry more about that than Robert Greenwald's documentary. I'll jump back out now.
Betty: That's a good point that Kat made. The teen years are all about what's hot and what's not for many and when something gets bad word of mouth, there are problems. With my nieces, they're not commenting on Wal-Mart's practices of hiring or insurance or wages. They're commenting on the store being uncool. As Kat points out, once that rep starts getting around, it's very hard to recover. You lose the teen girls, forget it. Greenwald's film opens in select markets on November 4th and can be purchased online. George Takei, known to millions as Mr. Sulu on Star Trek, came out this week. Takei, who's been in an 18 year relationship with Brad Altman, said, "The world has changed from when I was a young teen feeling ashamed for being gay. The issue of gay marriage is now a political issue. That would have been unthinkable when I was young." Demi Moore teams with Sharon Stone, Anthony Hopkins, Elijah Wood and Lindsay Lohan for Emilio Estevez's upcoming film Bobby. Estavez will appear in front of the camera but he'll also be directing from a script he wrote. Finally, this coming Tuesday, Lifetime's Real Women will remember Rosa Parks with an Intimate Portrait featuring commentary from Ruby Dee, her late husband Ossie Davis and Gloria Steinem among others. Following that, Lifeteime Telivision will broadcast The Rosa Parks Story starring Angela Bassett as Parks and Cicely Tyson as her mother.

And you can also check out C.I.'s "'Labor Dept. Is Rebuked Over Pact With Wal-Mart' (Steven Greenhouse)" from this morning. The link Betty gives to the Wal-Mart film provides a trailer so you should check that out.

Monday, October 31, 2005

News review

Sample of the news review at The Third Estate Sunday Review. Click here to read it all.

Jess: As noted on Democracy Now!, on Wednesday over 15,000 rallies took place around the nation to note crossing the 2,000 mark for US military fatalities in Iraq. Quite a large number for a mid-week event and one that required getting the word out quickly.

C.I.: Thank you, Jess. We now go to Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix.

Cedric: As most will know already, Rosa Parks, civil rights pioneer who refused to give up her seat on the bus when ordered to do so which led to the a city wide, bus riders strike, passed away Monday. I've thought about what to say to note the death of a leader and toyed with a biographical sketch or a timeline. But one of the books we read for this week's book discussion offered something that I felt summed up things better than I ever could. From The Dream Keeper and Other Poems, Langston Hughes' "Mother to Son:"

Well, son, I'll tell you:
Life for me ain't been no crystal stair.
It's had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor --
But all the time
I'se been a-climbin' on,
And reachin' landin's,
And turnin' corners,
And sometimes goin' in the dark
Where there ain't been no light.
So, boy, don't you turn back.
Don't you set down on the steps.
'Cause you finds it kinder hard.
Don't you fall now --
For I'se still goin', honey,
I'se still climbin',
And life for me ain't been no crystal stair.

C.I.: Thank you Cedric. Again, Langston Hughes' "Mother to Son." Rosa Parks passed away Monday at the age of 92. The following day the US military fatality rate for those killed in Iraq reached 2,000. For news on Iraq, we go to Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz and Mike of Mikey Likes It. We started with Mike last weekend, so Elaine, why don't you start?

Elaine: C.I., the official fatality count for American troops in Iraq stands at 2016. When the count reached 2,000 this past week, over . The official count for American troops wounded in Iraq is 15,220.

Mike: Three of the 2016 who've died in Bully Boy's war of choice are from yesterday, two from a roadside bomb in southern Baghdad and one died near Baiji.

Elaine: While the causes of death in those cases are clear, another military death is less so. The Associated Press reports that an unnamed American soldier was found dead Friday. The cause of death is under investigation. Al Jazeera reports that in Huweder, a car bomb has killed 26 Iraqis.