Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Tweeted Poem: On Florissant

On Florissant

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Proverb after contemplating Ferguson and free speech

both tyranny and chaos silence free speech

Both tyranny AND chaos silence free speech. Consistent nonviolent dissent sparks change, NOT misfocused rage. #Ferguson

That is all I have to say today on Ferguson.

Previous contemplation:

Monday, August 18, 2014

New Apple ad features Jason Hall's Slow Roll with Mos Def sampling Marvin Gaye: So, now Black folks get a verse, too

True Confession: As much as I love Walt Whitman, as much as I love Robin Williams and the movie The Dead Poet's Society, as much as I love Apple's "Verse Anthem" commercial using Walt Whitman's poem "O Me! O Life!," and poetry itself, I confess that I have been brooding, disappointed with the razzle-dazzle-'em computer giant. Its first "Verse Anthem" commercial, while beautifully poetic, has no Black people in it.

For a while I thought about writing a post putting them on blast for that oversight, one that seemed particularly egregious given the #YesWeCode initiative and other programs that aim to bridge the digital divide between African-Americans, urban youth, and the nearly lily white slopes of Silicon Valley.

I mean, that commercial even appears to have people in it performing Hip Hop, but not one glimpse of the ethnic group that created Hip Hop. And, of course, wouldn't it have been nice of them to show African-Americans enjoying poetry and being technically savvy? Such visuals help break stereotypes.

Really, my disdain had grown to the point where its Parenthood commercial with that folksy and monotonous "Living the Life of Dreams" tune aggravated me. How many Black parents can you find in that commercial?  Don't we need more images of Black people being good parents?

I tell you, I was about to switch over to an Android phone.

So, I was pleased to see and hear Apple's latest "Verse" commercial featuring Jason Hall's Slow Roll Detroit project. Immediately I recognized Marvin Gaye's "Chained" had been sampled in a remix of Mos Def's "Undeniable." The composite is called "You Are Undeniable (Amerigo Remix)." You can hear it and see the commercial after this paragraph, and below that I've posted Marvin Gaye's "Chained" and Mos Def's original "Undeniable" separately. If you want the remix, you can buy it from iTunes, of course, but also

Apple describes the commercial this way:
Jason Hall inspires thousands of people to witness the revitalization of Detroit from two wheels. As the cofounder of the Slow Roll city bike ride, Hall taps into his community spirit and his iPad to turn an idea into a movement.

"Chained" by Marvin Gaye

"Undeniable" by Mos Def

I'm pretty sure that there's an Apple fan out there who thinks this kind of stuff is not important, but companies that want to sell to everybody need to show everybody using their stuff.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Adage the news: Today's thought on dissent in Ferguson

It is the first responsibility of every citizen to
question authority. - Ben Franklin

Not for the Sake of Dissent
Humans in positions of power
generally do what they should do.
But without the people questioning,
would the powerful stay true?
Nordette N. Adams

Friday, August 15, 2014

American due process and justice for Mike Brown: Video of alleged robbery by the big black man

This morning, the Ferguson, Missouri, police department released the name of the officer who shot Michael Brown to death. The officer has been identified as Officer Darren Wilson, a six-year veteran of the police force. Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson also released an incident report and a video showing a large black man allegedly committing a "strong-arm" robbery of cigarillos from a convenience store. The department alleges the man in the video to be Brown.

Already some people are angry about the video saying that either it's not Brown or it's not Brown on the day of the shooting, while others (and you can guess their sociopolitical leanings by their opinions) think the video exonerates Officer Wilson and the Ferguson Police Department.

The former doesn't matter in terms of the protest or the shooting, and the latter is plainly not true. In America, the police don't get to shoot unarmed people regardless of race.

As I said on Facebook and Twitter:

"Whether you believe that's ‪#‎MichaelBrown‬ in ‪#‎Ferguson‬ video or not, whoever it is is UNARMED. So, if the police want to stand by that video, what they've really shown us is Mike Brown did NOT have a gun. Do not be distracted! ‪#‎NMOS14‬"

And a person tweeted back: "@nordette_verite And last I checked, the punishment for theft of a Swisher isn't execution without trial!"

Don't we all know this?

Let's just consider that video a failed attempt at a Jedi Mind Trick. The Ferguson police want us to believe that they are not the drones we're looking for. But after their militaristic response--aiming weapons at civilians, approaching Ferguson like it's Falluja--Ferguson police have lost all credibility. They've shown that under stress, they view and treat members of the Black community like enemy combatants. If that's the culture of that department, then is it any wonder that Officer Darren Wilson shot an unarmed Mike Brown multiple times even as the man held his hands up and said that he didn't have a gun?

Captain Ron Johnson (and other people who believe in justice and due process) understands that the alleged robbery and the actual shooting are two different issues. Addressing the press and community this morning, he said to a reporter that the robbery and the shooting are separate: "People in our country commit crimes every day. I don’t want to mix the two, I’m not going to say that one justifies the other, and I think if we’re going to give answers, we need to not give hints. We need to say it.”

He also said that he will be talking with Ferguson's police chief about how to cooperate and communicate.

Related:  National Moment of Silence in New Orleans, August 14

National Moment of Silence 14, New Orleans, #NMOS14, in solidarity with Ferguson protesters (Video)

National Moment of Silence
New Orleans, Louisiana
August 14, 2014

A nonviolent vigil held in solidarity with the
Ferguson, Missouri, protests to honor the
memory of Michael Brown and all other victims
of police brutality and vigilantism.

Organized via Twitter
and other social media
by @FeministaJones, #NMOS14
prompted vigils nationwide.

Approximately 200-plus people
participated at Lafayette Square
on St. Charles Avenue.

The young woman speaking in the video is
a Dillard University student named Chanelle,
aka @WhatTheNelle_12 on Twitter.

According to her T-shirt, she is also a
member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.

Names read during the moment of silence included
Mike Brown, Eric Gardner, Wendell Allen,
James Brisette, Henry Glover,
Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Ronald Madison
Patrick Dorismond, Oscar Grant,
Sean Bell, Kimani Gray, Renisha McBride,
and too many more called to "rest in power."

Shanelle also said that young people like her are said to be
apathetic and not to care, but the young people at the vigil
should show the world that they do care.

She said that police brutality and vigilantism is not
only a Black problem, but everyone's problem.

And as a sign-up sheet was passed around, she added
that it's important to mobilize to reduce
other acts of violence in New Orleans.
Too many bodies on our streets.

We never know how near we are to those touched
by violence. During the vigil, next to me stood Emily,
the young woman with the sign.

Emily lives in New Orleans and is
Michael Brown's cousin.

Her sign says:
"Be angry.
Be outraged.
Don't be

This video was posted by
the Whose Shoes Are These Anyway blog

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Review: Pelican Bay Restaurant, New Orleans

The Pelican Bay Restaurant in New Orleans, Louisiana, is owned and operated by husband and wife Maurice and Tanzanika Ruffin. They are both native New Orleanians and attorneys with a little extra something on their plates. He is a fiction writer. She is une cuisinière who trained Le Cordon Bleu. And take it from me, they do restaurant well.

I took my cousin for her birthday. The food was excellent and so was the service. Tanzanika's training at the Le Cordon Bleu possibly elevates some of the great home cooking, but nothing tops natural talent. The food is excellent.

I had catch-of-the-day fish fried to a crispy golden brown, a green salad, fries, a Barq's root beer in the antique bottle, and I finished with pound cake. Fresh ingredients, expert seasoning (not overly-salted but flavorful!), and beautiful plating all make eating at Pelican Bay a treat. Next time I hope to try something from the bar and the pizza, which people keep telling me is delicious.

While there I also met Tanzanika's mother who helps out, and learned many of the dishes on the menu have ties to their family recipes. I must assume the macaroni and cheese is one of those. It's scrumptious, and I don't say that about just any mac 'n cheese, not greasy but delectably cheesy. Not a Stouffer's restaurant bake but the real Southern thing.

On a return visit for a night of poetry and music, I tried the wings and daquiris. Both are winners.

Finally, the prices are reasonable. I look forward to a third visit.

1701 Elysian Fields Avenue, (504) 940-1111.

You may also enjoy a feature about this restaurant at