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January 2007

December 2006

My Crazy New Year's Family Traditions

It's New Year's Eve and I must make sure that all of the Christmas decorations at my home have been taken down before midnight. ALL of them. It's a family tradition.

Thank God I convinced my mother that it really would be fine if she didn't put up that lighted reindeer and Christmas tree on the front lawn this year. After all, it was Christmas Eve, what's the point? It was Christmas Eve and my mother still wanted to put up decorations. Ya, gotta love her.

Not only must the decorations be down before midnight, we must also sweep and mop the floors. I still don't understand why we have to mop and not vacuum. Whatever, less for me to do, right? There is more to this. We also can not wash clothes or wash our hair our wash our cars after midnight. After 12:01 a.m. on January 2, you're good to go. If you broke these rules, the household would have bad luck all year long.

Also, our New Year's dinner menu must consist of ham, black-eyed peas and rice, collard greens (not mustard greens or turnip greens or kale) and candied yams. Other items can be added to the menu but these items must be on the menu and you must eat them. All of the relatives who consider thenselves vegetarians have to forego their dietary change that day or just don't come by. Heaven forbid bad luck is heaped on the family because you don't eat pork! LOL

I can deal with the traditions I shared with you thus far. The last and my absolutely least favorite tradition is that the first person to visit your house must be a man. Yeah, a man. If a man enters your household first, you'll have good luck. I despise that but the tradition continues. My mother also shares stories about how her mother and a neighbor, Miss Bessie, had an intense competition about this. Miss Bessie would get a man to come to her house first and then try to visit my grandmother. My grandmother would run Miss Bessie away before she got in the front gate.

This year, I'm going experience a new tradition of eating soup with my Haitian friends. That should be nice.

Traditions are nice but some are just downright insane. Please pray that I get these decorations down. I don't want to be the one who causes bad luck. Happy 2007 to all! Peace.

© 2006 VANESSA BYERS, Vanessa: Unplugged Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!


Saddam Hussein

The news of the execution of Saddam Hussein will consume most of the media air time and print space today. I don’t know why, but I am a bit numbed by it all. There are those who cheered. I don’t criticize them for that because I’m sure those folks have their reasons for doing so; I just don’t want to hear about this execution or see the photos over and over again.

© 2006 VANESSA BYERS, Vanessa: Unplugged Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!

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Why Do Smart Women Do Stupid Things to Get and Keep a Man?

It's almost 2007 and I still don't understand why we women do what we do for men. To get a man...keep a man...or whatever. It just doesn't make any sense. If a man tells you he has another woman or other women, don't even, and I mean that ebonically, even consider him for a partner. You're setting yourself up for drama. Consider yourself warned.

Just as many men don't want to be in a relationship with a woman with children, women need to evaluate the number of children a man has, especially if he doesn't marry the mother of his children. Hello? Perhaps you want to keep stepping or maybe just keep him in the buddy zone, yo. If he is a mechanic, computer geek, great cook or will help move heavy furniture, keep him around. No need in letting those valuable skills and abilities go to waste.

If a man talks about his sexual exploits or conquests, definitely walk on by him. There's no reason to think that if he talks about other women to you, he won't talk about you to other women too. I mean really, do you think you're different from any other female? News flash --- NOT!

Like many women, I'm guilty of doing some stupid things in my life too. Thank God someone helped me. I'm just passing the wisdom on. Peace.

© 2006 VANESSA BYERS, Vanessa: Unplugged Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!

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My Horoscope

This is my horoscope for today. I am more and more amzaed at how on point it is. I'm working on putting together a community Kwanzaa celebration and this is an incredible horoscope. Let me get back to focusing on that. Peace.

SCORPIO (Oct 23 - Nov 22): The dreariest part of the day may be dealing with all the little details that have previously escaped your probing eye. Now you must tie up loose ends, even if you are on to something new in your mind. Use your natural inclination for intensity to focus all your energy on cleaning up the past before moving into the future.

© 2006 VANESSA BYERS, Vanessa: Unplugged Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!


Prince & the Marching 100 at the Super Bowl

Now, I have another reason to be excited about the upcoming Super Bowl here in Miami. Not only is one of my favorite artists, Prince, performing but my University's band --- The Florida A&M University Marching 100 have been invited to perform with him during half-time! Talk about major PR. I'm proud of my alma mater and I'm sure we're all in store for a fantastic show. His Royal Purple Badness and the '100, it don't get no better!

© 2006 VANESSA BYERS, Vanessa: Unplugged Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!

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No Second Chance for Miss Nevada USA

Miss Nevada USA, Katie Rees, has been dethroned due to raunchy photos of her posted on the internet. The photos of Rees kissing other women, exposing her breasts and simulating sex acts were taken 5 years ago when she was 17 years old.

Rees, collateral damage in the continuing Miss USA controversy parlayed to the hilt by Donald Trump, was not as fortunate as beleaguered Miss USA Tara Conner. Trump gave Conner a second chance in spite of underage drinking, testing positive for cocaine, dancing on tabletops in nightclubs and kissing Miss Teen USA. Go figure.

© 2006 VANESSA BYERS, Vanessa: Unplugged
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Remembering President Gerald Ford

This holiday season continues to be marked by loss as former U.S. President Gerald Ford passes at age 93. Surely as we are born, we must die, but the sadness is still overwhelming.

From BBC News:

Last month he became the longest-living US president when he reached 93 years and 122 days, passing the record held by Ronald Reagan.

Mr Ford was never elected president. He took office after Richard Nixon resigned over the Watergate scandal in 1974 but lost to Jimmy Carter in 1976.

President George W Bush paid tribute to Mr Ford, a fellow Republican, praising his "integrity and common sense". [MORE]

© 2006 VANESSA BYERS, Vanessa: Unplugged Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!

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Remembering James Brown

Christmas will never be the same. James Brown, The Godfather of Soul died today at 1:45 a.m. in a Georgia hospital. It has been reported that his death was due to pneumonia but that doesn't really matter. James Brown, still performing at 73, has moved on. I never met the man in person but I grew up on his music. Being a child, I would not truly understand his impact until later in my life. Having done so, I wish there were more artists like him today.

True entertainers like Brown are dying and the void they leave is so vast and seemingly unable to be filled. James Brown came on the scene during a time that today’s young people don’t understand. I can clearly remember the moments when James Brown or any other Black person's appearance on television was a rarity back in the 1960s. When Blacks were on, it was usually Dick Clark's American Bandstand, The Ed Sullivan Show or Hullabaloo. There was also an announcement as if they were royalty. Shouts within the house and to the neighbors went something like this, “Hey, come here, colored people on TV. Hurry up!”

That all seems so unreal; yeah, that was back in the day when Blacks were “colored,” you know, right after we were “Negro.” Anyhoo, I’ll leave that alone and get back to James Brown. Folks would find a seat on the sofa or a chair or the floor or anywhere for a few brief minutes of watching James Brown, the Supremes, the Temptations, Otis Redding and others. I was a little kid, I didn’t understand the how proud the older folks felt; I didn’t understand how proud I was until later.

There was something about James Brown. We were mesmerized when he performed. He had that funny hairstyle but he could sing, play the piano and man, oh, man he could dance. Every time he finished performing we would imitate him. Especially, his ten minute exit with Maceo and that cape! How campy was that! We pulled thigh muscles and split a lot of pants trying to do the James Brown. It was fun.

Those early James Brown days seem to be lost on this generation. I wish more young people would listen to his music. As I matured, I began to actually listen to his lyrics. Some lyrics were nonsensical but others were quite prolific. Take some time out to listen to “King Heroin.” I think it was on the flip side of Payback. I didn’t listen to the B side of many records back then. King Heroin was definitely gully for back in the day.

James Joseph Brown, Jr. recorded over 800 songs and appeared in more than 150 movies and television shows. I’ll miss him but his music lives on. There is only one James Brown but his style can be seen in the likes of Prince, Michael Jackson,, MC Hammer and others. Long live the King, the Godfather of Soul, James Brown. Ashe’.

My Top Ten James Brown tunes:
1. Say It Loud - I'm Black and I'm Proud
2. The Big Payback
3. Get Up (I Feel Like Being a Sex Machine)
4. Papa's Got a Brand New Bag
5. King Heroin
6. It's a Man's Man's Man's World
7. I Got You (I Feel Good)
8. Please Please Please
9. Night Train
10. Cold Sweat

James Brown and Lenny Kravitz

James Brown Godfather of Soul
James Brown on Internet Movie Database (IMDb)
Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame: James Brown

© 2006 VANESSA BYERS, Vanessa: Unplugged Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!

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Why do I have 11 pairs of black pants?!!

OK, it’s Christmas Eve and I still haven’t done any shopping. In a few minutes I’m going to Walgreens (because it’s close to my home) to buy a big plastic container or maybe a clothes hamper and then fill it with toys. I’ll pay for the toys and the basket then go home wrap a big bow around it and put my goddaughter’s name on it. She’s sixteen months old.

That’s it; I’m not doing anymore shopping until I feel like it. That’s not what Christmas is about. All the adults that stop by expecting something are in for a shock. Too bad. When they stop by they may end up helping me clean out the closets in my house. If I’m really honest, I don’t need any material things. This is the season of giving and that’s what I’m doing.

I took over 70 articles of clothing to the dry cleaners a few weeks ago. Some of the items I’d worn recently but far too many had been in my closet for years, some with the tag still on them. Some were either too large or too small. The clothes that couldn’t fit in my closet were on a rack that had become overloaded. I gave several pieces of clothing to a lady in my office. Some may fit her since she’s lost a lot of weight, others she’s given to someone she knows who can use them. Great.

I couldn’t help but think, where did these clothes come from? Why do I have eleven pair of black pants? I don’t wear a uniform. How did that happen? What a waste of money. More than wasteful spending, all of these clothes, shoes, handbags, etc. are just symbols of how out of control I allowed my life to become. When I can’t find something that I need amongst my clothing at home or I didn’t make it to the dry cleaners before it closed, I just go out and buy more. That’s how I accumulated those eleven pairs of black pants. That’s coming to a stop during this next week I have off.

I gave the clothing to my co-worker along with three pair of shoes. Two of them fit her perfectly and looked great on her feet. One pair was medium brown 2 1/2 inch pumps by Michael Kors. I liked those shoes and I kinda wanted to take them back. How could I think that, I’d never worn any of them? I’d told myself that I would sell them on eBay when I got the time. Yeah, right.

My uncle and his wife and one of their daughters came to town unexpectedly last night. Their visit threw my already taxed schedule off even more. My folks do not know how to sleep when relatives visit. They talk and talk and talk. Did I mention how loud they are too? It was really nice seeing them but I zonked out on them about 3:30 this morning.

Before they left, I gave my cousin three handbags. One was a Louis Vuitton, one a Chanel bag and the other I got from Walgreens. My cousin looked at me as if I was crazy. I told her that I was trying to get some peace of mind. I knew that between her mom and three sisters, they’ll put them to good use. She thanked me and put the bags in their truck before I changed my mind. LOL

My point is that it felt really good to bless someone else. These items were gifts from my heart. That’s what Christmas is about.

Merry Christmas…Happy Kwanzaa…Happy Hanukkah!

© 2006 VANESSA BYERS, Vanessa: Unplugged Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!


Donald Trump: Money Can't Buy Class

OK, I've made no secret that I don't like Donald Trump because he's a racist. I'm not revisiting that point but dang, I had no idea he's so classless and petty too. Fox TV's Bill Reilly attempted to intercede in this public spat between Trump and Rosie O'Donnell to no avail. Trump continued with the insults. Two days ago this was news, now it's annoying. Find another way to get publicity, Mr. Trump.

Trump should have taken the road days ago. Rosie would have been perceived as just another comedian expressing her opinion and moved on. Hereto fore, Trump has been a respected businessman; now he's carrying himself like a spoiled kid. This is not pretty. The behavior of Miss USA Tara Conner was embarrassing and now the Trump-Rosie battle is also.

Someone needs to let this go, PLEASE!

© 2006 VANESSA BYERS, Vanessa: Unplugged Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!

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