the ways of white folks-langston hughes

i read this because it was recommended to horace grant by phil jackson.

sooooo.

here are my questions:

1) did phil jackson read this?
2) when did phil jackson read this?
3) what the hell prompted him to recommend this to horace grant (in the same year that he recommended a beevis and butthead title to stacey augmon)?
4) did horace grant read this?
5) did these players have questions on the correlations between them and their books?
6) were the reading assignments handed out at the beginning or the end of the season?
7) again-what the natural hell?!

and of course, the most affecting story, father and son, is the last chapter.

dang.

i have the right to destroy myself-young-ha kim

“It’s easy to have sex when you can’t really communicate.” (66)

a few months back, some friends were jealous of me because i don’t smoke enough to be blase high. especially when they always bring out new implements and shit-i can’t keep up (i know i’m west coast, but i left…) and part of me sometimes wishes that i could just fuck.

and i might be able to one day, but i gotta get there with someone that i actually like, that likes me. but then why wouldn’t i just want to be with that person?

i guess this quote means that it’s easy to have sex, but not necessarily good sex. i suppose that’s the line that i can’t really get with anymore-i don’t have any time for mediocre sex. and i can’t buy into the hype that communication doesn’t matter.

the ideal situation is tenderness and understanding and humour, but not wanting to be in a thing, but that’s complicated because not wanting to be in a thing is different from “coming from an impossible situation” or “not being over your last thing” or “emotionally impossible and/or immature/still blaming your parents for shit that happened and you’re over 30”.

(sigh).

kanye sidebar:

“There are only two ways to be a god: through creation or murder.” (10)

(because what else do you do when you’re talking about relationships while not talking about relationships but pull a quote from the book that brings us to kanye)

and, because i’m all about an abrupt ending:

“People who don’t know how to summarize have no dignity.” (6)

sacred hoops-phil jackson

this was my holiday book, my homecoming book, probably partially what led to my dad asking me about “my favourite team, the chicago bulls” and having my grade 10 picture up because he doesn’t like my bangs in my grad picture. in a lot of ways, i did feel like i was back in the tenth grade, rooting for the bulls.

i rang in the new year, in a tall chair eating a delicious meal reading this, calmly waiting to come home. i don’t know how zen phil jackson is these days, running the new york knicks organization into the ground, but to be fair-he inherited a helluva job.

(and doing oakley like that?! come on, man-if he wasn’t traded for cartwright, you would’ve coached him instead of coaching against him all those years)

“Basketball happens at such a fast pace that your mind has a tendency to race at the same speed as your pounding heart. As the pressure builds, it’s easy to start thinking too much. But if you’re always trying to figure the game out, you won’t be able to respond creatively to what’s going on.” (50)

tell me about it. this playoffs is making me feel things that i never thought i would-like teams that i never cared about-i gotta hand it to the celtics, they looked really good against the bulls last night, though the t-shirt jerseys (and rondo’s blush on blush suit) maybe had something to do with it….and the rockets? i started out just rooting against westbrook-because can you really be mvp if your team is knocked out in the first round (again?) and the utah jazz? i didn’t know a single player, but hey-they’re looking pretty solid. i never thought i would be saying that in my lifetime. but i can’t figure basketball out, i can just love it.

“Our own life is the instrument with which we experiment with the truth.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

and love it i do. like this wonder-full vacation here in the trill. although i’m mostly hiding out, guarding the hearth and taking care of the babies, i’ve found myself smiling over the simple things-like earlier on a terrace with an iced coffee writing letters and before that, air drying on the couch with the rottweiler and bojack horseman.

we never really change who we are, and here’s another example of phil’s long-standing feelings on young talented ballers:

“Everywhere he went, he was surrounded by a squadron of bodyguards and ‘a personal entourage,’ who formed a cocoon around him that was difficult to penetrate.” (19)

hmm. sounds like a posse to me.

game on, players.

common-the limits of men (again)

“deep as a skinny girl’s cunt”

“fuckin’ on the sink, bought my mama a mink”

“butt nekkid in the kitchen flippin’ pancakes/plus she tricking from the dough that her man makes”

“ladies get their hair done, and men, we notice/you get high grade indian weaves, at the lowest/prices, chivalry is no longer lifeless”

wow. it was so hard to just pick one lyric from this problematic ode.

(sigh).

it was probably fitting that this album prompted a man whom i experienced in a particularly stunted moment to reach out to me because a good common album reminded him of me.

my conflict over rachid was immortalized in writing during my freelance stint in montreal, and one particularly scathing album review (for which one now, i have no idea), and this latest album (that i’m late to, i know), falls right into formation.

it must be said, too, that this man’s breadth of work and the variety of styles/positions that he has held has now, in my opinion, put his body of work in line with madonna‘s. what i perceive as common not knowing who the hell he is from moment to moment could really be common being all of the things, all of the time.

i have listed a few of the lyrics that have always just rubbed me the wrong way, but it’s undeniable that he has always held my attention enough to keep listening. so, there are so many lyrics and songs that i’ve loved, and water for chocolate will always be one of my favourite albums.

i couldn’t get a proper version of da struggle, but key and peele completely captured his likeness, and i think, even more aptly, with his name, captured the problematic “border” between “conscious” and “jiggy” rap. this is a line that common has always straddled, and that is why his bullshit gender politic is always so disappointing, because he’s otherwise, so very good.

the fact that this song features bj the chicago kid only annoys me more because it reminds me that the only song that i hate on his otherwise brilliant album is “it’s a woman’s world”. is there something dillusional going on in chicago’s feminism?!

i must also say that noID is flawless. the beat part of the rap equation is very, very strong, on this project and the one before that. he’s a bigger man than most for picking up the pieces after being left for ye, and staying in the shadows of producing may be the most feminist aspect of this album.

it is also something of note that pops is gone, and it’s officially the end of an era of albums punctuated by a daddy outro. i was sad to learn this in the song, and acknowledge that it must be hard to lose a parent who obviously had so much of an impact on his life and work.

which brings me to the song with nas that came out at the same time as “otis”, and the contrast between that other ny/chicago rap duo was mostly about how those other doods were just rapping about their money and these two were “conscious”. the bigger contrast for me was that these two were examples of men who clearly had their fathers, and jay-z and kanye famously did not. so perhaps that has no bearing whatsoever on your relationships with women, or it has everything to do with your relationships with women. but, jay-z could only commit to beyonce after his dad died, so perhaps common can actually evolve now that his is gone?

“i said i got my SAG card, baby i’m an actor”

“think they be mackin’ but they actin’…”

well, he is starring as a rapper having a mid-life crisis so…perhaps he knows all about this?

(sigh).

the corporate mystic-gay hendricks and kate ludeman

“I noticed that when people weren’t listening to me, it was usually because I wasn’t telling the truth” (139)

there’s something to be said about being late and surly-it’s a very specific choice. it’s not late and scatterbrained, nervous and always behind. it’s diva behaviour that keeps on going because not only are you holding everyone up, your stewing energy is bringing everyone down when you finally reach and are in a shitty mood like it’s anyone’s responsibility but your own to take inventory and ownership of your fucking feelings.

it’s the self-absorbed lie that you tell yourself that yours are the only problems that matter, or that you’re the only one that has any. you are not special-everyone is fighting their own battles and you have no right to psychically take up more space than you can hold nicely for people.

asking for help is one thing. putting a defensive wall and throwing childish tantrums from the styrofoam box that you believe is armour and lashing out because you can’t deal with your shit-that’s a whole other thing.

the above quote is from a book that was a zingerman’s recommendation and i almost didn’t want to read it, but i’m glad i did, and concur that they rarely steer me wrong. i suspect i will be thinking about it for a long time, and i want to find a way to challenge some of the folks that i work with to consider it.

another key idea from the book is that wealth is having what you want and enjoying what you have. it’s a simple concept, and it requires constant maintenance and decision making-but the rewards are tremendous.

it is completely fantastic to find a job where you love coming to work and seeing the people that you do, to contribute to something that contributes to you and allows you to maximize the life that you want, and to take no stress home.

it your job isn’t that to you-try to make it so, or step out of the way for people who are willing to work together to do so.

basically-check yo self before you wreck yo self.
‘cuz shirking your personal responsibility is bad for your health

the whore of akron-scott raab

“When I see footage of LeBron with the little boys and girls, I am both sickened and enraged. Idi Amin: I’m watching LeBron James, the last king of Cleveland, using children as props, as ornaments, as moral deodorant.
You want to stay, whore, stay. You want to go, whore, go. But spare us an hour of ESPN eunuchs lapping your scrotum while you void your bowels and bladder on the only fans who’ll ever love you like a member of the tribe.” (116)

and i thought i disliked lebron. shit. i almost felt bad for him after this irresistible vitriol packaged in black and shiny gold with its blasphemously sexy title from the shelf of my home home branch (parkdale). but not quite.

just like i felt bad for him in game 2 of the finals when they were whooped by golden state. but not quite, as i remembered how there wasn’t a single foul called on them in game five of our series.

if anything, i was embarrassed by the privilege of the author, and slightly hope-full that i could also write a bitter crazy book about basketball, but since i’m not an overweight wealthy dood, i may not have the same access. a woman can dream. but a woman will probably be heavily edited and put into a respectable pantsuit. (sigh).

“There were neither boundaries nor consequences, perfect training for a writer.” (14)

i mean, i was kind of the opposite-writing my way out of an environment (and city) of control and confinement. reading was my escape and empowerment, the most fruit-full coping mechanism…

regardless, i read this at the spa outside montreal on my bday weekend with my girls, so it was the perfect companion to naps in hammocks and saunas and steamrooms and waterfalls and the fire pit. it was definitely better to be high for it. shoutout to pax.

it feels like a good time to bring it back, because i keep trying to like lebron-but i’m so conflicted. for example-he did the right thing to complicate the “locker room talk” comment by asserting that there are men who do not talk about assaulting women, even though he had to qualify it by relating to his mother in law, daughter and wife (no mention of his moms, but maybe because she’s always allegedly trying to sleep with his teammates? at least that’s what the book says). but at least he said something. and i know he does a lot of good work, but just hearing him mic’d during games, or seeing him lounging around eating popcorn tonight, or in post-game interviews quoting jay-z lyrics, or crying about being kicked in the balls when he knew that that was his own fault…it’s just so difficult.

and not everyone can say it as razor sharply as this ideal man:

(swoon). impulse buying a second headliner ticket to see him was one of the best decisions i’ve made all year. i may need to start staying up late.

in conclusion:

“Hating is a full time job.” (189)

but so is loving y’all, so is loving.

dear mr. you-mary louise parker

“Letting someone you don’t really like surprise you is evolved, and that would have been impossible if you didn’t have the humility I wasn’t giving you credit for.” (36, Dear Movement Teacher)

“Remind her that she is beautiful in every new language you can invent. Careful with metaphor, as by then her mother’s over use of it may have exhausted her and made her immune to poetry.
Remind her about poetry.” (202, Dear Future Man Who Loves My Daughter)

i have already seen change in the life of my daughters. i see them with fathers who are present in their lives, committed to their moms, and encourage them to be all the beauty-full and talented folks that they are and will stay being.

this is no small thing, but i want more (of course).

i want a world for my daughters where talking about your period is normalized, and we can have an honest discussion about the reality of what working in a place with many women at different points of their cycle (monthly and in life) does without risking giving menfolk another thing to run away with and misunderstand.

i want a world where we can talk about hemorrhoids, moon moods, and just wanting to hide in your house and play candy crush all day and eat chocolate.

imagine when we can all be educated about fibroids or endometriosis, miscarriages and abortions, rape and shame, and the shitty way that young women are shamed into believing they are to blame for potentially having cervical cancer-via the horrible exam that gets them there.

let’s be real-the patriarchy will not be dismantled, but our sisterhood is strengthened exponentially because we are the adaptable humans. the matriarchy is real, if we want it. and now we have allies that are on the other side, straddling the in-between space.

i am also listening to jon stewart on 2 dope queens, and it’s a pretty fitting pairing with this sentiment.