It’s Okay If You Call Me Bossy

"Yack" Watercolor on paper. Copyright 2014 Totsymae (www.toshfomby.com)

“Yack” Watercolor on paper. Copyright 2014 Totsymae 

I’m disappointed. A little confused even. I’m trying to figure out what’s so wrong with calling women bossy. I mean, some are. It’s not the worse thing a woman can be called. How can you ban a word and why would you want to?

You know what, women folk? Sucking meat from teeth. Y’all are really starting to get on my nerves. You whine too much. You’re way too sensitive and you always want something. Look, you wanted equal rights, so now you get a little of what men folk been getting. Don’t get out here in the work world acting all tough and soon as somebody call you a name, you go to flinching like some damsel in distress. I mean, this whole banning thing sounds either premenstrual or menopausal. Take your pick according to which stage of life you’re in.

Flicking lighter to fire up cigarette. It’s always something with you women folk. You want contraception, the morning after pill, men to help with domestic stuff, a woman president (which I’m fully and whole-heartedly against, by the way), planned parenthood and yaddah freakin’ yaddah. You just don’t get a word removed from folk vocabulary. I like the word bossy. All it means to me is a person who gets things done. I mean, if you women folk are against the word and all and you’re proponents for equal rights, get it banned for men too. Better yet, get prick banned and all those other derogatory terms that mean so much worse than bossy. What about slut? Those kinda folk work at the office too, you know. 

And what happens if the word’s banned and somebody says it anyway? Will it come down to something like a sexual harassment suit? I can’t imagine being cross-examined or being involved in such a case. But you know the root issue, right? This wouldn’t be a conversation today if women folk had just stayed barefoot and pregnant and somebody wasn’t trying to sell a book. Scratching unshaven underarm.

In Celebration of the Dysfunctional Woman

Eunice

Everyone likes to be celebrated and women folk, March is your month. Or rather, ours. You, I mean, we asked for it, so we’re sure gonna get it. And fair is fair, okay? If you celebrate one woman, you have to celebrate them all. No matter how wretched some are, we must embrace the most brazen and undesirable of women folk to strengthen our sisterhood. Ahem. Cough, cough…

Now, if I may ask you a question. Who portrayed a woman so damaged, yet funny, that we laughed and thought about the lot in our own families? That’s right, Carol Burnett. Eunice was a sad wreck of a woman, with so very little going for herself but if you were like me, you just loved the night the show aired the little family that couldn’t and never would. Mama, played by Vicki Lawrence, ensured that misery remained intact and did a real fine job of it. Poor Ed, the character played by Harvey Korman, was just an unlucky fella who joined misery’s company and there was no escaping the shrieking sound of Eunice. For some reason, I always thought he could’ve been a man of potential had it not been for her…Hmmm, maybe not.

The Path to Being a Vibrant, Healthy Woman

"Beach Hat: Violet" Copyright 2014 Totsymae

“Beach Hat: Violet” Copyright 2014 Totsymae

Over the past coupla weeks or so, I’ve heard some very disturbing news about women. Not me but you. I mean, I’m a woman and all but since I don’t fall in this category, I feel duty-bound to help you out. I hope you don’t mind. I’d want somebody to reach out to me if…Let’s get right to it to get you the help you need.

Women, so studies say, are taking more sleeping pills than anybody. Over 60%. I’m prepared to offer you an alternative, okay? If you’re on the high-strung end, and you know who you are, try jogging around the block in your neighborhood before bedtime. If there are loose dogs in the area and you’re not, per se, a dog-type person like myself, that should make you run even faster.

You may have to utilize some untapped skills or what you learned from childhood, like climbing a tree or do what they do in horror movies. For example, haul it home fast as you can but before you get there, fall, lose a shoe and say, “I can’t go on.” I will advise that it’s best you go on ’cause you’ll be alone and won’t nobody give a damn more than you, okay?

If you find that you can, make it to the door, try sticking the key in, drop it, not once but several times ’til the dog gets closer and closer. You may wanna try this as a mental exercise rather than actually doing it. I don’t know about you but just thinking about being in that situation has exhausted me. Should you decide to go on a trial run to see if this activity will wind you down in the evenings, keep in mind that those rottweilers don’t play and you don’t wanna get yourself chewed up or anything of that nature.

I also understand women folk are depressed more than men. ‘Cause of our body make-up, women internalize. We just take in so much and even create unreal imaginings that men have no idea about. They’re just so aloof, aren’t they?

Men folk, on the other hand, externalize. Therefore, we’ve got feelings they can’t begin to comprehend. Oh, they put on a good show like they’re sensitive and all but they really aren’t. They’re only appeasing you ’cause new agers are telling them all will be right with the universe if they do. Don’t believe the hype, folks but neither should you put too much focus on this part of the post ’cause I don’t want you losing more sleep than you already have or start giving the significant other the side eye.

This has been a public service announcement for women’s health on behalf of Women’s History Month. Keeping it real and light for the better good of human sanity.

Meet Keiko Matsui

Keiko Matsui. Google image.

Keiko Matsui. Google image.

I think you’ll love her if you’re not already familiar. I have a few CDs of hers. Simply came across her some years ago when I was browsing music in a store. So, when I was playing her in my car awhile back when driving a friend around, he fell in love with her but he had to buy his own CD ’cause I don’t loan out these kinda things. You just never see them again ’cause folk start thinking your stuff belongs to them.

Anyhow, Matsui is a jazz pianist or keyboardist, from Japan. I’ve always had this thing for the piano although I can’t play at all. I do, however, have a good ear for music. Now, Matsui’s been around for a good while. She looks young and you can say she is, really, at 52. She’s been on the circuit for 30 years, so you can be sure the music’s way better than good with her lasting that long.

Matsui is a naturalist and her titles reflect that. You may also be interested to know she’s an advocate for women’s health and contributes to several charitable causes, as well at to the Marrow Foundation. Royalties from CDs, in 2001 and 2004, were donated to the causes dear to her. You can visit Keiko Matsui’s website at www.keikomatsui.com.

It All Started with Underarm Shaving

The Supremes. Google Image.

The Supremes. Google Image.

Women have certainly come a long way. Depending on who you ask, some may say we’re outta control. Every now and again, I’ll pop in my Diana Ross & the Supremes CD and while that was before my time, I really like their singing. Those girls came a looooong way.

Back then too, women pretty much kept their clothes on. Times were different. You know, on the Republican conservative side when it came to dressing up. Even on stage to sing. I thought about this change short but hard, folks. How we dress and all, as in taking it off to make a dollar all started with underarm shaving. Seems like once that movement caught on, women folk started talking louder, smoking them thin cigarettes, spitting on the sidewalk and whatnot, we decided to go unclad in public. I mean, a woman can’t be all hairy and whatnot on the cover of Vogue or Penthouse. Just wouldn’t be a good visual, know what I mean?

Now, I’m on the fence about this whole skin is in movement. It’s just not fair to regular ole women folk, thinking they can mimmick their looks after Hollywood photoshopped pictures. It’s totally delusional and I know some men agree with me. I don’t care how liberated women are, some should absolutely refrain from those jeggings. Your reputation goes way down when you make certain decisions, okay? Even some thin women shouldn’t have a cashier ringing up such a purchase. You don’t get a pass on that because you’re small. Fair is fair.

When I was in Saudi Arabia, there were religious police. They gave you the business if you weren’t wearing your get-up right. Word was from the westerners (and you know how we exaggerate what we don’t understand), that you could go to jail for dress code infractions. Maybe. Maybe not. I didn’t test that theory. You feel me? Probably there should be similar positions in western countries, to uphold some kinda dress standard ’cause some women folk don’t know they’re in the wrong. That would be a good moonlighting job for me but even I would have to take some kinda test to prove I understand the rights and wrongs of fashion.

I can’t let you fellas off the hook either though and I’ll be straight to the point. Men folk, why is it the older you get, the higher those pants rise up toward your chest? What’s up with that, is my burning question.

Meet Jackie Ormes

Jackie Ormes.  From Jackieormes.com website

Jackie Ormes. From Jackieormes.com website

Meet Jackie Ormes. I discovered her on NPR about 6 years ago from one of their audios. At the time, I was toying with the idea to do an educational graphic novel and got a little education myself. That’s what NPR tends to do.

Well, I was intrigued and got to nosing around on the web, looking for more information about this Ormes woman. I ended up buying a book with her work. She was the first syndicated African American cartoonist in her day. Now, I ended up giving the book away as a gift ’cause I was inviting someone to do a presentation. I sure do miss that book ’cause I haven’t re-purchased it yet but I will on Amazon this weekend.

Anyhow, Mrs. Ormes’ character was kinda modeled after herself. The little girl in the cartoon below was quick-witted and as central to the content as the adult characters. I’m rather inspired by Ormes in developing my own work, although our content will be different, this being a different time and all. Since women aren’t dominating this area of the arts, her accomplishments were significant.

Just thought I’d share that with it being Women’s History Month and all. If you’re spotlighting a woman of substance this month, please share. Thanks for visiting and sharing.

From the Jackieormes.com website

From the Jackieormes.com website

It’s the Best of Times, It’s the Worst of Times

cropped-beatrice-banner.jpg

Hello, Lovelies. I’m beside myself and not because I put on 10 pounds hanging out with Francisco, Francois or whatever his name was. You see, on my way from Jamaica, I swung by Brazil and not by a tree limb, okay? Though, it may as well have been because the seat was so cheap, it was one bumpy ride, people. You don’t want to know what I had to go through to get that seat or what I went through to keep it. Trust moi, Francois will be hearing from my TV lawyer as soon as I dial this 1-800 number.

As you can see, I’m not wearing black to pay tribute to the end of Robin Thicke’s marriage. And I’m not here to joke about this separation. I say separation because they could reunite. I hope so but we know how separations go in Hollywood, don’t we? I’m not sure what disintegrated that relationship but Hollywood is ripe soil for the breakdown of marriages. It’s really sad. So much plastic flesh to be had, you just can’t settle on one tush or bush, alright?  In some cases, marriages do survive. They really do. Clap, clap. 

Gabrielle, as in Union, I really am enjoying Being Mary JaneAfter all these years, you’ve proven to me that you can act. Now, I understand from a reliable source the show’s not doing well, which surprises me. Anything that sustains my attention is usually a hit because I’m one chick on the move, alright? I do hope the show returns for a second season and was glad you decided against turkey basting that stolen sperm. Plus, you’ve got that pre-nup you insist on signing with Dwayne Wade, which I don’t think to be a smart move if you don’t show up after this season. Marriages tend to tense up when one spouse isn’t working, even in Hollywood, okay? Anyway, rah rah to your breakthrough role, as far as I’m concerned. You’re still pretty to me, girlfriend. Just thought I’d throw that in.  Ahem.

Before I depart and leave you drenched in tears, I want to announce that I’m starring in a new comic series here on the blog this summer. Naturally, I’m excited that Totsy’s seen the light of my acting abilities. While she’s run into a creative speed bump, we know this series will start the first day of summer, for 8 weeks. Once a week, that is. Look out for the comic book trailer in the coming weeks. The fall line-up brings you Totsymae Presents, premiering 5 shows. In the meantime, enjoy the best and worst of Hollywood, with me, Beatrice from Apartment 7B. Propping feet on coffee table while dipping Oreo cookie in milk.

Prime Time TV: Archie, George and Race

This is the second post in the Archie Bunker series that addresses relevant topics. While race relations have come a long way, there is still more work ahead of us. There will always be work to be done.

What would Archie have said about America electing an African-American president? What makes Archie and George’s way of thinking about race relevant today? Are the conversations we have amongst one another and with our children helping to bridge how we view race? Share your experiences and thank you for joining in.

Prime Time TV: Archie Bunker on Democrats

If you’re familiar with All in the Family, you know that Archie Bunker  not only made the show, he was the show. He was an amalgamation of many folks, two of them being a racist and male chauvinist. He was so believable in what he stood for that he was one of those TV folk one loved to hate. One thing for sure, he provoked a consciousness of thought about topical subjects that are still relevant  today.

Initially, when I was going for my Masters, my thesis was based on 1970′s shows and the lack of black visibility; how those images, if portrayed as African-American, or Negro at that time, would’ve affected the black psyche or self-image. Turned out, I ended up not mastering in art but in another field. Though, I kinda always wonder how my work would’ve turned out ’cause I still have the paintings I started during my brief stint as an MFA student.

While I won’t exhibit those paintings here (cause they’re in oil and would take awhile still to complete),what I aim to do is take some of those topics, showing Archie in typical form. Here’s one you may have some opinions about.

Movie Flashback: Claudine

I’m in the mood for watching movies that premiered back in the day. Now, I’ve never seen Claudine. It stars Diahann Carroll and James Earl Jones. I don’t remember how I came to be interested in seeing this movie but I found myself watching parts of it on YouTube.

Anyway, Claudine is about a single mother  on government assistance and straddled down with six younguns. That’s about the most I can tell you, other than her getting herself a little boyfriend and the government’s all up inside and sideways in her personal affairs. I have this movie on order from Amazon. You may even be able to find it on NetFlix.

I think one of the reasons I’m drawn to this movie is that, like Claudine, the characters I create in my work also have it kinda rough. That they’re so badly flawed, by their own making or otherwise, makes them that more appealing to write about. Too, I feel a need to acquaint myself with works that will inspire me ’cause I don’t feel it at all these days. More about that later, however. Maybe. Or not, if this passes soon.

You can also watch a clip of Ms. Carroll’s interview regarding the movie.

The Problem with Not Nipping It in the Bud

Watercolor on paper. Copyright 2014 Totsymae

Watercolor on paper. Copyright 2014 Totsymae

Folks, maybe you couldn’t rightly tell but I’m from the south. That simply means that I’m genteel, polite and I, occasionally, display a smile at the absurd.

I said all that to say this. I think I’ve generated myself a slight problem of sorts, on account of being so southernly nice. There’s this woman who finds me so interesting, I reckon. she’s always trying to be up and inside of my business. Look, I’m just regular, plain ole ordinary folk much like yourself, so I haven’t quite figured out why she needs to know the whys and whatnots of me taking a day off. I don’t be off much at all in the first place but it seems she feels the need to know the details of my absence.

Instead of me saying, “If you don’t get your life, I’m gonna carve you a new one,” I figured with her being so smart, being a problem-solver and all, she’d take the social cue of me staring at her without so much as a blink, and go on ’bout her nosey business. But nooooo. She stares, waiting for a response as if she’s the check signer.

Now, why I’m off has no affect on what she’s gotta do. What I absolutely loathe is folk wanting to know the whys and whats on account of being a no count busy body. They have no use for the information other than wanting to know. I was thinking to put out my business in the form of a magazine and have her subscribe for $500 a month. That way we’ll both know if what I have going on is valuable enough for her to pay for. I’d be required to disclose every why and whatnot, in that case. Maybe we could even do lunch and I’d talk about myself in the third person, saying stuff like, “She didn’t come to work ’cause her jeans  were so tight, she couldn’t walk,” or “She hurt herself twerking at a Miley Cyrus concert.  Pulled a hamstring like you wouldn’t believe.” 

How do you gently keep folk outta your business? Or is gentle not a term you’d use to describe how you go about it?

The Day After Valentine

Watercolor on paper. Copyright 2014 Totsymae

Watercolor on paper. Copyright 2014 Totsymae

Lana couldn’t remember a thing. She felt nauseous while scanning the room, the stench of outside garbage drifting in from the open window. After giving the room a once-over, Jim walked in, wearing a dingy wife-beater and familiar boxers. The ones with patterns of red lips on them that sagged in the rear. The same ones he wore last night and was nasty enough to slip back on, apparently.

“You want coffee?” he asked her, now sitting on the bed with white crust in the corners of his mouth.

Lord have mercy, she thought, what am I doing here with him?

“Mama brewed a fresh batch. I can get you some, if you want.” His voice was poor-sounding to Lana. She could hear his spit turning and sloshing against his mouth with each word.

Lana turned to the nightstand and looked at the red box of chocolates she’d eaten a fourth of  as she pulled the sheets over her. She felt his hand on her shoulder and scowled under his fingers that felt like damp clay. Pulling her arms together and tucking her body into a ball, she remembered every damn thing now. The gold ban on her left ring finger jogged her back to Vegas lights and them both wearing gem-studded Elvis-like jumpsuits, saying I do.

Copyright 2014 Totsymae