Chittlin's and Chopsticks

Writer and mother, Terris McMahan Grimes, the Mother From Another Continent, an her friends share their slighty off kilter parenting views and their takes on a whole lot of other things.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Love in Cursive

The other day my ten-year old came home from school walking with the kind of buoyancy only love can induce. “I have a secret,” he announced.

“You have a girlfriend!” I blurted (Sometimes I just can’t control my powers.) He nodded, nearly levitating with pride.

“Describe her,” I said. “What’s she like?

”She’s nice.”

“What does she look like? That seemed to stump him.

Ever the romantic, I said, “Tell me about her eyes.”

After some thought he said, “She has two of them.”

Okay. “Lips?”




That’s my boy.

That night when I peeked in on him before going to bed, he was reading Bingo Brown’s Guide to Romance by Betsy Byars. Getting tips, he said. And copying love letters straight from the book—in cursive.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Eddie Murphy's plus-size offense

Actor's latest movie 'Norbit' called offensive to women, blacks

The following are excerpts from a Washington Post article by DeNeen L. Brown

She is wearing a hot pink nightie fringed by tiny hot pink feathers. Her big, brown legs are polished and wrap around the man lying beneath her. Her makeup is perfect. She turns toward the camera and seemingly growls.

The man lying beneath her, Eddie Murphy, seems to struggle under her weight with a horrified look. The two of them lie on the word "Norbit," crushing the movie title, making it sag like a well-worn mattress.

Above them, the ad asks: "Have you ever made a really big mistake?"

The poster is supposed to invite laughs. But for a number of women, black and otherwise, it's not funny.

In recent years, Hollywood has begun to make some changes in its portrayal and acceptance of black beauty. So you wonder why at this point does it release a film that stereotypes and makes fun of big black women? You wonder who is laughing.

Murphy co-wrote the story and screenplay for "Norbit," about a meek nerd, played by Murphy. Norbit is chased by his obsessed, jealous and overbearing wife, Rasputia, also played by Murphy (in a fat suit). The movie, No. 1 at the box office when it opened two weekends ago, drew harsh reviews from film critics and a series of protests from women and men who found it to be misogynistic and an outrageous characterization of large black women.

Geneva Mays, a real estate agent who lives in Suitland, says she is offended by the movie trailers that show the character Rasputia flying though her bedroom and landing on Norbit, crushing the bed in the fall. "I think it's demeaning to women," Mays said. "I think it's demeaning to women in general because we are all the same. We are just different colors. Women are women, regardless."

Thandisizwe Chimurenga, a community activist, said the movie shows how society feels about large black women. "I'm a big woman myself," she said. The irony, she said, "is there are a lot of men who do like large women. I've been pursued by all kinds of men." She added: "The billboards to me look cute. I was, like, 'Go ahead, girl, do your thing."

Old questions about skin color and beauty...

Some found that the juxtaposition of the two women conjures old questions about skin color and beauty (Kate being lighter skinned than Rasputia), about the light and dark images that haunt so many races and the fairy tales that imply the more fair the complexion, the more beautiful the woman.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Eddie Murphy You Owe Me An Apology

Mr. Eddie Murphy, why me? Why do you have to make fun of me, a Rubenesque woman of African descent? Is that's the way you show your love?

I'm a fan. I think you're smart, handsome, and funny. I am among the six people who actually liked Bowfinger. But you reward me with insults.

Why do you have to strap on a great big ole false bootie, an avalanche of a belly, and watermelon titties for a few laughs at my expense? Huh? Answer me, boy. I'm not playing with you. I take your insults seriously.

Why this unhealthy nostalgia for the minstrel show? Why has black female fat become the new black face? Work your issues out on your therapist's couch, Sweetie, not publicly. If you want a big bootie and a set of boobies, buy you some. Medical science can works miracles--ask Michael Jackson.
Mr. Murphy, I do not accept your scorn, your contempt, nor your bigotry.
You owe me an apology.

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Britney Spears has Ring Worm

Another scoop for Mother!

Sources close to Britney Spears today confirmed that the troubled pop star has ringworm.

Ms. Spears, a skilled practioner of herbal medicine, had her head shaved to combat the fungal infection. Sources say she is using jewelweed poultices to treat the condition. The jewelweed plant is shown in the photo to the right.

On seeing photos of Britney with shaved pate, K-Fed, her estranged boo who failed miserably to "bring sexy back," rushed to her side bearing a bottle of Glover's Mange.

K-Fed fashioned a stocking cap for Britney and presented it to her as a token of his affection. Cynics maintain his actions had little to do with affection for Ms. Spears and everything to do with containing the worm and keeping it away from his sons, Baby-Fed I and II.
You be the judge.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Your Goddess

Should you see a woman with nails of one hand polished and gay and those of the other hand naked--bow down to her for she is the Godess of Multitasking.

Worship her with chocolates and flowers. Secure indulgences by presenting her with freedom in chucks of 2 to 3 hours. Worship her thusly, and she who reads in the tub and writes on the john will favor you with one of her smiles that are known to cure impotence.

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Joe--I Know You're Not A Racist

Joe, isn't it funny how good intentions can go so far awry?

I feel for you, Sweetie. Really, I do. If the Bush Baby can actually be president, you can at least run for the seat. Don't listen to your detracters. Run, Joe. Run your hardest.

Obama is clean. I know what you meant. You been boning up on Negro Speak, haven't you. You read Clarence Major's, Juba to Jive: A Book of African American slang, cover to cover, didn't you? You know what a lot of people don't--You know that when you referred to Obama as "clean" you meant he dresses with impeccable taste, he has a certain sartorial flair.

Joe, your campaign needs me. Hire me as your consultant. I'll explain things like this to the public. I'll help you stay the rhetorical straight and narrow. I can guarantee the Air Mom vote. Have your people call my people. Okay?

Words are my livelihood, Joe. They're my best friends. I play with them, build with them. If you want to compliment me, don't call me articulate, Sweetie. Call me brilliant.

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Monday, February 05, 2007

US Dept of Defense Training Infants for Covert Action in Iraq

"We've been called up!"

Remember folks, you read it here first. The US is training infants, too young to talk, for covert action in Iraq and possibly Iran.

A high level Department of Defense official, who declined to be identified for the record, said small troops of babies are being trained for deployment at secret locations through out Iraq. My source declined to state what branch of military service the babies will serve in, although he did raise a brow when I mentioned the Marines.

What the babies mission will be, or exactly how they would communicate with their commanders is yet to be determined. My source alluded to babies being taught sign language. He also said biofeedback is being used to teach them to change the color of their poop. However, he was uncertain how that skill will be used.

According to my source, little known language in the Homeland Security Act allows parents to sign up their infants for military service. Parents who enlist their babies receive a free, lifetime, supply of disposable diapers. My source called this “a win-win kind of thing,” stating, “If the babies survive their mission, they will need the diapers when we return them to their parents. If they don't survive, the parents will likely need them.”

You can enlist your infant in the military by going to: Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the link that reads, “Department of Defense Login”. Be sure to tell them I referred you. I get ten points for each referral. I'm trying to win a trip to Disneyland and that takes 10,000 points.

Photo from

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Sunday, February 04, 2007

Show a Little Love--Buy Mother's Book

Did I mention...

I have for sale a few more hard back, copies of Shades of Black: Crime and Mystery Stories by African American Authors, edited by the Grand Dame of African American mystery writers, Eleanor Taylor Bland.

The list price is $23 but I selling them to my sweeties for $9. You do know you're my sweetie, don't you?

You can buy them at my store, The Place Where Mother Shops. Bonus: They're signed by four contributing authors including Mother.

Hit that Misbehaving Child--With a Poem

All you Air Moms, Air Aunties, and Air Grannies out there, listen up. It's been a while since I shared any parenting tips with you. Here's one to make up for my lapse. Remember, these are actual techniques that I've used over the past thirty years. They worked for me and they will work for you, too. (Want to know what Air stands for? You'll find the answer in an earlier post.)

The day you bring your little darling home from the hospital, memorize completely the poem, Mother to Son, by Langston Hughes. Here it is. Take a moment to commit it to memory. Trust me. It will pay off. Besides, February is African American History Month and nothing says that better than a little Langston Hughes.

Mother to Son

by Langston Hughes

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's 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.

You won't need it until Timberlake Technique loses it's effectiveness around the preteen years. But keep it fresh in your memory. We must remain battle ready. Recite it to yourself from time to time.

Now, when your child's complains about taking out the garbage, making her bed, or living in the same household as you, and you get the point where your “switch” hand is starting to itch (an earlier post, honey) —loudly recite the poem to her in its entirety. Please note, the “mother” speaks in a dialect common among African Americans living in the Sixteenth Section of Jefferson County, Arkansas, during the early part of the last century. For added effectiveness, master that dialect and use it lavishly.

For a girl, simply substitute the word “child” for “son.”

Should your child suffer from oppositional defiance (actually a condition that the parent suffers if the child has it) or should she insist on complaining about the living standard you have provided by the sweat of your brow, you may want to arm yourself with Paul Lawrence Dunbar's, Life, which opens with, “A crust of bread and a corner to sleep in...”

Now, get out there and do some parenting!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

San Quentin to Give Rehab a Try

A pilot rehabilitation program at San Quentin State Prison will be dramatically expanded in an effort to keep paroled felons from returning to California's already overcrowded prisons.

The program currently gives about 150 inmates instruction in anger management, addiction recovery counseling, and parenting, health and life skills. It will soon be offered to about 1,000 inmates, San Quentin Warden Robert Ayers said.

The planned expansion was announced Friday, as the state's prison secretary announced that California will start forcing as many as 5,000 inmates to move to other states, with the first transfers possible within days.

Corrections Secretary James Tilton said the action is needed to relieve overcrowding in the nation's largest state prison system. California's 33 state prisons are designed to hold 100,000 inmates but currently house about 174,000.

San Quentin will get no additional state funding to expand its rehabilitation program, and will continue to rely on funding from private donors.

A smaller version of the program was started four years ago under a previous warden, but there is no data on its effect on recidivism.

A report issued by a state commission found that about 70 percent of all California parolees return to prison within three years. It found few incentives for offenders to improve themselves, and said those who want to improve their education or learn job skills have few programs available to them.

Information from: Marin Independent Journal,

Hunger for Knowledge

This is the truth. I can't think of stuff this good...

My 22-year-old announced he is changing his major to Ethnic Studies, which I support. "The only thing," he said, "I get hungry everytime somebody uses the term Pan African."

Oh Lordy, Da Gubanator Done Sold Me Down the River to Mississippi

Alright children, I want you to listen closely to Mother. I know my take on things can be a little fanciful at times, that's just Mother's nature. But not this time. This is serious.

Governor Swartzenegger plans to proceed with forced transfer of prisoners to out of state prisons because California prisons are so overcrowded people are dying from it.

Can anybody say, “Three Strikes Legislation?”

I will take questions later. Right now, I want you take out your pencils and a sheet of paper and right down these words and phrases:

  1. Rehabilitation

  2. Family role in prisoner rehabilitation

  3. Private Prisons

  4. Prisoners as Cash Crop

  5. Mississippi

Now, let's talk about the situation here in California. How bad are our prisons? They are really, really bad, children. They are so bad the Federal Government won't let us run them any more. If our prison system was a car you could say we ran it off a cliff, it rolled over four times and then burst in flames—-with the prisoners still in it.

Yes, Deidre, I know your daddy is in prison. No, he wasn't in the car. Jose, Alicia, and Larry, you may put down your hands. Your mommies and daddies weren't in the car, either. Mother is using a metaphor. Remember when we talked about metaphors last week?

Children, I know you are worried your parents might be sent somewhere far away and you would never, ever, see them again. I want you to remember you're not the only ones. There are almost one million children—actually 856,000-- right here in California who are just as sad and scared as you right now.

Photo from Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

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