WE ARE: 5 women navigating our twenties in search of peace, happiness and love (or not). WE WRITE: about everything and nothing. From the insane to the mundane- you will find different paths taken, lessons learned and lives lived. WE THINK: you’ll enjoy it...Warning: Consumption of these views may leave you enlightened while intoxicated.


The View From Here will conclude on Friday, October 1, our third year anniversary. We would like to spend this month thanking all of our readers, followers, haters, visitors, family, friends, and fans for your continued support, encouragement, and comments over these past few years. Thanks y'all!
-The Five Spot

Friday, April 18, 2008

Two Snaps and a Neck Roll

So one day I was online looking for some more checks. Crazy right, I mean who uses checks anymore? Well, apparently I do. And since my bank, I won't say which one but let's just say it's in America, charges freakin, $22 for a box of checks, I was scouring online for some 99 cent checks. Shit. They coulda been $21 checks. But I was not giving that bank any more of my money. So as I'm browsing for the cheapest deal, I come across a set of checks called, wait for it, sista, no I'm sorry, sistas (please say it like you are a former Black Panther, down for the cause, now doing slam poetry, how you doing my sistaaaa, type voice) checks. What are sistas checks, you ask? Take a look...

And for the whole collection...

Now, I'm not one to trample on creativity. But um what the hell? Who thought this was a good idea? And who is really buying these checks? Is it not "bad" enough that people make assumptions (often correct, may I add) about our race because of our names or the inflection of our voice, now you just wanna let someone know you Black? It's like its own personal warning: please cash this check right now, if you know what's good for you. Ahhh that's wrong. And so is this.

Only because when I first told Amaretto about these checks, and I said, "the black women are doing these little poses..." And she said, "is it the hand on the hip, head cocked to one side pose? I know that pose!" And we all know that pose. But to boil that down, and then have it put on a check and then call it a sistas check is ridiculous. And too easy. And dare I say stereotypical. I mean apparently to be a sista, I either need to have a fly hat & outfit, a short little afro or a headwrap. And some a-tti-tude! Do you think I'm wrong? Here is a description that I found online (after I wrote the above sentence!): From head to toe, these phenomenal women exude confidence, style and sophistication in every way. This check has "Attitude"! Celebrate your African American heritage proudly!

Again I say, what the hell? Now I'm not going to lead my own personal boycott against sistas checks. But I do think that it's walking that fine line, of "celebrating" who we are vs. using "typical" images of Black women as a marketing technique and for profit. But maybe I'm being too sensitive. I should be proud of who I am! And race doesn't matter!* So, let me go get my headwrap out the dryer, iron my fly outfit and work out my arm for some hand hip holding and posing! Cause I'm a phenomenal woman, phenomenally, phenomenal woman, that's me!

That's my time y'all! Happy Rum Punch Friday!

*Hey, wait a minute, we haven't heard that chant in awhile... I wonder why...

Thursday, April 17, 2008

in my mind

There’s this game I like to play with myself when I first meet a man. I ask myself, Is he *uckable or un-*uckable (with an f)?

Did you think I was gonna say is he marriage material? Yeah ummm no, this is just how me and my perverted, secretly freaky-deaky mind works. It's good to get a lil silly on our View every now and then.

And I know I’m not the only one, am I ladies? *waits for comments from my female readers*

You know, you do the not-so-obvious-but-oh-so-necessary vertical check of the man’s anatomy. Shoulders, chest, pants, shoes! Wipe me down! (c) lil boosie. Generally, a guy gets on my un-*uckable list for one of the following:

1. A belly that’s bigger than mine. This one really needs no explanation. Tubsters need not apply.

2. Unbecoming body odor (or a general aura of uncleanliness). Just like men like sweet smelling women, I like a good-smelling man who looks like he’s seen the inside of a shower/tub within the last 24 hours.

3. Under 5-10 and a half. I’m exactly 5-10 and a half and I need a man that is at least my height in order for me to feel like a grown-up. I like short men…as friends. Yeah it sucks, I know.

Once I’ve done my evaluation, then it’s back to booghetto professional mode. Hi! how are you, my name is mint julep? Blah blah.

The problem with this little game is that the man remains clueless about the impossibility of anything going down. The way I’ve mentally killed his getting-it-in prospects before he’s even had a chance to try out his A-game.

But I’ve been thinking that maybe I oughta do away with this highly unscientific, totally frivolous and what some might call prejudicial little game/test.

Or not.

What do you think? Ladies, are there any physical attributes that would put a guy on your un-*uckable list (if you had one ;-)?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

i dont believe this s****

Uncle Sam is at again. After 75 years, the US government has concocted Tuskeegee II. The capitalist origins of Uncle Sam's enterprise require that he thinks and does the unthinkable. Ta-da..

you see that shit - no pun intended

That's shit or sludge, depending on if we choose to be politically correct about shit. Scientists utilized federal grants (aka Uncle Sam's money) to spread fertilizer made from human and solid waste -- shit-- to test whether it might protect children from lead poisoning in the soil (courtesy Baltimore Sun). The shit was doled out to poor, black neighborhoods in Baltimore and St.Louis. Now perhaps folks might have forgotten, but one of collegiate studies was psychology -- and Bellini could tell you a thing a two about what ethical ground must be covered prior to conducting a study.

How did this study pass the ethical litmus test? On what grounds did the Institutional Review Board (IRB) approve of this study? Where is the oversight of Uncle Sam's money to "assure" grants are spent appropriately. Uncle Sam I can't belive you, but then who am I kidding.

In Baltimore, the academic institutions involved include surprise John Hopkins University and the Kennedy Krieger Institute. Good Ol' JHU -- "by far the greatest medical institution on this earth." A friend of mine has always said that JHU was able to amass its wealth and solidify its reputation in medical health at the expense of the poor depressed neighborhoods that encircle the campus. The government agencies involved include the Enivronmental Protection Agency (EPA) -- who the hell they were protecting -- and the Department of Agriculture.

Perhaps, I need to make another larger point. Nobody deserves shit.
At times, people seem to don't understand the origins of black people's anger, mistrust, and depression.
Poor neighborhoods = poor schools + shit.
The continued deceit of Uncle Sam gives black folks no reason to trust his institutions. And this is the foundation of the love/hate relationship black folks have with the government. Folks are always quick to say get over it -- after Tuskegee folks were like it's over now and now we've got this shit to deal with. And mind you, no one is aware of the side effects of the consumption of shit. Remember the shit was used as fertilizer for soil. So, I'm sure kids rolled around in it and I pray grandmamas ain't grow gardens to bear edible fruit or vegetables. Well, less than 12 hours after the official deadline of Tax Day - Uncle Sam continues to remind us that our burden of taxes is for no other reason but to receive shit and shitty services.

cheers Uncle Sam,


P.S. And I dare someone to pull some unpatriotic diatribe...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Building a Universe

There are quite a few things in this life that I just don't understand. As a young girl sitting one summer in my grandparents' kitchen, waiting for some homemade sweet tea and a tuna fish sandwich, my Grandma told me that I could build a universe with all the things I did not know. I mean she was right, obviously, but it seemed like such a harsh thing to say to a little girl who just wanted to know why granny took so many pills before breakfast? Or why grandpa fell alseep while watching tv, or why did the caged bird sing...

But in the spirit of I don't know what to write, taxes, and annoying yet inquisitive children, I feel the need to share some of the things that I just don't understand.

Numero Uno: Did Bracky forget he's running for President of the United States and not just the in the intellectual meccas of the east and west coasts? Is it wrong to say he shot himself in the foot, maybe with the rifle of a bitter middle American? I think they (Hills, Gramps and the media) are going to ride this faux pas hard like how a man just out of jail makes love. I'm just hopin' Bracky can change all of this. Maybe with his hand gestures and a smile. Or maybe with a story about how his po' unbitter mother would tell him how much she loved God while polishing off her rifle.

Letter B: Why am I seeing Hillary Rodham Clinton drinking pints of Guinness with the masses? Is it because she's a woman of the people? I guess the Rodhams are notorious for having a good 'ole time after coming home from the factory? Show 'em girl! You ain't an elitist like Bracky! Ha!

Three: Why is everyone going Pope crazy? Granted I'm not Catholic, so maybe I don't understand. But there are T-shirts and bobbleheads for this man. Jesus anyone? No. Okay then.

Little D: Mariah Carey's kind of scary (c) Biggie And I don't know why. Touch My Body? I mean I'll probably start liking the song in a couple of weeks. But what happened to her? I'm not saying that she has to go back to her Tommy M., curly hair, black bodysuit and high waisted mom jeans... "Someday, oooo someday..." But I think that Butterfly was a happy medium album. Pre boob job and the emotional breakdown of Mimi...

This was my jam!

And I don't understand why. Maybe it was Bone Thugs! Oh Krazyie Bone how I loved thee! Next time I'm in Cleveland dude *wink*! Maybe its because compared to some music today this is darn great! Or maybe its just one of those things not meant to be understood, just a part of this here universe, and therefore should just be enjoyed...

See You in Seven

Monday, April 14, 2008

Brother Do-Right

He is my King, He is my one
Yes he's my father, Yes he's my son
I can talk to him, cuz he understands
Everything I go through and everything I am
He's my support system, I can't live without him
The best thing since sliced bread,
Is his kiss, his hugs, his lips, his touch
And I just want the whole world to know, about my..

- Brotha, Angie Stone

Last weekend, my homegirl's car stopped while she was sitting at a stoplight. She was on her way to meet me and some other friends to attend a comedy show. The guy whom she invited to the show [luckily] happens to be the manager of an auto shop. He and his brother were also on their way and were not far behind. They met my homegirl, pushed her car into a parking space, and made it to the show just in time to see the first act come onto the stage. The following day, dude had the car towed to his shop and someone was working on the car by the time they opened for business Monday morning.

Later that Monday afternoon, my homegirl called me full of joy. She was literally in tears as she expressed how grateful she was for the way in which everyone rallied together to help her in a time of need. She was especially surprised by the generosity exhibited by old dude. I remember her saying something like "It's not that I think I don't deserve it, but I am not used to a man being so responsive and attentive."

I thought to myself, you need to greatly expand that pool you're fishing from.

My homegirl may be reading this. I am sure she knows that I love her and want only the best for her because she deserves nothing less. The same goes for the rest of my sistas out there. This is why it is imperative that we stop giving men gold stars for being decent human beings.

If a man has his own crib (whether he rents or owns it), earns legal income, has a bank account, dresses neatly, has manners, speaks proper English, can hold an intelligent conversation, and washes behind his ears, he ain't special.

If a man calls you to see how your day is going, sends you flowers on a day that is not pimped by Hallmark, opens the door for you, helps you put on your coat, and holds the umbrella when it rains, he's considerate. But he ain't special.

I understand that we feel shortchanged and flimflammed when it comes to the quality [and quantity] of brothas we have to pick from. However it is mad dangerous to lower expectations to a point where we start subconsciously applauding men for doing shit they are supposed to do.

I wanted to point out to my homegirl that while it was very nice of auto shop dude to help her the way he did, she still had to pay for the work being done to her car. Even if it was at a discounted price. And as my mama would say, any real man would've done the same. Just because. That's what real men do. But I couldn't find the proper words...

I am worried that my friend has already given him a "pass" or stamp of approval just because he did what he was supposed to do. All the while not giving herself a chance to evaluate necessary shit... Like how he spends his money, the characteristics of the people he surrounds himself with, his relationship with his mother, his relationship with his child's mother, his personal goals for next 1-5 years, inability to work the middle 'cause his thing too little (c) Lil' Kim, and on and on and on...

This chapter of our lives is full of exploration and experimentation. We try, then try a little bit harder, and then try once again. We will lose some to win some. We will kiss many a frog and already have. How about wearing 3-D glasses instead of the rose-colored ones?

Let the real men show 'em how to do it.

Let the suckas take notes.

Let us not make excuses for any of them.

Tumultuously Yours,
Dark & Stormy