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, February 27, 2009

A Different Black List

Tomorrow marks the end of Black History Month and it has been asked, if in this post racial, Obama world, there is even a need for Black History Month. I mean we finally got us a Black President, therefore us coloreds are no longer marginalized.

If you’re a frequent reader of the 5 Spot, then you can probably guess where I stand on this issue. I’m all for Black History Month. Like totally all for it. And while I know that we should teach our kids, shit all kids, Black History, 365, I like the notion that for a moment, (even if it’s forced or required or seems like a chore), that the country has to stop and recognize and honor and reflect on the contributions of black people not just to this country, but to the world.

But maybe we need a different kind of Black History Month. I have gotten hooked on HBO’s The Black List. And at the beginning of the series, they said they wanted to take something seemingly negative - being black listed and turn it into something positive. And they have indeed done so.

Volume One aired last year and Volume Two aired last night. The Black List is a compilation of interviews featuring famous, well known, and under the radar but still doin the damned thing, “Black folk” sharing their stories. Featured are: actresses, writers, activists, nurses, preachers. People you’ve heard of. And people you probably never knew, but who are impacting the community in a positive way. Some of those interviewed include: Toni Morrison, Susan Lori Parks, Chris Rock, T.D. Jakes, Bill T. Jones, Richard Parsons, Maya Rudolph, the list is endless.

In some interviews the issue of race is prominently discussed. In other interviews the person provides his/her personal story of struggle or triumph - how they made it over. In other interviews the person discusses an aspect of their job or career and what they have done for th communit. Every story is different. Unique. Its own.

But collectively, you get a sense of what it might mean to be Black in America. And that it’s different for everybody. And yet there are recurring themes. The importance church played in so many people (especially the older folks) lives and that maybe that’s a crucial thing that’s missing in this generation. The importance of perseverance and endurance when trying to reach a goal. How tight the Black community used to be and what that meant to people growing up in that era - the notion that you could do anything, be anybody. How to stay true to yourself and live the best life for you.

I love watching these stories, because it makes me think that everyone has a story. And that Black History Month can be more than Rosa Parks and Dr. King, it can be stories about: an older Black man, native Washingtonian who started walking tours of famous U Street, or a mama down the block who was also a Freedom Rider, or a grandmomma who went against convention and defined her own destiny, or an uncle who was at the March on Washington, or the first cousin in the family to graduate from college setting a standard and hopefully sparking a trend.

And so as Black History Month comes to a close, I leave you with some clips of the program! Catch it on HBO On Demand if you can and enjoy!

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

Thursday, February 26, 2009

mardi gras redux: top 10 greatest hits

shouts to rum punch for holdin a sista down last week. my apologies for being mia. i was in the middle of my first ever new orleans mardi gras. and folks what a mardi gras twas. this might be my new favorite holiday. good friends, good food, great drinks and non stop partying for a good week straight. loves it!

being a mardi gras newbie, i had nothing to go on but images of boobs and beads. but let me tell you the real real mardi gras is about community, family and showin love for the city. i didn't step foot in the french quarter once and that probably did the trick. i had a great time and looking forward to next year. until then, i'ma reminisce on my top 10 mardi gras moments!

10. baby king king. standing on st. charles avenue watching some of the most beautiful floats i've ever seen with little kids, grandmamas, frat boys, tourists and every other kinda person you could think of.

9. wtf!?! mr. officer. getting a wack ass parking ticket for parking in the the crosswalk. now that officer knew good in hell well that i was nowhere near the crosswalk. he musta been on his 3rd daiquiri or smokin that good good when he wrote the ticket. in any case, i ain't payin it.

8. down goes frazier! have you ever seen somebody fall and you wanted to laugh so hard but you didn't want to make them feel bad. well imagine the exact opposite of that: somebody falls and everyone within a 5 foot radius laughs. hoard. long. while pointing. and more laughing. yeah that's how it went down. this drunken hot white girl bust her ass and almost took down a judge in the process. she came over to say hello to him and tripped over her own sloppy drunk feet and proceeded to grab on to him on the way down. luckily he shook her loose and she went down on her own. good times!

7. breaking my neck(lace). there is something about free stuff that makes folks go crazy. combine free shit with a lil alcohol and that free shit being hurled threw the air and there is bound to be a disaster. during one of the numerous parades i attended (which one, i can't rightly recall) i jumped up for some beads and came down without my favorite necklace. pictured below is all that is left of it. sadness

6. red Beans and Rice. mmm good!

5. Patron Got You in the Zone. taking patron shots with a judge... nuff said.

4. Kicking the Breeze, Hangin' on St. Philip Street! Gettin' to hear my favorite mardi gras song ova and ova and ova again!

Roll with Me, Rock with Me - Rebirth Brass Band

3. All Hail Queen Zulu. I was the first person to score the most prized throw from the Krewe of Zulu, a coconut! And it was gold. snaps in a circle two times!

2. Three's Company. then i got greedy and went for more. these 3 lil guys aren't as fantastic as the golden one but they're cuter. just look at those faces!

1. Corrupting the Youth. since the 5 spot is a pg-13 site i can't give ya'll any other details than this but just know it's numero uno for a reason...

see ya next year! laissez les bons temps roule!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

seedier side of sports...

Bellini likes sports and since we’re on the eve of March Madness and I read this article about my alma mater’s basketball coach – a 3 part series-sport buffs read it. Basically, it appears Williams is taking the high ground prefers the clean, respectable approach to wooing players to my alma mater’s program. Not to say other coaches don’t, but as a friend of mine put it – Williams ain’t kissin’ these youngin’ asses. “Unlike many of his competitors, Williams steadfastly refuses to pursue any recruit, even the best players in the nation, who requires that his travel team coach be accommodated with jobs or other benefits. He has not had a sniff of NCAA violations, and has avoided players who carried significant excess baggage.” Remember this quote later…

Now as you know predominantly with football and basketball, there are scores of leagues these kids can play for, some of these leagues are pipelines to certain Division I schools, as are their academic schools, too. And we know that disproportionately for black kids who dominate in these Division I schools tend to come from the lower socio-economic rung. And some of these leagues’ coaches are from the same streets as these players. And knowing that these leagues’ coaches come from the same streets they know money talks and bullshit walks. Don’t forget shoe companies helped turn the youth basketball scene into a multimillion-dollar industry. I once had a friend say, everybody is making money off of the players, but the players. To put things in perspective, in 1999 the CBS Network paid the NCAA $6,000,000,000 – 6 billion dollars to air the NCAA games thru 2013 – ka ching! And let’s not forget the corporate sponsors beefing up college endowments and paying for arenas, stadiums, athletic gear, trips, etc. And for many of these players they know this is their only shot to get mama and n’em right –change zipcodes, put the lil’ siblings, and or nieces and nephews in private school, and so perhaps you can understand there must be a premium to wooing them. And yet should there be?...

The prominent role sports leagues have taken in basketball guarantees there is another intermediate besides the parents of the player and the college athletic team. Like I mentioned before, some of these intermediates grew up with mama and n’em and knew Pee Wee before he knew himself. And these intermediates at times are surrogate fathers or provide avuncular attributes – therefore these mentors are trusted by the player and his family. And by virtue of them coming from these mean streets and perhaps having checkered pasts, they want to ensure the youth doesn’t follow their former paths. And since money talks, they will and do leverage their clout. A former league coach, Dalonte Hill, coached coveted high school players. “Hill was hired at Kansas State, reportedly for $420,000 a year, to work under Coach Bob Huggins, who acknowledged later that he knew Beasley would follow Hill. Beasley signed with Kansas State, led the nation in rebounding and was third in scoring, and was picked second overall in the 2008 NBA draft.” So, my alma mater’s head coach retorts, “Maryland could not pay an assistant coach a salary in that range. "To bring Beasley, it cost $450,000, for sure," he said. "We know that. We didn't have $450,000. So we are not going to get Beasley."
Maryland also didn't get two other [league] recruits -- forwards Rodney McGruder and Wally Judge -- who have signed with Kansas State for next season.

Could it be said that if a man earns on average $2,000,000 (Coach Gary Williams) per year, that his employer is paying him to do him?
But if my alma mater ain't seen the Elite 8, let alone the championship in just shy of a decade -- is the gig up?
And yet, don't we prefer a man of principles isn't that why we elected our first black president at all costs and we trust his judgment in the long run will make prudent sense?

Well, March Madness you couldn't come soon enough. Answers please.



Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Working Girl's Woes

Every morning I have to tell myself that I am lucky to have a job, well luck has little to do with it…I am actually blessed. But I have to remind myself. Especially in these days and times. I have to say “Amaretto, you shouldn’t abuse your sick leave.” “Amaretto keep a positive attitude.” And of course, “Amaretto, you have to keep a smiling face.” But here lately it’s been really hard ya’ll to keep this work thing in perspective. I feel like I am underpaid…and not necessarily overworked (I do work for the government), but when I think about the things I am trying to accomplish in 2009, the funds aren’t giving me the means. And while I’m not building a railroad I do think I have to put up with more drama than a Terry Perry play. And I know, this is like me complaining that I am all out of my brand of bottled water while some orphan child in a war torn country has to walk 600 miles bare foot to get water that animals drink from… but it’s how I am feeling.

I’m thankful I have a job, but does it have to suck? Especially because of management?

I have one of those chick bosses who is not the best manager because she lacks the ability to communicate…effectively. I have never in my life not liked a person as much as I do my manager. And it’s not like she is mean, but I feel that everything from her mouth is bull. She came into my department with clear favorites and well that just set the stage. I’ve never been the type of person who needed to be in the in crowd, but I do need boss like people to at least read the work that I provide. There is nothing more annoying than giving someone the information they need to be successful, or at least not look like an idiot and them not listening to you, and later having the audacity for the same exact information that I already provided. Say whaaaaaaaat? And why is it that you are a six figure and I ain’t? Maybe because I use words like ain’t… me no know. But that has been the story of my life ya’ll for the past 10 months! Just unbearable because I can see what she is shoveling and it’s nothing but sh*t that she’s trying to pass off as a bed of roses. But unlike a friend in the hood I can’t call her on it. And that makes me frustrated and angry. And the reason you aren’t getting a post about why Black History is everyone’s history, or how I felt Robert Downey Jr. was robbed at the Oscars because (and please don’t take my Black card away) I thought he was funny as hell portraying a black man in Tropic Thunder-is because working bes like this sometimes. And I just had to stop, vent, and breathe so I could keep on wearing my smiling face mask.

I just have to keep smiling, keep shining, and remember that I am blessed to have a job. Unlike many, I at least know for sure I’m getting paid on Friday.

See You In Seven

Monday, February 23, 2009

Love is Never Straight Forward, Pt. Duex

Everybody has a type...I like the older-ambitious-well-groomed-lovely-smile type but this isn't about me is it? (chuckle) Back to Shauna and John....

Separated or recently divorced, seeking male attention, ready to move on, wanting to prove ones worth, looking to have someone legitimize their significance in a relationship. Not necessarily looking for a relationship so the normal rules of courtship don't apply. However, the emotions still come into play. The I-love-yous and the Do-you-love-mes help to keep this charade going.
This is John's type.

Shauna's name is not really important because one, it is insignificant and two, she like the others are all interchangeable. OOoo-ouch! Now that might seem harsh but it is true. John might have a type but the Shaunas need him. He provides the confidence needed to get back on the street without even knowing it. The problem is getting the Shaunas to realize "Baby-girl you are ready! You owe John nothing but a simple thank you and a smile. It was fun while it lasted but you got a new pair of shoes now!"

The Shaunas tell me "But what if this is true love? What if it is more than a charade?"

You won't know that until you move on Shauna. You won't know if it is really true love or late night fvcking until you move on. I am still a believer that real love is in true friendship and true friendship is timeless. And as we all know relationships sometimes come to an end. If John is a true friend he isn't going anywhere.

Trust me...I know and I never had to tell him I love him. (chuckle) And yes, we're not doing the late night tango anymore either. We are just friends. Friends that hopefully can talk about every and anything one day.

Hold my hand Shauna, let's take a step back, everyone thinks you are fabulous, including John. And this is why he doesn't play by the normal rules of courtship. You thought you understood but you should have a better understanding now that I have introduced you to the others.

John is not a bad guy...he is just a John...oops I mean a man. (sorry John it was just too easy...chuckle) But seriously, John has his own wants and needs that I can't really speak for but I am sure they are valid.

Accept John for who he is...if he is hesitant to give you what you ask for or need and can't articulate why (as you mentioned in Pt. 1)...continue to make decisions on my your own accord (i.e that divorce) and continue to move at your own speed, as will John.

You got to respect the heart, much luv until next week...peace :)