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Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Quick Hits

  • Rusty Pipe Up Yours Award - I haven't given out one of these for a while, but this one goes out to Comcast Cable. Thanks to these rocket scientists I am just now getting back my Internet service, which has basically been out since Thursday afternoon. Dueling technicians came out to my house in the interim, each giving different assessments and each blaming the other for not fixing the problem. They should have been playing dueling banjos. It would have been more entertaining.
  • I just took the subconscious racial preferences test as part of Harvard's Project Implicit. The test said that subconsciously I believe white people are better than black people. I say the test is on crack. I love myself, but as part of my personal equal opportunity policy I hate everyone else. Just kidding...or am I? Ha ha ha ha ha! Still wondering, aren't you?
  • An indication that you might not be able to afford your luxury car? The pizza delivery sign on its roof. I wish that was a Jeff Foxworthy-esque joke, but the missus and I were walking our dog here in the land of fronters and headlights approached, moving slowly. As they got closer we saw that the interior dome light was also on. As the vehicle got a little closer we saw a Pizza Hut sign strapped onto the roof. And a little closer we realized the vehicle was a new(er) Lexus SUV. And no, it wasn't a teenager driving his dad's car. This dude looked to be 40ish himself. If you have to deliver fastfood to pay for your luxury car, trade that thing down for a Honda. It'll last just as long and cost 75% less.
  • I am sooooo fashionable - During a little shopping excursion earlier Mrs. B wanted to stop in J. Crew (I've always hated that name. It tries too hard) for a couple of things. While she grabbed 'em, I browsed the guy stuff and to my surprise on their necktie table was a new selection of square bottomed knit ties, like those really popular in the late '80s. I never got rid of mine from middle and high school. Seriously, from critical mom, to critical buddies, to girlfriend to critical girlfriend, and finally my wife, I have refused over the years to get rid of my knits. Now they're back. I knew it. I'm cooler than the other side of the pillow.
  • In case you were wondering, ever since I called out my cornhole neighbor from down the block who let his rat terrier poop on the swale in front of my house and didn't pick it up, there has not been one dropping on my grass. Coincidence? I think not.

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  • I remember those ties... I'm not sure if it's a good thing they have come back though. Haha...

    By Blogger Erica AP, at 1:35 AM  

  • Re: Duelin' Banjos, yeah, service technicians can get me squealin' like a pig.

    Re: Pizza Hut Lexus, I'm guessing the guy was recently divorced, and all he got from the settlement was that damned SUV.

    Re: J Crew, great! It's only a matter of time before my platform shoes make a comeback. Better get out the Kiwi polish.

    Re: Rat Poop, has the grass been any greener at your OTHER neighbors' houses?

    By Blogger The Sarcasticynic, at 9:01 AM  

  • 1. Comcast is ALWAYS on at work but not so reliable at home, I find.

    2. The test showed I, too, preferred whites and I do think the test is on crack. The test does not take into account all of the beautiful nappy-headed, ahem, young ladies around here.

    But to be fair, you did choose to marry a white person, right?

    3. I am always chagrined to see pizza drivers w/ their new Mercedes and Lexus sedans.

    4. I'm waiting for rugby shirts to come back into style.

    5. I have kept my stereo down after the old man next door called the police.

    By Blogger Matt, at 9:17 AM  

  • Just say No! to square bottom knit ties! I'm begging you. : )

    By Blogger Angie, at 9:25 AM  

  • I bet the Lexus/pizza guy was the owner of the franchise and the rest of his drivers were already out on deliveries.

    Yea, I'm such a ray of postive thinking, I make myself sick.


    By Blogger SWF41, at 10:29 AM  

  • At least those techs were blaming each other instead of YOU. Normally they just accuse the customer of doing something to mess everything up.

    That pizza guy is spending more on gas than he is making. What a moron.

    By Blogger Jay, at 10:35 AM  

  • Yes, the pizza delivery guy in a Lexus does sound pretty Foxworthy-ish. Wow, I guess the end of the dot com boom really was hard on some people...

    By Blogger Michael C, at 10:40 AM  

  • Erica, as soon as I get the two thumbs up, I'm gonna start pegging my pants cuffs too. That goes hand-in-hand with the knit ties.

    Sarc, I hadn't considered the divorce settlement angle for the pizza guy. And now that you mention it, my grass was a little greener on that swale. But I'll take a little brown grass in exchange for not having other "brown" stuff left on my lawn.

    Matt, what did I tell you about yelling nappy in a crowded theater? And I didn't choose to marry a white woman. I chose to marry a woman I loved - not to get cheesy or anything. But there is a distinction in how I see it and how you see it. By your framing of the subject, my objective was to specifically marry a white woman. But that's not true. My objective was to marry a woman who was: hot, good-hearted, intelligent, funny, not a nag (most of the time...just kidding), ambitious, just a little old-fashioned, not a doormat, and gainfully employed - not necessarily in that order. If in the end the woman who had those qualities happened to be white, I was going to roll with it. If she had been black or Latina or Asian, I would have rolled with it too. Besides, like my uncle Wimpy says, when the lights are out we're all black.

    Angie, I ain't making any promises. I might bring back my flat-top box haircut too.

    Sorry, SWF41, you're too kind. This is South Florida. I'm guessing the pizza guy was someone who spends Wednesday nights at whatever bars host ladies night and talks about his car and how he's in the "shipping industry," sort of like my janitor buddy who introduces himself as a sanitation engineer.

    Jay, they tried blaming me. But then they realized I know their lingo and I know how the equipment is supposed to work.

    Michael C., that guy was probably a former VP at Microsoft or something.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 11:50 AM  

  • But what about other ethnicities, James? Please post a graph that plots how your subconscious feels about various other groups of people. We want to know where we stand with you.

    By Blogger mist1, at 2:07 PM  

  • I'm with Mist. I would like to see the James Burnett continuum of ethnic superiority.

    Rendered in a multi-colored chart and presented using a laser pointer of course.

    By Blogger Queen of Dysfunction, at 2:42 PM  

  • Gauchos are back as well but --so not cool

    By Blogger Turnbaby, at 2:57 PM  

  • Now James, don't be a scrub. Make sure there are no subtle design changes in these new ties you speak of. It wold be a shame for you to wear your old ties and it be obvious that these are from the 80s.

    To your earlier commentors, I thought platform shoes had come and gone already. And rugby shirts would be very cool.

    No, to the flat-top fade.

    By Blogger katrice, at 3:11 PM  

  • I'm thinking that guy in the Lexus must have been delivering more than pizza....

    pizza and coke, I think.. hmmm

    By Blogger Pamela, at 9:20 PM  

  • Not all comebacks are good. I heard your Uncle Wimpy's saying a little differently, by the way. Mine goes, "All cats are gray in the dark." Same idea, I guess.

    By Blogger Betty, at 9:48 PM  

  • I hope you rock those ties with some Vans or some Chuck Ts. Super hot. This fashionista approves!

    By Blogger Melissa, at 10:48 PM  

  • Let's see James model one of them ties!

    By Blogger Manola Blablablanik, at 11:19 PM  

  • For a sociology class a few years back, I took a subconscious racial preferences test. And I'll be honest - I was pretty freaking scared that I would turn out to have some deep-seated subconscious attitudes that would come out despite my "love everyone" attitude. I mean, in all of my African American courses (we are required to take several to graduate) I'm constantly told how much I, as a white person, am racist no matter what and actually do feel superior (kind of like how I know guys must feel guilty in women's studies courses). I am happy to report that the test confirmed I am not racist. Wheee!

    Also, when you referred to your neighbor as a "cornhole," I was seriously confused for a moment there. Where I'm from, cornhole is a bean bag tossing game. So I was thinking "wait... does James have a neighbor he plays that delightful game with, known simply as 'cornhole neighbor?'"

    By Blogger hyacinths and biscuits, at 11:30 PM  

  • dude! these were so hilarious that i had to read it out loud to anyone who would listen. ;p

    BWAHAHAHAHAA@ the guy in the lexus!!! hahaha! nice.

    and you think comcast is bad? we have cox cable here. they've earned the double meaning.

    By Blogger Yas, at 10:18 AM  

  • I always enjoy the lexus caddilac bmw thing. I wonder how many of those people understand their expensive luxury cars are destined to be mill rides.
    Damn, that's worthy of a post of it's own.

    On your own with the ties. I stopped wearing 'em except at gunpoint a long time ago.

    Love had better damned well be colorblind, or it ain't love.

    By Anonymous og, at 10:33 AM  

  • JB,

    You might want to brace yourself for the fact that the test was right about you. You lean to the white.

    Why? Because a large part of the way Black people define themselves is in being the antithesis of white people. When you don't completely abhor white culture or define yourself by your opposition to it, you are being an Oreo by Black cultural definitions. I'm not saying I agree with Black cultural definitions, I'm only saying that's the way it is. (For instance, my usage of proper grammar, spelling, inflection and tone in crafting this response means that I am a white lover, too. In fact, just reading your blog online puts too much cream in my coffee for many Black people since it involves doing things that white people also do).

    Identifying as Black in America necessarily implies a rejection of White American culture. When you don't completely reject white culture, you will never be considered truly Black by those cultural archivists whom Black people look to for guidance on being Black. That's why Bill Cosby got lit up for taking the white man's side and criticizing the speech of Black people. From a Black cultural perspective, if he was truly Black he wouldn't care what white people thought.

    You know this to be true. Believe it and embrace your inner whiteness. It has kept you in a decent job, in a satisfying relationship, and out of jail for quite some time. That spells success in the white man's book any day of the week.

    On the fashion tip--leave the square ties and the Kid 'n' Played Out hairstyle in the closet. Part of being a grown-up means your style doesn't change--everyone else's style slowly comform's to yours.

    Good job with the neighbor's dog dookey and pary to the stars you don't get ripped of by a friend of one the many Comcast guys you had scoping out your crib under the guise of "repairing the internet connection".

    By Anonymous Big Daddy, at 11:45 AM  

  • Platform shoes came back (and left again) for men? Oh, well. Doesn't matter. I'm long over my height issues.

    By Blogger The Sarcasticynic, at 4:32 PM  

  • Mist1, my life is a Benneton commercial. I wake up every morning and sing Kumbaya.

    Queen, I wake up and sing Kumbaya twice every morning. And then I kiss my wife, hug my dog, kick my cat, and take a symbolic bite of an ebony and ivory cookie.

    Turnbaby, ha ha ha ha ha! This made me laugh out loud. My sister used to wear gauchos and coulottes. We used to tease her for dressing like a rodeo hand. Thanks for the memory. I'm gonna call her and remind her.

    Katrice, no chance of scrubdom. I'm no fashion model, but I do alright in the style department - for a print reporter, anyway. There's a reason we write and don't show our faces on TV. I promise I won't do the flat top. But I'm not promising anything with the ties.

    Pamela, I never even considered the drug dealer angle. Anywhere else in this country I'd think it was absurd. Here in South Florida though? Entirely possible.

    Betty, I never heard the gray cat saying. I may have to borrow that, with your permission, of course.

    Melissa, I'm looking for a pair of black or navy high top Chucks. If I wear 'em with a square necktie I'll post a picture.

    MB, maybe I'll post a couple of pics anyway. You guys can tell me whether or not to leave the ties in the vault or help J. Crew bring 'em back.

    H&B, I almost spit out my Sprite just now. Funny. I can assure you I'm not playing cornhole with my neighbor. And if that was my bag I wouldn't play it with this neighbor.

    Yas, we had Cox Cable back home in Virginia. I swear, even though the name always made me chuckle, I think their service was better than Comcast.

    Og, I keep telling myself that if I'm ever blessed to become independently wealthy I'm gonna just buy a regular old car to drive, just like the one I'm driving now. But I know I'm lying to myself. Just once I'll buy a really nice car and get it out of my system. But I won't be an idiot about it. It will still only cost five figures. And thanks for the colorblind love affirmation. That's how I've always seen it.

    BD, this is getting scary. This is like the third or fourth comment in a row you've left that didn't piss me off. I hear what you're saying. I understand it. Not sure I agree with it. I'm just being me. I think the folks who criticized Cosby are dillusional and either afraid of what handling their business might do for them or brainwashed into believing better speech and upstanding behavior means selling out. I've never really thought about talking/acting/thinking this or that way translated to white culture. I was just following the lead my pops started for me and just being me. Don't worry. I get the sarcasm. And I know there are folks who see it that way. But 40 years from now while they're still struggling to "keep it real" I'll be retired, sitting on my porch overlooking the beach, and looking back with pleasure on the life I led.

    Sarc, height's not all it's cracked up to be. Besides, they still make those heel lifts ;-)

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 4:51 PM  

  • The test illustrates that our culture and media still influence the things we are socialized to think. That stuff starts in infancy. Doesn't mean much about how you feel as an adult, or how you'd act on your feelings. We are all subconsciously influenced to feel and do a lot of things, and it's a process that continues throughout our lives.

    By Blogger Fathairybastard, at 5:45 PM  

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