We all have them. All of us. You, too. Sure, some are more socially acceptable than others. But don’t judge someone for succumbing to their vice(s) without first examining how susceptible you are to yours. Our weaknesses don’t mean we can’t still be good people. With good hearts. Who have people who love and depend upon us. Our vices don’t negate our talent. Or the impact our lives have had on the world. In fact many times, they’re what fueled it. You may not think your vices have the potential to take you down. But they do. All of them. Yours, too.

Remember that when you think about how you want to be remembered.

“Let’s stop the bullshittin’/Til we all without sin let’s quit the pulpittin'” — Jay-Z

F the Police indeed…

So last nite I had to drive from DC to Orange County, New York to do a show at SUNY Orange. About 10 miles out from the hotel I got an e-mail that I needed to read. So I pulled over to the side of the road like Oprah told me to. I put my hazards on because it was a dark stretch but there were lots of trucks out so I wanted to make sure anyone who might need to pull off the highway could see me sitting there.

As I was reading a car pulled up behind me. Turns out it was a state trooper patrol car. But they never put on their red and blues, and they just started shining the flood light on me so I couldn’t see who/what they were. So being a single woman on a deserted highway and there being nothing to indicate they were police, I shifted the car into drive and get ready to pull off. I didn’t know if it was a trucker coming to kill me or what. But as I start to try to pull away, I hear someone banging on my passenger side door and I floor it. Still can’t see its a cop cuz I’m blinded and they haven’t said anything (don’t they have speakers in those cars?). But then the one in the car moved the flood light and I can now see there’s a cop standing outside my passenger side window with his gun drawn. He yells for me to roll down the window and then yells, “What are you doing? You could have run me over!” And I said, “Well I couldn’t see you because of the light and I’m by myself…” Showed him I was just reading an email while NOT driving — per the law. But the reality is: to him it looked like I was fleeing. To me it felt like I was being attacked… It could have all ended terribly. I know someone who lost their life to a cop in this very same way 10 years ago. Exhale.

When I got to my hotel I called the NY State police to complain. I watch enough TV to know that there had to be a lapse in protocol here. I mean, no lights… no identifying themselves as cops before they approached the car… The officer I spoke with on the phone gave me a lot of party line crap about how the officers are worried about their safety too and how their job is to assists motorists in trouble… Fine. I get all that. But they did nothing that would indicate they were law enforcement officers. She ASSURED me that I just didn’t see their siren lights. And I ASSURED HER BACK that she wasn’t f–ing there and that those lights were the first thing I looked for. Why would I want to unnecessarily be scared out of my mind?

Bottom line is this could all have been avoided if they had on their red and blues… I am beyond thankful it played out the way it did. But I do feel as if I’ve become a member of a new club — the “F” the police club. Like far too many people I know, I now know what if feels like to be looking at the ‘business end’ of a policeman’s gun. I was way too young to identify with this song when this song came out, but now I kinda do:

Pardon the language… but surprisingly there’s no radio edit available for “F*** Tha Police.”

Moving on… In honor of my new member status I was thinking maybe I should bring back my Jheri Curl…

Or at least buy some 40’s and learn how to play dominoes.

Have any of you ever had any really bad/scary encounters with the police? Exhale.


So… I went to IHOP this morning (something I NEVER do because just the smell of syrup makes me ill) because I’ve been craving their steak omelette for the past few days. I’ve only ever had it once. But I really #WantedIt.

When I walked in the hostess asked me if it was my first time dining with them? Huh? This is still IHOP, right? I mean I appreciate the customer service and professionalism but… But…

I digress. I asked to be seated in a booth — there were four booths on the wall with the window. I was escorted to the second booth from the door. There was a gentleman behind me, and another one 2 booths ahead of me. So per international self-diner rules I sat and faced the same direction as them. So we don’t have to stare each other in the face as we’re eating. Well… the next lady that was seated (alone) decided that she wanted to face me. Yay! She then took out her cell phone, put it on speaker, laid it on the table and proceeded to have a very loud conversation while she ate. Double Yay!!!

Annoying as that was — especially because she was not a fan of chewing and swallowing before talking — that is not the purpose of this blog. The purpose of this blog is to discuss what happened when I was done eating and the server brought my check. OK… so she brings me my check literally 5 minutes after bringing my meal. Fine. Just leave it. But she stood over me like I was gonna put down my knife and fork and dig out my money right then. Renee, there are 4 other people in this IHOP… Why are you stressing me? “You can just leave it,” I said and gave her the big eyes with eyebrows raised. She did that. And I continued to eat my omelette and read my fantastic book (The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao).

When I actually was done and she stopped back by to drop off my credit card receipt, she hovered again. Waiting for me to sign and write in the tip. I thought that was weird. I mean, can you back up off me, Renee? First, I’m gonna have to figure out this with my fingers and/or do a little scratch math on the back of the receipt. That’s very stressful, and a bit embarrassing for a grown ass woman such as myself. Second, you not finna stand over me and inTIPidate me.

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Making the Band
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“Really, Renee you just gonna stand there and breathe down my neck while I’m trying to do this math? Is that hot? Is that what’s going on in the streets?”

Cause contrary to what you might believe, that’s just going to result in further ‘big eyes’ and a near-invisible tip. Cause see, the thing is, I’m a very good tipper. I respect people in the service industry. I know what it’s like to hustle for next to nothing… But Renee, you’re trying me. How bout this: I would like a bag please for my leftovers. Why don’t you handle that while I handle this?

Please and thank you.

He who cometh in first-eth…

I recently weighed in on the following Facebook post:

It was clear to me that the poster shared my opinion on this issue and I left a comment that sparked quite the discussion. Check out the clip below and I’ll see you on the other side:

Now, of course I took a bit of creative license there. But basically, this bit sums up my point of view on the subject. I don’t have any children yet. But I played sports all thru school and coached youth sports for several years and I believe that the current prevailing attitudes in many youth sports leagues (both teams get trophys/everyone’s a winner) do a disservice to young athletes. In my opinion, team sports should first and foremost be fun for kids. But beyond that, athletics should teach them how to function within the team dynamic, develop leadership skills, celebrate victories and learn to work through and rebound from defeat.

Well, several people on the thread cheered me on, while a couple really wanted to… ahem… let me know how they felt about how I felt. One said that the “winning is everything” attitude is what causes some people to shoot steroids and do unhealthy things to get ahead, and that anyone who subscribed to that belief shouldn’t work near organized youth sports… I agree of course that extreme pressure to win can be detrimental to athletes — especially young ones. But there’s a difference between “winning is everything” and “losing exists.” By no means do I believe that kids should be punished or made to feel badly for losing in athletic competition. But I also think we do them a disservice when we have competitions where scores aren’t kept and every team receives a trophy. Whatever… shoot me.

I think parents and coaches should be responsible for making sure that kids don’t equate their athletic performance with their self-worth. But I also think children need to be taught that in life, you’re not always rewarded for just showing up. One poster said that going home with a smaller trophy motivates kids to want the larger one next time. And maybe that’s true. But it used to be that going home with no trophy served the same purpose. Perhaps it’s a matter of at what age it’s appropriate to begin imparting this philosophy. I dunno. But it’s not something I’m likely to change my opinion on.

What do you guys think?

Get yo’ phone out my pocket

OK, so one of my biggest pet peeves is when I see an item of clothing with a non-functional pocket or zipper. I mean, I’ve never understood why that is a desirable design element. Fake pockets that are sewn up, really shallow pockets, pockets so tiny that can’t possibly fit anything in them… I just don’t get it.

So I have decided to start a new photo/series feature called “Useless Pockets” where I photograph clothing with useless pockets that piss me off and share them with all of you (of course by ‘all of you’ I mean my 6 regular readers). Now, in the interest of full disclosure I was 2 or 3 Jack and Gingers in when I decided to undertake this project, and it wasn’t very well thought out. But that’s OK, cause like most new features I start on this blog, it will probably be short lived… Anyway, here is the first installment:

I took this photo of my friend Kacey at a Labor Day BBQ. Now Kacey is a very stylish dude. And I liked the shirt but I gotta say… that’s a pretty ridiculous pocket. What could you possibly put in that pocket? Kacey said that he could put all the numbers he gets from the girls at club in there. And I agreed… I agreed that if it were 1995 he certainly could have done that. But since no one carries pens and paper to write down digits at social outings anymore if he wanted to collect numbers and put them in his pocket, he’d have to put his cell phone in there.

Which is even more ridiculous. This post is stupid. Almost as stupid as that pocket. G’nite y’all.

I smell like salmonella

I smelled like spoiled eggs until 4th grade… Or at least my hair did.

Thanks to my mom and grandmother’s love for Sulfur 8 — the anti-dandruff, conditioning grease that many brown parents swore would make little brown girls’ hair grow. Seriously, if there had been an egg recall when I was in elementary school, officials would have thrown me in the back of the truck with the rest of the “large browns.”

I started thinking about this because a Facebook friend of mine posted about how excited her daughter was to get her hair straighetened for the first day of school. It was gonna be her first time ever having it pressed and she was debating on whether she should take her to a salon or let her mom do it. And my mind immediately flashed back to when I used to get my hair pressed… And then I got angry all over again at my mom for sending me to school smelling like farts. And…


Learning to forgive. I love you anyway, Mommy.