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Some 2012 into 2013 ANT's (Annoyed Negro Thoughts):

Thank You Note:
Last summer I gave gifts and/or money to two recently married couples, one college graduate, and a girl/woman on her Bat Mitzvah. Now, I'm not rich, and it wasn't much money. I think each situation got 50 bucks - that's enough for a decent local Thai dinner out, right? And I'm not Heloise either. But I got a thank you card from one.

The Bat Mitzvah girl. The 13 year old had the graces missing in those twice her age. I wasn't even really looking for a card. Just an e-mail:

"Thanks Uncle Vance, you have no Idea how much bummwad this'll buy"


"You're keeping us in Marlboros for like a week, VG - much appreciated (cough)".


Look, I'm old enough now, so now I get to sound like my late, Mommy Dearest, Dragon Lady of a Godmother, bless her heart, with "What's with you young peoples today?"

When a knowledgeable talking head is speaking about what they know on the Sunday Morning talk shows, or NPR, or wherever, and the start their opine with the word "Look…" I am immediately offended. It's as if they are just fed up with explanation and owe you zip, nothing, really, patooie, have a nice day. Why don't they just finish it with "fool" or "suckah" or "beyatch"? Look, I'm not asking for the world. Just a little respect. And a thank you card.

Mixed Message:
I saw 2 signs in reasonably rapid succession on I-78 while driving to my buddy Tom's house, heading towards Allentown. First one said, all flashing and stuff: "Don't Text and Drive!!". The second one said, "Learn more about I-78 construction. Follow us on Twitter."

Open Comments After Yahoo News Stories:
Look, I'm not even going to quote any here. It's too mind bogglingly easy to tirade. Dear Yahoo Editorial People: Please stop making them accessible. Or readable. Or just make it so that I can't see them or respond. Why should I have a say in the aftermath of news? The plethora of people that post things that sound like that old Chris Farley routine on SNL when he'd interview someone famous:

"Like that thing, that, like happened and like people died and stuff, right? Well, I hate that..."

In the meantime, I believe I'm becoming a troll - correcting people's spelling, using "arse" and "shite" when swearing, like I'm the Bard or something - and honestly, just a week or so ago, I called someone a "stinky-pants, kaka-faced poopie". I'm bigger than that. Usually.

Playing The Race Card:
Look here, Yahoo Comment People, activist, Tea Party people having even the most open and kind arguments about race, and folks presenting their side in court - even saying "the race card" is, well, pretty racist. Playing the Race Card...Like it's some sort of game? Claim Blackness as trump to garner an advantage over some situation or another? Like my aunt Hilda used to say, "Hell, fool, you still Black"...

Lemme ax you somethin'. Do you think you might have anything, anything at all to learn by looking at a situation or a system through the jaded, experienced, and yes, maybe even dishonest or disingenuous eyes of someone of another race? Maybe how'd they get to the point that they played the….you know…in the first place? Race card, thank you card. Whatever.

Look, I'm about to group a group of people and judge them. Just like a racist. Just like a xenophobe. And I'm not proud. But here goes:

Is it really that tough out there in the building industry? It must be. Maybe it's just a sect of builders that do what has happened again in my backyard. An older couple, looking to relocate to the Cape, decided that their preservationist talk of a decade ago, all the "We'd never sell that parcel in the back...all the trees, birds, and such that live there?...never...", was just that - talk, and they sold just enough land, on a tree-filled, hilly, rocky outcropping yet, to, I suppose, the highest bidder. They ignored all offers from folks in the neighborhood to purchase the piece, reasonable offers too. They aren't poor. But they sold the piece to a builder whose tactic was to promise to not remove a 100 year old tree, then, in the course of a day, cut it, grind it, remove the stump, and fill the hole as if nothing ever happened. It was so the paper street could be straight rather than jog 3 to 4 feet in a gentle jughandle around this oxygen exchanging monolith, older than his granny who would have probably have , "Look, even *I* see that you don't have to take that tree down, you lazy little stinky pants poop face..." And there are those that are complicit...ohhh there are. One neighbor, I'll call them Complicit Christians, said last time this happened and said to me again, "Oh well. What's done is done. You have your health. We can plant another. It's just a tree. Maybe he won't do much else. Let go, let God." Remind me to think twice about their church and its apparently laissez faire theology. Don't bother rolling back that rock. Nope, ain't nothin' back there. Remove "it's just a tree" and it could be echo speech from neighbors watching Kristallnacht or August 31st, 1939 over-the-fence talk in some Polish backyard.

So he's also promised not to widen the road. He can do so legally, as "improvement" to the property that actually lays 50 yards further down the way. It would however entail gouging up 50 years plus of growth, 10 of that plantings we put in as part of caring for our "property" - you know that part of your property that goes right to the road? You can't build on it, but you sure have to care for it...that part?

I don't mean to insult or hurt all the builders that might read this, but my heart pumps piss for the lot of your ilk that swoop in like rabid buzzard-weasle vermin when they hear of any and every piece of urban land that might have 100.1 feet of legal "frontage". "Look, I hate cutting down trees...every time a chainsaw starts back here, it's costing me money", the builder said to me a month ago. I should have been wary of his truths with the very word with which he started that sentence.


Sandy Hook, Newtowne, CT
We know you need some peace and quiet right about now. You're kinda done with all of us sending you Teddy Bears, toys, letters, clothing. Your post office is choking on it all.

Please forgive us.

We're the over the top aunt that can't keep from blubbering all over anyone at the wedding. We're the mom with that tissue that smells like Chanel and Vicks Cough Drops, licking the end and eternally coming at your 5 year old face to wipe away something on your cheek.

We're the drunk best friend that has said "I love you, dude..." 17 times, as you drive home form the after-prom beach party.

We mean well, and while you don't want to ever forget, and you will need more time than most will ever know to heal and maybe even forgive, you need a break.

Look (oops) I'm gonna make a suggestion. Maybe you can put together some ad-hoc committee to "re-gift" all the toys and bears and such to other needy kids - maybe getting it all off to some group that is helping the folks affected by Hurricane Sandy. Maybe you could call it "Sandy Helps Sandy", or something like that. Go ahead, you can use that. Sure, You're welcome.

We can be a little clumsy, but we just haven't stopped thinking of you, OK?

The Rest Of This Loving World