Well, just got back from NABJ Convention. Not just I suppose, but I still feel it all the way into my joints. Because, yanno, I’m not in my 20s anymore. I feel I got hit by a truck. One helluva interesting truck, I must say. But a truck. A big, why-are-my-calves-so-tight truck.
Anyway, I figure I’ll enumerate this because, quite honestly, I’m too tired for paragraphs. I wrote 2,000 words for The Monday Morning Jones.
1. I love New Orleans, warts and all. No city hits you in the face with its essence like N.O. The food is boss everywhere. And I say this as someone who had his second and third drinks of 2012 over the weekend. It’s just got that it, which leads to…
2. My man Chris Craft — who, with Lance Gilliam, handles all my digital stuff and keeps this site updated with content — figured out something that had sorta confounded us both. We’re both from Houston, and he made a fascinating point on why it seems cats from Houston and New Orleans tend not to get along. “Houston don’t like different,” he said. And he’s right. Our hometown almost enforces conformity. New Orleans…well, not much of anything is being enforced.
3. You ever leave an exit door open so someone could get in and not ask any questions about it? Nope, me neither.
4. I never walk more than I do when I’m at convention. Manlissen…all this walkin’ is hurtin’ my feet. I had to stop and stretch on the street when I was waiting on someone. I’m telling you…the 20s were where it was at.
5. A couple of years ago, I mentioned in a meeting that the Sports Task Force mentoring breakfast wasn’t really facilitating much mentoring. Well, if I said something then, it’s worth noting that this year’s seemed to have more interaction between grown and young than I recalled seeing ever before. That’s a good look.
6. Part of the reason the breakfast went so well was keynote speaker Stan Verrett, who also appears to be the mayor of New Orleans. Gave a fantastic, relatable talk that was useful for all. And entertaining.
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7. The deputy mayor is Michael Smith, whom I must say I’m glad to have gotten to know over the last couple of years. Great dude. He tries to dress like me, though.
8. I also got to proselytize my 21st century business card philosophy. Which is, I don’t carry ’em, and I don’t really take ’em. Better than shuffling cards is having conversations and getting to know each other. It’s sorta like Bill Russell’s old theory on autographs — he’d turn you down, but offer to have a cup of coffee with you. You tell me which is better.
9. I saw Lil’ Kim’s tour bus Friday night. It had the squat-and-spread photo on the side, and one of those disastrous Barbie-ish pics on the side. If I were 17, I’d think they were a duo.
10. Did a panel on personal branding. Before it started, I told my buddy Marcus Osborne how I was approaching this, since the panel was crowded (four panelists and a moderator). “I’m gonna get up somewhere between 18 and 22 shots. They’ll be good shots, and I’ll give you the look if you’re open. But I think it’s best for us all if I get going. Again, good shots.” Hey man, I’m not much for commandeering stuff like that, but I wasn’t there to look cute. And, in this case, throwing it back up top could get a bit woolly.
11. Watched Game 5 at the Hyatt with a bunch of folks. Anthony Anderson showed up. So I was sitting there, feet up, making pleasant conversation with attractive women, laughing with my homeboys, joking with Ant Anderson. Can’t lie…’twas some real good-life shit. And what did we do next?
12. We played spades. That’s what we did. And here’s where Smith and Vinnie Goodwill signed the paper to acknowledge they were forced to surrender. Mashed those boys out.
13. Went to a NASCAR reception Friday. Was interesting. Contrary to popular belief, NASCAR is seriously invested in diversity. Of note — they have the most to gain from doing so. Whatever works, right? They just about convinced me to come to a race. I’m almost there. It sure does sound like it’ll be loud, though.
14. There was a party at the House of Blues Friday. It was pretty dope.
15. OK, that’s a lie…we’ll be talking about that party for conventions to come.
16. Part of why I’ll talk about it? Lots of my folk showed up. Not kin or folks from home. Folks I’ve met through social media, people who were kind enough to support The Morning Jones, people who proved to truly be friends by how easy and breezy it was when we finally caught up.
The 21st century is a trip, man.
17. I lost my phone on the way to the party. That left me in the 20th century, trying to make plans in a huge club with no cellular telephone. I have no idea how we were playing the game back in the day. Actually, I do, and it’s as someone told me on Twitter: back then, when you were IN, it was time to GO.
18. Was on a really interesting panel on new media with Vince Thomas, A.J. Daulerio, Graham Watson and Don Povia (moderated by Jemele Hill). It went really well and was really interesting. It also involved Vince saying — and eventually backing off from — black people don’t read. Lemme tell ya something…it’s not everyday you see that “whoa, so what are we supposed to do now?” face on a couple of white guys’ faces in such a setting. Yeah, we weren’t exactly sure what to do, either. ‘Twas discussed and acknowledged as an oversimplification…but, yeah. That’s a helluva way to spend a Saturday morning.
19. Not a lot more fun people to spend a weekend with than Chris, Vinnie, and my man Dudley Jennings. And we got a lot of work done and plotted on getting this money. On top of that, Vinnie hipped us to the informal institutional differences between the relationships between cops and gangs in Chicago and Detroit. Seriously, deep.
20. Thank goodness for Air Jordans, which make any t-shirt or polo and pants formal enough for any NABJ event that doesn’t require a suit. The horsie on the shirt helps, too.
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21. On the branding panel, Benet Wilson told me her six year-old daughter is my biggest fan. I’m so glad, because otherwise, I’d hate to think they make that baby girl watch us on TV when there must be some sort of cartoon on.
22. Posted up with Anthony Anderson and showed him an episode of “Bomani & Jones.” He thought it was funny. The brag is humble indeed. Hopefully, we’ll find a way to get some work together.
23. Don’t ever try to convince yourself to sneak in an hour of sleep before you leave for your flight. You will fail. You will miss your flight. You will have to pay $300 fucking dollars to change your flight. And you will still have to write your column for the morning. And your next video episode will be late. BUT, you will just roll back over and get a full night’s sleep, when the next flight wasn’t until 2. It’s about the good with the bad, man.
24. So a dude was getting out of an elevator, heard my voice and said, “is that Bomani?” I said, “aww shit.” He said, “you better get used to it.” But see, when I had to go back to the House of Blues because I left my card behind the bar and the guy at the door says, “aren’t you the guy from ESPN?” I sure did say “yessir!” in a fashion indicating that I appreciate the recognition, for that may improve the likelihood my card is found. It’s about the good with the bad, man.
25. Orlando next year? Yeah, I’ll be there.