To Be a Coed Again

The third generation of Burri (fourth if you count my cousin Christina) at Mizzou officially began this week when my parents moved my youngest sister, Mary, to campus. It seems like just yesterday the fam was moving my overly-anxious ass to Columbia. 10 years later (damn!), I recently found myself talking with Mare for a good while; her exuding such excitement about all the opportunities soon to come her way. I mean, I’m pretty impressed that one of her initial goals is to get involved with the Women’s Center.

During our convo, I found myself using such clichés as “Be yourself.” and “College is the best four years of your life”, the latter ringing so true that I extended my academic experience to eight years. Moreover, both not only aptly describe one’s college years,  but also go so veritably hand in hand when it comes to the overall college experience. I’m glad my middle (i.e. white) sister, Elizabeth, and I can look back on our own experiences and offer such sage advice to Mare.

Oh, to be a coed again. My best friend, Jules, and I were discussing this the other day and we both decided that we’d relive–as opposed to redo–the college experience again in a heartbeat. I’ll most definitely be living through Mare’s next four-plus (I mean, she is a Burrus, after all) years at what I, as a self-professed colleges geek, can definitively say is one of the most amazing schools in the country.

I also can’t go without sharing the priceless sign below that Mare came across during her first day on campus. Welcome to Mizzou, right?!? For clarification’s sake, it doesn’t have anything to do with race but instead refers to the architecture of Mizzou’s two sides of campus: White Campus and Red Campus.

I’m not sure who gave this sign the go-ahead, but perhaps a little more prudence could have been exercised here. Nevertheless, it was definitely good for a laugh!

Back Home with the Burri

I returned home to lovely Roodhouse, Ill., this past weekend for my youngest sister Mary’s graduation. My sister Annie also came home from Anchorage, making it the first time all of us Burri were back under the same roof since Christmas.

The fam also kept the fact that Annie and I would be back in town a secret from Mare the last few months. Given how close our family is and that even the most inconsequential of news spreads like wildfire in our town of 2,300, keeping this a secret was a major feat.

As was our hope, Mare was hella surprised when she came home to find me at the house on Thursday night and was equally as shocked the following morning when Annie barged into her room to find her recently awoken and barely coherent (and barely dressed).

We got a lot accomplished over the four days I was home, as evidenced in the slide show below. I enjoyed some local Mexican fare with my mom and grandma (tough to beat Tex-Mex in the heart of Central Illinois), got in a couple walks with Babe (my black lab), had a legit family photo sesh (you know I’ll be blogging the hell outta those pics when we get them back), heard a sweet Sermon by a visiting African-born priest at Mass and even got to see the Cards lose in person! The highlight, however, was obviously watching Mare walk across the stage after winning a scholarship for a paper she wrote on domestic violence towards today’s youth. We hosted a party at our house after the ceremony, and I had the chance to see a lot of my relatives, including my cousin Christina who I haven’t seen in forever (a year-and-a-half is far too long!).

As it is so apt to do, my time at home flew by and before I knew it I was back at the airport awaiting my return flight to Richmond. I took some solid time during my two flights to think about those four days and how much I miss being home with my parents, sisters, grandma and our eight pets (I refuse to figure the three stray cats my mom and Mare have collected into this mix).

As my mom mentioned multiple times over the course of the long weekend, she really misses having “all of her chickens back in the roost”. I echo these sentiments, but have also come to realize that we’re all never all that far away thanks to cell phones, email, Skype and yes, even Draw Something. If you don’t have the latter, download it!

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I Think Jimmy Kimmel’s on to Something Here

My coworker introduced me to this gem of a vid a couple months back, and I’m obviously on BPT posting it. I was reminded of it this weekend while at home with my mom, who like any middle-aged white woman loves her some Oprah (I think it’s genetic – kind of like Black folks and BPT) and has been raving about her network the last couple of days. (Apparently I need to watch “Welcome to Sweetie Pies”.)

I go back and forth about both Jimmy Kimmel (sometimes too much of a “brah” and clearly the lesser of the late-night Jimmys) and Oprah (sometimes just too much), but here they join forces to provide a sure-fire laugh. I especially enjoyed the “Oprah After Dark” (loved her absurd tub scream) and “Oprah Fight Club” sketches. The latter sounds MUCH more appealing than her actual book club.

Given OWN’s lousy ratings, maybe Jimmy’s on to something here. And let’s be honest, Oprah — No way the Dalai Lama act is a joke.

(The Spot On) Shit White Girls Say to Black Girls

Franchesca Ramsey’s “Shit White Girls Say to Black Girls” serves as a perfect follow-up to the “Shit Girls Say” video that went viral at the end of 2011 (see my Dec. 15 post). Her video, which she created after viewing “Shit Girls Say” and others like it, fits right in with the vids in its genre based on both its comic genius and accuracy.

Here, versus wholesale generalizations about women as in “Shit Girls Say”, her video depicts how White girls perpetuate stereotypes of their Black counterparts.

There are many White girls out there who are apt to use the expressions, mannerisms and such so often associated with Black girls. We all know at least one of these guilty gals. In fact, I’m sure a culpable friend or family member just materialized in your mind.

In my case, there are too many to count.

I’ll admit that White girls sometimes “act Black” (an ignorant phrase my sisters and I absolutely detest – much like “ghetto”) subconsciously given that doing so has become so engrained in our culture. And while I would suggest more often than not they’re fully aware of what they’re doing, I’d also argue their comments are mostly innocuous.

In certain cases it can actually be quite entertaining. I mean, as evidenced by this sample of spot-on lines from the video, what part of a White girl trying to identify with the Black culture isn’t amusing, right?

  • “Not to sound racist, but…”
  • “My best friend was Black. I mean, she’s still Black. And we’re not really friends anymore.”
  • “Oh my God, I’m practically Black!”
  • “He’s so cute for a Black guy, right?”
  • “Hollerrrrr!”
  • “I think what I like the most about them is that they’re not, like, stereotypical Black people.”

The point of this post, though, was not to climb atop my soapbox or rag on my White “sistas”, who make up the majority of my friends and fam and who I love very much.

I simply wanted to share this video so you too can enjoy how very perfectly it plays on this cultural phenomenon.

My Ass Is Officially Famous

My sister, Elizabeth, texted me this photo from a brochure our younger sister, Mary, received in the mail from Mizzou (where she’ll be attending college next fall). After enlarging the photo on my phone, my eyes were immediately drawn to my own ass…

Yes, the second picture from the left is indeed of me – or my ass, rather. Mizzou must have kept this photo of me participating in a “high ropes” session as an undergrad. I’m always more than willing to represent the university, even if it’s my ass doing the job.

And I’m not sure if it’s just the angle, but my ass looks pretty good here. I mean, I suppose that’s only fair if it’s going to viewed by thousands of potential students and their families.

So, thank you, Mizzou. I’m one proud alum. And perhaps one day I can actually represent you on the basis of my personal or professional successes. That way, I can reference this brochure and the fact that my ass alone is no longer famous.

Those who know me know I’m not joking in the slightest.

The First Annual VAG Talent Show

In addition to mass amounts of long overdue quality time with the Burri, one of the highlights of my holiday breaks is always going up to visit my best friend, Jules, and her family for a few days in the bustling metropolis of Unincorporated Des Plaines, Ill. (i.e. the Chicago burbs). After living with her fam one summer while interning in the Chi, this fun loving and quirky bunch has become the equivalent of a second fam to me.

This year, Jules and I deemed it prudent to have a talent show. I must admit that I was joking when I first proposed the idea in early December; but the more we talked about it, the more of a reality (and farcical notion) it became. So we ran with it.

Below are a few video samples of acts performed during the appropriately named “2011 Vadnal Arts Group (VAG) Talent Show”. I must say the first annual event was a smashing success, what with Jules rocking Adele’s “Rolling In the Deep”, Di doing a sweet self-created “Harry Potter” rap mix and me getting in on the action with Jerri Blank’s absurd “Packing a Musket” poem.

Enjoy the vids, ladies and gentlemen. I’m already tossing around ideas for next year’s second annual VAG show. Suggestions are, of course, also welcome.

The Burri Rock the Kitchen Stage

Every time I come home, it never fails that my sister, Mary, will put on some kind of hysterical impromptu song-and-dance performance that I’ll then capture on my iPhone to show friends and family (and for future blackmailing purposes, of course). Her best-ever performance was one of her earliest – “Cell Block Tango” a few years back – but she never fails to impress.

I’ve shown this video and others to a number of my friends, several of whom have come to expect new videos after each visit home. This holiday break didn’t disappoint as Mary stepped back in front of the camera (phone) and brought my mom and sister into the mix to the tune of Aerosmith and Jethro Tull. (My apologies for the awkward camera angle of “Janie’s Got A Gun”.)

I suppose these videos have become our home videos of sorts, which is fitting because it pretty much sums up our family dynamic when we Burri are back under the same roof. Enjoy!