Wednesday, December 30, 2009

What I've Learned (The Best Of The Year)

1. My grandson teaches me everyday how beautiful it is to learn something new and how we take the simple things like talking, walking, holding hands, and trusting someone for granted.

2. My uncle used to tell me, "If you're the smartest one in the group of friends you're with, you need to get new friends." He meant, always associate with people who can teach you something and enrich your life.

3. I talk to God quite often and I'm pretty sure I've given Him some of His best laughs.

4. A woman once told me, "I need a man like a fish needs a bicycle." She's since been married twice! It just goes to show that you can't always take everything somebody says seriously.

5. Live everyday as though it's your last because one day, you'll be right.

6. We want God, who none of us has ever seen, to forgive us... and yet, we can't forgive the people we actually see everyday for some real or imagined slight.

7. You can't influence what other people say or do to you, however, you can control how you respond to what they say or do.

8. Good guys don't always win but, determined and patient guys seldom lose!

9. I was so broke one time, I couldn't afford a Coke. I don't even drink soda anymore but, right now, I could buy a case of Coke if I wanted to. (How ya like me now?)

10. As a child I loved to sit at the end of a movie or a television show and read all of the credits. I had to know who was in it, who directed it, and who produced it. I was (and still am) the same way about music. I got to know all of the musicians, who wrote what song, who produced it, etc. One of my uncles asked me once if I was looking for a relative in the credits.-LOL :)

11. Never get romantically involved with anyone who has more issues than you do!

12. Never make someone else a priority who has chosen to make you an option.

13. Keep your wits about you when everybody else is losing theirs and you'll look like the coolest, most intelligent, and attractive cat in the room! (Even if you really aren't!)

14. If you gotta take a loss, don't lose the lesson. There is always one somewhere in all of that!

15. Prayer really does work!

In loving memory of two bloggers we lost this year... Nikki Harris and MacArthur "Daddy B Strong" Walton. The blogosphere was all the more richer because you two were here.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Second Blog Birthday

I guess because it was Christmas weekend, it just slipped my mind. Saturday, December 26th was the second birthday of this blog. Unlike last year, I don't have anything special to say other than that... I've already explained how this blog and my second one came to be ad nauseum but, I will say that I have a couple of new things planned for the future.

I'm going to try (and I said TRY) to write shorter posts. My posts are going to be more personal (if that is possible) and I'm going to introduce a new recurring post. Past examples of recurring posts have been "What I've Learned", "Saturday Seven", "Keith's Favorite Quotes", "Weekend Update", and "Weekend Humor". I will probably put up a new profile pic (I heard a few of you say, ''It's about time!"-LOL) and do a few other new things for the new year.

Blogging hasn't taken a backseat to Facebook. No, the time away just gave me new ideas for the future so, stay tuned. Thanks, again, to everyone who comments, lurks and has shown me love in the past two years. I would still do this with or without your input...but your input has made it all the more rewarding. Thanks again!

Friday, December 25, 2009

From Our Family To Yours...

Little Sister Sophia & The Booga Wooga

As we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we wanted to share our best wishes and prayers that GOD will continue to bless all of our family and friends. We hope that this will be the best Christmas ever for you and your loved ones. Peace and love to you all!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

My Breakthrough Christmas

I've been thinking about a particular Christmas that left an impression on me for a while now. For most of my life, my mother and father worked all week, paid bills, took care of us, went to church, went back to work on Mondays, and that was their whole life. I didn't see their lives as being that inviting and I often thought that becoming an adult didn't look all that fun to me. I vowed that I was going to do a little living before I went off into that good night.

My parents, God love 'em, beat me to it. Right around the time I finished college and they neared retirement, they started doing bizzare things... at least, bizzare to what my brother and I were used to them doing. First off, they bought a summer home in Pleasentville, NJ. I didn't know they had the dough, but then I figured they never did anything, so they must have been saving all of that money. Next, they sold that home and bought a permanent home in South Jersey, a little closer to Philly.

This one particular year, they really got crazy and went to California for Christmas! That was unheard of... them actually doing something as a couple and leaving me and my brother out of it. My brother, for his part, went to Pittsburg to have Christmas with his then girlfriend and now, wife's family. This was about two years before I met my future wife, which meant that I was the only one in my immediate family that was going to be home alone in Philly.

You would think that it would be party central... an endless stream of women and revelers running in and out of my house, right? Nada. It was Christmas and most people were making plans to be with their families. I called several people and all of them were either out of town or occupied.

The man next door to me, who was close to 80 years old, was getting more action than I was. I saw at least three women come in with wine and a gift and leave laughing... "Oh Oliver, you are too much." After one woman would leave, another one would show up... laughing and grinning. He was laughing, grinning, and looking at me as if to say... "A young man like you and I'm the one with all the traffic?"

Finally, I called up a young lady who I was kinda seeing, but not very serious about. She invited me to come to her home and spend Christmas Eve with her. She didn't live that far from me, so I took the bus and it let me off at the corner of her block. I enjoyed a delicious dinner with her and her four sisters and I watched them open presents and exchange them with each other. I felt bad because I hadn't brought anything for anyone there.

We sat and talked for hours. Then, after midnight, one by one, her parents, her sisters, and one of her brothers bid us good night. I knew I wasn't going to stay the night and finally, around 2:30am, I bid her good night and began my trek home.

Anyone who lives in Philly, knows that waiting for the #46 bus is like waiting for Moses and the lost tribes of Israel to find the Promise Land. This was in the day time, so you can imagine what the night time was like. I began walking home and it was snowing. At first, lightly... and then, heavy. By the time I got to the corner of my block, wouldn't you know it, the #46 bus whizzed by and I felt like Charlie Brown.

Mmy next door neighbor, that old man I spoke of a few paragraphs above, had a nephew who was about 10-11 years older than me and he was a drunk (I'll call him C.W). C.W. was always getting blasted and falling asleep in some dive... then, he would wake up and find that he had been pick-pocketed. His watch was missing and one time, his expensive new "gators".

I saw C.W. when I was on my way out that night to visit the young lady, which was around 7:00pm, and he was sloppy drunk then. He and I were usually stepping into the house around the same time on weekend nights but tonight, or should I say this morning, I didn't see him but I thought nothing of it. I would find out a few days later, much to my horror, that C.W. had passed out in the street, the snow had covered him, and he had frozen to death. It would be days before he was discovered.

I sat in my living room at 3:00am Christmas morning, alone and feeling sorry for myself. I couldn't believe that not a soul was in the house and I was spending Christmas alone. I couldn't believe it and couldn't deal with it. I fell asleep on the couch and woke up a little later.

Of course, my parents called me that morning to wish me a "Merry Christmas" and I called a few people and talked to them... but it was weird. There were no gifts under the tree, there was no laughter, and if I didn't make my own holiday, this was going to be the absolute worst Christmas of my life. This was what I thought, anyhow.

One of my frat brothers saved the day. I called him to wish him a "Merry Christmas" and somehow, he must have heard the desperation in my voice. He asked me if I wasn't doing anything, if I didn't mind having Christmas dinner with him and his family. I accepted and in a few hours, I was eating another delicious meal, this time with my frat brother, his two sisters, and his parents at their home.

I came home that Christmas night feeling good and feeling as though I had an epiphany. Christmas was about people, relationships, togetherness, and love... not presents and materialistic things, which is what I had been most uptight about... That I hadn't gotten anything for Christmas. I had actually gotten something that year which was more valuable than anything I could have purchased in a store.

The kindness of near strangers had taught me a lesson about giving and opening up one's house to someone in need. The very thing, a young child, born in a manger some thousands of years ago came here to teach humanity. Since that Christmas, which I have gone back and forth calling "the worst" and "the best" Christmas, I have never looked at the holiday the same.


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Saturday Seven (7 Things On My Playlist)

1. The Element of Freedom, Alicia Keys: Ms. Keys never disappoints.

2. Unexpected, Angie Stone: Heard her on Steve Harvey the other day, I'm sold.

3. Untitled, R. Kelly: Say what you will or may about Kels, but no one writes and performs a good song better from his generation today.

4. Sex Therapy, Robin Thicke: I just like the title of this one...-:)

5. The Bridge, Melanie Fiona: A hot new artist.

6. My Favorite Things, John Coltrane: A treasure still, after all of these years.

7. Blueprint III, Jay Z: What can I say... Jay Hova is still on top of his game.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Live Fast, Die Young, Leave A Good Looking Corpse?

I first heard the saying "Live fast, die young, and leave a good looking corpse" in a movie when I was about 26 years old and I thought it was a cool saying and motto to live by. It just goes to show you how stupid I was back then. I've seen a lot of dead bodies in my life since that time and not one of them ever looked "good". They just looked stiff, still, and never resembled the person that I knew. It wasn't even "them" anymore... just a lifeless clump of skin that once laughed, told jokes, and smelled bad that once I knew.

Chris Henry is that now. He lived fast... he played football, he had a pretty nice contract, and he was on a team that was in the playoff hunt. He has died young... just 26 years old... and I'm pretty sure his remains are not good looking.

He was Cincinnati's best downfield wide-receiver but Chris Henry couldn't completely run away from the off-field trouble that had long followed him. He was by all accounts a changed man... yet, Henry died Thursday from injuries suffered in a truck accident following an alleged domestic dispute.

Henry was a menacing figure on the field but, at the same time, he was described as "gentle" and "a good person" by some of his mourning teammates (who always do that, no matter what the person was really like, when someone dies). These kinds of contradictions followed Henry throughout his five-year NFL career. Was he really the "one-man crime wave", as one of the many judges he appeared before labeled him? Or, was he a kid who, according to many, was slowly but surely putting his life back together? Who can really say?

Henry certainly had the chance to stage the greatest personal turnaround of any player who has run a foul of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and his personal conduct policy. For all intents and purposes, Henry had stopped the sociopathic behavior that earned him 14 games worth of suspensions. Drunk driving, drug possession, alleged assault, illegal use of a firearm... it's all there on his rap sheet. This cat was so out of control that he was once released by Bengals owner Mike Brown, who is known for having a soft spot in his heart for talented ne'redowells and problem children like Henry.

Henry, to his credit, took advantage of a second chance when he resigned in the 2008 preseason. The 6'+4", 200 lb. Henry had reemerged as a key cog in Cincinnati's offensive scheme. Henry was beginning to fulfill the athletic potential that could have made him a big star like Terrell Owens (another problem child). According to one Bengals source, the introverted Henry had quit the public drinking that triggered so much aggressiveness and recklessness in previous incidents. He became more involved with his girlfriend and three young children. He had also recently became engaged. He stayed out of trouble. At age 26, Henry was finally becoming an adult, or so it seemed. But, as the Tiger Woods debacle has reminded us, not even close friends or the media know everything that goes on with athletes behind closed doors.

After landing on injured reserve in early November with a wrist injury, Henry and his fiancé, Loleini Tonga, returned to her hometown of Charlotte, NC for a planned wedding. On Wednesday morning, local police say the two had some kind of argument that led to Tonga driving away in a pickup truck and Henry jumping inside the bed of the truck to follow. These two continued arguing, police said, before Henry fell from the vehicle. He probably hit his head in the fall. He was found unconscious on the highway. No one knows how long he had been lying out there. Those circumstances may prompt skeptics to wonder how much he had truly changed at all. The Cincinatti Bengals, though, insist he had.

Tragically, of course, we may never know now. He lived fast, he certainly died young (just 26), and most assuredly did not leave a good looking corpse. All he left was a guilt-ridden and saddened fiance, some greiving family members, teammates, and more questions than answers bout a life that might have been. Damn shame!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I Guess The Honeymoon Is Over

Well, I knew that this was going to happen sooner or later. After only 11 months in office, the president's approval rating has finally dropped but, I'm not surprised. It happens to all of them sooner or later. Americans are fickle. We are a "what have you done for me lately" kinda nation.

During his twelve months in office, this president has done more than the last three but, of course, thanks to pundits (i.e. idiots) like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and a Republican party that will do and say anything to keep from being irrelevant, a sizable amount of the populace are just not that impressed anymore.

For much of his first year in office, President Barack Obama has largely defied political gravity in the midst of skyrocketing unemployment, an ambitious legislative agenda, and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. His approval rating remained above 50%, a plurality viewed his party positively, and even the number believing the country was on the right track, despite the bad news, temporarily spiked during his first few months on the job. But now, nearing the end of his first year in office, the economy, wars, and legislative skirmishes have finally taken a toll on the president and his party, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal polls.

For the first time, Obama’s overall job approval rating has fallen below 50% (to 47%). In addition, for the first time since September 2007, a plurality (45%) sees the Democratic Party in a negative light. And the percentage believing the country is on the wrong track (55%) is at its highest level in the Obama presidency.

“This survey underscores what I consider a dramatic and unmistakable change in the political landscape,” said Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, who conducted the survey with GOP pollster Bill McInturff. “For Democrats, the red flags are flying at full mast. The sagging economy is beginning to drag him down,” McInturff added. “This is increasingly becoming President Obama’s economy.” Funny... he inherited this economy and if not for his administration's actions in the first months of this year, we might not have an economy. Yet, this appears to be lost to a lot of folks.

Deep dissatisfaction with the nation's direction underlining the entire poll is a deep dissatisfaction with the current state of the country. Only 33% believe the nation is headed in the right direction, an eight-point drop since Obama took office. (However, by comparison, the right track number hovered between 10% and 20% during George W. Bush’s final months in office.) What’s more, 6 in 10 say the country is in a state of decline and a whopping two-thirds say they’re not confident that life for their children’s generation will be better than it was for them.

“All of this says that optimism has crashed through the floor board,” Hart observed. Yet, there is some optimism for next year: 46% say that 2010 will be a better year than 2009, 27% say it will be about the same, and 25% say it will be worse. I could get caught up in this numbers game but I wont... it's too early. He hasn't been in office a year yet and it's really too early to judge but I know there are people who have nothing better to do.

Despite these lower numbers, the president remains the most popular American politician in the survey. Only 32% have a positive view of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, compared with 40% who see her in a negative light. Moreover, the entire Republican Party continues to maintain a net-negative favorable/unfavorable rating, 28% to 43%. But, for the first time in more than two years, the Democratic Party also now holds a net-negative rating, 35% to 45%.

Rome wasn't built in a day. It took a long time for us to get entangled in this mess and it may take even longer to get out of it. It took Franklin D. Roosevelt 12 years to dig this country out of "The Great Depression". Americans, with their "I want everything now" attitudes, just better simmer down. Did they expect President Obama to be able to straighten this mess out in 11 months? They did. I didn't and I don't expect it to be straightened out in four or even eight years. People don't realize just how bad of shape this nation was really in and that's because they weren't informed. They were busy watching American Idol and the Real Housewives of Atlanta while all of this was unfolding. Now, they are shocked! America leads the world in being shocked.

One thing I've learned in my years on this Earth is that things get worse right before they begin to get better. Patience, America. Change is coming but it's going to take time!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The 360 Degrees Man

It has been a while since I have pontificated about the continuing health care debate. Why this is even a debate is just beyond me. Be that as it may, the "debate" took another dramatic turn yesterday when Senator Joseph "I don't know if I'm a liberal Democrat or a conservative Republican" Lieberman tossed a monkey wrench in the machinery. We had a term for folks like Joseph Lieberman who constantly flip-flop on their positions back when I was a young man. We called 'em "360 men" because they did a three hundred and sixty degrees turn in attitude or position.

President Barack Obama urged Senate Democrats to overcome the last, lingering disputes blocking agreement on a national health care overhaul Tuesday, declaring they were "on the precipice" of enacting historic legislation that has eluded administrations and lawmakers for decades.

In comments after a private meeting, the president said differences still remain over details, but he spoke in highly favorable terms about the measure that party leaders hope to pass by Christmas. The bill includes "all the criteria that I laid out" in a speech to a joint session of Congress earlier in the year, he said. "It is deficit-neutral. It bends the cost curve. It covers 30 million Americans who don't have health insurance and it has extraordinary insurance reforms in there to make sure that we're preventing abuse."

Sen. Joseph Lieberman (Independent-CN) announced on Sunday he opposed the proposal and he threatened to join Republicans in voting against the overall measure if it stayed in the bill. Democrats are ready to jettison the Medicare change and Lieberman told reporters that assuming they do and that any government plan or Medicare expansion stays out of the bill, "then I'm going to be in a position where I can say what I've wanted to say all along... that I'm ready to vote for health care reform." Yeah...uh...huh... You've wanted to say this all along. I bet you did. It depends of course on who is watching and what audience you're standing in front of at the time, eh Mr. 360?

Lieberman's opposition to the Medicare expansion proposal drew the ire of many progressives. At Tuesday's White House meeting, he addressed some of his harshest critics by stressing his independence. "I didn't run for re-election... asking the voters of my state to vote for me because I would always do what a majority of members of the caucus did", Lieberman said, recounting his comments for reporters. See, this is what 360 degrees men do all the time. They make themselves look like a martyr, like a wounded person who is dancing to the beat of his own drum, just so he (or she... I've seen my share of 360 degrees women too!) can justify flip-flopping. Is this the same guy that ran with Al Gore against George Bush?

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) remains the only known potential holdout among the 60 senators who are members of the party's caucus, a group that includes 58 Democrats, Lieberman, and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) Nelson has been seeking changes to increase restrictions on abortion coverage in a new insurance marketplace the bill would establish. Democrats need 60 votes to overcome a threatened Republican filibuster.

The White House meeting unfolded as Democrats awaited a final cost analysis from the Congressional Budget Office on the latest version of the bill, and the full Senate pointed toward a vote on an amendment to permit the importation of prescription drugs from Canada and elsewhere. At its core, the legislation is designed to spread coverage to 30 million Americans who now lack it, impose new consumer-friendly regulations on the insurance industry and slow the rate of growth in health care spending nationally. Most Americans would be required to purchase insurance and the government would establish a new series of "exchanges" through which consumers could shop for policies.

I think I've argued this point before about purchasing insurance. That's like applying a band-aid to the problem and in the long run... it reverts right back to business as usual and no real reform. This winds up being a bait and switch victory for the big insurance companies and HMO's. But, that's just me... doesn't really matter what I think.

The measure includes hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies to defray the cost of insurance for families with incomes up to about $88,200 a year for a family of four. Additional assistance would go to small businesses to help them afford coverage for their workers. Large firms would not face a requirement to cover their employees. But the government would impose charges on them if any of them did not do so and any of their workers qualified for federal subsidies to help them afford private coverage. Democratic leaders mapped out a timetable that envisioned passage before Christmas but, just barely.

This assumes that Nelson and Lieberman would join 58 others in swinging behind the bill once the CBO cost estimates become available. The House approved its version of the bill earlier this fall, and final negotiations between the two houses would follow a vote in the Senate.

In his remarks, President Obama took issue with ads and claims by critics about the bill's impact on the federal budget, citing earlier CBO estimates that predicted it would reduce the deficit. "So all the scare tactics out there, all the ads that are out there are simply inaccurate," he said. "There are still disagreements that have to be ironed out. There is still work to be done in the next few days," he said, without going into specifics. But in a clear signal of his commitment to the bill, he said, "I told my former colleagues today that we simply cannot allow differences over individual elements of this plan to prevent us from meeting our responsibility to solve a longstanding and urgent problem for the American people."

Well, the President said that unless they act, costs will continue to rise, employers will drop coverage and "Medicare and Medicaid will blow a hole through our budget. "Those things are guaranteed. That's the status quo. Exactly what I've been saying and what I'm afraid of. It's what the mob calls 'a bust out'. That is the trajectory we are currently on", said the President. The legislation would be financed by about $460 billion in cuts in projected Medicare payments to health care providers over a decade. It also includes higher payroll taxes on individuals making more than $250,000 annually and higher taxes on high-cost insurance policies, drug makers, makers of medical device makers, and others.

So, Joseph "360 degrees man" Lieberman... think about the consequences of holding this bill up or jettisoning it. Think about it, turn around, and do the right thing. I know that in your heart of hearts, you're not really a conservative Republican disguised as a Democrat, disguised as an independent. Are you? Are you? Come on!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Another Monday, Another Meme!

1. Name someone with the same birthday as you. Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and bank robber, Clyde Barrow (of Bonnie & Clyde fame).

2. Where was your first kiss? In the bedroom of someone's house I wasn't supposed to be in.

3. Have you ever seriously vandalized someone else’s property? No, but I've been tempted to many times.

4. Have you ever hit someone of the opposite sex? No.

5. Have you ever sung in front of a large number of people? Sure, many times.

6. What’s the first thing you notice about your preferred sex? Few will believe this, but it's their smile.

7. What really turns you off? Unpleasent odors.

8. What do you order at Starbucks? Nothing, I hate their coffee.

9. What is your biggest mistake? Goodness, I've had quite a few, narrowing them down would be impossible.

10. Have you ever hurt yourself on purpose? No... that's definitely not sexy.

11. Say something totally random about yourself. I love lists and statistics on just about everything.

12. Has anyone ever said you looked like a celebrity? Not that I can think of.

13. Do you still watch kiddie movies or TV shows? Yes, with my grandchildren and, sometimes, cartoons by myself .

14. Did you have braces? Nope!

15. Are you comfortable with your height? Yep, I tower over some and look up to a few, so it's just right.

16. What is the most romantic thing someone of the preferred sex has done for you? Marry me.

17. When do you know it’s love? Words can't explain that... it's a feeling!

18. Do you speak any other languages? Spanish and Ebonics.

19. Have you ever been to a tanning salon? Nah, I was born with the perfect tan.

20. Have you ever ridden in a limo? Yep, never understood what the big deal is... not to mention they're hard to get out of.

21. What’s something that really annoys you? Bad breath, body odor!

22. What’s something you really like? I like quite a bit and it's hard to narrow that down.

23. Can you dance? Good enough not to be laughed at, unlike some other people I've seen.

24. Have you ever been rushed by an ambulance into the emergency room? Once... I had to have my stomach pumped.

25. Tag five people to answer these 25 questions on their blog. Nope! I'm not gonna do that! However, feel free to cut 'n' paste this and partake!

Special thanks to my blogger buddy, Curvy Gurl, over at The CG Chronicles!

Friday, December 11, 2009


They say that the world is becoming smaller with each new technological advance. Sometimes, I wonder if that's a good thing or not. We have Facebook, Twitter, and all kinds of networking sites that are supposed to be able to connect us to a large aray of people... yet, everyday as I go on Facebook and observe how people act, it becomes more and more obvious to me, that we haven't made the world any smaller. We've only continued the isolation that was always apparent.

People are like cattle and sheep... we run and operate in our own private little herds and tribes. Take Facebook, for example. Yesterday, Facebook initiated new privacy settings that make it easier to privatize certain things on your page. You should see what people are privatizing. Photos of themselves, their "friends" list, their religious and political views, etc. It's their Facebook page and I suppose they are free to do with it as they wish, but I don't understand the concept of networking, meeting, and socializing with other people on Facebook if you're going to keep everything about yourself hidden.

There are some people on Facebook who I wonder why they are even on it. These folks are anti-social in the "real world". They don't socialize, they don't go anywhere, and they are scared to death of anyone knowing anything about them. If you look at their page, their are no photos and little to no information about them. I believe they are only on this site because it's the new fad, the new "in thing " to do.

Then, you have the folks who take themselves just a little too serious. They have "friends" but their friends are part of the clique that they were running with to begin with. They have no outside friends and no interest in meeting or socializing with anyone they didn't previously know. They make their page so private that nobody can find them. Again, what is the point? You don't need Facebook or Twitter... you need your small room or a jail cell. You also have people who are just "friending" people to be "friending" them. These folks have 3,000+ "friends" who they don't know and who they can't possibly keep up with. For them, this shows how popular they are to the world.

All of these people scare me. Just by looking at how they manage their page, I can get a good idea of how these people operate in the "real " world. I don't want to win any popularity contests... been there, done that. I don't wish to isolate myself from the world in fear either. I'm looking for a soft place in between the madness.

I know that there are bad people out there who take information, steal identities, and what have you. I wouldn't advise people to publish their social security number, home address, or place of business. But you have people who won't tell you their date of birth, who are afraid to write whether they are a Democrat or Republican, a Baptist or a Seventh Day Adventist. I find the whole thing quite strange.

Isn't this America? A democracy where you don't have to be afraid of expressing your beliefs? You would think so. Yet, some employers do look at people's Facebook pages and decide on who they will or will not hire (and, in some cases, fire) based on something they might have written on that page. Apparently, the First Amendment is fiction or bedtime reading to them, which is why people hide so much about who they really are.

What's really frightening, as well as hypocritical, is that Americans are always trying to tell some other country that they should be "free" and that they should have a democracy... while everyday, little by little, we are becoming less free ourselves and appear to be going along with it.

When did we get so scared, paranoid, and mistrustful of each other? When did we get so self-absorbed, self-important, and thus, so isolated from anybody who we don't know? How do we get to know other people or are we even interested in knowing other people who might be different from us?

The world isn't really getting smaller... some of us have just found a new way to make it more isolated.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The President's Prize!

Somewhere, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh are sitting in a bar crying and consoling each other! Dont'cha love it?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Simple Things

Christmas is the week after next and a lot of people are out buying presents. It happens every year... a mad rush for gifts... capitalism bailed out. My father taught me an important lesson about gifts and the minds behind them one year.

You've heard all of the comedians joke about "daddy gifts" (i.e. Brut by Fabrege', socks, and a tie). Well, regardless of what me and my brother got my father (and we bought him some crappy Christmas gifts now that I think about it), he never complained. He was always gracious and acted as though it was what he always wanted.

One year though (I think we were in our mid-twenties), my brother and I bought him a box of Cuban Cigars. (Yeah, I know they were illegal and I'm not going to blog about how I got them) and a box of his favorite cashew nuts. His face lit up and he was as happy as I've ever seen him. This was no act... these were his favorite gifts. He smoked cigars and a pipe so, the Cuban cigars was a treat and he loved all kinds of nuts (walnuts, cashews, pecans... you name it). When he got the cigars and the cashews, he was in "hog heaven".

He would tell me many years later that these were his favorite gifts and that let him know that his "boys really knew him". He said... "You can tell who really knows you by what kind of gift they buy you" and he was right. People who know you and care about you, buy you gifts that you can use and that you really like. Some people tend to buy you stuff that they like and get insulted if you don't like it as much as they do... that tends to be their ego speaking and not real concern for you the person.

Take for instance, one of our cousins... This was my father's favorite nephew. He mentored him and my cousin idolized my father... so, it stands to reason that come Christmas, he would have bought him a thoughtful gift, right? Wrong. One year, he bought him a thumbnail-sized flashlight. I kid you not... it was about as big as your thumb! My mother, my brother, and I tried not to laugh but, we couldn't contain ourselves. My father, ever gracious, just smiled and said... "Oh, this will come in handy when I'm trying to put my key in the lock."

Another year, my cousin gave my father a huge photo of himself. We didn't hold back our laughter that time. We guffawed and rolled on the floor laughing. Then, there was the year he gave him tickets to a Sixers game. The seats were so far up in the rafters that my father could've sat at home and watched the game on television and had a better view.

It got so bad that my brother and I took an annual poll called... "The Worthless Gift For Christmas" poll. We would bet on how worthless the gift my cousin was going to give our father the coming year would be. Well, when he gave my father some cheap cuff links the following year, my mother had enough. She finally said... "Aww, this doesn't make sense. I could see if he was a child but, he's a grown man with a job, making a decent salary. He can buy a better gift than this." I don't know if she said something to him or not but, the gifts stopped coming period after that year. This was why we decided to get him the Cuban cigars and the cashew nuts... gifts that he really liked and could use. Gifts that said we know you and we know what you like.

In my adult life, I have watched very carefully what people have gotten for me. People who know me, know that I love to smell nice and I don't wear cheap cologne. So, nice colognes, soaps, body wash, and oils are always good gifts for me. A good novel by a present or up and coming African-American author is another nice gift for me and, at one time, a CD (or tape) by one of my favorite artists was cool too! I'm not trying to be slick or hint here... I'm just saying what I liked.

I say liked because I'm not that big on getting presents for Christmas like I used to be. If I get something nice, that's cool... but if I don't, that's cool too. I really get more pleasure out of giving gifts to people now. I really do. I try to find out what people I give gifts to like... even if I have to ask.

Some people feel as though the more money you spend on a gift somehow equates with how much you care about them. That's wrong....It's the gift itself and what it means to the person that really states that. It's as my father taught us so many years ago... the simple things sometimes mean the most!

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Social Snafu Or Two

Recently, I was invited to a Christmas party through "Evite".
The host had a list of 200 people. I didn't respond right away. Everyday for about a week, I checked to see who had sent back RSVPs. By the end of the week only 12 people had responded. Finally, I decided I was going to be a good sport about it and respond too. When I tried to respond, I was given a message that I had been "un-invited" to the party. It said that my name had been removed from the list of invitees and, if I wanted any further information on said event, I would have to take it up with the host.

Well, at first I was livid! Not only at the "host" but at the people at "Evite" for being so insensitive. If someone removes a person from an invite list, that person shouldn't get an e-mail telling them that they have been un-invited... that's just socially inept! Of course, this saves the "host" from the unenviable task of having to tell someone that "I don't really want you at my event" to their face, which makes for an understandabley awkward situation.

I was angry at the "host" at first because I felt this person was taking the cowards way out, especially since they work in my building and I see them everyday and on this particular day, this person smiled in my face like nothing was up. I don't think they knew that I had gotten this particular e-mail.

I talked to a number of people about this and they were equally as shocked as I was about the entire thing with Evite. They had some choice words for the host too, but that was neither here nor there. I probably cost this person a couple of heads at this party because, you see, the people I told were also on the list and after talking to me, they responded back saying that they weren't coming. (It doesn't pay to screw with me... I'll find someway to get at you.)

After I got over my initial anger, which took about two weeks, I sat down and thought about how funny the entire thing was. I know that if someone else had told me that something like this happened to them, I would have been laughing. I have always said that if you can't laugh at yourself, at your own foibles, then you have no business laughing at someone else. I'm not even mad anymore. I find myself laughing even more everytime I think about it.

There was another time that I was thrown out of a party but, it was a somewhat different situation. I was 11 years old and I was invited to this girl's birthday party at my school. It is customary to bring a gift to someone's birthday party and my mother told me that she was going to pick up a gift for me to take to the party. For some reason that I can't explain now, I was listening to this guy named Bruce (who was a bit older than me) who told me that I was "too old to be letting my mom buy me gifts to take to a girl's party" and that I should "handle that myself". So, I asked him what he thought I should get. Big mistake! As it turned out, Bruce was an idiot but, I couldn't spot them then like I can now. I've had a lifetime to know what they look and sound like.

There used to be a store on the corner of 52nd & Market Streets in West Philadelphia called "John's Bargain Store." It was for poor, down on their luck people and I think that everything in there was under ten dollars. They had a big sign on the window that read... "Ladies Panties - Five for five dollars." Bruce pointed at the sign and told me... "There you go. You've got five bucks. Buy a pack of those... that let's her know that you're serious." I should have asked, "Serious about what?" But, I was 11 years old... it was 1970... and it wasn't like it is today. Mind you, this was for someone turning 11 years old, not 21 years old. I don't know what I was thinking either. Like an idiot, I bought a bag of the "one size fit all" panties from John's Bargain Store. I didn't even wrap it. I put it in a brown paper bag, bought a cheap birthday card from the "Five and Dime" (Woolworth, for anyone born after the Carter administration (Jimmy's, not Shawn's) and marched to the party.

Well, upon seeing my "present", the other children burst into gales of laughter and the girl's father asked me to leave the party. If I had been older, he may have gotten violent. I was stunned to say the least. When I got home and told my grandmother and my uncle what happened, they laughed too but they understood. My grandmother said... "Your Mother said she was coming by here after work with the present. Why did you go there and where did you get the idea to go and buy something like that?"

When I told her, she shook her head. "You can't be listening to those guys on the corner... they don't know no more than you do. In fact, from the sounds of it, they know even less", she said (but, still laughing). My mother took me around to the house and gave the girl the present that she and my Aunt Jean had picked out... and they pretty much straightened everything out with the girl's parents. I was told that I could come back in but, I didn't. After I had been laughed at and then thrown out, there was no way I was going back into that party. My mother didn't force me but she did give me a lecture about listening to "jitterbugs" (her word for every bad Black man on the street) instead of listening to "your people" (meaning the family).

So, thanks to my always supportive family who did the best they could to shield not just me but all of us neices and nephews from the harsh reality and cruelties of the world, I was able to move on and move past that social snafu. There would be more and while they were all alive, no matter what I did (and I was always doing something stupid), someone was always there with a wise word and a soothing solution.

That's why the later social snafu didn't break me. I've been through a lifetime of these situations. The one thing that makes a hater burn with rage is when they can't phase you... when they've done something to get under your skin and you're laughing at them. "Living well is truly the best revenge." I eat pretty good and not one meal is paid for or cooked by any of my detractors. My grandmother said it best, years before Jay-Z and Barack Obama made it a catch phrase...

"Baby, you gotta brush that kind of dirt off your shoulders."

Sunday, December 6, 2009

My Bucket List

I used to hate to do memes but it's a snowy day and what they usually call a "slow news day" and I felt like I should blog about something so, here goes...


For those of you who want to do it, place an "x" by all the things you've done and remove the X from the ones you have not. This is my entire life!

(x) Shot a gun
(x) Gone on a blind date
(x) Skipped school
(x) Watched someone close to you die
(x) Been to Canada
( ) Been to Alaska
( ) Been to Cuba
(x) Been to Europe
( ) Been to Las Vegas
(x) Been to Mexico
(x) Been to Florida
(x) Been on a plane
(x) Been on a cruise ship
(x) Served on a jury
(x) Been lost
(x) Been on the opposite side of the country
(x) Gone to Washington, DC
(x) Swam in the ocean
(x) Cried yourself to sleep
(x) Played cops and robbers
(x) Played cowboys/girls and Indians
(x) Recently colored with crayons
(x) Sang Karaoke
( ) Paid for a meal with coins only
( ) Made prank phone calls
( ) Laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose
(x) Caught a snowflake on your tongue
(x) Danced in the rain
(x) Written a letter to Santa Claus
(x) Been kissed under the mistletoe
( ) Watched the sunrise with someone
(X) Blown bubbles
(x) Gone ice-skating
(x) Gone snow skiing
(x) Camped out under the stars
(x) Seen something so beautiful that it took your breath away
(x) Have Children
( ) Have a pet
( ) Been skinny-dipping outdoors
( ) Been fishing
( ) Been boating
( ) Been water-skiing
(x) Been hiking
( ) Been camping in a trailer/RV
(x) Flown in a small 4 seater airplane
( ) Flown in a glider
( ) Been flying in a hot air balloon
( ) Been bungee-jumping - Hell to the no!
( ) Gone to a drive-in movie
( ) Done something that should have killed you
(x) Done something that you will probably regret for the rest of your life

1. Any nickname? Several
2. Mother's name? Guthea
3. Favorite Drink? Sweet Tea
4. Body Piercing? No
5. Tattoos? None
6. How much do you love your job? I don't, but I love the money.
7. Birthplace? Philadelphia, PA
8. Favorite vacation spot? Europe
10. Ever eaten just cookies for dinner? No
11. Ever been on TV? Yes
12. Ever steal any traffic signs? No
13. Ever been in a car accident? No
14. Drive a 2-door or 4-door vehicle? Both
15. Favorite number? 3
16. Favorite movie? Too many to name
17. Favorite holiday? Christmas
18. Favorite dessert? Apple Pie Ala Mode
19. Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Alive, I hope.
20. Furthest place you will send this message? My blog
21. Who will respond to this the fastest? Don't know.
22. Ever married? Yes
23 Ever divorced? No
24. Widowed? No

That was a lot! Wasn't it? Enjoy your Sunday folks!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Prodigal Son

We have all heard the story in the bible about a man who had two sons. This man was a wealthy landowner, who if he were living today, would probably be thought of as a baller and a shot caller. His one son got to "smellin' himself", as my grandmother would say, and left for greener pastures.

Well, he got to where he was going and he partied like the big dog... drinking, chasing women, and buying everything he was big enough to buy until one day, he was as broke as a bad joke. He had gone out and "tore his ass", something else my late grandmother used to say. He was in such bad shape that he was out in the trough, eating slop with the hogs. If that's not rock bottom, I don't know what is.

Finally, he said to himself... "Self, I don't have to live like this. My father has mansions, fine clothes for me to wear, and good food for me to eat. I'm outta here. I'm going home!" The son went home and his father first saw him coming down the road... pretty much ass out. He was so glad to see that son who had been missing that he ran down the road and welcomed his wayward boy back with welcome arms.

That's a great story, though somehow, I always wondered how the son who had been there all the time and hadn't run off felt about the matter. I always figured that son would more than likely be me.

Somehow, I wonder if the other A.I., Andre Igoudala, will feel the same way, now that the original A.I., Allen Iverson, is once again a 76er. I meant to write about this a few days ago but (like everybody else), I got sidelined by Tiger Woods and Mo Clemmons.

As you probably know by now Allen Iverson, is returning to the franchise where he was an NBA MVP (2001), calling it an opportunity he couldn't turn down. The 10-time All-Star guard signed a non-guaranteed deal with the 76ers on Wednesday and said at the Wachovia Center that he's ready to prove he can still play. "I want to retire here", Iverson said Thursday.

The 34-year-old Iverson was teary-eyed almost from the start of his news conference. He said he retired after his ill-fated stint with the Memphis Grizzlies because he felt like "the basketball part of my life was over." Allen Iverson will play his first game for the 76ers against Denver on Monday. "Coming back home, all I could think about was the people who made me who I am", said Iverson. Philadelphia hasn't won a playoff series since 2003. Sad ain't it?

In 10 seasons with the Sixers, Iverson posted the highest scoring average in team history (28.1), was second on the points list (19,583), and holds the record for 3-pointers (877). He was a seven-time All-Star, won four scoring titles, and two All-Star game MVPs. He had a bitter parting with the 76ers in December 2006 and was traded to Denver. He's also played with Detroit and three games this season with the Memphis Grizzlies.

"I always thought it was strange having another uniform", Iverson said. "I couldn't feel comfortable with another uniform." Flanked by team president Ed Stefanski, Iverson said he dreamed of returning to the 76ers. "I watch other NBA teams. I can't watch the Sixers", he said. "Ever since I left, I wasn't able to. Not because there was any bitterness, it was just a feeling I get. I gave everything I had here for 10 years. It was just always tough for me to watch them so, I didn't."

Iverson was apologetic for his past behavior and said he acted a lot on anger. "I don't want to prove anyone wrong in this situation. I'm not in it for that", he said. "If I can help my team win basketball games the way Coach wants me to help, then I'll be satisfied." Iverson was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1996 draft, but his 10 turbulent seasons in Philadelphia were marred by rants about practice, run-ins with former coach Larry Brown, arrests, and a failed rap career. In one infamous blowup at the end of the 2002 season, he repeated the word "practice" nearly 20 times during a rambling monologue but, of course, we all know that... just turn on Sportscenter and whenever a sportscaster talks about him, they repeat "Practice? Practice?" The joke is old now.

No one is happier than I that A.I. is back but I don't think there is much he's going to be able to do to help this team. To date, the 76ers have lost about 9 straight games at my last count and they're about 5-13. They've got some promising young players who need time on the court and experience. Most of all, this team has got to learn how to win again. Times have changed... A.I. isn't the same and the Sixers aren't the same. The most he's going to do is put butts in seats but besides that, right now, I see little else. Then again, there is an eternal optimist in me that wants to believe and needs to believe that maybe... just maybe... the Sixers with A.I. might just turn a corner.

Our prodigal son went to Denver, Detroit, and finally Memphis. When the lowly Knicks didn't want him, that must have been the equivalent of hitting rock bottom. So, he returned to his "father"... who unlike the father in the bible, needed him back as much as he needed to be back. So, when he became available, the "father" met him at the road with open arms.

I hope Elton Brand, Jrue Holiday, Andre Iguodala, and Thaddeus Young see it that way too!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

And Then, The Hell Began

Maurice Clemmons

Over the weekend, while most of us were engrossed in the Tiger Woods saga (or non-saga, depending on how you look at it), another more serious drama was unfolding in the state of Washington. An obviously deranged African-American man entered a coffee shop and opened fire on four police officers, killing all of them and getting wounded himself. Now he's dead!

The suspect in Sunday's fatal shooting of four police officers was shot and killed early Tuesday by an officer after the suspect approached him and "reached into his waist area", authorities said in a statement. Although, the medical examiner had not formally identified the man shot and killed in South Seattle about 2:45am Tuesday morning, detectives recognized him as Maurice Clemmons, sought in the killings of four Lakewood, WA police officers shot Sunday at a coffee shop.

Pierce County Sheriff's Department spokesman Ed Troyer said earlier Tuesday that Maurice Clemmons was carrying a weapon taken from one of the slain police officers and had been shot in the abdomen in Sunday's shooting at the Forza Coffee Company in Parkland, WA. He stuffed gauze and cotton into the wound and put duct tape over it, Troyer said Tuesday. I saw something like this done in a Western once... wonder if Clemmons was watching the same movie?

Maurice Clemmons had been the subject of an intense manhunt for two days. Two people accused of helping Clemmons evade authorities, brothers Eddie and Douglas Davis, appeared in court Tuesday. Both men are charged with rendering criminal assistance, a felony. A man who police believe is the getaway car driver was also in custody, along with a second man. Neither has been charged as of yet.The men accused of trying to help Clemmons provided medical aid, housing, a cell phone, and money and were trying to get him out of the state, Troyer said earlier Tuesday. They also called in false leads to police to divert investigators. What is wrong with people? Why would they help a guy accused of killing four cops? It makes me scratch my head.

Early Tuesday, a patrol officer saw an unoccupied car in South Seattle that was running and had its hood up, police said. He determined the car was stolen and was doing paperwork in his vehicle when he saw a man approach his patrol car from behind on the driver's side, the statement said.

The officer got out of the car and ordered the man to stop and show his hands, but the man refused, the statement said. "As the officer was drawing his gun, the suspect reached into his waist area and moved", the police statement said. "The officer fired several times, striking the suspect at least twice." He was pronounced dead at the scene. The officer is a four-year member of the Seattle police force and is a military veteran, police said. He will be placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure after a shooting involving an officer. Authorities said they regretted the shooting death but are glad the two-day ordeal is over.

"Right now, it's just a feeling of relief," said Jim Pugil, the assistant Seattle police chief. "Another tragic time has come upon us and we're just happy that it's over." Additional arrests in the case are likely, Troyer said Tuesday."

I am thankful the suspect in this horrible crime is no longer a threat to our community", Washington Governor Christine Gregoire said in a statement. "I hope this provides some closure for the families and colleagues of our fallen officers. We should now focus our attention on providing comfort and support to those who have lost a loved one."

Clemmons had made comments before Sunday's shootings that he was going to "kill some officers "... comments that were not reported to authorities until after the shootings, but officials believe he was the lone gunman. Sometimes people take this "no snitching " thing to the extreme. "No snitching" is a code amongst criminals... if you're just a citizen, who we will assume is not a criminal, then that "code" should have nothing to do with you. Whoever allegedly heard him say this could have alerted somebody and perhaps four people would still be alive. Of course, hindsight is always twenty-twenty.

"We don't think anyone helped him plan this murder", Troyer said. The manhunt for Clemmons began Sunday after the four Lakewood officers, three men and a woman, were gunned down while meeting at the coffee shop before their shifts began. Clemmons was an ex-convict with a long rap sheet in Washington and Arkansas, according to authorities and documents. Clemmons slipped away from a home in Seattle's Leschi neighborhood Sunday night before police surrounded the residence for about 12 hours. He was not found in the home when investigators moved in Monday morning, Seattle police spokesman Jeff Kappel said.

Officials said Tuesday that they missed him by mere minutes. Clemmons was accused of child rape and assaulting a police officer in May. He had been released on $150,000 bail five days before the shootings, according to court records. After his arrest, Clemmons' sister told police that he "had not been himself lately" and that his behavior was "unpredictable and erratic." Seems like he still was not himself!

"He had said that the Secret Service was coming to get him because he had written a letter to the president", an affidavit quoted her as telling investigators. In addition, neighbors had complained that he had been throwing rocks through their windows. Clemmons' wife told deputies that she and her husband had argued over a "newly discovered child," and she suggested that was why he went on his rock-throwing spree, according to an arrest affidavit.

My cousin, Atif , on his Facebook page asked how a guy with a violent history and known mental health issues was allowed to be free and on the street. Here is the answer to his question: In 2000, Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (Yeah, that Mike Huckabee, as in former Republican Presidential Candidate Mike Huckabee.) commuted a prison sentence for Clemmons, according to documents from the Arkansas Department of Community Correction. A sentence that totaled 108 years. Are you shaking your head right now? I am. If you can remember, in 1988, the Republicans made a huge ruckus about the fact that Democratic Governor, Mike Dukakis paroled a black convict named Willie Horton, who went on to rape and kill again. I expect the same hue and cry over Republican Mike Huckabee paroling this man, who did far worse. Chances are, there will be none. Already, Huckabee is shifting the blame by saying that he only paroled him because the Arkansas prison administration couldn't get their paperwork together.Wasn't he their boss? Wasn't it his responsibility to see that they had their act together?

Clemmons was sentenced to 95 years, to be served consecutive to time he was already serving from previous convictions, according to the documents. In all, he faced a total of 108 years, as I stated above. He returned to prison in 2001 and was remarkably paroled in 2004. Let's hear it for Mike!

Sunday's shooting was the first for the Lakewood Police Department, which was created five years ago for the town of nearly 60,000. The slain officers were identified as Sgt. Mark Renninger (39), Officer Ronald Owens (37), Officer Tina Griswold (40), and Officer Greg Richards (42). All of them were parents and had been with the department since its inception.

"My worst nightmare has come true," said Tiffany Ryan, Griswold's sister. "I can't tell you how painful it is to lose my sister." Police said the gunman walked past the officers to the counter as if to order... but then, he pulled a gun out of his coat and began shooting at 8:15am. "Two of the officers were 'executed' as they sat at a table", Troyer said. "Another cop was shot when he stood up, and the fourth was shot after struggling with the gunman all the way out the door", Troyer said. Officials said Tuesday they know which officer shot him but were withholding that information pending conclusive confirmation.

What a mess! You can beleive that there will be scratching, knawing, and blame-shifting behind this one. There will be the familiar call for gun control and the usual fight against it by the NRA. We will probably find, as we have in a few cases, that this guy owned this gun legally. I would not be surprised at all. Those seven or eight misguided people who aided him will be prosecuted and locked up... but, in the end, after the hell has ended, there will still be the fact that four innocent people are dead and several children will be without a parent.

America is becoming unglued right before our eyes!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

What I've Learned

1. It's easier for me to be me... I can't be anyone else any better.

2. I hate giving advice because people never take it.

3. I don't like getting advice because I rarely take it.

4. I would prefer if people had no impression of me. I'm never the same person on a given day as I was the day before.

5. A lot of guys get to be middle-aged and then they discover their romantic side.

6. Sometimes the power of laughter helps you get through a tragedy.

7. A birthday present (from anyone, I get so few) can still excite me even at my age!

8. A Christmas present (from a thoughtful person) can still excite me at my age!

9. Some of the worst people I've ever met in life were people that everybody loved, but didn't really know.

10. Prayer really does work!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tiger In A Box (Allegedly)

You know, the actual news is often times far more bizzare and comical than my imagination can dream up and I have a very vivid imagination. This weekend, Tiger Woods, one of the few black athletes that I don't follow, got himself in a bit of what the English would call a "sticky wicket". (Love those Brits and their suggestive terms!)

On Tuesday, the National Enquirer (that champion of credible journalism) published a story detailing Woods' alleged affair with a New York party girl, who has since hired a lawyer, Gloria Allred to represent her. (Hmmmmmm, looks like an admission of guilt about something at least!) And, while we're at it, can someone define for me just what is a "party girl"? Does she go to a lot of parties? If so, she sounds like a pretty fun person to hang out with!

Getting back to this story, which gets stranger by the minute, TMZ joined the party. TMZ reported that sometime around 2:25 am on Friday, just hours after thanksgiving dinner, Tiger Woods crashed his SUV into a fire hydrant and a tree outside of his home in a gated Florida community.

It's been reported that Tiger's wife used a golf club to smash the back window of his car to get him out. (Some people allege that this is not really why she was wielding the golf club!) Upon emerging from his Escalade, Woods was incoherent. He had lacerations to his lips, blood in his mouth, and scratches on his face. He is only saying that he crashed his car. He didn't say he was drunk, running from an angry wife, or anything. He also says that anything else is a "private matter". I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. How about you? Are you wondering what the "any thing else."is? Of course you are, you're human.

The rumor mill is saying that he cheated on wife, got busted, had an argument with her and wrecked the car (allegedly running from her) but that doesn't mean he's beyond redemption. It doesn't even mean he's a bad guy. But, really now... Do you believe him? Do you know anyone who does? And, that's the issue... not privacy.

Tiger Woods isn't J.D. Salinger. He's the personification of corporate interests... the guy who wants you to buy his soda, his haberdashery, his Nike shoes, and his golf clubs. He's selling you and your kids an image and consumers think they are entitled to know how true or counterfeit that image is. Want my opinion? They aren't. It's just an image and apart from the image is a man who is no different than anyone else. The Corporate sponsers he shills for could care less if he's telling the truth or not. They don't like how this LOOKS. Truth isn't important to them.
Never has been, never will be.

"... The many false, unfounded rumors that are currently circulating about my family and me are irresponsible," said Tiger Woods. If that's the case, then he should sue the National Enquirer instead of dispensing platitudes like... "I'm human and I'm not perfect." That makes him sound guilty of something... something that is being whispered by a few but, so far, hasn't been acknowledged by him, Mrs. Woods, or the alleged "other woman".

In 1976, this same National Enquirer tabloid wrote a story saying that Carol Burnett was drunk and falling out at the White House. She sued them for a couple of million and won. They, to my knowledge, have never written another thing about Carol Burnett. I urge Tiger to sue them and get them off his back. It still won't stop the rumor mill but, officially, it'll put him in the clear and get him out of the box... that box anyway. I can't say anything about any other box he may or may not be in.

Americans have short memories though. And, as I've said before, somebody will do something stupid in a few weeks and this will be all be forgotten. You can make bank on that. You see how fast we've forgotten, health care and Osama Bin Laden, just to name a few IMPORTANT things! You can bet that, unless Mrs Woods swings another five iron, we'll forget about Tiger too!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Crashing The Casbah

You know, I used to (up until about a year ago) be known for crashing a block party or two from time to time. I know, I know, so you may ask... "Why Keith, are you talking about a summer block party, two or three days after Thanksgiving?" Well, really, I'm not. I'm just saying that, if there was a hot barbecue-laced party within a blocks of me, it would be nothing for me (and sometimes a friend) to ease our way in, start dancing with a few girls, and talking sports with a few of the guys. And, before you know it, we would be sitting down with a plate of potato salad, ribs, barbecued chicken, baked beans, etc.

I didn't even do it like Tupac and company did in "Poetic Justice." Nooooo! No pretending to be someone's cousin... we just blended into the crowd. One year, I even brought a nice cut of steak and plopped it on someone's grill and struck up a conversation with the owner. Before long, you would've thought I lived on the block. My wife has warned me that one day this is going to catch up with me and maybe it will but, with that said and that story told, perhaps the couple that crashed President Obama's gala dinner last week read some pages from my old playbook!

A Virginia couple, who badly wanted to be on the upcoming Real Housewives of Washington, DC, thought it'd be a good idea to crash the White House State Dinner. Now, all eyes are on the Secret Service and how exactly a couple could successfully do such a thing. As reported from The New York Times: "The inquiry was begun after a Virginia couple, Michaele and Tareq Salahi, slipped past multiple layers of high-level White House security Tuesday night and managed to rub shoulders, literally, with Vice-President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. and the White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, among others, at Washington’s most exclusive social event this year.

Edwin M. Donovan, a spokesman for the Secret Service who spent his Thanksgiving Day dealing with phone calls from reporters, would not discuss the investigation in detail but said the initial focus was on “a Secret Service checkpoint which did not follow proper procedure to ensure these two individuals were on the invited guest list.” (I'll bet this agent had just settled down to a nice plate of hot food and was watching the Sixers lose to whoever they were playing that night. Since they've lost five straight, just who they were playing really doesn't matter.)

Representative Peter T. King, the ranking Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee, called for a Congressional investigation, saying in an interview that he was shocked at the lack of security at the White House. Since 2003, the Secret Service has been part of the Department of Homeland Security. Isn't that like locking the barn door after the horses have run out?

From the photos I saw, President and Mrs. Obama seemed to be good sports about the whole thing. It struck me both as funny for a moment and then kinda scary. It is one thing for me and a willing, hungry co-conspirator to slip into a neighborhood block party. First off, there is no "security" to speak of and it's a whole different thing when someone sneaks up on the President of the United States's dinner party that is supposed to have the best security. You can believe that heads are going to roll and that maybe one or two Secret Service agents are going to be at the unemployment office in a few days or applying for a private detective's license or whatever out-of-work federal operatives do whenever they find themselves out of a job.

One good thing about this entire incident is this... at least this couple didn't take their shoes off and hurl them at the president. That would have really been nuts!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thursday, November 26, 2009

I Gotta Stop & Give Thanks...

Myspace Graphics

From The Maverick of All Bloggers
I'll return after the holiday!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Most Expensive Hooker

I think Glenn Beck has finally lost his mind. He called Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) a "prostitute" yesterday on his televisoon show. I'm just amazed that he's still on the air! I thought he would have self-imploded by now! The hypocritical thing about him (and Rush Limbaugh) calling this woman that name is that she did what male politicians have been doing (and are still doing) for years. She made a deal that will bring her constituents a huge amount of money for her vote on the health care initiative.

The Louisiana Democratic Party, in a rather humorous and bold press release on Tuesday, called for Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) to denounce conservatives who have called his fellow Sen. Mary Landrieu a prostitute for her support of health care reform. Of course, Sen. Vitter has his own sordid history with ladies of the night. In July 2007, he was identified as a client of "D.C. Madam" Deborah Jeane Palfrey's prostitution service in Washington, D.C. So, the chance to tie him to recent claims from the likes of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh that Sen. Landrieu was "whoring" out her health care vote was just too inviting to pass up.

Sen. Landrieu was able to secure $100 million in federal Medicaid subsidies for her state, ostensibly in exchange for agreeing to allow health care legislation to come to the floor of the senate. Glenn Beck called the senator a "High-class prostitute. She may be easy but she ain't cheap." He said. Not to be outdone, Rush Limbaugh echoed Beck's comment, calling Sen. Landrieu "the most expensive prostitute in the history of prostitutes." (Hmm, and I suppose he would know.)

As a looming budget crisis threatens to bankrupt Louisiana's state government, Sen. Landrieu announced Saturday from the senate floor that she had secured $300 million in federal funding to help make up for shortfalls in the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP), a formula used to determine the federal government's share in providing medical care to the poor and uninsured. A temporary spike in per capita income following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita could lead to a loss of $500 million in federal funding, according the Jindal Administration.

"David Vitter supported the FMAP fix but, it was Sen. Landrieu who secured the much needed funds to help solve a looming budget crisis that threatens to bankrupt our state," Harvey said. "The least David Vitter can do is stand up for her when members of his own party call her a prostitute." To date, Sen. Vitter has been silent on Beck and Limbaugh's outlandish and offensive insults of Sen. Landrieu. I bet he is... he probably does not want to draw any attention to his own involvement with real-life whores. (But, you didn't hear that from me! Shhhhhhhhh!)

I'm hoping that all of the women's groups come out in full force to denounce McEvil (Limbaugh) and McStupid (Beck) for their sexist comments. You know, I wanted to keep it real smurfy and write something uplifting for Thanksgiving eve but, I just couldn't keep this under my hat. Anyway, this is what I do. When bullies like Beck and Limbaugh pick on people and I'm going to use my bully pulpit to pick on them. But, meanwhile...

I hope that everybody out there remembers that there is still a lot to be thankful for... have a healthy and safe holiday!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Keith's Favorite Quotes

"If you can't figure out what to be thankful for, check your pulse."

- Author Unknown -
(seen outside of a church)

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Family Tragedy!

Jamar Pinkney, Sr.

While everyone is abuzz about the movie "Precious" (which I admit I haven't seen yet but, intend to) and the fact that it touches on incest and abuse, a friend of mine brought a horrible crime to my attention that occurred in Detroit last week.

Lazette Cherry (so she says) only wanted to help her son, Jamar Pinkney Jr., when she called his father and shared some of the most disturbing news she ever had heard. Jamar, 15, had confessed to her that he had inappropriate sexual contact with his 3 year old half-sister in his father's home in Newport on Detroit's east side. Cherry said... "I called and told his father that this isn't something you can just sweep under the rug."

Jamar Pinkney, Sr. showed up at Cherry's house in Highland Park with a gun. "He started beating him right here", Cherry said from her living room. "I said... No, please stop!" But, the father marched Jamar, a sophomore at King High School, outside. “He got on his knees and begged, "No, Daddy! No!" and he pulled the trigger, Cherry said from her home on North Street in Highland Park. “There wasn’t nothing that my son wouldn’t do for his father. He loved his father so much.” Jamar was shot once in the head and Pinkney was charged in 30th District Court in Highland Park with one count of first-degree murder, three counts of felonious assault, and one count of felony firearm.

When I was told about this horrible family tragedy, I was then asked if I would have shot my son under the same type of circumstances. My answer... ABSOLUTELY NOT! I do find what the son did, horrible, yes... but, what the father did was ten times worse. What made him think that he was making the situation better by beating and then killing the son? This is the type of idiot that shouldn't have had a gun, period.

Yeah, I know what some of you are probably saying... "What if it was your daughter, Keith?" and you know what? My answer remains the same... I would not have killed MY SON! Okay? Got it? I would have called the cops and had him arrested. I would have tried to get him psychiatric help because clearly, that's what the boy was in need of for what he did to his half-sister. But, to kill him? And then, by doing so, throw my own life away so that now my daughter has no father is just reprehensible to me.

There are guys out there who feel as though what this guy did was right. They'll even say that this was some kind of "street justice." Death row and solitary confinement is filled with guys who think the same way and I'll bet you, if you go and talk to 99% of the lifers and guys waiting to get a needle now, they'll tell you that if they had it to do over again, they might have reacted differently.

All I can do is just shake my head at the unfathomable stupidity, cruelty, and unnecessary violence involved in this case. The mother is now left with the guilt of knowing that she indirectly caused all of this and the father (if that's what you want to call him) has killed one of his children and left a wife and a daughter scarred for life. He has also doomed himself to spending the rest of his life behind bars. Michigan doesn't have a death penalty and, actually, I'm glad. The torture of the coming years of having to sit and contemplate what he did and of never seeing sunlight or moonlight again will be more than sufficient punishment for him. A quick and painless death would be too easy for him.

I am just angry and flabbergasted by the senseless violence and stupidity inbred in our macho culture that justifies such acts and makes what this man did "understandable" to some people. Me, I don't understand it. I'm not going to pretend to understand this and, furthermore, I don't ever want to understand it.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Weekend Humor

The economy is so bad:

1. I went to buy a toaster oven and they gave me a bank.

2. I got a pre-declined credit card in the mail.

3. CEO's are now playing miniature golf.

4. Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars are now trading higher than GM.

5. President Obama met with small businesses to discuss the Stimulus Package: (GE, AIG, Pfizer, and Citigroup).

6. McDonalds is selling the 1/4 ouncer.

7. People in Beverly Hills fired their nannies and learned their
children's names.

8. The most highly-paid job is now jury duty.

9. People in Africa are donating money to Americans.

10. Mothers in Ethiopia are telling their kids, "finish your plate, do you know how many kids are starving in the U.S.?"

11. Motel 6 won't leave the light on.

12. The Mafia is laying off judges.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wanna Talk About Love

I had a fourth grade teacher (no this is not another funny story)... I had a fourth grade teacher, an elderly black woman who was about to retire who asked us, "Who is the first person we should learn to love?" We gave an assortment of answers... some said, "Mommy"... some said, "Daddy"... and a few said "God". This shows you how much kids (and later on, adults) don't listen. Of course, while we all should love an honor God, that's not what the teacher asked us. She asked us who was the first person we should learn to love? We were stumped. Then, she said..."You should first learn to love yourselves".

It was funny to me then (and even funnier now) that not one of us thought of the most practical answer... ourselves. That was probably the single most important lesson I was taught in a school. And, there is no more to this story than that. She said we should first love ourselves. A truly radical idea was hatched around that time, when black people were starting to say... "Black is Beautiful!"

As a race of people, we hadn't felt too good about ourselves our entire time in America. Everyday, I look at people in the streets and not just Black people... all races of people. I hear people on the radio, see people on television, read some people's blogs, and see blatant examples of folks who've never learned that lesson and folks who actually hate themselves... loathe themselves. They don't consciously know it but their every action, their every sentence... speaks of self-loathing. Self-loathing is as American as mom's apple pie.

Plastic Surgeons are in a whole 'nother tax bracket because American advertising inadvertently tells you (the consumer) that you're not quite adequate if you are not driving the new 2010 Ford Fusion, if you're not rocking a certain article of clothing by a certain designer, if your lips are too small (and it used to be, if they were too big), if you're not a perfect size, whatever. Get my drift?

We trip on celebrities... worship 'em and try to dress like 'em, act like 'em, and run our lives the way we think they would do it because heaven knows we can't come up with an original thought or two can we? Then, there are those who like to see some famous person fall or get knocked down a peg or two because it reminds us that our own miserable life (as we see it) isn't quite as bad as theirs is. I was both of those people at one time. I know... I stand guilty as charged. Self- loathing affects us all. It's part of our culture... sometimes, we just can't help it.

A little self-love would probably put a lot of manufacturers out of business because they have to make you feel small in order to sell you their wares. A little self-love, a little self-esteem would have prevented that horrible before and after photo from yesterday's post of Sammy Sosa. A little self-love and Michael Jackson might still be amongst the living today. I was thinking about both of them when I decided to write this tonight.

See, I wasn't going to blog about anything tonight. I was going to take the night off from this blog and just when I tried to get out, this kept pulling at me and I had to say something. After all, this "is" whatever is on my mind at the time and I hope everyone got my point. Give yourself a break, love yourself, and appreciate who you are. I mean, who else do you have?

In the words of Humphrey Bogart... "Looks like we're stuck with each other kiddo."

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What The Hell?

This is going to be the first of a new recurring post on this blog and I'll dedicate this to people in the news who's behavior just makes you scratch your head and go, "What the hell?"

For those of you who are not sports fans, this is baseball player, Sammy Sosa... before and after. To paraphrase Jay Leno... "What were you thinking, man?" Did you learn nothing from Michael Jackson?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Crazy Is It's Own Category

There used to be a time amongst African Americans that if a horrendous crime was committed, everybody crossed their fingers and prayed that the perp was not black. It was universally felt that if the criminal was black, then a stain would be cast upon the entire race. I remember that general sentiment when I was growing up and it hasn't changed much.

In 2001, during the hunt for the "Beltway Sniper", most African Americans assured themselves that whoever did this just had to be a white man because... "Everybody knows that black people rarely, if ever, commit that type of crime." Then came John Muhammad and Lee Malvo... the two self-confessed "Beltway Snipers" who were, in fact, African Americans. Everybody I know kinda hung their heads as though the fact that these two were black had set race relations back 20 years.

The week before last, I was having a conversation about racial profiling with my wife and I told her that Arab Americans now know that all of the things we African Americans have been saying about racial profiling is true, because now it is them (and anybody who openly practices the religion of Islam) that is the new target of racial profiling.

In 2002, my Air Force unit was on a base in Texas, of all places. Some idiot there called an Arab a "Sand Nigger" with me standing just three feet from him. He didn't understand why I gripped him up in his collar either... he kept saying that he was talking about "A-Rabs and not Black people."

After September 11th, it was Arabs and Muslims in general who began getting profiled. I've been in airports and seen how people react when someone gets on the plane either in Islamic religious garb or who speaks with an Arabic accent. People get very nervous... whites and blacks alike. It's kinda understandable but it's still not right... it's still not fair.

Last week, when Army Major Nidal Malik Hassan lost his mind and went on a shooting rampage at Fort Hood Army Base in Texas, all of the Muslim and Arab Americans must have cringed the same way Black folks cringed when John Muhammad and Lee Malvo were arrested and charged with the mass murders in the Beltway area.

Timothy McVeigh, a nice white crew-cut individual, blew up the Federal Building in Oklahoma City a some years back and I didn't see white people hanging their heads in shame or cringing in disbelief. You know what they said? "He's crazy!" and they were right. They didn't identify with him... they just put him in the separate category of "crazy" and left it at that.

Long story short... John Muhammad and Nidal Malik Hassan are equally crazy. African Americans and Muslim Americans should not be cringing and they ought not be profiled and put into a box on account of the actions of two crazy people. Timothy McVeigh, John Muhammad, and Nidal Malik Hassan all have one thing in common (besides the fact that they are crazy). They are all American born citizens and if anybody ought to cringe and feel ashamed, it ought to be all Americans... not one race of people, not one separate religion.

You see, crazy is it's own category!


"Mommy, can I go to Timmy's blog and play?"

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Click on image to enlarge for reading

Click on image to enlarge for reading