Friday, July 31, 2009

Beef & Beer


When I was 12 years old, me and a friend of mine started liking the same girl and we were competing hard for her attention. When he wasn't over her house, I was over there and after a while, everybody on the block knew that we were both trying to romance this girl except the two of us. (This was going to be a pattern in my dating life that was going to follow me but, I didn't realize it then, and this is probably where it all began.) We eventually did find out about each other and a fist fight nearly broke out. My uncle was coming home from work and he broke it up before it escalated. (Grown folks used to do stuff like that back in the day... they weren't afraid to be grown folks.)

My uncle thought that it was totally ludicriss that two guys who had been such good friends were about to go to war over some chick who was, more than likely, not that interested in either one of us. I don't know how my uncle, my mother, and grandmother, for that matter, were always so dead on in their analysis of people and human nature, but they always seemed to be astonishingly on point in their perceptions. Maybe they had been young once too and this had happened to them or someone they knew. You think?

Anyway, my uncle was right. The girl in question was actually trying to get the attention of a 16 year old guy who had an equal amount of disdain for her as she had for us. We were 12 years old and too young for beer so, he took us to this spot called Dan's Ice Cream. It was at the corner of our block but now, long closed... long gone. I think the spot is now somebody's apartment. He bought me a banana split with the wet walnut , strawberries, and chocolate syrup, just the way I liked it. He bought my friend a peach milk shake. (Yeah, I shook my head too and thought the same thing at first but I took a sip of that shake and that shake was good. Dan made all kinds of flavored shakes.)

My uncle had a dish of ice cream himself and we sat and talked the whole thing out and shook hands. He made us agree to never, ever fight over something like this again. He gave me a stern talking to that afternoon. He said if you have to fight another man over a woman, chances are, you ain't the guy she wants in the first place... and neither is he. He said, once a woman really likes a man, there is never a need for him to have to fight over her because SHE'LL let everybody know what's up. A good lesson indeed... but, the point was, we all sat down, had something refreshing, and worked it out.

The next time I was in a situation like that, I was about 23 years old. I went to a house party and a guy was there who was also a friend of mine. He was drunk and was arguing with some other guy about trying to make a move on his lady. The argument got heated, he swung at the guy, missed, and punched me instead. My nose bled like a gusher... Blood was running down my suit and I said... "Hey, you hit me!!!" My drunken friend said... "I'm so sorry man but, you shouldn't have been standing so close... that's what your newsy ass gets."

This brought about gales of laughter from everybody around so, I hauled off and punched him in his face and knocked him backward so hard his head smacked up against the wall and he fell down. I did this because I didn't want him to feel too guilty about hitting me. People can have a complex about that kind of thing, you know.

Now, we were both bleeding profusely and standing outside of this house party. My uncle, who was long dead by this time, would have just shaken his head if he had witnessed this incident. However, there was cooler head amongst us... an older cat who grabbed both of us and walked us down to the neighborhood bar. He took us in the bathroom and we washed our faces and tried to wash some of the blood off of our clothes but, to no avail.

We sat down and he ordered three beers... we all sat and drank the beers and actually laughed about what had just taken place. Eventually, even the guy he was arguing with, who he meant to punch, came in and had a beer too. By the time the night was over, we were all friends and trying to sing Billy Joel's "For The Longest Time".

Guys and beer kinda work like that together. I don't know how women handle their "beefs" or if they ever do. I've seen women hold on to stuff for years with other women but, I hope my female readers will give us some insight into how they resolve their conflicts.

Last night, President Barack Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden had Henry Louis Gates and the officer who arrested him at the White House and they were having beers, talking, and laughing about the situation last week. I'm sure after a few beers, they discovered that the whole thing was a big misunderstanding. They might've even have wound up singing "Pretty Wings" by Maxwell and Michelle might have to just leave them all on the White House lawn until tomorrow morning. See, this is how men handle things. Somewhere, my uncle is looking down right now, smiling, and saying... "Yeahhhhhhhhh!"

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Few Stupid Things


Sometimes this blog just writes itself... at least, that's what I used to say. I would sit here at my keyboard, not having a clue as to what I was going to write, then walk off into my bedroom, flip on CNN or Fox News and someone would almost always say something to make me angry and then I'd run back to my computer and bang out a post. Some of my best posts were written that way but, this ain't gonna be one of them. I'm telling you that from the door so that you won't be disappointed.

I'm going to bring up two things that I heard today which made me shake my head. One I've been hearing for close to two weeks that I hope is just a nasty tabloid rumor and the other, unfortunately is true but, stupid just the same.

First let me talk about Morgan Freeman. Here is an African American actor I have followed since he was on the Electric Company back in the early 70's. Here is a man I have followed, rooted for, and once said he was the finest American Actor in the game. Here is a man that I hear is slated to marry his step-granddaughter! Tell me this isn't true. Tell me that I could have picked something else to write about today or could have, maybe should have, chosen not to
write at all if this was all I had to talk about.

Listen. I heard that Morgan, who is 72 years old, was slated to marry his wife's granddaughter, (from a daughter produced in a previous relationship) for about two weeks now and I kept telling myself that I was not going to comment on this and I was not going to write about this... and, yet here I am. Forget that there really isn't any blood involved... she's 27 years old, he's 72 years old, and she was raised as his granddaughter. How creepy is that? I sure hope this isn't true but, I keep hearing it on the news, all over the internet, through e-mails, etc. Yuck! That's just too creepy for me. But, I'm gonna give Morgan the benefit of the doubt.

That other thing is the campaign this nutty soldier has begun, that the right-wing has taken up and given credence to. This soldier claims that he cannot be ordered to fight in Iraq because the present Commander in Chief has no authority to do so because he is not an American citizen and is in effect, not the President. He is in office illegally.

According to this soldier, Barack Obama has no American birth certificate and was actually born in Guam or the Phillipines and not on American soil, as he claims. Thus, this disqualifies him for the office of the presidency. You know, I would have laughed at this and ignored it, except that some credible people, who should have known better, took this case up and turned it into a kind of movement to discredit President Obama once again.

Somebody should have told this soldier, (who really just doesn't want to go back to the dessert and is milking this for all he can get) that Guam and the Phillipines are American possessions and territories... so technically, even if he had been born there, he still would have been an American citizen. Today, the President's birth certificate surfaced and surprise, surprise... he was born in the state of Hawaii, (Did you hear that, idiots?) the 50th state of Hawaii, City of Honolulu in August of 1961. I think that makes him as American as apple pie. So, nutty soldier, pack your gear and report for duty. Nutty right-wing politicos, shame on you.

That's what I love about this blogging thing... it doesn't take that much to give me a post. All I need to do is turn on the television or read a newspaper. For this blog, I don't even need my imagination. Life, as it turns out, is more bizarre than anything I can cook up!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Future Music


I was driving home from work and I popped my "Foreign Exchange" CD in to listen to... I just felt like some music after a long day. I usually listen to Michael Baisden in the afternoon but, I just wanted a nice relaxing drive today... no talking back to the radio and making other drivers think that I was schizophrenic.

I forgot how good this CD is... I've had it for about a year and only played it twice. My wife will say that was because it seemed like all I would play is Beyonce everytime you turned around. (If some of you recall, I wasn't even feeling her current CD, "I am Sasha Fierce" when it first came out. I guess it grew on me.)

I bought so much other music... John Legend, Raphael Saddiq, Anthony Hamilton, Ginuwine, Maxwell, Joe, Usher, and Solange just to name a few, that I guess I just forgot about "Foreign Exchange"... a lush set that contains, Neo-Soul, Jazz fusion, and Hip-Hop beats all rolled up into one.

For the past few weeks, like everybody else (I guess), I've been playing nothing but Michael Jackson 24/7 but, I've been thinking (yeah, I know... take the children inside and close the doors) about changing formats and making life easier on myself. Yes, I'm coming into the 21st century soon. I'm shopping around for an Ipod and I'm going to begin downloading a lot of my new music.

In yesterday's post I wrote about having a 1992 Chevy... that car had a casette player in it and when I wanted to listen to CDs, I had to use one of those adapters that looks like a cassette on one end and plugs into a discman on the other end. That was cool as long as you were driving tame but, turn a corner or hit a bump and your CD would skip. I can't tell you how many of my friends giggled when they were riding in my car back then.

Now, I have a 2008 Nissan Maxima with a CD player in it. I looked at that CD player and I thought to myself, with the rate that people are downloading music and using Ipods now, this CD player will look as archaic as the cassette player looked in my other car. So, I made up my mind when I gave one of my frat brothers, K.J., a ride the other day and he had his Ipod with him. He showed me that my car has a jack for an Ipod (something I already knew). When I took it for a test drive the day I was buying it, the salesman had his Ipod plugged into the jack. He grabbed it just before my wife and I pulled off. I actually thought it came with the car. -:) )

Anyway, K.J. had all these great funk tunes loaded on his ipod... Earth,Wind & Fire, Parliament-Funkadelic, Breakwater, Brass Construction, Ohio Players, Isley Brothers, and what have you. He downloaded all of that stuff and it sounded great as we cruised along.

My wife tells me that we just don't have the shelf space for any more CDs and she has stopped buying them. I don't think I will be downloading my old stuff but, I could see me downloading new music that was available. This leads me to another talking point. Is there really enough good music coming out to download? A lot of people aren't downloading whole albums anymore... just one or two new songs by an artist. What's up with that? Another blog post for another time, I suppose, but the current artists I named a few paragraphs up are making good music... music
worthy of a CD purchase or a download.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

If I Had Just Waited

1992 Chevy Lumina & 2009 BMW

I bought my new car on May 22, 2009 and that was also the same day I sold my old car... a 1992 Chevy Lumina for an amount so laughable, I won't even bring it up here. I've often said that I'm a man ahead of his time and the latest news today bears me out.

Car shoppers can now take advantage of new government incentives worth $3,500 to $4,500. Owners can scrap their "clunker" in exchange for a new, more fuel-efficient vehicle, and lop-off thousands of dollars from the sticker price. Congress approved the "Car Allowance Rebate System " or "CARS" program last month to boost auto sales and attempt to retire some of the old inefficient cars and trucks. Here's a look at the program:

Cars and trucks must be 1984 models or newer to be eligible for a trade-in rebate. They must get 18 miles/gallon or less in combined highway/city rating — based on the "Estimated New EPA MPG" ratings available at www.fueleconomy.gov. The vehicle needs to be driveable, insured, and licensed for at least a year... so, forget about buying a clunker this summer for $500 and "flipping" it through the program because violators face penalties if they submit false information.

As I stated above, my car was a 1993 model and it was in great condition. It had a new alternator, new battery, and it just had a tune up in December. It was very drivable and that's the truth! I hope this information I'm sharing can help some of you good people out who might be in the market for a new ride.

For passenger cars, consumers can get $3,500 if the new vehicle gets at least 4 mpg more than the trade-in and $4,500 if the new vehicle gets at least 10 mpg more than the trade-in. For sport utility vehicles, pick-up trucks, or mini vans, owners can get a $3,500 rebate if the new vehicle gets at least 2 mpg higher than the old vehicle. The rebate improves to $4,500 if the new vehicle gets at least 5 mpg higher than the trade-in. Large work trucks weighing at least 6,000 pounds can also qualify for rebates of $3,500 to $4,500.

This won't subsidize a new Ferrari or BMW. The new vehicle needs to meet the fuel-efficiency requirements and have a manufacturer's suggested retail price of less than $45,000. Used car purchases are not allowed under the program. My new car (a 2008) was way under $45,000 and surprisingly enough was not a used car... it was a store room model.

Go to your local car dealer. Dealer registration for the program began on Friday. Owners need to bring their vehicle, title, proof of registration, and proof of insurance. This sounds like a program that I could have benefited from in that, I might have gotten more for my old car than I ended up getting. If only I had waited. But, like I said, I hope this program can help some of you folks out there.

(This has been another public service announcement from the Maverick of All Bloggers... a man ahead of his time!)

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Case Of Michael Vick

I have said that this blog may slowly be becoming a sports and relationships blog... that's all that seems to be happening that is newsworthy these days, except for the battle for health care that I chronicled last week. This is probably not going to be one of my usual long and wordy posts. Facebook is showing me that I can say a lot by saying less but, that's another post for another day. I just want to get to the point of Michael Vick.

I was watching a news show last night where a panel of so-called "experts" were discussing the two "Michaels". One, of course, was the "King of Pop" and the other was recently released former Atlanta Quarterback Michael Vick. The moderator was saying, "He has done absolutely nothing to show ME that he's a changed man." I'm listening and watching this and saying to myself, "Lady get a grip. He doesn't have to show YOU or anybody else on that panel anything!"

Where do these people and their perceived self-righteousness come from? Michael Vick has served his time in prison, he had an electronic monitoring device on his ankle for the few months that he has been out, and he has been under house arrest. He has served all of his time (23 months), the ankle bracelet is off, and he's free to come and go as he pleases. Now, what more is there for him to do?

We let bank robbers, kidnappers, (sometimes) murderers, rapists, pedophiles, and thieves out of prison everyday and if they are fortunate, they get a job and go on about their lives. I don't think Michael Vick fits into any of those categories so, why can't he continue to earn a living the way he was earning it before he got into trouble? What must he do? Back flips, somersaults, and appear contrite with his head bowed in public every time he is seen? That is crazy and anybody who agrees with those self-serving, self-righteous TV pundits such as Nancy Grace and company (and, by the way, it wasn't Nancy Grace who said this... I'm just using her as an example), I have this to ask? Would you feel the same way if it was you?

Say you served 23 months on lockdown or 23 months with an electronic bracelet on your ankle and was only allowed to be out of your house during the work hours of 9:00am to 5:00pm. Would you still feel as though you should have to do more when it was all over? Would you still feel like you shouldn't be allowed to have a job and earn a living? What if it was your son, brother, or spouse? Would you still feel the same way?

Let Michael Vick be reinstated in the NFL and let's stop all of this foolishness! The man has paid for his crimes and we need to put this behind us and move on.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Skip Got Knocked


Like a lot of people this week, I heard about Henry Louis "Skip" Gates being arrested in his own home by police, who were mistakenly told that a man was trying to break in the home. Many of you are probably expecting me to write a scathing condemnation of racism and pontificate on the serious matter of driving while black, breaking into your own home while black or gee, living while black... any of which can get you arrested and/or killed. Ask Sean Bell, who was at his bachelor party while black and was gunned down in New York two years ago.

Yeah, I could pontificate on all of that but, I wont. Actually, if I can be me, if I can be for real here, I thought the whole thing with Henry Louis Gates was kind of funny when I heard about it. Don't get me wrong here... not funny because of what happened... I feel the man's pain and embarrassment, I do. I just thought it was funny because this is the type of thing that happens to poor desperate types like me... not a man of his education, class, and stature. I was naive enough to think that a man like Skip Gates, who probably lives in a much nicer neighborhood that I can even dream about, would not be subject to such. Well, I thought wrong and I really have to shake my head and laugh because in "Post-Racial America" nowadays, it seems like there are more and more reminders that (in the words of the Notorious B.I.G.) "Ain't nothin' changed."

When I was about 13 years old, my uncle and I got locked out of my grandparents' house and neither of them was home. I was thin, light, and could climb good so, he gave me a boost. I jumped and climbed the rest of the way to the top window (one story up), which I was just about to raise up, when Philly's finest appeared and had my poor uncle surrounded within minutes. We explained that we lived in the house but, of course, that wasn't good enough. What saved us was a neighbor who came by and explained to the police that we indeed did live there... and, with that said, the police quietly left. No harm, no foul.

This happened to me again many years later when I was in the Air Force and at Robbins Air Force Base, in Georgia. I left my keys back at the room I was staying in, walked back to my barracks, and was trying to use a debit card to open the door of my room. I admit..I had been out drinking and was slightly buzzed but, not drunk. I almost had the door opened when I heard...

"Son, what in the hell do you think you're doin'?" Smart aleck that I was, I replied... "I'm waitin' for a bus. What the hell does it look like I'm doing?" I didn't realize that I was talking to Air Force Security at the time because my back was turned. Well, two things saved me... (1) The guy I was talking to was the same rank as me (a Staff Sargeant at the time). (2) Once I turned around, we realized we knew each other. He allowed me to enter my room and promptly pass out on my bed. "You might want to get undressed Sargeant... you'll sleep a lot more comfortable that way." He said in parting. I thanked him and fell on the floor. He probably walked away thinking, "Silly Negro."

Henry Lewis Gates wasn't so lucky... he got arrested, got his mug shot taken, and probably had to do the perp walk, which is not as cool as doing the camel walk or the moonwalk. I'm sure this has caused him international embarassment as well. It was quite obvious that once inside the house, those cops realized that he lived there. An argument ensued, and face had to be saved, and Mr. Gates was "knocked", as we say in Philly.

No, I thought that black people of his education and stature was spared that kinda thing... but, I see that's not the case. In all the hue and cry, this might not have even been about race. It could have been a case of two men and pride and one man with handcuffs and a gun being a sore loser and having to exert his "authority" over another man. Nah... it was about race.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Next Time You Have an Endoscopy...


Yesterday, I had a procedure done called an endoscopy. The laymen's term for that is "upper GI". If it still doesn't make any sense to you, it didn't make any sense to me either when I first heard the term. They put a tube down your throat and examine your stomach, esophagus,
and duodenum. (Don't ask... I'm no doctor!) Anyway, it was a very successful procedure and everything turned out well for me. It's like the colonoscopy I had a while back in that you can't eat anything for twelve or more hours before you have it. It also involves anesthesia and that's some of the best sleep I ever had. I remember them putting a tube in my mouth in a room with drab blue walls. The last thought I remember having was ... this must be how condemned prisoners about to have lethal injection must feel. God, I don't want to die in a drab blue room like this!

He must have heard me. I woke up in the original room I was in sometime later, sans the tube and sans the i.v., with just a bandage on my hand and a cool towel on my head. The nurse told me that everything was just fine... I had a "normal esophagus" and a "normal stomach". Okay, I thought... glad to hear it. The doctor came by and told me that I should cut down on sodas
(haven't drank one since April), drinks that "fizz" (I wonder if that includes an ocassional cold beer?), and watch foods that are "too heavily seasoned". Apparently, this was causing me some
excess heartburn. I suppose I'm at the age where everything I like is bad for me. It seems like that was always the case anyway, even when I was ten.-:)

I kinda felt a little guilty about what I had previously wrote about doctors and how it feels as if they never cure you of anything. However, I don't feel at all bad about what I said about HMOs , insurance companies, and the state of health care in general. I'll let that go, for now. Right now, I'm going to obey my doctors, take (yet another bottle of) pills, and pray that I'll feel a little better.

Just the same, it was nice having a day off from work and getting a little rest. As I was writing this, I was voraciously hungry and waiting for my wife to come home so that we could eat. Notice I said "we"... what I should have written is "so that she could get me something to eat." (Just kidding ladies... don't kill me!) Hopefully, by the time you all are reading this, I'll be sitting at my desk and hard at work. Don't count on it... the hard at work part. However, I will be back at work and feeling well. I feel better already.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

He We Go Again!



President Obama pushed back hard against Republican critics of his health care overhaul plan on Monday, vowing to fight “the politics of the moment”, but also giving ground on his tight timetable for passage of legislation. After meeting with doctors, nurses, and other health care workers at Children's National Medical Center, Obama said... "We can't afford the politics of delay and defeat when it comes to health care. There are too many lives and livelihoods at stake."

Without mentioning his critic by name, the president recounted South Carolina Republican Senator Jim DeMint's comment that stopping Obama's bid for health care overhaul could be the president's "Waterloo" (a reference to the site of Napoleon's bitter defeat). He's a better man than me because I would be calling all of these guys out. We know that they have a financial stake in all of this mess. Would somebody say lobby? Okay, then I will. I'm taking off the gloves here because I'm tired of giving these fools a free pass. I've been smurfy for about two weeks... "The Maverick..." is back and I'm putting everybody on notice. With that out of the way, let me get back to what the President was saying...

Obama responded, "This isn't about me. This isn't about politics. It is about a health care system that is breaking American families." Striking a more populist tone than in past remarks, President Obama complained that “health insurance companies and their executives have reaped windfall profits from a broken system.” He criticized those “fighting reform on behalf of powerful special interests” and others out to put off action for “another day, another year, another decade". Obama continued... “Let’s fight our way through the politics of the moment. Let’s pass reform by the end of this year.” This reflects a shift in his repeated timetable.

President Obama said previously that he wanted the House and Senate to vote on legislation before lawmakers leave town for their August recess, with a comprehensive bill for him to sign in October. Obama spoke after the chairman of the Republican Party called the president's push for health care overhaul "socialism" and accused him of conducting a risky experiment that will hurt the economy and force millions to drop their current coverage.




In remarks at the National Press Club, GOP Chairperson Michael Steele said that the President Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California), and key congressional committee chairmen are part of a "cabal" that wants to implement government-run health care. He also said "Obama and Pelosi want to start building a colossal, closed health care system where Washington decides. Republicans want and support an open health care system where patients and doctors make the decisions." This is the biggest line of bull I've heard yet. "Patients and doctors make the decisions"??? When is the last time your doctor asked you what you think about the decisions made in his office that effect your well-being and your wallet? More than likely, you are told how it's going to be and told that you don't have a choice in the matter.

When asked if President Obama's health care plan represented socialism, Steele responded: "Yes. Next question." Who does Michael Steele love when he makes statements like that which he knows isn't true? You know, just a few months ago, this brother was in the hot seat in his own party and wasn't allowed to attend one of their rallies. They opted instead for TV talking head Sean Hannity. I suppose Brother Steele (and I'm still gonna call him brother) thinks that by making ludicrous statements, he can earn his way back into the big house. Well, only time will tell.

President Obama is struggling to advance his trademark health care proposal after a period of evident progress. Two of three House committees have approved their portions of the bill, while one of two Senate panels have acted. A Washington Post-ABC News survey released Monday shows approval of President Obama’s handling of health care reform slipping below 50 percent for the first time. The poll had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

The president, who spent most of last week making his plea for health care overhaul, was pressing his case hard again this week... first at the children’s hospital, later this week in a prime-time news conference on Wednesday, and a town hall in Ohio on Thursday. Conservative Democrats have raised objections to some elements of the legislation and efforts in the Senate to reach a bipartisan agreement have yet to bear fruit.

Nancy Pelosi is floating an idea that could make proposed tax increases more palatable to conservative Democrats. Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly said on Monday that she would like to limit income tax increases to couples making more than $1 million a year and individuals making more than $500,000 a year. The bill passed by the House Ways & Means Committee last week would increase taxes on couples making as little as $350,000 a year and individuals making as little as $280,000. Daly said that Pelosi wants to make up the lost revenue by getting health care providers to agree to additional cost savings... although, he did not have an estimate on how much additional savings would be needed.

The original tax proposal would raise $544 billion over the next decade. More than 90% of the money would come from couples making more than $1 million a year and individuals making more than $500,000, according to an analysis by the Tax Policy Center. This means Pelosi would have to find just under $50 billion in additional savings.

The Republican officials said they were supplementing Steele's speech with a round of television advertising designed to oppose government-run health care. The 30-second commercial, titled "Grand Experiment", criticizes recent government aid to the auto industry and banks as "the biggest spending spree in our history" and warns similarly of a "risky experiment with our health care." Of course, they don't mention that there would be no need for this "spending spree" if they had taken care of business properly when they had the reigns of power, do they?

The GOP ads show children who presumably would be burdened as adult taxpayers with the cost of the health care overhaul. The commercials are being broadcast in Nevada, home of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, as well Arkansas and North Dakota, states represented in the Senate by moderate Democrats. The ad is also being posted on the internet, in coordination with a grass-roots campaign. The insurance industry, which challenged President Bill Clinton's health care effort in the early 1990s, launched a $1.4 million ad campaign, its first TV ads of this year's health care fight.

Here we go again! If this ad campaign succeeds, the Republicans will have won but, you and I will lose. Millions of people will still be without health care and those with it, will still play the "pill games" and watch money fly out of their pockets. All the while, still not feeling any better and we'll be right back where we started. Nowhere!

I'm going to start exercising and drinking plenty of orange juice while they hash this out! My plan is to try like hell not to get sick.

(A public service announcement from the Maverick of All Bloggers!)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Medical Debate Continues!


As you probably can tell, I'm on a health care kick this week. It seems as though scenario one (see yesterday's post) worked out. I called my doctor's office, I didn't even speak to the doctor... I talked to her assistant and they phoned my prescriptions into the pharmacy for me so, I picked them up after work. It looks like I'll live... at least, for another thirty days anyway. I gave the doctor's assistant my solemn promise (without my fingers crossed, mind you) that I would be in her office within two weeks for a face-to-face. I'm betting even more pills will be prescribed.

For a long time, I have often wondered if anybody ever tries to actually cure anybody of anything. I'm no conspiracy theorist but, it seems as if you get sick and you have to set up an appointment with a doctor that can be next week or next month. You see the doctor, they ask you about the symptoms, they just prescribe some pills, and set you up with another appointment, weeks away before you actually get looked at and examined. This leads to yet another appointment and maybe some hospital time, if needed. It all seems like a shell game to me.

Sometimes, I don't feel as if the medicine I'm taking is even working. This is why I hate even going to the doctor. I hate being sick period but, it seems like everytime I get sick, it takes about four doctor's appointments before I even have a semblance of being well. I just don't trust the game and I don't like playing the game. Usually, I'm also out of a considerable amount of cash by this time and I still don't feel better. It's a game and it's part of a health system that has been in need of improvement for a long time. After watching Michael Moore's film "Sicko", I was convinced that I was right. Heaven forbid, if I get really sick and have to start paying out a lot of my hard earned cash for medical attention.

I heard that people and even whole families have been bankrupted by our current health care system and that should never happen. My fictional alter ego, Kevin (read my other blog, Escapades), would say... "If you want to know who is behind a crime, find out who benefits." And, who benefits from your sickness? HMOs... Health Maintenance Organizations (for those that never knew), the health insurance companies, and certainly the huge pharmaceutical companies. They all work hand-in-hand and make windfall profits while you and I go to the poor house and to the grave.

Hillary Clinton tried to reform health care during her husband's presidency but, the Republicans and medical profession seemingly lost their minds. It was as if she had said she was bringing Godless communism to the white house. They mounted one of the most mean-spirited propoganda campaigns of misinformation in history against the Clinton's plan for universal health care and, in effect, the plan was dead in the water. Millions of Americans don't even have the luxury of being bankrupted by the medical establishment because they don't have health care to begin with.

This is a shame and we've got to do better. President Obama is trying to work out a health care plan and is being met with the same opposition from the very same people. I'll discuss that in more detail tomorrow but, this is just how I (as a layman) see the situation. I'm like Marvin Gaye... "It makes me wanna holler, the way they do my life"!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Pill Games



I returned two empty medicine bottles to my local pharmacy for refills today and I was informed that my prescriptions were only good for a year and that, as of last month, the year was up. What this means is that I've got to call my primary health care provider tomorrow to get the prescriptions renewed. (The pharmacist said that he had already placed a call to my doctor but, as I have learned in many instances of my life, it's almost essential to follow-up.)

One of two things is going to happen: (1) The doctor may rewrite the prescriptions and send it to my pharmacist electronically and that will be it. (2) The other more likely thing to happen is that the doctor will fuss at me for not setting up an appointment in the last six months and force me to come in for a face-to-face before the new prescriptions are written. This means that I'll have to miss a day of work to take care of this matter. I also could be told that the doctor is booked until September-something... which means that I won't be able to get my medicine until then.

People laugh but, this is the reality for many people caught up in the current HMO game. I don't expect the worst case scenario to happen but, it is not impossible or improbable. I guess you can tell that I am more than just a little annoyed at a situation that is 80% my fault. I also realize that, in wake of the recent death of one "King of Pop", that doctors and pharmacists are watching their backs more than ever.

However, I do need my medicine and I am in a bit of a quandry here. If, by chance, I can't get any satisfaction tomorrow, does anybody know of any herbs I can use in the meanwhile to fight off allergies and slightly high blood pressure?

I joke here but, I am one of the few Americans blessed to have health insurance. There are many who are not insured. Nearly 16% of Americans (47 million people) are uninsured. And, according to a story in USAToday, the people without health insurance aren't just the poor – they are all of us. Medical bills are the cause of more than half of all personal bankruptcies in the United States.

The fact that millions lack access to quality, affordable health insurance is easily the biggest domestic crisis facing our nation. I advise anyone reading this to convince congress to support President Obama's call for health care reform. By that, I mean, you should email, Facebook, Twitter, etc. your congress person. President Obama's plans are to ensure health plans do not discriminate on the basis of pre-existing conditions, expand access to the government's own insurance program, lower the cost on existing plans, and give you the ability to keep your coverage if you switch jobs or become self-employed.

None of this will help me with my problems but, it will help those of you who can't get any medicine at all because you're not covered. As for me, there is no current legislation for laziness and just plain old "lunchboxophobia", as Funkadelic used to say. Funkadelic (a lot of you probably never heard of them)... proof positive that I really need my pills. They'll keep my mind sharp and I'll stop referring to old funk bands and stay current. Until tomorrow!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Poor Richard (Jefferson)


If the news doesn't stop getting so bizzarre, soon this is going to be a sports and relationship blog.

In the latest bit of foolishness, San Antonio Spurs Forward, Richard Jefferson, is said to have left his fiance at the alter over the weekend. Hopefully, he is sleeping somewhere separate and apart from her tonight (see my last post, "Love Kills") !

Spurs Forward Richard Jefferson is trying to set the record straight and explain why he left his fiance at the altar. Jefferson told the media that he ended the relationship with longtime girlfriend, Kesha Ni'Cole Nichols, because of constant fighting (that would be a good idea).

Jefferson also appeared on the Dan Patrick radio show. During that interview he said that he called off the wedding a week before, not hours before as first reported. Jefferson admitted, both on radio and in print, to giving Nichols a 6-figure settlement (that might spare him an ugly death). He also said that there are plenty of false rumors about the breakup by the tabloid media and he's tired of people ripping his decision to call off the wedding.

Jefferson said, "It really kind of **** me off a little bit that people would try and use this to destroy my name because they felt like I destroyed her name or ruined her life, well no. I did what is best for both of us, you know. (I don't think she thinks so.) But, no one is seeing it that way." He also said that a combination of things led to the split. "I've made my mistakes in this relationship, 100 percent. But, at the end of the day, there were some people who were responsible for the demise of it."

I sure hope he is right and he knows what he is doing. Right now, I'm scratching my head, like a whole lot of people. As I said a few paragraph's above (and, I reiterate)... Richard, go stay in a hotel, alone, with some friends (preferably, male friends), and by all means, avoid contact with your ex-fiance, her family, and her friends for the rest of the year!!! Please!!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Love Kills


I jokingly asked my wife if I had done anything lately to make her angry. She had a puzzled look on her face and assured me that I hadn't done anything. Then, she asked me why I asked her such a question. I said, "No reason." Finally, I confessed the topic of this blog post...


This weekend, I got the disturbing news that one of my favorite boxers, Arturo Gatti, was found dead in his hotel room in Brazil. Now, it appears that his wife is the main suspect and it is said that she strangled him in his sleep.

The facts have not been made public yet. What is theorized is that, while he was on his second honeymoon with his wife, they apparently had some sort of fight and he knocked her to the ground. He was very drunk and she waited until he went to sleep... then (and may I say that all of this is pure conjecture right now), she strangled him with her purse strap.



Has it been two weeks since Steve McNair was slain by his mistress? He too is believed to have been slain while he was sleeping... shot once in the head and twice in the chest. The popular reason being that... not only was he not divorcing his wife, as he had lead his mistress to believe, but he was also seeing yet another young lady. And, this guy falls asleep in the room with a woman who has peeped his entire card like that?

Let this be a solemn warning to all wannabe womanizers and abusive men... Do not go to sleep in the same room with the woman you've knowingly wronged. You just might not wake up the next day. Go out to your car, lock the doors, and sleep. Better yet, just go. You'll thank me for this later!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Season To Shine


I promise you that this is not another post mourning Michael Jackson's passing. I am still shocked and can't believe (like most of you) that he is gone (actually dead) but, what I am about to write was inspired by something I read about him and a lot of celebrities.

I read that Michael was not satisfied that he peaked at age 24 with what was probably his greatest acheivement... the release of "Thriller", the biggest selling recording in history. As a result, he spent the rest of his life trying to compete with himself and being disappointed that he couldn't top his success. This lead me to think about the seasons in a person's life... the season to shine.

What a lot of celebrities and people (in general) fail to realize is that everybody, if they are lucky, will have a season... a series of moments in life, if you will, when you are at your best... when you are the man or woman of the moment and on top of your game. This moment won't last forever and one day, it'll be someone else's turn to shine. How will you deal with that... when it's no longer your moment?

What hurts a lot of people is that we just don't know when to let go of that and how to keep on moving to the next thing. I was watching the HBO TV show "Hung", in which the main character, who used to be a high school football hero and homecoming king, suddenly realized that now, he was just a middle aged, divorced school teacher and coach of an underacheiving basketball team. He said, "I don't understand. I used to be somebody." I think when we get a certain age and look back at our lives and realize that we didn't do everything we set out to do, we all have those moments when we say just what he said or worse... "What happened to my life?" I'll put this all in perspective for you...

A week ago, I was at a family picnic and one of my cousins came up to my wife and began telling her stories of my high school days when I used to run track. I broke a high school record for the fastest quarter mile that stood for close to eight years. He also told her of how he (who is 3 years younger than me) and my other cousin, who I'll call L. (who is 8 years younger than me), used to come to the meets to see me run. Back then, I was a lean, mean machine who wrote poetry in the wind (okay, I'm taking a little literary license here).

Well, guess what? Eight years after I graduated from high school, my cousin L. (who was 10 years old when I was running) was now 18 years old himself and essentially broke my long standing record. I was there when he broke it... I was 26 years old by that time and still thought I had a little game. So, I challenged him to a friendly race one night... just to see if he really, really was as fast as everyone said (actually, my ego was a little bruised). We raced and he beat me resoundly... thus, settling the matter.

This guy, who used to come to my races and cheer me on when he was 10 years old, had now grown up and taken my mantle from me... but, it was his season to shine. For a long while, I couldn't get over that... I made up excuses like the very true fact that I hadn't run competitive track in about 5 years (I ran cross country in college), I was out of shape, etc. The truth is, I was just too old to be trying to race an 18 year old.

I felt a little bit better when my cousin's record was broken the very next year by a young gentleman, who I won't name here, but went on to run on the U.S. Olympic team of 1988. Today, my cousin L., who is now in his mid-forties and myself are in no physical shape to challenge anybody (except maybe someone in a nursing home). We often laugh about our competition back when we were much younger and how we both learned how to deal with "our season to shine".

The thing is, even when your season to shine is over and someone else ascends to where you once stood, it doesn't mean that your life is over, it just means that it's time for you to move on to the next stage of the game that we call "life". Women seem to understand this but, for some reason, men don't. This is why you see some guys still trying to wear something that went out of style 20 years ago and they have to fight with their wives to keep them from throwing it away (not that I would know anything about that).

Besides, there are all kinds of seasons... our youth-oriented society makes people feel as though life ends the day after you turn 29 years old but, that's not necessarily true. I've learned acceptance of my limitations, appreciation for my past, and look forward to my future with curiosity and wonderment.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Oops Moments


My uncle used to talk about (what I will call) "oops" moments. These are those moments between total insanity and sober reality. Here of late, there have been plenty of these "oops" moments in the news. Micheal Jackson's doctor probably relized that, whether he administered the fatal drugs that may have caused the pop singer to go into cardiac arrest and die or not (and I'm not saying that he did or didn't), it probably wouldn't be a good idea to hang around any longer so, the good doc vanished for about 48 hours and returned with his lawyer. In that twinkling between life and death, the doc had his "oops" moment!

We had a certain governor in South Carolina that told his staffers he was going to run the Applachian trial. He got to running and running and wound up in Brazil with some woman. (He must be in great shape. I so envy him! Apparently, he has never heard Shirley Murdock's immortal classic "As We Lay".) The good times in Brazil turned into a weekend. When he woke up next to his lady love and turned on CNN that morning, he found out that there was a nationwide search for him. Well, that was his "oops" moment. Then, he caught the fastest thing smoking back to South Carolina and decided to fess up.

A few years back, a man robbed a bank here and had the misfortune of being robbed himself after he left the bank. He reported to the police that he had been robbed after he held up the bank. For a split second there, it must've dawned on him what he had just said and he probably said, "Oops". At any rate, the police and his fellow inmates are still laughing at him to this day. I know that some of the arresting officers were laughing so hard, they could hardly put the cuffs on him as they led him away. As you can imagine, he didn't find the situation humorous at all.

I watched a friend of mine meticulously plan a surprise party for another friend. They sent out "EVITES" so that people would get the message electronically and in the privacy of their home computer, laptop, or BlackBerry. This way, there would be no loose talk or chance of overheard conversation. Two days before the other friend was to have her surprise party, one of the invitees walked up to her and said... "Hey, how you doing? I heard you are having a surprise party." I turned (as did a couple of other people who knew about the party) and looked at this woman. She actually put her hand over her mouth and said, "Oops!"

A moment between total insanity (or stupidity... take your pick) and sober reality! It's happened to us all. I have one final story...

Once, I was dating a girl who lived with her male cousin. She and I were trying in vain to have a converstion on her steps one night and he kept talking about how excited he was to have this new job, how he had ironed his clothes for his first day, and everything. I was excited for him but, I had hoped he would go away. The next morning he got dressed and headed off for work with everything except his pants! I was walking to her house that morning when I saw him. I noticed him but, for some reason, I didn't say anything to him.

When I got to her house, she and her mother were running out of the house screaming.... "Oh Lawd! William done walked out the house without his pants! Did you see him?" It was one of those moments when all I did was point to the direction in which I saw him walking. It was a
warm day!

You have to imagine his cousin and Aunt running down the street with a pair of men's pants and a grown man headed to the bus stop with no pants on... just a jacket, shirt, boxer shorts, socks, and shoes. I think I had my "oops " moment and started howling with laughter. I had seen him already, walked right past him, and didn't realize it. I was slow on the uptake that morning, which isn't me. I usually pick up on the crazy stuff early. He had his "oops" moment too because he came running back and they all went into the house. I sort of knew right then that I wasn't going to be with this girl much longer... her family was obviously insane. I stood out there and laughed so hard and so long that I just didn't have the heart to even go over to her house so, I had another "oops" moment and went home.

Like I said... we all have them. Have any of you had those kind of moments? I'd love to hear about 'em. I'm having one now. I realize that I just wrote a perfectly worthless post.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Mysterious Double Life Of Steve McNair


With all of the coverage of Michael Jackson's death and Memorial Service (which, by the way, was an incredibly moving and well put together program... BET, take note!) we seem to have forgotten that death claimed yet another celebrity over the holiday weekend... recently retired quarterback Steve McNair.

As reported by MSNBC...

Former NFL star Steve McNair was shot dead in his sleep last week by a 20 year old girlfriend distraught about mounting financial problems and her belief that he was seeing someone else, police said Wednesday.

Sahel Kazemi "was spinning out of control" when she shot McNair four times as he dozed on a sofa early Saturday, then turned the gun on herself, Police Chief Ronal Serpas said. Interviews with friends revealed that she was making payments on two cars, her rent was doubling and she suspected the married McNair was having a second affair with another young woman. (Man got around,didn't he? I'm just saying!)

She told a friend on Friday that "My life is a ball of s--- and I should end it," Serpas said. Police earlier had labeled McNair's death a homicide, but waited for further tests and the revelations about Kazemi's personal problems before concluding that she pulled the trigger of a 9 mm semiautomatic pistol in a condominium McNair rented with a friend.

McNair, 36, a quarterback for the Tennessee Titans most of his career, met Kazemi six months ago at a sports cafe where she was a waitress and his family often ate. She seemed happy and eager to build a life with him, but something went wrong.

"We do know that she was clearly sending a message during the last five to seven days of her life that things were going bad quickly," Serpas said, though there was no indication she told anyone she planned to harm McNair.

Serpas said detectives learned that Kazemi recently found out about another young woman she thought McNair was romantically involved with and had even followed that woman home, though she did not confront her.

Serpas said police believe McNair was asleep when he was killed because there were no defensive wounds. After shooting McNair in the head, Kazemi apparently shot him twice in the chest before shooting him again in the head. Before shooting herself, she sat next to his body and "tried to stage it so she would fall in his lap," Serpas said. She did, but her body slid to the floor and ended up at McNair's feet. The gun was found underneath her.

Kazemi's family told reporters that the woman was so confident McNair was divorcing his wife of 12 years that she was preparing to sell her furniture and move in with him. But associate Mike Mu, who has worked with McNair's charitable association for years, said earlier Wednesday that McNair's wife, Mechelle McNair, "didn't know who this girl is." No records of divorce proceedings have surfaced. The McNairs have four children.

Two days before the shooting, police stopped Kazemi driving a Cadillac Escalade sport utility vehicle that McNair had given her for her birthday in May.

According to an arrest affidavit, Kazemi had bloodshot eyes and alcohol on her breath. She refused a breath test and told an officer "she was not drunk, she was high." She was charged with DUI. McNair was with her but not charged. He later made her bail.

Serpas said that even though both her name and McNair's were on the Cadillac's title, she was apparently responsible for making payments. She was also making payments on another car after she couldn't sell it.

Kazemi had no history of violence, but "on the last several days of her life it's obvious that she made some very poor decisions," Serpas said.

Mechelle McNair has not spoken publicly since the shooting. Bishop Joseph W. Walker III of Mount Zion Baptist Church, which the McNairs have attended since moving to Nashville in 1997, said Wednesday that she is doing as well as can be expected.

"Her faith is what's sustaining her now," he said. "We haven't talked about the circumstances of his death. She is processing it in a private way. It's obviously devastating on so many levels."
A memorial service is set for Thursday night in Nashville, with the funeral Saturday in his native Mississippi.

The four-time Pro Bowl quarterback was being remembered Wednesday at the stadium where he played much of his career. The Tennessee Titans opened LP Field for fans to watch video highlights of McNair's 13-year NFL career and look at photos of the quarterback. There was also a book for them to write messages that will be given to the family.

McNair was known as "Air McNair" for his passing prowess at Alcorn State in Mississippi. In 2000, he helped lead the Titans to the Super Bowl, where they ended up a yard short of a touchdown on the last play of the game when they trailed by seven points.

He spent the last two seasons with the Baltimore Ravens before retiring from the NFL last year.

My Comments...

This does not seem to be in character with the Steve McNair I thought I knew but, then again, I didn't know him personally... I knew only what I saw on the football field. That's all anybody else except for his friends and family knew too. Does anybody really know anybody?

This story certainly sounds like something I would have written about on my other blog, "Escapades" yet, here is life becoming stranger than anything ficticious I could've written. We may never know the entire truth about what went on that night in that bedroom. And, maybe... just maybe... WE don't ever need to know. These tragic events have already tarnished a man's image and caused his wife and children more hurt than they ever needed to experience in the first place.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Oh, Hell No! Not In My Post-Racial America!

I had originally written a post about slain quarterback Steve McNair for today (it will post tomorrow) but, my wife brought this news story to my attention and I just had to jump on this right away. The irony of all this is that I was just telling her the other day, with America having it's first African American President, we could possibly be entering into a period some are calling "Post-Racial America", where the racial divides were slowly being broken down.

I know that for some of those who know me, they probably couldn't believe that I was saying such a thing, cynic that I can be at times. I came to this conclusion after we watched a commercial for Lowes in which an interracial couple (black man and white woman) and bi-racial child were in the store ordering materials for their home. I pointed out to my wife that 10 or 20 years ago, nobody would have filmed a commercial like that... the couple would've been either black or white. I said, "Nobody would have dared have a black man, white woman, and bi-racial child in a commercial representing the American family but, now that Barack Obama is president, they are no longer afraid."

I'm not really that naive... I was actually half-serious and half-kidding but, this story (which originally broke in Philadelphia on Tuesday with a follow-up report yesterday) that my wife made me aware of shows me that in some cases, nothing has really changed much.

As reported by NBC10 News...

More than 60 campers from Northeast Philadelphia were turned away from a private swim club and left to wonder if their race was the reason. Camper Dymire Baylor (above photo) said that he heard one white lady say, "Uh, what are all these black kids doing here? I'm scared they might do something to my child."

The Creative Steps Day Camp paid more than $1,900 to The Valley Swim Club. The Valley Swim Club is a private club that advertises open membership. But the campers' first visit to the pool suggested otherwise.

Horace Gibson, parent of a day camp child, wrote in an email... "When the minority children got in the pool, all of the Caucasian children immediately exited the pool. The pool attendants came and told the black children that they did not allow minorities in the club and needed the children to leave immediately."

The next day the club told the camp director that the camp's membership was being suspended and their money ($1,900 membership fee) would be refunded. Camp director Aetha Wright said, "The parents don't want the refund. They want a place for their children to swim." The campers remain unsure as to why they were no longer welcome. Camper Simer Burwell said, "They just kicked us out and we were about to go. We had our swim things and everything."

The explanation they got from the president of The Valley Swim Club, John Duesler, in a statement was either dishearteningly honest or poorly worded... "There was concern that a lot of kids would change the complexion and the atmosphere of the club."

My Comments...

"...CHANGE THE COMPLEXION AND ATMOSPHERE OF THE CLUB!" This is so blatantly racist that I don't understand why I'm the only one upset about this story. I don't care if they did refund the money... that was racial discrimination and somebody ought to be in court! The only thing this club didn't do was put up a sign that said, "White's Only." I doubt if anybody in Mississippi would be this bold today in 2009. Yet, this happened in Upper Moreland Township, a suburb of Philadelphia, PA!

While the parents await an apology, the camp was scrambling to find a new place for the kids to beat the summer heat and go swimming. In a follow-up story yesterday, NBC10 news reported yesterday that they received responses to the story from all over the country and Girard College in Philadelphia offered the kids a place to swim but, that is just putting a bandage on the problem. I hope that this story doesn't die. I hope that local civil rights leaders picket this swim club. In fact, I'll join them if they decide to do so. This is BS at its finest and they shouldn't be allowed to get away with it! Not today, not ever. Not in my post-racial America!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Let Freedom Ring


Annual Family Gathering on July 4th

I observed the holiday by participating in a tradition that I have taken part in as far back as I can remember... I spent the day with my larger family at our annual July 4th picnic in the park. This year, my granddaughter (who was sleeping most of the time) was introduced to the family and tradition, along with my son-in-law. My grandson made his third appearance at this yearly event and my wife was the photographer this time. My daughter was there but, she forgot to bring her camera. The weather was beautiful and everyone had a good time. We hope that you and yours enjoyed the holiday too.







Footnote: There was another large family celebrating the holiday at the park as well. Late in the afternoon, we decided to engage them in a "friendly" game of touch football and I'm happy to report that MY family won-lololol!!!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Saturday Seven (7 Things I Love About July 4th)



1. I'm not working!

2. Annual family barbecue in the park.

3. Fireworks at night.

4. Watching the fireworks on the bridge with my neighbors.

5. The annual free concert on the Ben Franklin Parkway.

6. The annual week-long "Welcome America!" festivities leading up to Independence
Day.

7. Being on South Street!

(And, did I mention, I'm not working!)

Friday, July 3, 2009

Weekend Joke

Why Parents Drink

A father passing by his son's bedroom was astonished to see that his bed was nicely made and everything was picked up. Then, he saw an envelope propped up prominently on the pillow that was addressed to "Dad". With the worst premonition, he opened the envelope with trembling hands and read the letter...

Dear Dad:

It is with great regret and sorrow that I'm writing you. I had to elope with my new girlfriend because I wanted to avoid a scene with Mom and you. I have been finding real passion with Stacy and she is so nice. But, I knew you would not approve of her because of all her piercings, tattoos, tight motorcycle clothes, and the fact that she is much older than I am. But it's not only the passion... Dad, she's pregnant.

Stacy said that we will be very happy. She owns a trailer in the woods and has a stack of firewood for the whole winter. We share a dream of having many more children. Stacy has opened my eyes to the fact that marijuana doesn't really hurt anyone. We'll be growing it for ourselves and trading it with the other people that live nearby for cocaine and ecstasy. In the meantime we will pray that science will find a cure for AIDS so Stacy can get better. She deserves it.

Don't worry, Dad. I'm 15 years old and I know how to take care of myself. Someday I'm sure that we will be back to visit so that you can get to know your grandchildren.

Love always,

Your son, John

P.S. Dad, none of the above is true. I'm over at Tommy's house. I just wanted to remind you that there are worse things in life than a report card that's in my center desk drawer. I love you. Call me when it's safe to come home.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Street Corner Tribute



The other night after dinner, I went for my run. Yesterday, I was explaining this to my co-worker who said to me... "Oh, I didn't know that you RUN anywhere anymore since you got your new car." We both looked at each other and laughed. Yes, I have been running (really power walking) and I may lose all of this weight yet.

I walked over to the playground and I stopped to catch my breath. Somebody had their car parked outside the playground with their radio blasting but, it wasn't the sounds of Lil Wayne, Soulja Boy, or Drake blasting... it was The Jackson 5 singing "I'll Be There". What struck me was, standing around the car and singing every line perfectly was about 20 of the biggest, roughest kinda guys you ever wanted to see... the kinda guys that a lot of people would be afraid of if they saw them on the street at night. And yet, there they were singing "I'll Be There" and singing it well...

"You and I must make a pact...
we must bring salvation back...
where there is love....
I'll be there.

I'll reach out my hand to you...
I'll have faith in all you do...
whenever you need me...
I'll be there.

And ohhh...

I'll be there to comfort you...
when your dreams fall down around you..
I'll be glad that I found you.

I'll be there with a love so strong...
I'll be your strength....
I'll keep holdin' on."

I couldn't believe it. I started to join in but, I didn't. It was their moment and they handled it well. It was surprising and moving (to say the least) and near the end of the song, they all held up their cell phones, lighting up the night time sky and sang in unison...

"If you should ever find someone new...
I know he better be good to you...
'cause if he doesn't...
I'll be there.

Don't you know baby yeah, yeah...
I'll be there...
I'll be there...
Just call my name...
I'll be there."

I stood a distance from these guys and applauded as they continued to sing and someone who hadn't been singing ad-libbed...

"Just look over your shoulders honey, ouuu...
I'll be there..."

It was a unifying moment... a rare moment... when all of us tossed aside our fear, hang-ups, and even our trepidations about each other and joined in a sing-a-long, if only for a few minutes. The vibe was there and it was good. It was cool. Michael was good at bringing people together through music. Wherever he is, he would have loved it!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

What I've Learned


1. Death is no respecter of persons.

2. Fame kills sometimes.

3. The hunt is far more intoxicating than the capture and it's aftermath!

4. If half the people (male and female) asked the right questions on the first date, maybe there wouldn't be a second date... and maybe... just maybe... a bad relationship could've been avoided.

5. Telling everybody who will listen how much you loved me after I'm dead, won't do me a bit of good if you never told me that while I was around to hear it and appreciate it.

6. Life is a game to be played and since it is... you might as well play to win!

7. You can't help a person that doesn't feel as though they need to be helped.

8. 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.

9. Writing both of my blogs has slowly revealed to me who I am. The question is, have they revealed this information to you?

10. God loves us all in spite of our crap, faults, hang-ups, and drama. It's a shame that we can't love each other in spite of...




KEEPING THE FAITH: RANDOM PRAYERS "ON THE DOWNLOAD"
























































"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