In the Words of Jeezy: “Nothing Beats a Cross But A Double Cross”

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I have to admit that even I sometimes get caught up in the idea that perhaps maybe, just maybe, the pot and the kettle may one day realize that they are the same. That despite the functions of the two appliances, they both share the same hue. Then again I wake up and remember that this is America. This past weekend Robert Mueller’s complete probe into Russia’s possible interference in the 2016 election was handed over to the Department of Justice and Attorney General William Barr. Yet instead of releasing the findings to the public, especially after the public had to endure endure almost two years of constant news coverage and speculation of foreign influence on the supposed “democratic” election practices held dear to the country (not to mention putting up with the head of the current presidential administration shenanigans), all that was released to congress and the public was a four page summary. Wow! This verb expresses both my astonishment at the decisions of the powers that be to release the findings of the probe to the public as if we are calves suckling from its mother’s teats; as well as to impress upon those powers the fact that as the public we can decipher the difference between water and urine. Weather flash, where I am standing, there is not a cloud in the sky. While I can perhaps go and on concerning this skullduggery of the elitists; it is my issues with what perhaps (by perhaps I mean I am almost certain) was found in the in the probe and not what was being investigated.

As an educator of the public school system, I grade essays upon essays on a yearly basis. Throughout my career, I must have read over 10,000 essays. The process can be tedious and exhausting; however the content from the essays can range from a myriad of adjectives (I’m a high school teacher). Needless to say, these adjectives can make the grading a task in itself. So, as a rule of thumb, I often will alert my students to what I will be focusing on in regards to grading (yes, I do give a rubric); let’s call this a verbal rubric. Stay with me guys, I am getting to my point. The purpose of my alert to my students is to increase the students’ chances of mastering those particular areas of focus. However, during my grading if I come across grammatical errors, errors in syntax, or any other types of errors which were not identified as focal points, I will still deduct points from the essay; especially if the concept has been taught. In my ancestors and elders prescribed philosophy, I do this because “they know better.” Now I’m certainly not an investigator, political analyst, or news pundit; but I am convinced that Robert Mueller uncovered discrepancies from here to over “yonder” in his probe. Perhaps enough discrepancies to make the possibilities of a Russian interference in an election look like a jaywalking offense (well unless you live in Florida). Which leads me to a number of questions.

Questions like: Are we, the public, perceived by the political machine to be that naive and gullible to think that nothing criminal from the top to the bottom in this administration (excluding Trump’s attorneys) was discovered in the probe? Do we expect to get an untarnished report from Attorney General William Barr and the DOJ when and if they ever release the full results of the probe? Why Robert Mueller? I mean there are more questions after the probe was completed than before the investigation began. But then I snap back to reality and realize that in the words of Jeezy: “don’t nothing beat a cross but a double cross.”

I refuse to believe that the outcome of an almost two year investigation from an experienced, Vietnam Veteran, who has been ridiculed and belittled by the very person who is at the center of the probe, did not yield anything but a few subpoenas and petty indictments. As my elders and ancestors like to proclaim, ” I was born at night, but not last night.” In addition, the public deserves to get the information the moment that it became available to DOJ and Attorney General William Barr. And please don’t insult us with the narrative of information overload when the public was just bombarded with a litany of scandals, fear tactics, and government shutdown proceedings that is still wreaking havoc on the country. The public does not ask for much. For the most part, we harvest the fruit for the nation but only get to eat the rind. However, what we do desire is that those who are elected to office do the job which they say they will do. We desire that when corruption is evident that those in these offices be held culpable just at any regular citizen would be. Is this too much to ask? Or perhaps I am asking the wrong questions to the wrong people.

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Check for Balances…But isn’t it suppose to be Checks and Balances

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Before I begin this particular blog post, let me reiterate that I graduated from The Unsinkable Albany State University, which just so happens to be the very best university on the planet. My university also has the distinction of being 1 of only 101 Historically Black Colleges and Universities, also referred to as a HBCU. I couldn’t be more proud to have been chosen to part of this prestigious University System. While I applaud and champion my alma mater, there was a time when I thought that the admissions and registration process was less than desirable. I complained that it was too slow and tedious and that there must be a way to expedite this process. That is until the news broke on the college admissions scandal that has rocked the collegiate world. It is safe to say that the Department of Education will have their hands full over the next few years with this one.

On the surface level there is nothing too arduous for the prosecutors, who will be assigned to try this case, in both civil and criminal court proceedings. It should be an open and close case pretty much. Rich or elitist members of society,  buying (bribing) their and their children’s way into business and institution without having the capabilities or mental capacity to thrive in these enterprises; should be a slam dunk. Even though this sounds very familiar to me. Or as the elders and ancestors would say: it just the same ol’ same ol’. And herein lies the problem.

One can’t help but to wonder how long this type of scandalous behavior has been happening and perhaps more importantly, has it been only limited to educational opportunities. Well, if I had to guess, and that’s only if I “had” to guess, I would say that this has been going on for quite some time. In addition it is without an inkling of doubt that this type of shenanigans has been occurring in areas where having a “leg” up on competition can be bought. Again this is nothing new in our society nor should it be a total shock. One only needs to look at the Commander-in-Chief and other politicians to see the evidence, or as the elders and ancestors would say: “the proof is in the puddin.” However, that is not the purpose of  but I will revisit this “proof” at a later date and post.

This scandal is one that is certain to cast a darker shadow over an institute that has been historically both racial and gender disproportionate. The harsh reality is that for every student who has been able to purchase their way into one of these prestigious institution; there was a potential student who was rejected despite having superior test scores than those with the financial means to be scrupulous. Again there is not one shred of doubt that this has been going on for generations.

As an educator it sickens me that I dutifully teach my students to strive hard to obtain great grades to increase their chances of being accepted into a institute of higher learning. As a parent it becomes even more disheartening. So, who is to blame? To be honest, I don’t think that it starts or stops with the men and women in the admissions and registrar’s office. Even though I can’t believe that not one eyebrow was raised when applications and admissions came across the desks of those individuals who were unqualified or didn’t even exist. There had to be a system of checks and balances to ensure that each potential applicant is the best qualified student to be accepted into the university. I know that this system of checks and balances is in place at university; because it was most definitely in place at my university. Which explains the wait time from the admission and registrar’s office that would drive many of us up the wall. I’m convinced now more than ever that they were doing the right thing and being fair and knew they repercussions of committing  those types of deeds currently making headlines in today’s news. Or as my elders and ancestors say they knew that “what doesn’t come out in the wash, will come out in the rinse.” I guess it’s laundry day for education.

 

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“A Stand-Up Guy…” and The Green Book

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My brother, who is one year and 2 months younger than I am, use to get into all types of mischief when we were growing up. From destroying items in our mother’s meager abode to being followed home by adults because he used some explosive curse words when joking; he was the cause of many of our whippings from our mother. I say we because, even though my brother was mainly the culprit, we never told on each other. That was the unwritten rule growing up. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t until we were much older that we let our mother in on some of the shenanigans that were perpetrated by us in our youth. Of course, we are all successful now and have hopefully made our parents proud and give all recognition to them for what we have accomplished; and perhaps even my brother has atoned for the those he joked out growing up. To be honest I think that even to this day; even those individuals believe us to be some “stand up” guys.

This weekend, and I mean all this weekend, coverage of The Academy Awards (The Oscars) were shown on several media outlets. And while I did not watch any of the festivities or the award show, I did get a chance to see the many talented actors who won in their perspective categories from news and internet reports a few hours ago. One such talented actor who always catches my eye, and who is one of my childhood crushes, is the talented and drop-dead beautiful Regina King. King took home the Best Supporting Actress for her role in Beale Street. Unfortunately, that is about as far as I got into checking out the winners because of my intrigue into a certain movie and what the media called the “controversy” surrounding it. The movie Greenbook pretty much sweep up many of the most prestigious awards including Best Male Actor, Best Supporting Male Actor, Best Original Screenplay, and the most controversial The Best Movie Award. While I have a bit of contention with the last two awards; it is only the last one which I will give my take on. Oh, but I think I may state my position on the Best Original Screenplay on a later post.

Screenwriter and film producer Nick Vallelonga , when asked why Dr. Don Shirley’s name wasn’t mentioned in any of the thank you acceptance speeches, responded by saying “you get nervous up there…we thanked Mahershala Ali…” The producer went on to address the controversy surrounding  Dr. Shirley’s family not being apart of The Greenbook project. Vallelonga claims that Dr. Shirley told him not to contact any of his family about the movie and not to make the film until after his death. Perhaps that is true…perhaps. However, it’s his statement about being a “stand-up” guy that draws my ire. Vallelonga states “I was personally not allowed to speak to his family per Don Shirley. I’m an Italian from New York, they call that a standup guy. I kept my word to the man, and that’s the reason for that.” Again perhaps that is true…perhaps. But see this is when better judgement, knowing history, and human decency comes into play.

There has always been a history of shadiness and outright thievery when it comes to the music industry; specifically, between the artist and those who run the label. Perhaps no other time was as horrendous as when the use of a “greenbook” was not a cinematic venture but a useful tool for Black Americans who were traveling through the treacherous south in order to find lodging as well places to eat where they would not be turned away because of the color of their skin color. Many entertainers from both the south and north used this book despite their celebrity status. Even though these entertainers were in many ways relieving the oppressed Black Americans living in the southern states from the day to day struggle of being deemed second class citizens; in the south they themselves were not immune to the same treatment. As cruel as the south was to these entertainers; those responsible for handling their careers and finances in the north were as equally and in many cases much more savage to the entertainers.

Many of these entertainers were swindled out of their publishing and royalties by record labels who signed these great entertainers with a few bucks and promises of more to  come; however with no intentions to make good on the promises the labels and managers got rich while many of the entertainers died penniless despite the success of their songs. With little to no recourse, many of these enterainters’ family members have only been able to watch as others make millions through royalties from the success of their love ones, while they are only left with memories, songs, or music sheets.

Thus, the ire I have with the use of the term “stand-up guy”  by Nick Vallelonga. I understand keeping the word of Dr. Shirley, but your version of The Greenbook doesn’t exist without him; which leads me to wonder how is it even conceivable that through nervousness any of you forget to mention him. A standup guy wouldn’t have ever allowed that to happen. And if it were me…and that hat is if it were me; if I know for a fact that I have told the story of an individual and I was prosperous from that individuals’ story,  I would definitely make sure that the individual’s family shares in the success. Money, public recognition, or perhaps just an acknowledgment of the deceased or acknowledgement to the deceased family members would definitely be a part of my agenda.Again, I would definitely do that if it were me. But then again, that’s what “stand up guys” do.

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High Time for the Use of CBD

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The date: 2000 (I think). The time: about noon (… I think). The place: Missoula, Montana. Event: Missoula Hempfest.

In August of 2000, Marines from 3/2 were deployed to the usually picturesque state of Montana. Picturesque in that we are talking about the Rocky Mountains. The West is out there somewhere. Elk, Moose, Wolves, and many legends like Bigfoot and other creepy legends call this part of this beautiful part of the country home. Most importantly, Anheuser Busch Beer gets the cold water used to brew its world-renowned beer from out that way (…I think). However, for myself and the other 1000 or so Marines that deployed to this area; the scene was all but picture perfect.

Acres of pristine land and forest were being decimated by raging fires that showed no signs of giving up. After a few weeks, we along with the brave forest fighters and fireman from across the country, was successful in getting the blazes under control. Those are moments that I will never forget and stories that I tell any of my friends who will listen. Of course, the fires gets bigger, hotter, and the stakes always seems to increase; but in the end we were able to get the get the job done.

As a show of gratitude, although we were fed extremely well and sleep under one of the most beautiful skies (Norway’s night sky is quite impressive), we were given a few days of liberty. Some of my friends went to Minnesota, Illinois, and Nevada. Me, being the country boy that I am, decided to try my luck at catching some trout in a local creek or river. That creek or river ending up leading in what looked to be downtown Missoula (…I think) which was having a hempfest. Pause. Because I know what some of you are thinking; “as if the smoke from the fires weren’t enough.” And that is what this blog post is about.

Today while I was getting ready for work, I watched an interesting story on the morning news. The story was about states whose residents are unsure on whether the use of CBD is legal or illegal. Well to the uneducated ones, which I was prior to my fateful day along the banks of the Clarke Fork River (…I think), they will say it’s illegal because it’s just like marijuana. To be honest; they are almost correct. The two plants are almost identical; except hemp does not have the amount of THC within its genetic make up to cause humans to become high. In other words; it’s the smoke without the high. That’s if you smoke it though.

The individuals on the morning news who were utilizing CBD (hemp oil) were not smoking the plant but was digesting it through the form of a capsule. Regardless of the method of use these individuals choose to use the CBD, based on fact that it aided in their improved conditions associated with their illness, the results can’t be denied. From chronic pain due to joint and bone alignments to the proven significant decrease in spasms and pain associated with Multiple sclerosis as well as Parkinson Disease; the time is past due that there clear guidelines, both federally on a state level, that clears the use of CBD. If and when this happens; we are can take the thinking out of the equation. (…I think).

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I Couldn’t Make This Up If I Tried.

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You know as skilled and talented of a writer as I am; some of these stories and capers people try and pull off are shocking, sad, and for many salacious. However as a writer who has vowed to write creatively within all genres of literature in a redemptive manner; it is becoming more and more difficult to stick with my vow. This is a great segue into the plethora of debauchery that is mudding up the headlines in the news recently? I’ll try and be brief and fair.

First and foremost, as a Black male living in America, I feel it is only right that I address certain things that we need to handle and handle with urgency. A few weeks back I wrote a piece titled, Ever Heard the cliché “You’re slip is showing…” Well we need to Look Down. If you have not read it, I think that you should; it’s a good read. It concerns high profile persons whose deeds are now catching up to them. And while I will always take a nonnegotiable stance against predatory individuals who harm our youth (I’ll address that as well); some things are just stupid. Where was I? Oh yeah…Black man living in America. Did Jussie Smollett blackmail the two brothers into committing the supposed crimes? And why did he choose two Black males (see how I did that. I told you guys I’m nice)? He stated that racial slurs and homophobic obscenities were used against him during the commission of the alleged attack; this is what he told the whole world as well as the authorities handling the investigation. And the cops ended questioning two brothers who are brothers (let that sink in for a moment). Holy Moly!

Speaking of holy. Seems these days the Vatican can’t stay out of the news. Of course it’s the Priests again. No not for what you guys are thinking; not this time. This issue is concerning Priests who have children as their….no that’s not going to read well. This issue is concerning Priests who actually father children…that’s much better. See, it’s always my male species that will find a loophole or a shortcut to anything. Not one time have I ever heard of Sister Theresa going against the Faith and having to ask for maternity leave. Guys there are actually rules and documents which exists that deal with Fathers who are fathers. No joke.

The following is no laughing matter. Earlier I told you about my stance on predatory individuals who harm our youth. While I try my best to allow the judicial proceedings to do it justice (I can’t believe I am writing this statement); man a 3rd tape! A wrote a piece called “Smoke or Fire,” that addresses the consequences of rushing to judgement; and I am totally against rushing to judgment. But man a 3rd tape! First there should not have been a first tape to begin with. Also, if this is true; this guy is out of his mind.

And since we are on the subject of mindless. The President’s State of the Union Address I heard was mind boggling. While I did not watch it live; I did have a chance to skim through a few minutes of it. Three words:  Lies and Comedy. No the country is not the best it has ever been (Lies). Then there are the many faces that Nancy Pelosi shown during the parts of the speech I watched (comedy). Until next blog post guys; I’m out.

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If not for you then at least for them.

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“Enjoy each day like is your last!” I must have heard this phrase a thousand and one times. Never really gave it much thought it. Usually because it was a parting shot; somewhere in a lounge or party atmosphere to commemorate someone’s accomplishment. You know; something just to say. However, over the last few years (maybe because I’m getting older or just life in general) I have found myself trying my best to follow this quote. As an educator I hear and see things from our youth that makes it hard for me to sometimes put a smile on my face; but it is a smile that I must wear for both my and their sanity.

Sadly, just a year and a day after the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, another mass shooting took place in Aurora, Illinois on yesterday. So. before I go any further, I would like to send my condolences to the families of the victim in both of those senseless shootings. I also pray to The Most High that he gives comfort to all of those affected by these actions (which has become all too common now) of these individuals. While I know no words of comfort from me or anyone for that matter will bring those victims back to the families; I hope that my plea to all of us, who are still living, to take heed to a few of my words.

“Enjoy each day like is your last!” This must be one of those phrases that has a truism about that is deeply rooted inevitably in reality. We do not know, nor can we control the day that we will no longer be here in the physical. However, we can certainly control how we choose to handle any situation that we come across each day. We can choose to love or hate; quit or fight; smile or frown. We can choose to look at the glass as half empty or half full. We can choose whatever emotions or actions in handling any situation that comes our way. Just choose the one that is going to allow you to have joy in abundance. Make the decision that will allow you to smile for no reason. Jump up and down, not because of exercise; but because you have legs and arms. Take that trip to whatever part of the world that you have been putting off for the last day, month, year, or decade. “Enjoy each day like is your last!”

The victims of these mass shootings were all robbed of the chance to see their loved ones, to embrace life, or too make memories that they would have been able to look back on in their golden years. However, you and I still are blessed to have that opportunity. I do not know any of the victims and I can’t speak for them or the families of the victims. However, what can be done is that we live our life to the fullest and that we make sure to embrace each day and  cherish every breath that we take while here on earth. If you can’t do that for yourself at least do if for all those who had they’re opportunity snatched from them.

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The Cast of Characters in Life Imitating Art…or Vice Versa.

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Scene: Round wooden table. Eight shadowy figures sit around a table littered with photos and filed envelopes with the words “Top Secret” stamped on them. The envelope partially covers an insignia of an eagle with a ribbon in his beak. A large round figure enters the room and the seated rise to their feet and in unison says: Good morning Mr. Presi… (the sentence is inaudible because the theme music from Puzo’s Godfather saga begins)

This is the scene that I envision each time the current administration begins any of it’s meetings. Maybe I’m a little cinematic in my depiction but what is not scripted (and if it is; then life is really imitating art) is the border line criminalistic and rogue like behavior that is associated with many of the advisors and behind the scene figures presently serving or who have served and are not in service any longer for whatever reason. And while I may be a novice at best in my attempts to paint the clear picture; the individuals involved are doing their best to act out the parts.

On October 15, 1970 the federal government created an act that supposedly leveled the playing field in the fight against “gangsters” and “good guys.” The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act, referred to as the RICO Act, helped to put away heads of criminal enterprises and organization that ordered or influenced the criminal deeds but who did not themselves participate in the commission of the crime. I know, a bunch of legal mumbo jumbo; so let me kind of give you an example or paint the picture. And since we already have a scene in the opening; I’ll just continue with my depiction. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Let’s just pretend that the round man that enters the room name is …. Felonious Rump. And seated around the table is a host of people with rather interesting names as well: Pike Sense, Maul Panafort, Michael Bohen, Michael Wynn, Seff Jessions, Soger Rone, and 3 other individual whose names I have not created yet. Yet, for some reason I think I will give them an Eastern European make-up. After Felonious Rump takes a seat all of the others follow suit. Then they began to engage and devise a scheme that if they were ever to get caught would have very dire consequences. Maybe even significant amount of jail time. They all receive their respective roles and responsibilities and commence in carrying out the scheme. However, and through a litany of unfortunate occurrences, the gig is up. And several of the key figures are caught, some jailed, and some awaiting their day before the court of law. Yet the obvious head of the enterprise or organization, Felonious Rump remains free; for now. Now let’s pretend that a special counsel were to convene and look into the actions of Felonious Rump and in what appears to be shaping into a continuous or habitual violations of laws (some civil); then the RICO Act may be enacted. Now of course this scene is strictly fictional; even if there seems to be what some may view as eerily  similarities between my scene and the current political shenanigans shaking up the White House. Coincidental or not; I plead the 5th.  End of story; for now.

Ever heard of the cliché: “Your slip is showing?” Well….we need to look down.

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Just like all lessons in life should not be forgotten; there are some clichés and idioms that should never leave your thoughts as well. I’m not talking about the ones like: “step on a crack break your mother back.” Imagine if there was even an ounce of accuracy to that. The number of orthopedic back specialist would skyrocket; and the use of opioids would almost double (what…wait…my research team just informed that 130 Americans die daily from opioids overdose). Well it’s not like pharmaceutical companies are profiting from the millions of Americans being prescribed powerful opioids to… (shhh…what…more hand gestures from the research department…oops). I digress. Where was I? Oh yeah…clichés and idioms. I’m not referring to the ones like: “don’t let your right hand know what your left hand is doing.” Really? So, basically cheat yourself. So, what am I referring to? I’m referring to clichés and idioms that make one check his or herself. Those that make one check their moral compass; their character; their ability to do and stand for what is right regardless of what it may cause (crickets). I may lose some followers or potential followers today. Well I have a cliché for you in advance: “A hit dog will holler.”

I remember my beautiful mother sometimes telling my brother or I before Sunday morning church, to go the corner store to buy stockings (if she had money left over from bills) or knee-highs (if things were kind of tight) for her so we all could attend church service. This was a daunting task in that I knew I had to get in and out as quick as possible to make sure that my friends did not see my purchase. What can I say; I was young at the time. I never really question what my mother did or why she did it; I just watched and learned. This went for my father as well. Yet, I always wanted to know why she would insist that she walked out the house with what she considered “appropriately.” It wasn’t until later in life I realized why. My mother was not only making sure that she felt that she was appropriate for her own satisfaction; she was also making sure that she set an appropriate example for my sisters and gave my brother and I an example of how a woman conducts themselves. However, this is not the purpose for this post. Well, not entirely. In addition to the stockings and other non-negotiables; my mother would always check my sister, as well as have them check her before they left the house, to see if their slip wasn’t showing. Note the words: before they left the house to show themselves in public. She made sure that “their slip wasn’t showing” before they left the house. Because the last thing you wanted to do was to have “your slip showing” and have someone not of your house to point it out. Get it. No! Well allow me to elaborate; cautiously but honestly.

While I used the above cliché, it is not intended in this post to be looked at literally; but more so from a figurative stand point. So, what is the figurative meaning of the aforementioned cliché? Simple. It means that you have exposed something that should be covered and not intended for public viewing or ridicule. Now, here is the dilemma. If one has to hide what ever that “it” is; it should not be there in the first place. Still not following? Okay, I am getting there; but cautiously.

Over the last few years I watched several high profiled entertainers see their deeds exposed. Now, I am not here to judge or talk guilt or innocent; that job is not left for any of us to do. Between guilt or clear conscious; judicial system or the divine wisdom of The Most High; all will be settled. However, “our slip is showing.” And it shouldn’t take what is being televised and exposed through media for us to see when things are not right. In addition, it is not nor has it ever been in our best interest to sit back and watch as things that are obviously not conducive for any of our well-being to be threatened. In plain proletarian language; “we have to check each other.” Especially when it comes to any degradation aimed at our youth. It should not matter from who. Family, friend, or stranger should all be held with the same scrutiny; no exception. When or if this returns to our thought process, the occurrences that seem to be happening with astonishing frequency would be an oddity and not what seems to be the norm. But then again I could just be “silly wishing.”

Sneakers for a Sneaky Snickers Bar Eater…I’m Guilty as Charged

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To say that I have a sweet tooth is a under-statement. My favorite dessert is banana-pudding. And I am not talking about any old banana-pudding either. I’m talking about the kind that divides family members during the holiday. Oh, you don’t know what I’m talking about. Well maybe you haven’t had that level of banana pudding. I’m talking about the kind that you place a line around the bowl to indicate whether someone has been eating “your banana pudding.” Doesn’t matter who the culprit is. I’m sorry sister, brother, niece, nephew, or little baby, but this is a personal banana-pudding. As you can see I can go on and on about banana-pudding and my selfishness; however the banana pudding is not what has been causing me issues at the gym. It’s those dan gone Hershey kisses and Snicker bars; mainly the latter. And it seems my students know exactly what to sell during the fund raisers.

I run on average about 11-13 miles a week on the treadmill faithfully. Now to be honest there are days that I don’t go because of obligations or just because, well I just don’t feel like it. But for the most part, I am put in work at Anytime Fitness gym. I really look forward to my workouts. It really has become a lifestyle thing for me. You see how those statements and declarations seem to effortlessly come across the screen. While that may be the case; guys I struggle at times. I eat healthy enough. Chicken breast twice a day with a green veggie and usually a sweet potato. Oh and not to mention the many glasses of water and absence of soda. Guys I am really good at this whole thing. Its just those dan gone Snickers and Hershey kisses. It’s as if they seem to know when I am trying to lose the last little (well maybe not little ) fat and love handles around my belly. Then bam, just when I thought I was out, they bring me back in. But tonight…tonight the sneaking of the Snickers almost got the best of me.

There was honestly a moment when I almost hit the stop button on the treadmill way before the 2 ½ mile mark; I seriously was about to just say screw this and walk out. But I thought to myself  I am a Marine Corp veteran. 1 mile no sweat. 2 miles ain’t ….(you get the picture. However it was at this moment when those Snicker bars and Hersey kisses started their own workout plan. I want bore you with the details; just know I finished my workout without too much of an issue. Reason being, because I have made up in my mind that if I am big and bold enough to eat Snicker and Hershey kisses throughout the day at the rate I eat them; then there is no need to complain when the treadmill and every other piece of equipment starts to fight back. So to all my sneaky snickers eaters eat up. Just have your Sneakers on standby.

 

 

The Decimation of a Decade…What Grew From the Ashes of the 80’s

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I was born four months into what I consider the most turbulent and retractive decade for Black people in America. Empty promises by public and political representatives (from both parties), an influx of drugs into our communities which led to mass incarcerations of our black males, the recognition of HIV by the CDC, and the demonizing of our black males on a nightly basis throughout the globe by local and national media outlets. All of which made for a decade, that for the most part of the decade of the 80’s, one that should soon be forgotten. Unfortunately, the ramification of the 80’s continues to cast a dark shadow economically, socially, psychologically, and for many Black Americans physically. Despite the many individual accomplishments from entertainment figure such as Bill Cosby and Oprah Winfrey; as a group we fared less than favorable when compared to our counterparts. While it may sound as if I am crying over spilled milk, which goes against the nature and fabric of my being and what I am made of, it does however gives credence to the level of determination and will to make something out of nothing from the generation that came from the 80’s decade. A decade consisted of extreme highs and catastrophic lows. But if were born in the 80’s, and you are still maintaining your sanity, then you my friends are the definition of a success.

To be honest I can remember when I first became aware of the crack epidemic and how it changed everything from the people, the community, and the whole dynamic of the family structure. It was as if a flash bomb was detonated and everyone became a victim of the crack-epidemic in some form or fashion. You either you knew someone on crack, friends and family members alike championed crack as the new entrepreneurial enterprise, or you became overly familiar with individuals with crack head like behavior. I witnessed individuals in my own family go from having everything one can desire to selling it all for a few moments of pleasure. On the flip side of things; I saw family members go from not having nothing to acquiring everything. And, FYI I do not condone the selling of narcotics; however, that is a topic that I am sure to explore at a later date. That was the 80’s and what I remember first hand. Of course, there were some fascinating events that happened during those times as well. The crumbling of The Berlin Wall as well as Jesse Jackson presidential campaign. Then there were the more tragic events. The one that I remember more vividly is the Challenger Explosion of 1986. Perhaps it was because we witnessed it live from the warm confines of my elementary class. Or perhaps it was the fact that like everything else around me, the unexpected seemed to be looming just over the horizon. Yet, all was not lost. Because out of all the chaos associated with that era; greatness was inevitable. I’m an 80’s baby.

Michael Jackson released “Thriller” which cemented his stance as the Globe’s greatest entertainer. Run DMC released “Walked This Way” which instantly made them a global icon and help to bring Hip Hop to the masses. Nike releases Air Jordan 1 (who knew that this was going to be as big as it is today). Microsoft introduces Windows. The Cosby Show Debuts. The first commercial cell phone is introduced. Rubik Cube is unveiled at the World’s Toy Fair. The Simpson’s debut. And perhaps most important of all; Pac-Man is released. While these may sound non-consequential to some; these inventions and accomplishments made the turbulent decade of the 80’s at least tolerable. So if you are a 80’s baby don’t feel that bad; you could have been born in the 90’s. Imagine that.