About Patio Thoughts Under a Half Moon from a Country Boy Living in a Big City

Patio Thoughts under a Half Full Moon from a Country Boy Living In a Big City by [Hall, Scott]

If I could steal a line from one of my favorite movies (No Country for Old Men): “and like they say, that was that.” So too are my feelings concerning my eBook of poetry entitled, “Patio Thoughts Under a Full Moon from a Country Boy Living in a Big City.” I started writing and collecting these pieces of poetry over 3 years ago and I have slowly been adding them to my Spoken Words Page (Facebook) and onto a few of my other social media sites. However, after a few unsuccessful attempts at traditional publishing, I decided to pursue the route of eBook publishing through Amazon (Kindle). I hope that you guys continue to support my endeavors on Allmanstuffincluded.com, as well as my new and upcoming works of literature. Thanks so much in advance.

So as for my “patio thoughts.” This collection of poetry does capture some of the highs and low moments in my life, which still to this day, enables me to write in the style and voice which you all are accustomed to.  Love found, Love lost, and everything else in between is addressed in these thought provoking and heart felt works of literature. In a nutshell, “these are just my thoughts.” Hope you enjoy the read and thanks for your continued support.

Patio Thoughts under a Half Full Moon from a Country Boy Living In a Big City“>

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Every Action Has An Equal And Opposite Reaction…Just Be Prepared For The Recoil

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I can vividly recall the moment in time when I experienced an situation where Newton’s Law of Motion was proven to be true.  Specifically how she is truly blind, uncompromising, and consistent. Growing up in Southwest Georgia afforded us an opportunity to experience and come in contact with all types of edible vegetation. Honeysuckles, blackberries, red berries, etc…you name it. If the fruit’s name ended with berry, well that meant that it was 99 percent edible pretty much. Well, of course there is always that 1 percent. And in the case of my brother, my cousin, and myself; that 1 percent materialized in the form of a piece of vegetation we called “snake berries.” Now before you guys go all etymological on me and state the obvious in that something called snake berries probably should not be eaten; allow me to explain. While the name does suggest that eating the berry may not have been the smartest thing to do, keep in mind that I was young and I was attracted to the sweetness of the berry. However, no matter how sweet and tasty the berry was, my aunt would warn us time and again that eating to many of the berries would make us sick. Needless to say, she was right. One summer after eating as many berries as our stomach could manage, we managed to plaster everything within a couple of feet radius with purple vomit. My aunt was livid, not because of us being sick, but because of the aftermath of the vomit. I would be telling an untruth if I stated I learned my lesson and stayed away from the “snake berries.” So I won’t lie. Even though I understood that if I decided to overindulge that there will be repercussions for my actions. The question was whether or not I would be ready to deal with the consequences. And this is what I feel our society has not taken into full consideration; consequences.

I have a friend that told another friend that he would slap him if he insulted him again. My friend’s response was both comical but philosophical at the same time. He said that I can’t stop you from slapping me, but I hope that you are able to handle how I choose to hit back. Perhaps one of the most impactful rebuttals I have ever heard because it resonates on so many levels. Yes, in the world we live in, a person has the freedom to say and do what seems to be whatever they want to. It is an amended right to be able to practice freedom of speech. But I think we have to look at the word amend in order to fully appreciate the gravity behind this particular right; however I will tackle that subject at a later blog. I personally do not have one problem with what a person choose to let fly from their mouth in the form of verbs and nouns. Just know that the rebuttal does not have to match verbs and nouns in kind. Perhaps this is where the “golden rule” should be reiterated; yet understood that each human has a different level of tolerance when it comes to accepting belligerent shenanigan (BS).

Denzel Washington character in Equalizer 1 has a great point in the movie. His characters states that when you pray for rain, you got to deal with the mud too. Some of us are so caught up in saying and doing what we want, for all the reasons other than staying true to who we are, that we are often blind to the tsunami laying in wait due to shaking up belligerent shenanigans. But I get it, and again, I am all for one being able to speak what is entirely on their mind; but first make sure that it’s from a mind that is functioning in its full capacity. In addition  you are willing to accept whatever comes with the ramifications of your nouns and verbs alerting the world know what you are thinking. This is very important to remember, because as my elders and ancestors say: “your mouth just might write a check that your posterior can’t cash.” Well maybe not in those words.

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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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The Rent Will Get Paid

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Yesterday was perhaps one of those days where reality, truism, and self-evaluation all hit me at once, and it was quite a revelation. And like many times when I am faced with these moments of either euphoria or surrealisms, I reach back to my ancestors for guidance and hope. A few months ago I wrote a piece of literature (poetry), which dealt on a conversation between Nikki Giovanni and James Baldwin. If you have haven’t read it, I wrote on how Giovanni asks James Baldwin if it is too much to ask of the Black man whom she wants to be with to smile and perform for her like he does with his employer. Giovanni asks him to “lie” to me. James Baldwin’s response is that he “smiles” at the job because someone must pay the rent. To be honest, I totally related to what Baldwin response was. Of course, one has to make sure that the necessities of the home is taken care of. The rent, the light bill, food, etc…; I honestly sympathize with his sentiments. However, Giovanni’s response was priceless and if not adhered to can be dire to all involved.

Men, the rent will get paid. Make no compromises when it comes to ensuring that everyone (friends, foes, or employers) knows what your priorities are. That they are nonnegotiable. It’s just that simple. If you have the blessing of being a father, make sure that the children know that you will knock down buildings for them. Also let them know that they will be held accountable for their actions by you first before the system gets their hands on them. For my Kings, show our young Kings what it looks like for a man to protect, love, and respect “a” woman; regardless of the status of your relationship with the woman you present to them. For my Queens, show our young Queens that both intelligence and beauty are a blessing; however, one is forever invaluable and the other is internal to the end.

Men, the rent will get paid. Listen, I know the burden of working all day. Be it overtime, double and or triple time. Perhaps you have been passed over for promotions for whatever reasons and believe me, most of the reasons hold no weight. But if I could impress upon you the importance of making sure that you smile to your love ones when you walk through the door (even if it’s a lie) to show them that they mean more than any issues that you may have had that day. Let them know that the home you guys made or is making is a refuge from the harness of the world and that you cherish each day that you return to see them.

What about the rent? The rent has both a literal and figurative meaning. Of course, one reference is the actually rent, which has to be paid in order to have a roof overhead. Nikkie’s response, and one which I concur, is that “you are intelligent and sensitive enough of man enough to figure out a new route…” Which speaks volumes when responding to the figurative meaning. If what we have been doing, hasn’t been working for us and preserving our family structure, then it is imperative that we try a new way. Yes, men the rent will get paid, but the cost is not as expensive as we have been making it.

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Naysayer be damned…Continue to Boss Up!

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I have often heard of the phrase “those that can’t do, teach.” Being an educator, I found that there is some truth to that. Perhaps that only word that I would add to this phrase is the word “anymore” after the word do. Now of course there are certain things that should never be taught; racism, hate, or any things that does not add value to humanity. You know those things that cause chaos on both a mental and a physical level. I call those things, as well as those who perpetrate and spread those thing, “agents of chaos.” And in today’s society, it seems that those individuals are winning.

In my past blogs, I have not shied away from the fact that I think LeBron James is not only the most dominant force ever to play the game; but that his impact on and off the court will never be duplicated. While this is not the topic or purpose of this blog, if warranted, I can definitely come back to this topic on a later post. One of the things that I see so often is blatant attack on James and that he has someway ruined the NBA because of his decisions to leave Cleveland and team up with Wade and Bosh. To be honest I could name tons of players before and after LeBron who have made similar moves to achieve goals, but then again this is not what this post is about. The reason behind some of the unfair criticism is that James thinks just and acts just like the thoughts and actions of a general manager; and he and his brand is a team in itself. Allow me to explain.

Teams in any sports are built by the draft, trades, and acquisitions of free agents. 2/3rds of the before mentioned building blocks are done solely by the owner and general manager; with the exception of a few stipulations (no trade clauses and breach of contracts). Other than that, a player has to fulfill his contract and then see which team is willing to sign him. The hopes of a franchise is that they acquire enough players to be competitive, sales tickets, and eventually try to reach the pinnacle of their perspective sport. If this does not happen within a certain time frame, the front office brass make moves to improve the  team’s chances, in most cases with little to no regard to the players well-being (it’s a business). In a sense; out with the old, in with the new. And here is where the genius of James comes into play. After making the NBA billions, the franchise billions, the owner billions, and making himself millions; LeBron understood that he was better skilled at assembling a team of players to do what 29 of the 30 ball clubs in the NBA can’t do each season in the NBA. Put together a squad of players with a single goal in mind; win. And win he and his teams did. But with winning comes naysayers and agents of chaos who will try to poke holes in what James did; which is the exact thing that the front office does. The only difference is that he was able to do it better and more effectively.

So now we have the LeBron and the Lakers; oh and of course the naysayers who are only waiting for his fall. Somehow forgetting that James, even hurt and aging, is still the best player on the court each night he steps on the court. Yes, that includes whatever your team is and whoever plays for your team. Oh and by the way, notice how teams are now all of a sudden stacked with 2 or 3 big time players (with the exceptions of the Warriors, they have 5). Probably not, because this is nothing new. What is new, however, is the phenomenon of stacking the team just to beat one player. Want to guess who that player is?

Each day sports pundits (journalists and former players with an axe to grind for some reason) try to chip away at the legacy of a player who has been nothing more than an exemplar to both the league and more importantly, the community in which grew him into the man he is today. Which leads me to question those who takes jabs at him because he utilizes the tactics of the owners and front office brass to assemble and build. Is it too much like being a boss? Does he suppose to stay in his place and let those who can’t do, teach? Is he supposed to take what he is given and be appreciative of that and be a good worker? The thing that I find comical is that the ones who criticize him the most look just like him. But then I digress. However, I would note my last line.

Readers,  there are going to be those who look like you, dress like you, speak and go to some of the same places as you. They may smile in your face and even praise you while in your your presence. While at the same time whispering, hinting, and conspiring with others to usher in your demise. I can’t tell you that they want succeed. I can only tell you that these “agents of chaos” exist. They exist because there is nothing sensational or titillating about positivity; it doesn’t sell. And trust me there are tons of those who are waiting to “sell out” just to sell a story or position themselves to be the one to bring about another person calamity. Again, as the poet Jay Z say this is nothing unusual “it’s politics as usual.” My advice, just continue to boss up. Oh and by the way LeBron and the Lakers won last night. Shout out to my partner from the Bay area who being rocking with both the Lakers and the Warriors. You got some explaining to do.

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Missing Reparations…But We Have Debt Though

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I’m sorry, but I have a hard time believing words or policies that comes from the lips of any politicians these days. Doesn’t matter if it is a Democrat, a Republican, or any of the numerous Independents who are seeking public office or already serving. They all remind me of this joke I once heard about lawyers and lies; instead of lawyers you just  replace them with politicians and the jokes still works. So, recently when I read that some potential Democratic Presidential candidates were backing the idea of giving reparations for descendants of slaves (roughly 47,411,470 Black Americans), I instantly thought both timing and angles. However, this is not a mathematical blog so it should not take my readers (who are the smartest on the planet) to figure out their angles. But, we digress. For those who may not be up to speed; of course the proposed backing is to solidify votes as well as perhaps sway votes from the opposite party in order to increase their chances of winning an election. It’s a strategic maneuver; a pretty clever one at that. However, it is at the expense of those 47 million or so Black Americans who will never see dollar one of the trillions of dollars’ worth of reparations that the United States owes to the descendants of slaves. And this is where you lose those of us who don’t drink the proverbial “kool-aid” that is presented before us. But, I come from the school of action where you don’t cite a problem without offering a realistic solution; and folks do I have one.

My solution is to wipe out all debts of descendants of slaves, both deceased and alive, in lieu of reparations which we will never receive anyway. Now before some say “I don’t have debt,” that is cool and congratulations; but there is someone in your family who more than likely up to their eyeballs in debt. Now of course, no one is responsible for the debt occurred except those of us have have occurred it; that’s such a true statement. However, the hows and whys are not what we are arguing; besides there will be a few stipulations that are attached to the erasing of the debt which won’t be buried in the fine print either. One such stipulation would be mandatory financial literacy classes to ensure that we understand how money works. Now, we understand that this class will not instantly put us on a equal playing field with some of the other races, who have had either already received reparations which were paid to them because of the atrocities committed against them or because their race have been afford a 400 year head start on the descendants of the slaves; we understand that. Which is why, I suggest this solution instead.

They way I figure, and I could be making too much or no sense at all, is that by just wiping out the debt of every living adult Black America first, we are giving the United States one heck of a discount. I mean trillions versus maybe a billion; give or take 2 or 3. At least it’s cheaper than the amount requested to build the wall. Now for the deceased Black Americans who are no longer with us, a trust would be set up in the name of both the patriarchal and matriarchal heads of all slaves and freedmen since 1600. Hold on, I know that would be huge dollar amount, but I have a solution to that as well. The trust will only be given to the grandchildren of married couples (which will go in effect at the time of this solution being adopted) who stay married to the same person for a minimum of 35 years (see we have to reestablish the family unit in our communities). There will be stipulations and non negotiables to this as well, and you won’t have to read the small fine print but instead you can find in any of your religious guidelines. I think this is logical so we can ensure that we hold each other accountable and we do what we have to do to ensure that our children’s children are taken care of, right?

Guys I know that I have to do a little bit of research and number crunching to solidify this possible solution. But, for this to be only a rough draft from my brain to this blog, it makes more sense than asking for reparations which the government is not in a financial position to to give. Heck , they have a hard enough time balancing a federal budget. Speaking of the government, this is a win win scenario for you. Black Americans has more buying power and spends more money than any other race of people on the planet. So inevitably this solution will increase revenue across the board, tax revenue will skyrocket, the national debt will be paid off in perhaps a generation and tons of other  financial benefits which I am not aware of (but I will be if my solution is enacted) will be the outcome. The only difference in the all of these increases is that we will be more responsible in what, who, and where we send our money. Just a thought.

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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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And a Child Will Lead Them…But Then Again This is Nothing New.

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As far back as time has been recorded, either passed down orally or through the written language, tales have always been told about youth’s who have demonstrated wisdom and strength beyond their years. Be it a young King David who battled the giant Goliath; a young Yahshua in the temple courts both questing and listening to the teachers; or a group of youth who decided that through peaceful protest they would spearhead the movement to eradicate Jim Crow Laws. Even though the latter of these examples is still an ongoing battle each day; one can’t deny the important role and the impact of having the youth to stand up and fight against injustices that they face in the present as well those injustices that will impact their future. Such was the case in Oxford, Mississippi on Saturday.

Before the Ole Miss Rebels played my beloved Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday, two pro-confederate groups organized protests and marches that started near Oxford’s city square and ended at a confederate monument in the middle of Ole Miss campus (I will let that sink in for a minute). Now for those who have not been keeping up with the mass movements across the country over the last half decade to remove confederate symbols and monuments from public places across of the country; these actions have caused a divide amongst those who see no harm in honoring a history of slavery and injustices versus those who ancestors were the victims of horrific atrocities throughout history. While there were counter protests organized to show their disapproval for what was happening on the campus, no one predicted what would unfold in The Pavilion at Ole Miss.

Eight players from the Ole Miss men’s basketball team took a knee during the playing of the National Anthem to show their frustration in the ongoing protests that were happening at the same time. An act that has become the preferred peaceful demonstration even though it has been criticized by individuals who says that it is disrespectful to the American flag and to the many veterans and active duty military personnel throughout the history of the United States. Well, as a veteran of the United States Marine Corp, I can not find anything that is further from the truth. However, that is not the purpose of this post. What is the purpose of the post? This post purpose is to question why is there a need for these group of young men to have to resort to having to do this in the first place when there are numerous adults in position that could have prevented the need for this demonstration to happen.

Now I may be wrong, but I would think that responsible adult on the campus of Ole Miss would have to sign off on allowing these types of demonstrations to take place on the campus; in particular, a demonstration that will cause this level of division aboard a campus that has had a history of racism. It was “only” almost 60 years ago that James Meredith was allowed to enroll into Ole Miss assisted by the protection of the United State National Guard; a scene that would be witnessed throughout much of the south as Black students would be allowed to integrate into universities across the south. But, back to the point of the post.

As an educator, we teach our students to think for themselves, yet we make sure to tell them to respect and obey your elders. However, what if the examples of the elders is not conducive for the embetterment of the society in which they live? This dynamic is nothing new but one would think that the elders would have figured out how to fully and righteously lead by example. This is certainly not the case; and until this happens there will continue to be a need for our youth to stand up. KJ Buffen, D.C. Davis, Brain Halums, Louis Rodriquez, Devontae Shuler, Bruce Stevens, Breein Tyree and Francio Miller Jr., I salute you. And kneel until those elders who suppose to stand-up for you decides to.

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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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