Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Biggie's Story: The Best Ever In Hip-Hop

Yes, you've heard. And yes, if you are a fan of real hip-hop, you already know. It has now been revealed.  The truths of The Notorious B.I.G.’s 1997 song “I Got A Story To Tell” has been told. And disturbingly enough, my beloved former New York Knick player Anthony Mason has played the part of the victim.  

Rapper Fat Joe told the world recently that it was the girlfriend of the late Anthony Mason of whom he rapped about in a story of a hook-up gone terribly wrong. The song, however, was done magnificently: and was certainly a favorite of many. 

The escapade starts with Biggie telling the story about meeting up with a girlfriend of an NBA player to his friends.  The story steers to the moment when the player (Mason) surprisingly returns home. B.I.G forces the girlfriend to stall Mason while he comes up with a plan to get out of the situation. The clever Biggie then has an idea to act as if the matter is nothing more than a heist. The plan works as B.I.G puts on a mask and robs Mason of thousands. In addition, it goes down as one of the best tales ever told in any manner on any musical album.  It's simply fantastic.

During the end of the song when asked which Knick player he was referring, B.I.G simply replies, “I don't know… one of them 6”5' nigg#s.”  It was the perfect Biggie response; and it left many wondering if the story was indeed fact or simply fiction. 

Everything about The Notorious B.I.G. was indeed real, and so was his story.  One could also argue that hip-hop was once true and far more authentic.  It’s the reason why true hip-hop fans consider themselves to be just so: real fans.  They've lived through the “good stuff” and they can tell the difference between the counterfeit. 

Of course, there was obvious immorality in the tale and also a hint of disrespect, but there was nothing overt about the matter. It was simply a story. One told to friends of an uproarious night; a true story…  A good story.  And for years, a good story was all that it was. And even now, a good story is what it always will be. 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Understanding the Phenomenon Named Prince

Once, after swatting a persistent ladybug away, someone very dear to me reamed me for those selfish actions and explained to me the beauty of those once ignored species. Firstly, they are not asexual insects. They're simply beautifully colorful little beetles that, from the naked eye, have indistinguishable genders.  The male will eventually mate with the female, a procedure that lasts for more than 2 hours; and afterwards, the female goes to a place of ample nourishment and lays eggs that will eventually produce more gorgeous little beings. Please, bare with me… I'm going someplace with this. 

The artist named Prince has passed away leaving a mark on this earth as one of the most interesting and loved humans by people of both genders and all races. In time, you will learn about the seven Grammy awards received and the millions of albums sold.  We will be told of the awesome talents where he created and produced beats, keys, guitar and vocals comprising over 1000 songs in true genius fashion.  People will compare him to other artist who sang falsetto though most do not compare to his artistry. But will we hear about Prince, the creative being, whose music is the most sexually-creative form of art that any person has ever heard? And yes, the man did invent sexuality. He created it through music in a manner that only he can truly explain.  

At 5 feet 2 inches tall and normally wearing heels, Prince became a sexual-being that no man can truly compare. Wearing hairstyles envied by women and clothing that no other man can don, the interpretation of what we believe to be masculinity and grace still exuded from his soul.  The artist simply united people.  He could create an atmosphere through music that would force contentious foes to be cordial, and one that would make lovers want to live out their fantasies. 

Prince was more than an artist… hell, he was more than a unfathomable vibe. He was a phenomenon, a sexual titan, a simple being as gorgeous as the near-identical ladybug. The man taught us about confidence and acceptance through art and passion, and for that he will always be remembered. Some people say that he was caring; others say that he was wonderful. Once during an interview, Prince described himself as simply a “spiritual person." Those were his own words. So... I suppose, truly, spiritual is exactly what the man was.

May he rest in peace

Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Demons Of Katt Williams

You've seen the video. You know, the one that showed comedian Katt Williams fighting a teenager? Or maybe you saw the one where Katt Williams jumps on a man at a small venue concert in Philadelphia? Or maybe the one where Katt Williams tries to defend himself for assaulting a pool store clerk in Gainesville, Ga? Or maybe you saw the one where... well, I'm sure you've seen some sort of weird 'Katt Williams goes crazy' video.  It seems like one comes out every other day.

Look, no one is saying that Katt Williams is like... possessed or anything. Well, maybe not yet.  However, it is clear that he's been displaying a lot of odd behavior lately; and being that National Mental Health Month is right around the corner, perhaps a diagnosis is necessary before something seriously happens to him. 
Let's begin here... Born Micah Sierra Williams.  Now, let's move on: started career working the Cincinnati comedy scene.  Okay, now recent times: 

November 2006, arrested at Los Angeles International Airport after a stolen gun was found in his briefcase. 

In 2008, moved with his children to South Dakota to set up temporary residence. (Odd, but certainly not a horrible idea if you have eight kids)

In November 2010, arrested while working on a film in Coweta County, Georgia for stealing $3,500 worth of coins and jewelry.

In June 2011, arrested in connection of an alleged assault on a tractor driver. 

In October 2012, hit his former assistant with "a closed fist" causing a serious injury.  

In November 2012, was arrested in Oakland on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon on an 18-year-old. 

Seven more arrest have followed. In the midst of these oddities, Katt had a spiritual transition as he joined the Nation of Islam before reverting to Christianity.  Surely, a change of faith is no direct correlation to these odd super-assertive behaviors. Neither does it relate to Katt's random purchase of sneakers for on-looking kids in a shoe store, or his spontaneous gift giving of $5,000 dollars to a woman in financial need, nor his act of charity given to a random man in a Walmart.  There are many more stories of Katt showcasing his abundant generosity. And truly, the totality of them all sums up the man called Katt Williams.  

Is Katt Williams talented?  Sure. Can a kind soul be detected in the man?  There is evidence of that as well.  Is this all simply a strategy to promote his upcoming "Conspiracy Theory 2016" comedy tour?  Perhaps. However, the Katt Williams that pops up on our news feed getting beaten by a teenager and randomly assaulting others certainly raises eyebrows. One can easily conclude that either Katt is dealing with ongoing struggles relating to some sort of mental illness, or perhaps he is being possessed by evil spirits.  But I'll simply surmise that he's reacting to the consumption of the best weed that most smokers will ever inhale in their lives.  

So on that note, play on, player.  Just try not to get yourself killed.  I mean, surely there are plenty of strangers in Walmarts across the country who are depending on you.   

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Ugly Head of Social Media

Gosh, what a mess. D'Angelo Russell's video of fellow Los Angeles Laker teammate Nick Young surfaced and the whole NBA brotherhood is in an uproar.  What video, you ask? Only the one where Russell baits Young to confessing to cheating on fiancée Iggy Azeala.  Oof!  I mean,  who other than Mark Fuhrman or PARTYNEXTDOOR would stoop so low as to capture someone on video stating infidelity?  Well, no one other than an immature basketball player who believes such things to be nothing short of amusing.  

And poor Nick?  I don't think his concerns are the true priority here.  I mean, he did cheat on his fiancée.  The issue at hand is once again the ugly head of social media. Now, D'Angelo Russell is not a complete idiot (although questionable) being that he simply didn't upload the video to Instagram or Snapchat; however, he obviously sent the video to someone in order for it to go viral. 

So, that's at least twice in one week where a slightly high-profile person's feelings have been crushed because of ole Ugly Head. Certainly, we thought Kyrie Irving's social media heartbreak would be a topic for at least a three days; and we were obviously wrong about that. But maybe this weird "social media heartbreak week" would be of worthy cause by serving as some sort of moral lesson to us all. I mean, maybe we'll at least think twice before putting someone's business out on chat street. Then again, what was I thinking?  That mindset is for grown-ups. 

You know, I thought I heard someone say there's a app that will send a video from your phone directly to TMZ itself.  Of course I'm kidding. But do be aware, the future as we've dreamt it is indeed upon us. And I'll tell ya, it can get pretty damn ugly.  

Monday, February 8, 2016

5 Things Guys Need To Do Before Getting Married

As I am truly writing this piece for the guys, I do understand that women make up an enormous percentage of my readers; mainly because most guys don't read as much.  Well, its true.  Still, men are the ones who are targeted here; however I do want women to be heedful to these 5 suggestions as well before you start to set that special date.  We men are very peculiar people, and we don't expect women to truly understand us, and vice versa.  However, I will offer a quick view into our souls; and maybe then you can understand that there are a few things men must do before settling down.

Firstly, get Las Vegas/Magic City/or whatever it is that will always be the wildest night (or nights) of your lives out of your system. Some of us have had more than one of these; and oddly, we still believe that the annual trip with the fellas will be an ordinary way of life once we're married.  NEWS FLASH: it isn't!  Men, don't set yourself up to have to respond to the lies that you're going to tell her in the future because believe me, if you're going to indulge in these incredible nights without the misses, you're certainly going to have to remember details of those ginormous fibs FOREVER! 

Second (but perhaps most important), cut the cord with moms, dude.  Now I'm sure that she did a wonderful job raising you (bless her heart); but it's time to move on.  Just because she wants you to be the same "little man" you were when you were four-years-old doesn't mean it's not time to give moms the 'ole sit-down talk' like you did for the other chicks that you so desperately wanted to rid.  Hey, don't cry my brother, moms can keep texting you and all; but she has to recognize that you're now a man who desperately needs more space.  Believe me, just do it!

Third, splurge while you have the chance because as soon as you say "I do" that part of you life is gone forever! Want that two-seater with the chrome wheels?  Get it while you can.  Still lusting after that 70" TV?  Get it now because it definitely won't be coming in the house when you're married.  Of course, if you're a millionaire you can get whatever you want.  But until then, take advantage of the window you have.  Once she accepts your proposal, that window of possibilities narrows to the size of the mail slot in your front door.

Fourth, get your relationships right with your kids, bro!  Yeah, I know...you hate your baby momma.   I'm sure most men say that at some time in their lives.  However, these are your kids...and they'll be your new wife's step-kids.  There's a huge difference.  The issues that you have with them don't compare to the issues that your new wife will have with your kids.  Yeah, your kids...the same ones who despise her for things she can't comprehend.  Lord knows the kids are already brainwashed by baby momma. (Shaking my head)  Poor new-misses; she doesn't stand a chance.

And lastly, make solid plans for the future prior to getting married.  Sure, everyone wants a nice home and lots of money, but those are not measurable goals right now.  Give new-misses a solid plan for the future, and not some trumped-up dream.  You're the anchor in this relationship. That fact was validated once she accepted your proposal. She's willing to follow you to the moon and beyond.  So don't keep running to your buddy's house to get hammered and work on that backyard rocket ship project. I mean, geez bro...She didn't take that whole "moon" thing that seriously.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

4 Reasons Most White Americans Hate Barack Obama

Hate is truly a very strong word.  However, in this case, it is indeed a fitting one.  It is true that many white Americans hate Barack Obama; and believe me, I hear about it every single day.  One can only wonder the reason why he's disliked so much being that he has a noticeably successful track record.  If you have doubts about his accomplishments then I advise you to go to www.pleasecutthecrap.com. You'll quickly discover that he is worthy of the accolades.  Yet, this man is disliked more than any president that my parents can recall in their lifetime. 

For example, about six years ago I remember responding to an ad in the newspaper about a gentleman selling a vintage Porsche two-seater.  He was a former school superintendent from New Jersey; and boy, did he hate Obama.  His rants would always start, "that damn Barack Hussein Obama..."  It was so funny.  But anyway, here are the top four reasons why most white Americans hate President Obama.

One: Okay, so he's black.  Yep, it's such a hard pill to swallow, I know.  And his color was the same eight years ago when the American people where chanting "we want change" during a time when the country was trying to get out of a recession.  Well guess what?  He delivered.  President Obama delivered again and again, year after year.  Still, he's such a very hated man. Go figure?

Two: Many white Americans feel like they're actually losing their power.  ISIL is scaring people to death, Syrians and Mexicans are believed to be living on every street in America. Too many people of darker complexion are driving Mercedes and appearing in TV commercials; and oh my gosh..."every black person you know is in a mixed relationship." Life as we know it is truly coming to an end!  Well, to many of the white Americans to whom I'm addressing this piece, you are indeed not losing your power.  There's nothing more to say about that.  You're just not.  Trust me.

Three: The guy simply cares too much.  I can see why that's such a major problem. The confusion centers on the fact that our president cares too much about children dying due to poor gun laws.  He cares too much about the rights of discriminated gay and lesbian people.  He cares too much about those in the prison system who have been sent to jail unjustly.  He cares too much about the environment.  He cares too much about big businesses strong-arming the financial sector.  He cares too much about families deteriorated by drugs, domestic abuse, and poverty.  He cares too much about the next generation who are seeing their Social Security benefits vanishing away. The man simply cares too damn much!  I get it. Surely, anyone can see how such a humanistic characteristic can be such a concerning problem.

Four: The man has too much charm and...well, to discribe it in another way, the man's game is simply on fleek.  His actions appear to be so effortless that one can hardly believe that he's the reason bin Laden is dead, that ISIL is on the run, and that the United States is the most powerful country in the world.  Hmm...I guess I really do see why he's hated so much.  No one person can be so totally awesome!

Of course, I'm not generalizing white people.  I love all of God's children and I place no favoritism based upon skin complexion.  All that is reported is based upon what I see and hear. I merely ask that we all judge our president on his accomplishments and his heart, and not by the lies told by those seeking his position. Because if we take this moment for granted, then I have a feeling that Mr. Barack Hussein Obama will be missed much sooner than later once he leaves his post. And that's real! 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Disappearance Of Sexual Privacy

Whatever happened to sexual privacy?  It's a topic today because Kanye West came after Wiz Khalifa on Twitter before getting blasted by Amber Rose for being the recipient of a finger frolic while the two were a couple; but still, why should we be exposed to this?  I suppose I'm the only one who believes that what happens in the bedroom should stay in the bedroom no matter what forbidden activities may have occurred.  The problem today is that what was once a matter that stayed behind locked doors is no longer private at all. 

Just look at the stupid Twitter and Facebook posts that deal with sexuality and relationships.  We are constantly reminded that we can peek into someone's bedroom whenever we choose (and most times it's not a choice in the matter). There was a time when we could simply go behind closed doors and subscribe to the porn channel whenever the mood was right. There was a time when Playboy magazine would come to your mailbox concealed to onlookers because they knew that subscribers didn't want their neighbors to know that they had a freaky side.  Look at Playboy today...they don't even want to showcase nudity anymore.  Why?? Because all you have to do is go online and get it for free.  Everything is available for you please your now fully exposed freaky side.  And why stop there? Submit your sexual activity to Tumblr for all the world to see. That's what every one else is doing.

I mean, who doesn't enjoy being spanked, choked, pulled about, leaked upon? It's all in the nature of humankind.  But still, it shouldn't unwantingly be all in our freakin' face, right?  Shouldn't I just go into my private place and get as much super hot porn as I want, whenever I want it?  Do I have to have it forced upon me just as Amber threw Kanye's business upon all of us?  Geez..perish the thought.

Obviously, it's a brand new world out there.  One where your boobies can be googled and you have no idea how it got there.  One were every human's cellphone contains nudie pictures of their loved one, or ex-love,  or their friends' ex-loved one.  One where pornos come in the fashion of gifs or 5 minute uploads.  One where your whole day changes because you just found out that Kanye likes to have his anus probed.  Yes indeedy...things have definitely changed.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Sharing An Office With A Pro-Life Extremist

Yeah, it's true.  Years ago I shared an office with a pro-life extremist. And please don't think I'm writing lightly about a subject which is as serious is this; I'm merely expressing some facts on a topic which is relevant to today's most popular topic.. 

You see, I was a younger man then.  I was fresh out of college and willing to accept any position that was relative to my degree.  A letter came in the mail one day when I returned from Bermuda wanting to know if I would accept a local government position. Of course, I didn't think twice about it.  Two weeks later they showed me to my new office.  After the first two days, my coworkers felt that I had settled in enough to receive the surprising news that I had then shared an office with a pro-life extremist.

Now, when I say extremist I'm certainly not understating the term.  Don't get me wrong, there are were obvious alarming signs or profiles to which to label the man.  He was married and had been honorably discharged from the military years before.  Hell, he even held a position for the local government.  By any definition he was simply a normal guy.  However, he was one who believed that abortion was wrong and that all who condoned it were going to hell, and that those who murdered abortion physicians were well justified. Needless to say, I tried my best to refrain from having these conversations with him.  In actuality, he was a pretty descent guy (outside of his enormously strong views on abortion).  It was as if his pro-life beliefs were the only thing that made his life significant. 

Certainly, you have your own views on the matter and some (or many of you) may think that my coworker is just in his beliefs, and that it is I who is being irrational.  Your opinions are your own and I don't fault anyone for having different thoughts on the issue.  The problem with...(let's call him David); well, the problem with ole David is that he truly believed that abortion physicians should be killed.  David had no qualms about the matter and repeatedly made such statements.  Truly, ole Dave was a supporter to those who have done works similar to the recently abortion shooting in Colorado. Such terrorist behaviors are no different than the one committed in San Bernardino, California. Quite factually, David appeared on several talk shows supporting the shootings that targeted abortion clinics in Brookline, Massachusetts and in North Carolina. The man was often questioned by the FBI, a procedure that seemed to have only fueled his ego.

Now, I believe in a number of things that others may find unfavorable. I believe in the term, Black Lives Matter. I believe that there should be a tougher gun law.  I even believe that Hillary  should listen more to what Bill has to say.  And I firmly believe that masturbation is definitely not murder.  But one thing that I'll stand proudly on my soap box to the full extent of my tippy-toes to voice is that no innocent person should die simply because of the belief of another. Therefore, anyone who attempts to justify murder for their own cause is undoubtedly wrong. And that's a message that I proudly direct to David, and any other fool of a human-being.  This matter is not complicated at all.  In fact, it's as simply as breathing air. 

Terrorism is wrong.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Missouri Students Learning From Ferguson and Baltimore

It took a number of tactics to get the administrative body to see that there was a race issue on the campus of Missouri's flagship university.  Let's see...there were complaints, there were protests, there was even a hunger strike; however no action was more vital than the university's football team's refusal to be a part of scheduled athletic activities. It was simply a method of hitting them where it hurts; and the place where it always hurts the most is in the wallet.

During the past number of months at the University of Missouri, black students had been exposed to maltreatment ranging from being called nigger to visuals of feces-decorated swastikas on campus walls. However, all matters that were reported to the school's administration was taken as lightly as a 3rd grade Valentine's Day exchange.  It's been a year since the incident involving Michael Brown in which the unarmed teenager was shot and killed by Ferguson, Missouri police.  In similar fashion, the university's approach was just as insensitive. 

Somehow, the young men on the University of Missouri's football team knew that the movement would be even more effective if they made a statement themselves.  The decision to boycott the sport (which pays the athletes' tuition) proved to be a deciding factor in effort to get the university to understand that a problem does exist on campus.  It's estimated that the school would have lost nearly $2 million dollars had the team refused to play their game on Saturday versus BYU.  One million dollars of that amount would have gone directly to the opposing school. 

It was also only months ago when people were questioning the validity of several protests in Baltimore regarding the brutal death of Freddie Brown at the hands of the city's police.  The questioning ceased  only days after the protests when the city's administration charged the officers involved with manslaughter and other serious crimes.  All it took was the mere thought that the city's own people would be hindering Baltimore's ability to make money from visitors, in addition to the money already lost trying to protect its Downtown and neighboring area.  Quite similarly, $2 million dollars and a solid reputation was simply too much to lose for Missouri's chief university.

Will the racial tension in Missouri cease to exist?  Perhaps not.  Will the university's administration be more attentive to the needs and demands of it's minority students?  Well, as long as the majority of its football team is black. One thing is for certain, however; every Missouri student has now completed an unexpected non-degree seeking course in both business and sociology.  Apparently, when it comes to race relations, the two subjects go hand in hand.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Why We Like Donald Trump...I Think

I was trying to get some writing done at a local cigar shop when all of a sudden, "Hey, did you see the last Republican debate? 
Well, of course I saw the debate.  So did 20 million other people.
"So what did you think?"
"Well," I say, "I thought it was very entertaining."
"Sure.  Wasn't it set up for the sake of entertainment?"
"I don't understand," says the stranger.
"Well, you had Trump standing next to Jeb Bush and Ben Carson.  Trump's slapping fives and ribbing up Jeb.  Carson is trying to spit out words that are read on a cue card in his mind.  Meanwhile, Chris Christie is posted to the far right nearly hidden from camera view.  Rand Paul is debating with Jeb Bush about marijuana.  Carly Fiorina is looking weird in the face meanwhile Trump's on the spot for saying that she looks weird in the face.  I'm tellin' ya, it was good entertainment."
"Well, they did talk about the issues though," the stranger says.
"Yeah, it's a debate...so I'm glad they did talk about the issues."
"But still, I think I really like Trump."
"Yeah," I say, "everybody likes Trump."
My stranger takes a pull of his cigar.  I can feel his eyes studying my soul as I'm glued to my keyboard.  "I don't understand.  What do you mean by that?"
I finally look up.  "Everybody likes Trump, man.  We like that he speaks his mind.  We like that he's honest about most of the things that he says.  Americans like him because he's a celebrity.  But still, nobody loves him.  I mean, do you love him?"
"Well, I actually like him a lot," says my stranger.
"But do you love him?  Is he your guy?  Or do you just like that he speaks his mind?"
"Well, I like what he says about immigrants.
Geez.  Well, I'm not gonna touch that one.  "Let's look at it this way," I say.  "I have no doubt that he's a leader.  I have no doubt that he's a successful leader.  However, I do feel that to be the leader of this country one has to have compassion for all Americans in a addition to being a successful person.  Do you think that Trump has compassion for all Americans?  Because you can't have empathy for people worldwide if you don't have compassion for every living American.
My stranger gives up on this one.  "Well, I think he's better than Obama.  I mean, what has Obama done anyway?
Okay.  Here we go.  Well, Obama is the one person who came to mind when I was talking about compassion for Americans. True compassion starts with being open-minded."
"Well, I agree that a president should be open-minded."
"Well that's good.  But can you honestly say that President Obama hasn't done one thing since he's been in office?"
My stranger doesn't say a word for the next 30 seconds.  I can see that it hurts him to admit that fact that President Obama has indeed done one good thing since being in office for over six and a half years.  At that moment, I receive a phone call from my mother who wants to meet me Downtown for lunch.  I excuse myself and take the call to confirm a time.
"Sorry about that," I say. I scribble a web link down on a piece of paper.  It read: pleasecutthecrap.com/obama-accomplishments/  "This is a list of many of President Obama's accomplishments since taking office.  You may enjoy it."
"O-kaaay."  He frowns his face.
"I wish you well in the upcoming election.  And remember what I said... Everybody's like Trump."

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Return Of Kanye

Of course, any writing about Kanye West is an interesting read. I've had a number of Kanye blogs which have been well-supported by my beloved followers. One even suggested that Kanye is homosexual. Well, that just goes to show how hard it is to figure out the guy.  But one thing that is for certain, Kanye West is indeed a musical genius.  He's also one of the most complicated humans we will ever see in our lifetime.

Yes, I watched the Video Music Awards. And yes, I saw Kanye West's reception of the Video Vanguard Award.  He was looking at the audience, and the audience was looking at him.  Everyone was like, 'what the hell is he gonna do.'  It was an extreme oddity at the very least.  Kanye takes what seems like an hour to explain his awkward first encounter with Taylor Swift during the infamous VMA where he snatches the microphone away from her. He rambles on, and he rambles on...then all of a sudden he goes all Kanye 2020 on us. 

Now, we all regress to our normal "Kanye's crazy" mentality. But at the same time, with the recent success of Donald Trump's campaign for president, we are reminded that even the presidency is a popularity contest.  It's like high school all over again.  I mean, the guy isn't serious is he?  Is he??

Well, in Kanye's world he's probably dead serious. We also know that the odds of he winning such a thing is a probability that can only be seen in the movies.  But then there's the ongoing success of Trump. But still, it's Kanye... And all of a sudden, 2016 seems far less interesting.  

Monday, August 17, 2015

Addressing Baltimore: 1200 City Workers Making Six Figure Incomes Doesn't Help

Some time ago, I had worked as a counselor for a major city in the state of Virginia. It was the first time I had worked in the area of local government. I was an eager twenty-five year old man who was two years removed from college. There was much to do then and so many people to help.  

In the first year I received an award for performance excellence, and I am still very proud of that accomplishment to this day. However, all I had really done was perform my job efficiently. I did nothing (at that time) out of the ordinary.  I was actually still learning my job duties. My true difficulty centered on dealing with city employees who were blatantly more focused on receiving big pay checks rather than assisting those who were in need. Helping people in the community was actually the reason our jobs were created. 

When I read that 1200 city workers in the City of Baltimore received six figure incomes, it agitated me somewhat. We've all seen the issues pertaining to police brutality in the city of Baltimore.  We've all seen the poor handling of the matter by the city's administration. Just like most major cities, there are key issues regarding youth education, poverty, and race relations. Yet, the funds distributed to these areas remain few and infrequent. While investigating the matter in Baltimore, I've found that people who are on a $70,000 a year salary are making upwards of $160,000 due to excessive overtime pay.  I have no quarrels with anyone receiving money for a good day's work.  My concern is that there are people in need who are not receiving assistance because local government is improperly handling its resources. 

It reminds me of the time when my department was being audited by the state during an annual review. There was an unlimited amount of overtime pay being offered just to get our files in order.  It was if a red flashing siren was turned on by the administration just to cover our overwhelming amount of negligence. Clinicians were making double and triple their monthly salary just to cover a facade, meanwhile funds that could have been given to the homeless, the mentally ill, or the hungry were never being considered for dispersing. 

Twelve hundred people made six figure salaries, yet these same people who are in the position to help those in need are basically benefiting from other's misfortune. This is what many would call a broken system. Sadly, when I'm traveling or interacting with various people, I often hear complaints that the protests in Baltimore, St Louis, New York and Oakland are all cries over spilled milk. Truly?? Spilled milk?

Why are we so blind to the mistreatment of the many who are in need? It's as if we feel better about our own lives knowing that there are others out there doing worse than we are? I suppose that is a question that is more suited for those who have recently moved to a higher tax bracket courtesy of an inadequate government system. Because obviously there are deceitful activities occurring right under our noses; yet somehow, we continue to accept it.  

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

3 Reasons Why Nobody Cares About a Meek Mill and Drake Beef

Nah...we don't care.  I mean, we really don't. Of course, hip-hop heads love a good beef every now and then; but overall, no one really cares about a Meek Mill and Drake hissy fit. Sure, the two are super-sensitive grown-ass men who are drawn to attention like a desert horse is drawn to water. And yes, I'm sure Nicki Minaj did voice to her new boo Meek that once upon a time someone did write a few bars for his pseudo-enemy Drake; but still, no really cares about this beef. And here are three reasons why:

Reason One:  We are seeing on a regular basis that people of color are mistreated every single day; thus real news is out there, and the average person is more society-conscious today than ever. Therefore, this little quarrel draws no true interest...well, with exception to the folks who get paid to broadcast (or create) entertainment news. But basically, all of it is sort of unimportant.  

Reason Two: Drake is no stranger to criticism. Not only is he immune to criticism, but he's managed to surpass the kicks and punches from both haters and critics alike. Let's face it, the man is super-talented...maybe a little passive, but he is super-talented. And yes, he's far more talented than Meek Mill. I mean, hey...come on now, you know it's true.

Reason Three: It'll all blow over in a week or two. And after that they'll probably do another song together just as Drake and Chris Brown did after their real beef in which more bottles and law suits flew over New York City than Mike Tyson's pigeons. And truthfully, I'll probably be the first to buy the collaboration album when it's all over (or download it for free on DatPiff.)  Yeah...I'll probably download it for free.

But still, I do give the folks who lurk in the shadows a bit of credit for keeping this "beef" thing going. Surely, units are being sold and people are getting paid; and perhaps the one who's benefiting most of all is Meek's boo-thing Nicki Minaj. I don't know why, but I got a feeling she'll end up with most of the buzz when it's all said and done. Actually, I kind of feel a little sorry for her. For the life of me it seems like poor Nicki just can't get away from these overly emotional dudes. But I don't know; I suppose they're everywhere nowadays. 

Bless their precious hearts.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Wimbledon: Thumbing Its Nose To The World

Don't we simply love to watch the good-looking rich folks as they sit grumpily at those prestigious venues. They may appear grumpy, but in fact they a not. These people are the wealthy few whose images are a fixture in the minds of those who see Wimbledon as it desires to be: posh and upper-class. However, there are grumblings from the country's citizens who would like to see far more than what they're getting.
Truth is, British tennis players haven't performed very well in Wimbledon in years, and the country's people would like to see a change. It is indeed possible to attract more people to the sport. Tiger Wood did just that in the sport of golf, and the William's sisters changed the view of American tennis nearly 20 years ago. Certainly the British can do the same.  All you have to do is promote and advertise. Nike's sponsoring of young phenomenons such as Michael Jordan and Labron James has changed the NBA forever. So why not do the same in England? Well...I suppose that's not quite the British way.
Oliver & Ohlbaum Associates, a media and sports consultancy, estimates that Wimbledon takes in roughly $6 million a year from sponsorship by companies like IBM and Rolex.  Over the past several years Wimbledon has generated an annual profit of $42.2 million.  The U.S. Open tennis tournament, which has similar audience figures, earns $118 million from sponsors. Wimbledon does not deny that it can increase profits by simply advertising more; it simply prefers to keep its level of exclusivity by appealing chiefly to the middle-class and up.
So, what does this mean for tennis fans?  Well, that depends on your perspective.  Certainly, Wimbledon would continue to require athletes to wear lily-white outfits, Mercedes-Benz and Rolex will maintain their sponsorship for years to come, and apparently Britain will always be mediocre at best as it pertains to representing their country in tennis.  But if you weigh all of that with the visual of Bradley Cooper and other super-star media folks sitting in the front row of Wimbledon in their dashing suits, designer gowns and expensive sunshades, isn't this really nothing but a non-issue? Well...I suppose not.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Who Should Celebrate Independence Day

What a great day Independence Day appears to be. It is the day our country celebrates its independence from Britain, and one which it annually proclaims to be the greatest country in the world. Certainly the United States is not perfect, but indeed there have been numerous global accomplishments. 

Great men and many leaders have placed their lives on the line for the belief that this nation had the potential to be great. If that is the case then certainly the mud that stains its red, white, and blue coat should humbly be displayed, and then hopefully mended before washed it away. This year alone has certainly been one to remember. There have been murders of black people in a South Carolina church and churches have been burned throughout the Bible Belt. Baltimore was forced to stand up and march against both police brutality and a government trying its best to mask the problems exposed from its fragile inner structure. Poverty has remained an overwhelming issue, as well as the not-so-subtle injustices directed towards gays and lesbians, and immigrants. In the past six months we have been a country in mourning due to prejudices and hatred directed towards a bulk of its citizens. 

Still, we celebrate...and we should. We glorify the magnificent country that has endured war, recession, and a downtrodden spirit with a faith that this nation can truly be that which it claims to be. It is no longer one which waits on the actions of an ever-active president, nor is it one that can count on state government to effectively lead.  Instead, it is a nation that now knows that the true power comes from the citizens who will help steer it in the best direction it deems necessary.

Again I say celebrate. Celebrate yourselves for seeing this country's faults and acting against them. Celebrate your actions in standing against recognized injustice. Celebrate your open-mindedness as you finish out the year knowing that it is you and your contributions that will make this country all that it has claimed to be. Celebrate yourselves on this Independence Day!

Without a doubt, change has indeed come and change will once again be needed as we the people help this country restructure its foundation. And we'll do it again and again, all for the sake of this fragile nation's often-assumed greatness. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Supporting Rachel Dolezal

"She has to be crazy," they said. "Who would pass themselves off as being black?!" Those were the words said by many throughout the week after Dolezal, head of the Spokane, Washington NAACP, was discovered to have lied about her race for years. Dolezal's parents were seen on news outlets around the country stating that their daughter is indeed not black, and also produced the birth certificate proving that very point.

Rachel Dolezal told KREM reporter Shawn Chitnis, "Actually, I don't like the term African-American; I prefer black. So if asked, I would say, yes, I consider to be black.

The NAACP leader explained that everything she is being questioned about -- her race, her children and her biological parents -- are "a very private matter." Dolezal has two adopted brothers who are black, as well as a son who is of African-American descent. She obtained legal custody of her adopted brother, Izaiah, after he sought emancipation from Dolezal's biological parents. Dolezal also refers to Izaiah as her son. "I am his mom," she told KREM. "I do see myself as [that]. He's not my brother. That's not our relationship.

She has also revealed that she doesn't consider her biological parents her "real parents." Dolezal does not speak to them due to an ongoing legal issue; and perhaps that's why she was interrogated on the street by a news investigator.  

Instead of the focus being on the "crazy white woman" who tans her skin and wears afrocentric wigs and blowouts to make herself look black; certainly credit must be given to the woman who raised two black men on her own and heads a local NAACP chapter. One can easily say that this white woman has done more for the black community than 100 Caucasian and Black people would do in a their entire lifetime. 

So, let's simply leave the white/black lady alone. Surely, she has plenty of work to do.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Police Brutality Exposed In Cleveland And Everywhere Else

Once upon a time there were these musical artists, you see...(okay, we can call them rappers) and they went by the name of NWA. One of the groups most noted songs was titled "F### Tha Police." It was a song popular among many, including street kids and teens, who were attracted to the rebellious words which bombed out of their stereos.  

The group spoke of police brutality on a scale that suburban America did not truly believe existed. That was nearly 30 years ago; and it seems as if nothing stemming from their words has changed since that time. 

Most recently, a Cleveland officer was found not guilty in the shooting deaths of two unarmed suspects in a 137-shot barrage of police gunfire. Thirteen Ohio officers fired at the suspects' car that night in a school parking lot. One officer was charged in the incident. His name is Michael Brelo. 

Prosecutors said Brelo waited until the vehicle had stopped and the occupants were no longer a threat when he stepped onto the hood and fired 15 rounds into the windshield.

The judge's verdict for 31-year-old Michael Brelo came after a four-week bench trial on two counts of voluntary manslaughter in the deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams on Nov. 29, 2012.
Brelo was also found not guilty on two counts of felonious assault. Russell was struck 24 times and Williams 23 times.

So, how much more police brutality do people of color have to endure? There's no need to strike up conversation about those who have died by the hands of police in Baltimore, New York, Ferguson, and surely every city where black Americans live. We're now quite familiar with those accounts. 

Still, no one wants to regress to a radicalized mindset such as the one expressed by rebellious, yet poignant, hip/hop artists nearly 30 years ago. However, the more we see injustice regarding senseless black killings by the hands of the police, the more we truly feel like regressing to a "f### tha police" state of mind. Surely by now, they have to understand that...I hope.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Missouri's Poor Handling Of Their Welfare System

Lawmaker's in Missouri have voted to remove thousands of people from its welfare program. The act will force 6,400 children to lose benefits in the first year alone. The new law will reduce the state's lifetime limit for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) from five years to three years and nine months. This act starts a countdown before many will go further into hunger, homelessness and despair.

Individuals will have six weeks after a meeting with a social worker before losing half of the family's benefits. All benefits will be cut off after an additional 10 weeks. In 2013 researchers from an anti-poverty group, Maine Equal Justice Partners, found that cuts to TANF push families deeper into poverty and forces them to rely on charity. Neighboring state Kansas did a similar, yet somewhat milder, act to Missouri's when Republican Governor Sam Brownback prohibited families on welfare from using cash assistance on recreational activities such as swimming pools and movies.

A study which focused on families transitioning from welfare reported that 70 percent of the recipients had to go to the food bank, and more than 1 in 3 families quickly lost their utility services. Such acts as these are part of the reason why the outpouring in Baltimore felt to be a reasonable and necessary resolve. The local and state government had been consistently letting their citizen's down. 

It's almost amazing to think that groups of people in the United States have been deprived of certain freedoms for hundreds of years. In addition, these deprived people (our citizens) are expected to believe that the "bootstrap theory" (which maintains that you alone should be able to pull yourself out of your own muck) is an American manual for successful living. To this day, it is a concept rejected by most university professors and sociologists.  

Only six years ago, many Americans were homeless due to a recession which took years to overcome. It was not government regulations that supported Americans in these dire times but government assistance. It seems logical that people who have experienced tougher times should be able to empathize for others going through similar situations. However, one can only conclude that in order to have empathy for another, one must first obtain the necessary characteristics which defines a human being.