Wednesday, August 29, 2012

“We find comfort among those who agree with us—growth among those who don't” ―Frank Clark

Sunday, August 5, 2012

"The bad news is time flies. The good news is you're the pilot." —Michael Altshuler

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The past is real. You cant will it away... You are more than the choices you've made. Brokenness spurs growth..

Sunday, June 10, 2012

"Adults are always asking kids what they want to be when they grow up because they are looking for ideas." –Paula Poundstone

Monday, June 4, 2012

Happiness is accepting life on life's terms.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

If I could figure out how to make money from procrastination, I'd have Zuckerberg money.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Sometimes you just have to start the puzzle and commit to look for the missing pieces periodically as you work on it. So much time is wasted waiting on perfection. The funny thing is often those missing pieces were simply under the table all along.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

I see trees of green, red roses too.. I watch them bloom for me & you... And I sing to myself — God, what a wonderful world!

Sunday, March 25, 2012


"Remember, the acquisition of knowledge doesn’t mean you’re growing; growing happens when what you know changes how you live." ― Unknown

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Lego Yankee Stadium

This is a scale model of Yankee Stadium built completely with Lego. Sean Kenney is a full-time "professional kid" who uses LEGO toys to build anything and everything you can imagine.

For years, his artwork, models, and children's books have inspired kids to create great things themselves.
Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

Using over 45,000 LEGO bricks, a Manhattan gradeschooler and I have built a sculpture of Yankee Stadium over the past three years. It is 6 feet wide and 5 feet long, built to an approximate scale of 1:150.

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

Interview with Sean
4-minute video from Major League Baseball Entertainment News

Stadium tour (Part 1)
4-minute video from Major League Baseball Entertainment News

Stadium tour (Part 2)
4-minute video from Major League Baseball Entertainment News


Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

The building is built to look as it does to this day, including all of the modifications that were made over the history of the building (above).

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

The stadium is populated with over 1,700 little "microscale people". (Above)

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

The scoreboard is made using over 1,000 "light saber" rods, laid on top of each other so that only the round ends are showing.

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

Can you figure out what all the scoreboard ads are for?

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

An elevated train line runs alongside the stadium. It has a microscale New York City subway train and lots of traffic and crowds on the street below.

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

The elevated New York City Subway station behind the stadium. (With MetroCard machines!)

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

Underneath the elevated train tracks.


Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

The seating behind the dugout opens up to show the Yankee's locker rooms.

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

"Monument park" (above) includes placards and monuments to famous Yankees players, like Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, and Lou Gherig.

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

The invisible man watches the game from the upper deck.

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

A mime in the park across the street.

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

Baskeball in the park across the street.

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

The Simpsons head to the game.

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

What's this, inside one of the walls? A crazy man with a giant chansaw, aaa, run!!

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

Hidden behind in a secret compartment inside the stadium walls is The Manager's Throne Room.

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

Some micro-scale New York City buses and a taxi.

Working on the stadium

For three years, a Manhattan grade schooler and I built the stadium together. We began work in February 2006, working every weekend until it was complete in July 2009. The pictures below were taken during the course of 2006, 2007, and 2008.

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

LEGO Yankee Stadium

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

Kanye is Crazy. Duh.

After seeing Kanye's outburst on the Video Music Awards, my first reaction was, "what is this dudes malfunction?" Who acts this way? Why is this ok? Why did people applaud him? After I contemplated for some time I settled on the fact that Kanye is our fault. Correction—ya'll created him, so he's your fault. I have never been a fan. This kat raps about dropping out of college as though that's a viable plan for most people. With all that money, he still can't make a dermatologist appointment? I mean I'm just saying.

All of our celebrity worship has created these monsters. They think anything they say, wear, do, or don't do is fine because their rich and/or famous. Let's be real, the two do not always go hand and hand. We've told them that in order to remain relevant, they have to hop in and out of relationships, make ridiculous public spectacles of themselves, and participate in this ongoing contest to see who can wear the most colors at the same time. Kanye: please help me understand these plastic back to the future 3D glasses that you fancy so much? I'm just saying.

Kanye's action were ignorant, period. If you agree with him, excuse him, or even think it's funny, something is fundamentally wrong with you. People like Kanye need to be sent a message that people cannot behave that way and just get away with it. If he were an athlete he would have been fined and his contract and very livelihood would be in jeopardy. I hope the fool never makes another album and finds himself seeking work at Old Navy. The man is crazy and has proved over the past 8 years or so that he needs to be medicated. What rational person acts this way?

What's most egregious about this, is his outburst wasn't even on his own behalf. He was asserting that Beyoncé Knowles' "Single Ladies" video was the greatest video of all time. Clearly Beyoncé needed Kanye to serve as her advocate because she is starting an destitute. Most shows, the chick wins everything and can barely deliver an acceptance speach. Funny that a video set on a plain green screen background featuring a dance routine from the 1970's qualifies as the greatest ever. Maybe MTV needs to go back to playing music videos so Kanye can get caught up.

Video of Kanye's Outburst

HIV Vaccine Instills 'New Hope'

By: Marilynn Marchione and Michael Casey, Associated Press

Sept. 24, 2009 -- For the first time, an experimental vaccine has prevented infection with the AIDS virus, a watershed event in the deadly epidemic and a surprising result. Recent failures led many scientists to think such a vaccine might never be possible.

The World Health Organization and the U.N. agency UNAIDS said the results "instilled new hope" in the field of HIV vaccine research.

The vaccine -- a combination of two previously unsuccessful vaccines -- cut the risk of becoming infected with HIV by more than 31 percent in the world's largest AIDS vaccine trial of more than 16,000 volunteers in Thailand, researchers announced Thursday in Bangkok.

Even though the benefit is modest, "it's the first evidence that we could have a safe and effective preventive vaccine," Col. Jerome Kim told The Associated Press. He helped lead the study for the U.S. Army, which sponsored it with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

The institute's director, Dr. Anthony Fauci, warned that this is "not the end of the road," but said he was surprised and very pleased by the outcome.

"It gives me cautious optimism about the possibility of improving this result" and developing a more effective AIDS vaccine, Fauci said. "This is something that we can do."

The Thailand Ministry of Public Health conducted the study, which used strains of HIV common in Thailand. Whether such a vaccine would work against other strains in the U.S., Africa or elsewhere in the world is unknown, scientists stressed.

The results proved the skeptics wrong.

"The combination is stronger than each of the individual members," said the Army's Kim, a physician who manages the Army's HIV vaccine program.

New infections occurred in 51 of the 8,197 given vaccine and in 74 of the 8,198 who received dummy shots. That worked out to a 31 percent lower risk of infection for the vaccine group. Two of the infected participants who received the placebo died.

The vaccine had no effect on levels of HIV in the blood for those who did become infected. That had been another goal of the study -- seeing whether the vaccine could limit damage to the immune system and help keep infected people from developing full-blown AIDS.

That result is "one of the most important and intriguing findings of this trial," Fauci said. It suggests that the signs scientists have been using to gauge whether a vaccine was actually giving protection may not be valid.

"It is conceivable that we haven't even identified yet" what really shows immunity, which is both "important and humbling" after decades of vaccine research, Fauci said.

Details of the $105 million study will be given at a vaccine conference in Paris in October.

It is unclear whether vaccine makers will seek to license the two-vaccine combo in Thailand. Before the trial began, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said other studies would be needed before the vaccine could be considered for U.S. licensing.

Mass-producing the vaccine, plus how to proceed with future studies, will be discussed among the governments, study sponsors and companies involved in the trial, Kim said. Scientists want to know how long protection will last, whether booster shots will be needed, and whether the vaccine helps prevent infection in gay men and injection drug users, since it was tested mostly in heterosexuals in the Thai trial.

The study was done in Thailand because U.S. Army scientists did pivotal research in that country when the AIDS epidemic emerged there, isolating virus strains and providing genetic information on them to vaccine makers. The Thai government also strongly supported the idea of doing the study.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Reactions to CNN'S Black In America 2 VOL: 1

I must say that I was disappointed by CNN's Black In America 2. When I hear such a loading tittle like Black In America, I'm automatically looking for this loading, all encompassing documentary series that is going to show what it's like to be black in this country. Albeit, the experience has a number of perspectives and vantage points, I feel that we all should be able to see ourselves, hear out story, and be able to "amen" some aspect of the presentation.

This documentary, however, was a presentation of the black image in the white mind. It seemed more like Soledad O'Brien and her producers went through their personal cell phones and Facebook friend list and simply called people they knew so they could throw this show together.

The documentary starts out with a story about comedian Chris Rock’s wife, Malaak Compton-Rock, who heads up a nonprofit called The Angel Rock Project. The project is geared towards at-risk youth in Bushwick and strives to develop the leadership abilities of the youth through global.

The organization had an interview process last year selected 30 youth ambassadors to attend a service trip to Johannesburg, South Africa. The tripe was definitely a great thing for these kids and i am sure it's probably the nicest thing anyone has ever done for them but I'm concerned that the goal that Mrs. Rock set out to accomplish was not achieved. This service learning trip was a great starting point and catalyst for change, but there was little to no follow up with these kids. There is no way that a child who cannot read, or refuse to do what it takes to do well in school will be a future leader.

The little boy that CNN selected to profile during this segment was so shy, so withdrawn, and his primary focus was basketball. This was a free trip for him. I felt like this segment was simply a free plug for Malaak's charity to make herself feel better at the expense of these kids. There was no follow up with the kids; no accountability.

The segment on the elite black America's was sickening. Elitism, whether it includes or excludes Blacks is elitism. This segment soured the whole program for me. No matter how well the people featured have done for themselves financially, they still have to work for a living. Albeit doctors, judges, and lobbyist, they're working to maintain a lifestyle. The people that the show likened them to have old money don't have to work at all as their wealth is generational. They have more money then they know what to do with! In my opinion, elitism is a negative thing and this segment went against the whole premise of this documentary. Elitism, whether it includes or excludes Blacks is elitism.

I've got more to say but I'm going to have to follow up... In the meantime, I'm re-reading the following..

Monday, July 13, 2009

Racism in Pool Controversy

Many of you may have read, heard, or watch coverage about the Pennsylvania Swim club that reportedly residing their offer to allow a predominately black summer camp access to their facilities citing that the kids were overwhelming and that there "was concern that a lot of kids would change the complexion … and the atmosphere of the club."

In an interview on Radio Times (NPR) with Marty Moss-Coane, Valley Swim Club president, John Duesler said he underestimated the number of swimmers who would come to swim at the club. "It was never our intention to offend anyone," said John Duesler. "This thing has been blown out of proportion." What troubles me is that some very dangerous words were used. Complexion is almost always used in reference to skin tone. Additionally, these people did not offer the use of their facilities out of the goodness of their hearts--there was a contract between Valley Swim Club and The Creative Steps Day Care children -- who are in kindergarten through seventh grade. -- where $1,900 a day was paid for use of the favilities one a week.

I'm sure the director of the camp, Alethea Wright, let the swim club know EXACTLY what they would be dealing with. Children. Why would the club allow this [and three other camps to contract use of their facilies] and not plan to retain an appropriate number of lifeguards, etc? This is a public facility, not a pool at a private residence. These concepts are not new. Wright called it an "unfortunate situation," adding, "I know what happened; the members know what happened and a higher power knows what happened." Video Watch the club president say racism is not at play »

This type of racism, intended segregation, and then the later backpedaling is nothing new. The club and it's board cited safety as their chief concern in turning these minority children away, but it's interesting that following public outcry of racism, suddenly the pool is welcoming the children back. Hmm... so is the issue of safety no longer an issue, in order to save face? Jeff Wiltse, PhD, author of Contested Waters: A Social History of Swimming Pools in America, and Jim Ellis, subject of the 2007 swimming film, "Pride", provide some really good inside into how swimming has long been a source of racial division. I'd urge you all to check out his book.

I'd urge you to also go to and check out today episode of Tell Me More with Michel Martin... really great, objective, insights.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Cosby's @ 25

I was pretty pleased to watch The Cosby Show's 25th Anniversary today on The Today Show. The show and I have long had a complicated relationship. I am the only [Black] person I know who enjoys but simply regards the show as just a good TV sitcom.

I have grown accustomed to being around friends, classmates, colleagues, and even family letters who credit Bill Cosby and his "great experiment" with single handedly redefining the Black Family experience the world's perception of it. I've always seen that view as unfortunate, at best, but always kept my mouth shut for fear of being lambasted and accused of being an inauthentic colored.

Personally, I grew up in that house. My neighbors grew up in that house. My classmates grew up in that house. I had, and still have, two parents who love me. I have parents who worked their way through college and waited until they were stable to have children. My parents had educated friends who had children just like me. In the 80's & 90's, my dad [and I] wore, what we now recognize to be hideously ugly sweaters. We lived in a house that had enough rooms to accommodate all the members of the family. I could go on all day, trust me, but my point is simply that Blacks were living normal, well adjusted lives even during the civil rights movement.

I'm personally offended when I hear people suggest that Black People learned how to live in harmony, stay married, love their children, and develop ambition from a 1980's situational comedy. My grand parents did not have the benefit of Heathcliff "Cliff" Huxtable.

The Cosby Show depicts Bill Cosby's life and the cast members on the show. It tells the story he wanted to tell. While I love Bill Cosby, I applaud him for bringing quality, positive stories to television, but not for raising a generation of making Black success more palatable to Whites.

Check out clips from the today's interview with Bill Cosby, Keshia Knight Pulliam, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Phylicia Rashad, Raven-Symoné Pearman, Geoffrey Owens and Earle Hyman The Today Show's Matt Lauer. I assume no one else could make it...

I was a bit troubled by Lauer's comparison of Barack Obama to Heathcliff Huxtable and I am glad the bait wasn't taken. I absolutely loved Malcolm-Jamal Warner & Phylicia Rashad's comments, respectively. I agree wholeheartedly with Rashad that, "We are more alike than we will ever be different and given the opportunity we are willing and wanting to embrace the likeness." Bill, God bless him, tried to real Miss Raven into the show, but comparing Cosby to "That's So Raven" on the Disney Channel? No, no, no. The show undoubtedly helped to change the way Blacks were portrayed on TV, but we have definitely pissed on that with our patronage of BET, TVOne, The Real House Wives of Atlanta, For The Love Of Ray J, Being Bobby Brown, Soul Plane, and the list goes on!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

oh this thing called love...

I've been flooded with emotions all day today. It started early this morning, was intensified one I got to church, and has been sucking the quirky life out of me all day. I am begrudgingly romantic. I hate the mushy stuff, but at the same time just cannot get enough. It's wild. Have you ever been in one of those entanglements [as I am now calling them,] resolved to go your separate ways, but find that every so often something... SOMETHING... something... has this way of seeping into your sensory nodes and taking you back to when things were happier. Day one.. That special birthday.. you all's first time.. just something happier.. That time when you first saw the light. Suddenly, all the bad never happened. The lies were never told. The fights weren't that serious, etc. etc. After all the progress you'd made, the walls you'd erected, you are caught like a deer in headlights.

Today I had a revelation—a pseudo spiritual catharsis. Let's call it a Breakthrough of sorts. Changed my life. ...for today at least.

1. Simply, Love ≠ Happiness.
2. Adore no iguale la felicidad.
3. Lieben Sie gleicht Glück nicht.
4. Aimer n'égale pas le bonheur.

I wanted to make sure I covered all my basses.. you know.. for the full edification of the body. I have friends who are allergic to stuff, but they love it. Despite the reaction, however mild, they calculate the consequences and succumb to their "love" irrespective, of the inevitable side effects. Love is irrational. Love is painful. Love, sometimes is not reciprocated. Seems like Love of typically not appreciated, or understood until things change. Love, unfortunately, often comes to an end. All this said, isn't love grand?

::Listening to: Brandy's Long Distance::

Monday, February 2, 2009

2009 Affirmations, Verse 1

What a year 2008 was. Please reference earlier entries to paint yourself a picture. I've spent the better part of 2009 hiding out. I am just tired of people and their issues. Surely, we all have them.. but I mean geez. Being a consummate people pleaser, I try to accommodate, excuse, and affirm people's idiosyncrasies. In 2009, it stops. I am just not strong enough to carry the weight of other people's issues coupled with my own.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Age Is More Then Just A Number

I've spent years smiling at the cliche, "age ain't nothing but a number." As I grow older, I'm starting to realize that it's not. As I inch closer and closer to the big "three-oh" I am less tolerant of youngins. I am even less tolerant of older people who don't have their shit together.

I'm thinking of that lady that we've all worked with. She's been in the office the longest. While she is lowest on the chain on command everyone calls her Mrs. Bernadette because she's older then everyone and just has the heir of oldness about her. Mrs. Bernadette boss is Chad, a 22 year old recent grad of The University of Maryland. Chad holds a degree in Psychology. What stands out about Mrs. Bernadette is that she is 36 but looks and acts like she's 56. She's been with the company for 15 years and while she has the same benefits as everyone else in the office, she hasn't taken advantage of the dental plan, the corporate gym memberships, the 401k, or the educational benefits.

Following 20 years of service, Mrs. Bernadette may be eligible for retirement but she won't be able to as she's saved nothing for the future. After 30 years of service, the only raised she would have received are those given for cost of living raises which will still max her out at $34,500 annually. After 30 years, Mrs. Bernadette will still have to punch in and out each day and talk someone into covering her phones when she has to run to the bathroom. Mrs. Bernadette will have developed hypertension and diabetes because she refused take advantage of her help benefits. Even though the company offered total tuition reimbursement, Mrs. Bernadette didn't have the time for all that and found comfort in making comments like, "ooo, honey, all these big words," and "these new girls talk so white."

As I grow older, while I am relatively young, I know there are things I need to let go of. I am not going to be a professional musician. When I look at the prospect honestly, I recognize that I lack the passion as well as the interest. Honestly, I don't care about that stuff as much as I once thought I did. If I wanted to work in music I'd hoing out my services far more aggressively. In Atlanta alone, there are far more people who love the microphone more then me. These days you have to force a microphone in my face.. I just don't to be another on of those moderately talented people with a whole lot of personality and trunk full of H&M accessories.

Realistically, we're all twenty-something going on 40 and I realize how hard it is to go back to school and work when you realized that your deal isn't coming.. I just don't want to wake up and be that guy or gurl when asked about my skill-set on the application responds with "my background is in 'admin stuff."

At the close of Mrs. Bernadette's career, her legacy will be simply that she was the only one who could unjam the copier. In 2009, I only want to be surrounded by people who are going somewhere. While we are not all going the same place, I can only be around those with substance.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

So This Is Christmas...

What an interesting wrap up for this year. My best friend Jasiri died in December and we funeralized him 12/17. My grandmother dies the following week and we opted to hold of the funeral until after Christmas. You know.. for the children of course. Wouldn't want to scar them

Following Black Friday I love my job after being told simply, "It just wasn't working.. you know with sales and all.. this is just nothing personal you know.. stop by any time.." Newly unemployed, I had to bartend at a corporate Christmas party to make a little money to keep the lights on.

Christmas was always my favorite time of year.. I loved the decorations, the music, the gatherings.. just being around gleeful people but really cannot remember a merry Christmas in recent history. Each year for about the past 10 years has been marred by moving, loneliness, divorce, depression, recession, or any combination of the aforementioned.

This year I sent out about 12 Christmas cards, I bought (and received) zero gifts, I didn't hang not a single ornament, and I slept until nearly noon Christmas morning? How does one restore the joy of Christmas?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Try Seeing Yourself As Others Do

Growing up I was always warned about judging books by their covers. My mother constantly chastised me about making assumptions, jumping to conclusions, an writing people off. I appreciated that guidance but over the years have had to make adjustments. As naturally skeptical as I am, I get lied to a lot. Not outright lies, but those subtle misrepresentations. Those "I lied because I wanted you to like me," kind of lies.

I've learned in my old age that often the cover is a pretty good representation of what you'll find inside. Publishers often devote more time and resources to the art direction of a cover than to the editing of the actual content of books. They realize that the cover is what draws people in or in other cases cases them away. At any rate, it gives a pretty apt representation of what's to come.

Many of you know I've returned to the retail world [briefly.] I was at work the night before Halloween kinda counting down until it was time for me to go when this "young lady" walked into my store. I immediately, internally, drew several conclusions. After less then a minute, i deduced that she couldn't be older than 20, that she was from somewhere in North Georgia, that she was "country ghetto," and that she was as somehow in the sex industry.

She entered the store on her cell phone (which is not abnormal) talking unnecessarily loud. She was yelling at someone with this unmistakably "Georgia Mountains" twang of an accent but there was this Shaniqua attitude attached to it. As she spoke, her hand was going in every direction as though that somehow helped to get her point across to the party on the other end of her phone. She ended each phrase with, "or whatever,' or 'and what not." I didn't know whether to be offended, annoyed, or just laugh.

This went on for about :15. After :5 or so she'd abruptly end the call by slamming her flip phone shut and yelling some expletive like this person was putting her out in some way. Finally she addressed me. She explained that, "[she] had never been in my store, or what not, but that she'd wanted to get her husband something nice for Christmas." As any good sales person would, I began to ask questions and show her what options we had. She volunteered that she and her husband would be celebrating their first Christmas together and that she wanted to get him something nice. "He's an older gentleman... he's 33 or what not, so I want to get him something old school that he would like."

Apparently 33 is now old. I couldn't hold back my laughter, but I figured she's used to being laughed at as she was unscathed and never broke her "Chiquita meets Shania Twain" persona. After aimless wondering around my store for nearly :30 I offered her a catalog to take with her. She thanked me and then began to flip through it. She would turn to and decided on a $3400 shaving set. When I told her the price, I expected the usual, "that's too expensive" response. She casually offered that she was a stripper and that money was no object. My nonchalant, "okay," even surprised me.

As I continued to try and usher her out the door, she turned to me and asked, "how much is the book?" All I could say was baby, it's a catalog and it's free.

I told that little story to illustrate how important it is to see ourselves as others may. As soon as that girl walked in my store I said to myself, she's either a stripper or a prostitute. I don't know of a single woman who wants to come off like a stripper... even the ones who are. People often see us for exactly who and what we are, even when we choose not to. Be sure that your cover is a true representation of your content.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Get Over It Already..

I find it interesting how wounds often have this strange ability to develop their own soul. We're afraid to get over "it" as though it has feelings. If we stop thinking about it, crying about it, or limiting ourselves because of it, then it will cease to exist. People are just programed to hold grudges. I was talking to a buddy of mine last week ... you know those hypothetical "whoa is me discussions" and I basically had to slap myself upside the head.  

Why hold on? I mean we hold onto things soo long that we really are over it. We hold on because if we let go we'll miss the pain, or the embarrassment, or the hurt, or the loneliness. It's wild. Getting over it, or them, or then would mean letting that thing die.

Grudges are like that mole that you should have gotten removed because it scares children but you didn't and eventually just got used to it being there. I'm trying to let somethings die but I'm afraid I'll miss them.

Let's All Be Mavericks!

I'll be honest.. a month ago I had never head the word Maverick used.. well except when discussing basketball and lord knows that team is rarely discussed outside of Dallas.  Now it seems like the word, whether used as a noun, adjective, or verb is a part of everyday vernacular.  

McCain, Palin, and the GOP have done an amazing job of steering voters away from the issues to focus on their own Maverickness.  I don't know about you but I am happy to know that ever every day Joe Six Packs can be Mavericks.

I bet marketing professors and practitioners alike are hard thinking about this Maverick nonsense and gay marriage.  We're all so busy trying to figure out what a Maverick is that we're no longer discussing those less important issues like our failing economy, the housing market, war, racism, and overall lack.

McCain/Palin's Marketing team really earned their bonuses this month. 

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Tyler Perry Effect..

It seems like recently the biggest "no, no" in Black America is to have anything but laughs and good words for Tyler Perry and his creations.  The House of Payne and his movies and plays such as Madea Goes to Jail, Madea's Family Reunion, The Making of 'Diary', and Diary of a Mad Black Woman are simply not interesting to me.  Each and every production is an adaptation of it's predecessor.  It's as if everything he's done is yet another sequel.  In a society where black men and women are some of the most homophobic (and outspoken about this) people around it's ironic that we derive soo much entertainment from a big black man in drag.  I mean that dude is huge.. it's kinda scary.  

 I would say my criticisms are normal.  What person doesn't have preferences when it comes to entertainment?  Some like scary movies, some prefer romances and other prefer those teenie bopper college/high school comedies.  I feel that Perry's movies focus on Black lack, characters with an inability to manage their emotions, and an overemphasis on money and labels.  I'm tired of watching movies about mistreated struggling black mothers standing around in the kitchen reprising old Kirk Franklin albums and praying an crying; praying and crying.  I just am tired of hearing/seeing the story.  Personal Preferences.  I cannot understand why some black people act as though a black person not having an interest is some type of affront to everyone else.  Folks.. they're just make believe.  

As an artist and a writer, I am not impressed with Perry.  I think he got lucky.  He's putting something out there that Black folks want to see.. and that is almost exclusively who is audience is.. Black folk.  I just couldn't see him writing anything else or having the ability to leave this genre he's created for himself.  I am planning to see a movie he's in soon... Start Trek 11 where he'll be playing the Commandant of the Academy!  At least then he'll be relegated to resighting lines and not writing anything!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Matt Damon For President!

I've always been fascinated how we deify our celebrities in America.  Celebrities often go from being hostesses a the Waffle House to multimillionaires in a matter of months.  Someone that money elevates and underwrites the validity of their opinions.  Suddenly they become authorities on world relief efforts, foreign and domestic policy, etc.  Funniness.. Check out Matt Damon below.. he's saying a lot of things that we all wish we had the money to afford the soap box to stand on and be heard.  

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Finding Your Center

I was a really strange kid.  Looking at me, you saw a short, stocky, yellow kid but listening to me was like being a fly on the wall at "the" Black Barber shop down the street from capital hill.  I recall how proud yet uncomfortable I would make my parents as I bought up topics that were either not ready to address with their three sons, or not planning to address at all.  Race was seldom discussed in our home.  We knew we were colored but somehow we were so much more focused on the essence of that state of being colored that we had little time to wallow in the sorrow that is often not too far behind that same state of being colored.

I appreciate the objectivity that captivated my childhood.  I was taught to look for and focus on similarities and to draw connections.  As I searched for our commonalities, my focus was primarily on the positive.  All too often we are drawn to each other because of our common struggle as though recognize the common stench of oppression, or misogyny, or hate.  I guess I grew up embracing my differences and recognizing the value that those difference bought to every situation, every conversation, every interchange, and every conflict.  My dissenting opinion, my divergent outlook, and my ability to divest myself from emotionalism and be objective, in my opinion, has been a gift.

Like so many African Americans I wasn't raised by my parents.  Yeah, they were there.. but they almost operated like moderators.. editors at best.  I was raised by NPR and books.  I developed this love for the two; their ability to inform or to invite one to react based on what one's heard or what one's read.  An opinion, and understanding, a view, a biased based on the facts irrespective of color, socioeconomic status, religious affiliation (or non-affiliation), or involuntary preconceptions.  I developed this love for SciFi and Fantasy. From Green Woman to Fraggles I never gave any thought to why the Smurfs were Blue or why the little Lego people were Yellow.  When placed in real world situations or conversations, I had the unique ability to focus solely on the "what" and completely ignore the irrelevance of "who." 

As I grow my desire is to encourage people to evaluate and define their center.  Similar to this idea of success, it's important to define individualized, achievable goals that focus on today going forward without focusing on what was.  I speak to so many young men and woman, particularly of color, who are so paralyzed by racism, actual and perceived, they've decided against trying as they believe success to be impossible.  As a black man, if I think of my success as being relative to what White America will allow me, this presupposes that White folk sit around their dinner tables plotting my failures and weighing their success against my failures as if to say that a victory for me is a setback for them.  Realistically that family exist but I'm sure most of White America doesn't think of themselves as any less middle class or their degrees any less valid because I'm college and Barack is on his way to the White House. 

The feelings of disenfranchisement are strong.  To grow up feeling as though you will never.... because of your race, sex, ethnicity, complexion, etc. is unconscionable.  In order for our country to grow, everyone is going to have to give up a little.  Whites will have to let go of preconceptions and prejudices, and Blacks will have to (and I hate to oversimplify this) forgive and forget.  The one commonality that all people of color have in common is that feeling of inadequacy.  It's really hard to constructively articulate the feeling but I've started referring to it as "our common cousin."  It's interesting how "the wound" has this ability to take on it's own soul.   

Internal Relations

It's most interesting how racism, even in the days of "Obama," exist so strongly in these United States. More alarming is the level that it exist with our own community. Within the diaspora black folks spend so much time trying to be separate, unique, and exclusive while all along continuing to perpetuate a template to the rest of the world. Haitians, African Americans, Africans, South Africans, Ethiopians, Egyptians, Jamaicans, Trinidadian--BLACK FOLK.

In our effort to be sooo different, we gone to war alone and having no idea how our segmentation hinders growth, stifles our collective voice, and perpetuates generational marginalization on all fronts. Just some thoughts... Aaron, when is Boondocks coming back??

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The GOP National Convention

Country First- Service, Reform, Prosperity, Peace

Prosperity for whom?

If I say nothing more about the Republic National Convention, I can most defiantly note that EVERYONE stuck to the script.. Apparently the Republican Party is committed to America First and Foremost! With each speaker, with each anecdote, with each commentary there is this recurring theme of the Republican party, namely John McCain's, commitment to America as compared to Barack Obama and the Democratic Party. Service is so much more than chairing $1000 per plate fundraisers and flying over to Iraq to assess the damage. Service involves getting ones hands dirty. Domestically. Reform is recognizing that everyone won't have the opportunity to attend Harvard or charter a private jet, but their contribution is worthwhile.

I find it interesting that a party so committed to this country could be so deliberately ignorant about the common man. I spent most of my night reading up on "old money." American businessmen and their multiple wives, gaggles of children, and generations of heiresses and heir who are the face of MTV, US weekly, and It's ironic how as these families have progress through the generations, everyone has forgotten the source of where all these rich people's money. Bootleggers, slave owners, thieves, dishonest politicians, whore mongers, pimps, gangsters, etc... but now all of that money has been laundered into respectable media conglomerates, manufacturers, distribution companies, and defense contractors. The irony lies in the fact that these men and woman who lied, cheated, oppressed the minority, while hiding behind robes and hoods are the same men and woman that we have foolishly elected into public office for generations.

There is no greater dichotomy than the American government. The same men and women who are entrusted to regulate and police industry are the same people who own and operate the business they're charged to regulate. Our entire seat of government is held by millionaires, investment bankers, and heirs to family fortunes.

....So we wonder why welfare, food stamps, and section 8 leaves such a bad taste Republicans mouths?? It's not because they believe in small government or personal responsibility.. it's because they cannot see past the Harvard Legacy Status or their multiple estates to realise that America's working poor work for their companies. They same legislatures who were tasked with improving low income or high risk schools opted to invest in cobblestone sidewalks and new city scape's for their neighborhoods than to invest in areas populated by minorities.

One of the most profound statements I took awake from the campaign was Mike Huckabee's comment about "the shameful evil of racism." While I actually like Huckabee, I think he has really shown us the evils of partisan. The republican party has worked feverishly to continue the institutionalised oppression of minorities in order to maintain the status quot. I find it unfortunate that they're unaware that we've turned the channel from BET and are, now, very aware of what's really going on. Like Huckabee, I don't want the government to take care of me; I don't want to be broke all my life.. I guess I'll submit my application to the Republican Party once I pay off these $50 thousand in student loans, earn my first million, marry and have 2.5 children. Look at George & Barbara.. they're the face of the American Dream right??

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Men & Their Sports...

Am I the only one who's been party to one of the long drawn out manly man conversations where the guys get together and talk sports?? I seem to be the only one who audibly laughs as each guy trys to out do the other with his display of random sports facts and random tidbits amid grunts, yells, and pats on the ass... Funny stuff.. true comedy. Who knows where it starts.. a sports mobile above the crib, a Fisher Price plush football, or damn sports video games.

From a young age I was made to understand that boys play sports. Period. Real men either played sports, or "faked" this obsession with them. These gender normatives follow us into adulthood and greatly affect our relationships with our kids. If you're the guy with the All American Quarterback Kid who gets a full ride to UCLA to play football, great for you. Hmm... what happens if your kid is into geology and decides to start a rock collecting club or directs his high schools fashion show? Then what? Hmm.. My 20 year old brother recently had twins--a boy and a girl--and is already planning out their lives in the NBA and WNBA, respectively. Unfortunately this is despite their wishes and is solely based upon his wants. He specifically articulated that he'd be upset otherwise.. Very similar attitudes to our father. Funny thing is my brother didn't play sports in high school and neither did our father.. Funny how our dreams for our kids can often stunt their futures.

Sports are just OK to me. I don't love them, I don't hate them. I don't pretend to know everyones stats and all that jazz. Sports are like crack.. those who are into it feel this need to force it on everyone else.. As good as I'm sure it is, I'll pass. I'd encourage you all to check your parents yearbook and I'm sure most of you won't find your fathers in the football team picture either. Chances are my mom knows more about sports than most men I know!

Monday, August 11, 2008

...with a greatful heart!

Not sure what I'm going through tonight but I'm trying to give thanks for what I have despite what I don't. It's increasingly difficult to look past our lack and give thanks for what we have.. lonely I guess... ::sigh:: LOL

Aaron McGruder's Nightline Interview

I am so sad that the Boondocks comic strip is no more. In a nation saturated by reality shows and articles about Brittany Spears coochie, it was that ram in the bush that we needed!

I love the fact that he's speaking truth without apology and without fear of reprisal. Poverty is poverty and unfortunately there are far more people in this country experiencing extreme lack then popular culture would like us to believe. Most of us are not living the carefree life of Paris Hilton. This manufactured outrage is laughable. Who's offended by Boondocks?? Often, we need to be offended so we say enough it enough and start brainstorming solutions.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Please Complete Me..

As I continue on my journey to complete, authentic, and unrelenting happiness I had a conversation with a buddy today that got me to thinking about the mistakes we makes with regards to happiness. He recently reconciled with is girlfriend after working through some of their issues and while things should be okay as they enjoy their new rekindled "post lust/pre-love", she's still not happy. It's nothing he's done or not done to cause this, she's just unhappy.

Happiness is the only thing in life that is completely self defined. Stupid is stupid. More or less, ugly is ugly. Happiness is the only state where there are no absolute presets. I've been there.. I could never actualize happiness because I always thought it would come when I lost the weight. Then I though it would come when I gained it back! I thought it would come after I bought the new cloths, but sadly I couldn't quite pull off the look. I thought happiness would come with the relationship, with the degree, with the care, with the friend, or even by way of a microphone and a state. Sadly, it didn't. With each level of graduation, the bar was only raised. I decided I wasn't go to be that guy who works my whole life to get "stuff"--whatever stuff may be for you- -and then drop dead the day after I finally get it.
Ironically, we expect those around us to complete us. Sadly, often that expectation is not reciprocated as we live to force our habits, idiosyncrasies, insecurities, past, and personalities down others' throats while we expect those around us to be the "perfect...."

-Roderick Griner, July 2008

Love, things, people, places, etc.. cannot make you happy. Didn't work for me. Things are great. People are cool too. Love is the best.. but they only serve to supplement the state you go to on your own. The flip side is, the lose of any of the aforementioned cannot topple you from that state of happiness because they didn't aid in getting you there!