Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Think of this entry as a commercial. A quick teaser that exposes you to benefits of a product that a company offers. It's not going to give you all of the details, nor is it going to leave you in the dark. This commercial is going to give you a glimpse of something so deliciously brilliant, you're going to want to get up and go spend 22 dollars and seventy-six cents on 2 slices of greasy pizza. Well not really. But please consider this a public service announcement. A quick informational bulletin that provides insight.
Growing up as a son, father, teacher, student, advocate, and graduate of the school of hard knocks, I learned a lot about the evolution of the streets. I learned how to wear my pants, how to flip the script, how to operate in new hoods, and how to utilize my god given skills to my advantage. The most influential and delicate lesson I learned was that those who get comfortable get left behind. There is no place for immobile content in the movement. Confused about this notion early on, I never understood what it meant to move forward, to progress, or to elevate. Years later, it all comes to light. I now realize that the “no loitering” signs that littered the “black side” of Mission Bay Beach did not imply “no hanging out after dusk.” Those signs were actually strategically placed by predecessors for hard knock students and teachers who looked just like me. The proposed “$1,000” fines were not meant to be threats, but tools to be used as lighter fluid that would ignite a burning desire to “move.” A liquid so potent, that it could revolutionize a coal colored black man’s frown into a smile once ignited and wedded with Kingston briskets, beef franks, and Lawrys crested drumsticks. Those fines, that sign, and those police cars with the K-9s were our fuel. “No loitering!”
Once you’ve fully mastered the art of fluidity in progression and fast forwards, you are free to pursue a level of higher education. Alas, I understand and have begun, or continued, my trek. This idea of advancement is taught and illustrated in several forms and public arenas. Some of our greatest teachers of this art can be found in politics, professional sports, movies, and music. If you watch closely you can see the movement. You can see the streets cracking at our every step and mutating at the base of our heels. Our walk is hot, our style is on fire, and our dialect is cool just to add for a bit of breeze for those still standing stiff and stagnant in the heat we provide. Sheeeesshhh! I progressed from “keeping it real” in a throwback, white Nikes, and doo-rag, to keeping it “Real Thorough” in a Sean John Windsor Knot rested button up with the fresh blazer. I can speak to a room of the majority and demand the same respect I gain when in my element, with my element.
Every day I catch a glimpse of the President and I recognize he must have taken a looonngg presidential look at that same loitering sign that my young eyes failed to decipher from California State systematic standard procedure and “safety” law to glass ceiling rupturing apparatus. He is moving. I look at the first-lady and it’s clear that she is bankhead bouncing on her roller skates. She is moving. Sonia Sotomayor has on her sneaks and has been practicing her cardio since 1954. Jay-Z is in great shape-keep up! Oprah, Tyra, Cousin Jeff, Tavis Smiley, Nikki Giovanni, Tyler Perry, George Lopez, Cornel West, The Mirabal Sisters, the list goes on-As we should. My mental stays in a place of what’s next, what’s new, and where to, hoping for the answer to take me to the next state of what’s to come. I’m only recommending you put your waffles on. This here is no sprint but the pace is husky, it’s aggressive. No standing, no parking and definitely-no loitering. We’re moving. That’s real talk.
Now back to your regularly scheduled program.......
Monday, September 7, 2009
Although I do not agree with everything Mr. Trudell says about religion, technology, NWO or spirituality, I think his initial divide works. On a deeper level, I feel the Spirituality and Religion are related and intertwined. I speak to it here.
I’ve been trying to avoid this topic every since I began writing a blog. It’s not that I am at all limited in my thoughts, feelings, experiences, or consciousnesses involving or relating to its existence or significance in the lives of those around me. On the contrary, I have more energetic and functional philosophies and ideas than combinations of keys on this very keyboard I am using to type. I have simply refrained from addressing religion. However, at this point and time today, I was awoken by a very emblematic conversation. Like most conversation, those who are immediately involved in the creation, manufacturing, and distribution of words and details, fail to truly understand its impact on bystanders. They're usually just...well, Talking.
Over the past three weeks, I’ve had several “run ins” with the Lords Enforcers. I watched Malcolm X who passionately motivated rooms of several thousands by delivering a divine message from his Lord. I had an one hour conversation with a member of the “geek squad” (Best Buy reference) regarding homosexuality and its place in religion. I had a wedding where the state of
Today, an overwhelming number of people have briskly abandoned Religion and sprinted towards a more “spiritual” journey. The original personal pilgrimage to develop a delicate relationship with God has since been exchanged for a pursuit towards a commitment to some self-fulfilling, self-indulged “spirit.”-A spirit that requires love of self, self-efficacy, self awareness, and comfort. The number one message being to do what you feel is righteous- Or so it seems. Ok OK, OK, I confess; I too am one of those travelers. I am one of the sprinters who has laced up the New Balances and started his trek towards a shakier and unbalanced base-One of uncertainty, instability, and unending changes. I am involved in this spiritual journey. Raised as a Baptist, I left the church only to return on holidays and invites. But over this past month, I’ve realized I am not as distant from the Holy guidance as I perceived. You see, as an American, it is very difficult to completely “leave” the church or religion (I use the two interchangeably as people seem to think if you don’t go to church, you’re not practicing religion). I pray to God every night, I pray over my food, my ideas of righteousness are all based in what I believe to be the Christian faith. I’m beginning to realize the beauty of religion basics. The teachings and scriptures with all their contradictions are marvelous in effect. For every war evoked by misinterpretations of scriptures, there are 15 million times more people that have been saved through religious guidance. I now understand that my spiritual journey is a Religious one. Religion has saved me as it has many who have recently embarked on this spiritual crusade. We don't go to Church because of football Sundays, weekend trips, fear of commitment, or a sour taste we have by being "stigmatized" when drinking the wine and eating the crackers. Whatever it maybe, that divide of not going to church or believing in all the laws that follow, push us towards our journey. Pretending to not be "religious."
Karl Marx called it an opiate as oppressors and those in power have used it to control the masses. Religion, in Marxist short terms, teaches complacency, and is an indispensable tool in the intentional and meticulous formation of a successful social-conflict structure. Be obedient and The Lord will save you- just have faith. As true as this can be, it has saved more people who struggle across the world. They continue to work hard and move forward in the name of faith. Those who allow themselves to be oppressed and use religion and God as their complete savior with no self-responsibility are just as guilty as those who distribute that very message of contentment. At its core, religion teaches that God helps those who help themselves. Helping ourselves is the catalyst, the starting block, the loud cap gun that ignites this spiritual journey.
The spiritual journey isn’t as selfish as it seems for many. It is exactly what God, or any higher-being, has requested-that we develop our own relationship with her and begin to help ourselves. In developing relationships we are supposed to witness something larger than us. A relationship takes sacrifice and commitment. A spiritual journey, in my eyes, is one that requires you to understand the true meaning of a successful relationship with the world today. It’s fighting the demons of rationalized selfishness and learning to love more than just you. We all have a set of laws that guide the entire world. A basic idea of right and wrong. The common confusion being that spiritual journeyers tend to follow new rules, changing according to how they see fit.Scared of that very commitment and sacrifice needed to develop a relationship with anyone let alone a spirit that allows us to do whatever we want. Religion sets laws to follow. What is right and what is wrong.
Islam, Judaism, and Christianity, all share these universal sets of laws. A spiritual journey that avoids any relation to these premises is one that I do not believe many marathoners would accept. That journey is rooted in righteousness and establishing personal relationships with faith. Those who utilize the journey as a narcissistic practice to build a relationship with his or her self where every sacrifice is really a benefit and every compromise is really a strategic plan to add to a feeling of self-superiority, are so far removed from righteousness and spirituality. These people are the detriments to society. They are the people who run from religious teachings as a whole and do not see the value. These are the people who are devout-religious beings who manipulate teachings and utilize the greatness of religion as a weapon.
The spiritual journey is religious. The very acknowldgement of "spirit," should you apply and practice spirituality, recognizes the existence of religion in your life.Going to mass, attending bible study, or praying 5 times a day is not the only means to a righteous, religious life. My fellow sprinters involved in the free race for spirituality- we are religious. Attend a service, fast during Ramadan, don't eat everything you see. This will not compromise your spiritual journey. Instead it will assist you in developing a spiritual relationship with whatever spirit you are seeking to find. Let's altogether stop using the "I am spiritual" excuse as a crutch relieving the uncommitted blisters, bruises and knee sprains resulting from our everlasting hike of spirituality. A hike that allows us to change our direction and focus, yet still be headed to the "right place." Develop a personal relationship with the spirit that requires sacrifice, commitment, promise and practice.This will save us all because faith said so.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
"I first wanted to say THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart to everybody who was at the wedding. We could not have possibly dreamed of a better wedding weekend and y'all are the ones who made it so special. To share even more memories with our closest friends mean the world to Cheety and myself. I truly love all of y'all and feel blessed to have you in my lives. BJ you were missed but I totally understand- now you just have to come visit Tulsa sometime!
That's Real Talk!
Friday, August 7, 2009
I am writing in regards to the ruling that requires me to pay 3,000 dollars in back child support and has bumped my allocation to 30 percent of my monthly earnings. This is not a letter to plead a case. Nor is this a letter to bash my daughter’s mother-a woman who has done an exceptional job nurturing and allowing me to help raise a remarkable little girl. I have read horror stories of women who have skipped town with children, unbeknownst to the father, leaving behind one of the most important pieces of a child’s life. Although we have definitely had our up and downs, I consider myself lucky on the part of my role in our daughter’s life. Conversely, as a teenager I vowed to never get involved with the law, but as a father, the courts have become a common place of significant proceedings.
This letter does serve as a plea to the courts-A plea that invites the state of
I am a recent graduate. I owe over $40,000 in student loans from 7 years of advanced schooling. I have debt up to my neck and to add flat tires to my commute, I live 3 hours away from my daughter in an economy that is less than favorable. As if those aren’t enough hurdles, I work a job that is less than stellar and requires me to live on site-basically making it a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week occupation. With all of this on the table, I always attempt to make a weekend drive once a month to see my child. Although 48 hours once a month is far less than acceptable in my eyes, it is all I can afford whether it be time or money. I have heard people say that at least you speak to your daughter. "At least you're doing something." "At least, at least..." But as a Man who wants to be the love of his daughter’s life, “at least” is not a phrase I’d like to rest with. But in my current state, I may need to get very comfortable with the bare minimum- minimum time, minimum presence, and minimum fatherhood in exchange for the maximum financial support.
A father, if bold enough to except the challenge, should dare the court to establish guidelines that require him to spend weeks, months, or summers with his child versus monthly payments that require little contact. A father should welcome the opportunity to be a part of his child’s life. A father should be more than willing to do what is best for his child when provided the opportunity. But first and foremost a father needs to be given that chance. When I am given that space and time, I consider myself to be a damn good parent. My daughter would agree.
Quite honestly, I can literally feel and count my opportunities as they slip away. I’ve never missed a court date, never missed a support payment, never said “no” when asked to provide for my daughter (whether it be additional financial, physical or emotional needs), nor have I ever tried to avoid being a part of her life which serve as testaments to my dedication to be there for her. No one has ever traveled 3 hours to bring my daughter to see me. No one has ever given me financial support when I have my daughter for weeks on end. Yet I am asked to pay as if someone does.
These new financial rulings, both back support and 30%, will undoubtedly place me in a category of fathers who become nothing more than a monthly check or telephone voice; Whose heartfelt “I love you” sounds like cash registers and dial tones. Back child support is added to credit reports, in addition to the holding of federal taxes. Fatherhood is beginning to sound like a delinquent credit card statement. My daughter’s well-being is drawing close resemblances to a car note.
Again, this letter is not one to bash the mother of my daughter. I am simply asking that the surface definition and computer operated numbers of what it takes to be a father be momentarily ignored while real individuals, fathers, mothers, sons and daughters, sit and discuss the true meaning of child support.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Roger Goodell. A man who believes in rehabilitation. A true American hero out for unconditional justice. I mean in 2008 he gave a proven menace in Adam "Pac Man" Jones a what seemed to be 52nd second chance at redemption. Chris Henry, Ricky Williams, Plaxico Burress, Matt Jones, Marshawn Lynch, and Tank Johnson all served suspensions after more than one brush with the law or violation of league policy. Now it's Michael Vick's chance at that Barack Obama type Change. This is a man who has served almost 2 years in prison, lost millions of dollars, inherited a few million additional critics, and as an added Christmas bonus, has gained advocacy from T.O. Is that not enough punishment? According to Roger, "NOPE." Vick needs more. Mr. Goodell, whose responsibilities in the past year have mirrored that of an adolescent's struggling parent (or the Secret Service and the Bush girls), has decided to add additional sanctions. Vick, if he is lucky, could begin playing football sometime in October. WOW. So now his sentence of 23 months has been extended to 25 months thanks to Roger, or as I like to call him-The Warden. It is disgusting to see this rich white man sit on his Mount Olympus of privilege and righteousness ruling with an iron fist, begging a tap out from those who have already witnessed the strong arm of the law. Or we can think about it like true scholars and delve just a little bit deeper. Let's get our feet wet and as the water begins to cool our steaming irrational body temperatures, forcing us to wade waist deep, let us cool off and (gulp) think....
Michael Vick committed a felony. Felonies include crimes like aggravated assault, burglary, arson, murder, and rape. Felons are those who have been convicted of committing a felony-which makes Mike Vick a FELON. Now, there are a few politicians who haven't been convicted but who are clearly felons as well as a few Blacks and Latinos who are considered felons but haven't committed a crime at all (but that's for another blog). In regards to Mike Vick and Warden Goodell, I'll continue. I have a couple of cousins who are felons and even with successfully completing a 12 step program, receiving a purple heart, and/or writing a bestselling self-help book post incarceration, would still be hard pressed to get a job at Safeway, unless of course they brought major business to the area market. Similarly, if they could toss a football,well, they could get a job in the NFL-one of the highest paying businesses in the US. IF my cousins happened to get a job at Safeway, they sure the hell couldn't miss two years of work to serve a jail sentence and still come back to an interview, let alone a job. As a public we have become too comfortable letting athletes amongst other big names, 2 step, cupid shuffle, and south side glide pass punishment due to the positions they hold. Roger Goodell is the NFL commissioner. He is running a business and has attempted to find ways to hold his employees accountable while maximizing league profit. Before asking "how could he give Mike Vick more?" ask, "Why does he even need to give Vick anything?" All Roger should be cutting is checks not deals similar to a sketchy DA. He is doing Mike Vick and his fans a favor by even sitting down, and asking Mike if he is thirsty before entertaining a conversation.This man is not a CO (corrections officer) although he rules and regulates; not a Parent although he disciplines; not a Counselor although he embraces; and he is not a Custodian although he is constantly cleaning up after other people's messes. Ethically he'd be completely justified in letting Vick head up North to the Canadas. Or closing the Venetian blinds, hiding behind his desk and turning his ringer off while Vick sits on the porch, attempting to look through the windows and begging for a second chance, screaming "Rog, I know you're in there, I'm sorry!" The punishment handed by Roger is neither too stiff (Vick Lovers) or too light (Vick Haters). After all, imagine if he didn't get reinstated, Vick fans. Or imagine if he served 30 days in jail and received no additional punishment from the league, Vick haters! The punishment is just right. The man committed a crime, and he is currently serving his time. I believe he learned his lesson and is grateful for his current position. If you don't believe me, then ask Michael Vick, Coors Light, United Way, and The Law Books. He is paying the debt, so stop begging for more as he has served his time as specified by law (and now his employer) and stop picketing for less as Mike Vick still has a chance at employment.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
On December 30, 1984 a hardwood King was born. 17 years later his high school basketball games would be broadcast nation wide in order to give a hungry basketball culture (and China) a glimpse of a true work of art, a freak of nature -a taste of Royalty. An appetizer that would breathe life back into a undernourished NBA nation-a culinary orgasm that had Nike distributing 90 million green bucks to a kid who, besides rocking a few questionable throwbacks, had yet to sweat in a real NBA jersey. Once fully marinated within his own glow, and a bit of the 82 herbs and spices known as a season, this kid would indeed be a complete meal that could satisfy the most greediest of critics. His 20, 5 and 6 average as a rookie had the world throwing up the 2 3 and stamping themselves as "witnesses" as if we were trying to get interviewed for a local news channel. Size, power, unselfishness, bunnies (ability to jump), court vision and let's not forget the personality. Who could forget the Lebrons? Most Valuable Puppets? MC Hammer? Besides shooting less than 80% from the charity stripe, this guy was flawless.
On May 22, he was hailed as the greatest player who had hit arguably the greatest shot in playoff history! Announcers, critics, analyst, and groupies (not limited to women, don't get it confused) alike seemed to forget about Reggie scorching the Knicks in 8 seconds; Mike skying over Craig double pump included; Stockton's trey ball in Chuck's hamburger holster; Kobe droppin 50 with a game winner from the ashy elbow; Sean Elliot toeing the sideline for a trey ball against and smoking out the blazers, all seemed to be lost on that night. To this day I still hear all the king's horses and all the king's men, chanting King James again. He had heart, determination, and most of all, he had class.
On May 30th, the tables turned. Those same critics, announcers, and analyst began to verbally assassinate the character of the King. In a losing effort King James left Orlando without congratulating his opponent and the darts began to fly. "He's a cry baby," "He should be ashamed," and "There's no crying in basketball." are just a few rocks tossed at the throne. And THEN there was Jordan Crawford. As if getting stomped in a series and having puppet commercials insinuating you'd be in a 'ship wasn't enough, The King went out and got posterized. Need I go into details? Nike confiscated the tapes and all heads turned to Lebron. Some how and some way this went back to HIS cry baby character. Never mind Nike, not LB, confiscated the tapes. Never mind Lebron continued to play the game. Never mind, that without a tear, Lebron got lost in hesitation AND THEN dunked on by Andre Igo once before. LB was again, a cry baby.
Now I am the first person to still hail Kobe as the best in the game so please do not take this as a Lebron fan message. I am simply taking note on how quickly images turn in the media and how quickly we follow. One day this Kid's only flaw is that he is too unselfish, the next day his entire character is in question. It seems as if history and past actions are continuously traded for what's most recent. This is my challenge to all fans. If you dare to argue. If you dare to be wrong. If you dare to stand alone, be loyal to something for more than a game 2. We know the media can't. But as fans we can. I'm not suggesting that we be so loyal that we lose sight of reality. Know when to revolt. Know when to say enough is enough and abandon ship. The King leaving the court is something a cry baby would do. Claro que si! But does that make him a poor sportsman or a cry baby? Jordan Crawford dunked on Ljames but does that make him Andre Igo? Marv Albert chewed on a sexy coed's ear but does that make him a cannibal? My fear is that now, if LJames shows any emotion, you disloyal civilians of the King will label it as poor sportsmanship, a testament to the true momma's boy. Then again, you flip flop so much that he can sauce you up with his next 360 degree tomahawk flush. I guess when you're the King, divine in being, ability and spirit, mere mortals look for any defect that could bring his highness to a level we all could reach. But have no fear, The empire shall rise again. All hail the King. (Let's Go Kobe!)
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
cont'ed conversation from "the headphone hideout.blogspot.com"...Every man, woman, and everyone else in between has a protected Right to express views, thoughts and opinions, BUT (and this is a BIG BUT- one the size of the First Lady's, b/c Michelle IS carrying cake in those tailored made designer dresses)......
I always find the argument that people have the RIGHT to free speech most compelling. Governments have set laws that now outlaw particular words, labeling them as hateful and imposing. In fact, if a white guy hit me in the face, spit on me, then topped it off with a super sexy suplex, he'd get a few years in prison for assault. BUT if he added the word "nigger" or made references to my race during the aforementioned Brooklyn style beat down, he could possibly get 25 years to Life as it could then be considered a hate crime. The beat down no longer came because I squeezed his fiancee's love handles and told her about the gym specials,but because I am Black. All because of a few added adjectives? Not so sure I agree with that (sometimes). But I digressed. My thoughts towards the young fella from Poway sort of follow my thoughts toward gun laws and other RIGHTS we have. Simply put-ALL RIGHTS COME WITH RESPONSIBILITIES. We cannot run through Time's Square waving 9mm handguns claiming that we have a RIGHT to do so. However who could debate the existence of a second amendment. With our freedoms come responsibilities that people selectivity follow and/or ignore. Everyone has a right to free speech, but when it crosses a line and becomes irresponsible and reckless, I believe you begin to violate the very principles on which the 1st amendment was founded. You begin to exploit your own rights and make those who carefully, strategically, intellectually, and PRODUCTIVELY voice those very same opinions, SICK. We begin to feel like Liberals who cringe when that over LIBERAL person is offended when you take a deep breath claiming that you're destroying the environment; Or that Conservative who ducks and covers when Mr. 1st Amendment yells bomb on an airplane. Ethics evolve much faster than law. It seems as though those who continue to practice irresponsible usage of their rights (free speech, free press, etc) are running at a much slower pace. Keep up!
I may just start to argue that loitering laws violate my 1st amendment right.....I like to hang out.