Tuesday, December 27, 2016

When Honeysuckles Fall by @Carmen_Hendrix #BookReview

Get your copy of Carmen Hendrix's book here!
I had the pleasure of reading "When Honeysuckles Fall" and to be honest, I didn't know what to expect.  The title doesn't necessarily describe the book is about, but it piques one's curiosity.

The three stories in the book are extremely different, so you get treated to a triple-header of sorts.  It's far from the same story being told three times.  It's an interesting variety that invoked a wide gamut of feelings out of me.

Carmen did a wonderful job of making me feel each character's emotional state.  Some characters filled me with so much sorrow that I found myself wanting to apologize to someone I may have wronged in life.  I found myself asking, "How can something so bad happen to someone just trying to live life?"

Other characters angered me to the point of a throbbing vein in my forehead.  The level of selfishness and ungodliness in some of them left me astounded.  I literally found myself hating some of the characters because I was so appalled at their actions.

Having said all of that, the thing that I think that I enjoyed the most about Carmen's book was the level of details she gave throughout.  She painted a visual picture that any artist would envy.  She especially did that for me in the 3rd story with the character named Chase.  With each paragraph, I felt as if I was there watching everything unfold.  The way she described everything happening around Chase made me feel as if I was really getting a sneak peek into someone's life.  Carmen has a way with words that will have you smelling the honeysuckles before you're done with the book.

I would recommend this book to anyone.  This book contains stories of deceit, perseverance, revenge, tragedy, triumph, and more.  As I finished the final page and thought back over what I'd read, I thought about the emotional rollercoaster I'd experienced.  I thought about how there were times I caught myself smiling as I read some parts of the book to times where I felt empty inside as some of the characters suffered through something.

The only emotion that I absolutely did not feel after reading this book was regret.


From the www.WhenHoneysucklesFall.com website:

Follow the women of "When Honeysuckles Fall," a short story collection that serves as a memorial to real life issues and relationships.

Michelle is a Bayou Belle from New Orleans, who is an ambitious lawyer that quickly finds out everything is not what it seems in her world. Donna is a Georgia peach at heart who transplanted to Texas, where everything is bigger, including the lies. Finally, Chase is a savvy southern belle and realtor who nestled in Miami, and the arms of a man whose indiscretions send her back to her home town in Mississippi and forces her to face her past.

Exploring issues ranging from infidelity to overcoming childhood abuse, Carmen Hendrix digs deep into her personal life to form the characters in "When Honeysuckles Fall" and promises to keep you on the edge of your seat. Read on as each character develops while struggling to find their truth.

www.CarmenHendrix.com
@Carmen_Hendrix

WHF book signing in Houston, TX

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Where is the Love?

A friend of mine is an artist.  He is a very skilled painter and he puts on an art display every December.  Yesterday was the 14th year he's had his show.  I've been to 13 of them.  Not only do I enjoy the art, but I enjoy the story behind each piece.  The artist loves to allow people into his mind as he discusses the inspiration and meaning to each piece.  It's probably the most enjoyable part of the showing, if you ask me.

However, this year wasn't the turnout that I expected.  I'm not sure what his expectations were, but they were definitely below mine.  There could have been a lot of contributing factors to that like low temperatures or whatnot, but I won't go through all of them.  

None of that matters to me because barring a blizzard, I just expected more people to come and enjoy themselves.  And to the people who didn't, I ask: where is the love?

Each and everyone of us has a talent.  If we're fortunate enough, someone is able to discover it early enough in life for us to perfect it.  For those who have discovered these talents, it's important that others support them.  And for the life of me, I can't understand why some of us choose to not do that.

My blog started almost 7 years ago.  No one knew about it, so I told some of my Facebook friends.  Over the course of a year or two, people started reading and commenting on my blog posts, but they were people I'd never met.  My biggest supporters were not my Facebook friends, but strangers.  

Don't get me wrong.  A few of my friends read my blog regularly (or did at one time).  But, it was the people from all over the world, that I'd never met, who were commenting and circulating my material.  Why weren't my friends doing the same?  Why were my emails and inbox messages to them to "Like" my fan page sometimes not even being met with a reply?  Why were some of the women I was dating not reading or supporting my blog?  It made me ask myself over again, "where is the love?"  Why is it that strangers propel you to fame while friends wait to claim you afterwards?  Shouldn't it be the other way around?  

My homie put on a really good art show this year.  He always does, but he was feeling it this year.  He had a lot of new pieces that were making their debut.  I even bought one of those pieces to give to my brother and his wife for Christmas.  It's the first piece of art I've ever bought from him.  I also brought someone with me to see his show for their first time.  To me, that's what "showing love" is all about.  You not only show up yourself, but you expose others as well.  That's how you help to grow the fan base.

I have always supported his talents and he's always supported mine by passing on my blog posts to some of his followers.  I know that he will read this post and agree with me about how support is so hard to come by these days.  Despite that, he will keep doing his thing and I will keep doing mine.  And if it takes a bunch of strangers to make it feel all worthwhile, then so be it.  We'll take the love however we can get it.


Sunday, December 4, 2016

I Dropped The Ball

I made a mistake.  I bobbed when I should have weaved.  I  leapt when I should have ducked.  I felt that being comfortable was more favorable than trying something new and now I'm kicking myself.  I let a woman get away from me because I was distracted by someone who didn't really want me.

I met a really nice woman quite some time ago.  I'll refer to her "Woman A."  We usually only saw each other in passing, so our conversations were always limited.  Most of the time she was with her mom or her daughter, so it's not like I really had opportunity to get her know her on a more intimate level.  But I had chances to at least try and secure a date with her.  I just never did.

There was another young lady who was very much pursuing me that I'll refer to as "Woman B."  Her and I had known each other for a very long time and had actually stolen some kisses here and there in the recent past.  She wasn't trustworthy though.  In my mind I knew that she wasn't, but I was mesmerized at the thought of ultimately being with her because she had a lot of qualities that I liked.

My mistake.

So when I finally decided that I was going to ask Woman A to go out on a date the next time that I saw her, I got distracted by Woman B asking me to give her a chance to show she could be all that I needed.  I thought about it: do I try something new with someone who appears to be made for me or do I go with someone who really isn't my type, but I'm very familiar with her?

I thought that fate had made the decision for me.  I didn't see Woman A again for over a month.  We used to run into each other at least one a week, but her routine changed and I went a very long time without seeing her.  I thought about reaching out to her on Facebook, but I didn't want to come off as "that inbox guy," so I didn't.  I went with Woman B.

My mistake.

I wound up in a very unfulfilling relationship for a few months with Woman B.  Things were awesome for a month or so and then the real untrustworthy side finally showed up.  I eventually found myself single again and I can only assume that she moved on to the man she had waiting for her.

But I wasn't sad by any means.  True, I wasted my time, but it wasn't a big deal.  I'd lost what I'd felt for her and it was clear that she didn't care if I was with her or not, so I didn't sweat bailing on the relationship.

Unfortunately, I've had to bail on quite a few relationships in the past year or so.  I know that I have issues with being patient with people, but sometimes people do immature things that are hard for me to overlook.  Once I see immaturity in conflict resolution or acts of selfishness then I'm probably going to emotionally check out at that point.  Is it fair?  Some may not think so, but having immature conflict resolution techniques and/or being selfish is a deal-breaker for me.  Communicate with me like an adult or leave me alone.

Anyhoo, I was more determined to reach out to Woman A and ask her out after failing with Woman B.  I decided to go ahead and request friendship on Facebook and she accepted within just a few minutes.  I got ready to start my inbox message to her to ask for her number to call and I decided, "Well, let me look at her page first."

I was never sure of her age, so I wanted to check her "About" section to make sure she was within my preferred range and then I saw it.  "In a relationship with (Dude)."

"Oh," I thought as I slumped into my seat.  "I never knew she had someone already."

Then I continued to read the next line to see the start date of their relationship.  It was a month after I'd decided to give Woman B a try.  Woman A was available when I wanted her, but now she's not.  Not only is she not as of now, she's been in a relationship with this dude for months now.

Good for her.  I'm actually happy that she found someone who appears to be treating her right.  Not so good for me though.  I chose comfort over something new and I guessed wrong.  For someone who believes in strategy and planning, I didn't do either when I made my decision on who to try.

And don't get me wrong.  It's not like I'm sitting home depressed over this.  It does suck, but this is just a part of life I wanted to share and a tough lesson for me to learn.  Lord knows that I've encountered quite a few liars.  I've crossed paths with so many girls masquerading as women.  And I've unfortunately dealt with so many indecisive females who have successfully discouraged me from ever leading with kindness again.

Dating was not this crazy in the 90's.

But I still go out on dates regularly and I enjoy myself when I do.  I just haven't found someone who I'm interested in long-term or who is interested in me long-term.  I find myself attracting 20-somethings who are intrigued by my perceived financial stability and potential travel opportunities or 40-somethings who spent the last 20+ years making bad decisions and are needing yet another do-over.

I don't have time for either.  But I don't want to date just to be dating.  I actually want to be married.  I know that sounds odd for a guy to say, but I'm serious.  I love having someone to come home to every night who will give me a big hug and kiss upon seeing me.  That's where I am at 45 years old.  All I can do is pray that God sends one my way who is actually on the same page that I am.  I'll be patient and focus on other things I need to work on (like my patience) in the meantime.

Woman B is engaged from what I've heard and I wouldn't be surprised if I see that FB status update on Woman A being engaged at some point in the future, too.  Although I had no way of truly knowing if Woman A would have even given me a shot back then, I should have listened to my heart instead of taking the easy way out.  Now I'll never know.

For someone who is a firm believer of "a closed mouth never gets fed," I ended up starving to death before I decided to open mine.  Lesson learned.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Hearing "No" Is Sometimes Helpful

As a 45-year old guy, I've heard the word "no" so many times in my life that it's not even funny.  I heard it from my parents.  I heard it from my teachers.  And I've definitely heard it from the opposite sex.

Despite all of that, I didn't die.  I was able to move on with my life and get past it.

Some "no's" came with an explanation.  Some came with a lie.  Some didn't come with anything after it at all.  Yet, I'm still here.

However, there are so many people in the world who are afraid to hear the word "no".  Why is that?

Is it parenting?  Because I've stated time-and-time again on this blog that 70's babies dropped the ball on parenting.  Especially in the black community.  We spend so much time trying to please our children that we fail to teach them anything.  "I want my kid to have the things that I didn't have."

But at what cost?  To the point that they don't know how to handle rejection?

Hearing the word "no" is the best thing for any child to hear.  It teaches them patience.  It teaches them restraint.  It teaches them that you can't have everything you want no matter how much you want it.  No matter much you think you deserve it.  Not hearing "no" breeds entitlement.  Why do you think people like the Donald Trump feel as if they can "grab" what they want?  It's not his money that makes him a jerk.  It's not learning restraint that makes him one.

And the only adults worse than those who can't accept "no" are the parents who are afraid to say the word "no".  You cannot be your child's friend.  I've encountered so many parents who allow their children to run their households.  I know a kid who is in elementary school with an 11 PM bedtime on a school night because her mother wouldn't "make" him go to bed.  Or a set of parents I know who are basically a taxi service for their daughter who participates in almost every existing activity there is.  She plays soccer, she's a cheerleader, a gymnast, and a girl scout.  Her dad complains all of the time that he and his wife don't even have time for basic things, but neither of them wants to "disappoint" their little lady.

SMH.

I'm not a parent.  Because of that, people tend to dismiss what I say when it comes to parenting.  However, getting / getting someone pregnant doesn't make one an expert either.  Parenting skills come from paying attention.

It's true that experience is the best teacher, but who says that it has to be your experience?

Monday, November 28, 2016

Cheating Is The New Norm

I know a ton of people who cheat on their mates.  Loyalty in relationships is a thing of the past.  Gone like the dinosaur.  Done.  Cheating is accepted more worldwide than Visa cards today.  And at the pace that we're going, it's not going to change any time soon.

Let's start with the men.  Why do we cheat?  We cheat because of multiple reasons:  We cheat because we want something different sexually.  We cheat because our woman pissed us off that day.  We cheat because of peer pressure.  We cheat because our egos coerce us into wondering if we "still got it" or not.

However, we dudes get a pass.  There aren't too many guys in the U.S. who believe that their woman would leave them if they got caught cheating.  In fact, if I had to guess, I'd say that 8 out of 10 women would give him a second chance.  That's not scientific.  That's just my personal opinion.

What guy has an incentive to be loyal if he goes into a relationship thinking that he has "Get Out Of Jail Free" card?

Should guys cheat?  No.  Should women continue to take them back if they do?  No.  Once women stop that, then guys will slow down on the cheating.

As for the women, don't act like they don't cheat.  They cheat almost as much as the guys do.  At one point, women were very good at cheating, but now that's not the case in my opinion.  From social media blunders to physical tells, a guy only has to open his eyes and be unbiased to see it.

But, women don't normally cheat for the same reason that men do.  They usually cheat because they're looking to move on to someone that they think is better than what they have at home.  Maybe the guys isn't exciting enough and she craves a little more pizazz.  So, she'll go out and try to recruit something fresh and invigorating.

It's not uncommon for women to secure a new boo before dumping the old one.  After all, who wants to be alone, right?

Pay close attention when I say this: do not trust anything that anyone says.  Period.

People will woo you with words while their actions will drive a stake through your heart.  Don't fall for it.  Pay attention and if you find out that they're dishonest, then get out of the relationship cold turkey.  Don't drag it out or pray that it gets better because it won't.  You have no guarantees that a person will change, so why waste your time?

Actions will speak louder than words every time and these days I approach relationships with ear plugs and you should, too.  Don't care what they say, but only what they do.  Do they do what you say they're going to do?  If they do, then the two of you should get along just fine.  If they don't, then don't not waste time with them.  Just push on like Flintstone.  Because these folks are cheating out here in these streets.


Friday, November 25, 2016

I Miss #Dating

I remember when dating was an audition for something greater.  It was two people coming together to see if they could co-exist in a relationship.  You asked questions to get to know the other person in order to find out if you two could get along long-term.  You participated in activities together to enjoy each other's company.  It was a patient process that promoted good decision-making.

That was the 90's and before.

If you ask 10 people to define "dating" today, then don't be surprised if you get at least six different answers.  It just doesn't mean the same thing that it did almost 20 years ago.  It's not really looked at as an audition for something greater any more.  Now it's just something to do.  I've communicated/dated with women for months who didn't learn jack about me.  It's like they didn't even know what important questions to ask me.  They either never bothered to find out where I went to high school.  They didn't learn the sizes of my clothes.  They never even saw my music library.  They don't even know what has shaped me to be the person I am today.

There's really no learning process in dating now.  It's just small talk, sex, and no plans after that.  If a woman happens to get pregnant, then maybe at that point, the two will try to be a couple.  If either of them gets bored, then someone dumps the other.  But, getting married is no longer first on the priority list.  Dating is just something to do until the next interesting person comes along.

Think about how many single people you know.  They're not all single because they can't find anyone who is right for them.  Most are single because they don't know what to do with someone who is right for them.  It's like dogs that chase cars.  If the car stops, the dog looks confused on what to do because catching the car was never in the plan.

People love the chase, but don't want to make a catch.  Because actually catching something requires that you to do something to keep it.  And most people don't know how to keep someone or they lack the confidence to learn how.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

America Has Hit Rock Bottom

It was bound to happen.  That big "thud" that you heard after the last election was this country hitting rock bottom.  This country is in a very, very bad place and it's not going to get better any time soon.

Racism is as prevalent as it's ever been over the past 50 years.  Politicians are more corrupt than every before.  Jobs are non-existent despite the fact that our infrastructure is crumbling like an Oreo in Shaquille O'Neal's back pocket.  Violent crime rates are higher than giraffe nostrils while cops are shooting first and not asking questions later.

All of this comes from an accumulation of things over the past 30 or 40 years.  Because of that, it can't be fixed overnight.  But make no mistake about it.  It can be fixed.

Well, not racism.  That's never going away in the U.S.  This country was built on racism, so it has no choice but to continue to spawn racism.  You can't plant an apple tree and expect oranges, no matter how hard you wish for them.

But, everything else can be fixed.  We can vote crooked politicians out of office if we actually took time to think.  We get swayed by name recognition and political party loyalty when we step into a voting booth.  And while I'm on the topic, let me step on my soapbox for a minute...

(steps on soapboax)

Black people need to stop voting for Democrats as a default.  The only reason that I say that is because Democrats are so confident that we're going to vote for them, that they don't even try to do anything substantial for us.

When I was a child, I remember countless Democratic candidates coming to my neighborhood to speak to the voters.  They asked questions and acted like they truly wanted to earn our votes.  As an adult, do you know how many Democrats have visited my current neighborhood?

Zero.

I've been visited by plenty of Jehovah's Witnesses, but the next Democratic candidate to step into my driveway will be the first.  And I've lived here for 20 years.

As for Republicans...  They refuse to even make the effort to meet with black people because they know that we're not going to vote for them any way.  Black people got upset that Donald Trump didn't meet with certain black "leaders".  Why should he?  For PR?  Would you waste your time visiting someone that you knew was biased against you?

No, you probably wouldn't.  Until black people make Democrats earn their votes once again, then we'll keep getting what we're getting.  You can't do the same thing over and over and expect different results.  That's just dumb.

(steps off soapbox)

Dag, what was I talking about again?  Oh, yeah.  'Murrica...

Until we do away with political parties, our country will continue to spiral out of control.  How can you have a United States if everyone is divided?  How can you say "united, we stand, but divided, we fall" when it's always "us vs. them"?  If we simply took the time to think, we could turn this country around.  The people have the power.  We're just too lazy or dumb to use it.

Freakin' sheep.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

You're Proud of Not Having Friends? SMH.

I see a ton of memes like this every week.  Someone appears to be proud of the fact that they don't have any friends.  The memes spin the situation so that you believe that the so-called ex-friends somehow betrayed the person who posts the photo.  Because of that, the person who posts the photo had to eliminate those people from their life.

For someone who has been on this planet for 4 1/2 decades, let me tell you that this is rarely the case.

People tend to lose friends for two reasons:

1) They are horrible at picking friends.  They tend to look for associates who are as trifling and as messy as they are.  Messy people can't stick together for long.

2) They are horrible people themselves.  They have a short shelf life because they're so rotten to the core, that people just don't want to hang around them for an extended period of time.  At some point, they'll even alienate their trifling associates.

Those are pretty much the main reasons.  If you can't keep friends, then more times than not, you're the problem.

Think about it: why would multiple people not be loyal to just you?

Now, don't get me wrong.  Sometimes you can outgrow your friends.  That does happen.  But a good friend tries to bring his/her friends up with them instead of bragging about leaving them behind.  You can't always elevate your friends, but the effort should still be there.

Be leery of people who not only can't keep friends, but act as if they are proud of it.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

You're Only As Funky As Your Last Cut

That title is part of a lyric from an Outkast song called "Rosa Parks".  André 3000 rapped that when he was essentially stating that you're only as good as the last thing you produced.  Live in the past and you'll be a has-been.

That's a very true statement that is just starting to soak into my thick skull.

I have a very, very bad habit of trying to help people.  I know that it looks bad to say that, but hear me out.  Everyone has a purpose in life.  I feel as if my purpose is to uplift others, whether it be through service, encouragement, or just a smile.  Sometimes I will go above and beyond the call of duty to help someone out or try to make their day.  But, what I struggle with so mightily is what happens after you're unable to give someone what they want.

Within the past couple of months, I've had a female friend approach me and ask for help on a project.  Our relationship has always been platonic.  Her brother is a good friend of mine.  This is someone I've done numerous favors for including going out of my way to give her a ride when her car was broken down to helping her work on her resume so she can get a better job.  However, prior obligations prevented me from being able to help her with this particular home improvement project.  When I told her that I wasn't able to make it because I already had other commitments, she got upset with me.

Now this is where I have a problem not getting mad.  If I have a history of helping/being nice to someone, then I feel as if they don't deserve to get upset with me when I can't help them.  Maybe I'm wrong for feeling that way, but that's just me.  I feel that if you help someone 9 times and on the 10th, you're unavailable, then that person shouldn't get upset with you.

However, she did.  She told me that I was "just like everyone else" and I was bailing on her when she needed help.  This infuriated me.  Being lumped into a group of people ("just like everyone else") is insulting to me.  Especially since I'd done so much for her in the past.  Recent past, too, I might add.

And it's not just this one incident that has me salty.  This is just the straw that broke the camel's back.  I could describe at least three or four recent scenarios from where I got dissed by others for not being able to accommodate someone who is used to me doing so.  It's as if I've never helped them before.  Never!

I had an ex tell me once that I "wanted a pass for being a good guy".  I didn't quite understand what she meant then, but it's all too clear to me now.  "You're only as funky as your last cut."  It's not about what you have done in the past.  It's all about what you're doing now.  You can be an "A" student for 7 straight semesters, but what's going to happen when you bring home a "C" after that 8th semester?

I now realize the answer to that question.

All my life, I've prided myself on having a good reputation.  I didn't father any kids out of wedlock.  I didn't go to jail.  I've protected womanhood and promoted manhood.  I went to college.  I've attended church regularly.  I always say "yes, ma'am" and "yes, sir" to my elders.  And I've tried to help people whenever I can.  But in 2016, none of that means anything to a lot of people in today's society.  If you're not giving them what they want at that time, then you're nothing.  Doesn't matter what you did before, you're not doing it now.

Well, you know what?  Society wins on this one.  I'm done.  I can no longer bust my behind to attempt to be something special for a world that could not care less about my track record.  It doesn't mean anything in a lot of workplaces, in the dating game, or even with some family and friends.  It's all about "what have you done for me lately?"

Comment below if you need me to explain this saying.
I'm officially no longer putting myself out there.  If I'm going to be lumped into a category unfairly, then I may as well respond as those people do.  "Sorry, I can't help you."

I can't take any more of this, so I'm forced to take a different approach.  I think that for the first time in my 44 years on this planet, society has officially broken me.  It's a shame that it's come to this, but I'm just worn out.


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

STOP SHOOTING BLACK MEN!!!!

How many times do we have to scream it before someone acts like they care?

Another unarmed black man has been gunned down.  I've lost count of how many have died within the last few years.  If you run, then you get shot.  If you fight, then you get shot.  If you comply, then you get shot.

What does it take to not get shot other than being white?

And don't feed me that garbage about "he looked threatening" or "he was a bad guy".  Or my favorite: "we don't know what he did prior to getting shot".  Uh, did he pull a weapon and attempt to use it on a cop/civilian?  Because that's the only reason he should be shot dead.

I can name some very high profile examples of non-blacks who actually had weapons who went to jail instead of the morgue.  One even got taken to Burger King for a meal after killing multiple black people in a church.

The only way to stop these senseless killings is for:

1) Police to admit that they have a problem with their perception of black men in society.  Acknowledging that black men scare you will get the ball rolling on how to fix it.  Yes, there are some intimidating brothas out there, but if you're scared, then don't be a cop.  That's not the right job for you.  Walmart is hiring.

2) Police need to start going to jail when they kill unarmed black men.  "Oh, I didn't know he was unarmed."  Well, too bad because you're still going to get this jail time for involuntary manslaughter if nothing else.  There has to be a consequence to the action.  Paid administrative leave is not a deterrent to shooting someone.  In most cases, these shootings appear to be cold-blooded murders and should be treated as hate crimes.

3) Police need to stop training their officers to shoot to kill.  This within itself doesn't make a lot of sense to me.  If soldiers overseas have certain protocols that require shooting to kill to be a last resort, then why is it normally the first choice here in the states against our own citizens?  In the latest incident with Terence Crutcher, the cops were close enough to easily shoot Crutcher in the leg if necessary.  But, that's not what cops do.  They shoot to kill.  It has to stop.

4) Police need to do their jobs!  If your job is to put away criminals, then do so.  Even those criminals are within your police force.  Stop turning a blind eye to your "brother in blue" while families are losing loved ones on the regular.  How can you continue to put on a badge every morning that is simply seen as a piece of tin by black communities instead of something that represents integrity?  Show that you're to be trusted by doing the right thing!

It's a shame that I'm 44 years old and I'm terrified to see blue lights while traveling.  The same feeling my dad had in the 50's and 60's whenever he drove some where.  Even if you're polite and accommodating, there is no guarantee that you won't be a target over a "misinterpretation".  Imagine an agitated black youth who may not make the effort to be polite or accommodating.  How do you think his day is going to end up?

Colin Kaepernick is never going to get off the ground at the rate we're going.  I hope that he brought knee pads.  SMH.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

We All Want Something for Nothing

You want sex, but you don't deserve it.  You want to be wined and dined, but you haven't earned it.

A work ethic in relationships are starting to become a thing of the past.  Society has turned into a bunch of "a'ights" and very few "exceptionals."  So many people simply do the minimum required to maintain a relationship instead of committing 100% and allow the relationship to thrive.

For example, let's talk a bit about guys...

A guy may approach a woman simply because he has sex on the brain.  He will take the shortest path to sex more times than not.  If a woman requires little, then he will do just enough to satisfy her requirements so that he can satisfy himself.

His peers will promote his behavior, too.  After all, in 2016, how many fathers are teaching their sons anything about respecting women and relationships?  It's all about "how many can you hit?"  It's a sad cycle that will continue because very few have an interest in doing the right thing.  That's no longer required of a man in 2016.  Just be charming and the opportunities will present themselves.

As for the ladies...

Some are quick for wanting to be treated like queens despite the fact that they lack the qualities to be one.  They curse like sailors in public.  They treat their sons like spouses thus causing them to be dependent on their moms and useless to their future girlfriends.  They teach their daughters how to put on makeup, but ignore educating them about how to command respect.

Some just want to be seen.  They're interested in what impresses other women.  So they only entertain guys that come with a stamp of approval from their girls.  If he drives a nice car, has a certain look, or maybe a certain status, then he's a keeper.  That is until he cheats with the next one who is impressed by shiny objects.

Conclusion

It wasn't always like this, but this is the world that we live in now.  Prior to 2000, the most popular agenda people had when dating was marriage.  Now it can be anything from free trips to late night encounters.  TV, radio, and social media promotes superficial things 24/7.  It was bound to affect our brains at some point, right?  Why settle on someone who just wants to make you happy when you can have some happiness and excitement somewhere else (if you don't mind a few tears/headaches here and there.).

There are a lot of "single" men and women walking around.  They'll tell you that they're single by choice.  Don't believe them.  They just don't need anything right now.


Sunday, August 7, 2016

What Do Women Want? #Relationships

What would make her happy?  
I want to be married again.  I want someone to come home to, hug and kiss, and swap stories about our day at work.  I want to look forward to planning a date night every week.  I want to travel with someone who appreciates seeing different places.  I know exactly what I want for my life.

But here's my dilemma: I haven't a clue to what women want.

At one time, I thought that women would want honesty.  That they want a man who would tell them the truth, regardless of how bad it may sound.  They want someone who is trustworthy because he has a track record of being honest about his actions.

Nope.  Not it.

Okay, well, how about this: Women want loyalty, right?  They want a guy who would never put himself in a position where there's an opportunity to cheat.  He doesn't have to guard his cell phone day and night because he's not doing anything wrong.  He only wants his lady and no one else.

Nope.  Not it.

Okay, I know this one has to be it: Women want security.  That has to be the ticket, right?  They want a man who has a career and not a job.  Someone who takes his household responsibilities seriously.  When the house note is due then that's what he's paying.  He's not waiting in line for the next pair of Jordans to drop while bills still need to be paid.

Nope.  Still not it.

So, what do women want in relationships?  I keep racking my brain trying to figure it out.  If it's not honesty, trust, loyalty, security, and responsibility, then what is it?

Wait.  Now that I think about it, they do want all of those things.  Just not from me.  LOL!



Sunday, July 31, 2016

A Reason Why My Father is So Great

My father has always been one of my many role models in life.  He's the reason that I have a generous nature and that I always try to think about other people.  Regardless if they deserve it or not.

He's always been a helpful guy.  People in the neighborhood still come to him to this day when they need something.  Maybe something is wrong with their car or they need a ride to work.  He's always willing to help and all he asks for in return is a sincere "thank you".

Those things are well and good, but it's the little things that makes him so great in my eyes.  I remember once when he was driving home from somewhere late at night.  Maybe it was a trip home from Chicago or somewhere far off, but there was a car in front of him that occasionally veered out of its lane.

My father recognized that the person driving the vehicle was sleepy and had difficulties paying attention to the road.  So, instead of passing him like most people would and leaving the man to fend for himself, my father did something unexpected:  he aggressively blew his car horn at the man.

The drive immediately corrected himself and returned back into the lane.

After 5 or 6 more minutes, the car veered to the right once again and my father blew his horn to get his attention.  Every time it appeared that the man was going to sleep, my father would blow his horn to wake him.  He did that for at least 10-15 miles!  Even though the man was going slower than the speed limit, probably due to fatigue, my father hung in there with him and made sure he stayed awake.

Finally, the man reached his exit and left the highway.  As he was exiting the road, he rolled down his window and waved his hand at my father as he drove by.  He recognized what my father did for him and showed his appreciation for it by acknowledging him.

My father won't get any type of medal or recognition for what he did.  He's a believer that you always do the right thing and try to help people even when no one is looking.  That's how you know you're a good person.  But, he did gain something that evening: my admiration and my desire to be just as thoughtful as he is.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

I Don't Believe in Road Rage, But I Understand!

I'm a very calm guy.  In fact, some of my friends wonder if anything bothers me at all.  I can't help that I'm a very nonchalant guy.  I like to keep things in perspective, so that keeps me grounded.  I'm usually pretty patient, but sometimes, there are some things that can raise my blood pressure.  And it usually involves people not respecting the roadways.

Road rage happens to all of us.  However, some overreact when compared to others.  I don't angrily blow my horn (any more -- people get shot for less) or throw finger signs.  I usually just mentally curse people out in my head and keep it moving.  But there are two things that irk me when it comes to sharing the road:

They acted like we weren't even there.
Cyclists

If there is any group of people on this planet who seem to feel more entitled to the road, it's cyclists.  They act as if they have bumpers on their bikes.  Just recently, I was going to visit my grandmother.  She lives kind of off in the country, so the roads are just two lanes for most of the way.  I rolled up behind a group of cyclists.  It was close to 20 of them and they were just pedaling away around 15 mph.  In my mind, I'm thinking, "Well, I'm sure that they'll get over to the side and allow the cars to pass.  After all, it's a curvy road, so the only way to get by is for them to allow us to do so."

Yeah, I don't know why I thought that.

They rode and chatted for close to 3 miles while me and roughly 8-10 vehicles followed them like we were in a parade.  They never made an attempt to pull over on a side street to allow us by or even ride single file to give us room.  They just left us back there to cruise as if we didn't exist.  By the time I got to my grandmother's house, you could probably see a vein popping out of my neck.  If I'd only had a snowplow, I could have just shoved them off in the ditch and kept rolling.

Very frustrating to get stuck at an intersection.

Intersection Blockers

These are the people who pull into an intersection although there's no room on the other side to clear the lane.  So, when you get the green light to go through, you can't go anywhere because these numbskulls are blocking your way as in the photo above.

If they only allowed machine guns on the front of cars.

I took that photo at a very busy intersection in Jackson.  Every day at 5 PM, people clog the lanes knowing that they're blocking you, too.  But, like the cyclists, they don't care.  Because they obviously think that they're more important than you and that your time isn't valuable as theirs.  All you can do is wait on them to clear the intersection and hope that you still have a green light.  If not, you may have to do it all over again with the next set of idiots.

Old schoolers will get this reference.
Conclusion

If I were to ever snap and take a tire iron to someone's knees some day, then know that one of these two types of people would be the recipient of me going Tonya Harding on them.  People should respect the roadways and everyone on it.  It would make the commute to your destination go that much better if the person next to you is considering you when making decisions.

But that's not the world that we live in.  Everyone thinks that they're more important than you and that you should understand that.  That's why people pull out in front of you, refuse to let you merge, and things of that nature.  Society gets more disrespectful each and every day.  I guess that I may as well get used to it because there doesn't appear to be enough people willing to change it.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Why Is Sex No Longer Sacred?

I was watching the "Amber Rose Show" just recently.  In all honesty, I was watching the show for all of the wrong reasons.  I just think that Amber Rose is smoking hot, so I decided to tune in.  But the show was so awful that I know that I won't be watching it again.

The entire show was basically Amber Rose asking women questions about sex.  Women were disclosing everything from how many side dudes they've had to being on top during sex.  Some people call it "women empowerment" and other people call it "women being promiscuous".  Whatever you want to call it is totally dependent on your upbringing.

As for my upbringing, I was taught that sex was something sacred.  You didn't share what you did with everyone.  It was deemed disrespectful to your partner to discuss your sexual experiences with them to someone else.

Fast forward to today and everyone is doing it.  People are getting on TV, radio, and social media and discussing their sex lives like they're talking about their day at work or something.  I watched Amber Rose talk about sex for her entire show except for the last segment (which was only a couple of minutes long).  She "interviewed" rapper, T.I., and asked him his favorite sex position, the craziest place he's had sex, and if he masturbated.

I was thinking to myself, "how in the world are kids going to not be teen parents if all they see on TV is how much fun sex is?"

I guarantee you that there are a ton of kids under 18 years old watching Amber's show and shows like hers.  It's not like parents pay attention to what their children watch.  A ton of the girls watching probably want to be Amber Rose and a ton of boys want a girl like her.  She has a glamorous lifestyle and makes a lot of money for basically doing nothing truly talented.  Who wouldn't want that life?

But, back to the topic... Sex isn't sacred any more.  People will tell you all of their business without any thoughts to how you feel about it or how their partner would feel if they found out.  And if you feel awkward discussing it with them, then you're looked at as someone abnormal.  A conversation that may have been reserved to close friends and siblings is now something you can get from a coworker you barely know.

In roughly 30 years, the United States has done a 180 degree turn around in morals.  Sex is "empowering" and not something kept private.  Cursing is simply just talking and not something done out of the public's earshot.  Being reckless with your life is no longer scolded, but it is praised by everyone for you "expressing yourself" (and sometimes rewarded with money and fame).

Nothing is sacred any more.  TV has dumbed down in 30 years what took hundreds of years to create.  The end result is me watching Amber Rose ask a woman if she has a side dude (actually, "dude" wasn't the d-word that she used) and this young lady must have named 10+ guys.  She was applauded for it.

To each their own, I guess.  It makes me wonder what conversations are parents having in households across the U.S. with their children?  Is this type of thing even being discussed?  Based on what I'm seeing on TV, it is being discussed.  Just by celebrities instead of parents.



Friday, July 8, 2016

Black Lives Don't Matter, But Cops Lives Do

So, a couple of more unarmed black men are approached for something petty and ultimately gunned down at the hands of cops.  One of many reasons why I wrote about black people being extinct by the Year 2100.

Let me start off, like every other black writer, by saying that I have nothing against the police.  For some reason, people think that if you're pro-black that you're anti-white or anti-cop.

That's just stupid.

Just because you want to stop breast cancer doesn't mean that you're all for cervical cancer.  This blog encourages common sense, so those who actually use it before commenting or inboxing me are appreciated.

The Media

First of all, I'm tired of the media regurgitating the same ol' rhetoric that means nothing.  I'm tired of hearing "It's time to have the conversation about..."  About what?  We've been talking for 60 years and nothing has changed.  The only difference between 1956 and 2016 is that we have the ability to film the killings today.  The only downside to that is how the media exploits it.  They're the main reason cops are afraid of black men today.  We're portrayed as predators and the police hunts us down as such.

The officers being shot last night in Dallas was a tragedy.  The media should be bringing their family together via satellite with the family of the unarmed black men who were recently shot to show their similarities.  Instead, they act as if those grieving black families no longer exist.  Because the shooting of cops is more important to them than of unarmed black men.  Black lives don't matter, but cops lives do.  The value of their lives are unequal in the eyes of the media.  That nonsense is passed on to the American viewers who ultimately start to subconsciously believe the same thing.

The Police

The same police who scream about how snitching is protecting criminals in the black communities are ALWAYS tight-lipped about one of their own who commits an atrocity against an unarmed black man.

Has anyone in the police department ever stood up and said, "my partner was wrong for shooting that man"?

If so, then I'd love to see a video of it because I've never seen it.  Police protect their own yet chastise the black community for doing the same.  The irony in that is astounding!  They want black people to help them find cop killers, but won't help black people find unarmed black men killers.

Black Cops

If you're a black cop and you don't speak out against your own people getting killed, then punch yourself in the throat.  It's a shame that some black cops will protect the law enforcement brotherhood while ignoring their own.  Is this lady the only cop with guts to speak out against the treatment of her own people?  Does it have to be someone in your family before you start to care?

Oh, I almost forgot.  The Commander in Chief needs to take a stand for the killing of black men like he has for the LGBT community's rights and health care.  Stop ignoring black people, Mr. President.  This has nothing to do with gun control unless you're going to start taking guns from the police.

Conclusion

This will never end.  It will never end because we will always have an Us. vs. Them mentality.  There is a ton of evidence of blacks snitching on blacks for the greater good.  When police start doing the same with each other, then maybe some trust can be developed.  When police actually start going to jail, then maybe black folks can be alright with the PD.  When the media actually bad mouths police like they did Christopher Dorner (a former black cop), then maybe black people will come around.

Oh, and Christopher Dorner was a terrorist for sure.  But if you think that he's much different than the cop who shot Philando Castile, then you're not capable of understanding the point that I'm trying to make.

Good and bad doesn't have a color, but we don't treat it that way.  If it were, then armed white men wouldn't get taken into custody and bought sandwiches while unarmed black men get taken to the coroner with multiple bullet holes in them.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Why I Think Ayesha Curry Was Dead Wrong

Meet Ayesha Curry.  Chances are, you already know her.
Tonight is Game 7 of the NBA Finals and very few are actually talking about the game itself.  Just about everyone has spent the last few days discussing what Ayesha Curry tweeted about Game 6.

Mrs. Curry essentially insinuated that the NBA is"fixed" to allow Cleveland to extend the series to a Game 7.  A 7th game brings about more money through TV ratings and ticket sells.

As much as I love the Curry family and how they represent themselves, I think that she crossed over the line with her tweet.  Way over the line.

However, let me backtrack a bit.  Since the creation of the "Basketball Wives" TV show, it appears to me that a lot of women have come to the forefront of the game.  My only problem is with the ones who are bringing that reality show element along with them.  Sports fans honestly don't care what you think, good or bad.  We want to see Skip Bayless, Jemele Hill, Stephen A. Smith, and the likes discuss the game.  Not the wives of players.

Why?

Because wives of players are always going to side with their husbands.  Duh.  Where's the journalistic integrity of that (not to say that all talking heads on ESPN have integrity).  Brent Grimes of the NFL has a wife who is so outspoken that he has difficulty even signing with a team.  Imagine that!  Not being able to get a job because of your wife's actions on social media (and in real life for Miko Grimes).

Here's the tweet heard around the world (that she deleted afterwards).

And I want all the people who are supporting Ayesha to think about that.  If your husband comes home and discloses to you that someone at his job is holding him back, is your first thought to go on social media and bash his company?  Absolutely not.  Because you know that he will be out of a job if you do.

So, why do you give Ayesha Curry a pass on doing the exact same thing?  Because Steph is too talented to get fired from the Warriors?  Well, that's true, but that doesn't make it right.  Because believe it or not, Steph has been totally impacted in a negative way by his wife's antics.  He will never say that publicly because it's his wife.  Duh again.  But she's done more harm than good.

How so?

It's Game 7 and what who are we talking about?  Ayesha Curry.

Who are the reporters asking Steph Curry about in the interviews leading up to the game?  Not Lebron, but Ayesha.

What questions are Steph's teammates getting asked about in interviews leading up to the game?  Not about the Cavaliers, but about if they think the games are rigged.


And if the tweet was not enough, she challenged an ESPN talking head legend in Stephen A. Smith into a war of words.  He called her out on being a distraction to the team and her response was to challenge what he said and be even more of a distraction.  She even said that Stephen A. was pitting women against women simply because he stated that Lebron's wife, Savannah, experiences much more scrutiny of her husband than anyone in the league, yet she lets him handle it.  Imagine that.  A woman letting a man fight his own battles.  I would personally be offended if I had a wife who attempted to fight my battles for me.  That's emasculating.  It's just not right and it's humiliating.

Steph Curry is going into what could be the biggest game of his career and no one is really talking about the game.  And even if Ayesha Curry is correct in her accusations, how is she going to prove it?  What if she pissed the referees off so much (they're human) that they decide that they're not going to call many fouls tonight?  They may decide just to let the guys play it out and stay out of the picture.  A physical game favors Cleveland and not Golden State, so that would hurt her husband's chances of winning.  How is her tweet going to help her husband tonight?

Newsflash: It won't.


I'm not a fan of either team, but I do hope that tonight's game is a close one and has plenty of action.  I am a fan of both Savannah and Ayesha.  I'm a fan of Savannah's for being able to stay away from the spotlight, as tempting as it may be.  And I'm a fan of Ayesha's for how she's handled the spotlight, up until now.

It's not that Ayesha isn't entitled to her opinions.  She just has to realize that once she becomes the story, she becomes a target for criticism.  It doesn't matter if it's justified or not.  That's just how the media works.  And any criticism of her affects her husband's game whether anyone believes it or not.  It also puts him in a bad place with his teammates who also are affected by the controversy.

The last thing a player wants to worry about in a locker room is his wife/girlfriend or family.  You have to worry about how the media will make her look.  You have to worry about if some deranged fan(s) will accost her and hold her responsible if Golden State loses.  We live in a world where those two things are very likely.

Ayesha will probably have her own cooking show or something in the future.  She's a likeable person and she has the ability to brighten up any room.  She's one of the more positive recognizable figures in social media today and we need more like her.

But tweets can't beat microphones.  In a game between Ayesha Curry vs. ESPN, I'm putting my money down on ESPN every time.  I hope that she now realizes that she's fighting a losing battle and that she takes the high road going forward.



Saturday, June 4, 2016

The Greatest of All-Time Has Left Us #Ali

I had fallen asleep on my couch with my TV on ESPN.  However, I woke up and noticed a mural on the left hand side of the screen showing Muhammad Ali's face.  Before my eyes could adjust and focus on the words on the screen, I knew that Ali had died.  I'd just spoken to my cousin about Ali just hours ago about how grave his condition was.

My first "favorite athlete",  Muhammad Ali, was dead at the age of 74 years old.

There aren't many men like Ali being produced in this country any more.  Now, don't get me wrong.  He had his issues when it came to his wives.  He wasn't perfect.  But he did more for this country than anyone who may have stepped foot on the White House lawn in the past 50 years.

People who don't know the man think that he was "The Greatest" because of what he did inside the boxing ring.  No.  Ali was "The Greatest" for what he did outside of the boxing ring.  Ali inspired the world with his approach to day-to-day living.  He was a motivational speaker.  He was a civil rights activist.  He was an entertainer.  Oh, he was such an entertainer!

Ali had a relationship with the media that we will never see again.  He gave interviews that resembled stand up comedy sets.  The beneficiary of many of those interviews was a sports commentator named Howard Cosell.

Cosell and Ali were partners.  They fed off of each other in their interviews to become two of the biggest figures in sports.  The respect that they had for one another provided entertainment for more than a decade.  Despite their close relationship, Cosell remained unbiased in his journalist approach unlike what we see with some talking heads today.

Howard Cosell and Muhammad Ali turned each other into legends.
Ali won many awards and honors during and long after his boxing career.  I won't go through all of his accomplishments because the talking heads will do that over the next week.  However, I will mention his impact on today's culture.  Ali started a culture of brashness that we see in sports today.  This was a man who not only showed you in the ring that he was "The Greatest", he would tell you that he was, too.  The predictions that athletes make today, the "getting in the head" of their opponents, and things like that were made famous by Ali.

Seated: Bill Russell, Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

He embraced his blackness and his message resonated throughout black communities around the country.  He stood for his beliefs regardless of the controversies and criticisms that surrounded him which is something athletes refuse to do today.  Ali didn't care if you liked him.  He didn't care if he lost money from losing fans.  Heck, he didn't even care if he went to jail for what he believed.

Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X
There are many things that I wish that I could change with the world.  There are many things that I wish that I could go back in time and fix.  But if I had one wish to change anything regarding Muhammad Ali, it would be for him to forever have his voice.

Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1984 and it slowly robbed him of all of the gifts that he'd displayed for us over the previous 25 years prior to that.  If he only had the opportunity to continue speaking, what would his contributions to black communities and to his religion would have meant to society today?

Muhammad Ali and Sam Cooke
Would he have put black athletes and celebrities in their place when it came to their selfishness?  Would he have continued to inspire people to do more with their lives and not be ordinary?  What would Ali have given us had his voice not been trapped inside of his body?

We will never know.  The first athletic entertainer is gone.  A lot of people speculated that Ali was in a bad place this time around as we got word that he was being hospitalized.  Over the course of 24 hours, we all knew that his condition was getting worse and that he may be passing on.  Despite that being the fact, it still feels like a body punch to the gut to wake up and find out that my favorite athlete is gone.

R.I.P., Champ.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Never See A Marvel Movie with a Non-Fan

(written 5.8.16)

Okay, so I've been waiting to see Captain America 3 since it was announced a couple of years ago.  I'm a single guy, so I found myself in a situation in having to find someone to watch the movie with me.  After all, I've never been one to do movies solo.  So, I decided to call a few people to see if they were available.

I called and asked one lady if she was interested and she told me "no."  She wasn't into comic book movies.  I appreciated her honesty.  I don't know if she's ever given the Marvel movies a try or not, but I guess she knows her limits.

I texted another young lady and she was busy attending a Beyonce concert in Houston and wasn't able to go.  Beyonce is a ticket just as hot as Captain America around these parts.

So, the 3rd time's the charm, right?  Yeah. that's what I hoped.  Worst. Movie. Experience. Ever.

Never see a Marvel movie with a non-fan.  Just don't do it.  I asked her if she'd ever seen any of the other Captain America movies and she said "no."  I should have hit the eject button at that point.  When people don't understand the backstory to characters and the concept of super powers, then it can get very annoying in the theater.

"How can the red head survive these fights without super powers?"

"Does Captain America's shield give him powers?"

"Why is Spider-Man a boy?  Wasn't he grown in the last movie?"

"Jeremy Renner doesn't do anything except shoot arrows?"

Well, that one is a legitimate question.

Anyhoo, the questions became so much for me to handle that I simply asked her to take mental notes and I'd answer the questions after the movie.  That was also a waste of time.

Needless to say, she thought that it was the worst movie she'd ever seen.  I thought that it was an awesome movie.

Memo to self: when you see X-Men this weekend, take someone who has seen and enjoys Marvel movies.



Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Men's Guide to Preparing to Date

As a guy in my 40's, I won't claim to understand women.  "Women are to be loved, not understood" is what someone once said.  However, I've picked up on some things in my time on this planet to at least get a gist of what mature-minded women want.  And that's a man who does not "feel around in the dark" for lack of a better phrase.  Know where you're going and how to get there at all times, fellas.

So, I want to help the guys out there, who think they're ready for a relationship, get a to-do list together.

The first thing that you must do is be worthy of dating!

How often do dudes who are in the middle of some drama-filled ordeal, or unemployed and broke, or just not in the right place mentality, try to holla at a lady?  It doesn't make any sense.  It's like packing for a trip overseas without buying a plane ticket.  How are you getting there?

Make sure your house is in order before knocking on someone else's door, fellas.  You only have one mother, so make sure your life is at a place that doesn't require you to look for another one.  Be able to take care of yourself and a family before engaging a woman in something serious.

If she's over 30 years old, call more than you text.

I don't understand the entire "textationship" that some people enjoy.  Maybe because I value a line of communication that actually conveys emotion and inflection.  I'm not frowning on texting, but there's a time and place for it, if you ask me.  You can text later in the relationship as the two of you grow.  But I'd avoid overdoing it to start things off.

Let a woman hear your voice and see your face.  Allow her to learn your facial expressions and body language first and that will allow your messages to have personality.  It's easy to get the wrong impression of someone if you try to learn them via text.  You'll feel as if you know one another because of the volume of messages, but you'll find out that you really don't know each other at all.

Take charge and plan the date.

More times than not, ladies will allow a guy to take the reins and determine where the first date will be.  I am so surprised at how many guys I've met who do not know how to effectively plan a date with a woman.

  • If you want to see her on Friday, then let her know on Monday.  Allow her time to make whatever arrangements she may deem necessary from pampering herself or making child care decisions.  It will also make it easier on you if you catch her before she makes plans to do something else.
  • Know where you want to take her.  Let her know where you want to go so she can dress accordingly.  If she doesn't like the place, then she can always tell you.  And be mindful of anything that may negatively affect your dating plans.  If it's a holiday weekend and/or a really popular place, then make reservations.  If it's outdoors, then be mindful of the weather forecast.  Think things through.  Don't take her to a loud concert or a movie if you are still getting to know each other.  Take her somewhere you two can have a conversation without a lot of noise.
  • Dress the part.  Make sure she's clear on where she's going so she can dress accordingly.  Do the same.  Don't show up at a 5-star restaurant dressed like you're going to a basketball game.  You'll have plenty of time to be casual around her, if all goes well.  In the meantime, show her that swag.
  • Be on time.  I don't think that I even have to get an explanation for that one.
  • Open doors, including car doors.  When you're on a date, then be a chauffeur.  Chivalry isn't a luxury.  It should be a way of life.
  • Pay for the meal.  For the new age guys who want to feel things out before committing financially, meet her for coffee first.  But once you decide upon a dinner date, then treat her.  A woman usually spends money on a new outfit, hair, nails, etc., to look good for a date.  Don't compound her spending with making her pay for her own meal, too.
  • Have a secondary location.  After dinner, the night may still be young.  Have another place in mind where the evening can continue in case you need it.  A nice spot overlooking a body of water, a quiet bar for after-dinner drinks, or something of that sort.
Hopefully, this will help some of you guys looking for something long-term with a special someone.  You have to have a plan for everything you take seriously.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

What is @All_Things_Mine?

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www.AllThingsMine.com

Monday, April 25, 2016

Prince is the Epitome of Musical Greatness

Many great musical artists have come and gone in my life, but this one feels different. I enjoyed Luther. I adored Whitney. I was awed by Michael. But none of them delivered art to my senses like Prince.

Not just music, but fashion, color, acting, and dancing. Prince was a multi-tooled performer and to think that his talents are gone forever is such a shame. This is a man who spent almost 40 years of his life bringing us music that we've dance to, nodded our heads to, and definitely made love to. He went from being labeled as a "freak" and "weirdo" in the late 70's/early 80's to literally being considered royalty just a decade later.

I feel so sorry for the Millennials who can't seem to wrap their brain around what a musical genius truly is.  And to think some of them were probably conceived to Prince's music.  SMH.  My definition of "greatness" doesn't line up with theirs at all.  Greatness is not the number of Twitter followers you have.  Greatness is not the kind of car you drive.  Greatness is not being heard on the radio every 20 minutes.

  • Greatness is walking into a room and seeing people forget their own names.  
  • Greatness is leaving a lineage of other performer's music behind you (Sheila E., Sheena Easton, Morris Day & The Time, Wendy & Lisa, Apollonia, Vanity, Tevin Campbell, Jesse Johnson, and more).  
  • Greatness is being offered an opportunity to complete an entire movie soundtrack ("Batman").  Not one song, but the entire soundtrack album!  
  • Greatness is having a sketch comedy show like Saturday Night Live dedicate their show to you.  A comedy show celebrating a musician?  Where they do that at?  
  • Greatness is being recognized by a color or a symbol.

I have a cousin who is from Minnesota and has encountered Prince on several occasions.  I haven't spoken to him since Prince's death, but he has a ton of stories to share about him.  Just like me, my cousin listens to music "from the inside-out."  It's difficult to explain, but it's essentially focusing on the accompanying instruments first and working your way to the more dominant instruments like the bass or drums later.  It's making an attempt to "hear a song within a song" is the best way that I can put it.

Prince was a master of giving you that little extra that a lot of people would rarely notice no matter how many times they'd hear a particular song of his.  I have such an appreciation for what he did and it's a shame that it ended last Thursday.


I'm not one to mourn celebrities like I mourn people I actually know personally.  I just don't get attached like that to people that I've never met.  However, I do miss the talent when it is taken from us.  We don't have a lot of musicians left.  We don't have too many music artists who are so talented that other A-List celebrities stutter when trying to speak to them.

Prince was a one-of-a-kind entertainer and his talents will be missed dearly.  A friend of mine posted this lyric on Facebook that very much describes how so many people felt last week.  It comes from the Parade album which was the soundtrack to the movie, "Under the Cherry Moon."

Sometimes it snows in April 
Sometimes I feel so bad, so bad 
Sometimes I wish life was never ending, 
And all good things, they say, never last

Truer words have never been spoken, Prince.

Monday, April 11, 2016

The Dynamic Between Black Men & Women

There are so many bad things going on in the black community and some changes need to be made. That includes education, jobs, crime, and more. However, something that definitely needs to change is the dynamic between black men and black women.

We as black people have gotten so out of hand that we don't think that a relationship is normal unless it's combative. How crazy is that?  We think that loud, brash females are "strong" and that disrespectful, aloof males are "hard."

We're confused.

Black baby mamas and daddies try to get leverage on one another (at the expense of the child).  Black men and women always want to say what the other gender is doing wrong without ever evaluating themselves.

We sometimes have no interest in doing what's right, but more interest in doing what feels right. It doesn't matter if it sets a bad example for our kids or not. It doesn't matter if it could affect our job status.  It doesn't even matter if it contradicts something in the Bible that we've read. If we feel it then we do it. It's completely counterproductive and stupid to think like this.

The dynamic between black men and black women is atrocious and has been for decades now. Every new interaction between a black man and black woman is potentially a bad experience. A black man's approach to a black woman can get sideways pretty quick and those who have been around it know that I speak the truth.

Some black guys treat every woman the same way.  They make no attempts on trying to distinguish a corporate woman from a THOT.  Ladies are all just lips, hips, and finger tips to these guys.  They step to them all the same disrespectful way and ruin her day with immature foolishness.

These guys make it very difficult for a man with good intentions to even get her attention.  She gets so many disrespectful Facebook inbox messages and so many "Say, Slim?" remarks at the gas station that things of that nature make her assume that the next guy, who may be nice, will be as "thirsty" as the last guy that approached.

On the flip side, some black women tend to think that just by being a black man that you have to accept certain qualities about her.  Some feel that you must allow and account for her less than pleasant and negative reactions to different things simply because "it's what black women do."  As if not putting up with stereotypical black woman qualities, that have made reality TV billions, somehow make you less of a man.  That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard in my life.  You're proud of being an a-hole?  Really?  SMH.  Act like a lady and maybe someone out there will treat you like one.

So, much has to change in the black communities, but the relationship between the black man and black woman may be the most important one. Once that's solved then everything else will start to fall in place. But it can only happen if both sides treat each other with respect and that task should start with the men.

I know that a lot of guys are frowning and mentally throwing shade on the post because you expect women to do everything first, but there's a reason why I say that:  Black women have never stopped loving black men.  Despite our differences, the frustration from some women is the fact that they still love us, yet we don't reciprocate the love.  We've abandoned her in a storm (it doesn't matter the reason) and she's waiting in the rain for us to come back.  It's up to us as men, to get our women out of the storm.

The very essence of a man is that you take the lead! That doesn't mean in some things, but in all things. That includes extending an olive branch to our sistas to reclaim the relationships that we once had back in my parent's generation.

Love, honor, respect, and and most importantly, protect her and she will love you in return with an undying passion.  Her uplifting words will give you the confidence to take on and defeat any of life's obstacles.


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