Thursday, August 30, 2012

(VIDEO) Zero Tolerance = Zero Intellegence?

A 3-year old kid simulates a gun when using his hands to spell his name via sign language. His school has a huge problem with it. The Huffington Post article states: "Hunter Spanjer uses the standard S.E.E., Signing Exact English. He crosses his index and middle fingers and waves them slightly to signify his name. And, Grand Island Public Schools' policy forbids any "instrument" that "looks like a weapon," reported NCN."

Are we to the point with zero tolerance that a 3-year old gets punished for spelling his name using sign language? Now this kid has to change how he spells his name or risk being disciplined by this Nebraska school.

This zero tolerance stuff is ridiculous. There's always an exception to the rule. Always! First, it was kids being suspended for bringing a plastic fork weapon to eat lunch and now deaf kids need to either learn how to speak or change the spelling of their names?  In the words of Jack Nicholson's Joker character from Batman, "This town country needs an enema!"

Does "Zero Tolerence" equal "Zero Intelligence?"

Monday, August 27, 2012

Hurricane Isaac & Friends

Morgan Miller of WJTV News
Here we go again. It almost seems like clockwork: Labor Day, hurricanes and gas price increases. I guess that we should be used to it by now. Hurricanes with a name that starts with "I" that appear around Labor Day will usually bring the ruckus! Isabel, Ivan, Ike, Igor, Irene and now Isaac.

Now, although Isaac appears to be more of a flooding type of storm rather than a blow-your-roof-off type of storm, it's still to be respected. I've been watching The Weather Channel for most of the weekend and sometimes, I think that they do people a disservice.

Every hurricane isn't Katrina. When Katrina hit back in '05, I remember watching TWC to get details on its approach. Like usual, TWC hyped this storm like it was Armageddon. They hyped all storms like it was Armageddon. So, like a lot of people, I got numb to it. That was until I was driving home from work in 60 mph winds and dodging trees.  This time it really was Armageddon, but it was too late for those who didn't believe it to leave.

I think that news groups that deliver the weather need to be honest about what is approaching. I realize that it brings in ratings when people are glued to their TV and think that they're going to die. And I know that Lowe's, Home Depot, Walmart and grocery chains will continue to endorse you since people run to those stores when there's red on the weather radar. But, we're talking about people's lives here. People can't pack up and run every time they talking heads discussing a band of rain on the Gulf. That's why people wait until the last minute to leave because they don't believe the hype. They feel as if they have to see it for themselves before they "get out of Dodge."

Now, the upside to 24/7 hurricane coverage is the opportunity to see local meteorologist, Morgan Miller, do her thing. Bad weather is always easier to digest with a little eye candy on the screen. So, when Vivian Brown (Mississippian) or Stephanie Abrams get on the air, then they'll get my attention a lot quicker than Al Roker would.

What's happened to Al anyway? He used to be a jolly, old guy, but since he's lost weight, he's turned into kind of a perv. He's just weird now. I can't put my finger on it, but I wouldn't leave my god daughter around him.

Flashback: Vivian Brown of The Weather Channel
We'll see what will happen with Hurricane Isaac. Jackson is just a little over 150 miles from the Gulf Coast, so bad weather is still pretty rugged by the time it reaches inland to us. Hopefully, Isaac will fizzle out once he reaches landfall and I won't have to deal with tornado watches for most of the week.

As for the gas prices... Oil companies love hurricanes. Every time we have a hurricane, an oil company CEO gets an erection. I can almost guarantee that. Because any mention of shutting down a refinery means price spikes here in the states. Why do they honesty expect me to believe that if one plant shuts down or catches on fire, the nation has to pay an extra dime per gallon? Crooks.

I still haven't forgiven them for how they jacked up prices during Katrina. The nation goes through the worst weather-related event of all-time and ExxonMobil pocketed almost $10 billion dollars in profits in a quarter while everyone suffered.  I'm sitting in line, at 3 AM, waiting on over-priced gas while they're laughing all of the way to the bank.

Don't get me started on them.  Now, I'm getting stressed.  I wonder if Morgan Miller is on? (grabs remote)

Stephanie Abrams of The Weather Channel

Do you take your meteorologist seriously when a storm approaches?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

OMG. I'm A Cat Owner...

"Meow, man.  Meow."
I'm was on Twitter on Friday morning and I came across a tweet: "HEY everyone!!! I've found 3 sweet kittens that need a good home! DM me if you're interested!!!:) they get along with dogs & other cats!"

Now, let me give you a little background about myself... I've always hated cats. I've hated them with a passion since I was a kid. I got my first dog when I was three and I've hated cats ever since. Dogs are loyal and protective. Cats are manipulative and selfish. At no time did I ever consider owning one, but then I married The Mrs... She wanted a cat. I didn't care. I told her that I'd do anything for her except get her a cat. I don't want one of those things walking around my house in the way. Scratching up furniture. Tipping over fragile things. Being a nuisance.

"HEY everyone!!! I've found 3 sweet kittens that need a good home! DM me if you're interested!!!:) they get along with dogs & other cats!" "

"Why is that tweet jumping out at me?" I think to myself.

The Mrs. hasn't been feeling the best as of late. Back problems. Something like this could brighten up her day. That's when the devil on my shoulder appeared. "Idiot," he started, "you know that you hate cats."

Then the angel appeared on the other shoulder, "Do you know how excited it would make her if you brought home a kitten?"

Devil: "Whatever. She wouldn't like him because she didn't pick him out herself."

Angel: "She'll be happy with whatever you bring home. She'll be stunned that you love her enough to go against your dislike of cats."

(Sigh) I tweeted to the owner, "Do you have photos of them?"

Three photos appeared on my timeline and one of them jumped out at me.

"Ooh! Ooh!  Pick me!  Pick me!"
I contacted the young lady with the cats. She's local. I started following her on Twitter about two or three months ago because she came off as a pleasant and positive person. She agreed to meet me at a restaurant within walking distance on my job. I get out of my car and walk around to hers when I'm met by her dog, Dulce. A cute, little dog (couldn't tell you what kind though) who is running around the parking lot and maximizing the length of his leash.

Out pops the young lady who's giving me my choice of kitten. Her name is Maira.  She looks early 20's, Hispanic, long hair and very attractive. She smiles through her braces and reaches in the backseat for two kittens. Although they all looked similar, I knew that I wanted the one from the photo. There was no need to even look at the third kitten that was still in the car. I thanked Maira and got in the car with the kitten. On my way home, the kitten tried to climb up on my shoulder while I was driving. I immediately started thinking of the recent blog post I did about unrestrained pets in cars.

However, I manage to hold him until I got home. The fact that he seemed so friendly was appealing.  He was growing on me already.  I get inside the house and I'm hiding the kitten behind my laptop bag. The Mrs. looks at me funny as I approach her. I pull out the kitten and she has this look on her face as if Ashton Kutcher is going to pop out and tell her that she's been "Punk'd."

I later texted Maira to tell her how big of a smile the kitten put on The Mrs.' face. I offered her to let me send her something to show my appreciation, but she said, "just knowing y'all will be happy is more than enough."

Such a sweet girl.

So, after the first 100+ hours, a trip to Petco and cat-proofing my electronics, I'll admit that it's not so bad... yet. The Mrs. named him "Char," which is short for "charcoal" and the name of one of our favorite restaurants.

Omg. I'm a cat owner.  What have I done?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Talk 2 Actress, @ElinaMadison!

Air date: Wednesday, August 22nd, at 10 PM EDT / 7 PM PDT
Stream live from the interactive chat room or call (347) 202-0215 to speak with Hollywood film star, 
Elina Madison! 

Elina's portfolio of work has earned her the moniker of “Scream Queen” of the silver screen, but she's much more than that!  She's an actress, a producer and writer who has appeared in more than 80 films.  She will soon be seen as the desperate mother and abused wife, Lorelei, in "Huff" with Charlie O’Connell, (September 2012) and playing the beautiful and loyal wife of Dracula in Creep Creepersin’s "Dracula" (January 2013).

Here's your chance to join our chat room or call in to speak to her about any of her upcoming roles or her career.

Follow her on Twitter @ElinaMadison

For more information on Elina, contact Jey Associates!

Elina Madison is from Cheyenne, Wyoming and lives in Los Angeles. She has a successful career in film and television and has worked with incredible directors such as David Lynch on "Mulholland Drive" and Tom Hanks on "That Thing You Do". Recent work includes feature films "Huff", "Chop" and the ensemble character study "Small Town Saturday Night" starring Chris Pine and John Hawkes. She also co-starred in the Award winning feature film "Barracuda". She has starred in numerous horror genre films such as the classic "Miners Massacre", "Creepshow 3", "Petrified" and the remake of "The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" as well as producing and starring in "Corporate Cut Throat Massacre".

Elina has also starred in her share of comedies such as award winning "Kissing Cousins" and "Stand Up", as well as taking a dramatic turn in independent films as the lead heroine Minty in "Minty: The Assassin". In television, she has guest-starred on Emmy nominated "Brothers & Sisters" and NBC’s "Las Vegas" as well as working on shows such as "Mystery ER", reoccurring on "Untold Stories of the ER", National Geographic, Nickelodeon and The Discovery Channel as well as numerous other films and television programs and several local and national commercials.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Dinner Disruption

I'm guilty of something. There's something that I'm constantly doing at least twice a day. I didn't even do it at all as a teen, but now I always have it in my hand fiddling around with it.  

Wait. Ew. Seriously? That's so gross. Not that!!!!! I'm talking about checking my cell phone at the dinner table, you perv!

Anyway, it's a problem that I'm trying to do a better job of eliminating. Growing up, cell phones weren't mainstream, so dinner was for spending time with family. Besides, even if they would have been mainstream, I'm pretty sure my father would have snatched it out of my hands if I broke it out at the table. I wasn't even allowed to bring my handheld Coleco Total Control 4 Football game with me to the table.  Dinner was a time that my parents played 20 Questions with me and my brother to see what the heck we've been up to at school or something.  Every now and then, we'd get a treat and we were allowed to eat in front of the TV, but most of the time, it was all about family.   So, being that I was raised like that, what has changed that has caused me to not be able to stop myself from grabbing my cell phone at a dinner table?

1) Being single - From the age of 24 until the age of 30, I lived alone. Within those six years, I easily developed the habit of eating in front of the television. There wasn't anyone else in the house with me, so to sit at the dining room table alone made me feel stupid. By the time The Mrs. and I got married and she moved in, the habit of being distracted while eating was already six years into existence.

2) Cell phone evolution - At one time, they were only for making calls (imagine that). Then all of these cool and addictive things became possible with the advancement of technology! I can send a message to a friend without having to actually speak to them? Sign me up!  I can go online and get the scores of the NBA game that's showing in the other room? Winning!  I can read and respond to a "blog froth" from the Reckmonster?  Done!  I can see Instagram photos from @SoLynnieLike without being at a computer?  Holla! 

Do you see my problem? Like many of the young people that I criticize, I also want instant gratification. I can't even stuff my face without a dinner disruption of my own creation. Well, a restaurant is attempting to help me get over my problem. A restaurant in L.A. called Eva's is offering discounts for those who check their cell phones at the door. 5% doesn't sound like a lot, but when you consider that some of their entrees are $45, then dinner for two can save you $10 if both of you check in your phones.

And although I live nowhere near L.A., the precedent is being set by Eva's. They're trendsetters! What starts as one location and 5% today could turn into restaurants across the country doing it for 10% or 15%. At Eva's, they want people to enjoy what we all used to enjoy as kids (for those around 30 and older): "We're trying to create an ambience where you come in and really enjoy the experience and the food and the company," says Eva's owner and chef, Mark Gold (quoted from an article in Gizmodo).

Dinner with only food and conversation. Who would have guessed something like that would be a throwback?  

Do you constantly check your cell phone at the dinner table?


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Flashback to Vampires

At least once a month, I'm going to flashback to previous posts for my new followers who may have missed out.

Two years ago today, I posted about how I absolutely despise modern-day portrayals of vampires. I thought that vampires should eat people and not co-exist with them. I still feel that way today. I tried watching "True Blood" back on Season 1 only to feel confused. I finally watched the first "Twilight" film and wondered how it made more than $20 at the box office. I just couldn't figure out the allure of these shows... Oh, wait!  I know now! Everyone takes their shirts off on these shows! It has to be the sex appeal because I cannot see any other reason to partake in either of these phenomenons.

Well, I like my vampire movies with a little more bite. Click on the link to open another window and journey back with me to this post to see why I once said that today's "vampires suck."

Vampires co-existing with humans: fair or foul?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Dazed & Confused

"I am the greatest!"
I'll give you this bit of info upfront: the moral of this story is to "always ask questions."  Sometimes, you can save yourself from a headache if you just ask "how" or "why?"  On to the story...

I used to think that my fighting skills were on-par with the best. That, of course, is despite the fact that I'd only been in one fight in my life at the time and that was in kindergarten. A kid and I had a dust-up over who would get the last swing on the playground. We were racing to the swing set and he pushed me down. I wasn't happy about him cheating and pushing me down.  So, in the end, I took a swing (at him) to get the swing.

But, that was 14 years prior to this incident. It was 1990 and I was an 18-year old freshman in his second semester. I'd started developing my "college personality" and had made plenty of friends. My school was located in the middle of nowhere, so we were frequently bored. We did whatever we could to entertain ourselves. This time, I wish I'd been studying instead of participating in relieving boredom on this night.

Someone on the 3rd floor had over-sized boxing gloves. Huge gloves filled with plenty of cushion, but still packed a punch like a well-swung pillow. A college guy's dream, right?  What started out as four of us swinging in the hallway for fun resulted in a crowd of 50+ people in front of the dormitory fighting for money.

I'm a huge boxing fan. I watched many matches with my father as a kid and in my mind, I had the technique needed to beat anyone. For a while, I was right. I disposed of my first seven opponents pretty easily. We would basically duke it out until someone gave up or got knocked down. For every dollar my dorm mates would bet, I'd get 50 cents of it if I won. So, I was making pretty good money with roughly 20-30 people betting on me each fight. 

I was some where around $70 when a suggestion was made that I fight James. James was a country, cornbread-fed, no-neck having football player from Clarksdale, MS. We nicknamed him "Donkey Kong" although I think James had more muscles than that barrel-tossing primate. Someone went to his room to get him while I pondered if I should consider an early retirement.

"Tim," I whispered to my roommate and holder of my money,"I don't think I want to fight James, man."

"Yeah, he is pretty big," he replied. "Maybe you should quit."

Since I had Tim's reassurance of me making the right decision, I got ready to take the gloves off until someone said, "$5 on this fight and the winner gets $3 per bet!"

$3 per person if I win? My greed choked out my common sense.  Don't judge!  Do you know how much that is for a college student? That thought quickly left my mind as James exited from the dorm into the parking lot where we were gathered. He was 5'6", 235 lbs. and was probably less than 12% body fat. He was a nice and jolly guy and always had jokes. "What's up, 'Chubb Rock?'" he started. "Someone told me that I can make $50 if I whip you."

"Chubb Rock" was a nickname I picked up in college. It came from a popular, chubby rapper at the time. James laughed as he slid on the boxing gloves. Tim collected the money from the gamblers. A group of ladies stopped by to see what the commotion was all about, so now there's the pressure of female presence making the stakes higher.

Someone said "ding, ding" to simulate a bell and James and I swung at each other like a low budget movie version of "Real Steel." The fight between us would later be described as "two guys throwing dynamite" as we scrapped like our lives depended on it.  I went toe-to-toe with a guy whose chest is so wide that he can't even reach across to scratch his other arm and I beat him. "You made $87!" Tim whispered emphatically.  Before I could respond, I heard a familiar deep voice say, "I'll fight him."

I turned around and saw our residential assistant. He was 6'5" and probably weighed about 240 lb. and his nickname was "Roughhouse." You would think that the origin of his nickname or his height would have concerned me, but I wasn't bothered by either. You see, Roughhouse was an ordained minister. And a minister can't fight. Right?  Besides, I'd just beaten "Donkey Kong."  I was 8-0.  I was invincible.

Roughhouse only agreed to fight if no money was placed on him as he slid on the gloves. Although he was much taller than me, I figured I'd wear out his stomach and once he dropped his guard, take out his head. I had it all planned out.

"Ding, ding." 

Roughhouse hit me so quickly that I wasn't sure if I'd been hit at all. Before I could make a decision on if I'd been hit, I felt two more blows that confirmed that I was definitely under attack. By the time I counted the fifth or sixth blow, I was dazed and confused. I stepped back to get my composure and by the time that I refocused, I didn't see him. I was facing directly towards Tim and he was laughing uncontrollably. "Where did he go?" I asked.

By this time, I'm noticing that I'm facing the crowd and that everyone is laughing. Roughhouse had hit me so hard and so many times, that I'd spun around and faced the other direction without even knowing it. I turned back around to face him, but he was taking his gloves off and laughing.

My undefeated streak was over. Not only did I lose, I didn't even get to throw a single punch. I never saw his punches coming.  I only saw them leaving my cheeks. I congratulated Roughhouse and asked him where he learned to fight like that. "Oh, I'm a blackbelt," he replied.  "You didn't know that's how I got my nickname?"


Saturday, August 11, 2012

@MidKnightDreams Do Come True!

Bianca Knight flashes her Gold (Source)
The young lady, who literally raced to stardom in my neighborhood's backyard, is now an Olympic gold medalist!

Bianca Knight, affectionately known as @MidKnightDreams on Twitter, will not only be bringing home a gold medal, she'll also bring home a world record. The U.S. Women annihilated a 27 year old East Germany record as they finished the 4x100m relay in a blazing time of 40.82 (record was 41.37). 

Her high school coach, Calvin Bolton, was proud of her in the local news interviews as well.  He is a Coldwater, MS native who stayed a few doors down from me in college at Mississippi Valley State University.

People gathered at her school, Ridgeland High School, to view her accomplishment in the auditorium and they were not disappointed. Bianca, who runs the turns on the track almost better than any other American, helped extend a lead for the U.S. Women which led to the world record.  The media pretty much had them pegged for a silver because of the recent dominance of the Jamaicans, but the U.S. Women took the lead and never looked back.

Jamaica took silver with a national best 41.41 time.  Despite having 100m Gold medal winner Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and 100m Bronze medalist, Veronica Campbell-Brown, on their team, it wasn't enough to overcome the Americans.

Props to Bianca, Allyson Felix, Camelita Jeter and Tiana Madison for returning the relay team to glory and for being the first-ever under 41 seconds.  They erased bad memories of botched hand offs over the past couple of Olympics and got the gold for the first time since 1996.

The under-10 year old girl who used to beat older boys in foot races in my friend's neighborhood has turned her fantasy into reality.  The Mississippi teen who broke tons of state records at my city's school  is now etched in the history books.  The Texas Longhorn who left school early because she felt destined for greatness is now an Olympic gold medalist.

This is what the Olympics are about.  Pride in your country.  Despite how jacked up the U.S. can be at times with racism, sexism, and any other "ism" that comes to mind, for 40.82 seconds, all of that was gone.  Not only am I proud of my homegirl, but I'm also proud of the other three ladies for representing my home country.

Mayor McGee, fire up the parade plans. Ridgeland is having a party!

Tiana Madison, Carmelita Jeter, Bianca Knight and Allyson Felix

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The NFL is Back!

The NFL is back!  Oh, happy day! Although the 1st Preseason game was played this past Sunday, today starts a five day stretch of non-stop professional football!

Every year, in February, millions of fans get depressed as the Super Bowl ends and the NFL off-season begins. We spend months trying to reclaim that sports high that dropped us off after the Big Game.

We try basketball. March Madness was great and usually provides a nice diversion from no football. The NBA Finals were pretty exciting this year. The Stanley Cup Finals were good, but disappointing to me as a NJ Devils fan. Baseball. Uh, do they still play that? Even the Olympics has kept my attention for a few days, but, it's no NFL! None of them are the NFL! Contrary to what people believe, the NFL is America's favorite past time.

However, for some, the start of football season is a depressing time. A perfect example of that is The Mrs. She loses a husband when football season starts. From Saturday to Monday, I'm stuck on the couch like used gum. And now with the NFL Network having Thursday Night Football all year long, that's a 4th day of the week that she will feel like a widow.

Now, I'm not a complete Neanderthal. I will sacrifice some live football to spend time with her every now and then. Of course, that means sacrificing sleep in order to do so, but I manage to balance the two... just not all that well. Luckily for me, The Mrs. understands me and that's what I love about her. Even though there are some nights she wants to watch "Law & Order: SVU" with me, she'll hold off until a Wednesday or Friday (that I'm not at a high school game) to do so. And that's why I love her to death. She allows me to be me even after 10 years of marriage.

So, bring on the season. I'll watch a few Preseason games, have my fantasy football draft and will then sit back with my NFL Sunday Ticket and hopefully enjoy yet another fantastic football season. I will be pulling for my Alma mater, Valley State Delta Devils, my childhood favorite, Michigan Wolverines and the Dallas Cowboys once the season starts.

Is football king in your household?

Monday, August 6, 2012

VOTE for @ChanthaMaxim for @MaximMag Hometown Hottie!

Click HERE to vote daily until August 19th!!!

Click on the link beneath the photo and support Chantha, a new friend of mine! She's in the semi-finals to be Maxim's Hometown Hottie and needs a boost into the finals. Once you click the link, you can vote on the right side (every day until August 19th). You can also check out her video/photos while you are there!  Good luck, Chantha!

Thanks, again, for helping supporting a friend!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Fair or Foul: Olympics Version

I've been glued to my TV since the start of the Olympics and I've seen quite a bit of drama unfold. I want to throw two things at my readers to see what type of feedback I get from a couple of Olympic stories:

Jordyn Wieber
This recently-turned 17-year old gymnast was one of five young ladies who gave it their all to qualify for the team gold. However, Jordyn was dead-set on being an individual gold medalist as well. To do so, she had to be one of the top two performers on her team to qualify. She was third.

Once the results were read, Jordyn immediately buried her face in her hands and exploded into tears. NBC had multiple cameras trained on her as she dealt with her disappointment of not qualifying for the individual medals. After NBC interviewed the top two ladies on the U.S. team, they sent a reporter to interview Jordyn, just minutes after her finding out that it would be 2016 before she would have that opportunity for an individual medal again.  NBC had no concerns for her feelings. They only wanted to fuel their ratings with "the agony of defeat."

My verdict: I'd be firecracker-hot if NBC got all in my kid's grill after she experienced a disappointment like that. And don't get me wrong. I think kids should learn what it's like to be disappointed. It builds toughness and character. But, on national TV? Foul.  But, I give major props to Jordyn for handling the interview better than some older professionals would have.  She supported her teammates and kept everything moving.  Had that been my daughter being humiliated on national TV, then I would have been coming down from the stands with an ax handle.

Becky Hammon
This 35-year old WNBA star was born and raised in South Dakota. She spent her college years at Colorado State University before playing professionally with the New York Liberty and San Antonio Stars.  Everything about her background screams American. However, she was (once again) not offered an invite to participate on the U.S. Olympic basketball team for the '08 games in Beijing. So, what did Becky do?  She joined the Russian team. Yes, that's right.  Becky gained citizenship with Russia and is currently representing them in the '12 Olympic games as an opponent of the United States. But, she's just living out her dreams, right?

My verdict: I think it's a punk move. I think that her mindset that reflects a lot of under-40's in this country: you're not good enough to play with the big girls, so you take your ball and go somewhere else. What happened to earning a spot in sports? Why do people go elsewhere to try and get a chance instead of out-performing the person in front of them? I've seen parents fraudulently enroll their kids in other school districts just to find somewhere they have an opportunity to play.

If you're not good enough, then you're just not good enough. In my opinion, what Becky did, is definitely foul. The Olympic Committee should pass a rule that determines your home country as the country where you've spent a majority of your life.

Is it fair or foul for NBC to stay in the face of a minor after losing out on what could have been an opportunity of a lifetime?

Is it fair or foul to change countries in just to participate in the Olympics?

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