Saturday, August 31, 2013

Kung Fu is Life

My favorite kung fu movie of all-time!
I treasure a lot of things from my youth.  I only needed a few things to make me happy: football, comic books, and kung fu movies.

What was so enjoyable about kung fu movies was the fact that there was never a complicated plot.  In fact, 90% of those movies from the 70's and 80's had the same plot: student cherishes master, master gets killed by his rival, student goes into the woods and trains until he's good enough to avenge his master's death.

Simple, right?  Mix that simple plot in with mind-numbing action for two hours and it's a young boy's paradise!  I spent my Saturday afternoon's from noon to 2 PM watching "Blackbelt Theater."  A different martial arts movie every week.

Flash forward to 2013 and as a 41 year old man, I haven't grown out of my love for kung fu flicks.  I can appreciate Jason Statham movies, but modern day martial arts movies are completely different from old school kung fu movies.  Most of the kung fu movies that I enjoyed took place in some ancient time in Chinese history.  No guns, cars, or anything like that.  Primitive weapons like blow guns, spears, swords, and other things that encouraged a lot of hand-to-hand fighting.

However, one of the most intriguing parts of these old movies were the supernatural effect!  Seeing these people do things like leaping 20 feet in the air or catching arrows being shot at them is what attracts most kids.  It gives the characters super hero elements that young kids like me could enjoy.  In fact, I was probably close to six years old before I was smart enough to realize that all Asian people didn't have some sort of kung fu ability.  I thought that it was taught in schools over there like the alphabets were taught here.

Needless to say that I was disappointed when I got to 2nd grade and met my first Asian friend.  He couldn't even break through when we played "Red Rover" at school.  I guess he should have spent his Saturday afternoons watching "Blackbelt Theater."

They don't make too many kung fu movies any more.  Recently, I got to enjoy "The Man With The Iron Fists" starring RZA, Russell Crowe, and Lucy Liu.  It was a pretty good movie which took place before modern times.  Mix in the fact that the RZA pretty much did the entire soundtrack for the movie and you have a perfect combination for me: Wu Tang Clan and kung fu.

"Out of my way!  It's a tax free weekend at the mall!"

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

(VIDEO) Judge Joe Brown Caught Slippin'

Judge Joe Brown & Wife (photo credit)
Oh, Judge Joe, say it ain't so!  If you haven't heard by now, Judge Joe Brown was caught slippin' recently.  He was in Hollywood drinking on a few Bombay Sapphires when a guy with a camera thought it would be a great idea to interview him.

Unfortunately for JJB, he was clearly drunk.  Now, although JJB's show has been canceled for six months, the guy still has a reputation for being "old school" and for "taking care of business."  That reputation could have probably led to politics or public speaking if he wasn't interested in returning to your everyday courtroom again.

However, despite his right to have drinks and enjoy life, he put himself in a very vulnerable position.  This tends to happen to mostly everyone who drinks for more than just the taste.  He left himself wide open to be embarrassed in social media and on TV news gossip stations.

He constantly used profanity during the interview as he posed with some young, attractive ladies.  He even mentioned that he made as much as $20 million per year on his show.  I'm not sure if that's true or not, but if it is, then that must mean that Judge Judy is raking in $30 million per year because her show has kicked butt routinely for a decade now.

The one thing that I will say about JJB is that he's truly a man in love.  He bragged on his hot wife constantly during his slurred interview and he appeared to be very proud of her.  Ladies, any time a man is drunk and he can't stop talking about you, then that man definitely has some love in his heart.

JJB is someone I looked up to in regards to being a model TV personality.  I still think that he's that guy because we all make mistakes.  But, he put himself out there in the worst way.  He showed a side that the public didn't need to see.  We all have something, regardless if it's as innocent as having a few too many to getting busy in the bedroom, that makes us look different to people if the public sees it on camera.

Drinking alone in public is a bad idea if you don't know when to stop.  Someone sober should be around to prevent something like this from occurring.  Judge Joe Brown now has one more court appearance to make in his life: and it's in front of the court of public opinion.

Did Judge Joe Brown do this to himself or did the interviewer take advantage of his situation?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Twerking Is The New Harlem Shake

@Ida_homie referred to Robin Thicke as "Beetlejuice."
Here we go again...

It's time to give a history lesson.  Some people may argue that I sometimes live in the past.  Hmmph.  If people like me didn't bring up history, then young people would think that the world just started when they were born.

The Harlem Shake was revived and re-branded as something new and now another dance from back in the day has been resurrected into mainstream.

Two nights ago, Miley Cyrus performed on the MTV VMA's (Video Music Awards).  Why they give away awards for music videos is beyond me because I didn't know MTV showed videos any more.  I'm waiting on the name change to RTV (Reality TV).

Anyway, people on Twitter tore into Miley because of her attempt at twerking.  Twerking is a dance in which you generally use a lot of gyration / hip movement.  Some were upset at the criticism of her because they assumed people were attacking her for attempting what is stereotyped as a "black woman's dance."  That's not the case, in my opinion.  People were criticizing her because she sucks at twerking.  She tries so hard.  Good thing she's already rich.  I wish her transition from child star to adult well.

However, that's not the point I'm trying to make.  The thing I'm wondering is: how is twerking still around in 2013 and why is it done in public?

Most people may not be aware, but twerking has been around 20+ years.  In fact, the first time I heard the term was from a song back in my college days.  I can't remember the New Orleans rap artist's name, but he talked about twerking on the dance floor.  It is a dance once reserved for the privacy of the bedroom, nightclub, and strip club.  Now it's slipped into prime time TV because parents barely teach kids about what's inappropriate in public.

Twerking reached it's peak in the late-90's as a hardcore stripper dance used to excite men who tend to like it rough.  It wasn't made for 17-year old teen agers to do in YouTube videos and it definitely wasn't made for a former child star turned actress singer rapper dancer to do it on an awards show that attracts kids.

Don't get me wrong!  I love seeing ladies twerk, but I prefer that she's of age, first and foremost, that it's in the correct setting, and that she's actually skilled in doing it.  So, please keep twerking out of places your child can see it and save it for your loved one in the bedroom.  Keep it off the Vine videos, keep it off of award shows, and please keep it out of the grocery stores!

I'll ask, but I think that I know the answer: we can't keep inappropriate things from being mainstream in the public eye any more, can we?"

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Don't Let The Money Make You

Black people are always looking for role models and we have plenty in the world right in front of us. However, we don't want to make a movie about one unless they're an athlete, singer or actor. Uh, oh, I need to get on my soapbox for a minute.

(steps up)

Where are the movies about black doctors, counselors, teachers and people who make a real difference in the lives of millions? Why am I constantly bombarded with movies about black maids and butlers as if there aren't any black humanitarians? Why can't I watch an inspiring movie about a black person providing help instead of being "The Help?"

Let's think about some of the "black" movies for 2013: "Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain", Tyler Perry's "Temptation" and his movie, "We the Peeples", "Fruitvale Station," "42," "Haunted House" with the Wayans, and "After Earth."  Two comedies, two Tyler Perry flicks, a tragedy, a sports movie on racism and a sci-fi movie with Will Smith and his kid. Those are my options. No movie like the one on Steve Jobs. No "Great Gatsby."  No "Wolf of Wall Street."  Do you see what I'm saying?

People probably think that no one would watch it, but I disagree. Black people attend the movies probably more than any other race. It's not that we don't crave quality movies about role models, it's just that Hollywood won't make movies like that. In fact, we may only be a decade away from all black movies being complete foolishness at the theaters just like today's music is a joke on some of the mainstream radio stations.

Hollywood isn't going to make these movies. People like my man Archie in the Virgin Islands may some day, but he's not financially in a position to do that now to my knowledge. This is why people like Harry Belafonte get upset and preach about social responsibility. Because the black people capable of making this type of impact in society aren't interested in making a difference, they're only interested in making more money. So, since no one wants to be a leader in 2013, then black people who really matter in this country become irrelevant to society.

People are always quick to say "make that money, don't let the money make you." Well, that's what's been happening for the last 15-20 years. Now, what a person does with their money is their business, but what I say with my mouth is mine. And some things just need to be said.

People are letting the money "make them" by dictating everything they do or don't do on their next paycheck. "If I speak out against this group then I'll lose revenue." If you think this way, then make no mistake about it, the dollar is making you.

Back to the movies... I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with the movies that I named. I loved "42." I'm sure that I'll laugh at Kevin Hart's movie when I finally see it. I'll even watch "After Earth" once it reaches the $3 everything must go bin at Target.

I'm just saying that black people need some balance in America. We need some good to equal out the bad and the foolishness. For every Trinidad James we need a Kendrick Lamar. For every Shaunie O'Neal, we need a Kerry Washington. We can't have 20 reality shows of black women pulling out each other's weave to every one primetime drama.

If I were a white person who didn't personally know any black folks, I'd lock my doors every time I saw someone who even looked like they had a tan. Because the movies say if they're not working for me, then TV says that I should be afraid of them. All because we don't have representation.

I'm off my soap box now.

(steps down)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

You're A Tough Guy, Huh? T-U-F-F!

"Don't you know that orange is the new black?"
A few weeks ago, I was watching a marathon of one of only two reality shows that I enjoy: "Beyond Scared Straight."  ("Cops" is the other one in case you were interested.)  Anyhoo, the reason this is one of my favorite shows is because it takes people who think they're tough and puts them in their place.  There is nothing like seeing someone being put in their place.  Unfortunately, it rarely occurs to people who really deserve it like Congress members, celebrities, etc., but when it does, it's a good feeling.

Now, some of you are reading this and saying to yourself, "but, Q, how can you find happiness in someone else's pain?"

Easy.  People who cause pain get no sympathy from me when they receive it.  Do you think that I would care about some Congress member who takes kick backs to ship American jobs gets bullied in return?  Do you think that I would care if some larger-than-life athlete or celeb who thumbs their nose at the fans goes broke?

Absolutely not.  And the fact that these are kids on these shows gives them an opportunity to turn their lives around.  Although it's not always the kids' fault they're bad, it still shows them the end result of the decisions that they make.  Kids don't believe that "fat meat is greasy."  That's why adults are on this planet.  We're here to teach the younger generation how to leave things in a better position than it was left for us.

Unfortunately, my generation dropped the ball.  We told our kids that it's okay to have your own identity.  We told our kids that it's okay not to listen to grown ups who aren't your parents.  We're responsible for the many disrespecting, unappreciative, confrontation children that you see at the mall or in schools.

I wonder if we could get Scared Straight programs for Congress, Wall Street employees, and Kardashians?

Do you think Scared Straight Programs are a good idea or can you not teach with fear?

Monday, August 19, 2013

Kseniya Ryzhova / Tatyana Firova = Tommie Smith / John Carlos?

I saw something this weekend and had no idea that I may have been watching history. Russian track stars, Kseniya RyzHova and Tatyana Firov, violated the anti-gay laws of Russia by protesting at the IAAF track championships in Moscow. The Russians won the gold medal in the 4 x 400 meter sprints for the first time in roughly 10 years. They celebrated/protested with a kiss on the medal podium. Was this similar to Tommie Smith and John Carlos holding up the Black Power Fist on the podium in the '68 Olympics in Mexico?  Was this the opportunity for a breakthrough in the LGBT community that they have been looking for as of late?

Russian laws state that no one is allowed to discuss or display homosexuality in front of children.  However, what Ryzhova and Firova did put them on display not only in front of the children in the Moscow stadium, but also around the world.  It was the boldest in-your-face slap to Russian leaders that one could show on broadcast television.

It reminded me of a part of history I wasn't old enough to see which occurred during the '68 Olympics in Mexico City.  200 meter sprinters John Carlos and Tommie Smith represented the United States during a time there was conflict in South Africa and racial segregation in America.  To show solidarity with both movements, Carlos and Smith raised their fists (with black gloves on) to indicate Black Power.  They did it on the medal stand as the National Anthem was played despite the fact that it would piss off plenty of people here in the states.  In fact, the two lived as outcasts to many people instead of Olympic heroes for a long time because of the gesture.

Will the iconic display of affection during Sunday's event will have the same effect in Russia that the Black Power pose had in the United States?  The Olympics is no stranger to protests of all sorts, so it makes you wonder what some athletes may have in store for the upcoming Olympics in Sochi, Russia.  Although I don't think that the struggle of Gay Rights equally compares to that of Civil Rights, I do think that they sometimes take the same paths.  Just like the Civil Rights Movement, the Olympics could wind up being the portal to project the LGBT movement to the world.

The Olympics had quite an impact on me as a young boy and it still resonates with me to this very day.  I have a poster of the Black Power pose on the wall of my man cave along with Muhammad Ali, who won gold in the 1960 Olympics, and Jessie Owens, who made a statement against Hitler with four gold medals in the 1936 Olympics.

Could we one day see a poster on the walls of Russian teens of the Russian sprinters kissing?  Then again, a poster of two Russian ladies kissing wouldn't be bad for American men to put in their rooms either.  LOL!  What?  I'm just sayin'!

Do you think this move will ultimate pay off for the Russian ladies or will they come to regret it?

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Memo to Black Women

Black women, I'm still down with you.  Despite the negative things that you see on social networks, view on television, or hear on the radio, I'm still in your corner and so are plenty of others.  I just think that you just need to refocus your attention in order to see that.

I recently came across a few Instagram photos of R&B singer, Maxwell.  In the photos were two white ladies.  Maxwell received multiple comments, from black women, criticizing him for not enjoying his time with black women instead of white women.  As you can imagine, he lashed out at his fan base and essentially told them to mind their own business.  I think that he was within his right to do so.  A man's preference in dating is absolutely nobody's business.

However, here's my two cents in regards to black women negatively reacting to black men dating white women: the reaction Maxwell received is contributing to the angry, black woman stereotype that gives black men the excuse to seek other races.  No one wants to be publicly criticized for who they sleep with, date, or love just because of that person's race.  Whether it's fair or not, being too critical (especially in public) is the reputation that black women have had ever since neck wagging and hand snapping originated.  That fear alone is what a lot of men have when it comes to black women.  Blame reality TV, blame rap music, blame whatever.  Unfortunately, it exists and it's not going away until enough people do the exact opposite of the stereotype.

My advice to black women is to abstain from commenting on black men at all if they step outside of their race.  You're doing more harm than good.  What's the point anyway?  When was the last time you criticized someone and expected them to love you for it?  If they wish to stray, regardless of reason, then let them stray.

There are still plenty of black men in this country who appreciate the love of a black woman.  Stop letting people tell you that we're all in jail, gay, or dead.  We're not unicorns.  We're as real as the air that you're breathing.  There are plenty of us out there hoping for that special someone with a dark complexion, but she hasn't noticed us yet.  We're just waiting on you to stop focusing on the men who don't love you and for you to focus on the men who do.

For those of you looking for an open letter to black men, then check out The Tasha Mac Chronicles.  

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Pointy Stiletto Nails #MissMe

"Wolverine has nothing on me!"
I think that a woman who keeps her nails done adds to her beauty.  We're far past the days where fake nails are frowned upon.  In fact, I'm sure that many of my readers never experienced a time where fake nails/hair were taboo in most places.

But, despite the fact that I attempt to be open minded when it comes to trends, I sometimes get stunned at what's being called "fashionable."  

Maybe it's the 40-something in me, but there are some things that look like a prank to me until I realize that everyone is doing it.  Like the first time that I saw a guy with sagging pants.  I thought he was just lazy until over time, I started seeing plenty of youngsters doing it.

Well, add pointy stiletto nails to the list for me.  The first time that I saw them on someone, I think it was around Halloween.  So, I assumed that it was part of whatever costume she was wearing to the party that evening.  Boy, was I wrong!

I had no idea that this was a trend.  They're so pointy and look like weapons.  Again, I'm all for nails being done, but I'd like my woman to not look like a vampire if she can help it.  In my opinion, they take away the feminine side to a woman.  When I look at a woman's hands, I want to see softness and elegance, not ferociousness.

If you wear pointy stilettos, then don't feel badly about this blog post.  I'm not your man, so just continue to "do you" and ignore this.  But, as far as pointy stilettos go, you can miss me with that.

What do you think of pointy stiletto fingernails/designs?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Do Women Dress for Men or for Other Women?

Shilpa Shetty
I used to wonder this, but now I'm pretty sure that women dress for other women.  It was finally confirmed to me after seeing one Red Carpet photo after another over the years: women don't care about what men like.  They care about what women like.

Sounds odd, but I believe it to be true.  A woman (not girl) knows what makes a man happy.  It doesn't take much to please us aesthetically.  If a woman is hot to us, then she's hot to us regardless if she's in a $15 outfit from Target or a $200 outfit from Macy's.  But, ladies know that other women will scan their outfits for head-to-toe looking for a flaw!

An online survey revealed that 6 out of 10 women (ages 18-30) dressed for a huge occasion with their peers in mind and not their man.  That means that 60% of women in that age range prefer compliments from their friends more than their significant other.

Hmmph.  See if I ever compliment a woman in that age range on her outfit again.

The average woman spends 40 minutes getting ready to go out with her man, but over an hour getting ready to go out with her girlfriends.  Wait.  Seriously?  I'm getting shorted over 20 minutes of prep time when I'm the one paying for dinner?

As many award shows as I've watched in my lifetime, I never knew that the extravagant dresses were to get the attention of other women in the industry.  When J-Lo and Toni Braxton (below) wore those phenomenal outfits at the Grammys, I thought it was to give men something to talk about at the water cooler on Monday morning.  I had no idea that they were truly wanting female adoration.

SMH.  I'll never figure women out.  I guess this is why they're so competitive and have such a hard time making friends.  I can wear sweatpants and a t-shirt around my homies and never feel an ounce of judgement.  I guess that's not the case for the ladies.  Even their friends judge them.  Especially their friends is probably what I should be saying.

Ladies, all I can do is hope that you all keep trying to impress one another because the men absolutely love it.  I guess that I shouldn't care why you do it, but instead only that you do it.  It would be nice if some women that I see at Walmart had some friends to impress because some ladies look like microwaved garbage in the stores.  I guess they missed the memo.

Fellas, if you want your woman to look her best, then tell her that you've invited her friends to meet you two at the bar.  At least you'll know that you're getting her best efforts.

How do you feel about the fact that women dress for other women and not for their man?

Christina Hendricks

Halle Berry

Jennifer Lopez

Toni Braxton

Megan Good

Friday, August 9, 2013

Mandatory Luxuries #Oxymoron

Trust me.  Nothing at DirecTV is $29.99.
I've always tried to figure out how some of my family members raised so many kids on such a small salary.  Now, my parents only had two kids, so they didn't have to feed as many as some of my relatives.  I have some older aunts and uncles who raised anywhere from six to 13 kids.  How can you feed and clothe that many "crumb snatchers?"  Well, I think that I figured it out the last time that I sat down to pay my bills: they didn't have "mandatory luxuries" that we do today.

A "mandatory luxury" is an item, with a recurring monthly payment, that you don't need, but can't live without.

Check this out: Aside from my house note, a very large sum of my pay check goes towards these items:

  • AT&T U-Verse Internet service ($50/month)
  • DirecTV satellite service ($90/month)
  • DirecTV NFL Sunday Ticket ($50/month for up to six months)
  • Verizon cell phone with unlimited minutes and 6 GB of data ($100/month)
  • Netflix ($17/month)
  • Xbox Live ($5/month)

Approximately $312/month which is $3,744/year.  That's where my money is going!  Every month, I'm paying for something that I don't need, but I gotta have!  And it's worse for some people who may also have satellite radio/Pandora Premium, a gym membership (important, but our elders stayed in shape without them), and some other things that slip my mind at the present time.

My elders didn't have these options and that allowed for them to take care of large families on a middle class salary (or less) and / or save money for future generations to have.  If I were to cut at least three of those items out of my life, then it would be like giving myself a raise.

But, I'm not doing it!  LOL!  I have to give props to Corporate America on getting me hooked on things that I don't need.  That takes skilled marketing!

Geesh!  I need to get my priorities straight!

Do you spend a lot on "mandatory luxuries?"

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Murder Mystery Anyone?

Last week, The Lady and I were fortunate enough to take part in a murder mystery dinner at one of my favorite restaurants. It's a steakhouse named "Char" and normally the magnet to it is just the food and service. However, I think that I'm now hooked on murder mystery dinners!

The name of the group that put on the performance is called The Detectives. They perform across the city at different places including private parties.  Basically, you order your meal and in between salad, main course, and dessert, the actors put on a performance.  They act out a story involving a murder and it's up to you and the people sitting at your table to solve it.

Now, this isn't anything new, however, it's new to me.  It was my first time attending one and I enjoyed it immensely.  I went into the event thinking that I would only get pleasure from actually solving the crime (which our table did), but it was much more to it than that.  The performance itself is extremely comical and entertaining!  I laughed a lot more (and louder) than I expected.

So, if you ever get the opportunity to see one of these, then please do.  I hope to attend the next one in town a couple of weeks from now.  The photo below is a picture of me and one of the performers whose character's name was "Goldie."  She ended up being the murderer, but who wouldn't want to be stabbed with a letter opener from someone who looks like this?

Ever done a murder mystery dinner?  If so, what did you think of it?

(By the way, I'm sitting down, so don't think "Goldie" is freakishly tall or anything.)

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Relationship Guide: Missed Opportunities

People these days tend to focus on the wrong things when it comes to relationships.  Focusing on the big things will likely result in your relationship failing.  Sure, some big things are really exciting and make you feel good, but the small things are what truly matter.

Look at it this way: focusing only on the big things is like getting a bonus at work, but not getting a salary.  Makes sense?  The salary sustains your everyday life while the bonus allows you a chance to partake in luxuries now and then.  If you don't have the everyday security of a salary, then your life is that much more difficult while you sit around waiting on bonus time.  Approach relationships with the mindset of:

If I try each day to make their life easier, then I'm doing my job as a significant other.

Encourage them when they're discouraged.  Run an errand for them when they're busy.  Flirt with them when they're not confident.  Surprise them with something when it's not an occasion for it.  It is just that simple.  Those are some of the small things that have a huge impact on a relationship.  If that's not your mindset, then your relationship will ultimately fail.  I guarantee you that.

However, despite it being so easy to accomplish, people still tend to not go that route.  Some people want to dazzle you with things that have a huge immediate impact, but no long-term value.  They want to impress you with an expensive gift.  They want to win your heart through sex/attraction.  They talk about all the things they want to do for you, but never actually do it.  It's all smoke and mirrors.  People like that are incapable of caring and most of them are just plain selfish.  They do things periodically not because they care, but to "shut you up" or "throw you a bone."

A perfect example would be a business man.  He may go out of town regularly and doesn't have a lot of time to spend with/see his wife.  He can be out of town all week, but once he gets home on the weekends, what he does determines what kind of marriage they truly have.

A) The "throw you a bone" guy will come home with a new piece of jewelry to give to her.   He'll buy her an expensive dinner.  He'll talk to her about what he spent the week doing on the job.

If you're okay with "A," then chances are, you're materialistic and incapable of a real relationship.  That's fine as long as you can admit that.  "A" sounds like a good choice until it's realize that the jewelry is essentially a muzzle for the wife.  It buys silence while the football game is on.  The expensive dinner is a mutual benefit because it means that neither of them has to actually cook.  Telling her about his job can be nice, but wouldn't it also be nice for him to want to know how her week was, too?

People who love one another will make each other's lives easier every chance that they get.

To be in a successful relationship, both parties have to truly care for one another.  This means by always trying to make the other person smile, keeping them out of harmful situations, and of course, doing the small things that make their life easier.  Let's look at person "B:"

B) The man who truly cares will come home and be the partner in the relationship that his wife needs him to be.  He'll not make a mess of the house.  He'll help with / spend time with his children.  He'll give his wife the emotional and physical attention that she's been missing all week.

So, for those of you who are in a relationship, I want you to honestly evaluate yourself for just a moment.  Ask yourself: what did I do this week to make my man/woman happy?  If your answer is "had sex with him/her," "bought him/her something expensive," then the ending of your relationship is inevitable.

Do you think that most people just don't know what "caring for someone" truly is?

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