Monday, October 1, 2018

Sports "Journalism" Has Turned Into Reality TV

I once was a huge fan of the talking head shows on ESPN.  From "Pardon the Interruption" to "First Take", I was setting my DVR to "embrace debate".

However, over time, I started to get suspicious of the content that I was viewing on a regular basis.  The debates started to get really outlandish.  The talking heads were not being objective over the topics of the day, but instead, they started showing a bias based on their favorite team/player.  And every day one of the talking heads would make what appeared to be an illogical statement based on how he/she felt rather than anything pertaining to the game itself.

The shows I once enjoyed because of the great points that were being made had turned into reality TV.  They looked to be over-produced prescheduled arguments that cause an MSNBC/FOX News type of divide with the viewers.  The debates are now more heated than some of the arguments I've witnessed in sports bars and sometimes with just as little analytics involved.  It's great for ratings, but bad for sports fans. 

I've had a hard time facing the fact that nothing is sacred any more.  The media only cares about increasing viewership and if that means having someone screaming about "LeBron being better than Jordan" or "Baker Mayfield being the next Tom Brady", then they're all for it.  They don't care if the arguments have been run into the ground or if the points attempted to be made are valid or not.

ESPN, FOX Sports, NBC Sports, and CBS Sports are all trying to out-crazy one another to get the more eyes on their screens and I think that it's working.  Unfortunately, I can no longer lend my eyes to the count.  These shows are no different than "Real Housewives of (Insert City Here)" to me.  Just a bunch of fake outrage over cliche topics.  I guess it's back to reading sports websites because these shows just don't hold any value to me anymore.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

We Can Stop Domestic Violence With Parenting

It's just that simple.  Teaching your son and/or daughter not to put their hands on other people can go a long way towards healing lives instead of ruining them.  Now, I'm taking mental health issues out of the equation here.  I'm talking about the natural ability that most of us have to walk away from negative situations.

Yesterday, I got a phone call from someone about a friend of mine whose husband killed her.  I won't dwell on the how and why because it's not relevant to my blog post.  I'll just say this much about her: she was an advocate against domestic violence and even wrote books about it (I reviewed one of them here).  She was someone who was beyond sweet to me and to never be able to hug her again truly hurts.

But, back to the topic at hand.  Society has to do better.  Domestic violence is something we can all have a hand in stopping if we simply take the time to educate.

Men should not be taught that it is never okay to violently put your hands on a woman unless it's a life or death situation.  Either restrain her until you can get to safety or flee the situation.  I've seen domestic abuse up close and personal and I know the affects it can have on not just the victim, but their loved ones as well.  Domestic abuse can be a cycle started by a father who unknowingly teaches his son that it's okay to do it and to his daughter that it's okay to endure it.

Women should be taught that it's never okay to hit men unless it's a life or death situation.  There are some women in society who take advantage of the fact that a man is not supposed to hit them.  This emboldens them into attacking him and daring him to retaliate and risk him possibly being arrested.  Don't do it, ladies.

  1. It's not right to hit him knowing that he won't hit back.  
  2. Some guys will hit back and they may hit harder than you!

All I pray is that everyone who reads this decides to sit their son/daughter down and stress to them the options that they have other than assault.  I don't care how old they are right now.  Do it!  Let them know the avenues that they can take to avoid trouble.  Don't wait for them to get into the situation, but instead, use preventive maintenance to teach them how to avoid finding themselves there.

  • Preach to them how their ego is not as important as doing jail time, spending time in the emergency room or worse, the morgue.  
  • Tell them that they can always come home to loved ones.
  • Teach them that relationships are never worth risking your life over to try and fix.
  • Show them what real love is at home so that they may recognize it as they venture out in life.
  • Instill in them that there's no such thing as "it can never happen to me".
I don't care how hard that you try, you can't make someone love you.  I know this for a fact.  Just let them go and choose from one of the other millions who are what you're looking for in a mate.  

I personally know a lot of guys who have hit women and a lot of women who have hit men.  I've personally called each and everyone of them I've spoken to "cowards" to their faces, including relatives.  It's not okay.  Stop waiting until it happens to someone that you love before you take it seriously.  Please teach.  That's all I ask.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Why Are There So Many Churches Yet So Much Evil?

I left church yesterday and I drove around my city to find a good breakfast spot.  I live in a city of 24,000 people.  My North Jackson, MS suburb is about 18 square miles.  However, as I drove from the east side of the city to the west side, I must have passed 6 or 7 churches.  I saw all of the vehicles parked outside of each church.

I started thinking about all of the churches in Jackson (population 170,000).  You can drive a 5 mile stretch in that city and easily see 10+ churches.  I'm not sure how it is in other parts of the country, but in the South, there are more churches than gas stations on every other corner.  I'm not saying that this is a bad thing.  If you refer back to my first sentence, I attend church, too.  However, what I'm wondering is how are there so many evil people in the world if so many people attend church?

That leads me to believe one of two things: either most of the people who attend churches are hypocrites or churches are not effective teaching its parishioners how to become better people.  Or maybe it's both, I don't know.  Either way, there's a problem somewhere.

No one is perfect.  We all sin, but the level of nastiness in some people these days is astonishing.  I've met some very nasty and petty people in my life who are at church every time it opens.  They sing praises on Sundays and mistreat people the rest of the week.  Adulterers, liars, racists, greedy CEO's, gossipers, abusers, etc.  The list goes on.  Yet, they clean up on Sundays and sit in church and shout "amen" to a way of life that they don't even attempt to follow.

And despite the fact that so many of them know their holy scriptures like the back of their hand, for some reason, it doesn't apply to them.  You can't tell them that they're doing anything wrong without backlash
.  After all, only God can judge you, right?  Good luck with that when you meet Him.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

You Can't Argue With "Victims"

You can't move on if you can't apologize.  
So, I'm listening to two people (man and woman) discussing a relationship topic that occurred in a movie.  Before I could even give my two cents, the disagreement between the two went sideways.

The guy defended a male character from a movie.  The male character did not make his wife a top priority through two decades of being together.  He was always chasing a dream.  His wife got fed up and divorced him.  Shortly afterwards, his dream came through and dude made millions off of his idea.  Although his ex-wife had moved on, he gave her $10 million dollars to try and make amends for all he put her through.

By now, some of you recognize this movie, but I didn't want to go into details and spoil it for those who haven't seen it.

Anyway, the guy referred to this male character in the movie as a "stand up guy".  Because although he was not legally obligated to give his ex-wife anything, he felt morally obligated to try and make up for the stress he had caused her for pretty much all of her adult life.  And he caused a lot of stress!

But as the guy makes his statement, the woman interjects and said something along the lines of, "that's just like a typical guy to refer to this dude as 'stand up' after all of the pain he caused in her life."

The guy quickly thought about his statement and apologized.  "You're right.  I misspoke.  He was definitely a horrible husband, but I was just glad to see him try to fix it by making sure she was set for life."

So, I'm thinking to myself that everything was good.  She made her point and he agreed and apologized.  Now I can give my two cents on the movie.  But, she wasn't done...

"I can't stand it when men take that attitude and think that they can just fix a problem with one good deed," she started.

This went on for about 60 seconds before I decided to make my way to the ice machine to fill my cup and slowly disappear.  She lit into this guy from what started as a conversation about a movie.  And even after he agreed and apologized to her, she decided that it wasn't good enough and chose to belittle him.

When does an argument end?  Why can't people accept a sincere apology and move on?  Do we have to beat someone over the head until they just drop to their knees and submit in order to be satisfied? 

Well, here's my two cents on the matter: as long as a person can argue with you as a victim, then they feel as if they have leverage on you.  You can no longer say something that may be deemed as judgmental or offensive to them because you're stuck in an apologetic state.  If they forgive you, then they lose their perceived power over you.  So, some think that it's best to drag out an argument as long as they can to take advantage of victimhood.

Being a victim is the wave in today's society.  We all want to fight off of our back's and force someone to bend at our will. The end-result is a country filled with pathetic individuals always crying about something.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

We Work Too Much in America

I don't know who invented the five day work week, but I'm still looking for him/her.  We work entirely too much in this country.  Work days are getting longer and vacation days are getting shorter.  By law, every country in the European union receives at least four weeks of paid vacation.  In the U.S., the average amount of vacation time in the private section is just 16 days. 

Austria is said to have the most time off with 22 paid vacation days as well as 13 holidays per year. 

Although rested employees may not always translate into higher productivity, it does go a long way towards how happy your they are.  That counts for something, right?

Well, probably not if you own a business.  The only way most companies feel as if they can compete with others is by working the stew out of their employees.  And if you think that it's bad now, then just give it another decade or so because the U.S. has slowly gotten worse over the years.

Back in the early 80's, it was not uncommon to see most businesses closed on a Sunday.  Especially in the South.  Sunday was once a day for families to be together. Outside of a pharmacy and a gas station, you really didn't find too many businesses that were open.  Until someone decided that if they opened on Sundays then they could get a leg up on the competition.  Cha-ching.

The same can be said for holidays.  Thanksgiving is probably the most family-oriented holiday in this country.  I remember families coming together and everyone relaxing after a huge meal.  Now interrupt it for "Good Friday" sales (on Thursday).  Gone are the days where families could enjoy each other's company and/or get some relaxation.  Now they have to interrupt that holiday because someone has to be at work to prepare for the stores to open that evening.

Businesses thrive and make money.  Quality family time suffers. 

And the only thing most businesses love to do more than making a dollar, is making two dollars.  Unless you're Chick-Fil-A.  That's a business that still thrives despite being closed on Sundays.  They think that allowing an opportunity for families to be together for at least one day during the week is more important than money.  Imagine that!  But, for every Chick-Fil-A there's 100 businesses like Walmart who are pretty much open 24/7. 

America doesn't care if you're overworked and underpaid.  After all, what are you going to do about it?  Vote for someone other than a Democrat or a Republican?  LOL!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Do We Over-Sexualize Female Role Models?

How many mainstream female celebrities out there aren't hot?

Did you come up with anyone other than Condoleezza Rice?  :)

Okay, I shouldn't pick on Condi. I asked that question from a cynical standpoint.  Let me try again...

When's the last time you saw a mainstream female singer who wasn't hot?  I'll wait...

I recently read a quote by singer, Rosie Lowe, that talked about how Beyonce and Rihanna reinforce stereotypes because they sexualize their bodies to promote their music.  Therefore, they are bad role models for young women.

First of all, I see what Rosie is saying, but I don't agree with it.  Entertainers are just that.  Stop making them into more than what they are.  Although that's very hard to do when adults are slobbering over these celebs even more so than the kids.  Have you seen Facebook timelines after a Beyonce video gets released?  It will make you think that Jesus has returned.  And that's not Bey's fault one bit.  If her body and how it moves brings in just as much money as her voice, then why shouldn't she make money off of them both?

Most female celebs probably couldn't care less how the use and display of their bodies affect your daughters as long as your kid is watching them and buying their products.  The responsibility falls on mom and dad to raise their kids, not some R&B singer who doesn't even know that your child exists.  Parents should teach their child that twerking on the Billboard Awards for a paycheck is different than twerking at the club for a drink.  Much different.

But, let me return back to the topic: do we over-sexualize female role models?  Yes.

We have even gone as far as commenting on the bodies of the current and the previous First Ladies of the United States.  Even when some sick-in-the-head female teacher takes advantage of one of her underaged male students, what's the first thing that comes out of some guy's mouth: "Man, she's hot enough to have any dude she wants, why does she want a kid?"

No woman is off-limts to being rated.

Will it change?  Not in my lifetime.  Should it change?  Absolutely.  No one should look at a successful, good-looking woman and wonder if she's actually achieved her status by hard work or was it given to her because of her looks?  After all, we don't rank men based on looks.  Do you know how many ugly dudes are on TV making a nice career for themselves?  Steve Buscemi is worth $35 million dollars!

That's completely unfair to women and we need to find some way to stop it.  Talent is talent.  Looks need not apply.

Steve Buscemi

Sunday, June 10, 2018

What's Real? What's Fake?

I don't have kids.  However, if  I did, I would school them on discerning what is real and what is fake when it comes to people.  My instruction to him/her would be: everyone is fake until proven otherwise.  Period.  It doesn't mean that you shouldn't respect them or not treat them fairly.  It just means that you don't submit your feelings to them until they are deemed worthy.  Then I would teach that child what questions to ask to help determine someone's authenticity as well as how to pay attention to actions.

Because it's not easy out here to avoid people who have agendas not congruent to your own.  It doesn't necessarily mean that they are bad people.  It just means that you don't want the same thing or maybe you don't wish to take the same path to arrive to a common goal.  

I was thrusted back into the dating world back in 2012 after the death of my wife and I was not ready at all.  I moved way too quickly and found myself in multipe situations with people who did not prioritize my heart.  T.I. once rapped that, "...all I wanna do is just feel love.  Even if I know it ain't real love..."  That applied to me 100% and I had to be honest with myself and realize that I was approaching things completely wrong.

Those experiences allowed me to grow and flourish to become something even better than I thought I could be.  I'm so thankful for that.  But those experiences also taught me to trust what I see and to not allow myself to get consumed in something that's not meant for me.  

I guess what I'm trying to say is: we usually know when something is not genuine.  We can even pick up on people who are fooling themselves just to try and fool us.  What we need is the confidence and courage to walk away from it until something better comes along.  Because we deserve the best for ourselves.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Spouses Have To Evolve

I just had an interesting conversation with a friend about how some long-term marriages can sometimes fall apart.  So many of us have the misconception that once you're married, you're safe.  After "I do", then you think that you can just sit back and relax forever.

Well, that's not the case at all.  It's safe to say that if your marriage makes it long-term (10 years or more), that you're well beyond most incompatibility issues.  However, there are long-term concerns.  Most of them center around evolution or the lack thereof.

Although "love is blind", we shouldn't be.  Some of us don't change, yet we fail to pay attention to our spouses changing.  My friend said that, "it's important to grow individually and collectively.  If only one person is growing, then they outgrow the other."

Very true.  Marriage is a journey.  You may have to do something different stylistically, intimately, or even open your mindset to change in order to keep up with your spouse.  For example: let's say that you marry someone who at one point, just like you, loves to eat junk food and sit on the couch and watch movies.  For ten years, this is what the two of you enjoy.  However, now you're approaching your 40's and your spouse starts to get concerned about health issues.  So, they join a gym and work out regularly.  If you choose to not evolve with your spouse, then you run the risk of an eventual issue in the marriage.

Is one spouse wrong for wanting a healthier lifestyle?  No. Is the other one wrong for wanting a more relaxed lifestyle?  No.  But, odds are, they will clash at some point.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that the saying,"you should accept me for who I am" applies to both spouses and not just for the one who refuses to change.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Bad Luck or Bad Decision?

Sometimes you just have to be honest and admit that you screwed up...

Excuses galore.  We hear them so many times per day without even realizing it.  Whether it's on the job or at home, we hear people explain why they came up short in their performance of something.  One of the many reasons we get from people on why their life just isn't where it needs to be is that they have "bad luck".  Having bad luck essentially means that you're cursed to the point that no matter what you do, things will turn out horribly for you.

Is there a such thing as bad luck or are people just making bad decisions?

First of all, to answer the question, I absolutely believe in bad luck.  Having a car lose control and drive into your house is bad luck.  Having a stray dog jump your fence and attack your dog is bad luck.  Something that happens randomly that is out of your control is bad luck, in my opinion.

However, sometimes we make bad decisions and want to blame it on bad luck.  If a guy has sex with a woman he doesn't want a long term relationship with, and the condom breaks, is it bad luck if he gets her pregnant or was it a bad decision to engage with her sexually in the first place?

You drink too much at a bar and after driving roughly 25 miles, you're one block from your house when the cops pull you over.  You go to jail for a DUI even though you're close enough to see the porch light on at your crib.  Bad luck that you got caught so close to home or a bad decision to attempt to drive the length of a marathon while over the legal alcohol limit? 

I've made my share of bad decisions.  Luckily, none of them have decimated my life to the point that I struggle on a daily basis.  I own my decisions, as hard as it may be at times.  From making bad choices financially to making bad decisions in relationships.

Everything that we do has a consequence.  And we have to accept and live with whatever that consequence may be.  It could be something that only negatively affects you for a short period of time or it could be something that impacts you for the rest of your life.  Whatever it is, own it, and try not to repeat it.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Stay Off Timelines That Offend You #BodyShaming

I just finished reading an article over at People about a young lady who claims she was body shamed.  Now, I'll be the first to tell you that these "shaming" accusations that we see thrown around social media can be ridiculous to some.  However, at what point do we allow people to live their lives and deal with their own consequences?

Shalom Ifeanyi is a student at the Univ. of Cincinnati.  She posted some photos on her IG page that caught the eye of her volleyball coach.

The photos look extremely tame compared to what we see online these days.  But, her coach, Molly Alvey asked Ifeanyi to remove the photos because they showed too much of her breasts, despite the fact that she was fully-clothed in all of the photos.  Mix in the fact that some of her white teammates were allowed to pose in two-piece swimsuits and you have the formula for a discrimination lawsuit against the school.

Corporations and institutions need to stop policing people's personal lives.  A person shouldn't have to censor their personal online sites to comply by someone else's standards.  They should be allowed to post at will and forced to deal with the consequences, if there are any.

I'll be the first to tell you that people shouldn't post online half of the things that they do, but they are responsible for their reputation, not me.  If I don't like it, then I shouldn't view it.  It's just that simple!

Why are people so compelled to remove or ban something they're not forced to look at in the first place?  And if you feel that it's some sort of black eye to the reputation of your corporation or institution, then you're the one with the problem.  Ifeanyi is a volleyball player.  If she shows up at a game wearing something deemed provocative, then at that point, discipline her as you see fit.  Other than that, she owes Univ. of Cincy nothing outside of the school system.

Companies need to stop selling the allusion that they're only employing perfect people.  There are no perfect people.  And if the photo posted above is "too sexy" for Coach Alvey, then please don't ever let her see some of the 2018 prom season photos that I saw on Facebook this month.  Her had would explode.

It's sad that Miss Ifeanyi, who is a beautiful girl, has to endure this sort of attention for something that is ultimately so inconsequential to the Univ. of Cincy.  But, I guess that she realizes now that what she does as a black woman, right or wrong, will be scrutinized.

That's just how we roll in America.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

I Hate This Hyper-Sensitive Society

Petty (adjective) - of little importance; trivial.

This word describes so many people that I know in this country.  Too often, I see people take nothing and turn it into something negative.  The reason: people love to be victims.  A lot of us tend to enjoy the "Me vs. The World" mentality.

Unfortunately, as a black man, I see a ton of pettiness in my community.  In fact, there are a lot of black people who embrace pettiness as if it's something in which to have pride.  I recently saw a "Black, Educated, and Petty" t-shirt on a young lady downtown.  All I could think to myself is, "why are you embarrassing yourself by wearing that ignorant shirt?"

I hate this hyper-sensitive society that we live in today.  No matter what you say, someone can take it, twist it, and make it look as if you are out to get them when you're not.  And if you say something that someone deems as criticism, and they are not sure if you're referring to them or not, then they'll use this other dumb term to justify their negative feelings: "throwing shade".

You'll have to go to the Urban Dictionary for the actual definition, but essentially, it means to say negative things about a person, but to try and do it in a discrete or indirect manner.  So, the person can only assume that you're talking about them because their name is never mentioned.  Almost like a subtweet, for those familiar with that.  It's why you can sometimes post something at random on social media and later get an inbox message from some offended follower who assumed that you were talking about them.

What's the point of even speaking if people are going to hear what they want to hear instead of what's actually being said?

From the President on down, people get in their feelings way too often and it's frustrating.  No one can have an opinion any more without someone being bothered by it.  What happened to the "sticks and stones" mentality?

Social media was supposed to be a great means of rekindling friendships and networking, but it's turned the U.S. into a country filled with chumps.  Instead of taking advantage of an amazing opportunity to get viewpoints from people from all over, we take sides with those who agree with us and bash those who don't.  Gone are the days when two people can just disagree and move on or maybe even actually learn from one another.

If Jesus came back today, he'd probably turn around and leave.  SMH.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

The 1st Time I Felt Black Pride

Back in my teens in the late 80's, I developed more of a sense of pride in my race. It's not to say that I never had any, but it really didn't materialize from a knowledge perspective until in my teens, thanks to music. Specifically, rap music. 

A lot of 80's rap taught its black listeners that we were more than just second class citizens. It made the listeners understand that we were descendants of kings and queens. It made listeners know that there was value in our skin color.

There were quite a few artists who contributed to me blossoming in my blackness.  Listening to Public Enemy introduced me to the Black Panther Party and their contributions to black society. Boogie Down Productions educated me on how the legal system and school system have set black people up to fail. Ice-T educated me on life as a hustler and how the perceived "high life" was only temporary, thanks to jail or death.  There were a number of others I learned things from as well.

Once I developed that pride in myself, then I found pride in those who look like me. Especially black women.  I started to recognize that the media could not dictate what a beautiful woman was to me.  I saw the beauty in dark skin and full lips.  I understood what they represented in my heritage.  I went from falling head over heads for television's definition of beauty and started to appreciate so many of the natural beauties that I encountered regularly.  Who knew that music could give me so much data in which to research and learn about my true self?

Fast forward to today and 80's style of conscious rap is no longer played on the radio.  Despite its educational value to the black community, it's no longer mainstream.  Today's mainstream music usually contains wasteful and destructive messages.  Not just towards our communities, but towards our black women as well.

We need to find some way to reverse this trend.  We need to teach our youth that there's value to our black skin and it should be protected at all times.

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